My paly pasty shoulders are sporting their first strap marks of the year.  That’s a British bank holiday for you.  In between liberally applying the aloe vera lotion I’ve been looking back, reminiscing even – if you can do that after three days – on our weekend.

Friday will have to be but a distant blur because I can’t actually remember what we did.

On Saturday morning I must admit that I enjoyed a few baby-free hours pottering around town.  A ridiculously early 8.30am hair appointment quickly became completely unnecessary due to my hair strand test reacting pretty violently with their colours…well I say violently; we’re not talking explosions and chemical warfare here, but at least as violently as it was possible to be, in a hair-getting-hot-fizzing-and-breaking-in-half kinda way.  I killed time by enjoying an Actual. Hot. Coffee and breakfast in the beautiful House of Fraser Tea Terrace then made a quick detour to order some ridiculously expensive wallpaper before going back to the hairdresser’s for a cut.  I’ve had the same long (read: lank, heavy and shapeless) hair for about fifteen years so I went for the chop.  It’s much cooler and less in the way but I can never say that without thinking of sheep-shearing.

mummy hair

Mummy Hair

Daddy had the final (finally!) two performances of the show on Saturday, so after dropping him off N and I spent a couple of hours at the cricket, her sporting her oh-so-cute cricket jumper from Baby Gap’s Peter Rabbit collection (OK so it’s meant to be for a boy but my cricket upbringing couldn’t resist!).

Yesterday was N’s final session of this term at Baby Swimming.  She is still a complete water baby and so loved it despite a brutal five underwater dunkings!  She even got a little certificate 🙂  Later in the afternoon we enjoyed lunch with a few other couples from our NCT group, N being impeccably behaved as ever and showing off her spaghetti, mac ‘n’ cheese, mushroom and apple-eating skills.

In another prematurely-middle-aged moment we spent a few hours at the National Trust’s Hatchlands Park today, scene of the Great Shoulder Strap Mark Incident of 2013.  It was lovely to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law and our beautiful nephew, only four days younger than N.  The bluebell wood was in resplendent full bloom; a very enjoyable (and welcomingly shady) walk marred only by the somewhat creepy Barbie-doll fairies dotted around the trees.

Bluebell wood


I’m spending the evening with my friends G & T, still in shorts as it’s so warm – poor N’s room is still around 26 degrees so she’s sleeping in nothing but a vest and Aden & Anais muslin tonight.  Honestly, we complain that it’s cold, we complain that it’s hot; it’s the British way.

In the vainest attempt of remembering what we’ve eaten for the last few days:

Friday: no idea; Weetabix may have been involved

Breakfast: No idea; Daddy was in charge!
Dinner: Beef casserole
Tea: Beans on toast

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs on toast
Dinner (out with NCT friends): Home made cheese & broccoli muffin, few strands of my spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce, macaroni cheese, apple
Tea: Just milk – sleep was a priority!

Breakfast: Beans on toast
Dinner: Just milk again as we were out
Tea: lemon and chilli chicken, potatoes, baby sweetcorn, apple


Milking it

Not so much food in today’s food diary.  I suspect teething might be the root of that; little angel N’s first two teeth were a bit of a non-event with no fanfare or drumrolls but today she’s been rather a grump with even-rosier-than-usual cheeks and has been off her food.  So for what it’s worth:

Breakfast: Scrambled egg on toast
Dinner: Milk.  A lick of sesame cashew noodles with carrot and sweet potato (a baby-adjusted version of Nigella’s Sesame Peanut noodles recipe).  Soon fed up of that and was asleep within two minutes of being put down in the buggy.
Tea: Dinner time’s noodles from the fridge.  A bigger success, eaten Lady and the Tramp spaghetti-slurping style.  Still not too interested though.  Milk.
An hour and a half after teatime milk: Milk.  Bed.

I’m home alone again this evening as Daddy is out performing with a local theatre company.  Key Lime cheesecake is being consumed.


Nursery, Day 2

So today was our second settling-in session at nursery, or Prison as Daddy has taken to calling it.  Thanks, as if I need anything else to make me feel guilty about leaving her.  She was, as to be expected, absolutely fine, an angel as usual.  While this is infinitely the preferable option a tiny bit of me still wants her to miss me; I’m not sure she actually does a lot of the time!  I spent half of this session reading through the Bible-like tome that was their Policy Folder, complete with Government Health & Safety legislation covering ‘reportable incidents’.  Amputation anyone?

I’ll shortly have to venture into the kitchen to face the absolute carnage lurking behind the closed door.  What should have been a straightforward job of fitting a new hob turned into the man being here for six hours updating some fairly crucial parts of the heating and plumbing systems that really should have been updated a good twenty years ago.  Quite why this involved completely emptying the contents of three cupboards and relocating them to the dining table is beyond me.

