A home is not just a house


Before Christmas, with baby Smith number two on the way, we’d discussed moving house. You know, those casual conversations – “we really should see what’s out there, we’ll need more space.” Although our two bedroom terrace could accommodate a newborn (with bubbs in our room for up to 6 months), after that things may be a little tricky. With A starting school in September (how did that happen?!), her sharing with a baby is going to be unfair in our eyes.

So back to the search…we viewed a house on Saturday we’ve sort of fallen in love with, okay really fallen in love with. Is it tempting fate to write about it? Who knows. Either way, the reality is we now need put ours on the market, which we’re doing this week. I was surprised how emotional this decision has made me feel. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones or maybe it’s because this house is our first family home. We got married while living here, we brought our first baby home here and she took her first steps in her bedroom, we’ve shared big moments of our lives here. This home is more than just a house, it’s a huge part of our lives. All these memories, all this history is ingrained in this house. It’s heart wrenching to think about moving on.

As our family grows I guess we also grow as people and change is one of life’s certainties. With this in mind I think, when the day comes, it’ll be an exciting prospect to make new memories in a new house. To make it our home.


Then and now


If you’re a parent I’m sure you often fantasise about the days when you were young (er) and carefree. The days before you developed those dark circles under your eyes. The days of spontaneous dinner dates, boozy weekend lunches that lingered into the evening and gig-going (our personal favourite). The days of..okay I’ll stop before I sound like a whingebag.

Your spontaneity isn’t the only thing that seems to change after 2 become 3, your conversations do too. Some days I do have to stop and think “Have you heard yourself?” when talking to Mr.S.

Couple conversation, then vs. now –

Then – “How was your day huni?”

Now – “Thank GOD you’re home. She’s been a bloody nightmare today. Did you get wine?”

Then –  “You smell nice”

Now – “What the hell is that smell?” (Cue sniffing of toddler’s bum)

Then – “That film you wanted to see is out on Thursday, shall we go?”

Now – “I think we’ve used up our babysitting credits for this month”

Then – “Have you seen my red heels with the bow?”

Now – “Have you seen Cinderella?”

Then – “Ooooooooh your sex is on fiiiiiire

Now – “Let it go, let it goooooooo

Then – “Oh look *insert name of band/singer* is playing, shall we get tickets?”

Now – “Oh look, Frozen on Ice. The tickets are HOW much?!”

You get the picture…




Any others you’d like to add?! Pass the wine.

Thanks for reading.

Em xx



I can’t believe I just said that


I remember very clearly the things my Mum used to say to me as child, I like to call them ‘Mum-isms.’ You know, things such as ‘Get down from there or you’ll fall and break your neck’, ‘If the wind changes you’ll get stuck like that’ and ‘You’re NOT going out dressed like that’…you get the idea.

So I guess it was inevitable I’d start saying these Mum-isms sooner or later. Here are a few that have escaped from my mouth in the past few weeks –

“I’m going to count to three and you’d better be on this changing mat. One, TWO…TWO AND A HALF…”

“What did I JUST say?”

“Are you allowed to do that?” “No Mummy” “Then why are you doing it?”

Don’t like it” says Aria pushing her food away. “There are children starving in Africa who would LOVE this food”

“Get away from the TV or you’ll get square eyes”

“I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall”

“Am I talking to myself?”

“Sit down while you’re eating or you’ll get indigestion”

I’m sure there will be many more to come as Aria grows up and even when she’s an adult I’ll be uttering them, because as my Mum tells me, your children are always your babies whether they’re 3 or 33.

What have you found yourself saying to your children?

Em xx


Beware – Toddlers have no filter


You know some people  who say exactly what’s on their mind? Positively described as honest, negatively described as blunt. Sometimes I love these people. “I wish I could be that honest” I think. Other times I think “Ooh that was harsh, don’t you have a filter?”

