mum callout final
With the deadline looming (it’s in 2 days time so you need to act quickly!) Leigh is looking for your input for her new book; a book of advice for mothers, from other mothers.

I’ve sent over my pearls of wisdom as has Amanda Holden no less, but Leigh is looking for your input too…

Hi there!

My name is Leigh Van Der Horst, I’m 38 years young, I live at the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia and I am a mum to 4 boys. I lost my beautiful mother to that horrid disease Cancer in 2008 and I miss her presence in my life every single day. Over the years as I have dealt with the loss and grief I have been working on a book that I strongly believe NEEDS to be out in the world for women like myself who are left with a heartbreaking silence in their lives where their mothers used to frequent.

The final stage of my book requires the support from mothers all over the world such as yourself. In the absence of my own mother I have had to seek advice from others and sometimes I just can’t seem to receive what I desperately need. I often catch myself just staring into the distance willing the guidance to come, knowing that once upon a time all I had to do was pick up the phone and call my mum. For this reason I am compiling a section in my book devoted to mothering wisdom, a ‘go-to’ reference guide for those of us who lack the support of our mums. Mothers walk the walk therefore I trust that what you have to share will be valued and treasured by so many and read by many generations to come.

So, if you are happy to support your fellow sisterhood and I truly hope you are, this is what I am looking for:

  • Please choose from any of the subjects that may fit your past and current mothering journey. Feel free to choose as many as you want.
  • Please contain your answer to a couple of sentences or a paragraph. Don’t worry, I am not looking for an essay. Email your contribution to
  • Please state your Name, Country, Child gender and ages. (helps to relate)
  • By agreeing to share your wisdom you understand that this is not a paid opportunity but a very worthy and appreciated contribution to a book that will mean so much to so many.
  • I have included some examples under the subject heading just as a guide. YOU will know what to share, as it is YOU that has the experience in being a mother.

Example: On Raising young boys aged 1-5
“I strongly believe that young boys need tonnes of love and reassurance. They are often made to feel that they are a bit wild but they are just craving acceptance and love. Make sure you build them up with positive praise, it will help them grow with confidence.”
Leigh, Australia, Mother to 4 boys ages 13, 11,9 & 2

Example: On Raising young boys aged 6-12
“Boundaries must be set, foundations MUST be laid! Have a clear message of what is accepted and what is not and stick to your guns. Life with boys can be lots of fun but there needs to be a mutual respect and care.”
Leigh, Australia, Mother to 4 boys ages 13, 11, 9 & 2

Subject Headings:

Life with a Newborn
(coping, sleeping, teething, postnatal depression, body issues, relationship changes, sibling jealousy..)

Raising a child with special needs
(support, encouragement, challenges, guidance, acceptance..)

Raising young boys aged 1-5
(tantrums, challenges, friendships, encouragement, guidance..)

Raising young girls aged 1-5
(tantrums, friendships, challenges, encouragement, guidance..)

Raising young boys aged 6-12
(friendships, communication, growth and changes, challenges, activities, boundaries..)

Raising young girls aged 6-12
(friendships, growth and changes, challenges, communication, activities, boundaries..)

Raising teenage boys aged 13-19
(coping, friendships, guidance, support, growth and changes, communication, boundaries..)

Raising teenage girls aged 13-19
(coping, friendships, guidance, support, growth and changes, communication, boundaries..)

Releasing your adult child into the world aged 19 onwards
(letting go, coping, moving forward, trust, acceptance.

The cut off date for contributions is 31 July 2014 and please remember to write from the heart with no judgement. We mothers MUST support each other where and when possible.

Feel free to email me at with any questions and if you would rather remain anonymous please let me know.

Thank you so, so much and I look forward to sharing your wisdom with others.

Much love, Leigh xx


  • HarrietJuly 29, 2014 - 9:39 pm

    Treat being a new parent like starting a new job! Will you feel comfortable with all the new procedures straight way ? Probably not, but give it a few months … Will you know all the answers and have all the solutions ? Probably not ,but by going with gut feelings and maybe consulting the odd manual you will have things to try and see what works for you and your family. One thing to remember when going by the book- the baby hasn’t read it!!!! Give yourself time to adjust without beating yourself up and soon you will be employee of the month … Well until the teething starts !ReplyCancel

    • Steph@HelloBabyJuly 30, 2014 - 4:05 am

      Love, love, love this H! Can you email Leigh directly too xxReplyCancel

Apologies for the lack of blogging of late, but I’ve been very busy napping! These first few weeks are all about survival I’m afraid and thankfully the little lady has been pretty good at napping in her moses basket during the day allowing me some much needed shut eye to function properly!

