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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Potty humour

In the name of budgeting I read the following article on Martin's moneysaving website. "how to minimise loo paper use".

Here's some tips of how not to spend (more than) a penny from Martin's Moneysaving Website savvy readers....

  • Go for the deals in the supermarket - compare prices per 100 sheets.
  • Generally take one sheet at a time and make maximum use of it within the realms of decency and hygiene.
  • Certainly don't go for the shiny tracing paper as there is absolutely no absorbency there!
  • When you put a new roll on,' flatten' it slightly. This makes it harder for wasteful children to pull off several sheets at a time!
  • My favourite! Regulate your bowels so you go during working hours as much as is possible!  
  • The phsycological approach - This is a bot bizarre. We have two rolls on the wall holder next to each other. We tend to use less because it is so noticeable against the other roll if you pull a lot off in one go. 
  • WARNING! This one will make you groan out loud - Before the actual event, smear your rectum with petroleum jelly, it smoothes the flow and makes the clean-up easier and fewer sheets are required.  

Sunday, 22 July 2012

OMG - Nigella's Chocolate Brownies TO DIE FOR!

They are just completely and utterly chocolately, orgasmically, wonderful brownies.





Since I purchased my very chic glass cake stand and cover (from Aldi - what a bargain!!) - I have raised my baking game. This week Nigella's Moist Apple Cake and Snow Flecked Brownies entered my repertoire. And, like all Nigella's cakes, they are absolutely delicious. I don't know what it is, but without fail whenever I cook Nigella's cakes they turn out brilliantly. I have praised my oven and her recipes, but I'm beginning to think I'm just a darn good cake chef!! Which means my bad ass is only going to get bigger and badder.


So for those of you keen bakers, here's the recipe, let me know how you get on. Off to have some lunch so I can have dessert afterwards!

375 g soft unsalted butter 
375 g best quality dark chocolate 
 6 large eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
500 g caster sugar 
225 g plain flour 
1 teaspoon salt 
 
Directions: 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. 2 Line your approximatley 33 x 23 x 5 1/2cm brownie pan with foil or baking paper. 
 
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy based saucepan. In a bowl beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt. When the chocolate mixture has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar mixture, and then fold in the flour. Beat to combine and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined brownie pan. Bake for about 25 minutes. When its's ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense and gooey.  Keep checking the brownies as they cook; remember that they will continue to cook as they cool.
I actually cooked mine for 35 minutes as my pan was a little smaller, so the brownies were deeper. Goooofest!!


Monday, 16 July 2012

Feed a family good grub - cheap!

Weekly meal planning, week deux...


Last weeks meal planning was a mixed success. Unfortunately one can't plan for bicycle punctures and errant husbands, so I had a bit of a backlog of some of the meals. However, me and J did our best to polish off the spare grub for lunches. Not sure if food planning, budgeting and dieting are all possible at once! At some point some thing's gotta give and I think its going to be my elasticated waistband.

Anyhow, upwards and onwards. This weeks meal plan is as follows:

Monday ~ Salmon nicoise  - I am ignoring the pissy weather and pretending its a warm summers day
Tuesday ~ Pot roasted pork chops with celery and tomato, spinach and potatoes gratin
Wednesday ~ Spaghetti Bolognese and green beans
Thursday ~ Asian roast chicken, fried veggie rice
Friday ~ Jacket potatoes chilli con carne filling, sour cream and salad

For those of you who missed my earlier post on meal planning - I am trying to...

1. Be more organised; with a toddler and newborn this is a necessity rather than a nice to be!
2. Budget (save money for our new kitchen) and
3. waste less food

I've also started analysing where I shop (I am really rather anal it seems). Anyhooooo, I've started doing monthly shop of non-perishables (nappies, more nappies and baby wipes!) from Asda.  Veggies and meat from our local farm shop.  And top up shops from waitrose or ocado (for whom I have a 10% discount card).

Compare the cost of what's in your shopping basket

Mysupermarket, an online shopping tool, helped me find the best place to purchase the non-perishables from. You load up your shopping list and it checks all the online supermarkets for you.

Waste not - Want not. Good quality veggies and meat.

For the veggies and meat - I prefer to buy high quality local grub from Lyne Farm Shop (near St Peter's Hospital) than the supermarket - even though it is more expensive. It generally lasts longer as its fresher and the meal planning means I (mainly) only buy what I need. A cheaper option is the Pick Your Own at Garsons in Esher. But the pissy weather has made that a less attractive option of late.

Finally, I have to do top-up shops every few days for bread and milk etc (as I don't yet possess a chest freezer - that's next on the list!) and at least the 10% discount card means I get some cash off. Not sure how I managed to qualify for that one, but perhaps contacting Waitrose customer service and asking for one in exchange for a blog review will work? Give it a try!

If you have any tips on food planning, budgeting and getting value for money for your weekly/monthly shop please share it below :)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Express Yourself - Udderly Exhausting!

I think if all else fails I'll get a job coming up with cheesy titles for a tabloid!

Four days ahead of my face painting bonanza (Black Cherry Fair) where I will be sans enfants, and I have some serious boob pumping to do. Managed to get a grand total of 60ml this morning - which for those of you in the know isn't much. If hubby is going to survive Saturday with my little guzzling 8 week old I'm going to have to do better than that, sigh.

Hiring or Buying a Breast Pump?

Ameda Lactaline Electric Dual Breast Pump
FYI, for those mums interested in getting hold of a hospital grade pump (which means quick and easy to use electric pump) I'd recommend enquiring at your local children's centre. Not all of them run a hire scheme, but for those that do its a darn sight cheaper than hiring from NCT, La Leche or hospitals. I paid £15 for mine, a Lactaline Dual Pump and thats' for 3 months. Last time round when I reached 3 months they let me hang on to the pump for another 3 as no-one else had asked for it. Its a bargain ladies, and no messing about with these silly hand held things. Given the pump I hired (Lactaline) costs close to £200 new, it is a serious cost-saving hiring from the children's centre. Plus all the bits that go on your boobs or touch the milk are brand new each time, so there isn't anything unhygienic about hiring as opposed to getting a new one.

