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I’ve been expecting you

I’m not sure what I’m more pleased about: the fact it appears BB is going to have a brother or [...]

By |April 23rd, 2014|Family life, Health, Parenting|3 Comments

Happy free-from Easter!

Following on from my last post about free-from sausages and how going without gluten and dairy doesn’t mean going without per se, it turns out the same can be said for chocolate. And Easter eggs. Until six months ago health food shops were alien to me: the sort of places that emit the same waft as you pass by the door (what is that smell? The ryvita? The flax?) and are piled high with daunting looking bags of unidentifiable brown stuff. Until I went in with a list written by my nutritional therapist and actually knew what I was looking for, that is. Admittedly chocolate was not on that list, however one cannot help but notice bright shiny chocolatey-looking packaging amongst the aforementioned unidentifiable brown stuff. And so I discovered Booja-Booja, which not only sells luxury chocolates and seasonal treats like Easter eggs (made in Kashmir and filled with truffles, pictured) but ice cream too. […]

By |April 16th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews|0 Comments

By’eck! I’ve just eaten a squasage

That’s right, a squasage. Also known as a square sausage. That’s what gluten free sausage brand Heck have been busy making in time for the barbecue season, because it doesn’t fall through the rungs of the grill only to be burned to a crisp and lost forever, or roll off the side of the barbie onto the grass (pictured). We haven’t dusted down our barbecue yet, so I’ve been eating mine between two soft and thick slices of (gluten free) bread. It may not look like a traditional sausage sandwich – as BB was fast to point out – but it tastes just the same and makes spreading the ketchup even easier. When embarking on Project No Nasties last autumn I thought living free-from would also mean going without, but when it comes to sausages I’ve found an ever better offering than the standard shelves. […]

By |April 14th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Recipes, Reviews|0 Comments

Guest post: healthy meals that don’t bust the budget

I couldn’t survive without my slow cooker. Whoever invented them deserves a medal. It doesn’t matter how cheap the cut of meat (pig cheeks make a mean chilli) if you cook it long enough you’ve got at least two separate – healthy – meals everyone will love that doesn’t bust the budget (Saturday night’s pulled pork, pictured). So for everyone who has a slow cooker lurking in the back of the cupboard which hasn’t seen the light of day for a while, or if you fancy the idea of slow cooking in the oven but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, I’m delighted to bring you a guest post from mum-of-two and keen cook Susan Jameson offering top tips on how to prepare great tasting, money-saving family meals: […]

By |March 31st, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Money, Parenting|0 Comments

Nairn’s oat biscuits up for grabs!

Given that I’m trying to eschew gluten (and the type of gluten found in bready things) I’ve been consuming rather a lot of oat biscuits lately. When I first went hunting for them in the supermarket I expected to find a choice of two, possibly three different options. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s been an explosion of oat biscuits apparently led by category stalwart Nairn’s, whose range includes everything from seedy and fruity to biscuits to biscuit breaks (aka breakfast biscuits) and a raft of gluten-free varieties. I’ve been dunking, spreading, dipping and munching my way through them for weeks now, and in a bid to share the love I’ve teamed up with Nairn’s to offer one reader the chance to win three lovely boxes of the stuff. […]

By |March 28th, 2014|Competitions, Food, Health, Reviews|0 Comments

Poor Michelle Heaton…

There’s a line I never thought I’d write. This week the pop star, who had a double mastectomy in 2012 when she discovered she was a carrier of the mutated BRCA2 gene and had an 80% chance of developing breast cancer, revealed she was in tears just hours after taking her new born son home because he was rooting for her breasts but of course she was unable to breast feed him. As a mum who loved every moment of breast feeding I can’t imagine what this must have felt like, watching a tiny mouth desperate to latch on but being physically unable to give him what he was so naturally searching for. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the star was then blasted for not breast feeding her baby and ‘promoting’ bottle feeding by an (ignorant) Twitter follower after she tweeted a picture of a bottle sterilizer she had received as a gift from Tommee Tippee. […]

By |March 14th, 2014|Breast feeding, Family life, Health, News, Parenting|2 Comments

How to childproof a bedroom (aka death trap)

We’re about to reach another milestone in the crummy mummy household: it’s time to turn BB’s much loved cot into a bed. The only reason she’s still in it at two and a half is because she flatly refuses to sleep anywhere else, but it really is time to get her out of nappies and onto the loo by herself at night, so the sides have to go. Which means I’ve realised just how much of a death trap her bedroom really is. Aside from the fact we live on the 4th floor of a block of flats with nothing but a sheer drop onto concrete outside her window, there’s the draw cord for her blind which dangles dangerously because we’ve never fixed its holder to the wall, a 6ft freestanding bookcase just waiting to be climbed and toppled when I’m not looking and a radiator which gets burning hot despite being off thanks to a heating system shared by all 49 flats (all pictured). […]

By |March 7th, 2014|Books, Family life, Health, Parenting, Potty training|0 Comments

Crushed: a healthy snack you’ll love too

You can always rely on a mumpreneur to find a solution to a problem. One vexing me lately is what to give BB to eat on the go when we’re charging between home and Talking Tots or the supermarket and nursery. Bored of snack packs of apple and grapes from Tesco and constantly being harassed for Milky Way Magic Stars, I’ve been on the hunt for something in bright packaging that looks like a treat akin to magic stars, but isn’t. Cue Crushed (pictured). Technically designed for hard-to-please seven to 11-year-olds, these Ella’s Kitchen-style pouches of 100% fruit contain no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives and come in apple and banana and apple and strawberry flavours. With screw-top spouts there’s no mess and no spoon, perfect for on-the-go consumption – in our case the pushchair. […]

