if you could see what’s really there, you wouldn’t smoke

A couple of weeks ago MPs voted in Parliament to introduce a ban on smoking in cars carrying children from 1st October this year. This was something I strongly supported so was more than happy to write about the subject in my Evening Chronicle column when I was asked to help promote the story by Fresh, a regional organisation here in the North East aligned with NHS Smokefree. I’m sharing my column again on my my blog to help raise more awareness of this vitally important issue for child health.

I’m the kind of non-smoker that smokers must hate – I can’t see the attraction of smoking, I find it genuinely unpleasant, and I welcome anything that makes it more difficult for smokers to do, not least when it might be inflicted on others. That is not to say I don’t appreciate how easy it is for kids to pick up the habit in the first place, or how viciously difficult it is to break that habit once it is started; smokers need a huge amount of self-discipline and support to quit successfully and I applaud those who try because they desperately want to escape its clutches.

However, there are those who continue to wish to smoke, despite the overwhelming evidence of its harmful effects, and that is their choice (something pro-tobacco groups are at great pains to stress). Those who do not have a choice though are the children of smokers, who are suffering in great numbers as a result of their parents’ second-hand smoke. According to the regional Smokefree programme Fresh, 13,000 North East children need hospital or GP treatment every year from breathing in cigarette smoke, as those exposed are at increased risk of lung disease, meningitis, and sudden infant death, among other conditions.

Of course this is not a case of parents deliberately wanting to harm their children – more likely it is a lack of understanding of the very real dangers being posed, even when parents feel they are taking precautions to limit their children’s exposure. The prime example of this is smoking in the car with children present, which will be banned completely through new legislation which comes into effect on 1st October.

Even with the window open, which in reality makes little difference to the amount of smoke circulating in such a confined space, having a cigarette in the car can result in concentrations of toxins up to 11 times higher than you used to find in the average smoky pub prior to the public smoking ban. Blowing the visible smoke out the window does not prevent the invisible, odourless chemicals from making their way straight into the little lungs in the back seat.

The argument that an outright ban is one step too far is not a valid one – children need protecting from harm, and legislation may be the only way to do that. You wouldn’t drive without your child being safely restrained (also illegal), so why should smoking be any different?

Find support to quit at www.nhs.uk/Smokefree

Read more about the smoking in cars campaign from the British Lung Foundation



20 weeks: when turning over in bed is no longer an option

This week’s Baby size as fruit or vegetable: Mango

Pregnancy symptom of the week: Pelvic discomfort (again)

After last week’s excitement of the anomaly scan and finding out we are going to welcome another boy to the family, this week has been excitement free, and that’s mostly the way I like it. As long as everything continues to tick along nicely without event, I’m happy!

20 week bump in gorgeous top from The Essential One

20 week bump in gorgeous top from The Essential One

Our boy bump has been noticeably more active by the day, with the movements feeling stronger which I am loving, but Daddy is still waiting for that first kick to be felt from the outside. I can’t wait for Joe to be able to feel his little brother wriggling around – he has been talking about the baby more, and often asks to read There’s A House Inside My Mummy. I think he still has it in his head that the baby is going to burst forth from my stomach at some point in a scene reminiscent of Alien, so I have had to explain to him that won’t happen and that it will all be considerably less violent – hopefully! His curiosity about how the baby got in there in the first place is lovely but I still don’t think I’ve satisfied him with my woolly answers. It’s harder than I thought it would be!

As my bump continues to increase in circumference I am feeling a few more pregnancy niggles by way of stiff hips and some pelvic discomfort. This still hasn’t progressed to the point of being truly painful, but I have winced a few times getting up from my desk at work, and turning over in bed is the worst! I have to almost sit up and use my hands to help me turn around. I am thinking of making two purchases now – the first being a support cushion or pillow to help me get and stay comfy in bed (check out the great selection at Beebies Baby Store), and the second a gym ball to sit on and get the benefit of some gentle core exercise. Sitting on an appropriately sized gym ball can also help you to maintain ideal posture and relieve pressure on a painful pelvis. Thanks to those yummy mummies on Twitter who gave me some tips and recommendations for using one.

