Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Review: Thane H20 X 5 Steam Mop from AO.com

I'm not one of those people that takes pleasure from cleaning. Chores for me, are just that, a chore. The quicker and I can get them done, the better, and I've been known to make serious investments to make that happen, because really, what you're paying for, is time. Last year, for Christmas (I kid you not), I asked for a Dyson, this cordless one, and frankly, it changed my life. If you follow me on social media you'll know all about my love for the steam iron too (double the ironing in half the time). So when Tom came home from work telling me that the lunchtime chat was in praise of the steam mop (I think they all need to watch a bit more telly) I was all ears. Since the baby started her weaning adventures, I felt like I was rarely without a mop in hand. If I don't keep the floor clean, a white baby grow has a special knack of naming and shaming. Before we move on, I should just point out all pictures featuring G were taken with the mop unplugged, it's definitely not a toy.
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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Baby & Me: Eleven months

Somehow the baby has gone from ten months old to "nearly one" in the space of a few days. I can remember looking at those mums, with the babies at playgroups who were crawling around the room and thinking, firstly, don't come near my newborn, you giant baby, and secondly, they're so different from me, they must have it all sorted. I've learnt that you don't get it all sorted, every stage brings a new challenge but I can safely say that I enjoy mothering a nearly-one-year-old much more than that poor refluxy newborn. Here's what's been happening in our world.

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Friday, 17 November 2017

Black Friday Picks For All The Family


Black Friday is a whole week away (Friday 24th November) but retailers have already started competing for a share of our christmas savings pot. You have two choices, muttering about how over-commercialised and Americanised Christmas has become (then inevitably leave it too late for online shopping and pay over the odds, with the added pleasure of breakdown inducing queues), or you could take advantage of the retailers competition for your cash and be all wrapped up before the 1st December, leaving you to spend the whole month with your christmas sock adorned feet up and a mulled wine in hand. Ok, that's never going to happen. But at least the presents will be purchased, even if you don't get around to wrapping them until December 24th! Let's shop:

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Post Birth Granuloma. A Pain In The...

I've been promising to write about this for ages but it seems to fall by the wayside, I'm healed, I'm fine, it's not on my mind but I've recently had a message from someone who is dealing with the agonising pain that is the post-birth down-there granuloma and I feel like it's time to talk about it. Because during my 4am google searches that started 'is it normal...?' I found very little comfort from the internet about my pesky granuloma. I should mention before you click 'read more' that this is quite a graphic account, because if you have one you need to know everything there is to know. If you're my brother, on the other hand, maybe give this one a miss.

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Review: Babybjörn High Chair


In truth, I left it so long to write a review on this high chair because I wanted to be balanced, I wanted to weigh up the good and bad but I genuinely can't fault it. We've been using it for five months, since she was six months old and we still remark on how good it is. Often with baby products, you have to weigh up style with practicality. The Babybjörn high chair nails both.

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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Baby & Me: Ten Months

This is our ten month update but actually it's been ten and a half months because despite the best of intentions I just haven't found the time! There's been a lot going on. I went back to work for some KIT days while at the same time getting Happy Decs off the ground. Meanwhile, the baby has been growing teeth, eating like a trooper and generally keeping me on my toes. Literally. Here's what else has been happening:
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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Baby & Me: Nine Month Update


Every month, I like better than the last. She talks and really means it (although only she knows what she's saying, obviously), she plays on her own...for a while and she's climbing up on everything and anything. I feel like I have a bit more time back although I've started a small business (I know, I know, what am I thinking?) so I can say goodbye to that again. I never did like to be idle. Here's what else has been happening. 

