How I Stumbled On The Best Lip Balm Ever By Chance or What To Do With Leftover Nipple Cream

Last Saturday I was rushing to get ready for a night out with the other NCT mums (you don’t want to waste a minute of these rare occasions!) and realised I had chapped lips so couldn’t put any lipstick on. I looked around for some lipbalm but this caught my eye

My brain went into overdrive and I just knew this was going to work very well. If it’s OK for babies to nurse without removing it and if it can solve all your cracked/sore nipple problems then surely it will be good for cracked lips. Well ladies, this is the bomb, the ultimate lip balm. Lansinoh nipple cream is the Rolls Royce of lip balms, it works a treat – not only do your lips feel good and soft, they look good:

Lansinoh, you can thank me when your sales figures go through the roof!

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We Loved The Abama Tenerife!

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Hotel Lobby above.

I’m not sure where to start with the review of our stay at The Abama Ritz Carlton hotel in Tenerife, there is a lot to say as there are so many positives!

I will stick to what stood out: the grounds, the room and the staff.

As you drive up to the hotel (easy and quick to get to from Tenerife Airport South), you can’t miss it, it’s big and it’s kind of pink :). I was so relived the flight was over that a chilled glass of champagne whilst checking in put me in holiday mood within 2 minutes. And then they upgraded us to a one bedroom suite http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Abama/Rooms/Suites/One-Bedroom-Suite.htm) , I’m not if it’s because it was my birthday but it meant the holiday started off on a high note.

The room was BIG and nicely furnished with everything you could need, the best thing was we could put A to sleep in the bedroom and use the lounge without worrying about waking her up. This really made things more relaxing.

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They had customized the bed, which was a really nice touch (I kept the sign as it was so cute):

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As a surprise, my husband (you’re the best Mister B even though I know you don’t read my blog!) had organised flowers, a card and champagne:

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The hotel is big and we had to walk up a hill to get to the main hotel as our room was in the “Villa” part, which was great as we had a pool shared amongst only a few villas and access to the adults only breakfast at El Mirador, which I enjoyed! The view was amazing, the best I have ever had and the fact mini-B could not come along meant mummy had a lovely breakfast ALONE!

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The freshly squeezed orange juice was delicious!

We also dinner there one night, this time the “Spanish baby” who went to bed at 9PM came with us and munched on some salad:

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The view from El Mirador is exceptional and the food good too. There many restaurants in this hotel (over 10: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Abama/Dining/Default.htm) and this was the best we tried, we were on a half board package which included breakfast and 3 course dinner in some of the restaurants or 40 euros credit each towards dinner in the others (which we used in El Mirador so we only paid for drinks). We couldn’t use some of the restaurants as A is too young but they did provide a babysitting list from local companies if we wanted to do that. We also had a great burger from room service. Breakfast was pretty typical and I would say made up of 75% families in the main part, they have a quieter part with less children from what I understood but it can get loud, which is great when your baby is screaming, not so great if you are a hung-over conference participant…yep I saw a few whose headaches were probably made worse by the noise. We went to the bar for a drink one evening, drinks were definitely not cheap but it was a nice spot. This is the thing that we liked so much about this hotel, we felt welcome with A in the buggy everywhere. Many other parents were pushing their babies around in the evening trying to get them to sleep. On one of these sunset walks, we discovered the “secret pool and gardens”, so beautiful:

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Here is A having a great time at dinner and not sleeping!

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It was the first time we took A swimming and she loved it! I was a bit obsessed with keeping her out of the sun as you can by her attire below:

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We also went to the beach and she wanted to grab the sea, she also started getting frustrated in the pool as she couldn’t get hold of the water!

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You reach the beach via the funicular (hello Godfrey!) or by using the train or walking.

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WE loved sitting on our terrace and also the walk down to the villa after dinner, the grounds are super well maintained and beautiful. You didn’t have to walk up and down the hill but we did as it was good for my post baby legs, if you didn’t want to walk they would send a buggy to pick you up and they came very quickly!

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I quickly used the water facilities at the Spa and they were excellent, I’m sure the treatments are amazing. We didn’t use the kids club as it is for over 4 year olds nor did we use the Golf course nor the tennis courts. We did play ping pong once and the rackets were in awful condition, which was surprising given the standards of everything else..

We had a great relaxing time, it was the perfect first family hand would love to go back one day!