Lovely Lucy Howlett of LIFT Personal Training shared this video with me containing some fab tips for using a gym or birthing ball during pregnancy:

I’m planning on getting myself one this weekend so will update on how I get on with it next week!


I’m linking up with Ghostwriter Mummy’s Maternity Matters

Maternity Matters~ Ghostwritermummy

culinary delights with a four year old

Little Man loves helping us out in the kitchen, or watching us as we cook, so for Christmas we bought him his own apron and mini chef’s hat which he loves and has worn on more than one occasion to make Play-Doh cookies.


We are definitely foodie parents and it’s important to us that Joe is interested in the food we eat and is willing to try new things (not always easy with a child as lots of you will know!) but he counts Daddy’s chicken and chorizo paella as one of his favourite dishes now, along with Mummy’s lasagne. Getting hungry now myself.

Of course he still loves fish fingers, chips and beans but he always gets in on the action for making Sunday dinner – it is his job to help make the Yorkshire pudding mix, and he always remembers the quantities of ingredients. And he gets to use the hand blender (with supervision!) which means we always have well-aerated Yorkies. He’s often less enthused when it comes to eating his vegetables but he’ll always eat the small amount we put on his plate – albeit with some encouragement.

One thing he does love is baking – helping to stir the ingredients and of course licking the spoon! Here he is in customary chef’s hat on the kitchen counter making chocolate muffins.





Much has been said in the media about childhood obesity and the importance of educating children about healthy eating, but I think children learn their eating habits from their parents, and we have a responsibility to protect his current and future health by setting a good example. There is a place for chocolate muffins and other treats, but only as treats, and he understands this. He is lucky to be given well-balanced menus at nursery during the week, and we are grateful for this as we don’t have to worry about what he is eating while he is there. He has never had sugary soft drinks and isn’t really a fan of sweets (although chocolate is a different matter!).

As a result of all this, and the fact that he is permanently on the go, we are growing ourselves a little string bean of a son, with long limbs and trousers that fall off his waist – but he is healthy, a good weight for his increasing height, and is appreciative of the food he eats. I hope that as he gets older his interest in cooking will continue – he certainly enjoyed watching Grandma make pancakes for Shrove Tuesday. And eating them, obviously.





It is nice to think that he will be able to fend for himself in the kitchen one day – and maybe even eat all his vegetables.

my beebies wishlist

Since becoming a Beebies Baby Store Brand Ambassador I’ve had the absolute pleasure of familiarising myself with the vast array of maternity, baby and toddler products on the website and have had to stop myself from filling my basket on more than one occasion. Fortunately, Beebies owner Ami asked me to put together a Beebies Wishlist which has allowed me to choose some of my favourite products in the ultimate window shopping exercise. The Wishlist facility on the Beebies website will enable you to do the same, so you can come back and buy some bits later, and even share your Wishlist with friends and family if you want to make sure you don’t get 47 teddy bears as new baby gifts.

Having just found out that we are expecting our second boy bump, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my Wishlist products with you, and maybe you’ll find some inspiration here. As this is our second baby, we have kept some big items like a pushchair and Moses basket from when Little Man used them, so these are some other bits and pieces that really caught my eye that will be nice to have new for Bump.

Dreamgenii Butterfly Donut Pillow

Butterfly Donut Pillow

I had a support pillow this shape with Joe, and it had a multitude of uses during pregnancy and once Little Man arrived. It made a fantastic maternity support cushion and was indispensable for feeding him and helping him sit unaided as he grew. I love the cute butterfly design on this one.

Shnuggle Cosy Baby Bath

Shnuggle Baby Bath

We didn’t keep the baby bath that Joe had so we will need a new one for Bump. The Shnuggle bath caught my eye as it is quite uniquely shaped compared to the traditional shallow baby bath, and does look like it would cocoon the baby in lovely warm water. The soft touch material and ‘bum bump’ to stop baby slipping down are great features to make it a mum and baby friendly option for bathtime.

