Monthly Archives: September 2009

Reciprocal childcare petition

This weeks news has, and not for the first time may I say, made me wonder whether insanity is the dominant force in society. 

I am talking about the two friends also mothers also working as Police Officers who have been forced to abandon taking caring for each others children by Ofsted as it was regarded as “illegal child minding”.  The full story dominated headlines and continues to drive debate in the broadsheets and tabloids here’s the coverage in The Times

Reciprocal_ChildcareThe rule Ofsted feels the arrangement fell foul of is a rule that prevents parents from looking after other people’s children for more than two hours a day for reward – does that mean that when I look after a friends child for more than two hours and she buys me flowers to say thank you I should be turning us both in at the local nick?! 

I believe as mothers, as fathers, as parents we have the right to decide whom we trust to mind our children and believe the legislation in the area needs to be reviewed and changed.  A petition has been started to do just that, so rather than rant on about how outrageous, ludicrous, ridiculous, bureaucratic etc. the situation is I am going to be constructive and try to improve the situation for others by promoting the petition link. 

If you feel similarly please take 2 mins to sign the petition and pass it on!



Filed under Personal & Family, Recommendations

Baby weight sweep stake!

Inspired by the sweepstake OMG We’re Pregnant is running for guessing the arrival date & time of their first baby who is due later in October I thought a guess the baby weight sweepstake would be fun! 

So here you go, here is the bump, note head excluded due to lack of care or inclination to do hair or make up – I’m sparing you that for your own good people I assure you!


With a week to go, due this time next week Monday 5th October, so I am potentially looking at a further three weeks (please god no!) already one false start behind me, a reflexology appointment booked for tomorrow morning and a membrane sweep booked on Friday I feel arrival is imminent.  But what will she weigh?! 

OK, the facts – its a girl, she’s my second baby, my bump measures about 40 weeks, my first baby was a boy and arrived weighing 6lb 15oz (3.14kg)

Winner wins max smug points!  Sorry no prize but if anyone has anything they’d like to donate as a prize, please do drop me an email and we can change that –

Baby weights in pounds and ounces, conversions will be done with the google calculator, all entries need to be in the comments for this post please!

Good luck!  Happy Guessing!


Filed under Personal & Family

Group B Strep – The results are in …

GBS Test Result

For more info about Group B Strep & the previous post to this just click here


Filed under Personal & Family

Boy or Girl – to know or not to know?

boy_girl_symbolsOver at A Mothers Secrets, a place where mothers swear to tell the whole truth and only the truth, a suggestion from OMG We’re Pregnant for posts about finding out the sex of your baby while pregnant has inspired me to put my fingers to the keyboard and share my thoughts and experiences on the subject. 

My experience is with two pregnancies.  The first we didn’t find out the sex until I delivered my baby and my second (current and last!) pregnancy we have found out is a girl, so I have experienced one pregnancy not knowing and one pregnancy knowing. 

Whilst my personality is extrovert and often seemingly spontaneous, my nature is very much that of a planner.  I very much lead with my head and deal with facts rather than thoughts and ideas.  So, rewind the clock a couple of years to 2006 and everyone was amazed that I didn’t find out whether I was expecting a boy or a girl with my first pregnancy.  During this pregnancy I held a senior role in a large Plc, working silly hours with many days and nights spent away on business trips.  The main reasons I didn’t find out what I was having were… see, the planner in me wants an ordered list! :

  1. We wanted the news to be a surprise
  2. It didn’t matter to us, we had no experience of, or stuff for, babies – be they a boy or girl
  3. It limited how much planning, doing and shopping I was able to do (very successfully on the shopping front!)
  4. Both sets of first time Grandparents-to-be also wanted the sex of our baby to be a surprise on arrival

On my side of the family the eldest child is a girl for generations gone by – my Great-Great Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother and me are all the eldest child.  As my pregnancy, my bump and other peoples guesses progressed, I became more and more convinced I was having a girl.  Still I never bought anything pink or blue, I was Mrs Unisex – all about the neutral, white & creams!  We had a nickname for our bump, “Baby Boo” and spent 40 weeks coming up with names for Boo’s arrival – we had agreed a name for a girl and had a short list for a boy.  Then baby arrived and “its a boy!” Mr L told me excitedly … having survived over 36 hours of labour, followed by nearly two hours of an assisted delivery I had completely forgotten that at the end of all this would be the long awaited “surprise”.  The truth is that the “surprise” part completely missed me as I was reeling from post delivery shock and stitches! 

