Breastfeeding mothers offered £200 in shop vouchers

Mothers in low breastfeeding areas are being bribed £200 in shop vouchers to breastfeed, whatever next?

Really, I can’t believe that someone has had a been paid a fortune to come up with another ludicrous idea ( I might be jealous.  I could  make up random schemes – see my list below).

I do believe that there must be better ways to increase breastfeeding rates.  I think that in high areas of poverty  maybe people should be offered £200 of vouchers to be sterilised instead especially drug addicts and alcoholics.  Now, let me think £200 for a new pair of shoes and then never have to worry about missing a period again, I might even opt in to that or send my husband.  I do jest, but how on earth do these schemes even get this far is there no-one with common sense on these committees.

What if you are a mother and you want to but can’t breastfeed, or would love to breastfeed but you have adopted ? There are so many reasons why people can’t breastfeed and maybe the money needs to be spent in finding out why.

On the other hand could this create another baby boom? We can call it the ‘£200 generation’.  I can see young women (that is what they are) leaving school and thinking a baby, £200 spending money and a nice little flat what a winning combination.  Please don’t go down this route it really isn’t that simple.

Here are my random schemes that maybe the government should use next;

  • Feed your children fresh vegetables and you will earn for £5 a week to spend which you can have in December towards your Christmas shopping
  • Teach their children manners and you get a flatscreen tv.
  • Feed your child breakfast because that is the most important meal of the day and you can have the £200 too.
  • Breastfeeding mothers get free coffee and cake in every coffee shop chain in the UK.

Yes, as ever I have taken it too far but please think about the root causes of the problem. Why don’t people want to breastfeed?  Is it that they can’t? Is it that they don’t want to?  Throwing money at problems in this way will not  solve the problem just I feel put money in peoples hand for the wrong reasons.

Maybe more thought should be put into the barriers towards breastfeeding, break them down, provide support which is available around the clock then this could be a start.

For me with my first breastfeeding was a struggle, latching on, cracked nipples, bleeding nipples and then suffering with mastitis so badly that I couldn’t even hold my baby let alone feed him.  It wasn’t a great experience at all. Having mastitis put paid to my breastfeeding for my first within the first five weeks.

Then when I had my second child it completely different. It was easier and I think this stemmed from the help and support that I received from the minute he latched on before even the placenta was delivered and  I didn’t receive conflicting information from different nurses which made it so much easier.

So surely from just my experiences you can see that its just not black and white situation and  I plead with the decision makers to reconsider.

Breastfeeding things that were important to me:

Frozen or chilled SAVOY Cabbage leaves

Kamillosan chamomile ointment

Ice packs or conversely heat packs

Not to feel under pressure the more stressed out you are the harder it becomes!

So inspired all I want to do is write! Blog broody or just plain obsessed?

All I want to do is write, write and write some more since my visit to Mumsnet Blogfest on Saturday its like I am itching and I need to scratch it.  This is such an odd place to be I have never felt like this before.  The only thing I can relate this to is when I wanted to have my boys!  Oh my  goodness I am blog broody! How can I feel so much for this new obsession, yes I do think obsession is the right word.

But should I start with short stories, kids books, reviews or just my daily views on lifes little journeys. and issues that surround them.  Should I be reactive or proactive.

The voices in my head are shouting so loudly ‘just write and see what happens’ a bit like ‘if you build it they will come!’  from Wayne’s World or Field of Dreams though I am sure that some one really prolific must have said it before it started to be added into films…… maybe God to Noah?

Ok then back to the planning!

Mumsnet Blogfest 2013 – The view from a Blogfest Virgin

 I bit the bullet and booked my ticket on Thursday night.  Mumsnet Blogfest was on the Saturday (9th November 2013).  Only having set up my website a few weeks ago I thought it was best to jump in feet first straight into the deep end.  Then I would either sink, or learn from it and swim.

I boarded the train at Didcot watching other people get on to see if they looked like the blogging type!  What was I even looking for?  Me? I don’t even know if there is a blogging stereotype? 

I arrived at Paddington being let out and alone I headed for the tube and strangely enough found it easy to find the line and get to Kings Cross/Euston.  I arrived at the Venue at 9.00am and walked through the big glass rotating doors to a whole foyer full of ladies queuing to register.  I found the end of the queue and collected my Blendology Bump tag and newbie sticker.  What a fab idea, bump tags to exchange details no more business cards to collect or scrappy bits of paper with emails and numbers on them to lose. 

I then descended the escalator into the masses.  Grabbed a coffee and scanned the leaflet  that I had been handed. 

It was a good idea that  though there were breakout sessions there were also sessions which everyone should attend as a collective.

Now, to decide which breakouts to attend:   Social Media for beginners, How to make money and Down and dirty, blogging how to do, though I also wanted to do the writing funnier stuff and the better way to tell stories. 

It was so hard to decide being new and inexperienced I wanted to absorb as much information as I could. The plan was to pop in and out of sessions but that didn’t happen.

We were called for the Wild West- what kind of internet do we want? Which was a Keynote Panel session which was hosted by the lovely Richard Bacon, maybe he could actually be up there with Gary Barlow!  I think someone, not me, referred to him as lickable but I would, would you?  The session was interesting but I think with the internet, twitter and other social media sites there is currently no common ground in response to ‘trolling’ and hate messages etc which is a shame.  I personally think that if we want access to this global internet that the internet companies, service providers and software providers should all sign up to a Global agreement stating some basic rules which if people do not comply with they cannot have access to the worldwide web and then they would be back to snail mail and probably wouldn’t bother as their hate would probably get lost in the post.  Well that’s my very simplistic view which I know is far to simplistic.  I agree that we should start the fundamentals with our children with rules as to what is not acceptable and go from there.

Think Bombs – How will technology shape our future? Prof Tanya Byron spoke about how technology it is the way forward and we should embrace and teach our children from a young age and I totally agree.  My son is Dyslexic, not lazy just dyslexic and although he is very eloquent and can put his point across very well orally but when it comes to handwriting it he just can’t do it or he gets so frustrated because it takes an age.  Technology, I believe is definitely the way forward for him.  When you think about it, these days who sits and writes with a pen all day?  I know I don’t.  I might scribble down a phone number, a name or a premium but mostly its emails, powerpoint presentations, excel spreadsheets and word documents.  Dr Byron was followed by Dr Sue Black and her vision of a generation of technically savvy parents to empower our children I found refreshing especially as my husband is a complete technophobe. I had thought I was  quite ‘tech savvy’ until we purchased my son  a laptop with Windows 8 on it! Now I need to learn how to use it! Jon Ronson absolutely had me in stitches. I did check my twitter account too.

Then there was the Feminist debate.  Well I’ll think I am going to leave that one  for another day!

 I could go on for days but to summarise, from Blogfest I decided I need:

  • to have a plan
  • set some smart and achievable targets
  • not just to self promote
  •  read and comment on other blogs
  • to network
  • to back up!
  • to be true to myself
  • to eat cake
  • to have a drink, Gin, sex on the beach or a dark and stormy cocktail
  • Live and learn from others mistakes, make a few of your own on the way
  • and most of all to be patient

I did meet some very interesting people and thank them for their time and tips.  Once I log on to the Blendology website I will probably be stalking you all.  In a good way, obviously.

Thank you all for a fantastic day.  I have lists of things to do already and I look forward to the next one.

Elaine @makemineavodka


My Top 10’s

Christmas Films

  1. ELF. ‘The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.’
  2. Its a Wonderful Life. ‘Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings’.christmas
  3. A Christmas Story. ‘You’ll shoot your eye out’.
  4. Home Alone.  ‘I made my family disappear. I made my family disappear!’
  5. Miracle on 34th Street. ‘Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind…’
  6. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. ‘Audrey’s frozen from the waist down’.
  7. Nativity. ‘Sparkle and Shine’
  8. Meet Me in St Louis. ‘Feed a cold, starve a fever. I was drunk last night, dear Mother, I was drunk the night before. But if you’ll forgive me, Mother, I’ll never get drunk anymore!’
  9. The Snowman. ‘I remember that winter because it had brought the heaviest snows I had ever seen. Snow had fallen steadily all night long and in the morning I woke in a room filled with light and silence, the world seemed to be held in a dream-like stillness. It was a magical day…
  10. A Christmas Carol. ‘God bless us, everyone’.

TV Series

  1. The Originals – spin off from the Vampire Diaries.  The only downside is there is no Damon (Ian Somerhalder) but I think I am preferring the Originals to the Vampire Diaries
  2. The Walking Dead.  Can’t beat a bit of zombie action on a Friday night.
  3. True Blood.  Vampires, werewolves, faeries, shape shifters.   Is there a theme developing here?
  4. Downton Abbey.  I love a period drama though since watching Gogglebox and ‘the posh couple’ referring to Lady Mary as the one with short arms I can’ t help giggle when she wears the black gloves.
  5. Gogglebox.  This week I was in tears but the people are just so funny.
  6. Atlantis.  BBC 1 always do fantastic dramas on a Saturday evening it was Merlin but currently its Atlantis.
  7. Extreme Couponing.  So jealous that its not easily done in the UK maybe Leo is right and we should move to America.
  8. Born Survivor: Bear Grylls.  Really who doesn’t like a bit of Bear and ooohh those thighs.
  9. The Gadget Show. I think this is the Geek in me I like to see what is new and I am so jealous of Penny.  What an amazing Job!
  10. Homelands. Damian Lewis and Clare Danes CIA and Terrorists that’s all I will say definitely worth watching though I don’t think you can just jump in I do thing you need to start from the beginning.

Oh I am loving top 10’s. I could be here all night but I need some sleep.

Things that have made me laugh today

This is a new one for me.

No waffling just a list of things that have made me chuckle today:

I took down my Halloween decorations last night and I have a big black plastic rat.  During the day I kept thinking about bringing it into the office and hiding it in the filing, stationery cupboard until someone found it.  I have such an evil streak.   Watch out people!

Setting the sound settings on our new printer at work so it bleeps at every opportunity but changed it from a standard bleep to a little tune.  You should have seen them all flock to the printer to see what was going on. Must change it back tomorrow.

The fact that someone had tampered with Gareth’s lunchbox (oooer) the plastic rectangular sort and it wasn’t me!   If only I had known he had tried to make it tamper proof, following the theft of his banana milk from the fridge at work. I would have done something.

My sister and her driving abilities especially when she thought she had parked so well.

 Trying to explain my blogging to others.  You know who you are!

Short and sweet that’s me today 🙂  Peace out!

Anyone seen my MOJO?

Oh my word its cold and dark and all of a sudden I feel the need to hibernate.   I am sure in another life I must have been a hedgehog or maybe even a bear.

I get so sleepy and feel that by 4pm in the afternoon I need  my bed.  Then once I am in my bed I don’t want to move from it ever, let alone venture outside.

Does anyone really likes being cold?

Don’t get me wrong I love snow, to look at from inside the house with the heating on full whack!

I am definitely a summer person.  You just can’t beat waking up with the windows open, the birds singing and having your first cup of tea in the morning sat in the garden.  Bliss!  Then coming home after work, sparking up the barbeque and sitting in the garden listening to the kids playing whilst having a few glasses of wine or a beer.

 I am missing the summer already. Hurry back please!

Slippers, Blankets and PJ’s and a Cadbury’s Highlights and the TV remote control (once I have wrestled it off of the kids) and that’s me set for this evening.   Night all x

50 days and counting until Father Christmas arrives!

I love Christmas and the counting has started.  A new tree  for our new house has been purchased and new decorations are slowly being acquired as I just can’t help myself each year something new gets added to the decorations box.

  I don’t like to include Christmas eve in the count as I think Christmas starts on Christmas Eve spending the day with hyped up kids and generally trying to make sure that all that needed to be done has been completed.

I usually try to book Christmas Eve off from work so that I can spend the day with the boys. I always want to take the boys to the Crib service but never usually  get there.  I think midnight mass it too late to be taking the boys to especially as they have been brainwashed into thinking Father Christmas will only come once they are in bed.  We also use Norad every year to track his journey so we know when we need to be in bed. – Norad count down to Christmas from 1st December its worth a look.

We have had the Christmas talk about the types of presents Father Christmas can bring and although he will not bring gaming systems i.e PlayStation’s and Xbox but he can bring games for them if you already have them.  I do not want another console in my house!

I am not at all sure what the boys are expecting lists are in preparation but I am positive that there will be one RED BMX on one of the lists!

Present buying has become more difficult as they have got older. Joe is now 11 and I am really going to struggle with him.   Last year was  Technic Lego which cost a fortune. Any suggestions?

Christmas just isn’t the same once you start getting more clothes than just your Christmas day outfit for presents is it?

My kids have just been far to spoilt over the years making it even harder. My problem is I remember as a child coming down Christmas morning to an armchair stacked and presents all over the floor piles of them and I want my boys to remember the same.  The only problem is that the things they want have got smaller and smaller, and the cost has got more expensive.

The boys have never been into Action Men and all that paraphernalia but have always been into their outdoor activities, bikes, scooters etc.

Time to start racking my brain and thinking what to do….. the clock is ticking maybe I will start easy ….. stockings!

 Christmas santa-claus wallpaper 03

Pets – fur,feather or scales?

I wish my kids could have the pets that they really want!

They are desperate for a dog but I am allergic to mostly everything.  Yes, really!  So that means the only  pets we can have are fish or reptiles and then only reptiles that are veggie as I couldn’t have dead chicks or mice in the house.

We do have a fish tank which currently is home to an Angel fish and two clown loaches.  We can’t have anything else as the Angel fish just hunts them and kills them.  We could get rid of it but I think her temperament fits well in our household.

Leo had  some money for his birthday and really, really, really wants a hamster. We had the conversation about responsibility and looking after animals and Leo at the tiny age of 8 decided that he is responsible.  I have managed to persuade him to have a small fish tank which he can have in his room rather than a snake or gecko.

At the pet shop we chose a starter kit with a 14 litre capacity discussed which type of fish we should get once the tank was set up and ready. This took the best part of a hour!

Now this evening we have the tank ready and will be counting down the sleeps until the fish can be purchased.

5 Sleeps and counting…….


All I want for christmas is an open fire or a log burner

I am in the process of setting the seed in my husbands brain to get the chimney swept and replace the old gas fire with either a log burner (dual fuel preferably) or an open fire.

You know what its like, you sew the seed, they think its a rubbish idea, the work gets done, everyone loves it, then its their idea!  Voila

I think that secretly I am an arsonist at heart.   I love open fires, camp fires, candles, barbeques and fire pits.  Though not particularly keen on bonfires especially when my washing is on the line!

My thinking is that as gas and electricity prices are rising and I hate being cold and that this is a better way of heating the house.  A friend of mine has a log burner and every time it is on she has to open the doors and windows because her house gets too hot.  That will do me.  I would much rather be too hot than cold.

Already I have taken out the old gas fire with the help of a friend whilst my husband was at work.  I cleaned up the opening and left the IPad on a few pages which sold log burners.

I thought I was doing well until he came home with another gas fire that his friend at work had given him.  Its not that its not a nice fire, it is.  Its just not what I want and what I want I usually get at some point (it may take a while).

Apparently he has a telephone number of a chimney sweep but not booked an appointment yet.  I’ll give him until the end of the week and then I will book one!

Unless someone wants to install one in my home and use it as advertising or a promotional home. 🙂

I can see my vision now

Christmas tree




Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas

A34 the road to nowhere?


This afternoon we decided to pop to Bicester village and garden centre, or at least that was our plan anyway.

The A34 northbound was totally jammed all the way from Didcot, past Abingdon, past Botley and all the way towards Bicester.  We were beaten by the traffic and ended up at Millets Garden Centre instead.

I think that highways and road planners really need to seriously  think about the road systems in our area.  They are building more houses but it seems that they are not planning any more major roads.

I believe, there should definitely be another main route south from the M40.  Fridays are notorious for being a bad day to attempt the road but all it takes is one broken down vehicle and it comes to a halt!

Maybe the A34 should become a motorway rather than a dual carriage way?  Just a thought!

My sympathies are with those who have to commute and use this road on a daily basis.

What to do? cut the traffic or increase the capacity of the existing roads?

Who Knows?  Ideas on a postcard please.