Maternity clothes shopping – a little rant

I recently went to London with my mum and sister to do some shopping, and was extremely disappointed to find that despite having huge stores the length of Oxford St and Regent St, so many of the “big” stores don’t stock maternity clothes. Sadly it seems that this is the same situation in most high streets.

The exceptions here are Topshop (which I don’t tend to shop in anyway anymore), H&M (good for basics) and New Look (again, not a favourite of mine)

When not pregnant, I buy most of my clothes from Next and Gap, with occasional purchases from White Stuff, Fat Face, Marks and Spencer etc.

On our day out in London, we visited several Marks and Spencer stores, and a few Next stores also and not one of them stocked maternity wear – with the exception of a small range of tights in Marks and Spencer.

It really angers me that pregnant shoppers are being forced away from the High Street, at a time where we really need to be able to try on different sizes, and buy things like nightwear for hospital etc. I don’t know why this decision was made?

I like shopping, spending a day pottering in shops and picking out a few new clothes is really fun. I have to say that I was saved by H&M on my day out in London where I was able to pick up a couple of tops and some winter tights, otherwise I would have been returning home empty handed.

I have bought some items of clothing online during this pregnancy, from Mamas and Papas and Seraphine, and have also picked some items up at Mothercare, but it’s not the same buying clothes from specialist pregnancy/maternity stores, I want to feel like I’m still welcome in my “regular” stores, not banished to the World Wide Web for the duration of my pregnancy. In a time where there is so much focus on the purpose and future of our high street, why are so many stores sending shoppers away? We keep being told we’re in a baby boom, so I don’t understand why companies would want to hide their stock away from the browsing public?

Is it the same everywhere, or have I just been unlucky?

*end of rant*

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Banana Bread

Waitrose gave my husband free bananas yesterday, quite by chance but as I had been craving banana bread for a while and hadn’t thought to add any to the shopping list, it seemed like a good time to get baking!

Ingredients:
100g (4oz) softened butter
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas, mashed
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk

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To make, you basically just put everything in the mixer (we put everything in apart from the bananas first, and then added the bananas afterwards) and then when its all well mixed, pour it into a lined loaf tin.

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It takes an hour at 180c/160C fan/Gas 4, and is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean and it’s well risen and golden brown.

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Elliot loved helping and was very patient while it cooked. The cooling down stage was the hardest for all of us as it just looked so yummy!

Needless to say I don’t think it’s going to last very long.

The reading bug

The reading bug

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I heard a comment on the radio today that said that a third of children under the age of 7 never have a bed time story read to them, and of the ones that do have stories read to them, only 13% have them read to them every night. On further investigation there are several articles on this of which this one in The Guardian is one.

Now, I’m most certainly not claiming that we are super parents. We definitely take shortcuts, or easy routes, on so many things – from letting Elliot watch episode upon episode of Thomas, or giving up too soon each time we try to get him to eat any recognisable vegetable, and giving in too often when he asks for a new engine, or an ice cream. But, one thing we do do, religiously, is read to him EVERY night, pretty much without fail. We’ve done this since he was about 3 or 4 months old.

I see it as one of the most important things any parent can do. It is a wonderful thing to see a child interested in and gripped by a story – Elliot definitely has his favourites, and these change frequently. We’re currently reading quite a few books about new babies, and becoming a big brother (for obvious reasons!) He is able to recognise many words by sight, and can recount many books himself – especially ones like The Gruffalo!

I can’t imagine a childhood without books. I remember the joy of reading, and devouring book after book once i could read by myself. Maybe its this that makes me certain that spending time reading to Elliot should be at the top of our priority list each evening rather than tidying/hoovering/watching TV. it really saddens me that so many children don’t experience this.

Imagination is so important to a growing child, as is having the ability to empathise with others – these are two things that reading teaches without us having to really get involved.

The other reason I think reading every day is a good idea is that much debated subject among mummy-types: the routine. Having a set bedtime routine since Elliot was very tiny, regardless of the highs and lows of the day, has meant that we have had a child that 99% of the time sleeps right through and wakes happy and excited to start his day. Again, I don’t claim to be any sort of expert, but for us it seemed common sense that if our little man had the same bedtime cues each evening – bath, milk, stories, bed – that he’d soon realise what these meant and we’d have a child that went to bed easily. Ok so it doesn’t always work, and we do occasionally have tears and tantrums, but he knows the routine, and we just follow it through regardless of any tantrums and we end up with a child in bed, mostly before 8, and then an evening to ourselves. I really do think that reading every night has helped with that.

Elliot now happily sits and “reads” by himself, and some of his favourite trips are to the library or the book shop to choose new books to bring home.

Secretly I’m hoping that the Pirate Pete Potty Book, and Charlie and Lola: I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomato, will go some way to helping us with our current challenges in other areas of parenting – after all, books are magic!

Watch this space…

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Another milestone reached!

Well Elliot, this week you have reached another milestone on your way to being a big boy – you’ve finally started getting out of bed and coming to find us in the mornings!

We took the side off your cot way back on Easter Monday, and since then you’ve been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for one of us to come in in the morning before you get out. Not any more, you’re so pleased with yourself, it’s lovely, and I’m for the moment enjoying hearing your footsteps along the hallway and the “mummy?” as you open the door to our room.

We now spend time most mornings playing snap with some Dinosaur playing cards we bought in Lyme Regis some time ago, you love sorting them out and shouting “SNAP!” when you spot matching numbers.

I know I may rue the day you learnt to get out of bed, when we start getting woken earlier and earlier, but at the moment I’m loving it 🙂

Lots of love,
Mummy xxx

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Elliot at (nearly) 33 months – the digital child

Elliot,

You were 32 months old in August, and I realise I’ve not blogged about you for a little while.

I thought it would a a good idea to capture some of your most favourite things at the moment, before time flies on and we forget.

As well as Thomas and Friends, which despite my best efforts you seem to be currently quite obsessed by, you have an eclectic mix of things that interest and excite you at the moment.

Some of these are found on my iPhone which does mean that your main refrain at the moment is “I have mummy’s phone?” and we are having to restrict access (for my battery as much as any other reason!)

Your top favourite app at the moment is Endless Alphabet, which is a spelling app for children who are probably a bit older than you – it has words such as gargantuan in it which you now know how to spell! It’s really good, has catchy music and little monsters that act out what all the words mean.

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Another app you like is Touch and Write which we have on the iPad. This app is brilliant as we’ve programmed in a list of words ourselves – your name, family names etc. – and you love writing the letters in the words and then popping the bubbles at the end. There are also lists of common words, and letters and number shapes for you to draw over. You love choosing different things to write with – shaving foam, chocolate sauce, lime jelly, ketchup etc.

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writing with ketchup? yes please…

As well as apps, you seem to be enjoying listening to music too. Daddy likes to play the guitar so you and he often have singing sessions. We also like to listen to music in the car, so you’re beginning to have your own favourites. You biggest favourite right now is “Rosie” by Paul Simon (otherwise known as Me and Julio down by the schoolyard) – you even know most of the words, which has to be the cutest thing ever!

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singing “Rosie” in the car

I can’t believe how familar you are with all things digital already, you’re not even 3!

Scary times!

Lots of love, Mummy xx