Well, let me tell you toddlers do not have this filter! And if you tend to have a bit of a potty mouth (don’t we all some days), control it, control it now! For your delightfully cute little one will repeat EVERYTHING YOU SAY! And I mean everything. Hence Mr. S and I training ourselves to replace our thoughtlessly uttered expletives with words such as ‘sugar’, ‘bother’ and my current favourite ‘fudge sticks’. Particularly hard when driving I’ve found!

“So”, I hear you say, “I get it, keep my language in check in front of my little one” (and out of sight because THEY HEAR EVERYTHING) – “check”. But it’s not just your language you need to consider. These adorable tiny humans have a way of saying exactly what they think, when they think it.

Take Good Friday for example. There we were, family Smith 3, enjoying a sunny afternoon at Bateman’s, a National Trust property in East Sussex. Taking a break from our Easter egg hunt to enjoy our picnic, people watching and enjoying the sunshine, when a shall we say larger lady comes into our vicinity. Aria, darling daughter, pipes up from behind her carrot sticks “Lady, big tummy.” Cue husband and I, beetroot red trying desperately to drown out her honesty, “ARIA ARE YOU ENJOYING YOUR LUNCH?” “Lady, BIG T..” “MMMM YUMMY CARROT STICKS”. “LADY, BI..” “LOOK AT THAT DOGGY.

Thankfully, I don’t think the lady heard her honest outburst. We however, are going to have to learn to deal with more of these types of situations. Because when you’re two, you really do say what you think.

Has your little one come out with any embarrassing things? I’d love to hear them!

Em xx


Darling daughter, enjoying her chocolate bunny





Don’t tell a parent they look tired


So this is a little bit of a ranty blog post. Sorry for being negative, but some things really do get my goat (where does that expression come from?!) and if you’re a parent, they probably get yours too. So instead of imploding from keeping in the mum rage, I thought why not blog about it!

Recently I’ve felt the best I’ve felt since having Aria, in fact since being pregnant…so we’re getting on for two years here. Since giving myself a kick up the bum to do some actual exercise, that doesn’t just involve wrestling Aria to the floor as she tries to crawl off after a massive dirty nappy, I’ve felt calmer, brighter and more energetic. More importantly, I’ve felt happier.

Just as you’re feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed, feeling more confident with this parenting thing, thinking – “Yes! I am not completely useless. My child only had a tantrum once today,” some bloody “do-gooder” decides to utter the words “you do look tired.” Tired? TIRED?! Are you f**cking kidding me?! Now, is this just something people say for the sake of something to say to someone with a young child (Hubby thinks this is true), or are you doomed to look tired until your child turns 18. Actually, probably beyond that, as you spend your nights awake until they come home after a night out.

Either way, if you’re reading this and you’ve said this to a parent, STOP, stop now and think of something nice to say. Or keep your mouth shut.

What other things get on your nerves now you’e a parent? Leave me a comment below or tweet me at @Em_L_Smith

Thanks for reading!

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"Did you just tell my Mum she looks tired?"

“Did you just tell my Mum she looks tired?”


The weaning journey at 11 months and 16 days…


As I write this, my husband is trying to get Aria to eat chicken and butternut squash tagine. Lovingly made last weekend, this delicious meal doesn’t seem to appeal to my darling daughter’s tastebuds. How do I know? She’s behaving as if he’s trying to feed her poison, by squealing and wriggling, her face bright red as she tries to escape from her highchair.

This isn’t a rare occurrence and there have been many tears of frustration over the last 6 months or so since we started the weaning journey, and that was just from me!



From the beginning, we’ve made all of Aria’s meals from scratch, using the Annabel Karmel book and making up a few of our own along the way. I think this has made it even more upsetting when she’s refused to eat them, as we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure she has the best we can offer. I’ve felt, at times, like it’s a personal insult when she’s refused food. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

As I’m sure mums reading this can sympathise, trying to get your child to eat a variety of meals is a challenge. There have been several days where Aria will refuse to eat anything from a spoon, only wanting to eat finger food. Then for a few weeks she’s loved everything we’ve offered – from cottage pie to salmon and broccoli with pasta. Now, we’re going through a fussy stage and I’m trying to remain calm.

