Sunshine #edfringe2019

We were lucky enough to be given some tickets to see Sunshine in return for a review. Sunshine is a family show aimed at kids 3+ although when we went there were plenty of adults without kids. Right now you can see the show at the underbelly Cowgate but the show will be touring after.

The show is an hour long and I can honestly say Joy (3) has never been so engaged in a show. I’m sure all parents will understand the worry of buying tickets in case your little muchkins decide not to play ball but both kids were so happy to watch – without snack bribery (if you know you know).

The show is a very simple idea with lots of slapstick humour – think Mr Bean goes to the beach but has a lovely running theme of friendship between Mr Sand and Mr Sea which was grasped by all.

The audience were able to get involved in places and I don’t want to spoil the surprise but you may get a little wet, which quickly descended into hilarity from everyone and Joy got the job of looking after a crab for the duration of the show.

I really enjoyed the show and at the end Joy went to give back the crab and gave Mr Sand and Mr Sea a big impromptu cuddle. It really was lovely and we got so lovely pictures of the stars.

All in all I’d highly recommend the show, especially for the younger kids who can easily follow and have lots of laughs at the silliness. We would certainly go back next year.

Yvonne x

https://www.instagram.com/champagneandsnottynoses/

Find out more about Sunshine:

https://www.stickybacktheatre.co.uk/

Photo credit: Rah Petherbridge https://instagram.com/rahpetherbridgephotography?igshid=2ptri6f919yo

Lucas ice cream family race day

Living on the doorstep of Musselburgh racecourse we do a lot of race days but this year we were lucky enough to be invited along to family day. This is a day for everyone. There’s still the races for a flutter and the all important bars but there’s also bags of entertainment for kids of all ages.

The whole day is sponsored by Lucas ice cream which is a famous Edinburgh based family business who make the best ice cream you’ll ever taste. Kids go free on the day and even get a free ice cream. All rides are included too so it really is a great value day. How many times do we get stung by the usual £3 a ride? once your in its all free apart from any food and drink you many wish to buy.

There is everything from chips and cheese to fine dining so there’s bound to be something for even the fussiest of cherubs. You can also take a picnic along too if you’d rather and there are picnic benches are available.

My kids are 2 and 8 and both were thrilled with the entertainment options. Both rode the tea cups at least 5 times and my youngest got so excited to see mini ‘horses’ for her to ride on. We were there from 12 and had to drag the kids away after the last race at 5.30. Thankfully the sun shone all day so it was a really lovely day for us all.

There’s even a selfie wall and if you tag your selfie there’s a chance to win a years supply of ice cream. We all had fun getting involved with that. Much hilarity! I think the adults had more fun than the kids.

We live in East Lothian so may be slightly biased but it’s such a lovely place to visit and really easy to get to by bus or train plus there is free parking available. It’s seriously worth a trip for the ice cream alone.

I’d highly recommend the family day for next year. we’ll definitely be back. Keep an eye out as it’s always slightly cheaper to get your tickets on an early bird deal. Thank you for having us!

Yvonne x

My truth

I’ve started this at least 30 times over the last two years and it might be another 2 before I finish it but here goes….

If you’ve ever wondered about my Son’s biological Father then I hope this answers any questions. I feel exceptionally vulnerable writing this but I feel like it’s time to explain.

I worked in a bar in my early 20s. I was as sassy as they came and thought I knew it all. A new chef came in one day and I took a shine to him. On further investigation he was just out of rehab for an alcohol problem. Naively at that point I had no idea the seriousness of this. Who was I to judge? It didn’t put me off and I want to punch myself in the face for saying this but I think it might have spurred me on.I was a fixer you see. Most of the problems in my life were caused by me being a fixer but I learned this the hard way.

T was quiet and placid so the polar opposite of me. He was never charismatic or charming but there was a vulnerability I saw and wanted to help. I was warned off by many and this made me more determined to make it work. I’ve always been a stubborn shite.This isn’t a character assisanation but T was someone you’d describe as non-descript. He didn’t have much about him really but he was kind to me at a time when I needed it more than I knew.

I finished uni and moved in with him almost right away. I was flat sharing at the time but spent less and less time at my own place. I remember telling my Nan I was giving up my flat and her saying she’d pay my rent just to have it empty. Just in case. I should have known then but, as always paid no attention.

I must mention an incident that happened early on as it sticks with me. I was a size 16, maybe 18. I never cared really. T had gathered information on a gastric band for me and showed me it one day. I was angry and hurt. He later apologised but that’s when it started I think. The chipping away of my confidence. Control. I should have packed my bags then but I didn’t.

We had a fairly good relationship. The lack of alcohol was never an issue. I was as supportive as a 22 year old knew how to be. T had a good job and I worked my arse off in 2 jobs so we were financially secure. We did nice things, but looking back there was no real love. We both had rocky upbringings and it was the safety I liked, I think. We didn’t argue and stupidly decided to try for a baby after about a year. After the shaky start we had as kids, it seemed somehow we could but it right by giving a baby a good chance. I now realise how ridiculous this sounds.

We wanted to do it right. We went to the doctor to discuss me coming off the pill. As I’d be on for so long they said it could take up to a year. 2 weeks later I was pregnant. I was over the moon but sadly that’s when the wheels started to come off. The day of my positive tests (all 19) T called to say he was in hospital. Apparently he was so excited he’d cut into his hand at work. I was angry he’d almost stolen my thunder and been so careless. Looking back I’m convinced this was deliberate. I now look back and question everything. You’re about to find out why.

In the early days when we stayed up all night talking, he confided in me that his first love was killed in a car accident. He cried and the story was so horrific I did too. I know now that this was a complete lie.

Anyway the cutting of the hand was the very start. Things escalated very quickly. He started working late and starting early then eventually just disappearing. For days. I didn’t tell anyone except one friend for fear of the “I told you so” chat and also I didn’t really want to admit to myself the reality.

I thought he was nervous and scared. I was too. I was also suffering with hyperemesis gravidium so was in and out of hospital – alone mostly. I just plodded along like the determined little shite I am. Throwing up at the side of the road on the way to work every day with zero support or sympathy.

One day T had been out all night. I was 6 months pregnant. He came in and seemed odd. I asked if he’d been drinking and he said no. He didn’t smell of alcohol but something wasn’t right. I went through his pockets and found diazepam (or valium) and confronted him. T wasn’t a shouter but he was angry. I knew so little about addiction or drugs but I knew the tablets weren’t his. I asked where he’d got them and he told me a local dealer. I was horrified. I shouted, and to this day I still partly blame myself for what happened next. That’s how abusers make you feel though. I now know that.

Heavily pregnant and ready to leave for work he came in the bathroom when I was wiping my tears. My tears of knowing I was 23, pregnant and very much alone. My tears of knowing my naivity had really done it now and I was about to bring a baby into a complete shambles of a relationship. T was like a mad man. He punched me in the face so hard I fell right to the ground. I remember shouting ‘my baby’ and Ill never forget the evil in his voice as he shouted ‘fuck your baby” as he repeatedly kicked me in the stomach.

After what seemed like forever he just took himself to bed. I left quickly. Terrified he’d come after me. I was covered in blood but in a complete state of shock I left for work. My neighbour saw me. I didn’t know her but she grabbed me in her house without even thinking. I told her what had happened and she cleaned me up and hugged me. She told me I had to call the police. I knew I did too but I had to get to work. Or I thought it did. I was a store manager and didn’t want the shop to not open. Again I think the shock just didn’t allow me to realise what had just happened. I went to work, opened the store and calmly called the police. I was in a complete trance. I didn’t want to be that person. People like me weren’t battered woman. I was strong. Not anymore.

Did you know most domestic abuse starts during pregnancy? When a woman is at her most vulnerable. Neither did I.

I left work. I made my excuses and headed straight to hospital to get checked. All I could think about was my baby. I really want to tell you how supportive the hospital were but sadly that just wasn’t the case. I was made to feel small and I was judged. I was treated like a victim. It must be so frustrating for them to see woman in that situation time after time but I really do feel there are better ways to speak to people. I’m hoping I was an isolated incident and other people have had better experiences than I did. They also didn’t scan me as they assured me the baby was ok. I was terrified so booked an emergency private scan. I’m so grateful I was in a position to do that as I couldn’t imagine going through my pregnancy not knowing for sure.

The police came next. I’ve got a knot in my stomach writing this as never in a million years do I want to put anyone off reporting abuse. It really needs reporting. The reason so many people get away with this shit is because it’s not reported enough but the police…weren’t that helpful. I was made to feel like just another stupid battered woman. I was made to feel like I’d go back for more and give them more work. Again I was judged. Also I wasn’t aware that all domestic were reported to the social work where kids are involved. It makes perfect sense but it just hadn’t crossed my mind. The way I was told this made me feel under fire as a parent. like I was about to be investigated. I’ve never been so terrified in all my life.

I didn’t charge T. The police made it clear it was my word against his and it seemed like more hassle at a time I didn’t need it. A decision I’ll always regret now but it felt right at the time. I wasn’t protecting him – or at least I thought I wasn’t. I was leaving him and I did. 6 months pregnant and sleeping on my aunt’s floor. It wasn’t how I’d envisaged my third trimester but here I was.

