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Friday, 10 December 2010

MY Christmas list

Two weeks 'til Christmas. It hit me today how soon it really is - I've been pushing it out but have started feeling festive; half-decorated tree, singing nativity/christmassy songs, christmas lunching and start of party seaon... 2 weeks to go and I've hardly started the presents, need to finish the decorations for the tree and I also need to purchase some Baileys and Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry mmm. 
Leon and I have been singing carols and re-discovering some classics but I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and family. Then it will properly feel like Christmas.

I don't know about you, but at Christmas I often get a selfish streak and find I buy myself a present before someone else... It may be my way of 'warming up' to the big splurge of gift-giving but this year I'm not meant to buy any presents really as we're having a hand-made Christmas (brilliant suggestion from MIL) So does that mean I can splash out more on myself..?

If so, here are some thing's on my wishlist:

BAG
I don't have an IT bag and I've used 4 old ones to my hearts content for different uses over the past 5+ years. However I'm yet to find the most practical. Need one big enough to sling enough stuff in and to throw about. But small enough to not get carried away and stuff it full.

I like these. Found this one on Playpennies site. It's The Original Satchel Store

Great for laptop, bottle, nappies and banana
But if I'm going to step away from my youth and plunder into proper ladydom I will opt for a creation from Monica Boxley. Fabulous boutique (coincidentally my neighbour) and I'd choose the Marianne  handbag. Possible in White.

Marianne handbag from Monica Boxley
CLOTHES
I don't really need any apart from perhaps a shirt for work - Zara had one for £40 but I can't find it online and want to try elsewhere. Long sleeved white soft blouse with pussycat bow?
Aha found this one from ASOS (have never used before) but all except size 18 is out.
Asos Pussybow Blouse £2
Always delighted to get Socks and underwear for Christmas as long as it's pretty, comfortable and very practical. I like these 70 dernier stockings Trasparenze-sandra-opaque-stockings for £6.50 or long socks from American Apparel £10 a pair.


2011 CALENDAR or PLANNER
One that has a weekday starting from Monday with a box for each day. But.... I like these Ink + Wit totem calendars ($44) that show the relevance of animals appearing your every day life such as the designer's experience with snakes. But it come from afar and calendars are something you should try and make. I may just seek out an illustration and draw up the calendar!

2011 Ink + Wit Letterpress  Calendar
"When the animal shows up less, the lesson may be learned or another lesson may be at play. At any rate, pay attention, do some research, and see what comes up for you. Totem animals are different than spirit animals in that your totem animal shows up all the time. Spirit animals may come and go." Tara Hogan

HOME
Still fine tuning my flat after living here over a year... But need some sort of storage consultant or shelves, rugs, new champagne flutes, more champagne, long and large candles (Tea-lights don't last long at all!) And a babysitter one night a week. And a massage. And a mothers' help here and there...

Do you ever get yourself a present at Christmas?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Beating the Baby bulge II : 5 Housework Workout tips

11 months post birth and there's enough to keep me on my feet, but I'm not really exercising anymore, have neglected any sort of 'crunch' and I feel, well blobby. My weight is fine - but all skin, bones, fat and no toning anywhere!

I'd love to find an exercise class of a mix between ballet, aerobics, yoga and pole dancing while the babies are occupied in a playpen or something, but don't want to commit to any classes and well - rather have the cash for other things. Buggyfit is brilliant in that you don't worry about what to do with the baby and you don't commit - but I feel like I want to be pushed more and baby isn't keen on staying in his buggy for too long and has a mighty cough that it would be unfair to leave him open to the harsh winter.

I asked my Granny what she did for exercise in the 1950s and her response was "we didn't have all those machines doing the housework for us - THAT was our exercise". I suppose I'd never thought of it like that. So I've made an effort to 'put my back into it' and do the following FIVE housework workout exercises in cleaning my little flat

1. Techno turbo-tidying
Stretch, squat, reach, and suck in that tummy while turbo-tidying allocating 5 minutes per room. Hard-house or dirty beats helps to get you moving and makes it more fun to clear stuff from the tables, chairs, beds, clutter hotspots and BACK WHERE THEY BELONG! (If you don't use it - ask yourself why you have it...) and wiping surfaces.
Added benefit : Preps the home for the rest of the cleaning and gives you space to breathe. Good Chi.


2. SCRUB the kitchen floors
It's all too easy to mop from above but in a small kitchen like mine it won't get you moving. Getting down on one's knees, sucking in your tummy and stretching your body into all those corners can really feel good and you are close enough to see if the floor is really pristine ;) 50 calories for 10 minutes
Added benefit : Can slide around on the floor with socks on and fallen baby food/spoons can be given back to baby! 3-second rule still applies
The secret to Madonna's toned body is really from all that scrubbing
3. INTENSE hoovering
I love vacuuming. The sound of crumbs and crap wooshing up the hoover is so rewarding and the clean carpets make the rest of the house look clean even if not. Hoovering is great for upper body (I imagine) and repetitive lunges makes for better results! Try bouncing on a squat too whilst in the middle of a room and rotate on one foot - this really feels like exercise and is fun! 50 calories for 10 minutes
Added  benefit : Vacuum noise will occupy baby for a while, can roll around with baby on the floor afterwards, know baby won't eat old peas from under table



4. Washing up and ironing Ballet
Seeing as you're not really able to go far; stand tall, suck everything in, check your posture, breathing and in first position (legs together, feet pointed outwards) do a few pliés, then in second position (heels shoulder width apart) a few leg lifts to the side and back. Classic FM often helps and really squeeze in those bumcheeks. 30 calories for 10 minutes
Added benefit : Inner calm, straight back and firm ass

5. Daily Bathroom BLITZ
Some more stretching, squatting, reaching to wipe clean your beloved bathroom for just 5mins a day means it will never get to that grimey stage. 
Added benefit : Sparkling bathroom is always welcome for visitors - and most importantly for you.



Finish this off with a speedy shower and then play with your baby in your squeaky clean home
A few 'Superbaby' lifts with your heavy baby on your legs, or using him as a weight for squat and lift is also rather fun. My baby always laughs when I dance - so get moving!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Quesadillas

10 months : Leon love his quesadillas.




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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Friday, 19 November 2010

Greener Living - saving the planet (and some cash)

Through a current work project I've been delving into the depths of eco-living and how you can save energy and money while saving the planet. Since discovering that I am more Green Dreamer than Eco saint, according to the Tesco Greener Living Interactive Quiz, I have taken a step back to look at how my life is impacting our world. I thought I was greener than the average Brit; I recycle pretty much everything, always wash at 30C, limit my purchases - but in taking this test and looking at the Starbucks takeaway capuccino guiltily sitting on my desk - I realise there are a few tweaks I need to make to ensure I am truly an Eco Saint.   

