All posts by Gem Camille : BLACKBIRD

On Bali & travelling with a baby

I know there has been a bit of radio silence over here, mostly due to our gal Margot, but if I am honest I am far from inspired to post these days! But a quick trip to Bali, and a lot of people asking how we did it with a then four month old in tow and here we are.

Mid June we left the winter and flew to the perpetual summer of Indonesia, namely Bali. As you may see, we tend to migrate to the sun around this time of year, usually heading to somewhere in South East Asia, so this time we decided to head somewhere new, and I must say, we really fell in love with Bali!

We spent the first week up in beautiful Ubud, high in the jungle, with windy roads and draping trees, then moving our way down to Seminyak then Canggu ( pronounced Changgu ) – we loved Canggu! A semi-sleepy surf town full of the best places to eat and the perfect vibe. Staying in a small villa complex with five other villas, a pool and a cute golden retriever friend, it was a short walk to a few of our favourite spots. Each morning we’d wake up, feed Margot then wander down for a great coffee and some delicious food and then generally not do much but swim, read, eat and repeat all day. Perfection.

A quick note of our favs.

Eat | Crate, Betelnut ( the Baja burrito is amaaazing ) Quince ( coconut cumpets!! ), Milk and Madu, Watercress ( more Seminyak, but still super close ) Deus Ex Machina, drinks and Taco and Tattoo Tuesday for a free tattoo, get in quick as spots fill up fast! And of course roasted corn beachside.

Shop | Yoli & Otis is always worth a visit, beautiful clothes and the most lovely staff, Quince, incredible homewares, the best food and owners, the loads of craft stalls at Love Anchor.

Now, lets talk about travel with a babe, and a few tips.

PACK RIGHT FOR THE PLANE | On the flight we packed pretty light, but super prepared. We had a couple of changes of clothes for Margot, and a top for us both in case of spills or leakage, a whole bunch of nappies and wipes, as you never know where there may be delays, an easy toy – for us Sophie Le Giraffe of course! A change mat as the plane ones are not the cleanest, a merino swaddle for that long term air con and a cotton wrap for an extra. A wet-bag for any soiled clothing, a couple of pacifiers, plus two zip lock bags marked clean and dirty to keep track, and of course a pacifier clip. We also packed Calm-Med, a Naturopathic spray that aids in relaxing little ones, now, I don’t know what is more effective, the ingredients or the shock from the spray but it really works! And also Rescue Remedy Pastilles for us, because a calm parent makes for a calm babe.

HANDS FREE | The best items we took over were our Ergobaby carrier, and Chekoh ring sling. We decided against a push chair or a pram because we figured carrying would be easier, and it was. These were perfect for on the plane, going from gate to gate, walking around markets and in taxis too. The pavement isn’t the best, and generally you are trying to navigate around people, scooters and dogs, so a pram would’ve been a nightmare.

PACK LIGHT | Again with the packing, but seriously, it’s amazing how you think these little ones need so much when they can do pretty good without. I decided to pack basically a capsule wardrobe for Margot, a few onesies, a couple of rompers, togs, a light cardigan, a pair of tights, a sunhat and some wonder soap. We were away for nearly three weeks, so I just did a little hand washing in the basin every now and then, and everything dried super quick. The bulkiest item we bought was our own nappies and wipes, so we didn’t have to navigate finding them over there.

ALL IN ONE | The other major item we bought was our Phil & Teds Nest, super light, collapsible and with built in mosquito netting, the handiest bed and outdoor play place. Margot just fitted length wise, but it was fantastic, enabling us to zip up the netting and bring her out by the pool if she was napping, and she always had a familiar bed. That and white noise made for a pretty easy sleep transition between home and away. ( Side note : We also started by putting her in it for naps at home and eventually sleeping her in it full time for a week before leaving, to help transition her )

We were pretty lucky that Margot was still exclusively breastfeed, and not on the move, factors I think helped it be a relatively easy trip. Tuning into Margot and her needs, but also remembering that babies are super adaptable little beings and that you can make their routine ( if you have one ) anywhere. We kept the usual feed, play sleep routine that we do at home, the same bed time routine, and I think Margot felt comforted by that. Travelling with Margot was such a great experience, and we hope we can continue through the other phases of her life! So if you’re on the fence I say do it, And good luck!

Essentials for babe & mama

With the arrival of Margot, I have been getting asked to share what my essentials for both mama and baby are. What are my tried and true and must haves? So today I am sharing a few of my favourites for both, the things that make life a little easier or a little more luxurious for those 2am feeds.

FOR THE MAMA

Clockwise from left top.

