School’s out for summer and these will have your picnic game on point (if the sun ever comes out again that is…)
Sleep deprivation is an actual form of torture. Literally.
And just because you’re being woken up every hour or so, night after night, by your sweet baby boy, doesn’t mean you are any less knackered.
So after a few months of Sonny Jim deciding sleeping at night was overrated, I decided to talk to an expert.
How to get babies to sleep is a contentious subject. Personally I think you do whatever feels right for you.
I’m not up for controlled crying. Yep, it works for a lot of people – my parents included. But it’s not for me. Continue reading
Except…when something like this happens.
Emma Cox is one of my dearest friends. She’s godmother to my Sonny Jim.
And when she went to visit her baby boy Alfie’s grave at the weekend, only to discover it had been dug up and another baby buried there, my job (nowadays done from home and squeezed in around Sonny Jim) suddenly did all the things I hoped it would when, age 17, I decided being a journalist would be pretty cool.
It meant I could get (some) answers, when no one was getting back to her and her husband. It meant I could help her to make sure no one else would ever find themselves in the same god awful situation. It meant her voice was louder and reaching more people than it otherwise would. Continue reading
Honestly, I had parenting absolutely nailed… until I actually had a baby.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think most of us have pretty clear ideas of what we’d do as a mummy or daddy. What we would allow. What our child will and won’t do.
Which is great, until you realise that your child totally didn’t get the memo.
Here are some of my pre-Sonny Jim parenting fallacies:
* The baby won’t be sleeping in our bed.
Yep. That worked really well until he was poorly. Until he started waking up at 4am. Until he started staying awake for hours in the middle of the night. Now, at least part of the night is often spent with a tiny, wriggly third wheel in our bed. It’s that or we just don’t sleep for nights on end. And, quite frankly, I need sleep. Continue reading
YOU kind of know you’ve made it in the fashion stakes when Fearne Cotton posts a picture of herself on Instagram on Christmas Eve in one of your creations.
And then shortly after that posts another of her little girl Honey in one of your designs too.
Such is the rise of baby legging brand Fred & Noah – an empire run from a shed in a mum-of-two’s garden in Rochford.
Natalie Reynolds, 34, started making trousers for 0-4-year-olds while on maternity leave with her second son, Freddie.
Natalie was a lecturer in fashion design at South Essex College, running the fashion course, and initially making the leggings was just about her getting back into her hobbies.
But it very quickly turned itself into a serious income.
Natalie, who is an ex Thorpe Bay High School pupil, recalls: “It was exactly a year after starting the business that I was handing in my notice to the college and taking the leap to work full time on Fred & Noah at home with my husband. Continue reading
He grew up all over Essex, became a pro footballer and TV presenter, had two children with reality TV star Jade Goody, then after her death, became a life coach. While juggling all this Jeff Brazier managed to take the time to chat to me about grief, Canvey FC and secret vices…
Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
I have great memories of living in Matching Green, it’s a bit of a hidden gem. It’s beautiful. It’s probably about five miles from where I live now so it’s very accessible and it’s got a wonderful pub called the Chequers that we have the most incredible meals at. To be honest I love going back there to just collect my thoughts. I sit by the cricket pitch or walk around there. It’s my kind of home from home really.
What’s your favourite Essex memory?
I played at Canvey and it was good because we were a very good team. I think we won the Ryman One that first year. I was a 19-year-old lad amongst a load of retired ex-pros. I learned a lot and not just about football, let’s put it that way! Continue reading
“75 per cent say breastfeeding in public is fine. 25 per cent say put them away. What’s your way?”
Honestly, what WAS Dove thinking with its newest ad campaign?
The skincare brand – which in the past wonderfully celebrated women’s bodies in all their shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities – seems to have had something of a crisis.
Its new adverts, the premise of which is showing support for parents whatever their choices, couldn’t be any more misguided if it tried.
I didn’t breastfeed Sonny Jim. I planned to, wanted to, tried to, but he couldn’t. So we didn’t.
But I am vehemently supportive of the mamas who breastfeed. And mamas who choose to bottle feed. Fed is always best.
So Dove, here are a few things I think you need to know.
The equality act of 2010 means it is now discrimination to treat a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. It’s ILLEGAL for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place. So that 25 per cent you mention? Who CARES what they think.
Being a mum can be hard. Being a new mummy can be overwhelming. What a mama who is just getting to grips with motherhood, who has seen her body change beyond all recognition, who is just getting to know the baby they’ve spent months growing, absolutely doesn’t need is any more anxiety.
And that is what your advert has done, Dove. You’ve given credence to the cretines out there who like to judge mummies. You’ve given a voice to the narrow-minded numpties who with a thoughtless “put it away” comment can destroy a mum’s confidence. Can make her think twice about going out. Can make her question her mothering ability (even more than she already is. None of us think we’re doing “mummying” right anyway.)
Dove, go back to selling soap. Leave the actually parenting to us, hey?
This post was first published in the Echo newspaper on Friday, July 7, 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk