Tuesday, 6 April 2010

One last favour to ask...

This will be my last post on this blog. (As a result of all this drama last week.)
My blogging adventures will continue, but they'll be over at: www.kookyboutique.blogspot.com - it used to be a blog I used just for shameless self promotion and crafty stuff, but the plan now, is that it'll be an all en-compassing corner of the internet for me to write about family, arty crafty stuff & everything inbetween.

I've given the place a little makeover, still some tweaking to do, but hopefully you'll like it.

The favour I need to ask, is of anyone kind enough to be linking to me - please please please could you check your blog rolls/link pages & change any links to this address, to my new one: www.kookyboutique.blogspot.com - and while you're at it, please do become a follower over there, and/or subscribe to our feed, which is here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/HCrA - Thank you!

And that's the end of an era!
I'm a little sad, a bit scared (going 'public' - eek!), but excited too.
Thank you all for the lovely emails & tweets & support. Hopefully see you over at my new 'pad' :) xx

Thursday, 1 April 2010

It's not goodbye, just au-revoir.

So today, I had to delete a sprinkling of malicious comments from this blog.
Why? Well, I guess because some people are just so unfulfilled by their own life, that they feel the need to amuse themselves by picking away at the happiness of others.
Which is sort of tragic really.
What's worse, is it's not the first time.

And I know, I should rise above it, be the bigger person, not let it get to me...
And up till now, I have done.

But frankly, I'm fed up & I've had enough.
Yes, I'm pretty much certain I know who it is, no, I'm not going to go into details.
This blog is more or less anonymous - hardly anyone from my 'real life' even knows it exists - the spiteful troll in question has put some effort into finding it, which is kind of even sadder.

I considered just deleting the whole thing but have decided against it.
I love this blog, and it holds some really good memories.
What I am going to do, is export Life with a Little Dude into my other blog - http://www.kookyboutique.blogspot.com/ - yep, I'm coming out! Which is actually pretty scary - I like that this place was quite anonymous & private - but that privacy has been invaded & tainted, so screw it. At least by going public, if this person persists, they will get found out, and I can deal with it head on, on my own terms.

The only problem now, is will you all come with me?
My other blog isn't a 'mummy blog' per se- it's a mixture of stuff, including my shops and the like - it's actually been pretty neglected lately, so this might even turn out to be a good thing (silver linings and all?)

Will I still be a 'mummy blogger'?
Or just a blogger who happens to be a mummy?

I don't know.
But I do know, I can't face deleting anymore personal attacks aimed at me or my man or my baby, it's exhausting.
So, this seems like the best idea.

Come and visit me - http://www.kookyboutique.blogspot.com/ see if you like it, and if you do, please please re-add me to your google reader!

And to the hateful little person who forced me into this decision, please don't think you've 'won' in anyway. Every nasty word you've sent only goes to prove how much of a loser you are.
Perhaps a hobby's in order?

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

A Complete and Utter Let Down

The anticipation had been building for weeks.
We weren't sure exactly when it would it happen, which only added to the suspense.
Each morning was filled with hope. Excitement that today might just be the day.
But no. No change. Not yet.
Try again tomorrow.
We wondered what it would be like.
Would we love it?
Or had we built it up too much?
It had been a long wait, but it would be worth it - right?
We heard whispers on twitter that there had been progress.
Every spare moment was spent waiting, hoping to catch a glimpse.
So many near misses.
Then finally, just before a Sky+ episode of In the Night Garden, finally, we saw it.
The cBeebies Springtime song.
Wasn't worth the wait.
What a complete and utter let down.
Oh well, perhaps it'll be a grower?

This is a light hearted take on prompt no. 2 at Josie's writing workshop this week:
What eagerly anticipated experience turned out to be a complete and utter let down?
And for the record, no, I haven't really spent the last few weeks eagerly anticipating it. Though I was getting pretty bored of the fake snow ditty before every Night Garden.
(The 'Zing-Zillas' however, well, I do hope that's as good as it looks... ;)

Don't forget to head over to Sleep is for the Weak and check out all the less foolish entries - there's a serious chunk of talent over there every week, so clear an hour or two, grab a cuppa & enjoy.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Gallery: Outside my front door...

Oh I do like to live beside the seaside... well, not quite. I used to live right on the seafront, but the Mr & I moved a little out of town before the Little Dude was born, so now the seaside is actually a 15 minute walk away, but it's still pretty lovely.

For The Gallery this week, Tara wants to see where we live.
(Is she planning a bloggy-world tour? Who knows.)

Anyway, here's where we live:

Officialy, we live in the West End of town, see:

Like i said, not quite the seaside, we're all about the funky old town houses and lots of trees round these parts. I like it. It's quiet, but close enough to town to not feel isolated.

Take a stroll down this road though, and...

Voila. Le Seaside :)
Sadly, we got no sand. Just pebbles, and a whole lot of these:

but I do love it. The Little Dude & The Dog & I have racked up many miles walking up & down the front in all weathers, and it's very therapeutic to just sit on the pebbles and watch the waves crash.
Don't head down there too early if you're looking for peaceful meditation though, the fishermen will have beaten you to it:

From my days of living right on the front, I know all too well that they are early birds, and speaking of feathered friends - they don't half excite the seagulls. A hundred seagulls shouting their beaks off at 5.30am is NOT a fun way to wake up! (good practice for having a baby though I suppose)
That said, the fishermen do leave some interesting stuff lying around from a photo taking point of view:

Other than that, it's not the most exciting stretch of 'beach' ever - though it does have one claim to fame. Remember that story a couple of years ago, about loads of wood mysteriously washing up on the South coast? Well, that was us, see:

and yep, you bet I was one of the geeks down there taking photos of it!

