Breastfeeding and tongue tie - Our story.

Saturday, 17 March 2018
When I first fell pregnant I felt pretty relaxed about whether I would breastfeed or not... 

... then once I saw Theo's natural instinct kick in and watched him search for a feed from my breast, a switch flicked and I so desperately wanted it to work.

I think my relaxed attitude came from not being breastfed myself and not many people in my family had been or were breastfeeding. I went to the classes and made notes (very studious) and thought we'll just see how we go.

Theo's first feed seemed to go well. It was the second and third feed where the trouble started. If you have read our birth story, you'll know that we spent a few days on a high dependency ward after delivery and as wonderful as the care I received was, the breastfeeding support was non existent. 

Theo wouldn't latch AT ALL and every time I asked for support someone would turn up in the room, congratulate me for hand expressing 1ml, we'd syringe it into Theo's mouth and we'd be left again. 1ml!!!! Theo was a hungry baby, 1ml wasn't keeping him satisfied for anymore than 20 minutes. 

After two days, lots of tears and not a lot of milk, my husband called for some support from a family member, a nurse who works on a Neo Natal ward and helps the new mums breast feed the prem babies. She came to our rescue, Theo finally latched on and had a huge feed! We've got this, I thought... we didn't have it. 

Another couple of days in hospital and his feeding deteriorated again. This time a midwife diagnosed him with tongue tie but said we could still feed, we just had to keep persevering and feed through the pain. A day or two later and it was time for us to leave the hospital. I'm convinced we left with a starving baby, he showed all the signs, but my notes read "breastfeeding well" so we were sent on our way without any concern.

Four days with Theo and both nipples were already severely cracked, it was time to break into the emergency bottle of formula. This is how it continued for the next three days, trying to get Theo to latch at every feed and topping him up with formula if he didn't seem satisfied. It was so difficult! I even spent one evening crying down the phone to a stranger from Le Leche League after it all just seemed a bit too overwhelming for me.

My milk finally came it on day six but it still didn't get any easier, not for another six weeks.

I was now exclusively feeding him (apart from one bottle of expressed milk that his dad would feed him in the evening). I was producing enough milk, but the pain, oh the pain! I've never felt anything like it and sometimes Theo would want to feed for an hour and a half at a time. Six weeks of me crying almost every time I fed Theo. Wincing every time he showed that he needed feeding and knowing how uncomfortable I was about to feel. It was time to get some more support... this can't be how it's supposed to be but yet I still really really wanted it to work.

I took myself to our local feeding group when Theo was six weeks old. Bee, who runs the group took one look at Theo, after I showed her my very sore boobies and she diagnosed tongue tie again and insisted we got it dealt with ASAP! 

After lots of emails and phone calls we finally got an appointment for Theo to have the tongue tie cut when he was nine weeks old. When I bought him home after the procedure he couldn't latch... again. I cried ... again. I thought we'd lost breastfeeding, but he just needed to retrain. 

I think it took around three-four weeks for me to notice any difference but finally feeding was pain free. Three months of being in the most discomfort and I was only just starting to understand the joy of breastfeeding.

Our breastfeeding story isn't a great one but I don't think it is that uncommon, often because of the lack of support women get, particularly in hospital. Thankfully there are groups out there that can support you, we still go to ours every fortnight, I love it there!

Establishing breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I have ever done and I'm not really sure anyone ever prepared me for that. Maybe if I'd of looked for the stories when I was pregnant I would've realised but as I said earlier it wasn't ever something I thought I was that bothered about, until it seemed it was something I couldn't do. But that probably just says a lot about my personality! Ha!

I'm so glad I stuck with it, but when I think about how pain free it is now, I do wonder if I was a bit stupid to keep putting myself through that amount of pain. Serious pain!

I'm going to leave you with a few tips that might help you if you're struggling. Also know that my discomfort does seem like a bit of an extreme case (I think) and it does get easier, in time. Probably quicker than the three months it took us!

Tips to work through breastfeeding

- Breastfeeding IS painful, they say if it is then you're doing it wrong but not in those first few weeks. If it's still uncomfortable after 2-3 weeks, go and find support but yes, those first feeds are not (usually) all that pleasant. 

