Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Party Checklist!



A few weeks beforehand:

  • Set a date and time for the party.
  • Decide on a theme (Character/colour etc)
  • Set yourself a budget, these things can escalate quickly!
  • Decide on a venue and book if necessary!
  • Purchase non perishable cupboard food (sweets, crisps, drinks)
  • Compile an guest list.
  • Start purchasing party decorations based on your theme.
  • Will your require any services? -Entertainers? Cake maker? If so, book in advance!

Two/ Three weeks beforehand:
  • Send/email out the invitations, give your guests time to free up time.
  • Buy party bag supplies or order if necessary.
  • Decide on a menu- Keep it simple! Kids love simple finger food. Is there any of your guests who require specific dietary requirements? (Vegeterian, nut allergy) 
  •  Write a food shopping list.
  • If you're hosting the party in your own home, check you have adequate table wear and buy/borrow if need be.


Days beforehand:
  • Charge camera batteries/free up memory on your phone.
  • Confirm with your guests if they are definitely attending.
  • Make up party bags and store away.
  • Purchase fresh/chilled food.

Day before: 
  • Bake cupcakes/cake and store in airtight containers or arrange to collect cake if it's being made professionally.
  • Prepare any food that can be stored in the fridge.
  • Put up any decorations that can be done before the party,
  • Thoroughly clean the house if your party is at home.
  • Do a safety check.. are all harmful chemicals/medicines out of reach?

On the day:
  • Do any last minute cooking/food prep.
  • blow up balloons/decorate the house/venue
  • Relax and enjoy!!


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Saturday, 19 September 2015

Why I Blog.





I've always been a bit of a life documenter, my partner thinks that i'm simply just a hoarder, but I tend to think of hoarders as grey haired, bushy bearded , trucker hat wearing men. I confidently assure him that I love capturing and keeping memories to look back on and that one day, he will thank me. If there's a memory associated with something, i'll keep it. Our book shelf is home to memory boxes full of postcards and plane tickets, letters and birthday cards, receipts, photographs, whiskey labels- Everything. I guess you could say I've inherited this personality trait from my own mum who has kept every single one of my brother and my school reports- even the not so pleasing ones
....Bascially, being the memory keeping hoarder that I am (there,  I said it) is how A New Mum Without A Manual came about.


Back in January 2015 I logged on to Blogger and set up an account. Eva was just three months old, Stuart was well back into his work routine  and I was at home with a little baby trying to establish some kind of routine, all while trying to master challenging tasks such as drinking coffee while it was still hot, getting dressed before This Morning ended, and trying to help my baby nap longer than 15 minutes at a time. I used whatever 'spare time' I had to document what was going on in our lives at the time, spare time that I probably should have invested into maintaining my  bushy brows or eating something other than old trusty, toast, but nevertheless I wanted to jot down things to read back on in years to come, time seems to have been put on permanent fast forward since Eva arrived into the world and I don't want to forget a thing!

I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to write as honestly as I could, that I wouldn't sugarcoat anything. I wanted to reassure anyone who might be reading that there are those Superwomen who are  straight back into their skinny jeans days after delivery and their lives appear to have resumed as normal but on the  other side of the spectrum are women who spend the first six weeks in their pjammas, seeing more of the Postman than they do their own friends- and for every well rested woman with a 7pm-7am sleeping baby, there will be one who is pacing the landing floor at three o'clock, four o'clock who are  depending (quite heavily) on coffee and dry shampoo to see them through.
After all, everyone is different and I think it's important to embrace it!

I came across Hannah Maggs on Youtube during the later stages of my own pregnancy. In one particular (beautifully shot) video 'My Pregnancy Summary' she says
'Imagine putting everything you love about your life into a box, then burn the box'


While I had an enjoyable, relatively easy pregnancy I felt really inspired by her honesty and I know that there will be women out there watching it feeling relieved to hear someone else say it out loud. We live in a world were society tells us we have to enjoy pregnancy, there is a romanticized idea what about what it should be like, and that just isn't the case for a lot of women.
I feel it is so important to talk about the ups and downs.

It really opened my eyes to the honest side of parenting and they are always the kinds of Blogs, Instagram feeds, Youtube channels that I naturally gravitate towards and have consequently inspired me with my own blog A New Mum Without A Manual. These tend to be the one's that make light of the shitty times.  Quite Literally. And help me see the humorous side of things. 
The Unmumsy Mum is hilarious at this and definitely worth a read!


