Crying Baby Quinoa

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Insta-lunch

Making AND then eating your own lunch… Ah, the eternal struggle of the new mum – me included. Which is why I’ve been hunting down the perfect no faff lunch recipes.

I found a version of this quinoa salad online but the original recipe called for herbs and general faffery so I simplified. The name came from the fact that Elliott started crying which meant I slightly burned the quinoa – oops!

INGREDIENTS

100g quinoa
1 Avocado (I defrosted these frozen ones from Tesco for convenience), chopped
100g cooked king prawns (again I defrosted some)
Knob of butter
Clove of garlic, crushed
5 plum tomatoes, halved
Bunch of spring onions, chopped

1. Cook the Quinoa as per the pack instructions (try not to burn it, like me)
2. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the garlic, cook for one minute
3. Add the prawns to the garlic butter and heat for a couple of minutes, making sure the prawns get covered in the garlicky goodness
4. Add the avocado, tomatoes, spring onions and prawns to the quinoa and stir
5. Enjoy!

This makes two portions so you can easily store one in the fridge for the next day. Simple, nutritious and relatively easy to eat with one hand!

What are your go-to lunch recipes?

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Baby Change B*tches

 

This incident took place yesterday (23rd November 2015) at the baby changing facilities near to the Halifax at the Merry Hill centre and if you are one of the people involved I hope you woke up to a vile poonami this morning! Karma is a b*tch, but so, it would seem, are you! 

Knock-knock!

I’m mid nappy change so ignore the impatient tapping on the door to the baby change facilities.

Knock-knock!

Knock-knock!

There they are again!

“I’m changing  a nappy!” I yell as loud at the top of my voice, incredulous that another parent doesn’t understand that sometimes these things take a little longer than anticipated!

The knocks subside. I continue with the nappy change.

A few minutes later…

Knock-knock

Knock-knock

And then a voice “Are you OK in there?”

“YES!” Me and my mother yell back. Elliott looking at our now angered faces with curiosity and me, being me, adding:

‘PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE!’

All this shouted through a locked door whilst I’m wiping poo off my babies bum and trying to get to grips with the, currently stiff, clips of the harness on his pushchair. Other than that I’m not being particularly slow considering I have a wiggly five month old in front of me who like to grab at his nappy and pull his legs up to his chest mid-change making it a challenge to get a nappy off or on. There are LOADS of other changing facilities in the centre, so I don’t see what the urgency for this particular room is. Would these women do the same if I was taking too long in a cubicle in the women’s toilets?

I was so, so angry. As it was, it was a fairly standard nappy change. But imagine if it had been a poonami requiring a total outfit change? Or perhaps my baby had been sick? Or, as if often the case with boys, weed everywhere? How did they know I wasn’t a brand new mum struggling with nappy changes, life with a baby and on the edge of tears (I did see a new mum burst into tears mid-nappy change in Mothercare once!). How did they know the child I was changing didn’t have special needs? What gave them the right to act in this way?

Sure, they were asking if I was ‘OK’ but they didn’t mean it. Perhaps the first time, but then to continue knocking after I had yelled at them, just shows that this was a thinly veiled ‘Hurry up!’. Seriously ladies. It’s hard being a mum and I thought we were supposed to support each other? Not put pressure on each other to complete a nappy change in record time?

Fortunately the baby blues have long departed for me. But if anyone tries to stand in the way of my babies happiness and comfort – WATCH OUT! Me and mom both wondered aloud if it would be inappropriate to smear Elliott’s dirty nappy in the faces of the waiting women custard pie style.

As we exited, the woman standing there was all smiles.

“I didn’t know there was time limit.” I scowled.

“Well there was a queue” she said, smiling again all sweetness – to be fair it might not have been her who knocked.

“Right” I concluded before heading off.

Did they ever think there was a queue because everyone got there at the same time? Sit in a Starbucks for long enough and you will often see the place go from no queue to out of the door and back to ghost town empty in the space of half-an-hour. Sometimes people just arrive to the same place at the same time.

To be honest, even if the queue was caused by my slow nappy changing skills I don’t really care. I just worry that Elliott will grow up with the babies of these impolite mothers.

Anyone else experienced anything like this?

 

 

 

From Super Slummy to Yummy Mummy – Back to Basics

22013355130_e710b6bccf_o.jpgElliott being a zen yoga baby!

What’s that saying?

Oh yes!

You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

Ah, yes, that one…

Not the first one that springs to mind when talking about a yummy mummy makeover perhaps? But one that I found quite apt once I’d pulled my list of 101 things to change about me together.

You see, I can slap on as much war paint as I like, paint my nails and coiff my hair. But unless what’s underneath is healthy, happy and a host of other things then it’s all kind of a waste of time.

