What a difference some months make

Can you believe it- after about 20 minutes of trying to remember my password for my WordPress account, here I am

So what’s new with you? There have been quite a fair old few changes round here that I’ve been wrangling with, most of them entirely expected but that’s not to say they haven’t been a shock to the system!

I went back to work last November, following 9 months of being at home and I was SO glad to be back- back to something that I’m vaguely competent at as opposed to the mysteries and minefields of parenthood. I was full time for two months while Mark took a bit of time out to spend with Sid, and now I’m doing a longer Wednesday to Friday in the office and a few hours at home so am practically doing a four day week.

To add something else to the mix, I decided to shake things up a bit and have signed up for my first module of a degree in history with the open university.  Technically, according to my detailed study plan, I should currently be reading Dr Faustus while I’m on the tube but instead I decided to blog. Procrastination already and the post doesn’t even start for a week *slaps wrist*

We’re planning on putting our house up for sale later this year so I really need to get a move on with doing some painting- I’m going to be hugely sad to leave but thinking practically we’ll need to be closer to our parents by the time Sid gets to school age (nb- we’re not talking about an epic move or anything- we’re looking literally two miles up the road.  London school catchments are mental! )

And yes, can you believe it,  my tiny baby is nearly one already- can’t believe a year ago I was contemplating the joys of maternity leave and now we’re trying to sort out a birthday cake!  Crazy times

So that’s a wee update at least- I’ve most making random outpourings, so expect more!


Sid’s cracking on for six months old now, and we’ve already started the weaning journey. This is week three, in fact. I’ve been a little bit naughty, because the current guideline is to offer only milk until six months.

I’m unashamed to say that I was excited about weaning- it sounded like great fun, and so tentatively, from just over five months, I decided to start offering tastes of things I was eating. Nothing major- just a lick of a finger with some mushed up banana on it, that sort of thing. Even though he was showing all the other signs of being ready to wean (able to sit up without slumping and hold his head up, great coordination and he’d more than doubled his birth weight) Sid remained resolutely unbothered about actually the actual eating thing for a good couple of weeks and was much more interested with playing with toys and mastering rolling over.

I’m a big believer that while guidelines are generally there for a reason, there are always exceptions and when, at 22 weeks he made a grab for my quesedilla, and stuffed it straight in his mouth, I reasoned that he was probably ready.

I was really keen to go down the baby-led weaning route, as I was really into the idea of letting Sid explore and eat what he wanted, as well as being really quite lazy: I didn’t really want to rely on jars or pouches of baby food, mainly because they are always such mad combinations of food that they don’t really taste of anything in particular- I gave Sid some butternut squash, sweetcorn and pear stuff the other day that just tasted of nothing, and I just plain can’t be bothered getting the blender out because is a pain in the arse to clean.

Because we’d started earlier than six months, however, we decided to start off with purees and spoon feeding, so Sid’s first few meals were baby porridge or half a pouch of a single fruit or veg puree- pear, apple and butternut squash were particularly successful. After a few days of that I got the confidence to give him some other bits, so he had sticks of courgette, that I microwaved for about 30 seconds so they went soft, and boiled butternut squash as I was cooking some for us for dinner, which he coped with admirably. Not much eating- just a bit of nomming at the sticks, followed by throwing things on the floor.

My mum was, and still is reasonably against baby-led weaning.  I think she’s just really scared of him choking (hope it’s that, rather than her thinking that I’m a bad parent or anything),. And the choking thing is pretty petrifying, to be honest- its like you’re trying to make a situation more dagerous on purpose. Sid has ridiculously good hand eye coordination, so I think normally babies would spend a good few days or weeks getting to grips with actually picking anything up and getting it to their mouths under their own steam, but he’s managing to ram in whole stalks of broccoli unaided from day one. Because of that, he gets a bit overexcited and has been gagging A LOT. I know it’s a defence mechanism to stop food from going down the wrong way and actually to prevent choking, but it’s really scary to watch and he’s thrown up at least four times- a proper fountain-like ejection.

