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MilkChic loves… Yumi

Yumi nursing dresses featured
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Yumi have the most fantastic selection of prints this Autumn and we love them here at MilkChic because so many of their designs are breastfeeding friendly – with gorgeous button down shirt dresses and chilled jersey wrap dresses, your nursing clothes need never be boring again!

Here are three of our favourite Yumi nursing dresses:

Yumi Sequined Wrap Dress
Yumi Butterfly Print Wrap Dress
Yumi Mountain Print Shirt Dress

Shop for more breastfeeding friendly Yumi fashion clothes

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I’m late, I’m late, I’m late….

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fob watchI can’t believe it’s only a week until Christmas. The children will be disappointed to know that my vagueness about presents isn’t due to a wish to maintain the magic of Christmas, or even my spectacular talent for secrecy – it’s just because I haven’t bought them yet. Luckily it’s not too late for online orders.

Of course I knew this was going to happen. I didn’t manage to complete my Christmas planning by the end of November, and since then everything’s gone even crazier than predicted.

So what’s new?

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  • New hair and new skills – I was lucky to be offered a free haircut at Kaizo in Shoreditch through Peerindex and took the opportunity to have a day of treasured alone time while small was at nursery – I spent the morning learning to screen print with the lovely girls from Studio Harlen and Achica, wandered the shops, had a quiet lunch, and came back refreshed and sporting rather classier hair than I have for a while. All credit to the stylist, as I not only loved my new look from the first snip, but so far have failed to ruin it despite my best styling efforts. And of course new hair is what you need when you start a…
  • New job! I went back to full time work at the beginning of December, which is a bittersweet thing. The role could have been written for me – it’s only a half hour commute, it’s challenging and varied, the people are forward looking and I’m excited about the future. It’s great to feel I’m finally moving forward and getting back to normality despite my back problems. But of course, it’s also the first time I’ve properly been away from small one, which has its sadnesses. Having said that, my mum has stepped in to make the transition so much easier, I’m there for breakfast and there for dinner and bed, and it does feel right.

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old hair
Before… Tatty old hair

new hair
After: The photo doesn’t flatter, but the hair does 🙂
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As sod’s law dictates, having accepted a new job, everything then conspired against me. Well, actually lots of things went very well and lots of things went very badly all at once, snowballing into the sort of December that leaves you lying awake at night in list-making panic.

I had everything planned so MilkChic could continue to run smoothly – posts and content waiting in the wings, a trusted friend willing to provide admin support. It was all looking quite manageable until…

  • Day 1 in the job – MilkChic gets hacked and I have to take the website down.
  • Day 2 in the job – After over a year of waiting for an appointment with my consultant, it finally comes through. My GP manages to get me referred to his private practice via the NHS, where waiting times seem almost non-existent. As a result I actually have to delay an MRI scan so I can book holiday. He seems hopeful that he might find something this time, and I’m just excited that something is happening. It would be wonderful to be able to run by this time next year.
  • End of the first week – small one visits the theatre for the very first time to see “Sleeping Beauty Dream On”, thanks to the hospitality of the Chickenshed Theatre and their corporate sponsor, Stubhub. Small isn’t really herself, enjoying the train and bus journeys but refusing to talk to anyone. We assume bad meal timing is the culprit and she perks up during the performance. Sadly, by the time we arrive home she has a raging temperature and on Monday she is diagnosed with bacterial tonsillitis. Mr MilkChic takes time off work so I don’t have to, and my very own supermum swoops in to save the day
  • Week 2 – Small one takes a strong (and completely understandable) dislike to banana medicine, leading her desperate parents and grandparents to the edge of reason every 4 hours. I spend a week trying to absorb important information on an average 2hrs sleep a night. I also manage to get MilkChic back online, albeit in a slightly tattered state. The Lumpy one arrives back from university, and Curly officially becomes a teenager.
  • Week 3 – with small on the mend, and having retained a small amount of last week’s information, I now consider myself bulletproof and attempt Yorkshire and back in a day. This proves foolish and I am writing this on the sixth train of the day with one more train and two more hours before home.

The challenge for this week is to get MilkChic back up to date with plenty of news and breastfeeding friendly outfits for the New Year. Oh, and did I mention that MilkChic and Armed & Glamorous have got to the regional finals of the Local Business Accelerators? So just a Dragon’s Den style presentation to get sorted over Christmas. No big deal…!

