Mama and Toddler Loves - April/May Edition

14 June 2019

Welcome back to another edition of Mama and Toddler Loves, this is for both April and May as I was quite occupied in May and didn’t have the time to sit down and write so took an unplanned break from blogging but I’m back!

Toddler Loves


A’s Aunty bought her this fab car which A absolutely loves to sit in and drive, it helps to keep her occupied and she feels like such a grown up!

Orchard toys mama and baby pairs

Another bargain from the Aldi baby event. I first saw this on Amy’s story from Amy Jane and Baby and just knew that I had to get it for A.

This is such a good activity, it’s educational and helps with your child’s matching abilities and development and you can turn it into a fun game too.


Mama Loves

Ramadan




After 4 years of not being able to fast due to pregnancies and breastfeeding, I was finally able to keep fasts this Ramadan and it just felt so special and surreal. I also attempted to turn over a new leaf, deciding to be as healthy as possible in my food choices, I say attempted because even though I kept it up all month I’ll only pat myself in the back if I can keep it up throughout the year. 

Bambino Mio

We took advantage of the Aldi baby event and bought 3 packs of Bambino Mio potty training pants so 6 pants for around £19 - bargain! I absolutely love them, they’re so soft and gentle and when we had an accident, they didn’t leak nor made A’s clothes dirty or the furniture, it’s a win win for us!


We both loved..

Balcony



I so wish I had taken a before picture! We live in a 2 bed apartment that has no storage except underneath my bed so this one side of the balcony was pretty much a storage unit, as much as I didn’t want it to be. 

But one day, I just got this urge and motivation to sort it all out. I Pinterested some balcony ideas, showed a picture to the Husband and told him this is what I want and then he got to work. Turns out we were hoarding a load of unnecessary things and just needed some organisation and voila!

We’re enjoying our summer days and evenings out here, it’s become another room for A to explore in. It’s become so useful that when I’m cooking in the kitchen A just walks out and lays on the sofa (it’s actually a folding spare bed we had) and watches the planes and birds go by, her most favourite thing at the moment - so it’s a win win situation for the both of us! 

Easter weekend

We had so much fun during the Easter weekend, not spending a single minute at home, running around in the parks and spending time with family. A loves being around my cousins so she got to enjoy with full extent.

So that’s it for now! 
What did you enjoy and love in the last two months?










Embracing Ramadan - The Changes I’ve Made

15 May 2019


Having not fasted for the past four years, I just knew that I had to approach this Ramadan differently as now I myself am a different person. 

The last time I fasted during Ramadan was pretty much as a ‘singleton’ just out of uni enjoying her summer holidays as well as wedding planning! But pretty much responsibility-less, if I’m being totally honest.

Now I am a whole different person, I am still me just with a few additions such as working full time as well as being a Mum of a toddler. Therefore, I knew that I could not continue on with the same habits, for example, I could not just wake up for Sehri (pre dawn meal) and only just have toast like I always use too.

So these are the changes I’ve made that I do feel are making a difference.

Healthy Ramadan

Can you believe that it’s been over a week now and I haven’t even had a single bite of samosa or a pakoda (fritters), I haven’t had anything that has been deep fried? 

Wait, hold on!

Isn’t Ramadan all about samosas and feasting, no? 

Sadly, when Ramadan comes round all people can think about is how they’ll stuff their faces and with what during Iftaar (breaking of the fast at sunset). This is the furthest we can be from the meaning of this month which is about thinking of those less fortunate than us, who aren’t able to eat as much as they’d like too. 

Adopting a Healthy Ramadan approach, I’m not only benefitting myself and my body but also trying to reflect on what this month is all about.

For Sehri, I’ve been having porridge and fruit and I feel that it has been helping a lot as I don’t feel hungry nor thirsty during the day. For Iftaar, I have dates and fruit and then a proper meal which is nearly always something light and not anything fried.

Meal Plan

I always say that I am going to mean plan but I never do but for Ramadan I have. I literally sat down and made a list of dishes I’d like to try and make, we did a food shop according to the ingredients required which frankly speaking was something new as we would normally ‘just buy as you go along’ which is neither healthy for you or your pocket!

