My ‘can’t live without’ list

So I have had a lot of people especially twin Mumma’s asking various questions on products I use and what I recommend for life with twins. So I have decided to do a ‘can’t live without list’, this is my list and totally personal to me some things you may love and some you may hate. But this list of things have helped made my life easier. I was going to do a top ten but I can’t think of ten so it’s going to be my top five (doesn’t quiet have the same ring to it, but you get the jist)

In at number ONE is

1 – Angel care bath support.

angel care seat

Now this thing is a total life saver for one baby but it really comes into its own with twins. We only have two hands (I couldn’t honestly do with more, most Mums could) but with twins you can only hold one baby in the bath at a time. This bad boy allows both babes to sit snuggly in the bath and Mumma has her hands free to clean them both! A-ma-zing. I have used it since birth and my girls were tiny prem babies so it fits even the tiniest of babies. My girls have always loved bath time and I swear it’s down to the comfort of this seat, and the fact that I have my hands free I have never been stressed bathing them struggling to do one baby at a time. I’m able to bathe both babies on my own which as a twin mum is a real life saver and time saver. Now I also use the bath seat totally not what it was intended for (so please take this advice with a pinch of salt) but I also used the bath to tandem feed both girls when I was alone with them. I placed both on the dining table (I can hear the gasps from all those health and safety conscious Mum’s) and placed the girls in them and voila, I can feed both girls at the same freaking time and more they are actually comfortable while eating (I have bottle fed by the way, not sure how you would logistically breastfeed two babies while sitting in these seats). Now the girls are able to hold their heads up I have placed them into high chairs for feeding, but while they were still teeny and not able to hold their heads up these seats saved my life! I cannot recommend this product enough and have talked all my expectant friends into buying them, they are super cheap and totally worth their weight in gold. They also now come in a few different colours rather than pink or blue (totally crushing on the grey) Now my girls are starting to sit up Im going to upgrade to the next chair stage from Angelcare and I expect them to be as brilliant as these have been.

 

A close second is

2- Kokoso baby.

kokoso

Now this stuff is literally liquid gold, I honestly think its made by magical coconut fairies, the world is a happier place with kokoso. While I was pregnant I did a tonne of research into bath and skin care products that I was going to use on the girls skin. I have suffered terribly with bad skin in my teens and early twenties and I wanted to ensure I was using the best gentle product on the girls skin I don’t want them growing up with bad skin habits. And I stumbled across kokoso baby, it’s a fresh pressed organic coconut oil, I read the hundreds of amazing reviews and knew I had to try it. I ordered a tub and also ordered a few other brands of premium baby skincare to try them all out (I wont mention the other brands as I don’t personally recommend) and Kokoso trumped them all, in serious coconutty fashion. It takes a while to get used to using as it is pure raw coconut it’s a solid so you have to take a small amount and melt it in your hands to use, and trust me a SMALL amount goes a long way with this stuff. I have used this on the girls skin from the day they came out of hospital every morning and every night I slather them up and they smell good enough to eat. I have seen a lot of babies with dry skin, rashes and cradle cap and had one friend who’s little boy had a terrible rash all over his face, I suggest she try Kokoso after trying all sorts of treatment and creams and within a week the rash had dramatically reduced. My girls have not once had dry skin or cradle cap and I swear that can only be down to this wonder product. It’s so economical aswell, we are only on our second pot at five months old. And kokoso isn’t just for babies (although it says Kokoso baby) it’s for anyone, I have used it on sunburn, I have used it as a facial moisturiser and I used it when I was pregnant and was lucky enough to get no stretch marks. Our bathroom smells constantly of some Jamaican coconut beach bar! And whats ever better is they have finally released a hair and bodywash, the coconut fairies strike again. The wash comes in fragranced and un-fragranced we have only tried the unfragranced, but it is brilliant. The girls feel super fresh and clean after using and have none of that tacky feeling you get from some bath products. I just put some under running water as you would with any normal bubble bath. I also use it to wash their hair and I have no worries if it goes in their eyes as it is so gentle (not that I recommend squirting it into your childs eye, please don’t)

 

