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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dates Gone Bad: Posh Boy

This is the second instalment of my bad dates. You can read the first, Elbow John, here.

Many moons ago I was returning to London from Liverpool with my best friend, having painted the town red for New Year several nights on the run.

The train was delayed and we were stuck mid journey for about 4 hours. Which, wasn’t bad at all as we had been sat next to a very tall, very muscley, very pleasing to the eye young man. He was chatty, funny and good-looking.  All the things that I usually don’t attract.

At the end of the journey he asked for my number and in the coming weeks he called and we arranged a date.

I say “we”, what actually happened on that call was this; “yeah, so, Saturday, I’ll pick you up in a cab at 6pm, early I know, but necessary, don’t eat, wear something amazing!”.  Oh the flutters! Obviously the ‘look amazing’ bit demanded a shopping spree so off I went for a new outfit. Suitably attired I was ready on time and at 6pm sharp the door bell rang. It wasn’t a cab.

The driver of the car greeted me good evening whilst Posh Boy got out, held the door back and waved me in. As we drive to central london, we chatted, laughed and he put his hand on my knee…oh God, he’s touching my leg, stay calm I told myself as I had visions of a red blush rash slowly creeping up my me to my beetroot face!

We arrived in Haymarket at a very trendy restaurant and the Waiter ushered us to a table. I was a bit bemused by the whole date / eating saga and nearly died of fright when Posh By suggested I tried the steak – I didn’t dare for the fear of it wedging itself between my teeth for the rest if the night.

I order a seafood risotto. Safe option. Nothing to stick in the teeth and minimal chewing required. “Uuphhh..” he said after I’d half eaten it.. “I wasn’t going to say anything but I hate fish and that bloody stinks!!”.

I wanted the floor to open and suck me in. I was on a date with the best guy I’d met in ages and he thought I stunk of fish!! How was the date going to go well after that little bombshell?? From bad to worse, that’s how.

Post fish risotto, he guided me to the cocktail bar, hand pressed firmly in the lower arch of my back (I’m swooning at the memory if it!) and pulled out a stool which I elegantly declined..”back in a moment”.

I glided off to the ladies, hair swishing behind me like a peacock raising its feathers. I emptied my bag out on the counter. Chewing gum. I need chewing gum! I didn’t have any chewing gum. Oh! Yes! There it was stuck in the corner of an inside pocket, a solitary dried up Air Wave. Life saver.

I strutted out of the toilet, up the stairs, across the restaurant and through the bar to elegantly perch myself on the bar stool. “I ordered you a cosmopolitan” he said, “I thought all girls like those“. Seriously!! This guy was unbelievable.

And then, horrified, he winced at me “are youuuu chewwwing gum?”. Think! Quick, think! I didn’t want to say yes because then he’d know I was trying to disguise fish breath. I thought I had been doing a good job of sucking it but a random munch must have slipped in.

I just let out a girly laugh, he laughed, I laughed a bit more… A bit too hard. The chewing gum fell out of my mouth and made its way somewhere south toward the floor. HORRIFIED! He laughed harder.

Ok I was getting slightly paranoid now. When he caught his breath he put his hand on my knee, leant in close and said.. “this counts as THE most memorable date I have ever been on: you have stunk of fish, you have spat chewing gum on the floor of a very exclusive cocktail bar and you have rather casually walked from the lady’s room to the restaurant, to the bar, with what looks like a full roll of Andrex attached to your shoe!”.

I looked down. Andrex. Everywhere. A long long chain of it dangling from my heel. I think I went the colour of a dead person. What could I do but laugh? It was over. I’d lost my chance at securing myself a rich Posh Boy.

As we left the cocktail bar I noticed that the stray chewing gum wasn’t stray at all. It had landed quite nicely on his leg which his amazing muscles had squashed. Great, I had breathed him to Nausea, spat on him and stuck chewing gum to his pants!!

Quite surprisingly, he thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment of it and asked me out again!!  Posh Boy and I dated for quite a while until one day, he called me his ex-girlfriend’s name.  The, he was well and truly DUMPED!

X-O-X

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6 Comments

Posted by on April 23, 2012 in London

 

Save the Children: I’m Building it for Babies, Are you?

A few weeks ago I was reading through some tweets and came across something that grabbed my attention: a blogging conference being headed by Save the Children and Google.  And it was in London!  Right.  I was going to go.

As a new blogger I have been looking for ways to improve my writing skills and most importantly how to improve my blog on the whole. I thought I would go along to see what it was all about.

I was not prepared for what I saw!!

