Saturday, 17 December 2011

Just when i thought i had cracked it

Just when I think you’ve cracked this baby malarkey, High fiving the art of Burping, check. Nappy changing in awkward spaces, including the back of the car, check, check. Mastering the car seat, shopping with baby in tow and bathing baby in more than an inch of water. Check check check. Along comes another hurdle to stop you in you in your tracks and wipe that smug look clean off your face. For me, this mountain / molehill was weaning. We were getting along swimmingly Tilly and I, going about our day, 8hrs sleep, a bottle here, a bottle there, a trip to nanas, a stroll in the pram, bliss. Then came the 4am wake up calls, waaaaaa waaaaa waaaaaa, (roughly translated as  “fix me a bottle pronto bed head before I wake up the neighbourhood”) To say this was a shock after a few weeks of naively believing my little one “slept through” was an understatement to say the least, in recent weeks I had been woken only by my own freakish need to check she is still breathing, approximately 2 / 3 times a night. No one warned me that hunger could interrupt her sleeping patterns so feverishly. But it didn’t stop at 4am, nope, she began to randomly yelp out at 1am and 2am too, no feed needed this time, just a matter of re-inserting the dummy, for anyone who has padded around the area surrounding baba`s cot in the thick of night furiously looking for one of the fallen dummies will know it’s no laughing matter, nor is sucking on the dummy before giving it back only to be greeted with a mouth full of fluff and whatever else, cleaning dummies in hot water is a much safer and humane option all round.

 Following my weaning course, and being the swot I am, listening to the health authorities guide lines, I was waiting patiently for exactly 6 months to pass before I started whipping up purees and getting  on the weaning bus, but waking several times in the wee hours eventually ground me down, and after self diagnosing tilly with chronic hunger, I reached for the baby rice at 5 months and 1 week. So sue me.

To my delight, she lapped it up, I chose a baby rice alternative, I am riddled with allergies so to be on the safe side, I chose a wheat free option, and it went down a storm, so much so that I made the silly mistake of allowing her 2 spoon full’s on her first attempt, which led to a full hour (it felt like an day) of intense crying, I had stuffed the poor baby to bursting point, I called my mum in a blind panic, and wailed pathetically down the phone that I thought I had poisoned her, swiftly and calmly mother arrived, gave baba some warm water and a rub and hey presto, the crying stopped, and Tilly was fine too.

Next stop, after 2 weeks of porridge, Puree. I am not a huge vegetable fan, I like what I call the “exotic” veg family (peppers/mange tout/butternut squash) but your bog standard “roast dinner veg” (carrots/parsnip/broccoli), you can keep. But having pledged that my daughter would know nothing of my dislikes (boyfriend calls it fussiness) I set about making her mini meals, steaming/pureeing and freezing into ice cube looking trays various root vegetables and some pear.

Day 1 of “vegetable gate” and my hard work was rewarded, I excitedly plonked baba in her Bumbo seat, attached bib and went straight in, armed with my bendy spoon and Little Miss Sunshine bowl, I did as the books said and remembered to encourage her, sounding slightly demented, I coooed and ahhhhed as she opened her mouth like a new born bird, waiting to be fed its worms. Only this new born bird wanted to hold the worm itself, and then dip its fingers in the bowl, get a nice handful of sweet potato and then immediately grab mummy’s hair, this wasn’t going to be a civilised affair.

Weaning Lesson 1. Keep bowl far away from little fingers, and while you are there move everything else away from her grasp, do not be deceived by these miniature people, their strength is surprising, and I swear tilly can extend her arms like inspector gadget, I have looked away for a second and turned back to an (unlit!!!) candle being lifted towards her mouth and a pot plant being pulled towards her by its defenceless leaves, nothing is safe.

Lesson 2. Go in armed. I have both wet and dry wipes on hand. Wet to wipe the slop from her cheeks, hands, ears and wherever else. Dry, to protect myself from the spray. Like most of us Tilly is prone to the odd sneeze, but she is yet to learn the art of the stifle, if her dad has his way this will never be the case, he likes to sneeze loud and long and clear aaaaaaaattttchhhhooooooo, Tilly seems to take after him, which is fine, except when she is mid mouthful of butternut squash and the aaaaaaatttchhoooooo is fired in my direction, when I am sitting only inches away from her face, I’ve been caught out once, my face peppered with orange 3D dots of food and saliva, if she wasn’t my baby it would be gross. Oh how we laughed, but there won’t be a next time, I have my tissue umbrella at the ready.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Dressing in the Dark

Having a baby means you make a fair few sacrifices, i become aware of new ones regularly, My latest is the luxury of switching on the bedroom light for fear of waking baba (who is still in her cot in our bedroom, for a couple of reasons. 1 being she is waking occasionally in the night so its convenient to have her near me, the 2nd being i like her being there, i like to hear her breathing and those funny little noises she makes in her sleep, you can judge me / call me neurotic later) tis true getting into bed in the dark is a small price to pay, but stumped toes are now a regular occurrence, and finding pyjamas that match is virtually impossible.

It was after waking up wearing a fairly amusing concoction of bed attire one morning, after wearily pulling on some pjs in the dark the night before, that i began to think how liberating it actually felt to wear clothes without them having being contrived into an outfit before hand. I believe it takes a lot of confidence to have a devil may care attitude towards dressing, clothes are often be used as a coat of armour, to shield you from judgement. Now of course there is a time and a place for outfits to be neat and tidy, work wear and weddings for example, but wouldn't it be nice to reach into your wardrobe and wear on the first thing that you lay your hands on?

To test my theory on a day i wasn't intending to leave the house, I allowed my 2yr old niece to choose my outfit, now what i will say is that a large majority of my winter wardrobe is either grey or black so there was very little chance of me winding up wearing anything too wild, but regardless, wearing what i was told, free from the shackles of style felt pretty good, it didn't matter that i wound up wearing head to toe grey, my niece repeatedly told me it was pink, so i agreed.

My point is that my inhibitions prevent me from wearing certain things, in my teens and early 20s i was totally the opposite, i wore clothes to attract attention, which i suppose is a right of passage, i was stretching my fashion legs, finding my feet. Now i am hurtling towards 30 however, i am less likely to take risks, although i admire the celebrities that dare to veer off kilter when it comes to the Red Carpet, Tilda Swinton and Helena Bonham Carter are prime examples, yet as much as i admire the carefree nonchalance eccentric both celebrities and young girls dress, this party season i think i will stick with getting dressed with the light switched on.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

I`ll be the Judge of that!

I have no talent for singing / dancing or acting, yet i sit in judgement watching various TV shows, passing comment, with absolutely zero sense of irony, on the contestants performances. Despite not being able to sing a note i find it perfectly acceptable to criticise harmonies that weren't to my liking, critique dance moves that i found to be lacklustre and occasionally spout my completely fictitious expert opinion on peoples acting skills, all to the amusement of boyfriend, who half listens to my rants with the minimum amount of interest.

Its not that i have an inflated opinion of myself, its TV culture. Talent shows, programmes about property, home building and entrepreneurship, cookery competitions and home comparison shows all encourage our inner judge, and has made each of us Cheif Arbiter of all subjects. I defy anyone who has sat and watched an episode of Dragons Den/The Apprentice to honestly say they haven't given their opinion on the equity accepted, the quality of the pitch and the tactics used ?

The list of subjects on which you can be the couch bound adjudicator on is endless, not to mention the list of "expert presenters" popping up everywhere, my particular bugbear is (predictably) self styled fashion virtuosos, now i am not expecting to see proof of a doctorate, but a few credentials wouldn't go amiss, in my opinion belting everything and sticking people in control knickers does not make you the authority, but this coming from me, who picks holes in the vocal performances of professionals , regardless of being tone deaf, is a bit rich.

Child rearing is an area i notice there is very little focus on in the world of TV experts, is this because none of them feel they are getting it right, or perhaps because the tread on this subject would always be on thin ice?? There is a huge divide when it comes to whose opinion should be taken as Gospel when it comes to babies. There are the obvious camps in the form of the Gina Ford Devotees, Disciples of the Baby Whisperer and of course the Contented little babies, i veered off kilter on the recommendation of a convert and opted to go with Tizzy Hall`s Save our Sleep, but its very much personal choice, despite being a "sofa-expert" in all other fields (singing/dancing/acting/entrepreneurship/building/cookery) motherhood was entirely new to me and i made valiant attempts to follow a routine, but Tilly doesn't seem to be quite up to speed, i think perhaps she may be skipping pages of the book???