Support Your Local Children's Centre

AND, if you do hire from your children's centre they will get funding brownie points from central government as they can demonstrate they have helped increase breastfeeding in their area. So you'll be supporting your local centre, which if it is anything like mine in Weybridge, is a VERY good thing to do. I love the ladies at our centre - they are fab.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Weybridge Wifey's Meal Plan

In attempt to save some pennies for my super duper new kitchen, and just because I've always fancied acquiring this particular skill, I'm giving weekly meal planning a go....

So this week's culinary delights include...
Monday - Beef casserole, cabbage and new potatoes
Tuesday - Fish cakes and salad
Wednesday - Chicken & Veggie fajitas
Thursday - Homemade Lamb mince pie
Friday - Mumma's night off - Pizza and beer

Lunch and breakfast - help yourself its in the cupboard!

Little people are eating a derivative of the above, with slightly less spice and alcohol. Its' Monday evening now and all has gone well so far (early days though). Albeit toddler decided she was all done after 3 mouthfuls of my casserole and favoured a tub of Ambrosia rice pudding. Hmm. I shall report back at the end of the week and let you know how the rest fared. Will I stick to my game plan or fall off the meal plan wagon??!!.... Visit my blog next week to see what happens in this exciting new venture! AND, if you do weekly meal planning (please) share your suggested menus below.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Fresh, Cheap & Fruity - Pick Your Own at Garsons

Garson's pick your own farm, esher, surrey
A top up feed for the wee man, clean nappies and off we went to the Pick Your Own at Garsons, Esher. Our idyllic family activity this Sunday.

I had a mother earth moment when I considered putting Adam in our baby sling whilst I picked fresh produce, but thought that might come across a little pretentious. Instead I went out in probably the most inappropriate top I have for picking vegetables, especially since I am breastfeeding and currently boasting a size G cleavage you could happily nest a family of birds into! I then partnered my inappropriate top with a tight fitting skirt and my flowery wellies. It turned out to be an excellent choice as my feet stayed dry and my husband was extremely attentive all afternoon!

Juliet loved the strawberry picking and as soon as she had mastered the plucking technique, hoovered a good quantity of freebies. Her red stained shirt was a bit of a giveaway when we reached the pay station, but luckily her adorable blond curls and big blue eyes got her out of trouble. I wonder how many times that's going to happen in the future?!

Adam was Mr Chilled in his maxi cosi, and after a quick feed in the front seat of the car, he settled down for a snooze whilst his family harvested the weekly greens.

In addition to the food being wonderfully fresh, tasty and healthy - it was half the price of supermarket equivalents. And we all had a really nice time outdoors in the fresh air. Pick your own @ Garsons gets the thumbs up from the Friedlanders.

Monday, 25 June 2012

The Path to Publishing - hanging out with Britmums

Britmums logo

For those of you in a rush....the secret to getting work published lies in having a very good agent (they are worth the 15% I am told), and a really polished product.


This is in essence what I learnt on the weekend. Two very useful nuggets gleaned from a Google+ hangout session organised by Britmums. Thank you Britmums!

Lucky for me not being able to attend the conference did not mean I missed out. In fact I think I got VIP treatment as, I, along with just five other people in their respective homes got a private audience with the speakers in their 'green room' following their presentations.

It was my first time using Google+ hangout sessions, and for anyone else not au fait with 'Hangouts', they are a bit like Skype but with several video cam windows of those attending open at once. A conference call online (sort-of) if you will. Whoever is making most noise pops up as the largest central image - so if you don't want to be the centre of attention you need to either keep quiet or turn your mic off. As my husband had not managed to get home on time and I had two little people present with no chance of being quiet, I went for the mic off option.

Rather embarrassingly I had managed to forget the question I submitted to the speakers the day before, and was a little on the back foot when the speakers asked those attending to pose their questions for the benefit of the wider audience. Woopsy! Had to claim baby brain. My question (they kindly reminded me) was 'I'm a talker not a writer; how can I get words to flow so easily from my pen as my mouth?'

The speakers didn't actually have an answer for that one, so I modified my question to 'how do I select a subject to focus on?'

As a reader of this blog you might have already noticed an eclectic mix of posts which quite fairly reflect my eclectic life. In fact maybe I should change the blog title to just that! The speakers seemed to be more comfortable with this question and told me I had to find a subject that I could write about more authoritatively than anyone else. Christ - how do I do that? I'm no expert and I don't beleive many of us can claim to be. To write a truly original and authoritative piece sounds suspiciously like a PHD thesis to me. Silly me, I didn't realise Stephanie Meyer (the Twighlight saga author - yes, I'm a saddo Twi fan), had a doctorate. Meow! So now I just need to figure out what the hell it is I know so much about.

Another member of the audience asked what I thought was an interesting question, 'should I publish a chapter of my manuscript on my blog to get reader feedback?'. The general consensus was 'no'. Although one speaker said that a book is not just the words but the style of writing, and it would be impossible for someone to recreate your complete work unless they can succesful copy your style. Well, I'm pretty sure there are cases of plagiarsm out there, so I think I'd agree with the No's on this one. It was also suggested that friends, colleagues, and literary agents should be the ones to help in the first instance with feedback.

Nearing the end of toddlers naptime so off to grab that last chance, feet-up cuppa, and watch some tennis - its wimbledon don't you know.



Friday, 25 May 2012

Hooray for Hypnobirthing and 'Hello Adam'

Sorry for the radio silence readers - I've been busy having a baby don't you know. 

Having never been early for anything in my life, I was a bit surprised to find myself in labour last Tuesday evening, 2 days BEFORE my due date. Having also been previously induced, I wasn't totally au fait with spontaneous labour thingy, so I took a little convincing I was really having a baby. Oh so that was a 'show'....

After calling my parents and alerting them to the fact they didn't need to rush, but perhaps could come down that evening (the appointed babysitters for our toddler), I was taken by surprise when my waters went pop! The subsequent contractions arriving every 3-2 minutes apart convinced me to get on the phone again and suggest my parents did rush.