- Take each feed at a time and give yourself credit when you get through a feed. It really is a great feeling when you think about what your body is doing.

- Get your partner to support you. If it wasn't for my husband I'm not sure I would still be breastfeeding now. 

- Go to a support group, seriously get to one! Their knowledge and time is invaluable.

- Nipple cream will be your best friend and you'll panic if you can't find it!

- Stay hydrated because constipation when feeding is just awful!

- Formula is not the devil's milk and if you want to do a combination of breast and formula in those early days, do! Theo was just too hungry to wait for 6 days for my milk to come in.

- Introduce a bottle of EBM once breastfeeding is established so that your baby doesn't become averse to a bottle.

- Lastly, I used to look at women in coffee shops feeding their babies and think "it looks easy enough" but it's taken me a good few months to get to that point. It is one of the most natural things to do but it's definitely something you both need to learn and work at. Now we're (almost) pros and I can honestly say I absolutely love breastfeeding my baby!

I might follow this post up with some products that also helped me along the way, let me know if this is something you would be interested in. 

I hope this has helped you and if you have anything you think I might be able to help further with, please ask.

Amy x

A positive - not perfect, birth story.

Sunday, 11 March 2018
I had a “practically perfect pregnancy” (Cristina the midwife, 2017) so really I should’ve guessed the birth wouldn’t be so spot on.

In the build up to having my first, I researched the fudge out of labour. Honestly, I studied it harder than I did my GCSE’s. I can’t tell you the amount of positive birth stories I watched on YouTube, all these women having the most beautiful births. I’m going to have one of those of my own... enter a not so well positioned baby and those thoughts kind of have to go by the wayside.

Now before I carry on I think it’s important to point out that although my birth story isn’t a story of the most beautiful birth, it is a story of an intervention full BUT positive birth. If, like me when preparing for bringing a baby into the world, you want to fill your mind with the most beautiful of ideals, that’s fine! BUT I’m writing my story because I only wish I would’ve done a little more research into what happens when the plan has to change. So if you think that might help you read on, if not then don’t. I TOTALLY get that. I probably wouldn’t of wanted to read this either back then.

So I guess I’ll start at 40 + 4. The pool was in the nursery already to go, we were going for a home birth, and a midwife was coming along to see me for possibly the last time. She checked me over and told me despite what the charts said all along (an average baby) she thought he’d be more along the lines of 6lb 10... great! This is going to be so beautiful!!! FYI the charts can be wrong, he came out at 9lb 4!!!!

The following evening my waters broke, around midnight and then it started. The surges were fine, nothing I couldn’t handle. Not close together but felt fairly strong, strong enough to not allow me to have any sleep, sleep which was strongly advised by the midwife at the end of the phone at 2am.

Now basically that was that for this part but unfortunately this part lasted 24 hours. Surges strong, but with no rhyme or rhythm, 3 in 15 minutes - 1 in 20 minutes. Hopping in and out the pool to get things going, walking around and around the street, up and down the stairs, in and out the shower! I hadn’t been so active in weeks.

Eventually things started to crank up a notch, apparently I was making “transitional sounds” and our gorgeous midwife kept disappearing behind me to see if he was here yet, nope, still no baby. She checked his heartbeat and at this point, as I relaxed in the pool between the surges 24 hours in, there was a dip in his heart rate. We changed positions, this time out of the pool and onto our bed, heart beat checked again... another dip.

And this is the point the beautiful ideal changed. It was standard procedure to have to transfer to the hospital at this point, two heart rate dips and constant monitoring is required. As we waited for the ambulance I had my first examination.. 7.5cm wow!! All that way with nothing but a bit of gas and air... a new calm came over me. I remember the midwife saying “he might still arrive before the ambulance” ha! Nope!!!

When we arrived at hospital it was back to where we were at home, surges sporadic and no more dips in the heart rate... typical! So I carried on doing what I was doing for another 6 hours.

