Wednesday, 25 September 2013

We Are Moving!

As you can see from the last time I blogged here, we have been terribly remiss about updating Help! Where's the manual? For that I can only apologise profusely. A combination of other blogging commitments (BabyCentre) and running around after a Duracell Bunny-like toddler has meant that the times I should be here, I am usually drinking tea, in a complete fug, trying to remember if I brushed my hair and teeth that morning.
But anyway, apologies aside, I have exciting news. We are moving to a new home!
From now on, I will be writing Help! Where's the manual? At Mumazine. In fact, I've already started:-). It seemed like a natural move as Mumazine is a wonderful website and resource for all parents with advice, giveaways, celeb interviews and loads of other fabulous stuff. AND us, with our little parenting journal. So please, go over there and find out What Happened Next. I promise we will be updating more regularly too:-)

See you on the other side guys!

Ciao for Now.

Sarah and Andy x

From This.....

To This! In 17 SHORT months;).

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Blue for a Boy.....

Well, we had our anomaly scan today and I'm thrilled, relieved and feeling blessed that as far as the professionals can see, we have a healthy foetus in there, dancing about a bit and starting to make its presence felt by mummy!

And of course, the $64,000 question? A baby brother or a baby sister for Hunter????


It's a GIRL! And when the sonographer told me, I burst into tears of sheer joy:-).

Of course, all we really want is a healthy baby, and I wouldn't have loved another little boy any less but I feel very grateful and blessed that I get to see what it feels like to have both a son AND a daughter. Plus I know Andy wanted a little girl, mainly because he is one of two boys and we wanted his mama to know what it's like to have a little lady around. So call me shallow if you like, but I am beyond thrilled.

Before I knew that I was having a boy (with Hunter), I remember discussing having boys or girls with friends and I explained that I didn't want to miss out on that closeness that develops between a mother and daughter when the daughter has children of her own, but actually, given my age, I may not even get to be a grandma, so that thought was kind of redundant. Indeed, if you think about it, if the trend for older new mums continues, then grandmas may even become obsolete! Imagine a world without grandparents? It's quite a sad thought really. So naturally, I shall be nagging my daughter to procreate as soon as she hits her 27th birthday so I can be a spoily gran before I'm past it;).

So there we go....another chapter begins with a different coloured background.

I have often ranted about how much harder it is to dress boys than girls so yesterday, I unleashed my inner baby fashion demon and headed to JoJo MamanBebe to coo over the little girl threads, and I ended up buying our little lady her first outfit. Please note the distinct lack of pink;). Isn't it cute?

First Outfit. Pink need not apply;)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Fashion Forward?

Fashion. It doesn't quite make the world go round but it fills magazines, has the power to make us feel good, bad and downright wrong and David Bowie wrote a song about it, so it must be a bit important. And I'm rubbish at it. So pity my poor children that I will be dressing them both for more or less the next 5 years, and even beyond that, I will be exercising my maternal power over their fashion choices;(.

I popped along to both the Mamas & Papas and JoJo Maman Bebe autumn/winter new collections this week and saw how I should be dressing my children. Mamas & Papas were unveiling their new children's range which now goes up to 6 years old and it made me wish I was a little girl again! I took lots of photos of both collections and all the yummy maternity wear too so you can have a sneak peak too. It's all really lovely stuff.
JoJo Maman Bebe just had wonderful bits too, and incorporated a good deal of their signature Breton stripe and floral prints (for the little girls). Naturally I wanted to buy the lot!

I have suddenly discovered, since Hunter has been of an age that I can dress him in lovely little boys clothes, that I would rather spend my cash (and his father's;)) on cute little outfits for him than get myself new shoes. Anyone who knows me even moderately well, will know that this is a bloody revelation! And just as we all have fashion foibles and no nos ourselves, I'm finding now that I'm foisting them on Hunter. For instance, I can't bear to see little boys dressed like little men, so Hunter possesses no shirts or ties, tank tops or blazers and leather jackets. I know that seems a bit petty, that's just me.

We won't know what flavour Hunter's sibling is for a couple more weeks but I have to admit, I will be very excited about the fashion aspect of having a little girl if that's what it is: Mamas & Papas even have "Mummy" and "Mini Me" matching dresses in this new collection, and yes, I will go there;).

I've been getting most of Hunter's threads from Mothercare, Mamas & Papas, JoJo Maman Bebe and Next but to be honest, you can get lovely kids stuff anywhere. Primark is great for basics (obviously if you get stuff that cheap, the quality will be a bit compromised) and my mum is a Marks and Sparks devotee. The world of childrenswear is vast and truly lovely and I look forward to making 2 more vicarious fashion journeys over the coming years. Enjoy the gallery of loveliness everyone!

Mamas & Papas maternity.

Mamas & Papas up to age 4

Day to night maternity with a removable collar

Look at that little dress! *squeaks*

Mamas & Papas up to age 6. 

If we have a little girl, I'm buying this:)

More age 6 mamas & Papas

Racks of Mamas & Papas joy

Cute new baby stuff at Mamas & Papas

Small clothes for very small people at Mamas & Papas

JoJo Maman Bebe boys bedroom. I've started saving;)

JoJo girls bedroom....

Thank heavens for little girls... JoJo Maman Bebe


Stripes, Dots and Flowers at JoJo

Stylish Bumpwear at JoJo


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Help! Where's the secret chocolate stash?!