Although I’m certainly no expert, I wanted to write a post that other mums could relate to and offer a few tips I’ve found have helped over the last 6 months of our weaning journey.

1. Offer finger food at every meal (and an extra spoon!)
Aria is very independent and loves to feed herself, including finger food and eating with a spoon, although her aim isn’t usually that great! I try to offer finger food that’s easy to hold, including homemade fish goujons, slices of cheese, cucumber sticks, homemade salmon footballs and sweet potato wedges. I also find this is a good distraction, as is letting her hold her own spoon, whilst I slip some food into her mouth unnoticed!

2. Use distraction
Aria loves Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom so we tend to have this on at meal times as, quite often, she is engrossed she will let me feed her. I know not everyone will agree with this method, but it often works!

3. Make meal times fun
Nobody likes to eat alone so I try to time our meals together as much as possible. Aria’s more likely to eat if she sees us eating, although she often wants what we have rather than her own food, and it makes it more social.

I’ve also recently discovered that Aria will take food from her spoon if I let her pig puppet ‘feed’ her. Strange but true!

4. Stay calm
Easier than it sounds but take a deep breath…..or ten. I found, not only was me getting wound up when Aria wouldn’t eat making me feel exhausted, it wasn’t making meal times a pleasurable experience for either of us. The more frustrated I became, the more Aria refused to eat. Now I just think – she won’t starve, so maybe today she’s just not as hungry as the day before. Like us, she’s not a robot when it comes to how much we want to eat on any certain day.


What stage are you at on the weaning journey and what are your tips for staying calm?

Let me know in the comments below or tweet me at @Em_L_Smith

Thanks for reading,
Em xx

Aria’s 6 month update


So after my last post I’ve finally sat down to write Aria’s 6 month update…at 30 weeks! Time just goes so fast and in-between my makeup course and looking after Aria, it feels like I’ve barely had a minute!

When we had Aria so many people with children told us to appreciate the time when she was a tiny baby, as they grow so fast. At the time I remember wishing it would get easier..fast! And now as I look at her I can’t believe she was a tiny baby who fell asleep on me after every feed. Now, she’s an inquisitive, cheeky monkey who can sit up by herself and always wants to be off playing and exploring. In a way I do miss the early days. Not the night feeds or the overwhelming tiredness, but the times when we could sit together for hours and she would snuggle close. That rarely happens now, but in exchange I have a beautiful nearly seven month old daughter who is developing a cheeky personality by the day!

Aria - 1 day old

Aria – 1 day old

I guess in this update I just wanted to reflect how much Aria has changed, her milestones and what her routine is now, compared to the early days.


There have been so many milestones in the last 6 months, and not just the big ones like when Aria first rolled over, and there are more every week! But I guess the biggest ones have been:

First tooth – 4 1/2 months

First smile – 6 weeks

First time Aria rolled over – 3 months

First giggle – 4 months

First taste of solids – 5 months

First word (okay…babble that sounds like a word!) – Dadda

First time Aria sat up – 6 months. This was a funny one as a few times I’d gone upstairs to find Aria sitting up in her cot, and no idea of how she’d done it! I was so eager to catch her doing it I had my camera handy when she was playing, just to see if I could catch it on film. And finally last week, I did!

The past 6 months have been a total whirlwind and having a baby has turned our world upside down. I’m not going to lie, at times, it hasn’t been easy and there have been tears, frustration and tantrums…and that’s just Aria!

When you’re pregnant it feels like you’re waiting forever for your baby to arrive, and after all the planning, excitement and anticipation I don’t think anything prepares you for the complete life change. But, 6 months later, we’re settled into a routine and things are more manageable in some ways, harder in others and there are still surprises. Just when you think you’ve got things cracked, another spanner is thrown into the works, but I guess that’s kind of part of the fun right?

