Hubby’s First Encounters of a Sensory Kind

And so it was it was the day of the Baby Sensory Disco.

Vida loves her weekly baby sensory sessions with flashing lights, music, the parachute (don’t ask, all I’ll say is it is very, very cool!), but this promised to be a suped up version with special guests and bouncy castles, woohoo!

Boogie time!

Only problem was I was due to go to a meeting in Wolverhampton for work, so Hubby was on bubba duty. I never in a million years thought he would actually go along, chances being he would be the only dad there and really would be walking into the unknown. However, with a bit of gentle (ahem ahem) persuasion from me, he decided he would give it a go.

Date with Daddy

Four phone calls later, he had completed operation leave the house, and was on the twenty minute journey to the baby disco, sounding quite chuffed with himself for dressing (pre-designated outfit obviously), feeding and mobilising our little bundle. Hubby had cleverly timed his departure with nap time, anticipating that she would happily nod off in the car en route and thus wake-up refreshed and ready for disco action. Did she sleep? Did she bugger!

So anyway, they arrived on time and in good spirits, a few of the regular mummies recognised Vida and came over to introduce themselves, feeling quite pleased with what a good husband and dad he was, he entered a bit of light chit chat. Hubby then realised he’d left the change bag in the car, with Vi’s mid-morning milk, snacks and nappies, so off he trots to rescue the essentials.

I then get phone call number five, “Uh, I forgot the change bag, I haven’t got anything with me, and she hasn’t had her nap.” I could literally hear him sweating! To say I didn’t feel the slightest smug grin creep across my face would be a lie, but I did feel bad for him, it was quite a big deal for him to make the effort to go and not hide at home or down the park and I genuinely wanted them to have a fun time.

He managed to get through the hour without any nappy/feeding/teething/puking/sleep depravation emergencies, so it all turned out okay. However, I feel what he experienced in that hall during that hour may prevent him from taking on such activities anytime soon.

I’d told him all about how we do lots of singing and dancing around, banging on instruments and flashing lights, so he was somewhat prepared for what was to come. But as I said, this was a special event, a monthly occurrence, the baby equivalent of a night on the tiles, if you will. There were surprises and guests and squash!

The special guest, it turned out, was Peppa Pig! Neither Vida nor Hubby have seen the show, so imagine their faces when a giant pink gyrating pig saunters towards them in near darkness to the sound of ‘She’s a Monster.’ Vida apparently did a fantastic rendition of my resting face (think furrowed brow, down turned lips, general displeasure) and Hubby fixed a grin whilst quietly hoping she didn’t burst into tears.

She’s a monster… Beautiful monster!

Luckily she didn’t freak out, so it was onto the next obstacle, the baby bouncy castle! Again, my usually super smily daughter had a look of sheer distain smeared across her face, making Hubby feeling even more on edge. Thankfully, his attention was soon averted when one over-enthusiastic mummy bouncer took out a group of small children.

This, he decided, was a good time to make tracks and get back home for milk time and much needed naps, for all involved.


Paris (well Euro Disney) Baby!

What’s the point in taking a baby to Disneyland, they won’t remember it and won’t be able to understand it. Fact, but I don’t care. It was so much fun, the three of us being silly and spending time together and Little Vi loved all the colours and all the hustle and bustle. Plus, it was our Wedding Anniversary, which is a good excuse as any! I would definitely recommend it for a short, fun break, regardless of your little ones age, there’s always photographs to look back on and the smiles you’ll get are just priceless!

Gorgeous castle!

If you’re not particularly interested in Disney, or babies for that matter, this may be a bit of a bore as this is basically going to be a bit of a what we did and how we did it! Just saying!


We took advantage of the free Disney ticket offer from SKY, which gave us access to both parks for one day, brilliant! This is a fab deal in essence if you literally want to go for one day as the cost of a park ticket for two days is pretty much the same as a ticket for one, so if you need to buy tickets for additional days it no longer becomes so attractive. We, however, got our second day ticket with Avios points (BA air miles scheme). Avios points are really good, you can use them for hotels, travel and experiences. We converted our Tesco Clubcard vouchers into Avios and this covered our flights, airport car parking and additional Disney tickets. We just paid for 3 nights hotel accommodation which came to £240 at the 4 star Magic Circus.


