Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Preparing your Toddler for a New Baby

We're getting closer and closer to becoming a family of four. The days and weeks have been flying past us and in all honesty, I don't know where that last 33 weeks have gone. But something I've thought about a lot in that time, and I'm sure it's a topic that gets every parent thinking, or even worrying, is how will our toddler adjust to becoming a big brother/sister? It's a big transition to go from being the baby of the family, having your parents and grandparents undivided attention to there suddenly being someone else in the picture that's smaller and needier than yourself.

It's one of the questions I'm asked most when chatting to family, friends, pretty much anyone I meet, 'Is Archie excited about the baby?' and to be honest, it's a difficult one to answer. For quite a few months I really don't think he had any concept of what a new baby meant. He had just turned 2 when I became pregnant again, and as he hasn't really been around that many young babies he really didn't have a clue. I think he though we were all mad! I think we all would at 2 if we were constantly being told that there's a baby in Mummy's tummy! (Sometimes I can't even get my head around it!)

I thought I would share what we've been doing over the past few months to help him understand more about what's about to happen, and adjust to the idea of becoming a big brother. Each of these little tips have either worked for us so far, or we're going to be trying once the baby arrives, so although I'm no expert, I thought I would write them all down in the hopes that it might help some of you going through a similar time in your life. I also wanted to share with you some of these photos because even though I'm so excited for there to be a brand new baby in the house, I feel sad that this chapter of it just being the 3 of us is nearly over.

A Special Arrival
1. A bit obvious but a good place to start is telling your little one about the new baby and see what response they have. This will obviously vary greatly depending on their age and level of understanding. I think it's really important to make it all feel special and tell them what an amazing big brother or sister they'll be to try and get them excited about the idea too. Maybe the new baby could 'write' them a card letting them know they're looking forward to meeting them. We also got Archie a T-Shirt which says big brother and he loved this! I think we can underestimate toddlers sometimes, and assume that if they can't see something they won't be able to grasp the concept, but Father Christmas and The Easter Bunny are big deals in the house, so even though the baby might not seem real to them just yet, they understand something exciting is going to happen.

Love The Bump
2. Try not to put too much pressure on them to love/cuddle/kiss your bump. This was definitely what I was doing in the early days as I thought it would help him understand it more, but I think sometimes it can be a bit too much for them. If your toddler is anything like mine, they will just want to do the opposite, so pick your moments wisely, but when they do decide that baby needs a bit of love, lots of praise works really well and nothing prepares you for the first time your belly gets a random kiss or cuddle. I definitely cried!

Baby Books
3. Something that's helped massively is reading Archie books about becoming a big brother/sister. We noticed a big change in the way he understood what was happening after we had read them a few times. He seemed more excited and gentle and started talking about 'his baby' a lot more. There are some really lovely books on this subject. Here are the ones we got but I'm sure there are lots more: 1 2 3

Helping Hand
4. Get them involved in preparing for the new baby. Let them help with washing and folding their siblings clothes (even if it takes 10 times as long). Archie has really enjoyed helping us open anything that's arrived for the baby, and putting things like the pram together. It's also great to get them a doll around this time if they don't already have one. They can help you put a nappy or a baby grow on it, or push them around in the pram to see what it'll be like when the real baby arrives.

A Gift From The Baby
5. This one might not be for everyone but we decided to tell Archie that his baby brother is going to be bringing him a present when he's born. He's been so excited, and reminds us all the time that his brother's bringing him 'The Look Out" (Paw patrol for anyone lucky enough not to know) when he arrives. I totally get that some might not be comfortable about doing this and it shouldn't be about presents but one of my earliest memories is actually of a little pink box filled with tiny nappies and a baby bottle for my dolls which my little brother gave to me when he was born. I think it's the start of building the bond they'll have as siblings and we've told him he can get a present for the baby too.

Meeting The Baby
6.  Something that a few people have suggested and I actually think I'll try is to have the new baby in their cot/crib next to you instead of holding them when your toddler comes to see you both for the first time. It really might not make any difference but it makes sense that it could be quite confusing for a toddler to see their Mummy holding another baby. It only needs to be for the first few minutes, but giving him some attention first before picking up the baby and introducing them to each other seems like a more gentle way to go. But I'd love to know if anyone else did this and what happened when your children met for the first time.

So they're just a few ways in which we've been trying to help Archie transition into becoming a big brother. Of course the most important thing to remember is that with such a small age gap, one day he might not even remember a time when his baby brother wasn't here! But whatever his reaction when the time finally does come, I know he'll become the best big brother. I'm already so proud of him.

I'd love to hear any tips or your experiences, if you've already gone from one baby to two! Any advice is much appreciated!

Love Kate x

I'm wearing: Night Shirt: Primark 
Archie wears: Yoga Pants & Top by Baby Mori

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Saturday, 4 February 2017

A few new favourites: Chloé Lauren Inspired Pumps

During a recent late night browse on ASOS, I came across these beauties, I think my eyes lit up at the sight of the pale pink, scalloped goodness I saw on the screen, ok so I'm probably getting a little carried away, but honestly, they're so pretty and basically what inspired me to do a little blog post about these and some of new additions I've been loving just lately. My instant thought was they were a really great homage to the Chloé Lauren Pumps, but of course at a fraction of the price. The only real difference is the laser cut hole in each scallop, but I personally wasn't looking for a direct copy and love that these offer a nod to the designer style, but have their own thing going on. They also go down to a UK size 2, and having tiny feet that never quite fill up a pair of size 3's, I knew these would probably be a lot more comfortable and I'd actually want to wear them instead of just look at them!
I've also been wearing this gorgeous monochrome fluted sleeve blouse lots in the past couple of weeks. You might be surprised to know it's from George! I popped into ASDA Living for something and ended up coming out with this. I'm a sucker for poker dots anyway, and I love the painted print effect, but the sleeves meant I couldn't walk away from it, I got it a couple of sizes bigger than I normally would and it covers my bump quite well as it's not too short, so pleased with this little purchase!
Before Christmas I was very kindly sent a bottle of Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb which I believe is a limited edition bottle. It still contains the classic fragrance with it's floral notes of jasmine, rose, and patchouli to name just a few. Having loved it for years, I had never actually owned a bottle myself and I'm so pleased I have this to add to my perfume collection. It's sits so sweetly on my dressing table and is fast becoming one of my favourites.
Not sure if I've mentioned before that I like scallops? I ordered this bag at the same time as the shoes and the colour match it really good. I might not necessarily wear the bag and shoes together but I can already feel Spring creeping in (optimistic I know) and I think I'll reach for this delicate little clutch quite a bit as it warms up.
Finally I thought I'd mention a couple of little homeware/office accessories I've pick up lately. I found these adorable Eiffel Tower scissors on eBay recently, and they were only a few pounds so decided to pick them up as a nice little addition to my desk, they come in other colours too. The cute Kate Spade Photo album is actually a few years old now, but they're still stocked in John Lewis. It was a present from Rikki and I love looking through the family photos he put inside. Finally the little pink and gold note pad was from TKMaxx. It's constantly sitting on my desk and I'm always jotting down notes and little reminders on it. I included it in a stationery haul last year, but I did another one last week and if you like this notepad, you'll probably love everything in that video too so I'll link it for you here.

If you've blogged about any new additions to your wardrobe or home recently, please put the link in the comments as I love being nosey! And let me know if you'd like to see more posts like this.

Love Kate x

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Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Strongest Bond...

I'm not sure if it's the time of year that's making me nostalgic or the fact that I'm pregnant and probably a little too emotional, but lately I've found myself looking back at old photos really often. Whether they be ones from 10 years ago, or snaps we've taken over the last year, It's been something that I've really felt the urge to do lately. I love looking back on our photos and family vlogs, and having these special or even ordinary moments captured in time forever is something that I'm truly grateful to have and cherish so much.

It's really struck me in the last few months just how much Archie has changed and grown over the past year. It's so much easier to see the dramatic change in them across their first year, from tiny newborns to clumsy, wobbly toddler in just 365 days, but as they get into the fully fledged toddler years, you don't notice as much of a change with each day that goes by, but suddenly a photo from earlier in the year will pop up and he seems so small and squishy. For ages he was a tiny dot with the littlest legs, but now he seems to have gotten so much taller, and huge feet! People have commented that he'll be taller than me soon (which, I hope for his sake he is!)

We have a large mirror at the top of our stairs and every night I've taken him up to bed and looked at us both in that mirror. And even though now he walks ahead of me with ease, and we make silly faces to each other through the glass, every night I see a flash of me carrying my newborn baby to bed in my arms and I feel so proud of how much he's grown and developed into who he is now.

