Part Time Working Mummy

It’s the most asked question from every new Mum but the one with many different answers for each of us:-

Do I go back to work or do I stay at home with the kids?

For myself this is still the question I am struggling with nearly 34 months later since having my first child.

Before children I worked in childcare as a nursery worker both in children centres and private nurseries and then decided that I wanted to become a Nanny where I could concentrate solely on the care and attention of the child and attend to the family’s needs and requirements. Making such a huge transition was a big step and with some advice from a few Nanny friends and soon having the opportunity to look after a mutual friends baby that needed full time childcare, I ventured into my first role as a Nanny providing sole attention, care, and daily activities until unfortunately the family no longer needed me. I was back to the drawing board with only one nannying experience. So what now??

Luckily one of my Nanny friends introduced me to a childcare app called childcare.co.uk which is the UK’s largest online community of parents, childcare providers, babysitters, nurseries and private tutors. I was able to set up a profile free of charge that was safe and secure where I provided my contact details, the childcare provision I was offering, my experiences, qualifications, availability and fee which would then be put in their database for access where other parents could view my profile and contact me if they were interested.

I was a little sceptical at first as this was something completely new to me and although I had many years of childcare experience, I wasn’t sure how people who had never met me would trust me enough to contact me regarding looking after their children but I found the app very user friendly and began searching profiles of potential parents that fit my requirements, while also sending out a number of secure private messages; with the odd phone call if a number had been left on the profile that gave access to call directly and have a chat about the position further. I soon started receiving messages from both parents whom I had reached out to and visa versa.

I was really amazed and encouraged just how easy the app was to use with an added bonus of the location of each parent showing on each profile which helped me to decide which potential family I could work for as travelling by public transport was the only option so I needed something local.

I found that there are 1300 local profiles in need of childcare from putting in my postcode on the website and by viewing each parents profile I can eliminate it down further, based on both sets of requirements until I find the perfect match!

Not long after creating my online profile I started receiving messages which was a prefect way of communicating until I felt secure enough to agree to any interviews. The website provides a safety centre with information about staying safe and not conducting any visits until background and checks have been completed. I’ve found this very helpful as it assists in both safe guarding myself and online users as online safety is a really big issue. With website options offering community reporting, platform monitoring and secure document validation and sharing, I know that if we are in need of childcare for even a couple of hours; correct procedures and measures have taken place that would help to put our mind a little more at ease.

As my home life changed this has also had an effect on my job requirements and availability; now having children the balance between work and home life isn’t an easy one but it makes it less stressful knowing that all I have to do is update the profile with my current situations and I can then go through the whole process again.

Currently I am not working as a childcare provider but I have recently updated my profile and will be using the app to actively search for local babysitting positions on Saturday evenings but with the aid of regular updates of potential matches sent straight to my email it will make searching so much more easy and accessible.

*This blog is sponsored but all opinions are my own*

Thank you for reading!

Venus Beach Hotel Review

We recently returned from our much anticipated family holiday to Cyprus and stayed at Venus Beach Hotel, a 5* hotel with a 5* service.

Prior to searching for hotels for our vacation in Cyprus, myself and my husband had only stayed either self-catering or bed and breakfast and hadn’t spent too much time looking for the ‘perfect’ holiday home as ‘cheap and cheerful‘ was good enough for us being a couple without children and we rather enjoyed exploring the country, food and scenery more than what the hotel could offer us.

Now with 2 young children, things were different and safety, comfort & great food were now our top priorities as we would be spending majority of the time at the hotel and only exploring during the day. Therefore we decided to go half-board and booked our holiday location and hotel with On The Beach

My first thoughts from the photos was that the scenery was beautiful and the hotel grounds clean and modern looking with a gorgeous overlook of the beach and hotel pool area. The hotel rooms looked well sized (as we needed a family room for the 4 of us) with modern decor and an added balcony with a sea view. I showed it to my husband who also approved and we booked with a deposit and paid weekly until the rest of the balance was finally paid off.