BA fly to Paris hourly, so we managed to get some really decent flight times. We left home when Vida was due her nap so she slept on the drive up to the airport. It was quick and easy to park up and get the shuttle to Terminal 5. I am in love with Terminal 5, I love airports anyway, but this one is full of fab shops, Jack Wills, French Connection, Ted Baker, Kurt Keiger and even a Gordon Ramsay restaurant! Check-in was painless and we were allowed to take our buggy right up to the plane (we bought a travel buggy, the Zia Petite Star, on our first holiday with bubba which is light, easy to collapse down and fits in overhead lockers).  In no time at all, it was time to board the plane.

We even had a bit of a celeb spot, I was bent down getting everything together and saw a pair of very tanned feet squeezed into some inappropriately high strappy sandals. I couldn’t help myself, I had to follow the shoes up to the owner, wondering who on earth would wear such things on a) a freezing cold day and b) a flight, my question, was soon answered, it was only bloody Pammy Anderson! On our flight! I made Vida wave hello and she waved back, very sweet!

Anyhow, back to the flight. Luckily it was pretty empty so we had a spare seat between us for Vida to sit and play during the flight. I made sure Vida had her bottle for take-off and landing to avoid any ear popping problems, she was happy as ever, and not phased at all. She loved all the attention she got from the stewards and passengers and after a swift glass of wine and some snacks, an hour later, we had landed in Paris. The return flight was equally as painless as Little Vi slept the whole hour.

Chill time

The train station is pretty much in the airport, so we planned to get the TGV (ultra fast train that gets you to Disney in 9 minutes), however, when we got to the ticket station the assistant advised us there were no tickets left and we would need to take the subway which would take well over an hour. This didn’t sound quite right to me, so after a bit of a play with the ticket machine, found there was a train leaving in 5 minutes, we managed to get tickets – 60 euros for the 3 of us, a bit steep, but literally 9 minutes later we were surrounded by the sounds and fun of Disney! After speaking to a few people, it’s not unusual for ticket assistants to try and make weary British travellers lives a little difficult, if you’re in doubt, double check, we’re glad we did. If we went again, I think we’d book our tickets in advance to avoid any problems.


We spent the first morning at Disney Studios. There’s no point spending too much time here, but there are two good adult rides here, Aerosmith Rockin’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror. We took advantage of the baby switch scheme, where one of you queues whilst the other stays with the little one, you can then swap over without having to wait in line again, as long as you’re happy to ride on your own. This can work really well especially if you use it in conjunction with the Fast Pass scheme, where you can get a pass to go back to the ride later in day and only have to wait a short period. You can get one Fast Pass per ride per person, so in theory can go on each ride twice if using alongside baby switch. You really don’t want to spend much time waiting around with a baby in tow, so get your Fast Passes as soon as you get to either park – although the Fast Passes state a time slot of an hour, you can go back anytime after the time slot finishes, just not before. The best adult ride at the Disneyland park, in our opinion, is Space Mountain and definitely worth going on a few times.

Just horsing around!

In terms of rides for babies, there’s quite a lot they can go in both parks, totally depends on your baby, but Vida loved It’s a Small World, Peter Pans Flight and the Carousel. We spent a day and a half in the Disneyland Park, which was about right for us. It’s totally worth seeing the parade, I didn’t think Vida was old enough to appreciate it, but she was giggling and waving and smiling the whole time.

Watching the parade


We had some very good meals whilst we were in Disney. On our first day we ate at Walts and on the second we ate in the Blue Lagoon, both in Disneyland. Both were a la carte style and a bit pricey, but so much more comfortable than the the counter service places, which were crazy expensive for junk and the food was fantastic.

Best high chair ever!

Hats off to the French, it may be Disney, but the food and service was as good as in any restaurant you’d find outside of the park. Walts was my favourite because whilst being refined and elegant, they still made Vida feel super comfortable, with fun high chairs and making a real fuss of her. We spent a long lunch here, which was a welcome break from the party atmosphere of the park. We had 3 courses each and a bottle of wine, which came to about £70, we told ourselves it was our Anniversary treat. We both had a trio of seafood starters, which were lovely. I followed with a huge burger with foie gras and waffle chips, whilst Hubby had a gorgeous fillet steak. Hubby’s desert was great fun, a brownie milkshake, with lots of yummy bits hidden inside!



Also, worth noting was Rainforest Cafe in the Disney Village (an area just outside filled with shops and restaurants). We went over the evening we arrived, stupidly thinking Vida would sleep in the pushchair as it was past her bed time, but no, she was up and loving the Rainforest sounds and moving animals! I’m glad she woke up really as it’s a real feast for the senses and great fun. Hubby took the liberty of ordering half the menu, the Cobb salad was particularly worth a mention!

