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Who are you today, mummy?

Author and mum Amy Beeson shares her experiences of looking after a child over the summer holidays whilst launching a new book with workingmums

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After publishing three books with HarperCollins, running my own business and doing the school run I’ve learnt that women maybe multitaskers but focusing on what you want to achieve most of all each day and feeling fulfilled by small achievements is what success looks like for me. Book sales and client wins are fantastic but they’re intangible and can sometimes leave you feeling a bit flat. Focusing on putting on a great book event one day and then making pancakes with my daughter the next morning feels more real than striving for an end goal since I left the corporate world.

The corporate world is playing catch up; they talk about flexible working but we’re actually doing it.

I did find pregnancy and the return to work challenging because becoming a mum changed me. It changed my relationship with work. I love my job but I’ve got at least three full time jobs (I’m a mum, an author and business owner) but I can’t be all three at the same time, not in the way I want to. I ask myself who am I right now? Over the holidays I was a mum all of the time and an author most of the time, because our new book Our Country Nurse was published and my daughter was off school. There wasn’t much space for client work but that’s OK because most of my clients were away.

For me the biggest challenge is still trying to be present in what I’m doing. Not letting mummy guilt creep in whilst I’m writing and not thinking about emails when I’m with my daughter. And it never gets any easier, it’s never going to not be busy. What I’ve discovered over the last few years is that I need to take responsibility for feeling in control.

I’ve learnt so much by connecting with other mums about what works for them and I’ve discovered that being great at your job doesn’t mean you have to work all the time. I work best in bursts of about two hours – I can get a lot done in those two hours! Then it makes complete sense to go for quick walk, eat something nice, or do some yoga – that’s not slacking; it’s giving my mind and body some sustenance so when I come back to do another two hour burst of writing or client consultations I’m at my optimum.

When you’re in an corporate environment most of the time you have to follow someone else’s rules whether they work for you or not. I get to take a fresh look at each day and ask myself what I need to achieve and how best to set myself up to succeed. Flexible working enables you to pick the time and place that means you always do your best work.

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My mum is probably the kindest colleague I’ll ever have. Whoever you work with be a kind boss to yourself.

Once my daughter’s in bed if I’m working towards something big I’ll do another few hours on the laptop but I don’t do that all the time because it’s not healthy. During the run up to Our Country Nurse coming out I was working till midnight and we’ve had lots of book events and PR to do.

My mum said to me, ‘Let’s enjoy this. Let’s not miss out the pleasure of seeing our book come out by letting all the thoughts of what we need to do spoilt it.’ Sarah is always the first person to tell me to not do too much. Sometimes that’s hard to hear because nothing just falls into your lap; it takes hard work, but you have to ask yourself would you expect the same of someone else? I might expect a colleague to do long hours when it was necessary but not very often, so I try not to expect more of myself than I would of others.

When I do have to work long hours I make a deal with myself that I can do this for a week but next week I’ll need to change things because otherwise I’ll burn out. Part of the joy of working for yourself is doing what fulfils you and that changes day by day. Most of all I want to feel happy, to me nowadays that is what success feels like.

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Amy Beeson runs Wordsby Communications and has a successful writing partnership with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE. Their new book Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.

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Can parents have great conversations?

By Amy Beeson

Quite a few of my friends and associates from different background are also Coaches. Although they’re incredibly supportive and insightful to talk to, they also don’t pull their punches from pointing out if the person who is holding me back from something is actually me.

When Mumsnet Babyfest connected us with Barefoot Coaching and suggested we check out their Coaching Cards for New Parents I messaged Coaching Friends to ask if they’d come across them. The resounding answer was “Yes, they’re amazing. I trained with them.” And I’m not a girl who asks for professionals opinions and then ignores them.

kindred spirits

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Kim Morgan and Sarah Beeson

My mum and writing partner (Sarah Beeson MBE) and I were invited to a getting to know you breakfast with Kim Morgan the writer of Coaching Cards for New Parents and one the UK’s most esteemed business and personal coaches and her daughter Saira Aspinall who is the Marketing Director of Barefoot Coaching. When we met it was like we were old friends within minutes because we had so much in common on parenting, being working mums and mother and daughter teams. There was a lot of nodding, animated conversation and women’s laughter in the middle of the dining room of a central London hotel that morning.

