Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Frock It! #9

For this week's Frock It!, I am taking the lead of Mid30sLife and am showing one of my favourite baby outfits.

I was going to wax lyrical about Duchess K of Mid's style overhaul and the two sublime outfits she chose to wear publicly this week; her military-style coat and the ballgirl chic white Temperley dress at SW19 but, it's all too predictable now. She's clearly not going to put a LK Bennett foot wrong anymore, which is good, but it just means endless fawning and that's a bit, well, boring.

Maybe I will digest her Canadian and US outfits over the coming few weeks and do a fully comprehensive one-stop shop Duchess Tour of Duty special where I can hyperbolate and fawn to my heart's content...

So, back to this week and I have chosen a little dress that's a bit different from what you would pick up at your local Mothercare.

My Dad bought this outfit as part of Imogen's Christmas present and it came all the way from 78 Degrees North ie, the Arctic Circle. 

Back last year, my Dad undertook a sailing expedition to the North Pole via Norway (I think) mainly to explore and to view Polar Bears in their natural habitat. He found this great little shop that designs and makes childrenswear.

I adore it's uniqueness and it's Scandinavian simplicity. Imogen has only worn it once as I have no idea how to wash it and am petrified of ruining it, so it hangs up dutifully in the wardrobe and will be a keepsake for her future. Also, I couldn't be arsed had no opportunity to put it on her to take a photo, so, sorry about that, but she does look very cute (obviously). 

Completely unrelated photo!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Mummy in Meltdown

Today I did something about which I am completely ashamed and guilt-ridden.

This morning, Imogen would not go down for her morning nap. This is not that unusual, more times than not there will be a little battle, but she sleeps eventually. Today was different. 

Earlier this week, she had suddenly decided to start rolling over in bed onto her front. Now, I know most babies do this and it's fine, but she's always been a very still sleeper; lay her down on her back and she'll be in the same spot when she wakes up. But now, out of nowhere, she's decided to do cot gymnastics before the morning nap. It would be OK if she rolled over and slept but she cries, so I have to go in and turn her back over, then she rolls back, cries, I turn her back ad nauseum......

All this to-ing and fro-ing inevitably winds her up into a frenzy and to a point where she struggles to sleep. Today was a bad episode.

James had taken the dog for a walk and I decided to try and lay her down again with the house being quieter. It started off well, I thought she'd drifted off and I headed to the shower, but then the whining started again and gradually got louder and louder until it became a screaming cry.

For some reason, today these screams really got to me, really pissed me off and I lost my patience. I stomped into her room, pulled her out of bed, sat her down and shouted at her, calling her stupid and silly (two things she most certainly is not) and she just sat there screaming even louder, sobbing her heart out in confusion and distress. I don't know where all my pent-up frustration had come from and why I had to vent it on her. Then I did what I knew I had to do, I put her in a safe place and went to another room to calm down. 

I remember being told/reading this advice not long after I had her and it's obviously to avoid the unthinkable - shaking your baby with anger.** It's good advice. It took me less than a minute to find clarity and to regain my composure. I immediately realised that my behaviour was unacceptable, childish and irresponsible. I realised that I am my precious daughter's only mother, that I am her anchor in this crazy world, I ground her and my unconditional love makes her feel safe and secure. I do not EVER want her to feel unloved by me and insecure of my affection.

So, I scooped her up, both of us now sobbing, and we had big cuddles. I put my hand on my heart and made a solemn promise to her that this would never happen again. It won't. I know it. 

Losing my self-control, if only for a second, was scary and sobering. This is not the person I am and definitely not the mother I want to be.

In the end, James had the strength of nerve to outlast her defiant cries and she slept. We then went on to have a wonderful day out to Asheville, NC :-)

** By writing about this advice, I am not implying that I, personally, was close to shaking her; I was not and never would do.  It's just a good method for calming down and finding five minutes alone to see the wood from the trees! Also good for when dogs DON'T STOP BARKING!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Frock It! #8

Slim pickings for this week's Frock It!; I couldn't find many outfits that stood out, at least on my radar.