I’ve realised that having a meal plan saves you from thinking so much about food and what you are going to make for Iftaar and so you can use your time more productively.

Praying

Ramadan is the month where we try and cleanse ourselves from bad habits and bring ourselves closer to God hence people tend to pray more than the normal five daily prayers.

There are special prayers in the night called ‘Taraweeh’ which are encouraged but not compulsory. Back in the day, I use to stay up  all night and pray as much as possible but now I can’t.

I need my sleep. 

I work full time and have a toddler to look after so sleep is definitely a priority here. The whole point in sharing this with you is that in the beginning I felt guilt but I have reminded myself that God knows my intention, He sees what I do and go through every second of my day. 

He doesn’t want me to not give my best at work. He doesn’t want me to not be the best mother to my child and He knows I can’t do all that if I’m tired and groggy all the time. 

This also made me reflect that my younger self was always in competition with herself, I use to see how much I could pray but I realise now that it’s not about the quantity it’s always about the quality!

I’ve also restarted reading the Quran (people tend to read more of it as Ramadan is the month in which it was first revealed) - I will attempt to complete it before the month ends but if I can’t, I won’t be sad because of all the reasons stated above.

I do find the time to read it but only when A is asleep, I can’t be sitting, reading and ignoring my child.

People forget that motherhood is actually a form of praying too in Islam - even looking at your spouse with a smile on your face is a form of praying, so why make it hard on yourself? I know I’m trying, God knows I’m trying and that’s all what should matter.

So, these are the changes I have made to help myself be a better person this Ramadan and I honestly hope I can continue on with these changes in the coming months too.

*~*~*

Have you made any changes lately that affect your lifestyle?




Our Neonatal Journey

19 April 2019


I put up a post on Instagram this week, motivated by @leosneonatal (on the gram) who has created #nicumentalhealthawareness week about how I felt and still feel about A’s neonatal journey. I received so much support and love that I’ve found myself wanting to write about it more.

This post wasn’t planned for this week at all but here I am! 

A was born on 24th February 2017 at around 10:30am. She weighed 7lb 1 at 36 weeks - this is the weight of an average baby at full term. She was a big baby for her gestation due to the fact that I had gestational diabetes during the pregnancy. 

During her immediate newborn check up straight after birth - the baby Doctor told us that her blood sugar levels were quite low and that she needed to be taken to the neonatal unit as she also required antibiotics as my waters had been broken for over 24 hours before she was actually born.

We dressed her and only got to have brief cuddles and then she was taken away.

That was the first blow to me, I was in tears - it was like reliving that moment when our son was born and taken away to NICU in 2015. 

My husband felt the same too as he did the same walk to the exact same room where our son was for the tiny moments of his life - we had not in a million years thought that we would have to relive those moments again. Yes, those moments I replay in my mind quite often but to actually go through them step by step, was nothing but heartbreaking.

I was taken to the postnatal ward babyless amongst other mothers and their newborns that I tried very hard to ignore but could not. 

I finally got to meet A exactly 12 hours after her birth, got to hold her whilst she was hooked up onto all different kinds of wires - this wasn’t what I had imagined our first few proper moments together to be like.

The next day, we received good news that she was going to the special care baby unit which meant that she we were getting close to bringing her home with us.

I was discharged from the postnatal ward but kindly given a bed in the neonatal unit because I wanted to breastfeed. I fed her during the day which would help her blood sugar levels. I was back and forth from the family room to her room throughout the day, it was as if though I was on some kind of an adrenaline rush. 

Later that night, we were told that A had ended up with jaundice and were told that she would need some formula to prevent it from getting worse - we listened and agreed but was also told that I could still feed her during the night too. 

However, then her cannula stopped working and had to be reinserted and I can still remember her cries - I’m personally petrified of cannulas as they during my labour mine also wouldn’t work and had to be reinserted many times so knowing the exact pain my baby was going through was just heart wrenching.

I then did her midnight feed and went to sleep. I set the alarm for her 4am feed and woke up but couldn’t move. I had lost control over my own body, moving even an inch was like as if though I’m being stabbed repeatedly. 

