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There's no doubt about it, parenting is hard. If we actually sit there and think about it being a parent is bloody hard work. I know this only too well as a first time parent. One minute you think that you have everything figured out and finally feel as if you have this whole parenting thing down, but then something is thrown into the mix to make life as a parent that much harder. Our daughter is nearly three years old so you could say that we've had our fair share of curve balls thrown at us. Separation anxiety being the mother of all the crappy parts of parenting. I will gladly take all those tantrums, potty training accidents and even accept the poo throwing incident in place of that. As parents we feel moments of laughter and giggles, moments where we feel like crying all day, sometimes for no reason whatsoever. But for me as a first time mum there are lots of feelings of self doubt and I'm pretty sure that I am not the only who knows what I am talking about. So you would think that we could be a little kinder to one another. Since becoming a parent to my daughter I have seen so many debates about in the parenting world. Breastfeeding vs bottle-feeding, baby-led weaning vs puree, or co-sleeping vs sleep training, just to name a few. Meanwhile I can understand that we can't all agree on the same thing, but there's one thing that I can't understand and that's being parent shamed for the decisions we make for our children. Yes, I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet. Namely, the screen time I allow for my daughter. Does it make me a bad parent?

I am a parent who will allow their child to have screen time, all in moderation I say. But it seems to me that parents who choose to allow their children to have screen time are getting a bad rep. Don't judge me when I say that I enjoy giving my daughter a little bit of screen time. It's not hard to guess why though? Peace and quiet to enjoy my cup of tea. Those fifteen minutes are absolutely magical. Please tell me I'm not the only one. But as I've said parenting is hard and we deserve those fifteen minutes to catch a breath and shouldn't be made to feel as if we are doing something wrong. I don't want to offend any parents who choose not to give their children screen time, I just want to make a point that parents who do should not be made to feel bad.
Before writing this post I did some research into toddler screen time and I found pages and pages of articles dedicated to the negative side of screen time. Most of the articles suggest that too much screen time for toddlers can have an adverse effect on their brains, in a nutshell. I have absolutely no idea whether what they are suggesting has any substance, but I'm not hear to tell you they have no value. I'm no expert but too much of something is bound to have some kind of impact of anyone's wellbeing. I just want to put it out there that screen time for your children is not always a bad thing.
I think that children born into the digital generation are lucky and are far more intelligent that we ever were. My toddler, like other toddlers are drawn to technology like moths to flame. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's a smartphone, tablet, electronic game or the television. As soon as it lights up, then their eyes do too. Have you ever watched a young toddler use a tablet for the first time? It's actually quite fascinating to see how quickly they can figure out how to navigate around the app or tablet. I actually sat with my daughter on her KidloLand app and I was quite surprised at how quickly she figured out how to get around the app and was even telling me that I wasn't playing her game properly. Well, that certainly put me in my place, that's for sure.

Children's programmes have changed so much, well in comparison to when I was a child anyway. I think we've come a long way from the Rainbow days. But children's programmes today are highly regulated to teach our children an array of activities. They can teach colours, letters, counting, basic morality (thank you Bing Bunny), teach them how to share, create friendships and to believe they can be who they wish to be. Why wouldn't you want to help encourage your child's learning? There is only so much you can do as parent, sometimes we need a helping hand from the good ole CBeebies channel. The CBeebies app has even been my saviour during those 4am get ups!

As a blogger to a toddler we are always been offered opportunities to try new apps. There are a countless number of amazing apps that can actually help enhance your child's development, some promote motor skills, enhance memory and pattern recognition. But as with anything, screen time should be limited. Screens are in no way a substitute for parenting! Both my husband and I make sure that we read with our daughter every night, without fail. We are always going out looking for adventures, going to toddler groups, and we are always at the park. We enjoy running around, playing indoor football (thank you for that one, Daddy), we like to jump on the bed, role play and dance like nobody's watching. We love getting in our kitchen and causing absolute chaos, that's the fun part. The cleaning up? Hmmm not so much.  We also spend lots of afternoons trying to unleash our creativity with playdough, card, pom poms or glitter. But we enjoy watching the box!

With anything in life, everything is moderation is key. Says the person who just ate an Easter egg! I have known some people see bad behaviour if certain electronics are taken away, this is something that we haven't experience with our daughter and one that I hope we never do. But cutting screen time altogether may not be possible in some households, but there are ways in which you can limit their time without an almighty tantrum unfolding.