Arrival

We arrived to the hotel after an hour delay at around 11pm (Cypriot time) and we’re all very tired from the journey but also excited to be spending our first night in our holiday home. We had been dropped off using a private taxi service (which I highly recommend as it only took about 15-20 minutes to arrive)

Once I had gone inside to let reception know we had arrived I was amazed by the beauty of the chandeliers, the high ceilings and the attention to modern art on the walls and staircase. Myself and my husband knew we had made the right choice in those split seconds and my optimism grew even further.

The man on reception (I didn’t remember to take his name) was very polite and called someone to come and take our bags and also offered us some cold orange juice, after sorting out all the paperwork they offered us a free ‘lunch voucher’ to use at any time during our stay as we had already missed dinner; after telling us our room number we eagerly went to our room with our bags following via room service.

We were greeted to a bright and spacious room with 2 single beds pushed together plus a separate single bed and a cot. Nia-Mae enjoyed having her own bed and I was glad that there was enough room for myself and Josiah without half my body hanging off the bed. I chose not to use the cot as I didn’t want to wake up throughout the night to give him night feeds. Even with all of the furniture around there was still space for 4 of us to move around without feeling too over-crowded. We had been lucky to get a sea-view and the night time scenery was magical with lots of lights and an array of a deep blue from the pool and sea. It was perfect and we all slept very well on our first night!

Food

Breakfast was served from 7am-10am which was perfect for us as it gave us all enough time to be showered and ready in order to enjoy a good amount of time eating without feeling rushed.

We had a selection of buffet style food that served fruit, yogurts, cereal and fried breakfast. The choices were amazing and there was something for all of us (including Josiah who was recently BLW) Everything tasted wonderfully especially my selection of fruit and strawberry yogurt for starters followed by my fry-up of eggs, sausages, beans and crepes drizzled with maple syrup. My husband loved the same fried breakfast with added omelettes and Nia-Mae & Josiah rotated between fruit with strawberry yogurt and crepes with maple syrup. The drinks were bottomless which served either orange, apple or grapefruit juice as well as water. There was also a selection of Cypriot flavoured teas (but I found this tasted differently to what I was accustomed to and I missed my English breakfast – which they didn’t serve or my regular herbal teas)

Dinner was served from 7pm-10pm and was additionally just as delicious as the breakfast buffet choices; served in the same way there was so much to choose from with a different theme each night. My favourite theme was Cypriot and Italian and I loved getting food from the ‘live kitchen’ where you choose from a variety of pastas, toppings and sauces that are fried right in front of you by a chef! It was fantastic to see the flames of the pan rise in the night sky and the aromas from the delicacies being prepared for your impatient taste buds.

If we ended up having rooms in our bellies from all the food we demolished, we again were spoilt for choice from a buffet selection of desserts. My particular favourite was a strawberry cheesecake that was served on Italian Night (which I regretfully didn’t get extra servings off!) I could talk about how delicious the food was throughout the rest of the blog and writing this just takes me back to eating all the different flavours with the gorgeous palm trees blowing in the cool breeze with the sight of the all the oranges and yellows from the slow sunset which then turned into night sky accessorised perfectly with the bright shining diamond-like stars.

I definitely ate lots while we stayed the week there and even put on half a stone because I just couldn’t resist going back for more! Along with the gorgeous weather, this was definitely my best thing about the hotel and we are very grateful to the hard working chiefs, waiters and waitresses for their excellent service.

Scenery

There really isn’t enough words to describe the scenic views that we saw for the week. Pictures don’t do it justice to how beautiful it looked and the atmosphere around the pool was so fun and inclusive. From families and wedding parties, to couples and individuals the hotel catered for everyone. The smell of sun tan lotion, the sounds of splashes from the pool and the taste of dripping ice-cream and ice cold bottled water will always be my happy memories of Venus Beach Hotel!