Rainforest Cafe inhabitants

All in all, we had a great time, 3 nights was just about right. There was so much for Vida to take in we had to make sure to keep on top of nap times and not try to cram too much in, it’s nice to just wander round and spend time together. I think the melt-downs happen (we witnessed a few, but not as many as Florida, I owe this to the fact Euro Disney isn’t dry, so there’s calm, relaxed, slightly wined up parentals floating about) when people try and do too much and get hung up on not missing anything, it would have been nice to have a picture with Mickey, but were we going to spend our day living to a time-table to make that happen, no.

It’s no Florida, but there’s something so much prettier and more refined about it’s Parisian counterpart (and not just because of the wine!), it’s so much more, well, French and it turned out to be quite the lovely Anniversary break.

Wine – from mummy to dummy!

I love wine.

I’ve always had a wonderful relationship with wine, but after having Vida, I discovered it has a new and wonderful power. It has the ability to magically turn off my mummy switch!

I would love to say it also turns on my sexy, funny, interesting switch, but that would be a lie, as Saturday night would attest.

It’s not often us girlies get a chance to get together to drink, gossip, laugh and dance. We have been known to get a bit over excited at the prospect, peak too soon, and end up in bed by ten, but this time we were determined to make it out for the duration, I just wish someone had told me the duration meant 4am, ouch!

Being a very sensible group of ladies, we thought it wise to have a bite to eat first to line our stomachs and have a good old gossip. We cackled and squealed and drank and drank. If you were in Prezzo on Saturday night and heard a table shouting about a variety of birthing stories, post breastfeeding boob structure and what happened on One Born Every Minute, I apologise now. At one point the waitress nearly jumped out of her skin as I jumped up brandishing an empty bottle of wine and screeched that we’d be needing another one pronto.

Meal finished, we hobbled to our next destination. Of course, we were only hobbling on account of our excessively high heels not the wine, we’d eaten you’d see, so we couldn’t get drunk, we are so clever!

Lady Lushes

I think I was making up for all the nights I’d not been out and opted for the most insanely high heels (I would take a picture to show you, but I seem to have misplaced them, I think they may be in the garden maybe?) We were all clearly somewhat out of heel practice and there were a few war wounds (but nothing a kids ikea plaster can’t temporarily fix, only mummies come this prepared!)

No, they don't notice at all!

Shots were ordered (when is this ever a good idea? They taste rank and are £4 a pop for the pleasure!), more wine consumed, more cackling and probably a lot more hobbling, then it was time to get our boogie on. We lost one in the chaos of taxis, the lure of bed and thought of a 6am wake-up by her two kids, proved to be too much. She put up a noble attempt, very nearly taking on the role of lead singer for the band and retiring at a very commendable 12 o’clock.

After a bit of a tussle with the doormen (no we cannot queue, we haven’t been out for ages and we need to get some more shots – not the most convincing of arguments!) we made it to our next stop, more drinks, a bit more dancing and lots more hobbling. This is where we lost number two, tired and bleary, she hung up her dancing shoes at a very reasonable 1am.

At this point we were 3 remaining and onto a night club we went, more shots, more dancing, lots of hugging long lost friends. By 2am, we were down to two and my stamina was wavering, I made it to bed by 4am, with a few lost hours in between!

I woke up 3 hours later and took a moment to survey the damage, do I have my phone, check, do I have my cards, check, how many receipts have I got in my purse, too many, check. I’d left a path of destruction from the front door right through the hall and to the kitchen, where I must have culminated my removal of clothing and accessories with my fake eyelashes on the chopping board.

Thankfully, Hubby took the childcare reigns and looked after Little Miss all morning whilst I quietly festered in self pity and alcohol sweats. How on earth did I use to do this every weekend? My feet were killing, my head was banging, my mouth was dry and I’m sure I smelt a bit dodgy, and I had an infant to try and care for! The best thing is she didn’t care what mummy looked like, I still got all my usual cuddles and smiles and that made the horrendous hangover just about bearable!

Who could feel miserable with this around!

Suffice to say, recipes tried and tested this weekend = zero!

Kiss Feeding – The Next Baby Led Weaning?

So have you seen this video of  Actress Alicia Silverstone feeding her 11 month old son like a little chick?

Initially, I was totally grossed out, she chews the food then passes the gobby ball of mush from her mouth to his, yuk! She believes premastication is a very natural way of helping her son cope with more challenging textures of food and thinks the little ritual is ‘cute’.  If you think you can stomach it, you can watch the full video here.