So I have also plumped for a sporting event. This Mid 30s Life went for Royal Ascot and I agree there were some eye-catching dresses there, but (apart from the stilton hat) nothing really stood out as being different from any other year. 

After scouring the web for like, minutes, I found this gem of a sporty Frock It!, cue the rant:

I really, really dislike this get-up. Not just for the obvious reason that it's hideous, but that it is once again, completely inappropriate for Wimbledon. 

The All England Club is the epitome of Englishness, the historic and revered home of British tennis. It is not the place for plunging playsuits and shiny gold underwear. For goodness sake, sometimes The Queen is there...

Some of you may think I'm being prudish. Maybe I am, but I wish we could go back to women wearing more demure sporting attire at Wimbledon. They needn't be wearing skirts (I'm not that old-fashioned), shorts would be fine, just not something you would find on Venice Beach. 

It's not just Venus who is guilty as charged, many other players in recent years seem to have forgotten the occasion and dress with disrespect. With regards to Venus' outfit, how can you even play good tennis with those batwings flapping around???? Crazy! 


Monday, 20 June 2011

Happy Father's Day: 5 Facts About My Dad

Here is my belated Father's Day post. I intended to write it over the weekend but time skedaddled away from me as did most of Monday. It won't do any harm being late, I'm sure my Dad will enjoy it anyway.

Five Facts You May Not Know About My Dad

1. He has an insatiable wanderlust and the more diverse the country, the better. Some places he has recently travelled (alone) to: Colombia, Greenland and Iran.

2. Linked to the international travel is a passion for sailing. His sailing trip to Greenland was most recent but by far his favourite waters to sail are Scottish including trips through the Hebrides and all the way out to St. Kilda and the Faroe Islands near Denmark.

NW, Mr Croft!

3. Dad is an incredible intellectual, an avid reader and a crossword wizard. He was recently invited to an event where he was able to meet many of the crossword setters he knows so well from the papers; a really special day for him. Dad is so good at crosswords he even submits cryptic crossword clues that are sometimes printed!

4. Born and bred in Stoke-on-Trent, Dad's second home could be said to be Ireland, where he has a bolthole cottage in Donegal and where he spends much of his time following the Irish horse racing. He has shares in a few racehorses and will travel extensively to watch them run. His wins and losses are a closely guarded secret; we only get to hear about the cracking wins!

5. Dad runs two very successful pubs in his hometown, The Old Brown Jug and The Albion but he doesn't drink a drop of alcohol himself...

With his Grand-dog, Sir Bobby Dogg

3 Generations of Woolliscrofts in Downtown Greenville, March 2010

Dad may not always agree with whatever my brother or I do in life, but he always supports us in the end. He is funny and generous, clever and sensitive. We've had some ups and downs in the past but today we find ourselves on an even keel and I can say I am proud of who he has become and am proud he is my Dad and I love him very much. I hope he can continue living the life he has had for the past few years and is able to spend more time doting on his precious granddaughter!

Listography - 5 Inventions I Wish Were Real

This week's Listography is all about things you wish had been invented that would make your life easier.

As Kate says, this is the kind of list where, once you start thinking of things, you can't stop. I had a plethora of ideas spilling out of my brain but then I realised most of them had actually been invented already, it's just I didn't have/couldn't afford them in my life. I had thought of so many 'already invented' ideas, I thought I would have to branch off and create my own Listography: 5 Inventions I Wish Were Real But Then Realised Actually Are, Stupid Girl. For example, I thought how lovely it would be to have an automatic cup of tea made for me, then duh, cue the teasmaid or grass that never needs cutting: astroturf....

However, I re-focused my addled brain and came up with the following:

1. Wash-free hair

Washing & drying my hair is my most hated personal grooming chore. I quite literally despise it, even more so now I have zero time to do it. If someone could just invent something that meant I could wake up every morning with clean, sleek, blow-dried hair in a perpetual state of follicle perfection my life would be complete.

Oh, how I covet K-Mid's glossy tresses!

It did occur to me that there is a remedy to this problem: a full time hair stylist. But, alas, I am not Kate Middleton and currently cannot justify adding a personal hairdresser to my entourage for any forthcoming international tours of duty.

