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A little trip to the Swansea Community Farm

A good friend and I had been trying for about a month to get together for a play date with our children, and we finally managed it!

She suggested we take the children to Swansea Community Farm in Fforestfach.  I’d heard of the farm before but had never actually been for a visit and, honestly, was a little bit nervous about going there as it was somewhere I’d never driven to before (I’m still not great at driving to unknown places).

I’m so very glad I went though, we all had a really lovely morning there, and the drive was really quite easy in the end thanks to Google maps and useful information on the Farm’s website about how to get there!

We got to the farm at about 10.30, which was just in time to help the staff herd the sheep (and one lamb) out into their field.  I love that, as it’s a community farm, the staff encourage visitors to get involved.  The children loved seeing the animals come past them and then they ran after them to have a little look at them in the field.

After that we had a good wander round the rest of the farm, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was to see.  We saw pigs, ducks, chickens and geese and wandered past the bee hives, the compost station and the allotment plots.

The children had a great time running round and exploring, and we all enjoyed a little visit to the cafe for some cake!

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I’m really looking forward to more visits in the Spring and Summer when there are more plants springing up and more animals roaming around.  I’m strangely curious about seeing the bees in particular, and hoping to be able to buy some honey at some point!

If you’re looking for something free and great fun to do with your children in Swansea then I highly recommend a visit to the community farm.  We all had a lovely morning there.

Do you have a community or city farm near you?  Do you visit it very often?

 

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Super Busy Mum
Things I love as a mum

Little things I love as a mum (that add up to a perfect Mother’s day)

I really do believe that when it comes to happiness, in relationships, as a parent, in life in general, it really is the little things that matter the most.  Those little details that make you smile; they all add up to make life pretty glorious!

So while there are lots of things I would be very happy to wake up to on Mother’s day, really it’s the little things that I love most about being a Mum and that when put together will make a perfect Mother’s day for me.

Little things I love as a mum

 

Here are some of those little things that I really do love about being a Mum:

The new-found luxury of the occasional lie-in.

Before I had children I could sleep in as late as I wanted to at the weekend, and I’m not sure I really appreciated it!
Now though, on the odd occasion when my husband gets up with the children and I get to carry on sleeping, oh, such luxury!

I really love and appreciate it now.

 

A shower without an audience.  

This sort of goes along with the lie-in thing.  I never appreciated how lovely it is to shower in peace before I had my children.  Now though, I normally grab a quick shower with one or both of them in the room with me, shouting for help to brush their teeth or to wipe a bottom (seriously, how they manage to time these things to badly?).

So when I get to have a whole shower with no one in the room with me, it feels like a trip to the spa!

 

My son bringing a drawing home from school that he’s done just for me.

Sure, it’s one of hundreds of pictures he’s drawn of angry birds, but this one is especially for me!

 

Having little conversations with my daughter and being able to work out what she’s saying.

There’s just something quite special about being able to understand what your toddler is saying when people outside of the family are just hearing gobbledygook.

Admittedly sometimes it takes me a few minutes to work things out, like realising the other day that “monkey door” was her asking for me to sing “see saw majory daw”, but I really love being able to chat with her.

 

Hearing my children upstairs with their Dad at bathtime.

It feels like their special time together, and it makes me so happy to hear them singing and laughing together.

 

Big hugs and sloppy kisses.

No further explanation needed!

 

So, here is what I would really love for Mother’s day:

A little lie-in followed by a lovely, uninterrupted shower.  A card or drawing created by my son.  A simple conversation with my daughter.  An early evening relax on the sofa while listening to my kids enjoying time with Daddy before bed.

And hugs and kisses.

Lots of hugs and kisses.

Sounds like a pretty good day to me!

Try this trick to end a nursing strike

Try this one little trick to end a nursing strike

About this time last year I was slowly winding down breastfeeding with Nerys.  I fed her for about 13 months in the end and it was a wonderful, exhausting, emotional, stressful, glorious experience!

In the greater scheme of things I was pretty lucky with my breastfeeding experience with her.  I managed to avoid any bouts of mastitis and once we’d got past the first tricky few weeks things went quite smoothly.

I did, however, have one really stressful day when she went on a nursing strike.

After a lot of googling and trying out different strategies to get her feeding again I hit on something that worked.

So, if you’re in the middle of a nursing strike yourself, try this one trick that could get your baby feeding again.

Try this one little trick to end a nursing strike

 

Try to feed your baby while in motion.

By which I mean, hold your baby and sway from side to side, gently bounce them up and down or generally jiggle her about as you attempt to get her to latch on.

What personally worked for me was to sit on the sofa with one leg crossed over the other to raise it up a bit, then I held Nerys so my arms were resting on my leg and then I jiggled.

I jiggled my leg up and down to jiggle her, then I moved her close to me and, would you believe it, she latched on.

I had to do this for about 3 feeds before she was happy to just feed normally again, and then that was it, nursing strike over.

If you’re not feeling the jiggling, then you can also try rocking in a rocking chair, or feeding while wearing your baby in a sling and walking round the room or swaying from side to side.  Basically, getting you and your baby moving one way or another may be enough to distract and relax your baby enough for them to latch on and feed.

If you need a bit more information about nursing strikes and other things to try just in case my magic trick doesn’t work for you, then this article from breastfeeding basics is worth a read.

Reasons to hug more every day

6 reasons to squeeze more hugs into each day

Earlier in the week I wrote a post about how having a cuddle first thing in the morning can really make you feel happier and set you up for a better day.

After writing that I was inspired to go and read a bit more about hugs and cuddles and the benefits we can reap from squeezing more of them into our day to day life.

So, here are the results of my research – 6 really wonderful benefits of hugging:

6 reasons to squeeze more hugs into each day

 

1) It can really boost your immune system.  

