Alice & The Mums Issue 8

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A L I C E & T H E M U M S


































PND & ME 21




EDITOR'S WELCOME Well this issue started as a Multiples Edition, but bloody hell it's been a difficult one to put together. We still have our multiples section with some stories from the mummies who juggle more than one at one time! That's the nature of this magazine though I suppose, waiting on people to get back to you with a story and expecting people to meet deadlines is difficult! BUT, there's so many gorgeous stories in here about all manner of topics to make up for it! Nursery designs, meeting your mummy friends online, hypnobirthing, mental health, being a work at home mummore than enough to make up for everything I thought this issue might be. Alas, enjoy it! I'm thinking I should have called this one the chaotic Edition, but nonetheless fabulous! ALICE & THE MUMS | 3

Meeting Mums Online

By Samantha Potter Being a new mum to a brand new tiny human who depends on you entirely can be a scary, overwhelming and completely fantastic experience all rolled into one. There are plenty of things that new mums wished they had known but whether it’s your first or thirteenth baby, meeting other mums and making ‘mum friends’ can be something of a daunting experience. After I had my eldest daughter we had just moved back to the area where I grew up. Most of the people I had been childhood friends with had either moved away or had ALICE & THE MUMS | 4

childless lives so I felt incredibly lonely and as though something was missing. I threw myself into baby classes and mum groups and it was nice. But that was the thing, it was nice. I chatted to mums and always had the same conversation, ‘How old is yours?’ ‘How do they sleep’ ‘How was the labour’ etc. etc., and usually after a few weeks the conversation had fizzled out or one of you wouldn’t have gone back. It was tiresome and there was a lot of cliques within baby groups that I didn’t feel like I fitted in with and also and also didn’t particularly want to. The thing is though, I had awful mum guilt that my little girl was going to end up eternally friendless if I didn’t make these

"There have been times where I have just clicked with a fellow mother, not only on a new ‘mum friend level’ but on also on a ‘Sam’ level. "

life long friendships that you hear so much about. Before I had even given birth, I created an Instagram account to document the end of my pregnancy and life as a new mum. I had no idea that this was such a fantastic community to become part of and soon found myself building friendships with women up and down the country who I had never met before. Bonding over a 3am night feed, sharing advice and supporting each other through the good and the tough times. This is where I came across the Mama Meet Project who brought women and mothers, feeling just like I was, together all over the country, and after attending a few meet ups I decided to jump on the chance to do something to help when the opportunity arose to become an ambassador for my local area. Arranging these meet ups and running the social media for this enabled me to meet some fabulous women, not just with new tiny babies but with older children too and we were all included! We would arrange days out and meet ups at the park, occasionally a coffee morning and we would all have a natter and a catch up. There was one thing that I found completely mind boggling when I first heard about it and feel like I have had such a love/hate relationship with them throughout my parenting life. Mum Community Apps. When I first heard of the likes of Mush/Peanut ect I thought GREAT! It’s such a weird concept though isn’t it, scrolling through profiles like you are essentially on a dating app and pick and choosing who you want to message. I met up with some great people and never once thought that I had made a mistake in doing this. But on two separate occasions now there have been times where I have just clicked with a fellow mother, not only on a new ‘mum friend level’ but on also on a ‘Sam’ level. These are two ladies who I now couldn’t be without and are not only there for my kids but for me too. I think this is something that you need to remember when we are looking for our support network. These people shouldn’t just be people you get on with for the sake of your kids. They should be women you can go out drinking with, eat good food with, dance, laugh, cry (like really cry), call in the middle of the night and chat in the garden with a cuppa until 1am with. In the time I have known them we have all had another child and they have been there through every part of every journey. My girls have their forever friends and I have realised now that I have finally found my tribe, which was nothing like I had envisioned it would be 5 years ago. It is a handful of strong and supportive women who I would do anything for and know that they would do the same.



By Lindsay McKenzie

can squeeze in around the kids without inducing too much

Since becoming a mother, I have

new mother. Ten days after having my first

dreaded ‘mum guilt’ for time not

baby I had to sit down mid-way

spent with them.

