A birthday cheesecake

It’s Wimbledon time and even though the Brits are crashing out there’s still room for a strawberry or two. It’s my brother in law’s birthday celebs this weekend so what about a strawberry cheesecake!?


Melt 75g butter and crush into 175g digestives. Push into a lined pop bottom cake tin and chill.

Cook 200g halved strawberries with 25g caster sugar and 2 tbsp water.



Whizz in the nutribullet then sieve back into saucepan. Smells incred. Warm and add 2 gelatine leaves.


Set aside. 

Beat 50g caster sugar into 300g cream cheese. Add the strawberry mixture.


Beat in 150g double whipped cream and 150g Greek yoghurt.

Tip into biscuit mixture and put cheesecake into fridge for 6 hours.

Will top and serve later 🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓 

Hypnobirthing course

Second child syndrome has already kicked in as am 30 weeks pregnant but no mention of her has been made in the blogosphere. I’m busier than I was when I was pregnant with Monty. For example, it is 7.07 in the morning and since being woken up abruptly by loud hollering from his Majesty’s bedroom, he’s had a kicking-legs-type strop when having his nappy changed, had a further nonsensical strop at choosing some trousers, willingly accepted juice and melon but firmly rejected Wall-E once we’d got through the trailers and settled on Peppa Pig instead to ease into the day.

Calm of sorts has descended now though and I can write through the background noise of snorting pigs and chuckles from Monts.

On Saturday, Toby and I attended a Hypnobirthing course with Louise Daniels, locally at her beautiful home which made a change from an antenatal course in a grubby hotel. There were two other couples attending and we happily drank coffee having parked Monty with my parents for the day. We started the day with an introduction into what hypnobirthing was all about and settling some of the preconceptions we might have around the idea. Louise also runs Positive Birth Movement meet ups so I was familiar with her style, Toby too as he’d recently been on a blokes only one. Louise is down to earth and refreshingly direct, while also being gentle and diplomatic. You kind of have to meet her to understand and I count myself very lucky to have done before we have this second baby. I’ve blogged previously about Monty’s birth and while it was fairly straightforward for a first time birth, Toby and I were both quite traumatised afterwards. We recovered quickly, with no lasting drama and started to enjoy Monty the minute he was born so we were very lucky in that respect.

One of the most helpful bits of Saturday was reflecting on Monty’s birth, guided by an experienced person (Louise) – I’m not sure that was in the course timetable but it ended up happening for us naturally as we related what we were discussing to what had occurred and realised junctures where we could have been stronger in our questioning of medical decisions (using the helpful acronym BRAIN – benefits, risks, advantages, instincts and doing nothing). I also have a renewed feeling of positivity around Monty’s birth, in the sense that at least half of it was a ‘success’ from the point of view of getting to the really tough bit without any pain relief beyond gas & air.

When we tried the hypnobirthing thing, Louise got us all to relax on her furniture – sofas, armchairs or the floor on roll up beds – which felt a bit strange at first in a room with other people. Although relaxed, I certainly didn’t let go completely in the first session, floating in and out of relaxation with an awareness that this felt a bit odd. As the day went on these sessions became easier, by the final session at least two of the partners were snoring and I think we all felt the benefits of zoning out of our ‘thinking brains’ and letting our subconscious hear Louise’s positive affirmations and calm thoughts on birthing our babies.

Apparently the key is really to practise. There is no ‘magic fairy dust’ that can be sprinkled on us by attending a course and expecting to behave differently when ‘the shit hits the fan’, only by practising will our subconscious be likely to push behaviour down the new desired track than sticking to previous anxieties or deep seated beliefs around fear, pain and birth.

The role for Toby is more defined now, we learnt about how to optimise the chances of a successful chain of events – with a calm, loving environment helping the production of oxytocin which will help me cope with the contractions as they intensify, feel like a winner, produce more contractions and work through them. Apparently massage is a plus as are different smells during labour. It will give us something ‘actual’ to focus on to practise massage that might help and find oils that might be a sensory anchor during the process.

I finish work in a few weeks so will have plenty more time to listen to the tracks during the day, at the moment it will be evenings once the Threenager is in bed, which may just mean I fall asleep.

It really was a great day and I haven’t even mentioned the quadruple chocolate cake, delicious lentil and chickpea soup or the LOLS we had as a group. It was actually fun, not heavy or boring, but stimulating, interesting and funny! I did go home feeling pretty ‘birthed out’ but by Sunday morning I was reading my handouts and working on my mind map for birth, our only bit of homework above and beyond practising.

I’m geniuinely looking forward to Maya’s birth, I am so determined to have a positive time – although birth isn’t predictable and we will have to roll with the punches, I feel as equipped as possible, ready for it and so so excited about expanding our little family.

A project

My friend Amy gave me her sewing machine when she moved back to the US. Much to the ridicule of Mr H who bet I wouldn’t even take it out of it’s cover. Tonight I triumphantly did just that. 

Having watched some YouTube and read some of the User Manual, I’ve discovered sewing (or rather learning to use the machine) is going to be a challenge. But that’s ok.

I love the fabric that I chose at lunchtime from World of Sewing. And the pattern (if I can follow it) will make a really cute romper suit and shorts. 


So far I’ve managed to wind the bobbin, which was quite an achievement! 

Further fun sewing updates to come 😂😂

#she’s awake

Is it advisable to blog at 2am? Not sure. At the very least perhaps I’ll draft this and reread in daylight before sending. 

It’s my own fault I’m awake at 2am as I retreated to bed at 7pm along with Monty. When Mr H came to bed a couple of hours ago I woke up and have been ‘thinking’ ever since. So I’ve had man flu this week, firstly hayfever which I only get mildly but easily confused with a cold. But the symptoms of female man flu include (and obviously observed by some including my work colleagues):

  • Complete inactivity when required to perform basic tasks, one colleague said to me on Tuesday (very gently and kindly) – you are literally doing nothing 
  • Wondering if anyone has ever felt this bad, ever before, ever, as it simply can’t be possible
  • Thinking (seriously) that child birth was less painful than the head flu occurring 
  • Copious complaining 
  • Tears
  • A concerned husband who sprang into action (a much better nurse than me)

Anyway I’m through the worst you’ll all be relieved to hear and despite probably running before I could walk by attacking a  busier than normal Thursday at One Media, I had a slight relapse, got ear ache and once again retreated to bed at the same time as my one year old. 

I’m not quite ready to ‘man up’ yet, tomorrow may be mainly spent in pjamas and watching the Smurf movie (Monty will be delighted) but there is a gradual return to the human life form occurring. 


Now that the immediate has been dealt with, the emotional backdrop (possibly linked) is of course Br….what a mess we have here….exit. I’m not going to fill more social media space with negativity but merely say that while I generally enjoy drama and welcome change – hey this is the most I’ve ever been interested in politics and the most I’ve ever witnessed it being discussed, debated and understood/misunderstood, it’s difficult not to feel uncertain and concerned.

I do have faith in our leaders generally. I certainly do not have faith in much of the population in the UK, which is why they don’t LEAD. You see, the anger does rise… Who will sort out the DK (Divided Kingdom)? Will it ever be the same again or is this permanent? Waiting to be rescued by Iron Man. Or Postman Pat. He normally sorts problems out by the end of the day. 

Wow I feel better, writing does that for me, it’s like lifting heavy weights (feelings) off my body (mainly chest) and transferring them via brain and language muscles onto a page (or sometimes screen as in this case) to be absorbed by the universe and perhaps some eyeballs/humans if they can be arsed/are interested. Free therapy really to a faceless voiceless non-being.

I’m in the middle of writing my first book, (not about politics (yay!) but about the (invented) adventures of my beloved dog – Finn) although progress is slow and I don’t know if it’s ever going to be finished. Also not much has happened in it yet so ‘adventures’ might need a rethink. I’m collating more and more material in my head all the time and just waiting for my hand to start converting it into words. It may be terrible, not even sure who would want to read it, what age etc. I have no idea. I’ve started reading it to Monty before bed, he can be my first critic I suppose. 

Our new (old and shabby) house is wonderful. We have a lot to do but the time to do it gradually and our rocks in the garden are so fantastic. Badger rock is imposing, permanent, beautiful, majestic and we will work with it to create our desired space. Our resident badgers are quieter than they were in our first week but I’m hopeful that they are being cautious and they will get braver. The foxes have been quite visible, it’s like Animals of Farthing Wood sometimes. We are making a right old mess as we start to clear bits of the jungle near to the house but there is plenty that will just remain, untouched and wild as its so beautiful and was the magic we fell in love with. 


Well it’s not quite daylight but I’ve re-read and no glaring typos so the only other possibility is that the night ramblings of a slightly post-viral, Lemsipped, Nurofened tired mummy are irrelevant. If so, never mind it will get lost in blogger sphere. Otherwise, hope you’re all sleeping soundly and wake up to a better Friday than the last one. 

❤️

House buying

We are in the midst of buying our first (and hopefully last) family home. It has been a 5 year journey to get to this point and it’s still not over #pleasehousegodsletitgothrough 

Here is what I’ve learnt

  1. We are difficult to please – we must have seen 150 houses at least by now. I mean like actually booked viewings and been to see them. That’s a lot of hours of life. Nonetheless if the keys to our house are in my hand in a few weeks I will not regret a single thing!
  2. It was difficult to buy a house for children without having a child. Now that Monts has been able to be part of the process he has shown us the way to certain criteria such as a garden (we contemplated, even nearly bought) a flat with a roof garden, actually more like just a roof. Glad that one fell through!
  3. Phil and Kirsty are amazing. In the absence of being accepted into their programme we watched Location Location Location regularly for some property purchasing coaching. 
  4. You have to save a LOT of money to buy a house. Manicures have been cancelled, we have a money logging app installed on our iPhones, we haven’t been on holiday for nearly a year. Oh woe is us you might think but before house purchasing we were away a LOT! Sacrifices! 
  5. This period feels like a weird time warp between present and future as so much of our future hangs in the balance. Trying not to think too hard as it hurts my small brain. 

I may dance around like a jerk and drink a lot of champagne if the deal finalises soon. Please please please please please. 

   
  

 

Nearly one

So our little man is nearly one. It’s quite a milestone to behold, one of survival (him and us!) and marks his transition from baby into toddlerhood as he literally toddles around having just started to try. This time last year, aside from being hugely pregnant, life was very different. It was just us and really everything was about  just us. Having a baby has been simply the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. Monty is joy embodied in a very cute human form. He is so like his daddy, so a bundle of fun – a mini version of my favourite man. For sure I understand when people say having a baby won’t mend a broken relationship as there have been times in the last year when we have been under huge strain and needed each other. If we were on rocky ground already we would not have stood a chance. But having Monty has bonded us even more strongly. He reflects us and he is happiest when we are both there showering him with love. A lesson in that strength that comes from co-parenting and being a unit. 

 I am still on a post baby diet, I want to put my pjamas on at 4pm (no actually I don’t want to take them off ever), I can’t really do my favourite sport as it’s dangerous and costly in time and money, I can’t go out on a whim, I can’t claim to be a party girl at the moment – I’ve certainly put some of my identifiable features on hold for a few years. What made me me has changed. But I’m a mum, I love my son so much it is too much to bear sometimes. An emotional vein in me has been tapped that I didn’t know existed so I’m allowing myself to adjust to this new reality, accepting, marvelling, changing, growing and watching as our little man blossoms into the centre of our universe.

Sleep bootcamp

  
Sleeping baby = smiling baby = smiling parents. 

Signs of sleep deprivation include:

  1. Mr H slicing most of his thumb off while bleary eyedly making our dinner once the Montster had finally gone to bed one night. Blood. Yuck. Wifely first aid required including bandaging. It’s a good thing I learnt to bandage horses so well.
  2. Mr H falling over his own feet multiple times while walking Finn the dog. Wifely laughing. But also deep concern. Pahahahaha 😀
  3. Spilling coffee (full cup) all over meeting room at work one morning for no apparent reason other than faulty brain-hand connection. That was me.
  4. Spilling coffee (half full cup) all over car for no apparent reason apart from it obviously being my fault. That was Mr H.
  5. Consecutive days of going to bed at 8pm/as soon as Monty goes to sleep – whichever happens first.

Although I can proudly report that after a desperate night of zero sleep with Baby H in our bed, I dug out my Baby Whisperer book and read in earnest. It really is a good book and has helped many times in these first nine months. I proceeded to implement the Pick Up Put Down method for the last two nights. More like, Monty looks tired, it is bedtime. Monty is put in cot. Monty screams. Monty sobs. Monty stands up. Mummy hugs him but does not pick up but gently puts him onto his bottom in cot. Monty screams. Monty sobs. Utter devastation. Despair. Monty stands up. Repeat x 25 the first night. Monty collapses in sobbing heap. Monty falls asleep. Mummy creeps out. Last night it only took about 8 repetitions and he didn’t wake up at all 7.30 until 6am. Such a clever and responsive baby. Cottons on fast. 

Happy parents. We even stayed up until 10pm. Rock and roll!