Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Final Post

After much pondering and back and fourth, I have decided it is time to hang up the Working Berlin Mum curtains and say goodbye to this blog. It is a difficult thing to do. I have been writing about my little family for so long now and my heart is racing fast and hard as I write this final post. It is time though. My family has grown, we will soon become a family of four as The Bloke moves to Berlin in the coming months and I just don't have it in me to keep coming up with new subjects to write about.

This blog has opened up so many worlds to me and helped me develop so many skills and talents I wouldn't have discovered without it. I have been blessed to meet a number of fabulous people through writing Working Berlin Mum and I achieved all but one of my goals that I originally set out for the blog. I will miss my little interactions with those readers who were vocal, who wrote regular comments on either my posts or Facebook page. To those of you who weren't so vocal, I give a little wave and I wish you'd talked up a little more. Getting more comments was always a wish for me and something seemingly out of reach. I have appreciated each and every one of you however, each of you who has taken the time to read what I have had to say. Each of you who enjoyed watching my Milo grow and followed throughout my pregnancy and then, the first year, with Alfie.

I am not completely disappearing, that is likely not going to happen any time soon. I am continuing to grow my www.berlinforallthefamily.com site and look forward to seeing it flourish in the Spring and Summer. If you are ever considering a trip to Berlin, make sure to take a look at the site, it is a wonderful city for visiting with children! I have also started a new venture, a blog specifically aimed at those families being raised in apartments. It's called Apartment Parenting and I am really pleased with the idea. It is aimed at parents living in apartments (with lots of good tips for those living in houses too) around the world and I think this blog will grow and grow. You can check it out at www.apartmentparenting.com. Last but not least, you don't have to completely say goodbye to my family, I have created a photoblog called thisisnotforever. It is a photo journal of every day family life, with a few client photos thrown in for good measure. I will continue to use it to capture the beautiful moments with my wonderful children.

Thank you once again for taking the time to read Working Berlin Mum and I wish you all the best for the coming years and hope to hear from you perhaps through one of my new ventures.

Goodbye

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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Birthday Boy



My beautiful little boy turned 1 yesterday. We had a wonderful day, with a special breakfast, just the boys, The Bloke and I and then my family joined us for a little present opening session, followed by a trip to a favourite family cafe where Alfie spent his time in a ball pit, flinging the balls all-over-the-place, one of his favourite activities at the moment. In the evening, my parents babysat whilst The Bloke took me out for a special 'birth day' meal at an amazingly romantic restaurant offering the most delicious French cuisine.

It was a beautiful day and the perfect celebration of a very special occassion. I'll write more about it in the days to come, but I'm still knee-deep in visitors and making the most of it.

Until then...


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Saturday, 25 January 2014

I Love Boys in Tights


I am doing my best to stay away from the term 'boy tights' as I have written a number of posts and statements discussing my dislike of gender-specific marketing. A lot of the companies selling these tights however are calling them boy tights of course. Whether or not you see them as such or simply fabulously-designed tights that are a little different from the standard block-colours out there, these tights are brilliant and oh so good for those chubby little legs.

Boys wearing tights is still an odd concept for many, but where I live it's standard. I often forget that this isn't the case when I am in the UK and realise that I sometimes get a bit of a look from others when I take my boys' trousers off to reveal gorgeous little tights on their legs. It seems that the idea is starting to take a hold though as more and more companies are stocking tights aimed not just at girls, but at boys too. Now that Winter has well and truly taken hold, I thought I'd highlight my favourites of the tights currently available in the UK (with many shipping overseas). Let me know what you think!