You certainly change and grow as a person. You have to become less selfish and give all your attention to someone else, and while that’s incredibly hard to come to terms with at times, isn’t it amazing that you get to shape someone’s life and be called Mum? To witness a first tooth, a first smile, a first little giggle makes the hard times worth it. You just have to try to remember that when you’re awake at 2am!

Since Aria’s birth we’ve taken pictures pretty much every day. I love documenting her in photos and can’t wait to share them with her when she’s older. In the slideshow below are some of my favourites.

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This has been a really emotional post to write. Please share with me some of your baby’s milestones and favourite moments in the comments below, or via Twitter at @Em_L_Smith.

Thanks for reading.

Em xx

First stage weaning


It’s been so hard to find the time to blog lately, and while Aria is taking a nap I’m furiously typing before she wakes up!

Aria will be 6 months old on Sunday (6 month update post coming soon!) and we started the weaning journey three weeks ago. Although the official guidelines advise that you wait until your baby is 6 months old before you start weaning, I just trusted my instinct. Aria is such an inquisitive baby and she’d been trying to grab our food and had been watching us so intently when we were eating for a while, I just felt it was time.

We decided to follow the Annabel Karmel Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner book and, as I wanted to make everything for Aria from scratch (paranoid Mummy – I want to know exactly what’s in her food!), I also ordered the fantastic VonShef steamer and blender which I use to make all her purées. The great thing about this book is that it gives you a great insight into the first foods to try with your little one, as well as advising on the foods that your baby could potentially have an allergy to, and best of all you can follow a ready-made meal planner. I love this as I can plan all Aria’s food for the coming weeks, make them all on one day and freeze individual portions (these will last up to 8 weeks in the freezer) which I can get out the night before – anything that makes life easier!

To freeze, I use some individual portion pots which I purchased from JoJo Maman Bebe – they’re fantastic as they stack in trays in the freezer and just one pot is currently a great portion size for Aria.

Trying carrot for the first time

Trying carrot for the first time


Lots of people start their baby on just baby rice, but I decided to start with mashed banana mixed with some of her milk to make it creamy. As with anything new, Aria was a little unsure at first – she looked as me as if to say “Mum, what the hell is this you’ve put in my mouth?!”, but after a few mouthfuls she couldn’t get enough! During the week we moved through the planner to carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash and pear. It was so exciting trying new flavours with her and watching her reactions! We’ve got to the stage now where she will try to take the spoon off you to feed herself – cue messy baby (and Mummy!).

We’re now giving Aria two meals a day, increasing this to three next week, and she’s taken to it so well. Sure, there are definitely things she isn’t so keen on (Sweet vegetable medley – parsnip, carrot and potato) but I’m amazed how well she’s adapted. I am a little nervous of giving her things like slices of toast later on, because of the choking risk, but I’m attending a baby first aid course on Saturday so maybe I’ll feel calmer after that!!

With regards to Aria’s milk, she is currently having four feeds a day – approximately 210ml per feed – most of which she finishes but often she’ll leave around 20-40ml at one to two feeds. I don’t know if this is a sign to cut down yet, but milk is still so important so I’m making up 210ml bottles.

Have you started weaning your baby yet? Did you decide to go down the purée route or try baby-led weaning?

Thanks for reading!

Em xx

Establishing a sleep routine


Let’s face it, when you have a baby your former way of life goes out the window and you have to adjust pretty quickly. Establishing a routine may not be everyone’s cup of tea but personally, since having Aria, I find it a necessity! My husband may say I need to loosen up a bit and go with the flow, and he may be right, but in terms of establishing a good sleep routine I think you need to be pretty firm.

A few weeks ago I was tearing my hair out as Aria, who was sleeping between 6-8 hours at night, suddenly started waking again – and not just once! The tiredness was unbearable and it felt like a huge step backwards to her newborn days. Of course, nothing in this mummy life stays the same for long, and Aria had just reached the 4 month mark so I assumed that this was the dreaded sleep regression everyone had told me about!