We are now just over four weeks in and I can’t believe how quickly time is flying by. Phoebe is just fab and I am absolutely loving being a mummy of two, even though it has made leaving the house seem an impossible task and takes me an unprecedented amount of time! I am so lucky that Jack has been incredible with her. He kisses and cuddles her all the time and he hasn’t shown the slightest hint of jealousy yet for which I am so so grateful.

So here is my 4 week postpartum update…

My Recovery

My recovery is going really well. I’ve been signed off by the midwife and entering week three saw the pain of my stitches disappear thank goodness!

My uterus contracted down to its original size in the first week ( thanks to the unrelentless breastfeeding!) which I was so glad about as the after pains were horrendous! They say they are stronger with subsequent children and they’re not wrong! I don’t think I had any with Jack so this time it was a real shock to the system!

I’ve started to bleed quite heavily again which I am attributing to doing too much, too soon. Last week we went on a mammoth walk to a friends house with me pushing the buggy and toddler on a buggy board in the sweltering heat, which in hindsight was a bad idea! I called triage to make sure it’s nothing too sinister (after google informed me it could be a late postpartum hemorrhage) but they have just advised to keep an eye on it and it is probably due to nothing more than over exertion.

My Body

Thankfully, my body feels like it is bouncing back really quickly and I was back in my pre pregnancy jeans 2 weeks after giving birth to Phoebe, hurrah! There is obviously a lot of weight still to lose, but at the moment I’m averaging a packet of chocolate digestives a day so can’t see it dropping off anytime soon!

I’ve lost over a stone in the four weeks so far but I’m still about a stone heavier than I was pre pregnancy but weight loss isn’t a massive priority for me right now (although maybe it should be with summer holidays looming!) I’m just focusing on eating well (apart from my biscuit weakness!) and drinking litres of water and fennel tea for the breastfeeding benefits.

My mood

Before having children I was blissfully ignorant about how tiring and demanding the first three months with a newborn can be.
With Jack, I really didn’t anticipate how the lack of sleep and the energy demanded for breastfeeding would affect me. I was so tired, all the time, that I became very emotional and irrational and probably wasn’t much fun to be around for my poor husband. I had a severe case of the baby blues (and maybe even post natal depression) crying at the drop of a hat and often crying for no reason. On most occasions I didn’t even know why I was crying; nothing specific triggered the tears to flow apart from my crazy hormones raging through my body. I didn’t in a million years imagine this would happen, I always thought I would handle motherhood with ease, but I also had never been THAT tired. Thankfully as my hormones balanced back out, the fog lifted and the tears stopped. I was finally able to enjoy my little bundle.

Now 4 weeks in to life with Phoebe and thankfully the anxiety and baby blues have passed me by this time and I’m savouring every moment with my little lady. I’m so much more relaxed which makes life so much more enjoyable!

As for the little lady…


She was a chunky little thing at birth, 8lb 9oz and hasn’t dropped an ounce since! She has steadily gained weight at every weigh in and at her last check up was a healthy 9lb 7oz.
She has definitely elongated over the past few weeks too and is now filling out her ‘up to one month’ baby grows which seemed ginormous on her at birth and is also dipping into her 0-3 month wardrobe!


I’m a huge advocate of a structured routine but it is still too early to implement just yet as she is just being fed on demand at the moment.
Having said that a pattern is now emerging of 3 hourly feeds which is most welcome after numerous days of what has felt like non stop nursing over the last few weeks.

We have also just started a bedtime routine which so far has worked a treat and enabled us to eat our dinner in peace and have a few hours of downtime together which is bliss. I do a split feed, with Phoebe having a feed whilst Jack has his dinner at 5.30pm. This ensures she’s not fractious when I bathe her about 6pm which she seems to rather enjoy now. I then feed her again so she is suitably milk drunk and pretty much conks out as soon as I put her in her basket!

We then get a good 3 hour stint normally before she wakes and the night shift commences!


In the first few weeks, Phoebe had a real aversion to sleeping on her back so spent a lot of time sleeping on our chests! She’d sleep on daddy, in the evenings until he came to bed, enabling me to have a few hours of solid uninterrupted sleep in bed and then would alternate between sleeping in her basket and on me throughout the night!

This all came to an end last Saturday after spending all day in the children’s ward at our local hospital where she was diagnosed with reflux and is now on medication which seems to be helping her enormously! We now have a little girl that will happily sleep on her back! Phew!

