Sex Talk – So, you’re not having it like you used to?

Hide your screen from your mama, this one is about sex. REAL talk.

I know when you’re a teen sex is this exciting, experimental part of your life. And this is probably true lifelong if you want it to be. But for many of us in long term relationships, or with kids, or even just full time work, sex can sometimes fall in line with the “task” category. You know, along with writing the grocery list and hanging out the washing… And recently I’ve had an open discussion with my instagram community about WHY that is.

Most of us lead quite busy lives. Yes, even us stay at home mums. And SO many of my followers agreed that to them, finding the time and energy for physical intimacy is a task. Why? Because we are spending so much energy elsewhere, on our kids, our job, the housework. And the problem is, that is energy we have to spend. We can’t just suddenly not rock up to our job, or decide to stop feeding/bathings/soothing/nurturing our children. It’s just the busyness that is life. And it can be totally exhausting.

In one of the polls I created over 80% of people stated that they aren’t enjoying sex as often as they’d like to. The key words in the question; They’d LIKE to. See, none of us are out here not wanting to. It’s just when push comes to shove, we’re too tired or too touched out. But what if we changed the way we looked at it? After all, sex isn’t a task, it’s a feeling. A place you can share with your partner to get away from the daily tasks and busyness that is life. And I KNOW that changing your mindset on the matter can be difficult, but if you don’t you risk being stuck in the struggle of balancing intimacy and real life, which can have a profound impact on your relationship.

Remember the first time you kissed your partner? Or the way you felt when you got a text from them in those first few weeks before you “made it official”? None of those feelings were forced, they were totally non-intentional, blissfully consuming feelings. Undoubtably you felt them for a reason. The physical chemistry between you and your partner exists, otherwise you would never have come together. There is no denying that a relationship will never feel as electric as it does in the beginning, however making the effort is something you are capable of taking control of.

I know a lot of advice I hear is “alone time”, like organising dates or weekends away. Which I will admit, are definitely important. Though I truly feel that working on the daily things can have a far greater impact. In my poll I asked about all forms of physical intimacy (like holding hands, hugging, kissing etc) NOT including sex, and how often people engaged in it and whether they thought that it was often enough. A large majority said “not enough” or “not as much as we used to”. And while work and general life can get in the way of things, this daily intimacy stuff that isn’t sex is almost more important than the sex itself! If you find it difficult, set yourself a small daily goal, even if it’s just five minutes of undistracted conversation about your day. Make the effort to give your partner that undivided attention, you’ll be surprised where that can lead. I HAVE to stress that your phone will be the biggest culprit in taking away from this on a day to day basis, so make sure you put it down to dedicate that time to yourself and your partner.

Let go. I know for me, as a mum, I find it SO hard to relax. I flinch away from intimacy a lot because I feel stressed out and high stung. I always find that taking a breath and taking in the moment for what it is helps. Forget about the washing or the dirty kitchen for a bit and take the moment for what it is, time with your partner. And remember you deserve to have those moments together, the washing and the dishes will be there later.

I think sharing the fact that we’re all in our own ways facing this struggle with intimacy is important to note. No one has a perfect relationship, and the people with great relationships have them as a result of momentous effort. Comparison, however, is the thief of joy. There is not a single relationship that exists that is the same as the next, so I think perhaps the best advice I can give is, don’t compare, look for the individual good in what you already have, and build up from there. Is it the way he can make you laugh? Or maybe the way she comforts you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. There IS something special about choosing to share your life with someone, its sharing the load of the mundane and still having someone to flop onto the couch with at the end of it all.

It is so easy to neglect our relationships. Especially when we are so wrapped up in our lives. We love because it feels right, not because it’s easy or effortless. I’m not saying you should jump into bed every spare chance you get, but I am saying, look into their eyes a little more, hold their hand when you get the chance, ask how they are and actually listen to their answer. You both deserve to feel some of that magic from the beginning of your relationship. The secret is in realising it hasn’t really gone anywhere, you just may have to dig a little deeper to reach it.

xx Emily @ LovingLittleOne.com

Beautiful Photo from our engagement shoot by Jocelyn at JC Photography Services

The Bittersweet thing about Babies

The Bittersweet thing about babies- They grow
For a brief moment today, I sat and thought about when my first child, Violet, was a new baby. Time almost stood still when she was born, and the weeks and months that followed felt blissfully long, no matter how tiring they were. I’d sit beside her while she lay asleep in her cot, captivated by the tiny, perfect little person we had managed to create, for hours on end. I’d prop her up in her chair next to me while I’d make her home cooked puree’s and spend hours walking around the shopping centre with her quietly sleeping in her pram.

The first year of her life was like a long, warm spring morning. The kind that you want to soak in through every single pore. Time, as a concept itself, slipped away as we were consumed by our beautiful, comfortable day-to-day. And it wasn’t until her first birthday that I realised how much she had grown and how much time had passed.

Two months after her first birthday we found out that I was pregnant with our second child. We were over the moon! Only, from then on out, time seemed to only travel more quickly. Before we knew it I was 20 weeks pregnant and half way to meeting our beautiful second daughter. Big things happened, we packed, we moved and then we moved again. And suddenly Matilda was in our arms, and my beautiful Violet was a big sister.

Life honestly has felt like a big blurry dream since. The kind of dream that jumps from one moment to the next without ever really elaborating on how you got there, you just… got there. It’s undoubtably just as beautiful as those long days with Violet, only now life seems to jolt forward at a pace I can’t help but notice. The mornings flitter past in the blink of an eye, even the early, early morning starts. And it feels as though with every blink our girls get taller, and brighter and more full of life.

It is so bittersweet, to love your life so much. It is the greatest blessing you could possibly imagine, but also to watch it move at light speed aches in a way. I seem to grasp at every tiny moment I can before they slip away.

Matilda is fast approaching one now, and I feel as though the first year of her life hit us at running pace and isn’t looking like slowing any time soon. It doesn’t feel like we’ve had the slow, warm, endless spring morning like it did when Violet was a baby. Less outings, less sleep watching and far, far less home made puree. But somehow, although things seem to move so incredibly quickly, I manage to find the soft and quiet moments with both of my girls. The moments that remind me how beautiful this season of our life is right now. And I’ll always vow to cease these moments as they come, to breathe them in. They may be fleeting, but they are so, SO incredibly beautiful.

xx Em

Creating a Theme: How I Edit My Instagram Photos

I get so many questions about how I edit my photos and keep a “theme” to my Instagram, here’s a quick guide on how!

It’s come to my attention that a lot of people are interested in how I edit my photos for Instagram! Which is flattering of course. But I thought it would be easiest to compile everything I’ve learnt along the way, into one blog post. That way when I am asked, I can point you in the direction of this post instead!

A lot of the questions I’m asked are often the same, and they run along the lines of;

  • Which editing apps do you use?
  • Do you use filters?
  • What kind of camera do you use?
  • How do you get your photos to all look the same?

And the answer isn’t usually a straight one. In fact, it’s a lot of factors pulled together. I’m by no means a photographer, so my knowledge on photography isn’t as broad as some, but there are a few simple things that I do to keep a consistent look on my Instagram page. I’ll try to keep this as straightforward as possible.

1. My Camera

I use the Canon G7X Mark II. It’s an awesome little camera with a 24-1000mm lens capability. What I love most about it though is how compact it is, I don’t have to lug around lenses and it’s super easy to take on little outings.

Now, you can just use your phone camera. But the reason I prefer my canon is because the photos are so much more true to colour, which makes them a lot easier to edit.

I do, from time to time, use my iPhone X camera, in moments I might not have my camera near, however almost always, the photos look Grainy and more orange? For some mysterious reason. Again, if I was a photographer, I could probably tell you why. But for the most part, I really do find the iPhone X camera a bit of a let down considering it’s hype when it was released.

Here’s a comparison of a photo taken with my iPhone X vs my Canon G7x Mark II with no filter applied;

2. Consistent Lighting

I almost never post photos I take after dark. And no, not because they’re racy (shhhh). Mostly because the lighting after dark is often hard to edit, it’ll also effect the way my theme looks in grid format.

That’s not to say you can’t do it, I just personally don’t. And that contributes to my overall theme on Instagram.

3. Apps

I only use a handful of apps, the main one being “Lightroom CC”. However “Facetune” “Quickshot” and “Polarr” also have cool features.

Lightroom is definitely the one I use most though, on every single photo I take. Mainly because of it’s preset feature

4. Filters/Presets

This is a huge contributor to the overall consistent theme of my photos. Believe it or not, every single photo I upload has the same filter applied, it’s called a Lightroom preset.

Now, you can use any filter you like, from any app you like, whatever resonates with you and you think goes well with your photos will work. However, in particular I use Lightroom presets. Lightroom is a free editing app, and the “presets” are a seperate feature you can buy, upload into the app, and then use as you please. They are similar to filters however you get more control over them as you are able to change aspects of them as you need to such as exposure and colour (something you can’t do with traditional filters)

This in particular is what gives my photos the “peachy” that look a lot of my followers ask me about! I simply adjust the SAME preset according to the photo I am editing.

Here’s an example of the difference a filter or preset makes to a raw image!

Presets are ALL over Instagram. And google in fact! So have a hunt around and find one that resonates with you!

I was gifted mine, from a great friend Robyn, who runs a travel page on Instagram @twoworldwanders ! But there are similar ones all over the internet.

5. Colour

Another aspect that contributes to the way my grid looks, is the colour variation of my posts. I try to stick with 2-5 colours that are hidden SOMEWHERE in every photo I take. And I’ll always try not to post that same colour variation in a row, but rather scattered. For example I’ll never post a picture with a plain white background twice in a row.

“Plann” is a great app to play with in this regard, it helps you move the images around as if they were already in a grid format. So you can see how they would look if you posted them in that order.

Consistency is Key!

The secret is consistency! Using the same camera or iPhone, in similar lighting with the SAME filter every time, is what gives your page a “theme”.

But really, there are no rules! You don’t even have to have a theme if you don’t want to! I love the peachy hue of my theme, but you might light darker tones, or more monotoned looks! Have a play, see what works well with the kinds of images you take, and go from there. Get creative, and as long as you’re enjoying it, who cares?!

Xx Emily @ lovinglittleone

My Postpartum Reality: Baby #2

This is my postpartum reality. 6am. After a night of tossing and turning while my babies slept. Up several times through the night, once even to find that I’ve wet myself. Yep 21, and I’ve wet myself. So 6am, I’m in a bath of Epsom salt with my 2 year old.

Recurring bouts of vaginal thrush has my head in a mess. A constant burn. A constant itch. I say vaginal because nipple thrush can also be really common postpartum, though I don’t have that type. I can fix it for a day or so with creams and tablets only it comes right back again. I’ve had ten weeks with only the occasional day of relief. And a fantastic doctor truly searching for solutions.

I haven’t brought myself to write about this yet because it’s “taboo” and talking about my nether regions apparently makes people uncomfortable, but I’m a sharer. And I suppose if this kind of discussion makes you uncomfortable then you can always leave the page.

It’s a silent struggle. Because physically I look very well for someone who had a baby 10 weeks ago. But this is the reality of postpartum for a lot of mums, you might not see the change or the the pain they’re in. Yet, they persevere.

This is in no way a comparison, or to say I have it worse. Some women definitely have it worse, and I am so incredibly thankful to have had largely beautiful experiences birthing my children. Though that doesn’t change the fact that I find intimacy incredibly difficult now, and that my patience is almost constantly thin because of the burning feeling I’m dealing with in the background. At the moment, my life is different because of childbirth although it may not look it, and I’m still learning ways to manage these new challenges my body presents. I can’t even begin to imagine how much more difficult this journey is for women who didn’t get the birth they wanted, or the body they anticipated to have afterward.

So please remember be patient and to be understanding. Not all battles are visible, especially on this postpartum road. We’re all walking our own lanes but to have one another to fall back on, even if it’s just to cry to, makes an incredible difference, no matter how we brought our babies into the world, or how we feel about our bodies afterward.

Physically, otherwise, I feel stronger. Stronger than I did 10 weeks ago, though still lacking the strength I once had to enjoy sport and exercise the way I used to, but I’ll get there.

I can’t help but think about the women who have longer harder journeys of recovery, and send them all the love I can muster. I see you, I get it, I know you’ll make it to the other side of this. Pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood, it’s hard. But you’re stronger than you realise and that little baby you have in your arms… YOU are what love is to them. You are all they know and they love you like nothing else in this entire world exists (because they don’t know that anything else exists haha) but still, it is a deep, gravity defying love all the same. You’ll make it through this

And if you ever need someone to talk to, my inbox will always be open.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

To the ones who stayed

Thank you.

Thank you for understanding all of the messages I forget to reply to and that I’ll probably never be the first to message you or call.

Thank you for understanding when I can’t make it to your party or bail on plans for the 40th time.

Thank you for understanding why my house isn’t always spotless when you visit or when I don’t check in for months at a time.

You see, I’ve been a little busy, a lot of the time. I have two little people who need me, but I need me too, in the tiny moments of freedom of mine.

I could make empty promises, to be more reachable and present. But the reality is, I can only take each moment as it comes and hope that you’ll always be as understanding as you are now, without resentment.

This journey that I’ve been on, becoming a parent, is something you’re yet to experience. And I know it must be hard to understand exactly how I’m feeling, but your understanding all the same is such a blessing.

You still check in when you can, and you know that a few months without conversation doesn’t mean anything other than we’ve both been busy. Most importantly you still see me for me, kids, messiness and all, and gift me with little reminders that you still love who I’ve turned out to be.

I started my journey a lot earlier than most, and I’ve lost some friends along the way. But the beautiful thing I’ve come to realise, is who is truly here to stay.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Balling on a Budget: Making Parenthood Work when you’re Strapped for Cash

It’s no secret, our first daughter, Violet, was unplanned. I was 18 and in the middle of an education degree and Dan was 20 and had just left his job as a landscaper. We lived with his mum, and had absolutely nothing in the way of savings.

There we were, jobless and broke, and we’d been told we were expecting a baby. I think the first word we both though of was “shit”. Despite what the world might have expected us to do in a situation where we had no income, we decided to continue with the pregnancy. We loved each other, and we had always wanted children together, and god, you know I would never forgive myself if we had decided to terminate and then had fertility issues down the track. All we’ve ever wanted was to be parents together.

Despite having next to nothing, what we did have was love and support from everyone around us, and to this day it continues. Becoming parents so young hasn’t been easy, and I’d hardly say we’re now suddenly “well off”, because we’re not. We’re still rocking this gig on a budget.

We have always managed to make things work, whether it be strategy or pure luck, I thought I would share how we’ve made it to where we are today with you.

Find a job and stick with it (even if it’s just for now). God, it sounds easy. But the reality was, for about 4 months of my pregnancy with Violet, Dan didn’t have an income, and I was part time at a burger restaurant. It wasn’t because he didn’t want a job. Big cities can be tough, and it’s certainly a case of take what you can get. Once he got it, he stuck to it, as painful as it was at times. It paid the bills, and as long as that happened we could focus on finding something better in the background. So take what you can get and remember there will always be time to work on the bigger picture once you’ve got an income.

Take all the help you can get. I get it, it’s a pride thing. But there are systems in place to help your financial situation, systems that EVERYONE here in Australia is entitled to, not just low income earners. Enquire about what you’re entitled to and don’t be ashamed to claim it. The systems are in place to help, not only your financial situation but your overall wellbeing. That also goes for accepting help from family and friends, they’re here to help and they certainly wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to help you.

Keep track of what you’re spending. Something we certainly haven’t always been good at. You don’t have to be as crazy as keeping every receipt, but taking note of your bank statements is a step in the right direction. You’d be surprised just how much a daily coffee on your way to work adds up.

Make it yourself. Food that is. I would say clothing but you know this girl has no idea how to sew (properly anyways). Honestly though, homemade things will always save you money. Especially snacks. Feeding a toddler can be pricey when you buy pre-packaged snacks. Try batches of pizza scrolls, muffins, sausage rolls. They can be frozen and reheated and end up cheaper because you’re making batches.

Take moments over “things”. Whilst kids are little, and even as they get older toys always seem to be present. But remember they’re often tossed aside when something new comes along. Opt for experiences over gifts, especially in a sense of saving money. Beach trips, park trips, even just going for a stroll adds a bit of joy and money doesn’t have to be spent doing any of those things. Heck, even get out the hose in your backyard. The simplest things can bring joy to kids, you’ve just got to be enthusiastic and they’ll follow suit.

Don’t be trapped by loans. It is SO tempting, I know. Credit cards, car loans, short term personal loans… such a great way to get what you want, but long term… it is so much more expensive. Consider budgeting for the things you want, save for them first and then splurge. It makes all the difference week to week when you don’t have the weight of loan repayments. Though I do understand this way of doing things isn’t for everyone. And by all means, go ahead if you know it will work with you and your budget. But personally from my perspective, it’s one less financial stress for our family.

Make the big hard decisions. Sometimes it means picking up and moving, sometimes it means giving up things that take up too much of your budget. Sometimes it certainly is a bit of a sacrifice. However I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t be having children if you’re not ready to make some sacrifices.

I’ll be honest, I could go on and on here about how to make it work with little money. But truth be told, you probably already knew a lot of these points. A lot of people will put off having children for the sake of finances, which of course is a personal decision. But in my opinion there really is no “right time” to have children. You could want to buy a house first, or a new car, go on that dream vacay, get the dream job… all valid reasons to put it off, but there will always be something else to do.

We get to do all of our big dreams with our girls by our side, and although we’ve made a few sacrifices, we make it work. And I’d much rather have a couple tiny hands to hold through the tough parts of life, than to be handling it solo.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

Needles: What to Expect of Vaccinations in Australia

Let’s talk about needles.

And no, I don’t mean the kind of talk that starts heated discussion. I’m not here to tell you what you can and can’t do with your children. I vaccinate mine, end of.

What I want to talk about is what to expect, at least from my experiences with the girls, when you go to get your baby vaccinated from a parents perspective. Because although it’s something that happens to almost every child, there are very few posts out there about what the process is like. Which means it can be a pretty daunting experience, especially for new parents.

Babies in Australia are most often (unless parents state otherwise) put on to a vaccination schedule from birth. The schedule is different for babies of Aboriginal/South Sea Islander decent, however for the rest it is generally the same. Because my girls are not of Aboriginal/South Sea Islander decent, I’ll be speaking of my experiences with their vaccinations, and this may differ to your own children if they are.

The schedule is exactly that- a schedule. Based on your babies age, it determines what vaccinations are given at certain times. Generally speaking over 4 years your child will receive about 13 needles, and at least two oral vaccinations. The first one is given just after birth, followed by two at six weeks, two at four months, two at six months, three at 12 months, two at 18 months and a final two at four years old.

Vaccinations are usually initially discussed with your midwife, from any time beyond 32 weeks. They’ll tell you about the vaccinations given at birth and ask you whether or not you’d like for your child to have them, and from there you sign a form declaring you’re aware of the vaccination and whether or not you’d like your child to receive it. From my experiences, midwives have never been pushy over this decision, I have always been told that it is my choice and that they would leave it up to me, which I frankly am quite grateful for. There would be nothing worse than feeling like you’re being forced into it.

After your baby arrives, unless other complications arise, they generally allow at least an hour of skin to skin and the first feed (if you choose to breastfeed) before taking your baby for measurements. It’s after the measurements where they will give the first vaccine, usually into their upper thigh. This vaccine is specifically for Hepatitis B. The reason this is administered at birth is because it protects your baby from Hep B if you happen to be a carrier. “The hepatitis b vaccine is not a live vaccine and provides protection without causing disease. It is produced in yeast cells and is free of animal or human blood products. There is no mercury in the vaccine. It does not interfere with breastfeeding.” – Source

Of my own observations, the first vaccine didn’t seem to bother either of the girls at all. They didn’t get any localised swelling, and neither of them cried for very long after the actual shot. I think newborns are just so fresh they hardly even realise what is going on, let alone are bothered by the temporary pain of a needle.

The six week needles Matilda actually received today. These ones are tough, well for me mentally I think they are. You’ve spent an entire six weeks comforting, feeding and loving on your little person, so naturally to watch them be jabbed with a needle is quite daunting. Six week needles are generally done through your GP, but I think you’re also able to book through your child health nurse as well. Usually you’ll be seen by your GP first, where they’ll give Bub a once over to make sure everything is in the right place physically and that their reactions are on par with that of a 6 week old. The Dr will then either give the vaccines himself/herself or you’ll be seen by a nurse who will administer them.

Both girls were quite sleepy afterward, of course they both cried initially, but calmed very quickly once they were latched onto the breast and stayed quite calm throughout the afternoon. I did notice their temperatures rose a little, but not nearly enough to be feverish. I gave them both a little bit of Panadol as the evening approached, just to help with any soreness they may be experiencing. Matilda has been quite unsettled, though I honestly don’t remember if Violet was. It’s normal and to be expected. If you can think of yourself for instance after you receive a vaccine you’re generally a little bit tired and sore afterward.

From six weeks onward, you can really expect the same experience at each of your babies vaccine appointments. The reactions of your child may vary, some babies can be very upset, others not so much, and the physical reactions like swelling, temperatures and such will also vary. Violet never had anything other than a slightly higher temperature once after hers. Though this is different for every baby.

If you’d like to know exactly what they receive at each vaccination throughout their schedule visit this website . You can guarantee there is a reason for each one. And if you’re worried at all about any of them I would recommend booking in with your GP to talk about it. They will be the most reliable source of information, and if they don’t have all the details they will be able to provide you with peer reviewed information to help you make an informed decision.

I think it’s worth noting that almost every parent gets quite nervous at the thought of vaccines and what they entail. You’re not silly for questioning them and wanting to know more. Do your research, but do make sure that the research you do is up to date and based on factual evidence.

Again, I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with their children. Though I do vaccinate, and I believe there is good reason to. Take this information as you will, and keep in mind that as of January 2019 the information in this article is up to date, however this may change.

This is a very touchy subject, so I’ll leave it at that. But I do hope that this provides some insight for parents to be about what to expect when you take your children to be vaccinated here in Australia.

Xo Emily @ Loving Little One

(Image not owned by me, found at this URL)