TMC Family Recipe Of The Week: Baked Ziti

There is everything to love about this baked ziti, I think of it as an easier version of lasagne. A true family winner and comforting on all levels. Serve with a mixed Italian salad, a glass of Italian red wine and you’re almost transported – just for a second. Bliss.


1 onion
500g lean beef mince
300g Mushrooms
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp thyme
2 tsp minced garlic
3 tins of chopped tomatoes
400g rigatoni pasta
250g ricotta cheese
Grated cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella for topping


Chop onion and fry for five minutes on a medium heat before adding the mince beef and cooking until brown and mixing throughout to ensure there is no big clumps of meat. Add minced garlic and herbs and cook for 2 minutes more before adding the tins of chopped tomatoes. Simmer on a medium heat.

Cook rigatoni according to packet instructions (usually around 11 minutes).

Once pasta is cooked you can assemble the ziti in a large dish. First pasta, then mince, then dollops of ricotta, more mince, pasta, ricotta finishing with generous amounts of grated cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan.

My Struggle With IVF. The Beginning.

Every journey to motherhood is very different. We have wanted to speak about fertility for some time, but wanted to make sure that we gave it the voice that it deserves. There is no better voice than someone who spent 7 years, going through 9 rounds of IVF spending over £100K to finally get her beautiful baby boy. It is our pleasure to introduce a 6 part series with our wonderful friend Keeley Dwight AKA @_Tryingtobeamum_..

The Mum Club – a club I never thought I’d be a part of and why I am here writing to you guys.

There was a long time where I felt I didn’t belong to a club that I so desperately wanted to be a part of… motherhood. What I came to realise through my experiences, is that there are so many ways to mother.

BUT I’m getting ahead of myself!

Who am I? And why am I here?

I’m Keeley, a 43yr old Producer from East London, a lover of fashion, wine, poncy restaurants, mum to our miracle 9 month old Freddie, and I’m INFERTILE. Yup, even though I have a baby, I am infertile. Infertility is so common, it affects one in seven heterosexual couples in the UK,  and 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally (*WHO). Yet more often that not it is misunderstood, unacknowledged, and not discussed for fear of shame or embarrassment. It can affect you if you are yet to have kids, but equally can affect you if you already have them (secondary infertility affects 1 in 20 in the UK). These stats combined with the fact that 1 in 4 of us will experience miscarriage, is kind of mind blowing.

Given this platform is all about mums, women, connections and chatting about stuff with those that “get it”, it seems absolutely bang on that we chat about fertility. So that’s what I am here to do…. Although not an expert, i’m definitely a semi-professional. Having been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”, I have spent over 7 years trying to conceive, going through 9 rounds of IVF treatment, one miscarriage, countless tests, scans and procedures, at four different clinics, in three different countries. Fertility treatment, in whatever guise, is relentless, exhausting, often heartbreaking and a complete rollercoaster of emotions. It’s both a physical and emotional assault on your body, even if you don’t necessarily realise it at the time, I don’t think I did.  After 8 rounds of unsuccessful treatment with my own eggs, we decided to change our path to parenthood. In 2019 we made the decision to move to egg donation. We wanted a family, to be parents, and this is the way we would make our family. There was a fair bit to process and making the decision, although a fairly easy one for us, doesn’t come without it’s challenges. I had to grieve the loss of my own genetics, we had to consider our future child’s story, and what sort of donor/ donation we were looking for. All we knew was that all of these decisions were born out of love. We were so fortunate, because although donation is likely to give you better percentages of becoming pregnant, it is not a guarantee. In October 2019 we travelled to St Petersburg (Russia) and we transferred a top grade embryo. It worked! I gave birth to my gorgeous miracle boy Freddie in the summer of 2020. He is beyond delicious, a happy, chilled and funny little thing and I can’t now imagine life without him in it.

I know, it’s A LOT, and now I share my experience to try and help others feel less alone, to talk about infertility with a smile and a sense of humour, to try and convey that infertility doesn’t need to define you, and to raise awareness of just how bloody common this is. Believe me, someone you know has been through it, or is going through it and you probably don’t even realise. It’s also about that vital support that you or friends might need, gaining an emotional intelligence around infertility – What do you say? What don’t you say?

I’m going to be spending time with you here, exploring the world of fertility. Talking to experts about a myriad of different topics, chatting to those who have lived it, and throwing in some hints and tips that might help from my own experience.

Starting with the simple question of “Am I infertile?” to “how to survive the two week wait” (whether that’s through fertility treatment or not). From “Every loss to matters” to “MONEY, MONEY, MONEY”.

Even if this doesn’t affect you directly, I can guarantee you will be better for knowing that this exists, that it probably affects at least one of your friends or family (if not more) and that by investing a little bit of time, will make more of a difference than you realise.

So cosy up in your loungewear (we all have an abundance now!), grab a cuppa, a chilled glass of something lovely,  or whatever you fancy, and join me in finding out some stuff. Some pretty great stuff.

K x

How Long Do You Have To Wait To Have Sex After Birth?

Whether you were a bit frisky during pregnancy or you sat in the camp of ‘Get the F away from me!’ we can guarantee that post-birth, you’ll confidently reside in the latter.

Honestly, the thought of having S.E.X. couldn’t be further from our minds.

But what if you’ve started to worry if you will ever want it again? And when can you actually do it? Read on to find out…

Why don’t I want to have sex after birth?

