How to report sexual harassment on London’s public transport

Have you experienced an awkward moment on the train or bus that you wasn’t sure if it was actually sexual harassment or were unsure on how you could report it?

I remember one hot summer many years ago, I wore shorts on the bus and I sat upstairs on a crowded bus. The person I sat beside started to touch my leg and I felt extremely uncomfortable but wasn’t brave enough to confront the man further or make a scene on the crowded bus so I got off and left.

Continue reading “How to report sexual harassment on London’s public transport”
The Wandering Mother Blog | WellBox Entice Hamper Food Gift Review

Review: WellBox Entice Hamper and Food Gift Boxes

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. I’m loving the slightly warmer weather we’ve been experiencing in London this week however I know it’s not going to last. I’m sure there will be forecasted rain by the end of the week or so.

Last week I’ve been keeping myself and the kids busy, especially as it’s still the Easter holidays and I really want to make it the most for the kids. I’ll be off furlough and back at work next month and as I work weekends, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to spend as much quality time with them then so I’m doing my best to now.

WellBox Hampers & Food Gift Boxes

Last week I was contacted by WellBox who wanted me to review one of their most popular food gift boxes. Of course I accepted – anything in the name of food! 🙂 I was kindly sent the Entice hamper to try out and boy was I in for a nice surprise! As I don’t drink alcohol I asked for a non-alcoholic option to review and here’s what I got….

On arrival: I was SO looking forward to opening this bad boy!

A selection of 11 delicious snacks and sweets

Yep! 11 delicious, tasty, fantastic snacks and sweets. My favourites have to be the dark chocolate orange honeycomb bites – man they’re good! Then it’d have to be the olives (I love olives!) and the crunchy corn snack. The snacking cheese bites are fantastic but they’re definitely strong so if you’re not a big fan of cheese… you’re not going to love them. Just telling you now.

A list of everything that came in my food gift box is below.

Serene Inspirational Affirmation Card

This is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever received in a food hamper. You can sometimes forget about yourself in the midst of things and these little affirmation pick-me-ups seem like just the things you need to read or see.

1 meal donated to a local person in need through our charity partners

Another reason to love these WellBox food gifts hampers is because they are giving back to the community – your local community to be exact. With every box purchased, the company donates a hot meal or meal provision to someone in need from your local area with the help of Barnabus Manchester. You can learn more about this on their website.

Snacks, oh glorious snacks!

It really is a gift that keeps on giving – or at least – gives back. For anyone in need of corporate gifting ideas, this is the one you ought to be adding to your list. After receiving mine, I would be more than ecstatic if my employer sent me a hamper!

Personalised Printed Message from you or your company to the recipient (one message per order)

Alongside a personalised printed message, you should also get a little loyalty card that says to upload a photo of your box on social media, to get a special 20% discount off your next order… that got my attention for sure and of course I uploaded a photo!

There are a few friend and family member’s birthdays coming up so I will be kindly taking up that offer. 🙂

Free UK Delivery to your office, or your team member’s home address

Alongside free delivery which is a no-brainer, you can make also one order and send to multiple addresses. Choose from entering the addresses yourself onto their secure site or you can choose to send an email link to your recipients and they can complete their address directly to cut out the faff.

Review: WellBox Entice Food Hamper

The WellBox Entice hamper has a wonderfully curated selection of sweets and savoury snacks as well as a lovely bottle of something bubbly, whether that’s with or without the alcohol.

It’s definitely a gift box for sharing so I naturally shared mine with the kids. The weather hadn’t been on our side (plus we couldn’t wait any longer) so we decided to have a home picnic and sample all of our delicious snacks and treats!

All the snacks were well packed and the drink came in its own special blow-up bottle case to make sure it didn’t smash during transit. Very thoughtful indeed!


Affirmation of the Day!

I also got this lovely motivational affirmation card in the WellBox hamper. It was super sweet. I think these affirmation cards would be greatly appreciated if this food gift box was given for employee appreciation as well as for friends and family.

Inside our box of goodies…

  • Belvoir Sparkling Elderflower & Rose Pressé (non-alcoholic option)
  • Candy Kittens Gourmet Blueberry Bliss Sharing Pack
  • Vita Vigor Sesame Breadsticks
  • Mighty Fine Honeycomb Bites in Dark Chocolate Orange
  • Buttermilk Cornish Fudge in Strawberry Bellini
  • I Love Snacks Mixed Roasted Nuts
  • I Love Snacks Italian Olives
  • Serious Baked Snacking Cheese
  • Nudie Snacks Premium Toasted Coconut Chips
  • Lovecorn Sharing Pack

With vegan, halal, gluten-free and non-alcoholic options available, there really is a box to suit everyone.

Supporting Small and Local Businesses

WellBox are an events and staff gifting company from Manchester, UK. The charity they work with, Barnabus Manchester is also from the UK. Even though corporate gifting is their main focus, they allow single-box orders so you really can just order the one. If you have friends and family with similar bdays you can order both to be delivered on the same day or schedule for different days. Snazzy or what?!

Whenever I can, I try to make the change and support small and local businesses. It’s nicer and you feel like you’ve actually helped someone else out by investing in their business. I have many friends who have started up their own small businesses and am so proud of them all. Being a small business owner is no mean feat especially during these tricky times of covid.

The Wandering Mother Blog | WellBox Entice Hamper Food Gift Review
Cheers! Little Miss and I enjoying our glass of bubbly elderflower and rose

If the photo of Little Miss above hasn’t already made you take a look at the gift hampers, I would definitely recommend you to check it out. Especially their wellness boxes, you get goodies as well as snacks which is pretty cool and there’s even a curated box for men… perfect for the Father’s Day that’s coming up soon hint hint!