We’re on week three now and I think that he’s kind of getting it. There’s still gagging, and he still seems to be ramming loads into his mouth, but I’m much more confident that he’s able to deal with it- be it a bit of  cough to ease something up or down, or just letting something that’s too big dribble out again, he’s doing really well (even though I’m still sitting on my hands at every single meal!)

I can’t say that we’re doing baby led weaning at the moment, because the purists would tell me off- You can only call it baby led weaning if you are not getting involved at all, and quite frankly, I don’t think I could be bothered with loading up spoonfuls of porridge, handing it to Sid, and having him smear it all over his face, and I think he’d get the hump because he can’t do it proficiently yet. He’s good, but he’s not superman!

So what is he eating? Well here’s a sample menu from today…

05:30- Wake up for 4oz of formula, back to sleep for an hour before coming into bed for a play

07:30- Sid cries, so Gem makes up 4oz bottle and we have breakfast in bed. Sid gets bored after 2oz and tries to grab at my toast.

08:30- Downstairs to the highchair for an official breakfast of peach slices and yoghurt. Peach slices administered by Sid, yoghurt lovingly spoon fed by mummy. Sid makes appreciative grunting noises while eating yoghurt. Side note- I invested in a crinkle cutter, which is good for cutting up slippery things like peach slices to make them a bit more grippable. Sid also has what I have termed woofy water (drunk from a beaker with a dogs head on- brilliant. It’s from Ikea)- he can pick up the cup and get the spout into his mouth, but hasn’t mastered tipping his head back enough to get water out, so I lend a hand here too.

09:00- Breakfast done, we retire to the sofa to finish off the last of the milk and watch a bit of Cbeebies. This is followed by an epic three hour nap, which is virtually unheard of, but I digress

12:00- Wakey wakey- I make up 7oz of formula and he downs 5oz of it in one go- again, pretty much unheard of- it usually takes him about 2 hours to drink that much… a very unusual day. Once he finished with the bottle, I tipped the rest into the woofy cup and we practiced drinking it from there while we mucked about on the floor

16:00- Dinner- Today was our first go at bread. After debating the options for about 10 minutes in tescos, agonising over salt content of the various brands, I got some Warburtons danish bread- It’s 0.25g of salt per slice which I figured would be ok given that he doesn’t really have anything else with salt in at all. So today’s dinner was a slice of toast with a tiny bit of cream cheese, cucumber fingers and strawberry slices. All in all it was pretty well decimated and after he’d done what he could with all of that, he burst into tears and would only be consoled with half a pouch of pear puree. Piggy

17:00- 7oz of formula. He made a start on it, and then finished the rest off when Mark took him to bed around 7ish.


That’s a pretty typical day- with the exception of the toast, which was an exciting new addition, our days usually consist of two meals of mostly fruit and veg, with a handful of bottles interspersed between. I have to be quite careful with the bottles because he’s not a massive fan of formula and never has been, and seems to be enjoying actual food a lot more, but he’s so young still,that he needs to get most of his calories from milk, so it’s a bit of a juggling act, but seems to be working so far.

My next big challenge will be to try and get through a week of holiday without my mum freaking out that I’m trying to choke my wee man- wish me luck!!

The summer so far

Hello! Yep, I’ve done my usual summer disappearing act. I don’t know what it is about July but I seem incapable of blogging through it.

So, a brief update on what I’ve been up to…

-Weaning… I really wanted to get going on the fun process of giving Sid proper food, so (sshhh, don’t hate me), we started a little bit before the recommended six months. From about five and a bit months, I started offering up little tastes of various fruits and veggies, and for quite a while he was entirely uninterested, until one day, he stole the quesedilla I was eating for lunch off of my plate and stuffed it in his mouth. We’ve been doing food ever since! It probably deserves it’s own post in full, because there’s a lot to talk about. I really really wanted to do baby-led weaning (where you give small baby sticks of food and let them get on with it), but it was SCARY! So we’ve settled on a mixture of finger food and spoon feeding, but over the course of the last three weeks, we’re slowly moving more towards self-feeding, which is cool.

-Holidays… Not yet, but next week, we’re off to Devon with my family. Probably in for a week of drizzle and windswept beaches, but that’s what holidays in England are all about, right? I’m currently making multiple packing lists, in an effort to try not to just pack up the contents of the entire house.

