Wednesday, 25 April 2012

When the t-shirts had to stop...

When The Kissing Had To Stop is a novel published in the 60's about a possible Soviet invasion of England. This blog post is not about a Soviet invasion, it is about my wardrobe. I just thought it sounded funny(!)

I have nearly stopped feeding my son myself. He is being bottle fed and I only feed him in the morning and evening. I love being able to feed my tiny one, but the practicalities of going back to work have meant I need to wean him onto a bottle. This is actually going very well so far and he is happy. By the end of the month, he will just be on bottled milk.

That's going to be ok.

We can do it!

It is a wrench, but the most significant upside to this transition is that I will be able to wear dresses again, or tunics or vest tops. Basically, all the outfits I stopped wearing while I have been breast feeding because now, I don't need to keep shoving a baby up my t-shirt.

The t-shirt thing started almost straight away. When the baby was born, we had to stay in hospital for a while. I had only taken a couple of bits with me when I was admitted onto the labour ward and I wasn't expecting to still be there two weeks later. All I had was a maternity tunic (nice nautical blue and white stripes) and white leggings. This was perfect at the end of my pregnancy as it was roomy and comfy, but in order to feed the baby, I had to hoik a couple of metres of fabric up around my neck. This would have been ok-ish at home, but on a children's ward in a busy hospital, it was a tad embarrassing.

I had to call in the reinforcements.

My mum went and bought half the t-shirts in Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins and I was saved! Baggy t-shirts to save my blushes and also covered my slowly diminishing tummy.
Since then, this has become my mummy uniform. I wear a t-shirt, jeans and a cardy pretty much everyday. I might jazz it up with a jacket or a scarf, but it's my style. And I like it.

But, now the time has come to make a change. From now on, if I see a dress I like, I can buy it, or even consider buying it, knowing I will be able to wear it, rather than the dresses I have bought in the last few months which are still in their bags in the wardrobe.
So, goodbye t-shirts, see you at the weekend. Hello dresses, let's get this show on the road!

Friday, 20 April 2012


I have been looking back over my tweets from the last week and there is a clear theme emerging.


I have been (t)wittering about weaning, worrying about weaning and waxing lyrical about weaning.

My six month old has been enjoying the delights of baby rice, moving on to apple, pear and carrot mash, then toast, followed closely by fromage frais. After seeking inspiration from many sources, I have moved onto various combinations of chicken, potato and butternut squash.

I have only recently started tweeting, in fact I am currently on tweet 67, but I am enjoying expressing my thoughts in 140 characters. I have been tweeting pictures too, particularly pictures of cake, like this one....

Although cake is still on the agenda, a different kind of nourishment has been at the heart of my twitterings this week. Here is the last seven days of weaning in 140 character bite sized chunks.

Oh no, it's weaning time, but why have I lost my (baby) bottle? I have got pureed fruit, but I am afraid to use it.

Mummy and baby elevenses courtesy of Waitrose. #fondantfanciesarethebest

Made beautiful apple puree in a new whizzer but forgot to take the little plastic cover off the blades! Yummy apple and plastic puree. #doh 

Strange trip to Tesco, just buying kitchen towel and yoghurt and then the #Osmonds appeared!

Weaning continues with toast soldiers. Baby LIKES toast. That's my boy. #toastygoodness

Suck of thumb, suck of toast, suck of thumb, suck of toast, suck of thumb, suck of toast #weaning

Operation Weaning Baby is up and running, it's a good start, but how did the #Osmonds get involved? 

Surely I have earned points towards my #domesticgoddess badge - homemade chicken, potato and butternutsquash baby food

My little baby food army. They feed a very small soldier #weaning

Notice the hieroglyphics on the tiny tubs. That is my shorthand for chicken or butternut squash or potato. I have mentioned my obsessive personality, haven't I?

So, that is a flavour (sorry) of the last week. I think it illustrates just how much I have been thinking about the weaning process. Who knows what the next week will hold. Probably baby-food-mashers wrist.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Up and running

One of the brilliant things about blogging is that, in addition to expressing my baby-related angst and giving myself an excuse to eat cake, I am effectively creating a journal. The future 'me' can look back and remember the daft things I did and the worries I had and think fondly of those early times with my tiny baby. (This is the time before he became an enormous boy who didn't want to go to coffee shops and look at pretty dresses with mummy, but wanted to dig in the garden or play football or eat worms).

All I can think about at the moment is weaning. There must be hundreds of posts about the joys of baby's first mouthfuls, but it has become a bit of an obsession and so I wanted to make a note of things just in case I forgot any of the details. (Yes, I think that counts as an obsession.)

When I finally put some real food in my baby's mouth, it was a bit of baby rice. However, it was the transition from baby portions to three full blown meals a day that was worrying me. My research suggested that the baby needed to be on breakfast, lunch and dinner by the time he reached seven months. That sounded pretty daunting! I needed to get going.