I left him with everything and just didn’t go back. I’d gone from financially secure to virtually penniless in the space of a few weeks. I’ll never forget my best friend when I told her. She was the only person who didn’t judge me. She didn’t give me the look of pity I was so used to but instead she helped me sort the practicalities. She bought me a bed the day I told her. In all the shit going on that’s the one act of kindness that sticks out. Always look for the helpers.

Her Mum gave me advice on getting a place to stay and I’m so fortunate that within about 5 weeks I had a flat from the council. It was hardly the dream and had blood splattered up the walls when I moved in but with help from my family it quickly became home.

I’ll never forget having to tell my grandparents. At that point my Grandad was ill and I didn’t want to make things worse so I kept them in the dark until I was settled. Deep down I think I was ashamed and stupidly protecting T too but I couldn’t bring myself to cause them distress at such a hard time. My Nan never judged me. Not once. Calmly I told her I left him and why. She told me it was going to be ok and she was right. She was always bloody right!

I didn’t hear much from T after that but I do know he quickly went downhill. He had been drinking and I found out he was heavily addicted to diazepam and a pretty impressive collection of prescription drugs too. How could I not have noticed that you’re probably wondering but I was throwing up 30 times a day, working a really stressful job and coming to terms with the fact I had a baby on the way. That’s how!

He wasn’t apologetic. He didn’t actually seem to think he’d done anything that wrong. He played a great victim.

Something else I have to mention was something I’d never even heard of until I’d met T. I was sick to the stomach when I found out and it still makes me shudder now. T was a smoker and often left cans of gas lying around. I didn’t smoke but knew they were forfilling lighters. Or so I thought. From the beginning I found them all over the house. It didn’t sit right with me but I wasn’t sure why. One day I found a bin bag with at least 50 empty butane cans in. I knew then, I think but chose to take his word that nothing way wrong. After he beat me he then mocked me with the fact I was so stupid for believing him. He was addicted to inhaling gas. I still can’t believe people do that. It seems like such alien, grim behaviour but then that’s addiction.

Addiction is selfish and it doesn’t care. Once you’ve witnessed true addiction your eyes are opened. As much as I hate T for everything I genuinely wouldn’t wish addiction on anyone. It rips through life and reality like a hurricane. It doesn’t give a fuck.

After I moved we spoke more and more. About the relationship he’d have with the baby. I refused to be the person who kept a child from his father. I so wanted to do the right thing but I genuinely didn’t know what that was. T confided in me one day. He said he’d got his act together and he had panicked as we’d got pregnant so quickly. He reminded me we had a good thing and asked if I’d consider putting the baby up for adoption so we could continue with the way things were. I said no obviously but still couldn’t help feel slightly sorry for him. I know that probably sounds insane but the pressure was just too much. I blamed myself for agreeing to a baby and felt robbed. This wasn’t what I’d signed up for. I was now alone but very much ready to do this. I wasn’t going to let that baby down.

T swore he’d sorted himself out. Everyone believed him. I almost did too but once you’ve been hurt like that you’ll never really trust someone. I could never have made it work with him. Wondering. I agreed to let him be part of the babies life.

I had a visit from the social workers to discuss the situation. Unlike the police and the hospital they were great. Their priority is always the children and that’s 100% how it should be. They come under fire a lot but they had my back. They were obviously glad I’d broken away and happy to support me in any way they could. My parenting abilities never came under scrutiny. They put me on to the woman’s aid who were also amazing! I can’t stress that enough. The police and the hospital are on the front line but woman’s aid and social workers have all of the real experience and tools to help. I really wish that was publicised more.

Anyway I digress. In the last 2 months of my pregnancy, social workers called me about 5 times to make me aware of failed suicide attempts by T. They had a duty to keep me in the loop and once again my life was taken over by fear. It’s round about then thatthe threats started. T lived 5 minutes from me and in 2 months my tyres were slashed and windscreen smashed time after time. He followed me and watched me coming home. He made it clear if I didn’t take him back my life would be hell. The police rolled their eyes at every call I made. Just another domestic you see! Even if you’re spilt up it’s still a domestic and then there were no stalking laws in Scotland.

I remember my aunt telling me once the baby was born my sense of loss at my relationship with T would diminish. She couldn’t have been more right. This little bundle was mine and I didn’t care about anyone else. That baby saved my life. I threw myself into motherhood. I did baby massage and reflexology in between constant abuse and threats from T. I just cracked on with it. To this day I don’t know how I did it.

One day I was about to have some well deserved time off and go out with my friends. I got a picture message of T slicing his arm. My friends we’re supportive as the night was cancelled while we waited to give a police statement. He loved the control. He didn’t want to die. He wanted to make my life hell.

