This week 6 to 12 June

Hello everyone. How is your week looking? 

This week our stories are coming from Central Healthcare, Northern Stage, and Il Mulino.

Monday I’m heading to Central Healthcare in Newcastle to see what colonic irrigation is all about. This treatment doesn’t seem to be talked about as much as it once was. It’s something I’ve NEVER tried but I’m happy to put myself in the capable hands of Gill.

Tuesday we have a double bill. Nicola will be sparkling at her networking evening for the ladies of Derwentside! I went along to the first one and I often feel uncomfortable networking but I felt right at home here. I also found my much wanted cleaner in Reliant Robson and it was Claire’s first networking event. So get your #SparkleON! and click here for more information.

Also on Tuesday I will be heading to Northern Stage to watch Julie. Julie is the young and complicated mistress of the estate and is drawn into a dangerous tryst with her father’s butler, John. In the oppressive heat of Midsummer’s night, the couple hurtle towards an explosive conclusion that will shake them and the existing order to its core.

We’ll keep you updated with everything.

Suzanne x

Luke weaning

I will be the first to admit it. If I could shy away from weaning Luke I would, if I could setback the crawling a little I would. Yes I want to stop time! The realisation slaps you in the face. They are ready to move on. Try something new, but as a mummy or mammy as you would usually say from the North East of England you, like me might not be ready.

TOUGH now man up and let the weaning begin! In a recent post Breast -vs- Bottle I introduced you to the questions that I asked Julia Wolman RNutr. It was great to speak with Julia as although I love the NHS and them successfully bringing my children into the world when it comes to feeding I have done and still do feel a little lost.

Julia’s educational background includes a BSc (Hons) in Applied Human Nutrition, and a Masters Degree Psychology and Nutrition and is registered with the UK’s Association for Nutrition. With over a decade of experience working with NHS Trusts I love that Julia has delivered training to schools and children’s centres, and running healthy eating projects for local families.

.  But before I give you the answers I just wanted to let you know that Luke FINALLY starts on the ladder at the end of the month but only if he isn’t teething as teething can mimic the effects of an intolerance/allergy (sore bum, little cough, eczema flare, to name a few).

Q. What are the best substitutes for dairy products when weaning?

A. There are more then you might think they include;

Dairy free soya spread, dairy free margarine, dairy free sunflower spread, calcium enriched oat drinks, oat cream made from oats, vegan cheese, soya desserts and tofu for calcium.

Q. His porridge/breakfast cereal tastes disgusting to me as I make it with his milk but will he just be used to it?

A. Luke is used to the taste of his milk but you could try mixing with just water.

Q. Is milk intolerance and lactose intolerance different? (Luke has had no formal testing just observational). 

A. First of all Luke should be tested for a milk/lactose allergy as observation only gives part information. Cow’s milk allergy involves the immune system, babies who are allergic to cow’s milk protein will also show allergy symptoms like an itchy rash, wheezing, or runny noses and coughs. These aren’t seen in lactose intolerance, as this condition doesn’t involve the immune system.

Q. Luke will often accept some food one day and then completely refuse it the next (purse lip and turn his head) is this common and how can I tackle it?

A. It’s really common. Babies will often be happy to try a new taste and even if they pull a face at the first attempt it will be more from surprise more then anything else. Your baby may react differently the next time they experience the same food

You need to persevere. It can often take up to eight attempts for your baby to accept certain foods or tastes, so give them plenty of chances to try again.

But don’t worry is all else fails go back a step to foods with a mild flavor to tempt their taste buds.

Q. I don’t want to rush through stages but I do feel like we are a little behind which may have led to Luke refusing new foods. How can I tackle that?

A. Don’t rush but also don’t miss cues. Your baby may soon stop accepting things from a spoon and this is ok, it’s a sign of independence.

Click here for a further Q and A with Julia Wolman.



