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7/30/2017

Life With A 15 Week Old | Just Add Ginger


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I'd love to sit here and tell you that being a new mother is calm and blissful. That you get to know your baby's routine and everything just comes together in a seamless fashion where nobody ever gets stressed, frustrated or feels like tearing their hair out.... 

....but I'd be lying. Being a new mother is exhausting!

And not just physically. Emotionally too. Every day is different and just when you think you have one part of parenting nailed life throws you a curve ball and you are back at square one, out of breath, dishevelled and utterly clueless once again. 

I don't think anybody should be ashamed to talk about the more difficult sides of parenting. It's important to share the lows as well as the highs. It's natural. It's normal. It's healthy. Nobody should be embarrassed to talk about things that have gone wrong, or things they have cried about in the bath when they finally have a moment to themselves. If anybody was to come up to me and say that every second and every minutes and every hour of every day was easy, I think I'd start searching the sky for a flying pig. Parenting is tough. Parenting is really tough. 

There are still some days where I barely make it out of my dressing gown. I sometimes go for days without having a shower. Some days I just sit in and listen to the background noise of the TV all day whilst Eric plays and eats and sleeps and poos. Often, the washing ends up scattered around the floor in muddled piles because sometimes I'd just rather spend that quiet five minutes scrolling aimlessly through Facebook and eating chocolate. And yes, sometimes the thought of a cheeky beer at the end of the day does see me through This doesn't mean I'm a bad mother. It means I'm human.

Life with a fifteen week old is manic but it is utterly marvellous. Days are never boring and they zip by in the blink of an eye. There's never a dull moment and you are constantly kept on your toes. It is by far the most intense job you will ever have - the hours are long and the breaks are incredibly short. Shift patterns are varied and it's low pay but none of that really matters. Because when your baby looks at you, you are all they see. When they smile, it's because of you. You are their entire world and all they want is your love.

There is no instruction manual for becoming a parent. Nobody can teach you how to care for a child. And becoming a parent doesn't flip a switch and automatically change you overnight so that you just know how to do it all. Nobody is really an expert and nobody can really help. And why? Because every baby is different. How many of us smile through gritted teeth at the mother who tells us little Gertrude has slept through the night since 2 days old? How many of us have secretly wanted to scream at the parent who beams at you as they walk past you in the supermarket with little Benny sitting perfectly in the trolley whilst your baby has a meltdown in the middle of the cheese aisle? As much as we might sometimes want them too, babies work to their own milestone schedule and we just have to go with the flow as they learn for themselves.  

Life with a new baby is challenging and sometimes you feel that you are in it alone, but you aren't. You aren't at all. All around you parents are going through exactly the same things and that is why the lows should never be a taboo subject. We may not be able to help each other but we can listen, we can reassure, and we can be a shoulder to cry on. We might not "get it" or properly understand, but it's just important to be that crutch for one another on those difficult days.

When I decided to vlog one of our family days I deliberately didn't omit Eric having meltdowns (although I did mute them - listening to a screaming baby at double the speed is like listening to a hyperactive chipmunk)! To just leave in the good bits would be lying to you, and I'm not one for that. I may have a pretty chilled out baby, but my God he screams the house down when he wants to.

I guess through all of this my point is that the next time you're sitting with spit up down your top, hair un-brushed and feeling like shit, just remember that even though things aren't amazing in that moment, there will be some point in your day that reminds you that being a new parent may not be predictable, but there is always something that makes the tricky times worth it!


7/23/2017

What's On Baby Ginger's Bookshelf? | Just Add Ginger


children's books - Just Add Ginger blog

Books - whether they be real or audio make up a big part of who I am. I love the art of storytelling and even did a degree learning how to do it for myself. The bedroom that is mine in my parents' house is fit to burst full of books, ranging from the easy-to-read to absolute classics. So there was no question that Baby Ginger was definitely going to have a well-curated collection. 

I try to read to him everyday and always reach for something different. His collection is only just starting and comprises mostly of children's books that were either mine or Ryan's when we were younger. Naturally there are some favourites I have that no matter how much I try, I find myself reaching for if one story proves just not quite enough. 