Set time limits.
With our daughter we started to monitor her screen time. We soon realised that she was watching her kindle a little too close to bed time,  which was also reason why she wouldn't settle straightaway. So we don't include any screen whatsoever in her bedtime routine and we never have trouble getting her to sleep. With electronics set time limits and avoid them before bedtime, mama needs sleep too. You could also change the type of screen time that they are exposed to. So instead of having the television being on in the background, spend time on educational apps, e-books, or even a family film - something that you can do with them.
Electronics in their room.
I would have to say that you really need to think about allowing your children to have any electronics in their room, I feel that a bedroom should be make a 'screen free zone' as bedrooms are for sleeping. But that's personal preference. I don't think I will allow my daughter to have a television in her room for some time yet, my husband and I don't have one in our room, even when he's asked so many times. I think he secretly wants a man cave, but that's a whole different story. I think the real reason why I won't allow her to have a television in her room is because it's all I can remember about bedtime when I was a child. I shared a room with my little sister who was afraid of the dark and would always want the same DVD playing in the background, often waking me up during the night with the same sound of the DVD title playing, I can hear it now and makes me wince. 
No screen time before bed
After realising that our daughter was not settling and sleeping at bedtime because she was getting far too excited watching videos on her kindle. So it's no TV or kindle before bedtime. No exceptions. I think for all children we should realised the importance of down time before bedtime and make a point of shutting all phones, tablets and televisions down. Something that we all could do with in this household.

Wow, that was a ramble and a half. I hope you didn't mind. At the end of the day, screen time is not a bad thing. It all depends on how parents decide to benefit from it and how long children spend time in front of it. As I have made it into adulthood intact, I am more than confident that my daughter will do the same. So why should I prevent her from enjoying it too. We are all parents, who are doing what we can, the best way we can.


 It's spring and what comes with spring? The beautiful sunshine, spending afternoons in the garden, blues skies and pretty flowers. It's also the perfect time of year to make plans for the coming months and to make a start on that ever growing list of tasks that we never seem to get around to doing . But like most families, life can get busy and things can take a back seat. We all need a helping hand sometimes, whether it's a plumber, handyman, photographer or even a party planner. For all these types of professionals we normally find ourselves trawling through pages on the internet, or looking through adverts in the local newspapers. It can be such a tedious task, so what if this could be made easier? Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of Bidvine.

What is Bidvine?

Bidvine is a site that helps you hire trusted local service professionals easily. It's really simple to use, you fill out a form beginning with your postcode and which service you are looking for. You then go on to answer service specific questions. Bidvine then sends this job request to trusted local professionals to bid on. It's 3 simple steps
1. Tell them what you need
2. Get bids to choose a pro
3. Hire your professional and expect great things
Bidvine brings together local businesses and people to help achieve the quickest outcome possible, so a winner all round. The website is very simple and easy to navigate yourself around, even those who are not great with computers or apps can work their way around. Bidvine covers all areas of trades. Be it a handy man to help with all those jobs that make the never ending list of jobs to do. A decorator to help wallpaper a room, so you can unleash your creativity rather than trying to wallpaper with a spouse, it's never a good idea. Perhaps you're in need of a photographer to capture those special moments or want help planning the perfect wedding, birthday or other occasion. Bidvine is the way to go.
Bidvine charges a small fee to their professionals to offer you a bid, which means that you get genuine professionals and skilled people who are bidding for your work. So, as you can imagine I couldn't wait to see what Bidvine could offer when we decided we needed their handyman services  to help us around the home. Our spare room has been neglected for some time and this year is the year we need to make more use of our washing room/junk room. Our daughter will be three this year and so it seems natural that she has a bigger bedroom, but it needs some work. We need a handyman (or woman) to help us redecorate and mend the current furniture. After entering my postcode I was then asked to fill out a few questions about the task in hand such as: 'What do you need done?', 'Where is the project is located?' and 'How big is the room?'. Where I then signed up to receive a number of emails bidding for the job with their quotes. It as so quick and easy to do, I couldn't wait to pick someone to help with our daughter's room.
Why YOU should be using Bidvine?
Bidvine believes in getting your work done by the best professionals. Bidvine pride themselves on perfection in work and help professionals find their customers. Even when a professional has just started up their business, it can be hard to build up a clientele and so by registering with Bidvine can help them get their company and services on the map for consideration. Bidvine has some brilliant values that promise to help support both the customer and the professionals providing the service too, which is something that is always nice to see.
Secondly with Bidvine you can find a trusted and certified professional easily, within minutes. Just a few clicks, answer a few questions you are able to find plenty of professionals in your local area an even check their certifications before hiring them, no pressure. There certainly is no fear of any cowboy builders with Bidvine, that's for sure. Lastly, and probably one of the most beneficial deciding factors is that finding a professional with Bidvine is completely free, with no hidden costs. Bidvine emphasises on getting you your desired professional who will fulfil your requirements and be able to reply on their services wholeheartedly.