On Saturday 14th April 2012, the event mostly concentrated on Save the Children’s Build it for Babies campaign.   Build it for Babies brought mums and dads (mostly mums) together for the day to brainstorm ideas on how we bloggers can do a huge shout out to raise awareness about the campaign.  At #BLOGUP2012 I sat in awe, mouth open most of the time, as I witnessed the heart wrenching pleas of mothers in Bangladesh.  For most of the day, and I don’t think I was alone in this, my whole body ached to run home and give my beautiful, healthy daughter a huge kiss and a hug.

I sat and listened to the speakers recount their tales of mothers who had given birth in the most horrid conditions, lost multiple children and basically spent their lives nursing their sick children to their death.  At times it was hard to concentrate on what was being said as I my eye was drawn to the No Child Born To Die notice.

Stories were told about Shejali, who had given birth in total to 6 children,3 of which had already died.  Shejali is currently 7months pregnant.  Another mother had lost 3 children and her 4th was ill and requiring medical assistance that just isn’t there.

Most women in Rwanda don’t name their baby for the first 8 days of its life simply because it is unknown if the child will survive.  Particularly in rural areas where disease is rife, babies are known to die within the first few hours of life.  nutrition is also a catalyst in this.  The women don’t have healthy diets throughout pregnancy, living mainly off beans and not much else.  This creates stunted growth and development in babies and nearly all never recover from this if they do survive.

Looking at the picture of where Shejali was going to give birth made me shudder.  I immediately thought of my own birthing experience, as did most other women in the room.  As much as we complain and abate the NHS for its lack of this and lack of that, the truth is, we lack for nothing in comparison. We are so so lucky to have the health care, the support, the cleanliness, the attention that we have throughout pregnancy, birth and afterwards and that is why I am getting involved by blogging for babies!!

I could not imagine working in the fields for up to 15hours a day whilst pregnant with twins. I could not imagine being in the throes of labour and having to walk oe be carried by my fellow villagers for miles before I could get help – and that’s if I made it in time!  This, dear readers, is the reality for these women.  How lucky and fortunate are you feeling right now?

So thank Heaven above that Save the Children are campaigning with Build it for Babies.  The objective is to build 7 birthing clinics complete with equipment and trained staff whose salaries will be paid for the first year.  These clinics are a lifeline not just for the mothers but for the babies who have no choice but to be born into this world.  These clinics are a ray of hope, that sickness and death will no longer be a worry. That these mothers will be awarded the luxury of kissing their child as we are every breathing day.

The new clinics in Baniachong and Ajmiriganj will reach:

  • 21,500 women of child-bearing age with family planning services
  • 3,000 pregnant women with antenatal care
  • 2,190 newborn babies with postnatal care, breastfeeding support for their mothers and antibiotics when they become ill
  • 2,218 infants aged up to one year, by helping their mothers to breastfeed and wean them safely and reducing the chance of life-threatening diseases such as diarrhoea and the risk of malnutrition
  • 43,600 people in the area with information on how to stay healthy and where to get help if they do become ill.

If you want to know more or find out how you can get involved, pay the Save the Children website a visit here.

ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE IN:

30 seconds – follow STC on social media

Facebook | Twitter: @savechildrenuk and @savechildrenpr | Youtube | Google +

5 minutes – take a campaign action

Take our campaign action to break the chains of hunger

15 minutes or longer – blog it for babies!

Help raise awareness and build momentum for the campaign online – starting on the 23 April. You could tell the story of your birth, or the birth of your child through the social channels you love to use.  This is not,I repeat, NOT just for mummy/daddy/parent bloggers.  It doesn’t matter what blogging category you fall in to – travel/photography/cooking/crafting – if you have a child and this post has resonated with you… write a post and link it back to Build it for Babies..  it’s that simple.

Thank you so much for reading this post! Do follow in the coming weeks when I, amongst many other blogging mothers, will be supporting this cause.

x-o-x

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in London

 

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Lactating Italian Woman

The mind absolutely boggles.

I’ve been keeping an eagle eye on Tea&Biscotti’s stats recently in an attempt to discover what people are reading. I can then tailor what I write to what people want to read. So far it seems that people like to read my rants about boobs and all things Mother Knows Breast. Its shocking actually how people still find that interesting. I can imagine a whole world out there like a classroom of twelve year olds.. “ooh she’s writing about booooobs!”.

Whats even more shocking are the Google searches that people use either to find me intentionally or from which they just stumble across me.

Now, you tell me, where amongst the below, would it appear that you could find Tea&Biscotti?:

♥ Ache all over my face

♥ Complete with the verb to be I tired and she thirsty

♥ Floral lady shoes

♥ Mom knows daugters breast

♥ Beyonce’s boobs and nipples

♥ Ebaysele tted baket (??)