I'm at that "difficult" stage of pregnancy #2. This was demonstrated to me with blinding clarity when I got the tube today and was eyed suspiciously by a few passengers clearly wondering "is she pregnant? Or is she fond of pies?". Kate Middleton I am not. But I only have myself to blame. I'm eating for 2 (horses). When I was pregnant with Hunter, I allowed myself as many treats as I liked, I really enjoyed eating whatever I wanted and I didn't feel bad about it in the slightest and there was a degree of moderation. This time around, my desire for anything sweet is not just a choice, it feels more like a compulsion;(. I watch TV and can't concentrate because I'll be fantasising about chocolate buttons, condensed milk, ice cream, Fab lollies, cake and donuts. Subsequently, I try not to keep that stuff in the house and so when I get desperate I have recently resorted to munching on sugar cubes or spoonfuls of golden syrup. I'm not proud of myself;((((.

Is my willpower just ruined by being knackered and looking after a baby/toddler hybrid on my own all day? Will I ever feel proud of my body again? I keep thinking about how it used to look, back in the heady days of the 90s. I was such a little hottie. Now I am a little fatty.....;)

Anyway, I'm just willing the bump to pop right out properly now so I can wear all my lovely maternity clothes. Mamas and Papas have kindly given me some gorgeous bits and I'm itching to get into them!

I decided tonight that I will keep a photo diary of my pregnancy and post the pictures: NOT instagrammed and NOT edited or airbrushed in any way and I will share them with you. Because I like to think I'm keeping it perhaps a bit more real than gym obsessed Kim Kardashian or Royal Stick Insect Kate Middleton (jealous, moi?). Here's hoping I don't turn into a weebl in front of your disbelieving eyes....

Here's the first 2: week 15.

Now then, where's that family pack of Jaffa cakes?


Week 15. pregnancy number 2. Feeling dotty;(.

Week 15. Side view. My norks are Out Of Control.....

Thursday, 25 April 2013


Well, if ever there was a story of the shape of things to come, it has been this weekend. Poor little Hunter has been really poorly (off to the docs this morning). Not sure what's up with him but he's been running a fever, won't eat at all (not even his favourite foods), will drink and has drunk LOADS of milk (so at least he's getting something good inside him), is sleeping quite badly and is a Very Unhappy Baby:(. Subsequently, Andy and I are Very Unhappy (and totally knackered) Parents. And it has impacted on me the worst because I am so tired and hormonal because of the new pregnancy. I can only hope that when we have 2 poorly babies in the not too far off future (it's bound to happen at some point, right?), the fact that I won't actually be pregnant by then, will mean that I am better able to cope. I'm just relieved that Hunter was poorly over the weekend so I had Super Dad on hand to help. (he is amazing. Thank you Andy for being such a patient and brilliant Daddy).

So that's where we are at the moment. To be honest (and it's a real shame) I have had no time to think about this pregnancy because I have my hands full with H all the time. I'm sure that's totally normal and what usually happens with second and then subsequent pregnancies. It's been a totally different experience and I have felt totally different too. For starters, all I have really done for the last 3 months is either be grumpy or weepy (other dwarves are available;)). Whether that is a pregnancy thing or whether it is because I am juggling full time motherhood with the first trimester challenges I don't know. I have also been insanely tired this time but again, is that because I am now working full time, with no time for naps?

I have pockets of real excitement but really, at the moment we are dealing with the day to day challenges of looking after a baby on the brink of toddlerdom. Can I be honest about something? Just these last few weeks, I have been craving time away from him. And it's making me feel dreadful about myself:(. I was LOVING my stay-at-home mum-ness until only a few weeks ago, then it suddenly just got relentless. Hunter is now a really tricky eater (not just when he's ill). Lovingly prepared meals are thrown on the floor. Sometimes, as soon as he sees the bowl, he starts to cry:-/. The only thing he'll eat with no fuss, is fromage frais. So I'm in all sorts of dilemmas about how to best approach these difficulties.

I consulted the toddler bible Toddler Taming and apparently you shouldn't force a baby to eat but similarly I don't want him to think that he'll still get his pudding if he hasn't eaten his main meal but then at the moment, he's too young to understand the concept of meal time discipline whereby he doesn't get his yoghurt if he doesn't eat his main meal. And of course, all I really want to do is get lots of goodness inside him and have him eat a balanced diet. It's a pain in the ass and it's getting me down.

I'm also finding that the flat walls seem to be closing in on me and I'm craving a family kitchen with a table in it we can all eat our meals at. At the moment, Andy and I eat on our laps in the living room and I have to get Hunter's high chair out of a cupboard to put up in our little kitchen 3 times a day. I realise I am a lucky girl to have my little Lily Pad in North London but it just seems so small to me now. (again, I realise that other people manage with no complaint, in much smaller places with much bigger families.) Am I just being spoilt? Anyway, we are moving to be nearer Andy's parents in the summertime and it can't come soon enough. Hopefully, we will be able to afford to rent a little house where we can all stretch out a little.

Anyway, that's me at the moment. Mrs Whinge-Bags;(. At that hideous stage of looking fat instead of pregnant, craving junk food (Dairylea Dunkers anyone? OMG, like crack cocaine to preggers here) struggling with a baby/toddler hybrid and no idea how to proceed. SOS! Or indeed, HELP! WHERE'S THE BLOODY MANUAL?!


Me and Daddy. Daddy and Me.

Happiness Is a Swing in Spring

Baby/Toddler hybrid thing;)