Tag Archives: best of

Food Glorious Food

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Here’s a belated post about my insight of 2009: it should have been written two days ago, but we are staying at the in-laws’ and I’m forced to be sociable and away from the computer.

David is a fussy eater.

Let me clarify that.  David eats four things: garlic bread, sausages, chocolate buttons, and Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches.  David will not touch fresh fruit or vegetables, never mind put them in his mouth: they might bite back!  Rice?  Pasta?  Anything that might be served with a sauce or have a sauce touch it?  No way.  (Yep, he’s his mother’s son!)

Until last week, Joe and I could reassure ourselves that “food is for fun until one”.  We kept offering fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, different kinds of meat…  He would poke at them, look disgusted, and throw them on the floor, mostly before they’d been anywhere near his mouth.  We tried bribery: “Put this piece of banana in your mouth and you can have a chocolate button!”.  We tried letting him get on with it: more food ended up on the floor and none was eaten.  We tried all-out war: “You WILL eat this risotto.  Here’s a lovely spoonful…”.  It was spat out.  As a result, he “topped up” on milk, to the point where most of his diet was milk, with a few snacks thrown in.  He wasn’t sleeping as well as he should, he was waking up screaming hungry in the morning, and he was refusing to eat anything solid.

Two days ago, I did something mean, nasty and awful.  I took his milk away.

Not completely away, you understand.  I know that he still needs it for growth and development and vitamins.  We just drastically reduced the amount he drinks overnight.  We don’t offer it an hour before a meal or half an hour after: if he’s thirsty, he can drink water or juice.  We offer it in the newborn-sized Avent bottles, and when he finishes it he can have water, unless he’s desparate.  We’ve set ourselves the target of 5-600ml/day, and we’ve got there straight away.  David, as you can imagine, is unimpressed with this state of affairs, but still doing really rather well.

This morning, he got up with Joe, and for breakfast he ate a whole croissant and a serving of plain yoghurt with pureed blueberries and blackberries.  Half-way through this morning, he decided he was hungry, so ate a fruit pouch, two breadsticks, and a biscuit, and drank half a cup of juice.  At lunch he tried quiche and baked potato, which he wouldn’t previously have touched, and ate four slices of garlic bread.  At dinner, he spied the leftover profiteroles from Joe’s relatives’ Boxing Day family lunch, and was bribed into eating a fruit pouch.  That was followed by both profiteroles, a large piece of Stollen, and a whole cup of juice.  His total formula intake today?  500ml.

We’re not there yet.  He still doesn’t like the texture of anything runny, he won’t touch sauce, and vegetables are apparently the work of the Devil.  I was surprised that he ate the profiterole after the inital touching and poking, and still asked for more.  I don’t think it’s a taste issue, but to do with texture: it certainly explains why he’ll eat purees but nothing lumpy or slimy.

So, there we are.  My insight of the year: to do with taking away milk (and therefore being the meanest mother in the whole, world, ever, or so David will tell you) and making David eat Real Food.  It works.  I shouldn’t be scared to make parenting decisions and worry about what other people will think, because we need to do what works for us.  I needn’t worry about David’s reaction, because he’ll survive.  I am starting 2010 more confident as a parent than I ever was, and it’s fantastic.


Filed under baby led weaning, David, Food & Drink, pictures


I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  I’ll write a proper post about this on David’s actual birthday in three days’ time, but for now, here are PICTURES!

David didn’t strictly arrive in 2009.

He arrived on the 23rd December 2008, eight days early.

Fast-forward a year, and we have this.

Bloody hell.

I’ll write more about David on his *actual* birthday, the 23rd.  We’re off to enjoy some cake for his first first birthday party!  (He’s having two.)

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Filed under Best Of 2009, David, pictures

Word of the Year 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

Awesome.  This year has been really, truly awesome.  Look at this photo of my nearly-one-year-old and deny it.

Nope?  There we go.  Awesome.

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Tea of 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

Writing about the best tea of 2009 would imply that I’m a tea drinker.  I’m not.  I’m not even a tea-maker, unless it’s for photography purposes, or when Joe’s feeling particularly unwell and not drinking beer.  I can’t stand coffee: when I was pregnant, the smell of it made me throw up.  So, here’s the confession.  I am utterly, utterly addicted to coke.