She generally wakes up for three feeds in the night which isn’t too bad (roughly midnight, 3.30am and 5am) and thankfully she doesn’t seen to wake up properly so is pretty easy to get back to sleep again after her feed.

She is currently sleeping in my room in her Moses basket and daddy has been shipped off to another bedroom so he can get some sleep! I love having her near, despite the crazy noises she makes!


Thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to breastfeed successfully again this time around. It’s something that I’m a huge advocate of and I’m really thankful that I’ve been able to do it again as I know so many mums have real difficulties.

At the moment Phoebe is solely breastfed and as mentioned above normally feeds every 3 hours or so. Having said that, she has had numerous ‘hungry’ days over the last 4 weeks where she wants feeding every 1/2 hours but I think they could have been due to growth spurts.

For a few days, she reacted badly to the antibiotics I was taking for my mastitis and became really fussy when feeding but since I stopped taking them she is back to her calm and content self which is a relief as was pretty much crying in pain non stop!


She is still in up to 1 month clothes and size 1 nappies but has worn a few of her 0-3 month outifts over the last few days due to the glorious weather and it won’t be long until she fits into them properly as they no longer swamp her like they used to.

Development and playing

She’s an alert little thing and has been from the off which is lovely. She’s also incredibly strong, lifting her head up continually to have a good nosey around and study people’s faces.

She has just started to tolerate being placed on her playmat and even managed to grab some of the dangly toys which was pretty impressive, but could have just been luck! Unfortunately she has also started to grab her hair and pulls it so hard she makes herself cry!

She has also given us a few smiles which has been lovely!

Days out

On a Monday to Wednesday, my days are spent with Phoebe as Jack is with his buddies at nursery for 2 days and spends a day with my parents who he is totally besotted with. This works out perfectly; I get to spend 3 days concentrating on my little lady and Jack has fun filed days where he isn’t tied down to days revolving around feeding a newborn!

Thursdays and Fridays are the three of us which I love. I REALLY miss spending my days focusing on Jack but like I said before he has been brilliant adapting to the change and it won’t be long until the two of them can play together!

Our first outing as a threesome was to the Mecca of new mums, John Lewis and it was thankfully drama free! Phoebe slept the whole trip so Jack and I were able to shop, browse and ride the elevators in peace!

We have also spent a lot of time having play dates with friends at each other’s houses and with the weather being so glorious, we have spent most days in the garden cooling down in the paddling pool!

Last week we ventured to our first playgroup session and it was great. Again Phoebe slept for the whole duration which enabled me to fully concentrate on Jack so we did a lot of crafting; he has a lovely set of ‘teddy ears’ to show for it and just had a lovely time revelling in my full attention for once.

So that’s the roundup of our last four weeks. I’ll update you again soon.

  • Charlotte PalazzoJuly 29, 2014 - 3:36 pm

    LOVE this post!! LOVE your honesty! You have such a way with words and its so refreshing! Just wanted to say so! Charlie xxReplyCancel


I stumbled across the original post of this on Surviving Life and Motherhood in the early hours during a marathon feeding session and with Amy’s permission I couldn’t resist sharing it with you guys. It is ever so accurate and gives you a taste of what the first 12 days with a newborn is really like.

Over to Amy…

It’s a funny old time. Having a baby. You experience such a range of emotions in such a short space of time. You celebrate. You cry. You laugh. You cry some more. Your other half looks on with a mixture of wonder and helplessness. Sometimes fear. So what can you really expect from that first couple of weeks with a new baby?

Day One. ’I can do anything!’

There is NO day like this one. The one where you successfully birth your baby. Imagine that post-exercise high then multiply it by about a million. You’ve run the equivalent of a marathon. And you’ve survived. This day will be spent marvelling at that teeny, tiny human being that YOU made. Eating toast. Sharing the arrival of your new addition. And feeling so relieved that both you and baby are safe. You’ll feel on top of the world, despite the after pains of labour and being completely knackered. Nothing can knock you off your perch. This is how insanely euphoric Day One really is.

There is NO day like this one.

Day Two. ’Wow. My baby is good.’

Day Two is a calmer version of Day One. You’ve had the first night with your newborn, who may well have fooled you by sleeping five hours or more in one stretch. ’Wow. My baby is good,’ you think. You’re surprised how well you feel. Not yet tired enough to mind the nightfeeds, you actually enjoy having those little pink fingers gripping yours at 3.00 AM in the morning.
You’ll possibly get some visitors on Day Two. Definitely some cards and flowers. And the adoration from everyone around you will further enhance that post-labour glow you’re sporting.