Joking aside, i think its important to hone your craft and earn your stripes before proclaiming to be an expert, so whilst i keep my baby books close at hand for comfort and confirmation, yet again it was the experts i call the mummy council i turned to when honest and understanding advice about Tilly`s latest cough & cold was what what i needed, this group consists of my mum, sister, sister in laws and friends who are all able to sit behind the judges desk when it comes to babies, having been there and bought the T-shirt,. The membership fee to the mummy council is free, meetings are at random and wine drinking during Q & A sessions is optional. Its a yes from me, one million percent.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Very Superstitious

I was bitterly disappointed with Halloween this year, having stocked up on treatsize sweeties for my prospective Trick or Treaters i was left waist high in Maltesers when only one paltry gaggle of witches & ghouls made the pilgrimage to my door. I love opening the door and being given a hairdryer chorus of "Trick orrrrrrrrr treeeeeeeeat" In the past there have been the odd silences on opening the door, i deal with this by grinning at them, clutching my bowl of prizes like a goon until they buckle, cruel? perhaps, but its tradition, you've got to work for your rewards!
I also like my Trick or Treaters to have made an effort, civilian clothes topped off with a scream mask doesn't cut the mustard for me, i am not suggesting parents hire their offspring costumes for the occasion, merely put their back into it, a cape can easily be fashioned from a bin bag, i also prefer a painted face as opposed to a mask , preferably green and eyeliner warts are a must have.
I am very excited for future Halloweens with Tilly, i intend to bake traditional family Halloween recipes such as bats wing (Roughly chopped Mars bar) Vampire Blood (Ribena) and intestines (Strawberry laces) and play duck apple, although in our house we were partial to what i believe is known as snap apple, hanging an apple from a length of string and attempting to eat it with your arms tied behind your back, this is a competitive sport may i add, there needs to be more than one player, or its just eating an apple, hanging from a string, with your arms behind your back.

I shared my dismal T or T story and have now been filled in on the modern etiquette of Trick or Treating, apparently its necessary to leave your gurning carved pumpkin either in the porch/path or window. A visible pumpkin denotes you are a Halloween believer, which to me seems a shame, kids don't know what they are missing, being chased by miserable Halloween haters was the scariest part of the night! Ive also been made aware of an excellent new game, Musical Monsters, the rules are that of Musical Statues, but the players must be dressed in scary costumes, amazing!

For someone scared of their own shadow, who hates scary movies i am a huge fan of Halloween, its fills a festive gap between the summer nights and Christmas, I am also a big fan of fancy dress, and the two go hand in hand perfectly, i also enjoy how inevitably the odd news paper or daytime television programme feature a white witch, one particular season nut job and her Black Cat got me thinking about Superstitions, and how i have managed to rack up more than your average person. Mine however don't involve Black Cats or ladders, they are more of a hybrid of superstition and old wives tales. they include the obvious one, Friday 13th, and then the list spans out of control, these are my top 5

  • Never put new shoes on the table, as family quarrels will surely follow
  • Don't cross on the stairs, or you will never marry
  • If you spill salt, throw some over your left shoulder, to hit evil spirits in the face
  • Never put an umbrella up indoors
  • Smash a mirror and receive 7 years bad luck
I am yet to pick up on what seems to be a common favourite, Saluting Magpies, but i cant be far off  

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Sentimental old fool

I`ve realised lately that sentiment and hoarding go hand in hand. The reason for me holding on to the things i do are due to sentiment, before i began gallivanting in the name of fashion i used to keep concert stubs, festival wrist bands and souvenirs from nights out, nothing sordid, may i add, just props i would pick up in clubs; tiaras, wands, photo key rings...that sort of junk, but since learning the art of travelling with a capsule wardrobe i automatically began to streamline all the other parts of my life, as i wasn`t living in one place i stopped acquiring "stuff" as i didn't feel like i had anywhere to store it. I did however continue to buy clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories, and although in comparison to some people, i am ruthless when it comes to a clear out, there are somethings i just cant bear to part with, sometimes its because the item cost me so much, the memory of paying for it still stings, sometimes its because it holds memories of fun times had wearing it, I have really old "going out" bags that have earned names, like Jagger and Horsehead, when something has a name you cant just fling it out, they are like pets to me, very old, tired looking pets with the odd drink stain on them.

My retrospective state of mind was triggered by a pair of shoes i wore to a recent party, a beautiful pair of red wine velvet platforms with a block heel, i bought them years ago and they are like new, i should wear them more i thought, what a waste...when i began to walk in them, i remembered why i dont wear them, i looked down to find my pinky toe on each foot hanging perilously out like small chipolatas, but at the end of the night, regardless of the discomfort and despite the unattractive toe situation, still i put them back in my wardrobe, shoes that are useless but beautiful, only women can appreciate this.

My friends are breeding at an astonishing rate, the domino effect is raging, literally, so everything from my maternity clothes to Tilly`s new born baby bits are already having their second wind. I felt compelled to hold back some bits, her first dress, ok, makes that plural, dresses, her first shoes, that sort of thing, but am not sure where i should stop. I recall being asked if i had kept her belly button stump (i didn't) i felt terrible, was i cold hearted? should i keep every last thing she ever wears/touches/vomits on? I think common sense must prevail, i cant bear the thought of waste (i am a keen recycler, becoming a mum has turned me ever so swampy-esque, i will be growing tomatoes next) my mum often berates herself for the things she didn't keep, i have always maintained the opinion you cant keep everything, it just isn't feasible, particularly as i am 1 of 6 children, had we of kept all our old clothes and toys there would have been no room in the house for us to live in it. Among our hospital bracelets, christening robes, first party dresses and other nik naks, one thing my mum has kept, which always makes me smile was the top i wore when i first went to a "club" a rather fetching pink off the shoulder gypsy top with a single haberdashery rose gracing the neckline...i wonder if that will ever get a its second wind??

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Bear with a sore head

I am not one to moan, a`hem, but the past 2 weeks i have been in the wars a little bit. First of all i opted for a tooth extraction rather than wait for the underlying abscess to rear its ugly head and, cause me toothache, but the process of removing my unusually large back molar wasn`t straight forward, it resisted the dentists tools until the bitter end, we have been together a long time my molar and i, and it wasn't leaving the warm confines of my mouth without a fight, so for the past few days i have been cupping my face like a wounded bear, and accessorising my swollen jaw with the occasional yelps, which inevitably become more frequent when people are in ear shot. As if this wasn't enough my exczema has flared up on my writing hand, and to discourage my scratching the pharmacist suggested a wear cotton gloves, so i bought the only option available, a packet of white cotton gloves, but as the rash is only on one hand, it was only necessary for me to wear one glove, so for the past few days i have been sporting one white cotton glove and much to the boyfriends amusement have forgotten on several occasions to remove it in public, paying a car park attendant and signing for a parcel both while wearing a single cotton glove, like my very own silent tribute act.

You will be pleased to hear I soldiered on through, and was brought sharply down to earth when i took my little baba to the hospital herself, after being breach for so long the paediatrician wanted to scan her hips to check for displacement (or clicky hips as its known) seeing her tiny little body wriggling while Grandad held her legs still and the radiographer rolled her onto her side broke my heart, not even Eskimo kisses from her mummy could stop her visible distress, speaking of Hospitals...............

This week the Imagine Appeal Clothes Throw is finally upon us, this incredible charity raises money for Alder Hey Childrens Hospital, an incredible place which treats 250,000 little patients every year...this year they are holding fashion shows and auctioning Celebrity/Designer donated items from Joan Collins,DVF, Helmut Lang to name a few, i supported this charity before Tilly came along, but it feels even closer to my heart now...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Hierarchy madness

I may have been watching a little too much Downton Abbey, but i am growing rather fond of the idea / concept of "dressing for dinner" I think this may be due to the fact my day to day wardrobe is more casual than i have ever known. In the years BB (before baby) my mid week wardrobe was work wear and  evening wear also known as my "going out clothes"  the colour scheme was predominantly black and my weekend wardrobe was an amalgamation of both.
Now i am on Maternity leave i have been forced to reassess my day to day ensemble, i now want to look a little less "stiff" when i am out and about, black skinny jeans have been a Winter staple of mine for a few years now, but they aren't very casual or cozy looking are they? my recent trip to a play group indicated that blue jeans are the wash of choice for the majority of mums, you may wonder why i feel the need to observe other mums "day wear" but having spent so long working in fashion, seeing women wearing leather leggings and 5" heels at 9am has become the norm` for me, the fash pack rarely bother with practicality and comfort, a colleague told me she gets very funny looks at the playground from the other mums when she rocks up in the latest trend...i wonder what they will make of Fetish this season?

