Little Snoopy Bargain! (Project 366 – Day 39)

Not the best photo of Zaki but how cute is this jumper?! My sister found it in H&M for the bargainous sum of £1! Yep, one English pound! 

We had a Snoopy video we watched over and over again when we were kids (although in hindsight it was really weird – Snoopy had a row with Charlie Brown, ran away from home, ended up encountering loads of ‘No Dogs Allowed’ signs and moved in with a girl who made him wear a dress and have tea parties.) But anyway, I’ve had a soft spot for Snoopy since then so I totes love this jumper.

Here’s hoping my sisters finds more £1 Snoopy bargains!


Swimming Lesson! (Project 366 – Day 38)


At Zaki’s last check up with his cardiologist he was given the all clear to go swimming so I bit the bullet and booked a course of swimming lessons for both boys with Puddle Ducks. 

My first impressions were good and both Omar and Zaki had a whale of a time. Omar really surprised me by following the instructions well and not having any tantrums at all, even when he got dunked! (By the instructor, not by me, although I was considering it.)

I’ll blog more about Puddle Ducks once we’ve been a few more times but I’m really hoping the boys continue to love it. So far so good!  

Rusky Business (Project 366 – Day 37)


I know it’s not the done thing these days to give your baby a rusk but Zaki had one and he absolutely loved it! He was making all kinds of appreciative chomping noises and actually cried when he’d finished it, haha!

Weaning has been more difficult with Zaki than it was with Omar. To start with he wasn’t keen on solids AT ALL. He would spit everything out and screw his face up. After about 3 weeks he got used to eating and would tolerate it but still wouldn’t put anything in his mouth of his own accord, so baby led weaning was out. 

5 weeks on and the situation is much easier now. He will happily gnaw away on toast, banana, courgettes and of course rusks!


The Nursery Mums Gang

I’m not in the Nursery Mums Gang. They won’t let me in. I think this is why:

I don’t drive a white Audi Q3 ( and I don’t barge my way into the nearest parking spot to the door with it)

I don’t have blonde hair complete with extensions carefully arranged on top of my head in a ‘messy bun’ that took 45 minutes to achieve 

I don’t have a weekly spray tan

I don’t wear Ugg boots and a Barbour jacket on ‘scruffy days’

My children aren’t dressed head to toe in Hatley or Oilily upon arrival at nursery 

I don’t obsessively buy every new range from Next for my kids’ play wear 

I don’t own one of those awful plastic Ted Baker bags or the matching flip flops

Yeah, I think that’s about the crux of it. 

I’ve though about it and concluded that even if I rectified some of the above in an effort to join the Nursery Mums Gang, I still don’t think they’d let me in (or if they did they’d soon chuck me back out) because they’d realise I don’t give two hoots about keeping up with them. It must be exhausting being so competitive and constantly checking what your ‘friends’ are buying to make sure you don’t lag behind. I just couldn’t be bothered with it. We’re mothers for crying out loud, not Mean Girls. (Although I’d love to be a Mean Girl – “If you’re from Africa why are you white?”)

I’d seen comedy sketches poking fun at competitive school mums before I became a mum. I particularly remember a French and Saunders one many, many years ago about mums pulling up to school in increasingly bigger 4×4’s, until Jennifer Saunders turned up in an actual tank, haha. I had no idea how absolutely realistic the basis for those sketches really were. 

Ready to face the Mean Girl mums
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no crunchy mum myself. I like to wear a lot of make up, I have manicures and wear a Biba leopard print faux fur jacket for the nursery run. My kids sometimes wear expensive clothes but only when I happen to like those clothes and not because I buy them solely based on the brand or price tag or because that’s what all the other mum’s are dressing their kids in. My kids wear cheap clothes too, it just depends what I like. 


These outfits cost £7 each. Don’t tell the Nursery Mums.
But it’s not the members of Nursery Mums Gang’s penchant for semi-designer brands or their competitive nature when it comes to image that gets my goat. They can wear what they want with as much gusto as they can muster for all I care. And when they dress their kids, I’m sure they’re putting them in clothes that they like, just as I am. But what really grates on me is their completely obvious disdain for anyone who doesn’t fit in with them and also how pathetically clique they are. They don’t even try to hide it. They never EVER crack a smile for me, even if I’m giving them my biggest beam-face. They talk about socialising knowing I can hear but have never suggested I join them for their coffee mornings, even in a polite, through gritted teeth, we’re-inviting-you-but-please-don’t-come sort of way. If I try to chime in when they’re chatting I’m either ignored or curtly given a one word answer. 

Is it just me this is happening to or is the bitchy Nursery Mums Gang a common phenomena? 

When I moaned to my husband about it he offered me a simple explanation. ‘Maybe they just don’t like you.’ Yes. Maybe. Except they don’t know me, so any dislike is based solely on my appearance. How dare they take against the faux fur like this?!

Anyway, I don’t mind not being in the Nursery Mums Gang. I doubt I’d have much in common with them. There’s a dad who does the drop offs and pick ups in his battered old Ford Fiesta and a mum who’s a P.E teacher that comes in a tracksuit and I’m in a more subtle (but way more cool) gang with them. We don’t loudly arrange Tapas evenings or compare our Michael Kors watches in the corridor (yes, both of those things actually happened) but we do have little chats about how our children are getting on and how good the BBC adaptation of War and Peace was. They’re much more my cup of tea and I’m thinking of arranging a bigger and better Tapas evening with them anyway. 

Screw you Nursery Mums Gang!

Pancake Day Fail – Project 366 (Day 40)

Poor old Omar had to make do with poxy pancakes from McDonald’s this year because I was too poorly to make any. I wouldn’t recommend them by the way, they had the texture of cardboard and didn’t really taste like pancakes according to my mum. 

