How to Successfully Potty Train Your Kids

Choose Your Time Wisely

It is best not to start potty training if there has been a change in circumstances. For example, your toddler is unwell, a new baby in the family, a new home, new childcare settings, family problems in the household. Starting too early can lead to failure in potty training, so make sure your little one shows all the signs they are ready before you start. Do not be influenced by others.

The Best Potty Training book
Oh Crap! Potty Training Book
Oh Crap! Potty Training Book

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Get The Right Equipment

Getting the right equipment for potty training is always a good start. A child-sized potty, a carry potty or a special seat to attach to your regular toilet is required. Whichever you choose, make sure your child can sit comfortably.

The Best Indoor Potty
Babybjorn Potty
Babybjorn Potty

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Get The Clothes Right

You do not want to spend ages changing your toddler’s clothes, so make sure whatever they are wearing is easy to remove. You can try using training pants. Some toddlers like them, while others think of them as a different type of nappy. Most toddlers are encouraged by having real underwear instead: it makes them feel grown-up.

The best Training Pants
Bambino Potty Training Pants
Bambino Potty Training Pants

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Let Them Choose Their Own Potty/ Toilet Trainer Seat

Getting your little one involved is essential. After all, it is them who are going to be using it. It is always helpful to have both a potty and a trainer seat to hand. Try choosing a seat that matches your child’s potty colour or design, as this keeps training consistent and will help make the transition to the toilet smoother.

The Best Potty Training Seat for the Toilet
Babybjorn Toilet Training Seat
Babybjorn Toilet Training Seat

Give Lots Of Encouragement

Praise and play-based learning is proven to be an effective approach for potty training little ones. Use reward charts, stickers, a reward box to fill up with special treats that they will like – and a good toilet training storybook to keep up the momentum.

The Best Potty Training Storybook
Potty Superstar Book
Potty Superstar Book

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Make Sure You Have A Good Reward System

Every toddler loves to feel special. Using rewards is a great way to encourage your toddler to sit on the potty or the toilet. This can be through a reward chart, stickers, or even a magical star box. It is important to reward them, even if they try and do not perform. Sometimes it can be difficult to get them to sit on the potty or the toilet, and this needs a little extra encouragement. Make sure you reward them immediately so they get instant gratification.

The Best Potty Training Reward Chart
Peppa Pig Potty Training Reward Chart
Peppa Pig Potty Training Reward Chart

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Be Prepared Both Inside, And Outside The Home

If you live in a two-storey house, keep a potty upstairs and one downstairs. Teach your toddler from day one that this is normal inside and outside the home. Take your potty and/or training seat with you wherever you go. Remind them that they have it with them as this will help them feel secure and confident. This will help reduce accidents as often there is a little warning when they need to go.

The Best Travel Potty

My Carry Potty
My Carry Potty

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Start Any Time Of The Year

There is no season for potty training. If your little one shows signs of readiness, you must go with this and not wait for the summer to arrive. If you delay potty training until the summer months, you may find your little one will show no interest whatsoever, which will make potty training a lot more difficult for you and your little one.

It Is Important To Let Everyone Know That You Have Started Toilet Training

Tell your nursery, child carers or anyone else who looks after your child. Let them know what techniques you are using e.g. a reward chart or sticker system, as this helps to keep everything consistent and avoid training setbacks. Do not interrupt stop toilet training if they are spending a night away at grandparents or a friend’s house as they will become easily confused.

Do Not Compare Your Child To Others

Every child develops at a different rate. That goes for eating, walking, talking and all the other milestones – so try not to compare your potty training experience to anyone else. You will always get those parents who tell you that their toddler was fully potty trained before their first birthday. Just trust the signs your child is showing, and go with it.

How To Help Your Kids Through A Common Cold

Here’s how we keep your tots as comfortable as possible.

TMC Recipe Of The Week: Vegan Banana Bread

We’ve partnered with Zenia Deogan, Nutritionist and Chef @thesensorykitchen to create some super easy, super speedy recipes of the week.

Something for everyone with this classic banana bread recipe – moist, healthy, egg and dairy free and simply best banana bread ever!


– 240 Plain/Gluten-free Flour
– 80g Dark Brown Sugar (substitute for finely chopped dates soaked in a little boiling water)
– 1 tsp Baking Powder
– 1 tsp Baking Soda
– 1tsp Cinnamon Powder
– Pinch of Salt
– 80ml Neutral Flavoured Oil (vegetable/canola/coconut oil)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 3 Large Overripe Bananas, mashed + a few slices for topping
– 60ml Plant Milk (Almond/Soya/Oat)


– Preheat oven to 190°C and grease loaf tin.
– In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk banana and sugar, add oil, milk, vanilla extract and mix.
– Add dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt – mix well until all the flour is combined.
– Pour batter into a loaf tin, in the middle top with sliced bananas. Bake for about 50 min – 1 hour. To check if baked well, stick a toothpick in the center of the loaf, if it comes out clean it should be ready. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 min before slicing.