Roxanne by Hotter

I recently took the plunge and delved behind the front line of Hotter shoes. Yes I am talking about the brand as though it’s my enemy but at 40 years old I saw the brand as one ‘for the grandma’s’ and I’m not talking sirens like Joan Collins or Helen Mirren but rather characters like Nora Batty or Hilda Ogdon.  Sorry but that had been my perception and if my children follow in my footsteps it will be another 28 years until I don that title, but could this brand change my thoughts or at least alter them?

Because I had never seen the brand as one I’d wear I have NEVER ever researched the company and it’s provenance. Turns out they are UK-based and were possible for the last eight years I’ve been celebrating all things UK made but Hotter I’m sorry you didn’t get on my radar but now I’m well and truly tuned in.

Hotter has been in INTU Eldon Square for five years but the first time I even noticed it was when Lush moved in next door and I was completely honest and told deputy manager Hazel this when I visited the branch for a ‘getting to know you session’.

As I entered the shop my eyes were drawn to what I had always perceived as the core of the brand ‘cosy comfortable’ but as my eyes scanned the shop and the associated graphics I was pleasantly surprised that the shop could quite literally have been split in two, into a, ‘Yes I’d like to take you home’ and ‘No thank you, maybe in 30 years time’.

I had free-reign of the whole shop along with very knowledgeable staff to help us on our #HotterMoment journey. Considering my initial preconception and my definite misconception of the brand I must have tried on 20 pairs from sports lux, heels, wedges and sandals.

Sandy was my first crushMy first crush was on Sandy or was it Molly, Hattie or Megan, well they could have all come home with me but alas in some of the shoes I was more Anastasia (ugly sister not the singer) then Cinderella and my foot simply didn’t marry together with the shoe. Hazel said that I have quite wide feet to the front and narrow to the rear. I had never realised that but it explains so much as I can’t keep a heel without straps on my feet. Roxanne caught my eye and my heart went all a flutter and I well and truly had my #HotterMoment and Roxanne became my glass slipper. The height was perfect and the wedge made the shoe stable. I’m looking forward to not only running after my children in them but also wearing on date days and a mooch around the shops.

Some facts and figures about Hotter

1959 Thomas Houlgrave decides to use his experience to set up his own business to manufacture slippers and Beaconsfield Footwear was born.

1992 Thomas Houlgrave’s son dream was realised when he started to produce shoes as comfy as slippers and the Hotter Comfort Concept was born.

1997 Call centre opened to process the increasing demand for the brand.

2002  First shop opened in Southport

2013  Fiftieth  store opens

2015  Awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and named UK Manufacturer Of The Year.

90 days The length of the guarantee at Hotter. That’s right you buy the shoes, you wear them but within 90 days you realise that the love wasn’t really love and just lust and they really weren’t a perfect fit then you can take the shoes back – no quibble leaving everyone 100 percent happy – guaranteed! I can’t imagine Hotter getting their hands back on MY Roxanne’s though.

20 seconds – one pair of shoes is made by Hotter every 20 seconds

2016 The year I found a ‘go to’ UK brand with amazing ethics in supporting the UK economy with genuine year on year growth.

The photo above is from a lovely day spent with Nicola and our partners where we met at 12 noon and were in taxi’s by 8:15 pm and we walked and talked from Newcastle’s Quayside and up and around through town and they were so comfortable.

Now have I convinced you to go and at least have a look? Good, thought so then why not grab this discount code PPATEN and apply it at the check out and not only will you get £10 off your first order (full priced) you get FREE delivery too.

* T&C: Minimum order value £25. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or on Sale or Factory Clearance items and gift vouchers. Expires 30/6/16


Nicola and I love travelling around the UK and we both have static caravans one of us at the lakes and the other at South Shields. 

