My Top 5 Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Lifestyle

Fathers Day is this Sunday and seeing as it’s the hubby’s first, I have been trying to find the best gift to offer on behalf of our little angel (and me I guess).

Because I got quite a fab Mother’s Day gift (he read a blogpost I wrote and knew what I wanted), I knew that I couldn’t just settle on the typical gifts that fathers tend to get on this special day ( not that there’s anything wrong with these either). Anyways, like a lot of online shoppers, I love the website http://www.notonthehighstreet.com because it does exactly what it was on the tin. If I can be honest, I literally spent around 2 hours browsing the site because it has long lists of pages and I wanted to make sure I clicked on each in fear of missing out on the perfect gift. I can’t be the only one guilty of this, right?!
Anyways, mummy and homely duties were awaiting me, as well as a 3,000 word university assignment I’m struggling to write so I had to get a grip and narrow it down to my top 5.


1. Personalised Football Team History Book – £50: most men are football fans and mine is no exception. His favorite team is Arsenal (I have my own personal opinions on this) so I thought this would be a perfect gift for any footy dads out there. The book includes actual news stories about the ram, with actual newspaper reports, dating as for back as the 1990s. Oooh and they’ve also got one for American football!


2. Personalised Father’s Day Photo Frame – £29.50: I’m really into photo frames and use them as part of my home decor to get a more homely feel. This gift will be perfect to frame that special moment captured in a picture. The frames come in various size options that can be positioned and personalised in a portrait or landscape orientation.

3. Personalised Cuflinks £29: last weekend we attended a friend’s wedding and I must say I love a man in a nice shirt and suit. These cuff links are perfect for those special occasions or even for the office dad who wears a suit everyday. And…they can be personalised with the children’s names and date of births (provided you only have 2, hahahah)!

4. Father’s Day Mug £9.95: like most, I have no problems with giving and receiving traditional gifts parents tend to get on their respective days and a mug is one of those. I thought this ‘World’s Best Dad’ mug would do the trick and is very affordable for those on a budge, which is a plus.

5. A letter to Daddy Poem Print £14: for those who want to let their dads know how much they are loved in poem form, this gift is perfect. What more, the poem can be personalised and the price is not bad.

So there you have it. I haven’t decided which one to get just yet because I really want to get all of them but I might settle for one or two.

For all my father followers, I wish you all an amazing Father’s Day. Know always that you are loved and appreciated.

P.S. this is not a sponsored post. It is 100% my own opinions and views on the products.

Love,

Lilia

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3 Reasons Why I Co-Sleep

Lifestyle, motherhood

I swore up and down that I wouldn’t co-sleep with my baby before I had her. If I’m honest, my reasoning had little to do with any health guidelines or recommendations but rather that I just didn’t want to share my bed. I was weary of the difficulties I could encounter when weaning her off my bed (can I say that?). Of course as any first time mums will agree – mum plans, baby laughs! When the baby is actually here, you find that they are boss and you’re happy to oblige. 
I know the debate to co-sleep or not to co-sleep is as serious as that of breastfeeding. I’ve heard mothers and other people debate both sides and I’ve read the guidelines for both arguments to better inform myself. While I’ve found that both sides to have valid arguments, I personally co-sleep for these 3 reasons:

1. Feeding – my daughter’s cot is in my room and will remain there until she’s at least one year old because I can’t bring myself to even think of her sleeping in a different room to me. I almost get paranoid at the thought. Nonetheless, she shares our end because I quickly found out that it is very convenient when doing the nighttime feeds. Granted, she awakes less these days but I don’t have to get out of my bed to feed her when she is up at night and that to me is amazing. Also, she uses a dummy and fusses when it comes out of her mouth (happens all the time), so I can’t imagine getting up and off my bed just to go put it back in her mouth 3-5 times a night. Plus, she sleeps better and longer so that means more sleep for mummy as well!

2. I Keep My baby Safe – I can just picture those against co-sleeping roll their eyes at this one but to me, having my baby sleeping next to me actually puts me in a protective mode. I’m not a heavy sleeper naturally anyway but I’m even more aware of her presence and of the environment around us when she’s sleeping with me. This means if she was in danger, I would be quick to act and that provides me with a sense comfort knowing that I’m right there next to her if she needs me. 