Whatever labour you had, you’ll probably be viewing your body a bit differently right now. It’s completely normal to feel disconnected from any sexual thoughts. Readjusting your mind to see your bits and boobs as sexual entities feels almost impossible—especially when you’re breastfeeding, and your tits are your baby’s feeding station. But try not to worry. This opinion will change with time.

Is it ok I don’t feel like having sex?

Anyone else just feel a bit numb down there? “This is very normal for women after birth”, says Clare Castell, founder of Blossom Antenatal. She adds, “Hormone changes can impact your libido, cause dryness and affect how you feel. Never mind the fact you have a newborn baby to take care of!”. You might also feel a bit body conscious, which can play a huge part in sexual confidence. But don’t worry, like everything, it will slowly return, in whatever time frame is right for you.

When can I have sex after birth?

Usually, doctors say that it is ok six weeks after delivery. After this, it is entirely up to you and your partner. But mainly YOU. Please don’t ever feel like you have to rush. Do it in your own sweet time!

Will I want to have sex ever again?

It might not feel like it now, but @midwife_pip assures us that “You will! Please don’t put pressure on yourself. If you’re struggling and your partner has commented that you keep pushing him away, then talk to him and share your feelings.” In the meantime, enjoy intimacy in other ways like hugging, kissing or having a nice meal together. You have been through a lot, and you need to allow your body and mind time to recover and adapt to your new role as a mother”. If it starts to become a problem, you can speak to organisations like Relate. But usually, patience, time and a supportive partner will help.

Will it hurt to have sex after birth?

Whatever birth you had, there will be an element of soreness down below. Pregnancy puts a considerable amount of pressure on our bodies and our pelvic floor. You may experience some vaginal dryness, and If you feel tense, it will affect your ability to feel pleasure. So, try and relax, and get yourself some lube. It’s also worth being prepared that you may have to stop things in their tracks on the first few go’s until you’re ready. If it’s too painful, then don’t just carry on. It’s frustrating, we know, but your partner will understand.

Check-in with a physio to see if there’s any damage

Book in for a post-natal MOT to find out if you have any internal damage. The specialist will be able to advise you if you’re ready to have sex or if your body still needs some time to repair. Often women find that they are in a much better state than they think. Nervousness can play a part in getting back into things, so seeing a specialist might give you the boost you need.

Will I leak urine during sex?

If you’re experiencing leaks, then it’s probably due to stress incontinence, which is the same thing that causes you to leak if you cough or sneeze. This can be improved by doing your pelvic floor exercises, and if you feel like you need extra help, it is worth speaking to your GP or a pelvic health physiotherapist or specialist. If you leak during an orgasm, it could be because of urinary urgency, where the bladder muscles spasm when they’re not supposed to. Either way, if you’re worried, then speak to someone.

Will my vagina feel bigger after birth?

Our bodies are incredibly resilient. You only have to look at your post-pregnancy stomach to see how far it stretches out and back in. It will take a bit of time, but pelvic floor exercises will help tighten the muscles and make your vagina feel firmer.

4 ways to get your libido back after birth
  1. Increase your self-care
    Even just a long warm shower, bath or an extra bit of sleep can boost your mood. Ask your partner to take the baby out for a walk without you. Having an hour or so to yourself will help reignite your mood.
  2. Amp up the romance.
    Did sex use to follow a drunken night out? Or take place hungover when you were lounging in bed the next day? Well, if that’s no longer happening, you may need to switch things up and pour in some cheesy romance tactics like a rose petal bath or a candlelit dinner.
  3. Get some space.
    Ask a family member to take the baby for a few hours. Crack open some wine, play some music and order in some tasty food. You will feel so elated to have the house to yourselves (and to feel like two people who aren’t just parents) that the endorphins should spur on some nooky.
  4. Introduce a maintenance shag
    If it’s been a long old time since delivery, you may have to just go for it. We’re habitual creatures, and if we get used to not doing something, it can be daunting to get back into it, but once you do it, you’ll probably increase the likelihood of it happening more often.

TMC Recipe of the week: Avo-Mousse

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

Chocolate mousse done right! Whizz up a healthy, yet indulgent and silky mousse in minutes with this easy peasy recipe!

Ingredients: (makes 4 glasses)

-1 medium ripe avocado
-2 bananas
-1 can coconut milk
-2 tbsp good quality cocoa
– 4tsp honey/maple syrup
-1 tsp vanilla essence
-Raspberries/strawberries/pomegranate – any gorgeous fruit that’s not going to let this lovely pot of joy down!


Blitz all ingredients in a blender and just make it look pretty with fruit of your choice. Store in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving – enjoy!

An Experts’ Guide To Juggling Mum-Life And Career

Navigating motherhood is a journey to say the least.

One big part of that journey for many is juggling the world of work, while caring for your kids.

It’s not easy. But it doesn’t have to be impossible either!

We spoke to Tobi Asare from My Bump Pay to share some of her expert advice.

How to manage mum guilt when you go back to work

Going back to work fills you with lots of emotions. A big part of working means that we are stepping into a big change from being with our children for long periods of time to now spending more time away from them.

Remember you’re why. Why are you heading back to work, for many it is for financial reasons and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. A lot of women also like working and can’t see themselves as a full time mum. And that’s ok too!
Remind yourself you are heading back to work for a reason.
Secondly, I always encourage parents to embrace the fact that retuning back to work means that you won’t be able to be there for every moment with your child, but you will certainly be there for a number of important moments. It will mean that weekends become time where you can really invest into spending time with your family.