Saira and I both have a background in marketing and publishing and are trying to balance the whole being good at my job and at being a good mum thing, and confessed that both of our mums’ (Sarah & Kim) were our 24/7 hotline to letting go of mummy guilt.

Kim and Sarah discovered they’d both been greatly influenced by Dr Mia Kellmer Pringle’s work on the emotional needs of children which shaped Sarah’s research for our parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family. Kellmer Pringle is also a character in Our Country Nurse. 

We left with an advanced pack of Barefoot Coaching Cards For New Parents to take home and play with and couldn’t wait to see what each of the 50 cards within the pack suggested. Saira and Kim were invited to our launch party for our new book Our Country Nurse and it was great to spend more time with them there.

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Sarah and I looked at every card and picked out the top ten cards that resonated with us the most. We came to the conclusion that opportunities for romance may be few and far between with a new baby but trying to be kind to each other and not loosing sight that you’re a partnership as well as parents benefits everyone.

Parents could use Kim Morgan’s Coaching Cards to give themselves time and space to talk about  their lives and share all the lovely moments being a new parent has brought so far. They could also be a tool to start a discussion on any  issues you’re experiencing such as feelings of guilt and self-criticism or feeling under valued by your partner. You might pre-select a card or pick one at random and see where the conversation takes you.

Picking a calm moment and card or two to have an open and kind conversation about your thoughts and feelings since you’ve becoming parents and actively listening to your partner will help you to appreciate how much you’ve already grown as a family.
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Sarah’s favourite coaching card in the pack said, ‘What messages did you receive about yourself as a child? To what extent have these messages stuck with you or become true?’ It’s definitely a theme that runs through our parenting advice and novels. We gave away one of these cards to every reader who came to our book launches for Our Country Nurse and they agreed whoever you are, this question opens  up discussion about your past, present and future.

ASK YOUR PARTNER TO PICK A card

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One evening I got our the pack of Coaching Cards and my husband Takbir and I took turns to pick one each at random. It did give me a opporutnity to talk about some issues I’d been bottling up but also it was good to listen to him. To consider how our very different childhoods are influencing our behaviour as parents and how our greatest strength is working together as a team.

It being the school holidays our daughter Ava had less strict bedtimes and soon wandered into our conversation. She took a turn to pick a card too and asked us questions and answered them herself about her own experiences. As a family it was a lovely way to spend some time together and I noticed we were all very present in the moment. All the devices were turned off and it was nice to have an open discussion about our lives and share in our happiest memories.

great gift for new parents

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Kim asked Sarah if she’d endorse the coaching cards which she did gladly. If you pick up a pack this is the quote you’ll see on the back.

“Using these cards to talk about the highs and lows of parenthood will be good  for you and your family.”
Sarah Beeson MBE, author of Happy Baby, Happy Family

Coaching Cards are designed to make honest, open conversation between new parents easier. They can be dipped into time and again, the cards can be used throughout the first year of parenthood and beyond into the toddler years. Easy to pick up and use, they make a great new baby gift if you’re shopping for a present for new parents or mums to be.

ABOUT BAREFOOT COACHING CARDS FOR NEW PARENTS

Coaching Cards for New Parents by Kim Morgan are available to Buy on Amazon. You can get more information on Barefoot’s Coaching Cards range at Barefootcoachingcards.co.uk and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @barefootcoachingcards.

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Win Tickets and See Us at Babyfest

Come and see us at Babyfest Mumsnet’s one-day boutique baby event on Saturday 24 September 155 Bishopsgate, Liverpool St, London, EC2M 3YD.

Doors open at 9.30am. There’ll be goodies to giveaway, expert speakers, baby book shop, practical demonstrations, scrummy food and pampering treats. Book now or enter to win a pair of tickets with us.

