Monthly Archives: December 2009

Competition time!

Very sadly one of my Twends (Twitter Friends) Caz Arnold aka @dougggie sadly lost her father very suddenly on Christmas day.  The reason for this post is that Caz is currently in the middle of raising money for the Dogs Trust Arctic Dogs Sledding Challenge.  As you can imagine this has knocked her sideways and she is appropriately focussed on her family and unable to put much energy in to it.  The lovely Dany from Tums2Mums, a specialist hypnotherapy practitioner for fertility, pregnancy and childbirth and who helped me with both my pregnancy & birth of Baby G, has put together a great competition to help raise funds, as the meerkat on TV says “simples” …

The prize – 3 lucky entrants will win my complete 5 x Hypnosis for Childbirth mp3s worth £26. If you’d like to find out more about these mp3s click here

To enter – All I ask is that you click on Caz’s fund raising link at the bottom of this page and put a minimum (more if you want) donation of £2. All names will then be entered into a draw. In order for you to be contacted please ensure that you put the following information in the comments box when making your donation:

Tums2Mums competition and either your Baby Centre or Twitter ID. If you do not have either of these please leave your name and then tick the box that enables Caz to see your email address and she will then make sure your prize reaches you. Your email address WILL NOT be used for anything other than ensuring that should be be the winner you get your prize.

The competition will close at midnight on 9th January 2010 and the winners will be announced on or shortly after 10th January 2010.  This competition will be promoted on a number of other notice boards, if you are willing and able to promote it please do so – the spirit of this is to help a friend out in need, start the year with good karma, click on the link and donate.

To enter and make your donation please click here

Thank you for helping me help a lovely lady and a worthy cause.


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Filed under Personal & Family, Recommendations

Warming Winter Recipes

Christmas is behind us now, it was fun and there were some lovely moments but I’m not sure I actually enjoyed it!  A lot of hard work for a day, I always enjoy Boxing Day and the days between Christmas and New Year the best and New Years Day is my favourite drinking day of the year.  Well it used to be, back in my crazy days when I had the time, stamina and disposable income to fritter away on full days spent in a pub with pals nursing a hangover through to a new day!  Anyway I digress I wanted to share my Boxing Day menu, I’ve never posted a recipe on my blog before but it rocked!  I’ll definitely be doing it again as it required seriously low effort which meant I wasn’t stuck in the kitchen, it was really delicious and everyone who ate it wanted me to send them the recipe so thought I’d share: 

It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe, Ham in Coca-Cola and I served it with dauphinoise potatoes and steamed broccoli & green beans.  I have cooked dauphinoise before but it is a time consuming one, not least in cleaning the pan afterwards so in the spirit of keeping the family together at Christmas and me out of the kitchen I bought the dauphinoise potatoes and also the green veg.  That meant all there was to cook with the ham and the great thing about this recipe is you can do it the night before and it then just takes 40 mins the day after and when its done you also have a soup for lunch the day after that too!  So here’s what you need and what you do to make Ham in Coca-Cola.

2kg mild-cure or unsmoked gammon
1 onion, peeled & cut in half
2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola – the “full fat” red kind, diet is not an option here!

For the glaze:
Handful of cloves
1 heaped tablespoon of black treacle
2 teaspoons English mustard powder
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Put gammon in pan skin side down, add the onion, then pour over the coke.  Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer with the lid on and cook for  2.5 hours.  I do this the night before, take it out the pan and leave to cool (don’t throw the coca-cola ham stock away I have another recipe for that!).  In the morning remove the skin, leaving a think layer of fat, score the fat with a sharp knife to make big diamond shapes & stud each diamond with a clove.  Then spread the treacle over the clove budded fat, taking care not to dislodge the cloves.  Pat the treacle with mustard and sugar.  Cook in a foil-lined roasting tin for approx. 30-40 minutes from room temperature at 180*C/gas mark 4.  If it’s been in the fridge it may need another 15-20 mins and if you’re cooking all in one go so the ham is hot from the pan the glaze will only take 10-15 minutes at 240*C/gas mark 9.  Ham in Coca-Cola DONE!

On 27th December I used the coca-cola ham stock to make another seriously yummy Nigella recipe, her South-Beach Black Bean Soup it is such a great winter warmer & dead easy, here’s what you do: 

500g black beans (I used two pre-soaked tins)
Coca-cola ham stock from recipe above
juice of half a lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
To serve:  sour cream, fresh coriander, lime wedges

Take about 3 ladles of stock with 1 of the tins of beans, add the lime juice & ground spices, blitz with a hand blender to a muddy puree and stir back into the pan with the other tin of unblitzed beans, simmer for 10-15 minutes and that’s it!  Swirl some soured cream in as you please.  South-Beach Black Bean Soup DONE!


