Here goes…!

So this first blog post is a lot more daunting than I expected as I feel a bit like I’m putting myself out there to the world! As a teacher, I know now how my students feel when they are staring at the blank piece of paper on which I expect them to create something profound! That is why, for now at least, I will be blogging under a veil of anonymity, as a bit of anxiety driven self-preservation I guess.

A bit about me: I’m a new mummy who is currently on maternity leave enjoying every second with my beautiful baby boy. He is 14 weeks old at time of writing and an absolute dream; I adore him- I’m sure that’s something I’ve instantly got in common with other mummas out there! (Might blog about that actually…). I am a teacher, I am happily married and I live in rural Wales.

I decided to start this blog because I gave up my hobbies when I became a mumma so I thought this would be a good new project for me. Don’t get me wrong, I am busy enough looking after my precious offspring, but when he’s napping and I’ve finished gazing at him I find myself itching for something to get stuck in to which is what brought me here. Also I thought it would be a good distraction from the rest of the internet, which can be a scary place for a mumma! (Might blog about that as well… seems I’ve got a lot to say after all, whether or not it’s interesting remains to be seen!)

The name for the blog came from suddenly being referred to as ‘Mumma’ instead of my actual name! It struck me that I now have a whole new identity, job to do and person to be which seems quite exciting. I don’t know how I’ve become ‘Mumma’ rather than ‘Mummy’, just seems to have gone that way.

I don’t claim to be an expert on mummahood- quite the opposite! I am in no way here to offer advice! Just here to share my tumultuous experiences in mummahood, vent and pass the time during naps mostly I suppose. Hopefully what I’ve got to say might lead to a few other mummas joining me on the journey, would be nice to have company along the way!

Welsh Lamb Hotpot Recipe for St David’s Day

In honour of St. David’s Day, I thought I’d share my family recipe for Welsh Lamb Hotpot. It makes the perfect winter warmer, just what we need as the Beast from the East takes hold! I’m not claiming to be a culinary genius, but this is a firm favourite in our house. It’s our version of Welsh Cawl, but more of a substantial than a soup. The (not-so) secret ingredient is the whole jar of mint jelly; it might seem a bit excessive, but just go with it. It’s yummy.

As well as a slow cooker, you will need:

Shoulder of welsh lamb

Swede

Carrots

Onion

New potatoes

Jar of mint jelly

Stock cube

Gravy granules

Cut all of the veg into bite size chunks and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Rest the lamb on top.

Pour over enough water to cover the veg.

Crumble in the stock cube.

Add the whole jar of mint jelly, rubbing some into the lamb.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on medium for 6-8 hours. I usually put it on in the morning to have for tea in the evening.

Take the lamb out and shred with two forks. It should just fall apart.

Before you put the lamb back in, take out some of the cooking juices and mix with gravy granules then stir back in. This is just to thicken and can be done to however you like it.

Stir the lamb back in.

Serve with Welsh cheddar crusty bread spread thickly with Welsh butter.

In our house we usually crumble the cheddar into the cawl so it goes all gooey. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Leave me a comment if you give this a go. I’d love to know what you think. Does your family have any special recipes with secret ingredients that you don’t mind sharing?

Winning the Lottery of Life

I know I’m not alone when I say my baby is the light of my life, but to say I feel lucky to have him, I feel like we’ve won the lottery of life.

Myself and my husband had only been married for a month when we decided we wanted to have a baby, we’d been together for 10 years so we didn’t really feel the need to ‘enjoy being married’ first. I was also conscious that the miracle of getting pregnant doesn’t just happen like the flick of a switch and we might be waiting some time so we might as well just get on with it and see what happens.

Having just got married, I was shocked by how many people would say ‘in jest’ “You’ll be having a baby next” or even “Are you trying for a baby now then?” Seriously, are you asking me if I’m having unprotected sex with my husband? Is that any of your business? Often it would be people who you would rather have the ground open and swallow you than face that conversation with, i.e. mothers in law, grandmas, line-managers… you get my drift.

We didn’t do any tracking or anything like that; I felt that it would put us under pressure and make it a stressful and worrying time. ‘Trying for a baby’ sounds trying in itself so we just nonchalantly dropped the contraception and left it to fate. I thought if we hadn’t got pregnant in 6 months then we’d look into ovulation apps etc. Wait and see…

I got pregnant.

I am well aware that there are couples who try and try, tracking cycles and monitoring basal body temperatures which is why this is me expressing my genuine gratitude to the universe that I have been so unbelievably lucky throughout this whole process. I am well aware that my baby is a gift and I treasure him as one every single day. The internet needs more positivity and that’s what this is. My story is a positive one.

The day I found out I was pregnant was already a big day. Firstly, it was my late grandfather’s birthday, he would have been 93. Secondly, my niece was born! My sister-in-law was a week over due so we were all waiting anxiously for news and it was such a relief to know that the baby had arrived safe and well. Lovely lovely news. I trotted off happily to my art class and proudly started a little painting with her name, D.O.B, weight, etc.

