Monday, October 26, 2009

Hallowe'en Celebrations


This post is joining in the fun at Violet Posy's Hallowe'en Party!






Pumpkin cake (adapted from a recipe in Asda's magazine a few years ago.)

10 oz plain flour
3 tablespoons wheat bran (if desired)
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4oz butter
70z soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
300g pumpkin puree (to make, see below)
7oz mixed dried fruit (we used a mix of chopped apricots, cranberries, raisins and candied peel.
3oz chopped walnuts
one large carrot, grated
2oz pumpkin seeds

for the icing;
(quantities vary)
icing sugar
juice of half an orange
2 tablespoons butter
grated zest of one orange

to make the pumpkin puree;
300g is approximately half a medium-sized carving pumpkin that you can get in tescos
If using the pumpkin for carving too, scoop out the seeds and pulp, then be prepared to spend a good while scraping out the good flesh with a spoon, until there is only about 1/2 a centimeter left to the outside skin. Use about 3/4 of this (you can weigh to check later) and boil until soft. Drain, cool and blend.
If not using the pumpkin to carve, cut in half, reserve one half for another dish (or use all to make puree and freeze half to make more pumpkin cake when it is out of season.) cut the half into wedges (8ths) and roast in a hot oven for around 20mins. They should look like the ones in the picture.Cool, and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Peel off the skin and boil the chopped flesh for 5mins. Drain, cool and blend.



To use the rest of your pumpkin, check out these pumpkin recipes: Slugs on the Refrigerator & Being a Mummy

for the cake;

oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 & grease two baking tins.

get somebody small to help beat the butter & sugar together, then beat in the eggs one at a time. (pick out the shards of shell because you needed "help" to break the eggs.)

sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and bran together (don't worry that it was more like two tablespoons of cinnamon when toddler got hold of it, I'm sure it will taste fine), and fold into the mixture gradually. Or all at once if you're 22 months old.

add the fruit, seeds, nuts (and eat a few and spill most of them on the worktop and some on the floor for good measure) carrot and puree.

pour into the tins & bake for 40 mins.

href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_E40iszB4jCc/SuURJNnkZdI/AAAAAAAAAaY/Pi36tu6qL78/s1600-h/pumpkin3.JPG">

For the icing;

sift the icing sugar, then add half the grated rind & the juice, & the butter & beat.

use to sandwich the halves together with the mixture, then decorate the top with the rest, and the rind, or some walnuts or pumpkin seeds.

As you can see from the pictures, I had some batter left over & made a few cupcakes too. These work well as cupcakes, as you can decorate each one differently.

And here is Boy's hallowe'en costume! I customized a stripy, nautical style top, and made a simple belt for round a pair of cut off jeans, and made a bandanna! I procured the fabric from Natalie at Sophie 4 Sophie, isn't it fab??

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Kids Rooms website Review


Life time pink garden bed href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_E40iszB4jCc/SuGp2iu37aI/AAAAAAAAAZY/mo8jWYiwxXk/s1600-h/tree+house+bed">
Tree house bed

Verada Playroom furniture

Rainbow PR has asked me to take a look at www.kidsrooms.co.uk in order to introduce it to my readers.
At first glance, it seemed just another expensive children's furniture company from which I'd love to buy but is just way out of my budget. So I clicked the link to the discounted products, something I often do on these types of sites, expecting to find a few crappy lamp shades etc, but there were loads of much more affordable items! This warmed me to them instantly, and I continued to browse :-)

The furniture on offer isn't only pretty unique, but is marketed upon its durability and lasting qualities, which as mummy to a "spirited" Boy, would definitely be something I'd look for. Above, I've put on a few pictures of younger boy & girl's bedroom, aren't they gorgeous?? I'd never seen anything like that tree house bed, usually boys don't get the exciting choices, it's all pretty and cool stuff for girls and boring things for boys, so that really impressed me.

They also do some very grown-up, funky and stylish bedrooms for teens, I think you'd find something for even the fussiest teenager. What I liked about all the bedroom sections (boy, girl, teen) there were many unisex styles, it's not all pink for girls and blue for boys, which is so dull.

The site also offers a range of nursery, playroom and waiting room (yes I wondered too, you know those huge activity centres in clinic waiting rooms? It's those) furniture. Pictured above is a playroom set, which is actually made by a fair trade company, so you don't need to feel guilty about your extravagant purchases :-). The toys are also just lush. We will soon be decorating Boy's room in a pirate theme, which they do, so I may well be placing an order for some swash-buckling duvet covers!

While you're here, please vote for Faye & Liam to win their dream wedding. It's a sad day, as today would have been their wedding day, so please help them win it back. Read more on the story here.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get Voting!






There is just over a week left to vote for my friend Faye for her dream to come true. You can make dreams come true with just one click! Below is the original post for those who didn't read it last time. Above I've added some photos of a day over the summer we spent in her garden, while she insisted on playing with and running round after the children all day because I was pregnant. Faye is quite poorly again and spending lots of time in bed trying to get better. Regardless of this fact, last week, she organised herself and her toddler a lift (she doesn't drive and it's a 20min car journey) to come and see the new baby. She brought all her daughter's stunning baby clothes for Missis to wear, a homemade vegetarian lasagna, a warm loaf of fresh bread, two pints of milk from the farm near her house and a carrot cake. And she stayed and played with Boy all afternoon, while I fed the baby. She's such a good friend and a wonderful person. Please vote for her and hubby to be, they really deserve it. You can vote once a day. Faye informed me yesterday that the other brides-to-be are putting up a fight! So please help us fight back!