<<Goes to check on the baby who is being uncharacteristically noisy settling down to sleep.  She’s turned onto her front and is stuck.  I turn her over and Henry is deployed.>>

I had another middle-aged housewife moment today – apparently these days instead of sunbathing, the first thing that springs to mind on a sunny day is how many loads of washing can I get done to dry on the line.  Rock and/or roll.

Food-wise, today has been a bit of a carb-fest.

Breakfast: Weetabix (having a blob of which in each hand seems to be a good time to show off your new-found clapping skills)
Dinner: Ham and mozzarella sandwich.  Milk from a sippy cup for the first time; no problem.
Tea: Houmous and flatbread at the pub while meeting one of Daddy’s friends

Food diary (or Force Yourself to Eat Better by Making It Public)

Baby-led weaning has got off to a great start; N will eat pretty much anything and has shown some surprising tastes, Thai curry and Yo! Sushi being more recent highlights.  That’s all very well and good, however I’ve recently been thinking that I could probably be feeding her better and that perhaps she doesn’t get as balanced a diet as she could.  So I’ve decided to go for the ‘let’s bore everyone by blogging about food every day’ approach and force myself to think more about what we all eat by diarising it every day for public scrutiny.

Let Project Appease ‘mummy guilt #476’ commence.  (Note: Welsh versions of mealtime names used throughout…none of this lunch business)

Dinner: Tomato and mozzarella salad (minus salad which turns out to be quite difficult to eat with one and a half teeth)
Tea: Beef casserole and mashed potato with three additional casserole portions frozen.  I just had mashed potato – one of the perils of being the only vegetarian in the family is that you spend time planning nice meaty meals for everyone else that you forget yourself.  Quorn sausages and vegetables for Christmas dinner anyone?

Breakfast: Half a pear
Impromptu mid-morning snack: Half a baby apple & blackcurrant muesli bar shared by our two year-old neighbour (she has parents who live there too; she isn’t responsible for a mortgage at twenty months old)
Dinner: Bagel, celery, cucumber, cheese, breadstick
Tea: Pasta bake with tomato, courgette, spinach and mozzarella.  Few slices of apple.

Not a bad start but once again I’m faced with a fridge full of food but no meal plan.  Thinking caps on!

Growing up

N had her first settling-in session at nursery today.  She absolutely loved it: despite being the youngest in the baby room by far she revelled in interacting with all the new toys and people, though this was at the expense of sleep.  The poor girl was zonked out by the end of the five-minute drive home!

I, on the other hand, didn’t revel quite so much.  I really don’t enjoy leaving her but although I saw it myself today and every piece of common sense tells me she’ll be absolutely fine, to me it’s another step away from ‘babyness’ and towards growing up.  I think I know which one of us will be hit by the separation anxiety!

On a more positive note the nursery is lovely.  They are happy to give her the toddler menu to allow her to continue baby-led weaning and were amazed when we said she wouldn’t be having the purees that they offer babies as standard.  I do love a nice document so I’ve just made up a fully illustrated (with photos – my illustration skills still peak at stick people) booklet with the key points they should know.  They also didn’t blink an eye at our request to use her cloth nappies.  The only down side – and this seems standard practice at most nurseries – is that they ask you to either pre-prepare her bottles of formula or send in pre-measured water and powder.  I seem to be one of the only people still making up each feed fresh so this doesn’t sit well with me.  Perhaps I just need to man up and know that she’ll be fine, anyway who wants their child’s carers fussing around boiling and cooling water, measuring and mixing when they could be giving the children their attention instead?

So I’m off to finish my weaning instruction masterpiece.  I might even do one for the nappies too…

Product Love: Baby-led Weaning

I’ll undoubtedly be writing a lot about our adventures with Baby-led Weaning, but in the meantime thought I’d post a short review of the book (also to be published in the next issue of our local NCT branch newsletter).

Baby-led Weaning
Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett
Vermilion, 2008

The premise of Baby-led Weaning (BLW) is to do away with purées and spoon-feeding and to let baby decide for him or herself what and how much they want to eat.  It’s a good idea but where on earth do you start when you’ve got all your little freezer pots lined up and ready to use?