Service

The staff and service was 10/10, they always went the extra mile for you and always greeted you with either a smile or hello. This really was a bonus to our stay as sometimes the lack of customer service can let the stay of accommodations down but all the staff were so hard working and helpful, it made the stay with young children that tiny bit easier. Especially on our last day when our checkout was 12 noon but the flight wasn’t until 10:45pm! Once breakfast was over we were given another room to stay in until it was time to leave free of charge, this definitely helped with that final prep before departure. We also used our free lunch voucher at around 2:30pm which came in very handy as it carried us over (with the addition of snacks) until our private taxi arrived to pick us up for the airport.

This is Skevi Nikolaou (Guest Relations Manager) who provided a very friendly and approachable customer service and always with a smile!

We would definitely recommend staying at Venus Beach Hotel if coming to Cyprus, they are even opposite a Lidl which we often visited for our munchies around the pool or balcony seats at the bar area.

I would say that the only thing we expected more of was evening entertainment (especially for younger children); even though they had a Kids Club, Nia-Mae was too young for this and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her alone without anyone she knew. My feelings are that it would have made our evening meals a lot smoother with young children having evening hotel entertainment on our sides.

Despite this thank you so much to all those that helped to make our stay the wonderful experience it was and we can’t wait to revisit again in the near future!

*This was not an ad and I genuinely wanted to write a review about the positive stay myself and my family had. All opinions and accounts stated are my own.

Thank you for reading!

Letterbox Bakery Review

So anyone that knows me will know that I love a sweet dessert so when I came across Letterbox Bakery at a Market Night and had luckily bagged a ‘Caramel Box’, my tastebuds were delightfully thankful. I then recently managed to bag another 2 boxes at another Market Night and these tasted just as good as the first time (if not even better as I had a double portion this time)

I was then kindly gifted one of their new bakes the ‘American Box’ to review and I am happy to say I have found an online bakery that I will be continuing to order from!

Each box has around 6 bakes each of assorted flavours and are beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and then covered in a cardboard box with a label clearly stating flavours, allergen advice and shelf life instructions.

These bakes contain gluten, peanuts, soya, dairy and eggs so anyone that has food allergies these unfortunately are not for you but they do come with a gluten free option when requested on the website. There is also a ‘Vegan Flapjack Box’ and a ‘Build You Own Box’ so lots of other alternatives to choose from!

All of the bakes should be covered and kept out of direct sunlight and last for around two weeks at room temperature, three weeks if stored in the fridge and can also be frozen for up to 3 months which is wonderful news if you want to ever buy in bulk or for a special occasion.

The boxes all fit easily fit through the letterbox so even if you aren’t at home for delivery you’ll have a lovely surprise waiting for you once you arrive home which personally is an added bonus as I would hate to have my food parcel outdoors for long periods of time if I’m not around.

American Box

Peanut Butter Tiffin

Peanut Butter Tiffin consists of a chocolate crumble base but soft at each bite with chewy centre bits. There is a taste of peanut butter but nothing overbearing which I found really nice as although I can manage the taste of peanut butter it’s not a flavour that I always have so to have a mild flavour of it with the addition of chocolate tasted amazing!

RATE:- 4/5

Peanut Butter Jelly Flapjack

Peanut Butter Jelly Flapjack consisted of a classic taste of flapjack covered with a sweet jelly topping. Again there wasn’t an overpowering taste of peanut butter which I loved! I think this bake is lovely for all flapjack fans but I personally find them too chewy so although these were baked to perfection (and I still ate it all) this wasn’t one of my favourites.

RATE:- 2/5

Salted Pretzel Brownie

Salted Pretzel Brownies consist of a taste of a soft chocolate centre that mouth-wateringly crumbles in your mouth. If you are a lover of all things chocolate then hands up this will be your favourite. This bake actually surprised me as although I like chocolate I don’t really eat it too much and can only have it in small portions but this was so gorgeous, rich and soft but not too chocolaty, that this was definitely one of my favourites. I loved having this with a nice hot cuppa!

