Day 3: 10 likes and dislikes

10 likes and dislikes for the #toots30daychallenge.

I thought was going to be a pretty easy one. But then I agonized on how I was going to lay it out for about 20 minutes before realising it didn’t matter and it was just a good way to bullet point as a way to get to know me better. But I also realised 10 likes and 10 dislikes is hard to choose.
-Toots x


1- I love Swing Dancing. I have tried to get back into it as much as possible since giving birth. But I love all things Lindy and Collegiate Shag.

2- The Sims series – Yes, that’s right. I’m a slave to EA. I could seriously sit on sims for days at a time if life would allow it.

3- Cream Soda – Now here me out I know this is a weird one. But recently it’s all I want to drink and the nostalgia is just too real.

4- Cossato prams – I recently switched from my silver cross wayfarer to a cossato buggy as Max is getting bigger and my God it makes my life so much easier. They also come in SUPER funky designs. (Mine is a dinosaur and I love it) Not spon. Just really love there buggies.

5- Plants – I will be the first to admit I am a plant horder. I AM ADDICTED. I think they make any room look better and cuter. Orchids, monsteras, prayer-plants, aloe vera… you name it, It’s probably semi- dying on my kitchen window sill.

6- Bournville Chocolate – Now I was never a dark chocolate girl but since Max has a Dairy allergy and thus, I have had to cut out dairy I feel like Bournville has come to the rescue on many occasions for that chocolate fix.

7- The Sea – I interned in an aquarium for 2 years. and even till the day I left I was still facinated by every creature in there. If i think of the perfect day I think of being by the water.

8 – Caffine- If there are any mothers on here without being caffeinated up to there eyeballs please share with me your wisdom.

9- Disney – it might come as a suprise, I am a massive disney nerd and I could sit and watch movies all day if I could!

10- Brunch – A wide spectrum of things I’m sure but I cannot get enough the pancakes, the avo and the AM mimosas.


1- waking up – I am honestly the worst morning person. I mean I function but nearly. I am always a bit of a grumpy until I get my morning coffee.

2- The act of travelling- Now I love going to new destinations and would love to take max around the world. But I wish there was an easier more efficient way of getting there. Cars, planes and trains all make me squiffy.

3 – Soya milk – Now I will drink soya if I have too but my question is why would you choose it when there are so many other alternatives. Coconut is my current fav.

4 – My hair – my hair is a birds nest, putting it nicely. It is so super frizzy and takes so much time to do anything with that it just literally looks like an unbrushed mangled mess. Unless I spend like 3 hours doing something with it (which I don’t have time for)

5 – Being Late – I hate being late, I hate other people being late without reason. It’s just super annoying.

6 – Violife – Who is it kidding trying to be cheese. It’s so clagy and sticks to the roof of your mouth.

7 – Washing – Specifically clothes washing. And more so since Max was born. I can never seem to keep on top of it and putting it away is BORING.

8 – Wedding planning – I am super excited to marry my partner but my God I hate wedding planning. I got a package with my venue and they are amazing but I still have a lot to organise and I just would rather not. 😅

9 – Being Alone – Now, I am always with Max or with my partner. But even before Max was born I would make a point of being out the house or with friends. I could spend all my time with Dan if the world would allow it!

10 – Being Sick – I cannot stand being poorly. I hate feeling helpless and not being able to keep myself busy. And lying in bed all day seems like a waste and getting up feels like torture. There is just no winning.

Gro Snugs| a review

Part of having a baby I found terrifying was putting them to bed.

The thought of the blanket shifting over my newborns face or them getting cold as they kicked the blanket off themselves filled me with dread. To spite the fact I had a Snuzpod 2 co-sleeper and he would be by my side the whole time, it was still a scary thought as a new mother. I was also terrified of swaddling him wrong and I was going to cause him problems such as hip dysplasia. All very neurotic but feel that a lot of new mum’s go through.

A product that really helped me was baby sleeping bags, but specifically Grosnugs. (Not an AD, I just really loved them.)

New born max in his super cute gro snug. (they come in some really cute designs too !

