Parenting · Personal

Introducing Maternity Matters

As my regular readers will know, I’m still extremely angry and dismayed about the treatment that led to the traumatic circumstances surrounding Sausage’s birth, and the total lack of support that we were offered afterwards. Since I have been blogging, I’ve come across many other women who’ve also suffered at the hands of a negligent health service, and one who stood out is the amazing Susanne at Ghostwriter Mummy, who has a whole section of her blog dedicated to giving other women a voice and a place to tell their birth story.

We’ve decided to join forces and create ‘Maternity Matters’, a new site dedicated to creating one voice, for all parents who’ve suffered a difficult birth, and hopefully improving maternity care for all. In support of the Netmums maternity campaign and for our children, Susanne and I are setting up Maternity Matters and we want you to join us.

Mission Statement:

Maternity Matters is a blog dedicated towards raising awareness of birth trauma, the positive birth choices that women are entitled to make and the steps which families can take to move on with their lives after a traumatic birth. Maternity Matters will not exclude anybody. Maternity Matters will be a place for support, guidance, advice and a shoulder to cry on. Maternity Matters will strive to deliver the latest in pregnancy, childbirth and maternity news and will offer opinions, research and real life experiences. Maternity Matters has a double meaning:

  • Emphasising the fact that mothers and their rights DO matter
  • Highlighting and challenging the state of maternity care in the UK.

We do not expect to make huge changes in the ways that families are treated during pregnancy and childbirth. We do hope to educate, guide and counsel families in order to help them make informed decisions and to move on from events that can be devastating.

Maternity Matters is extremely important to us. We hope that some of you will support us and contribute towards it all. We hope that we can help ladies like us and families like ours. We will post more news as it develops!

**Please contact myself or Susanne if you would like to contribute, via:
twitter @SusuRem or @jaynecrammond
by leaving a comment here or on Susanne’s blog
facebook: Mum’s the Word

Personal

“We Pay When Old for the Excesses of Youth.”

This is me, in 20 years, apparently.

J. B. Priestley, the playwrite who penned ‘An Inspector Calls’ said that. And he lived til he was 89, so I think we can say that he had a fair insight when it comes to ageing. But I never expected the ageing process to catch up with me so bloody quickly.

I had one of those moments today where you realise you aren’t a kid anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that a married woman with a child should have a fair idea that she’s long past the point where she can get away with pigtails, but inside I still can’t quite believe it.

I was at the shops, waiting for the cashier to ring up the stuff in my basket and a notice came up on her screen, and the little customer-facing display, asking her to check that I was over 25 (God knows why, all I had in there was crisps, biscuits and cheese. Diet going well, I hear you ask?! Anyway, I digress). Instead of asking me to verify my age, she went straight ahead and hit the button to confirm that I did, indeed, look over 25, which is the point when my heart sunk down to my stomach.  There wasn’t even a second of hesitation, she just went right ahead and decided that there was no way that I was under 25.

Now, the fact of the matter is, she was spot on. I’m 26. But that’s not the point!

When I was younger, I had the whitest of baby-blonde hair, a round baby face and though I was tall for my age, was blessed with a youthfulness that I thought would see me through to middle age. Then, at the tender age of NINE, puberty hit and I started to sprout boobs. Not just any boobs, but ridiculous bazongas. So I went from a skinny, pale child, to a curvy teenager who was often tasked with buying the fags and booze for her whole group of friends. Because I was physically advanced, many people assumed I was older than I really was, which was great when I reached 17, as it meant I could often get away without being I.D’ed in pubs and clubs.

Isn’t it funny how things change though? We spend so long wishing we looked older, then we get to a certain age and we suddenly want the exact opposite of what we’ve coveted for all these years. When the cashier didn’t check my age, my sense of indignance didn’t come from shame at being over 25. It was that fact that there was no hesitation that I LOOK over 25!I know I’m being irrational, and I’m not one of these to start having Botox, just because I look my age, but I also wonder…how old did she actually think I looked?!

I can almost guarantee that Husband is going to roll his eyes at me for writing this post, see, he’s a few years older than me, and gets annoyed at my flapping about my age, because he’s already hit the milestones that I’m dreading. But I distinctly remember him being absolutely unable to believe that he was 30, all of a sudden! And that’s it, isn’t it? Where did that last 26 and 2/3 years go?!

It seems as though Mr. Priestly was right. Ten years of smoking, five years of drinking and a lifetime of not bothering to do a very good job of looking after myself are starting to catch up. And now I understand why, according to the BBC, the market for facial and skin rejuvenation will be worth a mind-boggling $105 billion by 2013! I must admit, when I wake up in the morning, I do look at my pillow-creased face and wonder what I can do to change it.

The way I see it is this; we aren’t trying to recapture our youth. We’re trying to make up for the naivety of it.

Competitions

And The Winner Is…

I won’t pretend I’m not a little disappointed that I didn’t receive more entries for this one, but I’ve chosen a winner using a random number generator, and the winner is…the lovely octarinefire!

Congratulations! Send me a message with your address, and I’ll get them sent out to you as soon as possible.

I’d also like to say a huge thank you to Baby Allsorts for donating this fab prize. Take a look at their website for some really great products.

Personal

Who Are You?

I’ve been having one of those months where everything seems to be pointing me towards a particular train of thought. I’ve had a lot going on, with family life, starting a new module of my degree and attempting to get a new business venture off the ground, and there have been a lot of blog posts floating around asking us to tell others a bit more about ourselves. These posts are great and all, but they don’t actually tell us anything about other bloggers, just about how they want us to perceive them.

I posted a while ago about my disillusionment with Facebook, and the way we’re subjected to constant, mundane updates, and how so many people ‘create’ a persona for themselves, based on the image they want to project to others about their day-to-day lives. And that’s fine, but in my opinion, that’s not what Facebook is for. If you want to  be someone else, go and join Second Life. I know we don’t want to update about the boring stuff, but if you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t just make stuff up! Life doesn’t work that way, or at least it shouldn’t.

I like to think that my fellow bloggers are honest about themselves in their posts and Tweets, but again, whilst we talk about day-to-day life, we leave out the boring bits and focus on what others may find interesting. This gives us a really distilled version of what each other is actually like, which is fine, a bit of privacy and personal space is an absolute necessity. But how about we start telling each other about the things that no-one else knows, the things we don’t always talk about.

I’ll start.

  • I am seriously lazy when it comes to doing housework. I washed up last night, but only because I found half a bowl of mouldy porridge on the side and feared that my family may end up with amoebic dysentery if I left it any longer.
  • If Sausage is in the office, listening to music with Daddy, and I happen to go into a different room, I often take a couple of minutes to dance in a really unhinged fashion. If my neighbours were to see me, they’d probably think I was having a bit of an episode.
  • I pick my nose. And my feet. Or scabs. And spots. I’m not proud of myself, but I just love to pick at anything, my sister is the same way.
  • Sometimes, I really am the most awful kind of bitch, and pick people apart, just for the sake of it. It’s not big or clever, and I always feel terrible afterwards, but sometimes, in the moment, it feels really nice to be horrible about someone. And I only do it about people who really deserve it 😉
  • All I really want is to be liked. I HATE admitting that, even writing it down just seems so needy, but that’s who I am.

I was going to do a linky, and ask you all to do your own “Who Are You” posts, but I think I’m all memed out. Do leave me a comment, I’d really love to hear some of your deepest, darkest secrets. And be honest. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, or what you want me to believe about you. Tell me one of those things that you don’t want anyone to know.

Remember…you can always comment anonymously!

Cooking and Recipes · Slow Cooker

Mum’s the Word Does Cookery – Lamb Stew Recipe

Yesterday, after a series of tweets from @welshmumwales, who blogs over at Welsh Mum, talking about her disappointment with her first attempt at using her slow cooker, I found myself sharing a recipe with her, that I’m sure loads of you would love. This recipe was taught to me by my Mother-in-Law, who was in turn taught by her Mum, and I’m sure she probably learned to cook it from her own mother, so this recipe goes back many generations and is a real favourite in our family.

Do bear in mind that the quantities I’m giving are for a stew pot that holds SIX litres, so you’ll need to adjust the amounts depending on the size of your pot or slow cooker. When using either a slow cooker or a pot on the hob, I’d advise letting this cook on low for at least 6-7 hours, though the longer you cook it the better.

Ingredients:

  • Neck of Lamb (fillet) ( I usually buy £10 worth), ask the butcher to dice it for you
  • One large onion, finely sliced
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veg (avoid mixes with broccoli in, as it turns to floating green mush. Also, mixes with red pepper and sweetcorn in dont work so well either)
  • 1kg white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Matthesons Smoked Sausage
  • 2 x stock cubes
  • 2 x oxo cubes
  • 2 x cans of vegetable or lentil soup
  • water
  • flour, margarine and water for dumplings, or a dumpling mix
  1. Start by browning your lamb in your stew pot or pan. Once all of the meat is browned, fill the pot about 2/3 full with cold water. Return to the hob and  add the stock cubes and oxo.
  2. Add the diced potatoes, sliced carrots, frozen veg, smoked sausage and cans of soup. Mix well and put a lid on the pot.
  3. Cook for 6-8 hours, stirring intermittently. If you’re using a slow cooker, you may need to add more liquid so that it doesn’t dry out.
  4. If you want to add dumplings, wait until 30 minutes before you want to eat, bring the stew to a fast simmer and add the dumplings. Cook for at least 30 minutes.

Dumpling method:

  1. Add equal measures of flour and margarine to a bowl and, using your fingers, bring together to a crumb texture.
  2. Add a little water at a time, until the mixture comes together and will form solid balls. You don’t want it to be too sticky.
  3. Using floured hands, make equal sized balls from the mixture and lower into the stew with a ladle.
  4. Cook for around 30 minutes, turning halfway through.

And that’s it, it’s as simple at that. It’s a super tasty stew and will make 10 generous portions with the quantities given. It freezes nicely, too. If you want, you can omit the smoked sausage during the first stage of cooking, and add it the next day when you’re eating the leftovers.

If you have any recipes you’d like to share I’d love to hear them, I’m always looking for cheap and easy ways to feed my family and would love to broaden our food horizons by trying some things that don’t usually make it onto our plates.

Also, if you make a Mum’s the Word stew for yourself, do let me know how it turns out!