28.6.18

Coping with 2 children!  |  Blog

It has been almost 5 weeks since Smidge came into the world which also means five weeks of being a mummy to two! I’m not going to lie, I was terrified before Smidge was born as I just didn’t understand how I would cope or get anything done with two children to look after. I was given loads of tips and tricks from other parents who had been here and done it and now, five weeks down the line, I can really see how much their advice has made a difference so I wanted to share with you the best advice I was given.


Become an opportunist! 

If you get 10 minutes when your children are entertained/ fed/ quite/ sleeping then make the most of it. As much as you might want to just stay on the sofa and relax for 10 mins DON’T! Muster the strength to get up and go and sterilise the bottles or our a load of washing on because if you don’t do it in those few minutes of peace you may find that you don’t get it done all day! You may not want to do chores or get bits done as you may be knackered BUT it will honestly make you feel better if you get just a couple of jobs done. 

Be organised.

If you know that you are going out then I would definitely recommend packing your bag the night before. Make sure the changing bag is stocked with nappies and wipes and that you have everything you need. I’ve also got into the habit of getting all of our clothes out for the next day. It makes the morning a lot quicker and easier when you are trying to dress yourself and 2 kiddies. The other thing I’ve been doing to help deal with having 2 little beings that need my attention is at dinner time. Pickle had his dinner at about 5pm and Smidge usually wants to feed at the same time so I will dish up Pickles dinner along with his desert and then sit and fed Smidge. I’ll make sure that Pickle has everything that he needs like cutlery, a drink, a flannel to wipe his face with afterwards so that I can focus on feeding Smidge. Organisation is key!! 



Seize the moment. 

Babies demand so much of our attention. They need us for everything where as their siblings are usually a bit more independent and get left to fend for themselves a bit more when a baby comes into the house. This is why I have been trying to seize every tiny moment with my biggest boy when Smidge is content and doesn’t need me. It could be 10 minutes to do some colouring or even just a quick 2 minute cuddle, I’ve just been trying to take every moment I can to make sure Pickle still feels involved and loved. It’s only something small but it makes a huge difference and stops Pickle from feeling too left out. 

So there you have it... my tips for coping with two children. Do you have any coping mechanisms that you think I’ve missed out? Let me know in the comments! 


24.6.18

Beginning our Breastfeeding Journey | Blog

If you’ve been following me on social media you will know that I have been breastfeeding / expressing / combi feeding for Smidge. It’s been a strange journey so far and one that we have kind of fallen into so I wanted to share you what we have been doing and how our journey has gone so far.

 


Our journey started in hospital when Smidge was born. He was very early (36 weeks) which meant that when we tried to get him on the boob he was able to latch on but he just didn’t have enough power to suckle so we reverted to hand expressing the colostrum into little syringes and then bottle feeding him along side giving him the small amount of colostrum I was making. Once we got home and my milk came in we were really able to get stuck in our journey.



I predominantly express my breast milk using a Lansinoh single electric pump and then Smidge has this from a bottle. He will occasionally latch on and take from the boob, only when I am wearing nipple shields.. I’m guessing that’s because he’s used to the plastic teat of a bottle. This is working for us at the moment for a few reasons. It means that hubby can help with night feeds and can be involved. This is a huge one for us because I love knowing that hubby gets a chance to bond with Smidge as much as I do. It also means that if I wanted to go out then I could do as Smidge will take from a bottle so I wouldn’t have to worry about who ever was looking after him having issues getting him to feed. The final thing that I really like about expressing and bottle feeding is that I know how much Smidge is getting and know in my mind that he is getting enough milk. It’s a little bit of mummy paranoia from me, I suppose, as it stops me from worrying that he isn’t drinking enough milk. Pumping is great for us but it can also be hard at times. I’ve had to really think about what I am eating and drinking to help increase my milk supply (another post to follow on that soon) and have also got into power pumping to help my body continue to make enough milk. Power pumping is where you pump for 20 mins, rest for 10 then pump for 10 and repeat 3 more times. This mimics cluster feeding that would happen if the baby was on the breast and it has really helped with my supply. The biggest downside with pumping is the time element. You are basically doubling your feeding time as you feed the baby with a bottle but then have to pump for 20/30 mins at a time as well. I try to pump after every feed Smidge has which is working but is very time consuming. I’m going to be doing another post about the things that have helped us with expressing but my top times are a battery powered pump and a hands free pumping bra! They are god sends!!!! I have done a video over on my channel about the some of the breastfeeding essentials we have discovered recently and you can find that video here -

