Team Honk – a group of bloggers who have helped raise awareness and a sizeable chunk of money through social media and blogging have headed to Tanzania to find out the difference donations to last years Sports Relief have made.
Find out more about the Team Honk Team here the team is made up of some of my favourite bloggers/tweeters and I’ve followed their fundraising journey with interest over the last year. I am incredibly inspired by the energy and effort they have put into Sports Relief.
They have been sharing digital postcards with bloggers all over the UK telling us the stories behind the inspirational women they have met.
This is Lucy – Through mentoring and training the Gatsby Trust gave Lucy the confidence to develop her business and to network after moving from the countryside to the city, She is an inspirational creative who brought out so many beautiful, imaginative handcrafted items to show us. More than that she is a teacher and looks forward expanding her business by training other women who want to start up craft and textile businesses.
You can get involved with a Sports Relief Event or simply make a donation by clicking here
You may remember that I reviewed In The Night Garden Live last year at the O2. It was a spectacular show and I’m really excited that we will be going again later this year.
You can read my review for last years show here
We (myself and Andrew) were really impressed with the show and Izzy just loved it. 1 year later she is still a huge ITNG fan and tonight informed me that the Tombliboos are now her favourites.
Here is some info on this years show:
IN THE NIGHT GARDEN LIVE 2014
Staged event of the BAFTA award-winning CBeebies children’s TV show
CHILDREN’S SUMMER CLASSIC DATES FOR 2014
Live Quarter at The O2, LONDON: 29 May – 14 June
Old Deer Park, RICHMOND: 21 June – 5 July
Cannon Hill Park, BIRMINGHAM: 12 – 26 July
The Trafford Centre, MANCHESTER: 2 – 23 August
Queen’s Park Recreation Ground, GLASGOW: 30 August – 13 September
TICKETS ON SALE FROM 31 JANUARY
BOX OFFICE: 0333 300 0023
It’s a show we recommend and so much so that we have a discount code to share with you so that you can get some money off your tickets.
Sometimes when cooking with children it’s not about what you actually cook its just about the experience..the mess..the textures.
Last week when Izzy asked to cook I was tired and we didn’t have many ingredients to bake cakes or bread so I was a bit stuck.
I scrabbled about in the fridge for ideas and found a roll of readymade puff pastry, a lump of mature cheddar and some tomato relish.
We made cheese and tomato puffs..we also had some pastry leftover so we made some brown sugar strips and a cheeky Nutella puff or two.
Izzy loved cutting out the shapes and sprinkling on the cheese and a dollop of relish ..
Topping with a bit more pastry…
And brushing on some beaten egg..
They looked so good..
Finding a bit of relish.. What a surprise..
And of course munching them all..
Fun to make and easy to eat – perfect toddler food. I was surprised by how much Izzy could do by herself. Lately I’m asking her to do little kitchen tasks like buttering bread and she really enjoys it and its clearly helping her feel more confident when cooking.
I have a stash of blog posts half written in my drafts folder. Some will never get finished. This particular post was started a few days after I gave birth to Chloe 15 weeks ago. I think it’s quite an important post and so I eventually managed to finish thanks to a bit of encouragement after reading a post about the diagnosis of disability during pregnancy from one of my favourite bloggers over at Motherhood Journeys
During my first pregnancy with Izzy I was told about the screening test for Down’s syndrome, it was hardly explained and just mentioned briefly by my midwife as though it were a routine test that everybody has. I had the test, a simple blood test at about 16wks and promptly forgot about it. A week or so later I had a letter saying my results had come back as approximately 1 in 100,000 so low risk. In this pregnancy again the test was mentioned as part of the blood tests/scans etc that are taken as normal and again I had the test at 16weeks and once again it went immediately out of my mind. A few days after the test I received a call from the hospital, the midwife who called firstly asked if I was at home (she called my mobile) and if somebody was with me. At the time I was in the garden watching Izzy and Andrew play. Instantly my barriers were up and I felt sick with worry. She explained that my screening test results had come back and I had a very high chance of giving birth to a baby with Down’s syndrome. I will be honest and admit that my first reaction was to burst out crying. My pregnancy had been awful up until this point with weekly bleeds and scans and I just felt I couldn’t take anymore. They asked us to come and see the consultant the following day. I spent the next few hours crying and talking to my mum and Andrew feeling as thought the world was on my shoulders. By the evening we both felt a bit more with it after the initial shock and chatted about what would happen the following day – we both said without even discussing it that an amniocentesis wasn’t an option for us – I’m so glad we were on the same page.