I get great pleasure from sorting out my wardrobe at the change of seasons, it is cathartic for me, recently, with baby safely deposited at Chez Grandparents i headed into the loft to retrieve my Winter warmers. Having spent time perusing the glossy magazines, poring over the new Autumn Winter collections i couldn't help feeling slightly disappointed with what i found, i almost expect to find the things Ive been lusting after just loitering there, but alas there were no plum suede boots nor a fur trimmed parka, ho hum...its a good job i have spotted just the ticket!

As my day to day routine for now doesn't involve going to work, i find myself keeping certain clothes for when i actually step out of the door, i have always had a "wardrobe tier" system of sorts but i seem to have taken it to another level. In the past i have insisted i don't keep things for best, as inevitably you don't get enough wear out of things to justify buying them, i have always stood by the price per wear motto (where by you divide the total cost of the item by the number of times you have worn Item cost £250 : Number of times worn : 10 : Cost per wear £25) at the moment i am struggling to make this work for a large majority of my wardrobe so i have created an unintentional hierarchy. Most of us have Evening wear / Day wear / work wear, but when recently editing my pyjamas / hanging around the house  clothes (known in our house as slummies) i realised i was separating them something like this

  • Nice Pyjamas
  • Things i would answer the door in
  • Only suitable for cleaning up in
You may think this is an indication i have too much time on my hands, which may be a fair observation, but its really more of a case of needing to have things organised, on a daily basis i find myself wearing a little splash of vomit somewhere, like a baby badge of honour, so having my wardrobe organised enough to be able to reach for a replacement top/dress at a moments notice makes things a little easier, i am not quite there yet, and on occasion i find my outfit still a dash too formal for a trip to the supermarket, on occasion i look like I've just come from work...but slowly slowly catchee monkey, and i think perhaps i will opt for some Aubergine skinny cords, my version of blue jeans.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Time please ladies & gents

For the record i am 29 years old, there are times when i feel 100 but the majority of the time i still think i am 21, in my head i still look 21 too, although driving past Liverpool University last week and seeing a gaggle of "freshers" reminded me i am not, i would look like a member of the Goonies in the get ups these girls were rocking, they were all head scarves tied over grey / blonde hair, peter pan collars over cropped t shirts and denim cut offs, (watch an episode of X Factor and you`ll see this demonstrated perfectly)

Another reason for my reflective mood probably has something to do with receiving a letter to inform me that my driving licence picture needs renewing, i am rather perturbed as i quite like my picture, it looks nothing like me, i am blonde, tanned (i was partial to a sunbed or 6 back then) and my pose is one of pure unadulterated vanity, i genuinely don't want to change it...i knew i should have pickled my face back then.

Having a baby has the bonus effect of making you feel very grown up, the sense of responsibility is a shock, and the fact your life will never be the same again, Before having our little baba, Boyfriend and I both agreed that we didnt want to retire from having a social life, i felt too young to hang up my dancing shoes, the boyfriend said something along the lines of "there is life in the old dog yet".
I was so excited about our new addition but i knew then i wanted her to be just that, an addition to our lives, this may sound unbelievably selfish but my siblings and friends all seem to have a great balance of work/family/social life, combining the latter is easier now the majority of our group have children, we also have the added bonus of having very accommodating (read: willing to babysit) parents, so have had the luxury of being able to go out as a couple.

Although i wasn't so quick to catch on to the other elements of my life that would have to be changed or at least amended slightly, when baba was 10 weeks old we took her to a friends wedding down south, we were blissfully ignorant to how difficult it was going to be taking such a young baby to a 2 day event, my mum repeatedly offering to babysit Tilly for the weekend should have been a slap-in-the-face clue. I was so concentrated on our wedding attire i didn't give a moments thought to my little ones feeds/naps fitting in with the wedding schedule, with no "routine" in place and in hindsight this short sighted of me. So off we went, the car yet again packed up like a sardine can, We arrived at the ceremony on time, so far so good...then no sooner had the beautiful bride entered the Church did Tilly decide she wanted her bottle, and the noise she made indicated she did not want it in 20 minutes, she wanted it right now, this moment, chop chop, sharpish, Boyfriend and i were like a SWAT team and the bottle was made, shaken and inserted into her mini cake hole within seconds, panic over.

My next challenge was to negotiate the remainder of the day in vertiginous heels whilst holding baba, add champagne to this scenario and i have to confess, for the first party in my heel wearing career i changed into flats, sparkly flats, but non the less i admitted defeat and accepted this was the only life has now officially changed beyond recognition! We lasted until midnight, baba fast asleep in her pram and us taking it in turns to do what can only be described as the parent equivalent of dad dancing, on the dance floor, pushing the pram to the beat of the music......ssssshhhhh i promised boyfriend it was our little secret.....

Thanks to for the image, No Dad Dancing sign available at

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The time has come

Naive, deranged, hopeful, big headed, all of these words are applicable to my belief that i would (more or less) snap back into shape post baby. I avidly followed the weight gain of celebrities who were pregnant at the same time as me (Abbey Clancy, Victoria Beckham, Pink, Mariah Carey, Selma Blair, Jessica Alba to name a few) and compared my own bump/bum/bingo wing growth, at times i felt i was driving myself crazy, but it didn't stop me scrolling through endless pictures of them whilst munching my way through a slice of Battenburg or 4, the poor boyfriend had to sit through my running commentary, which generally focused on how their lifestyles were different to mine, how they probably had personal trainers/chefs/stylists to help them maintain their figure despite their burgeoning bump, i now know i was in denial that the extra carbohydrates i was consuming were the sole reason for my higher than average weight gain.

 For the past 3 months the biggest frustration i have had is still not being able to fit into any of my old clothes, particularly since the weather turned colder, i am itching to wear my J Brand skinnies, while now i can get them up over my thighs and bottom, but the button looks like its had a terrible argument with the button hole and they cannot bear to be in the same vicinity as one another, no amount of lying down to zip them up is going to work, its time for me to take action, sooner rather than later, as soon enough the "Ive just had a baby" excuse is going to wear extremely thin (excuse the pun) plus the afore mentioned celebrities have all had their babies and the majority are back strutting the red carpet wearing sample size frocks, which to me just signifies that quick weight loss is possible, if not easy, but also reminds me that there is light at the end of the tunnel, no need to reach for the velour trackpants just yet....

Some may say i am being too harsh on my self, but the fact of the matter is i am a secret snacker, i actually manage to convince myself that chomping on treat size Twirls isn't naughty, Devouring Cornetto Ice Creams whilst walking the promenade is customary and that Jaffa Cakes are 1 of my 5 a day.. its time to take action...

 .... i don`t wish to discuss exact stones & pounds as each woman's weight gain is relative to her pre pregnancy size, nor will i be uploading gross "before " pictures, no one wants to see that, not even me, so i have joined Fat Camp, or Boot camp to give it its official title, 3 times a week approximately 12 of us, including 2 of my friends (for me having friends to go with is essential, they provide encouragement and humour) congregate in a park and are put through our paces by a mild mannered instructor, who seems a little bemused by my pathetic approach to such tough exercise, its early days but am loving the challenge, after 4 sessions am yet to see any noticeable changes to my figure or weight, (i have decided not to follow the detox they recommended, i may live to regret this but i know i wouldn't stick to it, and then be forced to lie) but i feel very positive, full of energy and am getting used to having aching muscles 99% of the this space!!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


You hear so many conflicting opinions on exactly when a baby should be weaned that i decided to attend a weaning class to hear for myself both the medical and practical reasons for waiting till baby is 6 months old, so i could make an informed decision.

The class covered all the stages from baby weaning to advice on feeding young children, including food allergies, childhood obesity and food related behavior, it even covered Dental Health. We were told horror stories of under 5s having teeth extracted due to high sugar diets, of a 10year old who will live with dentures for life, and of young children developing heart problems from being overweight. Perhaps scare tactics are necessary in some cases but i found it all a little too much, i felt tearful that these precious little beings were subjected to what can only be described as negligence, as adults we can make our own decision of what to eat and when, we are provided with the nutritional contents of each and every product we eat, children don`t have this luxury and its the parents responsibility to ensure they give their child a balanced diet, to ensure their optimum health now and in the future...i will step off my soap box now....

One of the most interesting parts of the session for me was the discussion about eating behaviors and the long term effects these can have, i have already read about the perils of confusing hunger with comfort and running the risk of your child becoming a comfort eater, they also discussed the merits of eating with your child, preferably at a table, without the TV on, as in the same way as an adult, your child is unable to determine when they are full if they are distracted by their favourite programme, and can either over eat, or under eat and then need more food later on...generally something sweet.