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Starting A Creative Business While The Baby Naps

I've started a business. It happened so quickly that I didn't have time to doubt myself, I had the idea to start making wall simple wall stickers, ones that had a hand illustrated vibe, that weren't a repeat pattern and that I assumed I would be able to buy easily, but apart from a few shipping all the way from America, I couldn't find anything that rang my bell. I thought up a name; Happy Decs, I bought a machine, I sourced the materials and before I knew it I had adorned every wall in my house (don't worry, they peel off!), bought a domain, built a website and spent most of the statutory maternity money that I had left on this sudden venture! It's almost taken me by surprise.
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Friday, 8 September 2017

Spotlight On: Poppie & George














Through the joys of Instagram I regularly find myself chatting to small brand owners and I love finding out why they started their brands, chatting to Addea, founder of Poppie and George we found we share a common fondness for dressing our child in clothes that we used to wear. She told me of a suitcase that her mum had full of her old clothes. Similarly (but less glamorously) my own mum kept a bin bag full of clothes that my brother and I wore in the eighties through three house moves and I was so glad that she did. There is something really special about comparing photos of me against G wearing clothes that I used to wear thirty years ago!

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Friday, 1 September 2017

Baby & Me: Eight Month Update

She's crawling! It's a bit lopsided, one foot and one knee is how she's decided to play it but she's off and I am not ready. In so many ways but mainly because we still don't have a living room. Here's what else has been happening.
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Thursday, 31 August 2017

Post Birth Feelings: The Hypnobirthing Debacle

I'm lying awake again. Not thinking about my birth experience but how I've been treated by the people that I paid and trusted to help me prepare for it. I'm more confused than ever over how I feel about G's birth. I had come to terms with it, I knew what happened was absolutely the right thing and I knew I felt really angry towards the Wise Hippo 'hypnobirthing' course that we did. I thought that writing to the course founder would be cathartic, I thought
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Thursday, 24 August 2017

Review: Ergo Pouch 2 in 1 Sleepsuit

I'm staying at my parents house with the baba, she's wearing her delicious Ergo Pouch sleepsuit and my mum has just produced my sleeping bag from 1985 to compare. An entirely synthetic pink thing, sealed to the wrist to really contain all that sweat! My, have we come a long way since those days. I love a bit of vintage, don't get me wrong but when there's safety at stake I'm all about intelligent updates! Especially when it has anything to do with sleep.
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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Review: The Diono Quantum Multi-Mode Travel Stroller

I unwrapped and built the new Diono Quantum multi-mode stroller in front of my mum (who was holding the baby) to a chorus of "oh isn't that clever" and "it MUST have been designed by parents". She's not a woman who's easily impressed. She's right though, I've had my mitts on a lot of prams and this is an ingenious bit of kit. What's so brilliant? I'll tell you.  
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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Why Hypnobirthing Didn't Work For Me

There are no positive or negative birth stories, there are just birth stories. This is the conclusion that I have reached after finally coming to terms with my labour at six-months post-birth. The funny thing is that I wasn't upset about my birth as such, the midwives and doctors did what they had to do under the time pressure of a dropping heart rate (hers) and an exhausted mother (me) to get her out alive. ALIVE. That's how serious it was. That's how...medical it was. I felt, and still feel so grateful for every single kind, compassionate and bloody-good-at-their-job NHS doc and midwife that I met. I am forever indebted to them for our lives. But immediately post-birth, and I'm talking about while the doctor was still stitching, an anger erupted from me that I could not control and that anger was aimed squarely at our Wise Hippo birthing course.
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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Spotlight On: Teethers

As I pondered out loud whether teething could explain G's latest grumbles my mum said to me 'teething is a bit like labour, you have a few false starts before it really gets going at which point you think it's not so bad, THEN, after that, once its totally obvious and there is no question about it, that's when the tooth will come through'. It made me laugh but it's probably true. By my mum's analogy G's been having Braxton Hicks for a few months now, days here and there where she wants to gnaw on everything but no sign of any toothy-pegs yet. Here's what G's been chewing on:
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Friday, 21 July 2017

Baby & Me: Seven Month Update

What a difference a month makes. I probably say this with every update but the development leaps seem to be quicker and bigger (and result in a few more bonked bonces) as she gets older. I'm not sure if it's the tiny bit of extra hair, the sitting up or the babbling but it seems like my baby is being replaced by a little girl already. I'll say it again...it goes SO fast. Here's what else has been happening:
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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Baby's First Holiday: Bahia Principe Costa Adeje, Tenerife