On arrival at the hospital we were given leaflets, one explaining all about what Down’s syndrome is and the other advising of the amniocentesis procedure. The consultant took us into what I call a”bad news” room.. A very calm room with pretty sofas and sunset images on the walls – probably the nicest room I’ve seen in my local hospital. He explained the results in a very calm kind manner and offered us an amnio that very day. We declined and after a bit more chat we left to come home.
I can see how easy it would be to just say yes and find out for sure but for us the risks of anything going wrong as a result of the procedure were too high (even at just 1 in 100) and we knew that we wouldn’t terminate if it was DS so for us it wasn’t an option.
This was probably an easier decision for me than for some as having been involved in a respite care programme with my family I had a lot of contact with children who had DS and I knew if it happened it wouldn’t be the end of the world just the beginning of a different one.
Here is some info taken from the NHS site on what an Amniocentesis is:
Amniocentesis is usually carried out during weeks 15-20 of pregnancy. A needle is used to extract a sample of amniotic fluid, the fluid that surrounds the foetus (the developing baby) in the womb (uterus). Amniotic fluid contains cells shed from the foetus that can be examined and tested for a number of conditions.
Read more about how amniocentesis is performed.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is an alternative diagnostic test that can be carried out during weeks 10 to 13 of pregnancy.
Risks of amniocentesis:
Diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis, are usually only offered to women when there is a significant risk their baby will develop a serious condition or abnormality.
This is because the procedure is quite invasive (involves going into the body) and has a small associated risk of miscarriage (the loss of the pregnancy). This risk is estimated to be 1 in 100.
I know some people would choose to do the amnio and that is their decision, it’s a very personal decision to make and I wouldn’t say it was wrong to do it at all but I do feel the test is offered too freely at times. The midwife who called me to pass on my results almost seemed to assume we would be having it and spoke to me even as if I was receiving life threatening news. Whilst I know that it’s not something you would choose for your child in most cases your child would still lead a very full, very happy life.
One thing which did worry me was the possibility of heart problems if our child was born with Down’s syndrome – I felt I could cope with a child with a disability but a child who may be ill, in pain or die at an early age is what scared me and every time we had fetal monitoring whenever I had a bleed there were problems with her heart rate. I had to put this out of my mind as much as possible and just get on with the pregnancy.
I am not planning on having anymore children but if I did I wouldn’t have the blood screening again. Perhaps it shouldn’t be offered but something you can request if you want it instead? After all how many of us would even think about this issue if it wasn’t offered?
Even with all the tests and scans we have there is no way of knowing for sure if your child will be healthy and ok until they are born. There could any number of health issues or problems but all you can do is look after yourself in pregnancy and hope all is fine.
Downs Syndrome doesn’t have to be bad news.
For lots and lots info and advice on DS please visit Downs Side Up an absolutely amazing blog written by Hayley Goleniowska a Mum whose daughter Natty was born with Down’s syndrome and who is on a mission to make people understand that life with DS can be wonderful.
When I read about the Britmums Winter Adventure Challenge I knew we had to take part. This Winter has been a bit of an indoorsy (is that a word?) one what with having a newborn then with me being quite ill for a little while so we really wanted to do something fun in the great outdoors for Izzy.
The weather didn’t really want to play ball BUT eventually we woke up to a sunny day and so we wrapped up warm and headed to a local forest and how very lucky we chose this day because today’s the day the… Well I won’t spoil the surprise. Watch the video and then I will tell you a little more….
If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise!
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic
The sun may have been shining but there were still big puddles to splash in.. pine cones to collect. Stones covered in moss to climb over and lots of trees to hide behind.