Have you ever heard of Bidvine? What are your thoughts? Are you ready to Bidvine?



Feeling low? Need a boost. Why not #FeedYourHappy with WE ARE HAPS. The perfect drink to brighten those darker days. The recently launched brand HAPS have created new innovative ways to improve low moods and boost wellbeing in the form of this yellow sachet of goodness. Being a parent to a toddler is so much fun, but it can be so tiring. Our days are full of activities. Baby classes, play dates, walks in the park and that's without including the normal running around doing errands. So by the evening I have no energy whatsoever. Ever since my daughter started walking it's been non stop and it's great to know that there may be a new way to help boost my energy levels with HAPS instead of the 483398839 cups of coffee a day.

The HAPS Mission
Empower people to take control of their happiness.

What is HAPS?

HAPS is a delicious fruit drink that is designed to help improve mood and boost wellbeing. The amazing sachets of goodness only contains Baobab, Mango, Pear, Pineapple, Guava, Banana, Griffonia Seed Extract, Ionic Electrolytes, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, D, Zinc, Natural Flavour, Stevia. Unlike most supplements, there are no bulking agents.

However it's more than just a delicious fruit drink. Let's talk a little bit about the reason behind HAPS. Rik who is the founder behind the brilliant idea that is WE ARE HAPS decided that one day he wanted to make a difference. Rik has experience mental illness at first hand. His mother suffered from depression and he has been a sufferer of anxiety and he became so frustrated that he decided to take action and in doing so he created HAPS. Hoping to empower others to take control of their happiness in the form of this delicious fruit drink.

Why should you have a little bit of HAPS in your life?

I don't know about you, being a parent to a toddler is hard work. I find it so hard to keep my eyes open past 8 o' clock some nights. After all the classes, the endless walks to the park, the mealtimes, prepping activities to do throughout the day - I have no energy left. Parents with more than one child to follow around all day, take a bow, I don't know how you do it.  I am always looking for ways to try and boost my energy, which normally comes in the form of copious amounts of tea and coffee. But let's face it, it's not the best way to fuel myself for energy. A good nights sleep and these SuperFruit & Boosters sachets may be the way to go, so why should you have a little bit of HAPS in your life?

Regulates your mood, appetite and sleep
Improves your response to stress
Supports your immune system & skin health
Helps you stay alert throughout the day
Keeps you hydrated
Our experience with HAPS

After discovering HAPS I thought that being a parenting and lifestyle blogger it would be something that a lot of my readers may be interested in finding out about. I have seen a number of people suffer from mental health and I thought that an innovative product such as this may be able to help empower them to take control of their happiness.

I received three sachets of HAPS, which was a generous amount to be given but the perfect amount to see whether the product has any effect on me in any kind of way. The sachets are a very bright yellow and has the HAPS branding all over, I do like the bright yellow as it gives me a sense of happiness, sunshine and smiley faces. The black and yellow branding is simple but effective as it immediately grabs your attention.
I immediately opened the sachet and all I could think about was the distinct smell of pineapple, it was so mouth-watering I couldn't wait to taste it.  To make your HAPS you add a sachet of the powder to 250ml of water. Boom. That's it. The drink itself? At first due to the delicious smell I did expect the drink to taste a lot more fruity and sweet, but it was mild and tasty, not overpowering at all. I added one of these sachets to a Banana Breakfast Smoothie and it went down a treat. You could also use your HAPS to create the most scrumptious breakfast, simply add your sachet of HAPS to your smoothie, porridge or granola, using a hand mixer to combine the ingredients and top with fruit. Super tasty breakfast in minutes.

Final thoughts
This is not just a healthy drink, there's a real science behind it. It's natural because it contains whole fruit powders and boosters which increases serotonin production naturally, rehydrates, revitalises and improves mental wellbeing. Anything that tries to boost your mood naturally has got to be a good thing right? I do have to say I cannot be sure if this trial effected my overall mood, but I can say that during the days that I had one of these I felt as if I had more energy to tackle the day, it helped my motivation that's for sure.  
You can find out more on the WE ARE HAPS website, don't forget that while you are there you could make a little purchase for yourself from as little as £1.10 per serving with the sachets or pouches. There are also different ways in which you can purchase your HAPS.
#FeedYourHapy with WE ARE HAPS.

The Baby Feeding Series with Prose and Progeny

Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.

Last week we had the lovely Lucy from Muffin Top Mummy who kindly shared her bottle feeding journey with her daughter, a journey that that resonated with me as a bottle feeding mother. This week I would like to introduce another fantastic blogger who has just moved her website Rachel from Prose and Progeny who shares a beautifully written post about when breast isn't always best. Without further ado, I'd like to hand it over to the lovely Rachel...