On the flip side, I have been breastfeeding. As I said earlier, he will happily go to the breast but he is a grazer when he is there which is fine BUT can be a bit of a pain in the bum when you’ve got places you need to go or things you have to do. He would happily sit at the boob for hours on end which obviously I am happy for him to do but with Pickle to look after as well sometimes that just isn’t possible. Breastfeeding does work super well for us when we are out and about though. I love the ease and convenience of being able to pop Smidge on the boob and not have to worry about bottles and warming milk etc. It is just so quick and easy. I’ve also found public feeding surprisingly easy too and if I’m being honest I would rather have my boob out and latch Smidge on easily rather than having to faff around with covers and shields to stop people from being offended by my boob (which is ridiculous!!!). Breastfeeding can be frustrating at times though. Recently I was at a baby massage session and it was a super hot and sunny day. I was trying to get a very hungry Smidge to latch on and he just wouldn’t get it. It was thrashing around, rooting and trying to put whatever he could find it his mouth APART from the nipple. It was so frustrating and I think the fact that it was so so hot and I was in public didn’t help.



So there we have it.. a very basic run down of how our feeding journey has started. It’s definitely been an eye opening experience and very different to Pickle as with him he went on to formula and that was that. For now things are going really well so we will carry on and just see how things go.

The Anonymous Mum

Do you ever feel like your anonymous? This is me right now. I feel anonymous. I feel like a vessel that just blends into the shoreline. Like a tree that has been in the woods for years and years that no one really notices. 

If I go back a couple of months ago I felt like I had an identiy. In fact, I had multiple identities. I was a wife and mother Ami, looking after a house, keeping everyone fed and healthy, making sure the fridge was stocked, doing enriching and educational things with Pickle like cooking and painting whilst still being chief cuddler and snuggling buddy. I was colleague Ami. I went to work, socialised with peers, helped customers and enjoyed my work. I was friend Ami, going out for drinks, replying to messages and arranging nights out. I was gym going Ami who loved Zumba and loosing weight. I was Am Dram Ami who was always looking for the next show or part. I had so many different threads to my bow but since having Smidge I feel like I have become anonymous. 


I sit all day snuggling my new baby or pumping milk or sterilising bottles or “resting” because my bleeding has started again or doing another load of washing. I feel like I’m stuck in a monotonous cycle and right now I just can’t get out. I love being a mummy and love my boys more than anything in the whole entire world but I miss being me. I miss going to the gym and seeing my friends and even doing the tiny things in life like having a bath. It’s like my life now revolves around what time I need to pump or when one or the children will need feeding. THIS IS NOT A “WOE IS ME” POST as I’m so grateful that I get to stay at home and raise my babies but sometimes it is hard. 


Being anonymous feels lonely and feels like your a bit invisible. You loose all sense of who you are. I feel like my body isn’t my own anymore, like I don’t recognise its new, saggy state and I can’t go and work out and make myself feel better as I need to give my body time to recover. I feel like my body has become a human mattress and milk machine for my squishy little baby. It’s no longer mine.  Everyone asks how the baby is and how he’s sleeping and feeding. They ask how Pickle is and how he is adapting to being a big brother. No one seems to stop and ask how I am. Maybe they are scared of the answer? Maybe I wouldn’t tell the truth anyway. Who knows? 

I know that, in time, I will get back to what I was and will find myself again. I also know that this is just a phase and soon it will seem like a distant memory but for now I’ll keep blending in. I’ll keep being the blur in the back of photos and I’ll keep being anonymous as I’m helping my boys find themselves and grow into who they will be. There will always be time for me to find myself again once they are grown. 