Watching Izzys face light up when we came across the teddy bears having their secret picnic was wonderful. Seeing that even with the excitement of all her favourite bears being in the middle of the forest she still went straight to check on her little sister melted my heart a little.
By the way..Barny Bears are definitely NOT just for kids.
We all ate lots of Barny Bears and drank hot chocolate .. as did some of the greedy teddies and we definitely had a special winter adventure together – it’s a memory I will treasure.
This post is an entry for BritMums ‘Winter Little Adventures Challenge’ sponsored by Barny, individually wrapped bear-shaped sponges with a hidden filling. Find out more about Barny here
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.
Having two small children.. one of whom is permanently attached to my chest means we don’t get to do “date nights” at the cinema right now. I do miss these nights as films are our thing. We love watching films together. For Christmas I bought my OH a projector and screen so that we could have our own at home cinema nights. With this shoppertunity from Collective bias what better time to have a movie night in.. maybe with some popcorn, pizza, Coca Cola (caffeine free for me ;-)) and a good rom com.
Perhaps the rom com was wishful thinking…my OH is not a fan.
Anyway… When life is chaotic as it definitely is for us right now the way to ensure you get some quality time as a couple is in the preparation.
Step 1: Buying the goodies..
Taking two small ones to the shop can be a bit of a faff so first up make sure the store you visit – Tesco for us – has a double trolley. We use the ones with a lay down cradle type for Chloe and a big girls seat for Izzy. Surely making life easier
We buy some Coca Cola..
Vanilla for him:
Caffeine free for me:
Chloe seems to have a caffeine sensitivity so I’ve completely cut it out while I’m breastfeeding.. I’m missing my Cherry Coke!
We also bought ingredients to make salted caramel popcorn, chocolate and pizzas..essentials for movie nights!
Step 2… Tiring the little ones out so we get a peaceful evening.
We head to the local river for a walk and some fresh air. Izzy runs around and Chloe sleeps in her pram – so much for tiring her out!
Step 3.. Making the snacks…
Back at home Izzy helps me to make the popcorn and we let her have a little bit to try along with some pizza and then we get her ready for bed.
If you fancy making the popcorn here is what you need:
A microwaveable pack of butter or salted popcorn
A jar of homemade or storebought salted caramel sauce – try this recipe
Make your popcorn following packet instructions then leave it in the bag while you microwave 3-4 tbsp of caramel sauce for approx 20 seconds.
Mix the popcorn with the sauce until coated evenly. Divine.
My OH sets up the projector while I organise the snacks and feed Chloe in the hope she may sleep during the film.
It’s been a while since we took the time to concentrate on just being a couple again and it was almost as good as being in the cinema.. Plus I got to wear my comfy lounging clothes AND make a cup of tea halfway through … I’m getting old!
I love a roast dinner. Who doesn’t? I’m also one of those people who can eat a Yorkshire Pudding with anything. I know really its just supposed to be served with beef but they are so darn good that I have them with chicken and pork too..although not lamb – not sure why that is!
I’ve been trying to make the perfect Yorkshire puddings for ages but I never managed to get them exactly as I wanted them to be.
It took some time but I think I’ve done it!
The most important two things you need to remember when making them is:
1. Ensure your oil is bubbling hot before adding your batter.
2. Don’t open the oven until they are fully cooked.
You will need:
280g Plain flour
400ml full fat milk
8 medium free range eggs
Crushed sea salt and black peppercorns
*The above recipe makes 24 Yorkshire Puds.. I do this because I like to freeze a batch. They freeze so well. You can easily halve the quantities if necessary.
Using two x 12 hole muffin trays, drizzle a little olive oil into each hole and place in a preheated piping hot oven ( around gas mark8)
Pour your flour into a bowl and beat in your eggs until smooth. Slowly add all your milk and seasoning making sure all the lumps are gone.
Carefully remove your trays from the oven and slowly add batter to each hole as evenly as you can. Place carefully back into the oven and cook without opening the door or disturbing for approximately 25minutes.
Remove from oven and try not to eat them all at once.