So here we are 30 hours in... I can’t keep doing this. I’ve been awake for almost two days. So what are the options? My birth plan said I can do this at home with gas and air.... I think it’s time that plan got adapted. I remember Lynn (ah Lynn) another gorgeous midwife asking me if I could do this for another 30 hours, I think the look on my face suggested otherwise! An epidural was ordered so I could try and get some rest... 3 hours later a second examination, guess what, you’re 7.5cm. Whoopie di do, I was that 9 hours ago!

This birth needed to happen, so out came more drugs, the induction drug, cranked up to the most they could give me. Another 3 hours later, still no baby...enter Ian.

Ah Ian, Super Consultant Ian, who had informed me for all the attempts I was making this baby “is a toad, and has decided to come out with his head on the side. Basically you can carry on trying but it’s looking highly unlikely you’ll be able to do this without any help." I remember at this point begging for a c section! Me, the only natural/water birth/hypnobirthing mum to be, begging for a c section. Must’ve been serious!!!

I didn’t get the c section I (apparently) wanted, instead Super Ian got him out with a fair bit of force and some forceps. Which in the end, resulted in a fair amount of blood loss and a stay on the high dependency ward for myself... but that’s another not perfect but positive story.

Anyway, the main reason I want to share my birth story is because even though it was at times stressful and pretty scary, it may seem strange that I can say it was nothing but positive.

We took a class in Hypnobirthing at 20 weeks pregnant and I honestly think if it wasn’t for that course my mind would’ve been in a very different place. It helped me to stay calm and focused when things weren’t going to plan.

The care we received during labour also helped things stay positive. The midwives and consultants are honestly super humans. I never once doubted them and put all of my trust into them helping us make informed decisions about our birth. They ensured as much of our 'Birth Plan' would be honoured and respected although it looked very different to the initial ideas. So positive in fact that 4 weeks after Theo’s arrival someone asked me if I could do it all again... hell yer!!! Look at what is here for all the effort! Now I'm not saying I felt this positive the about the experience the following day but once the sleep deprivation and hormones had settled down, I could see Theo's birth for what it was. Not perfect - but positive. 

We will try for a second, I’m not scared or put off and we think we will try to complete it all at home, in a pool, like we wanted, our incredible aftercare has told us it is possible that could happen. 

But if it turns out that that baby wants to, in the words of Super Consultant Ian, be a toad and have a little help getting here, that’s fine too.

Any which way these little ones want to arrive is fine by me but if you could do it a little quicker than 36 hours that would make me a little happier and much less sleepy.

The Tessuti 'Lisa' Dress...

Monday, 3 August 2015
... Summer Sewing.

All I seem to be doing, at the moment, is stitching up pieces for my summer holiday wardrobe. Expect the next few blog posts to be all about sewing summer dresses. I've had my eye on the Tessuti Lisa dress for a while and finally found some fabric which I thought would suit this beautifully.

My usual fabric shop, Barry's Fabrics in Digbeth, Birmingham, came up trumps again with this heavy cotton (almost denim) blue with white polka dot fabric. This is a little out of my comfort zone but I felt like being brave and I think it paid off, I love this fabric!

Now, just before I talk about the Lisa dress pattern, I just want to warn you that this blog post maybe a little boring! Why?? Well because Tessuti patterns are just so darn tooting good!!!!

I have used Tessuti patterns before, I made the Lily dress when I first started sewing and I was so greatful for such clear instructions. It's the same again with this one. An easy peasy, print at home pattern, means I had a beautiful new dress in about 4 hours!

So, what is so great about this dress? Well everything really. The shape, the super clear instructions... but what I really love are the pockets.

I'm not sure how or why anything would be designed without pockets. These ones are nothing to be scared of, even if you are a beginner.

The button placket was a part of the pattern that I thought would get me into a bit of a confused muddle but again, with the clarity of the instructions, it was done without me even thinking about it. First time, no unpicking and perfect button placement. It could've been a fluke but I really don't think so. As long as you just follow what is in front of you, Tessuti have got your back!  

I also love the gathered waist of this dress. I do really like gathered waists on most dresses or skirts. What's great about this one is that it has a contoured high waist line. I feel it just adds a bit of interested to a simple design. Also the high waist line is going to be perfect for concealing the holiday tum that I'll no doubt gain, from eating ice creams everyday and fish and chips by the sea, when we go to Whitby next week.