Coming from a family that ate at the dining table every night (except on a Saturday when we had our dinner on a tray whilst watched Blind Date / Generation game) I have always favoured eating at a table rather than in front of the TV, i enjoy conversing about the day (whilst keeping my elbows firmly off the table, not talking with my mouth full and while definitely not sitting on my feet..table manners were strict in our house, my dad thoroughly enjoyed keeping a watchful eye on his brood during meal times) I have decided i wish to continue this tradition, i plan to adopt the Ma` Boswell (Bread) style of saying Grace...i may even invest in a pottery hen.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tears for Fears

"They" ( "they" being the invisible experts that i often refer to when i am not sure of the source of my fact/statistic) say that we are born with just 2 natural fears, a fear of loud noises and the fear of falling, all other fears are learnt as we grow up. I recently read about a study which proves parents are the cause of their children's fears, that fears are passed down through our behaviour, which technically means my daughter will inherit my long list of irrational fears including the dark, spiders, flies, clowns, kitten heels and my own shadow, to name but a few, along with her dads fear of all things gory, he cant bear watching operations on television that feature incisions of any description (i on the other hand relish watching things like embarrassing illnesses, the lumpier and bumpier and more painful looking the patients complaint the better for me) the problem i have is i don't want her to be a scaredy cat like me, i wish i could manage my fears better so they wouldn't be so glaringly obvious to her, i have already had to deal with attempting to waft a wasp away from her while being terrified myself (its not just the fear of being stung, i don't like they have fur and i could possibly swallow them, irrational? i know) The theory of "hereditary" fears must entirely dependant on the individual as i don't recall my own parents ever being frightened of the things i run away from, in fact my mum used to calmly remove spiders from my room, encourage wasps out of the windows and even walk into dark rooms at night without putting the light on...ooooh the thought of such madness makes me shudder!

Luckily one of the only things i am not frightened of is needles (don't get me wrong if i was being chased by somebody wielding a dirty needle i wouldn't be cool, calm and collected, but as a rule getting a needle doesn't bother me) so when it came to Tilly getting her 12 week immunisations i wasn't scared, just upset that she had to go through the discomfort, i was cuddling her throughout, she must have been wondering why i sat back and let the mean lady push the sharp object in her thigh!

I have decided to make a conscious effort to become less fearful to ensure my little one never has to witness me being a wuss, first up i will brush my teeth in the steps to a new me.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Pretty in Pink??

As soon as September rolls around my head automatically flicks into Autumn/Winter wardrobe mode, and now that i am responsible for Tilly`s wardrobe too, this means hers too. Its tricky getting an 11 week old baby to try things on, they kind of just want to get dressed, if i mess around for too long choosing an outfit she glares up at me from her horizontal lying position on the changing table and i know enough is enough, occasionally i hold her in front of her wardrobe and allow her to be part of the selection process, obviously now this is entirely for my own amusement, but i am hoping this will become something we will do together eventually *sighs wistfully*

As i was saying, as the weather turns colder from now on wards, i have been seeing which of her little outfits can be adapted and worn layered, as she still fits into them for now, and its not like me, i cant pack her summer wardrobe away and drag it out again next year, this is the one and only chance she will get to wear these clothes, thankfully she wont remember any of her beautiful frocks, it would be too traumatic for her to know they are all going to be too small very soon.

Today's outfit consisted of a pair of baby cord jeans, a long sleeved top with a peter pan collar and a super soft soft pink sweater (she was wearing two of this seasons biggest trends cord & knitwear not intentionally, but she was none the less) i thought she looked gorgeous, she did look gorgeous, cute as a button, comfortable and cozy, so off we went to visit a friend, to cut a long story short, the pink sweater was too warm and in the absence of a dress or the obligatory "shes a girl" headband, Tilly was mistaken for a boy by a coo-ing stranger, i was mortified, she is such a pretty little girl (the outfit wasn't intended to look androgynous, i was inspired by a recent trip to French children's wear store, Bonpoint, and then replicated it using Zara kids) whats worse within minutes we came face to face with another baby wearing a sparkly pink tutu  and a huge bow on her head, this to me was the equivalent of me coming face to face with a cast member of TOWIE, the way they dress isn't my cup of tea,  but thousands of girls aspire to their ultra girly spangly bandage dress wearing style, i have on occasion felt intimidated by glamazonians, usually when wearing something i deemed on trend which they no doubt would label frumpy......i was over whelmed with guilt...was i enforcing my newborn to dress down? should i dress her more frivolously? ignore my instincts and go for head to toe shades of candy frou frou complete with a baby fascinator?? What do i do until she is old enough to choose her own clothes, dress her how i choose and risk her backlash later in life ? Answers on a postcode please, as this problem definitely isn't the baby books.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Tools of the Trade

We decided to be cavalier and take our little bundle on her first family holiday, no where that involved a passport or excess baggage charges, but to the beautiful Cotswolds (and not on our own either, with other family members who also have little people to entertain, i cant recommend this plan of action enough, the more hands on deck the better)

Packing up the car was an experience, how can one tiny little person need so much stuff?? Every inch of the car was jam packed with baby paraphernalia, it was suggested (not by me) to Boyfriend he invest in a roof rack, his face was a picture, for him that would be the final nail in his peter pan existence, you would think he had been asked to drive a 3 wheeler, instead he played suitcase Jenga until it all fitted in. Tilly of course had her own mini suitcase which was packed to perfection, i even took her small hangers to ensure i could hang it all up on arrival, her dad and i on the other hand were limited to a holdall each, how times change.

Tilly chose our weeks holiday to have a growth spurt, and proceeded to wake at 2.30am each night for a top up feed, after boasting she slept 10pm - 5/6am this was quite a shock to the system, nor did she want to sleep in quite as late, i think she was far more interested in watching early morning Sponge Bob with her little cousins.

Having 4 adults on hand meant we were able to take turns to piece with our off-spring and managed to fit in kayaking (both of us) horse riding (just me) and water skiing (just boyfriend, i used Tilly as my excuse but the fact is i am weak as a kitten and at times find pushing a shopping trolley an effort, so holding up my body weight whilst balancing on 2 ice lolly sticks on water didn't appeal to me)

Tilly being pint sized and unable to protest boredom meant i was able to indulge myself in a spot of charity shop scouring in the local villages, i am always hopeful that a Mrs Haversham type character will have donated her entire wardrobe of vintage Chanel to the local Sue Ryder shop, i have been warned that shopping days with Tilly wont always be so easy so i made the most of it and also fitted in a day at Bicester Village.

On the way to our holiday we got stuck in a traffic jam (a 4 mile tail back where we were actually stopped, engine off) boyfriend hates sitting in any form of traffic and it transpired Tilly has inherited this extreme dislike, in fact for the whole week she cried whenever we drove at anything less than 30mph, she is a speed freak, and whenever i put her in a white sleep suit for bed, boyfriend calls her The Stig, i am worried that rather than have a little ballet dancing princess who loves fashion and singing to Beyonce like her mum that she will be a Top Gear watching, trainer wearing petrol head, like her Daddy.

Whilst sat in the traffic jam i began to worry about what would happen if we were stuck there, what would i used to feed Tilly once the feeds i had with me ran out ? (i like to imagine the worst possible scenarios, compulsive worrying is a skill i am honing in preparation for my twilight years) i of course had enough feeds and bottles with me to ensure Tilly could have actually camped there happily for days, Boyfriend and i however would have been malnourished and dehydrated, but that didn't occur to me. But i did have one very good idea, a friend of ours wears a rather fetching tool belt (for work not as accessory you must understand, but something i teased him about regardless when he worked on our house) well now i must eat my words as it probably something i would find quite useful, my tool belt would contain a supply of muslin's, Infacol, and a Dettol antibacterial spray (my love and repetitive use of this has led the Boyfriend to nickname me the E Coli warrior) so i have to use this opportunity to sincerely apologise for calling our friend "Tim the tool man Taylor"  now where can i get me one, and do they come in suede? or better still corduroy for Autumn Winter???

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Rave On

Some call it nature, some call it nurture, others say its pure good luck, but i have (for now) a baby that sleeps. I don't want to tempt fate, but she does, she can sleep for up to 8hrs at night time, meaning i get to catch up on some snoozage. Boyfriend keeps telling me i should make the most of it, but nothing can stop me waking up half a dozen times through the night to check my little one is still breathing, meaning i am still tired, but at least have peace of mind for the short intervals i am in the land of nod.