So what do I need to do to become an Eco saint? Granted, as we rent our flat we cannot change the light fittings to take energy saving lightbulbs, double glaze our windows, or install solar panels - but there's a lot I CAN do and I'm going to attempt to change my ways:

Draft Proofing: Living in a building a few hundred years old is very charming, but when winter sets in, the cold, damp air can tempt me to switch on the heating here and there. My mum suggested placing cling film over the windows, which I found rather odd - but apparently it helps. I need to make a few sausage dog draft proofers out of old tights and newspaper, and potentially replace the curtains with a heavier one in the bedroom. Leon often throws off his covers in the night and I always try and cover him back up - so maybe it's now time to invest in a baby grow-bag thing? I just don't like the idea of his movements being restricted at night by being in a 'bag'.
OWL Micro energy Reader

Another big main change is switching off appliances left on standby (I always worry this will mess up the settings on Sky etc. but switching off saves £37 a year according to Energy Saving Trust) and I want to get one of these OWL energy readers to see exactly how much energy each appliance uses. Whether it’s turning off at the plug rather than just using standby or simply turning off a light, the OWL Micro shows you how changing your behaviour can save you money and so help the environment. It is easy to install, easy to read and easy to use. Costs about £25

In the bathroom instead of buying a Hippo,  I'm going to put a brick or two in the Cistern and hope it still flushes. Secondly, Leon's bath uses up so much water and he's only in it for about 10 minutes. Hubby loves having a bath after and tops it up for himself - unless it's been pooped in (baths are very relaxing for babies you know!), but the plug isn't snug and lets a lot of water go. We need to fix that. So, I'd love to get a Babydam (rrp £27.50 but was reduced to £20 during Energy Saving Week- Boo just missed it!) and halve the amount of water used per bath. According to Babydam the average baby bath in a family sized bath is 20litres so this would make it 10litres. "If all parents in the UK used BabyDam for 2 and a half years when bathing their children (based on average of 700,000 births in the UK each year), we could save over six BILLION litres of water across the UK - that’s enough to fill 2,500 Olympic sized swimming pools!"

I feel that I'm rather green In the Kitchen : only heating up as much water as I need in the kettle, cautious with water usage when washing up and using that to wash the floors... I may moan about the council's non-action for picking up Kitchen scraps down my street (as it's a pretty commercial street so don't have recycling boxes either) and as we don't have a garden I can't chuck the scraps on a compost heap. It feels so wrong to throw them away. I missed telling LBRUT in the recent survey - but I will contact the councillor to suggest a communal compost heap for willing residents to contribute to if they have no green space themselves. It may come to contacting  York House Gardens or Orleans House Gallery gardens to see if they could do with some... 

I try to buy most my fruit/veg from the Grocers and now always take a canvas bag with me shopping. I try to plan my meals for the week but need more discipline with this and have started looking for inspiration. http://www.frugaliciousfood.com/ is a new initiative from Jen (TheMadHouse) and  Cass (The Diary of a Frugal Family) encouraging meal planning and show us theirs, Tesco do some personalised plans and make it easy to buy ingredients of course, and I found this one from the UK based Resourceful cook really helpful too and you can adapt to how many people it's for, how many nights a week etc. I'm tempted by their Winter warmer selection. Brilliant stuff and I hope to make enough for Leon too as he prefers the food I make for myself than for him... The best site for leftover ideas and help in preventing waste has got to be http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

I feel proud to have switched from cheapo washing up liquid to Ecover but have bought 3 bottles since and didn't know how to re-fill them. Thanks to reading http://plasticisrubbish.wordpress.com/ I know now to find the nearest retailer who do re-fills on the Ecover site (makes sense) and will plan my re-fills in advance to ensure I never run out and thus need to buy another plastic bottle.
On the commute : We don't own a car (as much as hubby would love to!) so I'm a public transport fanatic and know that I  should dig out that Thermos from my parents' kitchen and fill it with hot coffee before leaving for work! No more takeaway coffee cups!

Make do and mend : I've always tried... now I am conscious of mending more things be it toys or handbags. I rescued a tiny evening bag that I love, from ripping apart completely and it feels as good as new! Another particular bag has so many holes in the lining I am constantly searching the bottom for pens, tissues, notes, lipbalm etc. Now I've cleaned it, turned inside out and preparing to reinforce the lining with an old silk shirt I will never wear. Will feel like a new bag after that hopefully! Although I enjoy shopping, I need to go about it like a food shop and go out with items in mind instead of buying aimlessly and then finding out that it doesn't go with anything. Also, I've taken out the knitting needles and am attempting some wrist-warmers for myself and some little legwarmers for Leon!

My last challenge is trying to find a way for hubby not to take plastic carrier bags from Waitrose when he does the shoping. He goes straight from work so doesn't carry much in his pockets. I may need to find those reusable nylon bags and strategically place them on him without noticing...

Maria's Checklist to become an Eco Saint:
  1. Draft Proofing
  2. Switching off appliances at mains - getting an OWL monitor
  3. Bricks in toilet cistern
  4. Buying a BabyDam
  5. Arranging communal compost heap! (Or leaving scraps in someone else's scrap bin)
  6. Meal plans
  7. Re-fill Ecover bottles when needed
  8. Thermos for coffee
  9. Convert hubby into an Eco saint too
  10. any suggestions?
Here are a few of my favourite sites that I've discover along the way: 
For inspiring me to improve my home-making skills
For making it fun to look for eco-friendly designers, products and ideas
For actively doing something with unwanted t-shirts or lost gloves and lots of news
I like their home and Lifestyle section
Pretty images of life in Italy - beautiful

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Twinkle Twinkle

Our bedtime routine of singing Twinkle Twinkle and saying goodnight to the hot air balloons, owls, animals and each other, now cannot be done without having that Fredrika Stahl version from the Nissan Juke advert playing out in my head while I sing it. It hovers in my mind in a way so superior that I can only try and emulate it. I feel like I should belt out the variations and hope that it will sound as beautiful - but alas, I do not take the plunge fearful that it won't work and I'll end up shocking little Leon from his sleepy state.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Twickerati

For anyone living in Twickenham (Richmond Upon Thames) I recommend this blog 

News, comment and ill-informed opinion on local issues for Twickenham residents, aka the twickerati

I was reading the sum-up of the Future in Twickenham conference last weekend (I would have loved to have gone but don't imagine Leon would have enjoyed it as much). It seems that these groups don't talk much to each other.  Council, Residents, Solum construction, Rugby guys, and others all need a compromise about planning issues and development for areas of Twickenham (Kings St, Riverside, Station)

Nothing's really happening and they don't want to change much because of the Rugby World Cup or Olympics or something...

Now, Twickenham - It's a nice town but, unless it's sunny it is very grey, hard and has a huge ugly road going through it. There are stunning parts and I love walking through the old part winding under the bridge, by the lampost to Orleans House Gallery, or past the cemetery, or Sion Road, the trees, so many trees, and gazing from the station bridge across the rooftops of a time before.  Then there are the people in the street, the church street shopkeepers, the charity shop workers, grocers, people you know, the man who draws buildings outside Boots, The dry cleaners and even poundland! (God is that how I use my town?) There is character there and I love it, but it just seems so disconnected. Even Church street could glow a lot more. I feel like I see people go from one thing to the next and no one is stopping to enjoy things properly on the street or the buildings. Not like in other parts of London like Dalston where people chat in the streets and take their time - there's a better vibe. though it's going awry. Yes a lot of towns have lost their identity but i suppose it's moving with it's natural course. But couldn't we just steer it a bit better and help make it a nice place to live?

In the comments Twickerati asks" "what do people want & expect rather than just “not want”. A pleasant residential suburb? A shopping location? A riverside tourist destination? A commercial hub? All have merits but they’re not all complementary. This still needs some thought to help shape what exactly is “Twickenham: the brand”.

Twickenham the brand - will be intriguing to see what comes of it. You can read a town by the vibe. that's all


I want to get involved with making this town a bit better as I know there are lots of groups trying to do things (like FSS, and a bunch of other acronyms POTR PORTT TRAG) but you don't hear about real improvements. Perhaps I'm ill-informed as much of the public is about what can be done and how to approve it or not. Does anyone else know about plans in their towns or do you not really care? I suppose if it's going to happen it will, but I grew up around here and have already seen lots of changes - some great, some not but sure we all just want to have what we need, live well, and live in a harmony with everyone else. Will check out some plans to The Fox pub at the library - gosh is this what motherhood does to you or is it just growing up?

