Buzz Eats a Strawberry… Sort Of!

This week has been quite eventful because Buzz has eaten his first bit of food that isn’t milk (Yes, I know milk is liquid and theatrically a drink, but it’s classed as bubba food, so please don’t think I’ve lost the plot here). For a little while Buzz has been really watching us when we eat, he’s even gone as far as moving his mouth along with us as though he’s tasting it – then, the other day he made a sudden grab for the food on my plate (perhaps he’s been plotting this move for a while – like something from Prison Break, waiting for a some slack behaviour on mummy’s part before making a dash for it). After lots of recommendations from friends, we’ve decided to try Baby Led Weaning, so instead of giving liquidised food you give proper food in grab-able pieces or sticks for them to play with and then eventually eat. Whereas the normal way of weaning teaches them to swallow first, BLW allows them to learn about the muscles in their mouths and the art of chewing, it also encourages babies to learn about food through play and discovery. Making food fun and interesting, rather than something mummy keeps popping into his mouth whenever she tricks him into opening it, sounded very appealing to me. Ha!

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So on Saturday morning at breakfast we decided to give in to his pleading eyes and allow Buzz his first food experience. While he was sat in his high chair (he always sits with us at breakfast), we gave him a strawberry. We were amazed when he picked it up and took it straight into his mouth with precision and ease, as though he knew exactly what he was doing! He pulled a few funny faces at its sweetness, but other than that it looked like he had a thoroughly good time with it. As you can see, he made a total mess. Actually, I know the mess is one thing that really worries some people about this method (If you’re a clean freak then this definitely isn’t for you), but we found it highly amusing to watch him play and discover as he bashed, mushed and sucked.

If you’re interested in BLW, I’d suggest reading up on it first to know what foods you should use and to understand more about the technique – we’ve read BLW books by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I’ll keep you up dated on our progress.

Also this week…

My brother Mario nominated me and Tom to do the ALS/MND Ice Bucket Challenge. Naturally we accepted – it’s all in the name of charity and raising awareness, after all. I’m ashamed to admit that I knew NOTHING about this disease before all these cold and wet videos started flying around this week. Beyond all the laughter and chattering teeth are the people affected by the horridness of ALS/MND and it’s their videos that have really opened my eyes, moved me and educated us all. If you haven’t already, check out the video ESPN made about how Peter Frates kick started the challenge for ALS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCoKB_tU9ng) and then another by Anthony Carbajal (http://youtu.be/h07OT8p8Oik).

Once you watch these you’ll see why you should do the challenge (fish out a bucket and some ice) if you’ve been nominated AND why you should donate – text ICED55 followed by the amount you’d like to give to 70070.

Like many new mums, I worry about SIDS and am constantly checking that Buzz is okay in his cot. I am also concerned about the fact that his head has become a little flat from lying on his back on a hard mattress – something that happens to many babies with the current sleeping guidelines. So, I was delighted when PurFlo asked if I wanted to try out their breathable mattress on Buzz’s cotbed (it’s happening – he’s almost big enough to go into his own bedroom at night… Waaaah!). The mattress came in a lovely little box with easy to follow assembly instructions – that’s right, you build it by slotting together metal poles and then wriggling on its cover, which is made up of a mesh-like material and holds Buzz as though he’s sleeping on a firm hammock. Actually it’s nothing like that – it’s much sturdier and supportive. I wish I had one for myself!

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I had a realisation this week that I’ve been hiding in the comfort of my home and that, if I wasn’t careful, the thought of heading out of it and seeing my friends would become too overwhelming to manage with Buzz in tow. Therefore, I decided enough was enough – I needed to see a few of my besties, and so, I gathered Katy, Sav and Lauren (three of the greatest girls in existence) and headed into London for one of my favourite summer past times – a picnic! Summer sun (sort of), gorgeous food (all made by Katy – a fellow veggie) and a girlie natter (we had a lot to catch up on). It was just what I needed and lovely for Buzz to have some time with my ladies!

This was followed up with a trip to Willows Activity Farm with Emma, our fab friend Joe and the mini Willis’. I thought Buzz was going to be blown away by the sight of so many different animals… but he seemed nonplussed. I think he was just playing it cool. I can’t wait to go back when he can really make full use of the petting zones and feeding them all. It’ll be so much fun.

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Hope you’ve all had fantastic bank holiday weekends!

Big love,

Gi. Xx

P.S. Tom wanted me to write something about Doctor Who. What can I say? I watched it AND I enjoyed it. With any luck he might succeed in turning me into a Whovian this series…GERONIMO!

What made you YOU?

Over the past few years I’ve become fascinated by childhood and how, in their sponge-like manner, our young brains absorb everything and mould us into the adults we become – I’d say it’s a fairly huge theme that runs through both of my novels actually. The people we grew up with, the toys we played with, the books we read, the films we watched – they all go a long way into making you YOU. As a mum, this is obviously something that plays on my mind when it comes to Buzz whose personality is developing rapidly along with his skills set (he’s sitting up this week – see, I told you he was a clever one). I observe him daily as he watches the world with interest and I wonder who my little boy will grow up to be.