In the meantime, A’s new friend “Mister Ritz” is with us in London as a souvenir:

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Our First Flight With A Baby

2 weeks ago we flew to Tenerife with BA (we flew back with Norwegian, it’s a long story…) and I was really quite apprehensive about the flight – how would I get her to sleep? would she scream with pain from the pressure? would she get really bored? The flight out there was slow so it was 5 hours in total, which got very LONG towards the end, coming back it only took 3.5 hours.

Here is what happened and some tips!

At the airport:

We were going to take the train to Gatwick but decided on a taxi in the end and I’m glad we did. The driver was on time and it was really easy, she fell asleep for 30 minutes on the way there:

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Check in was easy and we decided to check the buggy in rather than take it through the terminal. We had bought a new buggy (http://cybex-online.com/us/pushchairs/callisto.html) for the trip and it was really good, here it is in action:

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It was easy to put up and down and the sunshade was really big.

So we popped her in the Ergo (http://store.ergobaby.com/baby-carrier/four-position-360) and off we went through security. This is when carrying the baby comes into its own as I just walked through the metal detector, no taking out of buggy, putting buggy through x-ray machine etc. However if your baby is heavy or your flight is delayed, I can see the advantage of taking the buggy to the gate.

TIP: get a buggy protection bag, an air stewardess I know told me buggies get thrown about a lot and can get damaged so I would definitely invest in a bag.

We went straight to the lounge for some food and so I could feed her somewhere quieter than the main terminal. (http://www.no1traveller.com/gatwick-airport-lounges.htm) We have a priority pass (http://www.prioritypass.com/) through our Amex Platinum and I love it! The advantages of lounge access with a baby are:

  • it’s quieter
  • it’s less crowded
  • free food and drink
  • mini play area
  • you can put the baby down on the floor
  • comfortable seating to feed

If I didn’t have access but my flight was delayed I would definitely consider paying for a day lounge pass. We even found an empty room where we put her down on the floor to play before the long flight:

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She wore a long vest, a cardigan and leggings with feet so she didn’t get cold. The flight was warmer than i thought in the end. She fell asleep in the carrier for about 30 minutes before we boarded, which meant if anything she had slept an hour that day.

And so the time came to board, I was really stressed about this flight but then quickly realised there were other babies on board so there was no way she would be the only one screaming! Turns out the baby behind us was much worse and moaned 80% of the flight.

TIP: don’t stress as much as I did, you are not alone and the engine noise actually cancels out “baby noise” quite well!

One thing I hadn’t realised was that even if your baby is asleep on you, you have to take it out of the carrier and strap it in for takeoff and landing. It took me a few minutes to work the below out!

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Now as for the whole “ear popping” and feeding during take off and landing is concerned, I’m not sure if its a myth or not, A seemed totally unfazed and I actually think it would be quite hard to breastfeed whilst the baby has the belt on (would work fine with a dummy or bottle), anyway she was not affected at all.

The flight ended being 5 hours long and she slept for 30 mins of those. About an hour and a half in, I fed her, she fell asleep and miraculously I managed to sit her up against my chest and kept her asleep there in the carrier until the baby behind her screamed and woke her up! Very frustrating! I have to say A has a good capacity to stay awake a long time without getting too cranky but I can imagine most babies would not do that well being awake for 4.5 hours so just hope there are no other babies near you!

I kept the carrier on the whole time as it kind of made a mini seat for her and was easier when she was asleep. On the way back, the same happened (fell asleep eating) but I didn’t move her this time, I made sure my jacket was under my arm so it took some of the weight off. We had a free seat between us but I was scared she would wake up if I moved her.

She slept for about an hour and a quarter:

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I used my breastfeeding cover to make a mini tent so it was a bit darker, make sure to close the window blind as well.

TIP: ask at check in if the flight is full and if not can they block a seat so you have one to put the baby down on.

So what did we do to entertain her?