I was too shy to call out for help as it was dark and I didn’t want to disturb the other mothers so I just lay there, praying for morning to come quickly.

That Sunday morning when the nurse did her rounds, she opened the curtains and saw me in tears, I explained to her what was happening and she gave me a hug and went to get R - since it was the breastfeeding room men weren’t allowed to stay. 

Since I was discharged from the postnatal ward, there wasn’t anything that they could do to help and so I had to be wheelchaired to A&E where I was examined for spinal injury and luckily it wasn’t that - long story short, I was in excruciating pain and couldn’t walk for a month after. I was told by the Doctors that I needed to go home and rest - this was my nightmare coming true, I didn’t want to leave the hospital without A.

But I had no choice and I couldn’t even say goodbye.

A stayed in hospital for a further 2 days.

I still think about all of this, I had gotten my hopes up so high that this time round I’ll get my golden moments with my baby, that this time round I won’t be leaving the hospital empty handed - I tried to be as positive as possible for all that to come crashing down in the end.

Some people will think that I should just get over it, I should be grateful because my baby girl is happy and healthy at home with me and of course I am grateful, I don’t think there is anyone more grateful than a parent of a rainbow baby who has previously had to let a child go...

I think if we ever were to have another child then that pregnancy would be filled with worries of being separated at birth again. It’s just sad that something so beautiful as being pregnant and giving birth can come with sad memories too.

So that’s it, our small yet mentally draining and intense neonatal journey..

Mama and Toddler Loves: March Edition

12 April 2019

Welcome to the March Edition of Mama and Toddler Loves! 

Toddler Loves

Bedding 



Believe it or not but this 2 year old was without a pillow and duvet. She use to sleep in sleeping bags but as she was growing out of them, I thought, why not make the transition rather than buying bigger bags? She does love her pillow and duvet, well... she loves her duvet set more. I got this from Asda and it’s such a pretty print that it instantly caught A’s eyes and she loves putting her ‘babies’ to bed.

As for herself, she still spends most of the night not on her pillow and the duvet pushed aside, it’s a start... we’ll get there eventually!

Table and chair

As A reached the weight limit for her highchair, it was time to bid goodbye. We already had a sad looking table which I painted white and bought A a children’s chair from Ikea. She absolutely loves it, makes her feel like a grown up, gives her more independence whilst eating, if I hand over her plate to her, she goes and sits at the table to eat herself, so overall it has been a success. 

Mama Loves

Tasty app 



I’m always talking about some kind of an app, aren’t I? Well, I can’t help it! A colleague at work introduced me to this app and it’s beginning to change the way I eat. Sometimes cooking can feel like a chore if I’m being honest but this app has a selection of quick and healthy meals that would change the way you approach cooking!

Mothers Day

Such a lovely day full of surprises, I was showered with gifts not only from my little girl but from everyone even those who I weren’t expecting anything from. Mother’s Day means a great deal to me and I’ve written how I feel about it on the blog, in my previous post, go and have a read and share your thoughts with me too.

We Both Love..

Organix Cheese  



We were kindly sent two boxes of these ever so scrumptious snacks and they have been a bit so far. Whenever we’re out and about with A and she has to have a packed lunch, these must come along. Purely because it means she has a varied lunch as she’s getting her dairy and I don’t have to worry about the cheese going off since it’s dried cheese, still the same goodness, just a little more exciting! I must add, I do sneak a packet for myself now and then also.

Farm 

We took A to our local farm the other weekend, it’s only a 10 minute walk from our home so I’m baffled why we hadn’t been there before but we had such a lovely time. It’s not really a farm ‘farm’ but it was nice to see A react to all the different animals and naming them.

Although, I was quite hesitant at first as if I’m being totally honest places like a zoo or similar don’t appeal to me and just make me sad... but I decided to just focus on A and her happiness for the time being.

Quality Time
Myself and A have enjoyed consecutive weekends spending quality time with my brother who works in Birmingham so we only get to see him on weekends and that can even be hectic but for a few weekends in March we were able to go out together, have a stroll and have lunch. A loves her Uncle so much so it was a delight to see both of them bonding whilst I get to shop in Primark without any distractions! Haha!