round the Ikea Marketplace as it

Of course everyone will have

felt like I was having a prolapse

dabbled with different forms of

different thoughts about their

(damn the one-way system

exercise over the years. It mostly

body image and individual fitness

impeding a speedy exit). Things did

comes down to what feels

goals, but my overall advice to

however quickly improve and I

achievable considering my level of

mums would be to absolutely cut

soon felt in a place where I could

exhaustion at the time and what I

yourself some slack, especially as a

achieve a small amount of


exercise. During mat leave I tried out a few

I'm now nearly five years in to motherhood, firmly back at work,

different classes and found them to

and future mat leave exercise

be very different kettles of fish…The

opportunities are looking limited

first with my son took the form of; do

according to my husband’s ‘no

a couple of squats, chat, a few high

more’ policy. Where I have landed

knees, chat, pretend your baby needs

with fitness, is one to two HIIT

a nappy change if anyone mentions

sessions and one approx. 30

burpees, couple of press ups and then

minute run per week. Kids, other

finish the class with some home

family, friends, work, etc. all

baking one of the mums brings in. A

compete for time and the ‘ditch it if

great way to meet new mums and

I have to’ rule still applies to

satisfying to know I had done at least


a bit of exercise. Three years down the line, the

In these time pressured days that we live in, I am a huge fan of

class I attended when on mat leave

the Joe Wicks HIIT style of

with my daughter was a one hour

workout. Joe does not judge you

continuous HIIT session, it

for dirty joggers or unwashed hair

was bloody insane. The mums at this

and in around 20 minutes the job is

class appeared to be a different

done. I have found it to be a pretty

breed from the biscuit-loving mums I

effective form of exercise in terms

knew and loved. I often felt far too

of noticing small body changes so

tired to take on such challenges and

thumbs up to HIIT. Although my

would frequently

son did say the other day “Oh look

get a serious case of the shakes.

Mummy there’s that man on our

By the end of the class it was all I

telly! Has he asked you why he’s

could manage to shakily scoop my

not seen you in so long?!” so

baby up and hobble back to the car

perhaps I have been slacking off a

without barfing.


The thing I’ve realised with exercise and kids is that it can be difficult to plan for and the two are not always compatible. If you’ve been up most of the night with a child then you might be simply too tired for burpees. In this case I would say absolutely sack it off and do what you need to do to get through the day, if that is to comfort eat your way through then so be it. And sometimes it’s just too bloody hard to nail a HIIT session with one or more children dangling off your ankles and the mission must be aborted – remember


that you tried girl :)


Being a Work at Home Mum When life turned on its head back in March, and parents around the world found themselves working from home while simultaneously taking care of their children and homeschooling them too, I received a lot of messages asking me how I do it. My job is a little different to a standard 9-5 job, but I hope to share a little about working from home, running a successful business, caring for my daughter at the same time and how I ensure I don’t go crazy too. I should probably first introduce myself; I am Amy, 30-something mum of one, Social Media Coach, Content Creator and Personal Brand Strategist. I have worked for myself, at the very least in a part time manner, for the past fourteen years, I spent the last five years working from home full time and after returning from maternity leave this year I have resumed working from home in the spare moments of my days. Being the stay at home parent, who also works from home during nap time and bedtime is like being part of an exclusive group, because it’s not easy to find others like you. It means feeling so inspired at the wrong time and not always being

able to act on it, it means being super intentional about the time you have to be sure that you don’t waste a second, it is seeing the opportunity for work and being able to just go for it and it’s one of the most rewarding things I have done. So how do I get it all done? With a little bit of planning, a lot of cooperation from my husband and taking the opportunities where I see them. A standard day for me looks like this: I wake up, get myself ready and my husband starts working (also from home) while I get my daughter breakfast and ready for the day. We will usually spend our mornings either outside when it’s nice, visiting somewhere locally, having playdates or playing at home. As my daughter takes her only nap after lunch, usually around 2.30pm, this gives me time to start working. There are some mornings where we’re at home and she is happily doing something which enables me to steal five minutes here and there,


but I’ll be transparent in that they are few and far between, especially the older she gets. Once she is napping my time really begins and I am able to work this into my day. I usually schedule my coaching calls during this time and also work on anything I am currently working on. By the time nap time is over my husband has finished work which then enables me to carry on until dinner time and then beyond in the evening. Every day is different, which is one of the things I actually love about working for myself; some days are easy, some are crazy and some just don’t quite pan out the way I planned them. Running my own business is one of the best things I have ever done and it enables me to keep a toe dipped in both worlds, which I love. It


might seem from all of this that I don’t make time for myself, but I do. We have plenty of family time, time I get to spend alone and time for reading and self care. It’s just a balancing act but one that excites me because loving what I have created never seems like a chore. The craziest part of all this is that I never even intended to return to work or running a business after maternity leave, but it has been the thing that helps me be the mum I want to be. I have always enjoyed having something for myself and found I needed that even more when I became a mum. This has given me the best of both worlds and while it isn’t always easy it’s enabled me to create the career I have always wanted. All of our journey’s through motherhood look different and I hope mine shed a little light on a different way.



When I was little, I had a beautiful painting on

When I became pregnant with my first

my nursery wall of Disney characters. My mum

daughter Lucy in 2017, my other half and I

and dad decided they wanted a Disney theme

started thinking about the nursery design

and they found a talented young university

straight away. There was no question of who

student to complete the painting. With Disney

would complete the painting for us. My friend

favourites like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck

Kirsty, who I have known forever, is super

and Bambi making an appearance, it was fab.

talented with her art (just check out her

It remains in my parents' home today, in their

Fanstagram page on Instagram) and I knew

office, and my little one loves looking at the

she would do a fabulous job. She was thinking

different characters.

the same and offered to paint the nursery for

I always had in mind when I had my own children that I would love a painting for them in their nursery.