-History… For several years, I’ve been threatening to do another degree, and after putting it off thinking ‘oh, but in a few years, I might want to start thinking about babies, and then where will I be?’, I finally realised that I had the baby and my life really hasn’t changed that much, so there was no reason not to follow the dream. What I don’t have is the cash to fund it, so unfortunately for me, after signing up with the Open University, I have had to put it on hold for six months while I save up the funds. In the meantime, I’m doing lots of interesting reading about medieval history (and watching lots of Time Team… which is history in itself- in one of the early episodes they had to explain what GPS was!).

-Yoga… I’ve been doing post-natal yoga classes for the last three months or so and was interested in doing more, so I did a very very brief search on youtube for beginners’ yoga videos and happened across Yoga with Adriene. I was instantly in love- her teaching style is right up my street and I started doing one of her videos about three times a week, as well as starting on her ’30 days of yoga’ series. Inevitably I fell off the bandwagon, and had a week or so off, but I started again today on day 1 and am going to make a promise to do the 30 days consecutively (rather than every so often, like I had been).

-Slimming down… In the six months since Sid was born, I resolutely hung on to six or so pounds that I wanted to get rid of to get back to where I was before I was pregnant. This was no  stubborn weight that was impossible to lose, it was me eating the world out of crisps and biscuits, so it actually turned out to be no big deal to shed the weight. I signed up to myfitnesspal again and started tracking my calories, and signed up for a buggy workout class and got back to where I wanted to in four weeks.

-Buggy workout… Deserves its own little mention- Twice a week I’ve been joining a group in running round a park with a group of other ladies, with babies in buggies. As well as the running, there’s some pretty punishing hill work, plus circuit training type stuff like tricep dips, press ups and the like. It’s brilliant, a nice bunch of people and is definitely working, given how much my various body parts ache the day after! My only slight worry is that I’m stuffing my decidedly pansy-like wrists up by pushing a reasonably heavy buggy

-Hair dye… I had sort of decided that when I was on maternity leave, I’d dye my hair red again, so I did. That’s it really. It’s a bit of a sod on the upkeep, and needs redoing every three weeks (courtesy of Mr Mark- I can’t afford that many salon visits!), but I’m very much enjoying being a red head, rather than my natural blonde

Yep, I think that’s enough of an update! I shall be back more regularly, honest!

Babywearing continued- views from the general public

So I was in Primark last week, with Sid happily looking around and surveying the action from my new Rockin Baby sling. After the obligatory mooching around and picking up of poorly made but so freaking cheap that I can’t resist clothing I took myself off to the tills to pay. Sid at this point was still just looking about, albeit with a bit of a serious face when the lady who was serving me said ‘I never think babies look particularly comfortable in those’…

Dumbfounded shock for about three seconds, while my head reeled with ‘bugger, is he crying and I’ve tuned it out or something’, but a quick look down indicated all was well, then I struggled to reply ‘eerrrmmm….weeelll… he seems to like it, he likes looking around’. Which was quite polite, I thought, considering what I really should have said was ‘excuse me lady, you do realise that by saying that you’ve just slagged off my parenting choices?… and he’s clearly fine, so why do you bloody care??!’. What answer was she expecting? ‘oh I know, but I’m a horrible mother and enjoy seeing him uncomfortable’???

Why on earth do total strangers feel the need to pass comment? I can’t say I particularly care- but I am extremely bloody minded so once I have an idea in my head I generally see it through, even if the majority of the western world think I’m talking bollocks, but for people that aren’t quite as stubborn as me, I can appreciate someone saying something like that would be a complete knock to your confidence and so I implore you to think before you comment, people- if t’s not your child, it’s none of your bloody business

I’m still slinging Sid up for trips to the shops and while he doesn’t really mind either way if he’s in the sling or the buggy, I like carrying him- For me it’s easier than getting the buggy out, you can sneak through smaller gaps and don’t have to worry about running over people’s feet and it’s a nice excuse to sneak in a twenty minute cuddle while you’re getting on with your day.