Filed under Personal & Family, Recommendations

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all customers of Dandelion Lounge, all those who take the time to read this blog and follow me on Twitter a Very Merry Christmas! 
With very best wishes for 2010. 
Me, Mr L, Lil’ H & Baby G x


Filed under Behind the scenes, Personal & Family

Supermarket ship of love

For Illustration Purposes!My Supermarket ship of love has sailed or more correctly it has been cut loose.  I’ve never used my blog to name and shame but there is a first time for everything!  I am cross so excuse me if this post turns into a bit of a rant, but hey my voice, my outlet, my blog! 

For the last three years I have been a loyal Ocado shopper.  I was a good customer of Ocado, although clearly not good enough.  I shopped at least once, often twice a month and on occasions more often, I have recommended them to friends a number of whom have become regular Ocado customers too.  I tried their “On Demand” product when it was new and I filled in their surveys.  This Christmas in return for my loyalty, Ocado gave their new “On Demand” customers first dibs on the Christmas slots leaving nothing after 22nd December available for everybody else.

I wouldn’t have had a problem if my helpful friend, Ocado, had been open and honest back in November.  Honest that he wasn’t going to be able to be there for me this year.  If he’d said “no availability after 22nd December” for non On Demand customers, instead of saying Christmas slots “coming soon”, he’d have managed my expectations.  If he’d told me in time I could have made a plan, I’d have appreciated it, I’d have understood and we’d have caught up in the new year.  But no, Ocado didn’t do that.  Ocado dumped me at Christmas with a toddler & a new baby.  Ocado flicked the V’s at me, how ever jolly and holly laced the email bringing the news it’s still rude!  My money clearly isn’t good enough anymore for Mr Ocado so I am off in search of the “better fish in the sea!”

I am sure there have been many suited & booted meetings at Ocado to discuss their Christmas strategy.  No doubt these started back in the heady days of Summer and the big wigs and their commercial teams truly believe this is the right thing for their business, but is it really?  I have a new baby and toddler and it doesn’t take a genius to work that out from my shopping basket – new baby sized nappies, infacol, Annabel Karmel ready meals for Lil’ H, chocolate & lots of it in all the varieties for me.  Using data to power businesses for maximum profit is the stuff I have done exceptional well in my professional life before babies!  Mr Ocado, my household just got bigger by one, that means our consumption and spend just got bigger too.  Lancaster Towers became a better potential household overnight and you Mr Ocado didn’t have to do anything, didn’t have to spend a single penny for our basket size to get bigger.  What’s even better is it just got 20 times harder for me to even get out of the house so the frequency with which I shop online just increased too.  What’s amazing is that it was all yours, there was never even a question mark over it, until you decided you wouldn’t help me when I needed you the most.  Short-sighted?  I should say so, because in the same way I told people to use you I will be telling many, many, many more people not to and how you treated me. 

I can’t write anymore as right now I have to load my toddler and 9 week old baby into snowsuits and into the car and start my food shopping in the snow.  I will be doing the same again tomorrow and Thursday – Merry Christmas to you too!


Filed under Personal & Family, Recommendations

A Funny for Friday!

My mum sent me this “round robin” email joke and it really tickled me. 

Anyone who has ever dressed a child will love this one!

Did you hear about the teacher who was helping one of her primary students put on his boots?
Even with her pulling, and him pushing, the little boots still didn’t want to go on.
Finally, when the second boot was on, she had worked up a sweat.
She almost cried when the little boy said, ‘Teacher, they’re on the wrong  feet.’
She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn’t any easier pulling the  boots off than it was putting them on.
She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced,
‘These aren’t my boots.’
She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, ‘Why  didn’t you say so?’ like she wanted to.
Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his  little feet.
No sooner had they got the boots off when he said, ‘They’re my brother’s  boots. My Mum made me wear them.’
Now she didn’t know if she should laugh or cry.
She mustered up the grace and courage she had left, to wrestle the boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked,
‘Now, where are your mittens?’
He said, ‘I stuffed them in the toes of my boots.’
Her trial starts next month…

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Immunisation tips

Baby G is 8 weeks old now and has been called up tomorrow for her first lot of jabs, not a nice Mummy moment.  I found it pretty distressing first time around with Lil’ H and I remember I wrote an email for friends would had also become first time mums just a few months behind me to help them along.  I’ve dug out that email to remind myself and have prescribed myself a dose of my own advice … thought I’d post it as it may help others and I’d welcome other tips about managing babes during and after immunisations….