Making it into the top three is

3- Mountain buggy duet

mountain buggy

So there is a real snobbery with pushchairs and brands of pushchairs, whats cool right now and whats not. But when you have twins that all goes out the window, that designer single pushchair you have been eyeing up is a long distant memory and you are thrust into the confusing world of twin pushchairs! Do you get a side by side?, do you get a tandem one on top of the other?, do you get a one in front of each other? I was totally bamboozled by pushchairs and which one was the best option for me. One thing is I knew I didn’t want one baby underneath the other with no view apart from the back of the other ones seat, sitting so low to the ground they are getting splashed with puddles. So I was onto side by side pushchairs, now which one? Well the bloggers fave is the Bugaboo donkey but the price tag was hefty, you could buy a small car for the price of that. I looked up a few alternative side by sides and found a few reviews on the mountain buggy duet. I went to John lewis as I knew they stocked the mountain buggy and the bugaboo so I could try them both out. I really recommend John lewis for trying out pushchairs they have a huge range and the staff are super helpful, they talked us through all the different twin pushchairs on the market and were not at all pushy. And once I tried the mountain buggy I was sold. This pushchair is heavy-duty, and made for all terrains, you can tell it is built to last and will withstand the toll of twins. What sold it to me is its size, it is no wider than a standard single pushchair meaning you can get through most doors. It’s so compact that you wouldn’t even know your pushing around twins. I have been out with other twin mums who have different branded side by side pushchairs and they have been wedged in the doorway and I have just glided on through and im yet to find a door I can’t fit through (even managed to get through the doors of a medieval castle). It’s a total dream to push aswell, the front wheels swivel making it super easy to manoeuvre in small spaces, your able to turn your pushchair around a corner like your on “fast and furious” I opted to buy the carrycot plus for both girls which meant they were in carrycots from birth and the girls have always looked super comfy and slept like a dream in the pushchair. The carrycot has four settings lie flat or slight incline perfect for babies with colic and reflux like my girls, that was a game changer and the girls have only just outgrown their carrycots at nearly six months, so there is plenty of room for them to grow. The carrycot then evolves as the baby grows and transforms into a front facing tub seat and a rear facing tub seat. So that is four different configurations in one seat! It’s the smoothest ride and goes up most bumps and low kerbs without you actually having to tip the front wheels back. It folds super quickly literally with the pull of one button and after a few goes of assembling you can whip that ride up in seconds. As double pushchairs go its one of the lightest on the market and it’s not overly heavy for lifting (I can lift it and im certainly no Arnie Schwarzenegger) There are amazing limited edition prints released every year with all funky designs and it comes in a range of colours. I bought the pushchair on the basis that it eventually after all the configurations of the carrycot plus evolves into a stroller so I know I wont have to buy another pushchair, this pushchair will do the girls from they are born till they no longer need a stroller. This is the Optimus Prime of pushchairs and I couldn’t live without my mountain buggy duet.

 

In at four

4 – Tommee tippee perfect prep

pre machine

 

The wonder machine, now why anyone would have a baby and not have this machine is beyond me. I honestly think it should be compulsory, like a car seat, you should be handed one when you leave hospital. This machine makes the bottles in minutes and prepares the milk at the exact temperature similar to breast milk temperature. Brilliant! This is a Godsend on those early morning feeds at 3am when you can barely see two feet in front of you because your that exhausted, many a morning I have been stood zombie-fied preparing two feeds for the girls and this little machine does all the hard work for me. Press the button and away you go it is literally that simple, no sitting waiting for the milk to cool or trying to heat it up with warm water. A few minutes and your ready to go. All the water is also filtered which puts your mind at ease you know your baby isn’t getting any nasties in their milk, the filter removes all the impurities. It now comes in a variety of colours so your can match it to your kitchen appliances pretty cool! I have had to make two feeds without a pre machine whilst at a family members house and honestly its like going back to a Nokia after an Iphone, times moved on, this machine is a must. Baby, car seat, prep machine all essential for a happy home life.

 

And my final can’t live without

5- MAM dummy’s

mam dummys

With our little girls been premature they were obviously little, they had colic, reflux and cows milk allergy. The screamed pretty much the entire first twelve weeks of their lives and we wanted them to be able to take dummy’s to calm them. Now I must have literally bought my own body weight in different dummys, we tried a zillion brands, we tried flat shape, cherry shape, ones that flick up at the end you name it we tried it. We even purchased some specialised premie dummys off a website designed for premature babies and absolutely none of them worked. The girls hated them, they would struggle to latch onto them or they would be too big for their mouth, they would gag on them or just plain refuse to even take the dummy. Then I found the MAM range and I haven’t looked back we got the 0-2 month range and instantly the girls loved them and just sat silently sucking away. Finally after eight weeks of screaming we had some relief. The shape allows the girls to breathe easily as it has these little air slots and they fit perfectly for their age. They come in a mammoth range of colours and funky designs even glow in the dark!, what an invention! The dummys also come in these amazingly handy steriliser pots so the dummys will be sterile on the go, how amazing. We have since progressed onto the 3-6 month range and they are as successful as the previous. These are the only dummys my daughters will actually take. We are just about growing out of this age range and will defo be purchasing the next size up.

So there you have it, my little top five ‘can’t live without’ items. There are a tonne of other things that are super useful but these are the things that I literally don’t think I could parent without. We are now moving onto the weaning stage and it’s a whole new ball game, do I buy a steamer and puree machine, do I feed jars or make from scratch and can someone tell me what bloody baby led weaning is! Anyway stay tuned for the next stage of our journey.

Give me a fucking break!

btyToday has just been one of those days, you know the days where the kids literally scream from dusk til dawn, everything goes wrong, the internet fucks up, you burn your dinner and end up eating Ryvita and nutella for tea? Yep one of ‘those’ days.

 Today was hard, motherhood is hard; really fucking hard some days your totally slaying motherhood, your skipping through the house wash basket in hand, the kids are napping perfectly, you have tea prepped; have done all your ‘to do’ list, you are practically Mary frigging Poppins. Then some days. like me today you find yourself telling your five month old twin to “give me a fucking break”, yes I did tell my twins today on numerous occasions to “give me a fucking break”.

 But I felt shame in struggling, I felt embarrassed to admit that some days it’s totally overwhelming been a mum especially a mum to twins while your hubby is working away until November, so your parenting solo! Why do we feel ashamed to be struggling? Why do we feel the need to be super bloody nanny, to be the perfect mum to have a crystal clean house, immaculate children and still look good ourselves. I don’t, most days I live in my pj’s and if a baby wipe touches my face its a victory.

Today I wanted to feel sorry for myself, I wanted to moan and rant without been judged. Yet me feeling like this is seen as a failure like im the worlds worst mum, somebody call Esther Rantzen! Me wanting a few hours away from the chaos and pressure of being responsible for two humans equates to been a terrible mother!

 Sometimes this shit gets hard, sometimes you need to swear, you need to walk outta the room and leave the kids screaming you need to, to stay sane. And as mothers we need to be able to feel these emotions without been judged or our parenting ability slated. If me wanting one night away from my five month twins makes me a bad mum then im ok with that! People can judge all they like, sometimes you need that break, you need that ‘me’ time to re group get your shit together so you can carry on slaying motherhood.

So I’m saying “fuck you” to the judgemental people, “fuck you” to motherhood, you bit me in the arse today. Today was a shit day and im sure more will come but having a bad day doesnt mean you’re a bad mum. It means you’re a real mum!

Travelling with twins

So your thinking of taking a trip away with your twins and you want some help and tips? Well here they are.

Don’t do it, seriously don’t it’s not worth it your crazy to even think it, do you really need to go to that family wedding in the summer or aunt Mabel’s 80th? Seriously don’t do it just become a social recluse and decline all invites until the twins are at least thirteen. I have endured two trips away with the twins and trust me its not pretty, im still receiving counselling (joking)

But if you are set on a trip away with twins (your crazy) here are my top tips on how to survive and tell the horrific tale.

1- Take wine, in fact bugger that alcohol in any form will do, vodka, beer, wine, that hand sanitizer in the glove box that will do. You will defo need it when you finally arrive at your destination.

2 – Pack the car like a pro at a Jenga world championship. Anything you need in seconds needs to be at an arms reach. You need a bib; you need be able to get that in a second so pack it close by. Any small orifice of the car can be used to stuff all the essential items. Pull down the sun shield, you can pack a few muslins in there no probs, the glovebox that’s huge you can have nappies in there ready for that poo explosion (that will most likely happen in that traffic jam on the M6)

3 – Train yourself and limber up! So your driving 70mph on the motor way and one of your twins is sick and starts choking on it, you need to have the agility of a collie at Cruffs and be able to contour your body across into the back seat while someone is driving, steady yourself and clear the sick from your baby’s throat without actually taking your seatbelt off and not actually removing the baby from their car seat. On a recent trip to Devon (a holiday I naively agreed to before the girls were born, thinking it would be easy peasy) I had to administer the girls their ranitadine on the motorway while the car was been driven at 70mph, trust me needs must.

