Tuesday, 28 February 2017

MUSH: My story


Before having Aria I hadn't really thought about how my maternity leave days after her birth would be; I was more focused on the getting her out part and the first few weeks. But, every mum out there knows how quickly those early days pass and before you know it, daddy's back at work, the baby is a couple of months old and you find yourself sitting there daydreaming about having a conversation with an adult....even for just 5 minutes. 

I've got some lovely 'normal life' friends but they all work full time, only a few of them have kids and do they really want to sit and listen to me talk about how tired I am each week? Probably not. So, how do I meet other mum's in the same boat as me? 

Back in August 2016 I spotted an advert in Gurgle magazine about Mush and thought I'd try it out. 

Mush is an app that helps you find local like-minded mamas; you can search for mums using various parameters, for example, children's ages, interests, mama's ages and distance from your location. 

I use apps for a lot of things in life; boiling an egg, sharing photos of my life, tracking my pregnancy, banking.. the list goes on and on so, for me it seemed like the ideal way of meeting other mamas (or mamas to be at that point) local to where I live.
Once I'd dowloaded the app, set up my profile and added my location I then began to scroll through some of the other mums close by to me; checking out whether they'd already had their babies and whether we had any interests in common. 

I added a few of the ladies I came across in the first hour of being on the app and not long after a message popped up in my Mush inbox from a girl called Hannah. It read " Hello :) I've not done this before but seen your due at the same time as me..plus I also live in (postcode prefix)" - Hannah and I then went on to have a bit of a chit chat about whether we knew if we were having boys or girls, how long we were having off work and also a bit more specific about where each other live. We also swapped Instagram handles so we could spy on each other through photos. 

Fast forward to October; me and Hannah had both had our babies and we got in touch again to arrange to meet up; admittedly I was a little nervous before meeting Hannah as I'd been out of touch with the real world for a few weeks but when we met for a cuppa and chats at Costa and instantly hit it off.  
(The babies are not amused!)

We've got the same dry, sarcastic sense of humour,we both have very similar views on parenting and importantly, we both are the type to just be happy with relaxing at our houses with the babies, snacks and cups of tea. 

Having Hannah as a friend since meeting her on Mush has been pretty amazing; she's a second time mum which I find refreshing as she's more relaxed and her approach to how she raises her children encourages me to just go with the flow. I admire how motivated she is and how she juggles being a mum and wife whilst still having time to spend time with her mum friends each week.  She's one of the people I turn to when I need to have a rant, when I need advice and just when I need some words of encouragement when mumming gets hard!
Since becoming Mush friends Hannah, me and the babies have been swimming, danced around like idiots at a baby rave, spent numerous afternoons shopping and found playgroups to go to together. We've sat and chatted in numerous coffee shops together, I've cried on Hannah, she's looked after Aria for me when I went on a first aid course, we've chatted during the night and made lunch for each other when the mornings have just been hard work and food is the last thing we think about. 

Although Hannah and I live about 5 minutes walk from each other our paths wouldn't have ever crossed; we don't go to any of the same baby groups and we haven't got any friends in common.. so, thanks to Mush I've gained a mum friend who adds fun to my weeks and of course the little babies will grow up playing together and hopefully be life long pals! 


Have you downloaded Mush yet? If you have then tell me about the mum friends you've made! 

If you haven't downloaded it yet then click here (if viewing on your phone) or visit the app or google play store to download it.

Happy Mush-ing!

XOXOX

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Mum and baby weekly routine


Scrolling through Twitter during one of our many night feeds I came across this post by Claire from Now My Name is Mummy on the activities her and her son Henry like to get up to. I loved reading through and getting inspiration for things we might like to do during our weeks so thought I'd jot down what we usually get up to each week!

Mondays are usually cosy home days...


We start the week off slowly.. usually Monday for us is a home day... I thought whilst I'm off on maternity leave why not make Mondays a day for me and Aria to spend in our PJ's doing the classic mat leave tradition of watching This Morning!

I also try to do a little sorting out around the house (baby allowing) and then do the Tesco shop online for the week. We've got a great little set up going with our meals; my partner looks through all of our recipe books and puts together a menu for the week on a Sunday; I then do the online order on Monday and then he does all the cooking for us for the rest of the week. This week we've got some yummy meals coming up, for example- Dal Makhani and then Rice and black bean burrito bowl.