Here is the post, with the link to vote at the bottom.

Right guys, today, I'm going to boost your good karma. Here is your good deed for the day. My wonderful friend Faye fell seriously ill last year, and spent months in and out (but mostly in) hospital. She has a daughter who is the same age as Boy, (around 20m), and she missed her desperately, as she's such a devoted mother. She even, heartbreakingly, was in hospital at her daughter's first Christmastime. As a result, her wedding, due to happen this month, was canceled, and their deposits lost. The rest of their savings were eaten up by paying household bills etc, while her husband-to-be took much time off work to care for her and their little girl. Her health is still extremely questionable, but she does all she can to fight it and stay at home being the most wonderful mother she can be to her girl, they adore each other. She and Liam, her husband-to-be, have been entered into a radio competition to win a wedding! Venue, flowers, food, everything! However, she needs votes to win. That's where you come in! I'd consider it a personal favor if you were to click here and vote Faye & Liam. You can do this once a day, til 30th October. (when you read the blurb on her, you will notice she has toned down how seriously ill she is. That's because she doesn't like to complain, and she's a wonderful person, and would want everyone else to have a chance too.) I was also tempted to run a competition, asking you to put the link on your blogs/facebook statuses as entry, offering some lovely prize, but I didn't want it to be construed as cheating by the radio station, so I guess if you wanted to do that, it would be out of the goodness of your heart. But wouldn't it make you feel great to do something so nice?! Please vote Faye & Liam!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Award overload

I've not been saving these up honestly! They all arrived sort of at once after Missis was born and I hadn't got round to doing them until now. So instead of following the rules rigidly, I'm going to pass these on to five blogs I've come to love, some recently,others classics on my google reader, and tell you why. And each blogger can pick their award or take the trio, because I think all the blogs below are swank/bloody brilliant/I love them!




First, World of a Mummy awarded me the I Love your Blog! award, which if I were playing properly, would be passed on to 15 blogs. And she's to take her pick from the two below! She's currently baby-led-weaning her youngest, like I did with Boy (and plan to with Missis) and she's recently shared a fab recipe for homemade chicken nuggets!




Then Laura at Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy; gave me the Your Blog is Bloody Brilliant award, which is to be passed on to 5 blogs. And I love Laura's blog and also think it's Swank, so take your pick Laura. I feel like I have an awful lot in common with Laura at the moment, our children are quite similar in age and she too is struggling to keep a toddler entertained while she breastfeeds the baby....chin up eh Laura??




Finally, Clare at Clareybabbling; awarded me the Your Blog is Swank! award, I love that word! And I couldn't see any clear rules to that one, so I suppose I'm off the hook there. Clare recently had some issues with extended breastfeeding, an issue I feel strongly about (i.e. women shouldn't be ashamed to feed their children, however old hey might be) I hope it all worked out for her!

So here are the blogs I think are fabulous:
Fellow babywearer Steph Adventures in Babywearing. Read about and see pictures of the daring rescue after her son's beloved doggy fell into the river recently.
Crafty Creative at From Rat Racer to Positive Parent. You must check out her post on the 2010 breastfeeding calendar for Rugby breastfeeding cafe, such gorgeous pictures of yummy feeding mummies.
Insomniac Mummy who wrote a beautifully touching post last week about her mother's death.
Josie at Sleep is for the Weak, she's another fellow babywearer! (there are more of you out there than I thought :-) ) I met the lovely Josie recently and marveled at how similar our boys are. She's just started her very own Writing Workshop (not that she needs it with her perfect prose) and she wants everyone to know about it!
Iota at Not Wrong, Just Different., who has my utmost admiration for doing a daily post for 30 days and counting now! And it's all quality stuff, no padding with rubbish!

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Newborn Tetanus




Jane at Online Mum tagged me with this to raise awareness for newborn tetanus. Now, disposable nappies isn't a product I'd normally use, as we're very eco-conscious in our house, but with a tiny newborn and a 22 month old, the terries have been sidelined for the moment, and while we have been using eco-disposables on our big Boy, they are jut to big for Missis yet and we have actually been using Pampers. And,lets be honest, SOD the nappies, because this is a very worthwhile cause. I didn't get round to it at first, but I couldn't let it pass me by.

This year alone 128000 babies won’t see their 1st birthday because of newborn tetanus.

The Gift of Life rules

1 Open the virtual Gift For Life by going here
2 Write a small post on the campaign
3 Pass on to 5 other bloggers
4 Add the campaign badge to your sidebar (I'm really not sure I know how to do this....tips appreciated)
5 Feel incredibly proud that you are helping to make a difference!

I am passing the Gift of Life on to:
Clare at clareybabbling
world of a mummy

Laura at yummy mummy flabby tummy
Crafty Creative at From Rat Racer To Positive Parent
Cave Mother

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NCT goodies






I attended my first ever NCT nearly new sale recently, it was great! It was sort of like a car boot sale, but organised, which I loved, and with (obviously) just baby gear. As much fun as car boot sales are, you have to wade through tonnes of crap to find what you're looking for. There were many "alternative" items for sale, lots of slings and cotton nappies, you wouldn't see them at your standard car boot. When it said on the flyer "only quality items", I didn't believe it til I saw it, but it's true.

Not only does a percentage of the profits go to to the NCT charity (a cause I believe in, as in our modern culture it isn't mother, aunties and sisters teaching us to breastfeed, it's unpaid organisations like the NCT. I found these invaluable) but there were bargains galore!!

