Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Dads on Maternity Wards

I was delighted, as I'm sure most other mummies in the world were, when I heard that Prince William would be staying on the ward with Kate after the birth of their baby boy.  'How wonderful for them' I thought, swiftly followed by the slightly more cynical, 'oh the joys of private healthcare.'

As is the norm for the majority of women, my Other Half was not allowed to remain on the ward after I had given birth to Meg and had to stay in hospital.  He was booted out  kindly asked to vacate the area when visiting hours ended at 8pm.  )Or, in actuality, at 9pm as he managed to avoid detection for an extra hour.)

The reason dads are not allowed to remain on the ward is to protect women's privacy...or something.  The reality, for me, and I'm fairly sure I'm not alone in this scenario, is that when I had my first child, at the ripe old age of 21, I had an epidural at 8am and when my Other Half left for home at 9pm I still hadn't got out of bed.  I had severe second degree tearing, which if you're really interested to know, you can read about in Meg's birth story, a catheter and a baby lying half a metre away from me, completely out of my reach.

I'm not going to lie.  The minute he left, I started to sob.  I pressed the button for a midwife to come and pass me Meg so I could feed her and the first thing she said when she pulled my curtains aside was, 'why are you crying?'  That pretty much summed up my experience.  Meg woke and cried every half hour, whether I was holding her or not.  The times I wasn't, I had to press the button for someone to come and pass her to me, and when I wanted to put her down, I had to call for someone.  I could hear the midwives commenting every time I pushed my buzzer as I was only a short distance away from their station, but what choice did I have?  I couldn't actually move and I had a tiny person, my firstborn, to try and think about.  I felt completely humiliated and totally isolated.

To make matters worse, two women were brought up overnight and their partners were permitted to stay with them.  So, where was the thought to the privacy of other women on the ward then?  I don't think it's fair in the slightest especially as most of the time, the mums had their curtains drawn so that they could be afforded the privacy they needed.

Or, how about the fact that I wasn't able to comfort my baby, and I know she kept some of the other ladies awake with her screaming.  Had my Other Half been there, he could have paced with her and made more of an effort to settle her than my sad little attempts.

I didn't ask to stay in hospital overnight, believe me, had medical circumstances permitted it, I would have gone home as soon as I could.  After Eli was born I was practically pushing past the midwives to get home, there was no way on earth I was going through the same thing again.  

The next morning, I was offered the chance to go in the bath and Meg was taken to the nursery.  I had literally been sat in the bath for 3 minutes when I heard her start to cry and there was an apologetic knock at the door as the midwife asked me to get out of the bath and come to feed her.  That was the end of my allotted time to get clean.  How delightful when it was my first contact with water in almost 24 hours.  Would that have been an issue if my Other Half had been allowed to stay on the ward?

I can't help but think that my experience would have been entirely different had I been able to have the support of my Other Half.

My Other Half has always been a hands on dad, and will never fall into the category of 'invisible parent' but by not allowing partners to remain after the birth of their children, this is exactly what they become.  We all know that those first few days after a newborn has made their arrival are a bit of a guessing game; their day is night, their night is day; they wake, they sleep, they wake, they sleep; sometimes they cry just because they do.


Newborns don't conform to visiting hours so why should parenting have to?

There are so many other reasons I could add in here as well, emotional well being of the mother due to the hormones zinging round her body, less work for the hospital staff as they haven't got to respond to every need...the list could be endless.

If I was going to campaign to see a change on maternity wards, this would be it.  Dads should be allowed to stay.

Do you agree?

Monday, 29 July 2013

What's The Story: Maldivian Storm


I love the idea of this new linky from Charly at PODcast.  I think a great photo is measured by the memories it evokes and I am excited to be able to share some of my personal favourites.

I thought for my first post I would delve back into the archives and bring out one from my honeymoon.  We went to the Maldives and as you can probably imagine, it isn't hard to take gorgeous paradise-esque photos when you are surrounded by crystal clear sea and white sandy beaches.  We came home with hundreds of those photos!

The one I chose though is actually one of my favourites from the holiday.  It is me, sitting on the beach watching the storm clouds roll in.  You can just about see them on the far left edge of the picture.  It was still ridiculously warm out and people were happily swimming and snorkelling and some were (like me) attempting to sunbathe.  

