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It’s no use crying over spilt milk

Who thought giving up breast feeding would be so hard? Not me. I thought, if you let things roll, that babies just ‘gave up’ or grew out of it of their own accord. Silly me. I don’t think BB will ever grow out of it if left to her own devices. So after two days in which no breast milk was consumed owing to the fact Misery Guts and I were away, giving up breast feeding has (once again) started in earnest. Having read absolutely nothing on the matter or furnished myself with any kind advice, in a bid to avoid the dreaded mastitis or engorgement we’re going for a week of bed time feeds only, followed by a week of dropping those too. Is this the right way to go about it? Is this approach too hasty? Will it work? I haven’t the faintest. […]

By |May 8th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Weaning|2 Comments

More conversations I’ve overheard this week (and wish I hadn’t)

Is there no limit to what people will openly discuss in public places? It would appear coffee shops, where regular followers will know I can often be found bashing out a story or two when I’ve swapped my mummy hat for my journalist one, are now the place to conduct business. Apart from failing to give anyone involved any privacy, I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything more unprofessional than discussing the inner workings of a company or individual next to yummy mummies sipping their skinny lattes or journalists on the hunt for story ideas (aka moi). These are (just some) of the exchanges I’ve been unable to avoid overhearing this week: 1) A testosterone battle between one suited man and his colleague, one of whom had flown to their coffee shop meeting (in Sussex) from Liverpool. After outlining the agenda of their meeting – how best to bid for funding for the charitable trust they worked for – they then spent more than an hour criticising each other’s decision making skills. Not very charitable. And surely this could have been done over the phone? I still can’t help but wonder how much the flight cost the poor charity. 2) An interview for a new coffee shop manager. It transpired the existing senior barista wanted the job, but the man from head office conducting the interview told the applicant he didn’t think this chap was ‘quite suitable’. I’m not sure if they’ve told the poor guy yet – when I ordered my cup of tea this morning he’s still being super helpful and friendlier than usual, although I’m not complaining. But something’s not right when the customers are one step ahead of the staff. […]

By |April 18th, 2013|Family life, Food, Work life|0 Comments

The hoarder next door: yep that’s me

Two weeks after committing (online) Tesco suicide, things are going swimmingly with Asda. Not only does the weekly shop now arrive on time and in date, it is cheaper and so far has come with one of my favourite things in the whole wide world: free samples. These appeal to me on a number of levels: 1) They’re free 2) They come in the cutest, minniest sizes you’ve ever seen. Think Honey I Shrunk The Pantene 3) They are trussed up in equally miniature bags, often featuring a bow This is the little stash (pictured) which arrived this week: eight tubes of Colgate toothpaste and five sachets of stir fry sauce. Of course they can’t possibly be used. Because they might come in handy one day. Like the miniature pots of Sudocrem, the tiny tubes of Johnson’s and a hessian pouch of cotton wool balls that came in the hospital bounty pack when I had BB. All of which are in the drawer under her cot, still in the little bags they came in. […]

By |April 16th, 2013|Family life, Food|2 Comments

The joy of…chocolate

I think the picture speaks for itself...

By |April 5th, 2013|Family life, Food|0 Comments

I’ve finally committed Tesco suicide

I’ve committed Tesco suicide. That is, online Tesco suicide (vowing never to shop at any Tesco, ever again, is likely to inconvenience me far more than it will inconvenience them). The action comes after our home shop was late for the second time in a row, the third time in a month and the fifth time this year. I don’t just mean 10 minutes late; I mean three hours late. Of course things happen: first the delivery van was in an accident. Then it broke down. Twice. Then it never arrived at all thanks to the snow, and after being trapped on the M23 for eight hours in blizzard conditions I’ll give them that. Then the delivery driver fell down a flight of stairs. All I can deduce from this list of excuses is this: we must have the most hapless delivery drivers in Christendom. This ‘service’ incenses me beyond belief. What is the point of offering a one hour delivery slot if you can deliver the groceries at any other time except the allotted – and paid for – time? Why run such a service without a contingency plan for when things break down or said hapless driver finds him (or her, but highly unlikely) self in an accident? Why only text to tell your customer their order will be late half an hour into their delivery slot, when you must have known hours ago? And why not offer to refund the delivery charge? Anyone other than a supermarket giant would have gone out of business, and deservedly so. […]

By |April 3rd, 2013|Family life, Food, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Who does Gwynnie think she’s kidding?