3. I Enjoy It – aside from the convenience and safety reasons, I actually love and enjoy having my baby sleep in the bed with me (much to her father’s disapproval). She has this habit of caressing my face in her sleep for comfort and this literally brings me joy. It’s like she just needs to feel for me to know that I’m there (how can I say no to that!). Also, nothing compares to waking up every morning and seeing her cute little face smiling at me. 

I am well aware of the dangers of co-sleeping so this post is not by any means to disregard the genuine and valid concerns. At the same time, it should be acknowledged that so many mothers out there co-sleep with their babies and I think it is important that we are not made to feel guilty for doing it as long as we’re taking the necessary precautions to ensure that it is done safely, i.e. One shouldn’t co-sleep if consuming alcohol or smoking and not sleeping on a couch, etc. 

Like any mother ou there, my daughter’s safety and wellbeing is at the forefront of my entire being. Another thing to keep in mind for those who criticise this way of sleeping is accepted and practiced safely in many cultures, so the default reaction to it shouldn’t be a negative one as many would agree that it also has its benefits. 

Love,

Lilia 

5 Ways Having A Baby Tests Your Relationship 

motherhood, Relationships

I’m sure a lot of parents, especially new and first time parents would agree with the sad truth that having a baby can have an adverse effect on your relationship. 
Just before giving birth, a mummy friend of mine told me to expect arguments when the baby was here and I couldn’t understand for the life of me what she meant. Worry not, because I found out quickly enough just how right she was. 

If I’m honest, having our daughter actually caused us to have some of our worst arguments ever….to a point where it’s fair to say both of us questioned whether or not our relationship would actually survive. Hell, sometimes I didn’t know whether or not I WANTED it to survive. Four months down and we’re getting the hang of parenthood and a bit more sleep never hurt anyone but to be honest, it’s still a work in progress as far as getting back to a decent place in our relationship. 

There are obviously a million and one factors contributing to tension and issues having a newborn can bring to a relationship but here are my top five:

1. Tiredness – people told me to sleep as much as possible because I wouldn’t be sleeping much for a few years and though I knew there was some truth in it, I also thought they were exaggerating. Wrong!! My daughter would sleep ALL day and be up from about 10pm until 6 or 7am the next day. Yes, I tried sleeping when she did but things have to be done around the house too. Anyways with my lack of sleep and pure exhaustion, I became snappy and easily annoyed which created unnecessary arguments. Happy to announce she’s much better now.

2. Post Natal Depression – I wrote a piece on this a few weeks back and I still feel so self-conscious when this subject comes up because of all the taboo around it in African communities but although I didn’t know it then, I was affected with PND which also meant I was always crying and down right moody. Hubby didn’t understand what was happening and we’d argue because I didn’t know why I felt the way I felt so relaying any information to him was near enough impossible and we were both left frustrated and distant. 

3. Extended Family – now, we all know almost everyone becomes an expert in babies when there is a newborn but couple this with two different African cultures and you’ve got unsolicited, unwanted and damn weight crazy advice and opinions. The other half was being told one thing from his family but when he’d run it to me , I’d shut him down because that wasn’t a practice in my culture or whatever and he’d end up feeling like his contributions didn’t matter and become resentful, etc etc. Naming the baby was also another uncomfortable situation which I wrote about in one of my posts. 

4. Night Duties – now this is a funny one because the Mr would say I never let him help much but I remember getting so angry at the fact that I was up at night with the baby while he was sleeping. Poor guy would offer to take the baby sometimes and I’d say no because I wanted to be the one person who could soothe and comfort her and so I self-righteously thought he didn’t know what he was doing. Then I’d be angry with him if he didn’t offer to help (even though we both knew the answer would 90% always be no). I was just a right mess to be frank so don’t ask me questions because I know it doesn’t make sense.  

5. Communication – or the lack thereof as was our case. One thing which we would both agree on is that my other half is not the greatest communicator that ever existed. In fact, he wouldn’t even make the cut if there was such a process. His heart is always in the right place but he internalises things and is practically allergic to confrontation. This means if he’s upset about something I’ve said or done (which happens daily), he won’t tell me and if it’s something he considers to be major then his mood will change so I’ll be left wondering what’s wrong. One thing I’ve also found is I’m what I’d like to call an ’emergency communicator’, i.e. I only really want to sit down and talk when something has already happened. Throughout this process I’m learning the importance of every day communication and we’re slowly getting there. 