It didn't take long for the clouds to reach the island and when they arrived we had a fantastic tropical storm.  I love storms and it was one of the best I've been in.  Massive rolls of thunder and electric flashes of lightning.  It was utterly fascinating and completely terrifying in equal measure.

It's actually one of my best memories from the holiday too.  We spent the whole time sitting out on our verandah, a blanket across our legs, breathing in that lovely fresh smell that rain brings with it when it's warm, watching the lightning reflect off the sea and enjoying the stillness that came between each thunderclap.

Can you tell I really loved it?!?

This is a fantastic linky and if you want to see some of the other photo contributions, hop over to Charly's blog.

Let's Play: Under the Sea

We kicked our Under The Sea week off with some sensory play.  The kids absolutely loved this and I'm definitely going to try and include the use of our tuff spot tray in the rest of these weeks as it was a great tool!


The rest of the week was pretty craft free, we had quite a busy time and I didn't have much chance to prepare things the night before; not to mention that the only craft I was set up to do was ruined when I chopped off an essential part of the egg box.  So our egg box lobster will have to be done another week!

However, we made the most of the nice weather and engaged in some fishing with some rods I found at the 99p store.  Eli seemed to find this easier than Meg, although at various points they were both cheating and manually hooking them on the end of their rods!


We also visited the local pet shop to check out the marine life.  I think this was Eli's favourite part of the week and I think once school term starts we'll try and get over to Birmingham to visit the sea life centre.  I think he'd really enjoy it.


On the two stormy days that we had, we watched some movies related to our theme, the obvious choice: Finding Nemo.  Meg also found a Dora The Explorer Mermaid DVD in our local Blockbuster so we added that in as well.  

Eli insisted on clutching his Nemo toy throughout the whole film as though it would somehow help Marlon to find him in the end!  It was very cute.

Finally, I found some great resources on 1plus1equals1, which I printed out to do with Meg during one of Eli's naps.  I was surprised at how many of her letters she knows and it was great to watch her mark making and think how far she has come in a short time.  She might actually be ready for school as much as I'd like to pretend she's still too young!


If you missed the first week in this Let's Play series, you can find it here.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Let's Bake: Black Forest Trifle

This month we have set ourselves the challenge of sticking to our meal plan and of trying new things.  One thing I've never tried to make before is trifle and so, when I saw this recipe, and it looked simple enough, I decided to give it a go.

It's actually not that difficult to make, and only took me about 15 minutes to put together, not including chilling time, which is great when you have small children hanging off your leg as your try to prepare dinner.

Now, I am in no means a foodie blogger and so I apologise for the photos.  Hopefully the taste of the trifle will make up for them!

Ingredients
200g ready made madeira cake (I bought an Asda smartprice one and it tasted fine)
425g pitted black cherries in syrup
100g dark chocolate chips
400g ready to serve custard
1 chocolate flake
3 tbsp creme fraiche

Slice the madeira cake, quite thickly, and line the bottom of your bowl.  


Take three cherries from the can, slice them in half and put to one side.

Pour the rest on top of the madeira cake, including the syrup.

Use half the chocolate chips, scatter them across the sponge and cherries.

Crumble half the flake into the bowl.


Melt the remaining chocolate chips in the microwave.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.  Once it's cool, mix it into the custard until you have a smooth chocolate custard.  Pour over the cherries.

Spoon 3 tbsp of creme fraiche over the chocolate custard.  Place the remaining cherries on top and crumble the other half of the flake over that.

I was aiming for my creme fraiche to sit in a perfect circle in the centre of my chocolate custard, but unfortunately it didn't work out quite like that.


Leave in the fridge to chill for approximately an hour (or longer if that suits)

A very easy, simple to follow recipe I hope!  Unfortunately Meg and Eli weren't so keen on this but my Other Half thoroughly enjoyed it and gave it the thumbs up.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Book Love: The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green

BOOKLOVEBADGE

The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green
A stitched-together family, stretched to breaking point...


I love Jane Green, she's my 'go to' writer when I want an easy to read book.  That is in no way meant to be derogatory to her writing.  I really enjoy the way she writes, it's such an easy and flowing style that I feel as though I'm sitting opposite my best friend, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to the latest exploits of those around us.  It's brilliant.

