From Old Stable to Lovely Living Room

As part of my Digital Mums course I have been working with an interior designer. This means I have been trying to get into the heads of people who might use an interior designer, which actually translates to me getting a little lost in the beautiful images on pinterest! Love pinterest!

It also got me thinking about my own interior design journey or rather the renovation we took on just under two years ago when we decided to convert some stables into a house for us and the baby we were about to welcome. It’s still a work in progress; I am told it takes 4 years to make a house your home. However, given we only moved in last summer, I think we’re not doing too badly!

This post is all about my lovely living room and it’s own little journey from a shell to a cosy haven where I spend my evenings.


Before these pictures were taken, my boyfriend had pulled up all the original sandstone flooring. We’ve recycled these stones and used them outside to create a wall in the garden! I love the fact that we managed to recycle them, plus it’s obviously much cheaper than having to go out and buy them! We’ve also used them behind our wood burning stove so it’s a nice reminder of how the room was beforehand.

 

We would have loved for the entire end wall to be windows but we were pretty sure planning wouldn’t allow it. There used to be a slit where we put these bi-fold doors. Whilst this was a really lovely original feature, we decided letting natural light in would be much nicer!

This is where our new study area at one end of our living room is now. We’ve kept all the original doors which might have been a mistake. Our living room has three doors!! Though it does make it light and airy.

As we don’t have the money to buy new furniture for an entire house, most of our furniture is hand me downs – hence the unmatching couches. The TV is being upgraded next week (yay), and I’ve got my eye on a really nice TV unit from Laura Ashley. The stones under and behind the stove are from the original floor.

Excuse the mess! This study area at the end of the living room is still a work in progress. As you can see I have some paintings to hang in the morning.

The little cow is my son’s toy – not a weird design feature! The cushions are new from Dunelm today!

There’s still a lot to do but it’s certainly starting to feel like home and we’re lucky to have such fantastic views from our living room.

 

When is it the right time to have baby number 2?

One of the ten sentences I uttered after labour was ‘I’m never doing that again!’

I don’t want to scare you as my labour was actually pretty amazing. But at the same time I won’t lie to you, parts of it hurt like hell and I couldn’t imagine having to wilfully go through it again.

Yet, as Kate emerged from hospital with baby number 2 I couldn’t help but feel massively broody and my heart just melted when big brother, George turned up at the hospital to be introduced to his new baby sister.

So when is the right time to have baby number 2?

The first six months of my son’s life were pretty tough. Don’t get me wrong, he was completely adorable. However, silent reflux meant many weeks of 3 hour bedtime crying bouts, refusal of milk and just a miserable time for everyone involved! But we’re over that now and 16 months in. He sleeps through the nights. Is super happy and things just seem easier now. Our little family unit of three works well.

So why would we spoil that and bring another one into the mix?

Well, I have this image in my head of my two children playing nicely together, running down a beach together, building sandcastles, play fighting, giving each other cuddles, helping Daddy. I know it’s a bit idealistic and actually they’d probably just fight all the time and have me run round after them like a crazy woman but I can’t help feeling I would regret it if I didn’t have a second child and that perhaps my son would be missing out.

I know it’s completely wrong but I’d love to have a second child & miss out all the stuff I found a bit boring – I didn’t really rate being pregnant and the first 6 months weren’t that much fun! Also, I’m worried. I’m worried how another might impact on us all and most of all I’m worried about how it would affect my son. Would he feel neglected? Would he miss out on a bedtime story and cuddles with Mummy? How do you juggle two and keep everyone happy?

We’re just starting to get our freedom back. Do you we want to give that up?

I’ve thought a bit about when would be the right time. Ideally I’d like a second before my first turns 3. I think that would be a nice age gap for them. But would that also mean it would be really hard work? Having one is easy – I have two arms to hold him, can give him all the attention he needs, I don’t have to worry about anyone else! It’s just me and him (and Daddy, of course).

There’s so much to think about!

Money, age gaps, family, happiness, can we cope?

And, it sounds silly, but the main thing is the son I already have – we play a game where I lie on the floor and he climbs and bounces on me (fun, I know), but obviously we wouldn’t be able to do this whilst I was pregnant! It’s our daily game and I’d feel guilty about depriving him of it…and that’s before number 2 has appeared reared it’s little head.

So I am asking you, when is the right time to have baby number 2?

Is there a right time? Was it the best or worst thing you ever did? How did you cope? Are you leaping up and down saying ‘do it do it’ or have a you any nuggets of wisdom to offer.

I’d love to hear your experiences! Whether you’re pregnant with number 2, are on number 3 or are thinking about having your next child.

Ems x

Sleep, How I Love thee


Type ‘How to get my baby to sleep through the night’ and you’ll be hit with just over 28 million results of people offering advice and crying out for help in their sleep deprived states.

As parents it is one of the biggest things we concern ourselves with, because let’s face it….sleep is brilliant! I can’t get enough of it. I can’t believe there was a time when I would think nothing of rolling into bed well beyond 3am. Now, I’m lucky to be up past 10pm. Life is just better once you’re getting enough sleep.

