Saturday, 24 September 2016

Baby Days

I finished this book last week and was completely blown away! This is a collection of birth stories, all told from the perspective of the midwife and the mother, and often a sibling or birth partner too, and accompanied by stunning photographs of the labours, births, and postnatal moments. The stories include many of the different forms that birth can take, such as cesarean section, breech presentation, multiples, hospital and home births, and really show what can be achieved for women by giving the kind of care Becky's team of midwives were able to offer. Continuity of care and supporting the mother to make informed choices has real impact in terms of outcomes, and this can clearly be seen in the stories told here. The book ends with a comment on this type of care by Sue Brailey that everyone working in maternity services would benefit from reading.

The photos are the absolute star of this book. Taken from the midwife's perspective, they are both intimate and graphic. I haven't reproduced any because I feel that you really have to read the book, but you can get a feel from the cover. When this book first arrived in the post Sausages (6) took it from me and wouldn't give it back until he had inspected all the pictures. He has seen childbirth before, including being present at Bob's birth nearly three years ago, and he found them fascinating, not shocking. I picked the book up and began flicking through the photographs, thinking that I would return to read the book properly at another time, but the set of a baby who turned from vertex to breech between contractions in the second (expulsive) stage had me hooked, and I just had to start reading the stories! I was privileged to meet Becky Reed at the recent Positive Birth Movement event "Be The Change," and she commented that she hadn't been convinced about leaving that story in, but the fact that Ina May Gaskin commented positively on it in the introduction convinced her. I'm very glad she did!

A little knitting and finishing this week for the gown for baby 3. I ran out of yarn without being able to make it long enough to close with buttons like the previous one I made, so it will have to be daytime wear, but that's fine. The bamboo yarn is ever so soft, and the ladybird buttons are very sweet! Bob chose them himself.

I'm linking up to Ginny's yarn along this week, so do pop over and check out what others are making and reading. And if you do have any recommendations for must-knits before baby 3 arrives, please do let me know!


Monday, 5 September 2016

Vegetable Biryani

I've had a lot of requests this week for my vegetable biryani recipe, so here it is!

I really enjoyed watching the recent BBC programme The Chronicles of Nadiya. In the second episode Nadiya makes a delicious looking goat biryani in a ship's galley, and that set me craving one, so I had a little look around the internet and put a few recipes and ideas together. I just used whatever veg I had in the house/garden, as is my want.

Chop root veg and onion, scatter in a few tomatoes and a fresh chilli if you have it, and roast in the oven for 15 minutes in a little vegetable oil. Mix together about a litre of stock (I used lamb bone broth from my freezer stash, but veg would of course be fine), with two teaspoons curry paste, chilli flakes if you're not using fresh, back mustard seeds, and a tsp of turmeric. Oil your casserole. You will need a lid, so if you have a Le Creuset or similar this will be perfect. Remove the vegetables from the oven and mix in any lighter veg, such as beans or courgette. Staring and ending with rice, make alternate layers of veg and rice in your casserole. Pour over the stock and cook around 180 degrees C for 45 minutes to an hour.

I used 300g basmati rice, and I'm pretty confident it will do two meals for us. Serve with yoghurt and flatbreads if you wish. I think this would work very well in the slow cooker too, let me know if you try it!


Friday, 2 September 2016

September Stress Management

Back after another little break to share more summer holiday reading and knitting with you! It's been too nice outside to be inside on the computer, but today it is too hot to be outside, so here I am, snatching five minutes while the boys snooze.

First up these two great books by two great women, Virginia Howes and Sheena Byrom. These two ladies have followed very different paths through midwifery, one as an independent midwife renowned for fighting like a lion for her patients, and the other as a force for evolution within the NHS. I was privileged to meet Sheena at the Chichester Home Birth Conference earlier this year, and it was truly a delight to read her experiences. I enjoyed both books so much!

`I was delighted to receive a copy of this colouring book for review recently. Have you tried adult colouring? I hadn't before, although I had been given one as a gift and wanted to try it out. This was the push I needed!

The designs in this book follow a set of themes: mother and child; feathers; botanics; birds etc. Sadly my photos aren't great, but they do save you from seeing the extent of my awful colouring. Who knew it was so hard to stay in the lines! I'm past 30 for goodness sake!

As you can see, while the boys have many colouring resources of their own, mummy's are irresistable. In the picture below you can see where Bob has taken on board our little chats about the baby in my tummy, and as he proudly told me, coloured in the baby's "water!"

I like that some of the pages have a blank space in the middle, and I plan to use them to frame birth affirmations as I get closer to meeting our next baby.

I wasn't sure what to expect from adult colouring, but it turned into a nice reflective exercise on growing and meeting number three. It would make a lovely gift, especially for an anxious or first time mother.

I love this last one, don't you?

Sausages took charge of my knitting photos this week. The light green is a baby bundler, a repeat of a pattern I knitted the last time I was expecting and loved in use. I'm digging around to find the modifications I used last time. It's pretty tiny! And thanks to the bamboo/wool blend yarn very very soft. Sausages has artistically perched it on some flowering heather! The mittens below are similarly posed on a dry log that he thought matched them. They are the Maize pattern from Tin Can Knits, and the yarn is leftover natural shetland black from my baable hat. I rather adore them! They will be perfect for forest school with Bob this autumn, and I might manage to make him a pair too, since the pattern comes in all sizes. I do like this pattern collection, and they are all free, do pop over and take a look!

I hope you are having a good week and if not knitting and reading, then something is bringing you joy. As a household with one child in school and one parent teaching, plus a joint birthday coming up and a new baby on the way, we are embarking on the most stressful week of our year. I am grateful for these small creative pleasures which give me headspace in the melee.

Joining in with Ginny's yarn along to see what everyone else is reading and crafting, always a great source of inspiration!

Take care,

E x