Wearing a baby

Since I had Sid, I kept looking at people with slings and carriers and thinking that they looked pretty cool- sort of cosmopolitan hippy-ish… I liked it- I wanted to be a cosmopolitan hippy. Early on in the newborn days, I decided to take the plunge and got a Close Caboo. On first viewing it was a good buy- not mega expensive, unlike some of the more structured rucksacky style carriers, easy to put on (just like a tshirt, then plonk the baby in the front) and was sort of handy. I even took Sid to the zoo at three weeks old in it. Well, I took him in the pram, but when he got grizzly, I plomped him in the caboo and he was a happy man. (Side note- I’m not mental for taking a three week old to the zoo- My sister had cheap tickets, and I love the zoo- its not that I particularly thought he’d enjoy it, but at that stage in his life, he was very much just coming along for the ride with me!)

Unfortunately for me, the caboo wasn’t the best in the early days because… well, Sid didn’t really like it that much-  if you caught him at the right moment, brilliant, but on the whole, he quite liked being able to have a kick around and being snuggled in to me didn’t let him do that. So it got consigned to a shelf in the front room, until he was about three months old when, with his excellent head control I decided to give it another go. We used it for short trips, like if I just wanted a few bits in the supermarket, and even tried it once with him facing forward, when I popped round the corner to pick up a curry (that was a bit of a disaster- I don’t care what the manufacturers say, front facing isn’t good- it pulls your centre of gravity all off because babies, well, mine, at least, want to look down at the floor) and it was all going ok, until Sid got just that liiiittle bit too heavy. He’s still well within the weight limits, but a combo of the stretchy material and my ample hips meant that he was slipping down. If I left him to his own devices, he’d probably be down by my knees by the end of a trip, so instead we had to do a lot of readjusting and so I decided to look for something else.

Mainly because they were cheap (only twenty quid in Mothercare), I decided to get a Rockin baby pouch because as well as being cheap, they were sized, which I thought might combat the wide hip problem, and made of non-stretchy fabric, which I hoped would stop the wee man from slipping. Got home, decided the faffing about with zips was too much for me, returned to Mothercare and switched it for a Rockin baby sling instead. This one is a long piece of fabric which you loop through two rings to create a circle and wear over one shoulder with the baby tucked inside. I’m making it sound simple, and it was in a way,  but there were no instructions included in the box and I ended up having to look for a video on youtube to work out how to thread it.

Again it’s only good for short journeys as it does pull on the old shoulders a bit, and unlike the caboo, where there are basically leg holes, the baby stays inside because his own weight is pulling the fabric taught, which although very secure once everything’s well adjusted, does feel a bit precarious. What’s cool though is it comes in some nice patterns, and there’s a pocket at the bottom of the fabric which I’ve been using to stash a muslin in for sickboy. I’m very much enjoying wearing him, but if I’m honest, there might be a better carrier out there for me yet!

One year on- house plans update

A little more than a year on, but in April last year, I was musing on stuff I wanted to do around the house… in a nutshell, this included:

-Sort out the back garden. I don’t think we’re any further on with this than we were last April- it’s looking pretty nice, because the stuff we did do is starting to grow, but there’s still one patchy looking flower bed and we’ve done nothing in the front garden. Mark is also still making noises about putting a path down to the Smadlington Arms

-Decorate and theme the room at the end of the garden. Ah-ha- done! The aforementioned Smadlington Arms. We turned half into a sort of gym, and half into a pub, complete with bar and darts board. It probably deserves its’ own post, because it’s pretty cool

-Paint either the front or back windows. Yeah, we didn’t do this. Really really need to do one side of the house this summer though, cos the frames are going to start rotting if we’re not careful.

Well, the super extension of our dreams is still on the cards, but it’s looking more like 2016, as that’s when we’ll remortgage and might be able to free up a bit of cash. I put a less ambitious plan of decorating the hall, landing and stairs and the back bedroom and box room in place. Actually, that’s not looking too bad- we did the box room, because that’s where Sid lives.

Haven’t got to the back bedroom yet because it’s full of tat, and the hallway et al is a massive massive job so I think that might wait a while, but in its’ place, we’ve totally gutted and redone the bathroom, and our job over the May bank holiday was to give the kitchen a bit of a gussy up- painting’s all done, we just need to put down the new lino.