us. When she came to visit when I was five months pregnant, we decided to look for some ideas.





months pregnant, we decided to look for some ideas. We knew that I was having a girl so along with my husband we scoured the web for different nursery designs. We first thought about having an underwater theme with different Disney characters but then we thought maybe we should go for something more unique. We had the nursery furniture from Kiddicare and had gone for a feminine white set. Also, my partner and I had picked out some bedding from Mothercare for the cot which had some cute teddies, giraffes and elephants as part of the design. Using this for inspiration, we found a cute idea online which had different animals flying from the sky tied to hot air balloons. We just loved the idea and thought it was a dreamy design that our little girl would adore. So, Kirsty went back home and planned it fully before returning two months before I was due for the weekend to begin decorating the room. Before she started, we painted the room a neutral mocha colour, so it was easier for her to begin drawing. All drawn from hand, Kirsty started on the various characters and added our two lovely cats Sparky and Lilly as part of the design as an added bonus. We had talked about colours and went with some pale pinks, blues and yellows which went well with the room and we thought would look beautiful together. It was also neutral enough if we had a boy in the future. Kirsty worked her magic and the room looked amazing when finished. We got a cute

light shade and some matching curtains to help complete the room. When Kirsty came to meet Lucy after she was born, she had painted some wooden letters of her name which we then placed on the wall and they really make the room extra special. Everyone loved the design and I'm so happy we went for this cute look. Lucy who is now three loves the nursery and is always pointing out the different animals on the wall. She especially loves seeing her pet cats on the wall. We had another daughter in June, called Alice, who is soon going to move into the nursery. We are so excited for her to enjoy her new room and Kirsty is painting some wooden letters for her to put up in the room. I really recommend painting the nursery; it’s timeless and unique for your baby. Next to plan Lucy's big girl room...


Hypnobirthing With Charlotte

maternity leave in late 2019 I felt strongly that it was time for a career change. I came across The Calm Birth School who were offering spaces on their hypnobirthing tuition course. Enrolling was a no brainer, I knew immediately that becoming a hypnobirthing teacher was my calling. For as long as I can remember, I have always




loved hearing people’s birth stories. I am passionate about women and women’s rights and

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved

haring my birth experiences with others. I feel that

babies and a birth story. Since a young age I had

hypnobirthing techniques and The Calm Birth

longed for the day I would be ready start a family.

School represent exactly what I want to do - help

Four years into a relationship with my now husband Rich, we decided to start a family. We

ladies achieve a positive birth experience. Hypnobirthing is not a type of birth, it is a tool

welcomed our handsome Jenson into the world in

we can use to help us navigate our birthing

March 2017 and in April 2019 we welcomed our

experience. A successful hypnobirth can take on

beautiful daughter Olive. Towards the end of my

many forms - drug assisted or natural, at home,


in a birthing centre or in a hospital, vaginal delivery or

it recorded! I would of loved to have had my incredible

planned or emergency cesarean section.

experience documented to show my clients just now

The key to a successful hypnobirth is the birthing woman feeling informed, in control and as comfortable as

amazing our bodies are and what they're capable of. During the classes we consider the process of giving

is possible. I completed my training with The Calm Birth

birth, watch and discuss videos of other people’s births and

School and qualified as a hypnobirthing instructor in April

learn the benefits of breathing techniques and relaxing

2020. Here I am, seven months after beginning my new

music. The course includes a copy of the Calm Birth

career, spending my evenings with my fantastic clients and

Method book and access to a variety of tracks. My role is to

their birth partners teaching them hypnobirthing

provide support throughout and after the course has


finished, up to birth and thereafter. I’m hoping to expand

I am based in Essex and offer my clients a ten hour 1:1 bespoke hypnobirthing course, usually split over four sessions, from the comfort of their own homes. We

on the post natal services I can offer and will shortly be completing a breastfeeding support course. My main key for Mums to be is to remember that this is

consider the process of labour and giving birth, how our

your baby, your baby in your body so the decisions are all

amazing bodies work and your rights whilst birthing and

yours! Feel empowered and confident with your new

thereafter. We take time to understand how we perceive

knowledge and be in control of your birthing journey. I

birth, what fears we may have and use the tools we have

tailor my courses depending on any special circumstances

learnt to change our mindset and let our bodies do what

Mum or baby may have, we spend time making sure the

they are designed to do.

birthing partner is feeling prepared and organised ready

At the time of writing we’re approaching Autumn, when

for the big day! We all look forward to baby arriving, that

the evenings are closing in, its getting colder, and most

first cuddle and birth being complete! But why don’t we all

people look forward to being cosy at home of an evening.

look forward to our birthing journey? Well imagine how

My clients are not required to travel after a day at work to

nice that would be to feel excited for your own unique

take part in my course. they are able to learn whilst

journey of which birth path your body takes and feeling

relaxing in their lounge, on their sofa, in their comfy

prepared and for educated for the possible turns that may

clothes. 2020 has been an unusual year to say the least, and

occur.If you are expecting your first, second, third or

many of my clients find that being in their home

fourth baby Hypnobirthing can still be for you. I also offer

environment, and able to use their own toilet facilities,

refresher courses, online zoom course for clients based

rather than being a hospital or other public building, helps

outside of Essex and courses for ladies who are welcoming

them to feel more comfortable.