So there you have it. As a whole, having a child has been a blessing so I don’t want anyone thinking it just messes up your relationship but at the same time it’s foolish to be ignorant of the fact that adding a small human into the mix of things can definitely have its down points…..at least at first! I also understand that this is not necessarily the case for everyone all the time, but for me it sure has been a rollercoaster which is slowly but sure coming back down. 

You know what, I’m grateful nonetheless. For every bit of it (well…most bits). I’ve learned so much about myself, the hubby and our relationship in the last four months than the years prior to having our daughter and it’s all good! 

Love,

Lilia

Finding Out I Was Pregnant

motherhood

I’m sat here smiling because exactly a year ago I found out I was pregnant. The Mr and I had just come back from our holiday in Dubai where I spent the whole 7 days and 6 nights sleeping and then sleeping some more because I didn’t feel like I was sleeping enough…..go figure!
Before I fell pregnant with my daughter, I actually dreamed twice that I was pregnant. The first time it was a woman handing me twin girls and another was just a dream that I was pregnant. I didn’t pay much attention to it because i thought getting pregnant is something that happened to other women and quite frankly the idea seems so far fetched that my mind couldn’t fathom the idea quite frankly. Mind you, I’ve always known I wanted kids. 
I remember on our way to Dubai we stopped over in Ukraine for a couple of hours and I was complaining of having very sore boobs and cramps but I just put it down to my period coming. I even thought my period had came when I saw blood after going to the toilet so not in a thousand years did I think I was pregnant. 

Once in Dubai, all I did was sleep and sleep some more. The other half and I would bicker because we had a whole itinerary of activities and sightseeing during our stay but getting myself out of bed before noon was near enough impossible. I put this down to jet lag and went about my business getting even more acquainted with my hotel bed and pillow whilst he did everything by himself. 
Another tell tale sign I guess was the fact that my breasts were so tender that I would flinch every time I got dressed but again because I was still bleeding, albeit lightly, I just thought i was having my period rather than spotting.  

Imagine my surprise when we got back and hubby dragged me to Tesco to grab a pregnancy test. I remember laughing at him because I was so certain I wasn’t pregnant that even when I peed on the stick, I left it in the bathroom floor and went to sleep AGAIN until he came rushing in the bedroom asking what two lines meant! I actually thought I’d heard wrong until he asked again and I looked at the stick for the first time. 
A year on and the little madam is four months with a larger than life personality already. I’m amazed and overwhelmed at how much can happen and change in a year. Mostly, I’m grateful that God saw it fit to pick me to be this wonderful soul’s mother. 

Love,

Lilia

Help! She Doesn’t Want My Breasts!

Lifestyle, motherhood

I can’t believe it’s already March!!! All I wanna know is what can we do to slow down time a little? I mean my little lady is now 16 weeks! Where did the time go, honestly! I swear I just gave birth the other day and now the girl is trying to sit up on her own and already has such a big personality. 

On top of all that, little lady no longer wants to breastfeed. It hurts me to even write this because as I wrote on one of my previous posts, from the moment I found out I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. Things didn’t go as planned in the beginning seeing as  life slapped me in the face and let me know that I should have attended those breastfeeding classes I was recommended because breastfeeding is not simply shoving a nipple in your baby’s mother mouth and hoping that they latch (say what??!!). Eventually after many tears, sweat and practically blood because that’s what my nipples felt like, we  were able to find our groove and although I was supplementing with formula, I realised that I loved breastfeeding. I mean you should see how she would look me in the eyes whilst feeding. It was so intense and it just fed my soul with so much love and joy.

Then one day…it all just stopped! She no longer wants my breasts. Actually it’s more like she doesn’t remember what it is and its purpose. I put it in her mouth and she screws her face like she’s got a foreign object in her mouth. At first I thought it was just a growth spurt or a leap or whatever babies go threw that lasts for a day or so but it has been almost a month and baby girl doesn’t want my beasts anymore. I was never really into pumping ( it’s long and nothing really comes out for me) so I have just been giving her formula which she likes but the one time I did pump she took it fine so I know it’s not the milk itself.

I’m honestly so heartbroken and as dramatic as this may sound (and I don’t care if it does), I kinda feel rejected by her. I really don’t want to give up but I think my milk is drying up at this rate. I would really appreciate any advice or tips or anything really that can help get her back on the boob…,pleasssee?!