Still, it’s good to be busy. Are you all ready for Christmas yet?

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Run fast into Scotland….

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It’s been a mad couple of months here. In retrospect, it started well before the school holidays with the lumpy one’s A-level exams, Mr MilkChic’s rainwashed birthday barbecue and the visit of his elderly and disabled Uncle from South Africa (actually a lovely time, which will hopefully be repeated soon, but slightly stressful in anticipation, as we’d never met before!).

Birthday Girl

Famous FiveBy the time the school holidays started we were already worrying about small’s birthday at the beginning of August – I was desperate to give her a “perfect” birthday this year, as after too long with five of us crammed into a 2-up, 2-down with no room to swing a hamster, I wanted to make her first ever birthday party a special one in our new home.

I freely admit to hankering for an Enid Blyton style life and I am both by nature and necessity a time not money girl, so it will be no surprise to anyone that knows me that I slightly overstretched myself. I’ve been collecting dress-up clothes in charity shops for months so was confident I could put together an exciting present for her without spending a fortune, but… what with having a garden now, I’ve been SO desperate to make her a teepee and it seemed rude not to try to get it done for her birthday.

I may have got just a little carried away, so we now have a 8ft handsewn teepee behind the potting shed. Luckily, my family are forgiving of my idiocy, and happily took on increasingly random and varied tasks as I realised how little time we had. It probably says something about our household that the lumpy one’s girlfriend, always helpful, barely batted an eyelash when I asked her to make me a treasure chest for the dress up clothes… I had to pull a few all-nighters, come up with some inventive lies about what we were doing, and I was still sewing the doorway when small got back from nursery, but it definitely had the desired effect and made for an interesting birthday tea with 2 adults, 3 teenagers and one very excited 3 year old huddled up inside!

Birthday cakes galore:

I love baking. So I often offer to make birthday cakes. Unfortunately I’m not as good with dates as I am with cake, so I often bite off more than I can chew. This time, 2 days before small’s birthday party, I found myself baking and decorating a large 40th birthday cake, while simultaneously icing fairy cakes to send to nursery, and building a chocolate galleon. All this in-between toddler wrangling, tidying and running down to the garage to put another coat of paint on the teepee.

Party!

The party, by comparison, seemed like a small undertaking. Despite the oddity of inviting complete strangers (friends from nursery and their parents), about 5 kids plus our own and grandparents looked easy enough, until we factored in parents and worked out that could well mean nearly 30 people to cater for! Panic ensued – we wrote shopping lists, planned timings and menus and consulted the Twitter oracle. With the 40th birthday party to attend the night before, it could have all gone horribly wrong but Mr MilkChic catered like he had never catered before and, with the weather fairy shining on us (very fortunate, as we’d left the tent that was to be our fallback option in a field at the previous night’s party), we managed to pull it off. Exhausted, we sat back, complimented ourselves on our daughter’s choice of friends, and poured a well-deserved glass (bottle) of wine.

Exam results

Having barely recovered from one birthday, the A-level results came out on my mine. I’m happy to say this was good news, with both the lumpy one and his girlfriend getting into good universities. With the relief, came the reality of getting equipment, packing and logistics sorted to transport him to Glasgow in less than a month’s time. Of course, persuading teenagers of the urgency…

Camping in Canterbury

We had been planning a family camping holiday, but between Mr and the lumpy one’s work commitments and impending trip to Scotland, we soon realised we weren’t going to manage much. In the end we cobbled together a bank holiday weekend in a campsite not far from home. We were all incredibly unprepared, with the lumpy one managing to leave the house without any footwear except flipflops and an impressively thought out bag containing, as far as we could tell, largely socks. It didn’t bode well for university.

Despite the lack of preparation, we had an enjoyable few days getting to know our local area better and found some great attractions on our doorstep.

Packing

I seem to have spent a disproportionate amount of time writing lists this month. The timescale between exam results and freshers week is scarily short and while we are lucky in that we still have lots of things in the loft from when we moved in together there still seems an awful lot to buy. It’s almost as bad as preparing for a baby!