I came across The Patchwork Marriage whilst perusing the bookcases at our local library and snatched it up immediately, I couldn't believe I'd manage to miss one of her books!

The Patchwork Marriage is about a woman called Andi, who marries Ethan, a guy she is head over heels in love with, and thinks that she is getting the ideal family when she also becomes step-mum to his two daughters, Emily and Sophia.  This becomes much more pertinent when it transpires she is unable to have a child of her own.  She sets about trying to create the perfect family life but meets opposition in the form of the eldest daughter, Emily, who seems intent on destroying all of Andi's attempts.

Ethan, appears to be completely unaware of what Emily is doing, and is constantly drawn into battle against Andi as she tries to make him see what is happening.  Things escalate in the story until Andi feels she has no choice but to leave Ethan, but before she gets chance, Emily turns up and throws a curveball at the entire family forcing them to rethink and redesign their relationships.

I enjoyed the fact that Jane Green tackled 'real' issues in this book; that becoming a step-parent isn't always plain sailing, and that she wasn't afraid to talk about how parents can sometimes be blind to what their children are getting up to behind closed doors.

However, I found the character of Emily to be incredibly annoying, she was quite simply a spoilt brat and I had no empathy for her whatsoever.  I don't know if that was Jane Green's intention but at points I thought she got what she deserved, so to speak and found it difficult to believe that anyone would give her the time of day.

I also thought that, compared with other Jane Green novels at least, this was a bit too much of a 'perfect' ending for me.  Don't get me wrong, I like a happy ending as much as the next old romantic, but she created problems for a lot of characters in the book, such as Ethan's alcoholic ex-wife, and they all made a massive turnaround by the end.  Not everyone has such dire life issues and I found it a bit too twee in the end.

It's hard to say more without giving the plot away but overall, it was a comfortable read, I really liked the main character, Andi and if you are looking for a nice, girly, curl up on the sofa and finish in one sitting type of book, then this is for you.

My linky is back!

I have seen lots of bloggers writing book reviews recently, it must a summer thing!  So, I have decided to bring my Book Love linky back in the hope that all those lovely bloggers will come and share their book recommendations with us.

It will be open for a month, and you can come and link up as many times as you like.  There are no real rules to this linky, it would be great if you could grab my badge so that other bloggers can find out about it (the more the merrier after all) and it would be nice if you could try and visit any other blogs who link up just to share the love.

Badge code: <a href="http://catchasinglethought.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/book-love-fridays.html"target="_blank"><img src="http://i689.photobucket.com/albums/vv256/jmcglynn06/BookLoveBadge_zps0be0c0b8.jpg"border="0"alt="BOOKLOVEBADGE"></a>

Happy reading!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

End of the Road...#R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Stitches OUT
Yippety do dah day...we can finally start to put Meg's accident behind us.  Although she did scream and fight, and possibly terrorised the two nurses who were trying to remove the stitches, it appears to have healed well, they were able to remove the stitches, and we just have to keep it covered for the next 4-5 days to allow the whole thing to scab over.  Most importantly though, they were very happy with it and discharged us, so when we said to Meg that we never had to go back, we were actually telling the truth this time!  

If you're squeamish, you will probably want to not look too hard at the picture below but this is the cut before the stitches were removed.  I was surprised at how well it had come together, trust me, if you'd seen it beforehand it was really difficult to imagine how the surgeons would ever manage it!


More job news
More job news for us.  I have handed my notice in and from some time in September (all being well) I will become a SAHM!  Well, my hope is that I will be able to pick up some freelance writing work and possibly get a small business up and running, although I imagine that will be quite far down the line.  As with my Other Half changing his job, it will mean a massive change to us financially, but we both believe it's a season of new things, and the right thing for us to be doing and so we have to trust that all will be well.

It's very exciting to think that in a couple of month's, everything will be different for us!

Pre-school Graduation
Yesterday, after we came back from the hospital, we went to Meg's pre-school graduation party.  It was quite emotional as she has been attending the nursery since she was 9 months old and has come up through the groups with a lot of the same children.  It feels quite sad to think that most of them she won't see again, as they start school and make new friends.

They took so lovely pictures of them in caps and gowns which I can't wait to see.  The photographer who took the photos was amazing, he managed to get Meg to smile in a way that I have never been able to!


I hope that you have all had great week's.  I am linking this post up with Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful. 