A Grosnug is a 2 in 1 swaddle/ baby sleeping bag that is recommended by the Lullaby Trust and they gave me total peace of mind when Max was tiny.
They gave me the reassurance I needed and helped me to not panic about wrapping him wrong. I just zipped him in at bedtime and done, just like that.

They also come with a handy dandy temperature guide and in two weights- Light and Cosy. This so that you can keep your baby just the right temperature through the night time to give you peace of mind.

You can also choose to have the babies arms in, or out if it gets too hot, we used this feature some nights when max was first born in the middle summer.

little max used to wake up not lying straight but its the only photo i could find.

Honestly, I loved these and I will always recommend them to anyone worried about the same problems I was. The gro snug was a life saver in max’s first few weeks and they are so beautiful and soft. They are 100% a purchase I would recommend to another first time mum and something I will buy away if I have another little human. I currently still use Gro bags (they are pretty similar but do not have a swaddle feature.) and will until max is old enough to have a duvet and pillow.

Tell me about your must have baby essentials in the comments!

– Toots x

Day 2: something you regret not having done in the last year.

Regret is a big word.

Regret means you wish something didn’t happen in your life and in that sense, I don’t regret anything.
And to be completely honest I found it difficult to find something to write for this one!

One thing I probably do regret (After much deliberation.) Is not having an appreciation for sleep and time pre-baby.

Before I had little Maximus, I would spend the day in bed playing Sims and eating my body weight in Doritos but would still complain I didn’t have any time to myself.

Nowadays, I am lucky if I stay in bed past 7 am. (Which is pretty lucky as far as having an 8-month-old is concerned.) And having a bath on my own is a luxury.

I just wonder what I used to do with all that time and HOW my house was not immaculate. Because at the moment I feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day 🤣.

I think that is my only regret in life, that and the fact I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks when I promised myself I would post one of these weekly and I am only on post number 2! Sorry about that, I promise to be ‘On it’ a lot more.

– Toots x

I’m going back to work…

“The 6th of April” my boss said on the phone.
The date we worked out and agreed on. But my heart still sank. One month until I have to leave my little boy.

Now, don’t get me wrong I know I am incredibly lucky to have spent this much time off with my little person as he will be 9 months once I go back to work. Also, I LOVE my job. I really do. I work in an animal referral centre that also doubles as an emergency vet. It is safe to say it keeps me on my toes and that is exactly what I need whilst working or quite frankly I would get bored. Plus, it is going to be good to have some adult company.

I am also lucky to have an amazing family support network around me so I don’t need to pay for daycare and I am INCREDIBLY, RIDICULOUSLY lucky I get to go back to work part-time instead of full, with the support of my partner. Not everyone has that luxury.

But, I can’t help but get this sinking feeling I am missing out on my little one. I am terrified I am going to miss his first steps or his first word. I know I’m just being silly and we have our whole lives together. But, has anyone else felt like this before going back to work? Or does anyone have any top tips on returning after a baby? Please leave a comment and let me know!

For now I’m just going to soak up every moment of the rest of my maternity leave with maxxie and make every second count!

Toots x

The Bee Decline| our fuzzy mates.

Note: This post I wrote a couple of year ago on a old blog of mine. I was reading it back and thought it was too interesting to not post and is still super relevant to this day. However, it is written in a different style to what I post in these days. Just a lil disclaimer.

The honey bee (Apis mellifera) plays a crucial role within our communities and in our world.

How? you might ask.

Well first of all, they assist in the sustenance of the Earth’s natural ecosystems and are an important within agricultural crop growth, so there’s that.

Bees pollinate up to 84% of crops  that are grown for human consumption every year including fruit, seeds and coffees. (basically all the nice things we enjoy and need…who could possibly live without a non-fat decaff soya latte?! )

The annual crop pollination of bees globally has a worth of about 170 billion  per annum, which is a lot of dam money and proves that bees are not only important to us on an Ecological level, but also on an economical one, making them pretty important to our environment.

A buff- tail bumble bee pollinating the crap out of a flower (via Country living)

The bee population has been declining for such a long time but has only recently come to the attention of the general public and many media sources. It is an important issue as many species of bees have fallen into the endangered category over the last year under the Endangered Species act according to the U.S Fish and Wildlife services including the Yellow-Face bee (Bombus vosnesenskii) and the Rusty Patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis).