I studied Psychology at A-level. It was hard and a very long time ago. But even now I remember back to some of the things we learned. Conditioning and Pavlov’s dogs has come in useful when I’ve been thinking about how to reward certain types of behaviour with Elliott (no, he doesn’t salivate at the sound of a bell – he salivates all the god darn time – he’s a teething baby!).

And, now I got to thinking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. How in order to attain self-actualisation (and who wouldn’t want that?) we need to build on a number of foundations. The first being physiological needs and including the need to…

  • Breathe
  • Eat
  • Drink water
  • Have sex
  • Sleep
  • Perform homeostasis (some fancy thing your blood does)
  • Poop

Pff! All every day common things that we take for granted right? Erm, not necessarily if you’re a new mum! If Elliott is having a meltdown I often find myself shallow breathing which only increases my anxiety. If I’m having a busy day and getting out of the door is the priority then I’ll often skip food and sometimes, shamefully, even a drink. When I do have a drink it tends to be coffee when it should be water. And as for the other requirements, well, let’s just say they all present their own unique challenges post baby. Apart from homeostasis – I’m not sure I can actually control that, which displeases my control freak nature!

So, whilst I’m not going to cease with the exterior makeover I am also going to try to work on the inside? How?

  • Downloading an app on my phone that chimes every hour to remind me to focus on my breath and doing more complete breathing meditations when I get chance
  • Planning out my meals for the following day to make sure I actually eat
  • Continually filling up my Starbies water cup to try to stay hydrated

I’m not going to go into detail regarding my strategies for the other list items if that’s OK with you? I’m fairly certain that no one wants to hear about the workings of my bowels or bedroom antics.

So, there, it turns out that when you’re a new mum it’s not just a case of slapping on a thick layer of foundation and heading out the door. It’s about taking care of yourself too. Sounds so obvious, but take it from one who knows its so easy to overlook!

From Super Slummy to Yummy Mummy – The Plan

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Enough is enough! So said a classic disco song and alas so did I. Bored of wearing misshapen leggings and tents I set about coming up with an action plan to transform me from slummy to yummy.

Of course, me being me, that masterplan is a list. Who doesn’t love a good list?

And, this, is what it says…

  1. Hair cut
  2. Take make-up off daily
  3. Face pack weekly
  4. Paint and shape nails weekly
  5. Moisturise daily
  6. Deep condition hair weekly
  7. Shave every other day
  8. Body scrub twice per week
  9. Floss
  10. Mouthwash
  11. Whitening toothpaste (probably should visit the dentist too – eek!)
  12. Gradual tan
  13. New make-up look
  14. Clothing audit
  15. Buy new clothes
  16. New glasses
  17. Exercise daily – even if just a walk
  18. Wax the bits that shaving doesn’t reach!
  19. Get eyebrows threaded
  20. Treat myself to a massage
  21. Dye hair

Some of this stuff probably seems obvious to those without a newborn – automatic, trivial and boring. But believe me when you have a newborn just remembering to go to the loo sometimes is a challenge! And then actually getting there, well… In fact, at the moment this list seems downright unachievable!

As soon as I had written the list I wanted to get cracking (patience has never been my strong point) but before I did I stopped to think. Maybe there was something else I should address before I looked at all this..?

TO BE CONTINUED…

I am officially a mummy mess

There she was casually, yet purposefully, strolling through Merry Hill, all pert bum and flat stomach. She was wearing tight white jeans (a la Liz Hurley) with stiletto shoes. Her hair perfectly blow dried, her nails beautifully manicured, her barely there make-up giving her skin a natural glow. She held her mobile phone in one hand whilst carefully pushing her buggy through the mall, a neat little change bag dangling from the handles.*

I hated her.

And even worse I hated me.

img_3103_2_16907243232_oStylish preggo!

I hated the fact that I was wearing Ugg boots, not because it was cold, but simply because they were the easiest thing to pull on before I left the house. I hated the fact that I was still wearing the leggings I had purchased during pregnancy in case my jeans dug in whilst I was playing with Elliott on the floor. I hated the fact that I was wearing a smock – again purchased when I was pregnant – which looked gorgeous with a bump and big boobs, but now looked lack lustre and drab.

21848840674_de0943c15e_oNot looking too shabby, although nowhere near as stylish as Elliott! 