Baby Boo was dressed in his unisex cream baby gro, “Baby Boy Lancaster” was written on his wrist and ankle tags and his cot was labelled “Unknown Lancaster”.  These bracelets and this label are in his first year memory book and I feel so bad about them, it looks like we weren’t bothered.  But post labour and delivery I just couldn’t confidently answer the question “do you have a name for him?” There was no surprise, there was a shock, that Baby Boo was not a girl.  In fact it was such as shock that I think it took me a good three weeks to get used to Lil’ H’s name because I just thought for no reason what so ever he would be a she.  That said I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I adore Lil’ H with all my heart and know he will be a great Big Brother in just a few weeks time.

When it came to second time around, I felt strongly about finding out the sex of our baby and my reasons were not directly related to my experience of Lil’ H’s arrival, certainly not in my mind anyway.  Our reasons for finding out second time around were: 

  1. We wanted the news to be a surprise – at a time that I would be able to appreciate the news
  2. We had four suitcases of grown out of boys baby clothes, if this one wasn’t to be blue they needed new homes.
  3. With a toddler in tow time to prepare, do & shop is limited, knowing focussed the to do list & makes it easier
  4. Both sets of Grandparents in hindsight confessed to be frustrated by not knowing during the first pregnancy!
  5. This will be my last pregnancy and my only opportunity to experience a pregnancy knowing

Interestingly in writing this post the reasons for not finding out and finding out are pretty much the same just from a different perspective.  The perspective of a second time mum-to-be with a toddler, still working, but now for myself on my own terms but still short of time!  I don’t deny finding out is for mostly more practical reasons.  It has afforded me the three months that I have spent selling Lil’ H’s clothes on eBay.  I don’t have a nickname for my bump this time around apart from “baby number two” however I know what her name will be (nope I’m not sharing!) and feel closer to her for it.  I have enjoyed choosing outfits for her, rather than looking through the limited choice of unisex items and have been able to take advantage of discounts and sales.  I definately had and enjoyed my “surprise” moment at finding out – we were told 80% likely a girl at the 12 week nuchal scan which was confirmed at 20 weeks.  It has been great to be able to talk to Lil’ H about being a big brother and having a little sister.  Grandparents-to-be have knitting needles loaded and clicking with pink & lilac wool and sewing machines humming with similar shades of fabric for bunting & playmats. 

Before I sign off it is worth pointing out that “knowing” isn’t definate and my birth plan does state “We have been told that the sex of this baby is a girl, it will be a shock if not!”  I will write a sequel post when she arrives on if knowing influences me during labour, delivery and those first weeks.  But for me I’ve experienced both and they were both right for me and my family at the time of my pregnancies.  Knowing was neither better or worse, just different.  So I guess the killer question is … if I was to have a third child would I find out?  There is no answer to that question because I will not be having a third pregnancy and if I was there would be way bigger questions to answer than is it a boy or a girl … it will be a full on case of “I’M A PREGNANT LADY GET ME OUTTA HERE!”


Filed under Personal & Family

Group B Strep Screening

I am 36 weeks pregnant today, so seven days from being “full term”, 28 days to due date with potentially a further 14 days on top of that if “baby number two” decides its not time to arrive just yet! 

So today, at 36 weeks pregnant its time to do my Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Screening Test.  It needs to be undertaken between 35 and 37 weeks gestation and I wanted to share my why’s and the how’s for the benefit of other mums-to-be and to help support and raise awareness of the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies in the UK.  GBS infects around 700 babies each year in the UK of whom sadly 75 or so die and around 40 survivors suffer long-term problems as a result.  Source:  Group B Strep Support  If GBS is identified prior to labour the treatment is both very straight forward and successful with intravenous antibiotics given to the mother during labour to prevent them passing the the infection to their baby. 

I first heard about GBS when one of mums friends lost a grandchild to the infection, one of those terribly sad friend of a friend stories.  I had never heard of GBS then and I am not alone, with figures reporting up to nine out of ten pregnant women have ‘never heard’ about Group B Strep bacteria.  When I became pregnant with Lil’ H my mum was insistent I be tested for GBS so I asked my midwife to be tested and was told that they don’t test for GBS.  It was then that I became aware that the NHS does not routinely test for GBS.  Back at home, a cup of coffee and a few Google searches later and I was shocked mums-to-be weren’t being tested but I did find the GBS home testing kit available free of charge. 

So when I reached around 35 weeks pregnant with Lil’ H I did the test myself at home, sent the kit off for processing (this costs a nominal fee of £32) and had the results texted back to me.  The results were negative but I was reassured I was entering the unknown of the delivery room with at least one box ticked!  Admittedly there were a thousands more unknowns awaiting me in there with the gas & air, but both my mum and I certainly got some peace of mind from knowing that there was just one less thing to worry about.  I tested myself last time and I’m testing myself this time too.

One of my Tweeting and Blogging buddies, the lovely Violet Posy, encountered Group B Strep when her daughter Lily was born, thankfully her traumatic journey has a happy ending.  To read Violet Posy’s from the heart post about the events surrounding Lily’s arrival and her battle with the GBS infection just click here

I test myself for GBS because …
The NHS doesn’t test me.
The implications for my unborn/newborn child are life-threatening. 
I have shoes, handbags, a mobile phone and meals out which cost more.
It takes less than 5 minutes, super quick and easy.
I don’t know why I wouldn’t.

Strep_Screening_TestThe Group B Streptococcus Screening Test Kit is supplied and delivered free of charge.  There is a small cost of £32 to cover the laboratory costs of processing and providing the results.  Money which I feel couldn’t be better spent.  I got my free kit from, for your own just click here

Update 16th September – the results are in click here


Filed under Personal & Family, Recommendations

The Hospital Bags

OMG its time to pack the hospital bag!  I have 31 days to go to due date and until Monday that felt a lifetime away.  My friend S is due 17 days before me and in my head (completely illogically I might add) I was “in the clear” until her baby arrived.  On Monday I missed a call from S and then got a text saying … “my waters broke last night” … OMG that’s 18 days early!  WTF early is not in “the plan”! 

I called S and I think I just may have just swore at her as my own panic took hold – I just kept thinking it can’t be her now because that means its me next!  Early was so not in either of our plans that I had to do a dash to the doctors to collect her Pethidine prescription, just in case, as she was planning a homebirth.  Then over to Boots to collect her tens machine, got both, sorted ready to go and I guess baby changed its mind because nothing happened & S was induction bound at 8am on Wednesday morning.  All went well and to wrap up on the cause of my panic buying the contents of my hospital bag, S gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Sadie Suzanne, who arrived weighing 6lb 5oz in the afternoon on Wednesday 2nd September.  Everyone is doing great and couldn’t be happier and I’m going for a squeeze of the newbie later today! 

So if number two were to arrive early like it happened for S we’re talking about me having 13 days to go.  That is a whole lot less than 31, that is like the week after next and that eventuality I am totally and completely not ready for.  On reflection I think the truth is that my preparations for my first baby were more than excessive but that for baby number two I’ve been as disproportionately unprepared as I was over-prepared last time.  Over at OMG We’re Pregnant she’s packing her bags for beans arrival so having read her list and the recommended post by Kelly at A Place of My Own  I have been galvanised into packing my bags and there are four of them for me this time … mine, Mr L’s, baby number two’s (I think that has become her nickname, its crap isn’t it?!) and big brother to be, H. 

