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Cigarettes and Calpol

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

The Language of Body Positivity

If you’ve been anywhere near a mum blogger’s Instagram over the past few weeks you will have noticed a trend. Not the yellow dress from M&S, not flamingos, not even empowering slogan tees. No the trend that is filling all of our timelines is one that will hopefully be a bit more resilient than some fad – body positivity.

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Being Pregnant in a Heat Wave

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but it’s a little bit hot outside. If you go anywhere in England where there is a patch of grass right now you will see at least 12 sets of sunburnt shoulders frantically necking canned cider and pretending like they’re enjoying every second.

The Great British Summertime!

Pimms, Aperol, prosecco, cider…basically it’s just booze and sunburn. What’s not to love?

Unless of course you just so happen to be overdue, in which case a heat wave is the equivalent of being stuck in a lift with Boris Johnson and Piers Morgan.

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Super Simple Chicken Risotto

Yesterday I had zero inspiration for what to do with the two chicken breasts sitting in my fridge. I hate trying to come up with ideas for dinner at the best of times but when overdue in the ridiculous summer heat it seemed even more of a challenge.

So I asked Instagram to decide.

Loads of suggestions came flying my way (all of which sounded delicious and actually made my job harder) but when Harriet (from Life With Mrs Lee) suggested risotto I suddenly remembered probably the easiest recipe in my collection. And it’s delicious! Oh and super low fat and healthy, if you’re into that kind of thing.

So risotto is what we had and as a few of you asked – here’s the recipe!

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‘If You Can’t Afford to Feed Your Child…’

The days leading up to and following an election are always strange, tense, and full of arguments. This time is no different, in fact this time nobody is really sure whether to celebrate, mourn, or just keep drinking.

Today I was asked on a Facebook discussion about benefits, food banks, and tax brackets ‘why did you have a child if you can’t afford to feed it?’. Obviously the lovely Max Off Of Facebook did say ‘not to cause offence’ first. So I’m not offended…

Well, Max Off Of Facebook, do you want to know how I found myself two years ago crying in a doctor’s office as he signed a piece of paper that meant I was entitled to a food bank voucher two years ago?

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Unicorn Cake

This cake nearly drove me to a mental breakdown.
This cake nearly got thrown out of the window at 11pm.
This cake caused me to cry five times and bleed once.
This cake almost lead to me cancelling my daughter’s sixth birthday.
But some of you asked me for the recipe, so here you go.
It involves a lot of butter

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Third Trimester

The final countdown to D-Day. When suddenly everybody wants to know how your nipples are feeling and to give you their tip on how to get labour started (I hate pineapple, and I hate you for suggesting it).

The third trimester is the longest three (possibly longer) months you’ll ever face and everything hurts and who knew you could sweat from there and oh GOD get it out of me!!

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Hospital Bag

Packing a hospital bag is something that websites, baby books, midwives, and friends start mentioning as soon as you hit the 30 week mark. That obviously doesn’t mean you start packing it then. Not if you’re me. Instead you leave it another 6 weeks and realise when the midwife informs you that you are nearly term and considering the constant braxton hicks it might be worth throwing some things in a bag.

But what do you actually need to take with you? There are lists and guidelines everywhere online, but a lot of them seem a bit excessive to me. So here’s what’s in my hospital bag, not that I ever advise following in my footsteps…

(I’m planning on breastfeeding, if you are planning to bottle feed you’ll obviously need to pack all the equipment that goes with that.)

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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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