'Kiss Feeding'

However, it seems that this weaning technique has been around for thousands of years and is likely to have been how our ancestors fed their young, a human blender if you will! But apparently we have a lot to thank ‘kiss feeding’ for, this gesture of affection between mother and child is thought to be where snogging originated from! Though I must say most of my snogs have been pretty food free, give or take the odd bit of chewing gum!

So, do you think it will catch on? Can’t see me doing this with little Vi, plus, can you imagine me asking the nursery where she will be going if they mind helping with her rather particular dietary requirements at lunch time!?!

Pinny For Your Thoughts…..?

As if I didn’t have more important things to waste my time on, along comes Pinterest to mood board my life! For someone who loves organising and planning and bringing ideas together, this is veritable social media porn for me!

I’m meant to be gearing up for my return to work, and in my quest to prepare myself I just seem to be accumulating more little sidelines and addictions! Hubby always used to moan at me BC for working on my lap-top til the early hours, now I’m still on the lap-top, but taking on the crucial task of putting pretty pictures together and then writing about it! The funny thing is I take on these little endeavours with the same gusto I would reserve for a key project at work, all furrowed brow and lip chewing. When Hubby asks me what I’m up to, I mumble that I’m trying to create a Pinterest board for our trip to Euro Disney in a few weeks, he looks at me as if I’ve just sprouted a sentence in Gaelic and goes back to his XBox.

Incidentally, if you’ve ever wondered (and why wouldn’t you!) what a mood board of ‘Euro Disney with a baby’ would look like, you can have a gander here!

Lazy Weekend aka Food Fest

Easter Weekend has been mostly spent preparing and eating copious amounts of naughty treats, so I’ll keep this one short as I have a serious food baby growing in my tummy that will only be purged by an extended periods of time vegging on the sofa.

Chocolate makes me happy mama!

The food fest began Sunday morning, we all set up camp on our double bed to commence our Easter Munch-a-thon. Hubby and Vida got comfy whilst I got cooking.

EPIC Hot Chocolate

We kicked off proceedings with Jamies Epic Hot Chocolate, so thick you need a spoon to consume it. This was followed by a round of Eggy Pots. Vida had her own baby friendly version which inevitably ended up all over the bed, much to my mildly OCD hubby’s distaste, but I insisted we should have a lazy Sunday breakfast in bed. This insistence soon came back to bite me in the arse when I ended up sitting in a mountain of crumbs, desperately trying to mop up yolky dribble from the duvet cover. I soon ousted the happy campers from the bedroom, quietly cursing myself for ignoring hubby’s reasoning that the bed may not be the best place for Vida to practice feeding herself. Bed stripped. Lesson Learnt.

Eggy Pots - best consumed out of bed

This weekends celebrity chef recipe trial came courtesy of Mr Simon Rimmer on Sunday Brunch from a few weeks, ago. I’ve been meaning to try his Jaffa Cake Cheesecake for a while, but was mildly put off my the amount of stages involved, so this rainy Easter weekend turned out to be a perfect time to get everyone in the kitchen helping out, or at least trying to.

Whilst the cheesecake cooked and set we had a big old slab of roast lamb, with all the trimmings and corresponding condiments, I am hugely particular about this aspect of roast dinner etiquette!

Roast lamb dinner - pre mushed

The rest of the weekend was spent pottering about, going for walks and reminiscing about Easter Bank Holiday weekends of yesteryear, where we would, we concluded, have done the exact same thing, but whilst nursing a nauseating hangover!

Happy Easter!

Shower Power!

The sun has been shining all day and we have been at a beautiful house by the sea for my best friends surprise baby shower, perfect start to the Easter Bank Holiday. And even though I haven’t been at work for 7 months, a four day weekend still feels extra exciting. I love the feeling of being completely disorientated because a Friday feels like a Saturday and a Saturday feels like a Sunday and it taking a good week to work out what’s going on, this combined with the fact I rarely know what year it is, let alone month, makes for a rather interesting time.

Hubby was off work so Vida had a day with daddy whilst I rustled up some foodie treats and went to the party! We all brought some dishes or decorations and got there a good hour before my friend arrived to get the place all tarted up.

The girls really surpassed themselves with the gorgeous food and decorations they made, we had triangle sarnies (with crusts off of course!) Easter cupcakes, white chocolate and walnut cookies, some amazing (Dukan diet friendly!) smoked salmon and mackerel pate with galettes and even some baby bottles filled with sweeties!

