Making mum friends

Ok, this might be a long post so put the kettle on. Here it goes…

A few months ago, I read this blog post by Laura Gummerman about being an introvert and a mum and it really resonated with me, since I am both. (Funnily enough, I am reading a book about personality types at the Myers-Brigg test at the moment so it’s definitely on my mind.) This wasn’t a problem at all when we lived down south, since we had a great group of mums and babies we met through NCT and pregnancy yoga and we would meet with them a few times a a week, but it was all very casual and relaxed. However, when we moved, it all changed. I still had my mum pals over What’s App (thank god for our very active group chat!), but no IRL mum friends.

Having friends who are also mums of kids a similar age to yours is under rated. I didn’t think it would be that important before I became a mum. But then again you never know how much being a parent is going to change you until you become one. It is kinda a hard one to explain…

Anyway, when I read that blog post, we had just moved but I hadn’t made any new mum friends in the area, despite everyone saying how easy it is to make friends when you have a baby. Well, actually, I don’t think it is. It is much easier when you’re in antenatal classes as a group and you all have your babies around the same time. Now THAT is a bonding experience, and I made good friends that way. But once the mum and baby groups are set and your babies are a few months old (or a year in our case), I found it is more difficult to make connections. Especially as by then many mums have gone back to work. I often end up chatting to grandparents at the playground! It didn’t help that I had not found a job yet and also it was the school holidays, so many activities were not running.

But I am determined to make some mum friends in the area, so I am trying to get my introvert self out there by doing a few things. The first one was to download the Peanut app. Peanut is meant to be ‘like Tinder for mums’, which made me chuckle, but it lets you connect with other mums in the same area and with similarly aged children and with similar interests to you (say, the outdoors, shopping, coffee-guzzling or just wine 😂). The second thing I did was to join a local mum and baby exercise class, which was much needed!

In all honesty, I am too shy to contact people out of the blue through the app most of the time, but what I like is that you can find mums in your area that you might have had a conversation with at rhyme time or the park. It makes it less awkward to me, and at least you know they do similar activities to you.

You can download the Peanut app here and tell me what you think. I have to admit I love their branding 🤭

Sling libraries: Why you should try before you buy

After my recent post about baby-wearing, I thought it might be a good idea to try different baby carriers, or rather toddler carriers, on. The selection in shops like John Lewis or Mothercare isn’t great – they usually just have a BabyBjorn or an ErgoBaby to try and that’s about it. So I googled sling libraries in my area and found one a few miles away which runs once a week. Perfect!

I headed there the other week and was really impressed by the huge range of different baby/toddler carriers they had available. The lady who runs it knew all the ins and outs of all the different brands and models and gave me really good, impartial advice based on my needs. There was no obligation to join as a member or to even hire one, but since I was there, I tried a few on and finally committed (for 2 weeks at least) to a Manduca carrier. For only £5/week plus a £40 returnable deposit, I thought it was worth it. Especially as many of these carriers retail for over £100! Trying before buying definitely made sense.

What I learnt:

  • I prefer a crossed-back carrier than an over-the-shoulder carrier.
  • The weight guidelines are there for a reason, but also those which say up to 22kg – do you really want to carry 22kg worth of child?! I don’t think I could!
  • There are many options for newborn-to-toddler carriers, and actually ErgoBaby is a pretty good high street one, but I preferred others.
  • Some carriers are expensive because they are pretty (hello Tula!).
  • It might be a good idea to have a baby carrier for mum and another one for dad – each have very different bodies (I am much shorter and obviously lighter) and preferences. Also I tend to use it for everyday activities such as walking to the shops or nursery,  and sometimes even working out, whereas dad’s carrier tends to be for days out in the countryside (where you can take it in the car so it doesn’t matter if it’s heavy).

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Also, they had a play area for kids while you waited.

My NCT teacher also pointed me in the direction of this website, which is a good starting point if you want to learn about baby wearing.

Do you have any experience of baby wearing? Have you ever been to a sling library? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Baby wearing: the first year

I love baby-wearing. I used to carry my baby attached to me in the house, to do chores, or to go to the supermarket and for walks. BUT my baby is no longer a baby. At 13 months old, he is now officially a toddler and over 11kg, which means he has outgrown his main baby sling, a BabyBjorn original we bought when he was a newborn with a gift card.

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We also own another 3 (yes 3!) baby carriers and I am looking for a 4th. I realise how crazy this sounds, I only have one child after all, but let me explain and hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes I made.

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When I was pregnant, I bought a stretchy jersey sling from Amazon, very cheap at £15, at learnt to tie it up (I even practised with the cat!). I loved it. But when the baby arrived in the middle of a heatwave, he hated it. He would just overheat very quickly among all the layers of fabric. My husband also found it too faffy to tie up, so I gave up using it for a while, until it got colder, and I would only use it at home.

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As I said, we were given a John Lewis gift card when baby was born so we put it towards a BabyBjorn Original carrier, which I will admit was much quicker to put on. Baby loved it and he could face us or, later on, face the world.