On one of his many failed suicide attempts I got a call to say they weren’t sure if he’d make it through the night. Religious I am not but I swear that night I prayed so hard he wouldn’t. The months of hell I’d endured I felt like him dying was my only way to happiness with my son. He made it though the night. The hell continued.

Eventually I begged social work to stop telling me what was going on. They were satisfied I’d left him and did. That angered him too. He needed my attention. My Son was never his priority it was always me. I sort of wish it was because he loved me but really I know it’s because he hated himself so much be just wanted to make me miserable too.

For legal reasons and to protect an innocent party I can’t explain how, but on one day after many a death threat I found out T had spent 7 years in prison. I won’t go into it but think about the sort of thing you get 7 years for. He didn’t steal a bar of soap put it that way. That day I found out a lot about him I was never supposed to know. It was only then I realised the seriousness. I had to get this man out my life.

I changed my number and got some very quick legal advice. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew this hell needed to end. Within 2 days I had an interdict with power of arrest. This is the Scottish version of a restraining order but due to the closeness of our flats meant he didn’t have to stay away from me. He wasn’t allowed to cause me fear. I felt safe at last. Naively. He stood and watched my every move. The fact he couldn’t contact me made him angry. When I reported him I was told that being near me wasn’t a crime. I just had to accept that and stop wasting police time.

There were too many incidents after that to mention as I realise this is already far longer than I wanted it to be. T struck up a friendship with my upstairs neighbour. How convenient? He could now watch me all day long from the comfort of my building. Thank you Scottish law for that technicality!

This went on and on. As soon as he realised we were over our Son never came into it. Other than to tell me I was a bad mother for keeping him away from his Dad. I only spoke to him via lawyers and advised he could see the baby in a safe place provided he was clean and sober. This never really materialised apart from a handful of empty promises.

After a night out, baby was at my Dads and I came home about 2am. Guess who was in my stair? He followed me in the house and I told him to leave. He was drunk and calling me a bad mother for leaving our Son. I was drunk and obviously feeling brave cos I tried to push him out my front door. I didn’t have the strength and he pinned me against the wall by the neck. He said he would kill me and at that point I knew he was serious. I genuinely thought that was it for me. All I could think about was my child. He left eventually.Leaving me in a heap with strangle marks all over my neck. I knew I had to get out the house.

I ran to a taxi office and called my brother. I didn’t know what else to do. I put a scarf on a told my brother we’d had a falling out. He still wasn’t aware of the situation as I was stupidly protecting T. I knew my brother would go nuts and I didn’t want a backlash so I thought it better to just sit quiet. Years later my brother told me at that point he’d already guessed what was going on.

Domestic abuse is the single most confusing thing I’ve ever encountered. I went from wanting him dead to feeling terrible as he was the father of my son. I hated what he had done but also mourned the person I thought I knew and loved. That was the hardest part.

I didn’t go back to my house after that. I was sure he’d kill me. I went to live with my Dad and took steps to find somewhere else to live. I was so low at that point I didn’t even realise. I had no quality of life. I was frightened to go out and embarrassed of the mess I was in. Through it all I still blamed myself for allowing this to happen. I didn’t event realise how much this man had broken me until now when I just wrote this paragraph.

One day I got a call from my Nan to say that T had text her to say he was going to kill her. He said he was going to set fire to her house. My Nan knew half a story at that point so didn’t take it too seriously but after much persuasion called the police. My Grandad as so ill at that point and I was ashamed by the drama I brought at the worst time. The police explained how difficult it would be to charge T and advised my Nan it could end up being a stressful process for her. I sobbed and begged for her to charge him but understood her decision not to. That was that. Once again there were zero consequences for him and yet again I was living in fear.

I continued to live at my Dads trying to maintain a normal life for my Son. One day I went to check my house as it was empty. Baby and I were in the house for a matter of minutes and I was so scared he’d come and hurt us. I went to leave and my carpet was on fire. He’d put lit paper thought my letterbox in a attempt to set fire to my house. I quickly got it out, left and called the police. They got him on his way back from mine. He denied it of course.

It took weeks to investigate but I was sure that justice would prevail. It didn’t. They couldnt even charge him. Not enough evidence. It would be funny if it wasn’t so fucking tragic. In the few weeks it took for the investigation I moved house. Far enough away that he couldn’t find us. I lived in hiding for a while and had nightmares for about 5 years. I went on medication for anxiety as I suffered panic attacks. It took me years of counselling to rebuild my life but I did. My boy is 8 now and is aware he has ‘another’ Dad but that’s all he knows. My husband raised him from 3 and is not just his Dad but a wonderful father.

