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Cigarettes and Calpol

Attempting to make sense of parenthood, life, love, and my own mind.

New Baby Gift Ideas

Buying gifts for a new baby can be a minefield. There is so much out there advertising itself as essential and perfect for newborns, in actual fact a lot of it is crap that nobody needs (or really wants to be honest). I think this is especially difficult if you don’t have children yourself – I know when I had TI I was inundated by soft toys, completely impractical outfits, and even a few pairs of baby sunglasses…

So I’ve put together a collection of items we would actually like to receive, things that are useful, beautiful, and helpful for new parents and their babies. (And if it also serves as a slight hint…ideal!)

(None of these products are ads, they are all things I have either bought or intend to buy and love! Unless anyone wants to send me some freebies of course, I am now unemployed after all…)

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Push Presents

I know as an English woman I’m supposed to reject all traditions rooted in American capitalism. But I happen to be an English woman who loves me a present, so really, any excuse.

The idea of a push present is something I’m majorly on board with. You’ve just watched the woman you love grow your child inside her for over 9 months, probably not very comfortably, then you’ve either seen her push said child out of a very small hole or be sliced in half and had it pulled out. Either way, I’d say girl’s earned a present.

Not to mention your house is about to be filled with gifts and admirers, none of them for her. Having a newborn can be seriously isolating, even when you’re surrounded by people who love you they are often more focussed on the new tiny person and don’t really think to ask about you.

I shouldn’t need to justify this, buy her a damn present! I’ve compiled a list of some things that would definitely have you on the front cover of Good Daddy Weekly.

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Matt’s Mega Mackerel

You know when somebody has that one dish that they just totally nail and it’s so good you could eat it forever? This is that dish in our house. Thanks to Honest Fish and morning sickness ruining fish for five months we have a freezer that is still pretty well stocked with the most beautiful, local mackerel.

This is the perfect dish if you’re not to sure about mackerel or are fairly new to fish (which I was, I’m such a fish wimp!), the sauce stops it being too ‘fishy’ and the super crispy skin is amazing! Even my mum liked it, and my mum is the ultimate fanny when it comes to fish.

You may notice something different about this recipe post, there are shit loads of photos. Matt is so much better at this blogger life than me (although funnily enough I still have to be the one to type it up…)

There was a disagreement on the name of this recipe. Matt wanted ‘Matt’s Mega Mackerel Surprise’ or ‘Roger’. This is my life. Sympathy flowers welcome.

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Damn Fine Lasagne

This is another recipe that’s taken from a Jamie Oliver one and adapted to be easier, less pretentious, and (not to toot my own horn) more delicious!

I’ve made a lot of lasagnes in my time; from the basic, shit, sugar-filled jarred types with associations of a certain (quite racist?) puppet family, to the most dry, bland, homemade attempts – usually with added peas, why did I add peas?! The one thing that’s always gone to shit with my lasagne attempts is they always go sloppy. It’s more of a soup with some pasta sheets. They might have tasted good but it don’t look pretty on a plate! Finally I think I’ve cracked it with this one!

This recipe looks long and complicated, but it’s not actually that bad! Plus you have leftovers to freeze and there’s a dinner ready for another night. Boom! Mum win!

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Fear of Breastfeeding

When I had my daughter I was unsure about many aspects of parenting. Would I cosleep? Would I let her cry it out? Would I have any fucking idea of how to do any of it (spoiler – I didn’t)? But one thing I was sure of, without a shadow of a doubt, was that I would breastfeed.

I knew all the benefits – for health, for bonding, for my wallet. Who wouldn’t be sold on that?! And I was sure I wasn’t ‘blessed’ (*slow look to camera*) with these H cups for nothing.

Turns out breastfeeding wasn’t as easy or as blissful as I was sure it would be.

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Mini Babymoon

I’ll admit it, I always thought the idea of a babymoon was a bit wank. I don’t know if it’s the horrendous name, the ultra-smug Binky and JP style photos of a two-week break in Hawaii, or just me being a grumpy cow, but I never thought a babymoon was something I’d get on board with.

Considering I’m always happy to find an excuse to run away for a night or two it does seem a bit stupid that this was one I was willing to ignore. But luckily I had a last minute change of heart and booked us a night away in a beautiful hotel with a pool and an amazing restaurant and boy am I glad I did!

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Maternal Mental Health

[Trigger warning for suicidal thoughts]

If, like me, your social media feeds have been full of ‘shouty selfies’ (my opinion on selfies for ‘awareness’ is for another post, another day) and incredible stories of brave women overcoming PND you’ll be aware that this week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. Something that I (obviously) feel very strongly about and am 100% behind.

However when it came to sitting down and thinking about my own input into the conversation I found myself a bit lost. I didn’t know at all where to start.

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Stretch Marks, Marketing and Self-hate.

Some of you might have the pleasure of watching me talk shite on Instagram stories on a regular basis, others of you might believe you have more important things to do with your lives (you’re wrong). Those of you that do may have seen my little rant about creams and oils aimed at pregnant bellies, and the negative marketing that they use. Well I’m still going on about it because, honestly, it really got me fired up.

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Celebrating Myself…

I am not good at celebrating myself. At all.

The idea of throwing a party in the name of me fills me with absolute dread. Because surely nobody else really gives a shit?!

Birthdays come down to ‘I’m going to this pub, come if you want, or don’t, whatever’ and I don’t think I could so much as dream of actually throwing a wedding and I definitely couldn’t have a hen.

Yet I love, love, love organising this stuff for other people! Give me half a chance to organise your hen party, birthday, or even just work’s leaving drinks and I will be snapping at you ankles like a Chihuahua on heat.

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