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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

‘Chunkier’ advent calendar chocolate: why oh why?

Is it just me or is the world going mad? Or advent calendar makers to be precise. I couldn’t help but furnish BB with her first chocolate advent calendar this year – it seemed cruel not to – and she loves Thomas the Tank Engine, for which there isn’t a non-chocolate picture alternative available. Or it seemed cruel until my eyes fell on the boast ‘chunkier chocolate for the final five days’ (pictured), when it was already opened and too late to take back. Chunkier chocolate for the final five days??!! I am outraged. Why oh why? So the child can gradually expand their stomach in time for the day itself, ready to gorge on even more confectionary? And since when did advent calendars have 25, as opposed to 24, chocolates? No wonder this country has an obesity problem. […]

By |December 4th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|0 Comments

Peanut butter…without the peanuts!

I can hardly believe it but I’m about to enter my third month of project No Nasties (alcohol, caffeine and dairy) in a bid to wave goodbye to not-so-new mum frazzle and fatigue and rediscover pre-pregnancy levels of health and wellbeing. I say no nasties: I must admit to falling off the wagon once or twice wine-wise, and the odd diet coke may have passed my lips, but overall I’ve had a pretty good stab at it. While I’m at it I’ve decided to embrace the whole free-from revolution and opt for gluten-free and whatever-else-I-can-get-my-hands-on-free at the same time. Why not? In for a penny, in for a pound. And you can now get peanut butter without the peanuts. Or any other sort of nut. And it actually tastes – and looks – like peanut butter (pictured). […]

By |November 29th, 2013|Food, Health, Reviews|3 Comments

Easy peasy gluten-free Christmas cake recipe

With Misery Guts following a gluten-free Paleo diet and me doing my best to clean up my own act I’ve been making a gluten-free Christmas cake for the last few years. Finding a decent recipe was harder than I thought, but I finally found a great one so I thought I’d share my easy peasy gluten-free Christmas cake recipe for anyone looking for a free-from option. I simply took ever-dependable Delia Smith’s classic Christmas cake recipe and substituted the flour for ground almonds and a teeny weeny bit of gluten-free plain flour. She also uses chopped almonds, so fearing almond overload I opted for chopped pistachios instead. Here’s how I did it: […]

By |November 25th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|4 Comments

Remember remember ear defenders

It didn’t even occur to me to kit BB out with ear defenders ahead of our annual fireworks display this weekend, and this is the result (pictured). She spent almost the entire 25 minutes with her head buried in Misery Guts’ chest, peeping out every now and again only to shut her eyes even more tightly and bury herself even more deeply. I’m not sure why I didn’t consider that a toddler, safely encompassed in ear defenders, might enjoy a visual show more than a popping and banging one, but I didn’t. […]

By |November 4th, 2013|Family life, Health|0 Comments

Breastfeeding: the aftermath

I know I promised not to write anymore on the subject, but circumstances have conspired to induce me to take to my laptop once again. It’s now been five months since I stopped breastfeeding BB, and in those months I have felt so under the weather that I hardly remember what it’s like to feel on top of it. It started with an eye infection which took three GPs to diagnose correctly, quickly followed by an ear infection requiring two separate courses of antibiotics. Then there was a tummy bug which lasted a full 4 weeks, forcing me to cancel social events and sending me to bed, twice. Oh, and then there was a nasty mouth ulcer. At first I put the feeling of general malaise down to the ‘fug’ of new motherhood, broken nights that lasted more than a year and running around after a toddler. But surely the fug oughtn’t to last two years. And, on reflection, feeling like I’ve been knocked over the head with a cricket bat by mid afternoon every day isn’t quite right either. […]

By |October 7th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Health|4 Comments

Behind every (slimmed down) man is a great woman

So Colin Firth has shed a stone or two, prompting much media back slapping and extolling of the benefits of the ‘man diet’. It’s not clear how he did it – colonic irrigation? Weight Watchers? Hypnotherapy? – but I’m willing to bet his wife played no small part in proceedings, and I’ve not seen her similarly congratulated. I suspect there’s a woman’s hand in this because so far this year Misery Guts has also managed to shed a stone or two embracing the paleo diet, aka the caveman diet, which means no carbs and lots of meat, fish and eggs. It sounds simple enough, but try coming up with decent evening meals with no pasta, potatoes, rice, noodles, grain or bread week in week out. We’re going through 24 eggs a week (the checking of them alone adds 5 minutes to the weekly shop) and of course I’ve inadvertently been on the diet too because I can’t be bothered don’t have the time to prepare two separate meals. […]

By |September 16th, 2013|Family life, Health, News|0 Comments

Memories are made of…licking a Kenwood ‘K’

Birthday cake making has commenced and as a result BB has reached a milestone: she has licked the Kenwood ‘K’. [...]

By |August 12th, 2013|Family life, Food, Health|4 Comments

A penny for your thoughts…

If I had a penny for every time I’ve wondered what BB is thinking, I’d be able to buy a new pair of Jimmy Choos by now. And maybe even a matching bag. Here she is (pictured) in the paddling pool at granny and grandpa’s house this weekend, the master of all she surveys. What on earth was she thinking? Is it even possible to ‘think’ when one hasn’t mastered a language yet? And was she in fact feeling, rather than conducting an internal monologue about the sights and smells around her? I’d love to know. Apparently a child has around 100 billion brain cells at birth, and around 50 trillion synaps connecting those cells. By eight months this has increased to 1,000 trillion synaps, but by the age of 20 the number of synaps has decreased to 500 trillion. So you could say she’s in her prime. Unlike me, and probably you, which is alarming stuff. […]

By |June 10th, 2013|Family life, Health|0 Comments

Mums-to-be: a bunch of reckless, risk taking half-wits

It’s official: all mums-to-be should hermetically seal themselves in a sterile bubble for the entire duration of their pregnancy. According to advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists today, pregnant women should avoid eating or drinking anything from cans or plastic containers, minimise their use of cosmetics and moisturiser and not buy any new furniture to avoid exposure to certain chemicals. It’s a wonder the human race has survived at all. The paper stupidly suggests women take a ‘safety first’ approach – implying mums-to-be are all a bunch of reckless, risk taking half-wits. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything so ludicrous. […]

By |June 5th, 2013|Beauty, Family life, Health, News|2 Comments

Go Myleene, that’s what I say

Poor Myleene Klass. As if your husband walking out on you after 6 months of marriage wasn’t bad enough, the singer cum TV presenter cum model is now being accused of attention seeking by revealing she encouraged family and friends to taste her breast milk. Whether she was courting attention or not – isn’t that the job of a sleb? – I don’t see why she’s come under such fire. How is drinking milk produced from a fellow human’s nipple any ‘weirder’ than drinking milk produced from a cow’s udder? At least it’s from the same species. And I don’t buy the public ‘outcry’ either. I think there’s a lot of ye doth protest too much going on. According to a study published in the Sunday Times in 2005, researchers found that one third of fathers had tasted their other half’s breast milk, and it was ‘fairly common’ for the dads to drink it not just once, but often. […]

By |May 31st, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Health|0 Comments