  • let her eat her toes:

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  •  read books
  • read her the emergency card
  • gave her Sophie and then her rings (4 pounds very well spent: http://www.mothercare.com/Mothercare-Textured-Linkies/455949,default,pd.html) and “Mister Spot” who I now know is actually a girl called Chloe (http://www.tinylove.com/en/on-the-go-toys/chloe-cow) TIP: bring toys that don’t make too much noise and most importantly you can attach to the baby or yourself or the seatbelt to avoid them going on the floor and then being unusable.
  • stood her up so she could see behind us and in front
  • gave her sips of water
  • fed her quite a lot to kill time
  • changed a poonami with only 2 wipes (#parentingfail) TIP: check the wipes before you get on the plane, I don’t know how we didn’t!
  • walked around with her in the ergo

All in all, it was not as bad as I thought at all and I am glad we went when we did because if she had wanted to walk or crawl it would have been much worse. We were sat next to a man and who told us how his daughter stayed awake all the way to California when she was a baby and was promptly sick once they got there so there is definitely worse and other parents full understand.

We landed around 6PM, which was late, the return flight was much earlier and better, I would definitely avoid late flights that come close to bedtime. She was getting pretty restless and tired by the end. She slept for 10 mins in the car on the way to the hotel and then only went to bed at 9PM, which is really late for her but became a theme during the holiday at the AMAZING Abama hotel .(http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Abama/Default.htm) but that’s for another blog post. Happy flying!

 

What Makes Me Angry As a Mum

Since becoming a mum last November, I have been challenged emotionally. Of course I’ve discovered unconditional love and joy at little things etc. But I also get more angry and frustrated than I ever did and I am not ashamed to admit it.

There is one thing in particular that triggers these “negative” emotions:
Not managing to get A to nap. She’ll go from going down for her morning nap at 9AM for days in a row and one day just won’t. Or I’ll try and get her down for a last nap around 3 because surely she can’t be awake from 1.30PM til 7PM and it will be impossible. The worse is when she won’t even fall asleep in the buggy because as all mums know when all else fails, take them for a walk! It makes me angry that I resort to feeding her to sleep sometimes still, not always but sometimes I know that it will work. I should not get angry about that, it burns some of the    “Naughty treat” calories I consume. I get most frustrated when she finally falls asleep and wakes after 10 minutes, I mean WTF? All that for 10 minutes!!?? Somehow when the naps are a disaster (thank god not every day and isn’t that bad overall and she goes to bed easily at 7PM every night), it hits me at the core of my sense of “motherhood”, I feel like a failure, nothing else makes me feel like a failure except these bloody naps or lack of rather…And yes before you ask, I look out for tiredness cues (the second she rubs her little face, she goes to bed), make sure she’s not awake too long, try to stick to the same nap times every day, have read Gina Ford and the baby whispers and countless blog posts and websites…
Maybe it’s because when she was a newborn I “sleep deprived” her, as we were having so many issues feeding, I assumed all cries were hunger related and kept feeding her when really she should have been sleeping. She would be awake for hours which is not right for a newborn. Anyway she survived. Or maybe it’s because being able to get your baby to nap easily seems to be the “ultimate” in being a good mum nowadays, it means you’ve got the whole “routine” thing down, those mums are in CONTROL or just lucky.
Also I hate (and to be honest am not that used to failing) failing at anything, which is probably why I have trouble dealing with it.
When she won’t nap, it really frustrates me because all I want to do is HAVE A BREAK, have a cup of tea in silence, read the gossip on Dailymail.com, watch TV, make a phone call, write a blog post…
I go from being obsessed with naps to thinking fxxx it, it’s her problem if she won’t go to sleep but then the guilt over how “lunchtime time naps are crucial for their brain development” rears its head…
I think naps reflect the challenge of motherhood, desperately trying to do the right thing yet trying to not get “obsessed” and realise it’s not a question of life and death and no it won’t stop her going to university if she doesn’t have midday naps. You want to do what’s best for them, yet you mustn’t believe everything you read (or get told by people…) or worry too much. It’s a hard balancing act – trying to stay relaxed and happy and neither become obsessive nor careless. I find it a real struggle sometimes. I keep reminding myself that there are millions of mums over the world who have a lot more important things to worry about than if their baby has been awake for more than 2 hours. I’m lucky that I can worry about these things, it’s a luxury to be able to stay home and spend time on routines etc. It’s probably because I have too much time on my hands, if I ever have 2 children, I’m sure number 2 will just be left to cry sometimes and I certainly won’t have time to keep track of and analyse nap times! First world mum problems that’s for sure.
I now know why nature makes babies so cute, it’s so you can’t remain angry with them for long 🙂
 
Anybody else understand how I feel?