Is It Just Me: Who Thinks Changes to Maternity Care are More Important Than Banning Bounty?

OK dear anon people: Fire away but please be aware, I will tweet the more gormless messages for my followers to laugh at. Just so you know.

I am writing, well, actually, editing a post I’d already written about this so called “Bounty Mutiny” (ahem) (insert face/palm motion here), but for once I’d gone a bit pussy on you all and decided that it wasn’t worth the aggro. One person leading the charge (I feel that’s the correct term as Mutiny is the word being used) suddenly hates my guts for no reason, and Mumsnet also back it (and we all know they truly hate my guts) so hence why I’d kind of face/palmed and not posted it. I know, right, I must be getting old.

Anyway, Emma, who blogs at the magnificent “Crazy With Twins” has decided to go for my Sarcastic Bastard Award (Copyright 2006-2013, erm, me) and written a witty opposing view.

So here’s goes nothing.

I have been pregnant and had babies twice. Both out via a section, with all sorts of drugs involved, awkward singing at anesthetists, one planned but ended up with lots of blood loss (mine), one major scary, emergency 28 week, one. So, I know a thing or two about “traumatic births”. 

(Tell a lie, I don’t actually remember Mini’s birth, I thought I was in and out, I was there for 3 hours, 3 1/2 pints of blood lost, bit scary for a bit for everyone else, bar me. I was high as a kite).

Yes, giving birth is a pain (really), but I don’t think I was vulnerable in the days or hours after it. Not even after Littlest’s birth. What I needed was a friendly face, a comforting shoulder and a cuppa. 

Did I get that from Midwives? Consultants? Other Mums on the ward? 

Did I heck.

They were too busy, too important, or too caught up in their own babies to spend time with me. I wet myself when I had Mini after they took the catheter out without checking I could actually move to get out of bed to go to the loo. It had been left really high up, so despite calling for some help, none came. Sorry if that was a TMI, but just to show what I mean.

When I had Mini, I wanted to bath her when the section pain calmed down. I wanted to bath myself but there was no one there to help when we were allowed to have a bath (outside of visiting times) and you were not allowed to take the baby off the ward. I wanted to go to the loo. Everyone was always too busy, promising to come back later. My section wounds both became infected and I needed antibiotics, due to the dressings not coming off soon enough.

It was even worse when I had Littlest. I’ve said before how for 14 hours I had no idea if he was alive, my surgical stocking was cutting off the blood supply to my big toe so it went purple, but because there was no baby beside me, I got even fewer checks from midwives than before. I wasn’t even given a bell.

Who did come along and offer a hand, a chat, and advice? 

The Bounty Lady.

The first one I had, with Mini, was a doll. An absolute shining example, and why I have the Bounty badge on this blog. She gave me a hug, gave me a heaving bag of freebies, and then, rolled up her sleeves and showed me how to bath Mini. She told me to not worry if she cried, it didn’t mean I was hurting her, but they do that, babies. As you weren’t allowed to bath a newborn if you’d not had one before, this was a godsend. She then told me she’d just do the ward, then I could pop along and have a bath, she’d watch Mini. Which, true to her word, she did. 

Did she shout abuse at me or anyone else? Did she pressure sell me pictures? Did she make up rubbish about government forms? Nope. She was, simply, a very nice lady, doing a job.

When I had Littlest, there were two Bounty ladies. One was a right cow. She made me cry a bit. Because Littlest was in SCBU, she assumed I was having him adopted or taken away, not that he was in a Neonatal unit. She was an arse. She was sacked. I made a complaint, the hospital did too, she went. No messing. 

The other lady sat with me when I was at my lowest ebb. She hugged me, she was like a Granny in her specs, and tartan skirt. She told me everything would be fine, he would be OK, that things would be tough but she could say they’d do their upmost and he’d come home before I knew it. Even if it had of been hocus pocus rubbish, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Not the medical terms, the serious faces, the upset caused by the Midwife. A friendly, reassuring face.

Unlike the Midwife who I’d never met and had no number for, who decided to flounce, shouting into SCBU when Littlest was 3 weeks old. How dare I not phone her. How dare I not come in and get my Red Book. 

Frankly, she’s lucky I was on the verge of the “Epic Nervous Breakdown” or I’d have rammed that red book up her arse.