Purflo Breathable Nest

Purflo Breathable Nest

I love the idea of a little safe haven for baby to lie on for a doze without having to put them down in a Moses basket or cot and this hypoallergenic breathable nest looks like the perfect cosy spot.

BabaSac Navy Star

BabaSac Navy Star

I’m a sucker for anything with stars on and I love this cosy sleeping bag, perfect for snuggling in for nighttime feeds. This one has removable inner layers to make it multi-tog – ideal for my summer baby as cooler autumn nights come around.

Duck Baby Grow

Duck Baby Grow

How cute is this baby grow?! That is all.

Faye and Lou Rainbow Muslins

Rainbow Muslins

No more discoloured and slightly manky looking white muslins – these 100% cotton absorbent cloths will bring a splash of gorgeous colour to every episode of milky spit-up. A must-have.

Cosatto Noodle Supa Highchair

Cosatto Noodle Supa Highchair

Looking ahead a little bit to weaning and beyond, a highchair is something we don’t have from last time, and I am coveting the fab dinosaur design on this versatile Cosatto model. Fully adjustable, and with the ability to let baby sit up at the table without the tray (if you’re brave enough to no longer contain the mess), it will provide a safe and fun place to sit for all mealtimes.

And that should probably do for now!

All of the products on my Wishlist are available now on the Beebies website – head on over for a browse to make your own or you can click on each picture in this post to find out more about the products I’ve chosen. Now, which to buy first….

Beebies Ambassador Badge





19 weeks: double trouble

This week’s Baby size as fruit or vegetable: Grapefruit

Pregnancy symptom of the week: Scan jitters!

This week saw another nervy countdown to the 20 week (well, 19+5) scan, although we have been preoccupied with decorating our bedroom, and in reality I was a lot less terrified about the whole thing than I was for the dating scan. Feeling Bump’s reassuring wriggles every day now, I was just eager to see that everything was developing as it should be, and of course to hopefully find out what flavour baby they were.


Our wriggly little boy!

Just as at the 12 week scan, things could not have gone better. Bump seems to be growing well and everything was present and correct. And we were lucky to find out that we will be welcoming another BOY to the family! After having it in my head that I would have one of each and Bump would be a girl, I could not be more thrilled that Little Man is going to have a little brother – definitely double trouble!

Our tiny boy moved around constantly during the scan as we marvelled at his seemingly long legs curled up to his tummy, his little fists waving about (at one point sucking his thumb), and the amazing sight of the chambers of his heart beating fast in his chest. I had to roll onto my side at one point to encourage him to turn around so the midwife sonographer could get all the necessary measurements. I have a feeling this one will be a little tinker like his big brother.


19 week bump in stripy maternity top from New Look

Suddenly everything feels very real. We’re just about into the second half of my pregnancy, we know what we’re expecting, and we’re going to come to the business end of my ‘high risk’ problems in the coming weeks. I’ll be seen by the community midwife at 25 weeks for a blood pressure and urine check as the spectre of pre-eclampsia raises its head and we can hopefully keep it at bay. Then will come the first of my extra growth scans at 28 weeks, along with an appointment to see the consultant. The additional checks are very reassuring for me I have to say, and I’ll also be seen again by the folic acid study team soon too, which will mean more observations to ensure I’m on the right track. So far I am, and that’s all that matters right now.

I’m off to look at boy baby names.


I’m linking up with Ghostwriter Mummy’s Maternity Matters

Maternity Matters~ Ghostwritermummy

18 weeks: #WeLoveBeebies!

This week’s Baby size as fruit or vegetable: Dragon fruit

Pregnancy symptom of the week: Stretchy bump discomfort (official medical term)

The size comparisons to unusual fruit continue this week with the frankly weird ‘dragon fruit’ – has anyone ever had one of those? I’m fairly sure I’ve never even seen one in Tesco’s, never mind imagined my baby to be like one.