And just because your time is now split, don’t forget to schedule in important time to yourself also. That’s just as important and you should never feel guilt over it.

How to tell your boss you’re pregnant

Be sure to set up an online meeting (in person if possible) and have a conversation. These things are hard to discuss over email. Do have some facts at your fingertips? For example your due date and your initial thoughts about maternity leave?

Get Right On The Money – A Guide To Pre-School Funding For Parents

Whether you have a baby on the way, or have a little one already, we’ve compiled a list of all the money that is available to you if you are a UK resident. Read on, so you don’t miss out.

How to change career when you’re a mum

First, I would advise to draw upon your tangible achievements. Write down a list of what you have achieved in your current role and any other recent roles. Be sure to document your achievements in numerical form e.g. saved the business £x over x months. Recalling your achievements is a great place to start because it will help you to assess your tangible transferable skills. In addition to this it will help you to communicate your value in applications and interviews.

Secondly, I would be sure to connect with your network. This could be people you went to university with, former colleagues, friends and family. Speak to people you think are doing interesting things in sectors that you could potentially find exciting. From those conversations try to glean what their industries are like, what you need to succeed in these roles and if your skills could transfer. Connecting with your network is a powerful step, as a high percentage of roles are never advertised and are filled through personal networks.

Thirdly speak to other parents. Find how well their sector or organisation supports working parents and if it a culture where you will be able to thrive.

If you’re scared to take a break from your career to become a mum

Having a baby is an incredible time of learning and growth where you gain new transferable skills. It also brings a tremendous amount of clarity that can work in your favour when it comes to not giving up on our careers. Remember how long you take off for maternity leave is totally your choice and you don’t have to take off the full 52 weeks.

Secondly you can maintain in communication with your network and or colleagues to help you feel a part of what is happening in your industry. This will help you feel less like you have taken a pause and help you to keep your finger on the pulse.

Lastly, I always encourage women to prepare for their return before they go on maternity leave. This will help you to put your career in the best position possible before taking off for maternity leave.

Above all this is such a special time so, soak it all it and take lots of pictures because it goes by so quickly.

How to strengthen your career when you’re on maternity leave

There are some really simple things that you can do you help strengthen your career on maternity leave.

The first could be to set up google alerts for your industry and have the emails go into a separate folder. Now and again, you can read through the emails to stay abreast of key changes in your industry.

Book a keeping in touch session/day. More and more these can be done online and more flexibly than previously. You can discuss breaking up a full day into a number of sessions. Keeping in touch sessions are incredibly useful to stay in touch with the business or even do additional training.

It is also more than ok to be vocal and communicate your career goals that you have even whilst on maternity leave. Doing this helps to ensure you are top of mind when decision are being made at work that have an impact on your career.

If you would like to benefit from any of the resources that My Bump Pay has to offer to help you on your motherhood and work journey, then sign up the to My Bump Pay mailing list here – to be the first to hear about the My Bump Pay Masterclasses.

All Mum Club Members will receive 15% off using the code MUMCLUB15

Your Back to Work Breastfeeding Routine

Still breastfeeding but it’s time to go back to work? Read our guide on how to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

TMC Recipe of the week: Open Asparagus, Courgette and Feta Puff

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

A beautiful open rainbow tart. Perfectly baked to a lovely golden brown with ribbons of asparagus and courgette and jewelled with baby plum tomatoes and crumbled feta. A great option for an easy and impressive lunch, dinner or snack.


– 1 pack Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
– 200 g Feta Cheese, crumbled
– 2 tbsps of Tomato Paste
– 1 Courgette, ribbons
– 4 Asparagus Spears, ribbons
– Handful of Mixed Baby Plum Tomatoes, halved
– Handful of Grated Cheddar Cheese
– 1 tbsp Mixed Herbs
– Salt and Pepper to taste


– Preheat oven to 180˚C
– Unroll the puff pastry sheet onto a lined baking tray. Spread tomato paste over the pastry, leaving a border of approx 1 1/2cm’s to allow the pastry to rise.
– Add and equally scatter courgettes, asparagus, baby plum tomatoes, cheddar and feta. Sprinkle mixed herbs and season.
– Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden at the edges. Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes before serving.

How To Stop Your Baby Waking Too Early

If this isn’t high on your Google searches already you are one lucky mother. There’s nothing more exhausting or infuriating then a baby who wakes early and refuses to go back to sleep – though the unsolicited advice that comes with it (‘put them to bed later… let them nap/don’t let them nap… have you tried dipping them in butter and rolling them in breadcrumbs’) is also high up on our list of things not to love about the early years. We’ve combined the tips we’ve picked up along the way with words of wisdom from expert Kate Cohan Founder of @Sleep.Time.Baby. And if none of these work for you, our advice is to buy a Sage Barista Coffee Machine and fire up the iPad…

TMC: How do I know if my baby has woken too early?

Kate : Tough one. But go with your gut on this – the guidance is for them to have 12 hrs of daytime and 12 hrs of night, but it’s often more like 13/11hrs. The earliest I would say is okay to wake is 6am and the latest is the latest time that you can fit your daytime naps in and still get to your normal bedtime – normally around 8am.

TMC: What makes a baby wake early?

Kate: The main cause of early rising is overtiredness! An overtired child will find it harder to have a more settled night’s sleep, leading to waking in the early hours. Then we can look at factors such as too many/too little naps during the day, is it dark enough, does hunger or noise wake them too early, are they cold or has it become a habit, and can they self-settle? So basically lots of things!

TMC: What can I do to stop my baby waking early?

Kate: Address the possibilities listed above. I would suggest trying an earlier bedtime for five days to check for over-tiredness, and then later for five days to see if either makes a difference. Then you might need to tweak their daytime routine or night-time environment, give them more nutrition, look at how they’re settle or consider a ‘wake to sleep’ model before they wake up themselves.

TMC: What can we do to get them back to sleep again?

Kate: Early rising can take some time to alter, so consistency is key. Keep them in their room until as close to 6am (or your ideal morning time) as possible. You can comfort them and offer support to settle, of course.

TMC: Is there anything we can buy that would help?

Kate: White noise is great! I recommend the Mar Pac ones ( and use code Sleeptimebaby for 15% off) Dark is is essential so black-out curtains and a travel black-out blind can be very helpful; the Gro Company ones are good.

Your Early Waking Checklist

• Move bedtime to 6pm for five days to see if this works.
• Make sure their bedroom has complete black out (easier in the winter months)
• Check their nightwear suits the ambient temperature of their room (see our guide here). Add a pair of socks, vest, or switch to a long-sleeved sleeping bag.
• Try giving them a banana, porridge or oat cake just before bed to stop hunger waking them up.
• Take habit out of the equation. Set your alarm for one hour before they usually wake to stir them slightly and break their sleep cycle; they should go back into a deeper sleep for a few more hours.
• Consider encouraging them to settle themselves to sleep, so they don’t wake in the night wondering where you are (because that’s how they drifted off).

9 Skills Motherhood Can Add To Your CV

Maternity leave isn’t without its career worries. Will your job still be there when I go back? Will having kids affect your chances of promotion? How will you juggle childcare with your career? And the biggest anxiety of all… after nine months of broken nights and zero adult interaction, does baby brain ever really go away?

So let’s reframe: you’ve learnt some bona fide transferable skills on that year-long ‘break’ (and don’t get us started on that one). Don’t believe us? Read on…

Military-style Organisation

Mums achieve more before breakfast than most people do all day. Kids up and dressed, laundry on, lunches prepped, unscheduled morning bath due to unprecedented poonami, house tidied… and you still managed a flash of mascara while simultaneously breastfeeding the baby and helping your partner find his keys (where he left them; always). A good mum thinks ten steps ahead at all times – you can’t say that’s not transferable.

Negotiation Tactics

Whoever said ‘never negotiate with terrorists’ has clearly never dealt with a toddler; getting a vegetable past one of these requires the skill set of a highly trained FBI agent. “Just smell the broccoli sweetheart, then have an ice cream”. Bargaining, persuasion, bribery: you name it, you’ve mastered it.

Communication Skills

After a year of juggling multiple WhatsApp groups (including three different configurations of the girls from NCT) your comms management is on fire. Not only can you run seven conversations in tandem (“looks like just a rash babe, but I’d get it checked anyway”) you’re managing a weekly diary more complicated than your average CEO’s.

Relationship Building

Walking into a dusty church hall 15 minutes late with leaking boobs and a screaming new born used to be unnerving. Now? You can flash a boob at a stranger without missing a beat of your carefully honed small talk. In fact, you’re instant mates with anyone old enough to string a sentence together.


There’s no better feeling than handing a clean, dry and well-fed babe to your other half when they get home at the end of the day… and tapping out for a bath/essential online shopping/a very slow walk around the supermarket. Working together is tricky, but on the days you nail it you’ll feel like the dream team.


We love dads, we really do, but it’s no secret that when they’re ‘looking after the baby’, they’re just… looking after the baby. By the end of mat leave you’ll have 12 things on the go at any one time, all meticulously completed while you rock the bouncer with a spare foot and catch up on Netflix.

Problem Solving

Sally has 12 minutes to do the Aldi shop before the school run. The baby has fallen asleep in the car seat, she’s forgotten the pram, it’s raining, and she doesn’t have a pound coin for the trolley.

Financial Planning

Anyone who’s attempted to get by on statutory maternity leave for six months has serious fiscal skills. You fed your family, kept them (and yourself) entertained 24/7, and switched gas and electricity providers more often than Kim K posts selfies. Stick that in your YOY.

Creative Thinking

No toys, no problem; there is no scenario you can’t make a game out of. Dried pasta and a colander are the new soft play and you are Mary Poppins in activewear.

First Baby Vs… Every Other Kid After That

You can’t jump in the same river twice, and that’s never more true than in pregnancy. The romance, the glow, the putting-your-feet-up-at-the-end-of-the-day. Yup, you don’t get that back after the first (it was romantic, right?). And that’s not the only thing that changes; here’s how…

The Announcement

First Child

Each individual reveal carefully rehearsed and fully documented, with especially purchased ‘You’re going to be a Grandma/Grandad/Auntie/Niece/Cousin/Next Door Neighbour’ cards containing scan photograph and handwritten note. Then, the whole lot filmed and edited into an emotional video montage (to the soundtrack of that sad song from Twilight) and uploaded to a box fresh Instagram channel with baby’s newly secured handle.

Second Child

After stalking you on Insta, your best mate texts you ‘pregnant or fat?’ to which you reply: ‘oh, yeah. Due in June’.

The Nursery

First Child

Gender neutral jungle theme, featuring hand-painted orangutans on wallpaper sourced painstakingly from Paris. Matching cot, changing table and wardrobe, packed with tiny, twice-ironed outfits, each with coordinated shoes and accessories. All completed and ready at three months to go.