 Most importantly I have loved reading back through my 'online baby book' and see the changes that we've gone through and there have been so flippin many. Eva is very nearly a year old and i've managed to capture it all. The smiles and laughs, the tears and sleep deprivation, the sleepless nights, the piles of washing by the machine, last nights dishes by the sink. Our first family trip to the beach, the first night she slept in her cot, and in two short weeks, her very first Birthday.
To me,  that's what A New Mum Without A Manual is all about. 


xxx











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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Not Quite A Baby-Not Quite A Toddler... (You know you're a parent of...)



Your day starts so early that if you leave the house any later than 11am you feel as though the day is wasted. Never did you forsee the day you'd be standing at the Zoo for 10.30am (and ready for lunch)

Your most used words are 'NO' and 'Caaaareful!' and you find yourself repeating these on a loop from the minute your little one wakes up and headbutts the cot, to bedtime when he/she  makes a well executed dive off your bed during a story.

Talking of bedtime stories, there will be one particular book they become attached to. You could probably read the book word for word blindfolded thanks to your little one requesting it read 1374 times a day. Choose books wisely.

You ditch the baby bag more and more and your handbag has suffered the consequences. Plastic toys, books and half eaten packets of mini cheddars? There is a reason you never go near a woman's handbag-and this is it. 

Your living room is stripped back to the bare essentials. Everything is a potential toy in your child's eyes. Hell, you're even considering getting rid of the curtains. No matter how much money you've given to Vtech, Brightstarts and Fisher-Price, every day house hold items will be far more entertaining - whether that be pots, pans or a tube of tomato puree.


You soon realise that your little one is very much the one in control. You want to bath me later on? In a rush to leave the house? Hold on while I drag half a banana through my hair! Baby:1 Mum: 0


You used to find it 'stressful' trying to shower when your little one was completely immobile and sat happily in their bouncer cooing away. These days you're chasing after a little tiny human who's got loose with the toilet roll and making a beeline for the toilet duck. Tiring as it may be, you still stop to take a quick snap of your own little Andrex puppy to send to the grandparents (and everyone on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) 





You are adamant that your own child is a complete comedy genius.


...And when it comes to entertaining them, if you manage to make them laugh you will repeat the word a thousand times over in an array of high pitched voices until they give you a puzzled 'Really, mum?' look. Nothing is better than hearing your little one chuckle.


The first thing you do when you eat out is move everything that is a potential problem to the far side of the table (knives, forks, glasses, condiments, napkins - everything then.) By the time the waitress reaches your table with menus it looks like you've already ate and ready to pay the bill.


You're secretly dying to correct the friend/family member when they call a fictional television character by the wrong name. Makka Pakka? No No No. I think you'll find that's Iggle Piggle.

...And talking of Children's television, your little one will most likely be drawn to the most annoying show with the most ridiculously catchy theme tune which you will undoubtedly find yourself singing, everywhere.

The shower, around the house. Work.

You burst  with pride over the silliest of things. I had tears in my eyes when my daughter wore slippers for the first time. SLIPPERS.

...and you question whether your hormones really have settled down as you still find yourself crying over everything. The news, tv adverts, animal videos..........

Any kind of 'bad behaviour' will be blamed on teething (whether they're teething or not..) 


You have one extremely strong arm from carrying your little one, and an impressive muscle to show for it. Who needs a gym membership?!

You spend an hour tidying downstairs only for it to look no different whatsoever. You  can only imagine how it would look if you hadn't of bothered at all.


You find yourself browsing online for potential Christmas/Birthday presents despite it being months away and  the chances are that your little one will get an 'early Birthday present' as mummy is frankly shit at keeping surprises."I just wanted to see her little face!"


A dull, rainy day is the ultimate enemy. A whole day indoors with a mobile infant is a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.


You still take photos of your little one at every opportunity and you're still useless at getting them printed.


And even after all this time you still catch yourself watching your little one sleep and wondering how you created something so perfect.