20.6.18

Lansinoh single electric breast pump | Review and GIVEAWAY! 

As you will know if you read my blog, we recently welcomed our second little man into the world and he has taken to life out side of the womb like a duck to water! I have been combi feeding Smidge and it would not have been possible without what I think is the best breast pump on the market! The Lansinoh single breast pump was sent to me a few weeks before Smidge was born and I was a little skeptical at first as I had never expressed before. I was worried if it would hurt or if it would take a long time or be uncomfortable? The answer to all of those is NO thanks to some of the amazing features of this pump.



My favorite feature of this pump that I have to mention (as it’s so clever) is the 2 phase technology and the “let down” button. The pump starts on “let down” mode which helps to stimulate and initiate milk flow and then the pump moves into “expression phase” which give a slower, deeper suction which maximises milk flow. This is such clever technology as it mimics the natural actions of a suckling baby. The pump also has 6 adjustable suction levels which makes the pump comfortable for all women.
The pump is super easy and fast to assemble (which is fab especially when you feel like your boobs might explode were you need to express!) and has a really comfy Comforfit soft silicon  breast cushion. This cushion seals close to the breast really well without leaving any marks or feeling uncomfortable.



I have been using this pump now for nearly 2 weeks and it really is so easy and comfortable to use. I can’t recommend it enough!!!! If you don’t believe me then why not enter my giveaway to win a Lansinoh Single Electric Breast pump so you can try it yourself. All you need to do is follow the instructions in the box below-

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms and conditions
1. This giveaway is open to UK residents over 18 years of age.
2. The winner will receive a Lansinoh Single Electric Breast pump which will be sent directly from a third party PR company. There is no cash alternative and Through Amis Eyes takes no responsibility for any item not received or damaged during transit.
3. The closing date is 11:59 pm on 22nd July 2018
4. Entrants must log in and follow the directions given via the Rafflecopter widget.
5. All entries will be verified
6. The winners will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter.
7. The winners will be notified within 5 days of the closing date. The winner must respond within 7 days of receiving the email to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.
8. This giveaway is not affiliated with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube or Instagram
Note - this pump was sent to me for the purpose of this review but all opinions are honest and my own. 

13.6.18

Family Holiday Essentials | Collaboration 

It’s the time of year when people are jetting off on their summer holidays and seeing everyone getting ready to fly off for some sunshine got me thinking about when we went away last year. Going to Majorca was our first sunshine family holiday and I found that there were a few things that I couldn’t have done without during our trip so I thought I’d share them! So here are my family holiday essentials:

1. A Trunki

We take a trunki with us whenever we go away as it is always a god send! A trunki is basically small suitcase for kids that they can sit on and ride or be pulled on. We love ours so much as it doubles up as a ride on for pickle if he gets tired, can be taken as hand luggage and it’s fab for pickle to have somewhere for all his bit that he will need on the plane. 

2. New toys 

Now when I saw this I don’t mean expensive things... I’m talking about £5 worth of stuff from the pound shop! Pack that in the hand luggage and I promise that they will keep the kids entertained. When we went away I got Pickle new stickers, colouring books, little surprise blind bags and he loved them all! 


3. Travel Insurance 

When we went to Majorca I unfortunately came down with tonsillitis and needed to see a doctor! Luckily I had medical travel insurance as otherwise I would have had to travel over 40 mins to get to a doctor so I could use the European medical card at. Having insurance meant I could head over to the doctors surgery across the road from the hotel safe in the knowledge that I was insured. 

4. An iPad full of kids shows 

I can’t stress how essential this is... not just for the plane journey but also for whilst you are away. Kids get so tired on holiday what with the sun and all the running around so sometimes it’s nice for them to be able to take half an hour in the shade watching a bit of telly on the iPad. Give you a bit of a break to do some sunbathing too! 


5. First aid kit 

This may seem like a strange one but trust me on it! When we went away Pickle fell over a couple of times where he was running around super excited and it was so much easier to be able to grab my kit out and get a plaster or some calpol without having to ask someone or trying to explain in a different language. It doesn’t take much to out a kit together so I’d definitely recommend packing one for your holiday this year. 

