I was delighted, as I’m sure most other mummies in the world were, when I heard that Prince William would be staying on the ward with Kate after the birth of their baby boy.  ‘How wonderful for them’ I thought, swiftly followed by the slightly more cynical, ‘oh the joys of private healthcare.’

As is the norm for the majority of women, my Other Half was not allowed to remain on the ward after I had given birth to Meg and had to stay in hospital.  He was booted out  kindly asked to vacate the area when visiting hours ended at 8pm.  )Or, in actuality, at 9pm as he managed to avoid detection for an extra hour.)

The reason dads are not allowed to remain on the ward is to protect women’s privacy…or something.  The reality, for me, and I’m fairly sure I’m not alone in this scenario, is that when I had my first child, at the ripe old age of 21, I had an epidural at 8am and when my Other Half left for home at 9pm I still hadn’t got out of bed.  I had severe second degree tearing, which if you’re really interested to know, you can read about in Meg’s birth story, a catheter and a baby lying half a metre away from me, completely out of my reach.

I’m not going to lie.  The minute he left, I started to sob.  I pressed the button for a midwife to come and pass me Meg so I could feed her and the first thing she said when she pulled my curtains aside was, ‘why are you crying?’  That pretty much summed up my experience.  Meg woke and cried every half hour, whether I was holding her or not.  The times I wasn’t, I had to press the button for someone to come and pass her to me, and when I wanted to put her down, I had to call for someone.  I could hear the midwives commenting every time I pushed my buzzer as I was only a short distance away from their station, but what choice did I have?  I couldn’t actually move and I had a tiny person, my firstborn, to try and think about.  I felt completely humiliated and totally isolated.

To make matters worse, two women were brought up overnight and their partners were permitted to stay with them.  So, where was the thought to the privacy of other women on the ward then?  I don’t think it’s fair in the slightest especially as most of the time, the mums had their curtains drawn so that they could be afforded the privacy they needed.

Or, how about the fact that I wasn’t able to comfort my baby, and I know she kept some of the other ladies awake with her screaming.  Had my Other Half been there, he could have paced with her and made more of an effort to settle her than my sad little attempts.

I didn’t ask to stay in hospital overnight, believe me, had medical circumstances permitted it, I would have gone home as soon as I could.  After Eli was born I was practically pushing past the midwives to get home, there was no way on earth I was going through the same thing again.  

The next morning, I was offered the chance to go in the bath and Meg was taken to the nursery.  I had literally been sat in the bath for 3 minutes when I heard her start to cry and there was an apologetic knock at the door as the midwife asked me to get out of the bath and come to feed her.  That was the end of my allotted time to get clean.  How delightful when it was my first contact with water in almost 24 hours.  Would that have been an issue if my Other Half had been allowed to stay on the ward?

I can’t help but think that my experience would have been entirely different had I been able to have the support of my Other Half.

My Other Half has always been a hands on dad, and will never fall into the category of ‘invisible parent’ but by not allowing partners to remain after the birth of their children, this is exactly what they become.  We all know that those first few days after a newborn has made their arrival are a bit of a guessing game; their day is night, their night is day; they wake, they sleep, they wake, they sleep; sometimes they cry just because they do.

Newborns don’t conform to visiting hours so why should parenting have to?

There are so many other reasons I could add in here as well, emotional well being of the mother due to the hormones zinging round her body, less work for the hospital staff as they haven’t got to respond to every need…the list could be endless.

If I was going to campaign to see a change on maternity wards, this would be it.  Dads should be allowed to stay.

Do you agree?


I love the idea of this new linky from Charly at PODcast.  I think a great photo is measured by the memories it evokes and I am excited to be able to share some of my personal favourites.

I thought for my first post I would delve back into the archives and bring out one from my honeymoon.  We went to the Maldives and as you can probably imagine, it isn’t hard to take gorgeous paradise-esque photos when you are surrounded by crystal clear sea and white sandy beaches.  We came home with hundreds of those photos!

The one I chose though is actually one of my favourites from the holiday.  It is me, sitting on the beach watching the storm clouds roll in.  You can just about see them on the far left edge of the picture.  It was still ridiculously warm out and people were happily swimming and snorkelling and some were (like me) attempting to sunbathe.  

It didn’t take long for the clouds to reach the island and when they arrived we had a fantastic tropical storm.  I love storms and it was one of the best I’ve been in.  Massive rolls of thunder and electric flashes of lightning.  It was utterly fascinating and completely terrifying in equal measure.

It’s actually one of my best memories from the holiday too.  We spent the whole time sitting out on our verandah, a blanket across our legs, breathing in that lovely fresh smell that rain brings with it when it’s warm, watching the lightning reflect off the sea and enjoying the stillness that came between each thunderclap.

Can you tell I really loved it?!?

This is a fantastic linky and if you want to see some of the other photo contributions, hop over to Charly’s blog.


We kicked our Under The Sea week off with some sensory play.  The kids absolutely loved this and I’m definitely going to try and include the use of our tuff spot tray in the rest of these weeks as it was a great tool!

The rest of the week was pretty craft free, we had quite a busy time and I didn’t have much chance to prepare things the night before; not to mention that the only craft I was set up to do was ruined when I chopped off an essential part of the egg box.  So our egg box lobster will have to be done another week!

However, we made the most of the nice weather and engaged in some fishing with some rods I found at the 99p store.  Eli seemed to find this easier than Meg, although at various points they were both cheating and manually hooking them on the end of their rods!