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Monday, 7 September 2015

Party Planning


...And we're in the month of September. Oh, Stopppp.
Saying that, it really is beginning to feel a little chillier outside, the nights are undoubtedly getting shorter and I have this compulsive urge to wear my Primark's best fluffy socks no matter what time of day it is.
I love September. I love the obvious change in the season, the fact that no matter how dark, dull and gloomy the days are, we are treated to some beautiful evening sunsets. I love finally be able to wear tights and snoods and dig out my trusty Topshop Chelsea boots for the third year running, and let's be honest, the realisation that it won't be long before i'm blowing the dust of my 'Home Alone' box set and embracing life in my lamb onesie.

I'm feeling particularly reflective this September and at times maybe a little emotional, OK, quite a bit emotional. This time last year we were eagerly anticipating the arrival of our little lady. A whole year ago. 

Due on September 25th, little one kept us waiting into October and after listening to wise 'all knowing' friends, families,  even strangers in work that judging by my bump  I was definitely going to go early. I was late. A flippin' week late.
I sobbed as my (countless) baby apps were telling me 'Your baby is now a week old' when in reality I was still uncomfortably waddling about with my hand constantly lost in a bag of pickled onion Space Raiders, not a baby in sight.
The pram had been built up for months, my hospital bag had been packed and then repacked a thousand times over. I'd gone past the stage of fearing labour and to be honest, it felt as though she was never going to grace us with her presence. I struggled to raise a smile when people asked me if there was any sign of baby, this is when Stuart considerately stepped in with the aul 'Baby will come when she's ready!' line. And thank Goodness he did or I would have most likely been delivering in a women's prison. Joking. Kind of.

My baby girl is one years old next month and I literally can't grasp how quickly these little humans grow. It honestly baffles me more  as the weeks go on. She's climbing and running, repeating words and feeding herself, she has emotional breakdowns when I close her favourite book or restrain her from climbing into the dish washer. She has her own favourite tv programmes for crying out loud! Somebody pass me a box of Kleenex to sob into.


I have spent the last few weeks trawling through pinterest looking for ideas for Eva's Birthday and 
have spent many a day waiting ( rather impatiently) at home for the postman arriving with Amazon parcels- So much so I signed up to Prime- D'oh!. Stuart has reminded me at times that 'You are not planning a wedding Sarah, it's a First Birthday' and while that is true. Very true. I can't help getting carried away, I want to have the best day possible. And who doesn't want the best for their little ones,eh?

 Below are just a few snaps of some of the bits i've started collecting for the party and gifts we have purchased for her.


Princess pop up castle £34.99 from Puregadgets on Amazon.


Monkey Strike bowling skittles by Chicco £14.99 Toys 'R' Us

Pretty pink popper- Bright starts £24.99 Argos
Mega Bloks pink buildable bag 60 pieces £9.99 Amazon 

Cupcake trial! using Queen Of Cakes disposable icing bags and Wilton Number 1M carded Open Star Tip. Sprinkles from B&M 

Sweetie cone sweets! Hannah's Candy Ice Cream cones 500g bag. (Amazon seller- Chocolate Buttons)
Millions 500g (Amazon seller- Treattown)
Flying Saucers x 100 (Amazon seller-FizzyIzzySweets)

Marshmallows, white cooking chocolate and sprinkles all purchased in Tescos.


For baking equipment/Cellophane bags, Icing nozzles, piping bags etc: Amazon
For cupcake sprinkles/icing/food colouring/flavours Sainsburys and Tescos have a great section.
For party pieces such as napkins, cups, cupcake wrappers, boxes, cakestands... you name it, Home Bargains will have it. Saturdays is all about Home Bargains. (Could I sound any more mumsy if I tried?)
For drinks and sweets (sweetie cone fillers) I knew I wanted to buy in bulk for making up my sweetie cones so I ordered from Sweet sellers on Amazon to save me money in the long run but for sweets and treats for the table I found B&M bargains and general pound shops fantastic for value and they offered a great selection.
For toys:  Stuart and I spent an evening in Toys 'R' Us looking for inspiration. We took note of what we thought Eva would love and were able to get a feel for the products. After googling some of the products we found them cheaper in Argos and Amazon so sometimes it really is worth shopping around for the best prices.

I plan to do a few blog posts regarding party planning/gift ideas for a 1 year old so if you have any ideas, please share them with me I would love to hear!

















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