When Breast Isn't Best

Everyone talks about how breast is best when it comes to feeding you baby. Best for nutrients, best for the bond between mother and baby. Best for losing baby weight. Best for convenience. It is made out to be so simple and easy that women who don't breastfeed are often labelled as lazy, selfish, and stupid.

Nobody ever talks about the reasons for not breastfeeding. There are so many reason beyond the expected I don't want to.

Granted, there are many women out there who don't want to, for one reason or other. Some women feel uncomfortable with the idea. They see their breasts as something for their partner rather than their child. Some women want their partners to be able to do feeds too, so decide to go straight to formula. Some women who already have children decide that it will be easier to bottle feed so that they can split their time evenly between their children and get other members of the family to help with feeds. Whatever their reasons, they are entitled to make their own decisions.

But what about the women who want to breastfeed but can't?

I've spoken to women who desperately wanted to breastfeed, but they weren't allowed because of the medication they were on. I've spoken to one lady who was unable to because she had inverted nipples and her baby couldn't latch, and another whose milk never came in no matter how much she encouraged it. Then there are those whose baby doesn't like the breast.

I'd always intended to breastfeed, and it had never really crossed my mind that I wouldn't be able to. I'd spoken to a couple of friends who hadn't breastfed past the first couple of days, because it was too painful for them so they moved to formula. That wasn't going to be me though, because I would get through that pain and all would be well. I remember when my son was first born (by emergency c-section), and after some skin to skin time he made his own way to my breast. That first feed was perfect; he latched so easily, and it felt so right. I felt complete.

After that, however, was a different story.

The first day and a half in hospital, I had nurses and midwives in and out trying to help me with feeding. My son was so sleepy from the medication I'd had during my 36 hour stint from first pains (half hour after induction) to c-section, that he found it hard to stay awake. I had people coming in to help me keep him awake whilst feeding, but it just didn't happen. I was encouraged to hand express onto a teaspoon, because just a couple of drops of colostrum was all he needed to keep him going. Have you ever tried to hand express before your milk has come in? It's bloody difficult. After that first day and a half though, he latched by himself and feeding became so easy. Painful, as it is to begin with, but easy.

The next hurdle I came across was my social anxiety. I've had social anxiety for years and years, and it can get quite severe. I found it pretty much impossible to feed in front of people. I don't know why, because I think it's brilliant when I see women out feeding their little ones. I always think good for her! I just couldn't break that barrier though. There was only one time I was prepared enough to feed in public, and that was the one time he didn't even wake up!

The stress began to build up inside me because I was always fretting about when he would wake up and where we would be. I couldn't go out for more than an hour at a time, and that had to be straight after a feed, or I would be on edge the entire time. Even then I couldn't completely relax.

I was given some very bad advice...I was told that sometimes they needed to be forced onto the breast and held there

My son started to pick up on the stress after the first couple of weeks, and things began to get difficult. I had health visitors come round to check up on us and give me advice on feeding, and one of those visits actually made it worse. I was given some very bad advice...I was told that sometimes they needed to be forced onto the breast and held there, so they knew what to do. That they would soon get used to it and give in. Well, my son didn't like being forced. He didn't like being held there, and I don't blame him.

The stress was mounting even more, and it got to the point where I was dreading him waking up because I knew he would wake up hungry and it would be a screaming fit because he didn't want to latch. All it took was for me to get my nipple out, and he would start screaming. I was beginning to resent him because everything was going wrong and I was constantly exhausted and spent more than half of each day in tears just wanting to scream myself. Although he was my baby and I knew I loved him, I just couldn't bond with him at all. I was being told to persevere, because it would get easier after the first 6 weeks, but he was just too hungry and I was too exhausted.

I firmly believe that this was the tipping point that triggered my Postnatal OCD.

When we got to 5 weeks, I made the decision to switch over to bottles. We knew he would take them, because we'd given him expressed milk in bottles previously to make sure he actually got some milk in him.

As soon as I made that decision, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I felt guilty for giving up, because the only thing I had running through my head was breast is best breast is best breast is best over and over and over, but I also felt incredibly relieved.

The next morning, I started the day with a bottle for him. We had cuddles and chilled out, and it was a nice relaxed start. He had formula the rest of the day, except for a couple of small bottles of expressed milk that I'd managed to build up during his naps. I could see the difference in him from that first day. He was no longer hungry – he was full, and he was content. The stress seeped out of me, and I started finally being able to properly bond with him.

He was no longer hungry – he was full, and he was content.