Love,

Lilia

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate 

Lifestyle, motherhood

Baby girl turned 8 weeks on Tuesday and was due a check up appointment which also included having her first shots.

I’ve never been against vaccinations. In fact up until recently I’ve always thought them to be mandatory- sort of like paying taxes haha! I mean I was vaccinated and everyone I know, from family to friends, has been vaccinated so it never occurred to me to ever opt out of getting my daughter vaccinated. I remember vaguely hearing about the possible correlation between vaccines and autism in the media following a celebrity whose child was diagnosed with autism but again as it’s never been something that was challenged by my family or anyone I know, I never paid mind to it as it was never an issue close to home.

My partner however has in the past expressed his feelibgs against vaccinations because to him they are unnecessary and more for the benefits of government and the pharmaceutical industry than for public wellness. So when baby girl was born the conversation arose and to be honest, I quickly made him understand tht the thought of risking my child’s life for an opinion or a person’s belief, even if the person was her dad, was just unfathomable. 

So as the date for her 8 week check up was approaching, I started getting a bit nervous and conflicted about my decision  because as a mother, you’re always questioning your actions and decisions and wondering if you’re doing the best thing for your child. I then did some research on the subject and weighed  up the  pros and cons of vaccinations just to be proactive and not make a decision blindly – especially as it involved my daughter’s health. To be honest, a lot of my findings were arguments for vaccination and those against it were more people’s personal views than actual facts.

I say this not to invalidate anyone’s belief against having their children vaccinated. I believe that every parent is different and therefore what’s best for each kid will also differ but for me, I decided to go for it because although I recognise that everything comes with its share of risks- whether for or against vaccinations – I strongly feel that the risks to vaccinate were less than not to vaccinate. I go back to the fact that both and my partner have been vaccinated as well as everyone I know. I honestly don’t know anyone in my circle who hasn’t been and i decided to rely on that evidence and of course said a prayer for extra assurance.

The first set consisted of 3 jabs and an oral one for the rotavirus. I had read about the side effects of the rotavirus so I knew to except baby girl to have tummy aches and be fussier than usual, which is exactly what happened. I felt bad for her suffering as it went on for nearly 24 hours but I am at peace with my decision to vaccinate. 

Having said that, I’m not looking forward to the next round!
Love,
Lilia 

What’s in a name

Lifestyle, motherhood, Relationships

Baby girl is finally registered!!

I was excited to finally get her birth certificate so we can apply for her passport because mummy and daddy love to travel. At the same time I was kinda dreading having to go to the registry office because we still hadn’t decided on a middle name for her. In fact this has been the elephant in our room which we happily ignored for the last six weeks.

Although we’re both of African origins, my partner and I are from different countries in Africa. This in itself has never been an issue in our relationship because, well why would it be? We’re two human beings who are in love and respect our cultural differences and that to us has always been what mattered.

Funny enough a year before I even found out I pregnant, we had already picked a name for my daughter. No, we weren’t planning to start a family just yet but we thought it would be fun and/or funny to see what names we liked and innocently googled potential names when we came across a name we both loved. So when I found out I was having a girl, we pretty much called her by her name. 

Although we’re not married yet, we agreed that she’d have his surname as I plan on changing mine to his when we do get married,so that wasn’t a problem. However, when baby girl was born, I suppose for the first time I was greeted with our cultural differences- and not necessarily in the way I had liked. His family wanted to be involved in the name picking as per their tradition. This didn’t sit vey  well with me  just because I didn’t want anyone else to name my kid. I also didn’t want to name her after a relative or anything traditional like that. I wanted her to have her own name so she could have a fresh start.  This of course caused a arguments with my partner and pretty much tested our relationship in a different way than we were used to before. Because culture and traditions can be a sensitive subject and out of respect for each other, we pretty much avoided the conversation when it came to middle names for the six weeks until our appointment today. 

As the date got closer, I know that we both were thinking about what was to come but neither had the courage to say anything in fear of further arguments on the subject. What a pair of cowards, right!

The inevitable happened of course and we were asked if baby girl had any middle name(s). I don’t know what it was but at that moment I realised that it was unfair to deny my daughter of half of who she is and although I don’t necessarily see the point in naming your child after a day of the week (partner’s originally from Ghana), I knew that it meant a lot To my partner that she had a name which followed his tradition. I realised that my daughter was a mixture of two beautiful African cultures and I wanted that to be represented in her names. So in that moment, I proudly told the registrar that she was going to have two middle names. One to represent each parent’s origins.