In any case, I feel a community saved through improved community awareness with interesting blogs like Twickerati is a marvelous thing. Localised and specialised social networks like For Sanity's Sake and Netmums (for parents) are bridging gaps between people meeting each other and knowing what's happening in the area. Twitter is linking these event/info organisers and users and slowly people can get on board. People just need to say what they think. I suppose we're all discovering this new world together and I'm pleased to be listening to these conversations and possibly participate.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Weaning and HIPP Organic food review

Leon LOVES food. He had his first tastes from about 4 months with purees and other finger foods and now at 10 months he's pretty much feeding himself with his hands and with a spoon! It's so exciting to watch him maneuvering the spoon into his mouth. As expected, it's messy - but in the space of a few days he's hitting the target much better and not getting as much on the walls thank goodness.

Since going to back to work part-time I've found it a bit of a struggle to organise myself properly in terms of making all his food - and remembering to take it out of the fridge in the morning. When he's being looked after by my parents or my childminder friend, I've pretty much given up on making his main meal and am content to pack him a jar/pot/tube of pre-made food along with a few steamed veg, pasta and a banana or pot of yoghurt for after.
 
I was sent a few tubs of  HIPP Organic wholesome meals to try out and they've gone down extremely well. Firstly, the size of the portions are large enough to satisfy his hunger even though they were stage 2 wholesome pots suitable from 7mths+ and I shall try the stage 3 for 10mths+ soon enough. To prepare I only needed to place in a little pan of hot water for a few minutes where I also added some cold pasta and frozen veg to complete his meal. You can of course just give the pot on its own - but I prefer to add those bits to vary the textures/tastes etc. Plus he can dip them into the HIPP food.

Secondly, the meal flavours were indeed scrumptious:  Sweet Red Pepper & Aubergine Penne; Tasty Sweetcorn, Tomato & Chicken Risotto and Scrumptious Cottage Pie with Herbs. (Full product range here) However I was a bit concerned that most of them contained a high percentage of tomatoes (usually 20% of the veg) and Leon hadn't reacted well to tomatoes a few months ago. But he didn't react to it and ate it all up so it was fine :) 

Last but not least, HIPP have made their new pots completely recyclable plus, it's easier to reuse than the glass pots as they can go in the freezer - perfect for storing batches of my own recipes ;) And they stack better than the glass pots too. It's also encouraging to know that "each of the ingredients can be traced back to the farm, field or animal they came from" and that all the ingredients are considered organic. Thumbs up all around!
HIPP organic pots approved by Leon
The main factor for me, as well as knowing that it's relatively free of nasties, is the convenience of chucking it into the baby bag for whoever's looking after him and knowing that it's easy to prepare to serve warm. Now, I'm looking forward to trying the other flavours, but will save them for childcare to use only as they are a tad pricey to be used every day. Plus I enjoy making food for him!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Mum friends

Being the first of my friends to have babies and moving back to SW London I needed to find other mummies in my hood to hang out with. I thought that this would be easy living in a London borough that is a huge magnet to young families. Though when only a few mothers were smiling back in the streets and I failed at conversing in the weigh-in clinic I felt a bit disgruntled and stuck to my child-less mates enjoying the attention and cups of tea. I suppose I never really thought about how to meet other mums in the beginning - I just got on with the job in hand and enjoyed seeing people I already knew.
When I realised I wanted to meet others in the same boat - and to while away the week instead of eating my parents' food and shopping, I tried the local Netmums meet a mum board and went on a few mum 'dates'. This was brilliant and I met so many different people - my fears of socialising solely with old mumsy types was diminished. (My health visitor told me that the average age of first-time mums in my area was 42 and I must admit I was worried)

[For those thinking why I didn't meet others whilst preggers : I hadn't signed up to NCT as it seemed expensive and I dreaded the thought of hanging out with the stereotypical local mumsy thirty-something banker wives. The local ante-natal classes were cancelled in my area (thanks NHS) and I had to go to the hospital's very basic sessions. There were only two and although lovely - I didn't keep in touch with the 2 couples I met there)

A few months on, and I'm happy to have found a cool group of mums, all different in ages and personality, but with babes in 0-2yr range. Not a real clique, but a regular set who I've met a few times and have now become my friends :)

I'd like to try and help others do the same to avoid missing out on some mummy action. Living in a parent-zone I though there would be some mother camadarie but was disappointed at the lack of community. I'm no social recluse, and can talk to people on the bus, weigh-in clinic, exercise class - but sometimes organised meetups are the way to go. Check out these links if you're in the need to meet some others in the same baby-boat. You need to register for most of them.



Netmums has been a god-send- for one-on-one and group meet-ups
http://www.netmums.com/h/f/MEET/meetamum/
http://www.netmums.com/meet/Netmums_Meetups.1285/
For Sanity's Sake is an excellent new initiative already serving more than 300 members in the local borough of Richmond Upon Thames. Think Netmums, Mumsnet, Babycentre etc without the forum discussions, and with detailed local calendar listings and meetups.
http://www.forsanitysake.co.uk/

Some people have found NCT really useful so find out where your local group is when pregnant just in case. The formal ante-natal are fee-paying, but most bumps and babies meetups are open to all. I enjoy going to a nearby weekly NCT meetup at a nearby pub for a Friday afternoon drink ;)
http://www.nct.org.uk/in-your-area


In Twickenham in particular there is so much potential for locally-led community initiatives. Everyone's concerned about physical changes to the town, but I'm hoping to see all the services and local businesses work together to support each other and the local people to behave like a community. E.g. Councils putting pressure on local landlords to allow the use of empty-shops to be run as short-term hubs for people to come together to work, play, chill. Or more permanently like Grassroots in West Ham or The Hub community centre in Hounslow. But that's another blog post altogether.

Until then, happy mum-meeting!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

On the search for easy recipes for mum and baby

I feel like I need to diversify the daytime meals a bit better and be savvy with the ingredients while preparing communal meals for all three of us. Since, my darling belles-soeurs gave me a Beaba Babycook steamer/blender as a gift, I've loved using it to make Leon's lunch and Dinners- and it was brilliant for the purée stage. Adding some meats, fish and loads of steamed veg he loves to feed himself. Usually with his hands, but today he managed to stick the spoon in the bowl then into his mouth! Though sometimes I find myself eat from his plate and realise, we should be having lunch together at the table, not me sitting in front of him eating his food... then rushing to make myself something decent at the same time. Though I do enjoy our 1 hour long lunches...

I feel confident in what I've been chucking in together has worked out well - though sometimes it's been gross - so I'm pleased to have found the recipe site for the Babycook machine that shows you how to cook gnocchi and beef stroganoff. mmm tasty... http://webrecipemanager.com/babycook/
the colour of all their stock is as yummy as the potential meals.
Image from http://www.latartinegourmande.com/2009/11/04/homemade-baby-food-beaba-babycook/
my, that post is so inspiring to make delicious food! 

Planning on taking it with me to Paris for the weekend as it's been so convenient ;)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

swimming baby

Finally taking my baby for a swim next week with some other mums. On holiday the water was too cold or it freaked him out but he wouldn't go into the Med. perhaps we should have persisted, but I think he's already discovering swimming at bath-time, though the pool will be great as it's much deeper and maybe he'll go for it more. I think he'd really enjoy being in the warm water and moving, splashing about.
Was pleased to have come across this comment on a webpage while looking for the pic of a swimming baby: "It's great for prewalkers that are really frustrated by not being able to move on their own."