They say you cant have it all, and as i have a baby that sleeps, this means i also have a baby who is very much awake for the majority of the day, and she may only be 8 weeks but she is not immune from boredom, so plonking her in the bouncer for hours on end isn't an option, this little one needs entertaining, and unfortunately she doesn't enjoy sitting in bed and watching Daybreak as much as me, i don't know if its Adrian Chiles or Christine Bleakley she doesn't like, but either way she lets me know its time to haul my arse out of bed and start the day.

There are small windows of opportunities in my day to get things done, taking a shower for example, yes i know i should get up before she wakes up and have one, but i don't, so i fit one in around her frequent morning feeds. One morning last week i decided a bath was more preferable, not a quick lick and a promise mind, i fancied a soak, decadent, i know. My little treasure seemed to be content enough sitting in her bouncer in the bathroom where she could see me....until the second i began to step in the bath, at that moment she decided enough was enough, she wanted attention and she wanted it now! Now rather than doing the maternal thing and scrapping the bath, scooping her up and using the time to practise her Mandarin (an imperative language to know for her to become an international business mogul don't you think ?) I decided i could pacify her by singing to her, this is common place in our house, i cant sing a note in tune, and the Boyfriend is no Michael Buble, but he keeps Miss Tilly happy for hours singing silly rhymes to her and playing her his latest vinyl purchase, I in turn warble endlessly along to Smooth FM, so you see it seemed like the perfect idea, only my brain went completely blank, as she screamed i frantically searched my mental back catalogue of songs for one that might capture her attention. I could have chosen the sultry sounds of Sade, or even something catchy by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, both of which she seems to enjoy, but no, the only song that entered into my head, thanks to a childhood filled with summer holidays at Haven, was Aaaaaaaaaagaaaaaaa doo doo doo, so there i was, sat in the bath pushing Pineapple`s, shaking the trees, grinding cof-fee, whilst my daughter sat and stared directly at me, no longer crying, perhaps in shock. Thank god she didn't have an iphone handy, or i think she may have seized the opportunity to humiliate me on You Tube for subjecting her to such a pathetic performance, i don't think i will ever make a red coat.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A first time for everything

6 weeks exactly to the day of Tilly being born it was time for me to venture back out into the world of grown ups and go "out"
I am have been very carefully weaning myself back on to alcohol by having a glass of wine in the evening (for preparation purposes only, of course) but i still felt nervous about actually drinking multiple units in one evening, not to mention feeling ropey the next day. Tilly was in the very capable hands of her Nana & grandad for the evening, so that wasn't a worry for me, thankfully, as i had whole host of other things to stress me out.

First task, getting ready. Since Ive had the baby i have questioned what exactly i did with my time before she came along, I have now realised i spent the majority of it preparing myself to leave the house. In the past i wasn't one for planning my "going out" outfits (this has either worked very well for me or bombed spectacularly and Ive ventured out looking eclectic/like a crazy bag lady) but as my wardrobe is still somewhat limited due to majority of my clothes having bizarrely shrunk in size recently, i purposely chose what i was wearing a few days in advance. I also enlisted my sister to blow dry my hair to cut down my preening time. All i had to do was shower, apply my war paint and get dressed...simple? you`d think so. But this was after i got Miss Tilly ready for her sleep over, for a little person she sure does need a lot of stuff, bottles/formula/steriliser/nappies/wipes and that's before packing her spare clothes and moses basket!

My time keeping has never been good, in fact i am notorious for never being ready on time for nights out, but its something i have been working on improving (the boyfriend is the most prompt person ever so i have been following his lead) Tilly has only added to my tardiness so getting us both ready to get out for 8pm was no mean feat (Boyfriend watched in vain as i ran around like a headless chicken, i have a medical condition called Mummy Martyrdom which prevented me from delegating my to-do-list, i hear this is a common problem among new mums, understandable though, how can we moan about how much we have to deal with if we always let our partners help us??)

Finally i was ready (wearing a clever A-line button through dress, which skimmed over my problem areas, i am declining to list these, there is something to be said for not drawing peoples attention to your faults so i topped my look off with red lips) I popped on my heels (10cm) and off i went, walking like Bambi, who would have thought it, a few months of wearing flats and despite years of teetering on vertiginous heels i am back to being a novice, i was mortified! I walked like i was smuggling a marble between my bum cheeks, my poor toes were clinging onto the end of my shoes for dear life as i negotiated my way into the car. No body warned me that post pregnancy i would have to once again learn to walk in high heels, the extra weight i am carrying probably didn't help my balance either, but i have always believed the higher the heels & hair the closer to heaven so this was quite a blow.

The dress i was wearing on my first night out belonged to my younger sister, this i believe was my first mistake, spying a dress on a 25yr old and thinking that i could emulate the look, despite having only given birth 6 weeks ago, you have to applaud my balls.
I left the house believing i looked presentable, admittedly i didn't feel a fraction of the confidence i had  pre pregnancy, but at the very least i had ensure i looked quite polished, what quickly struck me on arriving at the bar that night that polished wasn't quite going to cut the mustard for me. I found myself surrounded by dozens and dozens of skinny legs, young (probably childless) skinny legs clad in (very very very) short dresses dancing around carelessly. I felt like an alien. Admittedly this wasn't a bar i frequented prior to having the Tilly, so i had nothing to compare my feelings to, but i felt nervous, frumpy and out of place. The large majority of my friends have children, and they were all there, sporting an array of fabulous outfits, looking slim, confident and gorgeous, undeterred by the underage mini girls aloud look alikes that milled around....this reminded me my feelings were only temporary, and there is obviously going to be a period of adjustment after having a baby, I am a mummy now, but there is no reason mummy = frumpy, i fully intend to claw back my old confidence, i may never wear anything outrageous, but am not sure i did before, i may never bare my midriff again, but never say never. As for walking in high heels, practise makes perfect.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Some call it slavery

When asked by her parents to do something she doesn't feel like doing  (usually something menial like pass the remote / shut the door that kind of thing) hysterically, my niece`s response is "i`m not your slave"  whats even funnier is that she picked it up from her mum & dad who used to jokingly say it to her when she used to point at or ask for something she couldn't be bothered to retrieve herself, oh how i laughed when the shoe was on the other foot. Tilly is 7 weeks old tomorrow, and granted, she is unable to do anything for herself, but already i can see into the future, and Princess Tilly is going to rule the roost. I have visions of me living in a kennel outside when she decides she needs more space, in fact i may change my name to Baldrick now, save any confusion later.

We started baby massage this week, when i told my parents about this, my dad was sceptical to say the least, i think he thought i was taking Tilly for a seaweed wrap, pedicure and sauna!! Far from being new age hippy dippy nonsense, baby massage classes were actually started in the 1970s by an American woman who travelled the world, during her time in India she saw how the Indian women, despite living in immense poverty and experiencing personal hardship, took an incredible amount of time and effort massaging their babies using natural oils to ensure they were contented. Baby massage can help with the symptoms of colic and ensures you spend important 1 to 1 time with your baby (you may think this part sounds silly, but being with your baby all day long doesn't necessarily mean have the time to spend one to one, like the saying says sometimes, life gets in the way) Another benefit is that you get to speak to other mums (i too scoffed at the idea of this before hand, i have previously insisted i wasn't into " group sharing") but you cant ignore how beneficial it is to speak to mums who have babies exactly the same age, who are going through exactly the same thing as you (sleepless nights/sleep deprivation, taking part in the nappy changing Olympics) After the class the teacher made us all a cup of tea (in a safety beaker, and we were all given one to take home, its my new favourite thing) and in a completely non cringey way encouraged us to chat. For me (i am so sorry if this sounds shallow but i have to be honest) it was a relief to see that the other new mummys hadnt sprung back to a size 8 either, they all looked healthy and happy and equally as eager to discuss things, i left feeling i had benefited from the class as much as Tilly which am guessing is the point.....clever baby massage teacher lady.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Back to the future

I wrote an entire blog this morning, and in my bleary eyed state I deleted it, with no way of getting it back, in hindsight it wasn't that great anyway, here is the jist of it
  • I still cant fit into my pre-baby jeans
Which probably isn't a surprise to anyone who knows me (I enjoy eating Cadburys Twirls, and a supermodel body they do not make) and is of no interest to those who don't know me, so i decided to skip the entire subject.

This week i have been filling in Tilly`s baby books, listing all her details such as birth weight (7lb 15oz) eye colour (unconfirmed, dark blue, could go hazel or brown) birth mark (none) you get my drift. But then i came to my favourite part of the book."What happened the year of my birth" its only July and 2011 has been quite an eventful year and i love that Tilly will have a record of pivotal events.

It occurred to me that my record of events or indeed what i consider to be important will be vastly different to others, but i want to i record the things that effected me or that i found interesting so that when she is older she gets an understanding of who i was, and what my world was like.