So in conclusion, I think all I really need to do this year is paint some goddamn windows, plant a few plants and perhaps clear the crap out of the back bedroom and I will be a happy lady

Birthday 2015

I’m having a ridiculously extended birthday- It was well over a week ago now, but I went out for dinner on Friday with Mark, followed by pub, while nanny Sue babysat, then on Saturday (actual birthday day), I had lunch with my fam, and after whinging for about two ages that I couldn’t be bothered to go, I dragged myself out and was very glad I did- not quite for my birthday, but some friends were going to StreetFeast in Dalston, so I went along for the ride. It was a hell of a lot colder when I left the house than I thought it was going to be, so as StreetFeast is sort of semi-outside, I took a quick dive into Westfield and Stratford to panic-buy a jumper!

For those not in the know, StreetFeast is a collection of bars and food stalls. My main regret of the evening is that I got too involved in the cocktails (which were admittedly a bit disappointing but pretty deadly) and didn’t eat enough food- I only ate one measly portion of gyoza, which were fricking amazing- I was burping the coriander dipping sauce for about three hours afterwards, and am not ashamed to say that it wasn’t altogether unpleasant! After the deadly cocktails, we took a cab back to the motherlands and went to an awful awful nightclub which was full of teenagers, and danced to Busted. I’m cool like that.

On Sunday, after a birthday party for Mark’s grandad (and a buffet, obvs), I went out with the family Ad for Prezzos, thus ending my food-based birthday weekend. And it’s not over yet- Mark bought me a groupon thing for cuban food in Camden, which we’re going to redeem soon, AND we’re off to the theatre with my sister and bro in law, and there was talk of lunch before that. It’s a good job most of my trousers are elasticated.

Taking the reusable nappy plunge

A few weeks ago, I was dipping a tiny toe in the world of reusable nappies- it appealed to my vague green credentials in that I might save a bit of space in a landfill, and appealed more to my tightfistedness in that it’s meant to save a good grand or so compared to disposable nappies.

At the time, I’d done nothing more than use some reusies that a friend had lent me but only when I had a full day in the house and not at night. Last week another helpful friend lent me some big old night time nappies, and I decided to take the plunge. Additional kit was purchased in the form of a toiletry bag to carry around the dirties when out of the house, and some baby flannels to use as reusable wet wipes- may as well go the whole hog, eh!

Dangerously, I also took to facebook and joined some second hand real nappy groups and bought myself one of the hallowed gnappies that I liked the look of. Oh and there were a couple of different brands on special in Tescos and Sainsburys, so I bought them too. And then took them back because I decided I didn’t like the look of them. So now my current collection consists of 1 pair of gpants (the outer bit of the gnappy), six new gcloths, the free bambino mios that I borrowed, three little lambs for night time, also on a loan and a bum genius pocket nappy that I’m not a massive fan of. And there are  three more pairs of gpants winging their way to me in the post (all second handers).

So how’s it going? Well, on the first day I had to deal with a poo while out of the house- it wasn’t so bad- it was a bit of a big one but amply contained by the bambino mio, although I will fess up- I did use disposable wetwipes to clean that bad boy up, and put the pooey inner cloth in a nappy bag to take home and rinse out there rather than having to contend with it at someone’s house. The second poo was at home but on the whole contained by the disposable liner, so I chucked that away, and as the nappy itself didn’t look too splattered, just chucked it straight in the nappy bin. That was a mistake as the bin smelled like death for a whole day. I’ve heard that rather than rinsing them in the sink you can hold your inners under the flush of a toilet. Sounds gross, but I’m willing to give it a try. For today’s poo, I confess I wussed out and put on a disposable- I knew it was brewing as it’d been three days with no movement, so it was likely to be (and indeed was) a bit of a beast.

Wee-wise, we’ve only had two leaks- one mystery one that I just think I went too long before I changed him- 12 hours overnight was obviously pushing it a bit- and one that Mark put on but left a bit of nappy sticking out the back of the wrap, so that just leaked out onto clothes- nothing too tragic.