From the North of Scotland to Cornwall, Sea to Sea (aka C2C which is on our doorstep) to beautiful Ireland there is no where we don’t want to explore

For years we’ve championed Visit England and love their newest campaign #OMGB (Oh My Great Britain). This four-week #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’  campaign uses film and images of authentic experiences and activities shot on locations across the UK to inspire people to take a short break at home and encourage Brits to share their own memorable #OMGB moments on social media.

Here’s a little inspiration from VisitEngland.

Trek the Lake District with fluffy Llamas
With Lakeland Llama Treks, you can enjoy the companionship of a local Llama on a guided trek around the beautiful Eden Valley in Cumbria. A range of different treks are on offer for different levels and ages, ranging from a one hour mini trek to longer countryside trails. Complete the experience with a stay in the Llamas Pyjamas B&B and a bite to eat at the Llama Karma Café (which also doubles as a zoo). Now we’ve trekked the Lake District but NEVER with Llama’s.

Party in the Northern Quarter, Manchester
Manchester’s Northern Quarter is a bazaar of the weird and wonderful. Handmade crafts, vintage and couture fashion, and delicious food are all on offer inside this wonderfully restored former Fish and Poultry Market. Actually Suzanne is also quite partial to Spinningfields and adores The Lowry hotel near by.

See ‘Britain’s favourite view’, Wastwater, Lake District
A feast for the eyes, Wastwater has been voted Britain’s ‘favourite view’, with towering mountains surrounding the crystal waters of the deepest lake in England. It’s an ideal location for picnics, walking, and diving. Close to the towering mountain of Scafell Pike, the majestic scenery here provides an atmospheric backdrop no matter the weather.

Visit a former ‘supervolcano’, Glen Coe, Highlands
As Scotland’s most iconic glen it’s no wonder that this epic setting appeared in the James Bond film Skyfall. Its raw beauty is best explored on a hike, roaming amongst wild deer and admiring rocky peaks shrouded in mist.

Discover myths and legends at The Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland
This awe-inspiring World Heritage Site graced the cover of Led Zeppelin’s fifth album and featured in countless films and TV shows. The state-of-the-art visitor centre tells the story of these famous basalt columns rising out of the sea, which are the perfect backdrop for a memorable moment.

For more #OMGB holiday ideas and the chance to win competition prizes click here.




The milk diaries

Breast is best, that’s what we are told. The huge NHS booklet entitled ‘feeding your baby’ ONLY mentions breast. Company’s aren’t allowed to advertise their breast milk alternative formulas until stage two which is recommended for babies six months and up.

BUT is breast really what is best, always and for everyone? This post is on an emotive topic but I am talking purely about my own experience it’s not a judgement piece although I feel that I was judged.

Back in 2009 when I found out I was pregnant I wrote to PR’s and let them know and said I was happy to try out any breast-feeding aids. I was sent a multitude of items including a breast pumps, bottles, nipple shields, bras, disposable pads, nursing bras, cover ups and muslins. Here’s me naively thinking I just needed ‘me’ apparently not.

Emily took to feeding but she wouldn’t let go, I quickly not only became the milk giver but the equivalent of a dummy too. She woke up lots during the night. Did I lose weight during the breast-feeding time? The simple answer is no. I gained weight. I was sleep deprived and throughout the night I suffered from ‘the munchies’ and I’ve just come across this article published in The Guardian that backs this up.

I spoke to the health visitor about my increasing tiredness but she just nodded and said,

At this point it’s not about you it’s about the baby, isn’t it!

PERFECT not only did I feel like I was a less than able mum which you can read about in my blog posts entitled Pregnancy, childbirth and the happy ever after; not always and  Pregnancy, childbirth and the happy ever after; not always part two but essentially I had to give up every ounce of energy and sleep to take care of her and I did this until she was seven months but I shouldn’t have continued I shouldn’t have let society dictate what was right for me or my baby.

Experience one:

Continuous feeding seemingly around the clock, I was often found feeding Emily on our daily bus journeys and this was greeted from ‘ahhh’ to ‘that’s disgusting!’ Baby to toddler to little girl her sleeping patterns established early on lasted until she started school. Feeding was a control thing for me, whilst I was doing that I knew I was able to do atleast one thing right for her. Dismissive health visitors comments could have had disastrous consequences.