We made the decision that the four month mark was a good time for a post-baby holiday. It was May, the weather in the UK was still chilly and after navigating the winter months with a newborn in tow, we were longing for some sun, not least because we had an amazing selection of tiny clothes that just
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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Breastfeeding: A response to THAT Dove advert

I don't see myself as a massive breastfeeding advocate. Yes, I occasionally post pictures on Instagram and talk about clothes that you can feed in but I'm certainly not in the 'breast is best' brigade. What's best is whatever works for both of you, whatever gets you through those hazy newborn days. I didn't know which way I'd feed G but once she was here I became quite determined to breastfeed. Through the tongue tie and the colic and the silent reflux and the mastitis, because
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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Baby & Me: Six Month Update

As I write this it's 2am, roasting hot and I've just fed for the fifth time since 7pm, my big, six month old baby seems to have regressed to newborn levels of hunger. I don't blame her, I'm thirsty too but my eyelids are not happy about the situation. The house has gone to ruin during the heatwave this week, I have just about enough energy to keep her alive let alone tackle any ironing. Here's what else has been happening: 
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Monday, 26 June 2017

Baby Steps: Introducing Solids

We waited until she was almost six months old to start weaning, she went from pretty uninterested to watching us eat as like a Wimbledon umpire within two weeks. I wasn't too excited at the prospect to be honest, friends excitedly asked me if she was weaning from four months onwards. It's so much fun, they said. I couldn't see it myself, cleaning rejected broccoli from the floor is not my idea of a good night. Plus, a few mums that I'd spoken to were following such a strict regime that it all just seemed like a lot of clock-watching hard work. But, the umpire had spoken, she couldn't live on milk alone (although her rolls of fat would suggest otherwise). 
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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Review: Babybjörn Bouncer Bliss

If it ain't broke, just make it even more stylish. That's how the saying goes, right? I don't know many families who don't have at least one Babyjörn bouncer at home. First designed in 1961 by the Swedish family owned company, it's seriously stood the test of time, but this year, Lillemor Jakobson, BabyBjörn's creative director and co-founder felt a styling update was in order, and the bouncer bliss was born.  G is modelling ours, the mesh design in Cocoa here, the range also includes a quilted cotton option in four trend-led colours including a beautiful 'Old Rose' pink.
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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Post Birth. Ten Things You Need To Know

I considered myself pretty read up on birth. I had done antenatal classes, a hypnobirthing course (don't get me started on that). I spent my pregnancy working for a baby magazine for goodness sake but I still had it largely in my mind that birth, however long it takes, ends when the baby exits your body in one way or another at which point you pack up your bags and take your baby home to work on the next challenge; Sleeping Through The Night. There may have been a vague notion that there would be something resembling a heavy period so to pack
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Baby & Me: Week 23 Update

At least I think we're at 23 weeks, I'm losing track! I popped into the breastfeeding cafe last week to get some weaning advice and was chatting to some mums of tiny babies about sleep and reflux and THE CRYING THAT JUST WON'T STOP. It made me realise how far we've come. The breastfeeding expert (let's call her Natalie, because that's her name) was walking around soothing a crying baby, two months ago that would have been G.
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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Summer Breastfeeding Capsule Wardrobe

Breastfeeding hadn't really influenced my style through the winter, I was always a breton and dungarees girl, way before baby (and quite a long time before dungarees were fashionable). So I expected to be able to wear my summer clothes in the same way, a vest underneath, one up, one down, baby on. It turned out not to be quite so simple. 
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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Review: Mezaya Baby Linen Ring Sling

Is there anything that says "I've got motherhood nailed" more loudly than wearing your baby in a proper sling? I think not. I must admit that I had traditional slings down in the 'not for me' category. They looked great, don't get me wrong, but I figured that they must be difficult to put on and anyway, my baby's a wriggler, she'll break free if it doesn't have serious amounts of hardware to keep her in place, right? I couldn't have been more wrong.
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Monday, 22 May 2017

Nursing Bras: What I Know Now

I'm still breastfeeding, five months in, and nobody is more surprised by this than me. It's been a rocky ol' road but it really is a miracle, watching your baby grow nourished entirely by a pair of body parts that frankly, prior to their new role barely needed a bra. But, need a bra they do now, and in my short but intense experience I've learnt a few things about nursing bras. Here's what I know:
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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod

If I had to rank my baby kit by how much I rely on it, the Sleepyhead Deluxe Pod would be right at the top. Before I had her I wondered why people raved so much about what looks like such a simple piece of kit, it's not cheap either. Couldn't we just do without it? We tried. I left it in the packaging when we brought her home from hospital. Why use it if we didn't need to, I thought. By her seventh
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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Baby & Me: 19 Week Update (Holiday Special!)

She turned 19 weeks in Tenerife and I feel like she's done a tremendous amount of growing this week. Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's having her Dad with her all day and Nan and Grandad around (my parents came with us to up the baby to adult ratio!) or maybe she's just grown up past that newborn stage but she seems happier, more content and more able to communicate what she wants. In her own way. 
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Monday, 8 May 2017

Let's Talk: Becoming Dad


It feels very obvious that Tom should change the baby's nappies, bathe her and dress her but the older generation would refer to Tom as a 'hands on' Dad. Thinking about it, eighty years ago he wouldn't have even been allowed into the room while I was giving birth. I feel very lucky that he was. Those days (yes days) on the labour ward are a blur for me so we slung the baby in the carrier and went out for a de-brief!
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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Interiors Update: Prints Charming

Every room in our house is painted the same colour. White. More specifically, Brilliant White, and brilliant it is indeed. It means that if the walls get marked or dirty we can just paint over them, It’s light and bright and I love it, really I do. It also means that we can update the room by hanging something new on the walls in the same way that you would update a sofa for the new season by buying a few fresh cushions. I found out about great value Scandinavian art print site Desenio on Instagram and have freshened up two rooms with framed prints. 
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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Newborn Gift Ideas


Now I'm not complaining, we were lucky enough to be given some very beautiful clothes but with a bulging wardrobe (she has far more clothes than me) I really appreciated the gifts that we didn't have to wrestle her in to, especially in those first weeks when anything more tricky than a button up the front babygrow was a non starter. Here are my top six new mama (non-fashion) gifts:
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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Baby & Me: 16 Week Update


We're through the last of the injections, she's on medicine so that she's no longer in pain after every feed, she's wearing 3-6 month clothes and she really wants to be sitting up. Here's what else has been happening.
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Monday, 17 April 2017

Motherhood: Five Things I Said I'd Never Do

'My baby will absolutely, definitely not have a dummy'. I laugh when I think about how strongly I felt about things like this before she was here. A neighbour recently said to me (as I rolled my eyes and popped the baby's dummy in) 'I was the perfect mother until I had a baby'. I think this is probably true of quite a few of us. It's so easy to say what you will and won't do when you become a mother. The reality is often quite different to the theory. To be the perfect mother requires having a perfect baby, and by that I mean a textbook baby, and you know what? I'm yet to come across one. So here we are, me and the little one, getting through by doing a whole load of the things that I said I'd never do...
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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Breastfeeding Essentials: Out And About


Breastfeeding in public is a very different ball game to those comfy indoor feeds that I wrote about a few weeks ago. Discretion is not so easy if your baby is anything like mine, screaming, head butting and generally drawing attention to my exposed boob, that's how it feels, at least. In reality, people are pretty polite, they clock what you're up to and put their eyes somewhere else but it doesn't hurt to arm yourself with whatever you need to make those public feeds as relaxed as possible. Here's what I take for nursing on the go:

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Friday, 24 March 2017

What's In My Changing Bag?

Although I have a few different changing bags, this is the one that I use most of the time. It's a Jem and Bea Amber in black, comes in the softest leather and hangs easily from my pram. The separators mean that everything is easy to get to, which is important when a poonami strikes somewhere other than the safety of your own home. Nobody wants to go fishing for a baby wipe during that kind of emergency. After a few weeks of taking enough nappies and wipes to run a nursery every time I left the house and getting an aching shoulder from the weight of it all, I now just carry the basics for our everyday adventures. Here's what I pack...