2. Time Machine

In an attempt to 'eventuate' time travel (thanks to Sydney Shop Girl for the word!) I have doubled up on the suggestion from many other lists. I would use my time machine to fast-forward a few hours in the afternoons. As much as I adore the precious witching hour bonding time between my daughter and I, I think we could both get on quite well without it. So from say 2pm, I would like to move time on to that most wonderful of moments when I lay her down in her cot for the night. 

To the Delorean, McFly!

3. Sun/weather adjuster

Why does there never seem to be a completely perfect day of weather? All across the world, it's too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, you would have thought that after all these years, the sun could've sorted itself out and found an equilibrium?
This is where the temperature adjuster comes in! Too hot? Just turn the sun down a notch! Perfecto.

4. Automatic tooth brusher

No, I'm not talking about an electric toothbrush, I have one of those. But something to take away another of my most hated tasks, brushing my teeth. Is it just me or do other people find it dead time? It's so boring, you can't do anything else but stand there and wait for all the teeth to be covered.Uggh. And no, mints are cheating, they don't count. 

5. Teleportation

Another popular choice on other peoples' lists; I have a phobia of flying but I love to be on holiday. If only I could cut out the aviation middleman...

To see other (better) lists, look here.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Apocalypse, Now!

So, this morning I had my first shower in nearly two days.

I know, I know, grim, grim, grim.

Normally, my morning shower is sacrosanct, along with my second cup of tea. As soon as the baby goes down for her morning nap, I hop in, hop out, get dressed and put some make-up on. Then I am ready to face ANYTHING the world brings.

Yesterday, I forwent my shower as I planned on walking the dog for a long time downtown to try and drag some of his never-ending energy out of him and give me some afternoon peace. I thought, there's no point showering only to get all sweaty again, I'll have a shower later.

A busy day followed and the shower was pushed back & back, so I planned a long soak after I'd put the baby to bed.

Well, Mother Nature had different ideas.

At about 6.30pm, all was settling down Chez Priest. James was back from work and was fiddling around in the garage, I was clearing up and preparing dinner when the sky suddenly turned purple in the East and the storm arrived.

Now, this was no Joplin tornado, mercifully, but it was pretty hardcore. As soon as the wind started whipping around the trees, the hail came. This was no small-fry hail, some of the chunks of ice that fell to the ground were about half a cup in size. 

Fork lightening and thunder rumbled all around, tree limbs came crashing down and the hail continued to pummel our house and the car which was parked outside.

Take cover!

The storm didn't last long, but it's aftereffects have caused us considerable grief. First there's the car, barely 6 months old, that now looks like the inside of a steel drum, pock marks cover the roof and all down one side. And the siding on the house also barely 6 months old, looks like someone took a machine gun to it, all chipped and shattered.

Cue a day of insurance companies and deductibles. 

Luckily no-one was hurt, although some houses up the road had smashed windows and the roads are covered in tree debris. It made me wonder how on Earth tornado victims cope with the devastation wreaked by these terrifying twisters.

Today was definitely a 4 Lindt choc truffle day.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A Brief Look Back at Peapod

So, I was fiddling around with my blog yesterday, changing settings, making minor improvements (I hope!) when I noticed that I had written 55 posts!

I don't know when or how this happened, it sounds like such a lot!

I know it's only a drop in the ocean compared to many other bloggers; I'm sure there are writers out there who post 55 times a month let alone in 18 months.

I had no idea what I had written 55 posts about, so it was fun to have a quick read back and it was interesting to see how the blog has evolved. Although I began writing back in October 2009, it hasn't been until this past 6 months that I feel I have found my stride or my 'voice'. My followers seem to increase slowly every week which thrills me more than anything and yet bemuses me that anyone would bother to read my nonsense! 

The blog's name has changed a few times since the start, but I feel I have settled on a title that I am happy with and which encapsulates the theme of the blog without being too narrow. I don't see myself as a specific type of blogger and although many of my posts are baby related, I don't feel like a pure Mommy Blogger; I like to write about a variety of topics and I felt that 'Peapod' is a loose enough name to allow me to do that.