RATE:- 5/5

Pop Tart Tiffin

Pop Tart Tiffins are a biscuit base covered in chocolate with a crumbly centrepiece and a sweet jelly pop tart on top. The mixture of chocolate and the pop tart work really well together as they are sweet but not a sickly type of sweet. This was my next best favourite!

RATE:- 5/5

Toffee Popcorn Flapjack

Toffee Popcorn Flapjacks surprisingly worked well together as it has a chewy centrepiece with a slight hint of a chocolate taste with popcorn pieces on top. Although it still has the standard chewy flapjack taste I found these less chewy than the Peanut Butter Jelly Flapjack but still not really to my liking (although of course I still ate it all!)

RATE:- 2/5

S’mores Brownie 

S’mores Brownies are a wonderful chocolate brownie bake with a crumbly base that is also soft and melts in your mouth once bitten. Again I loved this as the chocolate wasn’t too overpowering and was something that you could eat more of without the sickly feeling you get afterwards.

RATE:-4/5

Overall all the bakes tasted so delicious and left me with a moreish feel; now they have all gone I am pining for my next box!

Thank you so much Letterbox Bakery for gifting me with these wonderful treats, these make delicious gift ideas, wedding favours or dessert buffets and you can purchase your own box here

Letterbox Bakery have kindly gifted me with a discount code that gives you 15% off your order using:- ‘gracehasfoundme’ on the website at checkout.

Although I was gifted these delicious treats everything written and all opinions are my own!

Thank you for reading!

The Evolution Of Instagram

Social media has taken the masses by storm and is seen as unusual if you aren’t a part of a social network whether it be Instagram, Facebook or Twitter; communicating to others through photos and statuses is the new norm and for many of us as mothers can be a helpline in a sometimes very lonely journey.

For me Instagram started out as a platform where I mostly connected with friends I knew in ‘real life’ but a new world was opened up when I started my business Picture This Decor just after giving birth to Nia-Mae. It was wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded mumpreneurs that seemed to emphasise with the daily battle and balance of building a small business, raising children and taking care of a home. I soon found a tight knit community and grew my account with many loyal customers that have helped keep my small business standing and growing from strength to strength.

Not long after opening my Instagram business account I was introduced into the world of ‘Brand Reps and Enthusiasts ‘ and this concept was so foreign to me but something I definitely wanted to be a part of. I had already started an Instagram account for Nia-Mae, with the sole purpose of posting photos as a visual diary but there were so many lovely ‘Instagram handmade shops’ that while being on maternity leave baby clothes shopping was the only logical thing to pre-occupy my time (along with Netflix bingeing)

We were soon part of a few brand rep and enthusiasts teams with some beautiful handmade clothes and bow shops. Myself and Nia-Mae found it fun and a special way to bond dressing up and taking photos while I also formed many friendships as a result of this which is so reassuring that you can have that support without judgment.

Here are some of the Instagram shops we were honoured to rep for:-

Little Bowhemians

Too Much Cute U.K.

Baby Haute Couture

Grace Elizabeth Designs

Arias Boutique

Evie Et Al

Coral And Sky

Nia-Mae loved putting on her outfits and modelling in front of the camera

Motherhood and life are generally busy enough but also adding Instagram in the mix and it can get pretty chaotic and stressful (if you allow it) I was getting busier in my business and growing another play mate for Nia-Mae which became so exhausting that social media and the love of taking beautiful photos was the last thing on my mind so I rightly prioritised and concentrated on my business and personal page and took a step back from Nia-Mae’s page and the world of brand repping.