So, next time you hear of a mum who isn't breastfeeding, don't jump straight to judgement. There could be many reasons behind her decision, and it might not even be a decision she was happy with.

For me, breast wasn't best. To continue breastfeeding would have led me down an even darker road, and who knows what would have happened. The pressure of it all had such a large impact on my mental health, that I know stopping was the best decision. I wouldn't have been able to build a proper relationship with my son either.

Sometimes, breast isn't best.


About Rachel
Rachel is a family and parenting blogger and mother to one. A lover of bunnies, a bookworm and a gamer.  Rachel became a blogger to join the crowd of individuals filling the internet with nonsensical thoughts and notions, mainly about her experiences in motherhood.



Hello you lovely lot and welcome back to another instalment of the #MotherhoodMondays guest post series; a weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of forms. Don't forget to get in touch if you want out get involved, we're always looking for some more mamas to guest post for us.
Feels like such a long time ago since we had a guest post for #MotherhoodMondays and for this weeks feature we have the oh so fabulous Rebecca from Rock and Roses Mama who kindly offered to write a post for us, namely 'Why I chose to rock up my rosy mama self and you should too'. This title immediately grabbed my attention and I couldn't wait to get stuck in reading this post, and it did not disappoint. I absolutely love Rebecca's blog and it's concept. The whole idea to offer advice and support for mamas who want to rock up their rosy mama selves. It's a great concept and one I am sure that many mamas will appreciate. So with this I shall hand you over to Rebecca...

Why I chose to rock up my rosy mama self and you should too
When I first heard about Kelly-Anne's series 'Motherhood Mondays' focusing on Motherhood in all its glory, I was inspired to write something about the reason I started blogging; my quest to inspire and empower Mamas to not lose themselves after childbirth; why you should, and how you can, 'Mama it up without losing you'.

It all began when I attended my first few 'Life with Baby' classes run by my local Health Visiting team; I quickly made connections with a few Mamas who seemed to have similar backgrounds and parenting styles to me. I was soon to find out that there was a huge problem emerging within the Motherhood community that I felt needed to be rectified. So I sought to inspire and help Mamas realise this; if only for their sanity!

As we sat down in a circle we were each asked what we missed most about our lives before having children; I answered completely honestly and said that I missed my social life. I had always been quite the social butterfly and although I was entirely aware that this is still possible after childbirth and I was determined to make it so, your social life undoubtedly shifts with a new born baby! I was immediately shot down by one of the very mothers who I believed I had so much in common with.

She confronted me with her personal experience of having 'lived her life' and that she was 'ready to have children' and give them all of her; she was a Mother now and she had said farewell to herself as her child was more important.

I was in shock. She made me feel like I was being selfish by wanting to spend time as ME.

I didn't rise to it at the time obviously but that experience stuck with me and I thought about it a lot and realised she was totally and utterly wrong. It is completely natural and entirely normal to want to retain a sense of self after you have your children.

You are the amazing and strong woman that brought your children into this crazy world and you are the ones they are going to look to as a role model; I don't know about you but I would far rather be an epic role model to my children by being totally myself and guiding them through how to be an individual, follow their passions and dreams instead of falling victim to just being 'Mom'.

If not also for your sanity.

If I accepted that after I had my little man I could never do the things I enjoyed before he came along then I would honestly go insane! That is no way to live! You don't live your life through your children, they live their life through yours and learn from you!

Yes I understand, as mentioned above, that there is an undoubted shift when you hold your child in your arms and have to fit a baby into the many facets of your personality and life; yes of course part of you changes and part of that personality becomes 'Mom'. But that doesn't mean the other parts are suddenly carpeted over, they are ever present just a little less bold!

It gets easier as your children grow as I was lucky enough to have an amazing support network of family and friends around me that were willing to babysit regularly and give me some time to myself and with my now husband (couple time is a whole other kettle of fish but equally as important to maintain!) Nurseries usually offer a babysitting service if you just ask!

I take the little man to festivals in the summer, I go to gigs around once a month and grab babysitter (music was one of my passions... can you tell! Also the Mr is the guitarist in a local band so I like to watch him rock out sometimes!). I was determined to return to work and started blogging as I loved writing (nap times are amazing for fitting in whatever you enjoy!), I meet up with friends for coffee or lunch, I take relaxing baths and read a chapter of my book here and there...

Manage your time and just make sure that you remember YOU!

Thank you very much for sharing you lovely post with us Rebecca and taking part in #MotherhoodMondays and don't forget those of you who enjoyed Rebecca's post to share, share and share some more. You can find Rachel over at Rock and Roses Mama and I'll link her social media links below.


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