*~*~*

What did you enjoy and love in the month of March?




What Mother’s Day Means to Me

1 April 2019



I always wanted children, I wasn’t the one who thought about being a Mum from a young age but I just knew that one day I’d like to have children of my own. 

When we got married, children weren’t on the cards as I was just beginning my masters but halfway through my studies when I found out I was pregnant, I just knew that I was ready to embrace this new chapter of my life. 

Since finding out, I had began to daydream endlessly about Mother’s Day, how that ‘next year’ I’d be celebrated and it would be the most special day ever.

That year, that Mother’s Day came and went.

It wasn’t a celebration.

Although I wanted it to be, it was a very difficult day. Seeing others so happy with their families and then looking down at your sad empty aching arms.

The determination to have a child I could actually take care of grew stronger and stronger and I just really wanted to get rid of the feelings of jealousy that these special days whether mothers, Father’s Day or birthdays brought me.

The constant reminder that I am mother in just by name and not in the way that everyone around me was, the fact that I was the mother of a child who I could not see, who wasn’t physically here would break me every single day.

It wasn’t fair.

It wasn’t fair that everyone was happy in their lives and I wasn’t.

People complain that days like Mothers Day are commercialised and that Mother’s Day is everyday and not just a single Sunday in March. However, I completely disagree, do you buy your Mother a gift every single day? That’s 365 days and bit. Forgetting gifts, do you take time out of your busy life every single day for your Mum? Perhaps you live faraway from her now and can’t see her everyday but on days like this you’re able to make an effort. 

That’s why it is important.

It’s important for Mums like me who have yearned to be celebrated on this day. And it’s important for us not to forget those Mothers with empty arms but hearts so full. 

I’ve been there and I am still there, even though A has made it easy for me, I do think about how it would be like to celebrate with both of my children.

This was our first Mother’s Day without my mother in law, first Mother’s Day where I didn’t pick up the phone in the morning to wish her... and it made me realise that there will always be that emptiness that can’t be filled but that won’t stop us from marking this day and celebrating the fact that she was a part of our lives.

So next time when you think about talking ‘down’ this day, think about those who long for this day and for those who it means so much too. 

You never know how someone is feeling and what they’re going through.


Mama and Toddler Loves; Feb Edition

22 March 2019

Welcome to the first edition of Mama and Toddler Loves, I actually wanted to start this last month but life got in the way but as we say, ‘better late than never eh?!’.

So from now on, every month I’ll be doing a post called Mama and Toddler Loves focusing on what myself and A have enjoyed in the month. This could be anything from motherhood, toddler to lifestyle things. 

I saw Amy from Amy Jane and Baby do a similar series on her lovely blog and was quite motivated by it. I think it’s a wonderful way to focus on what you’ve enjoyed in the month and to pinpoint the good highlights so here we go!

Mama Loves...

Mush

I joined this app back in summer 2017 when A was only a few months old but it is only until now that I’ve actually properly paid attention to it and I’ve got to meet two lovely Mamas through it in person.

It can get so lonely as a Mum especially when out of your friends circle you’re the only one with a child.

So if you’re looking for Mamas near you with children similar age to yours (age was important to me as I’d like A to form little friendships) then give this app an explore and see what you think!

Readymade Turban Style Hijabs 

I have no idea why I hadn’t thought of these before. Sometimes, I like to experiment with my looks and especially how I style my headscarf. In the spring/summer I like to wear it in a turban style but being a working mum, I found it such a hassle in the morning using long scarves to wrap around my head and make sure it looks ‘right’. 

But now I don’t have to worry about that as I finally ordered and now use some readymade ones which you can just plump on your head and you’re good to go! 

Toddler Loves...

Toy Rotation

After watching Amy’s stories for quite a while, I had been planning on implementing this to help make use of A’s toys. Previously, all of her toys were literally chucked in one toy storage, her stuffed toys as well as cars, puzzles you name it! There was no organisation which would lead to some actually not being touched at all.

We don’t have space for a big toy storage unit so I decided to get these storage baskets instead. Each basket has a different theme, in the picture above, there’s basket for shape sorting, anything on wheels and stacking. 