I’ve never told my husband everything but he knows bits and has pieced things together. I don’t like to talk about it, so feel that by writing this, it’s out there. Violence scares me and I can’t deal with men shouting. My husband understands and luckily is the kindest, gentlest man I could have asked for.

So there it is. That isn’t even it all, but I’m aware this is now longer than my dissertation was so thank you for reading this.

One final note. I have noticed how many people who have been victims of domestic abuse and don’t like to talk about it. I, more than anyone, can understand why, but sadly this means there is a massive lack of awareness. The stigma is very much still there and until more of us speak up it will remain. We need to work at removing the shame and victim blaming surrounding the issue.

I was extremely fortunate with the amount of support I had and not everyone does but there is ALWAYS a way out. Even if it seems impossible at the time. Abusers don’t change and it’s never your fault. You are worth so much more.

Yvonne (@champagneandsnottynoses)

https://www.womensaid.org.uk

http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Addiction/Pages/addictionhome.aspx

Veggie haggis hotpot

I’ve had a few requests for this so here you go. It can be adapted with ordinary haggis too or veggie black pudding and is an adaptation of a hairy dieters go veggie recipe.

serves: 6

smartpoints per portion: 7

ingredients:

450g veggie haggis sliced

500g potatoes thinly sliced

2 parsnips thinly sliced

2 carrots thinly sliced

1 tsp dried sage

salt

pepper

750ml vegetable stock (cubes are fine)

1 tbsp plain flour

2 garlic cloves

250g turnip thinly sliced

1 large onion chopped

1 large apple grated

spray oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180. Spray some oil and fry garlic and onion for 3 mins until softened. Add about 50ml water, sage and flour and cook for a further 3 mins until the mixture thickens slightly.

2. Add stock to the pan and allow to reduce for about 5 mins.

3. In your casserole dish make a layer of half the potatoes, then a layer using half the carrots, apple, turnip and parsnip.

4. Continue layering this time with all the haggis and then pour over half the stock/onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Layer the remaining carrots, apple, turnip and parsnip. Finally add a layer using the remaining potatoes.

6. Pour over the last of the stock mixture and season again. Spray with spray oil.

7. cook covered for an hour. Uncover and cook for a further 30-40 mins.

Let me know if you try it!

Yvonne xx

Introducing my Husband

I haven’t told my husband I’m writing this and he’ll most likely keel over when he sees it. I’m not usually the soppy type- unless my kids are involved but I think it’s time he got a mention.

You may know Steve as the one who doesn’t do very well at keeping on top of the recycling and as true as this is he is so much more.

I met Steve 5 years ago when I was 27. He was 37 and we met a few times before we actually spoke. I assumed he was married and I’m still not sure why. He was always a gentleman and made sure I had a seat and a drink. I’ve always been partial to a man who makes sure I have a drink.

Lewis was 2 and I had had a few causal relationships after his Dad but none of which I’d write home about. They were all pretty rocky, slightly dramatic and just as I’d decided enough was enough there was Steve.

We joke about who pursued who but none of that matters (he pursued me FYI). He asked me out for drinks and I was slightly reluctant. I’d swore off men on the Wednesday and here I was on the Sunday contemplating a date. Madness surely? My friends talked me round. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that and I went. It was lovely and we agreed to meet again. We met again the following week and then he cooked me dinner at mine the week after. I knew then he was different.

He was romantic and there we’re no games. I’d never been treated so well before and as much as it took some getting used to I really liked it. Steve saw my worth and helped me realise it.

When we got together people praised him to high heavens for ‘taking on’ my child. Steve never seen it like this. He was just grateful I’d allowed him to be part of our life and 5 years on Lewis is very much our child.

A lot has happened in the time I’ve know Steve. We’ve crammed in an engagement, moved house twice, 4 lots of major surgery, numerous new jobs, a marriage, the loss of my dear Nan and the birth of our beautiful Joy. One thing has remained consistent throughout and that’s the love we have for each other. It’s different from any other love I’ve had. It’s simple, uncomplicated and being married to Steve is easy.

It’s never boring, we argue like all couples about recycling and who’s more tired (me) but it’s not high maintenance. There’s no unnecessary drama at all and we put work into having fun.

Once you have two kids fun changes completely so instead of cocktails at the Balmoral we now listen to TTF at home and play battleships with a glass of Malbec. It’s still fun though, even when we’re exhausted and can barely get a conversation going we still have that love for each other.

Steve buys me flowers weekly. The cheap ones he knows I like best as they last longer. He runs me nice baths and makes sure I’m feeling ok. I’m rubbish at sharing feelings so it’s not easy for him at times but he always knows when I’m down and just needing a cuddle.