What To Wear This Week

How good is summer. I mean sure, our babies wake at THE CRACK OF DAWN and no one can sleep because we forget that usually in 25+C we’re in a hotel and that involves aircon. BUT, we won’t complain… We will however wear beautiful light dresses like this H&M one, which of course will fit over a bump! Win.

TMC Family Recipe Of The Week: Strawberry Fool

Whipped together in minutes, the perfect time saver and ultimate pleaser. You’ll be making this one again and again.

Ingredients (makes 6)

• 600g Strawberries
• 2 tablespoons of Caster sugar
• 2 teaspoon Vanilla essence
• 500ml Double cream
• 3 chocolate flake bars


Crush the strawberries together, add the vanilla essence and sugar. Put to one side whilst you whip the double cream (use an electric whisk it I’ll save your arms and be so much quicker, if you don’t have one then a whisk will do the job but be prepared for an arm workout. Assemble together in 4 jars/glasses/bowls and finish by crumbling half a flake bar on top.

Yes, We’re Now Into Tupperware

You might not love your Tupperware cupboard right now but hear us out. You have about eight containers and five lids, none of which fit correctly (thank you, dishwasher), all taking up far more real estate in your kitchen cupboards than they’ve ever earned and ready to slalom out the minute you even look at the door, are we right? But whether its picnic season, day trips at half-term or the eldest are back at school and you’re stacking up sandwiches before you’ve even woken up properly, you need at least one cute bento box, insulated food jar or biodegradable placemat in your life. TMC; here for all your packed lunch needs. You’re welcome.


With different compartments that can be added or taken away, this is super-versatile for any kind of meal or snack. And while it looks fairly functional, it’s available in an array of colours, which means everyone can have their own.

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Yum Box
Yum Box

The sweet little pictures at the bottom of each compartment help older kids to start learning about the nutritional value of what they’re eating and (let’s be honest) are a helpful reminder for mums that however much they like mini mozzarella balls they probably shouldn’t outnumber the carrot sticks.

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Another great option for a ‘picky’ lunch, this is ideal for kids who really don’t like sandwiches (crazy, we know). The middle layer can be removed and popped into the microwave, too.

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Skip Hop Zoo
Skip Hop Zoo

Eco-friendly and child-friendly, now there’s a thing. This cute metal lunch box is a good size for little ones and comes in an assortment of animals to choose from. Make ours this super-cute fox.

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In our opinion, the most ascetically pleasing of the Tupperware. But of course thats not what matters at all. Three compartments allows you to keep food separate and can stands head of up to 230C!

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What exactly is IVF (And Other Fertility Treatments)?

The world of fertility is awash with acronyms and terminology, and it can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you are entering into it for the first time. Often people assume that IVF is the only fertility option available, but this just isn’t true. To help decode and explain some of these options I asked Dr Belinda Coker to help navigate us through.

What is IVF?

IVF (In-vitro Fertilisation) is a fertility treatment used to help couples conceive if they can’t conceive naturally. In-vitro means ‘inside the glass’ so IVF is essentially combining eggs and sperm in a petri dish in a laboratory to achieve fertilisation.

The process of IVF initially involves obtaining a sperm sample and a number of eggs. The sperm sample is obtained from the male by ejaculation.

The eggs are harvested from the woman after a process of ovarian stimulation. This involves temporarily shutting down (called down-regulation) of the woman’s own natural menstrual cycle. The natural menstrual cycle involves 1 dominant follicle or occasionally 2 follicles to develop and mature each month. 1 (or 2) eggs ovulate each month. In preparation for IVF, this cycle is shut down and instead the ovaries are stimulated, by injecting gonadotrophin hormones, to encourage numerous follicles to develop and grow. The aim is to safely obtain as many eggs as possible without overstimulating the ovaries. The eggs are removed by extraction using a needle and ultrasound guidance (under sedation).

If there are no known problems with the quality, motility, shape or number of the sperm (i.e., no history of male factor infertility) then IVF involves combining a sperm sample and eggs (obtained by egg harvesting from the ovaries) in a petri dish under lab conditions and waiting for the sperm to penetrate the eggs and fertilise. The aim is to have at least one embryo but ideally multiple embryos. The growth of these embryos are monitored under special conditions. The divide and develop into blastocysts (day 5). The embryologist will decide when is the best day for the embryo or blastocysts to be transferred into the woman.


ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic injection of sperm) is a form of IVF. It is the process of injecting a single sperm into a mature egg to achieve fertilisation. This technique is used when the spontaneous fertilisation of the eggs with sperm during IVF has not been successful or when there are not enough sperm to fertilise eggs during conventional IVF with the sperm. These problems are usually related to abnormal sperm properties. The sperm may be obtained from ejaculation or if there is azoospermia (no sperm in the semen) by a surgical sperm retrieval. The healthiest sperm are selected for injection.

There is often a misconception that IVF is the first step in fertility treatment for everyone. Is this true?