It’s been niggling at me all week, and it’s no use, there’s nothing for it but to have a good rant. I’m talking about Gwyneth Paltrow and the promotion of her latest cook book, which reveals her kids live on a gluten free, low carb, low sugar diet. That’s right, no wheat. No bread, no pasta, no rice, no ice cream, no chocolate and no cow’s milk.Apparently they eat raw fennel as a snack, kale chips instead of crisps and carob bars instead of chocolate. Lucky them.But it’s not what she is (or isn’t) feeding them, the poor souls, that bothers me – it’s the way her lifestyle is portrayed as ‘right’ and the implied pressure that puts on everyone else. One particular newspaper printed the recipe for ‘Gwyneth’s breakfast smoothie’, ingredients of which include half an avocado, half a courgette, chia seeds, flax seeds, dark fruit concentrate, almond butter, etc, etc. […]

By |March 29th, 2013|Family life, Food|4 Comments

Batch cooking: a licence for smugness

I have discovered the secret to feeling like the best mummy in the world, even if it’s just for half an hour: batch cooking. Pictured (left) is the product of yesterday afternoon’s endeavours – half a dozen handmade miniature Shepherd’s Pies, each in their own little tin and each with their own little label. There’s something about cooking for BB which seems more important than cooking for anyone else, even (diabetic) Misery Guts and even though she is likely to be the least grateful. Have I cut the carrots as neatly as possible? Check. Have I made sure the cheese isn’t spilling over the side of the tin? Check. Does this dish offer the right balance of protein and carbohydrate? Check. Is omega 3/some other form of fatty acid/at least one of her five-a-day present? Check. […]

By |March 20th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|5 Comments

Oh baby: stranded in a snow drift on the M23 southbound

BB had her first proper adventure last night: stuck in the back of the car in a snow drift on the M23. For eight hours. It sounds incredible; impossible even, but that’s where we spent yesterday evening, along with the world and his wife. I’m not quite sure where the snow came from – well, obviously it came from the sky – but it came down so quickly and in such volumes that chaos ensued within minutes. That will teach me. After failing to check the weather forecast and driving from Sussex to Surrey to be ladies that lunch in blissful ignorance of the snow clouds gathering, BB and I duly arrived to pick Misery Guts up from work in creepy Crawley on our way back. Big mistake. […]

By |March 12th, 2013|Family life, Food, News|6 Comments

Mothering Sunday: the smoke was incredible

As promised, here follows my report on this year’s Mothering Sunday after last year’s non-event. Or Mothering Weekend, as it turned out, to make up for last year. That’s right, a whole glorious weekend off! I’m not sure whose nerves are more frayed: mine or Misery Guts. Who really lived up to his name. The high points were this: 1) No cooking. Beer battered cod for tea on Friday; pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for brunch on Sunday, I was not to enter the kitchen. 2) Two lie ins. Two. 3) Not having any involvement in a poonami for which the only remedy was a bath. Priceless. 4) Tea and cake in one of my favourite cafés (pictured). Of course, with high points come low points… 1) Misery Guts halved everything in the beer battered fish recipe except the beer. Meaning the batter wouldn’t stick to the fish. It did a great job of sticking to everything else though, including the biscuit tin and the toaster. […]

By |March 11th, 2013|Family life, Food|2 Comments

Conversations I’ve overheard this week (and wish I hadn’t)

Being a freelance journalist means I can often be found hunched in the corner of various high street coffee shops tapping away at my trusty laptop. These are fascinating places, and the things you (over) hear are incredible. It’s not that I’m purposely listening out for other people’s conversations; they are often so loud one cannot help but overhear.This is what I’ve heard this week:1) A woman spent four hours – yes four hours – on the phone to a travel agency working out how she could get from Kuala Lumpa to Kolkata in the fastest possible time. If I hear the word Kuala Lumpa again this week I will scream. She must have said it at least 30 times, and in the time it took her to sort out her flights she could have been a third of the way there. […]

By |March 1st, 2013|Family life, Food, Work life|0 Comments

Forget scrunch or fold: do you bite or lick?

Never mind the scrunch or fold debate. It’s the whether to bite or lick a cream filled biscuit dilemma that interests me. At what point does one become a biter or a licker? And is it nature or nurture that leads to one’s preferred method? Or can one alternate between the two, depending on mood and type of cream filled biscuit in question? […]

By |February 25th, 2013|Family life, Food|0 Comments

I admit it, my child is one of the fussiest eaters in Europe

It’s official: British kids are the fussiest eaters in Europe. So says the first European Toddler Nutrition Index, anyway. Apparently 43% of UK mums give in and let their toddler eat what they want during meal time battles, and 39% are most likely to reward good behaviour or eating well with a sweet treat. I read the article with growing horror: ‘Will you have mash on the walls or peas on the floor?’ The headline in Metro asks. Are they joking? Both, of course. ‘One in seven under-fives in the UK refuses some food at every meal time’, it goes on. I fear this is the correct term for what I call swishing, when BB takes one look at the food on her high chair tray and consigns it to the floor in one fell swoop. […]

By |January 28th, 2013|Food|0 Comments

Pork scratchings: the elixir of eternal youth?

While working on my promised list of 5 reasons to give up breast feeding (still a work in progress, by the way) I’ve been distracted by an email which pinged into my inbox: pork scratchings could be the secret to eternal youth. Quite a claim. And coming from my esteemed friend Rupert Ponsonby, who joined forces with chef Tom Parker Bowles (aka Prince Charles’ step-son) and food writer Matthew Fort to give birth to Mr Trotter’s Pork Crackling, I dismissed it as nothing but a shrewd move to flog more of their posh pub snacks. Or is it? […]

By |January 22nd, 2013|Beauty, Food|1 Comment