Traveling with a baby

So it’s summer time and I’m sure a lot of you are going on day trips, weekends away and longer trips abroad.. so I thought I’d give you a little insight into my experience with travelling with a baby and if you’re travelling alone you have nothing to fear!!

I’m going abroad to Portugal in July with Ainslee and Gabriel and also away on my own, down south in a few weeks for my brothers wedding (Ainslee can’t make it due to the Ironman European Championships) but after a trip to London and having to worry about the underground and the long (ish) train ride I have learnt to travel as lightly as possible! Let’s face it who wants to be carrying big heavy bags with them as well as a pram and a baby?? You can buy everything in your local shop these days.. nappies, food, formula (if not breastfeeding) so what’s the point in taking up so much unnecessary space in a bag when you can buy most of it when you get there.

Worrying about transport.. do not worry! If most people see a woman with a baby they are more than likely willing to offer a helping hand, getting off trains, getting up stairs if lifts are out of order and helping you get through doors. If you find yourself at your stop on a train and no one else is getting off just ask someone in the nearest carriage before you get to your stop to give you a hand.. you will never find yourself struggling!

If you are visiting family ask them if they can get nappies, food, wipes etc in so that you only have to take the usually changing bag and babies essentials like clothes, skincare and feeding equipment (bowls, spoons and bibs), bath times you can manage holding the baby.. they didn’t have fancy bath seats in the olden days. And if you’re staying in a hotel pop down to the local supermarket and you’ll be able to pick up most bits.. apart from if you are flying I hear it’s cheapest to pick up milk from your airport once you’ve checked in!

The biggest advice I give to you is to not stress! A lot of people over pack, take everything and more and they end up not using half of it… what’s the worst that can happen hey? Go out and travel the world with you babies Mamas!!!

What I eat in a week

Okay so I have had so many requests for this blog post… I’m not sure why?.. I’m not in great shape or anything post baby.. but I am trying my best to loose the 5 stone I gained through my 2 pregnancies by exercising daily and eating the best I can whilst also fuelling my body with the right things for breastfeeding and also enjoying life… because everyone deserves a treat every once in a while!

I have to say for the first few months post pregnancy I wasn’t eating very well at all, I would skip breakfast because I was busy with the baby and then I’d want sugar by lunch time (chocolate) but then I would always have a healthy filling tea such as rice, veggies and protein etc. I know this was probably the worst way to eat but because I wasn’t eating much I was still loosing weight!

Now that summer is approaching and I have my brothers wedding and holiday to look forward to I have had to change my eating habits and start loosing the weight and exercising more so that I feel confident in a bikini.

This is where Protein World Slender Blend comes in… when I was in AMAZING shape pre baby I used to have 2 shakes a day and eat a healthy lunch, so this is what I am currently doing for the next month. I can’t do the same amount of exercise that I used to but I can eat better, so no more naughty lunch time chocolate fixes for me, I now have a treat every Friday so I can look forward to it and the rest of the week I eat the best I can.

Whilst being away though I have enjoyed myself buy just chosen the healthier options and only had 1 treat the entire trip.. so it’s all in moderation and I’d say it’s all about control. I still have a way to go but loosing weight slowly is definitely more maintainable once you’ve lost the weight rather than going on a crash diet.

Message me if you have any questions as I will be asking my boyfriend Ainslee (who is a qualified nutritionist) to answer all your questions. Also the Slender Blend is safe to use whilst breastfeeding but listen to your body.. if you don’t get enough cals in your diet your milk supply can decrease.

Lots of love guys 💋

7 Month Baby Update

Wow well what a month it’s been.. with weaning, the lovely sunny weather and Gabriel’s mega growth spurt! I think it’s been the best month yet!!!

With this hot weather we’ve had for the whole of May we have been able to get outdoors, go to the park, play in the garden and go for lovely days out to places we wouldn’t normally go to, such as the farm and exploring outdoors.. as a family we have loved it and it’s been amazing for tiring Gabriel out and getting his sleep much better at night.

Sleeping

Talking about sleeping, Gabriel is now in his own bed and sleeps there all night from 8pm till around 5am and then I get him and bring him into our room for a couple of hours before we get up.. Ainslee normally gets up for work at 5am so it works well for us so we can spread out in bed and have a little feed and snooze before getting up.. Gabriel has good nights and bad nights still, sometimes he’ll wake every 2 hours or sometimes he’ll go 4-5 hours before waking… I think I’m used to it now but it’s definitely down to him not being able to settle himself…. (he uses the boob like his dummy)I refuse to do the whole ‘controlled crying’ thing (we have tried it a couple of times and he literally cries for over an hour.. he has some serious will-power 😂) I love having him in his own room though as before he would just want to sleep as close to me as possible so I felt it was the right time with the hot weather and everything else!

Weaning

Gabriel now has 3 meals a day and will also have some finger food with each meal so that he can explore and also so it gives me time to make my food or prepare our evening meal. He absolutely loves it and since eating food he has jumped up on the percentile chart from the 25th – 75th which is MEGA!! I always worried about his weight because even though he was always following a steady line I didn’t believe that he would be so small with mine and Ainslee’s height etc… even though he was 4 weeks early I always believed he would catch up at some point.. so I’m over the moon 👌🏼

Development

Gabriel is now copying sounds that I make, he says ‘yes’ and ‘da’ a lot so I’m just trying to talk to him as much as possible as I think he’s going to be a little chatter box like I was when I was little. He laughs all the time… sometimes a little too much and try’s to give me a complex haha!

He’s very almost crawling.. he’s not too bothered about rolling around but if I put him on his tummy his arms and legs really get going… maybe on my 8 month update he may just be crawling 😃

He can now sit fully on his own.. I think again this was slightly delayed as he was premature.. so he strength is probably the same as an average 6 month old, but when it comes to standing he loves to stand, he’s tried pulling himself up a few times and failed 😂 He goes in his jumperoo all the time though and loves it.. that’s also great for building strength in his legs.

Each month just gets better and better and I’m obsessed with him and his little personality, he’s such a cheeky little boy, his favourite person is still me but he’s getting better at being with other people now!

I cant wait to read these back when he’s bigger as a little diary of his development! Let me know what you’re up to with your 7 month olds and how they are getting on!

Maria and Gabriel x

6 Month Baby Update

Oh my gosh…. can you believe Gabriel has been here for half a year already!!!??? I was actually a bit emotional yesterday because time is just going too quickly and I just want time to stop so that I can enjoy my baby at this age for a little longer, it’s safe to say I am loving motherhood more than I ever thought was possible, so I thought I’d update you all on what we are going through at the minute and how everything is going..

Breastfeeding:

We are still exclusively breastfeeding which I love but it does mean we haven’t had a break from each other in the last 6 months… I have expressed only a couple of times so know he will take a bottle if I plan ahead… Ainslee’s been asking if we could go on a date night (or just a date in the day time) soon and have my mum and dad look after him for a few hours if I pump a couple of bottles… I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to be without Gabriel yet… when did you guys go on your first date post baby?

Sleeping:

So sleeping we are just going with what Gabriel wants… some nights he sleeps in his Next2Me all night and some nights he ends up sleeping in our bed waking every couple of hours, I truly believe that in time he will want his own space and will sleep through on his own. When breastfeeding it is much more demanding because they want you for comfort in the night rather than a dummy.. and they also wake for food because they aren’t getting knocked out by a big bottle of milk like a formula fed baby. I’m happy to go by Gabriel’s lead with our night routine (I’m lucky I get to work from home) but I just think people should do what works for them and don’t feel pressured that you aren’t doing what all your friends are doing. I’ll be putting him in his own room once he starts sleeping through for longer periods.. hopefully once he starts eating more now we are weaning.

Weaning:

Weaning is going really well, I started giving him bits of blended veggies when he hit 5 months old and since last week I started to give him some porridge in the mornings as well to fill him up a little more, when we have our evening meal I will also give him some finger food that he just chews on to get some flavours (chopped veggies) and it also keeps him quiet whilst we have our tea. He loves food and seems to have enjoyed everything we’ve given him so far… everything I give him is natural and homemade or I have some of the Piccolo pouches that you can buy in Waitrose if we are out and about.

Activities:

So Gabriel now goes swimming every week, we do lots of playing and baby sensory at home, lots of long walks in the pram and we meet up with other babies a few times a week so that he gets lots of interaction with other children which is great for speech and confidence. He loves being around other babies (generally I find him chatting away to his baby friends!! So cute!) We tried a few classes out and I just found the mums were too ‘old’… it sounds awful but I want us both to gain something from the classes and I find we have lots of sensory type things to do at home and we love singing and dancing to music (I think I prefer it more haha) and I’d rather meet up with my friends that I have something in common with.

What we are looking forward to over the next few months:

We can’t wait for summer so that we can do lots of outdoor playing and water play which I know he will LOVE! It’s my brothers wedding in July so we will have lots going on over the next few months and will be going on a few trips down to London which I am so excited for!

Please let me know if you’d like to know anything else and let me know how you and your baby are getting on if you’re at a similar again!

Lots of love,

Maria & Gabriel

Breastfeeding Friendly Fashion

Hi lovelies… You’re probably reading this post if you’re breastfeeding yourself so I just wanted to give you a few tips on what I lookout for when shopping so that I can breastfeed easily and not worry too much about being too exposed.

Here’s what I look out for:

  1. If I’m buying a dress it must be a wrap dress or a button down shirt dress.
  2. My favourite tops are the nursing ones from ASOS for everyday comfort.
  3. High wasted jeans/leggings are a must if you’re having to lift your top up so you aren’t flashing too much flesh.
  4. Looser fitting tops are comfier to feed with if you’re having to lift your top up.
  5. If I wear a dress and have to button down dresses/tops in public I always cover up with a muslin so that I don’t have my entire boob out.

Some of my favourite styles:

(Click on the photos to link you to their website)

Victors Restaurants in Hale

So we were invited to try out the NEW menu at Victors in Hale Village and we couldn’t wait… if you have seen their Instagram page lately you can see they have made a lot of changes and the launch of an exciting new restaurant in Oxford is about to make way!!! So if you’re one of my southern followers and live near Oxford make sure you pay them a visit, so that you aren’t missing out.

Not only is their restaurant so instagramable with its because interiors, flowered ceilings and stunning lighting but it’s the perfect place to hang out for any occasion… fancy a light bite? Grab some sushi and a stunning cocktail. Fancy a date night or night out with the family? They’ve got it covered with their wide choices of pizzas, pastas, sharing dishes and even small dishes so you can do a tapas style dinner and not to mention their beautiful desserts.

We tried a selection of each part of the menu… it was safe to say we did order a little too much but that wasn’t a problem for Ainslee with the appetite of an elephant haha.. we wanted to try lots of things so we could give an honest review, I think our favourite dishes were the mini burgers and lobster rolls, so make sure you order those when you go, unfortunately the sushi wasn’t available when we went as it’s made fresh and wasn’t ready yet but as we’ve been before we can tell you that the sushi is outstanding if you haven’t already tried it!

For dessert we had the cheesecake and selection of ice creams and they were both delicious… a little tip would be to order a few things from the menu at a time so that you don’t order too much.. because even though a lot of the dishes are small they are really filling… even though I’m sure you’d still manage to eat it all because it’s sooo good haha!!

We can’t wait to go back to try even more of their dishes… leave a comment below if you have been and love a certain dish… or comment on Instagram or Twitter x

Toni & Guy Knutsford

So I LOVE my new hair cut… I’ve always loved having long hair and because it is also quite thick when it’s all blow dried I think it looks lovely but when I have to do it day to day now that I’m a mum it’s just so not practical!!

Before having Gabriel I had been thinking about having a good cut but everyone said not to because I will need to put it up all the time with lil baba and I won’t want to feel ‘mumsie’ well I’ll tell you what… I wish I had cut it sooner!! I can still put it up but it’s just WAY shorter… it’s so much lighter and soooo much quicker to dry and style in the evenings after my shower when I need to be super fast!

So I went to Toni & Guy in Knutsford and they very kindly treated me to a luxury treatment and cut & blow dry, their salon is right in the centre of Knutsford, on the cobbles opposite Jojo Mama Bebe and as soon as you enter the salon you are welcomed by lovely friendly staff. I think my fav part was the head massage after my hair treatment and you can also have a glass of fizz whilst you watch the world go by. My hair felt the softest it has ever felt, with their tailor made hair treatments for your hair type and my blow dry was gorgeous and lasted me days!

