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What’s wrong with a big pot yoghurt poured into a bowl and eaten with a spoon?

It’s been almost 10 years since Ella’s Kitchen pioneered the squeezable ‘pouch puree’ baby food concept and despite claims the format is no match for real fruit/veg and is no substitute for a ‘proper meal’ blah blah blah it’s fair to say the market is now awash with copycat brands. Which is why I was surprised to discover that gourmet yoghurt brand The Collective’s new Suckies are the first fresh branded yoghurt pouches on the market for kids. You’d think Petits Filous or someone would have thought of it before – why has it taken so long? Needless to say BB’s eyes lit up when a polystyrene box full of samples landed on our mat for the purposes of review this week. Like Ella’s Kitchen, Suckies come in brightly coloured pouches which became instantly referred to by BB – and no doubt countless toddlers – as ‘the red one’ and the ‘green one’ as opposed to their proper names. […]

By |July 23rd, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Money, Parenting, Recipes, Reviews, Weaning|0 Comments

Would you have a ‘Viking baby’?

How far would you go to have your ‘perfect’ baby? Apparently more and more Brits are turning to Danish sperm banks because they’d like ‘Viking babies’ with blonde hair, blue eyes and a strapping build. Online sales at one of the largest sperm banks in Denmark are up a massive 20%, with wannabe mums getting the stuff Fed-Exed to the UK with next day delivery. One can’t help but wonder if so-called ‘Nordic noir’ TV shows such as Borgen are to blame – I’m thinking actor Pilou Asbaek (although is he actually blonde?) My curiosity piqued, and with my journalist hat on, I decided to try and find a mum who specifically sought out a Danish sperm donor to find out why she did it. I came across Jessica McCallin (pictured), who single and approaching 40 realised she was facing a now-or-never moment in life. […]

By |July 16th, 2014|Family life, Health, News, Parenting, Pregnancy|0 Comments

Shock horror: I’m running in pregnancy

Week: 24 Waist: 36 inches (no change) Feeling: Pretty good Dare I admit it? I’ve been running throughout my entire pregnancy and with the sixth month almost upon us I’m still clocking up around 12 miles a week. It’s now clear I have a baby on board (pictured) and it’s amazing how many people I’ve been running past since we moved here 18 months ago have suddenly started smiling and saying hello. Which is heartening. When I was expecting BB and carried on donning my trainers it wasn’t long before I discovered people seem to view pregnancy as some sort of illness, requiring one to sit on the sofa and eat crisps for nine months. I also discovered – and became increasingly infuriated by – people who dished out their advice on the subject despite having no medical knowledge whatsoever. ‘I’m not ill, I’m pregnant’ I would find myself saying over and over again. Having run six to nine miles at least twice a week for more than 10 years, there was no question in my mind that hanging up my trainers in favour of the sofa would be more of a shock to my system than continuing to pound the pavements. Every pregnancy book you find will tell you – assuming your blood pressure is ok – to continue your normal levels of activity as far as possible. What’s more, I love it. Why would I stop? […]

‘Don’t worry, you can’t catch anything from the pool’

Living in a fourth floor flat and with the temperature rising we’ve been spending increasing amounts of time at our local public cess paddling pool (pictured – the goggles never fail to make me laugh). BB loves it – she splashes, she wades, she orders me to clap while does laps around the perimeter in the shallows and she fills up her watering can to ‘water’ my feet. As she approaches three this is the first summer we’ve used the pool on a daily and weekly basis, and as the water trickles from the watering can over my toes I can’t help but wonder what’s actually in the stuff. It’s probably best not to think about it. Being on the seafront, as we are, I know the first visitors of the day are seagulls who happily splash and preen their feathers. Then there’s a constant stream of pre-schoolers up until 3 o’clock, after which they’re joined by the bigger kids too. […]

By |July 9th, 2014|Family days out, Family life, Health, Parenting|2 Comments

Pregnancy after multiple miscarriage: chicken soup for the soul (or baby)

Week: 23 Waist: 36 inches (+0.5 inches, possibly owing to Misery Guts’ work trip to the Cadbury factory) Feeling: Chickeny I’ve developed my first pregnancy craving: chicken soup. And not just any old chicken soup. It has to be fresh (tins are a no-no), it has to have actual pieces of chicken in and there can’t be any other ingredient other than chicken (sweetcorn is the stuff of the devil). I realise it’s been one of the hottest weeks of the year, but I can’t get enough of the stuff. I’m sipping as I write. It’s now got to the point that my local Tesco has been sold out of its Creamy Chicken Soup for three days in a row, and I’ve had no option but to move on to the Finest version instead, which oddly isn’t as nice (forget Covent Garden, have you seen the fat content?) […]

Miscarriage care campaign victory!