Of course if you walk further along the promenade, there's The Pier, and The Pavillion & The shops, but I think I'll call it a day for now & maybe show you those another time.

So there you are. That's where I live.

Don't forget to go check out the rest of The Gallery too - it's getting bigger & bigger every week, loads of good stuff to look at.

The Stokke Xplory - Why it's worth the money.

A couple of weeks ago, The Little Dude, The Daddy & I were in town enjoying the sunshine, when we bumped into friends who had recently found out they were expecting a baby.
It was the first time they'd seen The Little Dude in his Xplory, and they both got all excited as it was the stroller they had their hearts set on, despite never having seen one in 'real life'.
They asked the question everyone asks - is it really worth the money? And we answered yes. A million times yes. And here's why...

It looks fabulous. Sorry, but it does. Call me superficial if you like, but fact is, I have to push it around everyday, and I like that it's pretty!  And of course it's a very unusual design, which attracts attention - a lot, it's a great conversation starter! There's a gorgeous rainbow of colours to choose from too, which isn't always the case with cheaper models. (We have turquoise, and I love it :D)

But of course, looks are only skin deep, so what else does the Xplory have to offer?

The height factor. Baby is positioned much higher than in other pushchairs, away from the ground, away from dirt & pollution, and up where the action is, closer to mum or dad, with a much more interesting view of the world. My little man loves being able to see what's going on and doesn't stop chatting while we're strolling.
Also, we don't need to worry about finding a high chair when we're in cafes and restaurants, in the Xplory, we can scoot The little Dude right up to the table. Perfect.

Comfort. Stokke are all about a baby's comfort, and they know what they're talking about! The seat has three positions - upright for when baby's awake and taking everything in, slightly reclined for chilling, and fully reclined for snoozing, and the footrest is fully adjustable too.
In short, it's an incredibly comfortable, smooth ride for your little one.

User Friendly! That said, Stokke have the pushers interests at heart too!  The Xplory is a dream to push. It is so easy to manouvre, the handle is completely adjustable for maximum comfort, and despite it's quite large appearence, it handles tight corners and narrow aisles with ease.

Stairs aren't a problem either - a quick clunk & the Xplory flips on to two wheels so you can pull it behind you easily - also perfect for 'off roading' on the beach, which we do a lot of living on the coast.

Huge shopping bag. Might not sound important, but to me, a non driver, it is! Most other models I've tried, have tiny baskets, so I ended up trying to push The Little Dude home whilst also lugging bags of shopping - not fun. With the Xplory, at first glance, you think 'It's tiny, I'm not going to get anything in there' - you'd be wrong. When unzipped, the bag magically expands to a tough, durable way to cart all your shopping home. I love it.

It's built to last. As I said, I don't drive, so my Xplory basically goes everywhere and has clocked some serious mileage, yet still looks brand new. The chassis is solid, the wheels are super sturdy, and can't be punctured. The cushions and the hood are made of gorgeous fabrics - soft, yet hard wearing, and so far showing no signs of wear and tear.
(And I'm sure if we ever decide to have baby no. 2, our Xplory will easily be up to another few thousand miles!)

In short, it's a fantastic stroller, superbly designed.
Yes, it's more expensive than most, but it's the only one you're ever going to need.  I know lots of parents who bought a complete 'travel system' who have then gone on to buy at least one or two 'cheap' strollers as their babies got older.  I won't need to do that. The Xplory will be The Little Dude's ride of choice right up until he's walking.
I think that, together with all the advantages and perks both for you and your baby definitely make the Xplory worth investing in.

(And in case you're wondering, our friend's Xplory is being delivered next week ;)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

When my little man grows up...

It's workshop time again over at Sleep is for the Weak, and prompt number 3 got me thinking:
What do you secretly dream of your children doing? We all know they are not us and more than anything we would want to see them happy, but sometimes a wish to live vicariously through them is unavoidable. Confess your secret dreams for them.

As The Little Dude's birthday looms ever closer, I've been doing a lot of pondering about how fast it all goes, and a lot of suddenly realising 'oh my god, he's actually going to like, grow up and stuff?!' - because when I was pregnant, I always knew I was having a baby - but didn't really give a lot of thought to the fact that my baby would soon turn into a toddler - then a child - then (OMG) a teenager - and eventually - (gulp) - a grown-up!
So then, what are my dreams for The Little Dude?

Well, obviously, I want him to be happy and healthy and content, whatever he decides to do with himself.
I want him to live life to the absolute max, to explore, have adventures, and as much fun as possible along the way. (Preferably without breaking any laws, please and thank you.) 
I want him to find the love of his life (who I will instantly approve of & we'll get along famously for evermore) and be blissfully happy.
But all of those, while very good intentions, don't make for a terribly exciting blog post. So, let's get vicarious.

I want him to be rich and famous.
Rich enough to be able to say 'There you go mummy, there are the keys to that huge country manner you always wanted.  And yes, you have your very own pond, complete with ducks.'
Famous enough for 'Hello!' to call me up asking for an interview & wanting to do a photoshoot at my fabulous country manor home, just because I'm his mummy.

But, not so rich that he loses all sight of what really matters in life, and not so famous that he loses all his privacy and has to search through streams of gold diggers to find his true love.
Johnny Depp's a good role model - superstar - talented - gorgeous - but still a proper family man, with his head screwed on. That'd do nicely.

So, how to achieve this stardom?
The Daddy and I differ there - he's hoping our little man will be the next Steven Gerrard & captain the England squad to world cup glory. That, or become the next big thing in Hollywood (presumably so he could pull strings & let Daddy realise his own acting dreams!).

