Secrets – #metoo

Content/trigger warning: sexual abuse/harassment/assault. 

Day 19: secrets. 
I am Emily. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a teacher. I am a book lover, cake baker, a terrible singer, clumsy. 

I am all of these things, and I am also a survivor of sexual abuse. 

There. I said it. It’s not a secret, as such. It’s more an unspoken truth. Something I don’t let myself think about too often. 

But there’s a hashtag, years old now, which has recently come to my attention: #metoo – a hashtag dedicated to people who have been sexually abused, assaulted or harassed. Search the hashtag, and you’ll see just how common this kind of abuse is. It has happened to a frighteningly high proportion of people. I know some of these people – they are my friends. But most people I don’t know, they’re just ordinary people, like you or I. 

This hashtag has come to light recently due to the brave people who have stepped forward and found the strength to speak out about the sexual misconduct of a famous Hollywood producer. I won’t write his name: he doesn’t deserve that. 

I just wanted to acknowledge this hashtag, and it fitted with today’s #blogtober prompt. 

If you’ve ever been effected by sexual abuse, assault or harassment, you’re not alone. You’re never, ever alone. And I am so glad this hash tag has illuminated the sheer expanse of the issue that, predominantly, (though not exclusively) women face: in the work place and on the street and in the pub. It’s not okay. And we need to talk about it. 

If you need to talk, there is a wonderful resource ‘The Survivors Trust’ – who are there for you, any time of the night or day. Reach out, if you’ve been put in a sexual situation which you didn’t agree to, or made you feel uncomfortable, you can tell someone. 

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x🐙


Self care – making time for yourself in the midst of motherhood

Day 18 of #blogtober is ‘relaxation’ – something I don’t do a huge amount of, but something that is so vital to your well being!

The past 7 weeks I’ve been working full time, whilst juggling home life and parenthood. It’s been really really hard work, and 2 days away from half term, I’m feeling incredibly burnt out. There’s been a lot of burning the candle at both ends going on, and so this post is really a memo to myself: you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

Me time used to be a shopping trip with friends, or coffee and lunch in a pub. Sometimes I painted my nails, or fake tanned my legs… Since becoming a mum, relaxation and me time sometimes reaches the dizzying heights of treating myself to a 49 second poo in peace. 

So how do you make time to relax amidst the busy goings on of life?

Nowadays, for me, it’s with a cup of tea (preferably piping hot, no sugar, a dash of red milk; leave the tea bag in, thanks). Sometimes I don’t even have time for a cuppa full stop, but when I do have time to sit and enjoy one, it can really keep me going!

I rarely get a bath in peace, so I can’t say that’s necessarily a go-to for relaxation, but occasionally I get treated to a child free bath, and I absolutely love Lush bath bombs when I do! A friend recently gave me this one – I can’t remember what it was called, something with honeycomb, but ahhh it was bliss!

Sometimes me time is pub night with my girl friends. A rare treat, but all conversations over a bottle of prosecco seem to soothe the soul! 

Sometimes relaxation is reading a blog post from another inspiring Mama, or catching up on the goings on on social media. 

Occasionally, I get to read a book – something I absolutely love to do but don’t often have time for. I have quite a collection of books on audio so I can be read to – Harry Potter is my favourite!

Lastly, sometimes relaxation is curling up on the sofa with my hubby and chatting about our days. This seems to happen less and less nowadays – we’re both often still working until 10pm, but I love it when we do get a chance to chat about nonsense! 

How do you make time for yourself? 

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x🐙



Four parenting mantras I live by #blogtober day seventeen

Squid on Saturday just gone… at a restaurant for a family birthday, I am not sure my blood pressure has ever been so high! On top form, Squid took great pleasure in crawling on the floor, eating dried bits of rice, screaming if anyone but me touched him and generally causing havoc!

#blogtober day 17’s prompt is ‘quotes’ – and there are many quotes that I parent by, so I thought I’d share the 4 that have often kept me going when the going gets tough(er than usual). Parenting is hard work. There’s no two ways about it, but keeping these phrases in mind can really help!