4 – Take, wipes, wipes and more wipes, and tissues and more wipes. There will be dribble, sick, spilt drinks, melted ice cream all over the car, you need wipes at your disposal to wipe all the crap up!

5 – Take a lot of stops, gone are the days where you can bomb from Bristol to Birmingham in 2 hours with no motorway stops. Them service stations you used to drive on past happy in the knowledge you would be home in a few hours, well you need them now. The kids will need air and need out of their car seats, the dog will need a wee and to bark at half the population at Micheal wood services and you, well you will take the few minutes sitting on the toilet as a welcome break from the chaos of the car, oh and you can grab a coffee. We had to stop 3 times on a trip down to Norfolk recently, a journey which took us 7 hours! We stopped to change the girls, feed them, let the dog go for a little walk, eat some lunch and to up our caffeine intake.

6 – Prepare all bottles before you leave and take extra just incase you get stuck in traffic. I made up 4 bottles for each twin on our Norfolk trip, so if we got stuck in traffic, I had the girls food ready. And thank god I did since we were stuck in a constant traffic jam! I didn’t have to stress and worry about how I was gonna boil water and make the bottles I had them all ready.

7 – Be adaptable and ready for change. So you have finally got past the traffic jam and made it to the service station, you wrestle your twins inside the baby change to find what can only be described as a ‘dirty protest’ has taken place. So be adaptable. I wasn’t gonna change my girls in the filth of that baby change facility, so I changed them on the passenger seat of my car. Which also wasn’t a great idea, (thank god for leather seats) my daughter pissed all over our car seat. But it was better than changing her in filth. So be prepared for change and to think on your feet, which been a twin parent im sure is something your used to.

8 – Plan your route, have a sat nav, and a map as a back up. You do not want to be lost with screaming twins and a dog in the car, that will lead to screaming at each other, probably a divorce and perhaps the need for counselling. Get your sat nav revved up and set to your destination before you pile all the family in the car. And fill the fuel tank the day before you don’t need to be stuck in the queue for petrol paying sky-high prices on a motor way services because your running on fumes.

9 – Take provisions for the journey, sweets, drinks anything that will help keep your mind off the chaos ensuing around you. That diet you were on will be on hold for this journey, you’re gonna need that burger from McDonald’s at the service station just to keep your moral high so don’t feel guilty about it. I think a journey with twins would make the healthiest vegan run into the arms of a burger.

10 – Breath, meditate, chant, find your mantra do what you gotta do to stay calm. I could have lost it many times, but somehow managed to stay semi calm. Even when driving home from Norfolk with my mother as my co pilot, the dog woke up from the back of the car and barked the loudest most panicked bark, and kept barking frantically, waking the twins and literally scaring the crap outta them. He barked shocked the girls and BOTH twins had full on poo explosions, so now our car smells of shit, the dogs barking frantically and we have two screaming babies in the back. The dog at the previous pit stop had over indulged on a liter bottle of water and now was about to piss himself, I was stuck driving down the M6 in heavy traffic and the next lay by or pit stop wasn’t for about ten miles. I honestly felt like stopping the car holding up the m6 getting out the car and screaming at the sky like some crazed woman but I kept myself together and just carried on driving since I literally couldn’t do anything else. My mother by this time was arse in the air leaning into the back trying to calm two terrified babies with dummy’s and calm a dog who was about to burst. We made it to the nearest layby, left the car running and sprinted around the boot to lift the dog out (I have a boxer dog so it takes two to lift him) and the pressure of us lifting him out the boot caused him to piss all over us. By this point I really didn’t care whats a bit of dog piss! We then had to change the girls nappies, thank god they hadn’t leaked into their car seats, cause if they had I honestly think I would have just classed the car as a total write off and request the AA to collect us.

And final tip

11 – When you finally make it home, dignity lost, on the brink of divorce, car smelling of crap, two sweaty cranky babies and a wound up dog. Get your laptop and book a weekend away to recover and re cooperate, you deserve it Mumma!