Me, I'd rather he was a rock star. If there's one thing I hope to pass down to my baby boy, it's a love of music.  (He's already showing a leaning to loud Indie rock, which makes mummy very happy!)  I'd love him to see the world while playing to huge arenas of people, singing amazing songs he's written that will still be around for his children to enjoy. That said, I'd be constantly worrying about him hooking up with whoever fills Amy Winehouse's shoes in years to come. *shudder*
Perhaps a famous TV chef instead - the next Jamie Oliver? That would be brilliant. He could come to The Manor and cook us scrumptious feasts.  And Jools Oliver is lovely - so theoretically, chefs find nice wives? Well, we all love a man who cooks I suppose!
Or maybe, he could invent something so spectacular that mankind ends up wondering how they ever lived without it?  Then he could be rich and famous beyond his wildest dreams, but still be anonymous if he liked.
(Would you really be able to spot Bill Gates in a crowd? I honestly couldn't!)
Of course I'd also love him to inherit my artistic talents, and if he could make his fortune from it, then fantastic!  But even in a vicarious daydream, I know the term 'struggling artist' exists for a reason.

Ultimately though, it really is all about him being happy, healthy and content.
So long as he achieves those, my work is done.
And however he decides to go about it, I'll always be proud of him.
And however tall he gets (I fully expect him to be towering over me by the time he's 12!), he'll always be my little boy.
And I'll always love him more than I ever thought possible.

So - what are your wildest dreams for your offspring?


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Gallery: Me!

Have I mentioned that I love, love, LOVE The Gallery?
I do, I really do.

This week, Tara's prompt is... 'Me.'
originally, I thought about taking new pictures of things that are important to me, and make me who I am (my sketchbook, my iPod, the Little Dude & The Mr & The Dog...) but, as is normal, time got away from me, so instead, I went through my old photos, picked some favourites, and you get this:

From left to right, Me =  a fiancee, a mummy, a friend to many, a lover of fashion (that's me lusting over Karen Millen pretties in Bournemouth), an arty crafty chick (not really evident in this pic, but it's the one I use on my columnist bio at ArtFire, so sort of makes sense), a girlie girl (feeling the hello kitty love in Leicester Square), a boozy floozy (though also a complete light weight since making a baby), a music lover (that's me at Hyde Park waiting for Blur to rock the bejeesus out of the place.), and a domestic goddess. Well, trying to be.

So there you are, that's me.
Who are you?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

It's The Final Countdown!

Today, my little boy is 11 months old.
This time next month, I'll have a ONE year old.  Yikes.

It's a funny thing to ponder really.  On one hand, it feels like a million years since I was waddling around chatting to my bump, but on the other I can't quite believe how quickly the tiny little baby we brought home from hospital has turned into the proper little person I spend most of the day chatting to now.

Eleven months ago, his talents were pretty much limited to lying on his back, blowing bubbles, shouting for food & snoozing.
Nowadays, he hardly sits still. Crawling, climbing, couch surfing, babbling & chattering, trying so hard to find his feet and his first words.
His personality shines through a little more everyday. 
He's so mischevious, so cheeky, but so loving too, he gives great cuddles & big sloppy kisses. He loves meeting people and other babies (particuarly the laydees, he's a huge flirt) and he's a generous little monkey - usually expressed by smooshing his rusk into mummy's face, but the sentiment is good, right?
He's curious and inquisitive - definitely wired a little differently (prefering to climb up his walker than push from behind, and to build towers on the sleeping dog rather than the floor) but that's all part of what makes him brilliant. 
I love watching him develop - every day brings something new - something different to make him giggle, another corner he's managed to get into (and sometimes get himself stuck), something he's never tried before for lunch bringing a smile to his face... it's impossible to get bored.

And as much as I always swore I'd never be one of those 'gushy mummies', It's impossible not to beam with pride and be super proud of the little person he's becoming.

Who knows what skills he'll have added to his bambino CV by the time he's one - I can't wait to find out, but I'm going to try & really savour this last month of him being a 'proper' baby.  And at the same time, try to brace myself for what comes next.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Gallery: Colour

Week three of The Gallery already? Is it just me, or is each week evaporating faster than the last lately?

Anyway, this week's title, is 'Colour'.
I thought about showing you a photo of my favourite colour (purple), or maybe my most favourite dress (blue), my eyes? (green, in case you were wondering), the little dude's eyes? (biggest blues you ever did see, gets 'em from his daddy)... but in the end, I thought why not show you ALL the colours? Or quite a lot of them at least.

So, voila:
Prettyful, no?!
This is a scene from a game The Little Dude & I have invented, whereby we line up all his stacking cups & fill them up with smaller toys of the same colour.

Mummy over enthusiastically names all the colours, Little Dude plops the GREEN marracca in the green cup, mummy gets all over excited and convinces herself she's raising a child genius.
(Yes, yes, I know, it's highly likely to be more luck than judgement when he gets it right, I'm not completely deluded ...honest.)

Anyway, it's an easy way to keep the little man amused. He loves it. And it holds his attention a lot longer than just sorting the shapes into the sorter.

And it's certainly colourful.
Don't forget to visit Tara's blog for the links to lots more pretty pictures too - there have been some amazing photos to look at the last couple of weeks, I'm sure this week will be the same.

The day my body let me down.

[Edited to add: Having just read Sally's post here, I just wanted to clarify, this post is NOT about me feeling like a failure.  Hell no.  I actually think I'm doing okay - The Little Dude is nearly one, has had no brushes with death, and is generally a cheerful, contented little man. All good, right? The post is in a relation to a prompt about one's body letting one down, which mine did, but only at the last minute - and to be fair, it had just done nine month's hard labour making a baby. So no hard feelings body. And I promise, I'll sort out that post-baby-muffin top any day now.  Really.
Anyway, as I was saying...]