NB. We were kindly sent the Entice hamper box by WellBox to sample in collaboration for a product review on the blog. All photos, words, opinions and content are my own and must not be reused without my consent.

The S word: are you getting any lockdown loving?

If you’re not sure which S word I’m on about, it’s SEX. I wasn’t keen on using it in the title because my boy can read fluently now and I’m not ready to start the whole birds and the bees convo with him just yet. He’s already been asking where babies come from and how they’re made and I’ve just about managed to dodge it for now. He’s 7 by the way.

Who needs a bed when you’ve got the entire floor and that fluffy throw? 😉

Let’s talk about S E X

Let’s talk about it. For me, it still feels a little taboo even though we’re online and I’m just writing all of this. I was brought up by very strict Asian parents so any talk that’s even remotely associated with sex and the sorts was banned. Luckily for them I wasn’t too much of a curious soul.

Sex since Lockdown 1.0 has not really been that different for us. We’d usually do it in the wee hours of the morning or at night when the kids are in deep sleep. However, there have been moments when we struggled with getting it on.

Your contraception can be a (libido) killer

The hormonal pill is now my go-to contraception after years of being on the injection

Our sex life is pretty okay. We’re active and perhaps a little more now than in previous years. That may sound strange but I think it’s because I came off the injection (female hormonal contraception).

I loved being on the injection and used it for many years and between my pregnancies. I’m quite fertile and it just worked really well. I only needed one jab every three months which made it all convenient. I tried the implant and it left me with adult acne and the patch was great but it ended up irritating my skin. I tried the pill once when I was younger but could never remember to take it on time.

Apparently a common side effect for using the injection is loss of libido. I literally had no sex drive. I hated being touched. I was grouchy all the time. And down there was as dry as the Sahara desert no matter how much he tried to get me going. It wasn’t working.

That lockdown loving…

Naturally, I blamed it on stress. But when Lockdown 1.0 hit and I was unable to get an appointment my body started to ease up as it reverted back to its pre-contraceptive state. Being off any kind of contraception brought my libido back. I loved it. I finally felt like a human being again. That’s when I knew it had to be the contraception.

So now I’ve decided to give the hormonal pill a go again and it seems to be going well. My sex drive is pretty much back to normal and we’re getting it on a few times a month which works out to roughly once a week. We’re too tired and lazy to even attempt to do it anymore than that. Sex is tiring, you know!!

The stresses of lockdown, isolation, working from home, parenting can all get too much. As a result your sex life can suffer from it. So if you and your partner aren’t getting it on as much anymore, try to think why that might be. Have a talk about it as you might find that your reasons are not the same. If there’s one thing I learnt about our relationship (we’ve been together for 14 years) is that communication really is key. We talk a lot more about things we never did before. And being comfortable talking to each other about sex is one of them.

What if the sex is boring?

Sex doesn’t have to be a chore. Especially if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, having sex with each other can get boring. It happens! But there’s things you can do to help each other bring it back. Just remember to keep it down – I’m sure the kids and the neighbours don’t want to hear what’s going on after hours…

What if your partner’s not up for it?

This is a tricky one because it involves understanding how your partner is feeling and what their reasons are for not having sex with you. It could just be stress. It could be something more. YOU HAVE TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. It’s really the only way unless you’re psychic and don’t have to ask. I highly doubt that otherwise you wouldn’t be lacking in sex.

Even when we THINK we know what our partners are feeling, we don’t actually know so it’s crucial to talk to each other. If they’re not one to easily open up, find a way to be able to get through to them. If it still doesn’t work, perhaps speaking to a counsellor or therapist could help you both out.

PS. Don’t forget, it’s Valentine’s Day on February 14th – make an effort as we’re not able to go anywhere, you might as well make the most of it in the bedroom!

Your mini-guide to lockdown loving:

TALK IT OUT. The simplest of them all. Let each other know that the flame is burning out. That way, you’re both acknowledging that there’s something missing. Sometimes when we get too caught up in our own things, we assume our partner knows there’s something lacking but in actual fact, they don’t know sh*t all. So talk it out. Figure out what’s missing.

TRY SOMETHING NEW. This can be anything from buying sexy lingerie to introducing something new into the bedroom ie. a sex toy, oral sex, anal sex whatever you both fancy. It could even just be trying out a new lube for the first time! Whatever it is, find something that make you both feel good doing it. Being a selfish lover is never any good so make sure that you are both being pleasured – it doesn’t have to be simultaneously but it shouldn’t be one-sided.

PICK A NEW ROOM. Never tried it in the kitchen? Or always thought about it in the bathroom? How about outdoors? Be careful with that last one because, you know, lockdown and all but if you have a private garden or balcony it could be possible. The thrill of doing it in a new location can be quite exciting and is sure to be fun as long as you’re both up to it. Just be considerate of your neighbours or who’s around if you’re planning on venturing out.

RECONSIDER YOUR CONTRACEPTION. If you’ve lost your libido like I did, ask yourself if it could be your contraception. If so, would you be able to consider another method. You have to find a method that works for you so I wouldn’t promote any form of contraception over the other. You know your body best so if you’re unsure of what you can switch to, ask your GP or a sexual health advisor.

STRESS LESS. Most likely, if you’re not getting enough sex it’s because you’re stressed, or tired, or both. Exhaustion and irritation can be manifestations of stress which increases your cortisol levels. This will leave you feeling fatigue and you could experience a loss of libido because of it. Stress is also not good for the body, in fact it’s actually really taxing on your body as it puts it in a constant state of ‘fight-or-flight’.

