Our new living room

Well what a journey it has been….You may remember that at Christmas we discovered a damp patch rising through the floor; what followed was several months of work on the wall and the floor to damp proof the room. Being confined to specifically the upstairs rooms, eating tea on the floor of the spare room, surrounded by the contents of the living room and one incredibly frustrated toddler was enough to push us over the edge!

Time passed and finally a carpet was installed. We were all so relieved, Martha immediately threw herself on a cushioned floor and yelled “carpet!” We decided it was time for a refresh so wallpaper was stripped, a fresh coat of clean white paint went up, out with the battered old furniture and in it’s place some budget Ikea shelves, a massive clear out and some greenery to breath some life into the place. There’s also just a hint of marble and copper which I really love!












I’m really pleased with the way it turned out it’s organised, Martha’s toys are cleared away and the space just feels so much more simplified and clean. It’s a lovely calming space to relax in and I’m completely relieved to have it back!

Martha do self…..

“Martha do self mummy……I do it myself…….I do it on my own” We have hit a new phase of independence! One that is forthright, verbalised and utterly determined! Martha has always had a fiercely independent streak and quite the stubborn attitude. She is definitely my daughter and our ‘stand offs’ have become fairly frequent now.DSC_0115

I am losing my ‘baby’ as she takes on new tasks and begins to transition into a whole new stage of her childhood. This both fills me with joy and makes me beam, clasp my hands and struggle to hide how proud it makes me, whilst at the same time I suffer little pangs of sadness because she is growing up. I’ll never see her gummy little smile (the one before all those pesky teeth pushed their way in.) The endless newborn snuggles, the days where we spent rainy, miserable winter days wrapped up on the sofa for hours. No funny baby babble that had no real meaning, no speedy crawling on the living room floor and no trembly little legs stretching their way to stand.

We have a walking, talking child. The complexities of explaining, reasoning and teaching her are very much alive. I am constantly aware of how much she soaks up, how much she is listening, repeating and watching us as her parents. We have a lot to answer for and we are increasingly aware of our responsibility. We define relationships, marriage and what parents look like. We are the guideline for dealing with problems, for explaining how you feel and for being kind. We are setting expectations even when it feels unkind.IMG_2795

Martha is already becoming her own person and it is in many ways an extension of us. We have already transitioned into her ‘big girl bed’ (a process I will write about another time’ but up next comes the ‘potty training’ (a whole other area of fun.) So “Martha do self” another step into childhood and one that I am careful to nurture.IMG_2289

It is a trait I recognise in myself and one I don’t want to quash. Determination, independence and a clear unwavering idea of what you want is never a bad thing (even if it manifests at toddler stage in some magnificent tantrums!)

Smuggling plants in Ikea – What we got up to last week

It has been a busy one again this week. Our week started off with a spell of nice weather, so Martha was ecstatic when Heather bought a paddling pool, she spent ages sliding down her slid into the pool.

Even the rain couldn’t stop us being out and about. While on a walk through a forest near our house, Martha insisted on wading, and then jumping through muddy puddles.

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Not even the rain could stop us having fun
After dusting off my trusted allen key I got to work on new wardrobes that arrived from Ikea – with a little helping hand from Martha, of course!

We then travelled to Cardiff to get the final things for the house – Heather has had a clear vision of how she wants the house to look, and has been brilliant in finding the things to put the final touches to our home.

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Keeping entertained in the shops
Heather is on a mission with plants for the house. She has found some great cacti and small plants for a few of the rooms. Although perhaps the highlight of our trip was when Heather took a potted plant she had bought from Cardiff Market into Ikea and was trying pots for size – at least she found a pot that fits!

What trip to Cardiff on a sunny day couldn’t include a mess about in Bute Park? Martha loves to play hide and seek in the trees there – so much space to run around in!

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When your legs get tired, Dad will give you a lift
Nothing like a snug with Mummy
Nothing like a snug with Mummy


Running in Lavender

Time for holidays – What we got up to last week

So, it’s that time of year school’s out and we have time to spend doing… well, anything! Of course, on the first day off it rains! I was sent out to get some bake-your-own pain au chocolat, or as Martha calls them “Big buns”. Usually on a Saturday, Martha and I get up early and go to the shop to buy pastries for our breakfast. This has become a bit of a tradition now, a tradition that has led Martha to recently announce at her day care that “Daddy has big buns”

On our way up the hill on the railway
On our way up the hill on the railway
We then decided to visit Aberystwyth and do something we haven’t done in a while – ride the vehicular railway up Constitution Hill. While up there we had lunch (yes there’s a restaurant up there) and a walk about on a very windy  hill.

Martha has developed a routine at bedtime, and now likes to replicate this by reading, singing and kissing her mummy goodnight – no matter what time of day it is!