IVF is not the first step in treatment for everyone. For some couple’s IVF at the first stage is the only option e.g., women with premature ovulation failure, using frozen eggs or donor eggs for medical reasons e.g., after certain cancer treatments, male factor infertility. Every individual or couple who are having difficulty conceiving will undergo investigations to try to understand if there is an underlying cause and also if that underlying cause can be treated.

IVF is used when an individual or couple are not able to conceive naturally. There are many instances where a couple may be able to conceive naturally with medical assistance so other options may be more relevant at the initial stages.

What are the other options available then?

Ovulation Induction

Ovulation induction may be indicated in a woman who is not ovulating (anovulation) or ovulating infrequently. This often presents as irregular or absent menstrual periods. If a woman is ovulating infrequently or not ovulating at all, they may be suitable to take drugs that stimulate ovulation. Those who may be experiencing ovulation disorders are usually classified into three groups (by the WHO) I, II and III, and different procedures are used as a result.

Ovulation induction can include an injection of a combination of the hormones gonadotrophins (FSH and LH) but at an amount that only encourages 1 or 2 follicles to develop. Once the follicles are mature, an HCG injection is given to release the egg and the couple is advised to have sex.

Ovulation induction with clomiphene citrate (Clomid) is most commonly used for those who suffer from PCOS. Metformin is another drug that may be used or a combination of clomiphene citrate and metformin if clomiphene citrate isn’t successful. Laparoscopic ovarian drilling is another treatment that may be offered or gonadotrophins e.g. Letrozole may be used if Clomid is not successful, if there are problems using Clomid or not tolerated. The ovaries are monitored by ultrasound scan and again sexual intercourse is advised at a particular time.

Those who fall into WHO Group III ovulation disorder are females with ovarian insufficiency and lack of viable eggs, so ovulation induction is not used as a form of treatment. These women may be offered IVF if possible, using their own eggs or using donor eggs.

Intra-uterine Insemination (IUI)

Some couples may be suitable for intra-uterine insemination (IUI) rather than IVF at the first stage. This includes people in same-sex relationships or individuals using a sperm donor, people who may not be able to have sex e.g., disability or problems having sex, people that may require treatment of sperm before insemination e.g., if man is HIV positive.

Do success rates vary between treatments? Should people be wary of clinic success rates?

Success rates vary between treatments and between individuals. The Fertility treatment 2018: trends and figures guide is certainly worth a read as it provides information on IVF success rates including the IVF success rates with donor eggs.

The information gathered by the HFEA on individual clinic success rates can also be a useful guide, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to select their clinic based on success rates alone. This is because the success rate can vary according to a number of factors including the age of the patient, the complexity of their fertility and/or medical history, the number of previous IVF cycles, whether they required any additional medical treatments or IVF add-ons etc.

Your fertility specialist should be able to provide a guide for your success rate, based on your individual.

Success rates can be underreported or may not be accurately reported because of loopholes. I was a patient at a clinic that had some of the ‘best success rates’ in the country but I ended up having my embryo transfer in one of their satellite clinics (which I did not know until just before the transfer). Therefore, my failed cycle would have been registered under a different clinic and would not have affected the success rates published for the clinic that I actually attended and paid for treatment.

Do you think there are a lot of myths surrounding success?

Important: Please note that my answer is based on opinion rather than facts. I haven’t reviewed evidence on this particular topic of myths.

My opinion: There is a perception that IVF or adoption or surrogacy are easy and available solutions to help anyone who isn’t able to conceive. Certainly, these are always the solutions that people refer to when I share details about my infertility experiences. There is a lack of general understanding about these other options including the processes that need to be undertaken to pursue these routes. Egg donation is discussed less frequently. Egg freezing is being discussed more frequently but more with curiosity rather than certainty.

I recall there was a time where it seemed like many women were conceiving twins from IVF treatment, so it was seen as a way to have a complete family in one go. IVF was frequently talked about as an option for those who wanted to delay ttc for social reasons e.g., until they had established their career or found the right partner. Now egg freezing is slowly being considered as an alternative option to help fertility preservation. Egg freezing does require IVF to be successful.

The lay person also doesn’t understand what IVF involves and how physically and emotionally demanding the treatment is as well as the reality of the success rates and costs. Overall, the impact of infertility on social, physical and psychological wellbeing was not being emphasised.

I do believe slowly these perceptions and myths are changing particularly as more people are sharing their stories and truths about their struggles with IVF, pregnancy loss, using egg donors as well as sharing their experience of the adoption process and surrogacy as well as more people discussing childlessness. Fertility awareness is improving, and I believe the attitudes towards infertility will change as a result. So do I Belinda, so do I.

5 Simple Ways To Dress Your Bump.

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

Rule number one K.I.S.S, Keep it simple, stupid! You’ll be hot, bothered and probably not in the mood for dressing at all, a huge perk to being pregnant during a pandemic, surely! But now that things are opening up again we’ve broken it down into 5 simple outfits that are easy to put together and will take the stress out of dressing bump. Top tip: Keep it light and layer up!