Leonsito's 9 months, large, not completely crawling yet, but is slowly getting there. I think this will allow him to play more in the water as opposed to the bathtime where he's often just ready to go to bed (perhaps i should bathe him earlier...)

What does your baby wear to go swimming in a public pool - just a swimming nappy or a t-shirt, body as well?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Opening Bounty pack of free stuff and Cow&G
ate treats almost getting Leonsito crawling!




It was the fruit pot that got him there in the end...




That's my boy ;)

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Location:Church St,Richmond,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Finally holding his beaker on his own! He'd do it before- but only for daddy oddly enough...


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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Cooking for baby

Ahh just what I needed!
Baby cook book for 50p from Romania relief charity shop




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Location:Church St,Richmond,United Kingdom

Sunday, 22 August 2010

I love his new little pose hanging out the pram to check out what's going on around him (though, really should strap him in...)



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Saturday, 21 August 2010

Winged horses and water nymphs

Cascade, pool and Oceanides
I love these statues in the gardens by the river.


Imported from Italy by a fraudulent financier who took his own life on conviction in 1904, they were acquired by the last private owner of York House, an Indian grandee called Sir Ratan Tata.  
http://www.twickenham-museum.org.uk/detail.asp?ContentID=11

Two winged horses, with a female rider in a shell chariot, plunge through the water at the top of a cascade and pool. Seven other figures are sitting on the rocks or clambering up and holding out - what? Their hands are empty now, but some think they used to hold pearls aloft. http://www.twickenham-museum.org.uk/kids_detail.asp?ContentID=11 




I'm going to check out what wonders await at the Twickenham museum this week...
Their website's quite cute with ideas of what to do, for example :

Things to do
- Visit the gardens and draw a picture of the statues, cascade and pool.
- Make your own winged horse or dragon horse out of clay or playdough.
- Can you find the part of the wall that was taken down to get the statues into the gardens? (Clue: It was rebuilt with bricks of a different colour.)
Leon and I are now on a mission...



bless - we can even print out and colour in our own drawing
http://www.twickenham-museum.org.uk/printdo.asp?ContentID=11

Friday, 20 August 2010

Eating frenzy

OH my goodness - Leon just ate 2 sweet potatoes, some cauliflower, half a courgette and cheese for lunch - it was meant to be for 3 meals! This fellow's getting expensive... Need to find some decent cheap batch recipes!

Home

We've been at our cute one-bed flat on top of a cool boutique on a pretty cobbled street by the river in Twickenham, SW London, by the river Thames, for less than a year. We moved here when I was heavily pregnant and had to move as our St Margarets Landlady didn't want a screaming baby living next to her... (wait til you have a baby landlady - there's a lot in store for you - Our baby's actually been very good and our neighbours never hear Leon - or have complained anyway...) My waters broke here and my day of contractions and wailing was here and Leon's grown up in this lovely place. But it's almost time to move on. I need SUN in August, or at least light (the sky is grey today) and a view (not scaffolding, walls and grey sky). Twickenham is lovely but there's not much vibrancy... there's community but it's not very visible. In Dalston, people chat in the streets, there's sound and movement in the streets. Even in Barnes there is more movement and chatting in the cheese shop, the butchers, boutiques etc. and that's the last place I'd want to live. I just hate that big main road that goes through Twickenham.

The people who've been there a while love to chat and you hear some amazing stories and can picture life in Twickenham in the 60's and 1700s (not really any other dates weirdly) and that's even without having gone to the museum (next trip out for Leon and I). I was getting to a point where I was feeling trapped in suburbia and everyone lives in a bubble -  but it's actually a lot better that most the suburbs in that you can get a pint of milk any time at night and don't need a car... Although the grocers are kind, fishmonger helpful, most charity shop ladies chatty... we were looking to move.

We were considering moving to the other side of London but it didn't seem worth it. Not much cheaper and not as nice (loads of parks and river in Twickers)- and why bother going through another move? I've moved the furniture around a bit to give Leon more space to wander and to give us a breath of fresh air. However the flat needs a MAJOR declutter - anyone have any tips? 

I'm looking forward to moving to the sun at some point next year!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Wriggles, parties, eating, sleeping...

My little 7 month old is now wriggling around the living room - not crawling yet - no bum-shuffles, but wriggling on his tummy and he manages to get quite far! It's changed my life to see him playing happily on his own- although I've stopped working for a bit, at least I can get on calmly with other things around the house and don't need to entertain him nonstop!

Since coming back from holiday he's still been wonderful and we've managed to have a few evenings out with him sleeping peacefully in the pram or in an upstairs bedroom. Having a baby also means getting the master bedroom at friends house parties ;) At a party in York my friends fed him, got us drinks and we danced like there was no tomorrow - I think it was easy to 'spot the parent'... Though we had to put a sign on the door telling guests to come and find us if he woke up as the hostess picked him when she heard him crying. He was a very happy chappy.

The one thing that has struck me is how much he's eating! I'm following a book I picked up at the library full of meal plans and ideas from Annabel Karmel and it's been useful - though I'm doing pretty much what I've been doing from the beginning and whizzing together loads of steamed veg, lentils, cheese etc. Leon LOVES food. There's no trouble getting the spoon in his mouth and sometimes I can't keep up. I'm looking forward to him saying "more please mummy" or "MAS!" rather than grunting at me like I'm an idiot.

I was struggling to leave him to drift off to sleep on his own... I'm determined to kick the habit this week and it's going well so far. Last night I didn't pat him to sleep - yay! I just sat in the chair next to his cot and he went off to sleep! Miracle. We even let him cry when he woke up again- and he managed to go back to sleep himself. Amazing...

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Back with a bump

After two weeks of soleil Francais we're back in grey but warm UK with a thump. 3-hour Eurostar delays caused by the evacuation of the station because a guy, fond of antique war bombs, brought one on board. Why wouldn't you just declare it if you had no intention on using it? duh. I'm happy to be back and run the household again and get organised- Leon eats like a beast and I need to get into action making much larger quantities and variety of foods compared to just ice cubes of puree. Almost 7months old and in two weeks he's changed so much. He's a happy chappy and sit and move around by rolling over.
he's discovering the world. 

But mon amour has post-holiday depression and is sick and unhappy with english bread with a start. and having to work. Oh dear. he even drank the 2-week old open bottle of wine instead of the one I'd lovingly bought that day and then complained when it was gross! i feel like i'm always working but enjoy it  all the way. Leon can now sit playing on his own and rolling around for a while and when im cleaning, cooking etc he can happily sit in the high chair and babble and play or in the sling!

But I find it really hard to find time for my stuff! baby, work, chores, play, food, transporting, tired husband... when can I sit down and listen to music, catch up with friends and reply to emails... i used to  be glued to my laptop but i don't like doing it when Leon's with me as I prefer playing with him or tidying up etc. and he's happily playing on the mat. How does everyone else do it? Do you allocate a time for yourself? I find that after 7pm I do all that stuff but it's also not an ideal time....

Monday, 12 July 2010

Mixed up Baby

I loved growing up with a Mexican mother and English father and feel very Mexican- but having lived in London for all my life I can't help but feel more British! We used to go to Mexico every year and it was crazy. Two weeks of full-on family time with our hundreds of cousins made us want to stay there forever as it was such fun. Now, with my new family of my own, I want to bring up my children with British and Mexican culture - (hubby can instill the French side) and hopefully workout the challenges that a trilingual family may face!
 