We started with some pear, which we mashed with a new mashing gadget. This was ok, went down well, mixed with a little baby rice and milk. Then we mashed some carrot, served in the same way. This was great, but the mashing left the dindins a bit coarse and wasn't going down so well. So, we bought a blender - just a cheap one - to give food a slightly finer texture. I prepared some apple - peeling, chopping and steaming it. I sterilised all my equipment and checked the mechanisms, I was ready to go. I whizzed up the apple, feeling very virtuous, and was just decanting it into little pots when I noticed something a bit strange. There was a little bit of something bluey coloured in the apple. When I looked closer, I realised it was a bit of plastic. I hadn't taken the plastic cover off the blades on the whizzer. Doh! I had apple and plastic purée. I don't think the health visitor would approve.

I was starting to run out of inspiration and decided to look at Gina (Ford) for some meal ideas. Now, I know she isn't everyone's cup of tea, but she is reassuring. She suggested a meal plan to work towards. It included toast and yoghurt and jacket potato. Now, I can do that! So, with a spring in my step and some new ideas, I went shopping.

I went to our local Tesco and was collecting some supplies when, quite randomly, the tannoy announced that the Osmonds were about to arrive in store. No, really, the actual Osmonds. They were in town for a date on their latest tour. But, I was on a baby food mission, I didn't have time for international superstars.

Since my brush with Gina Ford and the Osmonds (it's not everyday you put those two in the same sentence) I have stepped up a gear. The baby has been eating three times a day. He loves toast, like his mother. In fact he growled at his toast the other day. Maybe he was growling at me when I got too close to his new found friend! His other favourite food is fromage frais - he was gulping it down so fast I thought he might do himself a mischief!

I have revisited Annabel Karmel and jotted down some menu ideas and I have got some more inspiration from one of the mums picking up after Cubs. She suggested liver and onions. Back to the supermarket tomorrow.

The weaning menu is taking over my life. I am enjoying it though, I don't think anyone in my family has ever eaten this well.

Incidentally, while I was writing this post, I asked my partner who was sitting next to me on the sofa, whether Petit Filou was yoghurt or fromage frais. Rather than get up and look in the fridge, he immediately started googling it. Either we are very lazy or having a new baby has exhausted us beyond belief. I know which one I am going for!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Culinary masterpiece

I could be described as a wonderful mummy or possibly having a slightly loose screw.

On the last day of the Easter holidays, I ventured out to Twinlakes near Melton Mowbray. I went on my own with an eight year old and a six month old. Both boys are very well behaved, but even my mother kept asking "so, you're going on your own?" as if she couldn't quite believe it. It's almost like I had suggested tackling Everest. I know what she means though. There have been times in the past where I have had a minor nervous breakdown after losing children in amongst the climbing frames and rope swings or having to negotiate with a child whose life will end if they have to leave the park now. But that was a while ago and I do have a very grown up boy, who, if given a bit of responsibility, rises to the challenge like a superstar.

If you are ever in the East Midlands and need something to occupy your family, I would really recommend Twinlakes. It was a working farm and still has a lot of animals for children to look at. It has two enormous 'barns' full of smaller rides, huge slides, a ghost train, bouncy castles and soft play for tiny ones. Outside there are mini roller coasters, a log flume, a train, boating lakes, a wild west village and a castle which doubles as a climbing frame. The coffee and chips are pretty good too! The newest addition is an outdoor water play area. It looks fantastic, but considering our weather, it takes a very brave soul to actually don a swimsuit and dive in. There were only three daring dudes on the day we went. It would have to be blooming tropical to get me in there, but given half a chance my hot blooded big boy would have gone for it. It took a bit of diplomacy to suggest that indoors might be better in 9 degree April.

It was a great day, and although he hadn't got a friend or a grown up to play with, the big boy had a fab time. The high point for me, bearing in mind I couldn't go on the death slide as I was with the baby, was our lunch.

We had our own picnic with the components to build the worlds greatest sandwich - the dairylea and crisp sandwich. This is a delicacy I was introduced to by my mum when we were on school holidays and I, in turn have passed it on to my children. (This is the limit to my passing on culinary secrets, my mum tried, but I think my brother inherited the family recipes. I do make a mean sandwich though.) While we were enjoying our lunch, my son decided to add a new, daring dimension, trying a dairylea, crisp and chip sarnie. Now, that is hitting carbohydrate heaven. It worked too, we even added tomato sauce for an extra twist.

Next time though, I think I will stick to just dairylea and crisp. You can't mess with a classic.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Dive in

It's weaning time. My little one is six months old and, apart from a couple of mouthfuls of baby rice, he has only had milk to sustain him during his short life. But all that is about to change.

This little one is my second baby. I weaned his big brother eight years ago and the guidelines (or rules) were different then. Eight years ago, I was told I could give my baby some puréed veg or fruit at four months. That's not allowed anymore. I understand why and I am very happy to protect my little one's tummy by introducing solids later, however, it is like learning to ride a bike again, but they have put the pedals where the handlebars are. Everything I thought I knew is slightly different. So, it's back to the text books. I have looked at all my baby books and at the (actually) really helpful leaflet from the health visitor. I have looked a couple of times and then I have gone back to look again.

I feel like I have lost my (baby) bottle!