Look 1

Look 2

Look 3

Look 4

Look 5

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2021

What could you possibly buy someone that has EVERYTHING? You’ve already given them the greatest of gifts, yourself. But since they housed you and fed you until you were probably 25 you better come up with something good. As for your baby making partner, we’d quite like good Mothers day gift next year, so we’d better put in the ground work now. Here are our top Father’s Day Gifts..

Letting Your Kids Dress Themselves Could Improve Their Self-Esteem


Did you know that letting your kids run wild with their wardrobe could help improve their self-esteem?

Ok, you might have to endure a few strange looks when it’s 30 degrees, and they decide a sparkly dress with wellies is the ultimate get up.

But parents who let their children choose their outfits believe it’s great for confidence levels and building identity. With 88% of NEXT customers agreeing that it helps children become more independent, develop their own opinions, and adapt a personal sense of style.

Plus, if it helps you lose one job in your busy day, who’s complaining?

And NEXT are making the idea easy by creating a new kidswear collection to support your child’s sartorial choice.

NEXT’s new Kids Style range is full of clothes to inspire and develop your child’s independence.

Packed with textured, colourful and patterned pieces, the collection will help kids create fashion statements in a light-hearted and creative way.

Brave enough to see what they can produce? Don’t forget to share the moment and tag us @TheMumClub and @nextofficial and use the hashtag #nextkidstyle 

But what age can you start?

Most parents begin teaching their children anywhere between 14 months and 2.5 years old. So, it’s really up to you. Every child is different, so it’s best to follow their lead and gage when they’re ready. Simple guidance like telling them to put their arms up or a leg through here will help build an understanding, and this can be done at any age – even baby stage.

How to teach your kids to dress themselves

There are days when you have time to show them new skills and others when it’s bloody impossible. So don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself fastening shoes and shirts so that you can get out of the door.

Do it on a slow day

In the beginning, it will take a fair amount of time and patience, and you don’t want to start with good intentions and then be like, Ok, hurry the F**k up now!’. So, choose times where you can be as lax and as late as you want. Always in a rush? Try playing dressing up on a rainy day when you’re staying at home.

Get dressed with them

Pick a similar outfit and show them how you do it. Kids love to copy, plus having a visual guide will take the pressure off them and make it easier to understand.

Make it fun

Try to create an entertaining experience that feels like playtime. This way, getting dressed will become a cool activity that they love doing, rather than a boring chore. Also, don’t force it. If they don’t want to do it, then leave it and try again another day.

Start small

They don’t have to master a whole outfit in one go, so pick a particular item, and you can do the rest. Get them to practice with clothes in a bigger size or with arm and neck holes that are generously spaced. To start them off with socks, pull them over their feet and encourage them to do the rest. Velcro or slip-on shoes also make life easier, so if you can, it’s worth buying a pair.

What goes where

Teach them the orientation of clothing by talking through every step and giving lots of simple narration. You can also sticker their shoes, so they can easily identify which is left and right and choose tops that have a picture or logo on the front. But if it doesn’t bother them that a t-shirt is back to front, let it go. It’s much better to praise them for what they’ve accomplished rather than fussing because it’s not exactly right.

Let them take their clothes off

Showing them how to remove items of clothing may sound like the kind of madness you don’t want to be part of, especially when they start stripping in Sainsbury’s. But doing this will help to spark the question of ‘ooh, how does this go back on?’ and in turn, it will help support their confidence in learning how to put clothes on. Cheers to that!

Head to NEXT to shop and challenge your kids to dress themselves!

The Questions You Might Have About Miscarriage

If you’re reading this after experiencing a miscarriage, then you’re probably feeling pretty lost.   

Even though the stats like to constantly state how common it is – those 1 in 5 numbers aren’t really a remedy to fix how you’re feeling.

If anything, they sort of make you feel worse.

Want to scream, “Yes, it happens a lot, but it’s still shit, and it’s just happened to me!”?

Yeah, we hear you!

And while we can’t wave a magic wand and make it all better, we can help by answering a few questions that you could be asking right now.

But before you scroll down, we want you to know that it’s almost definitely NOT your fault.

How long will it take me to get over it?

You don’t have to. It’s never something that you have to ‘get over’ or forget. You will, of course, want to feel better, but when you do that, it is up to you. Just because it happens to a vast number of women doesn’t mean that you have to get yourself together and move on immediately. It’s also normal to feel out of control. So many women feel like their body has let them down, and they search for blame and cause. But usually, there’s no rhyme or reason as to why miscarriage happens. So go easy on yourself, allow yourself to grieve, cry, eat ten bars of chocolate, drink gallons of wine, or do whatever you want. This is your baby, your loss, and it’s completely ok for you to deal with it in your own way.

Was it my fault?

When something is out of our control, it is normal to try and search for a reason as to why it might have happened. You’ve probably gone through your own personal list of options of what could have caused it. Maybe it was that flight you took? The sauna you went in. Or you put a curse on the pregnancy by buying a baby grow too soon. We can tell you now. It’s none of those. ‘It’s improbable that it was something you did or didn’t do. Some lifestyle choices can increase your chances of miscarriage, but it doesn’t mean that it was the cause’, says Tommy’s, The UK’s largest pregnancy and baby loss charity. Still think it’s because you had sex, the flu jab, or something completely different?