So there you have it! My essentials for family travel! Think I’ve missed anything off? Let me know in the comments :) 

Note - this is a sponsored post 

12.6.18

Squidges Birth Story  |  Blog 

Sitting here on 12th June 2018 snuggling my newborn and kissing his little head, it is hard to remember a time when he wasn’t here. It feels like his little squeaks and shouts for milk have always been in our lives but in reality it has been less than a week since he came tumbling into our lives AND he shouldn’t really be here yet when you consider that he wasn’t due until 5th July! Now we are home and settled a little so I thought I’d share with you what happened..

Thursday the 7th June, the day I turned 36 weeks pregnant and I wasn’t feeling too well. I was getting lots of tightenings and something didn’t feel right so I spoke to the maternity team who told me to keep an eye on things until eventually at about 5pm they suggested I headed in. They did a trace and baby seemed fine. I’d had no losses or constant pains so they thought it could have just been the very early start of labour so told me to go home and just see what happens. They were thinking it would be weeks until I was back but they were very wrong! 


I got home at about 7.15 and by 7.45 was sitting on the sofa having ordered a pizza and figured I’d try to forget about things and just let nature take it’s course. Suddenly I felt a leaking from down below. I jumped up and went into the bathroom where I looked down and saw red everywhere. My leggings were stained from ankle to hip and as I pulled them down there was a huge splash of more bright red water. I shouted for hubby and he was so unbelievably cool and calm. He ran to get me some more clothes and called for his brother to come round to watch Pickle (who thankfully was asleep upstairs) whilst I tried to clean myself up and called the hospital back. 20 mins and 3 maternity pads later we were at the hospital. 

We were sent straight to the delivery suite where a couple of doctors and midwives were waiting for us. Within minutes I was hooked up to machines and being scanned and having canulars put in. There was talk of blood banks and people coming in and out of the room in a hurry. It was terrifying but as soon as I heard the heartbeat on the trace I calmed down and just let the doctors do what they needed to do. Thankfully they couldn’t find anything that explained why I was bleeding. They could see that I didn’t have much water left but still couldn’t see where the bleeding was coming from so the plan was to monitor the situation as baby was happy and the bleeding had settled and see what happened. 


By about 10.30 I’d started to get some contractions. They weren’t too horrendous as they were only coming every 5 mins but by 2.30 they offered me some pain killers to help me sleep and I happily accepted. When I woke up at 4.30 I was a bit annoyed though as everything had stopped... no contractions but on the plus side, no bleeding. 

The consultant and his team were due to come round at about 8am on the Friday morning so hubby and I headed for a wander around the hospital to find some food and some bacon and beans later, we were back in our room waiting to see what the plan was. The wonderful consultant and his team said they were happy with the baby and that there was no more bleeding so I had 2 choices. Either I could wait another 24 hours and see if labour started up again or I could go on the oxcitcin drip to kick start things up again. Hubby and I spoke and I said I wanted to go on the drip as the last thing I wanted was to wait for 24 hours and then for baby to get stressed or for the bleeding to start again. By 10.30 I was hooked up, bouncing away on the ball and getting contractions again. It stayed like this until about midday when our lovely midwife Alex checked me and said I was 2 cms dilated. I was devestated at this point as I felt like I should have been further on but hubby, Alex and my mum (who was with us as well) were so supportive and reassured me that progress was still progress. Come 4pm I couldn’t deal with the pain any longer. The contractions were coming every 3 mins for about 1 min and I was just exhausted. I asked for an epidural and after discussing the pros and cons with hubby, I went ahead with a mild epidural. For about an hour it was blissful. I dozed in and out of sleep and life was good. That was until about 5.30 when it started to wear off... 

