Congratulations Cuddledry (we knew you were great!)

We and our fellow Cuddledry Super Bloggers received some exciting news today! This month, Cuddledry towels scooped both the gold AND silver ‘Best Baby Towel’ awards from Loved by Parents, confirming their continued excellence in producing innovative, useful and high quality products. The winning products were the Original Cuddledry Apron Towel which we love so much we frequently give as a new baby gift, and the new Cuddleswim Baby Towel. The simple brilliance of the Apron Towel has been recognised since the product’s infancy, attracting the attention of all four dragons when it featured on Dragon’s Den in 2007 and going on to win over 25 awards. Worn as an apron, it keeps mums and dads dry during bathtime whilst allowing them to have both hands free to safely bath their newborns.


We’re about to move from the apron towel to the ‘big girl’ toddler Cuddledry, what should we go for, dinosaur or pink polkas?!

What’s in your changing bag?

I’m delighted to have been included on the brilliant Make Do and Push blog, in Hannah’s ingenious What’s in Your Changing Bag? feature. This really brings out the nosy parker in me, I love our Skip Hop bag, it’s like a tardis, and it’s great to look inside the bags of other bloggers to see what other ‘must haves’ are lurking out there in Mother and Baby land!

This is just a teaser, you can read more here

Congratulations to Wills and Kate on George’s Arrival!

He’s here! Lovely to see Kate looking so well after giving birth and thanks to them both for letting us have a glimpse, Wills seems so like his mother, she would have been so proud I’m sure to welcome her grandchild!

We were delighted to feature in Tesco’s special Royal Baby Book offering advice to the then pregnant Duchess and her husband.


You can see the fantastic tips here, how exciting that our Jossy has had an audience with royalty already!


First words

I’m so pleased to have a place to record Joss’ development and funny little ways! We have had some really good first words in the last week or two, and a tooth at 14m at last!

Here’s a sample conversation with Jossy!

Mammy: What does a doggy do?

Jossy: Wuff!

Mammy: That’s right, wuff, what about a snake?

Jossy: sssssssss! (this kills me!)

Mammy: Shall we blow some bubbles?

Jossy: Bubbas

She also says tikotiko which are tickles and says this when stroking cats and dogs (she’s totally animal mad but we live next to an urban farm so no surprise there then!) and duckaduckaducka which started off as a noise she liked along with doardoardoar but if I ask her to bring the duck she now says duck and brings it over!

Here she is chatting to the animals on TV!



What’s the story?

What's the story?

What a fab idea for a linky from Podcastdove! I loved Mummy Barrow’s contribution and knew I had just the photo!

This was taken by my hubby in Paris on honeymoon in July 2011. We had a whole week to enjoy the city and this photo takes pride of place on our living room wall. Called Shhhh by Jef Aerosol this mural is next to the Stravinsky fountain near then Pompidou Centre, I like urban art and this is breathtaking, we read more about the man himself on returning home and learned it’s a self portrait, the red arrow his signature and his work can be spotted around France using this as its identifier.

I love this photo because it reminds me of our honeymoon, but also I love that when my hubby took it, a bird was just taking flight, if you look closely it’s not part of the mural but it looks like it could be!

I don’t know how she does it…

I love a good book, because I’m reading quite theoretical texts day in day out for my Masters degree I love to pick up something totally light-hearted. I love Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It – no wonder it was made into a blockbuster film, it’s totally topical for the generation of the juggling mother and Pearson writes with great wit and verve. For me this is no ‘chick lit’ novel, although the cover betrays this, her protagonist Kate Reddy is brought to life by an author with a brilliant eye for detail, a heroine for the ‘can’t have it all…. can I?’ mother.

We were the first of our friends to marry, the first to have children, with only other mamas at baby groups to compare myself to they seemed to have made a really easy transition back to work, breezily they’d ask where Joss would be going, how brilliant it would be to have a hot cup of tea, adult conversation, use my brain again. Inside I was panicking, how would we manage the busy mornings, what if I had to undertake a really big task at work on no sleep, were there alternative childcare arrangements, which would be the best for me, for Joss???

I’ve been back for 12 weeks now, I feel quite settled but am still aware that I want to have it all and I can’t so something has to give. I’m also acutely aware that my ‘organised chaos’ whilst a tried and tested method for living life pre-children, isn’t so adequate when we have 100 things to do before we can get out the door and only ten minutes to do them in.

things to do

The emotional side of leaving my darling child is a conflicted one, I’d be lying if I said I don’t like my work days, I know a few other Mamas who feel the same but maybe others do and prefer not to say. I am a better mother the other five days of the week because I have another self that has other responsibilities, space in her head for more than just the housework, contributes and can take some space from the minutae of raising a child. On the other hand, leaving her is an incredible wrench, it’s knowing that she will be chatting to someone else, sharing lunch with someone else, I won’t cross her mind at all but she’s always in mine. I pop out for lunch and see something she would be interested to see, see another child doing something that she would be amused by, but I know she’s settled and happy and will be waiting with a huge grin when I pick her up.