So chill out. Give yourself some time. Have a hot bath soak. Listen to some music. Read a book. Do some yoga. Get some downtime in to really calm your mind and body.

KNOW YOUR BODY. Sounds pretty simple. You see your body every day, you know what it looks like therefore you know your body right? But do you know how it feels like? Self-love is not just about loving yourself from the outside in. It’s also about loving what your amazing body can do, how it can feel… and sometimes we have to discover that intimacy with ourselves first.

If you’ve never tried exploring yourself before and you want to, you to give it a go. I know not everyone approves of this so it’s up to you but if you want to, try it. Some women are unable to orgasm with a partner but when they’re touching themselves, they’re able to orgasm multiple times. And if you know your body well and know how to make it feel that way, you can help your partner figure it out too.

WATCH PORN. I wasn’t sure if I should list this one or if it falls under the ‘try something new’ heading but sometimes a good porn can get you both going. Or at least the one of you who’s watching. Watching porn together is something I don’t do – I still find that weird and it’s something we like doing separately, in our own time. It is easier to get aroused after watching porn so it could be an easy place to start, and it’s mostly free nowadays too. Woop woop!

The Wandering Mother Blog

Inspirational Actors You Won’t Believe That Are Over 65

These inspirational actors are not only young at heart, they still look it too. It’s quite hard to tell how old they really are. But when you take a closer look at the number of years they’ve been gracing our screens, you can get an inkling of their age.

Age UK Mobility recently released an infographic on inspirational actors you won’t believe are over 65 and I was lucky enough to get involved. Here’s what I had to say:

“I didn’t realise some big-name actors like Dame Helen Mirren, Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis were over 65! They all still look fabulously amazing for their age! I loved Helen in Collateral Beauty. The film has an amazing cast and the story was brilliantly told and unravelled.”

Manny, The Wandering Mother

If you’ve never watched Collateral Beauty, I highly recommend it! It stars Will Smith (who plays Howard) who is going through difficult time in his life and at work. It’s a story that will tug on the heartstrings – it left me in tears but not of sadness, instead tears of emotional relief. The story is brilliantly told and I loved the unravelling twist at the end.

Infographic: Actors Over 65

Inspirational actors you won't believe are over 65
Credit Source: Age UK Mobility

Infograph credit: Age UK Mobility


More on Age UK Mobility and the infographic here: https://www.ageukmobility.co.uk/mobility-news/article/inspirational-actors-you-wont-believe-are-over-65Age UK Mobility

The Wandering Mother Blog

How to stop back pain stopping you!

A contribution post by Michelle McWilliam. 

After carrying your baby nine months, mothers then carry said baby in their arms or a sling or are found carting a car seat about. Then, as children grow you are carrying heavier – and wrigglier – small children. Of course, that’s all part of motherhood and our body is designed to be able to undertake these activities. However, if this coincides with a combination of repetition and inadequate physical fitness, we can develop injuries that cause pain, ranging from a mild backache to serious pain.
And you can’t really be struggling to get around when you have a small human (or more) to care for and enjoy spending time with. So what do you need to consider.

Know how your back works

Knowing how our bodies work empowers us to make the correct decisions on how best to look after ourselves, whether that’s what we choose to eat, how much we exercise or the daily stretch routine we participate in.

The spine consists of a stack of bones called vertebra and sandwiched between each bone is a disc. These discs are the shock absorbers for our spines and are incredibly strong. Imagine a jam doughnut. The jam in the middle is the nucleus pulposus, the dough around the outside is the annulus pulposus. The sugary coating around the outside is the annular ligament. Together these structures produce a disc that can be squashed in all directions to allow movement of the spine. Holding all of this together are ligaments and a complex array of muscles, which support the central column on bones and discs.

The Wandering Mother - UK Family Lifestyle Blog
Knowing your body mechanics can really help to prevent back pain

What causes pain

Different issues with the spine can cause pain. Most common is the overuse of muscles. This can cause a deep, dull ache which gradually builds up during the day. This is due to muscle fatigue and is an indicator that the spine and muscles around it can no longer maintain the work you’re expecting of them. Alternatively, sudden, cramp-like pain can be caused by muscle spasms. This is where the muscles of the back feel the need to spasm as tightly as possible to stop you doing something, in an effort to reduce possible injury.

More severe back pain can be caused by damage to the discs of the spine. Image the jam doughnut between two plates. As you squish the plates together you squish the disc. If you place more pressure on one side of the disc, the central jam can push out towards the sugary coating. In cases of continued pressure this sugary coating can become damaged and the jam and dough can produce a bulge. In the worst cases the dough, or annulus pulposus, is also damaged and the jam, nucleus pulposus, can come outside of the doughnut, resulting in a herniation.

If the disc bulge pushes out at just the right angle it can place pressure on the nerve which can produce pain. This is known a nerve root compression.

The Wandering Mother | IDD Therapy: Relieving Back Pain
Make sure you look after your back whilst working

Avoiding and treating back pain

When neck or back pain starts it becomes difficult to move. Our body becomes stiff and immobile either due to muscles spasms or the pain that restricts our movement. The first stage is to try and reduce the acute nature of the pain. This maybe helped with hot or cold packs, or pain medication as prescribed or through a GP. Once pain has started to reduce, some movement will return as the muscles start to relax. Manual therapy can then be used to try to further reduce the muscle spasm, mobilise stiff joints and improve the movement of the spine.

Exercises are, of course, an important part of maintaining health for the spine. They help not only to prevent injury but also for the treatment of injuries once they have started. Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates are all excellent forms of exercise to maintain the strength of muscles in the spine, your core control. They can also improve and / or maintain flexibility of the ligaments, muscles and joints of the spine and neck.