I was getting the most horrendous pain through my hip and no matter how much I pushed the button to increase the epidural it just didn’t make a difference! In the end at about 6.30 Alex checked my progress. Hubby and my mum made bets and said I’d be 8/9 cms, Alex thought I’d be about 9 and a half were as the negative nelly over here was adamant I’d only be 4 cms and I’d be going down for a csection! Alex won the bet as I was ready to go! She started getting things prepped and moving things out the way whilst I was on the bed using gas and air to get through the horrendous contractions I was facing. I remember that I just couldn’t open my eyes... I have no clue why but at one point a midwife who we’d seen earlier in the day came in and I said “hello... I can’t open my eyes but I heard you come in.. hi!”. Eventually at 7pm it was time to start pushing. I had hubby on one side of me and my mum on the other and after 9 mins of pushing our littlest man came into the world.


08/06/2018 6lbs 11oz 

It was the most magical moment. Hubby and my mum were crying, I was crying and Squidge was put straight on my chest and left there for what felt like hours. It was blissful and I just couldn’t believe how much he looked like his brother. He was tiny but perfect and I instantly fell in love. 


After the birth was a little scary as I had a big bleed and lost over a litre of blood but thanks to the amazing men and women of the NHS it all worked out fine and baby and I were fine. I don’t want to dwell on that part as it wasn’t particularly nice but what I will say is that the NHS staff are just amazing and I am so grateful to what they did for me that night.

So there we have it... my planned birth went to pot but I had the most wonderful experience given the circumstances. Baby is perfect, I am well and recovering and life is good. 

Smidge, you may have shocked us with your early arrival but you have completed our family and we couldn’t be happier or more in love. 


That’s all for now...I’m going back to squishy new born snuggles and series binges on Netflix. 

11.6.18

Transform Your Skin from Dull to Glowing with These Top Tips | Collaboration 



With our busy lifestyles, it’s easy to neglect our beauty routines and for your skin to start looking, well… a bit lacklustre. But, if your crazy schedule has meant your skin is starting to look a bit dull, don’t worry. I’ve got some easy tips to help bring back that glow.

Start from the Inside Out


It’s no secret that eating lots of fatty and sugary foods can cause your skin to break out, however, some fats are actually good for you. For example, omega fatty acids found in avocados, salmon, walnuts and coconut are essential for healthy skin and hair.

Introducing more of these foods into your diet is a simple way of improving your skin’s overall quality and appearance from the inside out.

Cleanse and Exfoliate Away Dirt

Dirt, dead skin cells, oils - they all build up on your skin and clog pores. Ensure your skin is clean, clear and positively glowing by adopting a regular cleansing and exfoliating routine.

However, be careful not to over exfoliate as this can do more harm than good. Doing this twice a week should be more than enough.

Moisturise with a Tropical Favourite


We all know that moisturising rehydrates your skin to ensure it doesn’t dry out and look dull or flaky, but did you know a natural, tropical favourite can be just as effective as a pricey pot from the high street?

Coconut oil is nutrient-rich, naturally anti-bacterial and antifungal, and a great moisturiser, making it the ideal every day skin treatment. Simply massage a small amount of lukewarm coconut oil into your skin each evening or, alternatively, add it to a face mask.

Mask Up with Your Favourite Treat


If you’re really looking to pamper yourself, then why not try a face mask? Depending on the type you opt for, a face mask can remove excess oils and dirt from your skin, and moisturise it, leaving it feeling smooth and you fresh.

These can be picked up ready made for just a few pounds, but you could experiment and make one at home. Dark chocolate not only tastes and smells wonderful, but it makes a great ingredient in an illuminating face mask as it high in antioxidants which helps to naturally heal skin.

Mix cocoa powder with honey, oats and milk for a smooth paste that you gently massage onto your skin. Once dry, wash it off.

Bonus, you can eat any leftovers!

Have a Professional Dermapen Treatment

If chocolate face masks, eating salmon, and other home remedies just aren’t meeting the mark, why not get in touch with a skincare professional?

The Skin Repair Clinic recommend a Dermapen microneedling treatment to rejuvenate skin and tackle the signs of aging. A trained professional can reduce wrinkles, tighten your skin and improve its overall tone with this treatment, as well as reduce the signs of sun damage and the size of large pores. You could be looking vibrant and youthful in no time at all!