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EXPERT TALK 10AM BREASTFEEDING: A BRIEF OERVIEW, MAIN AUDITORIUM

Authors of Happy Baby, Happy Family Health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE and writer Amy Beeson will be talking openly and honestly about all aspects of breastfeeding, as well as other feeding options, and the importance of making the right decision for you. If you can’t make this session or would like to receive advice in a more informal, personalised setting, pop over to the Demo area after the talk for some one-to-one time with Sarah and Amy.

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1-2-1 ADVICE AND BOOK SIGNING, DEMO ZONE

Sarah will be giving free 1-2-1 advice in the Demo Zone after her talk and signing copies of our books Happy Baby, Happy Family, The New Arrival and Our Country Nurse . at the Victoria Park Bookstall. Pop along for a friendly chat to ask any questions about you and your baby.

WIN TICKETS

To win a pair of tickets to Babyfest head on over to our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (The competition will run 15-18 Sept and is open to UK Entrants only).

5 REASONS YOU’LL LOVE BABYFEST

1. Hands-on practice
Try out the best baby products – plus learn how to tie a sling, bathe a baby, and take part in a crucial baby first aid session.

2. Advice from star speakers
Hear from Britain’s foremost baby experts including Dr Pixie McKenna, Jane Clarke, Beverley Turner and Sarah Beeson MBE.

3. Pampering treats
Book in for a free manicure, reflexology or massage treatment, as well as a free pregnancy yoga session.

4. Delicious food
Enjoy a lovely free lunch from Soho House restaurants Pizza East and Chicken Shop.

5. SWAG
Don’t forget to pick up your fabulous free Babyfest goody bag packed full of products worth over £50!

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Our Country Nurse is a rich tapestry of 1970s life Sarah Beeson MBE on BBC Radio Stoke

Author and former Stafford health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE joins Liz Ellis and Perry Spiller on BBC Radio Stoke to talk babies, parenting and her new book Our Country Nurse.

Missed it? Listen again on BBC Radio iPlayer.

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The Interview

Liz: Let’s take you back to the 70s. It’s was a decade our next guest started caring for babies and their families. Sarah Beeson from Stafford has an MBE for services to nursing and has recently published her second memoir Our Country Nurse on her adventures. Think Call The Midwife 20 years later. Sarah, what are the big differences for you between then and now for babies?

Sarah: Babies really don’t alter. Fashions and fads come and go. The most important thing is the emotional needs of babies. Today’s parents really get that. As well as the care, the breastfeeding or bottle feeding and looking after your baby the emotional needs are very important.

Perry: You’re a health visitor; you’re going into other people’s houses aren’t you? Our Country Nurse is a rich tapestry of 1970s life.

Sarah: It is. I worked in rural Kent. I had a little mini which was given to us by the county as we’d be county council employees and had only just moved into the NHS. The weather could be tremendously harsh in Kent; snow in the winter and the book has the baking hot summer of 1976 where once I parked my Mini when I came back out the steering wheel was so hot I could barely touch it to drive onto my next visit. But knocking on doors for a living has been most enjoyable.

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Liz: You didn’t have children when you started and you were very young when you became a health visitor. What made you want to do it?

Sarah: When I trained at Hackney Hospital on community practice towards the end of my training I went out with a marvellous health visitor visiting high rise blocks and there were terrible conditions in some areas. She was so welcomed by her families, she organised nursery placements, she sorted housing out and I thought I want to that. Later on when they were looking for nurses who wanted to do health visiting I applied and got in.

Liz: You’ve got some really interesting stories. It’s fictional with names changed but loosely it’s based on your life?

Sarah: Yes, it’s my memoir. All the characters names and circumstances are changed except me, Sarah Hill, I’m the only one who is herself and I’m not even completely sure about that.

Perry: So, presumably the main protagonist is you?

Sarah: It’s me narrating and it’s my story but there are some real characters. I dedicated Our Country Nurse to three Staffordshire health visitors who are no longer with us but there wonderful way of working come out in some of my characters particularly Hermione who is wonderful largely based on a dear friend.