Media events for 2011 will of course include the Wedding of William & Kate, will the frenzy of P-Middy and her pert posterior make history i wonder? The Alexander McQueen dress by Sarah Burton will of course, i will be sure to fill my mini fashionista in on the legend that was Lee McQueen too. Next up, Kate Moss marries her rockstar, wearing Galliano, i wonder will Tilly pore over pictures of these magnificent dresses like i did...will she even be interested in fashion??

I also wondered if i should include any of the sad events, i decided that the death of Amy Winehouse should make the book, as the album, Back to Black, was the soundtrack to my year in 2006/7 and her look and sound was so iconic. Am hoping Till inherits some of my musical taste, i grew up loving Patsy Cline, just because my mum did.

The boyfriend and I have already laughed about how boring and embarrassing Tilly will find us when she is a teenager, when i make vain attempts to tell her i once had a career in fashion i can imagine her scoffing, wondering why i am such a geeky frump now, and can you imagine her face when she sees her Daddys vinyl collection?....even CDs will be obsolete by the time she is old enough to use them, what will she make of these giant black discs that only hold 12 songs when her generation will probably have micro chip sized i pods storing 4 million tracks and drive flying cars!

My intention is to fill the book, including some profound information, i don't want Tilly thinking her mum was totally i have written that in June 2011 Beyonce headlined Glastonbury.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The girl who looked for lids

The first week at home with our bundle of joy would have made an amusing reality TV show, i can now tsee where the writers of the "Look Who`s Talking" Movies got their inspiration from, while Boyfriend and I ran around tending to Tilly`s every need and whim i often felt she was staring at us thinking "what a pair of whoppa`s, Ive got them wrapped around my little finger and am only a week old, god help them when am older!"

It is well known that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, and for me with my love of snoozing this was set to be my biggest challenge. My memories of the first week are mostly of Boyfriend and I squinting at each other as I turned on the night-light for yet another feed. The only way to describe the routine of broken sleep is liken it to someone waking me up blowing a whistle down my ear every 2hrs, forcing me to stay awake for approximately 40 minutes then starting all over again 2hrs later.

We quickly decided a 2 man tag team was the best course of action for coping, If a nappy change was particularly messy we would call for help or "back up" as we called it, and as we shuffled around like Ozzy Osbourne, the tiredness left us bereft of humour and unable to see how hysterically funny the whole thing must have looked, its like Tilly is the most demanding A-list celebrity and we are her loyal slaves.

"Feeding on demand" is the phrase used to describe how often you breastfeed your newborn baby, which means when baby cries or indicates hunger you feed her. Tilly is now a month old and only now am i able to say this out loud without getting very tearful and a little embarrassed, I struggled to breastfeed. I admit i am no earth mother but as i have said before I wanted my baby to get all the nutrients and antibodies from my breast milk as well as the bonding and closeness breastfeeding encourages.

Once i got over the shock and discomfort of engorgement (the word to describe your boobs when filled with breast milk) we attempted to master "latching on" (this simply means baby is latched onto your breast in the correct way to ensure they can extract your milk and to minimise discomfort for you) I lasted just over 2 weeks in total, in those 2 weeks i cried more times than Tilly, tears of frustration and feelings of inadequacy, I couldn't understand why something that should have come so naturally was so difficult.

My emotions sent me crazy, I would go from feeling like the master of the universe when we managed a successful feed to the depths of despair when Tilly would feed for 2hrs in the middle of the night and still cry out in hunger, i can laugh at my lunacy now, but i cut a pretty sad figure desperately propping myself up on dozens of pillows (with no top on) dripping big fat tears onto Tilly's head, pitifully wailing, mid sob, to the Boyfriend that i was barren, when i wasn't doing this i was attempting to express into a bottle. The whole episode was overwhelming, and even though Tilly is now a very contented baby on formula milk, i still feel very envious of those who find breastfeeding a breeze.

After breast came bottle, which presents its own challenges, i sustained several bottle related injuries in the first fortnight including burning myself with steam from the steriliser, and catching my finger in the lids of bottle causing a very, very small but painful blood blister.
Bottle feeding requires military precision planning, ensuring all bottles and all the related paraphernalia (teats, lids etc) are sterilised for the day, for the night feeds i make sure i have everything i need to hand  to get through till 6am, i have a rather fetching little thermo-bag (cross body, pale blue) i carry up stairs to bed which contains the next feed, i have morphed into a Roy Cropper character trudging up to bed with my little bag, and my bedside table is like a milk themed cocktail bar (bottles, formula, ready made cartons, dozens of muslins and scissors) last night the Boyfriend wore ear plugs, not to drown out the baby but to avoid being woken repeatedly by the sound of me dropping something in my frantic rush to grab my feeding apparatus and the inevitable profanity which follows the sound of yet another thing crashing to the floor.

Ive also developed a disturbing obsession with bottle lids, if i am not looking for them, i am asking boyfriend to look for them, its developing into a paranoia that people are hiding them from me, Ive decided to buy twice as many lids than i have bottles, just to make sure.

On a more fashion orientated note, apart from being rather a long way away from fitting back into my skinny jeans, Ive also amassed a list of things i now cant wear for reasons other than my weight. Number one on this list is Silk, silk and babies don't mix, it isn't machine washable and if a silk blouse and a bottle of formula get into a tussle, the bottle wins, hands down.

I have also started to compile a list of articles i would like to see in baby magazines rather than the mundane and repetitive Top 10 of buggies, i would like to read articles that help me maintain as much normality in my life and avoid turning into a complete frump, i suggest .."How to perfectly blow dry your hair in 5 minutes" or how about "Healthy foods you can prepare with one arm while holding baby in the other"

Thats all for now, I`ve got lids to look for.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cloud Cuckoo land

I have to confess to the faux par i made when preparing my "labour / hospital wardrobe" along with 2 pairs of sensible pyjamas i also bought a long white embroidered nightie more suited to sitting in a field with daisy chains in my hair playing acoustic guitar than shuffling around a hospital room post partnum, needless to say i didn't wear it.

My naive vision of myself freshly showered wearing a dash of Bobbi Brown tinted moisturiser (for the glow, of course) applied just in time for our visitors didn't quite materialise, i was showered but my hair looked like Pat Sharpe circa Fun House and as for the make-up i would have needed something a little heavier duty than a tinted moisturiser to make me "photo ready", the light weight cotton dressing gown i packed however was worth its weight in gold, the temperature in the hospital was tropical (candy coloured fleece was the top choice for dressing gowns on my ward, i got hot flushes just looking at them) and as i had chosen to breastfeed (make that attempt to breastfeed) this was the perfect cover up (it was quite fetching too, a soft dark berry modal with a contrasting cherry coloured trim for those who like the finer details)

Like i said, i chose to breastfeed, after all its the most natural thing in the world isnt it?? What i didn't know is that not all babies are natural breast feeders, and that for the Mummy its about getting it right (ensuring baby is latched on correctly, that your position is comfortable for baby) and its also necessary for you to have absolutely no shame (in my case anyway), as i spent the first 2 days in hospital with various midwifes physically guiding my nipple towards Tilly`s mouth, i heard the mantra "tummy to mummy, nose to nipple" so many times i started reciting it to Tilly, like she cared!
I desperately wanted to breastfeed my new baby, the benefits of it for her are endless and there was the adittional Brucie Bonus for me that it may help me shift my baby weight, there is a service called Bosom buddies at the hospital who are a government funded support group who are there to give guidance and encouragement, unfortunately they aren't available at 2am when you most need them (my assigned Bosom buddie had 8 children and breastfed them pressure then?)

On the 2nd night in hospital a wonderful midwife took a very frantic Tilly and nursed her for over 2hrs to allow me to get some sleep, i was so grateful i kept muttering thank you, thank you so much , thank you i really appreciate it, long after she had left my room. When i woke up a couple of hours later they hadn't wheeled Tilly`s cot back into my room, panic stricken i shuffled into the hall to find her fast asleep swaddles up next to the calm and collected midwife, i shuffled back to my room, feeling a little sheepish, with my Pat Sharpe hair, pushing my little bundle in her plastic cot on wheels.

I know its a cliche, but all the books in the world couldn't have prepared us for the mayhem that ensued after bringing Baby Tilly home,we followed all the recommendations including spending a day or so on our own with her, staggering our visitors, making sure we had everything ready for her and I have to admit the first 24hrs i think its safe to say we were slightly smug, we had our beautiful, healthy little girl home and we were pretty good at this parenting lark....

Lesson 1 of parenting. never speak too soon!!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

My Greatest Achievement

Here it is, the blog I've been gearing up to write for 9 months, even with 40 weeks to get ready, I can safely say i have never been more unprepared for anything in my life!