My Day With Nick Jnr

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by Nick Jnr to come down to London to talk alongside their child development expert, Jacqueline Harding about routines for children.

It was one of those situations where I felt incredibly nervous but I knew that if I didn't bite the bullet, I would forever be kicking myself afterwards.  But, in hindsight, I am truly glad I accepted.

It wasn't the smoothest journey, I almost ended up in Birmingham after the gentleman at the ticket office misheard me saying 'Farringdon' (good job I checked my tickets before leaving!) although that was nothing compared to the lady sitting in front of me on the direct train to London St Pancras who actually meaning to be on a train for Nottingham!

I did find time to relax on the train however, it's amazing how quickly I can read a magazine when I haven't got to answer a question every 3 minutes!


I arrived at Farringdon to find that I couldn't catch a taxi directly outside the station as development works were being carried out, so after wandering the streets of London a bit hopelessly for 15 minutes or so attempting to hail a taxi by imagining the drivers could see my need for one by the look in my eyes (no, really), I plucked up the courage to hail one by stepping straight out into it's path in the middle of the road.  The driver didn't seem to think anything was wrong with that though.  Must be the norm in the city!

By the time I arrived, I had completely forgotten to be nervous and meeting Jacqueline, who was extremely friendly and very calm and collected, also helped a lot.

I got some time to get settled and think about what I wanted to say whilst listening in on a telephone interview Jacqueline was doing and then we went through to the studio.  There were lots of people buzzing around and I will admit that whilst I was having a light dusting of make up, I started to feel quite nervous.

But then I went into the studio and met the superb Vicky Letch who was presenting the show, and she instantly made me feel at home.  When we were actually filming the live show, it felt more like gossiping over a cup of coffee than being streamed live!


Having cringed my way through watched the video,  I think I do look nervous, but I didn't run out of the studio and throw up, which had been my biggest concern up until that point.  Silver linings and all that!


A few days after I got home, we received a Dora Step by Step pack in the post which contained some reward charts along with a cute magnetic height chart.  We have already put the reward charts to good use with Meg, and even Eli has wanted a look in with getting some stickers which is great.  There is some downloadable potty training resources which I'm planning to use with Eli once Meg starts school...or maybe after Christmas...it depends how brave I'm actually feeling!!


You can find all the downloadable/printable materials here.

And if you haven't yet seen me in all my glory, you can watch the recording of the live show here.

A massive thank you to Jessica Feldman, Sarah (Nick Jnr's lovely PR lady), Jacqueline Harding and Vicky Letch for being so nice to me, and also to all the other lovely lovely people I met during the experience.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Get Good Summer Update #2


I have been so bad at ticking the things off my list.  Time just seems to be whizzing past and we've not got long of the summer left actually!  Ok, maybe that's a slight exaggeration but it's certainly how I feel at the moment!

Finish the garden
Thanks to my father in law coming down with his mega tools and superior woodworking knowledge, we have made great progress with our garden.  It is now secure, for one thing, so I haven't got to keep running up the sides of the house to retrieve Alfie or Eli.  He also built a fence at the top of our patio.  There were two small walls which had a little drop at the other side, the landlady had put two plastic chains across but the kids had long since pulled those off so having this fence makes me feel more confident that no one is going to trip and fall onto the pebbles below!


We managed to get a trampoline for the kids at a bargain price and we got given a large sandpit as well by someone so for Meg and Eli, the garden is turning into a place they want to be too!  I'm just keeping my eyes peeled for a good wendy house now.


Hopefully we'll keep up the progress and have a workable garden soon(ish)

Family days out
On Sunday we had decided to go strawberry picking after Meg had her dressing changed at the hospital but typically, that was the day it decided to rain.  I'm away the next couple of weekends as well so I'm disappointed we might not be able to do this before the weather turns.

However, I have booked a trip out to review a theme park so we might actually get one family trip out together!

Read 2 challenging books
I started the Holley Gerth book from the beginning on Sunday evening as I found it too confusing to pick it up where I left off.  I'm feeling this book is much more relevant now as I recently handed my notice in at work and need to think about what my next step is going to be.  I have lots of ideas bouncing around my head but I need to ground these and think about what I believe God is calling me to do.  It's very exciting though, and all change in our house!

