As women, I think however hard we try, there’s always a tiny voice (or sometimes a not so tiny voice) telling us that our bodies aren’t good enough. We should be skinnier, more curvy, taller, shorter, the list goes on. As mums, I think it’s really important to appreciate just how amazing our bodies are. Growing a human is a pretty impressive feat. That’s why I really enjoyed attending the MuTu System event last week.

When I was invited to the event in London I thought I was going to hear about an exercise program, and was expecting to be told how I could lose my ‘mum tum’ and ‘drop the pounds’. In other words, the same old rubbish we are constantly peddled. Particularly on social media at the moment, where the current fad is the ‘strong not skinny’ message, which sounds admirable (and I do think it’s better than the ‘get as thin as possible’ message we’ve previously had), but actually when you think about it, it’s just another unattainable goal and another thing to feel bad about. Mums don’t have hours to spend in the gym. We can’t possibly hope to look like some of the fitness/wellness stars of Instagram. Thankfully, the MuTu System event was anything but that.

Creator Wendy Powell invited us to watch screening of a film called Embrace. Embrace is a documentary by inspirational body image campaigner Taryn Brumfitt. You might have heard of her. She posted an unconventional before and after side-by-side photo on Facebook a few years ago showing her body after childbirth and it went viral. She ended up founding the Body Image Movement, which aims to “end the global body-hating movement”. The documentary was pretty hard to watch in parts. One part that really hit home was when they asked lots of women to describe their body in one word. I was shocked by how many women said they were ‘disgusting’. That’s a pretty strong word! I do recommend watching the documentary. I found it depressing and uplifting in equal measure.

After the screening we chatted with Wendy about body image and how childbirth affects women’s bodies. She highlighted how pelvic floor dysfunction after childbirth has become a bit of a joke among mums. You hear plenty of women laughing about how they can’t trampoline because they’ll wet themselves. One thing that really stuck with me after the event was Wendy saying “We all deserve a body that works.” I couldn’t agree more.

We then did a gentle exercise session to try to reconnect with our core muscles, which is a major component of MuTu System. It really made me realise how much I’ve neglected mine since having Jacob. It’s definitely something I need to work on.

I came away from the event thinking about how we’ve been sold this idea by the media that we should look a certain way. It’s rubbish. Our bodies are amazing, stretch marks and all. Instead of worrying about how we look we should focus on how we feel. And yes, that might mean exercising to feel healthier, maybe even losing a little weight by cutting out junk to replace it with the fuel our bodies need. But it shouldn’t be about punishing ourselves or attempting to look a certain way.

I’m going to be trying out MuTu System over the next few weeks. The program aims to strengthen your core and pelvic floor, including healing diastasis recti (the split some women get in their tummy muscles after having children). I am hoping it will help me with the niggling back pain I’ve experienced since having Jacob. I’ll be back to update you on how I got on in a few weeks.

*This is a collaborative post with MuTu System.

 

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If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that in a desperate bid for a bit more sleep we resorted to sleep training (I wrote a post on my top tips for sleeping training that might be worth a read if you are considering doing it too) back in February. In other words, we did controlled crying. It was a pretty hard decision to make, but I just couldn’t function anymore. I also felt that Jacob wasn’t getting enough sleep because of his constant waking for a 1 minute feed. So we took the plunge and did it.

I felt terrible about it for the first couple of nights, but it actually worked really well for all of us. Jacob didn’t instantly start sleeping 7pm–7am, but things improved drastically. We went from at least 3 wake ups for feeds to a good 6-hour stretch of sleep for me between 10.30pm and 4.30am in less than a week. That massively improved my ability to function. Over a few weeks he got better and now sleeps reasonably well (except for his new early wake ups!).

Now that we’ve done it, here are a few things I’ve reflected on.

Was it awful?

Yes. It’s not nice to listen to your baby cry. We did the ‘timed comforting’ method, which was recommended in the Blissful Baby Expert book. That meant we didn’t leave Jacob to cry for hours, but instead went back in to soothe him after certain intervals of time. Ultimately, if you can’t listen to your baby cry for 1 minute without rushing in, this method isn’t for you. I rationalised it by thinking about Jacob getting chronically overtired, and decided it was for his own good. And mine, obviously.

The first night was by far the worst. After that it got easier. And quicker. I have heard anecdotally that it tends to take longer to work the older they are when you try any kind of controlled crying.

There are other more gentle methods of sleep training to try if you don’t like the sound of controlled crying. I hear they can take longer to work, but if you can’t bear crying they might be best for you.

Does it work long-term?

One of the criticisms I read a lot when researching sleep training was that it doesn’t work long-term. Now I can’t speak for every child, but I’d say it has worked for us. Sure, we still get the odd wake up. Especially when Jacob is teething or ill. But overall sleep has drastically improved.

I will say it doesn’t solve everything. We are currently having an early morning issue. Jacob has decided that 5am is morning and I do not agree. He’s still sleeping through from 7pm until 5am though, so it could be a lot worse!

Am I terrible parent for considering it?

No. Although I would say that! I’ve found it’s one of those things that parents fall into two camps about. Some could never in a million years consider it and judge anyone who does, others are fine with it. Ignore everyone and do what you think is right.

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If you are looking for a great Christmas gift the whole family will enjoy, then you should take a look at The Christmas Snowflake. From the creators of The Little Boy Who Lost His Name, which we loved, The Christmas Snowflake is a personalised book about a little snowflake and her journey to find the family she wants to be with at Christmas—yours!

The Christmas Snowflake

Personalising The Christmas Snowflake

When you create the book online you can include up to 9 members of your family (we went for mummy, daddy, Jacob, nanny, grandad, grandma and grandpa) and their names will appear in several places throughout the book, including on Christmas stockings hanging by the fireplace. It would make a great joint present if you have more than one child.

When the book arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was hardback, so it will last really well year after year. The paper is also really nice and thick. It’s really nicely illustrated, with lots to look at for younger children. Jacob enjoyed looking at the book and listening to me read it. He is a bit little for it though—I think next year he’ll enjoy it even more. I think I read it’s aimed at 3-8 year olds (I can’t find where I saw that now though, so I may be wrong!).

Reading the Christmas Snowflake

Jacob enjoyed being read The Christmas Snowflake

The story is very sweet and the verse rhymes nicely. On the way to meeting your family, Snowflake comes across lots of characters having fun at Christmas. We see foxes, bears, deer and robins among others.

At the end of the book there’s a pull-out Snowflake ornament. This can be kept and hung on the Christmas tree year after year. I thought that was a lovely touch and a great way to end the story.

Snowflake ornament

The Snowflake ornament attached to the book

We have hung our ornament on the mantlepiece for now—it’s never too early for Christmas decorations, right? I can’t wait to add it to the Christmas tree when the time comes.

The snowflake ornament hanging on my fireplace—it’s too early for a Christmas tree yet!

Close up of the Snowflake ornament

great Christmas Eve present

If you like the idea of a Christmas Eve box for your children, but don’t necessarily want them to watch films the night before Christmas, then the Christmas Snowflake is a great alternative. Everyone can read along together as a family snuggled up before bed. It would make a great family tradition.

The Christmas Snowflake is £19.99, which I think is really reasonable for a gift that can be used every year.

*We were kindly sent a copy of The Christmas Snowflake to review, but all thoughts are my own. Links are affiliate links.

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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Goodbye October! Where did that month go? The year is flying by now! It’s really started to feel wintry these past few days. I can’t believe the difference a month makes—September was pretty warm. It’s quite nice to get the winter clothes out though and start hibernating on the sofa in the evenings with a blanket, box set and hot chocolate.

We had a great October, with lots of fun days out, our wedding anniversary and a little holiday to visit family in Yorkshire. There was plenty of boring normality though—playing in the garden, going to the local park, toddler group, Jacob harassing the cat. And it ended with a poorly boy with a tummy bug, which wasn’t so great (or Instagram-able).

Here are my favourite Instagram posts from October.

That black fluffy thing is a cat. Jacob is "sharing" his toys with him… 😂

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💕Anniversary 💕 Two years 👰🏻🤵

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Having fun on Ilkley Moor this afternoon. It was a bit windy!

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"Can I get in and play with the ducks 🦆 please daddy?"

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A little throw back to last week @ntbeltonhouse. Great place to stretch your legs just off the A1!

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For those of you asking, my coat is from Joules and Jacob’s is from M&S. I have a voucher code for Joules at the moment:

£10 off when you spend £80 with code: FALALA10
£20 off when you spend £100 with code: FALALA20
£30 off when you spend £150 with code: FALALA30

Happy Halloween 🎃👻

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So, what will November bring? Is it time to get excited for Christmas now? Too early?!

If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, come on over!

 

*Post contains affiliate links.

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