Tommy’s have helpfully answered all of the questions you might have here. Please read it. We guarantee it will make you feel better and help to settle your whirring mind.

If I’ve miscarried before, will it happen again?

Losing a baby is a traumatic experience, and it’s difficult to bypass those hurtful memories. Especially when you’re about to try and do the whole pregnancy thing again, it’s normal to be worried that you might lose another baby. After going through such a challenging time, it’s hard to feel confident that things will be ok. But while we’re not big fans of camping people together in a statistic, these stats might make you feel better, as a tiny 1% of couples are affected by reoccurring miscarriages, and 70% of women who have one or two miscarriages go on to have healthy babies. Most miscarriages are a one-off, and there’s a strong chance your subsequent pregnancy will be completely ok.

When is it safe to try again?

Make sure you’re ready. This is not about anyone else. Try not to put pressure on yourself by jumping back to normality. Your body and mind have gone through a lot, so check in with how you’re feeling and put yourself first. Once you feel good to go, chat things through with your partner and then speak to your doctor or midwife (if you haven’t already). And if you’re struggling with low feelings or anxiety, don’t hide away. Speak to someone close to you or mention it to your GP. If that feels too daunting, a faceless chat could be easier, and Tommy’s have a free helpline that you can call 0800 0147 800.

Can I do anything to lower my chances of miscarriage?

Have you been drinking copious amounts of alcohol, taking drugs and smoking? No? Oh, that’s surprising!
All jokes aside, having a baby is a big deal for a women’s body, so it’s always a good idea to get yourself in tip-top condition before starting each pregnancy. You’ll likely know the main misdemeanours (as midwives love to tell you!), but just in case, these are the basics rules to follow:

  1. (Try to) eat a balanced diet.
    Early stages of pregnancy? When you’re craving beige food, no one’s gonna blame you if you eat nothing but pizza and pasta. Just try to offset it with as much fruit and veg as possible. And if you can’t stomach it, check in with your GP to see if any nutritional supplements could help.
  2. Achieve a healthy weight
    Please don’t beat yourself up if you’re not the perfect BMI. Just try and cut down on the bad stuff as much as you can.
  3. Quit smoking.
    Ok, you need to do this.
  4. Cut out alcohol.
    The NHS say no, but other countries have varied opinions on alcohol consumption during pregnancy. So we’ll leave this one with responsible you.
  5. No illegal drugs.
    We hope this is just a given.
  6. Avoid infection
    i.e. flu – hence why they offer you a free jab when you’re pregnant.
  7. Swerve these foods.
    It seems like a long list, but it’s not that bad, except for maybe Prosciutto – sob.
Do you need treatment after a miscarriage?

Losing a baby is a shock, but nothing prepares you for how different each miscarriage can be. Just like birth, it’s not as simple as they make out in the movies. The common misconception that it’s like a heavy period that’s over in a flash makes us want to scream a million profanities. Yes, the baby can naturally pass out of your womb, but in other cases, it may need assistance, and this can be via medical methods (medicine) or surgery, and each process takes a varied amount of time. Your GP and midwife are best placed to give you consultancy on this, so always speak to them. You can read more on it here.

Does bleeding mean you’ve miscarried?

Please don’t panic if you’re in the early weeks and days of pregnancy and you’ve noticed spotting. Lots of women have light bleeding in their first trimester. Yes, it can be a sign of miscarriage, but it can also be a reason for several other things. So, take a big deep breath, try not to worry, and give your doctor or midwife a call.

I got a positive result and then a negative a few days later. Did I miscarry?

When you’re trying for a baby, ideally, you’d have a test as soon as you’ve jumped off. However, the only problem with early testing kits is that they can pick up on the pregnancy hormone HCG. False positives are extremely rare, so if you’ve tested positive and then negative, it’s much more likely that you’ve experienced a chemical pregnancy where the egg has been fertilised and has been unable to implant in the uterus, and this accounts for 75% of miscarriages. Most doctors still advise you to wait to test until the day of your period, ‘I mean, what’s the point in that?’, we hear you cry? But if you can fight the urge for a bit longer, it could avoid unnecessary stress or upset.

What does miscarriage actually mean?

Technically miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks. Usually, the cause is down to chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, which can happen by chance. Some women miscarry without even knowing that they are pregnant. Usually, the signs are vaginal bleeding, cramps, and pain in your lower abdomen. But it is also possible for women to miscarry without any symptoms.

Real Life Story: The Day My Heart Stopped And So Had His

Shel Parker @shelparks describes what it feels like to lose a baby and why it’s important for others to talk about loss.    

*Please note this story may be triggering.

I decided to work for a few years after college, which meant I had to go back to study for another year before being accepted into university. 

After a long old slog to get there, it was a bit of a shock to find out that I was pregnant in the middle of year one.

Not only had I just started my course, but I also still lived with my mum, and I was in a newish relationship (one year in).

My situation was challenging, to say the least!

My partner and I decided that we weren’t in any position to give a baby the life it would deserve, financially or emotionally. So, after discussing this ENORMOUS decision over and over, we decided now wasn’t our time.

We didn’t speak the whole way to the appointment, and we sat in the waiting room in dead silence. Eventually, after what felt like forever, they called my name. As I was walking through the corridor, I saw a couple, a 30 something-year-old woman and a big, tattooed, muscly man. The man on his knees sobbing into his hands and the woman in pieces on a chair. I was listening to the nurse console them; they had lost their baby. I continued into the room and listened to the information the lady was telling me, at least I was meant to be listening, but my mind was just racing. “Take a seat back in the waiting room, and you’ll be called through to go down to the theatre”, she said. I went back in, sat down, and tears began to creep into my eyes, and my stomach was in knots. I gazed over at my partner, and he was welling up too. I told him I couldn’t do it, and he looked at me with relief and said he couldn’t either. We left the clinic and set off home, discussing on the way how we were going to do this. How would we tell everyone that we were going to have a baby? And how were we going to manage? “We just will.” We said to each other. It was then that we realised how lucky we were to be blessed with a baby.

Next thing I knew, we were on our way to our 12-week scan. Because we’d been on holiday, our scan was late, and I was 15 weeks pregnant. At this point, I had a cute little bump emerging, and my face was rounding off nicely. The excitement was unreal, and it was all I could think about at work that day. Shortly before I was due to leave for the appointment, a thought suddenly entered my head, “What if there is no heartbeat?” I mentioned my concern to a colleague, and she assured me that I would be fine, as I was young, fit and healthy. Of course, I would be.

I met my partner at the hospital, and we couldn’t wait. We got the tokens ready for the scan pictures, and I was going to get loads, one for mum, dad, me, my partner, my sister, his brother and everyone else. My name was called, and we went in. As I lay down, the excitement overwhelmed me. The nurse put on the gel and began to wriggle her thingy around on my belly. In front of me was the big screen with my baby on it. I was starting at it. I was so happy, there was my baby! I experienced emotions I’d never felt before. It was amazing.

And that’s when she asked, “Have you had any problems? Any bleeding?” I quickly answered. “No, why, why are you asking that?”. She replied, “I won’t be a moment”, and she left the room. My partner and I just looked at each other and then continued to look at our boy on the screen. She returned with a man, and he used the same stick to check my belly. “Yes”, he said to the woman and left.

“I’m afraid there is no heartbeat”, she said. “I’m sorry. The doctor has just confirmed it”.

My partner fell to his knees and cried like I’d never seen him cry before, gasping for his breath. He was in pieces. I was just still. I stared at the screen at my baby, and all I could see was him. A DEAFENING all-consuming silence surrounded me. My heart had stopped and so had his.  

The nurse talked, throwing statistics at me, explaining things (so my partner told me), but I couldn’t hear a thing. I couldn’t feel a thing. All I could do was breathe and stare at my baby on the screen. An image that still haunts me and a feeling that occasionally takes over me and reminds me of the worst day of my life.

1 in 5 pregnancy’s result in loss. Did you know that? I didn’t.

The nurse walked us through to the next room to tell us what would happen next. I was still emotionless. She explained, “You’ll have to come for an operation, the foetus is quite big now, so you can let it pass or have it removed, and you will be put to sleep”. I opted for that as I couldn’t bear to see such a thing. She then went on to explain how I would have to wait until Monday for the procedure. So, I was sent home with my dead baby still in my belly, and I had to deal with that for four days, the longest, most painful four days.

My whole body was in shock, the nurse left the room, and I broke. I cried. I couldn’t breathe, and I had pains in my head. We got home and pulled up on the driveway. The anxiety I felt walking down to the house was palpable. I just didn’t know how I would tell my mum what happened. We walked in, and my partner broke the news to her. She held me, and we cried. I called my friends, and we all cried together. I needed to tell everyone there and then, so that I didn’t have to endure that conversation for weeks. The days following, I stayed in my bedroom and cried. I cried until there was nothing left in me. I was empty in every sense.

After the operation, my partner took all calls, all texts. He held me in the night when I cried for our boy, made me eat, helped me sleep and was the absolute saviour of me. When I look back, I think I forgot his pain because I was consumed by my own. We decided that our baby was a boy and found comfort in naming him Zabe, so we had a name to refer to. We also named a star after him, so to keep his memory close by.

I hate that people never talk about loss in pregnancy. Some people think if the baby wasn’t born, then it’s not so bad. And that’s just not true. A friend of mine was my absolute saviour when it came to talking about my loss. She had experienced the loss of a child at full term, and I always felt like mine didn’t compare to hers, but told me that, “A loss of a child is a loss of a child. I lost my baby, and you lost yours”. I will remember this forever, as well as the support she gave me when I felt like I was drowning. Talking about my loss gave me the strength to continue.

