Monday, 30 May 2011

Pass it on - Children in need

The lovely Carole at Carole Finds Her Wings has tagged me. 'If you only take part in one blog meme this year – let this be it' she wrote. Must be important, I thought. And so it is. Life changingly so. In fact she wrote about it so eloquently, I'm unashamedly passing on her whole post for you to read for yourself. Over to Carole:

If you don’t blog then please please read this post and then sign the petition linked later on anyway – every single name counts and YOU could make the difference between life and death for children out in developing countries and it won’t cost you anything other than a couple of minutes.

Back in January Save The Children launched their ‘Born To’ campaign to raise awareness that no child should be born to die. They released the horrifying statistic that 8 million children under the age of 5 die every year from treatable or preventable illness like pneumonia and diarrhoea. 8 million – that’s an almost unimaginable number and it scares me. On June 13th David Cameron will be hosting a significant conference in London attended by world leaders. This meeting marks the chance to ensure the funding shortfall for vaccinations (4.7 billion) is met by all the donor countries. That sounds a lot but it is easily achievable, even in the current economic climate. It will just take some commitment from those in power and it has the potential to save those millions of lives.

Please SIGN THE PETITION which Save The Children will present at this global vaccine summit – every name counts.

Save the Children are also taking three bloggers/vloggers to Mozambique to follow the journey of a vaccine from the coldstore in the city right down to a rural community. They will write, make films and tweet about their experiences, the children and families they meet and the challenges of “cold” vaccinations in hot countries. The bloggers are:  , Chris Mosler  and Tracey Cheetham . You’ll be able to follow all of their journey on Twitter using the hashtag #passiton, as well as through exciting content on other social media channels.

As for us Bloggers – we’re spreading the word with this meme. Our children are lucky, they are warm and well fed, they get their inoculations free of charge and if they get sick we can just take the to the nearest doctor or hospital and know they will get treated.

What better way to raise awareness for Save The Children than by including our own children? So our challenge is to get our little ones to draw a self-portait of themselves either of now or how they think they will be in the future. 

I think you'll agree, a most worthy cause that's worth us all sparing the time to take part in. DD isn't two yet but I asked her to draw a picture of herself. Unfortunately she drew me instead. Bless. So here I am in all my glory. As you can see we've got a lovely blue sky here today but I really should have brushed my hair. Tut-tut.

Now I’m going to #passiton to some fellow bloggers. If you've already done it? Apologies. And if you aren’t tagged but want to do it – go ahead. No time? Copy this post and re-post it. The more people signed up the better. Once you do your post pop over HERE and link up your post so we can all share and see. And if you don’t blog? Post a picture on Facebook with a link to the petition or Tweet it if you’re on Twitter. Spread the word!

, , Mum 2 baby insomniac, Yorkshiremumatlarge, Toddling into madness 

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sunday Sayings

We took Nana to the airport this morning to fly back home. I drew a picture yesterday of our apartment here, Nana's house back in the UK and an aeroplane in the sky between them over a wiggly blue line sea. I explained to DD that Nana was going to get on the aeroplane and fly over the sea to her own home. I asked her a few times where Nana was going and she said 'aeroplane'. Great, I thought. She gets it. But since we got back she keeps knocking on our guest room door and waiting for Nana to answer it. So sad. Clearly it's going to take a while to sink in.

So in celebration of our three weeks together, this week's Sunday Saying is for Nana's everywhere.

A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend.
Author unknown

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at

Saturday, 28 May 2011

To eat or not to eat? That is the question.

I never forget to go to the supermarket. Rain or shine, there is always fresh food in the house. But DD doesn't seem to think so. As far as she's concerned we only have food worth eating every other day. Feast then famine, eat then don't eat. It's bizarre.

Take yesterday for example. A hearty breakfast of home-made bircher muesli, marmite on toast and apple juice. A decent lunch of croissant, Philadelphia, watermelon, yoghurt and some crackers. A satisfying tea of eggy bread with cheese, more watermelon, a fruit and veg smoothie and some rice pudding. For DD, a day of feasting.

But the day before? Famine. Two spoons of muesli, no toast. No lunch AT ALL. Watermelon and bread for tea. That's it.

Is she in training for some kind of strange eating biathlon? Two disciplines - eating and not eating? At least I can satisfy myself that over the course of a week she's likely to be getting a decent amount of nutritious grub. Enough to keep her zooming around the house at least.

