To Mand, Love Mand x

A letter I wish I could send myself 2 year’s ago…

You’ll have a girl.
She won’t sleep alone.
She’ll be a light sleeper.
She’ll sleep in your bed.
You will be judged for it. A lot.
You will come to love it.
Other mother’s will be smug.
You’ll be exhausted.
Your daughter will love her milk and food.
People will judge you for it.
She will test you every day and some days you’ll let her win for an easy life.
Your neighbour’s mum will tell you where you are going wrong.
People who don’t have children will tell you where you are going wrong.
She will make you smile every single day (even the days she is being the spawn of the devil.)
Your parents will judge you.
Don’t go to a baby café alone – it can be strangely isolating.
You’ll be great.
You’ll cry. Bat s*** crazy tears.
Google will tell you sleep is essential for your health, your beauty, her health and her development.
She will be the most advanced verbally in her peer group.
Don’t google so much.
You will wonder where she gets her boisterous nature from.
She won’t change even if you ‘train’ her to.
You will try controlled crying twice until it nearly breaks you.
You will hate Dan for minutes, days, sometimes a whole week.
You will love him in buckets loads when he has your back in public.
You will love him on a whole new level for loving your daughter.
You won’t remember anything.
You’ll lose items. Weekly.
You will ask yourself what noise a giraffe makes?
You will get asked if you’ll have another one? A lot.
You’ll want to punch someone in the face.
You’ll worry. Like never before.
You’ll watch her sleep.
You’ll watch videos of her when she isn’t there.
When she is there you will want some peace and quiet.
You’ll forget how to get dressed up and apply make-up.
You’ll age about 10 years.
It’s worth it. You are incredibly blessed.
Keep going. You’re doing great.

Stop questioning yourself as a parent, stop googling and put down your iphone!

Love Mand x


Q: Mission impossible music. Dan Dan Dan Dan dun dun Dan Dan Dan

Mummy goes undercover to reveal high-street restaurants approach to kid’s food. 

Ok, so here it is…review as promised! And yes, I could have come up with a better title.

Firstly: the décor of Giraffe is very cool and due to the Brazilian beats pumping out the speakers there was a healthy atmosphere that my little one danced her little tushy off to. That’s the positives out the way.


We arrived at the Giraffe branch in Bath on a busy Friday lunchtime. I had booked a 1.30pm table. I arrive at 1pm – this seemed to put them out massively (waitress looked v.annoyed and stressed – it was very busy!)

I know, I know I need to get to the point: The Food.

  • Let’s cover the basics:
    Highchair – yes, it was already set up on the table – (usually you can’t carry your toddler and carry a highchair so that is helpful.)
    Baby changing – yes
    Breastfeeding signs – no
    Water on arrival – no but you can have if you want
    Baby cutlery – no
    Where was the meat sourced – ‘Some company somewhere in Devon’ (lol)
    No imagery on the menu
    Can you order kids sizes of the adult options – ‘erm, not really’
    Can you order different portion sizes of the kids menu – ‘no it just comes in the one portion size’
    Are activities provided – yes I had to ask

On the activity sheet can you guess what Freya had to colour in? That’s right. Giraffes. Giraffes in space.

‘Yes sweetheart, that Giraffe does have a hat on. A space hat.’

I order Frey the ‘twist and jive pasta’ and to my erm….shock….horror….surprise…disappointment (chose any of the above) the pasta comes on a circular china white plate with a heavy circular china white bowl placed in the middle. How smart looking. I must ask the CEO of Giraffe if: –

A: They have met a toddler before?
B: What toddler they know with the strength and dexterity to hold a heavy china bowl in one hand?
C: Do they deal with a lot of smashes on a monthly basis?
D: Are they mad?

The ‘twist and jive’ pasta, was not that ‘jivey’, it lacked a bit of….va va voom. It was large pieces of spiral pasta with tomato sauce. In fact, sauce is the wrong word. Tomato ‘coating’. The problem, and now I’m no chef, was that the “sauce” was too runny. As I was attempting to decant the pasta into a small plastic cup (yep tried that option and failed) I found that the majority of the sauce was skulking around the bottom of the bowl.

Conclusion one: No plastic bowl.
Conclusion two: Not very yummy sauce.

Cutlery??? See image below: ‘sorry we only have take-away ones’. That don’t match???? Did you find them in the bottom of your handbag????


Why isn’t baby cutlery provided? Once the little one was in the rhythm of shovelling the grub in her mouth we had a few issues on the size of the pasta. We are one and a half years old people, we haven’t learnt that chewing for longer is better for you. She’s just learnt to scoop the food, balance the food and find the hole that is her mouth and even then we can struggle. So, we’re swallowing pasta whole, we choke, it comes up, we chew some more, it goes down. That happened twice before I then cut it all up.

Conclusion three: The pasta swirls are too big for her age.

It says it comes with ‘melting cheese’ – erm that is nowhere in sight? I can only see reddish pasta, which then makes me think where are the vegetables? Where is the green stuff that we all try so hard to give our growing kids? A courgette? A mushroom? Anything??!!!

I’m angered. Mainly as I now think why don’t restaurants cater for kids? Why don’t you put some thought into kid’s food? Why don’t you make my life easier? *Curse giraffe under my breathe* I’m frustrated because it’s basic stuff  –


COME ON! It’s 2015. Sort it out.

Chu Chu ……. Boo!

Get the train, he said.

I’ll pay, he said.

It’ll take the pressure off, he said.

This was my dad’s very kind offer to pay for the train as we all thought it would be easier with a toddler on the train from Bristol to Manchester.

1 train + 4 hours + 1 toddler + lots of strangers + the chocolate trolley + no naps = EXTREME STRESS

To be honest I was in the same camp as dad – it will take the pressure off with us both there to tend to our little angel (we’ll both be hands free to look after her, it will be a doddle).  *stupid women*

And just think how quintessentially British taking our little girl on the North West railway line watching the tumbling green hills whizz past. What fun we will have  – sticker books and colouring whilst pointing out sheeps and cows…

‘What noise does a cow make Freya?’


‘Yes that’s right well done. You’re so clever.’

In reality, all of the above did happen, however, it engaged her for all of 2mins, which left the other 3hours 58 mins to: –

Negotiate the fact that we were squeezed on two seats.

Telling her that trains are not a place to ‘play’ but for sitting on your chair – *ha* Q: tantrum number 67

Walk up and down the carriage whilst insisting on saying ‘hello’ to everyone (even the people that were trying to ignore her)

Bribing her with anything I had in my bag – milk, raisins, banana, C.H.O.C (yep I’m one of those parents).

It was exhausting. It was a mistake.

Note to self: –  Take the car. She’s strapped in. She can’t bug anyone. I can’t be mortified by her tantrums. She sleeps for ages.

#Out to lunch.

As a family we eat out for lunch a few times a month…not because we’re rolling in it but because: –

A: – the food mess is not made at home :)

B: – Freya is more inclined to eat happily when it’s a group activity.

C: – it’s nice to have a plan (and sit down) when we’re out and about.

As part of my work, (Soil Association), I am reviewing Giraffe restaurant in relation to their approach to kids and providing healthy meals on the menu. This is all to do with the #outtolunch campaign that asks parents (like moi) to review high street restaurants to see how they rate on food health for kiddywinkles.

Check out last year’s scores to see what restaurants got the thumbs up (and thumbs down)!

Before taking on this extremely serious task I never really thought about how ‘ethical’ restaurants were when it comes to sourcing their food (ignorance is bliss) or even to what extent little people are welcomed at restaurants.

What has been interesting is to shine a light on the difference of baby Vs no baby.

When I was baby free, restaurants were for adults. Tral – la – la – larrrrr! A place where fine wine flowed, nice italian pasta dishes filled the nostrils with garlic and scintillating conversation was paramount. Now restaurants have a list of requirements and conversation is erm…….repetitive!

‘Shall mummy take that? No, no, don’t throw it on the floor, pass to mummy’.

Restaurants are to families: A big fat obstacle.

If there isn’t enough room to get through the tables with the pram – just don’t go in. You will be hated. If it doesn’t have baby changing facilities – turnaround immediately.  You do not want to do this on the floor of the ladies (been there). 

Then there is the menu. In a world of fast food it’s hard to get away from CHIPS! Chips, chips everywhere. Chicken goujons and chips, sausages and chips, chips with chips.

In fact, if I sit down and think about it, I can’t think of a time when Freya has been welcomed by a food establishment AND been impressed by a varied, nutritious kids menu. Sad times.

Let’s see how Giraffe measures up….

I’ve watched it like 20 times!

Said my mum on a text today.

She is talking about a video that I sent dad which showed Freya…..


Yes that’s right, we have a walker people. She is taking very wobbly and drunken steps with some epic falls but we are now on two feet. A brave new world.

I feel like I should sign this blog off – there is no more to say – I can’t top this.

It’s such a simple human achievement, however I am one proud mummy.

Here we come Clarks!

A x

p.s in other news we are also feeding oneself and sleeping a lot better, wouldn’t be surprised if we started to do quantum physics next week! After a 1.5 years life is easing up. #dontjinxit

Do you think she will be a Tomboy?

When asked this question recently, I was unsure. Unsure of even the definition of what a Tomboy was to see if it could be applied to my daughter.

Tomboy; a girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys.

Without sounding like I’ve swallowed an edition of ‘Feminism in the 21st Century’, but does this term even exist anymore?

In a larger sense, women, (not just small female people) shout just as loud as men in the office, in parliament, on the playing field.

They compete in ‘rough’ sporting challenges and team sports. (I add this as the women’s England football team recently just missed out on the World cup July 2015)

The types of activities that are ‘traditionally associated with boys’ I think has gone out the window. On the flip side, we have seen the dawning of an age where there is such a thing as ‘guy-liner’. Where men are now opting to be a stay at home Dad, raising the children and taking care of all the domesticated duties.

I digress.

As usual.

My little girl’s behaviour.

What I know:

She does like to make noise, whether that is banging a 20p against the shower glass door (that was annoying) and she can play extremely rough sometimes (the family members have the scratches to prove it). She doesn’t mind getting stuck into activities, getting messy, having lunch all around her face or even crawling all over wet grass!

She has an extremely caring nature, where she shares her food and always makes sure her baba has her ‘bot bot’. She is becoming ‘cuddly’ and says the word ‘kuggle’ when she wants a hug (or wants something and knows how to emotionally blackmail you). Anything that is classed as ‘bitty’ on the floor she picks up and says ‘dirty mummy’ and I have to remove it.

To conclude, she is who she is. She is neither a tomboy or a little lady and I wouldn’t change her for the world. ;)

Bad day huh?!

I think Freya’s had a personality transplant.

OR the ‘terrible two tantrums’ are brewing

OR….she’s having a bad day or more to the point a bad week.

She will throw something across the room (with real power, the girl has a mean right arm) then look at me…look at the item across the room and then…..meltdown. And when I say meltdown….REAL tears, rocking back and forth, inconsolable. When I try to comfort her I get a wild crazy NOOOO! as if what I’m suggesting is slightly barbaric (?)

Now, I keep reading the same thing…which is ‘when your baby can’t articulate his feelings he will become very frustrated’. Yes yes I see that…

‘tantrums arrive as your baby can’t rationalise his behaviour or wants’….yes yes again I can see what you’re saying…so what do I do….scroll down….

Yeah – it doesn’t say what to do. There’s no quick fix solution for this.

It doesn’t say ignore your baby see what happens? (which is what I tried) – nor try forcing calpol into their gob as s*** this must be pretty bad she must be in pain (that wasn’t fun for either of us and I ended up having it – yum!) try distracting them with a toy/Mr Tumble/singing (as predicted my singing only brought on an influx of more crying) Hmmm?

I’m all out of ideas. Any help much appreciated. Jo Frost> supernanny?

I feel like some crazy, emotionally unstable pea pod baby has taken over and I want the old one back. The old one was impatient and would go mad if I didn’t deliver the goods fast enough (by goods I obviously mean petit flous) but at least I knew where I stood.

Maybe I should just cut the girl a bit of slack and she’s got a lot on her plate right now and maybe, just maybe she’s having a crappy week.