I am really happy with the first of my holiday makes and think I will be making this dress again before too long. I want to make a plain blue denim or black one so that I can layer it during autumn time, but let's not think about cooler days just yet!

Thanks Tessuti for another great pattern. I'll be sure to try out another one soon.

Amy x

Lavender and Orange Cupcakes...

Monday, 20 July 2015

...a recipe for grown up cupcakes. 

Hi folks, I'm really excited to share this recipe with you today. I haven't made cupcakes in such a long time, so I've dusted off the Kitchenaid and made these ones, which I think are just perfect for the summer months. 

These cakes are so simple, I know I say that all the time but these really are. I am not a professional baker in the slightest so if it's on this blog it's easy... trust me! 

On with the recipe.

You will need:

6 lavender flowers (plus extra for decoration)
125g lightly salted butter
125g caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1/2 an orange
2 eggs
150g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

And for the icing...

150g icing sugar
6-7 teaspoons of orange juice
Purple food colouring (I used gel colouring)

How to make them:

First, line your cake tray with 12 cup cake cases and pre heat your oven to 180 degrees c. Next, cream the butter and the sugar together, until you make a smooth and creamy mixture which is very light in colour. 

Now you need to add all of the ingredients but leave the eggs to one side, just for the moment.

Just to let you know, if your lavender is still in flower when you add them, pull the flowers out of the bud first (not sure that is exactly what I mean!?) and then pull the bud away from the steam and put both the flowers and the buds in the bowl. The picture above should show you what I mean. Before you add the buds to the mixture, give them a little squeeze to release more lavender loveliness and combine all of the mixture.

Next, beat the two eggs in a small bowl and then add the egg slowly whilst mixing the cake mixture. 

Once all of the ingredients are well mixed together you will have a classic looking cake mix. Evenly distribute the cake mix between the cake cases and bake for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to touch. 

Transfer the cooked cupcakes on to a wire rack and leave them to cool completely before decorating. 


I can not, never been able to, never will be able to, decorate cakes beautifully with all the swirly whirly icing. It's just too hard! But runny icing I can do, so these cakes were perfect.

Make the icing the same way you would with water but use orange juice instead. Add the orange juice, a teaspoon at a time, until the icing is the consistency of thin glacĂ© icing. You want the icing to trickle over the edges of the cakes. Add the purple food colouring a tiny bit at a time so that you make a soft lilac colour. 

Before the icing sets completely you need to decorate them with beautiful, edible, flowers. I decided to use lavender and viola, both picked from my own garden. 

Look how beautiful they are! So simple, yet so pretty. The colours just say summer to me and the taste... mmmmmhmmmm! 

I'd like to make these again and host a little garden tea party. I wonder what other cakes I could make with more flowers from my garden... rose water cupcakes decorated with roses? Ideas!!!

Enjoy x

Make Your Tent a Stylish Retreat...

Sunday, 31 May 2015

DIY Glamping...

Hello, how are we all? Spring is (kind of) in the air and last week me and the fella (and the dog) hopped off to The Cotswolds for a few days, for our first camping trip of the year.

I love love love camping! Most of my holidays as a child were camping ones, my dad still has the two man tent the three of us spent the week in Cornwall in!! 

Anyway, we've had our own tent for a few years now and for the past couple of summers I've thrown out the sleeping bags and really tried hard to make our tent something a bit different, more of a home from home. I thought I'd share with you some of the VERY simple choices I have made when it comes to our 'Little Blue Tent' and with the camping season upon us you might find some inspiration for your own tent...

Choosing a tent... 

I guess this is the most important part, you may already have a tent that you love but I just wanted to share our choice with you because why we chose it has really made a difference to the comfort of camping. 

The bloke in my life is a bit of a giant and when we were looking at tents we needed one big enough for him to sleep in comfortably. We chose this tent because it was adaptable. This tent is actually a 4 berth. It is supposed to have a partition down the centre to convert it into two separate rooms. We just don't bother putting up the partition, not rocket science I know but the difference is huge! Something to think about when buying a tent, can it be adapted in some way to suit your needs better?