baby into the world via an abdominal birth. Come and find

Most people assume Jenson and Olive’s births were

me on Social Media @hypnobirthing_with_charlotte to see

hypnobirths but they weren't. Both were vaginal births,

all the latest birth stories and Hypnobirthing reviews! I

Jenson’s was 'text book' in many ways but I ended up in

look forward to talk with you soon.

theatre. Olive’s felt very much like my dream birth, the only thing I would change is to of had


Post Natal Depression & Me BY TIARNA BEBBINGTON

When I first found out I was pregnant with Milo, I was so excited but I also felt very nervous at the same time. I'd looked after my niece a few times and we had a very good bond so I spent a lot of time with her but even this couldn’t ease my worry about becoming a mum. It's so different when you have your own baby. I feel like I didn’t prepare myself enough about the postpartum period and the changes your body and mind go through. Milo was born and it was one of the best days of my life. I fell in love instantly, my heart felt so full. In the first few weeks I found it extremely difficult. The fact I had so many stitches from labour made me feel worse, it took a month for me to feel kind of normal again. I was also trying really hard to breastfeed plus battling Mastitis twice whilst recovering really took its toll on my mental health. I was constantly crying and I literally couldn’t think of a reason to be crying, I was just so emotional. Then around two months postpartum, I broke ALICE & THE MUMS | 16

down to my mum one day and told her I was struggling with my mental health and I just felt down all the time. I also explained that I felt really frustrated because I couldn’t understand why I felt this way. I'd given birth to this amazing little human and I still felt sad... literally all the time. My mum told me it was okay to feel the way I did and asked if I'd like to speak to my GP. I agreed and she made me an appointment. I went to see my GP and just explained everything that was going on and I mentioned about me constantly feeling upset. After talking for half an hour, she told me I had Post Natal Depression and asked if id be comfortable going on a small dose of tablets to make me feel a bit happier. I agreed and started taking the medication, I then had weekly update telephone consultations with my doctor to discuss how I was feeling and to make sure I was okay on the tablets. After around two months, I started to feel a lot better. I was so much happier and I wasn’t emotional all the time. I found that bottling up my thoughts and feelings made my situation so much worse. If I would have

opened up sooner, I would have felt so much better when I was recovering. When I started feeling better, I created my Instagram page which was originally ‘__milo.and.me__’. I fell in love with the parent community on Instagram instantly. I formed friendships with so many amazing parents and I still speak to lots of them now. I have had so much support from everyone and it brings me so much happiness. Talking really does help when you’re not feeling yourself, whether that’s to health care professionals, friends, family, work colleagues or Insta friends. You can talk to anyone you feel comfortable with, if you ever feel like you need help, please accept it. I came off my tablets when Milo turned 6 months old. Me and my doctor agreed that once I started to feel better, we would start to

wean me off them so that’s what we did. I came off them really well, I didn’t feel any low mood swings which was apparently a side affect of coming off the tablets. I just felt normal. I’m so glad I reached out for some support from my mum and I will always be grateful for the support I received from my friends, family and GP. I really learned a lesson from post-natal depression. I learnt that sometimes, whilst your recovering from having your baby, you might not feel how you expect to feel and that’s okay. Your mental health after having your baby is so important and its okay to feel how your feeling, no matter what. I really would advise to reach out for support, you’ll be amazed with how much relief you will feel. Milo is 19 months old now and I’m currently 14 weeks postpartum with Arabella. I can honestly say my mental health during this

postpartum period has been great. My post birth experience was so much better this time and I found breastfeeding so much better too. I think that has really helped my mental health, I’m just always so happy. I was mobile two days after giving birth with Arabella, whereas with Milo it took me a whole month just to walk properly without pain. I feel so free, free to enjoy my baby without this indescribable feeling of sadness. Maybe I’ve found it easier this time because I did a lot of research on postpartum mental health too. I just wanted to end my article explaining how normal it actually is to feel a little sad after having a baby. You’ve got to think, you’ve literally gone through one of the most painful things your ever going to feel in your life and then after a few days, you start to experience this sudden feeling of emptiness as you slowly start to accept the little pouch that sits in the place that was once your bump. That as well as adjusting to life as a mum and the constant change in hormones is so difficult. All of that can take its toll on your mental health. Just remember you are doing an amazing job and don’t bottle your feelings up like I did. I’m so happy now, my mental health is great, I have my two beautiful babies and my amazing partner. Breastfeeding is going so well this time. Its so crazy how different both of my postpartum periods have been. Just remember, its okay not to be okay.






