Women Must Vote And Not Because Women Died For The Right

Today is voting day in the UK. Every newspaper, Facebook, every conversation is about this election and yet I know so many women who still, half way through the day, don’t know who they will vote for, or even if they will vote.

When someone mentions the word ‘vote’ or ‘election’ I burst out with a full throated:

“So, cast off the shackles of yesterday!
Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!
Our daughters’ daughters will adore us
And they’ll sing in grateful chorus
“Well done! Well done!
Well done Sister Suffragette!”

– even if it’s just in my head, it’s full of gusto!

And like many others, I’ve been quick to say, but you must vote! Women DIED to give you a vote!

Women died 1, were exiled 2, were imprisoned 3, were tortured 4. These women, among them:


But you know what, for many of us, that kind of doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect our lives today. That was then. So much has changed. Read more: Women Must Vote And Not Because Women Died For The Right

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Davison
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christabel_Pankhurst
  3. http://mashable.com/2015/10/28/suffragettes-in-prison/#wtoWurMARgqE
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_Terror_(event)

Six Ways To Kill A Revolution

I don’t know why this is on my mind tonight, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with what I normally write about. And yet it does, since politics affects us all whether we pay attention to it or not. I’ve been thinking a lot about the events of the last few weeks – haven’t we all – and there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: why isn’t anyone demanding justice over the lies from the people we’re supposed to trust to lead us?

The few people I have spoken to about the fact that I am angry that voters for the EU Referendum were lied to from so many sides that even intelligent, interested people walked into the polling stations still unsure of what to vote, have all said the same thing: That’s what politicians do. 

So, a few weeks have passed, xenophobic attacks have died back a little, angry people are still smarting, but life goes on, and we’ve had other things to worry about, so we’re not sitting stewing as loudly in our disappointments – or victories, for those who wanted Out.

But I’m stilll sitting here wondering why the owners and editors of newspapers that emblazoned lies in capital letters aren’t held accountable. Why politicians and people speaking on behalf of them aren’t held accountable. Why people – all people, both sides of the vote – aren’t in uproar over the lies. Aren’t furious that interviews that ‘came clean’ weren’t held the day before or the day of the vote rather than the day after. Aren’t insulted at being taken for fools. Aren’t livid at how powerless we really are.

I’m fairly certain that if I applied for a mortgage, say, and supplied misinformation and blatant lies, I could be ‘done’ for fraud? I’m equally certain that if I dressed up in a police officers uniform and grabbed someone’s car claiming ‘police business’, I would still be ‘done’ for theft or at the very least impersonating a police officer – even though I never actually said I was a policeman.

So where is the accountability? Why is there one set of laws for them, and not for me.  How do I teach my children wrong from right if they can’t even see it in the pinnacle of leadership in our country? Why aren’t people furious about this? 

I’ll tell you why:

Distractions Distractions Distractions

6 Ways To Kill A Revolution

1. Give the people a common enemy

My daughter asked me this morning “what does ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ mean? I don’t even know where she heard it, but it got me thinking about this. Give people a common enemy and they will draw together, even if only for a time. Give generally decent people from both sides of the vote a common enemy aka the ‘indecent’ people – the bigots, the racists, the haters – and they’ll put aside their own differences to fight their common enemy. Or all those people who voted ‘out’ simply to protest vote against Cameron and his government – even a lot of people who were gutted after the results were announced saw his resignation as a relief. Enough of a relief to not demand answers?

I’ve written frequently enough about my experience of growing up in a country at war, and one thing I knew as a nine year old child was this: give people a common enemy and they band together. That new unity becomes a temporary distraction.Read more: Six Ways To Kill A Revolution

Temporary Victory For Term Time Holidays (And Why This Really Matters!)

I am so excited today about the High Court’s verdict in the case of Jon Platt versus the Isle of Wight council. For those who don’t know about this, Mr Platt took his child out of school in April last year for a term time family holiday. As is normal, he was fined £60 by the Isle of Wight council for removing child from school, and the fine was doubled to £120 when he refused to pay it. In October, Mr Platt went to court because he was of the opinion that he was within the law, which states that children have to be regularly attending school. The exact wording of the law says:

If a child of compulsory school age who is a registered pupil at a school fails to attend regularly at the school, his parent is guilty of an offence. 1

In the previous year, Mr Platt’s daughter had 93.6% attendance at school 2 which he deemed constituted ‘regular’ attendance – which is what the High Court today agreed with.

This ruling may not affect me personally, but I am beyond happy with it. My children are educated at home, so we can (and do) go where ever we want, whenever we want, and the inability to have term time holidays was a big – obviously not the only, but a big – part of why we opted to home educate. statues-919023_960_720Read more: Temporary Victory For Term Time Holidays (And Why This Really Matters!)

  1.  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/section/444
  2.  http://news.sky.com/story/1695495/father-wins-court-battle-on-school-holidays

Placenta Consumption Is A Woman’s Right! Please Help Keep It One

Nothing can make your dinner guests look closer at the lovely beef steak on their plates than a conversation turned to placentas, and more specifically, the consumption of one. Irrespective of your personal views on whether you would ever eat your own placenta or not, the current plan to forbid a woman from eating her placenta either raw, cooked or in capsule form, drink it in a smoothie or use placenta remedies is, in my view horrifying. Do we not still have the right to choose? 

Whether you agree with it or not, I’m going to ask you to sign this petition in support of the Independent Placenta Encapsulation Network to allow them to keep helping new mothers. The fact is, the consumption of placenta will continue whether it is banned or not – the only difference will be in whether a new mum has to put her baby down and drag herself into the kitchen to prepare it or not!

Please sign this petition, for the rights of women to choose what to do with their own bodies – all of our body –  if nothing else. (Click the image below to sign the petition) Petition You can read all about the amazing organ that is the placenta here baby If you’d like to know more about why women choose to consume their placentas, read on!

I think people have a mental image of women who consume their placentas as the ‘earth mother’, ‘hippie’ types – always said almost derogatory too! – but I love how the women who’ve contributed their stories here are all professional, educated women… the kind of women who know their rights and want to be have control over their own bodies.

My story: I only briefly saw my placenta for a moment when my oldest was born, before it was whipped off and into the waste bin. I wish I’d known better then, but by the time my second came along, I was determined to have both a smoothie and the capsules.

We were going through a very hard time as a family and I was very worried about post natal depression, or even just depression because of what we were going through. Whether it was the capsules or not, I can’t say for certain, but we got through it with no depression from me, my milk came in really well, and I was able to cope with the demands of  a new baby and having to start working 6 days after her birth too

Krishna B, 41, Office Manager Having suffered with PND when our first child was born, I was keen to find something natural that could help me prevent this happening again. The more I read about it, the more it made sense to me on an instinctive level, it just ‘felt right’. I was willing to try anything not to go through that again and this seemed worth a try. I had a placenta smoothie and capsules. After drinking the smoothie I felt an almost instant lift in my energy and emotions. Taking the capsules was like magic! I didn’t suffer any of the lows, my emotions were much more even. Even though I lost a lot of blood during the birth, I recovered much faster, even with a 19 month old toddler running around along with my newborn. My bleeding stopped within days rather than weeks, my milk was abundant and I had loads of energy even with very little sleep. I feel the placenta remedies played a very important part in my post birth recovery, which meant our children had the absolute best of me under trying circumstanes and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Baby FeetSamantha D, 42, Accountant I chose to have my placenta as a smoothie and encapsulated as I was worried about Post Natal Depression and heard it helped. I had heard about it just after my first baby was born, and whilst due my 2nd read up about it and had thought I might go ahead. I went into labour at 36 weeks and hadn’t organised myself properly enough by then to organise. Baby boy, David died at birth and I hated the fact that I didn’t even get to see/ keep his placenta as it was whisked away as fast as he was to be tested.

With pregnancy number 3 I looked further into it, chatted through with an IPEN practitioner and decided it was something I really wanted to do as I was very worried about PND due to my previous pregnancy. Baby girl, Zara was born well at home and the Independent Midwife (IM) showed her placenta to us, wow I was amazed at what a wonderful thing it was. As previously discussed the IM helped my husband prepare some as a smoothie then the IPEN specialist came the next morning to collect. I took the tablets and have suffered no PND.

I think it helped immensely with the stress and hormones of dealing with a newborn, a 4 year old and the trauma and left over grief of parenting after a still birth.

Rachael D, 35, Barrister.  Having capsules made from our daughter’s placenta wasn’t something I’d ever heard of let alone considered. As a barrister I am used to doing research and then drawing conclusions based on what I find, I was no different when it came to this. I stumbled across it and decided to do more research into it. I spoke with our doula, the lady who performed the process and did lots of research. All the research I did indicated I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I was still somewhat sceptical but couldn’t argue with what I’d read so we took the plunge.

It helped in a number of ways post birth, with mood, with expediting the shrinking of my uterus (the midwives kept saying it was going back much faster than they would expect), and it helped boost my milk supply and energy levels. I have a significant number left which when I give birth again imminently will be taken again and they will remain in the freezer until menopause to help with that too. The benefits in my view extend far beyond birth and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it and I sincerely hope it continues to be available to others.

Wendy W, 39, Manager of the Sexual Health Intervention and Promotion Team (NHS) / Midwife / Hypnobirthing Practitioner / Doula sleeping baby

In my role as a Hypnobirthing Practitioner I had heard a talk from an IPEN specialist on the benefits of Placenta Encapsulation. I am a believer in a natural path of well-being in general and for me the logic of the benefits just make complete sense. I had been concerned before the birth of my second child that I would be as exhausted as I was with my first child.

This time round I would have a new born and a four year old.

However following my Placenta smoothie and capsules I felt totally energised. I had bags of energy. I didn’t experience any ‘baby blues’. My milk ‘came in’ on day 2 and breastfeeding established with complete ease. I would totally recommend Placental Encapsulation/smoothie to any mother to be, the benefits were wonderful.

Kate D, 32, Office Administrator

I decided to ingest my placenta (in the form of fruit smoothies) after the birth of my son as I had several friends that had done so, or used encapsulation and had wonderful results. I hadn’t considered it with the birth of my daughter and although I didn’t have any major issues with that post partum period, I thought I’d at least give it a try the second time around.

I believe it helped in a number of ways; firstly, I felt I had more energy than I did the first time. Even though I now had a newborn and a two year old in my care, I felt I coped much better with the lack of sleep and had more energy in the day. My mood was lifted and I don’t recall any ‘day 3 baby blues’ that often new mothers feel.

I believe that by consuming placenta I had an increased milk supply and post partum bleeding was much lighter. I only had the smoothies for around 2 weeks and wish I had taken them for longer!

I would absolutely consider placenta encapsulation (due to ease) if we have any more children.

Please support mothers of the future, sign the petition and do your bit for women’s rights.

How To: Make A Rain Stick {{Australia Day Craft}}

Australia Day Rain StickI’ve made a few attempts at rain sticks in the past, because I’ve always loved the sound, but I have never really had one that I thought was actually successful, till now.

Because it’s Australia Day this weekend, our playlearning theme for this week has been Australia, and today’s task was to make a rain stick.

We used:

  • inner tube from wrapping paper
  • wrapping paper
  • any mix of rice, couscous, and chickpeas (couscous, bulgar, etc are perfectly sized)
  • two elastics
  • paints/marker pens etc

1. Start by decorating your tube. We used our didgeridoo for inspiration.


2. Take a length of wrapping paper and twist it around and around (each take a side, and turn in opposite directions), then slide it inside the decorated tube. Rainstick 2

3. Using a spare bit of wrapping paper, cut two circles, large enough to cover the ends of the tube. Attach one side using an elastic, pour the grains inside and seal the other end.

rain stick

4. Gently tilt the stick from side to side, closing your eyes to hear the rain.  Kind of like this… but maybe a little less vigorous!

Happy Australia Day!

Call To Act Against Reception Year Testing. ACT NOW! Deadline 11 October 2013

Regular readers will know that I plan to home school my daughters, and that I already do regular play learning activities with them.  Regular readers will also know that I totally believe we need to stick our noses into other people’s business when it comes to looking out for the children who are peers of our own children, the dentist, the neighbour, the colleague, of our own children.

Source: Unknown. Let me know if you own this picture!

Earlier this week a friend sent me a link on a proposal to introduce testing to school starters in the UK, looking at testing to see where they are at as they enter school.

While in principle it sounds like a great idea to establish a baseline and see where each child is at so that they can be helped in a way that is suitable to them, it was on reading the response from the National Campaign for Real Nursery Education that the whole thing left me feeling really uncomfortable.

First off, let me apologise for this: I haven’t spent time delving deeply into the proposal or the arguments for or against. There’s a vote THIS FRIDAY 11 October 2013 and parents who are against it need to make their voices heard NOW. As Headteacher   says in the blogpost he wrote about it:

Responding to DFE consultations isn’t something educators or parents do often enough – on the one hand, it’s important we have our say, but on the other hand most of the consultation period always seems to be the summer holidays. So – if you work in a school or early years setting – you’re probably tired in July, you might be on holiday in August, then September it’s really busy again and the next thing you notice that the consultation period has ended. Likewise, if you’re a parent it’s hardly the best time to collect your thoughts and write a response.

And well, as a parent potentially affected by this, I only heard about it via a friend on Facebook!

The Consultation Paper can be found here, but here’s a description:

The consultation on primary assessment and accountability follows publication of the new national curriculum programmes of study, and the announcement that the current system of levels will be removed and not replaced.

We are seeking views on how attainment in national curriculum tests should be measured and reported, where we should take a baseline to measure pupils’ progress, and proposals for how schools should be held to account, including through floor standards.1

You can view the whole response from the National Campaign for Real Nursery Education online, and it may be well worth doing so if you can’t quite wrap your head around what the problem with this testing is, but here are some of the key points that really stood out for me:

1) Testing at this level “takes a narrow view of achievement i.e. that only narrow test scores matter rather than more holistic development. Only a small number of things can be tested and not everything that can be tested is useful”.  

2) Testing is unfair for reception aged children, because we all know what a difference six months can make to a child! You can hardly “compare children with peers who are nearly a year older and so have greater maturity and more life experience. This is a particular issue in the EYFS, and continues to affect children throughout their schooling.”

3) Will further disadvantage and damage the self-esteem of summer born children, children learning English as an additional language, children with special and additional needs. Ameli is super confident and already run rings around her peers and even some older. Testing her against a quieter, shyer child is very unfair on that child!

4) We (the NCRNE) strongly disagree with testing as it narrows the curriculum, encourages teaching to the test and does not address the child’s holistic development and progress.

At present, schools use teacher assessment to decide how far children have succeeded in mastering the KS1 programmes of study. Children’s individual progress should be regularly and rigorously assessed in consultation with their parents.

Teachers use varying kinds of formative assessment to record children’s progress towards milestones within the programmes of study and use nationally valid tests at the end of the programme of study to work out whether a child has reached the end of that programme and is ready for the next. The present system is logical and statistically valid. Any replacement must have a similar level of rigour.

So, what can we do? 

Complete the 10 question in this Consultation Document. You don’t have to know everything or answer everything. You can leave as many questions as ‘not sure’ or ‘no response’ and just add your response to the questions you CAN answer, like:

6 Should we introduce a baseline check at the start of reception?

7 Should we allow schools to choose from a range of commercially-available assessments?

(My personal response to this based on 7 years in the public sector is NO since when you’re tied to ‘preferred providers’ you are limited to what’s approved rather than what’s necessarily either best or cost effective!)

Answer the questions in the way you feel right, with regards to data sharing school reporting and so on, but answer the questions. Now is the time to do something, so you see the results when your child starts school!

P.S. Part of why this is a big deal for me is that I already believe that children in the UK start school way, way, way too early, and I’m not alone in that. There is a plethora of debate, discussion and some research on the negative effects of children starting school before six or even seven years old. 

  1. <a href=”https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/new-national-curriculum-primary-assessment-and-accountability“> Primary assessment and accountability under the new curriculum</a>

Foods, Activities and Crafts To Celebrate Roald Dahl Day

Celebrate Roald Dahl Day

Celebrate Roald Dahl Day

It’s Roald Dahl day on Friday 13 September, (being his birthday) and while I’ve left it a little late to read all of the books to Ameli – and to be honest she’s still a little young for them – she does love The Fantastic Mr Fox movie, and also Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We’re currently busy reading The BFG though, and she’s enjoying that.

Below are ideas for celebrating Roald Dahl Day. As we do them I may replace the links, but these are mostly to other people’s posts right now.

Update: Want to focus on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? See this post!

You can watch:


You could go ahead and buy the Roald Dahl Revolting Recipes Book but there are also plenty ideas available online. How about trying:

Make and Do

Follow Luschka van Onselen’s board {Themes} Roald Dahl on Pinterest.

Big Latch On, Farnham 2013

Today I was blessed to be able to play host for The Big Latch On in Farnham, with the support of wonderful mamas who came together to beat the world record for mother’s breastfeeding at the same time.

On the 1 – 7th of August every year, to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action organises World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week  celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the WHO/UNICEF document Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding, plus global and governmental goals.  

The Big Latch On

Getting Balloons, Sign Up Sheets and Posters ready

To mark this occasion on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd August 2013 at 10:30am thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies or children across the world will gather in their own communities to take part in the Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations.

The first Big Latch On took place in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2005 and was introduced to Portland, Oregon in 2010 by Joanne Edwards. It has now taken off globally and in 2012  8862 children were counted breastfeeding as part of the Global Big Latch On.

In 2012 the Farnham, Surrey Big Latch On event had 12 mothers nursing 13 babies. This year we had 24 mothers nursing 25 babies (we had one tandem feeding dyad at each event).

You count!

Just this week I had someone on Twitter ask me why I felt the need to have a breastfeeding picture on my profile, and said that it offended them. I replied to her that that was exactly WHY I had a breastfeeding picture – so that it will become normal to see a woman breastfeeding, and will no longer be offensive. I simply can’t imagine any of the older siblings at the event today ever turning around and saying they find breastfeeding offensive: they’re growing up with it as normal. Mothers! We’re changing the world, we’re changing the future. We’re doing great!While I was running around trying to keep an eye on my toddler while at the same time making sure everyone knew what was going on and all the official bits of the Big Latch On were adhered to, I did stop at one point, and just watch.  We were a community. A community of mothers and women. I didn’t know everyone who attended today, but it didn’t matter, because we were there for a common aim, and with a common goal.

I love breastfeeding events. They unite us at a base, fundamental, instinctive level.  Breastfeeding events are a celebration, a peaceful demonstration, a communal drinking at the wellspring. Breastfeeding events buzz with excitement, with energy at the knowledge of making a difference, and with taking a stand, drawing our line in the sand, enjoying our right and our freedom, as women, and as mothers.

Community of women

Do we rally in anger? Do we shout and condemn, and criticise? Every mother in this group has walked a path. It hasn’t been natural and easy for everyone. It’s come at a cost to some. It’s come at tears for others, it’s come as the most natural thing in the world to others still. It’s been an active, conscious decision to others. Everyone has a story to tell about how and why they are here.

Today we feed our babies, we raise our hands, and we are counted.

It's all About And For The Children


A huge thanks to Paula from La Leche League Farnham and Krishna from IPEN for being our witnesses today. Another huge thanks to Sara for helping me with the lucky draw and to Wendy and the Natural Birth and Beyond Team for the helium and balloons.

I want to give a very special thank you to a group of businesses that never shy away from supporting the events and competitions I offer through this blog and today at the Big Latch On. Your prizes were loved today:





Pulling Down The Blinds For #BritMumsLive

It’s Britmums Live – the UK’s biggest blogger event for parent bloggers – this weekend, and I’m heading there today. I’m very grateful to be sponsored by Hillary’s Blinds – see what I did there with the title?  – who have not only paid for my ticket to the event, but are putting me up in a hotel across the road.

At this point, with one child who doesn’t want to get ready for playschool, and another clambering over me like a jungle gym,  I’m not sure whether I’m more excited about the conference, or about a night on my own in a hotel room! It’s like Christmas, baby! (Please, someone, get the London, baby! Friends reference there?)

Hillary’s Curtains don’t just cover windows. They can make a room and Hillarys can show you how by bringing quite simply the most inspirational collection of made-to-measure blinds, curtains and shutters with over 850 stunning designs and superb fabrics.

Hillary’s Carpets nicely finish up a room, adding luxury, colour or anything else you prefer. From design advice, measuring and no-obligation quotes, to professional surveys, expert fitting and convenient appointment times, their service is tailored to make sure your hopes and expectations are not just met, but exceeded, every step of the way.

If you are decorating, consider Hillary’s as a special favour and thank you from me!