Scotland

The day before we were due to travel to Scotland, we woke up to a rather sheepish teenager with his hand in a cast. He had managed to break it the night before (don’t ask…) and had been told he may need surgery. Our local hospital, having assured him in the early hours that if he needed surgery it would all be sorted before he left, were lying and we finally travelled up with his hand in a cast, some heavy painkillers and some scary looking x-rays. All that just to get the front seat in the car…!

Eight hours in a small car surrounded by boxes wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Small one appears to be a good traveller and kept the mood light with her constant chatter. After hours of torrential rain through Manchester, she gave us the quote of the trip:

I don’t want to get my cardi wet again so I will run fast into Scotland!

It turned out to not be as bad as all that. Glasgow is gorgeous, it was (as Twitter predicted) more windy than rainy, and we’re hoping to have plenty of excuses to spend more time there. It was an emotional leaving – trying to explain to a toddler that her big brother won’t be home until Christmas has been difficult to get my head around and, while the curly one has a sensible head on her shoulders and has been wonderful this summer, I’m sure she’ll have her moments too.

In between all this, Mr and the lumpy one took their bike tests so they could get around London during the Olympics, Lumpy bought an Ebay motorbike, my goddaughter turned one and there were various other madnesses, all of which have paled into insignificance compared to the rest of the summer.

At some point I plan to write up some of these things as blog posts in their own right, but in case I never manage it, feel free to ask me about how to make a teepee, tips for kids’ birthday parties or indeed what it’s like to spray paint with a hedgehog sitting on your foot…

Note: I would like to apologise to everyone who has tweeted or e-mailed me recently for my scatty or non-existent responses. Usual service will be resumed just as soon as I can imbibe enough caffeine.

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Things I Should be Doing Thursday

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I am a listmaker. Lists calm me and give me structure to my day. They give me a sense of achievement. Occasionally, they also leave me with that nagging feeling that I might be a bit odd…
Mr MilkChic accepts my oddities with good humour, although he did comment that the last minute pre-holiday shopping list I handed him (fake toenails, armbands, white wool) sounded more like a scavenger hunt.
I’ve decided to share my to do lists in the hope that a) I might  be shamed into crossing some things off the list b) some of you might have odder lists than me. Here’s this weeks:
  • Finish sewing Mr MilkChic’s kilt. I am currently “steeking” the pleats…
  • More crochet. I have managed to crochet more than I’ve undone this week so far.
  • I want at least 100 lovely items listed on MilkChic USA before I launch. And I want to launch this week.
  • Wash the sofa covers. They are were cream. Enough said.
  • Wash some of our old sheets with the green gingham duvet cover. We dyed some pillow cases a gorgeous colour by accident last week and are hoping for a matching set.
  • Get a promotional leaflet done. I’ve been putting it off for ages and can’t leave it much longer.
  • Photograph the bag full of Ebay bits I’ve been hoarding for months.
  • Tidy the house. Obviously.
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Why can’t everybody do this?

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I was amazed by the level of family friendliness in every restaurant and cafe we walked into in Greece and it makes me sad that eating out with kids can be so difficult in the UK. All the money that is spent on climbing frames and ball pits could be so much better spent on training staff in simple thoughtfulness.

These are the things that most impressed me:

  • Highchairs in every restaurant. In one restaurant, the waiter decided my toddler was “a big girl” so stacked 2 stable chairs together so she could sit at our height. She grinned for the next 2 hours and ate like a dream!
  • Most had a childrens menu with smaller versions of real Greek food, not a standardised menu of fishfingers, sausage, burger. It seems the small one likes kalamari…
  • Everyone offered starter sized portions or automatically brought a plate for her to have a selection of our food.
  • The small one’s food was always brought first. Not after the starters.
  • We were offered a set of childrens cutlery in 2 places.
  • The waiters talked directly to the children and smiled at them.
  • There was always somewhere to put the buggy.
  • There is an expectation that adults will need to entertain their children during the meal. If there was likely to be a wait for food, they told us.
  • At our hotel restaurant they offered to put the leftovers in a “doggy bag” for the small one’s lunch the next day.
  • If someone needed to breastfeed, the only drama was in making sure they were comfortable.

We would love to repeat the experience at home but we’ve yet to have an easy evening meal out. Small things like a box of colouring stuff mean a trip to our little local pub is always pleasant but unfortunately legalities conspire against us and we can’t stay long. They aren’t allowed kids in the pub (even asleep in prams…) after 8pm!

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