After getting to Kingston Hospital - which I opted for after a not so nice 5 day stay at St Peters for my firstborn - things calmly but quickly progressed. As a previous subscriber to hypnobirthing I was geared up to do it all again; breathing exercises, affirmations and the rest. Well - it worked. 6 hours later and a bit of gas and air for last 6 minutes, and a healthy 7lb 9oz baby born was in my arms. Adam John Michiel Friedländer. Big sister Juliet thinks he is the best thing since the bubble machine.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Things that make you go eeeoooooww. Part I: Pooey Birth Facts

Given you are reading this post, the chances are you are already pregnant and far enough along to be wondering what lies imminently ahead. In which case its too late to change your mind about the whole thing! The following might get you wincing, or, at the very least pulling a funny face, but take strength in the fact that every single woman who has had a baby has faced similar challenges and yet there are plenty of of them who go on to do it all over again - myself included.

So here we go. with the first instalment of gooey and grimace worthy facts about birth and poo..


Hemorrhoids

Not compulsory, but a fair few women do get these as a result of either pregnancy and or birth. In my experience, and that of my pregnancy friends, it seems that hemorrhoids will protrude their ugly little heads during pregnancy (before birth) if they are going to at all. If you have made it up to birth'day' without an appearance, the chances are you've been let off. However, as there is a fair bit of pushing and pressure involved for a vaginal birth, your bottom hole will probably look a bit different for a week or so afterwards. Don't panic, it will go back to normal eventually. You can always use haemorrhoid creams for a few days to reduce swelling, and to comfort the area around your bottom hole.

Will I poo myself during labour?

If there is any poo in your lower colon during labour it will probably get pushed out during the final stage of delivery. There really isn't much room in your pelvis for anything other than that baby's head. The good news is your body tends to naturally try and expel any poo ahead of delivery so it shouldn't be a mega amount of poo anyway. Just mention it ahead of time to your birth partner (so they are expecting it), and if it really bothers you have a chat with the midwives before and they will be able to discreetly clear it away. You probably won't even notice -you'll be too busy thinking 'Oh my god, I can feel a baby's head coming out'.

 Meconium AKA Baby's First Poo

This is the first poo the baby does and it is like tar; very dark brown, sticky, and a bugger to wipe off with cotton wool balls and water. If your birth goes smoothly and the baby remains relaxed, they will probably do their first poo in the first 24 hrs following birth. Some babies who have become stressed during birth, which is fairly common so don't panic, do their poo during birth. The midwives will be able to see whether there is meconium in your waters, and will also be able to track the baby's stress levels by checking their heart rate. There isn't much you can do to prevent this from happening, but understanding whats happening is a big advantage and will help you to remain calm. If the midwives find meconium in your waters and suspect the baby may have inhaled some, they might want to observe or treat the baby after birth to ensure no infection follows.

Mummy's First Poo Post Birth

It is with some trepidation you will find yourself seated on the loo, almost willing your first poo to simply plop out and not to require any pushing whatsoever. You never know it could happen. However, it might take a little more than that. First thing is a positive frame of mind; if you had a relatively straightforward delivery with minimal or no tearing, be assured your bottom will survive doing a poo without things falling apart.To relieve some pressure on the perineum (the stretch of skin between the vagina and your bottom hole),  hold a sanitary pad gently but firmly against the perineum when pushing. It also helps to drink lots of water and eat high fibre foods to keep your stools soft and easier to pass.


Disclaimer: Contrary to my dressing up outfits, I am not a qualified doctor, and medical advice is based on personal experience and here say - if you have any medical concerns you should always consult your doctor or a trained member of the medical profession. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Posh Porn

Have you heard about Fifty Shades of Grey?

The New York Times bestselling erotic fiction paperback by E. L. James is causing quite a stir. The trilogy is set largely in Seattle, and traces the deepening relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. A bit of bondage, submission and S&M are all thrown in.  Reminds me of 'The Secretary' film featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader (which I highly recommend).

Mumsnet were actually giving away 50 copies of Shades of Grey earlier in the week (which annoyingly I missed out on), and from what I have heard it seems loads of us ladies will be packing it for poolside reading this summer. Because it's now cool to read 'posh porn' - didn't you know?

Erotica that stimulates a few brain cells as well as our loins is the latest thing. We no longer have to choose between the quivering love puddings/heaving chests/thigh tremors a la Mills & Boons, or, predictable/boring/monosyllabic porn enjoyed by white van man.  Hooray! Erotica is actually being combined with a decent read at last.

The last trilogy I salivated over and guiltily coerced other female friends into reading was the Twilight saga. I think it was a safety in numbers thing. A group of us ladies (all far too sensible to be dribbling over R Patz) get together to drool collectively over the Twilight films; pizza, wine, movie and lots of ooh-err missus comments. Husbands are shooed away for the evening.

During 'Breaking Dawn' my popcorn sharing buddy whispered to me during the almost sex scene between Edward and Bella 'do you think he has a cold willy?' (Vampires are cold blooded for those of you not in the know). Whilst great fun was had by all, most of us left feeling a little cheated, it seems your appetite for erotica, along with taste in clothes and shoes, does mature with age. Teenage trysts and sexual tension just don't cut it. So bring on the posh porn I say.

 So without further ado, if you are interested, here are a few titles suggested by the Guardian of where you can find your high-brow erotica kicks...

Fifty Shades of Grey
Story of O
The Purple Shroud
Mischief Books (collection of erotica)

And finally for those of you who don't have time to read a novel - you can always wait for the film.... Casting rumours suggest Ian Somerhalder (who plays Damien Salvatore in Vampire Diaries: image left) might play the lead chappie. So yet again, I may find myself shamefully drooling over a sexy (ex)vampire - its simply unavoidable!!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Revenge is a dish best served cold....

 ...and slightly burnt

 

 ...and shrivelled.