Health visitor Gill Rapley’s Baby-led Weaning takes you through the history of weaning, giving a background to her theory, before moving on to well-arranged chapters covering all aspects of BLW, from the difference between this method and ‘traditional’ weaning, how it works in practicality, what to offer and how to fit it in to family life.  You are prepared plenty of times for the mess that will inevitably occur when you finally brave giving your baby spaghetti bolognese and other foods (though it never does explain why it’s always the orange food that gets everywhere).  As well as the weaning information, the authors also include a chapter on general nutrition for the family, which has certainly made us think more about what we eat!  Throughout the book you also find plenty of real-life case studies and photos to back up the theory (check out the baby with the noodles!).

I did find that the book can be a little repetitive in places but is still a very comprehensive guide to baby-led weaning and one that I still turn to to check up on things when I have yet another question!

Product Love: Moby Wrap

Long time no blog!  Baby + tummy bug = no time + washing machine struggling to keep up.

Deciding on a baby carrier is yet another minefield for the new mum or mum-to-be, myself no exception!  Do we go for a structured carrier with straps or a sling?  Is a sling a little bit too ‘alternative’ and what on earth do they all do?  After spending what felt like most of pregnancy researching on forums I decided on a sling-type carrier, and the Moby Wrap in particular.

I liked the idea of a sling for their closeness to baby; they are carried right up against you, almost tied to you if you look at it that way.  It was only afterwards that I discovered this was called ‘babywearing’, a practice promoted for that closeness, the ability to calm baby and for strengthening the bond between parent and infant.  Studies have shown that by the time they are toddlers, children carried in this way are more independent as they have that confidence that mum or dad are nearby.  In addition, a sling or wrap-type carrier is better for babies’ hips as their weight can be more evenly distributed under their bottom and the backs of their legs instead of right between their legs in a structured carrier.

The Moby is a looooooong piece of fabric (and I mean long – at 5’ 3” I’ve been known to stand on the stairs putting it on!) that wraps around you, crossing in front of and behind your body, allowing baby’s weight to be spread evenly across your back and shoulders.  It’s a stretchy fabric which is comfortable for baby and I like to think provides some ‘suspension’ and cushioning for them when you walk!

It does take a little practice to get used to tying the wrap and positioning baby, but you eventually get the hang of it – and a good few strange looks while you battle with bits of fabric tangling everywhere!

The Moby has been really useful for us for those quick trips to the shop instead of juggling a buggy and basket through the aisles, leaving both your hands free, and as mentioned earlier we use it to take Baby N to the rugby where she’ll cuddle in to me oblivious to the thousands of other people surrounding her!  She’s going through a clingy phase at the moment so I pop her in the wrap at home, allowing me to get on with all those little jobs without feeling that I’m deserting her when she wants her mum.

On the flip side, Baby N is already a very independent little girl so I must admit I’m not 100% whether the babywearing theory does or will work for us.  Dad also isn’t a big fan; it’s too girly for him.  I’m not sure how long it will last as the stretchy fabric bounces a bit more as Baby N gets heavier, though this might mean some more experimenting with how tight I tie it or looking at a different position for Baby N.  However for now I love carrying her close and it’s so comfortable for us both so it’s a recommendation from us!

Thanks Mum: Mother’s Day Gifts

I do love a bit of shopping!  Here are five picks for perfect presents for mum:

Hands that do dishes
…and nappy changes, more dishes, lunch preparation, more dishes…our hands take a bashing every day so treat your Mum’s to a luxurious hand cream to restore the damage that real life throws at it!  This Velvet Hands Repair Cream by Boo Boo is packed full of natural ingredients and I love the gorgeously retro styling of the packaging.  £11.99,

Boo Boo Velvet Hands Repair Cream 

Say it with flowers
No Mother’s Day would be complete without some beautiful blooms.  Give something that will last with this dainty English Rose necklace by Kit Heath.  £55, Kit Heath

Kit Heath English Rose necklace

A Grand Old Lady
No shopping mission would be complete without splashing out!  If you’re feeling extra nice (and generous) wow your mum by presenting her with her very own bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame Champagne.  Well if it’s good enough for Mme. Clicquot herself…  £130, Selfridges

Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame

Spoil Me
Why let Mum have all the fun?  Enjoy a girly evening of pampering together over a glass of wine and a treatment in the tranquil surroundings of Champneys Day Spa.  Monday 11th March 2013 at all Champneys Day Spas (seven UK locations) and an extra date of 12th March 2013 at St Albans.  £15 per person, Champneys

champneysLast but not least
Of course there are only two more shopping days left until Mother’s Day (or two and a half if you’ve dashed away from the office early tonight and hit the shops already) but that doesn’t mean you need to resort to a tired bouquet courtesy of your local garage forecourt.  The high street still has plenty of inspiration, especially at failsafe department stores, like this super stylish nail polish set from Nails Inc. Around £20, Debenhams

Nails Inc Spring Summer 2013 Collection