Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Strongest Bond...

I'm not sure if it's the time of year that's making me nostalgic or the fact that I'm pregnant and probably a little too emotional, but lately I've found myself looking back at old photos really often. Whether they be ones from 10 years ago, or snaps we've taken over the last year, It's been something that I've really felt the urge to do lately. I love looking back on our photos and family vlogs, and having these special or even ordinary moments captured in time forever is something that I'm truly grateful to have and cherish so much.

It's really struck me in the last few months just how much Archie has changed and grown over the past year. It's so much easier to see the dramatic change in them across their first year, from tiny newborns to clumsy, wobbly toddler in just 365 days, but as they get into the fully fledged toddler years, you don't notice as much of a change with each day that goes by, but suddenly a photo from earlier in the year will pop up and he seems so small and squishy. For ages he was a tiny dot with the littlest legs, but now he seems to have gotten so much taller, and huge feet! People have commented that he'll be taller than me soon (which, I hope for his sake he is!)

We have a large mirror at the top of our stairs and every night I've taken him up to bed and looked at us both in that mirror. And even though now he walks ahead of me with ease, and we make silly faces to each other through the glass, every night I see a flash of me carrying my newborn baby to bed in my arms and I feel so proud of how much he's grown and developed into who he is now.

In the last year I feel we have bonded more than ever before. And even though I miss my newborn Archie, and I'm so excited to have a newborn again, to cuddle and hold and smell that newborn baby smell, having a little buddy to talk to has become so rewarding. I sometimes found it a struggle in those first few months. I loved him so unconditionally but I wasn't prepared for him to not always show that love back to me. He's always been fiercely independent, and whilst that makes me happy and has helped that he's had the confidence to throw himself into situations that I thought might worry him, or make friends with other children or talk to adults, I sometimes wished for him to need me more. In the last year, we really have developed the strongest bond and in many ways it's like having a little best friend.

I feel like a mother and child have an unbreakable bond from the moment your baby is born, and I felt it instantly when I looked at him for the first time, but I also feel like it's something you have to work on and nurture throughout their whole life, and, maybe naively, I didn't realise this first time around. It’s difficult not to put yourself under pressure when it comes to things like this. Since becoming pregnant again, it's made me think a lot about what I'll do to make sure I have a strong and special bond with this baby. It's made me more aware of every kick and movement, and I never take one for granted as I know that in the grand scheme of things, being pregnant is such a short chapter in your life.

I recently chatted to some wonderful mum's & baby experts for Huggies Newborn Wipes, we spoke about bonding with your baby in lots of different ways, the importance of choosing natural products and their experiences since becoming Mum's and it was really eye opening to hear their views. They've all been mum's longer than myself, and kindly offered me lots of advice which I've fully taken on board for when this baby is born. I think it's a reassuring watch for both new mum's to be and those of us that are doing this second, third or even fourth time around! I won't give too much away as the video below says it all really, but I do know that I can't wait for the day that I see the reflection of my new little family of four in that mirror making our way upstairs for bedtime.

Mum’s Tips Huggies Wipes.

This video is in collaboration with Huggies Newborn Wipes
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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Getting Back To Me...

For a while now I've been wanting to write a post like this. To just sit down and let the words spill out. But every time I try, it's as though my thoughts are stuck, as though they're locked in my head and I've lost the key. I get frustrated sometimes at not being able to properly express how I feel, which usually means I take that frustration out on the ones I love, more often than not my poor husband, who has no idea what he's done wrong!

I've felt a bit lost lately, like I've been inside a little anxious bubble that I can't pop and I find it hard to put my finger on why this is. I know I'm blessed in so many ways and I'm lucky to have what I have which in a way makes it worse because you can't justify the feeling, so then you feel guilty for feeling that way and the whole vicious circle starts again. Right now I'm watching a nearly two year old running around the living room with a giant balloon, screaming with joy, not a care in the world and I wish I could feel that way.

It's a feeling I can't seem to shake, of not being good enough and not feeling like me anymore. Where do I fit in? When I started Dolly Bow Bow, I was a 19 year old girl living at home with her parents, filming videos about Primark and Lush on my computer's webcam. Fast forward 6 and a half years and I've moved out,  I'm a wife! And a Mum of a 2 year old boy. A boy that I love and adore more than anything in the world, but sometimes it's easy to just feel like I'm someone's Mum. Like a part of your identity is missing and you can't quite be yourself anymore. I've struggled knowing where I fit in on You Tube and my blog for a while, constantly trying to get the balance right between creating posts and videos about fashion and beauty which makes me feel like I need to try and be more polished and my family life, where I want to be able to share the highs and the lows, the picturesque days out as well as the toddler meltdown because I cut up his orange and he wanted it whole (yes that really happened). Working out how to merge the two together can be difficult. It's sometimes why you don't see regular content from me as it all gets a bit too much and instead of working through it I hide from it.