Well, Diet Coke.

I drink far more than is good for me.  During the day, I average a scary number of cans, mostly down to the need to be awake, juggle the phone, the camera, and the computer, and look after a toddler who is into EVERYTHING he shouldn’t be.  When we go out, I’m usually/always the designated driver: I don’t mind, I don’t like drinking in public much anyway.  I hate fizzy water with a passion that burns, and I don’t drink most fizzy drinks as I really don’t need the sugar.  So, the one option… Diet Coke.

I’ve tried to quit and failed.  I managed caffeine-free diet coke for about a month in the first trimester of pregnancy, and then went back to restricting myself on the hard stuff.  I’ve tried to wean myself off by slowly replacing it with water and green tea.  Didn’t work.  I tried going cold turkey a few times.  Never again.

So, that’s it.  I’m giving up on giving up.  I shall embrace my coke habit and the ridiculous amount of money it costs me.  And next time Joe moans about buying recyclable cans instead of bottles, I’ll remind him how much beer he drinks.  And then he’ll shut up.


Filed under Food & Drink, Musings

Big Fat Eric Cat

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Apologies for lack of posting yesterday, we spent the day in London and the weekend at my parents’ place; I’ve come back slightly more insane than before.  The answer to yesterday’s question?  Falafel.  Could NOT live without the stuff now.  Anyway, today’s post is about the best change we made to the place we live.

Eric.  Introducing him into our home and our family has been the most wonderful thing.  He and David are growing up together.  They sleep next to each other, play together, and annoy the crap out of each other.  They cause me equal amounts of worry, and have roughly equal numbers of hugs!  (Eric is a very snuggly, clingy cat and I’ve worn him in a sling so I can work before now.)  They are both in this lovely in-between stage: David is neither a baby nor a toddler, and Eric is no longer a kitten, but not quite a cat.

The older cats have mostly accepted him.  Snowball still dislikes him, but then Snowball doesn’t like anyone or anything apart from Joe.  Wily puts up with his adoring attentions with great patience and grace.  “Oy boss, have you been outside, where’ve you been, did you catch any mice, will you teach me how to catch mice when I’m big, oh please, please, PLEASE…”  He will catch mice when he’s allowed outside: Snowball has brought the occasional live one inside, which he’s finished off, but I still don’t want my little baby boy going out.

So again, I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

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Blog Find of 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Today, it’s the Blog Find of 2009: “…that gem of a blog you can’t believe you didn’t know about until this year.”: also, the post that it’s impossible to write without feeling a little bit stalkerish.

Despite the lack of time to read books, I’ve had plenty of time to read blogs this year.  It’s probably because I spend most of my work-time on the computer, and Aperture takes so long to even think about doing anything that I have aeons of time to do what I want to on the Internet.  (Note to Apple: the Mac Mini might not be top-end, but it’s not bad spec, so WHY can I only run Aperture, Safari and iChat at the same time?  If I add anything else I get stuck with spinning beachballs…)

This brings me to my blog find of the year: Tales from the Dad Side.  It’s wonderful to hear a different perspective on parenting: as a mother who spends most of her time at home, it’s very easy to forget how hard it is for Joe to walk out of the door in the morning and leave David.  SciFiDad’s son Buddy is a few months older than David, so it’s interesting to see the challenges we’ll likely be dealing with in a few months.  His daughter Munchkin is four, and VERY like I was as a child; also, again, it’s interesting to get a glimpse of what life with a four-year-old might be like.  (David is NEVER going to be four.  He’s not even going to be one in a few weeks.  La, la, la, I can’t hear you…)

Tales from the Dad Side is very well thought-out, very well-written.  This challenge has made it a lot easier for me to come up with material every day, but to do it all the time without prompts, and never be boring?  That takes talent, which SciFi Dad has in oodles.  So don’t hang out here any longer, go!  Go and read!

In other news, the Daily Photo is up here, as usual, and it’s of a little ginger kitten-cat.  (Neither “kitten” nor “cat” suit him in this phase of his development, much like neither “baby” nor “toddler” fit David quite right.)


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Best Article Of 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

For me, by far and away the most useful article this year has been this photographers’ rights guide.  I keep a printed copy in my camera bag, just in case I’m stopped when I’m out and about with my camera.