*If you are freezing half then leave to cool before freezing. When ready to cook them remove from freezer and bake in a hot oven for about 5 minutes. There is no need to defrost first.
Izzy loved hers:
If you are making a traditional beef dinner then you will also need delicious horseradish sauce. It’s so simple to make and tastes a world apart from the store bought stuff.
You will need:
30grams of freshly grated horseradish
300ml of double cream
1tbsp of mustard powder (you may want to add more or less depending on how hot you like it -this gives a kick)
1/4 tsp sugar
2tbsp of white wine vinegar
Crushed sea salt and black peppercorns
Soak your grated horseradish in 4tbsp of hot water while whipping your double cream. Then combine with all of your other ingredients in a bowl. Serve some in a dish and place the remainder in a clean sterile jar and keep in your fridge for roast beef sandwiches later in the week.
I remember when I was preparing to breastfeed for the first time I kind of expected it to be easy. I soon found out it wasn’t and this time I went into it fully expecting it to be difficult and to have to fight to get her to feed at all – after all it took Izzy 5 days to latch on and she was never easy to feed.
Chloe latched on within minutes of being born. She seemed to instantly love it and it was more of a fight to get her off than on.
Because of how easy and naturally she fed straightaway I thought wahey this is going to be a breeze but of course it isn’t.
Breastfeeding is rarely easy. Cheaper? Yes. Less hassle than bottles? Yes for the most part. But easy? No.
Lets start with the ouch factor. Yes it really really hurts sometimes. Most feeds are fine but when you have days and nights of cluster feeding every latch will make your toes curl. Don’t get me started on the teething.
Mastitis? This is common in breastfeeding mums and I’ve had it three times this time around. It’s painful and in most circumstances you will need antibiotics to clear it. It doesn’t just hurt your boobs it makes you feel like absolute rubbish. You feel like you have flu at the same time as having incredibly painful nipples and the way to help it the most is to feed..arrrrhhhh. You will feel like giving up.
Being tied to your baby. If you choose to exclusively breastfeed you can’t really do anything without your baby for at least the first 6 months. Unless you express (which takes time and effort) and your baby will accept a bottle.
The weight loss. Initially your breastfeeding will help you to lose your baby weight. It uses up around 500 calories a day and it helps your uterus contract back to its normal size so your bump will shrink a lot quicker. BUT your body is designed to hold onto fat stores to produce the milk so until your baby starts on solids and feeds less or your wean off the breast you may find that the final stone is the hardest one to shift.
So why do we do it? Because in spite of all the negatives the positive aspects are incredible. You will look back on the times that you spent feeding as incredibly special moments. When your baby stops feeding midway just to smile up at you the feeling makes your heart melt. As do the swollen cheek, slightly milk drunk faces they have afterwards.
You can dash out of the house with just nappies, wipes and spare clothes without worrying about a flask of water or sterile bottles and it saves you a fortune. The health benefits for both you and your baby are massive.
When I fed Izzy I found it awkward at times and always worried about being hidden. This time I feed anywhere, I am mostly covered up with a muslin or nursing shawl but we have fed everywhere. In restaurants, while shopping, on the bus, on the train, at the beach – even at a Christmas parade.
And yes being unable to book a haircut in case your baby can’t last that length of time or not being able to drink more than one glass of wine is a pain but its really not for a long time. In fact it goes by in the blink of an eye.
You could say I’m pro breastfeeding and I’d agree – this doesn’t make me anti formula.
Choose what suits you. Forcing yourself to breastfeed won’t make you or your child any happier. If you choose to do it then great but if you don’t then that’s great too. The best way to feed your baby is your way. Breastfeeding is my way but I’m realistic enough to know it may not be for 2 whole years. I’d like it to be but if I choose to stop at anytime I’m not going to feel guilty for that. I will however be forever glad for this time that I have done it. Every week is a bonus in my eyes. We are 13 weeks in and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. I do plan to start expressing regularly so that if I need an hour or two away from home that will be ok. More on my expressing journey to come.
What was your experience of breastfeeding? Did you enjoy it?