 

Am I bad a person? Probably yes. I have knowingly allowed my husbands dinner to dehydrate as a form of punishment for his tardiness. As well as being Mr Procrastination man, my husband is chronically late for most occasions. He manages to live quite happily in the full recognition of this condition, having created the hocus pocus theory that he is also 'Mr Lucky' and so will never be too late to miss out on anything significant. Given I am 37 weeks pregnant, I hope for his sake this is true!! Seriously though, we did miss a flight which was unequivocally his fault, and whilst I knew better than to say anything at the time, my expression totally said those magic four words.

On the theme of being late for key events like babies being born, a friend was telling me how her brother missed the birth of his first born. Yikes. It seems the unfortunate coincidence of hubby being just over 2 hours away (by car) and a super fast labour meant he missed that magical moment. Not sure how I would have dealt with that considering what I have done to my hubby's dinner...



It did taste good when it was hot, honest!

I should also add my husband is a lovely, lovely man, and we all have our faults. Unfortunately for him I have lots of my own faults, and more importantly I have a blog. Love ya babe.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Slapped Cheek

Anyone for a good spanking? 


Not quite the topic for today's post I'm afraid, my cheeks are rouge for another reason...

It appears slapped cheek isn't just a cheeky arrangement between consenting adults - it is less sexily the slang name for the Parvovirus B19 virus. Sorry! A virus most commonly contracted in childhood. It is also known as the fifth disease, as it's the fifth most common virus kids catch. Most adults are immune to it - having caught it at some point when they were little. In the UK, April and May are the peak months for the virus. However, it can occur at any time.

Whilst it is relatively common and mild in kids, it is one pregnant women who are not immune want to avoid if possible - especially before 20 weeks.

For pregnant women not immune to the virus - miscarriage is more common if you become infected before 20 weeks of pregnancy. So, if you are pregnant, keep away from people who have slapped cheek disease. If you are pregnant and have been in contact with a person with the virus then your doctor may ask for you to have a blood test.

So after my good friend rang to say her two kids (aged 1.5 and 8 yrs both have Slapped Cheek) I duly called my doctor, and subsequently have had a blood test to see if if caught it this time/in the past i.e. am immune/or not at all. Luckily for me my 36 week, almost baked bubba, is pretty robust by now and the virus shouldn't cause either of us any issues.

If you want to know more about Slapped Cheek just google it - there are loads of info and images  on line. Don't worry you won't be inundated by spanking websites - but if you do spot any funny ones let me know! 




Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Nesting, or just a good excuse for shopping?

Four weeks to go now and a countdown of sorts has begun. I am excited about meeting my baby (part of the reason for the countdown), I am very uncomfortable with SPD (the other part of the reason), and I am starting to panic, 'oh Christ the baby could come any day now and the moses basket is still in my parents loft'. All totally normal emotions I understand based on past experience and what other pregnant ladies around me are saying.

So, I thought I would get the hospital bag sorted first. What do I need to pack?...

I am definitely going down the hypnobirthing route again, which means I need something to listen to my chilling music and affirmations on. Especially if I end up on the ward pre-labour again. Wards full of women in early labour are NOT relaxing, quiet places to hang out - take it from me. I spent 5 days on one last time - ugh.  My sisters iPOD and Seinnheiser headphones were however a god send and I was able to sit back and listen to Flight of the Conchords and chuckle to myself despite the hysteria occurring around me. And of course my hypnobirthing relaxation music. This time I've treated myself to an iPOD Shuffle (the teeny weeny cheap(est) one). I was most impressed with the fact you can get a free engraving on it, so I've gone for 'My baby's birth will be easy'. Say it enough times and it'll come true - that's the theory at least. It's also an attractive metallic green colour, which I am told by my hypnobirthing 'rainbow relaxation' CD, is the colour of labour and birth energy.  Just need to make sure we are fully charged!

I've also ordered myself two basic nighties from Mothercare, secured some delicious smelling Cowshed toiletries, and all those other glamorous items such as disposable pants, maternity pads and such that you need to patch yourself up the next day(s)... 

Am I missing anything??? Ah yes, THE BABY STUFF!


Thursday, 12 April 2012

One waddled step at a time....


5 weeks to go and all is well...

Apart from, that is, my chronically sore hip joint and the comedy waddle I developed over the easter weekend. A pregnant friend asked sympathetically today if the ligament pain were likely to improve, or just get worse now till the end? We then nodded knowingly at each other and said in harmonious sychronisation 'just get worse till the end now'. That's the thing with pregnancies, there really isn't much you can do, whatever your pregnancy throws at you have to deal with it. Hey, at least the baby isn't breach anymore.

The same friend (who also has a 17 month old and is due 2 weeks before me) relayed how she had been asked on a few occasions how she is coping with lifting her little one with a bump - given you're not supposed to do any strenuous lifting in pregnancy. Well, as I know, you do lift them and your back then hurts like buggery. Friend said she is often tempted to say 'I just drag her along by her hair'. Not that we are bitter pregnant ladies, honestly!

So other than waddling I have been pampering myself this week with reflexology - delivered by a trained midwife and reflexologist I saw during my first pregnancy, Suzanne Batchelor (based in Woking). I can't recommend her enough. It was bliss. I have always loved having my feet tickled or massaged, so I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me what a big fan I am of reflexology. The bonus, on top it being a thoroughly pleasurable experience, is that it helped relieve ligament pain I had in my first pregnancy. I have what those in the baby trade call SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) - sounds awful doesn't it?! Basically it is when you produce too much of the Relaxin (said in a Jamaican accent) hormone. Normally pregnant ladies produce just the right amount of relaxin hormone to help soften the ligaments of the pelvis so they give during birth. But if you produce too much, it means the pelvis bones can move too much and too early - so you get irritated joints and ligaments. And it hurts! Some women actually end up on crutches, so I am very grateful it hasn't got to that yet. Reflexology to treat a condition needs to be undertaken as a course, rather than a one-off session (or so I tell my husband) and I have dutifully booked my next appointment. As it can also help prepare the cervix for labour, it is also recommended for pregnant ladies to have several sessions from week 30 onwards. How can I argue with that?!

So I urge you pregnant ladies out there, with ligament or other issues, or just looking to prepare yourselves for birth to give it a go.

Right, hobbling off to do bath time....