On the way to the Wedding
On the way to the Wedding
At the end of the week we attended a family wedding where Martha played and ran about and generally had a good time. She was on best behaviour in the chapel.

Checking to see if dolly is ok
Checking to see if dolly is ok
We took advantage of the lovely weather at the end of the week and went for a lovely walk in the countryside – of course Martha had to take her dolly for a walk in its buggy as well, stopping every few metres to check if it was ok.


Running in Lavender


Technical issues…

You might have noticed that mamaandbabybear.com has been down for a while, and even now posts are missing. This is a result of us moving to a new host for the site, and of course the back up that was made before moving could not be retrieved!
In order to salvage anything we had to look for any trace of the blog on an older host (which there was still text – no photos unfortunately), and also via old cached snapshots of the site through the Way Back Machine

So, through doing this we managed to save posts up until July 2015 and then nothing until February 2016. So essentially there is a missing year on the blog (argh!).

Our aim will be to retrieve as much as we can if we figure out if we can. So here we are back up and running.

Easter and new beginnings

Hello there! It’s been a while, I hope you had a wonderful Easter and ate ALL of the eggs?
It’s been that wonderful time when Winter seems to be eventually fading and the promise of a little sunshine, lighter mornings and daffodil clad borders trim the country lanes. It fills me with a little sense of change as we look forward to the hazy days of summer. It’s been a tough old winter; they say when it rains it pours and it really did. Literally and figuratively. It started with a damp patch on the carpet in the living room, which gradually got bigger and bigger. One inspection from a damp proof specialist revealed the insulated wall was pulling water into the house and it was pooling in several places. There is nothing like watching your sodden plaster board peel off like butter when pulled with bare hands!


Fast forward several months and were about a week away from having the whole situation resolved. I’ve seen the intricate details of meshing on the bare bricks, suffered the smell of liquid damp proofing on the floor and made several trips to the tip. Days of entertaining a toddler in the howling gales when isolated to the upstairs and eating our tea on the floor of the spare room has been….challenging.

We decided with a new wall that would need painting we would take the opportunity to repaint the muddy colour choice and rip of the one messily wallpapered wall. Whoever put that up must have thrown a bucket of paste at the wall, as we spent hours scraping the gloopy mess off. We decided that as the conservatory had the same said paste covered wallpaper and muddy paint we would extend into there as well. The end is finally in sight now clean white walls have really opened up the space and our carpet is ordered for a fitting in one week. It has been months since I felt cozy in our living room and I may just cry when its finally all back to normal and we can feel like we live in a house again not a scrapyard!


Anyway, this weekend was filled with baking, chocolate, Easter baskets and egg hunts. Easter hasn’t really been exciting for me in many years but this year Martha’s little face as she tucked into her Easter basket and followed the trail of little eggs down the stairs was just lovely. She is a bit obsessed with Kinder eggs (we buy one every Friday after work as a treat.) I bought her the large Kinder Egg and she shouted “a big Egg!” with such excitement at the end of her hunt, it just made my heart so full. Isn’t it amazing how things suddenly become exciting again? A little occasion you had long forgotten suddenly takes on new meaning and I’m always humbled by it. I realise all over again how we are making memories and setting our own little family traditions.

Perfect cookies!

A few weeks ago on a bit of a whim I decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookies with Martha. They were so delicious (and only lasted a matter of days) I thought I would share the recipe. Super easy and very moreish!


I used a variation of the Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies. The bitter dark chocolate works beautifully with a pinch of salt and the contrast of the sweet biscuit. If dark chocolate is not your thing you can always substitute.



225g Unsalted butter (room temperature)

2 Eggs

350g Soft Light Brown Sugar

400g Plain Flour

225g Dark Chocolate (roughly chopped)

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

2 1/2 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda


The original recipe calls for 4 lined baking trays I only had two and cooked the cookies in batches which was not a problem.


The method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/ 325F/ Gas Mark 3
  2. Mix together the butter and Sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs individually and continue to beat. On a slower setting beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. Add the Flour, Salt and Bicarbonate of Soda until the mixture becomes a much thicker dough like consistency.
  4. Roughly chop the chocolate (some chunkier pieces work well), add to the dough and stir to thoroughly disperse.
  5. Arrange 6 equal amounts of dough balls on a lined baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Smaller amounts spaced apart will work better, as the cookies flatten out a lot.
  6. The cookies may still seem soft after 10 minutes. Allow to cool and they will be soft and chewy.




Part time Mummy

The end of this week marks a small but significant passage of time for me. I will officially have been back at work for one whole year. Looking back at our vlogs from the first time I dropped Martha off and trotted back to work, I can see that I have mixed feelings about my new (albeit) temporary life.