A crisp £50 note (ok, five tens) saw me leaving with the following:

two copies of Annabel Karmel's toddler meal planner, great recipes even for baby led weaners. One for me, one for a BLW friend.

a pair of clark's in the next size for Boy

a pair of winter boots in this size for Boy

pirate PJs for Boy

two bambino mio nappy covers for Missis

a rainbow coloured fleece nappy cover for Boy

a new nappy bag in brown and pink with lots of accessories

a box of breastmilk storage bags

an 18-36m gro-bag for Boy with spaceship of it

an array of stunning gypsy-style baby girl clothes from companies like mini-mode and monsoon, places I'd never be able to afford to shop in usually. I'm more of a George (asda) Cherokee (tesco) kind of girl.

And now that we know Missis is a girl, we have a tonne of boy's clothes I've lovingly saved that we no longer need (well, jeans, vests and pjs can be saved & possibly jazzed up with a little customization) I'm even thinking of registering as a seller for the next one, since ebay is a bit of a hassle, paying to list items and having to post stuff off, and to give it all to the charity shop seems very generous!! This is a great middle ground, 25% of anything we make goes straight to the NCT, and I don't have to get up at 6am (voluntarily) and freeze my ass of at a carboot where there's not guarantee I'd even shift any of it.

Here are some of our "quality" items;

a moses basket saved for Missis who spends approx 30 secs asleep in it before waking when put down. By the time she's learned to self-soothe, she'll be too big for it.

a mamas&papas highchair that is IMPOSSIBLE to clean and impractical in a variety of other ways, but very funky.

an as-new pushchair. Slings ROCK!

more items of clothing than Mariah Carey has in her walk-in, in various shades of blue. Many were gently used donations from friends or presents from family.

a set of walkie-talkies, I mean baby monitors. Our babies are LOUD.

some pregnancy manuals. I read them to death last time, never even opened them this time!

too small nursing bras

three pairs of maternity jeans that I couldn't pass on to my pregnant cousin as she's nearly a foot taller than little old me!

pop up travel cot

c-section soother belt: bought off ebay, never used

Since I started drafting this post, I have registered as a seller! There are some pretty strict rules so that quality can be maintained at the sale. Such as; I can only sell 100 items, a maximum of 30 being clothes, which must be ironed (!! they never ave been before!!) and on hangers. Then there's the tags! Cereal-box cardboard, a certain size, with secret codes & info galore, attached with safety pin or string; NO sticky labels! Hopefully I'll have time to sort all that out before next weekend....my back room looks like a jumble sale!

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House Rules

This post was written for Josie's Writing Workshop at Sleep is for the Weak, inspired by Potty Mummy's own House Rules. Leave your own suggestion for a house rule in the comments box!



The management states that personal hygiene is not an optional extra; baths and teeth brushing WILL occur daily. Nappy changes more often.

The management will not tolerate changing the sofa covers more than once a week, no matter what you spill on it.

The management reserves the right to secretly move "lights out" forward by 30 minutes when she's JUST HAD ENOUGH.

The management reminds guests that under the chairs/sofa is not a secret hiding place for various bits of small toys.

The management will not tolerate the throwing of items other than balls. Especially at the TV.

The management strongly encourages bib-wearing at all mealtimes. Or just all times. Or you will be doing your own washing.

The management states for the record that the TV is a TV and not a Peppa Pig fest 24/7, for the sanity of other guests, channels may be occasionally changed, or turned off all together.

The management will take this opportunity to ask where the hell is the cordless phone? (Possibly under the sofa.)

The management offers a set menu, not a la carte, if you don't like it, you shall have to lump it. The throwing of food/cutlery/crockery etc. is not tolerated, see above.

The management offers a later breakfasting time on a weekend. Will she ever be taken up on her offer???

The management reserves the right to drink hot toddies with a splash of Southern Comfort in the place of cold/flu remedies, which are not breast-feeding friendly, from 4pm. No, you can't have any. Yes, she has EXACTLY THE SAME cold as you, she is just much braver.

The management reminds other staff members that while x-box is an optional extra for you, her showering and completing physio excerises is compulsory, and would appreciate you taking over sans the attitude. She's had enough of that *sigh* when she asks.

The managment states, yet again, that the following items are inedible; books, coins, parts of old cheerios under the sofa, the cat, her phone, shoes, pebbles, I could go on....

The management reserves the right to win the "I'm more tired than you" game, every time it is played with other staff members.

The management reserves the right to use the TV as a babysitter when you all insist on getting up at 3am so she can write this post half asleep instead of playing JCBs half asleep. Damn wintery mornings, fooling you.

The management begs and pleads that all staff members (including grandparents) enforce these rules.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just let me breastfeed in peace!


Having two "spirited" children under two is tough going, no matter which way you look at it. Evenings-through-mornings seem to be the hardest. Typically: toddler wrestled into bed around 7pm. Hubby to make tea, which I eat one-handed, whilst newborn cluster-feeds til 9-10ish. Get up to feed 4ish times, with one feed, around 2am, being very fussy (i.e. requiring me to fully wake up) and lasting over an hour. Toddler wakes for milk/cuddle around 5am. Hubby leaves for work 6.30am. One of the babies wakes up around 7, and I hope the other doesn't wake for another ten minutes! If toddler is first to wake, he is left to chatter in his cot while I race to wash and dress; teeth and hair can be done with newborn in the sling later on if needs be. If Missis is first up, it's a bit more challenging, but she can sometimes be convinced to look at her mobile for up to five minutes. Now, both babies need nappies changing before they leak and feeding before they cry (more loudly than they inevitably already are). It's basically a judgment call on which child can be made to wait. I don't like it, but I try to be fair. A wonderful peace-keeper in these newborn days is the TV. Imagine my horror when I come downstairs to find it broken, and a small boy who is convinced it's perfectly fine and Mummy is just mean. Top it off with colds for all three of us, which means toddler woke 4+ times in the night, and all newborn's feeds were fussy. Or, doing a much harder job, on less sleep, when you're not well yourself.