By |March 5th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews|1 Comment

Gluten and dairy-free Paleo pancakes: it CAN be done

With Project No Nasties still going strong (I’m doing my best to avoid gluten, dairy, caffeine and anything generally considered not very good for you, excepting Haagen-Dazs in light of last week’s special consignment) I’m determined to still enjoy pancake day tomorrow. How hard can it be? The plan is to substitute plain flour for gluten-free flour, and milk for soya wholebean instead (pictured). I think I’ll be on my own: Misery Guts turned his nose up at the mere mention of soya milk, and I have resolved not to foist my own diet lifestyle plan onto BB, so hers will be made using the traditional ingredients. But for those of you interested, here’s my recipe for the batter: […]

By |March 3rd, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting|0 Comments

Why do they always discontinue beauty products I love?

Just when you find a beauty product you really like they go and discontinue it. Why do they do that? Just three months after falling in love with Mama Mio’s Clean Slate cleanser they’ve gone and revamped the whole range, ditching this little gem. They haven’t even reformulated it, it’s just gone. Why can’t these companies give us some notice, so we can go and stock up in advance? Like a Boots 17 nail polish in chateau red which I adored. If they’d said they weren’t going to make it anymore I’d have bought loads. Instead I’ve never been able to find the same colour again. […]

By |February 21st, 2014|Beauty, Fashion, Health, Parenting|0 Comments

I’m afraid I’ve spawned a giant

BB was exactly two and a half on Saturday. Apparently, the height of a child at two and a half is precisely half the height they will be when fully grown, and I’ve had the height chart at the ready for months to see what it will be. BB was just over 3ft 1 (pictured). Which could make her at least 6ft 2. Cripes. After entering this information into my Dairy Diary (this is where all important milestones are recorded, just like my mum whose 1985 edition includes entries such as ‘crummy mummy and her brother played together all weekend.’ I’m not kidding – it really does) I started to think. While such stature could indeed put BB in the running to become a super model, if she inherits Misery Guts’ clumsiness she could well turn out to be more Miranda than Macpherson. […]

By |February 17th, 2014|Beauty, Family life, Fashion, Health, Parenting|1 Comment

‘Mummy and daddy gone onna mini break’

This is what BB has been telling anyone who’ll listen following our night away at Foxhills Hotel & Spa in Surrey at the weekend. ‘Mini break’ sounds so extravagant and self-indulgent, and I suppose it was (pictured). Luxurious rooms with king-size beds, a king-size bath (even Misery Guts, who’s 6ft 4, could lie down in it) and a health spa complete with a 20m pool with vaulted ceilings and ‘mood lighting’ all promised and delivered a restorative 24 hours away from being mummy and daddy. And all despite my reservations that the trip was going to go pear shaped when Misery Guts demanded 10% off the bill before we’d even left the house because the hotel’s restaurant was closed (a fact they failed to tell us when making the booking) even though we had never planned to eat there in the first place. […]

By |February 12th, 2014|Beauty, Exercise, Family life, Health, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|2 Comments

Recipes your toddler (and you) will love

I’ve suffered my triannual anxiety attack in which I fear we’ve come to rely too much on sausages and potato waffles and the same meals on the same day of each week. In a fit of renewed I-must-get-more-vegetables-into-BB I went in search of a new cookbook featuring meals I know she requests seconds of at nursery (when her little friends are sat beside her happily tucking in) like spaghetti carbonara and chicken curry but won’t touch with a barge pole at home. Nestled between the River Cottage baby and toddler cookbook with quinoa this and spelt that (too poncey pretentious for me) and the obligatory Annabel Karmel recipes (always far too time consuming) I found The Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book by Felicity Bertin and Emma Ogden-Hooper. As an advocate of baby-led weaning but with a toddler who now refuses to suck the tips from a tree of broccoli or peel the layers off a sprout I discovered a book packed full of normal, simple family recipes like cottage pie and fish cakes all with a healthy portion of ‘hidden’ veg. […]

By |February 3rd, 2014|Books, Family life, Food, Health, Reviews, Weaning|2 Comments

‘I’m guilt-ridden and torn between two roles’

Guilt-ridden, torn between two roles and overlooked. This is the current state-of-mind of working mums according to research revealed by The Work & Family Show this week. Apparently 80% of new mums feel guilty about going back to work and leaving their child in the care of others, and childcare responsibilities still fall on the mother’s shoulders even when both parents are working. I suspect this study is only scratching at the surface of the mental state of working mums today, who if anything like me are on a constant treadmill of trying to run a household and raise children while at the same time earning enough money to ensure the smooth running of that household and maintain a career. […]

By |January 31st, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, News, Work life|0 Comments

‘Nordmann non drop my a**e’

…said Misery Guts when we returned from our annual festive getaway to find more pine needles on the floor than on the tree itself. For once he had good reason to be miserable: of the five days we spent visiting parents and in-laws, he spent two in bed with a migraine and two days and a night at Southampton General Hospital (pictured). It turns out a sinus infection and a severe migraine are not conditions one wants to experience at the same time. One required intravenous antibiotics, the other liquid morphine. It’s fair to say it’s been a stressful one this year, so I won’t be sorry to wave goodbye to 2013 and welcome 2014. […]

By |December 31st, 2013|Family life, Health|2 Comments