One thing being a mother does, is make you selfless. You want to do what’s best for your kid and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do because you may not necessarily agree.I am proud of myself for not letting my pride come in the way of the blessing that is our daughter. I want her to be proud of who she is and where she comes from. I will teach her to embrace both cultures and to carry both traditional names with pride and respect because whether we name our kids after loved ones,  or we just name them after a name we really like….it will be how they and the world identifies them so why not give them a name with a significant meaning, a name that has a story. At least that’s the case for us.

Now off to get her passport made. Wish me luck in getting her to photos taken!

Love,
Lilia

Ripping off the band aid

Lifestyle, motherhood

Last night was my first time going out since I gave birth just under six weeks ago. The other half Has been organising this annual Christmas dinner thing for our close friends and family for a couple of years now and to continue with our little tradition he wanted to do one this year too.  Seeing as I only gave birth just under six weeks ago however, i was a. It reluctant about it and was hoping we’d skip this year since the baby is still so small. Quite frankly seeing as  I no longer sleep for more than 2 hours at a time, I would rather spend my evenings resting at home cuddling than spending time doing normal adult things.

To be honest, even while he booked the restaurant and was sending out invitations, I still somehow managed to convince myself that it wouldn’t go ahead as he’d realise that we just had too much on our plate but as we got closer and closer to the time, I had to accept that the annual dinner was going ahead and though I suggested staying home whilst he went, I knew that he needed my support on this.

So this week Ive felt like a crappy mum, filled with anxiety and guilt overload. Can you blame me? I’ve been with my baby every second of everyday since she’s been born and the thought of not having her in my presence, even if only for a couple of hours is still hard to imagine.

When Saturday finally came, mymny guilt got the best of me and I had to take a moment to cry about it.  Yes, ive become a big softy since this whole mother thing and I’m kinda not ashamed to admit it. Sue me if you will!

I finally forced myself to get dressed, do my hair and put on make up which I haven’t done in months and actually felt good – followed by more guilt for feeling good about looking good. Go figure!!

After showering her with a tsunami of kisses and crying like a pathetic woman, I let her daddy take her to grandma whilst I stayed in the car because the experience was just too traumatic for me (drama queen much?).

The night went without a hitch and I’m sure I annoyed my mother in law with my constant check ups – especially because bubba was asleep most of the night but I just couldn’t help myself. 

I now understand and agree with the other half that this had to happen but I’m still not in a hurry to leave her any time soon. His birthday is coming up next month and I’m thinking we’re gonna have to celebrate with a home cooked dinner – after all, 31 is hardly a milestone birth right? Now I just need to pitch it to him. Wish me luck?
Love,
Lilia

I can’t catch a break

motherhood

So baby girl hasn’t been her normal self these last couple of days. I think she’s going through some sort of growth spurt or something. She’s being super clingy and has been holding my boobs hostage for hours at a time whilst comfort feeding. To add salt to injury, she’s also been constipated which means she’s even more cranky (or is it crankier) than usual.
All this has of course meant NO sleep for moi – Raul ting in me also being cranky and irritable because all I want is TWO hours of shut eye so I can feel like a human being again. Every time I think she’s in a deep sleep and put her down, she lets me know who’s boss and wakes up with her beady eyes wide open and we start the cycle again.

So last night after I’d been unsuccessfully attempting to get her to go down and let me breath (sleep) for a sec, fast forward 3:30am and she somehow manages to get her shit all over me. Yes, her nappy was intact. No, I have no idea how I ended up with shit in my hands….literally. I can tell you that the warmth of the poop woke up right up and where I’d definitely have died had it been any other baby, all I could do was thank God that she had finally managed to move her bowels and kissed her as I tried to work out I how to clean her AND myself. I’d somehow acquired super powers and managed to clean us both up without having to wake the other half for help. Her sleepsuit unfortunately was unsalvageable and had to be dashed in the bin. 

At this point I’m giving myself a mental pat in the back for what I consider a great victory when little madam worked out I didn’t get punished enough and decided to be sick all over her newly changed clothes which then required more cleaning and another change of clothes.

I mean….can I get a break??!!

Love,

Lilia