I think this post might be the first step to getting back on track. Writing down your feelings is a good first step. I can see where I want to go and I have all of these ideas bubbling under the surface, it's just trying to make them happen! Remembering how and why you started is a good way of getting back to who you really are. Fashion was my main focus when I started this, and over the last 2 years I've slowly built my confidence after having a baby, to wear whatever I want again, and not to feel like I shouldn't 'because I'm a Mum'. I've realised lately that this blog and my channel can be whatever I want them to be and I don't have to conform to rules or be put in a certain box. I'm not just a fashion blogger, I'm not just a lifestyle vlogger, I'm a person, with lots of interests and I can be confident in the knowledge that if you share similar interests then you might like what I do and that's all that really matters. I might have a pretty dress on in these pictures but I also have scabs over my elbows from going down a slide at soft play with Archie! And that's ok by me.

I feel like to blog and vlog to the best of your ability, you have to really love what you're doing, so I decided there would be no better place to start getting things back on track than at the prettiest cake shop in Chelsea. This place is what the inside of my brain looks like when I'm happy! Peggy Porschen is somewhere that's been on my London must visit list for a while now, as I see it pop up on Instagram all the time. It really is as dreamy as it looks in real life and the cakes are delicious. They have the cutest cupcakes in some of my favourite flavours including cookies & cream, red velvet and Strawberries & Champagne. They also create some incredible wedding and birthday cakes which look too pretty to eat!

It might seem trivial to some, but putting on a pretty dress and eating cupcakes from a pink shop with a floral doorway in the heart of my favourite city made me feel like me again, and made me happy. And once you strip everything else away, that's all any of us want to be.
Dress ASOS - Bag CHANEL - Sunglasses RIVER ISLAND - Shoes PRIMARK

What makes you happy?

Kate x
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Thursday, 14 July 2016

A Message To My Mum...

I count myself very lucky that I've always had a close relationship with my Mum. Not everyone is given that opportunity in life and I've made a mental note to show her more just how much I care.

She's given me a lot of support and advice over the years and always encouraged me to follow my dreams. My Mum was never very strict with me, I think this is one of the reasons I never rebelled and we never had many heated Mother/daughter arguments when I was a teenager. She always had trust in me and because of this I didn't feel like I had to keep any secrets from her - and even if I did get something wrong, the 'I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed' line always had much more of an impact on me!

She's taught me to be kind, and see the good in people. She encouraged my love of performing arts and musical theatre, something that's had such a positive impact on my life. She also shows me everyday, that even when she's in pain, and having really bad days as she suffers from M.E., that there's so much to smile about and be grateful for. She brings so much happiness to my life, and that's reflected in the way Archie lights up when he sees her. The love they share is indescribable and I feel so lucky that she's my Mum and his Nan.

She's been very supportive of me over the last 6 years of my blogging/You Tube journey. But I've never used this platform to say thank you. So as part of my efforts to show her just how much I love her, I've decided to offer some of my own advice, something she can read back whenever she maybe feels a bit low, unwell or not her usual bubbly self.

Dear Mum...

1. Worry less - That's quite a statement coming from me, queen of the worriers. But we both worry about a lot of unnecessary things. Focus on the good and positive things in your life because there are so many things that far outweigh the bad.

2. Keep that youthful glow - We were definitely blessed with the youthful gene, I'd say the women in our family look at least 10 years younger than they are (which wasn't so much fun when I was 22 and looked 12!) You always taught me the importance of a good skincare routine so now I'm giving the same advice back to you. NIVEA has been in our family for years. Our lovely Nan swore it's what kept her skin super soft, and as you know the generations have all used it since. Which is why I'm so excited about NIVEA’s new cleansing range (you know Rene would have loved it just as much as me!)   The range includes the Creme Care Facial Cleansing Wipes, which I personally love for travelling. The Cleansing Lotion which is so gentle, it can be used to remove eye makeup and is strong enough to remove waterproof mascara! And the Cleansing Cream Wash. Its rich formula removes impurities and leaves skin feeling clean and incredibly soft. The smell instantly takes me back to when I was young. I know your favourite thing is raiding my beauty draws so I can't wait to see what you think of this range!

3. Have more adventures! - I'm at the start of my parenting journey. Right now freedom seems a long way off! And even though we will never stop being your babies, Chris and I are grown up now, so this is your chance to be selfish! Go on some crazy adventures with Dad, try something new or learn a new skill (cooking maybe? Just kidding!) But in all seriousness, have fun and throw caution to the wind!

4. Ask for help - I know it can be hard sometimes to ask for help, but that's what daughters are for. You help me in so many ways and are always there for Archie and I and I hope you know that I'm always here for you too. Whether it's someone to go shopping with on the good days, or someone to wash your hair on the days you just can't do it yourself.  Basically just listen to our song 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' that explains it better than I ever could.

Kate x

Thank you to NIVEA for Sponsoring this post


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Friday, 24 June 2016

We'll keep you safe, you keep us wild...