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Monday, 20 March 2017

Baby & Me: 12 Weeks

This week has been the hardest in my mothering career so far. At least, as far as I remember. Twelve weeks in, I know all too well by now that each stage is just a phase, it will pass and I won't even remember what all the fuss was about. But when you're in it, when the crying Just. Won't. Stop. And anything that you do only distracts them momentarily from their anguish, it's tough. Like, really tough.
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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Spotlight On: Bebe Bombom


At three months old I'm still dressing G in babygrows most of the time. I've tried her in a dress, twice, but it spends most of the time up by her ears while her Simon Cowellesque tights with Nora Batty knees reveal the cartoons on her nappy. Not a good look. 
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Monday, 13 March 2017

Baby & Me: 11 Weeks

In the past three weeks, since my last update we've spent our first night without Tom, the kiddo has grown out of even more clothes and I fit in to even more of mine. Oh and we've both been discharged from the hospital at last! Here's what else has been happening:
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Saturday, 4 March 2017

Post Baby Fitness: The Masterplan

During my post-birth stay in the hospital, when I could barely stand and the shuffle to the bathroom wiped me out so much that I'd fall asleep as soon as I made it back to my bed, a nurse came around
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Breastfeeding: A Pain In The Boob

So I've had to pierce my own nipple 🙈 (a whole lot of TMI follows, but I'm telling you because I didn't even know this was a thing & maybe this will save someone else a whole world of pain!).
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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Baby & Me: 8 Weeks

We have emerged from the fog. Week six was the turning point, I finally feel like we're in the swing of things. I just re-read my last update and it makes me realise how quickly life changes when you have a tiny person growing up right before your eyes. In the past two weeks I have been healed by a miracle doctor and G has had her jabs, here's what else has been happening:

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Friday, 17 February 2017

Review: Joolz Geo

I spent more time pouring over pushchairs than I have ever deliberated on a new car purchase. I'd be plodding pavements with it for a good few years to come so I wanted to make sure that I chose one that would last the distance as well as being a beauty to look at and a dream to lie in. Although tempted by the new Joolz Day 2 that
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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Baby & Me: Six Weeks

She's six weeks old, practically a teenager. We have already put some of her clothes into a box for the loft. I've cried  because I was looking at pictures from 'when she was a baby'. The voice of reason (Tom) is finding my hormones and the loopy things they say quite hilarious. It's been a roller coaster
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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Breastfeeding Essentials: Home Comforts


 Feeding at home vs out and about are two pretty different experiences. The first is comfy, cosy and cuddly, the second is all about necessity, nourishment and trying oh so hard not to flash a nip! Here are my breastfeeding home comforts
 
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Monday, 23 January 2017

Review: Snüzpod Bedside 3-in-1 Crib


There weren't many things that I was sure that I wanted when it came to buying for baby but the Snüzpod was top of my short list. I'd heard great things about them from friends cheering on its safe co-sleeping properties but truth be known, the thing that really appealed was the design. Its simple shape and and clean lines mean that it
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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Capturing The Moment: Newborn Life


I am very lucky to count some very talented creatives amongst my closest friends, so when amazing wedding photographer Terri Pashley came for newborn cuddles she brought her pro-kit with her too. Two weeks later, I'm already so pleased that she captured the rawness of those vulnerable, sleep
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Sunday, 8 January 2017

Review: Wisbear The Humming Bear


On the morning after the sixth sleepless, relentless night with our baby girl as she slept in the kitchen through Kerrang radio at full blast (his music choice, not mine) while we prised our eyes open with matchsticks, I had an epiphany. We had been given a Whisbear, which was sitting patiently in its box on top of the wardrobe. I hadn't
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Sunday, 1 January 2017

We had a baby!


Just a quick update to say that we had a little girl before Christmas, and after a short stay in hospital we were home in time for the big day! I may write my birth story in time, but for now we're recovering, in awe of all of the amazing NHS staff and getting to know each other. It's been a steep
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