I think people think I'm a little bonkers where I start pulling out my duvet and pretty sheets when camping but this makes the biggest difference to me. Think about all the 'glamping' pictures you've seen on Pintrest... not a sleeping bag in sight! A king sized duvet and king sized air bed is definitely where it's at. 

Mine were from Primark, cheap as chips and oh so much more comforting to snuggle down into on a chilly night in a field. Don't forget scatter cushions too. I use them as floor cushions throughout the trip or even as an extra prop up when you're

lying in bed with your book.

Also, the throw at the bottom of the bed... people laugh at me, but they don't laugh when you're the one with all the extra blankets keeping the chill away ;-)  


First stop is to raid the hedgerows and the campsite recyling, to make yourself a flower arrangement that will last the duration of the holiday. 
Homeware accessories... camping... really??!?! Yes, really! You have the lovely bedroom now you need the lovely cups to drink your morning cuppa out of and the matching cutlery set. 

There is nothing more annoying than going camping and realising you haven't got a teaspoon to stir your tea, or a bowl to eat your cereal out of. Been there, done that, learn from my experience. The easiest thing to stop this from happening is get yourself a picnic basket. They are already all kitted out with everything you need so you don't even need to think about it.

We bought a new one this year from Homesense and it seriously leaves you with not a lot else to think about. You won't loose anything because everything has its place and it's so much nicer using things that look pretty don't you think? I bought the mugs separately from eBay. A couple of quirky enamel mugs also need to go on your camping must have list. 

You must not forget your oil cloth bunting and solar powered fairy lights to make your tent stand out. It also helps you to find your way home across the dark fields! I also hung fairy lights inside the tent this year. Just use your Christmas lights, get more use out of them instead of just once a year. Again, so much more cosy than an old torch.


Now, I'm not the biggest fan of those fold out canvas camping chairs. Yes they have a hole for your beer bottle but they are just not pretty in the slightest. Swap them for traditional deck chairs. I got ours from Ikea a couple of years ago. 

More scatter cushions...
They are a little bit of a pain to transport but look how inviting they are and just put your beer bottle on the floor or even on a rustic, wooden fold away table. Again, I got ours from Ikea, I think it was £20!

Now sit back and enjoy your creation...

Just putting in that little bit of extra effort to make the tent more homely really makes my holiday a more enjoyable experience. It's nice to look at and you somehow feel proud of the little haven you've created. You might get some looks from fellow campers but I like to think of them as looks of admiration. 

I still have a must have list, next I would like some old fruit crates that I can turn over and use as bed side tables and solar powered storm lanterns that I can leave outside in the day and bring in to use as bed side table lamps at night. 

I just want to leave you with one more tip. Keep your camping gear as camping only stuff. You don't really want to be pulling your own duvet off your bed into a muddy field and if it's all kept together in a camping box, like we have, then it's easy to just grab and go.

I hope I have inspired you to spruce up your tent or maybe even show you that camping can be comfortable. This isn't an extensive guide, you might need something to cook on for instance but maybe I've just helped you look at camping in a different light. 

Now go and find yourself a wonderful camp site and enjoy the long summer days under canvas...

Amy x

The Emery Dress by Christine Haynes...

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The story of my Emery dress. I went a little off piste...

It seems I'm a little late to the party with the Emery dress, in fact I'm late to the party with Christine Haynes patterns. 

I came across this pattern whilst on the hunt for a dress style that I've been after for a while and my Instagram pals came to the
rescue! In fact it was Amy over at What Amy Made, that did something similar, who recommended the Emery, thanks Amy :-)

This was my inspiration
*image from Pintrest*...
So, what did I want? I wanted a dress that was gathered at the waist but loose in the bodice. I also wanted it longer in length then most dress patterns I had. I guess you could describe it as a more relaxed 50's style dress. 

...and this is my
finished piece.


I had never used a Christine Haynes pattern before, and although some of the terminology was more for an intermediate dress maker rather than a beginner, I was impressed with how easy this dress came together. The simple design also allowed me to go a little off piste, with confidence.