I’ll have to make extra special pancakes next year to make up for it. 

Puppy Love (Project 366 – Day 34)


Just before Christmas a friend of mine got a new family pet, a Bichon Frisse dog called Arthur. 

As soon as they met, Omar and Arthur became great buddies. It’s the first time Omar has been this close to a dog and it was so cute to see how happy he was to meet Arthur!


The photos aren’t great, I was taking them with my phone whilst holding Zaki, but I really wanted to capture how excited Omar was by Arthur the pup. 

That being said, we won’t be getting a dog. Ever. There’s enough mayhem in this house as it is! But at least I’m now prepared for the fact that Omar is probably going to be one of those kids that asks if we can get a dog 50 times a day between the age of 4 and 16. (My brother was also one of those kids.)

If you’re thinking of getting a dog, it seems Bichon Frisse’s are child-friendly. Arthur was just as happy to meet Omar as Omar was to meet him and I was never once worried that he was going to bite or nip him. If he can put up with Omar he can probably put up with anything. 

Congenital Heart Defects – Be Aware, Be Prepared

February is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness month. You might have read my post about my baby, Zaki and his broken heart and how his life was saved by some amazing cardiologists, surgeons, consultants and nurses. Our outcome was a happy one but we all would’ve found it so much easier to cope if we’d been aware and been prepared.

Before Zaki was born I knew absolutely nothing about congenital heart defects and assumed that if there was anything wrong with my baby’s heart it would have been picked up at my 20 week anomaly scan. Wrong. Only 50% of the type of defect Zaki had are spotted during the anomaly scan. When I was told about the diagnosis I wish I’d known more about it; instead I felt confused and helpless. I’m passionate about raising awareness wherever I can now, so here are some helpful facts about congenital heart defects:

  • Congenital heart defects are problems that have occurred with the structure of the heart as it was formed (‘the plumbing’)
  • There are 18 recognised main congenital heart defects, with variations of each one
  • 1% of babies will be born with a congenital heart defect and it is the most common defect in newborns
  • That’s 12 babies a day in the UK that are affected
  • Out of those 12 babies, 4 will have been diagnosed pre-natally, 4 will be diagnosed shortly after birth and 4 will go home undiagnosed until they fall ill or die
  • The heart is formed within the first 6 weeks of a foetus’ life and the defect has probably occurred before the mother even knows she is pregnant
  • Congenital heart defects kill twice as many children as all childhood cancers combined


Scary stuff isn’t it? But it isn’t all bad news. With early intervention 90% of babies born with a congenital heart defect go on to live happy, long lives.


My baby after his open heart surgery, just days old


My baby at 6 months old
There really isn’t anything a mother can do to prevent her baby being born with a congenital heart defect but there are steps that can be taken to make sure it’s picked up as soon as possible.

At the 20 week anomaly scan the following questions can be asked of the sonographer:

  1. Can you see the 4 chambers of the heart?
  2. Are there 2 upper chambers and are they controlling the blood flowing out of them with valves?
  3. Are there 2 lower chambers and are they controlling blood flowing out of them with valves?
  4. Do the two great arteries (aorta and pulmonary artery) cross over each other as they exit the heart?
  5. Are there any holes in the wall between the two lower chambers?
  6. Can you see any abnormalities at all with the heart?

If you are pregnant, write those questions down, take them with you and ask. It’s worth it. The sonographer might not be able to answer all of those questions and might put it down to the position of the baby. If that happens offer to go for a walk and come back in 10 minutes. You might sound like a pushy mother-to-be but who cares? It might just save your baby’s life. I so wish I had asked those questions. Knowing about a congenital heart defect prior to the birth increases the baby’s chances of survival and also means the parents can mentally (and practically) prepare themselves for what’s to come.

There’s an amazing charity called Tiny Tickers who do great work in funding training for sonographers so that more CHD’s will be spotted at the anomaly scan. You can order a card free of charge from the Tiny Tickers website here which you and the sonographer can go through together at your scan if you’d prefer to do that rather than ask the questions above.

If a congenital heart defect isn’t picked up at the 20 week anomaly scan there are signs and symptoms that might become apparent once the baby is born:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Cyanosis (skin looks blue, especially hands and feet)
  • No interest in feeding
  • Fatigue (baby will not wake)


Zaki was too tired to feed, which prompted a doctor to checks his sats.

If you have any concerns AT ALL please insist that a pulse oximetry test is carried out on your baby. It’s a really quick, non invasive test that involves a sensor being placed on a finger or toe. The oxygen saturation levels (sats) in the blood can be measured that way and if they are lower than expected, that suggests a problem with heart function and further tests can then be carried out to establish exactly what’s going on.

Don’t be embarrassed/shy/too polite to ask for that test to be carried out if you are genuinely worried that your newborn isn’t behaving as he or she should. That simple sats test saved my baby’s life. (For the first time, his life was about to get saved several times over the following weeks but that’s another story.) Don’t sit there quietly panicking, just explain your worries and ask for the test.

If you go home with your baby and later notice something isn’t quite right go to a&e. Heart defects are time critical and every second matters. Don’t worry that you are being over-cautious, just get your baby checked out. Your instinct might save their life.

Of course 99% of babies do not have a congenital heart defect so please do not let this post worry you sick. The chances are that your baby will be absolutely fine. But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Something that I definitely wasn’t when I was told there was something wrong with my baby’s heart a few hours after I had given birth.

If you find yourself in the position that I was in try to take comfort in the fact that the cardiologists and surgeons will do absolutely everything possible to save your baby and above all else, stay strong.