We also visited the local pet shop to check out the marine life.  I think this was Eli’s favourite part of the week and I think once school term starts we’ll try and get over to Birmingham to visit the sea life centre.  I think he’d really enjoy it.

On the two stormy days that we had, we watched some movies related to our theme, the obvious choice: Finding Nemo.  Meg also found a Dora The Explorer Mermaid DVD in our local Blockbuster so we added that in as well.  

Eli insisted on clutching his Nemo toy throughout the whole film as though it would somehow help Marlon to find him in the end!  It was very cute.

Finally, I found some great resources on 1plus1equals1, which I printed out to do with Meg during one of Eli’s naps.  I was surprised at how many of her letters she knows and it was great to watch her mark making and think how far she has come in a short time.  She might actually be ready for school as much as I’d like to pretend she’s still too young!

If you missed the first week in this Let’s Play series, you can find it here.


This month we have set ourselves the challenge of sticking to our meal plan and of trying new things.  One thing I’ve never tried to make before is trifle and so, when I saw this recipe, and it looked simple enough, I decided to give it a go.

It’s actually not that difficult to make, and only took me about 15 minutes to put together, not including chilling time, which is great when you have small children hanging off your leg as your try to prepare dinner.

Now, I am in no means a foodie blogger and so I apologise for the photos.  Hopefully the taste of the trifle will make up for them!

200g ready made madeira cake (I bought an Asda smartprice one and it tasted fine)
425g pitted black cherries in syrup
100g dark chocolate chips
400g ready to serve custard
1 chocolate flake
3 tbsp creme fraiche

Slice the madeira cake, quite thickly, and line the bottom of your bowl.  

Take three cherries from the can, slice them in half and put to one side.

Pour the rest on top of the madeira cake, including the syrup.

Use half the chocolate chips, scatter them across the sponge and cherries.

Crumble half the flake into the bowl.

Melt the remaining chocolate chips in the microwave.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.  Once it’s cool, mix it into the custard until you have a smooth chocolate custard.  Pour over the cherries.

Spoon 3 tbsp of creme fraiche over the chocolate custard.  Place the remaining cherries on top and crumble the other half of the flake over that.

I was aiming for my creme fraiche to sit in a perfect circle in the centre of my chocolate custard, but unfortunately it didn’t work out quite like that.

Leave in the fridge to chill for approximately an hour (or longer if that suits)

A very easy, simple to follow recipe I hope!  Unfortunately Meg and Eli weren’t so keen on this but my Other Half thoroughly enjoyed it and gave it the thumbs up.



The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green
A stitched-together family, stretched to breaking point…

I love Jane Green, she’s my ‘go to’ writer when I want an easy to read book.  That is in no way meant to be derogatory to her writing.  I really enjoy the way she writes, it’s such an easy and flowing style that I feel as though I’m sitting opposite my best friend, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to the latest exploits of those around us.  It’s brilliant.

I came across The Patchwork Marriage whilst perusing the bookcases at our local library and snatched it up immediately, I couldn’t believe I’d manage to miss one of her books!

The Patchwork Marriage is about a woman called Andi, who marries Ethan, a guy she is head over heels in love with, and thinks that she is getting the ideal family when she also becomes step-mum to his two daughters, Emily and Sophia.  This becomes much more pertinent when it transpires she is unable to have a child of her own.  She sets about trying to create the perfect family life but meets opposition in the form of the eldest daughter, Emily, who seems intent on destroying all of Andi’s attempts.

Ethan, appears to be completely unaware of what Emily is doing, and is constantly drawn into battle against Andi as she tries to make him see what is happening.  Things escalate in the story until Andi feels she has no choice but to leave Ethan, but before she gets chance, Emily turns up and throws a curveball at the entire family forcing them to rethink and redesign their relationships.

I enjoyed the fact that Jane Green tackled ‘real’ issues in this book; that becoming a step-parent isn’t always plain sailing, and that she wasn’t afraid to talk about how parents can sometimes be blind to what their children are getting up to behind closed doors.

However, I found the character of Emily to be incredibly annoying, she was quite simply a spoilt brat and I had no empathy for her whatsoever.  I don’t know if that was Jane Green’s intention but at points I thought she got what she deserved, so to speak and found it difficult to believe that anyone would give her the time of day.

I also thought that, compared with other Jane Green novels at least, this was a bit too much of a ‘perfect’ ending for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a happy ending as much as the next old romantic, but she created problems for a lot of characters in the book, such as Ethan’s alcoholic ex-wife, and they all made a massive turnaround by the end.  Not everyone has such dire life issues and I found it a bit too twee in the end.

It’s hard to say more without giving the plot away but overall, it was a comfortable read, I really liked the main character, Andi and if you are looking for a nice, girly, curl up on the sofa and finish in one sitting type of book, then this is for you.

My linky is back!

I have seen lots of bloggers writing book reviews recently, it must a summer thing!  So, I have decided to bring my Book Love linky back in the hope that all those lovely bloggers will come and share their book recommendations with us.

It will be open for a month, and you can come and link up as many times as you like.  There are no real rules to this linky, it would be great if you could grab my badge so that other bloggers can find out about it (the more the merrier after all) and it would be nice if you could try and visit any other blogs who link up just to share the love.

Badge code: <a href=”http://catchasinglethought.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/book-love-fridays.html”target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i689.photobucket.com/albums/vv256/jmcglynn06/BookLoveBadge_zps0be0c0b8.jpg”border=”0″alt=”BOOKLOVEBADGE”></a>

Happy reading!