What I most struggle with is the pace of time and managing it. There’s this tension between the start of the week where the hours and days stretch ahead, and the end where I return home on a Thursday, frantic to prepare a meal, get a nappy wash on so she has something for her bum for the next day, make the lunches, wash up, tidy and prepare my own clothes for the following day, into morning, getting everything ready and racing to be at the childminder on time to get to the office on time…. And then the return home, the Metro is delayed because it’s so warm that the overhead line cable has snapped (really!) and so I take a taxi and am late for Joss who is now hungry and crabby… Kate Reddy clearly feels my pain; “If I stay in the bathroom long enough Richard will fall asleep and will not try to have sex with me. If we don’t have sex, I can skip a bath in the morning. If skip the bath, I will have time to start on the e-mails that have built up while I’ve been away… ”

Then there’s the guilt, OK if I didn’t work we wouldn’t long have a roof over our heads but maybe I should have had a better career, a better house to take the pressure off… “Personally, I find nonworking mothers awkward company because it’s like someone standing there holding up a large polished mirror, the better to show the reflection of my guilt.”

I was struck by this when doing some less light hearted reading. I’m researching and writing about maternal time for my dissertation, I read a really insightful article by Heather Elliot which gave me some real food for thought. You might like to read it here

She also talks about Pearson’s book (fate, no?!) and her own experience of running into a friend and telling her she’s gone back to work “Does he miss you?’ she asks lightly. Mommy Wars.” I find the idea of being a ‘good enough’ mother really interesting, as a self-confessed perfectionist could this ever be enough for me? Motherhood has really forced upon me a sense of needing to let go of this, yet it forms a massive part of my identity and is something I look for in other mothers so it really interested me that Elliot found the same in her research – “I often come away from the mothers I interview wondering if they are ‘alright’, if they are coping. In thinking about my experience of reading, I also spot how vulnerable my mothering was, how easily I started to doubt myself. I am on the look-out for a similar sensitivity in the mothers I interview.”

So I see these other mothers and think to myself, I don’t know how she does it… But I do it, maybe not well, but I do. I do work, study and juggle, there are some practical skills I have yet you hone. Packing a bag the night before is something that has always evaded me, proper preparation prevents p**s poor performance apparently. I’m not a preparer, I’m a flapper, a frantic whirligig of activity slowly moving towards the front door, shouting to my husband quick, grab this, that, and the other, and constantly reminding him we have to be about by 8:15 or the world will cave in on us and spark a chain of events resulting in…being a bit late for work. Remembering things along the way and then, oh sh*t I’ve forgotten x,y,z. I probably ought to keep a diary, I buy one in December every year, crisp white pages, I love this one, how could I not want to write all my appointments in this, I’ll be a new woman, January 15th comes around and I stop and never return to the damned thing!


Call it procrastination, call it head burying in the sand, I know I’ll be the Kate Reddy that’s bashing shop bought mince pies for the school fair with a rolling pin to pass them off as my own! Why change the habit of a lifetime, eh?

A day in the life…

…I wouldn’t change it for anything but wow motherhood isn’t what I imagined! It sometimes feels like a constant round of washing, cooking, cleaning, changing, chasing, feeding, and a flop on the sofa at the end of the day, interspersed with work days, uni days and the odd break from it all to pop to the flicks with Mr B!

My least favourite job is easily nappy stuffing, I love them and it’s satisfying to see them lined up but it’s the only part of cloth bumming I don’t like!


My fave part at the moment is chasing about, I’ve lost 11lb on slimming world and am happy to get my extra ‘body magic’ chasing after this crazy cracker, caught her trying out the slide at softplay today…err pretty sure that’s not how a slide works Joss!


Some days I do take it all a bit too seriously, like last night, Joss took 2 hours to go over to sleep and all I could think about was the washing, getting ready for the next day, but most guilt-inducing today my time to relax slipping away, a post by Orli, Just Breathe made me stop. I was behaving like a child, one that knows better and needed reminding to grow up! A welcome wake up call thanks, I have strengthened my resolve to work on my patience and remember that I am not a toddler, I have a toddler, we don’t need two girls throwing their toys out of the pram!

A bit of history

9th July 2011 I married my best friend after over ten amazing years together! We celebrated our two year anniversary last week and I looked through some old photos. We’ve changed a lot over the years but always have a smile for each other, no matter what changes around us, or changes us. I feel quite old looking at these photos, typically photos of us together are from holidays or nights out where everything is light and fun, but it did remind me that we need to take some time out soon just Mam and Dad, to touch base, catch up and make sure we’re here for each other as well as for Jossy. Tips on making this happen without guilt at leaving a gorgeous tot would be appreciated!


Now that we have Joss we’re a family of three + dog. We took her to see where we got married, Saltwell Park will always hold a special place in our hearts so we’ll make lots of return trips in the years to come…

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