Snot of epic proportions


Bubba is just getting over a bad flu. Well, all three of us are. He got it first. I knew I’d find it tough but I didn’t realise how heart wrenching it would be to see him sick. All of my being wanted to take away his pain and unhappiness. Us getting sick too made everything much harder.

The worst of it was his refusal to take his meds. Trying to get a meagre 5mls of antibiotic into a screaming, winching, feverish, snotty baby was no mean fete. Doing it twice a day was exhausting. We even had to resort to suppositories to get some pain meds into him.

Then there was the snot. Rivers and rivers of thick mucous and he would not let us get it out. The saline sprays were effective for all of 30 seconds so the usefulness to his-screaming-and-effort-to-get-it-up-his-nose ratio just wasn’t high enough for repeated use. We got two different snot-removal-sucky contraptions but he ducked and weaved like a pro-boxer to avoid them. ‘High tech’ solutions gave way to desperate (and quite gross) attempts at sucking out the mucous but even that was a struggle. The experience has left me pondering why babies are unable to blow their noses. There must be some method in the madness, right? Or was human evolution just thwarted by boogers?


13 days of poop watch can send you potty


After 13 days, yes thirteen days, my six month old son pooped. I have to say, when the poopgates finally gave way my heart sang. Understandably it had not been a pleasant time for the little one. Or for us.
Up until day 7 we were unconcerned…we’d been told that amount of time between poops was not uncommon with breast fed babies. There were plenty of (very stinky) farts so we reckoned the unloading would come soon…
Day 9 is when cycling his legs and rubbing his tummy in a clockwise direction started to take on a desperate quality.
Day 10 brought the earliest appointment we could get with our GP and we were armed with lactulose and glycerin suppositories. I was tasked with the suppository insertion (smaller fingers). It did not go well. Several failed attempts, a very red butt and an upset little bubba later (it just would not stay in!) we gave up.
It was the lactulose that eventually sorted it.
I was truly happy and very, very relieved. I didn’t even mind that most of it escaped the nappy and ended up on me. Or that it all happened at 10 o’clock. In the pm.
All that mattered was the contented smile of my son once he was all cleaned up. The joys of parenting…

Pregnancy and all that jazz…

Pregnancy and all that jazz…

I recently had a baby. He is my first. My ideas of what pregnancy, giving birth and parenthood are all about were mostly wrong. I like to think I’m not alone in my naivety.
The thing is no one actually tells you how it really is. Actually, come to think of it, maybe they do. I can’t remember because even if they did I doubt I’d have understood. You don’t. You just don’t comprehend it until you’ve done it. Indulge me while I relate my findings.
All the mothers-to-be reading this, I’m now gonna spout on about my recent experiences so (as I’m sure you will) you can just choose to ignore it. Hopefully, my meanderings will strike a chord with all the new mothers. No doubt all the experienced mothers will roll their eyes at the silliness of my prose.
On pregnancy…
It wasn’t all pregnancy glow and cute bump t-shirts (although there was some of both thankfully). The beginning was tough. I had bad, real bad ‘all day’ sickness. Any smell or even slightly strong taste made me gag. I couldn’t even brush my teeth without retching. The smell of coffee, one of favourite smells, had me reaching for a sick bag. The coffee smell aversion did help in a way because I gave up caffeine as soon as I found out I was pregnant. No tea, coffee or chocolate. This was surprisingly easy…eventually. I had to endure a brutal 5 day migraine (coupled with the ‘all day’ sickness) but once my head stopped hurting I strangely didn’t crave any of it. When I stopped feeling sick, I started craving meat. Steak and cake. But no pickles.
Growing a baby inside me was a weird combination of this-is-what-my-body-was-designed-to-do and there’s-an-alien-in-belly-quick-get-sigourney! My hormones raged, my tendons loosened, my stomach stretched and my baby grew. Feeling my baby move inside me was magical. Every. Single. Time.
My hubby was super diligent. We decided he’d read up on everything (aches and pains, stages etc.) so I wouldn’t have to freak out unnecessarily about anything. He got a really great book for dad’s. Much more mellow than the biblical one I got for mums. Following the advice in his book, he booked us on an NCT course.
I’d advise any first time parent to do an ante-natal course. Why? It gives you bonding time with your partner before all the craziness starts. You might get to make new friends with people who’ll be going through the same stuff as you around the same time. It gets you thinking about the parent you’re gonna be. It does NOT prepare you for birth in any way! I actually laugh out loud now when I think of my lovely 3-page-all-scenarios-covered-except-the-one-that-actually-happened birth plan. Our course leader got us to draw what we wanted our birthing room to look like. That’s another joke my hubby and I share. To be fair to it, nothing can really prepare you for your birth experience.
On child birth…
Nothing prepared me. Mine was not a good one. But I won’t dwell on it. Suffice to say, when the shit hit the fan, I found the inner strength to carry on. The only thing that mattered was that my baby was ok. I didn’t know I had that strength.
On parenthood…
It’s tough. But also it’s awesome! Words don’t do justice to the immense love I feel for my child. It’s unlike any other love. And the closeness I felt to my husband before our son was born was only a fraction of what I feel for him now. Kids don’t come with manuals so we’re pretty much making it up as we go along. I’m petrified of screwing it up but I’m putting all I can in to making sure I don’t. It’s the scariest and also the most exhilarating ride of my life.
I do have one bit of advice to parents-to-be…advice that I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to.
Sleep! Sleep long. Sleep hard. Nap during the day. Lie-in every chance you get. Snooze on your commute. Nod off on the sofa while watching tv. Just sleep. While you still can.

providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions…

providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions…

Here’s the thing with life being every moment – it can get tough to use some of those moments to blog about said life. Especially when moments of nothing-else-more-important-to-do are few and far between. This has meant I’ve had to ponder the usefulness of writing about my life…I need to justify to myself the use of the time. The thing I came up with (well my husband actually came up with it) is that it could be cathartic and boy do I need that sweet sweet purging some days! So I’m happy with cathartic.
Since I last wrote a lot has happened. Death, marriage, birth. The whole spectrum of life. Where to begin?
The saddest moment has been the passing of Nanny Nelly. The pain has been immense, especially for my husband. She was the main positive influence in his life growing up and he battles with the loss of her physical presence daily. The year anniversary of her passing was last weekend and it hit him hard. Unfortunately, despite my best intentions (the road to hell and all that…) I was not the comfort I had intended to be. Why?
Well this brings us to the other recent major event, the birth of our son. Hence I am severely sleep deprived and basically operating on reserve battery. Also every so often I have an extreme sense of humour fail. Last weekend this heady combination resulted in a stupid argument over an irrelevant issue at the worst possible time. It was awful.
However, we came out the other side more sensitive of each other’s needs and with a greater desire to meet those needs. It’s tough coping with the pressures of new parenthood but, like our little one, we’re learning every day. With some hard work this will translate into us being better partners and better parents.
Well…hard work and more sleep.

So writing about all this has helped. Cool. Let’s hope my renewed vigour to enter the world of blogging will amount to more than a fart in a whiskey bottle this time…

Ninety-seven years young.

Ninety-seven years young.

My husband’s nan just turned 97 years young. She is an amazing woman, not just because of her age but because of her wisdom and strength of character.
She loves regaling us with her experiences of life in the East end of London, especially during the war, and we are both very willing listeners. It’s mind-blowing to think of the changes she has borne witness to during her life and how gracefully she has adapted to them. It feels really special spending time with her.

She is a skilled baker and cake decorator: her birthday cake creations are the stuff of legend. She has very kindly taken me under her wing as I have been honing my baking skills. I always get nervous when I show her any of the fruits of my culinary labours so the birthday cake I made brought on many thoughts of self-doubt. Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to try something a bit different. Lemon cake with a passion fruit curd, decorated with a sugar paste passionflower and passion fruit seeds as well as edible basil flowers (they added an oddly tasty flavour).

I held my breath when she tasted it. Success! She loved it and I felt awesome!



Stop and smell those roses.


Life is unpredictable and that unpredictability can be disconcerting. Enter routine. It grounds us, envelopes us, comforts us. But it also blinds us.  In our everyday routines we can become blinkered to all the little details that amaze in their simple beauty and dumbfound in their underlying complexity.


Gardening is one of those activities that’s embedded in routine.  Digging, planting, weeding, slug-killing, watering.    For me these mundane chores are welcome distractions, a time set aside to think and contemplate akin to that trance-like state you enter when washing up.  It can be easy not to see the resplendence but for the fact that every day the garden offers up something new. It could be a new budding, a blooming flower, a spiders web caught in the morning dew or just our cat asleep under the olive trees. Gardens marry the chaos of nature with the routine of humanity in a wonderful unison of activity.



Going local down in Devon


Staycations seem to be all the rage lately so I thought I’d post some pics of places and things to do in North Devon (a regular destination for my hubby and I because it’s home to a few of our favourite people).
Among the highlights are:
– Patriotic plants at RHS Rosemoor
– Glass blowing in Great Torrington
– A spot of tea on the green at Westward Ho!
– Shopping for Denby at Atlantic Village
– Amazing rock formations at Hartland Quay
– Delicious clotted cream tea at the Lavender farm in Hartland
– The a-Llama-ing wildlife in Monkleigh