Pink or blue? Our toddler colour clash

Pink and blue footprintsThere’s a colours theme in my home at the moment. Much of it revolves around pink and blue. It’s not all about the new baby – although we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl – it’s more about Scrip and her sudden insistence of which colours are her favourites and which are appropriate for her and her friends.

Starting at the end of last year she’s very clear that her favourite colours are pink and purple, and her  nannyshare buddy’s favourite is blue (he’s a little boy). I’m asked if I like pink and purple, as are most females, and same with blue for Daddy and males.

I’m not quite sure where this has started. Maybe it’s the drip drip effect of cartoons and clothes and toys (particularly those advertised on TV). We’ve never deliberately set out to buy her lots of pink things but she has ended up with her fair share. But by no means is her room a frilly, pastely assault on the senses. And we’ve actively tried to buy a mix of ‘girls’ toys’ and unisex ones.

Of course it might be a phase, as most things are (or at least we tend to reassure ourselves they are). Or it may be that her favourite colours are genuinely pink and purple and may continue to be. But what started with requests for a pink teddy and pink vests just before Christmas has now turned into pink everything (‘can this Lego cat be pink?’, ‘can muzzy be pink?’, can I have pink play doh’).

In the meantime I have a feeling I’ll have to learn to love the colour. After all, blue is for boys.

Sew Pretty: courses for complete beginners to seasoned pros

Sew Pretty sewing coursesBack in November I spent a great few hours refreshing my sewing skills at Sew Pretty, a sewing workshop in a purpose-built garden studio in Wimbledon. The owner, Katya, has created a lovely, relaxed atmosphere for those who want to start from scratch, those who are keen to dust off their sewing machines and learn some new skills (like me) or those ready to tackle more complex projects.

I’d really recommend a Sew Pretty workshop or course – they would make a great, original present (as mine was) and they’re a good way to learn something new whilst also creating something to take away: from PJ’s to bags to dresses.

Here’s my review for West London Mum to tell you more.

The Chokeables by St John Ambulance: how to help a choking child

St John Ambulance The Chokeables advertWould you know what to do if your child was choking? Four out of five parents don’t – me included. I roughly knew that I should turn a child over and slap them on the back but had no firm ideas about how many times, how forcefully or what to do next.

A new ad by St John Ambulance is tackling our knowledge gap, following research that says that for almost 60% of mothers choking is a major fear. I was lucky enough to get a preview of it last week (it’s great).

Designed to be entertaining as well as informative, it’s not one of those terrible, hard-hitting (excuse the pun) ads that try and shock parents into action. It’s actually more like the memorable Stayin’ Alive/Vinnie Jones ad from the British Heart Foundation a few years ago.

In case you haven’t yet seen it, here is The Chokeables. See if you can recognise some of the famous voices, too:

After seeing the ad we were able to have a practical session and try the technique for ourselves, guided by a St John Ambulance trainer. Obviously you should learn from a qualified person but in a nutshell, here’s what you should do (and here’s a video to show more):

  • For a baby, place it across your knee, supporting the head and give up to five back blows, between the shoulder blades (the same for a child, but they can stand and bend over after about 12 months)
  • Follow this by turning it over and giving up to five chest thrusts, compressing the chest about a third of the way in for each one
  • Repeat these up to three times before calling an ambulance, checking the mouth in between to see if there’s anything easy that can be hooked out. But don’t try and get something that’s too far down – you risk pushing it down further.

I’ve been thinking about taking a baby and child first aid course for a while, so it was great to try this myself and see the best way to hold the child, how hard to hit and where exactly. We also learned about resuscitation for if the child suddenly gets unresponsive – something I felt I knew the basics of but it was great to learn from an expert.

I came home and shared with my husband and he’s looking into courses for himself – there’s a 3-hour St John Ambulance course for around £30, which I think is really reasonable, or a longer session for around £100.

I hope you like the ad enough to pass it on – please share to help save lives.

St John Ambulance website
St John Ambulance first aid courses
More first aid advice videos


Mami 2 Five


2015: welcoming a year of change

Hello 2015 beach sceneI’m not as anti-New Year’s resolutions as some people seem to be, but I rarely make a firm list (and even more rarely, stick to it). However, I do believe in fresh starts and new beginnings each new year, and this will be particularly true of 2015.

As December turns to January baby number two becomes something that’s actually going to happen this year – and even this spring. Suddenly everything seems more real. The bump is bigger, the clothes need to be stretchier and unfortunately, my SPD is back with a vengeance.

People I work with are starting to ask if I’m on a countdown now. Not yet – I’ve still got around two months to go there (I think) so it’s business as usual. Same with Scrip. Even though she’s shortly going to become a big sister and her nannyshare buddy’s family is gearing up to move out of London, it won’t be until at least May, so I’d like to keep things normal for her for as long as possible.

We’re also going to put her name down for nursery soon, so she can go when she’s three, even if it’s just for one day a week. There’s one just across the road which is quite new, is Montessori and seems good. I went one afternoon to see the classes in full swing (pretty different to a more clinical nursery open day) and I got a great feeling from it. Scrip’s understanding more and more each day and she knows that she’ll be going there at some stage, and she seems to be looking forward to it.

So everything’s on the verge of changing, but not just yet. And although some of the changes will be pretty dramatic, I’m hoping to keep the ride as smooth as possible.