This week at Josie's Writing Workshop, prompt 4 is: Tell me about a time your body let you down.
As The Little Dude is one next month (gulp), I've been doing a lot of looking back, and have been pondering the idea of facing my fear and writing about 'the birth' - which I've pretty much skimmed over before now as the memories aren't exactly happy. I'm hoping it might help to work through those memories I've done so well to squash in a corner at the back of my mind and ignore. Let's see.

April 20th 2009 - The day my body let me down.

Sunday, April 19th - I was 10 days overdue.
I felt like a hippo.
I was tired, achey, and liable to punch the next person who said 'still no baby then?' or offered another stupid old wives tale about how to kick-start labour.

At about noon, I felt a twinge.  Nothing major, but definitely different.
The Mr was at work till 3, so I decided against ringing him, didn't want to get his hopes up.
By the time he got back, the twinges were leaning towards uncomfortable, and more frequent.
'Shall we go to hospital?!' mr asked - desperate to meet his little boy.
'No' I said, 'It'll be ages yet, they'll only send us home. Just keep me distracted.'

So he did.
He was amazing actually. made me dinner, ran me a bath, put on my favourite dvds, made me lots of hot drinks, noted down the times of each contraction, checked the time about 12 times an hour, made sure his phone, my phone, and the camera were all charged. Repeatedly!

By 4am, the contractions were every 10 minutes, and officially hurt. A lot.
Time to go to hospital.

I remember being strangely (foolishly?) calm.
I wasn't scared. I wasn't panicky. I just wanted to get on with it & take my baby home.

We checked in, The Mr got me unpacked, a midwife came in to examine me, I was 5cm dilated.
I felt quite chuffed with myself for lasting so long at home.

I mooched around the room, trying to stay mobile, keep moving.  Still pretty calm.

The next few contractions kicked things up a notch.
I screamed. I swore. I may have almost broken The Mr's hand. (Sorry honey.)
The midwife said the birthing pool was free if I was interested.
What the hell, I thought, worth a try.

Four hours of bobbing about in agony later, my contractions were 5 minutes apart, and unbearable.  I felt like I was barely catching my breath after one before the next one started. I was exhausted.
'Jump out & we'll see how you're doing' chirped the midwife. God I wanted to slap her for being so cheerful.

Still 5cm dilated.
She had to be joking.
She wasn't. I cried.
I was exhausted.
I felt like I couldn't take another ten minutes, and they were telling me it would probably be hours.
My body was giving up.  I had nothing left.
I agreed, reluctantly to an epidural, thinking at least then when it was finally time to push, I might have replenished some energy.
A very tall, very German man came to stick a needle in my back.
'Keep very still' he kept saying. My body had other ideas. The contractions were getting more and more frequent, and the gas & air was doing nothing.
Finally, it was done.
'Your legs should feel numb and pain should stop in around 10 minutes' he said, and left.
Twenty minutes later, the contractions were still coming thick & fast.  And I could definitely still feel them.

Turns out, my body didn't fancy an epidural.  It had failed.

The midwife examined me again. By that point, I was hooked up to a big bleepy machine to monitor mine & the baby's heart rate.
She looked at it, wrote something down, and said she was just going to get a doctor.


I grabbed The Mr's hand - what was going on?
Seconds later, there was a doctor, 2 midwives & a nurse around me, muttering about contractions, and failed epidurals, and tests, and positions.
I squeezed The Mr's hand tighter, holding my breath, waiting for what felt like an eternity for them to say... something?

'Your baby has changed position and his heart rate is spiking everytime you contract. We need to get him out, quickly. We need you to sign this form so we can do an emergency caesarean.'
I looked at The Mr with eyes full of tears and panic, pleading, begging him to make it better.
My body had tried so hard to get my baby into the world, but it was so tired, it couldn't finish the job.

From there, it's all a bit hazy.
I remember The Mr telling me it was all going to be fine, he'd be there the whole time.
But he wouldn't.
He was pushed out the door 'just while we prep you for the operation' someone said. I screamed that I didn't want to be on my own. Nobody listened.

Next thing I knew, I was wheeled into a stupidly bright room. There were about 8 people buzzing around above my head, none of whom were my baby's daddy.
I was crying uncontrollably.
A tiny Asian woman with a shrill voice asked if I could feel pain.
A tall man with kind eyes tried to calm me down.
I sobbed and told him I wanted my boyfriend.
He said they'd let him in in a minute. He lied.
I heard the shrill Asian woman say I was 'too unsettled'.
That's the last thing I remember.

I woke up at 10.30am. With a mouth like sandpaper and a banging head.
For a second I wondered if it had all been a dream and I was actually waking up to the world's worst hangover.

But there at the end of the bed, was The Mr, holding the most beautiful little baby I'd ever seen.

He explained that after they'd wheeled me off, they'd given him scrubs to change into while they 'prepped' me.
But instead, because of the state I was in (ie. crying uncontrollably due to being terrified and on my own) they'd made the decision to 'put me under', so he wasn't allowed back in. He'd had to sit, on his own, and wait. They'd brought the Little Dude through to him at 10am. He was born at 9.55am.

I still have a lot of unresolved anger and resent about the way things panned out.

I didn't agree to the GA. I wasn't even consulted. The decision was taken out of my hands.
I wanted to be conscious for my son's arrval, and that was taken away from me.
My man wanted to be there when his son was born, and that was taken away from him.
I still get angry and upset thinking about it, because I can't help wondering, if they'd just given me 5 minutes alone with my man, he could have calmed me down, 'settled' me, and made for a very different experience.

At the time though, looking at our gorgeous son, it was hard to feel anything but delirious happiness.
And even now, I can look at it all as a 'means to an end' - It wasn't pretty, but despite my body failing me, I got a beautiful baby boy in the end. 

I am lucky, and grateful, and blessed.

Reminding myself of that doesn't make the other stuff go away, but it does make it easier to deal with.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Mother's Day: I like!

So yesterday, was my first official Mother's Day :)
(I just missed out last year - though I did get a card & bunch of flowers from the bump, which was super sweet.)
I must say, I approve!

I got to sleep in until half past eight, at which point I was woken with fresh coffee & nutella croissants. Well done Little Dude's Daddy, very well done.
Next up, got a free pass to shower & pretty-fy self in peace with no distractions, while the daddy got the little man breakfast-ed & dressed.
Post shower, there was more coffee waiting, plus a beautifully dressed little baby boy clutching a (slightly chewed) card & a 'best mummy' bear. I admit, I teared up a tiny bit.
Then there were flowers.  And chocolate.  Hat trick!  (And a little tear.)
We went out for a walk along the seafront in the sunshine, came home via the park, then I was ordered to chill out on the sofa, where I was brought a cuppa & the biggest cupcake I ever did see.
In the evening, I had a bubble bath (complete with a glass of Baileys - booze in bath! That's glamour right there!) while The Mr cooked scrummy dinner, served with too much wine. (I forget what a complete light weight I am these days. Three glasses nearly finished me off!).

A perfect, dreamy day.
I ♥ my boys & I love Mother's Day - roll on next year!

Hope all my mummy friends out there in blogland had a super day too xx

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Darkside of Babyled Weaning...

Let me start by saying, I love Babyled Weaning.

It's definitely one of the best parenting decisions I've made. (Ooh, that was a scary sentence to type - check me out all grown up. yikes.)

We've been super lucky in that The Little Dude took to it like the proverbial duck to water - happily chowing down on anything he could get his hands on. (And if that happened to be whatever mummy & daddy were trying to eat, all the better. We can get round to teaching table manners and decorum at a later date... right?)

Now, we're at a point where he basically has mini portions of whatever we're having, which is great as it encourages Mummy & Daddy to eat lots of veggies & generally err on the side of healthy and nutritious (honestly couldn't tell you the last time we had Chinese takeaway!), but it also presents a little problem.
As you more experienced mummys will know, babies need a healthy diet, but they also need lots of calories.
Which means: full. fat. everything.

Just to quantify that, I have diligently bought reduced fat healthy options of everything other than chocolate & cake (if you're gonna do it, do it right.) for as long as I can remember. Now, my fridge is choc-full of full fat cheese, full fat houmous, WHOLE milk...

And I know, I know - I could abstain, keep buying the healthy versions too, but seriously - Have you tasted full fat Philadelphia? I always thought the skinny version was pretty great, but there is absolutely no comparison.
It's lucky really that the full fat revolution coincides with The Little Dude mobilising and therefore my spending much of everyday running interference between him & impending doom, otherwise, I would surely be the size of a house.

And that, friends, is the darkside of Babyled Weaning.  And possibly the real culprit behind the curse of the mummy tummy.  Maybe.

What do you think? What did you/are you secretly indulging in under the guise that you 'buy it for the baby'? - own up! (I won't tell, promise.)


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Under (Self Inflicted) Pressure & The Gallery: Three

As the song goes, Three, is a magic number. I heartily agree.
This week's photo for The Gallery, features the three biggest loves of my life. The baby boy, watching The Daddy & The Puppy* having a run around in the park. 
It's not the best photo in the world, but I love it because it captures one of those perfect moments in a perfect day where I really understand the word family.  And it makes me happy.

I'm going to multi-task here, and mention Josie's writing workshop, where one of the prompts this week is 'What is making you feel under pressure right now'.  The answer to that, is me
I am my own worst critic, always have been. 
I'm also a neurotic loony with a tendency to overthink things and get all caught up in my own head.
I have a compulsive need to be super duper organised, always ready, always prepared, always ahead of the game.  Turns out, all that stuff is not so easy to accomplish with a little person who needs all of your attention all of the time on the scene. 

In turn, I beat myself up because the to do list never gets any shorter. 
I exhaust myself trying to squeeze as much productivity as possible into every single day. 
I want to get on with the hundred bits of decorating that need doing, I want to focus on & make a real go of my own business, I want to be the best mummy ever and take LD to allsorts of wonderful baby activities, I want to make lots of new mummy friends so that he has lots of little play mates, I want to de-clutter my wardrobe, I want to be a perfect little housewife & put a delicious feast on the table every night, I want to get rid of the last little bit of wobbly mummy tummy, I want to start painting again - I want to be able to chill out & relax while the little man naps without mentally listing the million and one things I still need to do.  
I have a boat load of dreams and ambitions and goals, and the trouble is, I want it all now, if not sooner.  I never was very good at patience.

But I'm learning. Being a mummy is definitely making me stop, or at least pause, and re-assess what's really important.
Yes, it does my head in that we're living in an un-finished mess of a house, but the little dude doesn't care. He has somewhere warm to sleep, food in his belly, and a mummy and daddy who love him to pieces. (And a stupid amount of toys.)  He's happy.

And I am too.  Because I am incredibly lucky.  I just need to remind myself now and again.  And I need to spend less time putting pressure on myself & fretting about what needs to be done, and more time at the park with my THREE favourites - my Man, my Baby, and my Dog.  My family.

(*The Puppy, is actually 4, but she's little, and bouncy, so we still call her The Puppy.)

Don't forget to go check out the rest of The Gallery at Tara's blog, and the rest of the Writing Workshop at Josie's.

Oooh, and while we're talking about family, a quick shout out to Bec over at Beetroot & Gherkins, whose gorgeous family is going to be getting bigger in the very near future - wishing you lots of love & luck miss - and sending *superfastandeasylabour* thoughts a go-go :) xxx

Monday, 8 March 2010

Music to mother to...

