A word of advice from Roald Dahl

Earlier this year I treated myself to rereading one of my favourite childhood books – Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. I can’t wait for my little girl to be old enough for me to share it with her, but it’s a bit too soon. At the back, I found something I had forgotten – or perhaps had no reason to pay attention to as a child. It’s a wonderful piece of advice, so I’m sharing it here before wishing you…

… A very Happy Christmas. And a Sparky New Year.


Babywearing in East London

Babywearing is becoming increasingly popular and many parents choose a sling over a buggy to carry their little ones. Not only is babywearing practical as it allows you to be hands -free and get to places you wouldn’t be able to with a buggy (no need to pull the look of desperation at the tube station!) but it has countless benefits for the baby and the parent from helping to bond with your newborn to raise socially confident children.

There are hundreds of different types of slings and brands and choosing the right one and learning how to wear it in a comfortable manner for you and your child can be difficult without support. Some slings such as buckle carriers are simple to put on but others like woven wraps take some learning. There is a wealth of online support and information but nothing beats hands on help from an experienced babywearer, whether it is a peer or a trained consultant.

You can get this type of help at social sling meetings, sling libraries, workshops or in private consultations. Sling Social East London is a facebook group created for babywearers based (mainly) in East London. It’s a welcoming space for all sorts of babywearing discussions, advice sharing and all around geekery! We meet once a month (usually at the museum of childhood) and give free advice, teach carries in different slings, educate parents about types of slings and safety, try each other’s slings and just chat about anything!

It’s a warm, friendly group and we all go out of our ways to help each other and make sure every parent has a positive babywearing experience, so join us!

Wrap a Hug is a professional babywearing education service specialising in woven wraps based in East London and Italy. At Wrap a Hug we are extremely passionate about wrapping and we recognise that it’s a skill that takes time to master and it can be overwhelming and frustrating at first. We offer private consultations, a woven wrap library and workshops.We build relationships with parents and help them become confident wrappers and accompany them in their learning journey and are always on hand from the first meeting.




A visual calendar

Finn’s visual calendar

My older child ‘Finn’ is 2-and-a-half. Like lots of toddlers, he enjoys feeling in control and making his own choices. Over the summer he was asking lots of questions about ‘when’ things were happening. And of course, if he’s looking forward to seeing a friend or going somewhere special, he expects it to happen immediately, even if it’s days away.

There’s also been a lot of change and probably from his point of view, a fair bit of loss of control in Finn’s life recently as he now has a little brother, bringing a (charming) unpredictability to pretty much everything…

And, I wanted Finn to understand when his nursery days were, as he was about to start a couple of days a week. I thought this might make him calmer about this change in his life.

So to help with all this, I explored the idea of a visual calendar. There are loads of ideas online but I based mine roughly on this one. I simplified it though, with only one, main activity represented per day as Finn is probably not old enough to get his head round more than that. I also gave each day a different colour. Continue reading “A visual calendar”

Free Sing-and-Sign tasters this week (and more ways to learn baby signing)

Just a quick post to let you know about free Sing-and-Sign baby sign language taster sessions that are happening in various East London locations over the next week, including tomorrow in the Isle of Dogs and next Thursday in Dalston. Click here and select ‘special events/tasters’ from the drop-down menu. You have to book but the sessions are free.

I found baby signing amazingly useful with my older child (see here for my experience of baby signing) and we did a term of Sing and Sign, which was really fun to go to with a baby, with songs that helped to learn the signs while entertaining everyone.

However, Sing & Sign isn’t free (though the tasters are) and if you want to do baby signing you definitely don’t have to do a paid class. Here are some other ideas if a class isn’t for you – or if you want to mix and match:

Continue reading “Free Sing-and-Sign tasters this week (and more ways to learn baby signing)”

Tips for train journeys with two


I’ve recently done several long-distance journeys on trains and ferries, on my own with my 2 boys (Little Baby, 5 months and Finn, 2yrs 5months).

For me, public transport is much better than being in the car, not just for environmental reasons (and um, because I’m terrified of driving…). Until recently Little B put up an incredible fight every time he was confined to a car seat, and screamed throughout the journey, seemingly whatever I did to calm him.

Anyway, 4 hours in a train carriage could still have gone badly wrong, especially for the poor innocent passengers who were not responsible for my children. So I tried to prepare as much as I could…

Here’s what worked for us: please add your suggestions in the comments!

Continue reading “Tips for train journeys with two”

Exercise ideas to fit around childcare

Exercise makes me feel SO much better, especially when I’m stiff and achey from carrying small children all day – but it’s hard to find time to do any… Even if you can hand the kids to someone else for a while, it’s rarely long enough or often enough to travel to and work out at a gym or exercise class, especially in the early months with a new baby.
So I’ve been looking for ways to work out at home in whatever snatches of time I can get when the kids are asleep. Here are my two favourites. Any suggestions, please share in the comments!

Continue reading “Exercise ideas to fit around childcare”

Tower Hamlets Breastfeeding Support Service under threat

I should have already written a post to let you know how good this service is. If you live in Tower Hamlets, you currently have access to one of the best breastfeeding support services in the country, provided by Tower Hamlets Babies are Born to Breastfeed. Drop-in support groups are available all week at different Children’s Centres; you can get one-to-one support from a breastfeeding expert in hospital and at home; and there is a specialist tongue-tie clinic and tongue-tie breastfeeding support group at the Royal London. See below for how you can keep it this way… Continue reading “Tower Hamlets Breastfeeding Support Service under threat”