My most recent freelance project has re-immersed me in my Mexican roots and personally, I've come across some wonderful blogs that I'd like to follow in more detail: from cooking Mexican food in "Abuelita's way", to finding Spanish nursery rhymes, and help to raise a multilingual family. It's made me more adamant not to lose any of my culture and it's comforting to see others in a similar situation. One such blog : Little M's Bilingual Corner asks how multilingual and multicultured families choose names for their children. Ours goes like this:


We didn't know the sex of the baby so tried to think of names for both that would work in English, Spanish and French. For a girl, I wanted something pretty, fun and preferably Mexican (even Aztec!) and for a boy, just something that would WORK! We also wanted to include names already in the family and in the French way, would have THREE first names...  in a way, it was ideal as we could include one name from my family and one from hubby's and come up with an original name for the baby. 

We'd tell our families the lists of names we thought of to gauge reactions and they would happily suggest some alternatives. It was a lot of fun - and we had a top 5 for each sex, though I didn't feel comfortable naming the baby without even seeing it! So, we waited to name it after it popped out. Names included: Cossima, Constantina, Zaza, Margarita, Zeltzin for Girls and Ernest/o, Gaston, Zoltan, Jimmy, Leon for boys. (Yeah looking back now some are a bit weird... but I still love them!)


When he was born and I saw his little face, his name wasn't the first thing I was thinking about but after half an hour or so, we decided on LEON! In French it would be Léon (LAY-on) and in Spanish León (Leh-ON). In English it's more Lee-on and in the days to follow I realised I didn't like how it sounded out of my mouth so I say León.




His middle names are Jorge, which is my Mexican grandfather's name, and Gaston, my husband's great-grandfather- feedback on the British side for this as a first name was always related to the baddie in Disney's Beauty & the Best unsurprisingly but as a middle name it's cool! I like the mix - and although there's not much Britishness going in - he was born here and has a British passport so it kind of balances out. The next two will probably be born in Latin America or France so then we can choose the names accordingly... 

Saturday, 26 June 2010

World cup watching tips?

The World Cup is getting interesting now - Ghana have gone through against USA in the first knock-out game and tomorrow England V Germany AND Mexico v Argentina!! Will be a tense but brilliant day I can feel it!!!

Thanks to Js insistent watching of every game, I've got much more into the World Cup - I feel like a kid again when I used to collect those Panini stickers and paint my toenails a different World cup country flag each (with my big toes being the Mexican flag and my fingernails all ENGLAND!) -though this time I'm enjoying dressing Leonsito in football colours, and trying to find a way to celebrate without howling and making him cry - if anyone has any tips of how to get them over the celebratory yelps would be great!

However. Although it's been fun, I haven't yet watched ONE match out of my or my parents' house! I'm craving a pub and some proper atmosphere for the England games so they'd better win against our dear German friends. Next Friday we're going out for Js birthday after he finishes work and will need to watch Uruguay V Ghana quarter-final in a pub somewhere - does anyone have any ideas? Anywhere central London with a good vibe is ideal!

Found this link on timeout http://www.londontown.com/London/World-Cup-2010-Where-to-watch-in-London but is there anywhere else that's better and FREE!?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Power cut terror!



We had a power cut in Twickenham and Richmond just at the beginning of the England v Slovenia match and missed the Defoe goal!! The whole street was in a panic - people ran off to find a pub thinking it was just a cut in our street but no - the whole town was affected!

We sprung into action- dad managed to find an analogue radio somewhere upstairs and some batteries for it and little sister sorted that out - found the perfect location for the radio, I prepared some Pimms, and all was good. 4 generations huddled around the wireless and it felt good!

Fortunately power resumed with an almighty YYAAAAAAYYY resonating down the street causing Leonsito to cry - the cry usually reserved for the Goal appreciation yelps!!

We're supporting France, England and Mexico - though now France is out hubby has resorted to cheering for Argentina! Let the real games begin.....

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Pampers Pampers

Oh dear Pampers

http://www.pampers.co.uk/en_GB/proddetail/baby-products/active-fit-nappies/id/2/sectionid/3

Not great comments really, in response to the new Active Fit nappies - and I agree, they seem quite stiff and not that comfortable for my baby (8kg roughly and using 4+) and they smell weird and plasticky. I can no longer sniff my baby's bottom to see if he's done a poo as there's an awful plasticky smelling nappy covering any other smell.

I was thinking how Pampers are the biggest nappy brand in the world but can't get it right. Definitely can't get it right ecologically - they've been voted the least-green major nappy brand. Would like to try out the other greener brands but not sure how good they are.

I'd eventually like to get rid of nappies altogether as mentioned in the Matt and Harriet Rudd article in the Sunday Times last week. Need to learn the 'rhythm' though if there are any tips...?


*Just found out that this is called Elimination Communication
 http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/elimination-communication.html

 Pic from  http://www.whizkidz.biz/main/

Friday, 4 June 2010

Formula Won

It's been a week since we've introduced Formula milk to baby Leon.

I bought a big tub of SMA and a few bottles and it's going well so far. I bought the SMA Blue extra hungry tub and a couple of mini 250ml cartons again (great for when you're out for more than 2 hours and he needs a feed - or for my mum to feed him- as it's so easy, just snip and pout into a sterilsed bottle)  - but I have noticed that Leon is not eating the puréed carrots and very much else that I'm trying to give him and he loved it two weeks ago!

He's having 8flz oz + 8spoons of powder in a bottle 4 times a day and still some breastmilk in the morning and afternoon. He's sleeping well - sometimes through the night (8.30pm - 6amish) though when he wakes I'll sometimes feed him myself. 2 day-time naps and lots of play and stimulation - he seems happy, so I'm happy :D

Amazing how quickly we're going through nappies - especially with the new formula milk and carrot purée his poos are a lot more interesting! Will buy another tub of SMA but think that I'll try the yellow one this time which is more similar to breast-milk. Though perhaps I'll stick with the blue heavier milk for evening feeds....?

Monday, 24 May 2010

Teething troubles and hot potato

20 weeks / almost 5 months! : Little L is now teething. His first little tooth has popped up on his lower gum and it's so lovely to feel it with my finger. He's not a happy bunny though. The sun and heat are already causing him bother - he hates it!! Coupled with the new tooth though makes him rather fragile.

I've found the following help:

Frozen dummy - dummy in the freezer for a few minutes then he can chew on that
Sophie the Giraffe  - Loves to chew on that.
Frozen cloth - muslin cloth drenched in water, wring it out then place in freezer for half hour or so. Originally for him to chew on - but he doesn't chew it so I use it to keep him cool. Pat him with cloth from time to time to cool down.
Cold flannel - just to wipe all over his face and body, feet etc.
Bottle of cooled down boiled water - as he gets thirsty. used to give him a couple of teaspoons as per my granny's advice, but now i take a bottle out with me. Even though they say breastmilk contains water and is enough - sometimes he's just thirsty so don't want to feed him again. Or I just put a few drops on his lips.
Cool purée - I've started giving him some carrot purée and make a batch then freeze in ice cube trays. I take out 1 or 2 blocks when frozen in a little tupperware in the morning and by afternoon when we're out and about I can give him some of that in between feeds. It also cools him down.

At night he gets so warm he only sleeps with a sheet. I don't want him to get a fever and don't want to resort to Calpol for the discomfort. I read that sometimes he's scared as he doesn't know what is going on with the tooth - rather than it being really painful - and often distraction is the key! So playing a lot with Little L is also a great way to get him through this tough time! How long will it go on for? Poor thing

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Laughs and a half

4 mths / 19wks: Leon's been in a great mood and babbling away constantly- he enjoys laughing - though not when my camera or phone is out. But will laugh when I tickle him!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Church St,Richmond,United Kingdom

Monday, 17 May 2010

So, when is the best time to have a baby? - Times Online

So, when is the best time to have a baby? - Times Online

Interesting article - physically 15-17 years old is best time for our body to have children (I imagine it would snap back to shape rather nicely too) but 27 years is UK women's ideal age for first child.

