End of the line | Meet The Crockers

I can honestly say I don’t think the time has ever gone faster than it has this past two weeks. For those who don’t know I’m currently taking paternity leave from my job to spent time with my newborn daughter Amber May. My time off work is now coming to an end and I will, unfortunately, have to get back into a working routine. The two weeks that I have been able to take have been the most precious of my entire life. I have been able to bond with my child and get to know her. Seeing her little personality unfold bit by but each day has been truly wonderful to behold. This time has made me realise how little love I hold for the job I have to return to and makes me want to push harder and harder to create a better work and personal life for my family.

Work is not the only thing that is soon returning though. My fourth module of University is due to start at the beginning of October and I have thus far failed at any real preparation for it returning. I feel like this year the work is going to hit me hard. I hate to think of my daughter as a distraction (which she most certainly isn’t) but I think I’m going to struggle juggling work, parenthood and study whilst trying to keep my shit together all at the same time. Don’t get me wrong I’m going to work bloody hard. I love the subject I’m currently studying and I am hoping someday to make a professional career of it. But for I will find a way to make it work!

Also, you may have noticed that there has been a slight change in my online presence. I feel that now my daughter is here, Em and I are more like a little family and so my brand needed a fresh lick of paint. Meet The Crockers is now the name I am working under in terms of all my lifestyle/parenting content. So if any of you were wondering what had happened to that ginger bearded bloke on Instagram… here I am. This is me.

Thanks for reading and have a nice evening.

 

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Becoming a Father | The Bearded Dads survival Guide.

It’s been little over a week now since I last wrote anything on my blog. I wanted to spend every possible moment with my little family and take some time to reflect on the events that have recently changed my life.

I would be lying if I said that the last 7 days have been easy. In short, they haven’t. But that’s not to say that it hasn’t been the most amazing experience I have been through in my entire life. Life has totally changed for us both and it hasn’t been easy. With that said; I think that Emma and I have taken parenthood by the reigns and faced it head on as if life had always been this way. The hardest part for me is sleep. Getting enough sleep is really hard. Amber now dictates when we can sleep, and it usually means we have to have naps throughout the day so we don’t have a meltdown. My outlook on life has changed in such a short period of time, as have my priorities. Amber is now first and foremost in every aspect. We have to look after this little human because her life literally depends on it. I now want to spend some time and share our birth story with the world. I have had a few people ask me to share so I have decided now is the right time.

The Birth

Emma was booked in to be induced on Tuesday 21st August at Burnley Hospital Birth Suite; after 2 unsuccessful sweeps. We packed our bags early that morning and arrived at the hospital shortly before 07:00 for our appointment. The midwife we saw first inserted a pessary and we were told we just had to wait it out now. Emma was given a bed on the ante-natal ward whilst we waited for the pessary to start her labour. Unfortunately, it didn’t exactly work and we spent all that day and the following day waiting for something to happen. By the next morning, there was still no sign of Emma going into labour, had the hospital not been so busy it would be likely Amber would have been born that day. However, The birth Suite was very busy and had some complicated births that day so everything was a little behind schedule. We had to wait for a bed in the birth suite all that day and eventually got one at about 09:45 on the 22nd August. At that point we were already both pretty knackered; I had spent the previous night sleeping on the hospital floor and probably managed an hour at most.
We were taken to the birth suite and Emma had her waters broken by a doctor very shortly after. At first, labour came on slowly, contractions were faint and far apart. It took a while for labour to really kick in. It wasn’t until the midwife gave Emma a syntocinon drip to bring on labour faster. This method worked very well for us and Emma went into heavy labour shortly after the drip was administered.
Em was also experiencing severe back pains as the contractions came. The midwife gave her a form of pain relief that was injected into her arm. It did work and the pain did subside for a short period of time.
Emma felt that her body had started to naturally push at around 03:00 on the 23rd August and that is when the drip I mentioned above was administered.
At 05:00 Emma was examined by the doctor again and she confirmed that Emma was 10cm dilated and was ready to start pushing. I have to say seeing how well Emma managed through the pain and discomfort was very inspiring. There is no way on earth I could have endured what she had to that morning; regardless of how much pain she was in, she did not give up once. She battled through it.
Emma was pushing for hours and hours with still no sign of baby coming. It was very difficult for me to see her in pain but I knew that I had to stay strong for her. By 08:00 on the 23rd August we still had no baby and Emma was totally exhausted and in a great deal of pain. The midwife made the decision that Emma would have to be taken to theatre to deliver our baby. From a quick examination, the baby was not in a good position making it very difficult for her to be delivered.
I can’t remember exactly what time it was that Emma was taken to theatre; by that time I didn’t even know what day it was. Emma was given an epidural and Amber was born at 09:41 on Thursday 23rd August Weighing 7lbs 6oz. She was brought into the world via forceps. Emma was very reluctant to have an epidural before birth saying she definitely didn’t want one. But after pushing all night and being in severe pain she was very happy to be numbed and for it all to be over. I was lucky enough to be allowed to be with her in theatre and watched our daughter come into the world. It was a beautiful moment, one that I will remember for the rest of my life.