Posture and manual handling techniques are incredibly important for preventing injury. Lifting incorrectly, especially with an added weight such as a child, can add a large amount of pressure on the neck and spine. If this is added to poor spinal health due to poor posture and declining physical fitness, the chances of injury are increased.

Herniated discs

For disc problems to resolve, the body needs to be given the right environment to help itself. This means that the spine needs to be moving to the best of its ability, with enough strength and control to undertake the activities that are expected of it. Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists are all skilled and able to provide the correct treatment and advice to try to help with back and neck pain.

In cases where the body is unable to heal itself and manual therapy treatment has been unsuccessful, clinics can recommend IDD Therapy. This form of treatment is a specialised form of spinal decompression, controlled through computers to provide the exact amount of decompression to a targeted area for a sustained period of time. The targeted area means that the specific disc that is causing the issue can be targeted rather than a broad traction throughout the whole spine. The gentle nature of the treatment means that the muscle spasms can be eased to improve spinal mobility and, therefore, proves a far more suitable environment for the spine to heal.

The Wandering Mother | UK Family Lifestyle Blog
IDD Therapy treatment with Accu SPINA

As the pain subsides, manual therapy and gentle exercise can, of course, be re-introduced to help get patients back to full health again. Keeping your body strong and mobile is the key to enjoying a long, enjoyable and – importantly – pain free life. However, since over eighty per cent of people will experience back or neck pain at some stage in their lives, it’s reassuring to know that in most cases in can be helped quickly with the right management or treatment.

The Wandering Mother Blog - Guest Post

About the author: Michelle McWilliam

Michelle McWilliam is a highly experienced Osteopath and Acupuncturist and co-owns The Totalcare Clinic in Botley, just outside of Southampton.

The clinic provides Osteopathy for adults and children, Acupuncture, Sports Massage, IDD Therapy, and boasts 48 classes per week of Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi. ‘Intervertebral Differential Dynamics’ or IDD Therapy is the fastest growing non-surgical spinal treatment for intervertebral discs with over 1,000 clinics worldwide and 34 clinics across the UK. Safe, gentle and non-invasive, IDD Therapy helps patients who need something more for their pain when manual therapy alone is insufficient to achieve lasting pain relief.

http://iddtherapy.co.uk
Facebook: IDD Therapy Europe
Twitter: @IDDTherapyDisc


NB. This is a contribution post written by guest writer, Michelle McWilliam who is an Osteopath, Acupuncturist and co-owner of The Totalcare Clinic

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Supporting Black Pound Day

Black Pound Day: 6 businesses I’m recommending this November…

BLACK POUND DAY: NOVEMBER 7

This year seems to be flying by… I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone! Honestly, it’s all been a blur – most days seem to blend into each other and I can’t make out whether it’s the start of the week or the end of the week.

Black Pound Day has grown tremendously strength by strength each month and I’m so happy to see that more and more people are spending their money consciously and doing more to support small businesses, especially local black-owned businesses.

Black Pound Day: October 3

Unfortunately, I never made it to posting my 5 recommended businesses for October and I feel so bad for it, especially as it was also UK’s Black History Month. I’m posting last month’s round-up for this month PLUS an extra upcoming business that’s created by kids for you to feast on. Yes, children – you’re never too early to start a business! 

Beauty & Home: Neriyas

If 2020 has got you stuck in a rut, feeling a little down or mentally and physically exhausted, uplift your spirits and mental wellbeing by spending a little more self-care time on yourself. This is something that Neriyas promote highly; Neriyas is a natural beauty and homecare brand centered on helping you improve your self-care. The candles look beautiful and would be the perfect addition to the home – think of it as an early Christmas treat! Neriyas facial oil cleanser is becoming a new favourite for many natural skincare junkies. You can also get 10% off your purchases when you sign up on the website.

Check out how beautiful the products are on IG: @neriyasldn

Health & Wellness: Black Kids Do Yoga

Sonjoria Sydnor is the founder of Sydnorville Books and creator of @BlackKidsDoYoga. She recently launched her first book, Our Family’s Doing Yoga. It’s available for international shipping (she’s US based) which means you can enjoy the book wherever you are. The book is a fantastic read and the perfect introduction to yoga for the whole family.

If you have been following me for a little while, you’ll know that I love yoga and trained to be a Kids & Family Yoga Teacher a couple years ago. Yoga is a fantastic health benefit, not only for the body, but for the mind also… and it works just as well on children. 

Yoga has so many benefits for both adults and children. In children, it can help to calm their busy little bodies and minds, help improve concentration and focus, and encourage them to be more confident with their bodies and self-awareness. It can also be a great way to keep them active, engaged and creative.

Keep up with Sonjoria on instagram at @blackkidsdoyoga and @sydnorvillebooks.

Books/Education: How To Raise A Kind Child In A Prejudiced World by Uju Asika

Black Lives Matter was one of the pinnacle moments of 2020. The BLM movement is nothing new (it’s has been around since 2013), but once again, has shook the world again light of George Floyd’s murder. People all around the world are trying to unlearn any unconscious racial bias, learn how to properly form allyship and making the world a more inclusive place, not just for black people but for all people of colour. This fantastic book by fellow family lifestyle blogger, Uju Asika who blogs at Babes About Town (check her out!) has written a book on how to raise children in a kind and inclusive way. You can purchase the book here.