Little Titans
The gorgeous range from Little Titans come in a beautiful gift box and don't those colours pop! The Little Titans fabulous website is filled with an exciting selection of designs from retro stripes, to fancy geometrics, tights for the little superhero in your family and much more. The fabrics used are Oeko Tex certified and come with anti-slip soles. Sizes range from 0 months to 3 years.
1. Wild Things, available here
2. Sunshine Stripe Titans, available here
3. Little Hero available here


Slugs & Snails
All tights from Slugs & Snails are made from GOTS certified organic cotton and come with anti-slip soles which is a fabulous feature. The designs vary with a selection of animals, vehicles and the like available in a variety of bright colours. Above are my favourites from their current collection. Sizes range from 0 months to 5 years.
2. Ahoy! available here
3. Storm available here

H&M
The tights that Alfie is wearing in the photo at the top of this post come from a 2-pack available at H&M. I absolutely love both the stripes and the car designs and they look so cute on the little guy. For those of you who aren't so keen on prints, H&M also sells plain tights that may well match better to what your baby is wearing on the top half. The sizes range from 2 months to 2 years.
1. Stripes & Cars double pack available here
2. double pack plain tights available here



So how do you feel about boys wearing tights? Would you dress your boy in them? Does it feel odd to you or are you up for embracing the extra warmth and comfort that tights bring to the little ones?

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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The boy and his bear



My mum started a tradition with Milo to buy her grandchildren teddy bears. Milo has his bear that went from being called 'Mr Bear' to 'Stinky Bear' once he'd been cuddled so much that he....well...stinked! My mum has never been keen on the moniker that stuck, however I know she loves that Milo so heartily adores his Stinky Bear. When my nephew was born, a bear was sought out for him and then, Alfie received his bear for his first Christmas. I asked Milo what we should name him and we pondered a while. At the time, Alfie was ill with a cold and after he sneezed on his bear, I joked that he should be called 'Snotty Bear', which Milo of course loved and once I realised he'd remembered the name the following day, I knew it was a keeper. I think it was a little, childish rebellion to my mum too ha ha. I couldn't help myself but to be a little cheeky. Alfie does love his Snotty Bear though. I wonder if that relationship with him will continue the way Milo's has with his bear? I hope so.


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A Holiday with a Difference

Later in the year The Bloke, the boys and I will be heading off on a little holiday with a difference. We had planned on taking a warm holiday, but had trouble finding a good destination to fly to from Berlin off-peak and then, out of nowhere, I found a fantastic sounding festival. A rock and roll festival. The photos I found on the internet were filled with kids and it was quickly sealed, we booked it. The Bloke and I both have our minds set firmly in another era and so the opportunity to dress up and spend the weekend in the 50s sounds just perfect to us. 

The boys will be along for the ride and so we are planning on getting them in on the action too. It's a while away yet, but as I am hardly made of money, I am planning what I want to wear now so I can save up for a couple of outfits. I've been looking around on the net for some options and there was nowhere better than ModCloth for my stuff. I totally fell for all the outfits below, with number's 2 and 5 being my absolute favourites and number 1 close behind. I'd have all of them if I could believe me. There's lots of options around from UK-based shops for the boys and I've selected my favourite of the lot. I can't wait till we go! Expect LOTS of photos!!!!







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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

When do first words really count as first words?!

For a little while now I have been repeating the word ''Mama'' to Alfie with the vague hope that he will at some point repeat it back to me. I did a quick search on the blog this morning to see if there was any mention of when Milo spoke his first words and annoyingly there wasn't! Why oh why didn't I mention this?! I don't remember anything when I don't blog about it!

This morning, as I said ''Mama'' for maybe the hundredth time to Alfie, he did indeed repeat ''Mama'' back to me. A very clear ''Mama!''. Needless to say I totally flipped out in excitement, spinning Alfie around the room. He's repeated it many more times today, but, and it's a big but, I can't really count it as a first word yet. I remember feeling this way with Milo. I just don't blimin' remember when I felt this way with him! Sorry, I'll get over that oversight in not writing about his first words. To me, a proper first word is when the baby/child starts to say the word of his/her own accord and use it to try and achieve something, whether it be to get an object given to them, or to simply achieve a response from you. What do you think? When do you count a word as a true 'first word?'