Through The Year With Timothy Bear | Brian Sears

A collection of short stories that are very child friendly, this book was actually written by my primary school headmaster. (Mr) Brian Sears was an excellent storyteller Timothy Bear stories featured a lot in our assemblies. Each only takes about five minutes to read, there is always a moral and afterwards there are some points to think about and activity ideas. Although he's too young at the moment, these will be great to go through with Eric when he's older. 

Very sadly Mr Sears passed away not so long ago, so it is very moving to have this book and let the legend of Timothy Bear live on. The first page is signed with a personalised note from Brian and every time I glance it there is an instant hit of poignancy.

Rapunzel (Ladybird Well Loved Tales) | Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm 

This book was in my Year 2 class library and I bloody loved it. Every time it was there I would ask to take it home to read. It also came with an accompanying audio cassette. For the simple fact that I am a sentimental bugger, when I was older, I tracked it down and bought it. Although Ladybird have since brought this out again, I wanted the one with the specific front cover I remember. And now it's permanent home is in Eric's toy box downstairs. He gets it read to him at least once a week so I'll be very surprised if he doesn't turn round to me one day and says "this one again?" 

A Bun For Barney | Joyce Dunbar

Undoubtedly this was my all-time favourite book as a child. I loved this story so much and read it so many times that to this day the cover is still a little stained with grubby finger marks. The repetition in this story is great for little ones to join in with, even if your little one is too young to read. It's also brilliant for counting. The rhyming and the pictures have stuck in my head all these years, and I just love reaching for this one at story time to relive those memories for myself. 

What are your favourite children's books? If there is a book you love reading to your little one/s, let me know in the comments!

7/20/2017

Meet My Baby | Just Add Ginger


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For the past few months things have been so crazy that I have completely neglected to write this post and properly introduce the newest member of the Just Add Ginger family. If you have kept up with my YouTube videos, you may have seen this little guy feature in the latest few, but as yet, I haven't actually told you that much about him. 

If you aren't into baby content, first off, don't worry. I'm not about to turn Just Add Ginger into a full-on mummy blog. Although that is technically who I am now, it is not all of who I am. Beauty, food and lifestyle posts will continue as normal, but you will see Baby Ginger crop up from time to time (although more so through my one-handed ways series over on my channel). 

To keep things brief - and to stop me rambling - I've put together a few questions that should cover all the key points about this little guy, but if you'd like to know more, there's a video below that goes into much more detail!

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What is Baby Ginger's name?

Baby Ginger's actual name is Eric (although he does have some nicknames - Pickle Pie, Ickle Pickle being the most used by me. 

When was he born? 

He was born on 2nd April 2017 at 10.44am at the Liverpool Women's Hospital. 

What did he weigh? 

Eric weighed 6lbs 11oz at birth . 

Is Eric breast or bottle fed? 

Bottle (I go into this more in the video below). 

Does he sleep through the night? 

Well....sometimes. He's just started getting about 6.5 - 7 hours of straight sleep in. I think that's because he doesn't tend to sleep so much in the day anymore. 

Does he have a set routine? 

Hahaha - are you kidding? Eric works on his own time and I'm just here trying to keep up. He does have regular feeds though so that's good. The last thing you want is a ravenous Baby Ginger on your hands. 

Does he cry a lot? 

No. Eric is really chilled out most of the time, and very smiley! This comes in really handy because he will only cry when there is something really bothering him (which is normally hunger or tiredness). 

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What are Eric's favourite things to do? 

To look! Eric is interested in everything and everyone. He is the nosiest baby and is always staring. We've just switched him over to the buggy and he is so much happier when we take him out. I try to go somewhere with him every day as if he is not simulated and constantly moving he gets quite fussy. Even if we just go to look around the shops or to a coffee shop - that gives him just something to look at. He also loves being on his play gym - he has this star on it that plays the William Tell Overture and he just goes bananas with joy whenever he hears it!

Eric's also really enjoying his baby sensory classes. He is noticing other babies more and just smiles at everyone. It's so exciting for him that we come out of the class and he just wants to go to sleep! 

What are his least favourite? 

Getting dressed in the morning and tummy time on the mat. He'll be fine for a bit but then just cry and cry until he's on his back again.

Who does he look like? 

I don't think he looks like me. Lots of people have said he looks like Ryan but we will have to wait and see how he looks as he grows!

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What's the best thing about motherhood so far? 

Seeing the world through your baby's eyes and watching him learn. When he found his hands he just looked amazed and it was so cute to see. It's also really lovely when you come into a room or go over to see him in the mornings to say hello and he just beams back at you. 

What's the hardest thing? 

Trying to decode what he wants. Sometimes he will just be so upset and you don't understand why. And it can be the simplest of things. When you realise it's as easy as giving him a cuddle, sticking the dummy back in or helping him bring up some wind you feel so guilty that you never though of that before!

Is there a piece of advice you would give to new parents? 

Enjoy every day and don't be too hard on yourself. There is no manual for bringing up a child, and as long as you are taking care of him / her and yourself the best you can, nobody can ask anymore. If you need help, ask, and don't feel like you have to take anyone's advice. Trust your instincts - they are usually right!


7/03/2017

Fox's Ice Cream Favourites Limited Edition Glaciers* | Just Add Ginger


Fox's Ice Cream Favourites Limited Edition Glaciers

Look for a way to describe my affection for all things confection and it's safe to say that instead of having one appreciative tooth I have a whole set of sweet teeth! So give me a chance to try out something new and you can bet your bottom dollar I'm 99.9% going to embrace that opportunity with open arms! 

This summer, Fox's have launched a limited edition pack of their famous glaciers all inspired by ice cream: Raspberry Ripple, Rum & Raisin, Banana and Strawberry Cream. Since moving closer to the coast there's nothing that gives me more joy than reliving out a childhood treat and grabbing a cheeky cone from the ice cream van. So if Fox's could have taken that nostalgic experience and poured it into this limited edition launch, then I was going to be very, very impressed! 

Breaking open the bag and delving in, I was of course a little apprehensive. Having only ever associated Fox's with their mint glaciers, I was really intrigued as to how they have managed other flavours. Were all four choices going to translate? And well? But as I popped sweet after sweet into my mouth, it was pretty clear Fox's have nailed it. A mix of subtle and strong, it is obvious which classic ice cream flavour you have found. Strawberry Cream and Banana are much more mellow and sweet, whereas Raspberry Ripple and Rum & Raisin are a lot more powerful. I even tried mixing things up by trying a Strawberry Cream & Banana (my personal favourites) together. This was actually pretty yummy, but I'm not entirely sure how other flavour combos would work - definitely one to try for yourselves though!

So let's talk packaging. The actual bag itself is cute and colourful, resembling the iconic waffled ice cream cone texture. However there is a slight stumbling point when it comes to the actual sweets themselves. I thought that with there being a mix of flavours Fox's would have chosen to use labels to make it clear which flavour is which - especially when there is the possibility that children might be eating these and there is a chance they might grab something so strong like Rum & Raisin. 

But all the sweets are wrapped up in exactly the same style of paper, meaning you are having to play a game of pot luck. Fine if you like all the selection, but not incredibly helpful if there is a favour you are trying to avoid! Yet this is the only minor hiccup. It didn't put me off diving in for more, nor did it hinder my enjoyment, - it's just something to be aware of. Once you come to grips with identifying each flavour by their colour, you know which you should avoid.

As far as sweets go, Fox's Ice Cream Favourites Limited Edition Glaciers are a winner in my eyes. Sure there is one I'm not a fan of, but that's no reflection on the sweets themselves. There is something there for everyone and the flavours are pretty much on point. They'd be great to have in the glove compartment for car journeys, thrown into a beach bag to take on holiday or as a crowd-pleaser at picnics. Lighter than chocolate and far less messy, for those of us who often need a fast fix of something sweet, Fox's Glaciers are ideal for this time of year. (Hands up who has ever had a 'melted chocolate bar in pocket / handbag' situation too).

These limited edition packs are available nationwide for a limited time, so if you are tempted to give them a try don't take to long! The 200g size makes them perfect for sharing, but to be honest they are so moreish that you might not want to - particularly if you have a favourite flavour.

For more information about Fox's Ice Cream Favourites Limited Edition Glaciers, as well as other sweets in the range, click here


*I was very kindly sent two packs of the Fox's Ice Cream Favourites Limited Edition Glaciers to sample. This in no way affects my opinions. They are always 100% honest and guided by my personal experiences.