"HOW CAN I EAT WELL ON A BUDGET?" This is a question we get asked a lot, with big families along with the rising cost of fruit, vegetables and meats, it is becoming important to really focus on bulk cooking and preparing meals where possible. If you batch cook your meals then you can save money in the long term while eating healthy and nutritious meals. The key to this is planning, sit down on a Sunday and a Wednesday and figure out your meals for the next 3 days rather than just shopping blindly, this way you know what to get when you go into the super markets so you are less likely to grab extra bits that are not going to help with your goals. It is a bit of a tough one for me to give out the best healthy meals as everyone has their own taste/nutritional needs with foods but I will provide 3 of my favourite options that can keep for


days/weeks to help provide you with nutritious meals while keeping your funds under control. We have also provided our Ebook with our spice blend recipes, these give you some options to help make your meals a little tastier on your meat and vegetables, you can also get a little creative on using the blends, we have reicpes foods and a few hot drink options. BREAKFAST: Chia Seed Puddings On our blog we have our base mix which you’ll need to use for all of your puddings but you can get creative with what you put into that and with your toppings, below is our take on a black forest gateau. Ingredients: 1 tbsp cocoa powder 3 tbsp chia seeds 1 cup nut milk (I use cashew) ⅛ tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp maple syrup To serve Scoop of greek yoghurt 5 sliced cherries Put all the main ingredients in a jar, shake it until they are all combined and leave in the fridge overnight. Then serve with your yoghurt and cherries on top. The above recipe is for one portion and can last in the fridge for up to 3 days


Smoothie Packs These are super simple ways to pack some nutrients on the go. Take a resealable freezer bag, place your fruit and veggies in the bag, enough for one portion, and then freeze them for when you need them. Put them all in the blender with your liquid choice and you have a smoothie in moments. If you would like to add some protein sources to help build a more nutritionally rounded smoothie and to help with your macronutrient intake then you can look at adding protein powder, yoghurt, seeds or nuts. Place them in with your frozen smoothie pack and liquid when you are going to blend it up. Below are 3 of our favourite combos for smoothie packs: Tropical - Banana, Pineapple, Mango Green Machine - Mango, Avocado, Spinach Toffee Apple - Dates, Apple, Cinnamon Chilli Con Carne This is a household favourite and one we make LOADS of, we take out a portion for Phoebe before adding

the chilli and cayenne pepper but we make this at least once a week. We serve it up with some rice, jalapenos and homemade guacamole. Another reason we love this is because you can just throw in so many additional veggies, adding things like celery, chickpeas, mushrooms and carrots can help boost your daily intake and make the batch even bigger. There are so many variations on how to make this, so I will leave it up to you as the spice and heat you add to this is a personal choice but below are the spices we put in with the usual ingredients you’d use, mince, kidney beans, chopped tomatoes: 2 tbsp cumin 2 tbsp garam masala 1 tbsp chilli powder 1tbsp cayenne pepper 1 tbsp turmeric 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp paprika We hope these give you a little help and if you would like more options then reach out and we will be more than happy to give you some more inspo for healthier eating. ALICE & THE MUMS | 19

CHILDCARE WITH AUNTIE K: Dealing with Separation Anxiety Lockdown has caused our children to spend an unusually large amount of time at home with their families and so thought I would offer my Top Tips for dealing with separation anxiety. With the schools and nurseries re-opening I think this will be a challenge for a lot of parents even if it has never been an issue before. Remember that how you react will impact the frequency, intensity and duration of your child’s behaviour so try and remain calm and be consistent. 1) Talk About It Talking to your child about what is going to happen can help minimise their anxiety. Explain that school/nursery will be different to how they are used to it being but point out the positives like seeing their friends and teachers and reassure them that school/nursery is only allowed to open because they feel it is safe to do so and you would not send them if wasn’t. 2) Practice


Remind your child of their usual routine on school/nursery days. So what time they are up and dressed, eat breakfast and what time you leave the house and perhaps do a practice run a couple of days before so that there is less panic on the day which will help ease their anxiety.

be for the teachers and the more disruptive it will be for the whole class. Never go back, no matter how hard it is. Instead wait 15/20 minutes and give the school/nursery a call if you feel you need to. Also, don’t go without them noticing as it will only make the situation worse and it will break their trust.

3) Allow Your Child To Be Upset

5) Praise Them

It is never nice seeing your child upset and often we tell them not to cry but actually, allowing their emotions to be expressed will help alleviate the stress. Acknowledge that it hard to say goodbye and accept that they will feel sad when you leave.

It is important that you acknowledge how brave your child has been for getting on with their day when you know it was really hard for them to do and that you give them some praise for doing so. Praising them will give their self esteem a boost and help build their confidence. It is likely that you will also have your own anxieties but modelling resilience will hugely help your child to be resilient so try to not let your own emotions take over. Remember that you are doing an important job in helping to teach your child how to deal with their emotions and that will help them in many ways throughout their lives.