1. This too shall pass. 

Everything is a phase, and usually, at the point you think you’re really going to lose your shit, they cut the tooth/learn to stand/have a language explosion and things get easier again. 

Mischief personified

2. It won’t always be like this. 

This one works 2 ways for me: it won’t always be this hard, and also he won’t always be this little, and I’ll miss it. This helps me to try and maintain a rational position on the situation – because I do really miss each stage as it passes! 

ONLY Owl Ice Cream can brush his teeth…

3. He’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time. 

Ahh. This one is so important. I think it every day. When Squid is having a shit-fit because I’ve cut his toast into triangles, not squares, and even worse: I’ve put the toast on the orange plate and he WANTED THE PINK ONE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, EVEN THOUGH HE ASKED FOR THE ORANGE ONE, I have to remind myself that he’s just asserting himself, he’s having a hard time making his opinion heard, he wants to be understood and validated. (Though I’m sure he also thinks I’m just plain stupid for not knowing about the plate-colour preference that day, and not guessing that when he says marmite he actually wants peanut butter…) Toddlers are a bloody mine field at times, but I remind myself that he’s learning and growing at a rate of knots and that really can’t be easy! 

A highly unimpressive Twister…

And finally…

4. There’s a cold bottle of Pinot in the fridge. 
Yes, this often keeps me going. Because who on earth can parent without wine? After 6pm, of course…

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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#blogtober day fifteen – old photos: growing up in the 90s

Blogtober day 15 is all about ‘old photos’! I’ve spent the afternoon raiding a box at my parents’ house, full of photos from my past, and I’ve found a fabulous selection of photos which epitomise what it was like to grow up in the 90s! 

I was born in 1990, and so I grew up listening to the Spice Girls, Steps, The Venga Boys and B*witched. I played with barbies and Polly Pocket. I had a tamagotchi, and swapped (original!) Pokémon cards. I remember when Diana died. I used to record the Hit 40 UK chart on a tape, and have to wind it back with a pencil. I had a portable tape player and thought I was the bees knees. My mum made a lot of my clothes, my hair was the wrong side of curly and I didn’t discover curly hair products until my 20s. We played ‘out’ until it got dark and lived through the millennium celebrations! Though it wasn’t too long ago, the world has changed beyond recognition since I was born, and I am starting to feel old compared to the kids I teach – they often have to show me how to do things on the computer! 

Enjoy this snap shot of my life, and forgive me for some of the outfit choices!

I still do this squinty eye thing when I smile!

I’ve always had an affinity with cats! Definitely not in the ‘safe sleep practice’ rule book!

A year old, with Freddie Mercury. Sorry, no, my dad.

Hand made dresses and big hair!

We lived in County Durham until I was 6

I see a mini-me every time I look at Squid!

My baby brother arrived in April ‘94. A home birth in the living room whilst I played with my Playdoh. I remember mum screaming and me rushing in to the lounge to see my brother had arrived!

Chunky, but funky. James was a huge baby!

Ah, weren’t we cute?!

Age 8 to 11 ish

My brother and I as field mice! And check out my cousin’s crimped hair!

Growing up… puberty is so awkward, isn’t it?!

Straight hair, spotty skin, puppy fat…!

Aged 16, school prom. I went to my school prom and the boys’ school prom too. Two different dresses, the red one hand made by my mum. I hated it, I felt like a sausage. I can’t believe I ever thought I was fat, I remember being so self conscious thinking I was flabby in these photos!

And now…

I sometimes look like this… with hubby (top left) and my brother, James (bottom left)

But mostly I look like this!

Ahh, wasn’t that embarrasing?! 

But I’m not done… I just wanted to share the evolution of my brother with you, because I know how much he will appreciate this…

James loved to dress up… and often went to school wearing lipstick and hair clips!

He wanted to be The Little Mermaid and would perform ‘shows’ at any opportunity!

Puberty was not so kind…

But he blossomed into a beautiful swan!

I’ll just leave you with this one…

See you tomorrow!