Although I would still scan through the page to keep up with the latest trends from Insta handmade shops, time went really quickly and before you know it over a year had passed since being active on her page; Josiah was here and I wanted to get back to what I’d loved and missed which was taking photos of my babies. So with a new name change along came Grace Has Found Me and I concentrated in trying to engage with my followers that had remained loyal in my absence plus find new accounts to interact with. But how so much had changed in that space of time and along with Instagrams new algorithms it was so hard for me to see the pages I wanted to see and for others to see mine. I quickly had to learn that it was now the world of ‘Pod and Engagement Groups’ for you to really be noticed and although accounts were still active in brand reps and enthusiasts there was something new called Influencing where Instagram accounts that have good reach and engagement rates are given the opportunity to work with various brands to advertise everyday products that are used while also promoting them to their target audiences; resulting in better awareness and marketing for that brand. In exchange for the advertising of a brands product or service these will be ‘gifted’ to various accounts which acts as a payment for promoting the product/service on their page or likewise some brands actually pay accounts in exchange for advertisement and promotion to ‘real audiences’.

Since being active I have managed to work with some wonderful brands and have been so grateful to receive gifted items that I would have most likely bought (or wanted to buy) in assistance as a Mum or generally in my lifestyle.

Here are some of the brands that we luckily have managed to work with:-

Gummee Teething

Twist Shake Baby

Lollipop Baby Camera

Ziggle UK

Snugglebundl

These items are things that are used in our every day life and routine and although the items were gifted all opinions and reviews are my own.

Instagram has created so many platforms and new opportunities that I’m really grateful and blessed to have and although it can also be access to ‘keyboard warriors’ and ‘internet trolls’ I have aimed to focus on the positive outcome. As we continue to grow as an account, a family and myself as a wife and mother I aim to use Instagram as a positive platform and evolve to be the best version of myself!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and look out for future exciting collaborations coming from Grace Has Found Me!

Lollipop Baby Camera Review

The Story Behind Lollipop Baby Camera

Lack of sleep for a new mother is something that is all too familiar and relatable but with the added worry of not being able to hear or see if your baby needs attention once they are asleep is something I experienced with both children.

I would have just settled Josiah and be in the shower or washing dishes and could clearly think that I have heard him cry only to rush upstairs and still find him soundly sleeping. And then there are times when he would be crying and I didn’t hear it straightaway until it got to that unmissable volume or Nia-Mae comes and gives her reports.

We had never used a baby monitor with Nia-Mae but instead used a movement detector that is placed under the mattress of the crib so to monitor her breathing and when she wakes with the additional audio monitor. It ended up being too sensitive so this was quickly removed and instead we depended on listening out for her cry. Doable with one child but having 2 children I quickly realised that I needed a monitor to be able to check on JJ and put my mind and ears at ease when I am carrying on with my other daily activities along with spending quality one-on-one time with Nee.

While being pregnant I had looked around for monitors and couldn’t find any that fit our requirements which was to wrap around the crib instead of being laid flat on a surface as JJ was still in our room in his crib. I had given up looking as there wasn’t any on the market until I came across Lollipop Baby Camera

We were kindly gifted our Turquoise Lollipop Baby Camera which is a toxic-free silicone baby monitor that provides smart intelligent video-based captures with added true crying detection. It has so many added features that are so helpful whether supporting newborns, toddlers or siblings.

Features

• Night Vision- The infrared lens gives a clear image not just during the day but also at night.

•Instant App Alerts- You can choose which notifications get sent to your phone letting you be in control when you attend to your baby’s need. Simply view the live feed or event videos to check out what is going on.

•Cry Detection- The Lollipop can tell the difference between ambient noises like the wind or traffic and when your baby is actually crying and needs attention. If your baby is crying when your out of the room, you’ll receive an alert that lets you know.

•Audio Monitor- You can have the option to turn on the audio only and use it as a traditional sound monitor which is perfect for when I’m using my phone and can’t always use the video monitor at the same time.

•Sound Machine & Microphone- The Lollipop also comes with the additional feature of white noise and you can choose from either the Music List or Sound List. Josiah’s favourites are ‘Water’ and ‘Sea Wave’.

These are the main features that stand out to me and the ones that we regularly use having had the camera for a couple of weeks. I love how even if I’m not at home I can still check that Josiah is sleeping ok.