Here are the lists – have I got it covered?  Do you have suggestions/recomendations/alternatives – I’d love to hear them from you. 

For me, mum to be
1 x Maternity notes and birth wishes
1 x Baggy T-shirt for labour & delivery (destination – the bin!)
1 x Pyjama’s, dressing gown & flip flops/slippers
5 x knickers (old – again destination the bin!)
1 x nursing bra
2 x sox
12 x Maternity towels (need 70 in total but not planning to stay in long & can always send home for more)
1 x change of clothes, still maternity mind, to go home!
1 x Washbag – hairbrush, bobbles/clips, toothbrush & paste, shampoo & conditioner, showergel, deodorant
1 x Make-up bag – waterproof mascara, tinted moisturiser, lippy (played this game before – far too many hideous photos taken of me to mention, going to make a concerted effort this time!)
1 x Bath towel
Labour “accessories” – tens machine, homeopathic kit, chocolate, 8 hour cream, Evian water spray, flannel
1 x baby gift for the big brother to be (H can’t read so I am safe to share that baby is bringing him “cranky the crane”)

For Mr L
Shorts, t-shirt, underwear & sox
Drink & snacks
Stuff to share the news with – camera & video camera (charged!) and iPhone & charger
Money, in coin form for parking & vending machines!

For Baby Number Two
3 x vests/bodysuits
2 x babygros
1 x nightdress
2 x cardigans
1 x swaddling blanket
1 x packet of newborn nappies
1 x hat
1 x pair of scratch mits
1 x car seat & blanket

For Big Brother to be, H
Bound for Grandma’s house with his trunki packed with …
4 x t-shirts
3 x trousers
3 x vests
3 x sox
2 x Pyjamas
1 x “yoo-hoo”, 1 x George – favourite teddy sleeping buddies!
4 x dummies
Shoes, wellies, coat & waterproofs
Pull ups & bedtime nappies
Baby monitor

So that’s the lists made, this weekend will see the bags packed then next on my “to do list” is to properly stop, sit down and put some thought into my birth plan wishes – we all know it doesn’t go to plan!

Please, please, please lovely visitors and readers let me know your thoughts, suggestions and do point out any oversights – I will appreciate them all!

Very many thanks, Claire x


Filed under Personal & Family


I am all excited about competitions this week!  Why?  Well, two reasons – I have won one and I am running one!  

popping-champagne-cork1Competitions makes me feel all nostalogic, entering competitions is something my Nana used to do on my behalf and also with me.  My Nana was master of the “tie breaker” and she used to win loads of stuff too – a lego set and a snoopy watch (I still have the watch in my jewellery box!) are two prizes I still fondly remember! 

So what did I win, well over at Mums Like You I won two tickets to the Designer Baby Show so have the chance to spend a day enjoying shopping, talking and discovering best-of-breed baby products.  Sadly for me the timing (15th November) and the geography (Berkshire, I live in Cheshire) with baby number two due early October meant I have returned the tickets for another lucky winner to be redrawn – I like to think I am sharing the love!  So on this occassion, whilst the taking part was important it was pretty much all about the winning!  Ha Ha!

So that’s the won one, now to the one I am running … which is for my stationery business, Dandelion Lounge.  It will coincide with our Christmas Card, Festive Photo Inserts and Thank You card designs all going live for the festive season and will be running over at the fabulous Café Bébé starting on Sunday 7th through to Saturday 12th September.  Full details are already posted up there in anticipation so I shall say no more and let you head on over and check it out … and whilst you are there you still have time to enter a great competition from DaisyChainBaby to win win a gorgeous gift basket worth nearly £30. 

You gotta be in it to win it!  So please do go check it out!


Filed under Behind the scenes