Nevertheless, I managed to get us all fed and dressed for 9.30am to wait for our lift to breastfeeding support group. My mum arrives to drive us there. We chat in the car. She had visited her friend the previous day who has a ("good") baby the same age as Missis. Her friend is recovering well from a natural birth. I had a c-section and am still experiencing SPD pain. Her friend is bottlefeeding, which I feel has nothing to do with anything, and certainly isn't my concern. My mum is very pro-formula, she hated breastfeeding and didn't do it for long. Here we go.

Her; she gave him a bottle and he just slept for three hours!

Me; hmmm. But Boy (formula fed) never did at that age did he? And Missis will do that if she's in the sling.

She asks about our night. I begin to tell her, then;

Her; it was your choice to breastfeed, so don't keep moaning about it!

Me; everyone has unsettled nights with new babies, even if they are bottle fed!

Her; your cousin's (three-month-old formula fed & baby-rice fed) baby slept through very early on!

Me; Boy still doesn't sleep through. It has nothing to do with feeding.

Her; but you'd have so much more time if you gave her a bottle!

Me; Boy had tummy ache & sickness after every feed, and was constipated til we gave cow's milk at 12m! He only went two hours between feeds til he was five months old!

She has conveniently forgotten how much formula disagreed with Boy, we changed brand four times. Truth is, none of them are breastmilk. She also doesn't realise how much washing and sterilizing bottlefeeding a baby that feeds every two hours yeilds. I did so much screwing on of tops, I ended up with painful repetitive strain injury and wore a splint for a year. She's forgotten this too.

Her; well I'm not having you complaining about how tired you are again, it was your choice to breastfeed, I don't want to hear about anything to do with breastfeeding from now on!

At this point, as is often the case with arguments with our parents, I reverted into teenage-mode and decided if I couldn't talk about breastfeeding (which relates to most things with a newborn) I wouldn't talk to her at all.

Apparently, bottlefeeding would fix the TV, cure the common cold, make high-need children able to function without human contact, cure cesarean scars and SPD so I could drive, babysit while I have a shower and quite possibly do all the washing and hoover too. I know breastfed newborns spend A LOT of time at the breast, but soon they get bigger and don't fall asleep while feeding as much. Yes, it's hard learning how, and tiring, and often painful at first, but that doesn't last long, and at this point, I'm not experiencing any real difficulties at all. Formula feeding would make my life easier, at least that's her thinking. Even if that were true (which it isn't, or at least wasn't for us, I've formula fed a child from 4 weeks) that's not the reason behind most of my parenting decisions. I didn't decide to have children for an easy life. My idea is to do all I can to give them the best of everything, not opt out for an easy life. A friend pointed out that it's like me describing to her a lovely, healthy homemade recipe to give Boy and her saying; "oh, just open a jar and give him that." The irony is, that's exactly what she does. She thinks raviolli from a tin is a perfectly healthy and acceptable meal to give a toddler (not a one off, over and over again.)

Her argument; you had raviolli and you're fine

Yes, if you count grossly overweight, addicted to junk food and with no idea how to cook from scratch til I had children fine, then yes, I'm fine.

Her; Boy was formula fed and he's fine.

Yes, if you think having eczema, being hospitalized with asthma and having delayed speech and countless ear infections (all symptoms of not breastfeeding) is fine.

Her; you have eczema and asthma, it's hereditary.

Yes it is. But I was formula fed too, so we'll never know.

For more on the "formula is not fine" point of view, click here. Shocking, but interesting.

So it was a quiet journey home from breastfeeding support group. Well, I'm banned from the topic. And mum was shocked into silence by the image of a woman feeding a three year old. No matter how many times I tell her that the World Health Organization recommends we breastfeed a child for at least two years.

I'm not anti-formula. Hell, it saved my Boy from hospitalization when he was tiny. And however pro-breastfeeding I am now,I can't turn back time for him. But, difficult as breastfeeding was last time, this time it's going really well. In fact, I'm loving it. So why is she so hell-bent on ramming formula down my throat?

P.S. in the photo above I'm wearing my new Mama Feels Good nursing t-shirt. It's fab!

P.P.S. Please click here and vote for my friends Faye & Liam to win their dream wedding. Please!

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Cat; free to a good home!



This is not something I wanted to do, but recently, we found out that Boy has asthma (he's been hopitalised three times, first aged six months, terrifying) and so the time has come to re-home our cat.

My first thought was to offer her to all my lovely blog readers. Are you little ones nagging you for a pet this Christmas? Here is a little about Maisy.

We adopted Maisy when she was about a year old, which would make her around age seven. But she is still very pertty and playful, the photos don't really do her justice! We chose her because she was very affectionate when we looked round the shelter, and such a gorgeous tabby coat. We think she may have had a troubled start to life, as she sucks her tumb. No joke. When she is happy on your lap, in goes the paw for a good suck.

When we got her, she was chipped, neutered and vaccinated. Since then, we have kept up with flea treatments as a preventative measure, but she's never needed worming, and only visited the vet once, for a swollen cat-bite from the neighbourhood bully, which was resolved with antibiotics.

Maisy is surprisingly tolerant of very young children, and it takes a lot of punishment from Boy for her to relaliate, and she gives warnings apleanty for adult intervention. But I'd love her to retire to a family with older children so she can have a rest from all that. Although we do need a home for her, even if you do have toddlers.