Note - this is a collaborative post 


7.6.18

All it takes is one person... | Blog

Have you ever had an experience, be it good or bad, where it has been defined by one person? I think we have all experienced it at one point or other...it may be someone you met on holiday who made that trip especially memorable or it could be a teacher from your childhood who made school amazing or terrible. It’s only when we sit and think about it that we realise how it can sometimes only take one person to define an experience or a time in our lives. 

You may remember that I had recently had a whole bundle of problems with my antenatal care. There were tears, a huge complaint letter, anger, exhaustion...from weeks 26 until week 34, my pregnancy journey was not enjoyable or something that I would want to remember. I was surrounded by so much support from my family, friends and all of you lovely people who read this blog though and that support helped me to keep fighting to resolve the problems. The fight had been going on for weeks! I thought that none of it was going to be resolved until this little man popped out and had almost resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be ignored and left but thanks to one person, it has all changed. 



We all know how important your midwife can be and at the start of this pregnancy I was so excited to have a midwife who seemed so friendly and understanding. I started to build a relationship with her and felt like I really had someone on my side which was so different for me as when I had Pickle I didn’t gel with my midwife at all. Everything was going so great this time round though until she left and moved departments. I was gutted and was suddenly thrust into what felt like a constant battle to get the antenatal care I deserved. If you have read my previous post you’ll know I felt alone, abandoned and ignored. Finally, after weeks of fighting, I received a call to say I had been allocated a new midwife and she would be coming round to see me. 

Before she arrived I felt sick! Would she support my decisions to birth in water and possibly at home? Would she judge me for being the .5 over the BMI threshold like others had during this pregnancy? Would she give me the care and help that I was so desperately needing? 

I shouldn’t have worried because she has come into my pregnancy journey and changed the experience entirely! She was kind, she listened, she understood and she was everything that I had been hoping for since I was 26 weeks pregnant. She respected my choices and helped me to make sure I was making choices for the right reasons. She did the facilitating women’s choice form with me to get my home birth and or my water birth in the hospital. She understood and respected my reasons for wanting certain birth choices and NOT ONCE did she make me feel belittled or undervalued like so many had during this pregnancy. The only thing I wish is that I had met her sooner in my pregnancy as she has been amazing!

I can’t even begin to experess how grateful I am to her because she has proved to me once again that all it takes it one person! One person to listen and to help. One person to change an experience from a negative to a positive. It doesn’t even matter now if things went wrong during labour and I ended up with a birth that wasn’t what I had planned. What matters is that someone listened and make sure the I had the CHOICE to birth in the way I wanted. 

So to anyone out there reading this.. be mindful of your actions and your words. We are so flippant in this day and age with what we say and do. One person can make all the difference and I know that I always want to be the person who make an experience wonderful rather than taints it. 


1.6.18

Father’s Day Gift ideas  |  Gift Guide

Men are notoriously hard to buy for don't you think? Unless you have a man in your life who has a hobby that you can buy things for (gardening or fishing) then you are pretty much stuck when it comes to gifts. My Husband and Dad are both so hard to buy for as they never want anything and anything they do want or need they go and get. When it comes to Father’s Day gifts I hate buying things just for the sake of them so this year I’ve searched long and hard to find things that are practical and useful whilst still being nice gifts to give. So here are my suggestions -

1. Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide Chrome Edition Razor

To me, Father's day isn't complete without some kind of Gillette product..be that their shaving foam or some other product and this year they have the perfect razor out just in time for Father's Day. The Fusion5 ProGlide Chrome edition is exclusively available at Boots and would make the perfect gift even of you are on a budget. The razor is a steal at £14.99 but it looks so much more expensive than that. It has Flexball technology which responds and contours to get virtually every hair, has a precision trimmer on the back for edging tougher areas such as nose and sideburns and 1 razor blade refill equals up to one whole months of shaving too which is great value for money. To grab one for your Husband, Dad, Brother or whoever you buy for this Father's Day then head over to the Boots website now!

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