Eventually the kids will be sharing a room and the Lollipop Baby Camera will definitely be a necessity them as I’m sure it will be another battle getting them both to settle at the same time! Along with the camera I’ll most likely be using the microphone feature telling them to ‘Get back into bed’ or ‘Stop making so much noise and go to sleep’.

I can’t emphasis just how amazing this monitor is and I think that it’s a must in every home.

Thank you so much Lollipop Baby Camera for gifting us our stylish monitor that has changed our bedtime routines for the better!

*Although this item has been gifted all opinions are entirely my own.

Thank you for reading!

A Day Out At Greenwich Maritime Museum

On Saturday 6th April we had a family day out in Greenwich to visit the Maritime Museum. It was lovely to be able to spend the day out as a family with the kids as this is something that we tend to struggle balancing with our busy schedules but definitely intend to do more often.

The Maritime Museum is a place where you can discover the history and treasures behind the associations with the sea and navigation which helps you to understand how these events help shape and change the world we live in today.

The museum itself is free entry and consists of 2 floors with lots to see with the layout being split into various wings allowing easier navigation. It is very child friendly including those with babies and buggies; with easy and spacious access to lifts.

We didn’t get to see everything (as we were with extended family members so had to be sensitive of their time) but was fascinated and entertained by all the painting, figures and activities that we participated in. We walked around and visited 3 main areas which was The Cutty Sark Figure Heads, Sea Things, Polar Worlds and lastly The Great Map/Great Map Café.

Cutty Sark (Figureheads and Decoration)

Cutty Sark is home to the largest collection of Merchant Navy figureheads in the world.

Figureheads are the carved wooden sculptures that decorate the prows of sailing ships. It was thought to be that the figure heads were the spirit of the vessel and offered the crew protection from harsh seas and safeguarding their homeward journeys.

The superstitions of the figurehead meant that the crew would go to great lengths to protect it with most figureheads being ‘females’ probably because of ships being referred to as ‘she’ and as women were not often allowed to board the ships, the figurehead could have been a representation of the sole company on a ship.

We enjoyed leisurely walking around and looking at all the different types of colourful figureheads. There was lots of space for all of us so it didn’t feel overcrowded with a buggy and Nia-Mae also had room to explore.

Sea Things

Sea Things allows the experience of visual spectacles of over 600 objects, where you can also get involved in hands-on-activities such as a maritime personality quiz and interactive share and discovery Maritime memories. Many of the objects are open display so you get to observe and touch close up.

We didn’t get to experience everything in this gallery as there was so much to see and everyones attention span was different with it being a larger group but this is definitely something we would want to participate in at a future date and would recommend for a family with children especially the interactive part.

Polar Worlds

The Polar regions have been a focus for British exploration and scientific enquiry for centuries and continues to do so especially with the era of climate change. This also paved the way for mythical characters and hero’s, where some were lost and some carry on today.

It was lovely to see all the paintings and videos capturing the cold and dangerous climates that explorers bravely faced. Yet being amazed how communities survive in freezing conditions and observing some of the Arctic and Antarctic wildlife.

The Great Map

Lastly we visited the Great Map area where there was a huge floor atlas which you can explore the world, join in with events and play interactive games for children of all ages with it all being free!

Nia-Mae enjoyed using the tablet that allowed her to explore different parts of the world while going on her voyage searching for requested treasures.

There was also 3 toy ships where children could play around on them independently or assisted by an adult by being pushed on the floor atlas (like Nia-Mae was by her daddy)

It was also a way for us all to relax, and for me to feed Josiah with lots of space for his buggy as the Great Map is located next to the Great Map Café where you can sit while kids play all within eyesight.

There was so much more to explore and experience and this is something that can easily be a whole day out. We would definitely want to come back and look at the other areas that we didn’t get a chance to see.

Greenwich Maritime Museum is definitely a place worth checking out!