They very kindly gave me a 25% off your first treatment to all my followers when you quote ‘Cheshire Gossip Girl’ which is amazing and I hope you all make the most of it ❤️

My Postpartum Workout Regime

Working out when you have a newborn is completely different to what a workout was like pre pregnancy, I used to spend hours in a gym each evening and would enjoy back-to-back classes and hours doing cardio on a treadmill or stair master… but whilst I was pregnant I ended up not going to the gym as my pelvis was so uncomfortable that I even struggled to walk, so the gym was a no go!

After giving birth to my still born Sebastian and then getting pregnant right away with Gabriel, post pregnancy I was now looking at a 15 stone me instead of a 10 stone me… I couldn’t believe I was now 15 stone…. as the weeks went by with my gorgeous newborn and with breastfeeding and once the fluid had gone I soon came down to 13 1/12 stone, by then I was 6 weeks postpartum and was starting to feel like I wanted to be more active after my c section… so I started by walking for half an hour each day with Gabriel in the pram and after a few weeks I built this up to an hour and now I currently go for a brisk walk every morning with Gabriel for an hour and a half.

Working out with a clingy baby is super hard work but I have now managed to get into a bit of a routine… because sometimes going for a run then needing a shower when I get home doesn’t always work out when Gabriel is crying for me so much when he’s left with his Daddy.

So my walking I use as my cardio when I’m not able to go for a run… then I use Ainslee’s 10kg kettle bell to do:

25 weighted squats X 5

25 weighted lunges X 5

25 Kettlebell swings X 5

Doing these basic exercises every night when Gabriel is either in bed or relaxing with his Daddy has really helped tone up my legs and core area…

Then for my separated abdominals I get down one a mat and lie on my back:

⁃ Knees bent and suck my stomach in and hold it for 25 seconds then release X 5

⁃ Then I go from knees bent positions up into the ‘bridge’ very slowly, one vertebrae at a time 5 times X 5

⁃ Then I lie flat again and lift my legs up and down together 25 times X 5

⁃ And then finally I hold the plank 30 seconds and side plank for 30 seconds on each side then rest and have a big drink of water.

If you are going to do these exercises please only do them once you are fully recovered and work up to this slowly and then you can always add more weight as you get stronger… also please avoid doing crunches if you suffer from separated abdominals as this will only make it worse and if you are wanting to slim down make sure you’re doing high reps with lighter weights rather than heavy weights doing low reps.

Now that I am 20 weeks in I am now 11stone 12 so still have almost 2 stone to loose… but I may never get to what I was pre baby and that’s fine! As long as I feel good I’m happy with that!

Hope you enjoyed reading and enjoy the workout 💋

Being a Mum and a Girl Boss

Okay so I know I’ve only been a mum for almost 5 months.. but I guess these are probably the toughest 5 months when it comes to being a new mum and also running your own business!

When I was in labour with Gabriel on the way to the hospital I was doing work for my clients in the car, because he was early I was panicking and thought I might not get chance to do all of this once baby is here. Well I was so wrong, whilst in hospital and as soon as I got home I was back on my laptop making sure everything was ticking over whilst I was just getting used to motherhood.

I guess for me in the early days it was just making sure I was maintaining everything and also figuring out how I would adjust my work patterns to fit in with baby… this meant making sure my laptop and phone were always on hand for when I was feeding Gabriel… because let’s face it I worked out at the very beginning I was breastfeeding for 50 hours a week, which is a full time job for most so it was all about being time efficient.

How to expand your business with a baby:

For me I want my business to grow organically and I haven’t forced anything… and to be honest I think that is key, in regards to blogging I have been asked by so many girls ‘How can I make my blog successful?’ And I know I’m no Lydia Elise Millen but I believe that I have created an amazing platform for like minded girls and you are all incredible, but it has literally only happened because I am passionate about what I do and I a consistent. Passion and Consistency are all you need in my opinion, without those it just wont come naturally.

So currently I have adjusted my brand Cheshire Gossip Girl just like my life has adjusted, so now you’ll see lots more baby things along with lifestyle, beauty and fashion and I have been taking Gabriel to meeting with me as I have a few exciting new plans in the pipe line which I am excited to tell you all about but again it’s things that I am passionate about. I only do projects that I love and I believe doing what you love is the key to success!!