Now, in most respects I’ve been pretty lucky. My little boy slept through at 10 weeks. God, it was amazing.

But no one told me, while I was feeling smug and trying not to boast (no one likes a smug mummy), that actually, sleep can remain a constant battle. For months and months our little angels will sleep through, without a peep and then out of nowhere BAM they will stop. You can’t always explain it. There may be no see-able reason – they just decide they will wake at 10 and 3 and 5 every single night!

Since we arrived back in Scotland, following our season my little boy started sleeping through again and I can’t tell you how good life has been because of this! Lazy mornings spent in bed, where 8.30 is now a lie in. It has been glorious. But now, after a lovely weekend away with him visiting family in Yorkshire, he has a cold. Argh!!

Now as an adult, pre children, you may have no idea how catastrophic a cold can be to a baby or toddler. It’s the equivalent of man flu. My little boy is quite literally drowning in a sea of snot, which means that going to sleep and staying asleep is proving quite difficult. And I know that this small set back in his world of sleep could mean months of waking up and struggling to sleep through again!

Poorly boy and tired Mummy :-(

Poorly boy and tired Mummy :-(

So, in the words of Catherine Tate…Am I bovvered?

Well, yes but…as a Mum who sticks quite closely to my routine I have realised more and more that there’s a time in every parents life when you have to admit defeat and go with the flow. Sometimes children just do not sleep and often there is nothing you can do about it. They wake and you deal with it the best way you can.

Don’t panic. One day they will sleep.

I know it feels like this will never ever happen. That you are forever destined to watch cartoons at 5 am, or like me last night – 2.30am.

But one day it will be over. They will sleep and before you know it, you’ll be bemoaning the fact that you just can’t get them out of bed in the morning. And you’ll look back in rosey tinted fondness as you reminisce about those sleepless nights over a glass of red. Or if you’re like me, you’ll think, thank f*ck we’ve got past that phase!

Now, I better get to bed. I am pretty sure I’m going to be woken up in a few hours time.

Night night, from a tired Mummy Zzzzzzzzzzz

 

 

I want to be a Mum and I want a Career

Is it time to go back to work?

Pre baby, I imagined I would swiftly return to work and carry on with life much the same as I did before.

I mean, why wouldn’t I?

I was a secondary teacher and thought nothing of parents evenings running past 8pm, trips that could take me away for days at a time, supervising Saturday activities, marking around the clock, planning lessons every spare hour.

When I complained about working overtime, I never even considered the staff who had young children, let alone how it would affect me when the time came.

In December 2013 I quit my job in order to join my boyfriend on a season (he works in Val d’Isere every year from December to April). My thought had been that I should do it before I had any dependants. Little did I know that soon I would!

I was pregnant by April. A bit of a surprise!

My little boy was born in January 2014.

I spent the first 6 months in that new mother daze and never even thought about looking for job. Then nine months came and went…a year… and 16 months on I find I just don’t want to go back to a life that sees me in the classroom five days a week and not in my little boys life, (the fact we live in Val d’Isere for 5 months of the year makes things a little more complicated on the job front)! Plus with childcare being so prohibitively expensive I’d actually be working just to put him into nursery! Sounds silly to me.

From the sound of things many mums are finding it hard, not just me. According to Digital Mums, 1.2 million mums are missing from the workplace and another million want to work more hours. Many mums struggle to fit their work around their family and are fed up with the work life balance.

This is definitely something I identify with.

I want the best of both worlds. I want to be a Mum and I want to have a career.

Can it be done?

Until recently, I thought the answer was a big fat NO.

However, about a month ago I came across an article in the paper about a company called Digital Mums.

Digital Mums was set up by Kathryn Tyler and Nikki Cochrane who saw the issue with maternal employment and felt they had a great solution. And trust me, they do! These two lovely ladies, championing working Mums everywhere, take Mums and train them over 6 months to become Social Media Managers.

Why?

Well, being a freelance social media manager is perfect for Mums. It can be done from anywhere (so perfect for my yearly seasons in Val d’Isere), it is flexible and can fit around family commitments. Also, Mums tend to be digitally savvy.

In fact many of the skills needed to build a family online are all those associated with building a family offline — empathy, sound judgement, the ability to multi-task and good communication skills.

It was with all of this in mind I applied to take the course.

I’m now on week one of training and have already learnt so much. And if I have learnt this much in a week, I can’t imagine what I’ll know in 6 months.

Of course a job after isn’t guaranteed, although so far they have had an amazing success rate! But I am loving the training, I am loving speaking to Mums in the same position and if all goes well I am completely in love with the idea of having my own freelance business. And, if I ever decide to set up my own business (a bit of a pipe dream at present), I’ll have the social media skills I need to promote it.

One day I may return to teaching, who knows. But for now I will do what is best for me, my son and my family.

With Digital Mums I no longer need to make the awkward decision of whether I stay and work in the UK whilst my partner is in France as I can now work from anywhere.

It’s actually a bit of a godsend for me!

Wish me luck!!

p.s. I will be doing more posts about the course in detail but if want a quick look to see what Digital Mums are about why not have a look at their website by clicking here