In the last year I feel we have bonded more than ever before. And even though I miss my newborn Archie, and I'm so excited to have a newborn again, to cuddle and hold and smell that newborn baby smell, having a little buddy to talk to has become so rewarding. I sometimes found it a struggle in those first few months. I loved him so unconditionally but I wasn't prepared for him to not always show that love back to me. He's always been fiercely independent, and whilst that makes me happy and has helped that he's had the confidence to throw himself into situations that I thought might worry him, or make friends with other children or talk to adults, I sometimes wished for him to need me more. In the last year, we really have developed the strongest bond and in many ways it's like having a little best friend.

I feel like a mother and child have an unbreakable bond from the moment your baby is born, and I felt it instantly when I looked at him for the first time, but I also feel like it's something you have to work on and nurture throughout their whole life, and, maybe naively, I didn't realise this first time around. It’s difficult not to put yourself under pressure when it comes to things like this. Since becoming pregnant again, it's made me think a lot about what I'll do to make sure I have a strong and special bond with this baby. It's made me more aware of every kick and movement, and I never take one for granted as I know that in the grand scheme of things, being pregnant is such a short chapter in your life.

I recently chatted to some wonderful mum's & baby experts for Huggies Newborn Wipes, we spoke about bonding with your baby in lots of different ways, the importance of choosing natural products and their experiences since becoming Mum's and it was really eye opening to hear their views. They've all been mum's longer than myself, and kindly offered me lots of advice which I've fully taken on board for when this baby is born. I think it's a reassuring watch for both new mum's to be and those of us that are doing this second, third or even fourth time around! I won't give too much away as the video below says it all really, but I do know that I can't wait for the day that I see the reflection of my new little family of four in that mirror making our way upstairs for bedtime.

Mum’s Tips Huggies Wipes.

This video is in collaboration with Huggies Newborn Wipes
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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Getting Back To Me...

For a while now I've been wanting to write a post like this. To just sit down and let the words spill out. But every time I try, it's as though my thoughts are stuck, as though they're locked in my head and I've lost the key. I get frustrated sometimes at not being able to properly express how I feel, which usually means I take that frustration out on the ones I love, more often than not my poor husband, who has no idea what he's done wrong!

I've felt a bit lost lately, like I've been inside a little anxious bubble that I can't pop and I find it hard to put my finger on why this is. I know I'm blessed in so many ways and I'm lucky to have what I have which in a way makes it worse because you can't justify the feeling, so then you feel guilty for feeling that way and the whole vicious circle starts again. Right now I'm watching a nearly two year old running around the living room with a giant balloon, screaming with joy, not a care in the world and I wish I could feel that way.

It's a feeling I can't seem to shake, of not being good enough and not feeling like me anymore. Where do I fit in? When I started Dolly Bow Bow, I was a 19 year old girl living at home with her parents, filming videos about Primark and Lush on my computer's webcam. Fast forward 6 and a half years and I've moved out,  I'm a wife! And a Mum of a 2 year old boy. A boy that I love and adore more than anything in the world, but sometimes it's easy to just feel like I'm someone's Mum. Like a part of your identity is missing and you can't quite be yourself anymore. I've struggled knowing where I fit in on You Tube and my blog for a while, constantly trying to get the balance right between creating posts and videos about fashion and beauty which makes me feel like I need to try and be more polished and my family life, where I want to be able to share the highs and the lows, the picturesque days out as well as the toddler meltdown because I cut up his orange and he wanted it whole (yes that really happened). Working out how to merge the two together can be difficult. It's sometimes why you don't see regular content from me as it all gets a bit too much and instead of working through it I hide from it.

I think this post might be the first step to getting back on track. Writing down your feelings is a good first step. I can see where I want to go and I have all of these ideas bubbling under the surface, it's just trying to make them happen! Remembering how and why you started is a good way of getting back to who you really are. Fashion was my main focus when I started this, and over the last 2 years I've slowly built my confidence after having a baby, to wear whatever I want again, and not to feel like I shouldn't 'because I'm a Mum'. I've realised lately that this blog and my channel can be whatever I want them to be and I don't have to conform to rules or be put in a certain box. I'm not just a fashion blogger, I'm not just a lifestyle vlogger, I'm a person, with lots of interests and I can be confident in the knowledge that if you share similar interests then you might like what I do and that's all that really matters. I might have a pretty dress on in these pictures but I also have scabs over my elbows from going down a slide at soft play with Archie! And that's ok by me.

I feel like to blog and vlog to the best of your ability, you have to really love what you're doing, so I decided there would be no better place to start getting things back on track than at the prettiest cake shop in Chelsea. This place is what the inside of my brain looks like when I'm happy! Peggy Porschen is somewhere that's been on my London must visit list for a while now, as I see it pop up on Instagram all the time. It really is as dreamy as it looks in real life and the cakes are delicious. They have the cutest cupcakes in some of my favourite flavours including cookies & cream, red velvet and Strawberries & Champagne. They also create some incredible wedding and birthday cakes which look too pretty to eat!

It might seem trivial to some, but putting on a pretty dress and eating cupcakes from a pink shop with a floral doorway in the heart of my favourite city made me feel like me again, and made me happy. And once you strip everything else away, that's all any of us want to be.
Dress ASOS - Bag CHANEL - Sunglasses RIVER ISLAND - Shoes PRIMARK

What makes you happy?

Kate x
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Thursday, 14 July 2016

A Message To My Mum...

I count myself very lucky that I've always had a close relationship with my Mum. Not everyone is given that opportunity in life and I've made a mental note to show her more just how much I care.

She's given me a lot of support and advice over the years and always encouraged me to follow my dreams. My Mum was never very strict with me, I think this is one of the reasons I never rebelled and we never had many heated Mother/daughter arguments when I was a teenager. She always had trust in me and because of this I didn't feel like I had to keep any secrets from her - and even if I did get something wrong, the 'I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed' line always had much more of an impact on me!

She's taught me to be kind, and see the good in people. She encouraged my love of performing arts and musical theatre, something that's had such a positive impact on my life. She also shows me everyday, that even when she's in pain, and having really bad days as she suffers from M.E., that there's so much to smile about and be grateful for. She brings so much happiness to my life, and that's reflected in the way Archie lights up when he sees her. The love they share is indescribable and I feel so lucky that she's my Mum and his Nan.

She's been very supportive of me over the last 6 years of my blogging/You Tube journey. But I've never used this platform to say thank you. So as part of my efforts to show her just how much I love her, I've decided to offer some of my own advice, something she can read back whenever she maybe feels a bit low, unwell or not her usual bubbly self.

Dear Mum...

1. Worry less - That's quite a statement coming from me, queen of the worriers. But we both worry about a lot of unnecessary things. Focus on the good and positive things in your life because there are so many things that far outweigh the bad.

2. Keep that youthful glow - We were definitely blessed with the youthful gene, I'd say the women in our family look at least 10 years younger than they are (which wasn't so much fun when I was 22 and looked 12!) You always taught me the importance of a good skincare routine so now I'm giving the same advice back to you. NIVEA has been in our family for years. Our lovely Nan swore it's what kept her skin super soft, and as you know the generations have all used it since. Which is why I'm so excited about NIVEA’s new cleansing range (you know Rene would have loved it just as much as me!)   The range includes the Creme Care Facial Cleansing Wipes, which I personally love for travelling. The Cleansing Lotion which is so gentle, it can be used to remove eye makeup and is strong enough to remove waterproof mascara! And the Cleansing Cream Wash. Its rich formula removes impurities and leaves skin feeling clean and incredibly soft. The smell instantly takes me back to when I was young. I know your favourite thing is raiding my beauty draws so I can't wait to see what you think of this range!

3. Have more adventures! - I'm at the start of my parenting journey. Right now freedom seems a long way off! And even though we will never stop being your babies, Chris and I are grown up now, so this is your chance to be selfish! Go on some crazy adventures with Dad, try something new or learn a new skill (cooking maybe? Just kidding!) But in all seriousness, have fun and throw caution to the wind!

4. Ask for help - I know it can be hard sometimes to ask for help, but that's what daughters are for. You help me in so many ways and are always there for Archie and I and I hope you know that I'm always here for you too. Whether it's someone to go shopping with on the good days, or someone to wash your hair on the days you just can't do it yourself.  Basically just listen to our song 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' that explains it better than I ever could.

Kate x

Thank you to NIVEA for Sponsoring this post


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