My Breastfeeding Journey

I know breastfeeding can be a touchy/ controversial for some subject but I wanted to write my story to either help others or give people the extra confidence that it’s okay to breastfeed and not to feel embarrassed or ashamed to feed in public!

I was always brought up thinking that breastfeeding was ‘The thing to do’ when feeding your baby. I was always surrounded by mums and also my Mum who breast fed me… so when I went to the hospital to have Gabriel I was all set for this amazing breastfeeding journey and thought it would come really naturally to me but had heard about how sore your nipples get in the early day.

After having Gabriel by emergency c section 4 weeks early I was told by the midwives at the hospital that I should start by squeezing my boobs and using the syringes to feed him so that my boobs start to produce more ready for the milk to come in…. I remember sitting with the curtains closed in our ward me squeezing my boobs whilst Ainslee squeezed it up in the syringe… I was thinking ‘God Ainslee’s seen it all now’. As we were in hospital for 4 days due to Gabriel having Jaundice the midwives told me that I needed to give him a bottle of formula as it would flush out the jaundice quicker… I have to say I was gutted about this and truly felt like the midwives just wanted me out of the hospital so that I could free up my bed (looking back now) for someone else, but I thought that they were right at the time so gave him a couple of bottles and carried on giving him my colostrum too!

Whilst in the hospital I was so shocked that all the other girls were choosing to formula feed from the get-go.. it didn’t make sense to me, it’s the best thing for baby, great for weight loss and it’s free!!! This is what we have boobs for right?… it didn’t make sense to me… I know women have trouble with feeding and can end up having to formula feed but the fact so many people choose to formula feed from the get-go didn’t make sense to me. Is it because people don’t want to get their boobs out in public? Is it because you want to share the feeding with others? I was so excited about having this amazing bond with my baby so when I left the hospital that evening I couldn’t help but feel gutted about having to give my baby formula milk.

That night before bed I gave Gabriel his final bottle of formula and told myself I WAS GOING TO DO THIS, throughout the night I kept getting him to latch in the hope we could change this around… but it was too late, Gabriel had got used to the bottle teet already and would no long latch… so I carried on squeezing the colostrum out and syringing it into his mouth until the morning when the ‘feeding team’ came round to our house to check on us. By this point I was using the breast pump and giving him my milk from the bottle which I was finding so hard and tiring.

The feeding team midwives told me that he had a bad tongue tie and that could be why he’s struggling to feed, so they gave me a pack of nipple shield that mimicked the bottle teet and he latched straight away! I was so happy! I couldn’t go through with him having his tongue cut so we persevered with the nipple shields for a good few months, I bought every style and even found some shorter nipple shields which he would have to work harder to feed from as he got older. I’ve slowly weaned him off them now so he’s now feeding straight from my nipple as he’s got older and stronger, he’s now 4 months old and we are feeding really well. This just goes to show that if your baby does have a bad tongue tie there’s no reason not to carry on and persevere with breastfeeding… if you really want to do it I truly believe its possible. After talking to a midwife I also found out myself and Ainslee both have tongue ties and both of our mums breast fed us… I think only recently people have been making it an issue and Im sure babies have had tongue ties for generations but they have only recently started cutting them… So because of our journey I’ve had no problems with sore or cracked nipples like most breastfeeding mums.. but I’ve also heard that so many mums have had to give up breastfeeding due to a tongue tie but I truly believe that with the right support (my breast feeding team were amazing) and your own dedication you will be able to breastfeed even with a tongue tied baby! DON’T GIVE UP!

Also when it comes to feeding in public, I’ve been for meals out with friends, shopping on my own in Manchester and even at the hairdressers and I’ve felt comfortable enough to feed Gabriel… with all the nursing friendly clothes out there these days or even just wear some high waisted pants and pulling your jumper/tshirt up you’ll find you’re not showing anything off. So far I haven’t had anyone stare or make me feel uncomfortable, let’s face it you’re doing the most natural thing in the world!

I absolutely love breastfeeding and find it comes super naturally to me.. but I guess sometimes it’s not you who can have the problems with feeding and it can be the baby that struggles, which I was never really made aware of pre baby! I’d love to hear all about your breastfeeding journeys, Im planning on breastfeeding for as long as possible with Gabriel but no older than 2 as this is what I feel is the best thing for my baby! Please comment on my picture on Instagram and share your journey! ❤