♥ Stilettos trampling

♥ How the word boob come by

♥ Boobwould.

And last but Im sure by no means least;

♥ Lactating Italian women pictures

x-o-x

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in London

 

Dates Gone Bad: Elbow John

Recently Marie Claire tweeted about one of their bloggers, Lucy Robinson, and how she turned a series of horrendous dates into a two book deal with Penguin.  Isnt this everyone’s life? Dont we all have bad dates? I certainly have! And I think it suffices to say that I kissed a lot of frogs, A LOT OF FROGS, before I met my prince.

So I got to thinking that whatever Lucy can do, I can do just as good.  Over the next five weeks I am inviting you on a “Date Night” where I will relay a few tales of my worst ever dates. It has been hard to select only five but, lets see how it goes.  Names have been changed for obvious reasons, except for the last one as that actually is my husband!

Without further ado, let me introduce you to…..*cue drumroll*

ELBOW JOHN

Years ago when I shared a flat with the friend who made me blog, we decided that maybe our “type” wasn’t our type at all because we were still single. Not for the want of trying I might add.

We were both career girls, attractive (modest), funny, could hold our G&T’s well (did I say we? I mean her!) and could think of no reason why we weren’t getting dates! Naturally we came to the conclusion that either all men we met were gay (which isn’t entirely a lie as we both lived with one at some point..) or, we were obviously far too attractive to be approachable (I say this in jest.. I am not, repeat not, Samantha Bricks!).

Speed dating

We booked ourselves onto a speed dating night. In an attempt to increase our man supply. It was at a well-known club in central london which was dimly lit (at the time I thought it was sultry, now I know it was to disguise the goods!).

I’d never been speed dating before but it was exactly what it says on the tin: dash round 30 something blokes, two mins each, suss out who you might like and then have a cheeky snog at the end of the night, huddled in the corner while Lionel Richie belts out a slowie.  If you get an actual date, you’re lucky.

I did. I thought I chose well. I steered clear of my “type” and chose John from St Albans. I thought he was a Hugh grant / John Cleese lookalikie – I know, I should have called it a day there and then.

Date Night

We arranged to meet on the corner of Leicester square, by the iron fence, opposite Chiquitos. When I got to the corner, I held back a minute, as you do, to take a sneaky peak at the good. Nnnnooooooo… Beer goggles!! About turn.. Run, head down, sprint…quick!

Uh oh too late! He’d spotted me. I had to go through with it. I took a deep breath and thought oh we’ll, it’s a free drink then a trip to loo to call my mate, to call me, with an emergency!!

I said my hello’s praying to God that I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew. We (he) found an outside table (God no, not outside!) at a pub off Leicester square.  Bless him. Whilst trying to be all masterful, he reached across the table for the wine list. WHAT THE…??? His long hairy fingers, on the end if his long hairy hand, on the end if his long hairy arm, opened the wine list with a gasp.  He mesmerised by prices. I was mesmerised by the hairiness.  Reddish blondish hairiness.  WHAT THE…?

And then I saw it.  As his hairy  arm reached across the table, I noticed the elbow. WHAT THE…?  You know those cheap shirts from cheap shops, the ones that come in a plastic packet with a plastic dog collar and the shirt is wrapped around a cardboard square with little plastic pegs to keep it in place?  you know the ones?

Elbow John was wearing one.  How did I know? You mean, other than the fact it was off-Lemon, not quite white, not quite yellow, not quite lemon – off-Lemon.  Other than once I took a proper look, it hadn’t been ironed so still had the creased and bends of once having been wrapped around a cardboard square.

How did I know he was wearing a cheap shirt? Because, I tell you, because, as his hairy arm reach over the little plastic peg that had been once holding the shirt in place, was still attached to the elbow of the shirt!!! I was mortified!! I, me, moi.. was on a date with a yeti wearing a £2 shirt.

To this day, I don’t know how I choked back the laughter.  Whilst he was, still, musing over the cheapest wine on the list, I made my lavatory excuse and called the friend who made me blog.  Five minutes later:  “Poisoned?! What do you mean the cat has been poisoned?? Ok, calm down, I’m on my way!”. We didn’t have a cat.

And as I sat on the train home, thanking my lucky stars I was single, I could only hope that the yeti and his plastic peg shirt had made it back to St Albans in one piece.

I’m sure you all have had similar experiences so do leave me a comment below with your funnies – I could do with a good belly laugh!

x-o-x

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 18, 2012 in London

 

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Mother Knows Breast #4

Mother Knows Breast #1

Mother Knows Breast #2

Mother Knows Breast #3

I need help. HELP is what I need.