I hope your 2015s have started well. What changes are you expecting this year?

Guest post: The best of Debenhams S/S 2015 for children

Debenhams SS 2015A guest post from my lovely sister (one of them) and Scrip’s Aunty – who was lucky enough to preview the Debenhams Spring/Summer 2015 clothing collection. Some children’s pieces particularly caught her eye and here are her highlights (sorry, she couldn’t get the prices from Debenhams at this stage):

So I know we’ve still got the tinsel up… But cast your mind forward to late May, June, July next year.

That’s what I was doing at the Debenhams Spring/Summer 2015 press show, and I like what I saw!

Whizzing past furniture (impressive), interiors (beautiful), the lingerie wall (I want one!), it was kidswear that grabbed my attention, and here are the key pieces I can see Scrip rocking next summer.

1. Lilac dress
If this was in my size I’d buy it. Ideal for parties, weddings, scooting through puddles…

2. Playsuit
Over a swimming costume on the beach, sightseeing with a cardi, this is one super-cool piece. Not sure if playsuits are welcomed by mums, but as an aunty I don’t need to worry about that!

3. Denim skirt
A denim skirt goes with just about anything, and I predict this will be Scrip’s go-to skirt next summer, teamed with a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Will work with tights too for autumn/winter 2015 (actually, let’s not go there…)

4. Striped dress
This is a no-mess dress, best accessorised with a pair of blue sunnies and possibly an ice cream

5. Cover-up
How sweet will this floaty top look over a vest and jeans or leggings?

6. Cushion
Okay – so not an item of clothing… but just look at him! Even dog-wary Scrip couldn’t fail to give this pooch a safe home on the sofa.

7. Yellow dress
And finally, I haven’t forgotten you sis! If you’re planning to hit the beach for a well-earned rest after baby number two, this yellow beauty will look super over a bikini, accessorised with a changing bag!

The 5 rules of an extended family Christmas

Merry ChristmasThe Christmas pendulum has swung back to my family this year and so we’re in a windy but dry (and always beautiful) Cornwall for the week. Scrip and I drove down at the weekend with one of the Aunties (helped by hot chocolates, pastries and plenty of Christmas songs) and we picked up my husband from the train station today.

These are my favourite Christmases – lively, animated (with the odd disagreement thrown in), warm and fun. But I do sometimes find myself forgetting there are unwritten rules of an extended family Christmas, which have emerged over alternate Christmases for the last few years and particularly since having Scrip. I’ve noted them down so I won’t forget them next time:

  1. Remember the new routine – whilst I’ve been off trying to become a grown up, new regulations seem to have been brought in at my family home, and I’m still learning them. It’s always red top milk in tea – woe betide anyone who mixes it up with the green stuff – coats are banned from banisters and never, ever forgot to refill the water filter (cardinal sin).
  2. Limit the amount of washing you generate (and it’s best to hide the full extent of your children’s). It’s been a while (over 30 years) since little people were regular inhabitants here and although you’re very familiar with just how many items can get messy in a 24 hour period, your parents probably aren’t. Even if you’re washing it yourself, be discreet – note: asking how to use the tumble dryer for the fourth time is a dead give away that another load’s gone on.
  3. Adapt to the portion sizes – as a super-hungry 6-month pregnant person I could eat without limits at the moment and my husband has never had a problem tucking away seconds. But conversely, my parents seem to eat less and less. Learn to make the most of any pre-dinner snacks, enjoy a pudding and, if your tummy’s still rumbling, make a mental note of where the Christmas cheese is stored.
  4. Train your children up to get them used to Christmas lunch ahead of the big day – this applies more to my in-laws than my parents, to be fair (my mum and dad have brought up three fussy girls so they are just delighted when anything is eaten). Scrip eats well but she eats particularly well when no one’s monitoring. My MIL, however, takes an active interest in what’s been eaten and what’s not, and is a fan of ‘gentle’ encouragement (which goes down as well as a plate of peas with Scrip…). So we’ve had a few practice roasts with Scrip in the last month or so. She’s been eating gravy (good), sprouts (very good) and turkey (could do a lot better).
  5. Enjoy the rest if you can can - my family are particularly good at keeping Scrip constantly entertained (I could learn a thing or two here). In fact she’s gone out for a long walk with them as I type. It’s hard to switch down a gear, but as I think they’re enjoying it as much as she is, I’m going to try and take a few breaks with my feet up this Christmas: a glass of ginger beer in hand and my mum’s festive Good Housekeeping resting on my bump.

What are your family Christmas rules?

Merry Christmas, thank you so much for reading this year and I hope you all have a happy and peaceful day.

Bonapeti – healthy fresh meals prepared in minutes

BonapetiReading the Bonapeti description, they could be describing my life: “Busy London living”, keen to have wholesome meals but without the “cooking, chopping and preparing”. I love cooking, I really do. But I particularly love it when I’ve got time to do it and unless we get ourselves organised at the weekend and fill the fridge and freezer (which rarely happens) we’re faced with cooking from scratch 4 or 5 times a week. And by the time we’ve had the bath, stories and a few rounds of water-carrying to the bedroom (in Scrip’s special ‘sucking cup’, obviously) it’s 8pm and the adrenalin has run dry.

I will happily resort to cereal or beans on toast when I’m really tired, but not every night. So Bonapeti did sound appealing, and when we were offered a box to trial I was really intrigued. Continue reading