Make every week count
I picked this up again on Saturday with our under the sea sensory play.  I couldn't believe how much Meg and Eli enjoyed themselves and this has definitely given me the motivation to carry on with this.  I bought Meg's school uniform on Monday and it really brought home how soon she will be starting school.  I want to create some great memories with her this summer, so that she can look forward to next summer too!


Still on the lookout for a scrap book too.  If anyone knows of a good place to try, do shout up!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Review & Competition: Raccoon Rumpus

We are big fans of Learning Resources in our house.  We have been sent a number of their products to review and we have loved every one of them, with Meg and Eli returning to play with them again and again.  So I was thrilled when they asked if we wanted to review one of their new games - Raccoon Rumpus.


Aimed at ages 3-7 and for 2-4 players, Raccoon Rumpus is a game of matching colours and items of clothing and also a game of memory.

There are two different versions you can play.  Both times, each player gets a raccoon character card.

In the first version, you roll two dice; a colour dice and a clothing dice.  All the costume cards are face up on the table and the idea is to find a costume card which matches your roll i.e. green trousers, purple top etc   The first person to get 5 costume cards is the winner.  However, beware of the pants.  If you roll the pants then you have to put all your costume cards back.  For some reason, much to Meg's amusement, I continually rolled the pants and never managed to win a game!


In the second game, you just use the colour dice and all the cards are turned face down.  You roll the dice, and have to try and turn over a card with an item of clothing the same colour as your roll.  I don't know if it's all children, but Meg has an amazing memory and could almost always remember where she'd seen a colour before.  I had to 'adjust' the cards a few times just to give myself a decent chance!


Both games were really good fun, and required Meg to think about what she was doing.  I loved that there was a variety of costumes, some that Meg would never have come across before, for example, a martial arts raccoon (aka the ninja!), and so she was asking questions about them as we went along which furthered her learning.


The game box itself is very sturdy and brightly coloured, no floppy cardboard edges to get ripped and lose the pieces!  The instructions are also part of the box which appealed greatly to my need for order - definitely no lost instructions a couple of years down the line!


I could see that great thought had been put into the design of the box and that made it something I would also be happy to give as a gift.  It's attractive and would grab any 4 year old's attention!

Learning Resources put a lot of thought into the learning values behind their products, but I love that Meg didn't even realise what she was learning as the game itself was such good fun.

If you've enjoyed my review, and would like to win your own Raccoon Rumpus game, Learning Resources have kindly offered one that's up for grabs.  Just fill in the rafflecopter below to be in with a chance of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Raccoon Rumpus to review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I have received no incentive for hosting the competition to win a Raccoon Rumpus game.  The prize will be provided by Learning Resources.  UK entrants only, please.

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Monday, 22 July 2013

Let's Play: Under The Sea Sensory Play

My theme this week for Let's Play is Under the Sea and we kicked this off on Saturday with some sensory play.

My Tuff Spot tray has finally arrived after almost 3 weeks of waiting so I was very keen to put it to use as soon as I could!

I decided against using actual water as Meg isn't allowed to get her bandage wet and I wanted her to be included as much as possible in the play.  If she wasn't allowed to 'get in' the ocean, I didn't think that would be very fair on her.  

For that reason, I chose to use rice which I coloured blue and green using liquid food colouring.  I bought some saver range 1kg bags of rice which cost me 40p for 1kg.  It took 3 bags to fill the tray.

To colour the rice I split it into two, poured a few drops of food colouring in, and mixed it.  I kept adding colouring and mixing until I thought all the rice had been covered and was the colour I wanted.  I left it overnight to make sure it dried out properly and wouldn't transfer colour.  I mixed the two colours together when I emptied them out into the tray.


I found some decorative plants for fish tanks in our local 99p store, along with a toy mermaid.  These, along with some other water related toys we already had, were all I used to decorate the tray.  The stones I used to create a rocky point for the mermaid to 'sun' herself, were just ones I collected from our garden.


The moment Meg and Eli saw the tray, there were squeals of delight and appreciation.  Eli got in, and promptly fell over, which made Meg jump in alongside him.


They spent all day playing with the tray, adding their own toys in (Eli choosing cars, typically!), playing make believe games with the mermaid, burying the turtles and rescuing them again.


They also played with the rice itself, filling the bodies of the stacking turtles I used (also from a local £ shop) and getting cups to fill and pour with as well.