Liz: Some of the stories people might find a little shocking. Tell us about the Filipino mum?

Sarah: They was a Filipino couple with a new baby. I went to see them and they worked very long hours for hardly any money. They got one half day a week off on a Sunday and really it modern day slavery.

Perry: How much did they earn?

Sarah: They earned £17 and ten shillings a month between them.

Perry: Good grief.

Sarah: I mean wages weren’t high but that was exploitation. And the excuse from was they got a room – which was an attic, and food – which they weren’t used to and couldn’t eat. They wanted to get away to the United States and their story was largely based on someone I did see.

Perry: What did Sarah encounter with this couple then?

Sarah: The mum was wonderful but she really couldn’t spend enough time with the baby. I used to do a number of clinics and one had bus that went round and picked everyone up and brought them to this monthly country clinic and took them all home again all for free. I more or less said it’s essential she goes to her employer she must come; dereliction of duty on your part if you let them go. She was a very pukka lady and didn’t want to go against that so allowed her to have this afternoon off once a month to come to clinic and that’s where we hatched the plot for her to escape.

Perry: So she escaped!

Liz: You helped her to get out of the situation.

Perry: It says in the book that she was advised to leave the baby under an apple tree so she could carry on working for the family?

Sarah: Yes, what her employer kept telling her was to wrap the baby up and leave her under the apple trees in the orchard and get on with your work, I used to do that on Nanny’s day off. It was January! It was real exploitation. You have to tread very carefully sometimes and that’s the thing with health visiting you have no right of access, you have no right to go in. It’s people’s good will.

Perry: For unmarried mothers back in the 70s was there still stigma there was in previous decades?

Sarah: There was. There’s a story about a young girl, another one I helped to escape from looking after two horrible elderly uncles in a tumbledown farm to a nice little flat of her own. Things were changing in the 70s, it wasn’t as Dickensian as 30s, 40s, 50s but it was still very hard and tough for women at that time generally but particularly unmarried mothers.

Liz: One of the stories from your book which are based on real events is about you going to help a mum with a three year old who’s having issues in the night?

Sarah: This is based on a quite a few incidents because quite a few parents say their child is talking to someone or seeing someone and it’s not that unusual and it’s not usually a ghost, it’s usually imagination and children have seven years before they really separate reality from fantasy.

Liz: What are they doing in the middle of the night though?

Sarah: I can’t give the story away but its not all that it seems. The whole family is really worried because they think they’ve got a poltergeist; things are falling off dressers and crashing to the floor.

Perry: Was this a real story?

Sarah: Yes, but the actual outcome isn’t quite that you might think it was.

Perry: Now that’s a teaser.

Liz: There were a lot of high profile stories in the papers in the 70s about children and ghosts.

Sarah: There is always something going on in that direction.

Liz: You must have thought why are you calling me?

Sarah: When you’re a health visitor people go to you to ask for help and very often you’re not quite the person who has the knowledge but you can be conduit; you can find the right person.

Liz: Did you have any other unusual cases like that?

Sarah: I’ve unblocked drains, I’ve called the environmental health for all sort of infestations – things that I can’t actually deal with though I’m quite good at unblocking drains. In the 70s people didn’t have the money and insurance cover for emergency situations so you did get rung up just as you were leaving the office. For instance on Christmas Eve as I was leaving someone rings with a problem and it was that story that started off the memoirs. A lady rang me and said I can’t settle the baby they’re crying, crying, crying. I went out I was there for absolutely ages talk about breastfeeding, positions and I’d left the minis lights on. I had a completely flat battery and no mobile phones in those days. I didn’t want to go back to the house I’d been there two and a half hours. I walked to the phone box and rang the local garage. Great big snowflakes started to fall and I was stuck in a drift with a flat battery on Christmas Eve and I didn’t have any money with me. This lovely mechanic came out, he started my car and I asked him how much and he said, ‘Nothing, Nurse, it’s Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas.’ I put that into the text of Happy Baby, Happy Family as a little story and my agent said to me you should write your memoirs.