MARYSE MINERAL DEW | THE best product in my make up kit. Not only is it nourishing for your skin, but it is the best pick me up for tired mamas. With it’s subtle and silky shimmer, it adds illumination to your skin. Available here

MAVIS & OSBORN HOUSE SHOES | When one is stuck at home for most of the day, it’s the small things that count. These house shoes make home life a little more pretty, and a little more cosy. Although I am thinking of upgrading to the cosy winter pair as well. Available here.

AMELIA BOLAND LEATHER TOTE | My whole ethos around babies and buying is buy quality, and buy multi-purpose. This guy is exactly that. Simple, well made ( by Wellingtonian Amelia ), and something I will use in the years to come, baby contents or not. Available here.

HOT MILK NURSING BRAS | I don’t know many woman who loving their nursing bras, because the reality is that most are dowdy and leave you feeling a little less desirable than you’d like. So thank goodness for Hot Milk! Beautiful bras that are comfortable, nursing friendly and have a decent size range! Available here.

LAING SLEEPWEAR | I learnt early on that investing in great “loungewear” or the likes is a must for a new mama. Because while somedays you can get up and actually get dressed, there are days when you don’t until at least 2pm. I have the Frances set and it is a dream, most of the time I wear just the top to bed, amazing for middle of the night feeds with the button down, and then pop the pants on first thing and voila! At home chic.  I am also eyeing up that cashmere, because, cashmere. Available here.

FOR THE BABE

Clockwise from left top.

CHEKOH RING SLING | I personally love the ring sling, easy to pop on and pop the babe into when you are on the go. I literally use it every day. Whether it’s popping into a shop, out for a walk or just around home, it’s the best way to carry the babe hands free. Margot loves it!  Chekoh fabric is hand dyed with eco-friendly dyes, and they’re on sale right now!  All the wins! Available here.

BABY HAIR BRUSH | Margot was born with a little hair on her head, and ended up with a bit of cradle cap also, this brush, coconut oil and breastmilk ( yes, breastmilk ) was the best for helping it keep at bay. Available here.

HAAKA BREAST PUMP | I wasn’t really sure about needing or wanting a breast pump before having Margot, but with the idea of being able to pop out for a few hours,  or have Nathan feed her if we are on a job in the future, I thought a pump would be handy. I did a little research and stumbled across Haaka, and boy am I glad I did! Super easy to use, easy to clean and sooo affordable! It uses suction and you can pump one side to catch the let down as you nurse on the other. Pretty great! Available here.

MILLSTREAM GARDENS BABY BOTTOM CREAM | THE best baby bottom cream. You may say I am biased, as this is Nathan’s Aunty and Uncle, but seriously, incredible stuff. If Margot flares up with a rash, I wipe some on, and it’s soothed and gone by next change. All natural and made here in Hawkes Bay. They also do a myriad of great natural skin products and treatment balms.  Available here.

KIMONO BY NATURE BABY | We love Nature Baby around here, and these kimonos were a life saver. Not only were they perfect for Margot’s rough start and needing oxygen 24/7 ( aka nothing could go over her head ) but also just with newborn life. Babies necks aren’t strong enough, and getting clothes on the can be awkward, and a bit of a struggle. These lie completely flat and you dome around them, rather than pulling over. A far more gentle way to dress such a fresh human! Plus they’re all made from organic cotton. Available here.

So there is a tiny summary of the things I have found helpful in the last few months, aside from that – the Dunstan Baby Lanuage was an absolute lifesaver in the beginning. And now, The Wonder Weeks app and book are  invaluable, and I am currently reading ( and loving ) The Danish Way of Parenting.

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This blog post is not sponsored, these are items I truly love and value.

 

Introducing Margot, and her birth story.

I know it’s a little late in the piece, but I thought I would officially introduce Margot via the blog! I took a few snaps to use for our Thank-you cards, and I just had to share a few ( yes, I am officially that mama, obsessed with my kid )

Margot’s full name is pretty darn long, and here is a little explanation of the names.

Margot Rae Pipiwharauroa Speeden-Adams

Margot, meaning pearl, something  beautiful made from hard times.

Rae, meaning wise protection, for her safe arrival into the outside world, and for all the strong women that prayed for her at the time.

Pipiwharauroa, is the name of her great great great great grandmother, it means shining cuckoo, who heralds in the spring after winter, the sign of new life.

Our little bird, our second born who has been long awaited.

Her Birth Story

Margot was very overdue, in fact, the night I went into labour was the eve of her induction. I was so happy to go into labour naturally as we had planned a comfy home birth. I started feeling contractions around 1am, and knowing it could be a while tried to get some sleep, breathing through the contractions and feeling nervous and excited all at once. I really didn’t get much sleep, and things started to pick up around 5am, so we called our midwife, she came over and checked how things were going. I was only a few centimetres dilated, so she and the second midwife took off for a coffee and we tried to get some more rest. I slept for a bit, then woke up to go to the bathroom and my waters broke,  calling the midwives they headed back.