My daughter (am still getting used to saying that) Tilly Frances Jones arrived at 11.09pm on 18th June, weighing 7lb 15oz, born on her due date, with 51 minutes to spare, just like her mum she was fashionably late, but just in time for Fathers Day, the perfect present I thought?

My memories of my labour are all very positive (sorry to disappoint) I had manageable cramps and back pain the night before, the pains didn't actually start until 6am on the Saturday morning, for the first 6 or 7hrs (the latent stage as its known) I was at home doing my hypno, very serenely surrounded by my Heidi Klein scented candles, listening to music, I even managed to watch a movie (Stand by Me, one of my faves, I had a teenage crush on River Pheonix)

My labour team was made up of Boyfriend Mick and my mum, Joan, who were amazing, so good in fact, I think they should be available to rent by the hour as labour buddies, they were calming, patient and possessed the necessary good humour to cope with a sarcastic piece of work like me during my hour of need.

I will spare you the gory labour details but I will stand up and be judged over my final decision to opt for lots and lots of drugs when I entered full labour, I started with an appetiser of gas & air, my main course was a jab of diamorphine and for dessert I had an epidural, and I don't have a single regret.
I did my best for as long as possible to control and breath through the pain using my hypno, and I firmly believe the visualisation techniques i learnt were the reason I was able to stay calm but in the end (after initially getting on my moral high horse and even crying pathetically over the decision)  i realised i didn't have the threshold to cope with the pain, and a wise old owl told me there were no medals at the end for the least amount of drugs taken.

I was very lucky that my labour was uneventful, with no complications (other than having IV antibiotics and needing to be attached to a foetal monitor for the whole time which prevented me from using the birthing pool, sitting on the birthing ball or even getting up from the bed) This meant "team labour" were just passing time for much of the day, while i drifted in and out of consciousness, coming around only to beg Mick to sneak me the occasional Fruit Pastille.

My waters didn't break naturally so the midwife did the honours for me, before declaring i was carrying half baby/ half goldfish due to the volume of water that came crashing onto the bed, while she frantically built a tissue paper damm to prevent flooding the maternity ward, it was at this point i was VERY grateful my waters hadn't broken in John Lewis as i had hoped, as rather than receiving complimentary vouchers i would probably have received a cleaning bill!

When the time came for my baby to make an appearance, it was all hands on deck, my Mum on my left, Mick to my right, and me in the middle begging them not to look down the "business end" a plea they totally ignored (which now i am glad about, i would hate for them to have missed the most amazing part because of my prudish behaviour) The midwife (i went through 3 because of their shifts, the midwife who delivered Tilly was called Lisa and typically the first thing i noticed was that she had a lovely tan) Lisa was the calmest person i have ever met, and when the time came to push, her gentle encouragement (come on Jo, one more push for me...that kind of thing) made me feel like i was doing sit ups with a personal trainer rather than pushing something very big though a small exit.

15 minutes of pushing and Tilly Frances arrived, crying immediately before being placed on my chest for the first round of SOS (skin on skin contact) with her Mummy.

Shock, awe and wonder are the words i would describe the emotions i felt, i couldn't take my eyes off this beautiful little person, she had a mop of dark hair and has these incredible rosebud lips (she had obviously been practising her pout in my womb) the first thing i remember is holding my breath as the midwife checked she had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, this was my first experience of feeling overwhelmingly protective, i know now this feeling wont ever go away.

A little later on when Tilly and I were cleaned up it was time to go to the Labour ward, Daddies are sent home, and it was just us, my daughter and I left to get acquainted, this is when the reality and enormity hit me, i felt totally overwhelmed, i thought when she cried that maybe she didn't like me, every time i picked her up i worried i might break her, but i didn't, and she seemed to like me quite a lot after a while, happily nuzzling into my chest when ever i held her, i must have kissed her a thousand times, and she smelt is that even possible??

Now for my next trick....motherhood!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Sitting Duck

I turned on my laptop this morning and the first thing that popped up was a reminder for tomorrow I set 6 months ago

"18th June Baby Due"

In hindsight it probably wasn't necessary to set a reminder, its not something you can forget, especially with a bump this size, which by the way you don't get used to, i added yet another scratch to my bump using a kitchen drawer today, i forget it sticks out a good few inches from the rest of my body.

In official terms i am 24hrs away from my due date, unofficially i cant see this little one making an appearance on time, if this baby is anything like its mummy it will be fashionably late! The feeling of waiting for a baby to arrive is very strange, its entirely out of your control as to when and where, but it hasn't stopped me going out yet  (i hear if your waters break in John Lewis you get gift vouchers, and in Tesco you get a years supply of nappies, so i may just spend tomorrow going from one store to the other!)

I have made food related attempts to bring on labour (hot thai green curry/raspberry leaf tea) as well as making sure i keep moving about, i have also showed the bump around its gorgeous new bedroom in an attempt to entice it out (at this point i am past caring that i sound and look like a crazy person, i walk like one so i might as well go the whole hog) so i tell the amazing little alien kicking about inside my overly stretched stomach everyday how excited everyone is to meet it, but still no movement, its been suggested my sweet tooth  (which has spiralled out of control, yesterday i fancied Mr Kipling jam tarts, but this week has also seen me eat Battenburg, chocolate fudge cake and homemade scones) may be encouraging the little one to stay put, its cozy, warm and VERY well fed, who would want to vacate??

Speaking on eating habits, they inevitably lead to me thinking about / moaning about weight gain. I have been relatively lucky in the past with my metabolism allowing me to indulge more than occasionally and staying at roughly the same weight, i fear i am about to get the shock of my life.
I wont divulge exactly how much i weight i have gained (i may do post birth) am not that brave yet, but what i will say is i feel an urgency to lose it, for reasons of vanity, sanity and wardrobe of course Ive heard every possible piece of advice on this matter, the most frequent one being that I shouldn't be worrying about my weight, i should be concentrating on the baby, well of course i plan to concentrate on the baby, i have just spent the last 9 months growing a mammoth bump in which to house it, planning and preparing for its every need and worrying every time i don't feel regular kicks, i merely intend to eat more healthily, cut out the refined sugar (bye bye Battenburg, au revoiur Mr Kipling) and exercise as much as possible.

Now before those in the know (yes you, mummies) laugh at my naive ramblings, i know these good intentions aren't going to become a reality straight away, sleep deprivation and the general whirlwind of having a new baby will put paid to that, but i don't see the harm in making my future intentions known, i believe its known as Positive Mental Attitude!

I am off to spend day 10 of Maternity leave padding around the house, cleaning, occasionally flinching from Braxton Hicks, chatting to the bump and making the most of the time i have left on my own with unlimited access to refined sugar

I will keep you posted


Monday, 13 June 2011

Crib Sheet

It took about 7 months, but eventually i saw the domino effect of my pregnancy that I am told all pregnant women notice, and all of a sudden lots of women around me announced they were pregnant, there is something quite special about sharing baby news when you`re expecting yourself.

I have been asked by one friend to compile a crib sheet of pregnancy style essentials, while putting this together it naturally expanded into all the items that actually helped me through my pregnancy, food, cosmetics etc and i think they are worth a mention too, mainly because i have been told i will forget all of these details as soon as the baby arrives.

Like i have said before, i jumped into pregnancy suitable clothing very early, comfort has always been a big factor in my day to day wardrobe ( i know, i know, as someone who works in fashion this is a sin to admit to) but its true. I also put a lot of weight on early days, which rendered a huge portion of my wardrobe useless, the first casualties were my jeans and trousers, i didn't purchase any maternity jeans, my feelings on this decision in hindsight?? a possible mistake, although in my defence the only Maternity jeans i wanted were J Brand, a big expense and my thighs and bottom are much bigger than pre pregnancy, so buying my own size jeans in a maternity style would have meant they wound up being too small,  but i could have bought a pair in the correct size at 5 1/2 - 6 months, or got off my high horse and bought a pair from Topshop Maternity.

Vanity led me to avoid leggings as much as possible during my pregnancy, i can count on 2 hands the total amount of time i wore them (in public) my legs have never been my best feature and pregnancy hasn't helped this, so they wont feature on my personal crib sheet, although had the latter stages of my pregnancy been in winter, rather than spring this may have been different, as black pregnancy leggings layered up with long jersey / knitwear and my Acne boots may have been a good look, the way my pregnancy fell meant i didn't need to buy a pregnancy suitable coat, but i will be keeping a close eye on my fellow bump carriers choices, my money is on wrap styles.