Treats galore!

My offering consisted of my mini dippy crab cakes which went down an absolute storm with mummies and babies alike. I also tried out a Nigella recipe for cosmo cocktail sausages which have all the ingredients you find in the famous cocktail, they were a bit of fun, mega sticky, but also really tasty and great picky food for a party. The final thing I whipped up was my tried and tested butternutty salad, always a hit and so so easy to make.

My friend got spoilt beyond belief, she found out she was having a little girl during her first scan, so all the gifts were suitably cute and girlified. I’d chosen a gorgeously soft Merino Kids wool sleep bag as my gift and some cute Trumpette socks which look like little shoes and actually stay on! One of the best gifts she got, in my opinion, was a hamper full of essentials, bongela, calpol, infacol, gripe water, dribble bibs, wipes, nappies, muslin cloths and much more! I can just imagine her husbands face when she gets home wondering what the hell each little bottle and lotion is meant to be for!

It’s hilarious watching the childless girlies staring at a Bumbo trying to work out what the hell it is and how the hell to pronounce it, even the mummy-to-be asked if gripe water was a type of drink. Nodding your head knowingly that it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know what it is now, but after trailing through forums and websites at 3am looking for that secret sleep inducing nugget, she’ll try it all and soon know what each bottle is for and whether to put it on bum or in mouth and the best thing being, she’ll have it all to hand thanks to the magic box of tricks! Genius!

I’m not entirely sure when baby showers became the norm in England and love them or hate them, they’re a bit of fun and a chance to celebrate being fabulously female! And as I looked around the room at all the beautiful ladies whom I adore, it made be think what a total berk that Samantha Brick really is! If you haven’t joined the millions of people shouting at their computer screens and staring wide mouthed at this woman’s distorted view of womanhood (and herself)- you have your chance here!

Hated because she's so beautiful?

Anyhow, that’s a sufficiently soppy, pinky, perky, Girl Poweresque post. I’m off to make my Sunday a Monday.


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Legging Legacy

BC I had never squeezed my thighs into anything that resembled a legging. My very short legs weighed down on my size 3 stumps creating a shape not befitting of such tight attire. My staple uniform for work or play consisted of something in the hipster/bootcut jean/trouser ilk and a pair of appropriately  high heels (4 inch minimum) – heels make your legs look longer, fact, and I need all the length I can get!

So why is it that I now own a variety of leggings, in varying degrees of threadbareness, the heels have been replaced with a trusty (flat) UGG come rain or shine and this new get-up has no sign of abating. I get a little bit too excited when I find a legging that doesn’t bag at the knee after a few hours (randomly, Miss Selfridge are rather impressive) in a way that I used to lust after shoes that would kill after a few minutes.

Let me be clear, my legs are no more legging worthy than before, however, my need for quick, comfort wear that is easily distinguishable in a pile of clothing matter by the side of my bed, outweighs any need of a lengthened leg. I’m actually freaking out about summer, what the hell will I wear, leggings and flip flops is not a look I’m prepared to start messing with. Plus, this is the look my mother has sported on the odd occasion that has had me crinkling up my nose and tutting in disapproval whilst clicking my heel on her coffee table.

So it begs the question is this legging legacy an inevitability for me, was I always destined to wear the unwearable, morphing into my mother as each day passes, or does it happen to all comfort seeking mothers?

Jordan's take on the Mummyform

Either way, one thing’s for sure, the uniform is going to need to be addressed pretty damn quick as I doubt rocking up to my first meeting in my current attire, baggy knees or not, is going to fly no matter how much I protest. Whether I can compact myself back into my favoured trouser suit is a gamble I probably shouldn’t leave until the last minute, but right now I’m busy being comfy.

Hello World Indeed……

Well hello World, my name is Belen and this is my gorgeous daughter, Vida. She burst into our world in August 2011 and has been making life very colourful ever since.

In two months time, I will be returning to my full time job. This blog is an attempt to reconcile my feelings about the incredible balancing act I’m about to undertake. I have no idea how I will feel or how it will go, but the plan is to document as I go, the ideal and the reality, the joys of independence versus the inevitable guilt.

The countdown is beginning and I intend to make the most of the next few months, with family trips, coffee mornings and long leisurely lunches in the sun, you can probably already tell my idealistic notions are far removed from reality!

However, Im determined to have lots of fun before squeezing into my high heels in June!