In desperation I contact The Blissful Baby Expert, Lisa Clegg. I’d been following Lisa on Twitter and seen the many mums who had thanked her for helping them get their little ones into a good sleep routine, and thought there had to be light at the end of this seemingly long tunnel that was my exhaustion. I popped Lisa an email explaining my situation and she promptly replied with some advice on a new routine of set day naps and a timed comforting method. She explained the so called “sleep regression” was simply something that happened due to babies not being taught to settle themselves, and this was a huge gift you could give your little one.

My blissful baby

My blissful baby

I was apprehensive at first as timed comforting involved letting Aria cry at set intervals, before we could go in to reassure her, leaving longer intervals between each “comfort”. The first time we tried it I have to say was a nightmare. I felt so guilty letting her cry and wanted to cry myself! However, after talking to fellow mummy and blogger Liz, from Everything Is Rosy, I felt hopeful. Liz had tried this technique with her son and, like me, had felt the mummy guilt. BUT she had persevered and both my husband and I decided we would too.

Well, thank goodness we did! Aria has napped in the day (in her cot and not on her playmat, me, her bouncer etc.) and for the first time in four months I have a little time to myself, meaning I can actually write a blog post!

I understand this type of routine might not be for every parent but I have to say Aria seems so much happier AND she’s sleeping at night again (for now at least!). Watching for her sleepy signs – rubbing her eyes, becoming irritable – and placing her in her cot with Ewan the sheep and her bunny for company, has meant she is getting used to when it’s nap time. My husband and I actually get to have a little “us” time in the evenings now, and after watching Hannah Maggs’ latest vlog I am definitely going to suggest a “blackout” night once a week!

Happy Aria

Happy Aria

So, a huge thank you to Lisa – The Blissful Baby Expert for her time and advice. It’s greatly appreciated!

Have any of you also used this routine with successful results? Or have any other tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading.

Em xx

The parent guilt


There are so many emotions you experience when you have a baby, but I think the biggest one is guilt.

There is so much pressure on new mums, with regards to how they choose to look after their babies, and everyone seems to want to share their so called advice and opinion.

This starts right after labour. It may sound silly, but I found when I was pregnant I was looking forward to Aria’s arrival so much, I didn’t really think about the reality of how much our lives would change once she was here.

A prime example of this is breast feeding. As Aria was a forceps delivery and had to be taken to special care when she was born, I didn’t get the chance to breast feed straight away. From the start Aria had trouble latching on (most likely due to her delivery and the fact she was uncomfortable) and the first three weeks were a real struggle. After one horrendous night of attempting to get her to feed for three hours, we finally decided to put her on the bottle. This was not an easy decision as I felt like I was failing her, and I would be judged – by family, health visitors and even strangers – for not sticking with it.

I now realise how ridiculous this was as, not only did it save my sanity as I knew how much Aria was having, she seemed much happier and more content.

For the first three weeks Aria had the best possible start and for us, putting her on the bottle made so much sense.


Of course, breast feeding isn’t the only thing I’ve felt guilty about in the last three months. If Aria cries when we’re out, for some bizarre reason I feel guilty. This isn’t made any easier when complete strangers offer their opinion such as – “Is she hungry?” No, I am not starving my child!

If she’s asleep on me and I have to put her down to, god forbid, go to the loo, I feel guilty if she gets upset! If we’re out and we go ten minutes past her feed time, I feel guilty. If she cries in the night and I don’t wake, meaning my husband gets up to feed her, I feel guilty. The list is endless!

I now realise, this is probably going to continue for the next eighteen years (or more!) if I don’t give myself a break. And to be honest, as mums (and dads) that is what we all need to do to stay sane.

There isn’t a text book way to parent. You’re going to make mistakes. The important thing is to move on and not feel guilty, because even if you do put a nappy on backwards (in the early weeks!) your baby doesn’t care and won’t remember. As long as you give them your love, everything else will take care of itself.

Thanks for reading.

Em xx