Over the past few weeks my wardrobe has been squashed down to a capsule of approximately 6-8 pieces, i should frame them but all i want to do is burn them on a bonfire, am so sick of wearing them!

This isnt the definitive list, and i imagine i will add to this but my essentials included
  • Alexander Wang T or Topshop black jersey maxi dresses worn with Topshop grey jersey cropped ribbed long sleeve top and cropped Day Birger et Mikkelsen leather jacket layered over, good for covering my arms, as well as balancing out my changing shape.
  • Falke black tights, after month 6 you will need pregnancy tights for comfort
  • Beige food. This started out as a joke, that i craved only beige food (potato cakes/croissants/sui mai) and may have contributed to my weight gain, but boy did they stave off the hunger pangs and nausea
  • The Body Shop coconut cream, not only is the smell incredible, like beach holidays which conjure up happy thoughts, but its meant my bump is very smooth and soft ( i also have no stretch marks, but this could be luck / good genes) 
  • Dream Genie pillow, i cant say enough about the wonders of this curved pillow, one problem? i may never stop using it!
  • Pedicures. Not a luxury, but an essential as i cant physically paint my toe nails myself. And the heavier i have become the more necessary it is to look after my tootsies, they are after all taking the brunt of the extra weight. 
  • H&M Mama maternity black stretch vests. Dont ask why, just buy at least 2 of these, you wont be sorry.
  • Bloch Ballet pumps, a lifesaver now that my feet are officially a size bigger, the scrunched elastic detail stretches to accommodate my poor swelled feet
  • H&M (elasticated back) tapered cuffed ankle trousers in black and khaki, these trousers looked great with my ankle boots (pre swelling) sandals on warm days and even heels on brave nights, they have been my saviour, and worn more times than i can count. i owe them big time.
  • M&S Brazilian lace trimmed knickers. for when the bump gets big and only low rise knickers can be worn as anything else roll down to create a hula hoop effect around your bottom, these are comfortable, reasonably priced, and quite nice looking, unlike most maternity items, i also bought all of my maternity bras in M&S, i bought only a couple each time (one white/one black), as you grow out of them very quickly and have to replace them.
  • Cotton Pyjamas with an Aline adjustable strap top and elastic seam under the bust....i was given a pair that should be issued to all pregnant women, as they are so perfect in shape and flattering on the bump (even now)
Looking over this i have realised how very low maintenance my pregnancy has been and how little i have wasted on a maternity wardrobe (there are other things i have bought that didn't feature on this list, as i could have lived without them, but nothing bank breaking) am surprised, and a little disappointed at myself, i know the boyfriend was bracing himself for diva behaviour that never surfaced, i feel like i have let the side down!

I have been advised to purchase plenty of nice pyjamas and lounge wear, as visitors come thick and fast post baby, and i will still be a chub rock (the boyfriends words, not mine) and will want to feel nice,  this is my "couch task" for the next few days, God Bless the Internet

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I want to hear the best bits

I was given a piece of advice at the beginning of my pregnancy that rightly or wrongly i ignored, the advice was "don't read any of the books" I was given all the books i have, so one excuse i have is that i didn't actively go out and purchase them, and to be fair the first few months of my pregnancy i devoured them, most of them have a week by week account of what to expect, including side effects, and regardless of how many nieces / nephews i have (7) how many of my friends that have children (the majority) i have never actually lived daily through someones pregnancy so 99% of the information was news to me. I also joined who send you a weekly update detailing approximate size & weight of your
baby (with lots of vegetable comparisons) and what developmental stage your unborn is at, which i loved,

I don't ever comment or ask questions on the online forums but there were occasions i looked through other discussions of other mum-to-be and found useful answers (much to the amusement of my elder relatives who scoff at the thought of using the internet to find answers to pregnancy or medical related questions...."what did we do before the internet????" they say, i have genuinely NO idea, lie awake worrying? ask a neighbour?
I do have concerns the information available online can fuel some womens fears, especially those with even slight hypochondriac tendencies and have warned a newly pregnant friend to avoid Google to avoid any irrational worrying, your midwife is there for any questions you have, at my Hospital they encouraged you to call them should we be worried, as its better safe than sorry.

So this is were i am at, books read, almost everything prepared, Braxton Hicks kicking in every night (for those unfamiliar with the term these are pains downstairs brought on by my uterus contracting in preparation for labour, which i have to be truthful feel like mini lightening bolts where the sun don't shine) and Edema (more commonly known as swelling / water retention) in full force on every limb, putting a cup of tea down on the patio yesterday i was told i looked like an Olympic weight lifting champion, on the bright side at least i am of Olympic standard, heaven forbid i just look like a weight lifter!

But I have a complaint to make, I am now 10 away from my due date, and on day 3 of official Maternity leave, which feels a bit like a holiday, but with a hint of guilt attached (cleaning eases the guilt, and they say cleanliness is close to godliness, which makes me practically angelic these days, my friend insinuated last week my oven was far too clean to be used regularly, in my new role as a stepford wife i took this as a huge compliment) my complaint is that i have heard, read about and lived through the negative side to pregnancy, i am having to remind myself there is soon to be a little bundle of wonder less to make it all worth while.

I can list the negatives related to having a baby off by heart, starting with the below...

* Weight gain ( and never regaining pre baby figure)
* Pain
* Lack of sleep (pre and post baby)
* Strained relationships
* Career implications
* Impossible life juggling

Am i being naive but are things really going to be that bad? does the good not out weigh the bad? I have read so many articles about "Women who want it all" those who dare to juggle motherhood and home life with a career, and dare i suggest it, a life of their own, and rarely do the stories i read have a happy ending, am pretty sure daytime television watching and Daily Mail online reading has accelerated these feelings but I am  worried sick i am hurtling towards becoming a a bitter, overweight, neurotic, Jeremy Kyle watching, Loose Women quoting elasticated waistband wearing slummy mummy....and i havent even had the baby yet...I need some warm fuzzy thoughts sent my way, pronto.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Scone Eating Contest

So baby is facing the right way thanks to Dr I and we have completed the NCT / Antenatal course. Hospital visits have been frequent this week, Doc took a preventative step by giving me a cervical suture to keep baba in place back in January, and it was time for this to be removed, I was given Gas & Air, which gave me a little taster of what to expect, i can only liken the feeling to very short term intoxication, which passes pretty much as soon as you stop inhaling, and then we have been on several foetal monitors to check our little one is happy and comfortable  (which it seems he/she is, having kicked like a kung fu fighter through my pregnancy the midwife had said the movements should stay strong and frequent, baby may have less room but this doesn't restrict baby from wriggling)

This weekend it was time for the Scone Eating contest, some may call this my baby shower, but i felt slightly diva-ish calling it that, Scone Eating contest sounded much more relaxed, not to mention tasty.
Thrown by my lovely Mum and sisters it involved my closest friends and female members of my family joining me to dig into a wonderful spread....including plenty of Joan`s now legendary scones (weighed down by a ton of strawberries, jam & clotted cream...I think i may have taken the prize for eating the most scones, although i has STIFF competition, you know you are!!)
Baby showers may be an idea we Brits have stolen from American movies, but i think having a girlie pre-baby gathering is a brilliant idea, it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with my friends (those with children are known as the Mummy Council, i tried my best not to bore them with too many quick fire baby questions) the whole day was lovely, very civilised (one of my dearest friends arrived clutching 2 home made Lemon drizzle cakes, which made me giggle, until recently the only thing she would have brought to a party was a large bottle of chilled Sauvignon and taxi fare home, how times change?) And yes, i received some incredibly generous presents, lots of teeny tiny white things, which are now hanging on teeny tiny white hangers in babies wardrobe, which i keep sneaking a little look into, just to check they look as cute as i remember.

It was time for my final Hypnobirthing sessions this weekend, boyfriend joined in on one session, my "Guru" thinks its a good idea for him to see exactly how the process works, so i don't freak him out attempting to self hypnose during my early labour, thankfully he is very open minded so plonked him self on the couch next to me, shut his eyes and listened. I think he relaxed a little much, about 20 minutes in, prompted by the light snoring i could hear, i had to stop the session to check he was still awake!! Although when tested on what had been said he passed with flying colours...i stand corrected.
Boyfriend wasn't invited to the final session as this involved talking me through the final stages of labour, the baby working its way down the birth canal, the language used is very flowery and not at all graphic, but i felt it wasn't necessary for him to hear the actual visualisations, he is open minded but there are limits.

Now i am repeatedly told Labour strips you of your modesty, but we have already made the decision by mutual agreement that during my labour as the the midwife will be down the business end he will stay up by my head.....or as football fans in Liverpool call it, the Gwladys Street or Kop End.