4) Keep It Short And Sweet As difficult it is when your child is clinging to you wailing, try and keep your goodbye short and sweet. The longer you hang around the more intense it will become, the harder it will


The Little Cake Company Review BY ALICE KING Last month, I was kindly gifted a delicious Brownie Tray from The Little Cake Company. My first impressions were how impressed I was at the selection of flavours you can choose from and also how unreal they all looked in pictures! It was a tough decision, but I eventually opted for the Nutella and Kinder Bueno, but think I'm going to go for the Bakewell Blondie next time. Competitively priced at just ÂŁ15, it's only a matter of time before I get my next one! With lots of twists on favourite classics and inclusion of all our favourite sweet treats, the trays can be mailed out to you meaning The Little Cake Company can reach every corner of the UK! The best way to view and buy from the selection is through the Etsy store at When mine arrived, I tucked in straight away. I found the size perfect for my family of three and it lasted a few days. The taste was perfection- not too sweet and sickly and just right for me. It's safe to say I went back for seconds! The business owner, Lien, has talents way beyond just these gorgeous brownies and blondies, as she also makes local (Chelmsford/Essex) bespoke cakes and provides gluten free and vegan options for those with dietary requirements. Oh, and the packaging is super cute! Find more at The Little Cake Company's Instagram page @little_cake_company. ALICE & THE MUMS | 23



My wife and I knew that having IVF meant the possibility of a multiple birth and was feeling apprehensive but we had been through so much disappointment that if it meant our chances of falling pregnant also meant having a multiple birth, we would take that chance. The first IVF round failed, the second was successful but about eight weeks later during my follow up scan I was told my pregnancy was ectopic and was rushed off to theatre. Six months or so later, we tried again. Two weeks after our final embryo transfer, I was told the result was positive and that my Hcg levels were high. My first instinct was ‘Its twins!’ I was physically shaking! People always ask me how did I feel when I was told that we were having twins, to be honest it was all a big mixture of emotion, my first reaction was that I was just unbelievably happy that I was pregnant. To be pregnant with two was an absolute blessing, I felt so lucky. When the news finally kicked in, I was starting to feel nervous. Like all first-time mothers, you just don’t know what to expect, how will we cope, is our flat going big enough for everything that comes with one baby, let alone two!? How do you look after two babies at the same time? Will I receive any help? Do


QUOTE we have enough money for two new babies? How will I breastfeed two hungry babies at the same time, so many questions! But also, how great for our little twins to have each other from day one, they would always have each other, they would never be lonely and always have a playmate. During my first trimester I was so protective of our twins growing inside me, we had been through so much to get to this point and I didn’t want to take any risks. I read up about diet during pregnancy, cut out caffeine, started yoga classes just so I could give them the best possible start. I kept thinking ‘I’m carrying TWO babies in here, they come first, all they have is me keeping them alive! Then the sickness kicked in, it was towards the end of the first trimester. Everything made me feel sick. The second trimester was much better and I loved being pregnant, I didn’t feel as anxious and loved the fact I could feel them moving around inside me, my sickness had cleared up and I felt the healthiest I had ever been. My third trimester was a different story, my anxiety was back. I had a huge issue with travelling on public transport. I had stopped using the tube when I was getting big. My manager at work was really understanding and he allowed me to come in earlier


and leave earlier to avoid the crazy London rush hour, this made a massive difference, but I still felt really nervous getting on the bus. I remember one journey, I was on my way to see the doctor, my blood pressure had been slightly high, and it needed to be kept an eye on. Ten minutes into the journey, I suddenly became claustrophobic and I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I tried to take deep breaths, hoping I would calm down, but it wasn’t really working. I thought the best thing I need to do is to just get off this bus, I waited for the next stop and stood up to get off, then I fainted. Once I had gone on to maternity leave, I was so glad that I didn’t have to get on another bus for a while. I don’t have any horror stories about my birth, it went really well. The staff at Homerton Hospital were amazing. I felt really cared for and my midwife didn’t leave my side. When it came to the actual birth, I felt very calm. I had wanted a water birth, but I was told it was too risky with twins, I also wasn’t keen on getting an epidural, but again, was told it would be advisable while giving birth to twins. Having a multiple birth meant two doctors, two midwives, two anaesthetists. After eleven hours of labour and a lot of pushing, our son was the first one out. As soon as he was out the midwife quickly