Follow Uju on Instagram: @babesabouttown

Hair & Beauty: MelaninMade Black Castor Oil

Jamaican black castor oil is one of the most popular ingredients in all good haircare and beauty products. The first time I discovered black castor oil was in Shea Moisture’s popular Jamaican Black Castor Oil haircare and Tropical Isle’s oil however pure black castor oil works even betterMelaninMade has harnessed the powerful properties of this oil and bottled it in the most natural way possible (she grows her own castor bush on her organic farm back home in Jamaica!) for us to receive all of its magical goodness. Pure and unrefined, MelaninMade’s Jamaican black castor oil is excellent for improving hair and scalp conditions, fading scars, stretch marks, and a range of skin conditions.

See before and after photos on Instagram: @melaninmade.co.uk

Lifestyle: Bubble of London

Owned by two friends from France, the duo have brought to us a whole new level of lifestyle luxury. Ever wanted to have your own hot tub but didn’t want to commit to buying one? Well, now you can! Bubble of London are a hot tub hiring company; completely mess-free, the guys come and set up/dismantle everything for you so you can just sit back and enjoy the bubbles. Bubble of London also offer hiring packages including balloons, shisha pipes, screen projectors and disco lights for all of your home entertainment needs.

Full info, prices and packages on Instagram: @bubbleoflondon

NEW! RISING STAR: Tinie Treats

TINIE TREATS is a new and upcoming postal dessert box business, created by three little bakers. The business is L2 Food Hygiene certified and is currently in its testing stage so keep an eye out for their debut launch on instagram. The concept is that you select your freshly baked treats, which will be packed and sent out to you via UK post. Follow their progress on Instagram and if you’re looking to invest in this small ventures, they are open to proposals. 

More info on IG: @tinietreats

2020 Calendar Dates

Here’s a list of all the upcoming Black Pound Day dates until the end of the year. No more guessing of when it is, just save the image to your phone or desktop and you’re good to go.

Black Pound Day September 2020
Black Pound Day Dates

For a full list of black businesses, visit: https://blackpoundday.uk/

The Wandering Mother Blog

Can eating a vegan diet in pregnancy really be healthy?

A contribution post by Louise Palmer-Masterton

There is a widely-held belief that humans are omnivorous (both meat- and plant-eating), so eating a solely vegan-based diet with no meat, fish or poultry cannot be safe in pregnancy. However, I and many others, would disagree with that statement.

I was almost 40 years old when I was pregnant with my first child. At that time, my diet mainly consisted of whole vegetables, small amounts of wholegrain, tofu, lentils and pulses, nuts and seeds. I ate as I normally would throughout both of my pregnancies. I had no morning sickness, no particular cravings, no complications or deficiencies, and was able to deliver both of my children safely at home by home birth. During both of my pregnancies, I took multivitamins and folic acid as recommended by health professionals.

I then started to wonder if my experiences were rare ones, or were there many vegan women out there experiencing the same problem-free pregnancies like I did. So I did some research and found that there were many other new mums who were also vegan during their pregnancies.

My findings:

  • All of the new mums I spoke to adopted a ‘wholefoods natural diet’ during their pregnancies
  • None of them experienced any cravings
  • Two out of the seven experienced severe morning sickness ate plain toast for their first trimester
  • Two were diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) in the second trimester which was successfully managed by eating a wholefoods-vegan diet
  • Soups and stews were frequently mentioned as the main ‘go to’ meals
  • Marmite, tofu, tempeh, brown rice, aduki beans, miso soup, and ginger were also popular food options

“When I had morning (all day) sickness I ate a lot of baked potatoes, as I didn’t fancy much else. Luckily potatoes have vitamins in the skin, and so I felt they were better than other bland things. I supplemented potatoes with vitamins and iron. I also remember eating dried mangoes, cucumber, and miso at some points, and drinking orange juice. When I recovered from the morning sickness, I ate a lot of everything.”

Helen, Vegan Family Guide

For mum, Holly (one of the women diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes) said nut butters were a life saver for her special diet, thanks to the high-fat/protein and low-carb content in nuts, to sustain her through her pregnancy.

For Danielle, who developed cholestasis in her second trimester, meant she could only eat foods that were low in fats explained that “the vegan diet was great for this”.

Can you get the right nutrition from eating a vegan diet?

All the vegan women I spoke to were very knowledgable about vegan nutrition in pregnancy. They were all well aware of the need to increase protein intakes by 10-20%, and did so with greater attention based on eating good, balanced meals. Not all of them ate protein/rich foods like tofu, with many of them preferring pulses, grains and organic vegetables.

It is recommended in pregnancy for all mothers to take folic acid. With vegan pregnancies, it’s also highly recommended to take vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements as these are not found in plant-based products. Half of the women I spoke to did mention they take diet supplements, but the other half only took the recommended folic acid supplements.

Helen, who has been vegan for many years, said: “I always try to follow a balanced diet. Supplements are recommended to pregnant people of all persuasions. I took vegan vitamins and iron before, during and after my pregnancy.”

Angie, who was vegan pregnant then raised her children on vegan diets, said she “just ate sensibly – mainly fruit and veg. I’d been vegan thirteen years before I became pregnant and had never been unwell so I assumed it all was ok…” shows it is possible to be healthy and vegan during and after pregnancy.

This was reiterated by Lee, who has been through two pregnancies as a vegan; “I didn’t even think about nutrition, I just followed what my body craved and had zero nutritional issues”.

Do pregnant vegans feel well?

None of the women I spoke to reported of any nutritional issues or deficienciesa during their pregnancies, and aside from the complications mentioned by some of the women, all of the mum-to-bes said they felt healthy during their pregnancy.

Danielle stated: “I am very strong and the muscle of the household, even when pregnant if something needs lifting, I’m your girl”.

Another mum, Emma said she continued to be vegan whilst breastfeeding and had a wonderful pregnancy with no issues whatsoever.