So onto baby two. Luke was born at 35 weeks at a very healthy weight of 5lb 13ozs. He lived his first few days in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and had a feeding tube up his nose. His tummy was first filled not by my milk but by formula and I hated this. I did lots of skin to skin kangaroo care and was shown how to hand express, which infact is a little humiliating where you basically kneed you breasts and a nurse collects the meagre drops in the tiniest of syringes. I was so proud feeding my boy with my milk through his tube.

Next my milk came in. I requested a proper machine and pumped away until there was a surplus of milk and astounded the nurses at just how much I produced. He took to the breast no bother even though he was still having the majority of his feeds via the tube. Once he had a proper taste of boob milk he actually pulled out his own feeding tube, enough was enough.

Feeding Luke was easy and no fuss. He had his fill and came off naturally with a smile. He never used my nipple as a dummy. Then when he was five weeks old he started to vomit, a little at first then increasingly to the point of 75 percent of the feed almost 100 percent of the time. I started to worry. He was only a wee one! What was I doing wrong? Reflux was suggested so I went to the doctors and requested baby Gaviscon but was denied. The locum doctor wanted Luke to be assessed as paediatrics wasn’t his specialism (as a GP I didn’t expect it to be but reflux is a common issue).

I took Luke to a hospital department and his feeding was observed and six hours later it was decided he was milk intolerant and I was making him poorly. Instead of talking me through what I should alter in my diet Luke was prescribed a specialist milk. Boom. In that instant the consultant expected me to give up feeding as it was right for my son.

I tried to go dairy free and not use the formula but after a slip up of drinking a huge latte my boy was again in pain. Before jumping in may I point out that I did consult my health visitor and local La Leche League but no support was given.

Being bottle fed though meant other people could join in. My initial job role redundant. This is my last child and instead of weaning him off my breast gently he was forcibly removed. He didn’t mind the formula which stunk of malted milk. He smiled again after a feed. My boy was happy and so was I.

Experience two;

Slow start due to circumstances, happy smiley baby after feeds, no breast or nipple pain then projectile vomit, Luke looking in pain, no support to continue breast feeding which is so contradictory to my last experience.

I NEVER thought at that point that weaning would be affected but Luke will be put on a weaning ladder and foods introduced in a slow and steady manner with different levels of milk content.

I was given the opportunity to talk with Baby Moov’s chosen little person nutritionist Julia Wolman RNutrand here are some of the questions that I asked;

  1. What are the best substitutes for dairy products when weaning?
  2. His porridge/breakfast cereal tastes disgusting to me as I make it with his milk but will he just be used to it?
  3. Is milk intolerance and lactose intolerance different? (Luke has had no formal testing just observational).
  4. Luke will often accept some food one day and then completely refuse it the next (purse lip and turn his head) is this common and how can I tackle it?
  5.  Is it better to mix foods or keep tastes separate? The reason I ask is that shop bought jars/pouches seem to be a mix of 2-5 items which I seems strange as wont it be dominated by the stronger flavoured items?
  6. I don’t want to rush through stages but I do feel like we are a little behind which may have led to Luke refusing new foods. How can I tackle that?
  7. I’m still puréeing pretty much everything, with Luke being early I do see that I’m doing things more slowly then I did with his big sister. Can this cause more harm then good?
  8. What are the best finger foods to start with?
  9. What was your childs’ most favourite thing to eat when they were 8.5/9 months.

Read my next instalment to find out how the #stresslessweaning programme is progressing and see the answers to my questions.

PS. I forgot to say whether I consider breast to be best or not. Here I am going to sit on the fence. Do what is right for YOU as well as your baby. You need to look after yourself as without a healthy you then everything in a baby’s immediate world is affected!