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As he got older, I thought it might be more comfortable to carry him on my back, so I bought a very cheap Aldi 3-in-1 baby carrier. Well, it was cheap for a reason, it was so difficult to put on!! We never used it. I have tried selling it on but I don’t think it will fetch more than £5 on ebay.

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At that point, baby was nearing his first birthday, and we inherited a Littlelife toddler rucksack. I find it very cumbersome – that thing is huge, and heavy even without the toddler! – but the husband loves it and we have already been on many walks with it. It is not small, so it does take up boot space, but that is ok since our car boot is quite big anyway.

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I used the BabyBjorn carrier for the last time the other week, to go on a plane with him, and he was bursting out of it. It is no surprise – it is made for up to 11kg so it is time to move on!

Now I am looking at a light, fabric-based (not a rucksack) toddler carrier that lasts up to 20kg and that I can use on my front and my back.

I have been recommended the Manduca (which is breastfeeding-friendly too!), the Tula, and the Integra (although this comes in lots of sizes and I only want to buy one more). Ideally, it will be suitable from birth, so I could then get rid of the BabyBjorn, the Aldi carrier and the jersey carrier.

I will post an update when I find THE ONE. Any suggestions that don’t break the bank are more than welcome!

 

Renovating Granny’s house

Since relocating to the north (the nooorf!), we are much closer to my husband’s family and can visit them fairly easily, even just for the day. Also, we are currently renting, which means we cannot really do any DIY or renovation projects. As much as I’d like to rip out of the wallpaper and replace the kitchen cabinet doors, realistically it is neither necessary nor worth it. So we have offered Granny (my son’s Granny) our help to spruce up her home, hopefully to sell it in the near future.

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As a result, this will be more of a home staging project rather than renovating. The goal is to show the house’s potential so it fetches the highest possible price. It is a big house: 4 bedrooms, 2 large reception rooms (living/dining room plus a converted garage room), kitchen with separate pantry and utility room, bathroom and downstairs toilet, and a large driveway and garden.

The priorities are:

  1. Declutter, declutter, declutter.
  2. Spruce up the front entrance and hallway, which are currently not in use and everyone comes in through the side door to the utility room. Ideally potential buyers won’t have to see the washing machine and old boiler first thing. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression!
  3. Move the furniture around. There are lovely pieces of furniture in this house but many of them are in the wrong room or an awkward position, blocking the flow of the house and not making the most of the size of some rooms.
  4. Paint. This house was last decorated in the 1990s so it is full of colour. Too much colour in my opinion, but that I guess is debatable (it certainly has been!). The idea is to have a more coherent colour palette (3-4 colours per room) so as not to overwhelm the eye and make it feel more cluttered than it is.
  5. Update some furnishings, such as curtains, rugs, bedding so achieve the above.
  6. Add a full-length mirror. Everyone needs a full-length mirror! How else do you get dressed in the morning?

We would like to get this project done during the weekends and finish by early April, so it can be on the market by the summer. We are wondering whether more work needs to be done (replacing boilers, plumbing, electrics) before selling, so we are calling this ‘phase 1’.

Phase 2 would therefore be:

  1. Updating the plumbing
  2. Updating the wiring/electrics
  3. Replacing the (ancient) boiler with a new combi one

I am reluctant to do other things that realistically need doing, such as doing the bathroom or kitchen, because I think that is down to taste and surely the new homeowner would like to do that themselves? I certainly would. Obviously the house would be sold as a ‘project’ but we still want to make sure viewers see the space and potential rather than just clutter.

I’ll pop the before pictures in a separate post later on, but in the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you ever staged a home to sell?

 

Prologue

In 2015, our landlord decided to sell the house we were living in. This made us reconsider where we lived and we decided, for the sake of our respective commutes, to move halfway between both our jobs to a small town in South Wales. Our tenancy agreement was running out in two months so we had little time to house hunt and a limited number of properties available. After a handful of house viewings we were set in one specific area as it would just be more practical and, lo and behold, this house appeared on the market. I didn’t fall for it immediately, but it ticked all the boxes and it had no chain (it did have a walk-in wardrobe though), so we put in an offer and it was accepted.

And so the journey began!

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The house in itself was fine. Just fine. Nothing wrong with it, perfectly liveable. But we were never going to leave it as it was. Dated blue kitchen with fake cupboards? Terracotta walls? Old beige carpets? We had to do something about it!

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Over the last year we have been renovating, one weekend project at a time. This blog is the journal of our first renovation project and what we learnt along the way.

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Hello world

This is my first blog post at Impeccable Disorder. I have started and abandoned many blogs over the years so here’s to a new, hopefully successful, one!

Since buying a house last year, I have accumulated plenty of content for makeovers. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like a good before and after?

I will be posting about 3-4 times a month, time permitting. You can also find me on Instagram and Pinterest.

See you around!