Afterwards, we had lots of fun sweeping the rice into some glass containers, ready to be used again.


Strangely, in the sun the green rice had faded to almost white again, whilst the blue had kept its colour.  Not too sure why that happened but I guess the next time I use the rice I'll need to go for a more arctic theme!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Tips: Helping young children sleep in the heat

If you're anything like me, you've spent the past week stumbling around bleary-eyed, cursing the hot weather and light evenings, wondering when your children are going to start sleeping again.

It can be really difficult to stay sane when the weather is this warm, I've read advice on several websites to consider installing air conditioning but seeing as this is Britain, it will probably be torrential rain storms next month so I really don't see that as a viable option.  What a shame!

The hot weather is set to continue for the immediate future however, so I have put together a few tips that are gradually helping us and ensuring that we do get a decent amount of sleep at night.

Hopefully they might help someone else who is struggling!

1. Keep curtains closed during the day.
My Other Half suggested this one to me, and I actually didn't believe it would make that much of a difference but for the past two days we have done this and the kids bedroom was noticeably cooler.  Once it is dark, we have been going up and opening the curtains and widening the window for a couple of hours to really let the cool air circulate.  We also leave other windows open where it is safe to do so during the day, to create a through-breeze which helps cool the general temperature of the house.

2. Get rid of duvets and use a sheet.
I have this ridiculous notion that I 'can't' sleep without something covering me and I appear to have passed this on to Meg and Eli.  They both struggle without their duvets so we have replaced them with flat sheets.

I saw a tip this morning to stick the sheets in the fridge for a couple of hours before bedtime, I'm keen to try this out!!

3. Get rid of pyjamas.
As above really, when the weather turns warm we ditch the PJ's and just stick to nappies.  A couple of nights ago, Meg really embraced getting cool and ditched all her clothing.  Each to their own!

4. Have a nice cool shower/bath before bedtime.
Reduce the usual temperature of the bedtime bath.  We all know how nice it is to jump in a cold shower when we are hot, it's just as nice for your baby.  Perhaps don't go down the icy cold route, but a tepid temperature will certainly help to cool their overall body temperature down.


5. Stick to your bedtime routine
It can be really easy to abandon all pretence of a bedtime routine because it's lighter and it's hotter but I have always found this just doesn't work.  If you have a set routine, then I think it is best to plough on with it.  If you behave as though nothing has changed, then gradually your children will realise nothing has changed too.  Simple, but effective!

Have you got any top tips for keeping young children cool and sleeping soundly during this heat wave?

Friday, 19 July 2013

Mummies v Mummies

I don't often write angry posts but today, flooding my social media networks is something that is absolutely getting my goat.  So before my head bursts, I figured I'd write it down.

I'm linking this post up with Mummy Barrow's Ranty Friday because as you will see, I, erm, may have gone on a bit of a tangent!?!

One thing that has always struck me time and time again, and which no one told me about before I entered the world of motherhood, was the sheer level of competitiveness, sniping and all round bitchiness that can be part of the experience of being a mummy.

It took me completely by surprise the first time I was exposed to it; I was at a friend's house, and there were a few of us there who were pregnant.  One woman said something along the lines of "I would never use pain relief during labour, you aren't a real woman if you have to have drugs."  I couldn't believe it.  Up until that point I'd never really thought about pain relief when giving birth but for the remainder of my pregnancy, I could never shake that thought from my mind.  Without even really consciously making the decision, I entered into a 'I want to be a real woman and therefore I won't have pain relief' competition with myself and I was actually disappointed when I needed an epidural during labour with Meg.

Later, I came to see how necessary it actually was given her presentation and I would say now that it is the best decision I made but it's the kind of thing that is everywhere; people always want to know 'how' you gave labour as though it is some kind of marking system where your ability to cope with the pain makes or breaks you in their eyes.

Since then, I've seen it pretty much everywhere:

Breast-feeding v Bottle-feeding
Cloth nappies v Disposable nappies
Controlled crying v Baby-wearing

The list is literally endless, those are just three categories I've pulled out of my head.

The thing that really gets me though, is how we allow ourselves to be pulled into these different 'wars' by the media.  One of the latest offerings I have seen is from Katie Hopkins.

I don't even know where to begin.

Katie Hopkins is a royal idiot.