He’s came to accept that doing insta stories in Lidl is the norm for me and will happily take 300 pictures of me in front of a wall just so I can find 1 I like. He may roll his eyes but he does it and for that I’m very thankful.

The most important thing about Steve is he supports me. He backs me up always and supports every ridiculous idea I’ve ever had (and there’s been plenty!) He never says I told you so even though he really should at times and he always picks me up when things go wrong.

He’s the positive to my negative and it works. We bring out the best in each other and he cares for our kids better than I could have ever dreamed. Watching him grow as a Daddy has been the most beautiful transition ever. Our kids have cemented our love for each other.

When he comes in from work I still get butterflies and he still takes any opportunity for a quick grab of my arse. We still flirt and even if we’re drinking at home we make an effort to dress up. He takes longer than any man I’ve ever known to get ready but he takes pride in his appearance and always looks so handsome.

We’re a team and we make mistakes but we can admit them and learn from them. In my eyes that makes us the perfect team.

Love you DB

Yvonne x

Organic September Roasted plums 

We all want the best for our kids right? In an ideal world they’d eat all the fruit and vegetables we put down to them but we all know this is easier said than done. We cook a lot in my house and I try to use seasonal as much as possible to keep cost down and to get a nice variety of colours and flavours incorporated.

When I saw the Organix recipe of the month I jumped at the chance to try it and I really wasn’t disappointed. Lewis helped make it and it was a huge hit with the whole family. It felt like such a treat but added to our five a day as well as being rich in nutrients  Win win!

The kids loved it so much that I ended up making more of the oat crumble to have as granola with some natural yoghurt as a nice healthy breakfast.

Here is the recipe for you to try:

Suitable for 12+ Months although can be puréed or mashed for babies over 7 months. Don’t forget no honey under a year though but maple syrup works just as well. 

10 – 30 minutes to prepare

10 – 30 minutes to cook

Serves 2 adults and 2 children

Ingredients:
Roasted plums

3 large plums

Coconut oil (or melted butter) to brush

Almond & oat crumble:

3 tbsp porridge oats (or gluten free oat)

1 tbsp ground almonds (or desiccated coconut if nut allergies)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp melted coconut oil (or butter)

2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey for children over 12 months)

Mascarpone cream:

150g of mascarpone

3 tsp lemon juice

3 tsp maple syrup (or honey for children over 12 months)

¼ tsp vanilla extract

A couple of mint leaves (optional)

How to make

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper

Step 2

Prepare the crumble by mixing the oats, ground almonds and cinnamon powder together in a small bowl. Add melted coconut oil (or butter) and maple syrup. Stir until you get a crumble texture

Step 3

Spread crumble on baking tray. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down

Step 4

Put the grill on to 275°C

Step 5

Cut plums in half and remove stones carefully

Step 6

Brush each plum all over with some melted coconut oil (or butter)

Step 7

Arrange plums in an oven proof dish, cut side up

Step 8

Place until the grill for around 5 mins or until the plums soften

Step 9

While the plums are in the oven, mix mascarpone with lemon juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small bowl

Step 10

To serve, dollop the mascarpone cream on a plate. Add 2 halves plum per adult or 1 half plum per child on top of mascarpone cream. Sprinkle with crumble.  Add a couple of mint leaves on top.

organix finger foods are a staple in my changing bag. They’re so handy as an on the go snack and there’s no guilt as Organix comes with a no junk promise. Organix finger foods help little ones discover new shapes, textures and taste while remaining fun and tasty and encouraging junk free, nutritious food.

Organic September: top tips from Organix on why to choose organic for your little one

Just when you and your baby are in a confident routine with milk feeds, along comes the new adventure of introducing solid foods – a time when you want to make the best choices for your growing little one as they start learning about food. So why choose organic?

1. Whether you’re baby led weaning with soft cooked pieces or feeding purees, choosing organic fruit and veggies helps reduce your little one’s exposure to pesticides [organic fruit and veg are grown with fewer pesticides].

2. Fruit and veg are most commonly found to contain more than one pesticide residue, so it makes sense to go organic – apple, pear, banana, and green veg like kale and spinach.

3. In the supermarket choose organic finger foods – then you can be sure you’ll get food you can trust, with no controversial artificial food colours and preservatives, GM ingredients, or hydrogenated fats.

4. From 12 months your little one can have whole cow’s milk – choosing organic means you’ll get more omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic milk [linked to improving children’s brain development].

5. Choosing organic dairy food and drinks also means you’ll avoid the use of GM crops fed to non-organic livestock.

For more information and lots of tasty organic recipes for all the family visit http://www.organix.com

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Let me know if you try this one out and dont forget to tag #organix.