I have puréed some pear, bought some new spoons and some little tubs to freeze baby portions in, I have extra bibs and I have even got a new gadget to mash veg and fruit which will mash a little portion of my dinner when his little body is up to it. Now all I need to do is get on with it.

I am ready......


Watch me purée this pear....

I am nearly there....

What is wrong with me? It is like I have lost my nerve - how can I have though, I have done all this before.

My partner has been watching my dithering with calm resignation. I tried to explain how it felt and why I seem to have become the big girls blouse of the weaning world. Then, after listening patiently, he said it sounds like I am standing on the side of a swimming pool ready to take the plunge, I know that it will be a bit chilly to start with, but when I get there it will be fine. I just need to get up the guts to dive in!

That's it exactly, he hit the nail on the head.

I am ready to go - all I need is a stiff drink (or maybe a skinny latte with an extra shot), to take a deep breath and dive in!

Watch this space.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Cold feet

I have got cold feet.

Not metaphorically, although I have had my moments, but literally. My feet are like blocks of ice.

It's always been the same. When I was a little girl, I had a pair of bed socks knitted by my Great Aunt. They were quite an astonishing garment; they were a deep magenta with a wide holey pattern and the laces (yes, laces) were also made from a strand of wool. The most wonderful characteristic of these beauties (or booties) is that they had the dimensions of a mans size 10 and swamped my little girly feet, making me look like I had raided Coco the Clowns sock drawer. Having said all that and sounding very ungrateful, I wore them every night to keep my blocks of ice a little nearer to luke warm.

So, you see, slippers and bed socks have always been crucial in my life. I can't bear cold feet and more importantly with a new baby, I can't sleep with cold feet. This physiological anomaly leads to an annual search for a new pair of slippers. And for some reason it always occurs out of slipper season. Usually, the only slippers available are maribou feathered mules which are only suitable for 70s boudoirs or furry boots which are great in deepest winter.

This year I have found an added criteria in my search. I need slippers that are not in any way a trip hazard. I have currently got a pair of sloppy, backless slippers which looked really lovely when new (I have managed to wreck them). They are white, fluffy ones with little coloured hearts on them and my mum and dad bought them for me when I was in hospital with the new baby. These poor old things are only six months old, but have reached the end of the line. But, they are also guilty of the greatest sin imaginable; I tripped over in them while holding the baby. It was my own fault actually, I was fiddling with my slippers and managed to trip over my own feet, but still, they were relegated immediately to the back doormat like a naughty schoolgirl caught cheating in a maths test. The baby and I were fine, but it gave me a bit of a shock.

So, the search for new slippers began.

I looked high and low. Well, on the ground floor and first floor of the shopping centre. I discovered a few options, but they are either backless and there is a potential trip factor to consider or a slipper more suited to a slightly older lady or slipper socks in the sale left over from Christmas or they didn't have my size. I tried Next, Dorothy Perkins, John Lewis..... The nearest I came was a pair of bunny slippers in JL, but 1. they were fifteen pounds and 2. they were BUNNY slippers. I like a bunny and they were cute, but I was after something I can answer the door in without being given a funny look by the postman.  Eventually, I went to TK Maxx. It's not my normal haunt, but I needed to try a different approach in my hunt. And they had a few options. Not many, but a couple.

Now, the slippers I bought are not what I was aiming for. In fact, they are far from it. In fact, every time I look at them I cringe slightly, but I don't care. I was a woman on the edge. On the edge of having permanently cold feet. It couldn't carry on, so I paid my six pounds and went on my way. So far, they have done their job well and my feet are of an acceptable temperature. But, from now on, I will buy slippers in slipper season. In fact, I may go as far as to put slippers on my Christmas list. Oh no, does this mean I have become a grown up? Surely it can't be. Oh well, as long as I have got warm feet, I can cope with anything.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Top banana

It's the Easter holidays. Hooray! Now I just need to find a way of entertaining my team for two weeks.

I have a few ideas. I initially started writing this blog to share the places I had found to take my little ones for a good cuppa and a tasty bit of cake. I admit, there was a significant amount of self interest, I like tea and cake (and coffee and sandwiches and sausage rolls and chips). Today, I realised I have been merely tinkering. I have discovered the ultimate site! And just in time to give me some inspiration for Easter activities.

I was minding my own business, listening to my local BBC radio station and I heard a very friendly sounding chap telling me about his latest achievement. He had designed a web site to give mums, dads, granny's and grandpa's the low down on the best places to take their littleys. It can tell you which parks have toilets and parking. Which are free and which are costly. It sounds like this chap and his wife have visited hundreds of different places to bring us this wonderful bank of information.

I am thrilled that it is out there. At the moment, he is just writing about Leicestershire and Rutland, but is expanding into the rest of the Midlands. What a fabulous idea.

Not only can I share the site with
But, I can also share the link so you can listen to the interview too, if you click here.

The site is charming. There is a page dedicated to gifts for grandpa and there's even a joke section. It includes my favourite joke in the world.

Q. What's orange and sounds like a parrot?

A. A carrot.


We need a site like this for the whole of the country. Do you think I could volunteer to do some research?