My art teacher, a very talented muralist called Stacey Brass (check out her work at @DesignsByStacey) said to me “You look different today, is everything ok? Something’s changed about you, you’re glowing.” I proudly replied, “I’m an auntie now, maybe it’s that?” But she wasn’t having it, “No it’s not that, are you pregnant?!” Cue frantic denial and brushing off! “Me?! Of course not! I’m still paying off the wedding!” Mind racing… Am I pregnant? I’m due on today and haven’t come on yet so I suppose I could be! Surely not.

My art class is an hour’s drive away from where I live in the middle of nowhere. Like I said, she’s a talented, inspirational artist, it was worth the two hour round trip every week. That week however, it was the longest drive home ever! Road closures, roadworks, traffic (yes, traffic- at 9pm in rural Wales! WTF?!)

My husband was away with work so all the way home I was debating whether to do a test or wait for him to be home the next day so we could do it together. By the time I got home I had decided to just go for it. I was the one who had to pee on the stick and we didn’t have the kind of relationship where he would be present for that anyway and I was only even doing a test because my art teacher said I ‘look different’, it wasn’t worth getting his hopes up, it was probably nothing…

It wasn’t nothing. It was something. And that magical little something is now led napping on my chest as a write this. Mind blowing.

100 Days on Earth

When it all goes quiet and you want to throw a random party to celebrate your baby, then do it!

My son was born on 5th November, Bonfire Night here in the UK. By the time we left hospital it was 6pm, a cold but dry evening. The drive home was surreal, my husband at the wheel and me sat in the back with the precious new cargo stuffing my face with chocolate buttons provided by the hospital like some kind of bizarre party bag. For the whole 20 minute journey, we were surrounded by fireworks going off as the various displays in the area got underway. I know this sounds corny, but it felt as if the whole world was celebrating the arrival of our son. It was lush.

In the weeks that followed we were lucky enough to be showered with gifts and cards and flowers more than we could believe. It seems babies bring out the kindness and generosity in everyone, even people we barely knew! I have never seen so many cards, I stopped counting at 100! We felt very lucky to have so many people sharing their love with us.

Once November was over, the stream of baby cards started to subside and Christmas cards started to come in. We all got swept up in the excitement of ‘Baby’s 1st Christmas’ baubles, outfits, etc. The pup had to have three outfit changes on the day to get through all of his Christmas jumpers! Although he was oblivious, we had lots of fun making it special.

Then January hit. My husband went back to work, the weather was miserable, it seemed like the celebrations were well and truly over. But I still have this beautiful baby who I think is worth celebrating every single day and yet there is no longer a queue at the door of people wanting to share congratulations and cuddles. It was a strange time. Not lonely because I had the baby with me at all times, but strangely quiet. I didn’t dislike it, it was nice to have quality time with him to bond and soak up every second of his gorgeousness, but I also wanted to shout from the rooftops ‘Hey everyone, he’s still here and he’s still amazing!’

‘I know,’ I thought, ‘let’s have a Christening!’ My husband is not a big believer but we got married in a church and it seemed like a logical thing to do. That was until my gran, which surprised me as not a week goes by without her going to chapel, pointed out that in today’s modern world, wouldn’t I like him to make the decision himself about whether or not he wants to be a a Christian or not? The answer was yes, now that you mention it, I do want to give him the freedom to make his own decisions. Good point Gran!

What about a blessing and thanksgiving ceremony? No point dragging everyone to a church if we’re not actually going to have him Christened. What about a naming ceremony? Not even really sure what that is so… that was a no too.

But we’ve still got this beautiful little bundle of loveliness to celebrate!

It was then that something popped up online about Donald Trump’s first 100 days as president, what has he achieved? Etc. 100 days. That sounds like a significant amount of time. A milestone or landmark, going from double figures into triple. I wonder when the pup will be 100 days old…Next week! So that’s why I decided to celebrate his 100 days. We had achieved so much in that 100 days. He is changing all the time, at 100 days old he can hold up his head, smile and laugh, kick and play, grab and hold stuff. All pretty standard I know, but to me- absolutely amazing.

And me, in the last 100 days I have learned how to look after this tiny human without too many mishaps along the way. I’m still learning every day but I know a lot more now than I did 100 days ago (despite reading an unprecedented amount of parenting books and articles)! I don’t care a jot about Donald Trump being president for 100 days, I’ve been a mum for 100 days!

So this is why I decided to have a party, if you can call it that with four people! I invited my parents around for tea, made my husband promise to be home from work on time and set to work. Party food, balloons, a cake, the lot. (Well, not quite the lot because the pup doesn’t like loud noises so no party poppers or fireworks. Hopefully he’ll grow to like them seeing as his birthday is on Bonfire Night!) My efforts were greeted with a few chortles and remarks that I must’ve lost the plot because of sleep deprivation but I carried on regardless, blowing bubbles at my giggling little pride and joy in his party hat. It was nice, it was special and it was just what I needed.

I think the point of what I’m trying to get across is to not-so-new mummas, just because the cards and congratulations have waned and everything’s gone a bit quiet, you’re still doing a great job, your baby is still amazing and if you want to celebrate that then do it. Even if people think you’re a bit bonkers, they’ll still eat the cake!