“I wasn’t sick once, I had no cravings, I felt great the whole time, had energy, my skin was the best it’s ever been and I continued to work-out throughout the entire pregnancy. Postpartum I was told I had great colostrum, since my baby only lost 70g initially and I had a plentiful supply of milk, the health visitor actually said I had too much!”

Emma, new mum

What do health professionals think of pregnant women following vegan diets?

All of the new mums I spoke to remarked on how compassionate and empathetic their health care teams were of their vegan food choices. None of them was pressured or advised to eat animal products, including the women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Emma: “I didn’t tell my midwife that I was vegan because I expected a negative response which I didn’t want to deal with at that time. However, in hospital (after the birth) the team were very supportive in providing me with decent vegan food to eat.”

If you are vegan or vegetarian, don’t let the myth that you need animal products during your pregnancy put you off sticking to your plant-based diet. Eating a healthy and balanced vegan diet during your pregnancy can be good for you and your baby – and as long as there aren’t any vegan foods that are on the ‘no go’ list during your pregnancy, you won’t have to give anything up either.


This is a contribution post from guest writer, Louise Palmer-Masterton – founder of multiple award-winning restaurants Stem & Glory.

The Wandering Mother Blog

How to help yourself and your family get more from the rest of 2020

A contribution post by Sid Madge, author of the ‘Meee in a minute’ series of books

Goodness, 2020 has been a challenge so far. Both kids and parents have had a huge amount to contend with. It seems realistic to assume that we will be living with Covid-19 for some time to come. So, what do you and your family do to handle the rest of the year and enjoy the very best you can from it?

Here are three ideas to help you…

1) Developing Your Innate Growth Mindset

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck became obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures and setbacks. Initially her research looked at kids and how they reacted to puzzles they couldn’t solve. She found was that children, especially young children didn’t even consider not being able to solve the puzzle as a failure in the first place. It was just a game – a fun challenge. The outcome of Dweck’s research is now world famous and she proposes that our success and happiness in life comes down to one thing – mindset. According to Dweck there are only two – fixed and growth.

Those with a fixed mindset, have a fixed idea of what they are capable of, believing that what they are born with is the finish line. They tend to be more defeatist. Those with a growth mindset believe that what we are born with is just the beginning. What we are capable of is not determined by anything other than our own aspirations, effort and determination.

Interestingly, Dweck believes we are all born with a growth mindset. We get trained out of it by schools, social expectations etc. We’re taught that failure is unacceptable – even though all great success comes through failure not by avoiding it. If ever we needed to re-assess that growth mindset it’s now.

Take a minute to consider whether you have a fixed or growth mindset? Has Covid-19 made it more fixed as you sink into a gloom? If you imagine you had a growth mindset instead – what would you do? Looking at your life, your family and the rest of 2020 – what could you try? What have you always thought of doing but never got around to it? Lean into the uncertainty and adapt. Use it as a springboard to try things you’ve been putting off. Stay curious, flexible, and open.

2) Changing Today to Change Your Future

What have you done today? Is that getting you closer to your family and life goals or further away? If you want a different tomorrow so you find a successful way through the pandemic, you need to take steps to change what you do today.

Stop for a moment and reflect on how you spend your time. When did you get up this morning? How much time do you spend on social media? How much time do you spend learning something new? Do you spend time with friends? Are those exchanges enjoyable or stressful? How much time do you spend on your health?

Take a minute to draw a circle and divide it up into slices that represent how you spend your time during a typical day. Now draw another circle and divide it up to represent how you would like to spend your day. Identify the things you like or can live with and the things that you don’t like and can’t live with. How can you change the aspects of your day that bring you down?

Often, we don’t need to make big sweeping changes. Subtle little shifts can accumulate to bring about change.

3) Responding to Stressful Times

In 1967 psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a list of 47 stressful events that could impact health and happiness. The assumption is logical – start accumulating stressful experiences such as a job loss, illness or divorce and you are more susceptible to physical illness, disease and depression. Global pandemics and economic uncertainty don’t help either.

However, the fly in their theoretical ointment was the fact that not everyone who experienced really tough life events were negatively impacted by them. On the contrary, some of those people actively flourished. This field of study is called post traumatic growth or adversarial growth and studies have shown that great suffering or trauma can actually lead to huge positive change. For example, after the Madrid bombings of 2004 psychologists found that many of those affected experienced positive psychological growth.

The people in many of these studies found new meaning and new purpose from surviving something terrible. Instead of seeing their situation as a failure or a problem they believed it will make them stronger. How can you use Covid-19 in the last months of 2020 to find new meaning and positive growth?

Take a minute to think about exactly what you are worried about most in your life and identify one thing you can do about it right now. Set that in motion. What positives could you pull from the turmoil? Get creative – think of at least three positives that Covid-19 could give you and your family. It might not be fun but if you can find the silver linings you can often move on quicker.

These suggestions are pulled from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work. As parents we can adapt and help our kids and other family members along the way. I hope the ideas above will contribute to you getting the most your can from the final weeks of 2020.

https://www.meee.global

Sid Madge in action / Photo Credit:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.

Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.

The Wandering Mother Blog

5 ideas to help you achieve a new balance for your family by Sid Madge

Covid-19 has affected families in different ways. If we are lucky, we have been able to enjoy staying at home, reconnecting with family and indulging in some serious down time, safe in the knowledge we have still been receiving the majority of our pay. If we are unlucky, we have been anxious, struggling financially and emotionally, or worse we have lost a loved one.