I’m looking forward to building up my gnappy collection a bit more, as that’s what we’ve settled on. I’ve seen some pictures of people’s ‘stashes’ of hundreds of nappies and am confident I’ll never get to that stage, but in order to go full time on the reusables, but only wash every other day, I think I’ll need as a minimum six gpants, eighteen cloths plus my three night time nappies. I’m still not 100% confident of it working- you certainly need to change babies more frequently in cloth than disposables but I’m getting used to it. It’s really not difficult, only involves a little bit more washing/preparation and I’m looking forward to having a little bit of extra cash

Attempting to not look fat

I was in the happy situation that during my pregnancy, I only put on 1 stone and 10 lb. I’ve no idea how that happened- from Christmas to February, I ate basically everything, so I guess I just got lucky! After my baby was squeezed out of my nethers, I was only 10lb off of where I started, which was very pleasing indeed. Because I’d read a lot of scathing articles in Closer magazine of various celebrities who had lost their baby weight too quickly, I thought I would wait a while before I started thinking about trying to lose my tiddly 10lb of excess baggage.

Stupidly for me, I spent the month after giving birth eating basically every item of junk food in the kitchen cupboard. There was a LOT of it- In the lead up to labour day, I’d stocked the cupboard both with sensible dinners and crap snacks which I’d never usually buy, and various friends and relatives kept our biscuit tin well stocked on their visits. I think by the end of the first month, I’d actually put on a couple more pounds, and decided enough was enough.

A month after that, I decided that really, really enough actually was enough and it was time to have a bit of goddamn discipline. Luckily for me, that also coincided with feeling confident enough that my pelvic floor wouldn’t fall out of my body for me to start running again.

I’m slowly chipping away and hope to be getting back to where I started in the next month or so- 10lb over 4 months sounds more than sensible to me. While I’ve never been bothered enough about my body to totally buff up, I have been a running fan for quite a few years, and quite liked having toned legs and a reasonably slim frame (hips and bum aside). I’ve been exceedingly lucky in that I didn’t gain any stretch marks or anything while the boy wonder was living on the inside, but babydom has definitely made its mark on me and I’m more than happy with what is likely to be a slightly softer look even when I get back to my original weight- Support underwear is an amazing thing!

Being bothered to put a face on

On the odd occasion over the last ten years or so that I’ve not worn make up, people generally say to me ‘ooh, are you feeling ok’. In fact, I came into the office really early before a conference in November and when I eventually got my makeup bag out, my boss said she was so glad because she thought she was going to have to send me home because I looked so sorry for myself! I’m definitely one of those people that just looks better with a little bit of something on.

In a half arsed attempt to not look like a knackered new mum, even though my clothes are generally covered in dribble, and my hair is attacked with dry shampoo rather than actually washed, I have made a real effort to put on some form of make up every day (except for the days that I will definitely not be leaving the house… oh and the day I came home from hospital- If people thought I looked a bit tired then, they were more than welcome to their opinion!).

I have got make up application down to an extremely fine art now- while Sid reclines on the bed for a bit of a kick around, I get a quick blast of bb cream, translucent powder, highlighter concealer under the eyes, brown eyeliner and mascara, eyebrow colour and tinted vaseline. Takes about 10 minutes and so far I’ve just been told ‘you look well’ (nb- I’ve never done this before, ‘well’ could be code for ‘a bit shit, but she’s just had a baby- humour her’… I’m not sure)

Here’s the makeup…


Unfortunately for me, my skin, which following a small tweak in cleanser and moisturiser was pretty damn brilliant for the whole of pregnancy, has started rebelling again. I said as much to Mark, who said ‘yeah, I thought you were looking a bit blemishy’. Thanks husband, love you too. So I’m trying out all the different amassed cleansers that I have in a box in the bathroom- mainly gifts from the lovely Clarins lady after I had a pregnancy massage last year- I’m hoping one of them will do the trick… And now I’m thinking about that Clarins treatment again… and seriously wondering if I could just go for another- it was brilliant, and really good value…it’s not like they asked me for my scan picture or anything- I could just say I was a little bit pregnant. That’s not weird, is it?