Yvonne x

 

 

Try not to be a dick 

Once upon a time I was a dick. I didn’t mean to be. Dick is maybe not right…. delusional is probably fairer. 7 years ago I had a baby. Baby Lewis. He was a happy little thing, ate well and slept through the night from about 6 weeks. That actually is a thing. Who knew?

I can almost guarantee a few people already hate me at this point. I don’t blame you really. I wasn’t smug but admittedly I took the credit. He was a good boy and I was clearly born to parent the shit out of life. As soon as I wrote that I realise how fucking smug that actually make me sound. Sorry! Never once did I look down my nose at people who had non sleeping, unsettled babies. I may have been delusional but I’ve never been THAT person.

I suppose I just didn’t really think in all honesty. When you have a child you know your child and their ways and quirks. Other children didn’t really come into it.

When Steve and I decided to try for a baby 6 years later I still didn’t really think. “you never get two the same”. Many an old dear told me but I didn’t really take it in. Who wants two the same anyway? I want my kids to be their own people!

Along came Joy. Our beautiful, sassy Joy. 6 weeks in and she didn’t sleep. Obviously I wasn’t worried as I knew Lewis was in the minority. Fast forward a year and I was starting to realise that sleeping all night wasn’t really Joys thing. That was quite hard for me to accept. It’s easy to think you’ve failed as a parent, especially when you’ve had a ‘textbook’ child first. 16 months in and I know I haven’t failed. Joys thriving, she’s smart, funny and she sure knows her own mind. What more could I ask for? Actually a full nights sleep would be nice but let’s not push it eh?

Joy suffered with colic and reflux. She didn’t settle without a boob in her mouth for 5 months. She was a screamer and we’ve never left her to scream. Judge away! Lewis would wimper for a few minutes at bed then drift off. Joy could scream herself into projectile vomit and that’s just not something I’m willing to let happen.

We co-sleep (mostly) and Joys a complete Mummys girl. Many a time I’ve cooked the dinner with her in the sling and she gets stroked to sleep like the Lady of the manor. That’s what works for her- and us and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard the old “rod for your own back” I wouldn’t need to do a lotto. Funnily enough it mostly comes from people with no children or people who had theirs when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

I adore both my kids. I don’t always like them but I love them immensely- and equally! They’ve taught me everything I know about parenting and now I know just how different they can be. I’m not a dick anymore and I’m certainly not delusional. You get what you’re given and you love them regardless.

Once you’re an adult no one gives a shit about how much you sleep so I’m not sure why we put so much pressure on babies.

If you’re reading this and you have a Lewis please don’t panic. This isn’t to put anyone off. They are all worth it. I promise! If anything this is to let all the parents with the non sleeping, non settling kids know that they are brilliant. It’s not a reflection on us and we can sleep when we’re dead right? 😉

Yvonne x

Dear Rose… 

Dear Rose,

I bet you have to think before you even remember me but I often think of you. I don’t think you would have forgotten me although I wouldn’t blame you if you did. You probably see people like me every day. 

You were my health visitor and I was a naive 24 year old with not an ounce of common sense. 

I planned a baby with someone I thought I knew. I really didn’t but the less said about him the better. For the sake of my son. 

So I found myself 24, pregnant and very much alone. That wasn’t my plan. I was angry at that fact for so long. I didn’t want to be that person. Who does? 

You showed me that ‘that person’ could be anyone. Most of all you believed in me when I had zero faith I could make this sorry situation work. You gave me strength and never once looked down at me- and so many others did. 

You made sure I didn’t just make the situation work I fucking rocked it and you made sure I knew I did. Little comments of praise and texts here and there. They were the small things I really needed and I could tell you meant it all.

I genuinly believe there are some truly great people in the world. I’m not talking the Kardashians and all these other ridiculous people were constantly confronted with. Proper role models who make a difference to people’s lives day after day. People like you.

I was at my lowest ebb when I had Lewis. I hid it well as I always do but you saw through that. You supported me through it all like the guardian Angel I needed and you gave me the confidence to continue alone. 

When I moved house I got a new health visitor. I felt a bit sad to be leaving you but by this point I’d met Steve (my now husband) and we were ready to plan another baby. I text you to tell you and as predicted I got the loveliest response. 

My health visitor with Joy is nice. I see so little of her but she seems lovely. I don’t really need her and I just hope she’s spending her time with the people who do need her. Like you did with me. I do hope you guys realise the impact you have on our lives. 

I don’t think I ever got to properly thank you but I hope you know how much I appreciated everything you did for me and I have no doubt that you’re still making a difference to others. You rock Rose! 

Thank you! 

Yvonne (and Lewis) x 

Joanie Clothing 

Recently I was tagged in a picture by a good friend. It was a bikini she thought I’d like. I’ve never really had myself down as a bikini kinda gal but I did like it. So I took a brave step. I bought it. 

I’m 32 and a size 16. That’s doesn’t really mean anything though with today’s mental sizing. I have some 12s and some 18s. Does anyone know what size they really are? 

I’ve been thinner. Much thinner. Also much bigger too and I have to say I was probably at my most miserable at my thinnest. I was thin but I couldn’t socialise as I’d gain weight. What a the bloody point of having a good figure when you don’t even get to showcase it? 

Anyways I’m over it. Hitting 30 was a turning point for me and I thought f*ck it! life’s too short to not buy the bikini. I have as much right to wear the bikini as anyone else and does anyone really care what I look like? Probably not. 

My body had produced two perfect babies via C section and I had my gallbladder out last year. I have stretch marks and scars but I have respect for the body I have. Its still a work in progress but that’s okay. 

I bought the bikini from Joanie and I’d never even heard of them before so was dubious. I was wrong to be. The bikini is fabulous and I feel fabulous in it. I now own another 2. Don’t tell my husband! 

For me there’s a gap in the market. I often find high street shops either too young or too old for me. I’m over bodycon but I’m not quite ready to hang up my party frocks yet. No one really wants to see me in a bodycon dress but I’m not dead yet so I may as well flaunt what I have. In a way that makes me comfortable. 

Joanie fills that gap for me. They do real clothes for Sizes 8-22 and at a really good price too. They have sexy, quirky, casual and formal and it’s now my go to website. 

The sizes are real and the fabrics are lovely so no more looking like a size 16 sausage squashed into a cheap polyester skin.

The clothes have a vintage feel but there’s both ends of the spectrum on this and if vintage isn’t for you I still think you’d be hard pushed not to find something you like. 

As I wrote this I got a text to say my next Joanie order is coming today so I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures. Again, please don’t tell my husband but if you are reading this it was all in the sale. £6 polka dot palazzo pants anyone? Yes please! 

This isn’t a sponsored post so these are 100% my views on some gorgeous clothes that I paid for. Seriously! Go see for yourself.

https://joanieclothing.com/product-category/dresses/
Yvonne x 

P.S have you ever seen anyone that happy to be in a kids paddling pool? We don’t get much sun in Scotland. Can you tell? 

We are good enough 

when you hear of postnatal depression what do you think of? For many it’s not bonding with your baby instantly after birth. For me that wasn’t the case. You see it’s different for everyone. There isn’t a right way to suffer PND and there certainly isn’t a wrong way. unfortunately you get the version you’re given.

For me I’ve been treated about a year after both my kids. Looking back it reared its head immediately but I soldiered on. I don’t know who I was trying to kid.

The stigma is still there with any mental health issues. People are frightened to speak up for fear of being judged. When you’re already feeling like you’re not good enough the last thing you need is others thinking it too.

I instantly bonded with both my children and it was love at first sight for me. weirdly the case for me- as it is for most is I love them… a bit too much.

Newborns scare me. The anxiety they give me drives me insane. I love the squishy, pink, milky bundles but what about all the other stuff they come with? For example cot death statistics, how much they should be eating, pooing and bloody peeing! Anything I can worry about I would.

When I had my first I slept with the windows locked in a first floor flat all summer. For fear someone would come and take my baby. I called my Nan once to ask her to look after the baby while I had a shower. She suggested I left him to sleep while I showered and I genuinely couldn’t believe she would suggest something so absurd.

When I had Joy, my second I stayed awake for 3 whole days. Even when she slept. For fear of something happening to her if I slept. Of course that didn’t last and I eventually passed out with exhaustion.

Second time round it’s much easier to spot though and  luckily I’m surrounded by love and support. I’m now very good at asking for help if I need it now and I’m aware of the importance of self care. We all need to look after ourselves first. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

The more we talk about these issues the more we educate others. If we normalize talking about mental health then we put people at ease and eliminate ignorance.

My point? Keep talking. If unsure ask questions. Never be ashamed and make sure you have a good GP who understands what’s going on. I can’t stress that enough. These issues are often easily resolved but only once treated. Either it be with counselling, drugs or maybe both. Whatever works for you.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. We’re all guilty of it. Some days I can clean the whole house, have 2 playdates, make the dinner and do a food shop. Other days I stay in Pjs and that’s okay too. It’s about balance.

I’ll say it again. Keep talking!

I’ve posted some links below that may be helpful:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Postnataldepression/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx
https://insighttimer.com/
Yvonne x