Toddlers are like a riddle that's impossible to solve. Just when you think you've got it sussed and are doing quite well at this parenting thing, they throw you another curveball that changes everything. Archie is about to turn 22 months but I feel like the terrible two's are already knocking at our door!
But on a recent trip to the park, as I watched my little whirlwind run ahead without a care in the world, I suddenly realised that this moment, right here and now might be one of the happiest of our lives.

In the mist of a meltdown because he wants the other half of the biscuit instead of the identical half you gave him, or because you're not letting him throw himself off the dining room table, it's easy to get down and dream of the day you have a slightly more rational little human to reason with, but I know all too well how fleeting these days are. He's only little for such a short amount of time and one day we will look back on this with fondness and smile at the memories of the way he once was, and wish for these days back, so I try and remember this during the more challenging moments.
Floral Shirt - River Island
Fringed Sandals - River Island
We haven't had the best weather recently, (that's the great British summer for you,) but on this particular morning, the sun was shining, so when Archie announced that he wanted to put his 'shoes on' (his way of saying, I want to go out Mum!) I was happy to oblige and so we made the short car journey to his favourite park.

He is definitely a wild one, he loves to find the biggest slide in the park and launch himself down it which scares the life out of me. He definitely gets his fearlessness from his Dad! He also loves water and would run in and out of the water jets and fountains all day if we let him.
 His little outfit is so adorable! I love the contrast of the monochrome shirt and the bright pop of colour from the red shorts. The little red plimsoles are really easy to slip on his feet and because they're so light he can run around in them all day! River Island do some of the most on trend kids wear available on the high street and I love dressing Archie is their pieces. The mini range is available in sizes 0-5 and the kids range is age 5-12 which I love as they don't leave the littlest ones out!
22 Month Update:

At 22 months I feel as though he's learning so many new things everyday, and he often surprises me with things that I didn't even realise he knew! He's still currently a really great eater, and there isn't much he'll turn down.

One of the biggest changes since I last updated you is his sleeping. Luckily he's still going to sleep really well, but he now gets up anywhere between 5:30am - 7:00am which is a huge change for us and it's still taking us a while to adjust to it. We were pretty spoilt with a baby who got up at 8:00am everyday so I think It's pay back time!

He's talking lots now and making his wants and needs known! I'm not sure exactly how many words he can say but his vocabulary is growing rapidly. He'll sometimes speak in 2-3 word sentences, often things like, 'Mummy up' or 'Daddy shoes on' but it's still mainly a word to tell us what he wants to do.

He seems to have been teething for quite a while now, with his four incisors coming through in one go which isn't very nice for him! I'm hoping that's what's contributing to the meltdowns at the moment but you can never quite tell!

Some of his favourite things at 22 months are:

Peppa Pig (but mainly George)
tea parties
sitting in the drivers seat of the car
playing in the park
Jumping off the sofa
brushing his teeth
saying his name!
Cookie Monster and Elmo (Cookie & Mo Mo)
Mr Bloom

One thing's for sure, he keeps us on our toes and we couldn't imagine life without him now... 

...Stay wild baby boy...

Thanks to River Island for working with us on this post
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Friday, 10 June 2016

A Messy Day

Messy play. Two words that fill me with equal parts excitement and horror! Archie's favourite thing to do by far is painting and drawing. I have to admit I don't get the paints out as much as Archie would like which makes me feel bad, but the thought of the clean up can be a bit of a nightmare, especially when he's asking for the paints at 7:00am! But recently, the boys and I decided to throw caution to the wind and have the messiest of messy play days (I know. We're wild!)
 We started off quite safe, filling one of our plastic storage boxes up with ball pit balls, which Archie delighted in turning upside down and scattering across the floor!
Daddy also did some juggling, which Archie found very amusing!

Play fights were also on the agenda!

 We made up a batch of moon sand (which you can find out more about in my new toddler hacks video here.) Archie loved the texture of it and I have to admit we had quite a bit of fun making shapes  & sandcastles too. It was like having a mini beach in the kitchen! It was all fun and games until he decided to start sprinkling it all over the floor and stamping through it!
After that we cracked open the paints! He'd been screaming PAINT! at the top of his lungs for about half an hour, so you can imagine how excited he was when we finally filled the pots up with brightly coloured stuff. The house was in a bit of a state by the end of our messy afternoon to say the least, and of course it was left to me to clean it up whilst the boys went and enjoyed an ice lolly. (It's alright for some!)
 Plenty came in very handy indeed! It really is a lot stronger than your average, supermarket own kitchen roll. Great for mopping up spillages and wiping over floors. I just dampened it with water and my kitchen beach disappeared! I really enjoyed our afternoon together and afterwards we made a promise to do it more often. After all, a little bit of mess never hurt anyone! If you want to see more of what we got up to in video form & how we use Plenty, plus some rather clever (if I do say so myself) tips and hacks for toddlers, the video is below!

Kate x

Thank you to Plenty for working with me on this video
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