Basics now; she is happy to use either a litter tray or go outside, as per your preference, and is happy to stay out all day or night if you wish her to. But she loves nothing more than a cuddle. She really is a lap cat. She'd be more than happy in a flat for example, as long as she got a bit of attention. She does not have expensive tastes, and refuses all manner of branded catfoods, prefering only supermarket's own in jelly. It doesn't matter which supermarket, she's tried and enjoyed asda, tesco and morrisons.

She travels fairly well, and has visited the Lake District many times. We have all her equipment to accompany her (bowl, carry basket, litter tray etc) so you wouldn't need to buy anything. If you did want Father Christmas to deliver her, we can hang on to her until Christmas eve. It would be ideal if she could be collected from us, unless you are quite close, as the two under twos don't travel quite as well as the cat :-)

We live in the Nort West. Get in touch in the comments box or to allgrownup06@hotmail.com.

Also, while you're reading check out this post for info on how to do your good deed for the day, boost your good karma, and VOTE for my friends Faye & Liam to win their dream wedding!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Books


I was given the opportunity to review some Walker books recently with Boy, and I jumped at the chance, as "We're going on a bear hunt", another Walker book, is one of my favourites, and a modern classic. When "Yummy" by Lucy Cousins arrived in the post, I was bouncing. A gorgeous, hardback book of classic fairy tales, with a Lucy twist. When I was pregnant, Boy and I got a few books from the library about new babies, and by far his favourite was by Lucy Cousins. The thing he liked the most were the wacky, eye-popping, bright illustrations, which are the earmark of "Yummy".

I had a flick through before Boy got home, and was delighted to find some stories I'd not heard since my mother read them to me from a ladybird book, alongside more popular favourites such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Shall I shamefully admit that I read the whole thing before tiny hands even got near it?? My favourite aspect of the book was....hee hee, the sheer level of violence. Fairy tales in their original form are often really quite violent, and I love that Lucy Cousins has decided that children should be gently introduced to the fact that the world isn't always kind. It's much easier to learn in a story than a few years down the line out in the real world. Children shouldn't be patronized, as much as innocence is precious. I found it almost comical how shocking some stories are! I don't remember batting an eyelid as a child though. If you have a particularly sensitive child, perhaps this is more of a daytime than bedtime book.

I must admit that we don't make a habit of reading books with paper pages yet in our house, Boy just isn't ready at (a very young) twenty months. Not only do I fear for the books general welfare, (and Yummy is a stunning book, the kind you keep for the grandkids), but he just hasn't got the attention span for me to read what is inevitably much more text per page than a board book, and an altogether longer story. We just about manage the "That's not my..." books, and that's only because I've memorised them and blurt out the text before chubby hands insist on turning the page.

But with "Yummy", there were at least two very short stories that I was actually able to read to Boy! And without much coaxing at all. As you can see from the photo, he was enamored with the pictures. I can't wait until he's a bit older, this is sure to become a bedtime favourite. Well, for me anyway.

While I'm blogging about books, the glowing Amy from and1moremeans4 passed a book meme onto me recently, so I'll give you a two for one dealy. This went round facebook recently too, but the page number was different. Here are the game rules!



1. Collect the book that you have most handy.
2. Turn to page 161.
3. Find the 5Th complete sentence.
4. Site the sentence on your blog.
5. Pass it on to 5 other bloggers.

So here it is, warts and all: try expressing milk from one breast while you feed from the other.
Guess what I'm reading?? Check out my previous review of it.

And I'd like to know what the following bloggers are reading, apologies if you've already had it:

Slugs on the Refridgerator
Josie from Sleep is for the Weak
Cave Mother
Slightly South of Sanity
Natalie from Soph4Soph

Also, while you're reading check out this post for info on how to do your good deed for the day, boost your good karma, and VOTE for my friends Faye & Liam to win their dream wedding!!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

A plague on My House

This is sort of a continuation of this post. The things that happen when I am no longer around to run the household.

Apparently, while I was living at my mums during the difficult final months of my pregnancy, a bird fell down our chimney and was trapped behind the gas fire. HID did not know how to safely remove the fire, and asked MIL's boyfriend, who did know, to help. This was all forgotten, since no one was spending any time in the living room, and the bird sadly died. (I can assure you, this would not have happened had I been at home. The bird would have been freed as a matter of urgency. I was only told much later.)

Cut to two weeks ago. My precious newborn is just three weeks old. HID and Boy are upstairs taking a nap, and I am effectively all alone feeding the baby on the sofa. I notice a fly on the window and think nothing of it. I am not a crazy fly lady like my mum, who practically keeps fly spray in her handbag, and cannot rest until they are ALL DEAD.

Then there are three. I look at the other window and it is covered with ABOUT TWENTY flies. A large, black beastie dozily buzzes towards me from the direction of the gas fire and it dawns on me. The bird. Presumably, maggots. A nest of flies. A plague. I'm itching as I write this! Cue me turning into my mother.

Baby is deposited into her moses basket and basket covered with an oversize muslin cloth. Ransack the only locked kitchen cupboard for fly spray. Twenty minutes spent leaping around like a woman possessed after every last, dirty fly, worrying about the effect of the aerosol on my daughter's lungs and frequently wafting her around outside.

HID eventually reared his sleepy head while I was brandishing a dustpan and brush to sweep my victims from the windowsills. He was confused. I explained in a wobbly voice, not realising until then what horrors I had seen. I was suitably told off or over-exerting myself and he took over.