It’s not a secret that Bambina is lactose intolerant (allergic to cows milk protein) and this is not assisting me, so far, in the quest to end my duties as milk machine.  I have loved breast-feeding, really really loved it but the time has come to turn the page and close the chapter.

Bambina is now ten months old. At six months I tried her with SMA in a bottle. The bottle, surprisingly, wasnt an issue. She seemed to find it quite intriguing. The milk however was a huge issue. She drank it willingly after experimenting a few times but then I noticed she had red blotches around her mouth. Her skin had flared but she seemed otherwise content. It looked like little strawberry mark dots rather than a rash. Whilst watching to see if she would drink the milk I noticed the dots were from the teat having touched the skin. How odd. After a while the redness went away so I thought nothing further of it. Until, after about one hour, she was violently sick.

I thought it might have been a reaction to that particular brand so waited a few days and then tried her with another, then another and then another. Aptamil, HIPP Organic, SMA, nothing worked and all had the same reaction.  As she was eating yogurt and cheese without a reaction I knew it wasn’t a diary issue. So, after several visits to the GP (who was as much use as a mans nipple!) I took the plunge and booked her in with a pediatrician at a local private hospital.

The doctor there told me that this is very common and is something that she will hopefully grow out of once past the age of one. He prescribed lactose and soya free formula and suggested I give it to her three times a day.

After another visit to the pediatrician, I begged and pleaded for help and his (yes, it was a man!) help and the only option left was to try her with full fat Soya milk and “she how she gets on and come back if there are any issues”.

Are you kidding me?? Any issues??  Of course there are issues:  my child is sucking the living daylights out of my breasts, I’m udderly exhausted because im STILL not getting any sleep, she now even knows how to pull my top up (and down) which causes no end of embarrassment when out of the house!  Issues? If Bambina continues like this, I’ll have no boobs left. I’ll end up wearing one of these scarves for the rest of my life!!

Previously I had heard and read so many stories about weaning off the breast and what you should do with the milk:

♥ For the first week, mix three-quarters of a bottle of expressed milk with one-quarter formula – decreasing the breast milk by a little each day until only formula is being used

♥ For the first week, continue to breast feed but introduce formula by mixing with breakfast cereal so that the baby gets used to the taste before attempting a whole bottle

♥ Deprive the baby of any drink, other than formula – she’ll drink it when she’s thirsty (and of course because there is nothing else..)

I tried the first which seemed more sensible. She turned her nose up, every time. I don’t really blame her as the prescription milk stinks! I tried the second but again she wasn’t fooled and simply turned her head and pushed the bowl away. The third wasnt an option. I wasn’t going to force my baby into dehydration!!

I’m at a loss. I’ve tried everything.  I’ve been consistent, same time, same place, same amount. It has been such a pleasurable experience to breast feed my child but the ending is such an anti climax.

I want my boobs back!!  I want to wear an uplift (because I need one!!) underwired bra!! I do not want to wear a boobie scarf!!

To anyone who is reading my plea, if you have experienced the same or similar mums milk/ cows milk / soya milk issues, I beg you to tell me how you survived the transition and came out the other with both boobs still intact.

Please do leave me a comment.  I’m failing at this miserably.

God Save the Boob!!

x-o-x

*Picture thanks to http://www.instructables.com/

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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*GIVEAWAY* BabyBoomBoom

When I was pregnant I became a bit obsessive about unborn babies listening to music. I would lay on the bed for about an hour most nights with the Italian’s Bose earphones to my belly. I created a few playlists on the iPod in the hope that the baby would develop a passion for Il Divo (I was trying to instill Italian even then).

I downloaded podcasts of baby Einstein music and various other rhymes but nothing really captured my imagination as something I would continue to use after the birth.

One day I was browsing on eBay and came across a CD called BabyBoomBoom. You only have to read here why music and singing is so crucial for the language and speech development of small children. I noticed there were various languages and hey presto they had English & Italian. SOLD! For a bargain price of £9.99, I had the CD within about two days and was delighted to discover that it had all of the common English rhymes such as Twinkle Twinkle and Old McDonald had a farm.

After a short intro, the CD launches the first song, with the first bit in English and then Italian. It was a revelation to me! I could actually sing the songs along with the baby and learn Italian at the same time. I used the CD, headphones placed on belly, probably every night. I played it in the bedroom when I was putting the washing away and I played it in the living room when I was polishing. Before a few weeks, I knew all the words to all of the songs. It drove my husband absolutely insane! (which, if I’m honest, I took great pleasure in…well, I was hormonal!).