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I can’t help but look back at my childhood and think of what I was like growing up – here’s a brief insight:
· I loved the camera and having my photo taken – in fact, I searched out that flashy little contraption and was ready with a cheesy smile whenever a photo was about to be snapped.
· I loved people and being liked. I had an overwhelming urge to be accepted, something I’m sure came from being badly bullied at a young age.
· I loved reading and would go off into my own world whenever possible.
· In addition to that, I wandered around the playground singing to myself and making up little scenes in my head – my imagination was my best friend back then.
· I dressed like a boy. Not for the whole of my childhood, but for a large chunk of it. High-waisted jeans, denim shirts, DM boots, suede waistcoats… I looked a total sight!

Did these little snippets of me as a child offer clues to the adult I’d become? Perhaps. I still love photographs – although now I’m the one taking them (it was time to stop stalking the camera), want people to like me (I’ll admit that this desire is something I’ve never been able to shake off), love reading (there’s no debating that I wouldn’t be so creative now if it weren’t for the days I spent with my nose in a book or talking to myself in the playground) and I still have a questionable fashion sense (you should see what I’m wearing while writing this). It’s no wonder I look back at those early days with fondness – that little girl is as much a part of who I am now as my adult self is. Her decisions created me. I owe her a lot.

It’s that little girl who lives inside of me who wept when she heard the news of Robin Williams’ death this week. He never failed to capture her attention or put a smile on her face. What a fascinatingly funny man he was. Even though that little girl never met him, they shared a bond – she was sure of it. How deeply saddening to hear that his own world was full of so much darkness that he longed to escape. I know there’s a tendency to put those who’ve passed on a pedestal unnecessarily, but in this instance I think it’s fully deserved – for my generation he was our Genie, he was our Scottish Nanny, he was our Peter Pan. He was the adult we all trusted with our imaginations and he never failed to take us off on epic adventures.

Following on from the original theme, this weekend we took a trip to sunny Victoria Park and then to the Museum of Childhood with my sister Giorgina and Lee. A lot of the toys dated back to way before my time, but there were gems in there that brought memories flooding back – plus it’s pretty amazing to see how toys have changed over the last century or so.
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I was a very proud sister-in-law this week after seeing Tom’s sister Carrie in Les Miserables in the west end – she’s been in it for over a year now (time flies) but being pregnant and having Buzz has meant that I’ve only managed to see her a few times in the role. She’s blooming fab, though – such a star!
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Me being out meant that Granddad Falcone and my brother Mario could have some fun with Buzz – something they both relished. I’m not sure what they do with him, but the mornings after he’s been with my dad Buzz is always extremely chatty – like he’s trying to tell me all about his adventures with granddad. It’s so cute… and LOUD!
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Big Love,

Gi. Xx

Luxury in Bath, glamping and celebrating with friends…

Since returning from York last weekend we have been extremely busy. A few of the McFamily have made the most of The Jones’ honeymoon time and jetted off to places covered in piping hot sand with beautiful views overlooked by nothing but sunshine, however, we opted to stay in the UK. Yes, a staycation it was for us – no need to faff around with flights or worrying about Buzz getting hot and bothered in the tropics. Nope. We wanted to make the most of the good English summer… and the rain!

First stop was a trip to Bath and Babington House. We’ve been wanting to explore Bath for ages, so thought we’d have a pamper at the same time. It was a lovely family outing and I can honestly say that I had the best massage of my life in their Cowshed spa. I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards – it was just what this slightly haggard mum needed. We followed up our massages with quinoa burgers, Arctic Rolls and a massive bowl of salted caramel popcorn. We certainly pigged out, but we had to make the most of our night away in luxury…

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That indulgence was followed up with some glamping! This weekend we joined my drama school friends at The Original Hut Company in East Sussex to celebrate my friend Charlie turning 30 (Happy Birthday Chuck). Two years ago we all camped, but now that there are children, babies and pregnant ladies to consider, it made sense to add a little glamour/comfort into our weekend getaway. The huts were incredibly cute and obviously eliminated a lot of camping woes… Like getting cold in the night (they were lovely and snug), waiting ages for a cuppa (they all had gas hobs and whistling kettles) and trying to change your knickers in a sleeping bag (a necessity when camping but always awkward). It was wonderful to spend some quality time together eating great food and playing games. My favourite game had to be rounders, which I’ve not played since I was a child. I’d forgotten how much I love it – and how competitive I can be. Although, I’ve been aching ever since – but that might be more to do with a crazy celebratory dance I made up. It was funny at the time but now I can barely move. Ha!

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Once we were back home, de-smoked (camping is never complete without a bonfire smell sticking to you and following you home), it was time to head into London. Two awesome friends of ours got engaged at the start of the year and they FINALLY had a little get together to mark the occasion. Congratulations Lauren and Dan!