Life is good. Having a baby is a joy. What has everyone else been moaning about?

Day Three. The ‘Jordan’ phase.

Ugh. What is that pressure on your chest?

You wake up and look down to find that, overnight, your body’s been possessed. By Jordan. And a dairy cow. Yes, whilst you were sleeping, your milk’s come in. The pain is excruciating. The only thing that relieves it is feeding your baby but this in turn makes you feel like someone is poking hot pins through your nipples. You try and explain this to your other half, who hasn’t yet stopped staring at your giant mammaries. ‘Imagine someone biting your testicles and pulling down hard. Then repeat 8-10 times a day,’ you say. ’I’d pay good money for that,’ he half jokes back. Whilst you resist the urge to disembowel him there and then.

At the same time, your good hormones decide to take leave. Suddenly you feel low, tired and teary. Having a baby is hard.

Day Four. Tears and more tears.

Day Four is a volatile continuation of Day Three. The Baby Blues have probably well and truly hit. And although they are usually gone in a few days, whilst you’ve got them, it’s hard to see beyond them. Expect to cry. A lot. Often for no reason at all. This is perfectly normal.
As well as making you miserable, the departure of the post-labour endorphins, the dramatic hormonal changes and the discomfort of your milk coming in will probably also make you want to do one of the following things a) kill your husband b) kill your husband or c) kill your husband.

Because now is the time you’ll notice that he hasn’t bought you flowers (dads, for goodness sake, buy her flowers!), praised you enough for giving birth (dads, you cannot tell her often enough how amazing she is) or hugged you (dads, being too busy running around after her/other kids is not a valid reason for not cuddling her).

There is nothing you can do but wait this out. Try not to think. Or rationalise your feelings. Rest assured that it will pass. REST. Dads, do NOT anger her. Or be a tosser. Don’t answer back. Or try and score points. Instead, hug her. Praise her. And know that even doing these things will probably be the wrong thing. Carry on doing them regardless. Don’t get frustrated or feel helpless.
Because when this phase has passed (and pass it will), she will remember that you were kind. When you could have been mean.

Day Five. Reality bites. Ouch.

Phew. You wake up feeling less hormonal. More like yourself. Albeit it a tired and slightly more frazzled version.
The tears have subsided. Leaving you feeling a bit numb. You’re suddenly slightly overwhelmed that you have to do this every day, every night for the rest of time. The night feeds have already lost their appeal and you may have had THAT night. The one where the baby refuses to settle ALL night no matter what you do. The one where you cry because you’re so tired. The one where you give your other half a kick in the back because he gets to sleep while you don’t.

This night has a purpose. It moves you into reality. And forces you to look at your new situation. Which, you realise now, is going to take a little more effort than lying in bed all day, watching Sex and The City and eating chocolate cake.

Days Six to Nine. Getting on with it.

This is a relatively peaceful phase. You’ve had the extreme initial emotions and now you’re just doing it. Because you have to. Feeding is becoming a little more comfortable. You might have won some small victories like getting the baby to settle in its cot. And your uterus is back where it started.

Even if your belly button isn’t.

Day Ten. ’On yer bike.’

If all is going well, the midwife discharges you. If it’s your first baby, this might not mean a whole lot. You’ll likely do this baby business again. If this is your last baby, however, expect to feel a sudden wave of sadness and nostalgia. Because the thought that you will never do this again can do strange things to you like make you a) cling to your midwife’s leg b) beg her never to leave you c) get pregnant.

How do you think some people end up with 10 children?

Days Eleven-Twelve. Welcome to Motherhood.

Contrary to what this heading might imply, motherhood doesn’t end at day 12. You don’t graduate, pass GO or collect £200. No, you’ve got about another 6,558 days to go (assuming you get rid of them when they reach 18).

What does happen during this period is acceptance. Acceptance of your new life. Of the tiredness. Of the demands. Of the responsibility. It might come a little later if this is your first baby but even so, at this point you start to realise that you can do this. Because you CAN do this.

You can do anything when armed with a good slab of chocolate fudge cake.

A huge thanks to Amy for allowing me to share her rather brilliant, and oh so accurate, words. You can follow her and her fabulous musings on motherhood on facebook and twitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m rather partial to a large, spacious changing bag that I can shove a million and one things in to cover every eventuality, but recently I was sent a super portable ‘Changing clutch bag’ from Messy Me to review and it is ingenious!

It’s the perfect solution for the times you want to travel light and use your regular handbag but still have all your baby’s essentials at your fingertips.

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Founded by mummy of three, Helen Hibberd, Messy Me is a family owned business, based in Farnham. The business was founded after Helen recognised a gap in the market for stylish, functional oilcloth products designed for busy mums and their messy little ones.

Messy Me has been going from strength to strength with a raft of awards and design nominations under their belt and with all products made in the UK, they are proud to support British manufacturing.


The Clutch is a convenient, compact and stylish solution to carry nappies and wipes wherever you go! It’s the perfect size for storing a couple of nappies, a small pack of wipes and some nappy bags and also comes with a matching mini changing mat.

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The Clutch is available in 5 gorgeous oilcloth designs:


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The Messy Me Clutch is very reasonably priced at £18.50 and would make the perfect ‘baby shower’ present. Or just treat yourself; after all you totally deserve it!



In addition to the Clutch Bag, Messy Me’s product range also includes: High Chair covers (which look pretty nifty if you seem to spend hours cleaning your little one’s high chair after each mealtime), Bibs, Tunics, Mats and Aprons. They also sell oilcloth by the metre.

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I would definitely recommend getting your hands on the Messy Me Clutch Bag. It’s perfect for those occasions when you don’t want or need to take all your baby paraphernalia with you and you just need the bare minimum. It’s well made, with a large velcro fastener ensuring everything stays in one place, but also gives you easy one-handed access when needed.

The Danish oilcloth is lovely and soft, can be wiped clean and is also suitable for occasional machine washing at 30C.

All in all, I’m a huge fan of the Clutch Bag and knowing how great the quality is, I think I may just have to purchase a Messy Me Mat next.

You can purchase any of the products above on the Messy Me website. You can also follow Messy Me on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with their latest news and promotions.

Disclosure: I was very kindly sent this Clutch bag free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own and I’d still rave about it even if i’d paid for it!


Image credit

He’s cute, he’s third in line to the throne and he turns one tomorrow. Baby George (aka Prince George of Cambridge) has already got accustomed to round-the-world travel, having completed his first royal tour of Australia and New Zealand.

For royal parents Will and Kate, the trip down under was not the daunting experience it would have been for most: nannies, personal assistants, a chef, a chauffeur and cooing dignitaries would have all helped to lighten the load. And don’t forget the private jet!

But you don’t have to be a royal for a stress-free holiday with babies and toddlers. Holiday Lettings reveals how.

Pick a place with all the essentials

A steriliser, food processor, highchair, pushchair and cot. Together with the bottles, nappies, toys and baby monitors, there’s a seemingly endless list of essentials that need to be crammed into your car, or – if you’re flying – your suitcase.

These days there are lots of self-catering holiday homes that will roll out the red carpet for parents with babies. You’ll find that many of them provide all the baby-related equipment and gadgets you’d need. This means you don’t have to take a limo’s worth of stuff and lets you quickly relax into your holiday.

There are even some places that offer babysitting services so you can at least take a night off for yourselves. Perfect!

Stay close to home

It might seem obvious, but not straying too far from home means you’re less likely to mess-up any routines and spend the journey trying to settle your little cherub.

In the UK we’re blessed with a variety of different places on our doorstep: Wales, Cornwall, Somerset, the Cotswolds, Scotland, the Lakes and the Peaks. Think of somewhere close by to limit your travel time – no more than a couple of hours is ideal.

Ok, so Brighton is not quite the same as the Bahamas. But you could book a place with a Jacuzzi to squeeze in some real relaxation time. Your kids will love it too.

Don’t be afraid to fly

If you fancy something more exotic than the Yorkshire Dales, don’t be put off flying with your baby. Children younger than two fly for free with most airlines (if they sit on your knee) and it’s likely that you’ll be given the royal treatment when on board.

When booking your tickets, ask if you can have a bulkhead seat (a row without seats in front) for extra space and comfort. For long haul flights, a carrycot may even be a available.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the crew, especially if you need hot water or for them to warm-up the baby food. Remember to pack everything you need for the flight in your hand luggage – nappies, baby food, milk and a change of clothes. You’ll be relieved to hear that the liquid restrictions don’t apply to babies: it’s safe to pack expressed breast milk, formula, cow’s milk and food for the flight.

Your baby will need a passport if you’re flying out of the country, so be sure to apply for one well in advance.

Go in a group

Having more hands on deck means you can get a few hours to yourself here and there. Most family members and friends will be more than happy to lend a hand (if the holiday is pitched to them in the right way!).

Going away in a group will save you all money too: most self-catering villas and cottages work out much less per person. Ask friends with babies if they also fancy a break. For the best babysitters around, you could even ask the grandparents!

*Disclosure: This is a PR collaboration