However, amongst the gloomy predictions of Great Depression-like economic slumps there is hope and opportunity. Opportunity for us, individually and as a society to change and create a better tomorrow and greater balance.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle & Travel Blog
Family Time is now more important than ever / Photo Credit: Alexander Dummer via Unsplash

In fact, a recent YouGov survey showed that only 8% of Britons want life to return to ‘normal’ after the virus outbreak is over. 42% of participants said they value food and other essentials more since the pandemic, with 38% cooking from scratch more. 61% of people are spending less money. Two-fifths said there is a stronger sense of community in their area since the outbreak began and 39% say they are catching up with friends and family more. We are being reminded of what is truly important and meaningful in our lives. The only question is whether we will head those lessons and insights and use them to create something better or whether we will all go back to the way it was.

There is talk of a ‘new normal’ which implies that we are going to have to make some compromises in the new reality we find ourselves in. But what if, the compromise was the way we used to live. Compromising our time with those we love to make money to buy stuff we didn’t really need in the first place. Compromising time with friends and family for work commitments and never-ending deadlines. Compromising our health because we didn’t believe we had the time or inclination to cook from scratch or take care of our fitness. And yet these are the little things that have kept us sane for the last few months. The shared family meals, life lived at a slower and often, more enjoyable pace. A bit less anxiety, a bit more love.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog
Sid Madge / Tony Blake

Let’s forget about normal or new normal and instead focus on ‘New Balance’. Here are five practical ideas to help make this ‘new balance’ a reality in your family life. Please feel free to share these tips with those around you and help them find the space they need to make them into regular habits:

  1. Take time out, every day to get outside, ideally in nature or a local park. Walk, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Don’tcut yourself off by listening to music, audio books or podcasts. Instead, pay attention to what’s around you, notice the trees, listen to the bird song, witness the change of the seasons. Take this time, even if it’s just a few minutes, to just ‘be’. Listen. Think. Spend time in silence.
  2. Master your mornings: Start your day from a place of positivity. Prepare the night before so that mornings can include a shared breakfast. Everyone in the family says what they want to achieve that day and takes a minute or two to share what you are already grateful for in your lives. Use that positive start to get into a positive mindset.
  3. Take ten or twenty minutes out of each day to read an inspirational book. For example, any of the three Meee in a Minute books (life, family and work). Each one has 60 one-minute nuggets of wisdom including life hacks, advice, insights, science, short exercises, and thought experiments to ensure you start the day with positivity and confidence. Another great book is A. C. Grayling’s ‘The Meaning of Things’ which had a profound impact on my life. There are dozens of great books so pick those that resonate with you. Many are also available as audio books.
  4. Eradicate unnecessary activity. Ask yourself does this activity add value and make you feel better or does it detract from your life. Lockdown has taught us what is really important and spending money and endless shopping doesn’t appear to have made the cut. Take some time to consider what’s really important in your life. If something doesn’t add value, eliminate it or seek to cut down that activity in your life. Focus on what matters professionally and personally. Focus on what makes you and your family happy. And make these things the priority.
  5. Connect with people you care about – friends and family. At work seek to find ways to maintain some of the flexibility that became essential during Covid-19. Honour both the human being and the employee. Find ways to maintain a connection and to find a balance that works for all the important parts of your life. At home, talk to each other, eat together as a family and maintain the strengthened bonds facilitated by the pandemic.

Today we have an opportunity to create something better for our families and also for our communities. This could be our silver lining where we truly appreciate that what matters doesn’t have to cost money. It isn’t the nice overseas holidays, the expensive car or the bigger home. What matters are the micro moments of love, trust, gratitude for the simple things.

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Travel & Lifestyle Blog
Sid Madge in action / Photo Credit: Tony Blake

About the Author
Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives. To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates. Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work- or family-life in 60 seconds.


This is a guest post written by Sid Madge. Images of Sid Madge are credited to Tony Blake Photography respectively and must not be used without permission.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Supporting Black Pound Day

Black Pound Day: 5 businesses I’m recommending this month…

BLACK POUND DAY: SEPTEMBER 5

That’s another month gone already! Last Black Pound Day: August I listed five wonderful businesses where you could put your money to good use. This month, I’ve got another five lined up for you. Same again, each of the businesses are from a different category but check out Black Pound Day’s official website for a comprehensive list of black-owned businesses local to you.

Food: Dinah’s Desserts

Need a birthday cake? Dinah’s Desserts is my go-to baker and cake designer. Her culinary background and skills stem from working in Michelin star restaurants and it really shows in her attention to detail. I always splash out on a cake for the kids’ birthdays because they always look the best and are made to perfection. Here are two of my favourite designs – the dinosaur and the unicorn…

Food: Eat of Eden

Finding a vegan food spot a few years ago would’ve been a difficult task but with the rise of free-from foods, vegan eateries are now popping up all over London which is fantastic news. Eat of Eden offers deliciously tasty vegan platters (small, medium and large), vegan patties, burgers, natural juices and sea moss juices. Healthy. Hearty. Wholesome. Just pure delicious. There’s a few of them dotted around London so you’re bound to find one near to you. I went to the Brixton one but there’s one coming soon to Lewisham, South London. 