The importance of conserving the dwindling population of bees is becoming more apparent than ever, as not only are we at risk of losing plants, crops and food supplies that these beautiful little insects pollinate, but also the meadows and the animals that eat those plants causing a knock on effect through the food chain and ultimately the loss of other species within our biosphere and that is the last thing we want on our planet.

On the bright side of this topic, the more this subject matter is coming to light with the public and bee keepers alike worldwide. The more conservation efforts are being brought into local communities. such as volunteering at the bumblebee conservation trust and Supporting the British Bee Keeper Association.

With current conservation efforts put in place an becoming more known and education on the subject matter being more widespread than ever before.
And hopefully there is still time to save our fuzzy little bee mates from disaster and we can all pull together to put an end to the decline.

Support the bees.

-Toots x

CMPA babies| no milk? No problem…Right?

Getting a Diagnosis:

When my baby was screaming after every breastfeed and coming out in a rash, a CMPA (that’s a cow milk protein allergy.) wasn’t something I had even heard of, never mind considered.

To give you a bit of a back story, I didn’t have a great labour and my little boy didn’t have the best start.
He wasn’t breathing when he was born and spent some time in the INCU. BUT we are very lucky and it could have been a lot worse. To begin with, he was in the unit because of the birth but then he just started throwing up his NG tube feeds. (he was having formula as I was very ill and not able to be with him.)
Long story short, I began breastfeeding and after a while, Max started showing signs of improvement and they let us go home. (THANK GOD.)

What I later realised is that I had no dairy at all during my time in the hospital and when I got home, I started eating normally again. Looking back it seems so obvious as after being home a few days is when my little one started getting all the symptoms of CMPA.

Max came out in the most horrific rash, his skin was dry skin, he would lift his legs up, arch his back and grunt in pain. He would also scream and vomit after feeding. This was all to spite the fact he was a very calm baby the rest of the time. He would fuss endlessly at the boob and I had no idea what to do or what was wrong. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say having a poorly baby and not knowing is the worst feeling in the world.

The rash was awful, I felt so sorry for my little bean.

The doctors diagnosed Max with eczema and told me he had colic. After another week or so there were still no improvements, We actually had a very negative experience with this particular doctor surgery, who proceeded to tell me I was just “a worrying new mum, I was overprotective and that was all that was wrong.”

The flare-ups looked so sore, I was determined for answers.
(This particular doctor also said this a few months later and max actually ended up being sent to the hospital with a recession in his breathing, but that’s a story for another time.)

Back to the story at hand, It was this time when I found out a CMPA existed. One of my partners work colleagues told him about it, as her child had similar symptoms as cow’s milk protein from your food, can be transferred through breast milk.

I cut milk completely out my diet. Low and behold after about 2 weeks max started to significantly improve. I went to my doctors for yet another visit and suggested this and told him about the improvements but they refused to refer me to a dietician and told me to drink milk and that I could make us both poorly, I left feeling terrible.

I started eating and drinking milk again and Max flared up. I knew this had to be a CMPA at this point, and refused to give up.

This is when I spoke to my health visitor who was wonderful, gentle and listened to everything.
We cut out dairy for a second time and when she saw Max’s improvement she referred us straight to the dietician.

Max at 5-month-old was FINALLY diagnosed with a Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy to the relief of me and his dad.

Max Now,

We are now dairy-free and since max has not had a flare-up and is a healthy happy little boy.
I would love to share more about by Dairy-free weaning, my experiences with a CMPA baby and hopefully our experiences with joining the milk ladder in the future.

I wanted to share this experience to tell other mothers not to give up if you feel like something is wrong and to keep trying no matter how silly you feel.
We got this and we know our babies.

Let me know your experiences in the comments, and open up the convosation about CMPA!

-Toots x

Toon Me|

This isn’t really a post to do with any of my other content, and so far on this blog everything seems to have been rather random and miscellaneous.
But, I saw this TOONME challenge going around and thought I would give it a go.