Dear Mummy Friends,
I hope this finds you well, I thought the information below might be helpful for you and your babes as you approach their vaccinations. 
Having Hugo vaccinated was a big deal for me and I really debated whether to or not, I mention this because I was pretty agitated this morning having spent a good few weeks making the decision (and by the way it is yet another no win catch 22 one!) and Lil’ H definitely picked up on it so my top tip number would be for you to stay very calm. 
OK so here is what Lil’ H had, how the vaccinations were given and how I managed him with them …
At 2 months they have two jabs – one in each thigh, the first contains Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Hib, Polio and Meningitis C and the second contains the Pneumococcal vaccine.  About 1/2 an hour before I gave him a dose ( 2.5ml) of Calpol, no idea how much he got as he spat loads out but I think it helped.  The first jab he didn’t seem to notice (he was already crying though so it was hard to tell) the second one does hurt them, it stings apparently and he definitely felt it as he gave the hideous “silent scream”!  I held him on my knee, they gave the first jab, I turned him round and they gave the second.  Top tip would be to dress him in something that isn’t too fiddly to get the legs out of – if its warm just a vest or sunsuit would be perfect.  Lots of cuddles and kisses straight after and I went to another room immediately to feed him at the health centre before going home – I think this is quite important as it is a shock for them.  I fed him again when we got home to get him off to sleep, my friend came over and gave him a Bowen treatment for shock.  He has definitely been more touchy today, wanting to be held and he was crying more than normal today and it was difficult to settle him up to about 5pm.  After that the evening and bedtime was normal. 
So tips are…
1.  Stay calm, it helped me to have Mr L there too.
2.  Dress babe in something easy to get his legs in and out of.
3.  Calpol 20-30 mins before the jab
4.  Feed babe immediately afterwards
5.  Lots of cuddles – skin to skin is also recommended so you could plan to return home and both go to bed for the rest of the day.
Hope it helps. 
Claire xxx


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The Helium Killer

A pre-post warning – if you are under 3 years old this is a sad story, if you are older I hope you will find it amusing! 

 Two months ago when Baby G was born both Baby G and Lil H were given helium balloons to celebrate  their arrival in this world and promotion to big brother respectively.  Lil H has always been a big fan of helium balloons and has had a lot of enjoyment over the last 8 weeks with it.  But 8 weeks on and what was a big, full, round balloon bobbing & bouncing along the ceiling had become a floppy, saggy, crinkly bit of foil limping around the living room floor.  Mr L put H to bed whilst I put the living room back in order returning the toys to their correct boxes and refilling the toy box in anticipation of it all being emptied again tomorrow.  This pathetic bit of foil limped towards me.  On the basis that it frankly didn’t qualify as a balloon anymore, I mean it didn’t even float for gods sake!  I didn’t think anything of picking the flaccid foil pocket up, swiftly putting it out of its misery with the kitchen scissors and then unconsciously I stuffed it in the kitchen bin.  I did all this without a first, second or any other kind of thought.  If it’s not there my little H will never notice nor know or care.  Shortly after Lil’ H appeared downstairs holding his cup requesting more milk, he then spied his consumed “fruit squeezy” from tea time and decided he’d prefer that to milk.  I told him to go back to bed and I would bring his milk up, I also told him to “pop that in the bin on your way please”.  Again I did this all without thinking, the total absence of thought is very evident at all times throughout this tale isn’t it?!

H reappeared at the kitchen door holding the flat, lifeless, bounce free bit of foil.  “Mum you squashed my balloon” he accused.  I didn’t know what to say, I think I may have even started to blush!  “Mum you squashed my balloon” he repeated louder and even sadder.  I had to turn away as I felt a bad case of the giggles coming on because he looked so, so, so disproportionately sad about this!   H was soothed with the explanation it had “popped” and returned to bed with the promise of a new one. 

Phew – thankfully he isn’t old enough to examine the evidence, if he has he would have seen the clean, sharp, deliberate cuts of the kitchen scissors wielded by his mother in the unprovoked slashing! 

I confess I am a Helium Killer!


Filed under Personal & Family