I don't regret having my first at 25 years old. No, he wasn't planned and I was on the "wait til I'm 30 and rich" boat like most people, but greeted the news of my pregnancy with open arms "We CAN do this!".

Similar to what Sophie Ellis-Bextor says in the article, none of my friends have babies yet. My only childhood friend that does moved to New Zealand a few years ago. Typical.

I try to get my friends and boyfriends broody... but they're mainly on the pill, unfortunately making mistakes tricky!!

Roll Over!

Little Leon graced me with a back to front roll today - hurrah! Though he couldn't roll himself back and wasn't too happy about that.

He's been babbling away and has so much energy only had one nap at 11 this morning - it's now half 7 in the evening - what is going on?!

Overnight, he seems to be a much more developed, active and mature baby and I definitely feel a stronger bond between us :D I love him so much :D

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sleeping through the night

I an proud to say that last night Léoncito slept from 9pm - 5.30am! Didn't dabble in formula since the first and only time - still exclusively Breastfeeding. The only thing we did differently was that when he woke up at several points through the night, I put in his dummy and patted his tummy and he went back to sleep again. I now realise that when he wakes up at night - it doesn't necessarily mean that he's hungry. Duh!

I slept so well, that this morning I even managed to make hubby scrambled eggs on toast before he went to work! That's been a while.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Formula

Little Leon is 4 months old and still waking up once or twice during the night (sleep@9pm, feeds sometimes@12.30am and 3.30am). I'm exclusively breastfeeding, loving it, and don't mind the night-time feeds at all. However, envisioning a good nights sleep, we thought "perhaps let's combine formula milk for the evening feeds and maybe he'll stay asleep longer..."



I picked up two HiPP formula milk cartons from Waitrose to try it out, envisioning the feeding to be done by his father (who's bottle-fed him expressed milk in the past) but no, it was up to me. And it was horrible. Maybe I'm too emotional, but I felt like an awful mother giving him formula when I could breastfeed there and then. It felt wrong and I was sad :(

It made no difference to his sleeping - he didn't settle as well as usual (even had to resort to trusty hairdryer) and awoke at 3.30am for a feed much to my delight as my hard-rock boobs were really uncomfortable and had leaked all over the sheets! Will wait a bit longer me-thinks, though I'm sure it will always be hard to make the transition. Will defo get hubby to feed him though.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Thinking of seeing what's happening at the local W.I but not sure there is one! Hmm has the W.I undergone a new branding..
"Although we do not have a London federation, we have included this page to tell you about WIs in the captial. Traditionally WIs were based in rural areas, however, there is a growing interest in having them in urban areas, with London leading the way."
http://www.thewi.org.uk/viewFederation.aspx?id=2447

Friday, 7 May 2010

Richmond May Fair

Excited to see the prep for Richmond's May fair tomorrow underway! Same helter skelter and carousel from when I was little :)


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:A307,Richmond,United Kingdom

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Dream Appartment in Paris

We're planning on moving to Paris at the end of this year. Previously - I was after the centrally located, high ceilings, 'F2' appartment with obligatory balcony, bath, separate kitchen etc.

 Not to mention - beautiful.

Now after spending so much time at our current flat (1-bed 100 year old flat above a shop in charming street in Twickenham, near the river) with the baby I've come to appreciate certain things. I realise the most important thing will be light : large windows and lots of light. We currently get beautifully warm light in the morning and afternoon in our bedroom - but the living room is constantly so dark because of the little window and scaffolding above it! I've really appreciated having new carpets and freshly painted walls from the beginning and it's so important to be easy to keep the place clean. Knowing that I need to de-clutter my life it would be helpful to have more storage for all our stuff and the liberty to nail things to the wall/ceiling (for mobiles, pictures, mirrors etc.)

It's these simple things that make me feel better about finding something smaller (ergo cheaper!) but nice to live in :) I don't even care if we rent a studio flat in Paris - as long as it's high up as a 'chambre de bonne' with a couple of small balconies (yes I'll have gates for the baby!), a working lift (running up to 6th floor a few times a day was fine for 6 months when I was 22 and baby-free - but not with the pram, shopping and baby in my arms) and a separate bathroom and kitchen, I will gladly live there. Even just out of Paris in Montreuil would be great. It will be a helluva lot cheaper than the two-bed flat in Montmartre, and would probably be the same size anyway!

Shall start de-cluttering soon and make the most out of my lovely little flat before it's time to go...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The new baby boomers: a menace? - Times Online

The new baby boomers: a menace? - Times Online

Helen Rumbelow's interesting article of current baby boom hits the spot... I was already amazed at the numbers of prams invading the high streets before finding out I was pregnant and now - we're contributing to this boom. Good thing we're planning on leaving the country for a few years to live in Paris, though it will be interesting to see if France has the same trend.

Richmond-Upon-Thames might be one of the places people move to and start families due to the wonderful parks, decent school and quick access to London- but it does now feel like a breeding ground.


Invasion of the buggies

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Tone it up

Sport and me never mixed well - I am not a gym bunny or a jogger, but have always loved dancing (at parties, clubs, at home!) to shake myself out a bit, jump and move! If possible, I like swimming or playing tennis but I don't make enough effort to go. My main problem I think, are my un-toned core muscles - I always feel the need to STREEEEETCH. Yoga is nice and all, but a bit too slow for me.

It's all about Ballet.

Ballet Tone seems to have it all, stretch, tone, grace and elegance! I'm enrolling in one of the "Ballet-Inspired Dance fitness and toning" local class at the adult college so hope it's good! Watch this space...



I'm not sure if the class I'm taking is the same as ballet-tone.co.uk but these points could inspire you too!
* For beautiful legs... "Tendus" really lengthen and tone up the legs, when done correctly
* For good bums... Ballet-tone will lift your spirits as well as your buttocks
* To walk tall...Take away with you after each class an elegant, confident posture

Top 10 Breastfeeding apps


Breastfeeding is a time for bonding with your baby and providing him with what he needs- and I enjoy our moments of closeness- but sometimes you feel like multitasking- or playing a game...!

My Top apps while breastfeeding:
1. Scrabble- fun, challenging and improves vocabulary
2. Blogpress - blog when it comes to you and laptop is too far away...
3. Hippo mouse- for when laptop is close enough to see screen but you want to type, scroll and control from iPhone
4. Facebook + Twitter(Echofon) - keep informed
5. Style.com- if only for Look of the Day
6. Flixster- to watch upcoming film trailers
7. Countries quiz game - fun and educational!
8. Impossible - challenging to get all acheivements
9. Rightmove- to look up dream properties
10. Fuzzle- simple but addictive game


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 24 April 2010

App ramble

Facebook home is like Twitter but with the people you care about.
(My Twitter app isn't working)

Just realised I can use the Blogpress app upside down!

Facebook app rather Limited-I can't see groups... Boo- just when I was actually going to follow some relevant facebook groups more...