Second Child

You scream at your husband to ‘get the Snuz Pod out of the loft’ as you mop up your waters from the kitchen floor.

The Hospital Bag

First Child

TENS machine, lavender oil, make-up, three matching ‘coming mome’ outfits, baby shoes, oil diffuser, hair straighteners and kindle.

Second Child

A onesie for them and the pyjamas you were wearing when you went into labour.

The Labour

First Child

£200 in hypnobirthing birthing classes, 12-step birth plan featuring fully-considered ‘pain ladder’ featuring precisely zero drugs.

Second Child

You train your husband to bark ‘EPIDURAL’ at every medical professional he sees.

The Name

First Child

After filling two purpose-bought notebooks with potentials, you settle on two middle names only, and mark the decision with a hand-embroidered blanket for the nursery.

Second Child

Six weeks into calling them ‘baby girl’ you let your older kid pick out a name from the less obnoxious characters in Peppa Pig, on the night before you’re due to register the birth.

The Nappies

First Child

You change them the second the line changes blue, including four times a night for a reliably dry bum.

Second Child

You remember to change them when they waddle past with junk like Kim Kardashian.


First Child

Every. Single, Night. Followed by a massage with organic coconut oil (until they’re six months old, when you can choose something in a nice bottle from Space NK).

Second Child

Twice a week. Swimming pools and rainwater count.


First Child

Everything. All the time. Constantly.

Second Child

*Googles ‘does spit clean stuff’*


First Child

Seasonal produce, puréed in state-of-the-art baby food maker. Annabel Karmel eat your (organic) heart out.

Second Child

If it doesn’t come in a jar or a pouch the kid doesn’t believe it’s food.

Screen Time

First Child

Never. Montessori-approved wooden toys chiselled by Hungarian monks, thanks.

Second Child

Has his own Netflix account.

Real Life: Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is an illness I’d never heard of until just over a year ago. Now, I’m writing this to share my experience of that illness with other women, in the hope they won’t feel as lost as I did should those two words come crashing into their lives.

I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after the arrival of our beautiful daughter Arietta. I’d felt fine throughout pregnancy – as fine as anyone does when they’re dealing with huge changes to their body and in their life – and was excited about the coming arrival of our baby girl.

The birth, though not easy, was a wonderful experience, but by then I was desperate to escape the hospital environment and get some rest. The sleepless nights I’d struggled with towards the end of my pregnancy got worse in the days leading to her arrival. In the end I must have managed about 10 hours in the final three days.

From the start, life as a mother wasn’t as I expected it to be. I’d heard so much about SIDS while I was pregnant that I would lie in bed wide awake, watching her breath and repeatedly touching her to make sure she was alive. I would look at my husband lying beside me, wondering how he could sleep so peacefully while I was worrying about Arietta. It got worse. I panicked about little things, which felt huge at the time. I didn’t want my husband to go back to work and leave me alone with my daughter, feeling I wasn’t responsible enough to take care of her. I told myself the feelings would soon go but they only got worse. I would lie there thinking that if I died, all of this would be over. But how could I leave my husband, daughter and dog behind? Perhaps I should kill all of us, I panicked. I wanted us to be together but not in this life, not with this mind.

My manic thoughts could take me from cloud nine to a place that was so dark and lonely I would stare at the wall in a haze. I went to the doctor to talk about my concerns and was told it could be the ‘baby blues’ or postnatal depression. Then one night during the first week of Arietta’s life I had a panic attack that was so terrifying I thought I was dying and begged my husband to call an ambulance. The endless nights of staying awake to watch my baby breathe had taken their toll. It was just too much.

Soon after that, a midwife brought me the results from a urine test I’d had while I was in hospital. I was told I was a carrier of Group B Strep. It’s a normal bacterium carried by up to a third of adults, most commonly in the gut and (for up to 25% of women) in the vagina, usually with no symptoms or side-effects. It’s not sexually transmitted but in rare cases it can be passed on to your child, causing serious complications.

Learning this did not help my state of mind. That night I carried out my usual routine of watching Arietta sleep in her Moses basket for hours. When she didn’t stir for her bottle I woke her myself. She seemed hot and floppy, so in a state of panic I woke my husband too and told him that she must have an infection. We rushed to A&E where we waited for hours before being sent to the children’s ward for tests. By that point I was convinced that ‘someone’ had been watching us via secret cameras in our home. It was a test and this was a conspiracy, I thought, starting with the midwife telling me about the Group B strep to see if I’d submit my daughter to these unnecessary tests, having needles in her spine and bloods taken left right and centre, wasting important NHS time.

Only one parent could stay with the child at night so my husband left us in hospital. I began feeling lonely and confused, and as I lay there watching Arietta in the middle of the night I felt an urge to press the red emergency button on the wall. ‘She’s dead,’ I screamed as the nurses ran in. My cubicle was crowded with people; I told them they had killed her, they had done this to her, they got what they wanted. Of course, she was peacefully sleeping. She was fine; I wasn’t.  

The next day I was moved back to the postnatal ward while Arietta remained in the children’s ward, waiting for her tests to come back. Walking back through those same corridors but this time with my mum holding my hand instead of my husband, I felt like a child all over again. It was scary, really scary, and I feared what might happen next. Later that day, two psychiatrists, a nurse and a social worker came to see me. As I sat there with my husband, my mum and dad, and Arietta in a cot beside me, I believed we were all there to confirm the details of my funeral before I would be sedated then reincarnated as a better person.