The purpose of this is that every week I now set up these baskets with different ideas. So the following week, the above toys will be packed away and I’ll replace with themes like puzzles, music and so on and A absolutely loves it.

Ikea Kitchen

For her birthday, we got A the Ikea wooden kitchen as her main present and ever since the reveal it has been played with non stop. If someone comes over, she runs over to the kitchen, pretend cooks and serves to the guests. More importantly I can make breakfast in peace as I tell her to make my breakfast or shall we say ‘nom nom’ and she gets busy with it rather than having me to stop her from reorganising our kitchen cupboards and fridge!

We both love...

Silver Cross Avia

As A approached the weight limit of our very much loved travel system - we were in need of a new stroller which would last her a little longer as she’s only just 2 years old.

After much research, I decided to go for the Avia not only because it was a bargain at just £150 but because of its weight, size and the fact that it folds in one and you can pull it along like a suitcase.

Not only A loves it because if I would allow her, she’d sit in it all day but I absolutely admire it as due to its size, it’s so easy for me to manoeuvre. More importantly, as we use public transport a lot, there is no need for us to get on the bus from the back. If you live in London, you will know how cramped and tiny the aisles of the W buses are but the Avia whooshes through them with a breeze!

Discover Story Centre

For A’s birthday, we visited the Discover Story Centre and we both enjoyed very much. There was just so much for A to do as we spent the entire afternoon there, I’ve written quite extensively about our little trip in my previous post, ‘A Birthday to Remember’ so go on have a read! 

Playgroups 


Due to having so much annual leave left that I needed to use before the end of March, I decided to take Mondays and Fridays off from work which has been such a delight as I have been taking A to playgroups regularly (although, she has caught a ridiculous amount of bugs from there!) it’s been enjoyable for the both of us. For me, being able to get out and about to a setting that’s not my job related and for A to burn some energy and interact with other children her age.
*~*~* I'd love to know what have been you’re Favourites in the past month! Please do share with me below.

A Birthday to Remember

4 March 2019




If you know me personally then you know that I absolutely love get togethers and celebrations, basically any excuse to be happy, right?! 

So of course I was going to try and make A’s 2nd birthday as special as it can be. Although, her 1st birthday was perfect and just the way I had wanted it to be and planned, this time round it was a bit different.

Perhaps because on her 1st birthday she didn’t pretty much have a clue that it’s her special day, she did realise the difference but not to a great extent. Fast forward one year and A is at that stage where she understands what’s going on and can get involved herself.


So bearing that in my mind and her birthday being on a Sunday, we decided to make a birthday weekend out of it, why not eh?!


On Saturday, myself and my sister in law took A out on an adventure. We visited the Discover Story Centre in Stratford, London, perfect from ages 0 to 11 years old. 

It felt like a dream come true for every child (and me!) as it certainly felt like being transported to another world. It had everything, from sensory items to capture your child’s mind to a vintage cinema to arts and crafts to pirate ships to a spaceship to slides to even an outdoor play area for older children to a cafe to rest your legs and have a munch.







I could go on and on. We spent the entire afternoon there and there was always something for A to do. Our most favourite adventure within the Discover Story Centre was the The Tiger Who Came to Tea Exhibition which you can book for only £1.50 extra per person. I had booked the 4pm session and it proved to be the perfect way to end the magical day.
It started off with a physical storytelling session of the book and then we were taken into a little town where all the children could go exploring. There were tiny shops, a supermarket with cute shopping trolleys to a living room to a vets to a little park to a bus where A could go in and pretend to drive it and so much more.
It was a hit as A really did not want to leave! (Cue: one little and the only toddler strop of the day). Come Sunday, the day of her actual birthday, she woke up to a beautiful surprise - her very own kitchen! She was instantly in love, smiled and laughed, jumped up and down and ran to me to give me a hug.
That evening, we had family over to celebrate her birthday which was a red bus theme and I attempted, albeit a bit crackly to make a red bus cake for my red bus obsessed little girl - however wonky and crackly it was, it did taste lovely!
We all had a lovely time together reminiscing on how quickly the past 2 years have gone. My sister in law filmed us all giving messages to 18 year old A to be shown to her on her 18th birthday. I had no idea she was going to do this so of course, being put on the spot, I only managed to give one message to an 18 year old A. Can you guess what? I won’t say here in case an older but less than 18 year old A is reading this right now
Indeed, lots and lots of memories were made and A had the time of her life, literally. I felt so emotional seeing her so grown up already, no doubt I’ll be writing about her third birthday soon as time seems to be on fast forward mode nowadays.
*~*~* A’s latest update as well as the letter I have written her are both also on the blog now as well.