After Bambina arrived, I played the CD less regularly – she was only little. Then one day, when she was about three months old (and after having had a month in Italy) I put it on. Her little face lit up! It was amazing. She recognised the voices in the intro and cooed and arhed at the first song. The CD has become a part of our little ritual and it is definitely up there alongside Iggle Piggle as one of Bambina’s most prized possessions.

About four weeks ago, at nine months old, she started to respond to her grandparents who only speak to her in Italian, on Skype everyday. She responds to commands, she laughs in all the right places and at Easter she said Nonno (Granddad) for the first time. It was like we had just witnessed a miracle. Can this really happen at ten months old?? Apparently so. I spoke to a speech therapist friend who advised me that because I was playing the Italian songs when she was in the womb, she has probably built an emotional (safe) connection with the sound. Now that she hears here Nonni in Italy, she connects the melodic voices to the BabyBoomBoom music she heard before she was born. Now, I don’t know how true or how medically proven this theory is but it makes a lot of sense to me! Even Juliet Machan, co-founder of BabyBoomBoom, confirms that children can understand a foreign language before they can speak it:

“my daughter has a number of friends (with parents whose first language isn’t English) who can understand more than one language, and could do so even before they could speak”

Juliet kept a close eye on her daughter’s speech progression. She began to wonder how speech patterns are formed in young children. Wanting a way for her daughter to learn languages in a fun way, Juliet set about creating a music CD of popular nursery rhymes and having them translated. Word spread and before long the request list for her CD’s was off the charts. BabyBoomBoom was born and has continued to go from strength to strength ever since.

With CD’s offered in primary English and secondary French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, German, Welsh, Chinese Mandarin and Scottish Gaelic, the repertoire soon consisted also of baby and junior music bags; small instruments to compliment the CD and small enough to assist small hand co-ordination.

In 2010, BabyBoomBoom was recognised as the UK’s smartest small business, was shortlisted for a 2010 Mother and Baby award and won the practical pre-school award for the second year running.

In 2011, BabyBoomBoom won Gold at Practical Parenting & Pregnancy Awards and picked up the Practical Pre-School Award for the third year running with Gold for Modern Foreign Languages.

I’m excited to see what 2012 brings for them for they deserve everything brilliant that’s coming their way.

After Bambina’s recent linguistic performances, I contacted BabyBoomBoom to reveal just how instrumental I thought their CD had been. It transpired that they were willing take part in a little blog loving and have extremely kindly offered to donate a few Music Bags of toys and CD to Tea&Biscotti to giveaway to a few lucky readers.

So, if you would like your little one’s to chant along in another lingo, all you have to do is:

♥ Follow Tea&Biscotti by clicking on the Follow Me icon on the homepage of this blog and enter your email address to receive regular updates

♥ Follow Tea&Biscotti on Facebook: www.facebook.com/teaandbiscotti

♥ Follow Tea&Biscotti on Twitter: @TeaandBiscotti

♥ Leave me a comment below each time you’ve done one of the above (=3 comments)

Bambina will randomly select three lucky winner’s names from a hat on Monday 30th April 2012. Once I have confirmed who the winners are, you will be able to contact BabyBoomBoom directly with your langauge CD of choice. They will then post the goodie bag out to you directly.

If you are not on Twitter or Facebook but still want to enter, please follow the blog via email and leave me a comment saying why you think you should win.

I wish you the best of luck and extend my heartfelt thanks to BabyBoomBoom for being so generous!

x-o-x

 
16 Comments

Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Feel Good Friday…Old Mcdonald

Today I was relieved of my “W” duties and had a wonderful day at home with Bambina.  Bliss.

We had a lovely Zucchini Fratata (Courgette Omlette) together for breakfast, washed down with a nice cup of decaf Earl Grey – she’s really getting into her Italian / English mix!  Then, after a little snooze, we danced around the living room and sung our hearts out to Italian nursery rhymes.

I have been learning how to sing Old McDonald Had a Farm, much to the Italian’s annoyance, by looping it on repeat from the BabyBoomBoom CD.

I couldn’t find a BabyBoomBoom version of it on YouTube so here is another that I found… and…AND… this one has karaoke!! Italian kiddi karaoke on a Friday morning… what a rock & roll lifestyle me and Bambina have.  Fancy eggs followed by nursery karaoke… I mean, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Although, this version is a bit up tempo but after a few plays it’s a definite foot-tapper!

NELLA VECCHIA FATTORIA

 With a moo moo here and a moo there… qui a moo, la a moo, ei i ei i ooooooooo…..

x-o-x

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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