showed him to me and then was quickly given to my wife, then I carried on! Our daughter was breached so this was a bit more complicated but with everyone’s help, I managed to push her out, feet first. I was expecting to hold her and our son together, but our daughter wasn’t breathing well and had to be whisked away. I have always felt that I had missed out on that skin on skin experience when they were first born, I didn’t get to hold my son straight away and then neither did I get to hold my daughter. After a long week in the hospital, we got to take our twins’ home. We were both excited and petrified at the same time. We couldn’t face visitors in the first week. I always thought I would be one of those mothers who would be relaxed and not have a specific routine, but personally for me, it just didn’t work with two. We had to have quite a strict routine just to make it through the day! I started with feeding on demand but if I was feeding one the other would cry for milk so I would try and breastfeed them both, which did work for my son but my daughter just wouldn’t latch on properly. At this point, I decided to use a breast pump, that way my wife could feed her too with breast milk from the bottle. If I wasn’t feeding, I was pumping milk. The night feeds were overwhelming, my mum came and stayed with us for a week, but I really missed the help when she went back home. Eventually, my wife had to go back to work and I was feeling nervous about how I was going to cope. I needed to go to some playgroups. I had a side by side double buggy that didn’t really fit on any buses, so I had to make sure I was able to walk to these groups. I was always the only mum with twins and was always asking people to hold one of them while I was sorting the other one out. I would be asked the same questions every time I met someone new. “Are they identical?” (I have a girl and a boy!) “Are they natural?”, “Double Trouble!” which I would like to answer with “Twice as Nice!” I didn’t mind the questions at first, but I didn’t like the attention. I felt jealous of the other first-time mums at these groups who could dedicate all day to their firstborn. I tried to get mine to nap at the same time so I could just have a little time to myself, but I also felt guilty if one was asleep then I should use that time to have that precious one to one time with the other one, I sometimes felt like I couldn’t win either way! They are now five and we dedicate a day with each twin so we have that one to one time now and It has got a lot easier in some ways, I love being a twin mum and I wouldn’t change it for the world, it is the hardest thing I ever have done and continue to do and the most rewarding. They fight like other siblings, but they have a bond that I feel only twins and multiples have and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of that. ALICE & THE MUMS | 27

"Yes, I can see two babies!"


These were the first words we heard at our 12 week scan! It’s weird because I don’t

having surgery scared me immensely. We chose a c-section as twin 2 was breach for the whole of the pregnancy and I

know why or how but as soon as I found out

took advice from my midwife, who also had twins, who

on Christmas Eve 2017 that I was pregnant it

advised that even though twin 1 was head down and could

was only a matter of weeks later that I knew

deliver naturally, the chances were that I would have to

it was twins.

have an emergency c-section for twin 2 as she was so far

Even the day we went for our first scan we had a bet in the car if it was 1 or 2 babies and I said ‘it’s 2- I know it’, mother’s intuition maybe or just how well we know our own bodies. The day came around so quickly for my c-section. I was so lucky and had a very normal pregnancy, which when having twins I felt extremely lucky as a multiple pregnancy is classed as high risk. Don’t get me wrong we had a few bumps along the way but nothing major and the twins grew really well and I managed to carry them up until 36 weeks, which in a twin pregnancy is really good going, so I felt extremely proud of me and my body. The morning of my c-section I was so nervous, I’ve never felt nerves like it and I’m petrified of needles, the thought ALICE of & THE MUMS | 28

up under my ribs. My midwife had gone through this exact situation with her twins and so after some thought we decided I would go for the c-section as we wanted to get them both out as quickly and safely as possible. We arrived very early at the hospital, around 7am and were told as it was a multiple birth, we would be top of the list. It was a mixture of emotions, since I was so nervous this was good news, but it made me even more anxious as we were getting closer and closer to surgery and obviously I was excited to finally meet our babies but I just wanted to skip the gory bit! Anyway hours passed, we were still waiting, there had been two emergency c-sections so we were bumped down the list. All the waiting was making me even more anxious and, it was July, I swear the hottest summer we have ever had!

The nerves were certainly making me even hotter and being nil by mouth didn’t help at all. It was around midday and we were still waiting and then all of a sudden, my name was called and I was asked to get changed to be ready to walk down to theatre! I can’t explain how I felt it was the moment we had been waiting for but also the moment I’d been dreading as I was so frightened, such a mixture of emotions. As we walked down what seemed like the longest corridor ever it finally dawned on me that that’s it this is the last time it will ever be just the two of us, we were within minutes going to become a family of four! We walked into the theatre and it all became so real, my heart was pounding, even to this day when I think back from the moment I stepped into theatre it was like an out of body experience, just felt so surreal. I had two anaesthetists, in fact, I had two of everything and everybody in that room, which is common practice when there are two babies to deliver. My anaesthetists instantly put me at ease they sat me on the bed and explained what would happen first, I have a phobia of needles so the bit I was dreading the most at that point was the cannula in my hand! I told them how nervous I was about the needle and they reassured me I wouldn’t feel a thing as they applied the anaesthetic to my hand. Although for me it’s not about the pain it’s the thought of the needle stuck in me. One of the anaesthetists who was a lovely man so gentle was chatting away to me to distract me and asked me where I’d rather be and I blurted out ‘in Bordeaux drinking red wine and eating foie gras’ which tickled them all with laughter and to this day my partner always says only you would come out with that just before surgery! So whilst I’m dreaming of Bordeaux, before I knew it, the cannula was in and I didn’t feel a thing and then it was time for the second needle, the one in my back, the spinal block. I remember sitting so still I don’t even think I took a breath while they were tapping around on my back to find the place to insert it but it was done before I could think about it and I didn’t feel a thing. I can honestly say that both my anaesthetists were brilliant, totally relaxed me and made me feel very calm and comfortable. I remember thanking them both so much and they just said it’s our job to keep you safe. Now I was laid down on the bed completely numb from