Or the Section suite, who rang me in November and had a right go at me for not calling to cancel my arranged section, if I’d decided to have a natural birth. They were embarrassed when I said I had had my section. In August. 

The big thing here is not Bounty. No.

There is, to my mind, a bigger, NHS sourced issue here. Time and admin. Or lack there of.

How hard would it be to have a box you tick on your birth plan, saying Bounty: No/Yes?

How hard would it be for Midwives to actually sit down with a Bounty Rep before her visits so she could see who was new, who didn’t want disturbing and who to be delicate with? Or a code on the big white board with all our names on it? Star for yes, Cross for no, Heart for delicate, softly softly?

I think there are far more things that should be campaigned about, that we should wave banners about, and use our voices for the greater good.

Yes, I’m sure there are Bounty Ladies who are more Bounty Bitches. But did you contact them? Or did you just put the fear of them into a pregnant friend so they expect someone on a par with Saddam Hussein after their labour? There are good and bad in every profession, so that is what the email address, twitter feed or phone is for. Report it.

When I talk to fellow parent’s about their labour and overall Maternity care, it’s not the Bounty lot who I hear about. Its the NHS staff who are ignorant, over stretched, under funded and in the cases of some in need of retraining.

Mutiny? Not on this Bounty. 

I say let’s campaign for a better NHS.

And leave those who fund it, alone.


Mummy, or Personal Skiv?

As the Brats get older, I always assumed that they would become tidier. I also hoped that they would make me cups of tea and massage my poor feet but I kind of knew that wouldn’t happen (not until they are at least 14).

However, despite them being 6 and nearly 5, they have gotten worse. 

Mini is the prime example of this. 

Here is a child who can proudly display her ability to use monkey bars, hang from swingsets by her feet and generally move around with ease. Get onto the subject of her getting off her bum and picking her shoes up, or putting her dirty clothes in the laundry, well, you’d think she had no feet. Or I’d asked her to run up Everest in under an hour.

Her room, or more so her carpet, is more shoes, clothes and toys than normal pattern. Her drawers are always a mess. No matter how many times I re-fold the whole lot (and she has a lot of clothes), it looks like a gang of women at a Next 24 Hour Sale has passed through looking for bargains.

No matter how many “Supernanny” type treats I offer for keeping things tidy, or pocket money for chores, nothing works. Neither does buying half of Ikea’s storage department. They leave what should go in the storage, beside the storage.

I don’t ask them to vacuum, polish or do washing. I do ask them to pick their sodding washing up- I actually think both of the Brats and Elder (who should know better) think that clothes can grow legs and walk to the machine. Kind of like the episode of the Young Ones where the socks followed Vivian to the launderette.

Yes, you see, Elder is just as bad. There are always socks, jeans and jumpers of his in the living room, unless I walk round on a daily basis to check.

Words cannot describe what greeted me on my return from Britmums Live. I nearly made it my Silent Sunday. Basically, anything the three of them had worn, eaten or drunk out of was in the living room. Their uniform was a pile by the kitchen door. Which baffles me as it is a mere two further steps to reach the washing basket, or better still the washing machine. I’m surprised none of them had the plague. They all slept on the sofa bed (Elder swears blind the Brats wouldn’t go to bed and collapsed, exhausted there and he left them), ate cake for breakfast (it had jam in it, so apparently that may as well be toast) and take out for dinner. 

Its a wonder they can actually function enough to turn the TV on.

I was very pleased I didn’t have a hangover on Sunday as I had to get stuck in, getting all the uniform washed and dried for the day after, not easy as the washer works when it wants to, and the weather was awful.

What can you do?

In the words of Mini last night, as I wielded the vacuum, and asked her to move her shoes out the way “why would I clean up, Mummy? That’s what you’re here for“.

There’s no reply to that, is there?

Make your own cards at Zazzle

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks Facebook Needs to Face Up To Scrutiny?

Oh dear oh dear.

It appears that Facebook may finally be facing up to what many of us users have thought for a while. And, no, I don’t mean the ever changing sodding settings and layout tweaks either.

What I do mean is Facebooks questionable opinions on what you and I set up as Group pages on their site. Which, as we all know, they earn very well out of, and are an integral part of the site. 

Despite banning for containing “obscene content” any group, post or picture in support of or giving advice on breast feeding, Facebook time and time again allow other sites, such as those which promote violence against women (including those called “Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus” and “Raping your female friend just for laughs”), or Holocaust denial groups. I know which, as a Facebook user, I’d rather see closed.

Usually, no matter how many times a user clicks to report content, Facebook kind of replies with a shrug that it’s freedom of speech. I always imagine the people who do this to be slightly jerky characters who work while chewing gum and resting their feet on their desk.

Anyway, it seems that, even though we make them billions, and Zuckerberg loves to communicate with us all, its the big boys who have made him gulp and decide to, perhaps, review its eyebrow raising policies.

Some brands are giving Facebook the Thumbs Down

It’s been reported that several massive companies, mostly based here in the UK- including Nissan, Nationwide, Marks and Spencer, and BSkyB- have reviewed whether or not they really want their respected brands to be associated with Facebook. Thus, they have pulled their ad revenue from the site with immediate effect.

Good on them!

Sadly, it feels like Facebook started the site with good intentions, but sadly as the popularity grew and the earning potential (and bank balance) increased, dollar signs have blinded the group from what is, and isn’t deemed acceptable. 

Take away that earning power and suddenly Facebook and those who run it agree with what many of us users- longterm or otherwise- have voiced many times over, and been ignored. 

The site we all used to know and love may have grown to a huge level, but it must, must be more transparent on what it will and wont allow, and it also must be in tune with the users- before they turn their backs for good (its happened before- just look at MySpace). To simply fob off users who happily help Police the site by reporting sites and photos which are purely there to offend is not acceptable, and I am proud that UK companies are taking a stand alongside their customers.

Let’s hope Facebook learn a thing or two about how to work and listen to their customers.

The Annual "I Went to Britmums Live" Post- 2013 Edition

Wow guys!

I have to say, I have been to around 5 conferences over the years I’ve been blogging (at the first ever Britmums meet up at London Zoo, I only had one blog), from Cybermummy, to Blog Camp and then to Britmums Live. However, I have never, ever known one to be so, well, emotional.

I cried so much Saturday, I gave myself a stonking headache. I cried my darn make up off. (Apologies if I scared anyone).

I want to say though, it was OK to cry. It was what so many of us needed. Friend’s of the never forgotten Kerry and Matilda-Mae. Those who had met them, those who had merely heard about their passing and felt empathy, emotion and feeling for their families.

The strength of support over the weekend, well, I do say sometimes that blogging can be a bit of a mindfield, friendship and angry moments wise, but not this weekend. We hugged, we laughed at certain bits. We were there for every single one of each other.

I have a few thank you’s:

To Chelsea (the gorgeous MS Mummy of Two), I am so gutted you had to go home (and shame on the hotel for not putting you near the lift), but it was an utter pleasure to meet you, and your lovely other half. I am so jealous of your tats by the way, and sorry my phone was unhearable due to noise before you left so I could have given you a hug. I hope you’re feeling better x

To Liska ( the sublimely talented New Mum Online), thanks for keeping me company, for laughing, for the gossip. You looked lovely in my dress (!) and your speech at the seminar was thought provoking and heartfelt. I hope you are not emotionally drained, and you are so right, Kerry would have told us all off for crying like a mad bunch, and ordered us to drink wine and jump around like loonies.

To Susanna and Jen- how you guys do it every year is amazing and astonishing, it must have been terribly hard this year with the sheer upset everyone has felt these past few months. But, hats off, you did it. I’m my opinion, wiping the floor with all the others. I look forward to next year. Now go get some rest! (Oh and Jen, I still giggle when you say y’all).

To Kylie and Annie (The wonderful ladies behind Not Even a Bag of Sugar and Mammasaurus) thanks for sharing such personal experiences with us all. It takes guts to read and say what you do, and I’m humbled.

To Jennie (From the amazing Edspire). Just because it must have been overwhelming, intimidating, hard beyond belief. But you are so strong, so admirable. I personally don’t feel I’d have the strength to leave the house, but you did it. You came, and you let us hug you, and cry with you. I pray that life gets better for you, more hopeful, and the darkness lifts x

To Kate (From the great blog Kate on Thin Ice) I hope your poor feet have recovered from the stairs! You make me laugh all the time, and it’s a pleasure to have been in your company again.

To Pippa (Come on, we know where Pips from, right?), I love you to bits. Don’t go changing ya mad thing!

So, what of the rest of the conference?

I met the humbling and beautiful in equal measures Katie Piper, who deserves a medal in the triumph over adversity stakes. I am working towards organising a little project for her Foundation. It was a privilege to chat to someone who I have admired from the first TV show I accidentally stumbled upon. 

I found Katie Hill hilarious. I didn’t expect to, but my God she’s one of us. Over sharing as an art form, funny, witty and just plain normal as a Mummy like the rest of us. I hope to bump into you again soon.

Kirsty Allsopp was a pleasure to listen to, she was exactly how I thought she’d be, funny, in a flap, and lovely to be around.

On Friday, we went for dinner right near The Brewery and were there from 8.30 until gone 11pm. Our waiter was like Manuel from Fawlty Towers, the food was delish, and I’m sure their are Instagrams around of what we ate! Monika– well done for finding such a posh place and dictating what we’d pay! Let’s do it again next year, with bells on!

Saturday saw me being hugged by a Lion, eating more lovely food, and seeing more lovely people, friend’s old and new. I cried, I danced to Katy Perry (Kerry, only you could get me singing a pop song from after 1995). I met some amazing new bloggers, and proved I’m actually quite a nice person (cheers Liska!).

I came home tired, drained and happy.

I did pitch my book idea but, well, not to be negative, but the session made me a bit cross. The lady I spoke to is obviously knowledgeable, but trying to convince me to turn a book for young kids with a special purpose into a dark tale of ghouls and children who talk to walls perhaps made me glaze over. Onwards and upwards and perhaps to self publishing?

I just want to sign off by saying I am going again next year! I dare those who didn’t come to come next time, as it was such a great event, yet again, for so many different reasons. At times it was hard, for the most part we had a giggle.

What more could this old timer blogger ask for?

Supermarket sweep: easy ways to save on the weekly shop*

As the impact of the recession continues to bite, many of us are finding our regular necessities – like the weekly supermarket shop – a bit of a strain. However, with a little know-how, you can start cutting costs on your food bill to put towards holidays and other treats: 

Capitalise on price check policies
If you’re struggling with your weekly shop, the supermarket giants have plenty of schemes in place to help shoppers keep to their budget. Tesco, for example, has launched a new price comparison scheme that allows customers the chance to be reimbursed if they could have bought their shopping cheaper from a rival. You’ll be eligible to receive up to £10 in coupons at any given store; the only requirement is that you need to buy a minimum of ten different products to qualify.
Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s biggest rival, already has a similar scheme called Brand Match, so if you ensure you redeem your vouchers when necessary, you’ll be able to save yourself some valuable cash. If you look online, you can also find money off coupons from a whole host of retailers, on products ranging from beauty essentials to garden furniture, so a little time spent browsing price comparison sites is sure to pay dividends.

Minimise food waste
In recent months, new statistics have exposed the staggering quantity of food that we waste in British homes each year as a consequence of ‘bogof’ and other supermarket schemes. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign estimates that we throw away around 7.2 million tonnes of food each year in the UK, and that it could be costing us an eye-watering £12 billion on an annual basis.
To avoid buying in food that will end up in the bin, go shopping with an organised list based on the recipes you and your family plan to cook for the week ahead. TV chef Nigel Slater has even made a BBC series specifically addressing this issue. Dish of the Day offers excellent tips on using up leftovers and transforming them with a few store cupboard essentials. 
Having a trusty collection of non-perishables in the house is a good way to reduce the amount of household waste. Keep a good stock of items like tinned tomatoes, beans, tuna and anchovies, and save by buying dried carbohydrates like pasta and couscous in bulk. With these useful backups stocked in your cupboards, you’ll be able to knock up a tasty family supper by adding just a few fresh ingredients.

Know your labels
When it comes to sell-by and use-by dates, exercise a little common sense. Remember that ‘best before’ labels simply refer to the peak quality of the food; after this date it may still be safe to eat even though it may be past its absolute ‘best’. ‘Use by’ dates, however, do refer to food safety, and anything kept beyond this date may be harmful to consume. But always use your discretion: if you are undecided, the NHS offers excellent advice online on how to judge the shelf-live of food. If you can learn to avoid throwing things away as a knee jerk response, you could save yourself good money.

*This post was brought to you in collaboration with Super Savvy Me

How to Take Care of Those Little Teeth*

Caring for your teeth, whatever your age, relies on establishing a rigid regime. Good dental health is not only important for your overall health and fitness but can also affect your confidence and perceptions of your appearance.
When encouraging little ones to adopt teeth cleaning as part of their daily routine, parents can encounter difficulties though. Many young children are reluctant to brush their teeth or struggle to do it correctly – so how can you help them take care of their little gnashers?
Show them how to brush their teeth
While brushing teeth twice a day is always recommended, it is equally important that teeth are brushed correctly. Using too much force or brushing in the wrong direction could mean children don’t clean every part of their teeth and could even result in damage to gums or teeth enamel. Dentists can show your children how to brush correctly using props and tools but you can encourage this learning by helping them at home.
Brushing for them may not be possible, least of all because little ones often want to appear independent, so why not brush your teeth at the same time as them? That way you can set an example of what to do, offering advice and assistance where necessary, and also show them that dental hygiene is an important part of their life both now and in the future.
Explain when to brush
It can be counter productive to brush your teeth straight after eating. Not giving your saliva and digestive enzymes enough time to break down your food means you risk compacting small pieces of undigested food into your gums. That’s why you should wait at least 45 minutes after a meal before brushing. Make sure your child’s dinners and breakfasts are prepared with enough time to allow them to eat at a comfortable rate and wait the necessary time before brushing.
Use the right products
Brushing technique is an important part of dental hygiene but which products you use is equally as important. Child-friendly toothpastes, mouthwashes and other dental hygiene products are all readily available but it may be possible to buy products suitable for the whole family.

A toothpaste that cleans as well as whitens such as Oral B pro expert will leave teeth gleaming for the next day and you can find out if they’re suitable for children by reading the packaging or speaking to your dentist. A little mouthwash, go for an alcohol-free variety, will help eliminate any excess bacteria while floss is great for helping guard against gum disease by ensuring every part of the mouth is thoroughly cleaned.

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /

Is It Just Me: Who Thinks It’s Time to Leave the Jackson Kids the Hell Alone?

I must start by saying I was a fan of Michael’s music. I found his behavior a bit stranger with every year that went by, but you can’t argue with how talented he was.

As anyone with less than normal parent’s knows though, as a kid, you’re not responsible for them or what they get up to, right?

Which is why I find it really sad, awful and shameful what has happened this week to Paris, Michael’s middle child and only daughter.

The fact that a family who seem intent on rinsing every penny out of his estate, a media obsessed with feeding it’s Jackson addiction via the children, and AEG raking up any reason they can find to discredit Michael and his family at the cost of his children’s feelings has led to a 15 year old girl feeling like the only way out of the mess is to attempt suicide, well, the whole lot should be hanging their heads in shame.

The fact is, being 15 sucks, and I should imagine being under the media microscope at that age makes it doubly worse, if not triple. Not only do you have to contend with being seen as more responsible, becoming interested in boys, choosing a career, and the rest but she is hounded.

If it is the case that AEG and it’s threats to expose that Michael wasn’t really her Dad- something we’d all thought was the case since the children were born but which matters not a jot in the grand scheme of things- has pushed her over the edge, at a time when she is probably still grieving for her father, it’s just inexcusable.

The fact is, whether or not Michael Jackson physically got someone pregnant the old fashioned way, or borrowed from a sperm donor friend is so unimportant.

What matters is that this young girl-who is utterly beautiful by the way, and if you ask me looks like a mixture of her Mum Debbie Rowe and her auntie Janet (look at the eyes and then look at Janet in the Scream video) saw Michael as her Dad. He nurtured her, they spent lots of time together for the large majority of her life. He was, sperm or no sperm, her Dad.

It may have been an unconventional lifestyle, granted, and her Dad may have had a warped view of what a childhood should entail- hardly surprising considering his own childhood- but clearly the girl loved him, and clearly she will miss him dreadfully for many years to come.

I understand that AEG will have the right to defend itself against claims made by the elder Jackson clan, but they did not have to use this, surely? Surely it would have been fine to say that Michael lied about his condition and that his family were aware of his personal struggles, rather than using something they knew would be a sensation?

Ultimately, of course they will argue that they did not foresee Paris’ reaction, which was extreme. But they are partly responsible for the devastation it caused, whether others argue that she must have been semi aware of the suggestion before it hit the headlines?

When you strip this down, she is a child who is hurting. 

Let’s just do what we never did to Michael, give the Jackson kids space to breathe, and only if they choose to seek the limelight should we peer nosily into their lives. 

What’s your view?