Love, Squidmamma x 🐙

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#blogtober day thirteen: movie confessions – iconic movies I’ve NEVER SEEN

Day thirteen of #blogtober has the prompt ‘movies’ and unfortunately, it’s a long standing joke between my husband and our friends at the embarrassingly long list of films I HAVEN’T seen…

So without further ado, feel free to sit and look aghast at my list of iconic films I’ve never watched!

1. Armageddon 

Now, I’ve sat down to watch this film with my hubby TWICE… and fallen asleep both times. What can I say?! It’s obviously not that good…

2. Independence Day

I don’t ‘do’ action films about aliens 👽. Husband reckons this film is unmissable – I had never heard of it ‘til I met him!

3. Die Hard

Apparently this is NOT a Bond film…

4. Star Wars

Seen this film, I have not. An interest in intergalactic space travel, I don’t have. 

5. Jurassic Park

Is this the dinosaur one? Nope, never seen it. ‘Barney’ is more my kind of dinosaur…

6. Lord of the Rings

Who really has time for a trilogy of films which take more than 670 minutes to watch?!

Which ‘must see’ films have you, err, not seen?! I can’t be alone! This is the very condensed list, there’s a good 20+ more films which people are always astonished that I’ve not seen. 😂

See you tomorrow!

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Why it’s okay NOT to ‘love every moment’ #blogtober day twelve

I love… family days out

You hear it all the time: ‘Soak in every moment of motherhood, because it goes by in a flash!’ and ‘Don’t you just LOVE this age?!’ 
Today’s #blogtober prompt is ‘love’, which got me thinking about the things I love, which would have been a very easy post to write: I love many things, namely my family, my job and my cat.

But the thing I kept coming back to was the expectation of the things I should love, especially as a parent. You’re told to appreciate your children’s youth, to find wonder and beauty in every day, but honestly, sometimes that’s just hard to do. 

It’s not that I don’t love being a mum: I do, very much. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. But it’s also the hardest job, and sometimes, in the thick of the shittest of shit days, I find it hard to savour each moment. 

I don’t love… losing an argument with my 2 year old over footwear

I spent much of Squid’s first 4 months of life feeling pretty damn shell shocked, wishing the days by until it was easier, feeling a huge sense of expectation that I should be loving every moment, but actually feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing instead. I loved my son, but I didn’t love the sleep deprivation, my changed body or the 2am feed where I’d be chundered over. 

I love… sharing in his joy

So, although I do look back on each stage with rose tinted glasses, and yes, I am astonished at how quickly time has gone, parenthood is really tough; enjoyable, amazing, incredible… but also hard work. And it’s okay not to love each second of it. It doesn’t mean you love your children any less! 

I don’t love… meltdowns because I won’t let him drink my wine…

I think the most important thing is to be realistic and honest about parenthood: I love to share our highs (the fact that Squid gave his friend a cuddle today at nursery because his friend was sad) but I’m also honest about the lows, too (like Squid weeing all over my feet in the shower this evening). Because, as try as I might, I just cannot find something to love about pissy feet…

See you tomorrow!

Love, Squidmamma x 🐙



Baby Led Weaning – the basics



(I’ve revamped this post for #blogtober 2017 – where day 11’a prompt is ‘kitchen’! We love food in our family, so have a read of how we introduced food to Squid, 18 months ago now!)

This blog post is the first in a series of posts about Baby Led Weaning! Weaning your baby onto solids is a huge step for everyone involved. It’s the start of your child’s relationship with food, and it can be exciting and daunting in equal measure.

Before Squid was ready for solids, I had done a lot of research into how to approach introducing food, and we decided that we wanted to try Baby Led Weaning (BLW) as the method to do that. Traditional Weaning (TW – weaning with puréed foods, gradually introducing textures) works for some families, and that is fine; we have not done traditional weaning and so I do not know very much about it.

So what is BLW? 