She is touting utter nonsense purely for the purposes of getting on television.  Thanks to shows like This Morning allowing her the time of day, she no doubt feels vindicated in her ludicrous opinions.  I think she should sit down and be quiet.

Her description on twitter reads:

'Telling it like it is'. The only candidate to say 'no' to Sir Alan. Business operator, social commentator, speaker and TV personality.

Actually Katie, love, I think you have it wrong.  I think you are telling it like it 'isn't' in order to keep on the Z list of TV personalities.  But perhaps that's a conversation for another time.

I overheard two mums I was walking behind on the way to work last week talking about how they think she 'has a point' over her baby names comments - *insert loud scream of anger here* she doesn't doesn't doesn't have a point.  She just doesn't!!  She has a hunger to be in the public eye and we are allowing her to sate that by tuning in to her absurd diatribes.

Because there isn't enough conflicting advice when you are about to become a mummy.

Because there aren't enough people out there who will offload their opinions on to you as soon as they find out you are pregnant.

Because becoming a mummy and being completely overloaded with the media's idea of what motherhood means isn't actually confusing enough.

I mean, that must be the reason why my ears have to be filled with her snobbish, unfounded, ridiculous ideas about what it means to be a mum.

Now I see she has tweeted out about mother's who post photos of their babies 4 hours after giving birth.


Can someone please tell the woman to close her mouth?  I cannot stand that first time mummies particularly, have to enter this world of parenthood and read comments like that.

I was 21 when I gave birth to Meg, it was a total surprise (the pregnancy, not the birth part, I kind of knew that bit was coming!) and I had to do a lot of learning in a small amount of time.  It is nothing short of overwhelming when you become a mummy and the absolute last thing you need is the media allowing women like this to stand up and dictate what motherhood should look like.

We give ourselves enough of a tough time without 'celebrities' being allowed to come in and have their say.  The media is so influential and opinions are everywhere, it can be really difficult sometimes to switch off from the outside.

I'm not saying for one minute that the world needs to be all peace and love, everyone is entitled to their opinions.  I just wish it didn't have to be Camp A or Camp B.  I have honestly lost count of the number of times I have been asked a question like "are you for or against co-sleeping?" - Well, actually I'm neither.  I think each parent should do the best job they are able for their children, whatever that may look like.

Parenting can be a really bewildering experience and it is a constantly changing environment where you have to try and be one step ahead of the game.  Why why why do we make that worse for ourselves??

I honestly think that television shows like This Morning should place careful consideration onto the subjects they bring into the discussion forum.  Katie Hopkin's role on that particular show was designed to inflame and bring about controversy.  I think it's a shame that they allowed themselves to be brought so low in the ratings game and I, for one, will think twice before tuning in again to a program which shows such utter crap.

As mothers we need to learn to stand side by side and help each other.  It's not an easy job after all and putting others down because they are parenting differently or are making certain choices just shouldn't happen.

Seriously.

Oh, and Katie?  I'd like to give her a superb punch to the head.  Maybe that would knock her brain cells into order and she would learn to support parents not divide them.

Book Love: The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

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The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani


Set in the twentieth century, the Shoemaker's Wife tells the story of Ciro and Enza and is set initially in the Italian Alps.

On the death of his father, Ciro's mother is unable to look after him and his brother Eduardo and leaves them in the care of a local convent.  Enza is a young girl in a large but poor family, working hard alongside her father to help keep the family afloat.

One day, under very tragic circumstances, Enza and Ciro meet.  They instantly have a connection and fall in love but fate is against them and almost immediately afterwards Ciro is forced to leave the mountain village in Italy for a new life in America.  Shortly afterwards Enza also leaves for the 'American dream' and from that point Ciro and Enza's paths will continually cross, and they will continue to be thwarted in their relationship.

This was my first Adriana Trigiani novel and I thought it was good.  At times I found the writing a bit waffley, she certainly went out of her way to be descriptive of the areas which did feel a bit like overkill in places.

Alongside this, there were parts of the plot that I thought could have been expanded on further.  For example, Ciro goes off to fight in World War 1 and we only read a couple of paragraphs of his experience and yet the repercussions of his time there affect him for the rest of his life.  We don't hear much about that though which I think was a missed opportunity and a shame.  Adriana Trigiani tried to cram a lot into the book, and unfortunately this has meant that some areas don't get as much of a look in as they perhaps could have. 