I would just like to note at how amazing all the NHS staff were with us. We have not had a bad experience in the whole 9 months Emma was pregnant. The doctors in theatre were amazing, ensuring me and Emma were both calm, they put Disney songs on at Emma’s request and kept her mind at ease. There is no way we will ever be able to pay them back for what they did for us that day. They were all truly amazing.
We are so blessed that Amber is a healthy little girl and was able to come home the following day (Friday 24th August).
We are now 7 days postpartum and both Emma and Amber are doing really well. She is slowly getting into a good routine and is feeding really well (breastfeeding).

Before I go I would like to point out that I have also changed my Instagram name to @meet_the_crockers, I have wanted to change it for a while now but wanted to wait until Amber was born. For now, my website is going to stay The Bearded Dads Survival Guide but may change at some point in the near future.

Thank you if you got this far!

*Guest Post* Emma’s Hospital Bag

 

As we have just over 2 weeks until our due date, I’ve been frantically trying to make sure everything is ready for Baby Girl’s Arrival. Mostly tidying and organising the nursery and packing my hospital bag. I’ve finally finished packing it, aside from one thing that’s being delivered tomorrow so I thought I’d share what’s in my hospital bag.

After many hours of deciding if I’ve got a big enough bag already or if I need to buy a new one, I’ve chosen a white bag that I bought a few years ago and usually use as a large carry on bag for holidays. Which, it turns out doesn’t quite fit everything in so I may need to re-arrange. I’ve also got 3 toiletries bags inside this bag from Primark, to fit bits and pieces in to make it more organised and hopefully easier to find.

So, inside the bags…

The Minnie Mouse bag contains the bigger toiletries:

  • Superdrug Vitamin E Gentle Micellar Solution which I use to cleanse and refresh my face.
  • Boots Strawberry Body Wash
  • Bio Oil and Palmers Cocoa Butter Tummy Butter which I#ve been using for my bump to keep the skin soft although they’ve not prevented stretch marks at all. My belly is like a road map!
  • Dove Invisible Care Roll on Deodorant
  • Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Face Cloth which I plan on using to cool myself down during labour (damp of course).
  • Pack of breast pads from Asda
  • Pack of Maternity Pads

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The polkadot bag:

  • NSPA Mama to Be Soothing Nipple Balm. I’m planning to breast feed so this will be essential.
  • The Original Champneys Health Spa Citrus Blush Body Lotion which I’ve been using on my hands as it smells incredible, the smell reminds me a lot of summer and sun cream.
  • Superdrug Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream and Moisture Boost Facial Serum. I absolutely swear by these products my skin has felt so soft since using them, and I used to have really dry skin. They’re also very very cheap and are usually also on offer! They make my face feel so refreshed and I think I’ll need that after giving birth!
  • Aveda Lavender Fleurs Oil (being delivered tomorrow). As we are using hypnobirthing part of our plan is to create a relaxing environment so the smell of lavender is supposed to help with that.
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The Beauty and the Beast bag:

  • Tangle Teaser and a range of hair bobbles and hair clips to manage my long hair during and after birth.
  • A small compact mirror
  • Loreal True Match Concealer in the shade Rose Ivory, just to pop round my eyes to hide the bags when my mother starts taking photos!
  • Nip and Fab Highlighter Pallet just for when we’re going home, I may not use this at all, but at least I’ll have it if I do want to look a little more alive.
  • Nip and Fab Mascara
  • A highlighter brush, bronzer brush, small beauty blender and eyebrow/ eyelash comb
  • Nivea Blueberry Blush Lip Balm, which smells beautiful and really moisturises my lips.

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The rest of the bag:

  • Going home outfit- Grey Very maternity leggings, pink H&M nursing vest top and a black hoody. I wanted an outfit that was comfortable but still cute.
  • 2 Nursing Bras from Very
  • Asda pack of 4 black high waisted big knickers
  • White fluffy slippers which were a gift at my baby shower
  • 3 silky button-up nighties, one in burgundy which is plus size and two maternity ones in pink an navy blue, all from Boohoo. I found it really hard to find really nice button-up nighties as they all looked so granny-fied but these are beautiful. I went for button-up ones so I can easily breastfeed.
  • Thin Grey summer dressing gown from M&S, it’s quite big fitting, but I prefer that to something better fitted, purely for comfort.
  • Owl wheat bag, which can be heated up if I’m cold or to put on my back to relieve some back pain.