Helpful link: Association of Reflexologists; find a therapist near you

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

F*** Famine

Young Wives Tales is a light-hearted blog - BUT as its founder I've decided it shouldn't shirk away from more challenging topics. I also believe strongly that we all have a responsibility to speak out for those less able or less fortunate than ourselves, and so, have decided to support the ONE campaign through my blog. I will still be sharing insightful, funny and cheeky posts about sex, relationships, pregnancy with you - but - mixed in with that I'll be updating you on what I've been doing to support the ONE campaign and info for you to get involved, if you so choose. Perhaps you can start by having a quick look at this video (it takes less than a minute)...



The first thing I've done as a blogger and mum to support the campaign, is to join ONE Mums.

ONE Mums is the movement of British mums joining forces with the charity ONE to spread awareness of and fight extreme poverty and preventable diseases. You may have heard of ONE already because of its famous co founder, Bono. The charity’s “blogger task force” started in America with their influential ONE Moms group and the idea is simple: mums leading a movement to promote education, engagement and activism on behalf of the world’s poorest.


If you’re concerned about world poverty, education, children’s health, the economic and agricultural well being of developing nations, then take action and be a ONE Mum! Here’s how:
  1. Sign the petition urging EU leaders to pass laws requiring oil, gas and mining companies to publish payments to foreign governments, so that local people will have transparency with their sale of their natural resources.
  2. Blog about being a ONE Mum or ONE Dad about your support and link back to the www.ONE.org site and
  3. Stay tuned to all of the ONE Mum Ambassadors for the latest activities – there’s going to be a fun meme and Linky, a video challenge and more!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Join Our Ethical Easter Egg Hunt...

A very last minute post on where to buy the best ethical Easter eggs for similarly last-minute mums!! 

Thank goodness my little one has no concept of Easter eggs, and will just as joyously tuck into a banana. However, for the more discerning toddlers and non-religious types amongst you who just want a valid excuse to do some egg-stravagant chocolate shopping (sorry couldn't help myself!) here we go....

1. A personal favourite...(having met founder Jo Farley at a Women in Business event..check me!!)

 
Green & Black's Organic Thick Shelled Milk Chocolate Egg 180g  £6.00 available from Waitrose/Ocado
Suitable for vegetarians Organic

What awaits you inside is the perfect celebration of everything Green & Blacks have been proud to stand for since they began in 1991: using only Green, organic ingredients to craft the most Beautiful chocolate imaginable, in this case their thickest, most indulgent Easter egg ever. A very happy, Green & Beautiful Easter from Green & Black's.

G&B's don't settle for second best, they make all their chocolate from only the finest organic ingredients, sourced from farms that have met the Soil Association's strict organic standards. That way, everything they produce is better for both the environment and the farming communities who supply them with everything they need to make their chocolate so special. The Soil Association is the leading environmental charity promoting organic food and farming, and championing human health.

Good things come in good packages. The card G&B use to protect their perfectly formed eggs is created from forests that have been sustainably managed - where the same care and consideration is taken to harvest and replant trees as it is to create their chocolate, but they haven't stopped there; this Easter they have also removed the plastic from our packaging. Truly Green and Beautiful.


2. Ethical eggs for kids...




Green & Blacks Explorers Easter Eggs - Buy 2 for £5 Waitrose
 



3. Ethical eggs for creatives...

Montezuma's Organic Milk Chocolate Free Range Eco-Egg £8.99
COMPETITION!

Get Creative and WIN!
Show Montezuma your creative skills by making something interesting using this egg carton and upload a photo direct to their facebook page. The most creative artwork will get chocolate prizes including chocolate hampers. They will also display the best entries in their shops!

Montezumas Eco Egg packaging is made of just two parts: a sturdy biodegradable paper outer shell/sleeve and foil wrapping - we think it's probably the most eco friendly Easter egg around! Nearest store to Weybridge is Kingston.

4. Divine and decadent ethical eggs...

  Find out more about the ethical values behind Divine Chocolate
Divine Fairtrade milk chocolate egg & pralines
£10.00

Divine Fairtrade dark chocolate Easter egg 170g
£13.00
         

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Spring Shades by Chanel

The UK weather might not know what it is doing, no change there, but at least Chanel knows what month it is. Have at look at their three new shades below: April, May and June. Each one offering up a bouquet of spring and summer colours. Perfect to wear to those spring weddings, flowers shows, or just out and about.

Expensive make-up is my weakness, and in particular polish and lipstick. Maybe because in my experience it makes me feel pampered, not too poor post purchase, and people do tend to notice well dressed lips and nails. You do also get what you pay which means satiny smooth lipsticks that last and moisturise, and nail polish as smooth as treacle. Go on give them a try...

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour...




Shade: April


   
Shade: May
Shade: June

Monday, 2 April 2012

Oral sex linked to throat cancer.... pull the other one!

Or so I thought. My husband announced this depressing headline the other evening - to which I stopped folding the laundry, raised my eyebrows and told him he better come up with a better excuse than that! But no, he was most serious...and after several minutes discussion I realised he wasn't pulling my leg, it really had been in the news.


I'm all for cutting back on red and processed meats, units of alcohol a week, and eating my super foods, fruits and veggies. But come on, a life without le sexe oral, is it possible? Sadly I realise for some ladies it is and my heart goes out to them.

So, not happy with my husbands second hand medical news, I decided to consult trusty Google and find out a little more....

Good news. Oral sex does not cause cancer, BUT, the human papillomavirus (HPV) does and can be transmitted via oral sex. Saying that you or your partner(s) do have to be carrying the HPV virus, before you can give it to each other.

The BBC says, "Oral cancer cases are increasing, with 6,200 this year, figures from Cancer Research UK show, with two-thirds of cases in men. This compares with 4,400 cases a decade ago. Most cases are linked to smoking, but alcohol misuse and the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection through oral sex have been linked to the rise."

With any cancer the best way to protect yourself is to recognise the early warning signs and don't be afraid to visit the doctor. Experts say the warning signs of oral cancers include mouth ulcers and red or white patches in the mouth that do not heal. I repeat DO NOT PUT OFF A VISIT TO THE DOCTOR IF YOU SUSPECT SOMETHING.

HPV is the virus that  girls in the UK are now vaccinated against, as high-risk strains of the virus are linked to cervical cancer. According to the BBC up to eight out of 10 people in the UK are infected with HPV at some point in their lives, though most cases are harmless.If you want to read up on HPV click here to visit Cancer Research.

So...
  1. get informed
  2. if needs be get tested
  3. don't put off a trip to the doctors if you suspect something, EVER, and
  4. live happy, contented and fulfilled (sex) lives!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Head Down - Bottoms Up!

Moxabustion to turn Breech Baby

So it turns out having managed to avoid gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia this time around, this baby has come up with a new challenge for me - its' breech. Which means that whilst my baby has its heart in the right place, its derriere is firmly wedged in my pelvis where its head should be. Sigh. As I'm 33 weeks its not a disaster, as there is apparently room in there for the baby to still turn round. It certainly doesn't feel like there is any room as my tummy resembles a water balloon fit to burst.

Being a bit of a hippy I would like as natural a birth as possible (when my baby is ready i.e. overdue or not). So, I'd like to help my baby to turn into the right position with alternative (non-invasive) treatments. If the baby remains breech usual practise is for the hospital to try and manually turn the baby (at 36 weeks), and if it still hasn't turned they recommend a planned Cesarean (at 38 weeks). And yes, manually turning the baby can be stressful and/or uncomfortable for both mum and baby, and having a Cesarean is a major operation, for which the recovery period is much greater than getting over a bruised and battered vagina. And besides that the birth of my little girl was a pretty amazing experience that I'd like to do again. I cannot recommend pelvic floor exercises and perennial massage enough ladies!

So off I trundled to an acupuncturist that came highly recommended by my pregnancy yoga teacher (who, incidentally knows anyone worth their salt related to pregnancy or babies in Surrey). Contact me if you'd like her details...

The treatment I had was Moxabustion combined with some acupuncture needling. I had heard about Moxabustion before and thought it involved a candle or some such stick being placed between my toes and burnt. Weird and wonderful yes, but I had also heard it worked for most mums who had tried it.

Well it wasn't a candle, it was a moxabustion stick made from a Chinese herb called Mugwort (isn't that the school in Harry Potter?). It looks like a cigar and when it is burning (glows red-hot) it is held close to acupuncture point called Bladder 67 on your little toe. And yes, it is hot! Most scary is the fact that I need my husband to repeat the treatment on me for 5 or so days. Yikes. I have to say having such a reassuring acupuncturist made the whole experience very relaxed - you wouldn't want someone you didn't trust waving that red hot coal by your feet. Tension is not conducive to babies moving where they should.

Rather than describing the whole thing, I've cheated and included a You Tube video below where you can see it being done. Wish me, my husband and the bump luck.... I think I have the burns hot line for the hospital to hand somewhere... :)


Thursday, 29 March 2012

Young Wives Tales is now on Mumsnet!


A good reason for a glass of bubbly (if ever we needed one)....'Young Wives Tales' is now featured on Mumsnet!

Mumsnet has long been home to loads of funny, provocative parents and we are very proud to be part of their network. We hope to meet lots of talented and funny mums who we will introduce you to, share their stories, advice and funny antics.

Here's a taster of a hilarious post from mumsnet member Lillibet.

Young Wives Tales blog logo 
"Ds1 (Darling Son 1) having LOUD sex and I have had to tell them to shut up...
 Honestly!! I love my ds1 very much but there is no 18 year old boy born who could make a girl shriek like that. She is from the Meg Ryan school of sex noises but AMPLIFIED. I also can't believe the brass neck of her - she faced us all afterwards without even a blush. It's not the first time either, we weren't in a while back and dd (23) and ds2 (15) could hear her down stairs. Ds2 went and banged on the door and said "Do you mind, some of us are trying to revise" God Bless Him!! I had a word with them then but it's not stopped them, they now can't be in his room with the door closed. They don't prepare you for conversations like this at antenatal classes."


Mumsnet say they 'bring together the best bloggers around, on parenting, politics and all the juice in between'.

Thank you very much for including us Mumsnet!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Don't just dazzle this summer......Vejazzle!


Vejazzling is one of the latest fads when it comes to depilating, prepping and pruning your lady bits for the summer season... or for that special occasion when you want things looking just perfect down there.

According to the Urban Dictionary Vejazzling is defined as..."the art of bedazzling the vagina". It goes on to ask..."did you hear Jennifer Love Hewitt talk about Vejazzling her vajayjay.. she says it looks like a disco ball."


Having watched the You Tube clip of Jennifer Love Hewitt talking about her vejazzling experience - it seems to be the thing to do particularly if you are feeling a little low, after a break up for example. BUT, JLH is a vejazzling advocate and goes on to say that all women should vejazzle themselves, no matter what their relationship status. So, I set out to find out a little more about vejazzling, what it involves, where you can get it done and what it looks like....

True 'Vejazzling' it appears from my google research is all about the vejayjay as JLH calls it. However, if you look up vejazzling online you will be presented with a whole raft of crystal body tattoos not just for your frufru, but also nipples, hips, stomachs, breasts, buttocks, arms and legs... So basically you can choose your best asset and add a bit of fairy dust and sparkle!

Taking vejazzling in its broadest sense, I think I might have inadvertently started the vejazzling trend when several years back, I purchased some stick on swarovski crystals on a flight home from holiday. Keen to show off my great tan, I thought the 'shooting star'  crystals would look quite flattering displayed on my decolletage, shoulder and neck. I did get quite a few nice comments from girls and boys, and was really pleased with how long they lasted. It was at least a week before a few started to drop off. I had wanted to buy them again but until recently hadn't seen them anywhere.

So what does vejazzling look like? Well,  above is a picture of page three girl Amy Childs who has received a rather comprehensive vejazzling.  But if you are buying a home vejazzling kit or going for something a little more subtle - below are a few piccies to give you a better idea. Please note that some images below are not suited to young eyes...

vejazzling crystal tattoo - butterfly 
Butterfly crystal tattoo from Coco de Mer






Something for the Jubilee perhaps? Union Jack vejazzle jewels from Diamante Crafts

Vejazzling trio set £9.99 from Glitterland.co.uk







Where can you buy vejazzle kits? The easy answer is online....

Ebay - search for 'vejazzle'
http://www.vajazzle-designs.co.uk/
http://www.vajazzle.me.uk/


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Maternity Over The Shoulder Boulder Holders

Freya - Dotty nursing bra £28.00
Being a good girl, first time round being pregnant, I trudged along to the trusted Marks and Sparks to get fitted for a maternity bra... I wanted to make sure I had a non-wired bra to avoid any nasty blocked glands or ducts. BUT, I had no end of problems finding something that fitted and supported me properly.   


Being a petite individual with an ample bust I found that mid-range (priced) maternity bras did not fit and support me properly . I have nattered on about the need for someone to design bras for petite people for a while and the same applies to maternity bras - even more so, as there is no wiring to provide basic support. 


I found if the cup fit my growing bust, it looked like my boobs weren't speaking i.e. they were located almost under my armpits because the central panel was way too wide. Also, the bras didn't stay put no matter which clasp position I used and throughout the course of a normal days activity my boobs would weigh down the cups at the front, causing unsightly 'overflow' and the bra to rub under the back of my armpits. Ouch. 


I also found it infuriating that all maternity bras sold by M&S and Mothercare (that I have seen) are nursing bras as well - so they have the clips for opening the cup. Why do they design them like this? Everyone knows that your boobs are much bigger when your milk comes in. Or at least the underwear designers should! Trust me, you thought your boobs were blooming during pregnancy - just you wait till you get feeding! Plus your ribs will be smaller once you've had the baby so your size round the ribs will get smaller. My advice is get something for both stages, maternity and nursing.


So, grumbles out of the way.... I did find a solution... sports bras from Marks and Spencer's (no good for feeding, but great support during pregnancy), AND, expensive nursing bras from FREYA, AMOURALIA and HOT MILK. Plus by the time you are feeding you're going to want to treat yourself to a little glamour.


Quiet Storm bra by HotMilk
Nougatine Bra and Thong by Amoralia £41.50

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

British & Burlesque; Saucy Designs by Brighton Based Dupenny

If you love 1940's glamour then you will drool over the burlesque inspired home ware by Dupenny; Brighton based design company founded by Emily Dupen-Hopkins in 2009. 
I met the Dupenny team at a London design fair a few years back, and their black and white cheeky burlesque designs caught my eye immediately. Their original designs - wallpaper, silk cushion and ceramics - are still their best (in my opinion) and are a fabulous way to add a bit of cheekiness to your home. 


Emily (pictured above) says Dupenny is..."On a mission to make the world smile, the inspiration for Dupenny's designs comes from all things cheeky. We especially like retro themes, curious humour, lovely ladies, and the simple impact of black and white."

The designs are produced in the UK by Dupenny, or as much of the process as possible carried out by them. They are also a conscientious bunch and use recycled and environmentally sound materials and packaging wherever they can.

Their burlesque large plate designs include: Ophelia, Lolita, Peaches, and Gigi and are £27 each.
View the rest of Dupenny's cheeky burlesque home ware and gift items on their website www.dupenny.com


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Vamp it up! Where to get sunglasses like Bella

Having seen Eclipse (third film in Twilight saga) a few times, and being inspired by the consecutive days of blue skies we have had over Weybridge this week, I renewed my search for a pair of sunnies as modelled by Bella Swan (played by Kirstin Stewart below).

Apparently the shades Bella wears in the film aren't a known brand, but a pair picked from 1000's of screen props by the actress herself.  Not very useful information I know. However I did read some useful chatter online advising that the style is commonly known as 'cat-eye'. Just in case you decide to eBay or google it.

Or like me you can head to your local Marks and Sparks. My search ended this afternoon, totally unplanned in M&S by the swimsuits. I had popped in to pick up some bits and bobs, as you do, and there they were and for only £9.25! So a bit like Kirsten I now sport a fairly brand less pair of cat-eye shades. I actually went for tortoise shell rather than black and am feeling extremely seductive in my shades. But, unlike Bella, I plan on perfecting the sun-kissed look.  

Miaoooow....how catty!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

If the shoe fits....

Something for mummy's wish list this Mother's Day?

 Further to my post a few weeks back.... The object of my desire, 'Hetty Rose shoes'... can now be tailored especially for you...BY you!

Here are some details of a workshop Hetty is going to be running.


Sans automobile - what's a girl avec bump et bebe to do in Weybridge?


Morning Lovelies!

Here I sit, a slightly overcast Wednesday morning in Weybridge contemplating activities for the day ahead, albeit without my trusty automobile. My lovely husband wanted to get an early start so rather than train it to work, he has opted for my wheels instead.

He did at least remember to take the buggy out the boot bless him, so we have some wheels available to us. Being 7 months pregnant now, with a toddler in the 91st percentile for weight (she's gorgeous, just a solidly built half dutch girly), I am a little daunted by getting about without my car but always up for a challenge. So what is a girl to do in Weybridge sans wheels avec bump et la bebe?

First off is the journey into and back from town... Its a good 30 min walk into town from our abode, which I have done several times but mainly in my first trimester. I'm now feeling the bump, the breathlessness, and the Braxton Hicks, so a little apprehensive about how far I'll get. I am sure I have seen bus stops along the way, so I'm thinking I could always hop on a bus home (that's the uphill bit!). Although I shall have to raid the piggy bank for bus change. Last time I went on the bus I remember being shocked by the sack of silver change required to get me from A to B, surely a taxi is the same price???

So, on the basis, I make it into to town what awaits me there? Well i can always get a FREE Latte from Starbucks today with my name on it - courtesy of their 14th March 'we are personalising your coffee from now on' campaign. Quick, run, get yours now!

So far my googling has turned up a mums and bumps NCT group meeting this morning above Weybridge library (every weds morning 10-12) - which I'm thinking could be a very good place to meet some local mums.... Alas, most of my mummy friends from first baby have all gone back to work - sigh. None of this stay-at-home malarkey it seems. I thought there were supposed to be more of us modern homemakers - where art thou?

Mums and bumps could also tie in very well with my plan to get some enlightening books on how to introduce a new sibling to the family. Having cuddled some friends tiny babes recently in view of my own 15 month old - I realise she isn't best pleased with mummy's affections being lavished on another tiny human being. Hmmm. Any tips from second time mums on introducing a new baby to the family are most welcome.

We of course have the compulsory visit to Waitrose planned to pick up yet more milk and something yummy for dinner, and I will be swinging past the various charity shops to see what they have for my growing girl. It's only been a few months since the last clothes outlay and legs and arms are already protruding. I guess its the feeding that does it.

And you know what, I think I might just stop there, seems like plenty to be getting on with for the morning. Although Space NK might be worth a visit. They have such lovely stuff and I think the bump is telepathically telling me to buy myself something indulgent for Mother's Day this Sunday.

And most importantly, I need to get home for that afternoon nap I am soooooooooo going to be having!

Wish me luck!

Check out this link for more info on what's on for mums and babes in Weybridge... All About Weybridge

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Introducing Hetty Rose, handmade shoes extraodinaire!

I lovvvve these shoes, and so will you.

I met Hetty at New Designers several years ago when she was showing her graduation collection. I fell in love with her work there and then. I think I went back to drool over her shoes several times that day. Why didn't I snap up a pair then?? Probably because I was a recent grad too and whilst I had cultivated a taste for designer shoes, I hadn't quite cultivated the pay packet!

More recently I coveted a pair of her gorgeous kimono shoes for my wedding, but with the expense of everything else decided they would have to wait for another occassion. God I am so bloody frugle (my husband would no doubt beg to differ!).  

I'm thinking second baby on the way, no 'ET' ring to speak of, I might start buttering my hubby up for a pair of Hetty's. What do you think? Surely a girl deserves a pair of beautfiul shoes after pushing two gorgeous babes into the world and working her socks off being a mum/vibrant wife/blogger?

Help me convince my husband Hetty's shoes were made for me, leave your supporting comments here!



Fabulouso!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Do the Kegel

You pregnant ladies and mums out there will all have been given the pelvic floor lecture at some point. And whilst it seems a bit of a bore, here are three top reasons to remind yourself to get squeezing:

DON'T BE A LEAKY LUCY....1 in 3 women who have had children will experience some degree of poor bladder control after childbirth, around menopause.

GET HIM TO LAST LONGER...Premature ejaculation is the most common sexual problem for men under 40. Kegling can help most men learn to last longer.

INCREASE THE STRENGTH OF YOUR OWN ORGASMS AND GO MULTI ORGASMIC...Kegel exercises create an increase in pelvic vascularity which means more blood flow and more veins in the pelvic region. This will increase your awareness of the clitoral and vaginal sensations that lead to orgasm.

  
Kegels are the sort of thing you don't generally remember to do on a daily basis (as we are told we should)...whilst 'waiting for a bus, driving your car or reading a book'. I for one am too busy updating my facebook status on my blackberry, swearing at the traffic, or just relaxing and enjoying a damn good read! So, here's a little ditty to make those Kegel excercises a little more memorable...

For more information on Pelvic Floor muscles and excercises  click here.

'Do the Kegel' courtsey of www.dothekegel.com 

Squeeze on red and relax on green
with a good long squeeze at the end

There’s an exercise that every woman needs
It’s called the Kegel, the pelvic squeeze
Its great at any age
Lets make it all the rage
It’s good for you, it’s fun and it's a breeze


You can do it in the bank or on the bus
You can do it with the minimum of fuss
Find the muscle you’d locate
When you don’t want to urinate
And squeeze, squeeze, squeeze ...... and relax



Do the kegel , the pelvic squeeze
Come on with me ladies and kegel please
You’ll adore your pelvic floor
When you squeeze, squeeze, squeeze ... and relax


You can kegel when you’re talking on the phone
We can kegel together or alone
But when you are with your lover
This trick is like no other
It’s guaranteed to make your honey moan



Oh baby 'Do the kegel' , the pelvic squeeze
Come on with me ladies and kegel please
You’ll adore your pelvic floor
When you squeeze, squeeze, squeeze ... and relax



Now here’s the really motivating bit
A kegel will put pressure on your clit!
And once you've had a baby
No time for saying maybe
Take my advice, make kegeling a habit


Now it isn’t just the girls I want to tell
Guys this news is pretty cool for you as well
Coz when your lovin’ with your lady
And she cries ‘no don’t stop baby’
You’ll be glad you know this muscle really well


Do the kegel , the pelvic squeeze
Come on with me ladies and kegel please
You’ll adore your pelvic floor
When you squeeze, squeeze, squeeze ... and relax

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Feature in your very own red hot page turner!


Stuck for a saucy anniversary idea?

Here's a taster novel I googled and found at U Star Novels.
Why not Star in your own erotic novel....
There are loads of sites online if you fancy seeing your name in some pretty racy print. A friend of mine bought a personalised erotic novel for her hubby, and whilst he couldn't tell you how the story ended, it made for a brilliant anniversary gift, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

"A chance meeting in Amsterdam with a mysterious and glamorous couple draws our leading couple (you and yours truly) into an intoxicating world where the fulfillment of sexual desire becomes impossible to resist in ‘Amsterdam Lessons."
You choose just how racy your want the novel to be using the 'Lovin-O-Meter', ranging from the ONE kiss stamp for 'Sensual' novels which are "fun and romantic with suggestive language. They'll leave more to your imagination, but you can expect descriptive heavy petting." All the way up to the FOUR kiss  'Erotic Romance' which is "highly explicit, graphic and sexual. The story may contain bi, anal, threesome sex scenes. They suggest over 18 years only."

Blimey o'reilly!

And for those vampire fans, sink your teeth into the erotic personalised thriller Blood Lust.



Ustarnovels.com, holds one of the greatest selections of personalised novels and books in the world.

Tell friends about our blog....