If you don’t know or are not in the loop the challenge is simple.
Draw half a picture of yourself in your own style.

I still have a very wobbly hand when digitally drawing as I don’t have a graphics tablet and actually use my phone.
So, Here is my attempt:

Day 1: Something you are looking forward to this year.

For some of these daily blog challenges I am worried what to write about but this one is an EASY choice.

“Something you are looking forward to this year.”

This year I am looking forward to getting married. Yes, that’s right. Wedding bells at the ready.

I am getting bethrothed my long term partner-in-crime and father of my child, Daniel.
We have been together since I was 17 (I’m now 26) and we have been engaged since 2017. So let’s just say it’s about time. As cliche as it sounds, he is my best friend in the whole world and I cannot wait to be his wife.

We are getting married in August 2020 and there is still ALOT of organising to do but we are getting married in the most dreamy venue – The Old Barn at The South Causey.

image by Sean Elliott
Image by Sean Elliott

It is the most dreamy venue in beamish valley and was just the perfect backdrop for marrying the love of my life. All the details are not in place yet ( I might even write a few posts about the details after the day has passed) but I am sure it is going to be a perfect day.

So, without a doubt the thing I am looking forward to this year is becoming a wife.

– Toots x


Butterfly World | Happy Birthday, Dan.

Not your regular type of blog post, but this week it was my wonderful husband – to – be’s 27th birthday. So, we went on a little day trip about an hour away from home to visit ‘Butterfly World’. My partner took the day off work and we embarked on the family outing to see some Lepidoptera and explore the nearby, Preston Museum.

I personally would not recommend this activity for an 8 month old as he did try and squash the butterflies with no mercy and it did prove to be quite the work out on our part. (Luckily, no butterflies got harmed during this outing 🤣). However, he did watch them flying around and it was lovely to see him interacting with nature. Butterfly world is 100% somewhere I would love to come back to when Max is older, as it will be a great educational trip to teach him about the life cycle of a butterfly!

Anyways, it was a wonderful, sunshine – filled day and it was great to spend some quality time as a family. So I thought I would share a couple of photos from our day. Let me know in the comments if you have ever visited Butterfly world and your thoughts!

– Toots. x


So you might be wondering why I want to write about animals as well as my life as a parent.
Firstly, Animals are a massive part of my life and to write a blog about my life without including animals in it would not be very ‘On Brand’ .

I’m not a source of all knowledge, I know that. BUT I do know a thing or two about animals and would like to share that with people, make a couple of care guides based on my experiences and share my passion for the animal industry with others. 

I grew up around so many weird and wonderful animals so it seems strange to think that my first choice in career wasn’t an Animal based one and that I actually didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be for such a long time. I spent years trying to figure it out, but looking back now it all seems so obvious.

One of my earliest memories is collecting caterpillars in various jam jars and tubs with my younger sister in my Nan’s back garden dreaming of them becoming a cocoon and then realising them as beautiful butterflies, but that dream was never fulfilled because caterpillars need air holes, which is something I learnt the hard way . (But we all need to start somewhere, right?)

There she is, The myth, The maverick, The caterpillar murderer.

As I got older I stopped being a serial caterpillar murderer but continued to spend my time around animals, we had an allotment and I would pride myself on helping my nan look after our chickens and rabbits, covered and mud with straw in my hair, a musky scent in the air I should have known then I wasn’t destined to have an office job, but I didn’t and the little girl, grew up, got a dead end job, and lived an average working life, the end.
or that’s what i thought at least.

When I turned 20 and I finally started my way on the path to working with animals I finally thought “Hey i could totally do this animal thing and give it a shot” and I did.

I worked hard and totally did that animal thing, completing my Level 3 at college and making my way to beginning my degree, how the hell I did that I do not know. It was an eye opening, challenging 4 years of volunteering and studying but I did it, Sis.
Ya gal now has a degree in Animal Management and is now working in a Veterinary hospital.

I just want somewhere to log my journey into hopefully pursuing my dreams, to help inform people on conservation and hopefully share my passion with the 7 people who will probably read this.  (Shout out to my Nan).


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