 

Dan is in charge of keeping me comfortable, hydrated and fed so some of the things I need are in his bag:

  • Bluetooth speaker and a relaxing playlist, again part of the hypnobirthing.
  • Homemade sugar-free flapjacks. As I’ve got gestational diabetes, I need to prevent my blood sugar going too high as this can affect baby’s blood sugar levels. So using oats (barely any sugar), MyProtein sugar-free maple syrup, Canderel sweetener and 90% cocoa dark chocolate (7g of sugar per 100g) I’ve made flapjacks! They’re not the most amazing tasting but they’re pretty good.
  • Lucozade zero sugar
  • Large bottle of water
  • Salt & Vinegar Snack a Jacks

 

And that’s pretty much it! Seems like a lot of stuff when it’s all written down and I’m sure there are things we won’t even need or use, but I’d rather be prepared and have too much!

Thanks for reading and let me know what you’ve packed in your hospital bags and what and anything you think I’ve missed.

 

 

The Hospital bag| The Bearded Dad’s Survival Guide.

It’s getting very close to the point where soon I will be able to join the ranks of proud dads that fill my Instagram feed daily. It seems strange that for the past several months I have been at a loose end with content as there has been really very little for me to do in terms of ‘being a dad’. In the coming weeks, my life is going to change forever and I’m really excited to become a dad for the first time and join a great community of fathers; rather than being stood on the sideline and spectating.

With our daughters birth potentially being sooner than we all thought I wanted to write an article documenting everything, we have bought and prepared to go into our hospital bags. Emma is much more organised than me, having her bag already packed and ready to go, whereas my stuff is scattered all over the house. I really need to get my sh*t together!

So, whats in our hospital bags? 

  • 30 nappies (Yes 30! its best to be prepared, babies sh*t a lot, so I’ve heard) We have mixed brands of nappies, some are Pampers and some are supermarket brands. We have no idea which is the best so we have bought a variety.
  • Cotton wool balls.
  • 3 Muslin squares in grey and white (They won’t stay white for long).
  • 5 bodysuits plus 1 personalised body suit which we got from notonthehighstreet.com which is the first outfit she will wear.
  • A variety of different wipes; water wipes and baby wipes etc.
  • 2 hats and matching mittens plus 2 pairs of socks.
  • The coming home dress is a Winnie the Pooh dress from Asda and a knitted white cardigan.
  • SMA pro first infant milk ready to use bottles just in case we have problems with breastfeeding. Hopefully, we won’t need this but its always best to be prepared for any situation!
  • Johnson’s baby oil
  • White knitted shawl knitted by her great grandma.

hosp bag

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That’s one bag packed and ready to go! Now, its a pretty different story for the bag I need to pack. Although I have pretty much everything I’m going to need to take with me to the hospital, it’s scattered randomly all over the house. So instead of telling whats in my hospital bag, I’ll tell you what will be in my hospital bag.

Daddy’s bag.

  • Food; plenty of snacks to last as who knows how long we are going to be in hospital and vending machines are expensive
  • Spare change of clothes.
  • Toothbrush and other toiletries. (nobody likes bad breath.
  • Hypnobirthing notes and our wishes and preferences for birth written down.
  • A book, though my mind may be unable to concentrate on reading.
  • Phone, charger and Bluetooth speaker to keep family up to date on what is happening and also for the use of Spotify. (The use of the speaker will be revealed further down)
  • Plenty of change for the car park.
  • Not going into the bag exactly but packing the car seat into the car ready and also cleaning my car of all the empty Mcdonalds packagings! (they’re everywhere!)
  • My book of dad jokes and my dad T-shirts.

For those who don’t know, we have decided to try hypnobirthing so that Emma can have as natural and pain-free birth as possible. We bought an online course provided by the positive birth company and have been working through the content over the past several months. The good thing about hypnobirthing is that it gives the father and active role in the birth of your baby rather than them being stood on the sideline feeling about as much use as the plastic lids they give you on a Mcflurry. The course teaches the father ways to help comfort and support mum throughout the birth.  Some of my jobs in the birth room will be:

  • Keeping Emma calm with techniques such as light touch massage and the traffic light system.
  • Hitting her with some of my best dad jokes to keep the atmosphere happy and positive.
  • Ensuring that all medical staff and midwives know our requests and being there to speak up for Emma when she may be unable to.
  • Being in charge of the music that we want to play during the birth, hence the Bluetooth speaker. I have made a playlist on Spotify that is a mix of relaxing songs and melodies. If you are interested in said playlist please let me know!

I’m pretty sure that I have covered everything I wanted to talk about above. All I can say now is please continue to watch this space as hopefully soon there will be a big announcement coming. If you want to follow Emma’s Instagram you can do so here @emmwar02

If there’s anything you think I have missed out from either of the bags then please let me know!

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Nursery sneak peak | The Bearded Dad’s Survival guide

Yesterday marked the end of my university year meaning that now I have the whole summer to do what I like! I am really excited to be able to spend more time writing content for my blog along with working on all my outstanding projects! I have had a great year this year at Uni; studying a module that I have a keen interest in! This year for me in terms of writing has probably been my most successful one yet. Not only do I now consider myself to be a ‘writer’, I also feel that my skills in the craft have improved considerably.

Anyway, let’s talk no more of that. The reason for today’s blog is to give my readers a sneak peek at how our daughter’s nursery is coming along!
Last week was a busy one for us as I spent all week-along with the help of family- moving house. It is the third time that Emma and I have moved since knowing each other and I would like to think that I am now pretty good at moving home.
We are currently in a position now where we are close to being completely sorted. There are still piles of boxing scattered around- which I intend to go through this weekend- but the majority of our stuff is now unpacked and in place.
On Monday we have a delivery of the cot and also the changer and drawers. They have since been built and are now both ready for use! We also now have the Moses basket which was a gift from Emma’s grandma.20180601_142438.jpg The cot as you can see pictured below was pretty easy to assemble and can be adjusted so that the mattress sits lower as the baby gets bigger. It also has plenty of space underneath to store items such as spare nappies and wipes. The mattress we bought is made by SilentNight, and I have to say it’s pretty damn comfortable. We went with this cot as it will last baby until she is four years old, as the sides can eventually be removed and serve as a toddler bed.

The Moses basket is also fully assembled with the little canopy above. When baby eventually arrives she will sleep in the Moses basket in our bedroom for around the first six months before she sleeps in her cot. It looks really cosy in there doesn’t it? It also rocks gently to help baby to sleep on restless nights

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The drawers were also pretty easy to assemble and match the cot. We have already started putting supplies of nappies and wipes in the drawers ready for use as seen below.

 

 

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We have also bought and stocked her new wardrobe with all her new clothes. I say ‘we’ but it has been Emma that has done all the organising! Including her reading corner and all her cuddly toys. Photos of which can be found below!

The nursery is nowhere near finished yet, but as you can see we are making steady progress as we approach 28 weeks.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to join me on Instagram @beardydadsurvival. where you can show me your nursery progress and give us more ideas on things we can add!20180601_142627.jpg

17 weeks, 23 to go!

We have had a great week this past week. I have gotten absolutely zero uni work done and I have done very little planning for content on my blog. However, we have finally been relieved of my mother in law (Emma’s mum) who has been living with us, along with her dog for the past 8 months or so.

I picked up Emma from the airport on Saturday morning after a traumatic experience in Philadelphia where she missed her connecting flight back to Manchester and was stranded there for an extra night. At least she is now home safe and she has a story to tell the family! She also brought me back a giant pack of Red Vines which I have been using as straws to drink my beer.

This weekend we have enjoyed our first weekend in our house alone for a long time. We both agreed that it feels as though we have just moved to our own place now that we are alone. We had an entertaining night last night playing Wizard Chess and binging away on Netflix.

Tonight I’m on my own with the dog so it gives me chance to get some work done on my novel which has sort of hit a rock. I have made good progress on it since I started it in October last year and I really hope that I am able to share it with you in the near future. I also plan to finish my current read which is ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine’ by Gail Honeyman. If you haven’t read it then you definitely should. It was a little slow starting but it is a very touching story. One that I would never have even considered had it not been for a friends recommendation.

That wraps it up for this week, thank you for being here!

DC

 

It’s a Girl! + Weekend update.

I am very happy to announce to you all today that my fiancee and I are expecting a baby girl. We booked in to have a private scan on Thursday and we both went in full of excitement in anticipation of finding out the sex of our bundle of joy. The scan was a really amazing experience as we got to see some close 4D images of baby and also hear her heartbeat. We now have a whole collection of great clear photos of the baby, some of which I have posted throughout

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16 Week gender scan

We also purchased babies first teddy bear which has a recording of babies heartbeat inside. Squeezing the teddys chest will play the heartbeat. Since then we have gone a bit mad with buying her clothes since we know the gender!