It was such a beautiful morning, slightly overcast and cool, we popped the heat pump on, started filling the pool. I was pretty energised at this stage, enjoying the challenge of contractions, and was excited about meeting them head on as they got more intense. After a hard and long labour with Coco, ending in an epidural, I was eager to have the birth I had been envisioning. I moved about the house, chatting to the midwives, doing the dishes, drinking cups of tea and we all mentioned how lovely and comfortable it felt. My midwife checked Margots heart rate through a contraction, and it seemed to dip a little, she told me to move into a different position and listen again, it dropped again. At this point I remember looking at her, and her at me, knowing that I had heard it too, I immediately knew something was up. It all happened so fast then, she made the call ( side note, being the same midwife I had for Coco, she knew our history, and knew that any sign of danger we were off to hospital )So off we went. Luckily we live a couple of blocks from the hospital and were there in no time.

I was set up in a room and popped on a monitor. Then, placing oxygen on me they listened through a few more contractions. Each time her heart rate would dip, but then come back up again straight away, now I can’t remember exactly how many of these we listened to, but one contraction dipped, and didn’t come back up again. To be honest, I forgot a lot of this, I was still breathing through some pretty big contractions and trying to stay centred and calm. The next part is such a blur, but in a matter of minutes there was an influx of people in the room, putting in IV’s, prepping me for surgery and I was being rushed through the corridors on a hospital bed to the operating room for an emergency caesarean. Margot had what they call a prolapsed umbilical cord, the cord was over her head, so with every contraction, her cord was being clamped, and with it her supply of oxygen.

Margot was pulled out of me at 11.23am, a healthy 8 pounds 9 ounces, and taken straight away to the special care baby unit. Due to the cord being clamped she had been distressed in the womb, she had swallowed a lot of thick meconium, and it had coated her lungs. When she was born we didn’t hear her cry, we didn’t get to see her, we were in this great big white room while I was stitched up, all seven layers of me. It was three hours until we got to see Margot and two days until we got to her hold her. 10 days later we left the hospital with our daughter, still on oxygen and took her home. Navigating life attached to an oxygen tank wasn’t the easiest, but we were just happy to have her home. At 6 weeks Margot finally came off oxygen, and has been fantastic ever since, we truly feel incredibly lucky to have her, that she made it, and that she is now a healthy, happy, 10 week old!

We would like to thank everyone for their kind words, thoughts, prayers, gifts and good vibes, for those who have followed the journey that has lead us to here and supported us from near and far. We are grateful for you!

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Simple Changing Table

Floor in Resene Rascal, walls in Resene Black White, and change table in Resene Clay Creek | Linen drapes from Ezibuy, Monochromatic prints made by me, Sheepskin, basket on floor and change pad cover from Blackbird Goods, Change basket from Citta, Drawers from Trade Me.

Okay, so I know the previous post I said I was taking a break, buuuuuut here I am. Although I have been on maternity leave since Christmas, It has only really been in the last week I have had the chance to potter and enjoy the last days before babe, yes single digits now, well, until the due date anyway, so really, who knows! We have been getting the babes room ready, and feel grateful to have the time and space to actually get it done, amongst the more pressing renovations, ! And while I wont be sharing the whole space just yet, I wanted to share my latest project, mostly because of the response I got when I posted about it on my Instagram story.

So, change tables, I debated for a while of even having one, but realised I would at least need somewhere to store little clothes etc. So started my search for a versatile, non baby looking change table, that would grow and change with the babe and her needs. And with no luck, I decided it was time to do a little DIY. I scoured Trade Me, and found that blue and lime green ( sheesh ) little number locally. It was the perfect size, simple style, and of course the right price, coming in at a grand total of $80.00. I then went about choosing my paint colour and landed on Resene Clay Creek, a muted and muddied green which I paired with my Resene Rascal floors ( *Quick Tip, when painting floors use Resene Sureseal as a pre paint sealer, stops wood stains and pigments coming through – although get someone else to apply it if you are pregnant, as that stuff is oil based and potent!)

Next up I had to work out how I wanted to use it as a change table. Seeing as I wanted it to change with our soon to arrive child, I wanted something that was easily adaptable and not just have a single use. I decided on a low basket from Citta, my thoughts being this will make a great little toy or blanket storage in the future, then used a natural latex pillow with a pillow protector and Dehei jersey cotton pillow case that I nabbed from our shop. Last but not least I popped an IKEA organiser in, for those bits and pieces.

And done! A movable changing basket and adaptable piece of furniture, tick, tick tick. Now we just need the babe!

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