It was then I learned I had postpartum psychosis, a rare chemical imbalance of the brain that can affect one in 1000 women. On a voluntary basis I would be taken to the closest mother and baby unit, 33 miles away in Stafford. My husband, who had been holding it together until now, looked terrified. I couldn’t believe this had happened to us – and in just one week. I wanted my baby to be safe, but I didn’t think she was safe with me. I hadn’t eaten, my lips were dry, my hair hadn’t been washed or brushed and I couldn’t remember when I’d last brushed my teeth. I just wanted to die and thought about the ways in which I could make it happen. I didn’t even recognise my own reflection in the mirror.

Arriving at the mother and baby unit I felt frightened and alone. I would go from thinking the world of my baby to resenting the fact she was there. I said horrible things, things I wouldn’t have dreamt of thinking had I been in my right mind. My medication (mood stabilisers, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants) took a few weeks to kick in and during that time I was convinced everyone on the ward was lying to me: actors and actresses undercover for the police. I sat on my bed wrapped in a ball, refusing to talk about anything other than the ‘set up’.  I would demand to see the nurse’s name badges, believing they wore head pieces which fed them information about me and questions to ask. I was watched around the clock during the first week, my door open day and night with a member of staff staring at me, telling me when to eat, sleep, drink, and open or close the curtains. By now I just wanted my body to shut down, thinking that the longer I didn’t eat or drink the sooner I’d die. I wasn’t allowed to close the door of the loo or shower in case I tried to hurt myself. My husband was the only person I wanted with me; I didn’t even want to hold my own baby.

When the medication eventually kicked in I got my appetite back, gained weight, and things slowly improved. I had on-and-off home leave, where we could see how I coped with my daughter. The paranoid thoughts had gone and I was finally discharged, but I was left with a lack of confidence, not wanting to leave the house or converse with anyone. I was very low and felt sure that everyone who looked at me thought I was a bad mother. It took six months until I felt completely back to normal, and could come off the anti-psychotic medication sooner than expected.

I wanted to share my story, as even with a huge support network it was a dark and lonely time. My husband stood by my side through the whole thing, visiting me for hours every day. My family visited me regularly and the staff at the unit were outstanding, promising me again and again I’d get better, even though I didn’t believe them. I’ve been given phenomenal support since then, too. My psychiatric nurse is from a local team which supports people with early intervention in psychosis. I honestly can’t thank people enough for the care and support.

Don’t ever suffer in silence, and don’t be afraid of the stigma of mental illness. I was told so many times that there’s nothing to be ashamed off; it’s no different to any other illness or disease. Speak up and be honest. It takes time and patience but there is so much help out there for you.

How To Help Your Child During A Tantrum

Tantrums happen. It’s normal. And it’s okay. I promise you. Whether it’s in the comfort of your own home because you won’t let them have one more episode of Peppa Pig. Or if it’s in the middle of Waitrose in aisle 3, full blown kicking and screaming because you won’t buy them (yet another) plastic fantastic kids magazine with ‘stuff’ they won’t even play with. Here are my top tips on how to handle and manage those moments before you reach for the Mummy Juice at 9am…and remember, you are not alone.


Firstly, let’s try and understand why they do it. Chances are, they’re testing their boundaries and exploring their emotions, so how you manage them is really important. This is where you lay down the rules and show them that you’re the Boss from the get go. I always think a ‘firm but fair’ approach works well for children of any age. They could be hangry (it happens, even to us!), over whelmed, nervous, over excited, going through a big change. Try and understand why this tantrum has happened, and therefore we can manage it a bit better.

Communication…how to handle it…

Don’t totally freak out if they say ‘no’. It’s not always a ‘bad’ thing, and this may mean that they are strong willed, and this isn’t necessarily a negative. One day, you’ll want them to be able to stand up for themselves in the playground. But let’s teach them as and when this is okay to say. And remember…they’ll have picked this up from somewhere…!! I find the best way it to get down to their level to talk to them, this way they know you mean business. Try and rephrase what you are going to say, avoiding ‘no’ and reason with them. No matter how big or small they are, always talk it out with them. Emotions are running high when a child has a tantrum. They are still figuring out how to control their emotions (who isn’t…?!), so we need to support and comfort them. I find it best to do this once they’ve calmed down, you’ve spoken the situation through, and then you can cuddle and support them emotionally.

Consistency is key…

It’s key. Whether it’s you handling the situation (or shit-uation), the grandparents, your nanny, nursery, anyone….it is so important you are all on the same page. Not only will this make it easier for your little one to understand and process, but in the long run it’ll make it easier for you. And trust me, you’re in it for the long haul.

Time Out…why it works & how to do it…

Time Out spots are a great time and place for your child to think and reflect what has just happened. This gives them time to process that what they have done, wasn’t necessarily okay. If at this point they are having a mega meltdown, it also gives them time to calm down and just have some space. Equally, this also gives you the chance to take a couple of minutes to process the situation and how you are going to handle it. Keeping calm is vital, they will vibe this off of you. You don’t want it to become a shouting battle. Be consistent with your Time Out spot. Avoid their bedrooms, as this is their space and you don’t want them to dread going here as it’ll eventually effective their sleep. Find a designated spot and stick to it. I find a minute for every year of age is plenty. Set a timer, so that 2 minutes is actually 2 minutes and not 12! Talk to your child, ask them why they feel they’ve been sent to Time Out. Hopefully they can give you a half decent answer. If they are too little to verbally explain, still chat to them. Explain that you understand they may be feeling frustrated etc, but the way in which they acted isn’t okay. Avoid saying the word “no” as they’ll copy this. Try and rephrase the saying such as “let’s see if we can find a better way to…” or “next time, let’s try using our kind hands.”