Photographer’s rights are a massive issue for me.  I take a lot of photos in public places, and a lot of photos that are likely to have other people’s children in them.  In the last week I’ve read about photographers being stopped for taking photos of Christmas lights or sunsets at St Paul’s Cathedral, supposedly for “terrorism prevention”.

Photographers may legally be stopped and searched under Section 44 of the Prevention of Terrorism act.  It’s a catch-all clause that lets the police search anyone they like, regardless of whether they have reasonable grounds to suspect that that person is involved in terrorism.  Security guards often have the same attitude: the leader of Hull City Council, Liberal Democrat Carl Minns, was stopped whilst taking photos of a shopping centre: he had every legal right to do so.  Question: with so many high-resolution cameraphones on the market these days, and when the police seem to be so quick to react to photographers, would a potential terrorist likely carry a light, easily-hidden cameraphone, or a big, noticeable DSLR?  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t yet heard of anybody being stopped and searched simply for using a cameraphone.  And aren’t detailed photos and area photos of any area, especially those popular with tourists, available on Google Maps and Google Street View?  Why go out and risk being discovered when you could, quite simply, open your web browser?

The other stick used to beat photographers with, of course, is suspicion of paedophilia.  I am a young woman, with a child of my own.    I have had my non-existant criminal record checked by no fewer than four organisations for volunteering and for work, and am about to pay to be CRB-checked AGAIN through my own company.  When David and I go somewhere, I usually want to take some pictures of what we’re doing.  Our local council prohibits photography on leisure centre property, so I can’t take pictures of David swimming.  Of the three soft play centres we’ve attended, I’ve been asked not to take pictures in one (we didn’t go back), and told that I should only be taking pictures of my own child in the second and the third.  (All credit to the third play centre, the only one we visit now.  The staff are fantastic, I can take as many pictures of David and whoever he’s playing with as I want, and I have never been asked to stop taking pictures by a member of staff there.)  The labelling of all people who take photos of children as potential paedophiles is as ludicrous as the suggestion that everyone who takes “too many” photos in a public place is a terrorist.  And again, I have never seen anyone stopped for using a cameraphone in either a soft play centre or a leisure centre: equally, the Plymouth nursery paedophile Vanessa George took her disgusting and vile pictures on a cameraphone, not an SLR.

This paranoia affects me professionally, too.  Most of my work involves taking childrens’ portraits.  I’m about to pay a not insignificant amount of money to show potential clients that I’m not a padeophile; I have to have express signed permission from the parents of any children I photograph to both take and use the images, until they reach the age of eighteen.

Part of the reason for the disproportionate reaction is down to Daily Mail-type public hysteria.  If you believe that every person with a camera in the park is a padeophile, or every Asian a terrorist (thank you, tabloids!) then you’re not going to want them to take photos of your children or your home or the city where you work, in case something happens to you or your family.  But here’s the truth: there has been one, just ONE, terrorist attack in the UK in the last ten years, before the mass public hysteria.  The kind of anti-terrorism crackdowns we see today just didn’t happen during the IRA bombing campaign, and the 7th July bombings weren’t carried out with tripods and cameras.  Children are still most likely to be molested by someone they know, not some random strange woman whose camera just happened to be expensive and specialised.

It’s getting harder and harder to be a photographer in this changing world, with this changing climate of public opinion.  Articles like the photographer’s guide to rights are extremely helpful in clarifying the situation and helping us to retain some of our dearly-held liberties.  I don’t believe that we live in an Orwellian society, but I do value the freedom to take pictures of whatever I want, and to share those pictures, without being suspected of evil and awful crimes.

If this is all too depressing for you, head over to the Daily Photo, where there’s a lovely picture of a ginger kitten to cheer you up.


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Best Trip of 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

Here goes… the best trip of 2009.

The budget for travel has been a little tight this year, what with a new baby, a new kitten, and a small Fiat to keep fed, sheltered, and healthy.  (The most expensive by a mile?  My precious, precious car.)  We’ve had a few weekends away and days out, mostly to places within driving distance.  However, during September, I did manage to lug my camera to London on the train.  In the underpass on the way back to the tube from the Science Museum, I came across a troop of Scouts.  I imagine they had an enjoyable day out.

The best trip of 2009?  Not mine, but somebody else’s, although I was pretty pleased with the resulting photos.

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