The next few days saw a few of the buzzy buggers exiting the chimney in dribs and drabs, despite HID spraying half a can of poison into the hole daily and me nagging him to "sort it out". The best place to breastfeed is on the sofa, next to the fire, so HID set up the hoover next to me (fly spray within reach of me is also within reach of Boy) and much to the bemusement of Boy, Missis and visitors, I zapped the little buzzers into the belly of the hoover as soon as they crawled, wingless and deformed (from all the spray) out of the fireplace. I was the craziest fly lady of them all!!

This was going to be written as a quite light-hearted post, after all, it was over now, and no body got hurt right?

Three days after the initial plague, HID, MIL and her boyfriend were sitting at the table in our open-plan downstairs room eating tea (evening meal to you southerners) while I sat on the sofa eating one-handed, feeding Missis. She was fidgety, and I asked HID to swaddle her for me. He laid her on the rug and wrapped her up. When he picked her up I bolted for the door, there was a huge black fly on her blanket! I shouted at him to get it off but he couldn't see where. I looked to tell him, very panicked now, and saw it was CRAWLING THROUGH HER PERFECT RED HAIR. I jumped around on the spot screeching "it's in her hair!" repeatedly. And then it as ON HER FACE. My perfect newborn baby had a disease-ridden, fat, black fly, that had been crawling around on a rotting bird's carcus (that had been dead for at least three weeks) crawling allover her perfect newborn skin.

I was crazy before, now I just lost it. I was crying, shaking, screaming, hyperventilating; FREAKING OUT. At this point, MIL helpfully said "calm down". If I could have gotten away with murder, she'd have been buried in the back garden that very night. How exactly would she have reacted if it had been her new baby?? Thank god it was not me holding her at the time, I may well have dropped her.

HID stepped up, crushed the fly, rushed Missis into the kitchen and bathed her in the sink. Helped me sit down, brought me rescue remedy and encouraged me to eat my tea. I had lost my appetite somewhat, so I was sent upstairs to feed baby while the men FINALLY removed the bird and the flies. This is the sort of thing that happens when I am not in charge of running the household. MIL leaves next week. *audible sigh of relief* she has also just walked in on me using my breast pump. Again. *scream!*s

Also, while you're reading check out this post for info on how to do your good deed for the day, boost your good karma, and VOTE for my friends Faye & Liam to win their dream wedding!!

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Good deed of the day


Right guys, today, I'm going to boost your good karma. Here is your good deed for the day. My wonderful friend Faye fell seriously ill last year, and spent months in and out (but mostly in) hospital. She has a daughter who is the same age as Boy, (around 20m), and she missed her desperately, as she's such a devoted mother. She even, heartbreakingly, was in hospital on her daughter's first Christmastime. As a result, her wedding, due to happen this month, was canceled, and their deposits lost. The rest of their savings were eaten up by paying household bills etc, while her husband-to-be took much time off work to care for her and their little girl. Her health is still extremely questionable, but she does all she can to fight it and stay at home being the most wonderful mother she can be to her girl, they adore each other. She and Liam, her husband-to-be, have been entered into a radio competition to win a wedding! Venue, flowers, food, everything! However, she needs votes to win. That's where you come in! I'd consider it a personal favor if you were to click here and vote Faye & Liam. You can do this once a day, til 30th October. (when you read the blurb on her, you will notice she has toned down how seriously ill she is. That's because she doesn't like to complain, and she's a wonderful person, and would want everyone else to have a chance too.) I was also tempted to run a competition, asking you to put the link on your blogs/facebook statuses as entry, offering some lovely prize, but I didn't want it to be construed as cheating by the radio station, so I guess if you wanted to do that, it would be out of the goodness of your heart. But wouldn't it make you feel great to do something so nice?! Please vote Faye & Liam!

Monday, October 05, 2009

MOSI meet up







Well, the North West British Mummy Bloggers meet up was yesterday, at the Museum of Science and Industry, and I must say it was great. I was quite nervous beforehand, even had a rush to Mothercare the evening before for a nursing top to give me a bit of confidence (more on the crap mothercare range another time), and, most unlike me, dug out my mascara (it had dried up) and lip gloss to make me look a bit more awake, as Missis had been up every half hour from 2am the night before. I introduced myself, babies and HID by our reals names, most strange, and recognised lots of faces, realising that no-one would recognise me. We made the mistake of choosing a seat a bit too far away from everyone else, so we'd have room for a highchair, wish I'd sat closer to everyone else!

The meal we had included a slice of cake, and unfortunately, the cake was highly visible and tempting to Boy on the tray....his lovely roast dinner was left discarded until he'd had a little cake. I wonder what all the mummies thought of me, desert first! He went back to his savory eventually, but was far more interested in my vegetarian meal, thanks for that. Typical. I was very impressed with how long he tolerated sitting in a highchair for, he really was on his best behaviour. He was chattering quite loudly during the little chat by Silvercross though.....everyone else's children were angelic at that point I noticed...