We WILL tackle eating adult meals eventually. But for now I'll take the 'every other day' diet and a toddler full of energy.

How well does your toddler eat? Do they have bizarre eating patterns or do they tuck-in to whatever you offer them?

Posted at the .

Image: Clare Bloomfield /

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

This is One Lovely Blog

The uber talented photographer Mari over at has kindly choosen me for the One Lovely Blog award. I'm not really one for these types of memes but I'm grateful for this one, which has come at just the right time for me. I've been struggling a bit lately. Things have been getting me down and keeping my chin up has been that little bit harder. I haven't felt like blogging much, or reading other people's blogs much, and for that I apologise wholeheartedly. This week will be a defining time for our family and whatever happens we'll get through it. There's also big changes on the horizon, exciting and challenging changes that will test us again. I'm just a little blue. I'll get over it.

In the meantime, the One Lovely Blog Award requires that I list 7 things about myself.

1. I'm a pessimist. Yes, really. (More on this in a future post.)
2. I do 30 mins yoga religiously every day (I don't pray while I'm doing it, but I'll assume you know what I mean).
3. As I get older I realise that the best teachers are experience and the perspective it provides.
4. I once wrote a 50,000 word novel and put it in a drawer.
5. My great, great, great grandmother was a Romany gypsy (apparently).
6. I have a fierce temper. Grrrrrrrr......
7. I can count from one to ten in seven languages. Not useful as often as I'd like.

Now I must pass the award onto other worthy bloggers. I'm choosing three. I think I'm supposed to choose more but I'm not one for following rules (much). So consider yourselves awarded , Northern Mum and .

Monday, 23 May 2011

I'm addicted - are you?

Ok, I know it's ridiculous. DD is almost two years old so a) I should be over this by now and b) I'm surely not going to need one much longer, but I can't help it. I'm addicted to finding the perfect changing bag.

I don't have mountains of them lying about gathering dust, but put it this way, I have more than one Mother with one toddler needs (which is ideally 'one'). The problem is that I still haven't found the perfect solution to my packhorse needs. I have specific criteria that I want met and nothing I've found so far meets them. Am I being too fussy? I don't think so. What do you think?

1. Needs to be big enough to carry changing mat, nappies, change of clothes, creams, wipes, toddler snacks, emergency drawing book and stickers, purse, phone, keys, water bottle, sun cream... and on... and on... while still meeting criteria 2 and 4.

2. Needs to be comfortable to carry across my body (for those 'Mummy up!' moments) and be easily and securely fixed to a buggy.

3. Needs to have zip closures rather than annoying flaps - changing bags fall on the floor far too often and I'm fed up of everything falling out in a restaurant and tampons rolling across the floor just as DD tries to leap out of her high chair.

4. Needs to look GOOD. Sorry, but it's true. Most baby bags are ugly.

5. Needs to be wipe clean. Vomit and poo. Enough said.

Skip Hop Via Messenger
At the moment I'm using this Skip Hop Via Messenger in gunmetal grey. It's a great bag; meets 1 and 5 perfectly, almost meets 2 (fits to buggy with great clips but is bulky to carry across my body fully-stuffed) and looks pretty good but it fails badly on 3 as the main compartment is only fastened with a flimsy magnetic closure. It's good quality though and nothing has broken on it in over a year. I particularly like that there are three external zips for your phone etc but it doesn't sit so well on the buggy with our Sunshine Kids Buggy Buddy Stroller Organiser (which I can't recommend enough) attached.

And so I've started my search for the perfect bag again. So far I'm falling for the Pacapod Logan in Mocha below. It's marketed for Dads but I think it's just as stylish for Mums. Love the whole concept of this bag with it's separate changing and feeding pods that sit inside a side pouch. Looks like it will check most of the boxes too, just not sure if there's enough room for all of DD's emergency amusement items. More research needed methinks.

Am I alone in this addiction? Have you found the perfect changing bag? What are your criteria? Share you best bags with me... please!

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post and I haven't been sent either of these bags to review. (Yet.)

Image credits: and

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sunday Sayings

I've been a bit grumpy at home lately. Too hot, too tired, too caught up in DD's tantrums. This quote popped out at me today. Does it touch something in you as much as it does me?

"If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers."
Maya Angelou

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at Quote from

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Fussy Eaters Support Club - May/June

Opps! As I mentioned in a I've been a bit preoccupied lately and as DD's eating has been coasting along at about the same level for a couple of weeks, I totally forgot to post May's Fussy Eaters Support Club page - doh! Huge apologies all round. So here's an extended May/June linky for you to pop up your own Fussy Eater updates and share your progress. 

Here's a reminder what it's all about...

One of the things I love most about blogging is knowing that I'm not alone in the the trials and tribulations of mummyhood. A problem shared is a problem, well not quite halved, but it's certainly a lot less stressful knowing there are some other rowers in the same boat as you. My current trial du jour is the seemingly never-sending saga of DD's fussy eating habits. We've tried puree, we've tried baby-led weaning, we've tried it all.

I got to thinking that there must be other Mummy and Daddy bloggers out there who have the same goal that I do; for DD to eat as much as she wants of what we're eating as a family, but to at least eat some of it. Perhaps we can support each other? And so the Fussy Eaters Support Club was born. Each month (or so) I'll post up a linky thingy for anyone with a fussy eater to air their story, shares recipes and their tips for what works (and what doesn't), to celebrate their fussy eater successes or to just have a good old fashioned whinge about it all.

The Fussy Eaters Support Club doors for MAY/JUNE are now open!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I can't live without...

I've been a bit pre-occupied lately - I had reason to (but sadly I didn't), we've entered and we have Nana as a yummy house guest - and so I've neglected some of my favourite bloggy memes. Huge apologies all round, but frankly there's been life to live and I've been living it. But over at  this week's Listography is all about the five products you can't live without and I couldn't help but start musing about it. So here, in a capsule form and in no particular order, is my five.

DVD player
It doesn't bear thinking about what would happen if DD couldn't watch Maisy ABC at least once a day.

Food processor
Breadcrumbs for tuna/mince patties (the only protein DD eats), pancake batter, cake mixes and SO much more. I heart my food processor. Lots.

I'm sure I could live without it *breaks out in a cold sweat just thinking about it*. But would I want to? No. Nuff said.

The world is a scary enough place without taking away my slap. Seriously. I'm grateful to it for making the dark circles around my eyes a little less panda and a bit more not enough sleep. And if for the five minutes I've got to smear it on in the morning I am fooled into thinking I look half-decent (or at least not so scary that I shouldn't leave the house) then it's clearly a keeper.

There isn't much that can't be fixed with a decent cup of tea. I can live without peppermint, oolong, chai, lemon, jasmine and earl grey, but bog standard 'builders' tea, I cannot.

What five things would it break you to do without? Link 'em up over at .


Image credit:

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Final Countdown

We've reached the end. The last attempt. The final countdown. Regardless of the outcome now, the syringes, bottles, pills and hospital cards sit discarded in the bin. We started this, the second leg of our journey to parenthood, six short months ago but we've entered the final furlong.

The end is in sight. At first I raged against it, hating my body's inadequacies, frustrated by our situation. But I've made peace with it now and a veil of calm has descended upon me.What will be will be.

And if it isn't to be I don't want DD to sense any pain, to feel any disappointment and mistake it for something she herself lacks. Through her I have discovered a total, unwavering, uncompromising love. Love that has filled a hole I never really knew I had and completed me; completed us.

And so it is with a hopeful and light heart that I take OH's hand and walk towards this finish line. And while we give this attempt everything we have, DD is playing happily at home with Nana without the slightest inkling that Mummy and Daddy are trying, for the last time, to give her a brother or sister. And that's how it should be.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sunday Sayings

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl

Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at Quote courtesy of

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Happiness Project

On Sunday 10 April 2011 I started playing my part in the Happiness Project thanks to the lovely Naomi over at Seven Cherubs. Since that day I have recorded, in just one sentence, something positive and wonderful that has happened that day, every day for one month. At some point over the next few days (now that Blogger has finally woken up from it's coma) everyone taking part is publishing their results, either as one post, or many, a snippet, a bucket-full or in my case, a Wordle.

This was a really interesting project to take part in. Some days the positive energy practically dripped off the keyboard and pooled on the floor. Other days I  had to scrabble under the sofa for something nice to write about. But at the end of the day, every day, I had something positive written down. Even if it was just getting through the day relatively unscathed! Being positive is something that I have to work at but finding those little nuggets of goodness every day meant that when I look back the whole month seems to shine with brilliance and the little niggles are thrown into shadow. And that is a revelation and a wondrous thing.

    Friday, 13 May 2011

    No new ideas

    There are no new ideas here. You may think well I have new ideas, shiny like new pins, but you'd be wrong. They're a product of everything you've done, been, seen, the people you know and even more you don't. Me? I buy mine at a shop down the road from a wizened old man with round spectacles and a bright yellow cravat.

    Ahhhh, my dear Bod! He says, spreading his arms wide as though he expects me to run into them. Some lovely ideas for you today, my dear. Barely used! Wonderfully good value. Just for you, of course. He says. Look you can see part of the wrapper still stuck to this one. It's very you. He says.

    We horse trade more for the sport than necessity; he always asks a fair price. But I never take them back to part exchange. I release them when we've had our fun together and watch them soar like doves, revelling in their freedom, letting them decide for themselves where they will alight and make their presence felt again.

    ***NOTE: does this post seem strangely familiar? Yes it was originally posted before Blogger had a meltdown. Grrrrrrr..... Thankfully order seems to have been restored now.

    Image: Idea go /

    Post of the week - 1930s Housewife Challenge

    My post of the week this week is from March but I've only just come across it and it's wonderful - This Mid 30s Life's 1930s Housewife Challenge. It's a scary whizz back in time to the 1930s when dishwashers, televisions and L'oreal weren't part of a Mother's armoury. Our brave bloggess takes on the challenge - but does she survive? Warning: not for the faint hearted!

    Have you read a post this week that blew you away? Write about it and link up over at Notes from Home's Post of the Week.

    Tuesday, 10 May 2011


    Sometimes I should pause before I act. This weekend DD was bitten, hard, on the face, by another child. I didn't actually see the event but by God did I hear the blood curdling scream that followed it. She was playing with a very affectionate, if a little physical, seventeen month old and his Mother was kneeling down with them. I stepped away for a moment, apparently he decided to kiss DD and the bite was the result. Two perfect rows of teeth, tattooed on my daughter's cheek. (He clearly needs to work on his technique.)

    And here is where I should have paused.

    But I didn't. My baby was hurt, I saw red, instincts took over and I asked the Mother to leave. She left in a flood of tears, admonishing her poor son, who was clearly clueless what he'd done wrong. Once DD calmed down and I'd assessed the damage to her face (the skin was badly swollen and bruised but not broken so no tetanus shot required), I calmed down and assessed the damage to my relationship with the other Mother. How would I have felt if the tables had been turned? Mortified, devastated, embarrassed. And instead of just separating the children for a while for the dust to settle I sent her away.

    Thankfully she returned later the same day to check DD was ok and we had a frank chat about a Mother's instincts, hugged, and cleared the air. I don't promise that the next time DD is hurt by another child (and I know that there will be a next time, such is the life of a small) I won't react before my brain kicks into gear, but I will at least try to pause for a moment to see the other Mother's side.


    Monday, 9 May 2011

    Frock it! #2

    It's Frock It! time again. Wow, that week went quickly! Time flies when you're chasing a toddler around like a mad thing having fun. I was mightily impressed with the lovely Mid30sLife's new celebrity followers for the second edition of this fashion meme. No such glamour here I'm afraid *sigh*. Still, I can show you my love and loathe dresses from the recent Annual Costume Institute Gala in the U.S.

    First off - LOVE this:

    Naomi Campbell in a white tulle crystal embroidered gown by Sarah Burton for Alexander Mcqueen. It's dripping theatricality, a real work of art. Not so sure about the hairstyle though - would have gone for something simpler myself, but I'm not an international model so I should probably hush.

    But sorry - LOATHE this:

    Such a shame. Ms Lopez has a beautiful, womanly, REAL figure but this pink creation by Gucci does her no favours what-so-ever. And I hope the security men showed the door to whoever planted those roses on her shoulders. Me no likey.

    Seen any dresses you like/loathe this week? Share your spoils over at Frock It!

    Photo credits: Getty via

    Sunday, 8 May 2011

    Sunday Sayings

    In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

    Margaret Atwood

    Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at, quote courtesy of

    Saturday, 7 May 2011

    Post of the week - The Oracle of Parenting

    My post of the week this week is from the wonderful Northern Mummy with Southern Children. In The Oracle of Parenting, she has created a bible for all not-yet-parents, expectant or otherwise. It's completely true, priceless with a capital 'P' and had me chuckling into my tea. Particularly the reassurance for belly buttons and why to ignore milk. Pop over, read and enjoy.

    Have you read a post this week that made your day? Write about it and share the linky love over at Notes from Home's Post of the Week.

    Friday, 6 May 2011

    Frock it!

    So the lovely This Mid 30s Life has started a new photo meme. Of course I just had to join in. (Well, it would be rude not to after all.) It's all about frocks. The good, the bad and the downright ugg-er-ly. Have you seen a dress you love or loathe this week? On a celebrity or hanging in a shop window (or...gasp!... your own wardrobe)? Pop it in a post and link up over at this week's Frock It!

    Sorry, a bit obvious to do the Royal Wedding, but wait! It's not Kate....

    Pippa Middleton, the Duchess of Cornwall's younger sister, looking stunning in this Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen bridesmaid's dress which echoed her sister's wedding gown. The cowl neck adds a modern twist to this romantic and elegant column dress. Just gorgeous.

    Photo credit: Reuters/Getty images, via

    Thursday, 5 May 2011

    Simple Pleasures

    The soft touch of DD's little hand as it gently pushes my cheek so that I turn to face her (before she smears Marmite on me in an attempt to clean it off her own fingers).

    The blissful silence as I sit with a steaming cuppa before anyone else in the house is awake.

    The experienced fingers of a trained masseur as she pummels my hands, arms, legs and feet into submission. The best bit of a mani/pedi by far and my top me-time treat.

    The second half of a good book - I'm past 'is this any good?' and sucked deep into 'what happens next?'

    The first 20 minutes of the day when DD sits on my lap drinking her milk while we read stories together. Still warm from sleep and not yet feisty, she's happy to cuddle up and listen. Bliss.


    This week Kate over at asked us to list our favourite simple pleasures. Three years ago this would have included riding my motorbike and the first five minutes of a spinning class. Interesting how our tastes simplify as life becomes more complicated.

    What makes you smile on a dull day? Pop down your own top 5 and link them up over at her .

    Wednesday, 4 May 2011

    30 Day Book Challenge: Day Seventeen and Eighteen

    Day Seventeen: Shortest book you’ve read
    I wish I could channel Margaret Atwood. She has sixteen honorary doctorates. Including Harvard. I wish I could write her wonderfully eloquent, jump-straight-in-and immerse-yourself-in-this-story prose. Instead I read her short and rather small collection of unclassifiable mini-fictions:; , and feel sensationally inspired to pick up my pen. I rarely do.

    Day Eighteen: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like
    I'm not really embarrassed to say I like any book. It's not like they're going to throw me out of the literary circle and take away my readers OBE or anything. And frankly if I was in any such thing, or had any such thing and they wanted to take it away from me? I wouldn't want it in the first place. I am a varied reader, hear me roar. But as a lot of other people seem to be embarrassed about having enjoyed reading it I shall choose the series by Stephanie Meyer. I'm not fond of Isabella 'Bella' Swan as a character, but it's a lovely romantic story and I have a penchant for vampires.

    Photo credits: The Tent and Twilight series images courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Monday, 2 May 2011


    I'm filled with longing. It eats into my soul, reminding me who I am, where I'm from, where I should be. I've almost forgotten everything I know, everything I was. There. Before. But it won't last forever, the horizon is pulling closer. I can almost taste it now, like the sharp bitterness of almost lemon, it makes my mouth water.

    And yet the unfamiliar has become familiar to me now and I wonder if I shall miss it. The once delicious exoticness that I've become so accustomed to, that's ordinarily normal in it's frustrating familiarity. More importantly, will she miss it? Her first home. The only home she's ever known. Yet. For her it's not returning home. It's leaving. Our opposite perspectives divide our wholeness.

    But unlike me, for her everything is an adventure. She drinks in new experiences, plays with them, turning them over in her hands like shiny pebbles. Pebbles that to her are unique and beautiful but too often for me are just stones on a rocky beach.

    Photo credit:

    Sunday, 1 May 2011

    Sunday Sayings

    "Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn."
    C.S. Lewis

    Photo credit: Old letters by Simon Howden at
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