-- Post From My iPhone

Location:Church St,Richmond,United Kingdom

Friday, 23 April 2010

Beating the baby bulge

Buggyfit is Back on! After signing up, I have to use all 10 classes before July (10 classes = £50 and you need to use them within four months www.buggyfit.co.uk)





The weekly meetups in local parks give you an hour long exercise session with running, stretching, and general fitness for postnatal and beyond. It can get tough for someone that was unfit to begin and I think I still go red after running "to the 8th tree" for another lap. But I can take Leonsito with me in the pram so it's perfect for after feeds and nap time. It doesn't matter if you don't go every week but now I think I should go every week! It is energising and helps you focus on something else for a bit giving you a break from little one. It also is a challenge for me as I was never very sporty and it is a good work out!

Initially I thought it was quite straight-forward and that I could do that kind of thing on my own. I was actually a bit disappointed that it didn't include the buggy more, like I saw in the Strollercize Youtube clip of the New York version (mentioned in a previous post). After Thursday's class though, I realised that you need the motivation to get out to the park and run around- I'm not going to do that myself!), and the instructor Jackie, is motivating and still kind to all abilities.

I've been to three so far (the first class is free which is good!), but now am determined to go every week- Until the 10 classes run out, and by then it will be July and it's holiday time!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Dancing and singing along to this album is one of our favourite hobbies! I found it on Spotify and think that it's one of best of the babies albums
The C.R.S. Players – My Very First Album




Favourite tracks include: Remember you're a womble, Dingle Dangle Scarecrow, Hop Little Bunnies, Wiggly Woo, The Grand Old Duke of York, Hokey Cokey, Heads Shoulders Knees & Toes, and the ingenious I Am a Weed

Buy it on Amazon for £4.99!

Result!

Pleased to say that I got a few mini pushups today- Yay!!


-- Post From My iPhone

Location:Church St,Richmond,United Kingdom

Monday, 19 April 2010

Developmental milestones blues

I was getting a bit anxious that little one is now 3 and a half months old and doesn't yet do mini push-ups or roll over as suggested by www.babycentre.co.uk (the website I've been using since pregnancy to follow my baby's development). I know I shouldn't worry as all babies go at their own rhythm and can develop quickly for some things (he started smiling at 2 weeks) but I'm sure it's normal for a mother to feel envious of other babies already 'rolling' and who are slightly younger than him!

I place him on his belly every day but only for a few minutes until he gets annoyed... Anyone have some tips for improving this development? I've tried 'tempting' him forward with toys and today he has improved by slightly lifting his head off the mat a few times! Hooray :)

Sling Meet

I went to a "Sling Meet" at Southbank last week which is a gathering of mums who enjoy babywearing and a gives you a chance to try out other peoples slings. There are so many different types it's an opportunity to discover which works best for you and baby and ogle the pretty Mei Ties and other slings I've never heard of. I was there to get some help in tieing my cotton wrap. The mums there were really nice and down to earth and really helped. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day! Southbank is a great meeting spot for us as it's close to Waterloo with easy access with a lift to the upper levels (Although it was a sling meet, I had to go with my pram as I hadn't quite yet mastered the sling!).

Left there a happy mummy and most importantly now confident to put the little one in the sling more often! We even picked up daddy from the station after work pramless!

Definitely going to the next sling meet which is tomorrow at Southbank again.

For a list of sling meets near you look at www.slingmeet.co.uk/forums

Breastfeeding and Drugs

Breastfeeding is brill and I want to carry on for a couple of months or so - but I still like the odd glass of red with a hearty meal and a good natter over a cappuccino. I liked this website that tells you the facts on social drugs and their effect on breast milk.

For example
CAFFEINE : "Unlike alcohol and nicotine, the effects of caffeine on breast milk are at their highest after 1 hour of drinking the tea, eating the chocolate, and so on. So you may be able to time your caffeine hits so that you have them just before a breastfeed. And it can help to drink lots of water so that you stay hydrated and the effects are diluted."
Great! I now make sure that I have my coffees just before or during feeding

ALCOHOL : "The general rule of thumb is 2 hours for every standard drink [for the alcohol to wear off], but again that will depend on your weight, if you have been drinking on a full or empty stomach, and if you have had any water in between drinks."

The site also lists the facts for Nicotine, Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Heroin and Methadone!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Baby Cinema

I can't wait for Buggyfit to be over so I can go and sit in cinema stuffing myself with popcorn!

The geniuses at Odeon cinemas allow you to bring your baby to the cinema on Thursday mornings to catch a film while feeding your baby. The sound is a bit lower and it's not so dark so it's baby-friendly and it doesn't matter if they make a bit of noise!

Visit their website to see what's playing in your area: http://www.odeon.co.uk/fanatic/newbies/

Monday, 5 April 2010

The trouble with sleeping...

Initially our baby wouldn't sleep in his Moses basket at night so we co-slept for a few weeks which was convenient for feeding, but not great for husband and me. I wouldn't sleep as deeply knowing that he could be squashed by snoring and wriggling hubby and of course we couldn't be very intimate - but in the first month it was a nice feeling to know that we were all there together keeping each other warm. It felt very primal but right. Which is the opposite of what I think we're meant to feel. This article explains the role of evolution in this and how it's actually a preventative measure of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) as it's all to do with babies 'forgetting' how to breathe as they switch between controlled and automated breathing between 2-4 month of age. Having their parents breathe near them reminds them that they need to breathe! Interesting article in any case.

We were pleased to finally get him to sleep in his own basket however, and this was thanks to swaddling! Worked a dream and I got the technique down thanks to a few YouTube videos such as this one. The next challenge is to see if he will sleep well in his cot when we transfer him...

Bath time

Bath time used to be hell. Admittedly our baby was perhaps a bit larger than expected and thus too large for the bathroom sink (that's how I remembered my mother bathing my little sister!). He'd cry when he got into the water and throughout the whole bathe. Now I realise the water was too cold - none of that elbow in the water nonsense you learn at the hospital, you need it to be slightly warm and definitely not 'neutral'! A new mum friend also helped me out suggesting a bath seat that worked wonders for her babe - Bath Eze is a seat that you put in the bath and baby just lies on it and is happy kicking about! Here's alink. Little Leon loves it and has starting thumping away with his little fat legs.

Working Out

I was lucky to not gain much wait during pregnancy - but I have no muscle tone whatsoever so really need to work out! My bottom is pretty much flat, I have a flabby belly, and I just need to feel energised! Yes yes, I could motivate myself at home and do something - but I lack self-motivation at the moment!

I signed up to a class of Buggyfit which is exercising in a park with a bunch of other mums and your babies are safe asleep in the pram. I must say that I was a bit disappointed as I imagined it to be more stroller oriented ie walk with your baby and do arm rotations like in this YouTube video or lunges and other things to do with pram. Buggyfit is more like- take your pram and mess up the wheels while they're dragged across the muddy park to a suitable spot to make you excercise... Sigh... At least it gets me out of bed. And to the park every week. Though when the classes are over, I need to find an alternative excercise that is more fun and gets me moving more!

Breastfeeding

I've really enjoyed breastfeeding the past few months. Only now am I starting to feel tired due to the night-time feeds and sometimes feel as though I have the baby permanently attached to me as he's still feeding every 3 hours. The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months before introducing solids, but our parents' generation introduced them at 4 months... I'll see when he's ready but for now I've started to give him little 'tastes' of other foods as suggested by the Mexican ladies. Up until now he's mainly tried a few drops to the tongue of mexican beans.

French feminist Elisabeth Badinter suggests that breastfeeding is a form of oppression and prevents women from going out and doing what they want to as they need to be constantly with their babe - but has she not heard of expressing? I know what she means though... and I think that the NHS ram it down out throats a bit too much equating Breastfeeding=Good Mother=Good Woman that women go to extreme lengths to do what is deemed best. A local mother is expressing her milk every 2 hours to feed her son as he didn't take to the breast. While I admire her persistence, I believe that she needs to take care of herself as well and not feel bad for not BF. Those that it comes easy to are lucky and I am happy to be one of them. It's just very convenient not to have to wash up bottles and be able to 'whip em out' whenever you need to.