Tuesday's are sing and sign classes...

Aria's nanny gave her some money for xmas and instead of buying more clothes (the girl has a better wardrobe than I do!) I thought it would be nice to use the money for some sing and sign classes.  We found our local class using this website. We've been three times now and although Aria seems more interested in the other babies I'm learning a lot of signs to use with her.. like nappy, bedtime, mummy, daddy and her all-time favourite which she actually signs already... milky!

Wednesday's are for playgroup and shopping...

We found a really lovely playgroup just down the road from us in a church- although we aren't religious in any way I thought we'd give it a go and I'm so glad we did; the playgroup has a specific area just for babies, mums get free cake and unlimited cups of tea and everyone who I've met there has been so warm and welcoming. The only part of the session that touches on religion is storytime.. fine by me as they also incorporate signing so I get some more practice on our signing!

We found this playgroup in our most recent copy of Link magazine; a magazine for parents and carers of young children around Sheffield. You can check them out on Facebook here if you live locally.

Thursday's are to meet up with mums (and babies!)...

We meet various mum friends during the week before or after our planned classes and groups for cups of tea but I do like to specifically have one day a week where we spend a good few hours socialising, partly for my own sanity and partly to get Aria familiar with her baby pals.



With one set of mum friends we usually go to a playcafe or to Pizza Express; we all use our o2 Priority app to get lunch for £5 each.. bargain! Although the service hasn't been great at our local restaurant recently I do find the food is very good value for money, the restaurant itself is baby friendly and it means I get a good warm lunch at least once a week..even if I have to eat it one handed (although I do always ask them to cut up my pizza for me!) Other weeks we sometimes just hang out at each others houses and have lunch together. Or if we feel energetic we do crafty things like making baby leggings!

Whilst I was pregnant with Aria I signed up to Mush (I wrote a blog post about it here) and ended up meeting a lovely mum who lives close by.. we spend time together each week and we have such a lovely time! She's a second time mum and in a way I think it helps me be a bit more relaxed and I can ask her for advice! We sometimes hang at each others houses with the babies, we sometimes go shopping or just nip out for a coffee.

Friday's vary each week...

Swimming

On alternate weeks we go swimming.I'd have loved to sign up to a specific swimming class for babies but my god they are expensive! So instead I head over to Kenwood Hall Hotel for a dip with the babe. It's a tenner per visit but the pool is so warm, very quiet and really close to where we live.

Visiting cafes

Okay, well this one is obviously more for my benefit but Aria does love to people watch whilst we are out and about! We regularly pop down to Costa and sometimes on the walk down Aria falls asleep in the pram so I can enjoy a decaf coffee in peace!

Virgin Lounge

When we venture into town we always use the Virgin Lounge as a stop off point. I rant on about how brilliant the virgin lounge is to everyone I meet so its only right I mention it on my blog too. We've opened a savings account for Aria with Virgin and as a customer we can use their lounge whenever we like. The facilities include a bowling alley, kids play area, free hot and cold drinks, baby change and of course a small section of the lounge is for banking! I really cant get over how brilliant the lounge is. I'm happy to breastfeed Aria anywhere but its nice to know that I can nip into Virgin and sit down on a comfy sofa with a warm drink.

Walking

I love getting out for a walk around the park at least once a week; sometimes if Aria is being particularly grouchy it helps to just pop her in the pram and get some fresh air. I'd love to do longer walks out in the beautiful peak district we have just a bus ride away but I find I don't have the energy due to the nighttime wakings (a blog post to come on this at some point soon!)

Things I'd like to try over the next few months...

Music Bugs- I found them on Facebook this evening and as our sing and sign classes are coming to an end I thought this might be nice for Aria; she seems to be a fan of watching people singing!

Baby time at the library- I love reading to Aria in the evenings before bed but we rarely do during the day so this would be nice to encourage us to look at books.

Messy Fingers Messy Toes- ohhhh this looks amazing... just letting the babies get totally messy whilst playing in all sorts of things.. breakfast cereal, pasta, ice-cream, autumn leaves... basically all the stuff you'd never want thrown around your own house!  We'll have to hang on a bit until Aria is sitting up properly though.. and maybe after she's had her first taste of food as I'm sure she'll try to put everything in her mouth.