Reward charts…why it works & which ones…

Reward charts are great for all ages as they can visually see they are being rewarded. This makes the end goal much more reachable, as sometimes children struggle to picture the end goal. Children’s perception of things when they can’t physically see it, can be very confusing! I believe that you should never reward for good behaviour, this is something that should always (hopefully) be happening. But let’s be realistic…children may need a little bit of encouragement in certain areas. And that’s okay! Keep the reward charts specific for their purpose and don’t generalise them. This will make it much easier for your little one to understand and strive to reach that end goal. Never take away something that they have earnt. Once they’ve earnt that reward (for whatever reason it may be!), it’s theirs forever. If you’re feeling creative, grab out those pens and paper and get making a star chart. They don’t need to be particularly fancy, but if you’re using stickers, definitely go with their flavour of the week. If not, you can get some fun personalised ones… Not fancy the typical chart? An empty jar and some marbles or dried pasta will also do the job!


Talk to them and try and understand why they were feeling the way there were. Let them know you understand their emotions, but perhaps next time they need to go about it in a different way. If they’re older and don’t feel like talking, let them write it out in a diary. A problem shared, is most definitely a problem halved.

Comforting them…

Comforting is key, and who doesn’t love a hug?! Once your little one has calmed down, apologised if necessary, make up. Especially if this has happened just before bedtime. I know you may still be baffled by their actions at this point, but to them, to feel loved, safe and secure again is super important. This will have an impact on going forward to their actions in the future.

What To Wear This Week

With the ever-changing weather and the past year being spent mostly in joggers, the stress of actually having to dress ourselves again is real!! We want to make life easier for you with some quick outfit inspiration for the week ahead!

Our Summer Essentials, Because If The Suns Out, We’re Out

We all have our fingers crossed for brighter days ahead, and the sunshine certainly helps with that. So we’re prepared for warmer weather, we’ve rounded up our best picks for keeping yourself summer safe, as well as the kids.

For The Kids

The IZIPIZI sunglasses, £30, come in every colour (even tortoiseshell), and feature special lenses that properly protect, delicate eyes.

A towelling tunic is the easiest way to keep the sun rays off their shoulders when they’re in and out of the paddling pool. We love this striped one from Next £16 – £19.

We remember Crocs from when they first launched and we’re not sure we’d have been seen dead in them then. Now all the cool kids are wearing them so what do we know. There’s also no denying they’re a saviour when it comes to children who are in and out the house, and them being able to pop on their own feet. We love a navy pair £20 from Alex and Alexa here.

Babymoov’s bestselling Anti-UV sun tent in new blue wave, is not just great as it keeps the sun off with UPF 50+ protection, we’ve also managed to convince our kids that it’s the ultimate outdoor camp to keep them entertained. You can carry it and then just pop-up in seconds anywhere and as it’s such a hit with TMC, Babymoov have kindly given a discount for our club. Simply enter ‘mumclub10’ at checkout to save 10% off the £34.99 RRP. Offer valid for the next 2 weeks.

If you haven’t got one of these hats for your children, then we can’t rate them enough. Their cool and fun designs make them appealing for the kids, but they also have a super handy neck cover at the back, are 100% cotton and provide UV and mosquito protection. We’re currently loving the cub and sophisticat design, £27.

Forget the bulky buckets that are hard to carry and get yourself a scrunch bucket and spade. Yes, that’s right, a bucket and spade that you can squish right down and pack-up easily. Bucket £8.99, Spade £2.99

A made to measure mud kitchen to encourage outdoor play and give you a moments peace in the sunshine. Prices start from around £200, but they really are great for keeping the kids entertained.

Honey Kuling x Garbo & Friends Buttercup Rashguard Set, £37, provides UV 50+ sun protection, so you can just apply sun cream to the uncovered areas, which should take less time and in theory, should mean less moaning. Plus, it makes them look super cute too.

For You

Keep things chilled with a POPS BELLINI. Created using real prosecco and a dash of peach schnapps. Each ice lolly is 3.8% ABV, dairy and gluten, with a delicious slushy, sorbet-like texture. Yum.

A fedora will never go out of fashion, which makes it the perfect purchase. This one is £58 from Lack of Color and we love it.

Hunza G’s crinkle, bright and bold bikini collection has been on our radar for a few years now and we still can’t get enough of it. This blue bandeau is super comfy but also forgiving for tan lines if you’re not as conscientious at applying your cream as the kids. From £112 from Matches

Perfect for summer days in the park, this quilted roll-up picnic blanket was designed especially for the Tiba + Marl x Smiley® collaboration. Super soft and padded it brings an element of comfy and cool to any picnic. £42.

These classic cat eye sunglasses are a bargain at £12. Which is handy if you’re running round after children and drop your glasses on the floor 15 times a day (like we do!).

A summer cover up dress for popping over beachwear and looking like you’ve made an effort. £79 here.

We love this floral bag for throwing all the essentials in. Way better than a carrier and worth the investment for a summer long worth of use.