Eat of Eden also taking part in the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme from Mon-Wed.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog Supports Black Pound Day
Eat of Eden platter / Photo Credit: Happy Cow

Arts & Education: Black History Activity Books

Finding resources that support important black figures has always been hard for me because I never really knew where to look. But since the rise of the BLM movement, I am finding it a little easier now to find culturally diverse reading and learning resources. These Black History Activity Books are amazing. They offer a wide range of fun activities for children from colouring in to spot the difference, and there’s also lots of interesting facts to learn too. We chose Malcom X, Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey. There’s so many to choose from (I think up to 50!) so do check them out. They’d also make great birthday or Christmas gifts.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travelthe kids with their new activity books

Home: Savour Candles

When I first saw these candles, I knew they had to be amazing. They’re made from 100% soy wax, are non-toxic and because it’s completely made of soy, you won’t experience that horrible soot and smell after putting the candle out. Soy candles are also known to burn at least 25% longer than their paraffin counterparts. The white glass jar is so pretty and would look amazing in any room. Savour Candles also don’t stop at candles either – they also offer wax melts, melt posts, reed diffusers. If you’re not sure which fragrance to go for, you can order free scent sticks to help you choose one (or a few!) more easily.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog supports Black Pound Day 2020
Photo Credit: Savour Candles

Business: I AM? ME! non-profit CIC

I Am? Me! is a new female-owned BME social-enterprise that has been set up to provide inclusive black and minority ethnic resources for parents, teachers, educators and child carers. The company is completely new and is relying on fundraising to help them grow and expand their outreach. Their Go Fund Me page has so far raised a good amount but still need a lot more help. If you are in a position to donate please do, but if not then you can still help by sharing their page with others or on social media.

2020 Calendar Dates

Here’s a list of all the upcoming Black Pound Day dates until the end of the year. No more guessing of when it is, just save the image to your phone or desktop and you’re good to go.

Black Pound Day September 2020
Black Pound Day Dates

https://blackpoundday.uk/

The Wandering Mother | Guest Post

Keep Calm & Do Yoga in the French Alps: L’Essentiel yoga and wellbeing festival

The beautiful village of Megève in the French Alps is set to hold the inaugural edition of L’Essentiel later this summer, with the three-day wellness festival already creating a buzz amongst seasoned yoga enthusiasts and those new to the ancient discipline. The brainchild of respected yoga teacher Katy Mission, the programme is being organised by Megève Tourism in collaboration with Satiam™ Yoga and will comprise 17 workshops and experiences spanning the themes of yoga, nutrition, cooking, meditation, and aromatherapy.

1-minMegève

Set to take place September 11-13th 2020, the festival will showcase the discipline of Satiam Yoga, which was devised by Katy and is a practice centred on breathing and posture exercises. Katy, who is the founder of the popular Satiam Academy, works as a ski instructor in Megève during the winter months and is on a mission to bring the benefits of her discipline to the mountains this summer. Satiam, which combines the Sanskrit word for ‘sit’ and the English words ‘I am’, enables those taking part to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Against the backdrop of recent global events, the festival is taking place with a view to helping attendees relax and rejuvenate after, what has been for many, a uniquely challenging time. Drawing on the peacefulness, tranquillity and serenity of the summer mountains, visitors will have the opportunity to get back to nature by taking part in a variety of enriching activities. They include a specially curated well-being breakfast prepared by the plant-based chef duo Wild Seeds, a class with Aria and Gus exploring the virtues of ‘Warrior Flow’ yoga, and an energising yoga dance session with the body movement specialist Angélique Favre.

L’Essentiel will be hosted at Megeve’s Le Palais, the largest leisure complex in the Alps. The centre, which features a vast array of superb facilities including Turkish baths, a year-round ice rink and a state-of-the-art spa, will welcome health-conscious yoga lovers from all over France and beyond, for what is set to be a fun and informative weekend for both experts and novices alike.

2-minLe Palais

At the event, where tickets are priced between €20 and €55, festival goers will also have the opportunity to shop for yoga clothing and accessories, as well as for bespoke and ethically made jewellery.  In addition, vegan food and drink will be available throughout, and for those wishing to celebrate, an array of organic wines will be on offer.

3-minKaty Misson

L’Essentiel is the latest event to cement Megeve’s position as the leading centre for wellness holidays in the region. With yoga retreats and superb spa facilities, the village is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to simply unwind and relax. Beyond the festival, visitors can also choose to get active with a huge range of hiking, biking, climbing, and fishing excursions on offer at this time of year, or opt to play tennis or a round of golf on a world-class course. Visitors can also reconnect with nature through an array of transformative experiences, think horse-back rides to the summit of Mont d’Arbois to admire the spectacular sunset, or taking to the skies over the Alps in a light-aircraft. For more details about L’Essentiel and for ticket information visit the festival website: http://www.satiamfestival.com (website is in French, use Google Translate)

The sound of jazz will return to Megève

Sadly, Megève’s renowned International Jazz Festival was cancelled this year, but organisers are excited to announce that the event will return 2-4 April 2021, when hundreds of artists will descend on the village for the fifth edition of the much-loved event. The sounds of New Orleans will come to Megève with performances set to take place in the streets and at lively venues throughout the village, with the higher profile concerts held at the impressive Le Palais night club. The festival will showcase an eclectic range of performances from domestic and international artists, with past headliners having included Gregory Porter, Marcus Miller and Norah Jones, with the 2021 line-up being much anticipated.

4-minMegève International Jazz Festival

Go There: Megève is only one hour from Geneva Airport, which benefits from direct, low-cost flight access from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds. Return flights from London Gatwick to Geneva with EasyJet are priced from £43pp.

For more about Megève please visit: https://megeve.com
(images copyright of Commune de Megève)

Megève

Set in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, Megève is a stunning traditional winter sports and summer village that has been popular with artists, intellectuals and holidaymakers for more than a century. The traffic-free, cobbled medieval centre features an abundance of artisan shops, galleries, and a beautiful array of four-and-five-star hotels, as well as no less than four Michelin-starred restaurants. But Megève is also becoming increasingly popular with British holidaymakers seeking a charming getaway on the slopes or in the summer mountains without the price tag, thanks to a growing number of chic and affordable accommodation and dining options.


This guest post was written by Tim, Heaven Publicity