Buzz’s world has been full of new discoveries. He’s has learnt to take his dummy out AND put it back in, which, seeing as he only has it at nap times makes the hours that are meant to be sleep-filled very entertaining. Especially since he’s also started making proper sounds. He’s literally found his voice overnight! Instead of waking up crying for attention he shouts in an adorable but extremely loud manner. Making him difficult to ignore. Also, now, I could be one of those mums sure that their little ones are advancing at a startling speed (making him a genius) but it looks like he’s attempting to crawl! Amazing seeing as he hated tummy time until two weeks ago. I’ll keep you posted…

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Sadly, I was shocked this week when I saw comments online about a glamorous fashion shoot of Olivia Wilde breastfeeding her baby. With people saying it was disgusting, that women shouldn’t ‘flaunt’ themselves in that way and that breastfeeding in public was unnecessary. I was actually outraged, and that’s not an emotion I feel very often. Perhaps it’s because of my own trials and tribulations with breastfeeding that I was left with such a strong reaction. I’ve already shared my concerns over breastfeeding in public and I’ll admit that it really made me want to stay in during the early days of mummyhood. I hated the thought of going out and Buzz suddenly becoming hungry and needing a feed. I wasn’t ready to feel so exposed and vulnerable in public. For that reason I sometimes hated going out and preferred to stay indoors. I totally admire the mums who go out and BF in public. I think they’re wonderful. My own issues with me doing it personally is all down to my own insecurities rather than my feelings towards the act. So, in response to the idiotic people online who would rather a mother feed their child in a public toilet than in comfort in a coffee shop, I decided to make a mini protest. Yep, after a few angry tweets, I found myself the following day planning our trip to Bath around me getting back into the car at midday to feed Buzz away from those members of the public who don’t like to be aware of free boobies… and I suddenly decided I wasn’t going to. Instead I found a nice park bench, grabbed my swaddle sheet for discretion and got on with it (I even took photographic evidence!)… and it was fine. No one even batted an eyelid. Incredible! I’m not saying I’m going to BF in public all the time, but it’s nice to know it’s not the petrifying debacle I thought it to be.

It tickles me the way people react to breastfeeding and milk as though it’s the sickest thing ever – yet they’re willing to drink cow’s milk which has come from a cow’s teat and is actually meant for her young calf. Hmm… which one sounds more natural to you, and which sounds a little odd for us to be drinking? It certainly gives us all some food for thought.

And finally… Danny and Georgia’s wedding photos are in this week’s Hello! magazine. Hurrah! I’ve not seen any so I’m looking forward to reading the article and reminding myself of their utterly beautiful wedding day… Georgia was THE most stunning bride I have ever seen, but then, I guess she is a model – it’s her job to make everything look fantastic. Well, she was certainly working it on her wedding day – I was mesmerized by her beauty. For those wondering, I opted for an Emma Louise London dress from www.littleblackdress.co.uk. A gorgeous, multi-coloured shift dress from one of my favourite designers.

Right, I’m off to play with my genius child.

Big love,

Giovanna
Xx

The Flu before the McWedding!

This week was really focused around one thing for me – a trip up north to watch our two fantastic friends Danny and Georgia tie the knot. Hurrah! It was lovely to have all of the McFamily together celebrating something so magical, however, I feel it should be them who divulge all the joys of their big day – and not me! Disappointed? Don’t be – you’ll hear all about their wedding details in HELLO! soon.

Although I will say that I saw the most amazing bit of machinery on our way up to York while driving slowly through road works (it was the longest journey ever)… it was a central-reservation-building-contraption. I’m not sure that it’s oficial name, but whatever it’s called, I found it mesmerizing. It inched its way along the center of the motorway as cement was pumped and molded into a pretty wall shape.

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Yeah, okay, point taken – I need to get out more. Anyway, I’d love to wish a huge congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jones – may their marriage be filled with love and understanding, friendship and passion, laughter and smiles.

Also this week:

- I got sick! Headaches, tummy aches, aching joints and muscles, nausea, feverish… And a blooming high temperature! Turns out I’d had flu for a couple of days before I decided to see the doctor. Lovely. Luckily Buzz seems totally unaffected by it – it would be miserable to see him suffering with all of those symptoms!

- I got my hair done! By Thursday I was feeling soooo much better, so decided to pay my local Haringtons a visit for a cut and colour. I’ve had Louisa cut my hair a few times since I got pregnant last year and travelling into London became tougher for me. She’s an absolute star!

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- I’ve become addicted to Catfish the TV show. I watched the documentary last month and then loads of you told me about the TV show. Having checked it out, I’m now hooked! Funny how the internet gives us such security in talking to others and sharing our inner secrets, without us really questioning who we’re talking to. Hiding behind our screens, writing in our PJs in the comfort of our homes, it seems easy to let our guards down and let others into our lives. I find the whole thing fascinating and can’t help but feel sorry for some of the people ‘Catfishing’.