Dear Daughter: Now You Are Two! Ft Birthday Letters to my Baby*

1 March 2019


(Written on 24th February 2019)

To,

The light of my life,

Happy Birthday.

I cannot believe that you have been by my side for two whole years. 

24 months
730.1 days
17520.19 hours 
1051201.15 minutes
63072069.1 seconds

(Yes, your mummy is a bit extra but why not eh?)

This past year honestly feels like it has gone in a flash. Just a year ago you had only just confidently mastered crawling and now you are faster than me, running around, free as a bird in your own element.

Watching you grow has been the most special and rewarding thing I could have ever been a part of.

This year was filled with many milestones, accomplishments and new adventures. Such adventures that would also bring little heartbreaks but we both have learnt to deal with it or at least have been trying. You had to learn that mummy has to leave you during the day, it’s still hard, we still have tears from both of us sometimes but we will get there.






You spent this past year creating such a great unmeasurable bond with your Nanny and Grandad as well as your Uncles and Aunties - it makes my heart fill with so much warmth knowing that you are loved so much by so many and knowing that you are taken good care of when I am away. 

Seeing you after work, the excitement in your eyes and voice you have for me is something that I look forward to everyday, it’s actually what gets me through the day, knowing that I have your kisses and cuddles waiting for me.

Our weekends and days off are extra special now and I will make a confession to you. Your mummy tries to be as selfish and possessive as much as she can on these days. Why? Because I just want you all to myself.

I enjoy having our mummy and daughter time together. 

From playgroups to parks to playing on the floor to just lazying around on the sofa - we make it just as special as it can be.

Yes, there are times where you do test my patience and push it to the very limit but that only reflects that you’re growing up and embarking on new strengths, you are learning. 

You have become such a little chatterbox lately that I couldn’t have been more proud. Everyday you do or say something that truly amazes me and brings tears of joy in my eyes. 

You love watching Postman Pat with your Uncle in the morning to In The Night Garden just before bedtime. You’re such a little bookworm that it really reflects that you are my daughter in that sense. 

One thing you’ve become very passionate about this year are buses! You absolutely adore seeing buses go by, going on them pretty much anything on wheels makes your list but the red bus tops them all. I use to be really nervous in the beginning taking you on the bus thinking that you might end up in tears like other little children I’ve seen but you always prove me wrong.

You’ve become so affectionate towards me lately, when you wake up in the morning before me, you come over to my side to stroke my face and hair and sometimes even pull my nose too! 

But there is one thing, my little darling, that mummy needs to apologise to you for. We had to bid goodbye to your Grandmother in June, everyone has to leave to one day, we know. However, I’m very sorry that you never got to meet her in person, we did make plans but God had another plan. Just know that she loved you very much and I’m sure that you’ll understand.

Because...

Whenever I’m feeling down, you just always know how to bring me back up again. You’re not just a daughter to me anymore, you are so much more than that, you are my best friend, my companion for life.

I’m so grateful and feel very blessed that you are a part of my life and I pray that this coming year we get to make more unforgettable memories together.

Lots of Love,
Mummy 
xxx

*~*~*

I’d like to thank Emily from Emily Rollings Designs for gifting me such a beautiful book to write these letters in and jot down our memories. It’s absolutely exquisite and of very good quality that will last me for the next 18 years and more. 

The concept behind this is that you write a letter to your child every year around their birthday until 18 years and then you can gift it to your child on their 18th birthday. I honestly can’t wait to see A’s reaction when she opens this on her 18th birthday. What a memorable and priceless gift this would make.

*I received this product in exchange for my thoughts/review on this. All thoughts expressed are 100% my own.

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