Leaving Martha has been without question so very hard; I have hated it, every second and if I’m honest that has at times torn me to pieces. The plan was always for me to return to work full time, but after several issues with finding childcare that we were happy with and Mummy being reduced to a quivering wreck, we weighed up our finances (and my personal well being) and made the decision that I would reduce my time at work temporarily, to 3 days. It has been the best decision we could have made; we have struggled with our money, but the snippets of time I have treasured with Martha in between my time at work, have been such a blessing to me.

I have found it hard to be ‘part-time’ in every sense of the word. I am a part-time worker; I miss out on things, I have to re-adjust every time I have days off with Martha and get my work head on, I have to work bloomin’ hard when I am in work, knowing I won’t get chance to finish things later and I try at all costs not to work on the days I am home with Martha, but work commitments have meant I have had to go into work during several evenings on my ‘home’ days.

The guilt that comes with being a part-time Mummy has also been a bit awful; I’m here and Martha is happy and settled and then I’m gone again. There is no doubt that Martha has to constantly adjust to a different routine between myself and the childminder, which inevitably interferes with her sleeping and eating pattern. There are days when Martha seems so content with me I worry about what I’m missing out on. I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought about doing something with Martha for the first time and thought “I’ll save it for the weekend” only to come home and read in her little daily book that she did it that day.

Working part-time is sometimes the best of a bad situation, there are times I feel so thinly spread between trying to do my job (the way I did when I was single and it was everything) and being a good Mummy; one who isn’t stressed about working, has time to play and dance around to the Peppa Pig theme tune.

Martha has had some great experiences with her Childminder (who she utterly adores), she thoroughly enjoys her spacious garden, trampoline and room full to the brim of different toys every day! I remain very grateful to have found our Childminder, she made the hardest battle I have ever faced just that little bit easier.

The battle of course remains internally within me; I know I need my career, it matters, it is stimulating, bloody hard and ridiculously rewarding at times. It awakens a part of me I like about myself. Being a Mummy still remains the most overwhelming part of my life; it is the part of me I never knew was there, it nourishes my soul, pushes me to breaking point and blesses me every single day. It is difficult to let go of either – it is hard to be just ‘part-time’ not fully present in either side of my life, but constantly pulled between the two and often not feeling adequate in either.

I’d love to hear your comments !

Stay Happy x

A little update

Hi everyone,

Oh its been a busy, busy couple of weeks! Work has been intense for both of us but more so for Aled. This has left me flying solo with Baby B (as well as keeping the house going and going to work myself.) We are both exhausted and haven’t spent any decent time together as a family for weeks. We do have a couple of more rough weeks to go and then we will be spending quality time together, uninterrupted by anything or anyone thank you very much!

So here are a few snaps I’ve taken over the past couple of weeks….

Eating healthy delicious breakfasts.



and some not so healthy, but still very delicious nutella filled cookies….Baby B usually likes to pinch Aled’s blueberry muffin but one bite of this and she lost all interest!


We celebrated Father’s Day; beginning with a little tea / milk for Baby B in bed with cards and Ben and Holly!


Then a special Father’s Day breakfast – Baby B was so delighted with her “caca” (pancake), fruit and nutella filled croissant…




 The weather has been grim lately, meaning we have spent a few days trapped indoors. I have discovered a new favourite playtime activity for Martha; playing in the bath with a bowl of water in her swimming costume, with lots of toys and bubbles!


Hope you enjoyed this picture heavy post!


Stay Happy!

Lancome Grandiose Mascara

When it comes to mascaras I am a picky customer. I have sensitive eyes and the fragrance/ingredients can make me an eye watering mess, not to mention that I have quite long lashes and can get those funny cartoon flecks on my brow bone (not attractive come the end of the day.) I recently had some accumulated Boots points (and a big old voucher) to spend. I decided to try something new.


Although I didn’t stray far! I have long been a fan of of Lancome Hypnose; it performs well, lengthens, doesn’t irritate my eyes and no smudges. However, I have always felt the volume was somewhat lacking. So I went in search of the much talked about Lancome Grandiose which seems to have some people torn.

Can we just talk about this packaging?!


Unbelievably fancy and the swan neck wand also seems a little extravagant. In my opinion, the wand isn’t the making of this mascara, in fact it took a little getting used to. This mascara just has a fantastic formula! It simply does it all; volume, length and thick black lashes with no transfer. My bottom lashes transfer but honestly the only mascara I have found to cope on my bottom lashes is the clinique bottom lash and I think I will probably use that forever!

At £24.50 it is obviously high end, but I have to say for me it is just so hard to beat!

Have you tried Lancome Grandiose?