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Heartbeat teddy

 

 

 

Fridays saw us driving down the Hemel-Hempstead and checking into our hotel for the weekend. Our only plans for the weekend were to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour. So Friday and Saturday were pretty open for us in terms of finding something to do. On Friday after we had checked in we had a drive into Watford and found an InTu shopping centre and spent most of the afternoon there before retiring pretty early to bed. On Saturday we took the 30-minute drive up to Milton-Keynes as it has always been a city I wanted to check out. We managed to find another InTU shopping centre and also a place that had a cinema and bowling complex. We ended up spending a fortune on food and drink and also bought stuff from the Disney store for the little one.

Sunday was filled with everything Harry Potter. We spent a good three hours at the

20180317_145319.jpg Studio and managed to see everything that it had to offer. For anyone who hasn’t been its a chance for fans to get close up with the sets and props that were used to create the Harry Potter film Series. We managed to walk through all the sets which included The Forbidden Forest, Hagrid’s Hut, Dumbledores Office, Privet Drive, The Gryffindor Common room and plenty more. We saw creatures such as Aragog the spider and Buckbeak the Hippogriff.

 

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Hogwarts

We spent about three hours walking around the sets and making the most of our time there. We came home with a Gryffindor baby grow a wizard chess set and some other bits including chocolate frogs. If you haven’t been and you are a fan of Potter then I would highly recommend the visit. It really was a magical day!

 

 

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I know today’s post has seemed a little rushed but I really wanted to get something posted and I have had very little time to plan anything other the weekend. There are plans in the work to collaborate with another blogger that I have recently connected with and I am very excited about that! now though I shall leave you with some of my favourite shots from Hogwarts!
Enjoy.

DC

 

I’m in a new Dad state of mind.

Tomorrow marks 16 of the 40 weeks that lead to parenthood. It has so far gone so fast I am struggling to keep up and savour the moments. It won’t be long until we become a little family.

On Thursday we are going to the hospital for a 4D scan of the baby so we will have lots of new photos to share with family and friends. We are also having the gender scan but we won’t find out the sex until May as Emma is adamant that we have to have a baby shower and a gender reveal. Personally, I am far too impatient and would rather just know now.

We are going on a mini break over the weekend. We haven’t been on holiday for some years now so when we can get away even for a weekend we make the most of it. We have tickets for the Harry Potter Museum so we are going to have a drive down and have a 3-night stay. Hopefully, there will be plenty of other things in the area we can check out too!

I was going to write a mothers day post yesterday but since we didn’t really get up to much other than walking the dogs with our friends so I didn’t see the point! I hope all you mums had a lovely day. I did buy Emma a few new mummy bits and got her a card from the bump but other than that it wasn’t a very notable day.

Read a few good goods recently. I just finished Pet Semetary. It was pretty disturbing but a really good read if you like a bit of classic horror. Also watched the film last night just for a comparison to the book. I’ve just picked up a book titled 29 seconds by T.M. Logan. So far I am hooked on it. I would recommend it if you like thriller books.

That’s all for this blog I haven’t managed to gather much content to write about on this blog this week but I will definitely be posting about the scan on Thursday so if you’re interested in that please check back later in the week. If you’re not then why not check out my other blog where I post about work and life and books and all that kind of stuff.

As always thanks for reading.

DC.

In the beginning

Hi Bump, or as mummy likes to call you: Pumpkin. By now you are starting to develop into the person you will eventually become. You have grown arms and legs and have little-wiggling fingers and toes. You are starting to wriggle around inside mummy’s tummy, although she cant feel you just yet.

As I write this you are currently 14 weeks and 5 days cooked. It is a snowy 4th of March and we have just endured a terrible bout of heavy snow that has had mummy housebound for the past 3 days.

Last week we went to the hospital and mummy had a scan which showed you growing in her tummy. We now have our very first photo of you to cherish until we get to meet you in person. We are all very excited to meet you and shower you with love.

I still have a lot to learn about being a Daddy but by the time you arrive, I will be much more prepared. Most of the learning will be on the job, though I do hope to read several books before you arrive on how to look after you and keep you safe. There are many things that I am terrible at. Such as predicting movie plots and trying to find my way home from anywhere. But if there’s one thing I can’t fail at, it’s being a Dad.

In the following months to your birth, mummy and I will be preparing for your arrival. Making sure that we have everything we need. We have lots of family and friends who are helping us along the way with the things we need to buy you. Your great-grandma has been knitting little outfits for you for years now and soon they will be put to use.

That is all for now, I hope to write to you with another update soon.

Love, Dad x