Three short months later, our lives changed again, and we were blessed with a beautiful baby.

Ryhan is the absolute light in my life, and at one point, we’ll let him know that he had a little brother, who is now up in heaven watching over him.

Have you experienced loss in pregnancy? Speaking to someone about it can really help.

Both the Miscarriage Association and Tommy’s can offer extra support and advice.

How To Get Gorgeous Hair Without Any Effort

Concerned about how you’re going to style out that mum bun? As mums, we want little effort and maximum effect, I mean we haven’t got much time to play with here!

Yep, we hear you! We’ve gotten used to having messy hair that only the postman sees and then panic when it’s time to go out because we don’t only have to get ourselves ready anymore.

Don’t worry, we have got you more than covered with some quick and easy hairstyles, and who better to teach us than Clairol’s UK Ambassador, Michael Douglas.

Follow his expert tips to look less like a swamp monster and more like a MILF.

Your easy-peasy (polished) pony

Michael says spending a little more time preening your ponytail will make ALL the difference.
• “Blast some dry shampoo in at the roots and a short burst of Silvikrin hairspray into the middle part and ends of your hair”.
• “Loosely pull your hair backwards and tie-up. Then take a comb and gently tease the ponytail to give it added volume and gently smooth it with a soft brush”.
• “Finish with a light burst of hairspray to hold the style in place”.

Don’t wash your hair hack

Keep applying your dry shampoo in a hurry and ending up with huge white patches? Yep, been there. Apply the product at night, rather than in the morning. This enables the powder to evenly distribute throughout your locks as you toss and turn in bed. The result? You wake with hair that looks freshly cleaned and has a fabulous bounce – no washing required!

Wonder waves in minutes

No time to curl every strand and section? Michael’s speedy styling trick will save you.
• “Style your locks into a middle parting, so the hair is equal on either side, then cover the two sections in flexible hold hairspray”.
• “Take one of the sections and twist it like rope taking it backwards away from the face until it starts to fold onto itself and pin in it place. Do the same on the other side”.
• “Put a hairdryer on a low speed but high heat, then warm both sides up for about 2 minutes each, and leave to cool”.
• “Once cooled, remove the pins and let the twists fall out”.
• “Tease the twists with your fingers and use some dry shampoo and hairspray to add extra texture”.

*Pro-tip: If it feels too wavy. Michael says, “Blast the style with a hairdryer on a high temp, as this will help to relax the kinks and give a more undone look”.

Michael’s best tip for styling in-between washes

Unwashed locks can seriously lack volume. “Add in some texture via tongs”, says Michael. No time to get ready in the morning? Create a few waves the night before, then use dry shampoo to reinvigorate your style when you wake up.

Quick colour fix

Can’t get to the salon? Try a semi-permanent colour wash instead. They’re novice-friendly and take minutes to take effect. A fail-safe way to reinvigorate your locks and make you feel human again.

We like:

*Takes 3 mins: Maria Nila Colour Refresh, £24
*Takes 25 mins: Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-permanent Colour, £6.99

TMC Talks To Sam & Lou Founders Of Dotte.

Let’s face it being a mum is a big enough job on its own. It’s a full time commitment with no pay and mad hours! So adding ANOTHER full time job to the mix is not only very impressive but also massively inspiring. We recently spoke to Dotte , The UK’s first fully circular online peer-to-peer marketplace for children’s clothing founders Sam & Lou to find out how they manage it all..

Why did you start Dotte?

Dotte was born in the first lockdown, out of sheer frustration at the lack of options when shopping second hand for kidswear. No one had done it effectively yet, so we decided to do it ourselves! We wanted a space that offered a fully circular solution to the fastest area of fashion. On dotte you can buy, sell, donate and recycle, all in once space.

What is the coolest thing about it?

Watching our community grow. Our community is our heart, without them we don’t exist. And through our community, we are constantly growing and learning. Our members are actively engaged in everything we talk about, and are often the inspiration for subject matters. Our attention has been brought to the importance of garment DNA for example, and we have some incredible upcyclers, ready and willing to share their secrets. Watching our members celebrate the joy of discovery on dotte is always a high 5 moment. Perhaps they’ve discovered a new brand, a new seller, or even just the platform itself. When they actively want to shout about how they sell with us and shop with us, second hand, they are becoming part of the movement of slowing fashion down, and it always gives us massive smiles.

Have you always been conscious of fast fashion?

Not at all! Only for a few years I would say. And I do believe the pandemic saw a huge change in mindsets, it sped up the change, for many of us. People started to question what actually made them HAPPY. We all did a full declutter and spring clean of our whole mindset as well as lifestyles! We are SO disconnected WHERE and HOW our products are made. But it’s daunting, the idea of shopping and living more sustainably. People often don’t know where to start, as it can be so overwhelming. Start small. A great starting place, is Lauren Bravo’s book “How to break up with fast fashion” After reading it, I was done. How I shopped literally changed over night. It wasnt a case of ” I’m never buying new again” I now find myself asking “Will I wear this over and over again?” “Do I NEED this?” “Can I buy it secondhand?” I have a very strict one in one out policy now and a capsule wardrobe and, genuinely, it’s SO much easier to get dressed. I feel less cluttered looking at my wardrobe MENTALLY as well as physically. Every piece of item in my wardrobe now has a purpose and a chance to be worn.