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10 Ideas for Dealing with Unwanted Baby Clothing


After having Milo, I decided to pack away all his baby clothes and put them in to the cellar in case they could be used for a baby number two. As it turned out, that was good thinking, when the unexpected happened and I fell pregnant with Alfie. I was incredibly lucky to have two boys, both born at similar(ish) times of year. Now that Alfie has outgrown his first year of clothes, I feel ready to move on and say goodbye to the baby items. There are a couple of bits that I am keeping, such as the first sleeping bags that both boys slept in and first worn outfits, but other than that, it's time to make some space and say goodbye to those cute little onesies et al.

Today I am holding a kind of 'open house' baby clothes sale in my apartment. I am part of a couple of 'closed' Facebook groups and I created a little digital poster and advertised that I have a load of baby clothes to sell. Interested people messaged me and we arranged an hour's open house for today. I am hoping to both, make some space and raise some money for the kid's upcoming birthdays.

With the clearing out of baby clothes on my brain, I thought I would compile a small selection of ideas for how to say goodbye to your no longer needed baby/children's clothes...

1. Donate to Your Local Women's Refuge
Women's refuges in the UK run on low budgets and often welcome donations that could be of use to the women staying and leaving their refuge. You can find out where your local refuge is here and contact them to see if they are accepting baby/children's clothing donations. 

2. Create a Memory Quilt
Memory quilts made from a baby's first year of clothes has become a real trend in the last few years. It does mean cutting up your baby's clothing, something not all parents are comfortable with, but the end result can become a wonderful long-lasting gift that can stay with your child as it grows up and then be used for their own children in the future. You can find a tutorial for how to make your own memory quilt on Crafttastical or, if you aren't much of a sewer yourself, you could contact Patchwork Castle and hire them to do the job on your behalf.

3. Throw a 'mum's the word' Party and Donate
'mums the word' is a UK-based children's clothing charity that collects and donates used children's clothing to children abroad and in the UK. Their website includes a great idea for how to throw your own mums the word party to get your girlfriends together, along with their unwanted baby/children's clothes, have a great evening and then donate the clothes on to a new home. You can download a party pack from the mums the word website here.

4. Create a Soft Activity Book
I recently discovered an amazing idea for recycling some of your old baby clothes from the blog Forty-two roads. The book is amazingly made and full of ways to help develop your toddler's fine motor skills thanks to it's inclusion of poppers, zips as well as a number of textures to touch.

5. Hold a Home (or Garden) Clothing Sale
If you don't have time to photograph and list on your individual baby clothes on Ebay and can't find a local car boot sale, why not throw your own clothing sale? Advertise the fact that you have a lot of clothes available to sell secondhand to other local parents, if you are on any local forums online or the like, mention it on there and see if there's any interest. Of course keep safe and don't publish your home address publicly online, but it can be a good way of giving a number of people the chance to find nice secondhand baby clothes at a time and place that suits you. I created a simple digital poster for mine and listed it on a couple of closed, local FB parenting groups I am on, with a one hour slot for people to come by and look at what there is. If you don't have a whole heap of clothing, you could always get together with a few other mums friends who have items too and do a group sale.

6. Turn Stained Baby Clothes in to Dust Cloths
There are some items of clothing with stains you just can't seem to ever get rid of. Never fear, they still can have a second use. Cut them in to squares and store them away to use at a later date as dust cloths.

7. Hold on to Your Baby Socks and Make a Baby Sock Advent Calender Next Christmas!
A cute handmade Christmas idea for all those single socks you can never seem to find the matching sock for, or just a way to make use of those super cute little socks that no longer fit your baby. You can find the tutorial for the baby sock advent calender here.