Beebies Ambassador BadgeAnyway, this week has proved to be hugely exciting, as pregnancy has ticked along nicely without any unpleasant illness to spoil the mood, and I was chosen by lovely Beebies Baby Store owner Ami to be a #WeLoveBeebies Brand Ambassador! If you didn’t catch my post applying to be one, apparently I did enough to convince Ami I would be a suitably competent person to represent her company and I’ll be doing so by shouting about Beebies fabness on social media and bringing a few things Beebies to my blog too.

I’ve already been loving some of their brilliant maternity wear, but when Bump arrives I’ll be sharing product reviews, opinion and the odd competition too, so I’d love for you to keep a look out for anything you might find useful with a new baby. Next week I’ll be sharing my first Beebies Wishlist – with my 20 week scan on Thursday and hopefully finding out what flavour baby we’re having, it will be the perfect opportunity to start a bit of virtual shopping and I’ll be sharing some of my favourite picks on the blog. The problem may come in drawing the line somewhere before I bankrupt myself. Note to self: must be strong!


18 week bump – ironically not in a Beebies Baby Store top in the week I become an Ambassador! This one is from The Essential One and is also lovely.

After feeling so poorly last week, I have felt much better this week, especially with nice little perks like Beebies putting the icing on the cake. My cough and cold have persisted but are improving and I’ve otherwise had a fairly uneventful time of it, pregnancy-wise. Bump seems to be expanding by the day though and I’ve had the first few comments from co-workers about the size of it (“Bloody hell, that’s popped all of a sudden hasn’t it?!”). The stretching feeling down the sides of my abdomen has been a little uncomfortable at times and I’ve experienced a bit of occasional pelvic pain, already making it more difficult for me to turn over in bed. And I’m not quite halfway through yet!

The next update will be a big one – scan time! Also, might have to look in Waitrose for a dragon fruit.

I’m linking up with Ghostwriter Mummy’s Maternity Matters

Maternity Matters~ Ghostwritermummy

17 weeks: in which i watch a lot of daytime tv

This week’s Baby size as fruit or vegetable: Navel orange

Pregnancy symptom of the week: Unexpected second trimester sickness!

A relatively brief update this week as it has involved little more than me lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. After having a stinking cold over Christmas and New Year, I came down with another one last weekend and ended up taking three days off work as it totally wiped me out.

Most unwelcome was the late-onset morning sickness that greeted me on Tuesday when I got up; having completely escaped any vomiting in the first four months of pregnancy, I suddenly found myself retching away while holding my own hair back for a few hours. Whilst wholly unpleasant, I do count myself lucky that the episode was mercifully short-lived. Quite how women suffering from severe pregnancy sickness can lead anything close to a normal life is beyond me – and many of them can’t. My heart goes out to them.

17 week bump in another lovely Beebies Baby Store maternity top!

17 week bump in another lovely Beebies Baby Store maternity top!

The only advantage to being off work ill has been a few days of guilty pleasure daytime TV – I watched about 37 episodes of Homes Under the Hammer and found myself glued to rich people looking at big houses in Devon in Escape to the Country. I may start recording some to watch during night feeds in a few months’ time. Back in 2010 I used to watch Road Wars or Brit Cops on rotation at 3am while feeding Little Man. Maybe it’s time for some kind of hybrid show as police chase a fugitive through rural Buckinghamshire and try to guess house prices as they go.

Feeling generally run down has left me with several little pregnancy niggles this week, from joint stiffness to pelvic discomfort, and my expanding bump has felt uncomfortable at times. On the plus side, I’m actually loving having more to show for it, and I’ve been enjoying feeling the welcome little wriggles which are yet to become more pronounced but seem to fairly regular each day now. Counting down the days now to the anomaly scan in a couple of weeks!

Oh, and after last week’s avocado confusion, I’ve no idea how different a navel orange is to a normal orange, but apparently it’s an important distinction when it comes to sizing babies.


I’m linking up with Ghostwriter Mummy’s Maternity Matters

Maternity Matters~ Ghostwritermummy