Why do you think second hand clothing gets a bad rap?

I think this thought is changing rapidly. 50% of Gen Z are already shopping second hand, and resale is going to be twice as big as fashion in ten years time! Platforms like Vestiaire and The Real Real are showing how desirable shopping second hand can be, by focusing on Luxury. Depop has nailed the younger adults, and shows their sellers as CURATORS, as artists. It feels BETTER than shopping new, because everyone loves nabbing a bargain, and also there’s an element of creativity and curation to it, whether you’re a buyer or seller. We wanted to recreate this for kidswear. Gone are the days where second hand is second best! Kidswear is literally the perfect candidate for resale, because kids get so little wear out of clothes, all they do is GROW GROW GROW!!

What has the biggest challenge been?

Trying to juggle family life with growing a new business is really tricky, and with the pandemic on top the past year has been completely bananas. But enough said on that because I think every single parent has been through this this past year!

I read something recently that really hit the nail on the head… “It’s about millions of people doing things imperfectly rather than a handful of people doing this perfectly.” Start with one thing that you can build easily into your life. Swap your toothbrushes first. Switch to a sustainable toilet roll subscription like “Who Gives A Crap.” Replace cotton make up removal pads with washable pads. Small changes, don’t overwhelm yourself. Oh, and of course, try out dotte :). Not only will you clear some space in your kids wardrobe, you will earn some money AND do a massive favour for your planet.

What is something you have learnt that is crucial to Dotte?

Hands down our community. The parents who take the time to sell on their kids clothes, and put in that extra effort to take nice photos, wrap them up with love and care, include a little message. It just makes dotte about so much more than transaction – it’s genuinely a community of parents who want to support each other to slow down fast fashion. And it’s a joy to see so any of them sharing their own tips and tricks for extending the lifespan of kid’s clothes. It truly is a team effort and dotte wouldn’t be anything without the community at its heart.

How do you both manage the work life balance?

Louise and I were very passionate about building a business that is respectful of our family values. We are both Mums, and we were sick of the rat race. The pandemic has shown us all we can all work more flexibly. Whether that’s working from home sometimes (all the time in lockdown!) or working earlier to finish earlier, or starting later to finish later… it’s doable.

How can we use Dotte?

On dotte you can buy, sell donate and recycle. Sign up today using the link below (and use the MUMCLUB referral code to get your free clear out kit!) Have a peruse round the site. You’ll see how easy it is to use. You can browse by age/ brand/ colour if youre buying. If you’re selling, have a read through our handy guidebook and have a little read through the FAQs if anything isn’t clear. And if you have any other questions we are always on hand on the chatbot (real life person, not a robot HOORAY) for a chinwag. We love a natter! JOIN TODAY. We can’t wait to have you!

Join the hundreds already using dotte here -the first 50 to use refferal code MUMCLUB will receive a free clear out kit packed with dotte packaging to help get you started.

TMC Family Recipe Of The Week: Hairy Biker’s Very Good Chicken Balti

There’s so much to love about this recipe – not least that you can prep it in stages then throw the final meal together at the last minute, so it’s easy to fit into your day. There’s also not a huge amount of washing up, which is no small win either.


• 15g butter
• 2 tbsp sunflower oil
• 2 large onions, roughly chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, sliced
• 25g fresh root ginger, roughly chopped
• 3 tbsp medium curry paste, or balti curry paste
• 1 tbsp tomato purée
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in to bite-sized chunks
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 4 fresh ripe tomatoes, quartered
• 200g baby spinach leaves


1. To prepare the sauce base, melt the butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan with a lid (or a large saucepan, if your frying pan doesn’t have one). Add the onions, garlic, and ginger, then cover with the lid and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes until very soft, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove the lid from the pan and turn up the heat. Cook the onion mixture for 2-3 minutes more, stirring constantly until well-coloured. Add the curry paste to the pan, turn down the heat slightly and cook with the onions for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the tomato purée.
3. Blitz the spiced onion mixture with the stick blender or processor and blend until smooth as possible. Tip the onion mixture into a bowl and set aside, even up to 3 days. 4. Place the pan used to cook the onion mixture back over a medium heat and add the remaining oil and the chicken pieces. Fry the chicken for 3 minutes, turning often until lightly coloured all over.
5. Add the spiced onion mixture, 175ml just boiled water, salt, sugar and tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for 4 mins. Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time, allowing each handful to soften a little before adding the next. Cook for a further minute stirring regularly, or until the chicken is cooked through, the tomatoes are softened and the spinach has completely wilted.
6. That’s it done! We sometimes make this ahead and heat it up when we need it. Serve with rice and or with naan bread.