To get the "relaxed" fit, I did a couple of things. Firstly, I sized up by 1 size and I also left out the waist and back darts. I did keep the bust darts, mainly because the material was very heavy and I didn't think it would fall well without some shape in that area. Looking at the picture below you can't really see the darts, I think they're a little low, but that was completely my own fault. 

Due to leaving out the darts at the back of the dress, the pattern matching didn't go to plan at the side seems. I felt I had planned it well, but the pattern on the fabric was a little tricky. 

More pattern matching woes on the skirt of the dress, which completely flummoxed me, must try harder next time but I still blame the fabric! Pretty good fabric though, hey?? So all is forgiven there. You can also see in the picture above that I didn't insert a zip. This is because I up sized, bonus! FYI; I HATE inserting zips.

I also HATE inserting sleeves...
... but these fellas went in like a dream.

Must learn how to pose.

I am so pleased to have found this dress pattern. In principle it's a really basic design, which will give you freedom to make it your own, I'm already planing my next one. I must do one in plaid, which was my intention this time but I couldn't leave this fabric in my local fabric shop. 

Almost forgot about the pockets, gotta love a good pocket. 

Go and make the Emery and make it your own. I'd love to see it.

Amy x

Spring Favourites...

Wednesday, 29 April 2015
These are a few of my favourite things.

Hi, I'm back! So I haven't blogged in almost one month. It hasn't been through choice, just by being a tad busy. I seem to come out of hibernation in Spring and have a calender full of things to do, people to see etc. 

Everything is fine and dandy here, lots of lovely things going on... the annual trip to Cornwall, gardening, birthdays, flowers, flowers flowers... Yup, all good. 

I thought I would do a bit of different post to what I have done in the past. No baking, no sewing, no house renovation but a post about some things I've been loving during the past month away and a few things I've been up to. You might find some ideas for how to make your home more 'Spring Ready' or maybe a couple of items you might like the look of. 

So, what do I love at the moment...

All things Cornish (surprise, surprise). I think I'm still on a bit of a holiday come down but this one seemed to be a really good year. The weather was a-maz-ing!!! I'm pleased I bought a few (a lot of) trinkets back home with me to remind me of just how special that place is.

First stop, of course, had to be Poppy Treffry. This has become a bit of a tradition for me in recent years. Within hours of arriving, I have to get to St Ives and stock up on goodies. This year I came away with (more) tea towels, an iPad cosy, a pad and this lovely candle which I have come a bit protective over and don't want to light in case in runs out. I just love love love this shop so much! I have one of the tea towels framed in my dining room. If you're ever in St Ives you must go and visit the shop in the magical Fore Street, you won't be disappointed. I can't say the same for your wallet though! ;-)

Next up, Saltwater sandals!!!

If you know me, you'll know how much I love these sandals and I am so happy they're back on my feet again. I bought my first pair a couple of years ago and still love them as much now. I'm on to pair number 3 and already eyeing up pair number 4! It's the colours, they're too pretty and I think they have 17 different types. Go and have a look at Mini-Mi to get a pair with free delivery. Plus the lady behind Mini-Mi is super helpful, especially with sizes because they're a little unusual. 

I've also been loving... home. I always love my home but it feels different this spring. Last spring I think the dust was still settling from the renovation but this year we're done (almost) and it just feeling lighter and brighter then ever. I particularly enjoying the light nights when I come home from work. I forget what the house looks like in daylight during winter. 

And what is spring without flowers? Flowers in vases, pictures of flowers, floral prints! You name it they're out. I've put an Emma Bridgewater carrier bag into a picture frame, (is that the prettiest carry bag you've ever seen?!?) and I've tied scraps of pretty fabric around jam jars. You can never have enough of flowers around you, of any kind... in my opinion!

And last, but definitely not lease, blossom. Oh blossom, I heart thee! The blossom tree in the garden is filled, with what seems like, tons of pink paper pom poms and they make me smile every time I look outside. 

Ah spring... you're wonderful.

I think you might be my favourite of them all.

Amy x