So, with all that in mind, I thought I would pull up a few of my favourite older posts that maybe people haven't read before. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did writing them...

The Birth of a Mother

Mr Bob gets his own post

Being thankful

Mr P, the leader of the Pod

A babbling blog on Mamas

Frock It! Down Memory Lane

Here's to the next 55! Thanks for reading...

Oh, and by the way, my first ever rosebush bloomed yesterday. So proud as I absolutely do not have greenfingers!

Beautiful, right?


Monday, 13 June 2011

Listography: Top 5 Places To Visit

When I first read this week's Listography topic, I thought it would be a breeze: 'Top Five Places I'd Like To Visit'.

Easy peasy, I can rattle this off in a nanosecond, but when I actually started to try and commit to just five places, it suddenly became quite tricky.

I still don't know if I'm 100% satisfied with my chosen five as there are about a million places I'd like to go, but here goes:

   1. New York, New York!

When we moved to the US back in 2009, top of our list of 'Things To Do' was to visit NYC. It's somewhere neither of us have ever been to and with us being just a 90 minute plane hop away down here in South Carolina, I felt sure we would be able to scratch the Big Apple itch fairly quickly. But then almost as soon as we landed here I found out I was pregnant and then along came a puppy...the rest is history and we have hardly been outside of the state since we arrived! Not that that's a bad thing, SC is wonderful.

Obviously, the opportunity is always there for us to go, it's just a lot harder with a baby and a dog to think about. One day though, one day I will catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty and eat a burger at a Shake Shack.

   2. Denmark

My mum recently came back from a short break in Copenhagen and I was green with envy that she had been. I don't know what it is about the place, but it's on my list. Apparently, it is as lovely as I imagine with great food, architecture and friendly locals. Sightseeing spots would be the Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid and the Royal Palaces, swooooon!

This is no Disney Little Mermaid!

   3. Australia

Understandably, Down Under has appeared on quite a few other 'bucket lists' this week. In reality, I don't think I will ever make it to Oz due to a phobia of flying, but I still harbour a desire to go there, just once, to say I've done it. Top of my Aussie must-sees would be Sydney, Melbourne and of course, Uluru.


I recently watched Oprah's Australian Adventure and it only served to whet my appetite for the place even more. I've just got to get there.....

   4. Singapore

It's always Cocktail Hour at Raffles

Singapore goes hand in hand with Number 3; ideally, I would travel to Australia via a stop-off in Singapore. To sit in the Raffles Hotel drinking a gin sling, would, for me, be heaven. 

   5. Italy

Somewhere in Tuscany, European perfection

Again, I've seen Italy on quite a few other peoples' lists and I'm surprised. Why is it that people go to France and Spain, but less so Italy. I've been on holiday to Europe countless times, but sadly, never to Italia. I know I would love it, I have no doubt. The magnificent history, the food (oh, the food!), wine and rustic countryside. I don't know why Italy is #5 on my list, in actual fact, I think this is my top holiday destination!

As an aside, I asked my husband's opinion on his Top 5; he stayed pretty close to mine with the exception of Thailand. Now, I would LOVE to go to Vietnam and Cambodia, but Thailand leaves me cold. Maybe I would be pleasantly surprised...?

Bon voyage!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Frock It! #7 - Wedding guest etiquette

For this week's Frock It!, it's off to the quaint, leafy village of Cranham in the Cotswolds and the quintessentially English wedding of singer and fashion designer Lily Allen.

The bride looked radiant in a 1920's inspired Karl Lagerfeld design complete with metres of lace which barely concealed her growing baby tummy and an unusual veil headdress secured with flowers over each ear (sounds hideous, actually suits her).

The remainder of the wedding party looked borderline presentable and the sun was shining; everything was adding up to a beautiful occasion when...da da daaaaaa....

along comes this frocky horror:

What would the vicar say?!

WTF is going on with those boobies?!

You can usually count on someone in your family to upset the apple cart in some way on your wedding day. Usually it is a drunken uncle leching over the bridesmaids, but for Lily, unfortunately, it was her half-sister, Sarah.

This dress would be appropriate in the following places:
  1. A fancy party in a bar or club in London, esp. one swarming with paparazzi
  2. A peep show in Amsterdam
  3. A street corner in any town, anywhere
A place this dress is not appropriate:
  1. The church wedding of your sister, or in fact, anyone!

Too short, too booby, the pattern is beautiful and it could have been a winner if it wasn't for the Lolo Ferrari cleavage on show.

Hang your head in shame Ms Owen for committing the cardinal sin of upstaging the bride (and for all the wrong reasons). Consider yourself slapped in the face by the wedding etiquette fairy.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Tales of a Giraffe named Sophie

I am a sucker for a celebrity endorsement, let's just say that right away. 

So when, a few weeks back, I read Jessica Alba tweeting about the 'miracles' of her child's toy, I was SOLD.

Now, I'm not a total sell-out, I had been wanting to buy this particular toy for some time, but when I realised it was $19.99 in buybuybaby, I blanched and told Imogen she would have to make do and play with the tupperware for now; there was no way I was shelling out twenty dollars for a rubber camelopard (thanks to for that little gem). 

But after Ms Alba had entranced me with her tweets promising never-ending giraffe love, I went to the website and lo and behold, her Sophie was on sale for $17! TOTAL SALE PRICE, INCL. DELIVERY.

Damn you, Jessica, with your shiny, glossy toy tweets

 Being a stingy Mum, the three buck saving was the push I needed and the deal was done. Before I knew it, my bank card had found itself in my hand and the order had been processed. Wooooooooo, 'Soon,' I promised Imogen, 'You will be the proud owner of a classic toy that you will love and cherish forever like all the other children'.

She looked at me with barely concealed contempt. I should have known what was to come.

Fast forward about 3 weeks. It seems Hopscout underestimated the power of tweeting to a million plus followers and they had been 'overwhelmed by demand' and my order would be 'a day late'. For 'a day late' read a week late.

But, day of days, yesterday afternoon I faithfully checked outside my front door as I had been for the last few weeks and there it was, my small brown box of long-necked delight!

After whooping it up to a satisfactory level and building the anticipation to fever pitch I opened the box squeaked.....

Well, I couldn't have designed a more dog friendly toy better myself. Squeak? Check. Rubber? Check. Chewable? Check. 

Oh dear.

Bobble's in love with Madame Sophie

I soon realised that Sophie was not going to be a toy Imogen could play with at will, it was to become a special playroom toy, far from the clutches of Bobble.

But, I needn't have worried about the dog. One squeak from Sophie and Imogen turned away in disgust. 

I don't want to exaggerate, but my child does not dislike anything. She will happily play with anything I give her, will eat her food up clean off her plate every day. But a rubber giraffe, that squeaks? Nope. Nada. 

So, I tried to persevere all afternoon. We went and played in her room and she would physically bat it away with her feet and hands. When we walked the dog, I placed it in the stroller with her to chew on and she threw it out onto the street (another first). I tried to emulate the chewing technique to help soothe her teething gums, but she just looked at me in bewilderment.

Is my child the only one in the world impervious to this toy's charms. I'm a bit gutted really, I had hoped she would take to it and would bond with it, holding it tight for years on end. 

There must be a lesson in here somewhere. All I know is I have a $17 unused equivalent to a rubber chicken in my handbag. Bob Dog? You may be in luck after all.....

Bonjour, Sophie! Or should I say Au Revoir?!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Listography: The Top 5 Decisions I've Made

Today, I'm doing my first Listography linky which I found via This Mid 30s Life.

But, the one condition to you reading my post today is that you have a look at the Listography origin site, Kate Takes 5 and then sign the petition for Save the Children's 'No Child Born To Die' campaign.

Thank you.

So now, here are the Top 5 Decisions I Ever Did Make:

One: Having children

I know that physically having babies is not a conscious decision, I'm talking about deciding to create a family, an extension of yourself to go forth into the future. 

Without a doubt, Imogen is the best thing I ever did and I'm glad I wanted a family and decided to get it underway. It's a corny, worn-out cliche, but she gets better every day and watching her learn and grow is incredibly rewarding.


Two: Moving to America

Technically, this was James' idea and his ambition. He made all the decisions in getting us over here and setting us up, but it was my decision to come along with him and support him. I gave up my former existence, my job, friends and family and trusted him that it would work.

I always believed I was a homebody. I thought I was happy living in my hometown surrounded by everybody I knew; that was my comfort zone and I didn't want to leave it. I was convinced I would be paralysed by homesickness here, I couldn't envisage it working out. But, I decided to give it a go, that's all you can do in life: try.

What I found was that yes, I am a homebody, but that home is not my 'hometown' but the house where I live, wherever that may be; that is where I always want to be and where I feel safe and content.


Three: Forgiving a betrayal

Nearly 4 years ago, I suffered a heartbreaking personal betrayal by a very close family member that made me question the concept of familial love and loyalty. The root system of blood links I thought existed between us failed spectacularly and I was left emotionally adrift and physically estranged from the person involved. The events of that day led me down a dark path of anger and bitterness which ended with me suffering chronic anxiety. 

The only thing that saved me and my sanity was facing up to the white elephant between us and forgiving what happened. After 18 months apart, we met up and moved on. Relieving myself of the stress and negativity I had been carrying around immediately made me happier. 

I will never forget what happened, but it is in my past now, it has become just a small part of the person I am today and no longer controls the whole of me.


Four: Eating those four Jaffa Cakes this morning

I am very pleased I decided to do this, I felt so much better after! They're only 1g of fat each, so I felt justified in having a doughnut when I went to the supermarket afterwards.


Five: Buying this skirt

I found this skirt in Banana Republic over the weekend and it was reduced to $12. TWELVE DOLLARS!!!! You can't buy a button in there for $12 normally, so I bought it just because I could and I'm glad as I've worn it for the past two days already!

Have a good week!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Frock It! #6 A Day at the Races

I love nothing more than a bit of Royal watching, so for this week's Frock It!, I found some gems from the Epsom races.

Our new Duchess had managed to find time in her busy Welsh housewife diary to get scrubbed up for a day on the Downs with her new family (The Queen). 

Now, please help me with this one, I am in a real pickle. I just can't make my mind up as to whether I like her look or not. At first glance, the delicious creams against the teak-coloured tan looks fantastic, but as I looked closer and longer, something just doesn't sit right.

Yes, she has a pair of legs to rival any of the racehorses on show, but the jacket, for me, is wrong. Maybe it's the neckline or the boxiness of it, I don't know, but it gives her NO shape at all, something she needs to avoid as she doesn't have many curves going on ordinarily. 

The dress skirt is too sheer and floaty.  The hat I do like as it suits her face shape and it's very refreshing to see her with her hair in an up-do. 

There's no doubt Kate is a clotheshorse but on the close-up photos she looks a little unwell, tired even? Her mind seems elsewhere. Do you agree?

Overall, the race-going fashion on show was good, even Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie looked respectable, although E still insists on wearing her dresses maybe an inch too short.

Of course, Queenie looked wonderful (is it tantamount to treason to even say otherwise?) in a bright fuschia, summery dress and complementary coat. 

Mrs Middleton always turns herself out nicely

And as for the top hats? Britain at it's finest I feel. Long live the topper!

There are some brilliant Frock It! posts this week over at This Mid 30s Life


Friday, 3 June 2011

Pool fun!

Yesterday was Imogen's first dip into water other than her bath.

I always planned to take her to a baby swim class as soon as she hit 4 months, but the pool set-up over here is not the same as in the UK: there are very few 'public' pools, most swim classes are in membership pools like in a gym or at the YMCA and I don't want to spend nearly $100 a month for a membership I will only use for the pool and then pay for swim lessons ON TOP.

So, because I am a stingy Mummy, she has had to wait for the weather to warm up so we can visit our friend's pool. 
Here comes the irony: the pool we visited yesterday is at the apartments we USED to live in, but in the fifteen months we lived there, I went in the pool ONCE. Disgraceful. And to think I had all that free time pre-Imogen and a big belly flotation aid I could have used! So now I go back to the pool I once lived at by invitation from my friend. Grrr! 

Hey ho, we all had a really fun afternoon. Imogen and Brooke played well together for 10 month olds (barring a sharing incident with a spoon...) and she slept well all night, probably dreaming of rubber rings and suncream. 

Have a wonderful weekend Peapodders, what are you up to? Plans Chez Priest are as yet unknown, but I'm hoping to indulge in some yummy lunch tomorrow, I'm thinking burgers or maybe fish tacos...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Feeding time

So far, in my 10 months of baby rearing, the hardest part, for me, has been the feeding.

While I was pregnant, I didn't give much real thought to feeding my baby every day. I planned to breastfeed and knew it wasn't going to be a complete breeze so I went to my pre-natal classes to learn all the tricks of the trade and felt prepared and comfortable with what lay ahead.

Until late into another sleep-disturbed night, about a week before baby was born, when it dawned on me that this feeding lark was quite an undertaking, a huge responsibility. With a gnawing fear growing in my belly, I realised that it wasn't a case of just feeding a few times in the hospital, it would be every two hours or so, EVERY DAY....FOREVER. That I was responsible for feeding this child until she left home, as an adult. Yikes.

Now, you may think I'm being crazy and naive, but I can't be the only parent to feel this way. Being pregnant, for me, was lovely, but the reality of having a real-life, bouncing baby in there did not become apparent until we stared eye-to-eye in hospital last July.

Well, unsurprisingly, the breastfeeding was hard; it was painful and tiring and incredibly time-consuming. Just when all I wanted to do was look after myself and my very sore body, I had to put that to one side to feed a hungry little girl every couple of hours. In the first few weeks, I began to resent this bodily-takeover and I used to dread the feeds (those few hours inbetween used to go way too fast).

However, after a month or so, without even realising, we began to get into the swing of things, my confidence grew, the pain went away and we were both happy with the situation. I came so close to quitting and swapping to bottles on several occasions, but looking back, I'm so very glad I stuck at it as it's been the most incredible experience.

One of our first successful feeds!
So, after 6 months of just milk, it was time for some solids, I guess. As with the milk feeds, solids started off on a rocky road and it took her a few weeks to get the hang of this new taste sensation (mmm, rice cereal, yummmmmm?!!), but with persistence, we overcame the hurdles.

First 'solid' food
Well, we have been successfully feeding solid food for 4 months now and Imogen has three meals a day with meals looking something like this:

Breakfast: Porridge oats with milk and some pureed fruit (apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, blueberries etc)

Lunch: Sandwich with various fillings - cheese, cheese spread, avocado (a real fave), egg, tuna, marmite (another fave) followed by fruit or a yoghurt

Mid-afternoon: Snacks or carrot sticks and hummus

Dinner: Chicken or beef casserole, fish pie, tomato pasta sauce, macaroni cheese and vegetables.

Milk twice a day

Now I know this all sounds really nutritious and yes, I am very proud of the effort and time I put into her meals; it's turned into a labour of love. James is always complaining that she eats a hundred times better than him and it's probably true. But I feel there is so much crap food out there that she will probably spend her life eating, so I feel it's the least I can do to have her eating perfectly while I can still control it.

 a MUST have freezer tray
I spend days sometimes cooking, mixing and freezing foods and the freezer is full of delicious meals but now, I feel like I've hit an inspirational brick wall. I like to make meals that I can freeze in batches as it's so cheap and lasts for weeks and most of the recipes I have used come from Annabel Karmel (baby feeding GENIUS). 
My saviour, Annabel

Current freezer situation
However, after a while, I think there's only so much damn chicken casserole I can cook before I start to lose my mind and when I look for recipes online, I'm always disappointed.

So here is my point, oh wise people out there: I would love to be refreshed with some delicious and easy baby dinner recipes to save me from fish pie boredom! Please let me know of any good books or websites that you all use...Thank you.