Just two weeks in there’s a victory in the next phase of Mumsnet’s Miscarriage Care Campaign: following a live webchat with mums last week shadow health secretary Andy Burnham MP has pledged to include better miscarriage care in Labour’s 2015 manifesto. At first I wasn’t sure if victory was the right word to describe the commitment – the cynic in me asks what good being included in Labour’s manifesto will actually do – but the fact is that without Mumsnet raising the profile of this issue and without mums like me sharing our first-hand experiences and demanding action this wouldn’t have happened. So in my book that’s a victory. […]

Pregnancy after multiple miscarriage: why can’t I just sit back and relax?

Week: 22 Waist: 35.5 inches (no change) Feeling: Like an overactive worrywart With the 20 week scan out of the way and all looking good, I’m now worrying the baby is going to come early. Too early. I’ve spent the last four months silently praying we make it beyond the next milestone: 8 weeks, when my last two babies died, 10 weeks, when the last miscarriage was actually diagnosed, 12 weeks, when we see whether everything appears to be ok or not, 16 weeks, when apparently the risk of miscarriage dramatically drops, and then 20 weeks, when again we see whether everything appears to be ok or not. I hadn’t really allowed myself to think beyond the 20 week scan, and now we’re here it’s almost as though my subconscious self is saying ‘you must have something to worry about’ and finds a new anxiety to harbour. […]

Why is NHS miscarriage care still so poor?

Ok, so I said I didn’t want to write about my miscarriages. However, this week Mumsnet published the results of its Miscarriage Care Survey showing that the treatment and support women receive following miscarriage is often less than ideal and fails to meet official national guidelines. Did you know that half of women who miscarry have to wait more than 24 hours for a scan to find out if their baby is still alive, and are treated alongside women with healthy pregnancies? Or that 58% of women wanted counselling after miscarrying, but only 12% were offered it? In a bid to improve NHS miscarriage care and lessen the trauma of pregnancy loss Mumsnet is calling for the three main political parties to pledge to improve the system, based on its Code of Care, by the end of the next parliament. Of course achieving this means women like me need to speak out about our experience, or nothing will change. There is no doubt elements of my care were less than ideal, and despite considerable – and unusual – encouragement from Misery Guts I have felt absolutely no desire to blog about it. But if sharing my story means another woman doesn’t have to face what I did, I will. So here goes: […]

Pregnancy after multiple miscarrigae: the 20 week scan

Week: 21 Waist: 35.5 inches (+ 0.5 inches, possibly owing to indulgent weekend mini-break) Feeling: Relieved It was the day I’ve been looking forward to and dreading in equal measure: the 20 week scan. The scarily named ‘anomaly’ scan, or the day we found out whether our longed for second baby is developing as he or she should, or whether something had gone amiss. Remarkably – and impossibly it seems to me given all that’s happened – everything appears to be as it should be: two arms, two legs, four chambers in the heart, a butterfly brain and blood rushing in and out of all the right places. I can hardly believe it. […]

Pregnancy after multiple miscarriage: my story

It’s been more than six weeks since I first announced we were expecting baby number two, and I think I’ve mentioned the pregnancy in a grand total of no posts. There is a very good reason for this: I daren’t. You see, there was more that went on in the crummy mummy household than met the eye in 2013 – two miscarriages in the space of six months to be exact. While my fellow mummy bloggers have been excitedly charting the days and weeks of their latest pregnancies, I have been too terrified to contemplate next week, never mind next month, praying that this time nothing will go wrong. Instead I have been quietly ticking off each day, and silently congratulating myself on each week. It’s been the longest four months of my life. But next week we will reach a milestone: 20 weeks, or half way there. And the little hands and feet starting to nudge me are finally giving me the confidence to record the experience. It looks like I might really become a mummy again. […]

Top Bananas! The best family recipes ever

At last. It may have taken two years but Mumsnet has finally compiled a cookbook featuring Mumsnetter’s best recipes, which means no more bookmarking pages from the website and balancing my laptop precariously next to the kitchen sink while attempting to recreate the concoctions. The compendium of wise is called Top Bananas! and features the tried and tested recipes of more than 300 mums with dishes ranging from basic Broccoli Balls to Luscious Lamb Shanks. As well as speedy suppers you can create while simultaneously emptying the washing machine and doing general mum things, there’s proper meals for the grown-ups even Misery Guts is game to try. My favourite bit is the chapter devoted to unashamedly unhealthy but rite-of-passage party treats such as Ice Cream Cone Cakes and Party Toffee Popcorn, which will surely send the anti-sugar brigade into overdrive. I can’t actually remember the last time I saw such naughty recipes in a family cookbook – probably my mum’s good old 1980s Jane Asher party cakes book. […]

By |May 30th, 2014|Books, Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Recipes, Reviews, Weaning|0 Comments

Rushing about with class bears and cameras: we’re all at it

We’re back. A week of lounging, swimming, eating and sleeping in Portugal (Timmy the class bear included, pictured) has done the trick: Misery Guts is (temporarily) less miserable, I’m (temporarily) less tired and BB is bursting with memories of ice cream licking and swimming pool splashing. The addition of Timmy to our party has certainly caused a stir among Mumsnetters. After my last post about class teddy bears having a lot to answer for – and letting the side down in spite of myself by taking the damn thing on holiday to snap in various enviable locations – featured as Mumsnet’s blog of the day, the Twitterati went mad. It seems we’re all at it – rushing around with kids, class mascots and cameras in tow in a bid to illustrate action-packed accounts of the bear’s stay at our house at a day’s notice. It’s like having homework all over again. Needless to say I haven’t actually written up Timmy’s diary entry or printed out the pictures yet – like homework, it’s still hanging over me to do. […]

By |May 28th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|0 Comments

A spring walk in the bluebells: Butcher’s Wood, West Sussex

If you're looking for the perfect place see spring time bluebells in all their glory I've got just the spot: Butcher’s [...]

Tramadol nights (and don’t forget the rolling pin)

Misery Guts has done his back in. Again. This is an annoyingly regular occurrence involving lots of groaning (you’d think he was in labour), the use of tramadol (washed down with a couple of lagers) and, as of this week, a rolling pin. According to one of many websites he has consulted on the subject of lower back pain, placing a rolling pin on the floor and rolling the affected area over it is one way of relieving the pain. For some reason this involves Misery Guts disrobing from the waist down (I’m not entirely sure whether the website advises this or whether it’s his own variation – I daren’t ask), lying on the living room floor with the rolling pin under his bare buttocks and, you guessed it, more groaning. I’ll never look at my rolling pin in the same way again. And nor will anyone else who eats cakes or scones at my house having read this post. But more worryingly, BB didn’t even bat an eyelid when this curious nightly routine began to unfold. […]

By |April 30th, 2014|Exercise, Family life, Health, Parenting|0 Comments

‘Daddy’s diawetic’

At the grand old age of two years and eight months – and after hearing about a two year old on the news who managed to dial 999 after his mummy collapsed – I’ve realised it’s high time to teach BB what to do if the same thing ever happens to Misery Guts, who’s Type 1 diabetic. It’s an unlikely scenario to occur when the two of them are awake and on their own, given that during waking hours Misery Guts can generally feel his blood sugar levels dipping and bring them up again before having a fit or becoming unconscious, but not impossible. So to avoid complicating the situation we’ve added an ‘emergency call’ button to our mobile phones so all BB has to do is touch the button and then the picture of the green phone that appears. After a week of practising she knows that if she ever can’t wake daddy up she should press the buttons, tell the person that answers that daddy won’t wake up and that he’s ‘diawetic’. She can even say her name and address. […]

By |April 25th, 2014|Family life, Health, Parenting|0 Comments