I tried desperately to convince Missis to feed in the sling, so that I could wander round and chat to everyone, and later, enjoy the museum (she feeds for a LOOOOOONG time) but as we all know, you can't make a child do something they don't want to, so after accidentally flashing my bra while rooting in my bag, (what a fab first real-life impression I'm making) we moor up in a corner to feed. But luckily, I wasn't lonely, Josie from sleep is for the weak came to keep us company, and we chatted slings and breastfeeding, and she said lovely comforting things about how it gets easier soon, and how brave I was out in public. Thank you :-) . I forgot to say how much I enjoyed the sleep deprivation carnival, especially now Missis is boycotting sleep! Her Kai is so much like our Boy it's spooky....I know just how you feel! Boy started being a bit less "spirited" around 12 months by the way :-)

Gradually, people started to leave to see the museum, people I hadn't even talked to, whoops! I really am sorry. I'm glad Sandy from Baby Baby cornered me early to coo over Missis like she said she would :-) Not Supermum even had a little hold early on. Everyone said goodbye as they passed me on their way out, and I was touched by how many ladies asked me about Missis' weight issues or asked how feeding was going, everyone was so thoughtful. Thank you everyone.I was so taken aback, I kept forgetting to ask everyone how they were, although I did remember to congratulate Amy from and1moremeans4 (or is that 5?!) on her lovely news. Apart from me, she was the last to leave, and was very glad to get chance to tell her in person thanks for getting us all together. As if she hasn't got enough to do, she's kick-starting my social life too! Would have love to have caught up with Parklover, The Wife of Bold and Lindy (Squide is just as gorgeous in real life as Lindy's stunning photos)(forgive me if I've missed anyone)

Eventually, feeding time was over, and we tracked down HID and Boy, who were enjoying the exhibits without us. We only saw two things, the interactive room and transport exhibit, but it was really fabulous. I hope to go again as soon as I'm able to walk a bit better. We had to go home sooner than I would have liked, as HID was starting to worry about my c-section scar, rightly so I suppose, with all that walking. Boy had the time of his life! He ran round like a loon, looking and touching, and taking it all in, like a proper little boy! He's not a baby anymore! And his attention-span has improved so much, he really appreciated it all. I hope you enjoy our pictures!

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

This Mamma feels good.

I thought I had carefully chosen an outfit to wear to the North West British Mummy Blogger's meet up on Sunday, but on Saturday afternoon HID pointed out that a high-neckline dress-style top with leggings, while fine for breastfeeding at home, does not cut in in a public place. I'd rather not be showing off my post-2nd-baby figure by lifting up my top to feed and exposing my legging-clad thighs and bottom, not to mention the tummy! So after a quick check on the Mothercare website that they had nursing tops, we piled the family into the car for a trip to our local store. I think it's one of the few (only, in our area) shops on the highstreet that sell nursing wear.

I was assisted by a very helpful and complementary member of staff who insisted I couldn't possibly be a size 16, obviously I was closer to a 12 (she was right, bless her soul, woo-hoo!), who bundled most of the vast range of nursing wear into my arms and sent me off to the changing room, where disappointment ensued, as is always the way with desperate, last minute shopping.

I tried on the first top, really funky design, bright colours,not at all boring or frumpy as I'd feared. Mistake number one: the carefully crafted hole at the side of the double layer through which I'm supposed to feed was not big enough to fit my boob through. I'm currently only a DD, mothercare make bras up to E cup. The top would be ideal for women with breasts growing out of the side of their ribcage, under their arms. Or, with exceptionally small, not full of milk breasts. This was the same for all the feeding tops I tried (around 10 different tops) and also a sleep nursing bra, size 16.

Mistake number two: the top layer of the feeding top was stitched to the bottom "cover-up" layer in such a ridiculous fashion, that each time I attempted to lift it as though to feed, the whole thing came up and exposed the bottom corner of my post-baby tummy, you know, the bit with all the wobbly bits and stretchmarks, exactly the stuff a nursing top is supposed to leave to the imagination? Yes, that bit. Great. This was, again, the same for all the styles and sizes of tops I tried on.

In conclusion, mothercare have a completely obsolete range of nursing wear, not one item was actually suitable to feed in. I will instead direct you to mamma feels good , where I bought my beloved, and actually functional, nursing t-shirt. Not only are they unusual, stylish and funky, but the double layer works fantastically, and the holes are big enough for big boobs :-)
As soon as mine comes out of the wash, I put it straight back on, and despair every time it gets covered in banana/babysick/wee/poo (delete as appropriate). I can't wait for the new designs to come out, I need at least two more for my wardrobe!! What's more, even though it's an independent company, Mamma Feels Good t-shirts are the same price as mothercare ones. And it's always nice to wear something no-one else has!

P.S. please see this post, and do your good deed for today by voting for Faye & Liam. Thanks so much!

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Night of the living-dead tomato plants





For the last two months of my pregnancy, my son and I had to move in with my mother. My pelvic disorder meant I needed help with/someone to do my basic mummy jobs such as cooking, nappy changes, bathing, dressing. I was also unable to navigate stairs, and my mum's house handily has a downstairs double bedroom with ensuite. (the house is so over-renovated, they will be bumping their heads on the ceiling price for the area.) HID sometimes stayed over with us, and always gave Boy his evening bath, but spent much time at home, getting last minute preparations done. But my mother in law lived at our home while she was in town, so there was always someone to feed the cat, water the plants, and keep the place looking lived in. Or so I thought.

About a month before baby arrived, there were certain items I needed from home that could not be sourced by HID. (No. Because that would involve him knowing practical things like where "we" kept Boy's pajamas. And it just wasn't worth explaining it all.) So HID took me on a trip home.

The smell hit me as soon as the door opened. Sort of a musty, moudly combo, as though the house had been empty for months. Clearly, no one had bothered opening a window for weeks. I walked into the badly-in-need-of-a-good-hoover living room and was met by toys strewn all over the floor. It was over a week since Boy had last visited for a play, yet it was apparently fine for people to step over them. (Since returning home, I've realised that many small items, such as jigsaw pieces or toy cars, that I'd lovingly organised into separate storage bags, have totally disappeared thanks to careless, if any, tidying up techniques. What a shame.)