Streamline your packing with the Ultrasun Ultra Sensitive 50+ – as it’s perfect for you and the kids’ skin – contains no oil or perfume and sinks into skin fast. £19.99 from Superdrug.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated in the heat with a Chilly’s water bottle, £30, here:

SOS: Save Our Sleep

Sleep. No-one can prepare new parents for the lack of, and with so much conflicting advice out there it can be hard to feel compelled to adopt a certain routine or schedule.

Rosey Davidson is the founder of Just Chill Baby Sleep, an infant sleep consultancy focused on providing straight forward, no-nonsense sleep advice to parents. As the ultimate sleep guru (ask anyone who has ever worked with Rosey), we asked her for some advice on her most commonly asked questions. 

Setting up a great sleep environment is important, but how do you go about this and why is it so crucial?

Our sleep environment is the set-up of where we sleep. We can all benefit from optimising this – babies and adults alike. First of all, it’s important to think about temperature. We all sleep a little better when things are on the cooler side. The Lullaby Trust, the baby sleep charity, say that the safest temperature for our little ones is 16-20 degrees Celsius. If you can’t control the temperature of the room, you should adapt the layers that baby is wearing. In really hot temperatures its fine for baby to just wear a vest or a nappy to bed. If you are unsure how warm your baby is its best to feel the back of their neck or their chest. It’s very normal for their hands and feet to feel a little cooler than the rest of them. We do have a guide for what to dress baby in for bed on the blog on our website.
Make sure your sleep environment is as tech free as possible (no TVs etc!). The blue and white light from devices, and bright lights, can interfere with our sleep hormone melatonin. When doing nappy changes or night feeds I suggest an amber reading light, or a low lamp to avoid waking up you and your baby fully at this time. Amber, red or pink are the best colours to help us sleep.
The next really helpful pointer for sleep environment is to black out those bedrooms! Darkness helps us sleep and helps facilitate the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone. Often, we are putting our babies to bed when it’s still light outside, and it gets lighter in the morning way earlier than we would like them to get up! Keeping things dark can really help them to switch off, and to stay asleep a little longer.

Do you need a routine? And when and how do you go about starting one?

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this. It’s a really personal thing as to when you might want to start having a bit of a rhythm to your day. I do believe that all humans do like to have a routine of sorts. Most babies seem to naturally fall into their own routine by around 6 months, but if they haven’t done this then you can absolute start implementing one. Many will benefit from a gentle rhythm to their day even earlier. A really great way to start is to simply aim to start the day at roughly the same time each day. This can help anchor your day, so that baby’s naps will hopefully start to follow a bit of a pattern. I think it’s really important to be able to go out and socialise a little, especially with things starting to open up a little more, but also to give baby the opportunity to sleep if they are tired. A routine shouldn’t be so rigid that you can’t get out once in a while.

How do you help your baby settle themselves, if that’s the route you want to take? Is it important for them to settle themselves?

It’s important to note that there is nothing wrong with helping your little one to sleep. This is perfectly normal, and in many cases not an issue at all. Some babies are fed or rocked to sleep and get a settled night, or you might find your situation quite manageable as it is. However, if you are in a situation that feels unsustainable and you would like to work on sleep, it is worth assessing how your little one falls asleep. For some babies how they fall asleep at night is how is what they come to expect between each sleep cycle when they stir (i.e., rocking, feeding, patting etc). If you want to work on them connecting sleep cycles independently then practising putting baby down awake is a good place to begin. You can do this really slowly by layering in new ‘habits’ before removing the old, or you can start a bit quicker if you feel it would be beneficial for your family. It is important to note the temperament of your baby. Some need more gradual change, and some are fairly relaxed and may adapt really well. Find a method and plan that suits you, your baby and your belief system.

How can we go about managing sleep regressions?

As babies and toddlers move through developmental milestones it isn’t unusual for sleep to be temporarily disrupted. They may wake more frequently at night, take shorter naps or fight falling sleep. These periods of disruption are often referred to as ‘sleep regressions’ even though they are triggered by phases of developmental progression. Whilst most babies tend to reach key milestones at roughly the same age as each other, all babies are different and will experience these phases of development when they are ready. The only real ‘regression’ that we recognise is the ‘4-month sleep regression.’ It isn’t really a regression at all, it’s actually a progression in your baby’s development. It is a good sign that your baby’s sleep cycle is maturing.
This phase of change represents the biggest change in sleep that your baby will go through, making the structure of their sleep cycles much more like those of an adult. Once this change in sleep has occurred, we all, babies and adults alike, naturally wake between each of these cycles. It can be a good time to work on sleep if you want to.
You can help your baby to get their sleep back on track and support them to practice how they can fall asleep themselves. Learning to sleep independently can be tricky for some babies, but it is absolutely achievable over time. Some babies will naturally adjust to their newly matured sleep patterns and sleep well again within a few weeks, others need some help to practice new skills in order to sleep well.

For sleep, I’m sure a lot of us know there isn’t a one size fits all, what’s the best advice you’d give for getting support?

Do some reading and research. We have some great free resources available. Remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to sleep. We are all individuals, and you are your baby’s expert. My YouTube channel and our blog are a great place to start. I also have lots of guest lives and podcasts in my highlights on Instagram. You might find that with a few tweaks you are able to make some really great progress. If you do want some more tailored help, we offer 1:1 telephone calls and online courses. When looking for a sleep consultant it’s important that you take into account your parenting style and beliefs and choose someone who fits with that.
Ultimately, you will sleep again, and you don’t have to suffer sleep deprivation long term. We all deserve a good night’s sleep!
You can find out more about Just Chill Baby Sleep here: