Yup I did it. I got my legs waxed!
Not much you might think but for me it was a big undertaking. Not because of the pain or anything (but ouch it is painful!) but because it has taken months and months to get to the stage where I can have them done.
I suffer from eczema and it’s on my legs too, I scratch and scratch and SCRATCH! For years I have raked away at my legs making them sore and bloody. The eczema actually got better years ago, the scratching was habit now ingrained, I scratch without being aware I’m doing it.
So I finally had enough. I figured that shaving was doing me no favours by taking off the protective layer each time so I enlisted help, in the form of Bella, to remind me to not scratch each time.
And finally my legs were suitable to have waxed. Perfect timing as we’re off on holiday on Monday 🙂
Phew, we seem to have weathered our first one. Rosie had been getting fussy last night and this morning, which all merged into one thanks to a very bad night sleep wise, and had not been taking on enough milk.
She was hungry, she knew that, I knew that but still feeding was met with screaming and tears 😦
Thankfully it seems to have passed, culprit discovered. A very angry looking lower gum is to blame it would appear, bastard teething I hate it.
Below is a copy of my guest blog post on Me, The Man and The Baby about the Mumsnet Bounty Mutiny campaign.
I’ll be up front here I am a very vocal part of the Bounty Mutiny campaign on Twitter and through Mumsnet. If you want to stop reading now then you are welcome to go, I wish you a hearty farewell and no hard feelings.
Hello very welcome reader to my guest post. I am currently feeling very honoured to be asked to write this for Me, The Man & The Baby. I’ll try not to gush too much!
Now then, the Bounty Mutiny. Why am I so involved? Two reasons mainly, personal experience being the first. I think many of us who support the campaign have this in common and certainly 20,000 others do too going by the current petition on change.org. However there is another reason too, I am a passionate believer in bettering our society and our public services for all to enjoy and use in a non-threatening way.
I have campaigned to highlight homophobic bullying within school environments, to increase numbers of nurses and midwives with the NHS, to improve birth experiences via UNICEF both in the UK and abroad and with this came my interest in this campaign.
You see I believe it is possible to support, and to bring about change in more than one thing at a time. I believe that as a society we are capable of seeing a wide reaching number of issues and addressing them all, not picking out whichever one is considered to be the most “worthy” because I believe that different things matter to different people and we cannot class things as “worthy” or “more important” than each other because for different groups of people different things are important.
Bounty have been the main stay of maternity wards for over 40 years. Back in the days when cameras were rare they provided a service to capture a newborns first days. This was a time when new Mums stayed in hospital for a length of time incomparable to today’s standards for the majority of women. Back at the time when Bounty started to visit the maternity wards they were offered a small side room, often alongside the nursery where the babies slept, to provide their service. The Bounty packs had been in existence since 1959 and were disturbed from this small office. The mums decided when, or even if, they wanted to go and visit the Bounty Lady to collect their pack or have the photos taken. What a wonderfully opt in service.
Of course times have changed, competition has arisen and shorter turnarounds in maternity discharge has meant that Bounty have had to up their game. They still hold the market share in packs given to new and expectant mothers,( although smaller, local, independent firms who disagree with the promotion of formula and disposable nappies are coming up with green, breastfeeding friendly alternatives see one example here: http://www.mamapacks.eu/), they had to become more sales driven with the photo service they offered. Long gone were the days of the Bounty Lady in a side office, she now had to wander from bed to bed with her camera, being paid only in commission meant she had to get those photos if she wanted to get paid. Commission based selling is always going to encourage pressure selling. How many of us have been plagued by calls from home improvement firms, or had to deal with electricity suppliers on the door step or even have to run into JJB Sports to avoid yet another chugger on the high street (no offence to JJB it’s just not a shop I usually frequent).
Now imagine having to deal with that same intrusion when on a hospital bed, having just undergone major abdominal surgery, or having pushed a whole human out of an are which is quite frankly poor designed to undergo such a procedure in my honest opinion. You lie there bleeding, exhausted (post natal wards are not the most relaxing of places to get any sleep) gazing in wonder at the little curled up beauty next to you in that plastic crib… then whoosh your curtain goes back and a woman enters asking for your details. You stare at her blankly for a bit but take in the white tunic and assume she is hospital staff or official in any way. She wants to take a photo of your baby which will mean waking her up, that can’t be right can it? When you ask why you may be told the real reason or you may hear what so many new mothers’ hear “It’s for security reasons”. It is not for security reasons, it is NEVER for security reasons, that is a complete and utter lie. It is a pressure excuse no different from “let me ring my boss to see if he can lower the offer” or “you could save £x amount on average but only if you sign up today”. Only this time you don’t have the benefit of being able o put your phone down, or shutting your front door or dodging into JJB (again no offence intended). This time you are bleeding, exhausted, emotional and that’s even with a birth going well. Imagine you have not had a straight forward birth, that your baby is not actually with you or that they are ill in NICU? Not all midwives tell the Bounty lady which Mums to not visit. I witnessed one Mum bursting into tears at questioning from the Bounty lady as to where her baby was to which she just tutted at her and turned her heels and left. No sorry, no comforting words, there was no commission to be made. This same woman later ripped open my curtains when I was having my catheter removed, she exposed me to the whole ward (thankfully outside of visiting hours) and the midwife chased her off the ward. Fortunately the catheter was still in place at this point because I was literally pissing myself laughing at the choice words used. Bounty claim on their website:
When we meet you in hospital, we will:
- ALWAYS check first with the midwifery team if we can visit you
- Be a PROFESSIONAL, friendly face – it is a real privilege to be one of the first to meet you and your newborn
- NEVER interrupt you if you are sleeping or if you are feeding your baby
- Give you CHOICE – you are not obliged to be contacted in future in order to receive a free Bounty pack or a child benefit form
- In hospitals where we provide a service, we will offer to take professional PORTRAIT photographs of your baby if you would like – any decision to purchase can wait until you get home
This is at odds with comments and personal stories from those who have signed the petition and contributed on Mumsnet and Twitter.
Back to you post birth. You are then informed that the pack she is carrying holds your child benefit form and you must fill in your details to receive it. At no point are you told what happens to the information on the card. Well what happens is this. Bounty makes its money, not from running a forum like they are claiming in an attempt to discredit Mumsnet’s involvement, but by SELLING your details and your baby’s details to its partners. Businesses that sign up with Bounty specifically to buy your information. There is no opt out on this either, once they have your details you have to contact each and every company to get them to remove it. Even if you have sadly suffered the loss of your baby and each mailing through the door, each email, each telephone call is another stab in the heart they keep coming because Bounty keep selling them on. Eventually the baby related items stop. Which is good. But then the life insurance, the house insurance, the holidays with kids clubs mailings start. You are never free from Bounty’s influence.
If you do decide to buy the photos, and lots of women like them which is fabulous I just hope you, dear reader, were not pressured into buying more than you can afford, did you know that Bounty keep those images on their database and website for 5 years? In an age where we are increasingly wary of the information and images we put out onto social networks and the internet Bounty have got your child’s photos for FIVE YEARS. You will inundated with emails reminding you about these photos and the photo packs they offer until either you crack or they remove the photos as your child starts school.
The NHS in this country is a marvellous thing. No, no stay with me on this. As with any healthcare it has its down sides and no nothing is perfect, however one big claim that the NHS has is that at no point during NHS care (with the exception of dentistry) does money change hands from patient to provider. All are treated equally no matter what wealth, creed, race etc. How bloody fantastic is that?! Except in the case of maternity care. Bounty are not in partnership with the NHS in the way Macmillan or other charitable trusts are, they are in a business with the NHS. The pay to access women outside of visiting hours, they pay to gain your information to sell onto their partners, partners such as formula milk companies who include promotional material for follow on milk in the Newborn packs. Why do they do that? Follow on milk cannot be used until after 6 months so why does a new Mum need that? You soon realise that formula companies are not allowed to promote or advertise infant formula so they found a go around the law. UNICEF is currently working with hospital trusts to encourage Baby Friendly Status. One of the key aims of this is to promote breastfeeding to all mothers who are physically able to breastfeed. Bounty’s promotion of formula goes against this. In addition Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue and Customs (HMRC) pay Bounty £90,000 per annum to distribute the Child Benefit form. A form you can download online or pick up from the Post Office. £90,000 per year to give out these forms which are used as a pushing point to sign over your details. Not good enough, especially as recent changes mean that not everyone is eligible to claim child benefit. Much more sensible is to give them out at registry offices as you need the birth certificate to claim.
Finally I just want to say this. Bounty are not providing the service they do out of the goodness of their hearts, nothing in this world is truly free and if you are desperate for the mini pot of Sudocrem you can get a 6 pack on ebay for £1.49 free P&P.
Well the campaign is still ongoing and has entered a new phase with the support of Dr Dan Poulter, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health Services, to highlight the need for reform in the maternity services partnership with commercial companies. The Bounty Mutiny campaign is helping to highlight how a commercial company is getting access to personal details in a misleading way by being tied in with the child benefit forms. The latest development is Mumsnet getting in contact with Treasury minister David Gauke asking him to reconsider the contract with Bounty, costing tax payers £90,000 per year when the forms are available online or could be available in paper form at registry offices.
How can I get involved?
- Sign the petition: http://www.change.org/bountymutiny this will help to accurately show those who are dissatisifed with how Bounty operate in our NHS hospitals
- Write to your Trust, Mumsnet have a handy guide here, to express your views about the Bounty service.
- Tweet about it, the #BountyMutiny hash tag is bringing together like minded people from all walks of life to highlight the aims of the campaign
- Complain directly to your hospital and Bounty if you were subject to treatment you did not agree with by one of their reps. Bounty claim they get very few complaints, something they know must be due to their “customers” having a newborn to look after.
Put quite simply commercial reps do not belong on a hospital ward, Bounty must not be allowed to exploit expectant and new mothers in the way they do.
Weaning. Eurgh weaning. Not something I was looking forward to this time around.
Weaning Bella was stressful from the start. Bella was a little baby and continued to be little, the Health Visitors couldn’t get their brains around this so I was bombarded with pressure to formula feed. There was even a lovely little threat of contacting Social Services at one point, just what a new mother wants to hear. As such we were pressured into weaning Bella earlier than the recommended 6 months. I am sorry to say I caved at that point after having dealt with everything leading up to it. So we started with baby rice and purees.
Looking back Bella was not ready, many miserable hours were spent spooning lurid coloured mush into her reluctant mouth, it made both her and me unhappy. Plus she would only really eat carrot, her nose went orange 😦
When Bella was 2 years old she was diagnosed with a wheat intolerance, initially suspected coeliac disease, and I will always have mother’s guilt about whether weaning her early was the cause. It probably isn’t but we don’t know that for sure. Seeing my poor baby miserable and in hospital having test after test will stay with me for the rest of my life.
This time is different. I am stronger, I know what I’m doing and I have not seen a HV since the 6 week check (when they started with all the weight stuff again, I make small babies DEAL WITH IT)
This time we are BLW, Rosie is deciding when she wants to eat and we’ll be going with the flow. The fact is she started last week when she swiped some pasta off me at lunch time and it went straight to her mouth and boy was she happy!
This time it’s so much more relaxed, she gets a bit of what we’re eating and if most of it goes on the floor/in her hair so be it, she is loving exploring food and we find it hilarious too!
I have been reading the Gill Ripley book about BLW (generally considered the leading voice on the subject) and following the advice about what to do. There is also this fantastic website which has these handy hints for getting started:
- Have a good trawl on the internet for blogs, info and in particular video clips of BLW babies. Seeing little tiny 6-month-old babies demolishing their food and hearing the gasps of admiration from the proud parent behind the camera (and by parent I mean Dad. It’s always the Dad), will do your confidence the power of good.
- Next, forget ‘baby food’. Food’s food, as long as you’re not adding salt. To start off with, think chip-sized because it’s an easy shape for little 6-month-olds to grip, but you’ll soon move on to smaller pieces as it’s more interesting for a child developing a pincer grip.
- As a first food most people steam carrots (to about the degree that they can be smushed ‘twixt your thumb and finger), cut up cucumbers, make toast fingers or crinkle cut bits of mango, that sort of thing, but remember if there’s no reason whatsoever why your baby can’t have a pile of Spaghetti Bolognese or mashed potato to dig into if that’s what the rest of the family is having.
- No bowls, they’re just asking to be flung heavenwards. Put the food on the highchair tray or table and remember, it’s all a learning experience for the baby at this point. They really don’t care whether the experience is ‘oooooh, mango is in my mouth’ or ‘ooooooh, a bowl is flying across the room’.
- As an experienced eater yourself, you already have all the ‘equipment’ you’ll need to feed your child, but there are some things to consider. An easy-to-clean highchair is a must, so head to Ikea for a fifteen quid Antilop, which will even fit in the shower for a hose-down on a bad broccoli day.
- There will be mess, oh yes there will, so if you are weaning in summer don’t be afraid to eat outside or semi-naked (and the baby too, if you like, hem hem) and for winter Ikea and Tommee Tippee make great cover-all and pelican bibs.
- Putting a wipe-clean tablecloth under the highchair is a good idea if you have carpets and some people find that a crinkle cutter is handy to make food extra-grippable.
- (Slightly bitter) experience suggests that the more effort you put into making something special for the baby, the less likely they are to eat it. Give them what you’re having. If they hate it, fine, they’re getting their calories from milk anyway.
- Of course it would be perfect if we ate every meal as a family, just like the Waltons but this isn’t always possible. Try to keep your ‘social activity’ head on, though, even if it’s just you and your baby sharing a sandwich at lunch. Keep smiling, keep enjoying, keep paying attention. It’s just good manners at the end of the day, something it’s never too early for a child to learn.
- Don’t get too hung up on three meals a day, it may take a while to work up to that. Whatever’s convenient and enjoyable for you is best.
- And don’t put too much on the highchair tray at the one time, just a couple of pieces of food will stop them feeling overwhelmed.
- Actual hunger can be frustrating for the babies when they’re still getting to grips (quite literally) with things. Timing ‘meals’ to between milk feeds seems to be best, and because it’s just finger food you aren’t limited to staying in. There’s no reason why you can’t pack a wee Tupperware with some carrot or cucumber, buy a banana when you’re out or just pull some bits out of an undressed salad.
- Never put food into a child’s mouth, let them put it in by themselves so that they can control it as it moves backwards. If the baby gags, remember that it’s their way of moving food around in the mouth and don’t panic. Some parents have found that making exaggerated chewing faces and noises reminds the child to get back on track.
- Nappies and their contents will soon fascinate you in ways you never thought possible. Raisins rehydrate, little pieces of still-green broccoli sneak through the digestive system and bananas produce poo with strange black threads. Look and learn, ladies.
- Have a camera ready to capture those first gummy, carroty smiles because as daunting as it may seem, weaning is a very short time in your child’s life. So remember to enjoy it…
Nearly every family I know has a problem with bananas. Well our children do. They go through phases of wanting them and then inevitably they don’t so you end up with a surplus.
Banana bread to the rescue! Now I’m not the world’s biggest fan of bananas, I don’t eat them in their raw form so we do end up with lots going brown, but I do love banana bread. Bella loves it too and her favourite recipe is one I’ve adapted to include her favourite thing, namely chocolate. This recipe includes both cocoa powder and chocolate chips and makes a lovely, moist banana bread that is perfect served with whipped cream.
Prep time: under 30 minutes
Cooking time: over an hour
Makes one loaf in a 20cm loaf tin.
Suitable for vegetarians.
- 270 g/9.5 oz plain flour
- 15 g/0.5 oz cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 110 g/4 oz butter, also a bit extra for greasing the tin
- 225 g/ 8 oz caster sugar
- 2 free-range eggs
- 4-6 very ripe bananas (depending on size, I usually use 6 small ones), mashed
- 85 ml/ 3 fl oz milk mixed with 1.5 tsps lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 80 g/3 oz dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to Fan 160C/180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, bananas, milk & lemon juice and vanilla to the butter and sugar and mix very well. The mixture will look very runny but this is normal.
- In a separate bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder & bicarb and fold into the wet mixture.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Grease a 20cm x 12.5cm/8in x 5in loaf tin. I find putting a greaseproof paper rectangle in the bottom aids removal later.
- Pour mixture into the prepared tin and transfer to the oven. Bake for around 1 hour (depending on your oven strength). The bread should be well risen and a skewer should come out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Enjoy! I always have this with cream but it works very well with custard too
For once I am enjoying the school holidays. For those who don’t know I am a teacher so holidays should be a perk of the job right? Well yes and no. Pre children they were lush, getting up late, able to work as when I wanted, could nip into school to get things done on the school system etc. That all changed with the arrival of Bella.
You see the simple fact is, teachers work in the holidays. There are very few who don’t and usually they work very long hours in term time to free up their holidays more. Bella is in term time only childcare, this makes it affordable for us as a family so is at home with me during the school holidays. Explaining to a pre-schooler that Mummy has to work is not easy, dragging same pre-schooler into a school not suited or designed for that age child is even worse so I end up working evenings just like term time. Quite simply the time I should have been enjoying with my daughter was plagued by the constant worry of my work pile building. What used to be a relaxing time became indistinguishable from my working week.
Then came maternity leave with Rosie. No more work worries = a happy Easter break for us all.
Both me and Rosie have dry skin/eczema. I have the more severe of us two and have had it all my life. It is very visible as it covers my face, scalp and neck. Not a pretty sight when I have a flare up!
I have been in constant need of a moisturiser that not only works but is affordable, also one that will not leave me looking like a raw, shiny tomato. So far I use a mixture of creams and lotions, of which none are perfect. Rosie has dry skin patches on her arms, legs and back. Hers are, thankfully, non visible, as I know all to well the looks you can receive.
The lovely people at Sudocrem, who have over 80 years experience in skin care for delicate skin, sent me a new product to try out on both me and Rosie to see if it was up to the challenge!
I have given it a full 7 days to truly give an accurate description of how it has fared.
Received the parcel with the Sudocrem Mousse today. Initial impressions are that it fits very nicely with the Sudocrem brand, it retains the distinctive look that Sudocrem products have. I immediately read the ingredients as that is my first port of call on all moisturising products and am happy to see that there is no lanolin in the mousse. I react badly to lanolin which is found in many products marketed to help eczema sufferers. Those products remind me of a childhood blighted by painful, stinging when the creams were applied <shudder>. I test a small patch behind my ear for 24 hours to check for no reaction <voice of bitter experience>
Day 2: No reaction to either me or Rosie so on with the trial. First thing I notice when applying this mousse is how light it is, it is really light! I am used to heavy creams that you almost have to trowel on! Rosie is enjoying the application which is a good sign and her skin feels lovely after putting it on. So far no real difference to my skin but we must be patient.
Day 3: I am loving the ease with which it is to put on, it’s clean and efficient with no lingering odour. There is a noticable difference to Rosie’s dry patches and my less eczema heavy patches on the face are looking tip top. The big plus is that it is so easy to pop into the change bag and use when out and about, there is very little residue on my hands after using so perfect for on the move.
Day 4: Starting to see an improvement on my worst affected areas now, still quite flaky but the redness is reduced and I’m looking less like a tomato. Rosie’s patches are much, much better.
Day 5: Had a flare up 😦 this happens when I’m run down/under the weather so not at all unusual with a baby and night wakings! Back to square 1 but no pain or soreness on application, gotta keep going.
Day 6: Considering I had a flare up yesterday things are looking good, the lightness of the mousse means I can apply it more regularly and not feel/look bogged down under cream. Definite plus.
Day 7: Mum notices a difference over Skype, must be working then!
Overall this is a nifty new product. Rosie has definitely benefited from it and I have noticed a difference too. It’s never going to banish my heavy duty eczema but the ease of use and lightness of the product means I am very happy to apply throughout the day which is helping reduce the redness and soreness levels. A plus by anyone’s standards. So for moderate to low level eczema/dryness I would recommend this product in a heartbeat. For severe to high level eczema/dryness this is a good tool in the arsenal against our battle with the flake!