So, that’s it this week… a wedding I can’t talk about, me getting sick and my newfound love of concrete! I promise I’ll work on my fun factor for next week. Ha!

 

All my love,
Gi. Xx

McFamily Time and some disasters in the kitchen!

A certain little wedding in the McBusted camp is getting closer and closer – so before Miss Horsley becomes Mrs Jones (and the couple wander off into the sunset and live happily ever after) we decided to have a couple of get togethers to mark the wonderful occasion.

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Seeing as me and Izzy were both unable to attend Georgia’s Hen do (she was whisked away somewhere hot and gorgeous – I was extremely jealous), we decided to do something for her here in the UK as a trio… It was difficult working out what to do with her – although, obviously, we knew some naughtiness should be planned. And not in the shape of a stripper! We wanted to do something indulgent with a touch of heart, and so, we decided to take Georgia to The Waffle House in St Albans – the spot where her and Danny had their first date almost five years ago. Georgia was extremely shocked and delighted at the chosen location and had no idea where we were driving to… Until we were literally right outside and she saw the sign! Haaa! She’s a funny lady. I bet you’re dying to know what I opted to eat… Well, a spelt waffle (less gluten) with chocolate sauce, crushed hazelnuts and banana (with a side of ice-cream)… It was SO good! In fact, just thinking about it is making me salivate once more!

This was followed by some flipping gorgeous treatments at Champneys. Well, we weren’t going to make Georgia go for a pamper by herself. It seemed only fair that we joined her. One full body massage and Elemis facial later and I felt nicely rejuvenated. After all, I’ve not really had any ‘ME’ time for the last four months. Just having a shower every day feels like a major victory! And for those wondering – Tom was left in charge of Buzz for the day. In which Buzz cried for a few hours solid. Perhaps he missed his mummy, but eventually he was happily having some naked tummy time while watching The Muppets. Phew. The start of many Daddy and Buzz days to come!

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That evening we were joined by the rest of the McFamily and went to STK in London – a steak restaurant! Yes, it could’ve been torture for us new veggies, but the food was great anyway so I really didn’t miss my medium-to-well-done ribeye steak… Honestly, at no point did I stare longingly at someone else’s plate wishing I could scoff its contents. Haha. It all smelled delicious though! It was fab being all together as a group and having a catch up with our bonkers friends.

Also this week…

- Both of my novels have become available as audio books! How cool is that?! You can now listen to the stories that I created!

- I made a blooming gorgeous lentil curry from scratch. I couldn’t quite find the recipe that what I wanted online, so I made it up using all the ideas I’d found. I’ll definitely be cooking that one again this week!

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- My success in the kitchen was followed by failure. A major one. I made a horrible pizza using a cauliflower base – don’t try it, it’s not nice! This was married with Tom making Tofu cubes with garlic and salt… Again, disgusting. Our only failed attempts at vegetarian/vegan cooking so far. I must say, Tom redeemed himself the following day by making chocolate and peanut butter balls. They were so tasty!

- Buzz’s swimming classes have finished for the summer! Very sad they’ve stopped but we’re planning on taking him down to Virgin Active ourselves during the break. He loves being in the water so much, we want to keep it up so that he doesn’t start getting fearful or anything. We want him to remain confident in there.

- And lastly, a lovely image to leave you with – on getting into bed one night, I found baby sick inside my bra. Too much information? Have I gone too far in my openness? I was just ever so surprised seeing as I’d put Buzz to sleep hours before and it took that long to discover it… Gross!

 

Hope the sun keeps his hat on for us all!

Big love,
Gi. Xx

Celebrating Tom’s birthday with our McFamily…

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Once Tom had got back from a trip to Ibiza for Danny’s stag, I decided to make the most of the extra pair of hands to occupy Buzz and start bashing around some pots and pans. Pecan granola, almond milk, hazelnut milk, Nutella, pesto, hummus, amazing meat-free burgers – I’ve been cooking up a total storm. Turns out I’m a much better cook as a vegetarian than carnivore. I’ve no idea why. I’ve already mentioned that I have a slight obsession with Deliciously Ella, but now I’m stalking Honestly Healthy recipes too… Food is brilliant, especially when it’s good for you. I’m really enjoying trying out new recipes and eating all these new flavours and textures. It’s like I’ve got a new appreciation for eating! I love it.

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This weekend we had both our families and all the McBusted boys & girls over to celebrate Tom’s 29th birthday. I can’t believe we’re now both in the last year of our twenties!!! How did that happen? It seriously feels like we’re not long out of school… I think we’re in total denial about the whole growing up thing!

For this group gathering we decided to ask everyone to ‘bring a dish’ – simply to make everything a little easier for us with Buzz, but it turned out to be really fun seeing what people decided to make too. There were all sorts of delicious salads, tasty chilli pots, my uncle’s amazing parmigiana, Tom’s sister Carrie’s divine millionaire shortbread and my mum’s (now legendary) profiteroles… It was a total feast.

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No birthday party is complete without a birthday cake, and this year (thanks to our new way of eating) I decided to enlist the help of Camden’s Cookies and Scream – a vegan bakery that sells the most amazing goodies. McBusted’s Matt bought Tom a brownie/cookie from there before their Hyde Park gig and Tom’s been banging on about it ever since – to the point where he’s been regularly drooling over their Instagram pictures. So, his birthday cake was their Chico Pie – basically a giant peanut butter cookie. His face was like a dribbling child’s when he saw it. As well as that, I also got an array of brownies, cookies and treats. We were all in food heaven.

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Although we were forecast to have rain and a few storms, we had mostly blue skies – meaning we could enjoy sitting in the sunshine with a few guitars being passed around, enjoying life. Glorious!

Hope you all have fabulous weeks planned – let’s hope the sun keeps its cheery little hat on.

Love,

Gi. Xx

P.S. A huge thanks to everyone who tweeted me about last week’s breastfeeding post. As with everything mummy related, it’s not easy to share your struggles, but you’ll feel so much better when you do!

The trials and tribulations of breastfeeding

Before having Buzz I knew that I’d like to make a good attempt at the whole breastfeeding malarkey. After all, it’s rammed down our throats that ‘Breast is best’, so in my quest to be the bestest-ever-mummy-in-the-stratosphere I went for a breastfeeding class (previously talked about and no, I didn’t need to show the teacher everything – this was my main concern). It all sounded so easy – get the baby into the right position, tease him so that he opens his mouth nice and wide and then, with your boob shaped like a burger (sounds weird, but makes sense when you see it), wait for the optimum moment and draw the baby in with maximum breast in his mouth. Easy peasey! What’s so difficult about all of that?! Well… A lot! What the books don’t tell you is that neither of you know what you’re actually doing, or that there’s no way for either of you to communicate what you’d like the other one to do. Seriously, you’d think those little bubbas could be given a crash course on the topic before coming out of utero – it would make everything so much easier! One of you cries in the face of the other with starvation, while the other cries with frustration – leaving you to wonder where the magical bond that breastfeeding supposedly brings is hiding out. And that was another pre-Buzz-selling-point to me! The connection I was told it would bring between my child and I. If someone had reminded me of this enchanting promise a few weeks in I’d have laughed in their face. It’s hard to associate something that makes you yelp in pain, curl your toes in apprehension and cry with despair as something that’ll generate an overwhelming sense of love and unity.

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And, of course, you’re shattered. In those early days you’re so knackered that you find yourself delirious on multiple occasions. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up with my hands frantically searching for Buzz, thinking I’d fallen asleep mid-feed – only to eventually spot him peacefully asleep in his crib where I’d placed him a short while earlier. Sleep deprivation is so disorientating.

When you’re feeding a newborn baby every two to three hours (counted from the start of one feed to the beginning of the next) you can’t help but feel like a walking milk machine (or a human cow), especially when feeding can take a couple of hours in itself – meaning you have an hour off before the whole saga starts again. It’s relentless. It took more patience than I was aware I possessed to get through the first couple of months. And then, as if by magic, it just clicked into place one day. It was as if we both suddenly knew what we were doing – the feeds became super quick and a sense of teamwork fell upon us. Hurrah.

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I can’t tell you how many times I almost gave up. I didn’t have a smooth ride with breastfeeding – I wore nipple shields (never felt so attractive) and got a lovely lactation consultant over to try and help me and Buzz on our merry-breast-way. I was determined and stubborn about the whole thing – I hoped we’d get it right eventually. And we did.

The kindest thing a midwife said to me about breastfeeding was that it took a good two weeks to establish… I was told this when I was a week in and feeling pants about the whole thing. It took more than that little week for me (in fact it was more like eight weeks), but her admission that it wasn’t something that everyone took to instantly gave me some hope. Remember, I’ve already blogged about my woes in the first month of motherhood, and breastfeeding was certainly one of the things I’d started beating myself up over, so her words offered me such relief. I needed to blast away my expectations and remind myself that Buzz and I were on our own little journey of discovery – with no right and wrongs.

Now Buzz has started sleeping through the night from 7pm-6am (heavenly) he’s cut out his night feeds altogether (for ages I still expressed his 10pm feed each night and now have a freezer fully stocked of emergency milk – I guess I went a little overboard! Ha!). His daytime feeds are down to 25 minutes long and are something that happens so quickly and effortlessly that it’s usually over before I’ve had a chance to check my twitter, revel in the latest gossip online or caught up on the latest episodes of Big Brother or Real Desperate Housewives of New Jersey. We both know what we’re doing now – we’re a little tag team in a milk relay…

There is obviously another fear-inducing-scenario within this whole topic though, and that is feeding in public… I’m sad to say I just don’t feel comfortable doing it. Yep, I certainly won’t be taking a breastfeeding selfie anytime soon. I feel paranoid, sweat profusely and become a nervous wreck. It’s not good. In fact, there was one day early on when I told myself I was going to give Buzz his next feed in a coffee shop – I was feeling adventurous. Moments later I got recognised. Needless to say my boobies stayed hidden away in my bra when I got to the coffee shop and ordered a takeaway.

But let’s not forget my Eurostar achievement I blogged about on the way to Disneyland Paris. A disgruntled Buzz wouldn’t take his bottle of expressed milk (he spat it in my face while screaming his head off), so I had no choice but to feed him from source. I felt extremely proud of myself afterwards, though I stand in awe of women who are confident enough to do it wherever they please. Obviously, there are also loads of clothes out there with quick boobie access for discreet feeding – www.mamaslittlesecret.co.uk, for instance, has some great tops that don’t leave you feeling exposed. Maybe one day I’ll get over my fears, but my little set up works for us, and that’s all that matters.

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Like last time, I hope my confession gives comfort to mums who are struggling out there. As with everything in life there’s not a one-size-fits all with regards to breastfeeding and what works for some won’t work for others. Likewise, you’ll find your own fears and trials are different to those around you. I know I persevered – but it’s down to the individual to choose what they want to do. I know how exhausted, vulnerable and unhappy the whole debacle can make a new mum… but NOTHING can compare to the love and joy a HAPPY mum can bring to her baby. Yep, go for happiness. Let’s not underestimate feeding your baby love instead of losing yourself under a cloud of resentment and frustration. So go forth with your breast or bottle with pride. You’re taking on the greatest task of your life – nurturing a human. Let’s not let a little spilt milk overshadow the epicness of that achievement.

On a separate note, I just want to say that I love my endlessly supportive family. Tom’s been away for a few days so Buzz and I took a little trip to Essex for the weekend. Sea air, vegetarian food (yep, still going strong) and lots of laughter… BLISS!

Have a great week you lovely lot.

Gi. Xx

The Wood Wedding and McBusted at Hyde Park…

This week brought with it two massive summer events – the wedding of Fearne Cotton and Jesse Wood and then McBusted headlining at Hyde Park… what an exciting week!

I had a little fashion dilemma before leaving the house for the wedding as the dress I was planning on wearing got stuck in the machine at the dry cleaners and badly ruined. I found out an hour before I was due to leave. Major buzzkill! Needless to say, I cried. Well, I have just had a baby – planning outfits isn’t as easy as chucking on something from a plethora of gorgeously fitting clothes and picking what you liked the most – no, instead it’s trying on pieces and seeing what hides the lingering lumps and bumps the best while still making you feel a little bit beautiful. A frantic search through my wardrobe ensued. Luckily I’d bought a cream and coral dress from ASOS a few weeks ago that I was thinking about wearing for my interview on Lorraine before opting for something else. It was perfect for a summer wedding… Thank goodness!!!

 

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The McFamily were out in force to join Fearne and Jesse’s beautiful celebrations and party the night away. I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos from the wedding online so I really don’t need to tell you how stunning Fearne looked. We were trying to guess what sort of dress she’d be in before she arrived. We were all wrong. Elegant, feminine and floaty – she looked like an enchanting princess. The evening was filled with romance and LOVE! It’s wonderful to see two people so engrossed with one another declaring their love so unabashedly. Weddings are awesome.

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McBusted playing Hyde Park was always going to be a spectacular event. It was a flipping huge gig for them! Seeing as it was so important we decided to make it Buzz’s first ever show. I’m not going to lie, I was blooming nervous at how he’d react to the whole thing, but he was extremely chilled thanks to his Banz ear protectors and me carrying him around in our BabyBjörn carrier. He barely slept during the whole thing, preferring instead to giggle and smile at my best friend Katy, but he was content and happy, so I couldn’t really ask for more. The boys were all kinds of epic! I was a very proud wife.

 

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Also this week, I continued to juice for a further five days. Can’t tell you how great I felt at the end of it – although it feels weird to be eating again. I sort of liked the ease of taking my juices out the freezer and knowing my nutrition was sorted for the day! Now I need to think about what I’m putting into my body. I’ve continued to watch food documentaries – including Food Inc, Vegucated and Earthlings. Well… They were enough to make me never want to eat meat ever again. And that’s coming from someone whose favourite meal is steak and chips! As a result I’m going to try life as a vegetarian for a while… Possibly even a vegan as I can’t see myself wanting milk for a little while either. The upshot to this is that it’s got me back in the kitchen surrounded by cookbooks and experimenting with different recipes. Also, on the milk front – I’ve started making us homemade almond milk… It’s flipping amazing!

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Big love to you all this week!

Gi. Xx

Time to get JUICY!

I did a few interviews while I was pregnant in which the topic of ‘baby weight’ reared its ugly head – with the interviewers wanting to know if I was going to be in a hurry to shed the pounds and get down to the gym. My answer was always ‘no’. My baby hadn’t even arrived and I’d been waiting months and months to meet the little dude. There was no way I’d be booking in personal trainer sessions down the gym when I could be at home snuggling up to my newborn – who I’d spent nine months growing. I do understand the pressures of mummies in the public eye to shrink back down to their former weight (or less) ASAP, but I had no desire to conform. In the past, whenever I’ve struggled with my figure, the thought of losing weight made me miserable – an emotion I knew I’d rather avoid at that special time.

However, I was left bemused last week when rooting through my wardrobe, trying to find something that fitted me and looked pretty. NOTHING did. My maternity clothes were all too big and didn’t fit correctly now that I am no longer wearing a bump, and my pre-bump-wearing garments were all too diddy. I suddenly realised I was ready to do something great so that I could step out of the PJs and baggies. And, I’m thrilled to say, that my desire to get healthy has come from me and not any external pressures of what I should look like.

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My lovely friends Izzy and Emma have both recently detoxed with the help of juicing, and looked flipping amazing from it – so I contacted The Juice Master, Jason Vale, and asked for a little help. I decided that a diet wouldn’t do the trick – I didn’t want to spend a week feeling deprived, instead I wanted to spend some time putting goodness into my body. So, for the last week, fruit and vegetable juice has become my best friend – oh, and so that I’d have a little moral support (it’s never easy to step away from cake), Tom decided to do it with me. Yep, this week our fridge has been filled with nothing but juice and breastmilk… lovely.

To make life easier for ourselves with a baby around, we had all the juices for the week sent over beforehand. They were kept in the freezer and then taken out the night before they were needed. So easy. Also, to get us in the mood for our detox, we watched Super Juice Me the night before we started – each night after that we watched a different documentary focusing on the health benefits of nutrition and plant-based foods. They were all amazing and really spurred us on. Watch Super Juice Me if you get a chance – it might just give you the kick up the butt you need to do something wonderful.

Each night of my 5-day detox I wrote down my thoughts on the day passed. Here’s an insight into my juice-filled-mind:

DAY ONE (21:38) – I’ll be honest, I was a little apprehensive when I woke up this morning. I’ll openly admit that I’ve been eating more food than normal for the past six months or so – and yes, I know you need more calories when you’re preggers or breastfeeding, but I don’t think they’re all meant to come in the form of cake, chocolate and biscuits.

I was extremely aware of food today. It was everywhere. I went for a walk at our local lido after my second juice of the day, and the smell of roast dinners smacked me in the face as soon as I got out the car. BOOM. Surprisingly I walked past without crying and wailing for a Yorkshire pud. I could appreciate the delicious smell, but I didn’t want it. Weird.

Several times today I’ve thought to myself, ‘Oh, I’m peckish – perhaps I’ll have a little snack’, before remembering that I’m on a juicing mission and realising that I’m not actually hungry. I swear sometimes I just feel the need to have something in my mouth (Ooh-er). The day ended with us watching Hungry For Change – drumming in the importance of healthy living. The message is certainly going in. I thought I’d get to this point on my first day and be famished. Instead… I feel fine. Roll on tomorrow.

DAY TWO (22:20) – We’ve spoken a lot about food today – mostly because we went to visit my family, and food is always a top topic of conversation. We’re Italian and we love our food. It didn’t make me feel like I wanted to stuff my face though, so that’s good. A lot of Jason’s detox concentrates on reminding yourself that you COULD have those foods if you wanted, but for those five detox days you’re CHOOSING not to – you’re giving your body a week off and filling it with goodness. It’s all about changing your perspective and not getting into ‘diet’ mode. I think it’s working…

Tonight’s film was Food Matters, which, like the other films, talks about how choosing the right food can be your medicine against all sorts of ills. Very thought-provoking.

 

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DAY THREE (21:54) – I woke up today feeling lighter… How lovely! I’ve been warned that day two and three can be quite tough on a detox, but I’ve found the last two no different to the first… although, saying that, today I’ve felt hungry. Not starving though, so I haven’t tucked into my emergency SOS bar. Today’s juices were extra tasty, which helped. The seeds in the Berry Banana Crunch meant I had to chew slightly before swallowing – making me feel like I was eating solid food. HA!

Tonight we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I think I find the documentaries that focus on the journey of discovery for different individuals far more moving than the ones that are just science based. This film follows Joe Cross, an Aussie who is on a mission to reclaim his health through a 60-day juicing plan while he travels across America. Joe’s story is brilliant, but when he meets Phil Staples (a morbidly obese truck driver who asks for help to get out of the rut he has found himself in) the documentary really comes alive in an incredibly inspiring way.

DAY FOUR (22:21) – I’ve felt much more energetic. Still hungry, but really awake! Hilariously, I bit my lip the day before we started juicing and it’s turned into an ulcer. No, I’m not suggesting my sore lip is funny, but the fact that it’s annoying me more than any sort of hunger is! Seriously – it blooming kills!

Today I went on a lovely walk with my buddy Kara Tointon – we had a lot to catch up on. Aside of our usual girlie natter, I told her all about my juicing detox and she told me about Deliciously Ella – a website she’s become obsessed with. I had a quick look tonight and it looks awesome. Ella has the most amazing diet ever – but best of all, she makes healthy food fun and interesting.

Tonight’s film was Supersize Me. Not going to lie, when I first started watching this it made me want a McDonalds… Slightly ironic when the whole thing is about how awful it is for you. I think I have hungry eyes that make me want to devour food when I see it… naughty! Still going strong though! One day to go!

DAY FIVE (21:56) – I’ve just completed the final day of the programme! Hurrah. Feels strange to know that I’m allowed breakfast when I wake up in the morning.

I went back on the Deliciously Ella website tonight and looked at every single recipe and picture…. So it’s not too surprisingly that I’m going to bed starving – I don’t think you’re meant to torture yourself by looking at pictures of food while you’re detoxing. (Actually, I was with Emma tonight and her and the kids had a curry – so that could also be contributing to my hunger.) I’m so excited to get trying her recipes. I’ve even been on Amazon and bought a spiralizer so that I can make her courgette pasta!! What a geek!

DAY SIX: IT’S OVER! I made it through five days of juicing, I’ve lost half a stone and I feel fabulous. In fact, I feel so great that I’ve decided to have one day off and then start again for another bout of goodness in the morning. I might be crazy, but at least my insides will be healthy!

Lots of juicy love flying your way!

Gi. Xx

A Little Touch of Disney Magic…

We’d always planned for Buzz’s first Disney trip to be when he was old enough to take it all in and really enjoy the magic. However, when team Disneyland Paris got in touch and invited us along to experience their newest attraction (the same weekend Tom was in Paris with McBusted as One Direction’s special guests) we could hardly refuse.

As Tom was travelling up with the McBusted boys the day before, me and Buzz kicked off our adventure with a trip for two on the Eurostar. I’ll be honest, I was a little worried how I’d cope, but thankfully we managed to pack fairly light as Tom took the main bulk of our stuff with him. All I was left with was the car seat, pram frame (handy adaptors meant Buzz could be transported around the parks in this too), and a changing bag. Easy!

 

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The staff on the Eurostar were incredibly helpful and helped me get on and off – not as easy as it sounds with a three-month-old. And, on the whole, Buzz was a delight and slept the majority of the way. He did have a meltdown at the beginning when he decided he was no longer willing to be fed from a bottle (he actually blew a massive raspberry and spat a mouthful over my face. Lovely!). Instead he wanted milk from the source. Wonderful. So…along came my first public breastfeeding experience. Something I’ve always dreaded. To be honest, if I was on my own I’d have persevered with the bottle, but I figured a loose boob in the carriage was better than a wailing baby! To my surprise, I felt fine doing it and no-one batted an eyelid. That being said, I would like Buzz to get friendly with the bottle once again… I know breastfeeding is natural and something to be proud of, but I’m just uncomfortable doing it out and about. Sad, I know. I’ll ramble more about my thoughts on boobies in a few weeks time.

Anyway, shall we talk about magically wonderful and enchanting Disney? You probably are aware that we fricking love all things Disney (must repeat here though that we did NOT name Buzz after Buzz Lightyear) – it’s brilliant. I could walk down Main Street soaking up the atmosphere all day long. There’s just something dreamlike about the place with an underlying feeling of endless possibilities.

 

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Not only were me, Tom and Buzz there to experience the magic, but so were the Willis gang and Danny and Georgia. It turned into a mini group holiday! As a massive treat, we were kindly given time with Mickey in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Well, he’s a sweetheart. He kept kissing my hand like a true gent… On reflection I think he was flirting with me. Ha! We did try and get him to do a McBusted jump to form the ultimate, ULTIMATE supergroup – MickBusted – but I think Minnie may have warned him against being silly with those naughty boys, let’s not forget he is a role model to millions…of mice.

On to the reason we were there and Ratatouille L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Remy – a brand new area of the park dedicated to a rather special little rat with exceptionally good culinary skills. This ride is so different to any other ride I’ve been on in a Disney Park, so I’m not surprised there’s such a big fuss being made of its opening. I’ve been trying to think up a way of describing it… all I can say is that I’ve no idea how it actually works, but with the use of some Disney magic you become a rat, running around Gusteau’s kitchen. It’s brilliant. A huge thanks to the Disney team for the great weekend!

 

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This week I’m juicing! Yep, being a new mummy has led me to eat far too much cake – it’s time for a detox! I’ll let you know how I get on next week. In fact, I’ll write a little diary each day and put it all together for the next blog post. Should be an interesting read!

Love to all!

Gi. Xx

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