The principle of BLW is that your baby eats whatever you eat, in the same form that you eat it (ie not mashed or puréed). One of Squid’s first foods was steak! Soup, mashed potatoes, yoghurts etc are all fine too – as they come in the form you would eat them. The only things you need to avoid are honey (not before 12m – risk of botulism), whole nuts (choking hazard!), shark and Marlin, and you must be mindful of salt and sugar intake! Apart from that, your baby can eat whatever you eat – family meal times have never been so easy! Your baby’s food doesn’t need mashing or chopping up – just serve the food to your baby in ‘handheld’ chunks (think ‘chip shaped’!) and watch them go!
Top tips – bread soaks up soup really well, little hands can easily pick up mash, and pre-loaded spoons work well for yoghurt! 

The world’s most disappointing narna

My first port of call was to get myself a copy of the BLW book, by Gill Rapley – I got this when Squid was around 3 months old. If you are considering BLW, then I would really recommend the book – we picked ours up second hand for a few pounds on eBay!

The long and short of it is that you skip the purées. This means that, unlike with TW babies learn to chew their food first, before swallowing. 
Another crucial element is that the baby is in control of what, how much and how quickly they eat. With TW the parent might keep going until there is no purée left in the bowl, though the baby may be full already – once a liquid is in their mouth, their instinct is to swallow. BLW helps babies to understand their appetite, and to only eat until they are satisfied.


Squid loves apples!

In the book, Rapley tells you the signs to look out for that your baby is ready to begin solid food. She states that these signs will usually occur ‘around the middle of the first year’ – 6 months/26 weeks.

The signs are:

  • Being able to sit, with little or no support;
  • Being able to reach out and grab objects accurately;
  • Being able to accurately bring both hands, holding an object, to their mouths;
  • Make gnawing/chewing actions with their mouths.

Other sources also state that a loss of the ‘tongue-thrust’ reflex is another sign of readiness – that is, a baby will not reject food by pushing their tongue back out. 
The theory is that it is not until around 6 months of age that the gut ‘closes’ and their bodies are ready to digest solid food. These ‘outward’ signs are good indicators that a baby is ‘internally’ ready to begin eating solid food. 
Waking more frequently at night is NOT a signal that your baby is ready for solids (this commonly happens around 4 months of age, where there is a ‘sleep regression’ or the ‘is-my-baby-broken-why-won’t-he-sleep-please-shoot-me-sleep-regression-from-hell’ as it was affectionately known in our house – more on sleep regressions here in a post I wrote for Breastfeeding World!)
There are some really interesting theories on the ‘Virgin Gut’ which swayed us to wait until Squid was around 6 months old to start weaning. Have a look here.

He eats what we eat – lazy Sunday breakfast

BLW has so many benefits. To name but a few:

  • You don’t have to feed your baby – you can all enjoy a hot meal together!
  • They learn about textures and individual tastes.
  • The baby controls what, how much and how quickly they eat – this means that they only eat until they are satisfied, never ‘over eating’. A BLW baby is less likely to struggle with portion control, and therefore their weight.
  • It takes the stress out of eating – as milk is their main nutrition until they turn 1, food is just great fun before then!

Remember – milk is your baby’s main source of nutrition until they turn 12 months old, so you need to fit milk feeds between meals – milk comes first! Squid nurses 10+ times a day still at 9 months – although he enjoys food, he prefers his milk! (Revisiting this post at 25 months, Squid now eats like a teenager – he had three portions of dinner today! Plus he nurses several times a day too, what can I say, the boy loves to eat! There are very few foods he won’t eat, and he is in control of his own appetite and tastes – we absolutely loved doing BLW and don’t regret anything about it! He uses cutlery beautifully, rarely gets in a big mess, and food has never been a battle. Meal times are happy and social!)

He eats what we eat… everything in moderation, right?!

I really, really do recommend reading the BLW book, because I could essentially just rewrite it here and that would be silly!
There is also a ‘Baby Led Weaning Cookbook’ which I got for Christmas. I would say that this book is nice to have, but not essential.
Did you do BLW with your baby? What made you choose BLW over TW? Let me know in the comments below!

To read more posts about BLW, click here!

Squidmamma x 🐙

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