Thank you for reading!

Josiah’s Birth Story

My little man is 6 months old… how time has flown from when I first found out we were having you to holding you closely on your born day. Here’s Josiah’s birth story.

So let’s rewind slightly to when I found out I was pregnant, I had felt some flu-like symptoms for a few days which didn’t develop further put were severe enough to have me bed bound. I asked my husband if he could get me honey and lemon and to also grab me a pregnancy test, I wasn’t expecting anything as I hadn’t missed a period yet but when that line clearly became duplicated I was like this feels all too familiar with the first symptoms I had with Nia-Mae.

The first three months of pregnancy were actually quite smooth sailing where I didn’t suffer with any morning sickness (and what a relief this was as I had suffered majorly when pregnant with Nia-Mae), in fact my pregnancy was the total opposite from the first one which made me believe that I was DEFINITELY having a boy second time around.

The Summer of 2018 was HOTTT!! Second time pregnant and I seemed to get bigger a lot faster, as much as the weather was like being abroad for myself and bump it was torturous. Walking two steps had me sweating buckets but I did my best to enjoy as much as I could with Nia-Mae and my husband by setting up her water pool in the back garden, trips to the park or just steady walks in town.

Fast forward to the final month and after having a hard Summer with a family bereavement and having to spend a month away from home with Nia-Mae, I was actually worried that baby boy would be coming early due to numerous painful contractions which I was definitely not used to in my previous pregnancy. I was so worried that I’d go into labour being in Leeds and having nothing with me but thankfully baby boy decided to stay put and cook some more.

So I’m back at home by September and in overdrive trying to frantically nest and get everything ready… bags aren’t packed and NOTHING has been purchased (not even a vest) but on top of that I’m frantically still working on outstanding orders from my small business before baby boy comes but luckily manage to get everything ready with majority of baby items being in perfect condition thankfully from hand-me-downs we’d purchased for Nia-Mae.

7 months pregnant at my late Grandma’s funeral

It’s a week before your due date and I am so ready for you to arrive that I was going to ask a midwife friend of mine to do a sweep in fear that I’d be overdue which I really didn’t want to be the case. I had been active enough with entertaining a toddler (that isn’t the easiest feat) plus my continuous obsession of needing to nest and keep things clean and tidy. With the freakish Tropical like Summer we were having and it being stuffy both day and night, sleep wasn’t my friend either so the day before you came I had been extra restless and was pacing about the house looking to do anything that would keep me busy such as changing our bedding, continuing with work orders (even though I was on Maternity leave at this point) and if that wasn’t enough an evening of boogie down with my favourite playlist.

All this must have triggered something as prior to having Brixton Hicks contractions a couple of days ago that didn’t develop into labour I wasn’t hopeful when I started having these again in the early hours of Friday 5th October. So I did the usual and timed them with each early contraction being 10 minutes apart and bearable. I’m awake on my own so decide to entertain myself with Netflix while still timing with contractions varying between 8-10 mins but surprisingly over a short space of time the contractions start to be at smaller intervals at every 5 minutes so I decide to call my hospital labour ward as I wanted to be prepared as we still needed our assigned person to be well prepared in order to look after Nia-Mae.

Gravity definitely did it’s part as soon as I was on the phone to a midwife I could barely speak through my contractions at this point and knew that this was the real thing. The midwife first advised me to soak in the bath which unfortunately for me couldn’t be the case as we only had a shower. I’m still timing contractions that are erratically all over the place so thankfully the midwife advises us to come in.

“Get up Miquel, it’s time!”

So it’s now game on and I call my assigned person so that we can arrange for Nia-Mae to be taken to their house…ring ring, ring ring and then straight to voicemail but luckily our second choice was able to come to our house and look after Nee (even though it was completely unplanned for her) While fighting through increasingly painful contractions and getting the last bits ready for Nee eventually it was time to go to the hospital.

Once we’d got to the car the contractions seemed to die down and I was able to get to the ward with ease and check into the waiting room where I decided to call my mum and let her know I was in labour. During mid conversation I had the most strongest contraction that I just handed the phone to Miquel and groaned through the pain. Contractions all of a sudden intensified where I was crying out in pain for the ‘nurse’ not caring who was watching or hearing me and I must have been causing enough noise as a midwife soon came and between her and Miquel on either side partially dragged me to an observation room where I was checked and was 5cm dilated and relieved to be told that I wasn’t going home.

From always wanting a water birth and it not going to plan the first time round, I was adamant about doing the best for a water birth this time and luckily the pool was available so as soon our midwife for delivery was available we were taken to the pool. Contractions before this point had been steady but bearable so when I entered into the pool I asked the midwife ‘How long do you think it will be until I give birth’ and her reply being ‘I can’t specifically say but it’s usually 1cm every hour’ of course I knew this from prior experience but had magically hoped that this wouldn’t be the case second time around as I had stopped dilating at 7cm with Nia-Mae as well as already having an epidural.

I remember looking at the clock and it being just before 7am and predicting that I would give birth around 11am-12noon but oh how wrong was I. I had never used gas and air before but the contractions came on as powerful than ever that in between sucks I was begging the midwife that I now wanted an epidural to which she let me know that the anaesthetist was currently in surgery so I’d have to wait until they were finished but reminded me that this couldn’t be administered in the pool. I DID NOT want to come out the pool as it was giving me a lot of relief despite the pain so I just dismissed the idea but quickly swayed back on forth with each painful contraction demanding that I now wanted the epidural and to allow me to come out of the pool when the anaesthetist was out of surgery.

My poor midwife who was only on duty for an hour before her shift was over did her best to accommodate me as much as possible so went off to try and get the paperwork started for my epidural leaving myself and my husband to continuing labouring. All I remember thinking is if this is how painful it is now then it will be too unbearable by the time I’m ready to push not knowing that I was further along than I realised. I suddenly felt the urge to want to push down and knew that the head was coming but had slid back in and once the midwife came into the room I screamed ‘He’s coming!’ The look on her face was total disbelief as I had only been in the pool not even 30 mins. My husband who had now been in charge of the gas and air due to me overdosing on it had changed positions so that he was now facing me so he could assist me when I needed to take a puff!

All of a sudden I hear him say ‘Im gonna pass out!’ and then see him toppling backwards as he’s fainted taking part of the instrument I needed for my gas and air. The midwife is in total shock and has pulled the red cord for more midwives to assist but to my surprise have paid all the attention on Miquel and left me to fend for myself. I cry out ‘Help’ as I feel that the next few contractions are the ones needed for me to make my last few pushes; I must have sounded so desperate as all I see is this head pop back up and my husband ready to continue his duty as birth partner. And very well timed as the next couple of contractions I could feel ‘the ring of fire’ (which to me didn’t feel as bad as some of the stories I’d heard and felt that my contractions had been much more painful), a few seconds later out slid my beautiful baby boy at 7:24am on Friday 5th October weighing 6lbs and 10oz of gorgeousness. I was in love all over again and so relieved and proud with myself for having the birth plan I’d always wanted… I’d finally had my water birth.

We cuddled for a while until your umbilical cord was cut and then you latched on perfectly while we both enjoyed skin-to-skin contact while Mummy and Daddy grew besotted with you.

Six months later and we are more in love with you than ever. Your big sister adores you and treats you like you’re her own, always ready to give a helping hand with nappy changes (I once luckily just in time walked in on her trying to wipe your soiled nappy) You continue to feed like a champ and although you could sleep A LOT better than you do, it’s probably because you love Mummy loads and want all the cuddles. Despite kissing sleep goodbye for the foreseeable future, Mummy can’t deny that I do and always will love our cuddles too!

Josiah Craig Lambert born Friday 5th October at 7:24am via the quickest water birth weighing 6lb 10oz

Thank you for reading!