Then there's the bonding :)

For the past few days, Little Leon has started to pause halfway through a feed on one breast then moves his head up and smiles at me! I saw that my mum has written the same thing in my baby album "as if to say Thank You mummy!" and I totally see it now. I thought she may have confused it for a gas smile, but it's a proper huge smile. He's doing it during most feeds now and it's so sweet. I was considering moving on to formula soon as I'm getting a bit tired of BF, but now I've swung right back onto the BF branch. It's lovely!

The only thing I'm not sure about is that I didn't realise how my breast would change to these soft boobs that seem to belong now to my baby... Will they ever become perky again!

Tongue tied

Little Leon was born with a tongue-tie, apart from that he's perfect - he just can't stick his tongue out. No problem with feeding which is why the GP won't refer us to have it snipped - but we WANT to have it snipped! Not because of fears of having a lisp (Jamie Oliver has one and it can be cute!) or to save him problems of kissing later on in life... but mainly because we're raising him to be trilingual and this might make it that bit trickier for him. Also, he wouldn't be able to pronounce his own name easily! Hopefully the GP changes her mind on Monday when we see her next and will refer us due to speech issues.... If not, could anyone recommend a specialist in London area?

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Going Out

Motherhood is ace and I've been finding it all fun and not as tiring as everyone made it out to be - perhaps as I'm younger than the average first time mother in my area: 38 YEARS OLD (according to my health visitor)! Nothing wrong with older mums - it's wonderful to have the gift of children at any time, but it would be nice to have more mums around the same age as me who have similar interests.

Having left the clubbing scene and university partying days behind me only a year or two ago I could cope quite well with the night-time feeds and constant demands from our little angel. The fact that he is so well behaved makes a big difference I suppose. Knowing that he doesn't suffer from colic and having a innate feeding clock of exactly every three hours made it easier to leave him with my parents if we fancied some time off! We were able to leave him with the new and eager grandparents with a bottle or two of expressed milk a month or so after he popped out, and enjoyed a fun afternoon out at a West end musical as well as a slap up meal at the posh Gordon Ramsay restaurant at Claridges. Maybe not an all-night rave, but we are now responsible parents after all ;) It would be good to hear how other people are doing with spending some time on your own away from the baby?

Now, at 3 months old I've learned that he's perfectly happy sleeping in his carrycot in a noisy restaurant and is easily soothed on the trains and buses, so we can take him with us in the evenings much to the delight of our friends. Thankfully, he sticks to his bedtime routine the rest of the time. Tonight, my good friend is having a house party a good hour away by public transport - I want to go, I really do- especially as Mon Amour recently went to Berlin with friends last weekend and properly went out, and I really miss dressing up and dancing. But - it would also be so nice just to chill out with my lovely husband and watch CSI while our little angel is tucked up in bed... We shall see!

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Birth Story : Leon

(NB. A typical birth comprises of 3 stages: 1st stage is generally the longest and is when the uterus starts contracting and you can feel contractions in irregular intervals becoming more regular, longer and more painful the closer to the end. 2nd stage is the actual delivery of the baby, 3rd stage is the delivery of the placenta)


After a bit of  'romancing' with my husband, my waters broke at midnight on morning of 5th January 2010 (baby's due date) but I wasn't completely sure it was that until they just kept coming and coming! After calling the hospital the midwife told me to go in so they could assess whether I was in labour but when I went in they only confirmed that my waters had broken and that we should go back home until I started having contractions lasting 50-60 seconds that were 3 minutes apart.

Now, usually you hear of women in labour having contractions coming and going all day and then getting closer and closer together - for some women the waters don't break or are just a trickle. Anyway, as soon as we got back from the hospital I started having contractions - like period pains - low down on the stomach and hurt! after a few hours they became more and more regular and more painful - much more painful. My husband was my pain relief massaging my back on my demand at EACH contraction and keeping me fed and watered. There came a point where each contraction was REALLY painful. I tried my pregnancy yoga positions and tried to 'breathe the pain away' but it wasn't that helpful. Called hospital hoping they would say 'come on in we'll help you out!' but they just said take a hot bath and some paracetamol... unfortunately our bath is rather big but the boiler doesn't like to heat the bath water enough so hubby was boiling pans of water one after another to pour into the bath while I was sitting there wailing away. It did actually help.

I hadn't slept since the night before and was in lots of pain from the contractions and just wanted to sleep but couldn't as each contraction would be better dealt with with me standing up swaying my hips or walking around or sitting on a chair and hubby rubbing my back. That was one of the worst parts - the sleep deprivation.

There came the point where the contractions were now every 2 minutes and lasting about 1minute 40secs so we called the hospital and they told us to come in. Thank Goodness! My parents drove us over there at 4pm ish and I remember still being in a lot of pain in the car and feeling like a proper pregnant lady breathing hard in each contraction and trying not to scream too loudly!

Once in the hospital they checked me for dilation and I was already 7cm dilated! (You need to be 10cm to start pushing) so I was wiggling around the room and hubby still rubbing my back - I had a bit of help of the Nitrous Oxide to breathe in for pain relief but didn't feel it that much... I started pushing at about 5pm and it was not like the films! It took ages to get even the head showing - Hubby could see everything and let me know when they could see the head - though only a tiny bit! After 2 hours of pushing I felt so tired and although there was more of the head showing - I couldn't get it out!! They told me that they call the doctor after 2 hours of pushing as they don't like you to push for much longer than that and the doctor can help with forceps or ventouse suction. I felt relieved that I was going to get some help to get the baby out - it was so frustrating that with every push not much was happening and I was pushing so hard!!! While waiting for the doctor I still had to keep pushing each time a contraction came. I had to breathe in - hold it and PUUUUUUUUUSH out the baby but it was so bloody hard!!!

After 3 hours of pushing the doctor came and helped suck the baby out with a Ventouse suction thing. They injected me 'down there' with some anaesthetic and even cut me to prevent tearing, then she inserted this contraption to suck onto the baby's head and I could feel it all - was not comfortable at all!! I still needed to push even though she was sucking the baby out! (Afterwards she told me that the baby's head was very large anyway and apparently the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's body so even if it wasn't in danger or anything, it was preventing it from coming out quickly.)

The feeling was incredible - I could really feel this huge thing pass out of me and although it didn't last long- I didn't feel like it hurt - I just know I needed to push it OUT!!! Then it was all a blur for a second - I heard "IT'S A BOY!" and this little alien-like being was put onto my chest - I was SOOOO RELIEVED that it had finally come out!!! Huge sighs of relief and amazement at this little baby that I had pushed out. Oh my god. IT was amazing but I was just so tired before and then just amazed and happy that it was over! And happy to have the baby in my arms. He was perfect :D He was a bit bluey but soon turned pinker after some cuddling and then started to cry! His daddy cut the umbilical cord and then they weighed him - I was surprised he was 4.36kg (9.9lbs) to be honest! Big boy!

After they stitched me up and checked the baby, we had some time with our new family then hubby had to go home as he couldn't stay at the hospital overnight, I had my own room and bathroom which was nice (Good ol' NHS!) and Leon slept in a cot next to me. I was pleased to get some rest after the long day but it was so special to have my baby sleeping next to me! Every time he woke up I could just push and pull the cot to rock him back to sleep :D