Study after study have found that you’re more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu when you’re stressed out, so taking steps to reduce your stress levels can help protect you and keep those bugs at bay.  And hugging has been shown to reduce stress as it releases oxytocin into your blood stream.

Further research has also shown that if, despite our best efforts, we do still get ill, then our symptoms are often not as bad if we have lots of cuddles.  Which would explain why our children just want to be physically close to us when they’re poorly!

 

2) It makes you feel less afraid.  

I think this one is amazing.

A study published in the Psychological science journal found that anxiety levels in women who were told they might receive a mild electric shock were reduced when they held hands with one of the male experimenters, and were reduced even more when they held hands with their husbands.

So physical contact, either holding hands or a great big hug, can really help to calm your nerves and make you feel braver.

 

3) It lowers your blood pressure.  

I’m pretty sure that high blood pressure is pretty common in parents, I mean, getting children ready and out of the door in the morning isn’t particularly relaxing!  But research carried out by Light et al found that frequent hugs between partners are linked with higher oxytocin levels and lower blood pressure.  So, like I mentioned recently, grab your partner or your kids for a big hug first thing in the morning!

Reasons to hug more each day

 

4) It helps you communicate better.  

We all know how important non-verbal communication is, we can express so much through looks and touch, it’s amazing.

Well, hugging can be a great form of non-verbal communication.  David Klow, a marriage and family therapist in Chicago says  “Cuddling is a way of saying, ‘I know how you feel.’ It allows us to feel known by our partner in ways that words can’t convey.”  How great is that?  If we can’t find the words to express to our partners that we feel them, and understand them, then a hug can be a fantastic was to express that.

This works even better if your partner’s love language is physical touch.

 

5) It strengthens your relationships.  

Remember that oxytocin that I mentioned earlier, that helps you feel more relaxed and less stressed?

Well it also helps bond you to the people that you’re hugging, so regular cuddles with your partner and your children will help make you all feel more secure and stable as a unit.

 

6)  It just makes you feel good!  

Not only does cuddling release oxytocin, it can also release endorphins into the mix, according to Dr Renee Horowitz.  Endorphins are the chemicals responsible for the ‘runner’s high’ that you might feel after exercising and they’re why eating chocolate makes us so happy!

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cwtch on the sofa with my kids and a big bar of dairy milk!

The little things and big things

The little things that are the big things.

One of my favourite quotes is from the film ‘about time’, and is about relishing the remarkable ride that is life.  One of the main themes of the film is about paying attention to the little wonders and joys of this life, and really appreciating them.

So, in keeping with this theme of stopping and noticing the wonderful little moments, here are 5 of my little things that I’ve relished this week.

The little things that are the big things

 

  • Lying next to Nerys at bedtime and listening to her tell me about her day – “Nana, buggy, seagulls – see it!  Beach, train, Nana”.  So lovely!

 

  • Watching Rhys sing his heart out at his Christmas play.  And seeing his face light up when he spotted that Daddy, Nerys and I had all come to watch him.

 

  • Listening to the rain and wind outside while cwtched up in bed.

 

  • Seeing my two children having fun together, cutting, sticking and making pictures while sitting at the Kitchen table.

 

  • Watching Nerys get more and more independent.  There’s been a lot of “I do it” this week!  She surprises me every day with what she’s capable of!

 

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things”

How I've changed since becoming a parent

7 ways being a parent has changed me

As much as we might like to think that having children won’t change us at all, I really don’t think any of us parents are quite the same as we were pre-babies.

I’m definitely not the same person I was before my children came along, and here are 7 examples of the ways that being a parent has changed me.

7 ways being a parent has changed me

 

I talk about coffee a lot more
I’ve been a coffee drinker for about 14 years now, but I don’t think I particularly talked about it before I had kids.  Now though, I’ll quite happily babble on about how many cups I’ve had so far that day, and I love finding and posting quotes and sayings about the stuff.  Sorry about that.

I can survive on waaaay less sleep

I used to love my sleep.  Seriously, I would quite happily go to bed at 9pm and sleep till nearly 9 the next morning.  Now, well now if I get a solid, undisturbed 5 hours sleep I feel great!

 

My perception of a reasonable time to wake up has changed

After a run of 5am starts with little ones that are raring to go, 6am suddenly feels like  a really reasonable time to get up.  And 7am?  Oh such luxury!

 

My perception of time in general has changed

Child – “I’m hungry, can I have lunch?”
Me – “Of course, after all it is *looks at clock* 10.15?! Really?!  How is it only 10.15?!”

 

My tolerance for bodily fluids is way higher

I used to be one of those people who just couldn’t handle other people being sick.  The sound of someone being sick would make me instantly queasy.  My friend has never really forgiven me after I told her that I heard her being sick after a big night out, and turning my walkman up to drown out the sound rather than going to see if she needed anything.  Side note, I feel so old now talking about my walkman.

Now though, I’m so at ease with bodily fluids that the last time my daughter was sick (while sitting on my lap) it just didn’t faze me in the slightest!

 

I’m much more confident

I was always quite a shy person, who hated the idea of walking into a room full of strangers and was really awkward making small talk.

Since having children though, I’m much more relaxed.  Forcing myself out of my comfort zone and into mother and baby groups made a huge difference to me.  I learnt to relax and be much more comfortable with new people.

 

I swear more

Apologies to my parents, but I do swear a lot more these days.  For the most part though it’s under my breath if that makes it better!  A quiet, ‘for fuck’s sake’ when it’s only 7am and I’ve already tidied up the play dough twice, broken up a fight over who gets to sit where in the lounge, and am being asked to put yet another episode of Team Umizoomi on.

Tell me I’m not the only whispering-swearer out there!

 

How about you?  How has becoming a parent changed you?