8. Create a Baby Memory Bear
Making a whole quilt is a big undertaking, so if you aren't quite up to that momentous task, how about making a memory bear soft toy out of your old baby clothes that you child can enjoy as he/she grows from baby to toddler and onwards. There is a photo tutorial of how you can make your own memory bear from baby clothes over on E-Beth Designs blog. Again, if you aren't so handy with a sewing machine, 'Love, Keep, Create' can turn your used baby clothes in to a range of super cute animal soft toys for you.

9. Sell them online
There are lots of options for selling used baby clothes. Either list them individually (although this can be a bit of a bore!) or sell them in sets to avoid having to photograph each individual item! Ebay, Craigslist and Gumtree are all options for selling your secondhand baby gear online.

10. Host a Baby Clothes Swap Party
Do you know lots of other mums with babies/children of all ages? If so, why not get everyone together with clothes they don't need anymore and see if you can swap some of your baby clothes for bigger sizes? Make sure there are a range of sizes available so that it's not all newborn or first 6 months stuff and get swapping.


So those are my ideas for what you can do with your no-longer-needed baby clothes. Have you tried any of these ideas out before or fancy giving one a go? Or are you holding on to your baby clothes for a possible future edition to the family?


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Monday, 20 January 2014

Happy Blogiversary!


Next week will be Alfie's birthday, but this week there's another date to celebrate. Today is the 4th anniversary of my starting this blog! As crazy as it is to think that I am now mother to an almost 1 year old and almost 5 year old, It's also crazy to think that I've been noting down some of the precious moments from our days for 4 years now. Where does the time go?

I look back on the photo that accompanied my first ever blog post (see below) and it is amazing to see how much I've changed. Yes, there are the obvious changes. My hair is much shorter, the nose stud no longer adorns my face and there are undoubtedly a few more lines around my eyes, but there are also other, less obvious changes.



Back then, I had been in Berlin just over 2 years. I was still finding my feet really, having been suddenly forced to stop the party life, with falling pregnant and definitely still finding my feet as a mother. I was finally free of that awful post-natal depression that had gripped me in the initial months of parenting, I was dating for the first time as a single mum and I was exploring new friendships.

Now, 4 years on so many things are different. I have two wonderful children now and a blooming relationship that has completed my little family. I am a (most of the time) confident mum, tackling two children on my own and, with the creation of Berlin for all the Family, I am finally realising my dreams of a website I first had the idea for, back when I was pregnant with the little boy in that picture above!

Last year was a major triumph for me blogging-wise. I loved blogging my way through my pregnancy. This blog helped while away many an otherwise-boring pregnancy-insomnia-filled hour and then, to be a finalist in the 2013 Mad Blog Awards for best pregnancy blog was a dream come true. Really. Not only had that been one of my major goals for this blog, but it also brought The Bloke and I together, so I have all who voted for me to thank, not only for bringing me to the awards, but also for putting me in the right place to start exploring a relationship with my dear friend of 10 years. THANK YOU!

This next year of blogging promises to be just as interesting. There are big changes ahead in my life and, whilst there has been the blogging rut that I was recently in, I feel totally out of that now and a passion has been reignited.

Thank you to all of you who have been reading this blog over the years, whether it be for the entire 4 years, just a couple of them or even if you just stumbled upon this blog today. I am always so honoured to know there are people out there who give any hoots what I have to say! Even when I'm rambling like I am now! Thank you. Thank you!

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Meal Planning Monday: 20th January 2014



It's time for as some Meal Planning Monday from At Home with Mrs M as I am working on a budget at the moment, with both boys having their birthdays coming up. Because of this, I'm working with a lot of items I have already in the kitchen and have chosen recipes that work for small budgets from Jamie Oliver's Save with Jamie book and old faithful, the BBC Good Food website. I'm especially looking forward to the Salmon filo pie!!!! Yum!


Cauliflower and broccoli cheese, recipe here
Honey, mustard and creme fraiche chicken, recipe here
Salmon filo pie, recipe here
Rosemary chicken with tomato sauce, recipe here
Baked potato with cheesy mince, recipe here


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