The kitchen bin was way over due being emptied. There were rancid vegetables composting themselves in the fridge drawers. The kitchen floor was equally littered with crumbs and sticky spots. The bottom stair still had the line of dust from the stairgate we'd taken with us a month before. I dared not look in the bathroom. The nappy bin in Boy's room (god knows the last time he'd had a nappy change in there) stunk out the whole upstairs. And his cot had no sheet in it, just the plastic covering. And MIL had been complaining that he as refusing to nap when she babysat for him here. Well, the reason is obvious. Would any of you like to sleep on a bare plastic mattress in a room stinking of human excrement??

The most upsetting thing was the beautiful vegetable garden I'd lovingly planted. I can understand that it wasn't weeded. But EVERYTHING was dead, due to not being watered. The pumpkins had spread all over our small, now overgrown, lawn and garden chairs (that had STILL not been put away) from the veg patch. Well, just look at the pictures. I'm sure you'll understand how I felt. Was it really that hard to water a few plants? The place looked like it was made up for an outdoor halloween party!

HID works 12+hour days at a stressful job. He was also making time to cross town to spend time with us, and fit the new bathroom, and build a cot, and re-paper the living room. On the other hand, MIL does not work and had been traveling round Europe in a campervan for 6 months. So she was using our home as her full-time residence while she was in the country. Although,it certainly didn't look like someone was living there,let alone spending a full 24hours there, save a few trips to tescos. I can't believe someone could live like that! Did she not notice? Or could she not be bothered? She was helping with childcare an afternoon a few times a week, (the most she has ever seen Boy) but surely there was time to run the hoover around the place in the space of a month?! Yes, she's not in the best of health,but surely,on one of her "bad days", her boyfriend (also staying in our house) could be supervised in some simple chores such as plant-watering? Perhaps it is even fitting that he pitch in?

The thing that really grates is that she had found the time to heavily prune back the front garden (all the while,my lovely vegetables lay dying), so obviously, keeping up with the Jones' is important to her. It could also be to do with the fact that the house used to be hers, but we haven't changed the front garden much yet, it's still pretty much as she left it.

Needless to say, poorly and seven and a half months pregnant (and even if I wasn't!) the sight of my home in this state left me emotional, to say the least. Livid would be a better word. I explained to HID that under no circumstances was the house to look like this when I came out of hospital with a new baby. Luckily for him, and MIL, it didn't.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

All by myself (with two under twos)

The end of the week is looming. HID has been off work, helping with the babies, for almost a month, and on Monday, he returns. Frankly, I'm dreading it. Coincidentally, my Mum is also on holiday that same week, so no seeking solace at her place then. I'm still not feeling 100%, even after a month's rest, my pelvic disorder is still raging. I'm loads better, but a trip to the corner shop is a massive challenge, and takes half the day too. This leads me to conclude that I shall be entertaining two under twos all week within the confines of our house, as post-c-section, I can't even drive. One of them wants to do nothing but sit and feed all day, and the other would consider sitting still a form of torture.

I'm not filled with confidence after the first time I was left alone with both of them. I was feeding the baby, and HID nipped upstairs to the loo. Moments later, Boy was reaching for our huge camera, positioned "out of reach" (a concept that needs to be reviewed) on a shelf. Due to a spectacular over-use of the word "no" by his grandparents (he attempts to drink from a glass [he can actually do this] and Granddad says "nonononononononono no!". Literally.) when I really need the word to have some kind of impact, like when he is about to smash an extremely heavy camera into his face, it has no meaning, and is happily ignored. Cue a screaming toddler and me not being able to leap up quick enough to prevent it. I am hopeful that next week won't be filled with moments such as these.

But as a believer that prevention is better than cure, I'm in the process of arranging several friends to come round to play throughout the week, and enlisting MIL for a couple of lifts to children's centre run activities. But obviously I can't take the mick. I will have to be on my own with them some time!

Had a small trial run today, took both babies to our local breastfeeding network support group, where I could happily sit feeding, and Boy could play with all the toys. Things seemed to go great, and we only had a few minor incidents (which only even register because he was the only toddler, therefore his every move seemed extra noisy and boisterous).

1.) Whilst in the (walk-in) cupboard, he attempted to reach for a toy at the bottom of the box, and *almost* fell in, his feet left the floor several times anyway. I was the only person who didn't see this as cause for alarm. (You should see what he does at home.)

2.) At a particularly quiet moment, upturned an entire box of wooden dolls house people. Everyone looked round to see who was responsible. I had no need to look.

3.) Grabbed my cup of cordial and *almost* accidentally poured the whole lot into my bag. I was impressed that it was only a small splosh due to my now cat-like reactions.

4.) Had a minor "sharing" incident with a much bigger boy.

5.) Honed in on the only Dad in the group, repeatedly handing him plastic zoo animals til they were all gone, much to the poor guy's bewilderment.

6.) *Almost* stood on two separate baby's heads, several times. Those babies obviously don't have older siblings at home.

All while I was pinned to a chair breastfeeding! All in all, better than I could have hoped, he didn't cry or tantrum once :-)

I really don't know how Amy from and1moremeans4 does it. She's amazing. Congratulations to her on her pregnancy news! One of the mums I saw today told me about a lady I had thought previously MUST be an urban legend, but who was actually in the bed opposite her in hospital. A lady with 6 boys at home, who had "gone for the girl" and found herself pregnant with triplets! Luckily, they were all girls, and she was delighted. Well, fertility does increase with every child you have, watch out Amy! I wonder if Amy is going for the netball team, or if she fancies a blue one this time :-) very well done to her x

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