BB cream barely covered my knackered skin and I hadn’t even bothered to apply eye make-up. I’d given up on my contacts and was wearing my, now dated, glasses and I think my hair was pulled back in an unflattering pony tail – I can’t even remember. The buggy looked good and I was holding my mobile in one hand (a la stylish mumma (see above)) but our change bag was fit to bursting – not such a stylish look!

dscn6595_15925774380_oMe all dressed up with some place to go (pre-baby)

I’ve never been massively stylish, I’ll admit, and I do think having fun with Elliott is far more important than spending hours on my appearance. I also think there’s got to be an element of practicality to the way you dress when you’re a mum. And then there’s the fact that you have to learn to shower, dry your hair (if your baby isn’t having a random ‘let’s be scared of the hairdryer’ kind of day), dress and do your make up in oh about 10 minutes ideally! But all those things aside I really do feel as though I’ve – ugh – let myself go.

photo-on-28-07-2015-at-1131_21470262296_oWet, messy, damaged hair – do care!

The trouble is I don’t know where to start to get myself back. My hair is in poor condition from being scrapped back in a pony tail when it was still wet during the first few frantic weeks of having a new baby and, to be fair, I was never that enamoured with the cut I had pre-birth anyway. It’s also at that awkward length where it sticks in the collar of your clothes and annoys the crap out of you. It’s dry one minute and greasy the next and, now that the post-pregnancy malting has started, incredibly thin. Don’t even get me started on the greys…

20828941999_3463451c17_oMy face says happy; my skin says blah!

Facially my skin is in no man’s land. Pregnancy hormones suited me and my skin literally bloomed. Post pregnancy I went through an incredibly dry period (unheard of for my oil slick skin) and now it just doesn’t know what to be – dull, dehydrated and saggy mostly. If the bags under my eyes get any bigger I won’t need to take a suitcase on next year’s holiday and can use my jowls for my carry on…

img_2962_16135522982_oMy skin dramatically cleared up during pregnancy that was one of the ways I knew I was ‘with child’. 

Body-wise I’ve slimmed down but my figure is nowhere near what it was before. My boobs – never the biggest to begin with – now resemble sad deflated balloons. My stomach looks flat from some angles and podgy from others. My thighs and bum are bigger (which I don’t mind) but also droopy (which I do mind). The skin on my body is angry and irritated.

21823070484_c141e63cd6_oA rare OOTD for Instagram. I think Elliott thought I was a big sensory toy and it has to be said his outfit is 100 times better than mine! 

My nails are short at most, painted if I’m lucky. My nail polish has actually worn off my fingernails at the moment rather than chipped – that’s a new one on me!

My eyebrows and general monkey hair maintenance has gone out of the window – resulting in emergency pre yoga armpit shaves.

As for my clothes. Practicality is the name of the game and so it should be to some extent. I don’t want to be one of those mum’s who can’t run after their child because I’m wearing inappropriate footwear, but – even though it wasn’t massively glamorous – my old wardrobe doesn’t seem to fit in with my current lifestyle. My maternity wardrobe is closer but my body is obviously lacking the curves needed to make it work.

So there we go… I feel like a bit of a mess and I desperately want to do something about it. Where do I begin people, where???

*Bet no one wants to talk to her at baby groups mind you!

Appreciating Every Moment

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Let’s admit it. Motherhood has its moments doesn’t it? Those moments when you’re covered in more bodily fluids than a Glastonbury portaloo, those moments when your baby is crying uncontrollably and you just don’t know why, those moments when you get woken up at 11pm, 1am, 3am, 5am and then you just give up and get up for the day. Yep, motherhood can be a mare and sometimes we’re all too quick to moan about it.

“Oh, he had me up twice last night, for no reason either…”

“Ugh! Her nappies are like something out of a horror movie at the moment.”

But, STOP! Imagine your life without that little bundle of joy. Imagine your day without their smiles when you tickle them. Imagine your day without their cuddles. Imagine your day without the soft touch of their fluffy hair and smooth skin. I don’t know about you, I may have only known Elliott for four brief months, but I can’t imagine life without him.

Something that has brought this home more than ever has been me learning of the sad deaths of two little tots, both in the past week. The first was only alive for 30 minutes before suffering his first cardiac arrest, followed by a round of fits and further arrests before sadly passing away. The second baby was just over a year old and again suffered fits before having a cardiac arrest and being pronounced brain-dead. So tragic.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that 3am stinky nappy doesn’t seem so bad now?

In fact, it made me give my Elliott popsicle extra big cuddles and appreciate every moment with him and how lucky we are to have him. Before I was pregnant I always tried to think of pregnancy as a science experiment – sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t – that was my way of preparing myself in case I suffered a miscarriage as so many friends before me had. So often pregnancy ends in tragedy. So often childbirth ends in tragedy. In essence anything can end in tragedy. And that’s all the more reason to take a moment not just to appreciate the little miracles that we’ve created but also to appreciate our family and friends and our own lives. Nothing brings home how grateful we should be for waking up each morning and having another 24-hours to spend however we wish – you’ll find me thanking my lucky stars and tickling Elliott’s tiny feet.