That said, I loved the way she has written the characters and was absolutely rooting for Enza and Ciro all the way through.  Even up to the very last minute, it wasn't clear whether they would ever find each other again.  I found it very difficult to put down as I wanted to know what happened in the end, and I had to fight the urge to flick to the back page to see if it was a happy ending!  I won't say anything on whether it was or not, just have the tissues ready!!

This book is described as an 'historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny' and I do agree for the most part that it fulfils this.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Royal Baby Watch...

...is something I am NOT on!!

I think poor Kate has enough people watching her with baited breath.

I was two days overdue with Meg and that was stressful enough; with your first baby you don't always take into account that they won't actually arrive on the date the midwife gives you.  It's written on your plan, you say it enough times, and eventually it becomes stuck in your head and come D-Day, you find yourself standing around expecting a baby to appear any minute.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that for everyone!!

I do hope that the Royal Baby arrives soon, just imagining being pregnant in this heat makes my feet swell, but only so that I can stop listening to speculation on what they will be called!

Favourite names for the baby if it's a girl are Alexandra, Charlotte and Elizabeth.  Favourites for a boy are George, James and Edward.  I'm hopeful that they will pick something completely random and not featured on any 'list', but who knows!?!

I've always thought Jessica had a nice ring to it...


Looking for the positives...#R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

As some of you may appreciate, when I sat down to write this post, I struggled to think of positive things that had happened this week.  There haven't be many pluses!!

Then I remembered the reason behind R2BC and that whilst the immediate picture may not look so great, there is always something to be positive about (even if you have to hunt around for it!)

A Job Well Done
Despite the fact that the events leading up to it were less than happy, the surgeon said that Meg's surgery went really well and that is something to be thankful for.  Given that we were told they wouldn't be able to do anything except leave the wound to heal of its own accord, which would mean a large scar on her leg, the surgeons being able to stitch it is a massive turnaround from that.  They are also confident that it will fade over time.

Lucky Streak
Over the last week, I have won a competition to see The Heat at the cinema, New Look vouchers and got tickets to Mr Bloom & Friends.  To say I never win anything, this is quite something!

We went to see The Heat on Tuesday with my sister and her boyfriend and it was really nice to be able to sit in the cinema and switch off from the stresses of the weekend.

.....and finally THE BIG ONE:

*fanfare please*

New Job
We have finally got the news we were waiting for - my Other Half has been offered a new job, and has accepted!  It will be a big lifestyle change for us, we will lose the company car, and money will certainly be tighter but it is a job closer to home in an area that he is really interested in and I am so happy that he will look forward to going to work every morning and that he won't have to get up at 5am anymore!

I may actually be able to eat breakfast with my husband and talk to him before he leaves for work!

I am linking this post up with Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Get Good Summer 2013...Update #1


I was scuppered from sharing my Get Good Summer update last week by Meg's accident so I should technically be on week 2, I'm not sure my progress reflects that however!!

1. Finish the garden
We now have a clear space in our garden - yippee!!  There are just four large bushes in each corner that my Other Half needs to clear and then we will have a blank canvas to play with.  It's been really difficult to think how we could best utilise the space as it in a decent size but there's not much you can do with pebbles.

We are making progress though and I soon hope to be able to share some photos with you.

I did, however, get my first planter, which is great.  We have recently stopped leading our church's youth group and as a thank you gift they bought us a planter and some flowers and herbs.  I love it and am hoping to add to the collection shortly.


2. Have at least 3 family days out
I need to get my thinking cap on with this one as the days we had planned are now no good for a bandaged up, not allowed to run around, 4 year old.  I would still love to get out and about but we just need to postpone this one for a fortnight I think!

If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!

3. Finish my photo wall
I haven't done anything about this yet...MUST get on with it!

4. Read 2 challenging books
I moved the Holley Gerth book from the bottom of my ever growing pile of books on my bedside cabinet, to second from the top, but that's about as much progress as I've made.

5. Make every week count
We really made progress with this one and our pirate week was a big success!!  My under the sea week got thrown out with Meg's spell in hospital so we will try our best to pick up where we left off with that one when she's feeling up to it.


Hope everyone else is getting on well with their summer projects!!  Why not head over to Claire's blog to see some of the other links?