just under the chest down which is a weird feeling, I can’t even explain it just felt so weird. The surgical sheet was put up to prevent us from seeing anything and the two surgeons were spraying me in different areas to see if I could feel anything, but nope, nothing. Very strange. ‘Right’ one surgeon said we are ready to go she asked me if I was ok and said that she was going to make an incision and I might feel some tugging. I started to panic...What do you mean, I thought I wouldn’t feel anything? She reassured me that it would be more of a sensation and I would not feel pain. Within seconds, the next thing I heard is ‘ok here’s twin 1’ followed by a tiny baby scream followed by lots of the tugging sensation she explained to me previously and her then saying ‘and here’s twin 2!’ I don’t know what I was expecting but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be as quick as that. There were lots of tears from us. My partner got up to cut the cords and I was just laying there. I had not seen them yet but could hear them crying and lots of talking from the midwives weighing them and I always remember them counting their fingers and toes and saying yep all 10 toes and 10 fingers present. T hroughout the whole of my pregnancy even though it was plain sailing I was convinced there was going to be something wrong I don’t know why but i just was and to hear them scream was the most amazing sound. My partner came back over to me and said we did it, you did

it, they are here our beautiful daughters and he was holding them. I’ve never felt so proud in my life. Twin 1, Florence, was born at 1:20pm weighing 5lb 3 and twin 2, Audrey, was born at 1:21pm weighing 5lbs exactly and they were perfect. I was then wheeled out to recover were I finally got to hold them perfect daughters. I feel extremely lucky to have not only had a straightforward pregnancy but for their birth to be so quick and straightforward with no complications. They were delivered safely by an amazing team at Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the 5 days we had in hospital following the birth, they continued to be amazing and look after the 4 of us. The day we left I remember feeling all those nerves again as we were taking them home and that’s it, we would be on our own without the help of the amazing midwives, it would be just the two of us. I was anxious about how we would cope, how would we manage with only two pairs of hands and no one to ask advice, but we both felt so proud walking out of that hospital with our beautiful healthy babies. I will be forever thankful to the amazing consultants and midwives that looked after me from pregnancy right through to the birth. I also could not have done any of it without my amazing partner by my side. We are two years on now the twins are incredible and our life is can I put it....chaotic but we wouldn’t change it for the world.




o one can prepare you for parenthood let alone becoming mum to twins. My pregnancy was not great, I was signed off work early due to hip dysplasia followed by a rather traumatic labour of which I remember zilch. My husband was self-employed and worked ridiculously long hours. I was home alone with two newborn babies who now depended on me. The baby blues ….who talks about them and why are they not more widely discussed? I could write a whole article on that alone! To say I was out of my comfort zone would be an


understatement. I didn’t know what to do, my family lived miles away and I had no friends nearby. Somehow I managed, although I have no idea how. The early days were the hardest, I’m not going to lie, with two babies needing feeding simultaneously. I would often find myself sitting cross-legged on the floor with one in my lap at an angle and the other in my arms, balancing between who got what position. Eesha suffered severely with Reflux and trying to get the correct medication was a long journey I could have done without! I wore, mostly pyjamas

as Eesha’s reflex was ridiculous I really didn’t see the point in changing when she would just puke on me in the next 30 mins. I rarely left the house as I just didn’t have the confidence in juggling two babies outside in the public only to have a meltdown. When I did go to a few of the mum and baby groups I felt so

"The baby blues ….who talks about them and why are they not more widely discussed?"

out of place- singleton mums looked at me like I was an alien. I never got invited to meetups they had and I felt extremely vulnerable. I sought help and was very fortunate to have been referred to Home Start a fantastic charity who provided me with a volunteer once a week for 2 hrs to help me build up my self-esteem and confidence. My volunteer assisted me when I needed to do my food shop or had doctor’s appointments, all the things we do as a norm became overwhelming for me. I am so grateful to Home Start and the

friends I made along the way. Bath time....oh gosh where do I start, who would have thought this would be so difficult? All you're doing is bathing them,surely how hard can it be? Well, I soon realised the difficulties. When one was in the bath, the other started crying either her reflux was kicking in or she needed a nappy change or just wanted to be held. Well, thank God for Vtech Little Friendlies Musical Interactive Penguin this truly was my savour on numerous occasions. The nights were hard with both waking for feeds one after the

other, I truly would have been lost without my Tomme Tippee Prep machine when the girls woke fora feed. I think the local graveyard woke up too! I think I only got a few hours of sleep for a good few months. The past 4 and half year have been a whirlwind of emotions both good and bad but I wouldn’t change anything if I could do it again. My experience has made me stronger and in turn, I have been able to teach my girls the importance of independence. Now for the next chapter in our lives, the girls start school on Monday and I start my QTS in Teacher Training.

I think I only got a few hours of sleep for a good few months!


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