Dear CD Producing Bigwigs,

It seems to have escaped your attention, but there are babies being born, and therefore mothers being created every. single. day.
It follows then, that musical tastes in the mother demographic, are constantly evolving.
Or to put it another way, not all mummy's are fans of Ronan Keating, Westlife, Michael Buble et al.
And dear God, John Barrowman?! Exactly who told you that would make a perfect gift for mum?
I did not abandon my love of noisy Indie Rock and/or sign up to the easy-listening-middle-of-the-road fanclub the moment my waters broke, nor do I intend to anytime soon.

And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.
Actually, I'm certain, if for no other reason than I can't think of a single mum I know who'd have any use at all for a Barrowman CD other than an overpriced coaster.

To be fair though, I don't think there's any CD that could be dubbed 'the perfect gift for mother's day'.  Unless it's a subliminal message affair that instantly lulls a stressed out baby to sleep, or miraculously sheds several pounds from your mummy tummy while you sleep.  Then maybe we could talk.

Fact is, Mothers, are as individual as the children the bear, and the idea of a 'one size fits all' collection of songs, is just plain silly.

So please, just stoppit.

Many thanks,
The Little Dude's Mummy.
(for whom a nice card & some flowers will do just fine, thank you please.)

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The Gallery: Beauty

Tara, over at Sticky Fingers has had a rather brilliant idea for all of us snap-happy bloggers - The Gallery. Basically, she's posting weekly prompts to inspire photo-taking - anyone can take part, regardless of skills or experience - photos can be new or old, anything goes! Click here to visit Tara's blog & find out more.

This week's prompt is 'Beauty', so of course I thought of sharing a photo of The Little Dude, but figured that was a bit of a given, so instead, you get a shot a shot of my beautiful Daffodils.

(Which The Little Dude bought for me- with a little help from The Daddy & the good people at Marks & Spencer.)

I love Daffodils. They're cheerful, simple, sunshiney, and they renew my faith that spring actually is on the way. That's a thing of beauty right there.

The Mr & The Little Dude got these for me at the weekend & they make me smile every time I catch them out the corner of my eye.

Over to you.
What's your idea of


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The good, the bad & the just plain weird of cBeebies...

So as you know, The Little Dude has been a poorly bunny since Friday. (He does appear to be lots better this morning - but I don't want to jinx it, staying home & taking it easy today just to be a million percent sure!) Anyway, the last 5 days have been spent mostly curled up on the sofa, with him on my lap in various states of half-awake, watching cBeebies.
We don't usually watch an awful lot of TV - just In The Night Garden (because Dylan loves it) & Mister Maker (because, well, you know why...) so three days of watching it more or less all day, has been something of an education. Here are my thoughts.
The Good:

I Can Cook. Real kids, making reasonably real food. Good stuff. And although I could live without Katie’s ‘re-cap songs’ (cringe!), I could see myself recreating her recipes with LD in years to come. (Unlike Big Cook Little Cook, we’ll get to them in a minute.)

Charlie & Lola. We actually really very love this. The animation is quite kitsch & old school – and I like that it doesn’t dumb down the English language for little people. Thumbs up.

Timmy Time. It may just be because I love Wallace & Grommit, or I might have been brainwashed by maybe the catchiest theme tune ever, but I like it.

Chuggington. Not one of my favourites (let’s face it – it’s just Thomas Tank for the next generation, right?), but the little man seems to love it- I think because it’s really bright & colourful. And again, I challenge you not to get the theme song stuck in your head.

The Bad:

Show Me Show Me. Does. My. Head. In. The girl presenter, looks like she’s dying inside (I’m a classically trained actress don’t you know – how did it come to this??!), her male friend could only ever have been a kid’s presenter (really, could he be more enthusiastic about everything?!), and I’m sure it’s a huge thrill for the parents of the children who get to go ‘Show Me Show Me …Penelope!’, but personally, I just find it annoying. And Penelope is a rubbish cartoon anyway. The LD generally zones out when it comes on, so I’m guessing he’s not a fan either.

Big Cook Little Cook. What fresh hell is this? The best cafĂ© in town? Really? When you have to wait God knows how long for little cook to whizz away & get half the ingredients to make whatever delicacy Big Cook’s book reckons you’ll love? And really, they may differ in size, but they are equally enormously annoying. And unlike Katie – their ‘recipes’ really are rubbish in the main. Last time I checked, ketchup wasn’t an ‘ingredient’. Richard Herring sums them up better than I ever could. (Go have a read, hilarious!)

The Just Plain Weird:

Waybuloo. The jury’s out on this one. It seems to catch the little man’s attention, and I guess the characters are cute in a weird big-eyed kind of way, but what’s with the pigeon English? Is this the best example for ‘cheebies’ that are learning to talk? I’m not so sure.

Dirt Girl World. I thought I’d caught LD’s fever first time I saw this one. It’s just odd. I’m all for teaching children about growing veggies, and taking care of the planet & such – but I’d prefer the little man to join The Green Balloon club than watch this weirdness.

So yes, a mixed bag, to say the least! I’ll be glad when we can get back to filling most of the day with music & playing & going to the park & stuff – I fear too much more cBeebies may melt my tiny little brain!

What do you think?
Do your little ones have any favourites that make your head hurt?

Sunday, 21 February 2010

The one where I'm feeling completely out of my depth...

Remember earlier this month I was sick? And I was all relieved that the Little Dude seemed to escape it other than one brief sicky incident & a few dodgy nappies? Well. I jinxed that good & proper.
My little man now officially has the lurgy that's been doing the rounds, and it is horrible.
He's been struggling to keep anything other than water & toast down since Friday, and is feeling very sorry for himself.

I was getting a bit fraught by yesterday lunchtime (read: a lot fraught. A big blubbery overtired mess actually - all panicky he'd start losing weight & end up back in hospital like when he was only a week old, generally feeling totally useless & like the worst mummy ever.), so called NHS direct (after getting no answer from my health visitor or GP - clearly babies just aren't supposed to be poorly on Saturdays - sorry 'bout that.) and spoke to a lovely nurse who calmed me down & said that as long as he's getting plenty of fluids, a few days off his food won't do too much harm.

I don't think that nurse will ever know how grateful I was for that call. I was in such a state, feeling like a crappy mummy, and in just a few minutes, she chilled me out & made me feel a million times better. She probably put the phone down thinking 'ah bless, first time mummy dealing with her first tummy bug - she best toughen up quick!'
And although I did have a slight mini-meltdown when the Daddy got home from work, I think that was more from sheer relief at having some help & a chance to close my eyes for 10 minutes.

It's times like this that make me realise just how much I still have to learn.
And remind me that I am completely responsible for taking care of my little man - that he's completely dependant on me come rain or shine.
And to be completely honest, it sometimes scares the bejeesus out of me.
Things will be ticking along nicely, I'll get comfortable - maybe even let myself think actually, I'm pretty good at this, and bang - something new comes along to remind me I'm still a complete novice.

Today, the Little Dude's much the same - a bit more cheerful when he's awake, but still sleeping a lot. No sickness in the night, so I tried giving him a bottle for breakfast - that was a mistake, but there are wet nappies, and he's still drinking lots of water & munching down his toast, so that's encouraging. And I managed some sleep, so have a slightly less neurotic-first-time-muimmy head on, and am feeling a bit less useless and overwhelmed by it all.

Still, fingers crossed he'll be better tomorrow - I miss my happy smiley little monster.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Mary Poppins Effect

Remember the scene in Mary Poppins, where she pulls all manner of wonderous things out of her oh-so-shabby-chic carpet bag?
I used to dream of having a bag like that.
Turns out, all you have to do is become a mummy, and get yourself a nappy bag.

Karin, over at Cafe Bebe, has challenged me to show you what's in my bag, so here we go...

My own bag of choice, is a Ju.Ju.Be in a stripey turquoise sort of flavour. (Which just so happens to match my turquoise Xplory beautifully.  Neurotic, moi?)
I love it - it's not too big, not too small, full of useful pockety goodness, and it's pretty. (But not so pretty that the Mr feels like too much of a girl to be seen with it.)

I also carry a handbag too, simply because they are one of the loves of my life & I feel naked without one.  It changes frequently, but is currently a little black cross body deelie, customised with a girly corsage.

So, what's in my bag?  Lots.  First up, the JuJu...
(NB: I have not edited the contents, I promise.  If it seems impossibly neat, it's because it is. I'm an OCD loony & dejunk my bags at least every other day!)

Front Pocket:
My Diary & some pens - various magical teething potions (Gel, Little homeopathic tablets that really are magical, and Bickiepegs which are a truly genius invention.) - Emergency Dummy - Mirror - Hair clips & band (For mummy hair emergencies) - Tiny pot of sudocreme - Cocoa butter lip balm - Body shop lip gloss - A Nail file.
There's also a handy keychain attached to the inside pocket, where I keep an emergency front doot key for those air headed 'crap i've locked myself out' moments.  And, theres a little secret zip pocket where I keep an emergency £10 note. (Which currently needs to be replaced.  Yes, Latte & Cake with a friend was an emergency.)

Front Section:
Emergeny clothes for the little dude - jeans, tee, vest & socks - Muslin square (never leave home without one!) - Bib (Soph4Soph, of course!) - Nappies - Wipes - Calpol - Hand Gel - Another tiny pot of Sudocreme - Body spray for mummy - John Frieda Glossing spray (For emergency frizz outbreaks) - Tissues (read napkins, aquired from many a friendly coffee house) - A book for the little dude (changes frequently, but there's always one in there - at present, we're working on numbers :D) - Mummy's mini makeup bag. (Which contains: Mascara, Lip Gloss, Powder compact, Vaseline, and another nail file.)

Phew! Still with me? We're nearly there.

Back Section:
Is all about food. A bottle - formula - sippy cup - spoon - little pots of snacks (rice cakes, organix crisps, rusks & the like) - milky bar buttons (which mummy never, ever steals) - plus whatever I pack for the little dude's lunch in the morning.

And lastly, Mummy's bag:

Contains, purse (H&M circa 1990, possibly the only purse I haven't lost within a year of buying.  I love it.) - Mobile (not fancy, not high tech, but does it's job, and it's pink.) - More lip glosses - a tiny mirror - chewing gum - sunglasses & Dylan's fuzzy caterpillar finger puppet.

My camera generally lives in there too, but couldn't get in the picture as it was too busy taking it.

And there you have it. I'm thinking that now LD's getting bigger, more mobile & generally becoming more of a monkey everyday, I should probably get some plasters to bung in there too. Any other suggestions of what I'm going to wish I had in there in the next few months?

Better still, take up the challenge - show me what's in your bag, leave me a link in the coments & I'll come steal all your good ideas :D


Thursday, 18 February 2010

This time last year...

This year, in her world famous* writing workshop, amongst other things, Josie asks us "What were you doing this time last year".  Well, let's see...

This time last year, I was very very pregnant. (The LD was due 10th April. He actually made an appearance on the 20th- longest 10 days of life!).
I was lucky, in that I had a 'nice little bump', or so people kept telling me.  Personally, I felt like a freakin' whale, and by this time last year, I was perpetually exhausted. (No change there then.)

This time last year, I was getting ready to finish up at work.  I was neurotically making lists and cheat sheets and post it note after post it note of helpful tit-bits for my replacement.  I hated the idea of handing over my responsibilities & my execs & all their little quirks.  I truly did have every intention of going back.

This time last year, I spent most weekends shopping with the Mr, picking out teeny tiny little babygrows and hats and sleepsuits. Every purchase brought squees of 'loooook, it's SO lickle!!'.  Never got old.

This time last year I was reading about my pregnancy a lot.  I got almost obsessive about knowing how big my baby was getting in relation to fruit & vegetables. (16 weeks, about the same as an avocado - 27 weeks - a head of cauliflower.)  I blame the hormones.

This time last year, I needed help to remove myself from the sofa.  And God help me if I tried to sit on the floor.

This time last year, I spent a lot of time convincing myself that labour couldn't be that bad. Could it? (Yes, it could, you deluded fool.)

This time last year, I had no idea how to change a nappy.

This time last year, I had no idea just how little sleep a human being can survive on.

This time last year, I'd never even heard the word Tombliboo, much less knew what one was.

This time last year, I hadn't even met the little monster who now simultaneously rules my life, and makes it feel complete.

What a difference a year makes.

How about you?  What were you up to this time last year?

...don't forget to take a reip to the shiny new-look Sleep is for the Weak & show the other entries some love- there's always a whole bunch of good stuff to read.

(*The world being that of a select group of Mummy Bloggers who think it's cool. Which is good enough for me!)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The best things in life are free.

Yep, they really are you know.
The South's most rockingest bump of the moment, Miss Beetroot & Gherkins, tagged me sometime ago in a meme to illustrate that very point, and this is me finally getting around to doing it.  (I always get there in the end!)  In short, I have to share with you, good readers, my 10 favourite things that cost nothing.  So here we go...

1. My family.  More specifically, my man, my baby boy, and my dog.  My little posse are all I really need to be happy.  I forget that sometimes, but then one of them will do something to make me smile & I am swiftly reminded.  Love them.

2. Laughing.  There are few better feelings than an uncontrolable, unstoppable, fit of giggles.  The ones that have you gasping for air, hugging your aching ribs & crossing your legs so as not to pee your pants.  In the words of the great Dick Van Dyke, I love to laugh.

3. Cuddles.  From the Mr, the Little Dude, chums, other peoples kiddlies, random strangers on the stroke of midnight at New Years... all good.  The best though, is a big group squish with my two best boys before we get up in the morning.  The little dude curls up in between us & we sneak a few extra minutes of zzz's before facing the day.  No other feeling like it :)

4. Sunshine. I like winter, and I actually sort of love autumn - actually, I love the seasons and the changes they bring in general, but my favourite is a bright sunshiney day with clear blue skies save for an occassional candyfloss cloud.  You can't not smile on a day like that.

5. Birds singing.  I love little tweetie birds.  We get quite a nice variety in out garden and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to listen to them tweeting and chirping. And gooing in the case of the big fat wood pigeons with their fancy pants collars.  It must be a pretty good life being a birdy.  They're always cheerful.

6. Trips down memory lane.  You know, when you sit in with someone you love & a bottle of plonk & wind up just chattering about days gone by... 'Do you remember that time when...' blah blah blah.  I'm a nostalgic fool and I love to reminice.

7. Daydreaming.  In my former life, before boarding the good ship motherhood, I did *a lot* of office jobs.  And spent *many* a bored-out-of-my-pretty-head hour gazing out of the window pondering what I might be doing instead if I scored a huge lotto win.  Or if I happened to bump into Johnny Depp in Cafe Nero.  Or if Simon Cowell happened to be in the pub when I was singing karaoke and insisted on signing me up right there and then.  You know, normal stuff.

8. Sitting indoors, cosy & warm, watching the rain.  I hate walking in the rain (doesn't everyone?), but I love watching it pour down when I'm safe & dry inside.

9. Rainbows.  Just one of the most pointless, random, and yet utterly beautiful things ever. Well done nature, well done.

10. Watching the Little Dude sleep.  Particuarly when he crashes out on top of me.  One of the best feelings in the world is a tiny baby cuddling up to you, getting all comfy and squishy, and falling asleep.  I don't think I've ever seem anything more content in all my life.

As is the way with memes. I'm supposed to tag some lovelies to carry on the happy - but as I've left it so long, everyone I know has probably done it.  So, if you haven't, consider yourelf tagged & come back & leave me a coment with a link to your post :)

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Two posts in one day??!  I know, I spoil you.  But it is Valentine's day after all ;)
Assuming you're all stuffed full of heart shaped chocolates and pink fizzy stuff (or is that just me?), you will be in need of some reading matter while you digest, so, may I suggest you head over to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, where Claire has brought together a fabulous selection of posts for your perusal in her Valentine's Carnival.

Also, and I am a little scared to do this, because frankly the other entries are amazing, but what the hey.  English Mum is hosting a Valentine-cupcake-bake-off-deelie, and as I made these for my boys last night anyway, I figured I may as well throw my hat (wooden spoon?) in the ring!
Seriously though, go look at the other entries - outstanding - I'm bookmarking it for future inspiration!

These are vanilla cupcakes, with butercream icing, topped with foiled chocolate hearts & edible glitter.
And they taste pretty damn good if I do say so myself!

Hope you've all had a wonderful cupid day - I've been spoiled with lovely cards & flowers, but my best bit was the card I got from the Little Dude in which he declared (in writing which looked suspiciously like the Mr's - I think he may have got him to transcribe)

"I love you mummy, more than Makka Pakka loves stones, which is a lot."

Totally made my day :)