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Liz: Was it because of that going above and beyond dedication that you got the MBE?

Sarah: I got the MBE as a health visitor for working with children and families in Stafford. People put me forward for it without my knowledge. And I understand the Queen often says you get your MBE on behalf of a whole team of people. I just happened to be the one who was going up to get it and representing the profession.

Perry: Here’s the killer question – there’s a lot of people listening who would have been mums in 70s and are the daughters of those mothers. In your estimation are parents better now than they were?

Sarah: This generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Parents these days they really work as a team, they put their child’s welfare, their wellbeing at the heart of what they’re doing. Working parents, working mums especially often feel so torn between work and childcare but working is a good example for your children, whether you’re a stay at home mum, work full time or part time, there has been great improvements in parenting and especially in the emotional needs; that love and security. Recognising your child as an equal, you’re the custodian of those rights.

Liz: You think we do that more now?

Sarah:  A lot more now.

Perry: Is it an attitude of mind thing? In the 70s they were only one generation away from a child should be seen and not heard.

Sarah: That was not quite as bad as it had been but the parents of children then had definitely been told to be seen and not heard. It’s evolved and now parents understand that harsh words can hurt. That’s a big leap forward and I don’t think many parents now would think that smacking children would be OK because it always makes things worse.

Liz: Physically though it was harder for mums back then using terry nappies – we’ve got it easier now.

Perry: And your washing machine saves your life.

Liz: In birth we’re a lot more likely to use pain relief now, there weren’t a lot of options then.

Sarah: We do have wonderful midwifery and obstetrics service these days compared with then but there was every week an antenatal class run by myself and the midwife, there’s a wonderful midwife in the book who was an absolute treasure her mums adored her. We did a topic every week and relaxation every week – taking you through labour – because the NHS is so squeezed and lacking in resources some parents can’t get onto a course sometimes. So yes, I’m all for the new developments, I think it’s wonderful to have them but it’s your wonderful midwife who steers you through it.

Perry: Sarah, it was lovely to speak to you and the new book is Our Country Nurse. There’s quite a few stories drawn from your time in Staffordshire.

Liz: Thank you for coming in Sarah Beeson from Stafford, MBE.

Order a signed copy of Our Country Nurse.

Published by Harper Element.
Paperback at £8.99 available from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and WH Smith.
eBook and £6.49 available from Amazon Kindle, iTunes, Google Play and Kobo.
Audiobook £12.99 read by Anna Bentinck available from Amazon Audible and iTunes.

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How to introduce your pet to a new baby

We were glad to give new parents and parents to be some advice in Mumfidential. New research from The Baby Show with MadeForMums has found that nearly half of new parents today have pets and that three-quarters of parents believe that having a pet is beneficial for a child’s development, teaching them a sense of responsibility and improving their social skills. (Photo credit Bumpkins).

This said, the process of introducing the family pet to a new baby can be a tricky experience and one that needs to be managed and monitored carefully. Expert speaker at The Baby Show, Sarah Beeson MBE, and Head Vet at Notting Hill and Baron’s Court Vet, Dr Emma Nicholas, share some top tips.

Dr Emma Nicholas (Mum of 2) and Head Veterinary Nurse Anna Connell (Mum to be).

Dr Emma Nicholas (Mum of 2) and Head Veterinary Nurse Anna McConnell (Mum to be).

Dr Emma Nicholas’s tips

Prepare your pet
Give yourself plenty of time to let your dog or cat adjust to being demoted in importance before your baby arrives. You can prepare your pet by gently starting to distance yourself, for example, leaving your dog at home for slightly longer periods of time.

If your dog or cat is used to sleeping on the bed or sofa, it’s a really good idea to get them used to a bed or basket of their own nearby while you are pregnant. In this way they won’t suddenly be upset if they are no longer allowed on when the baby arrives. By encouraging your pet to become self-sufficient the stress of the change will be minimised.

Watch out for the cat litter
Pregnant women who own a cat need to keep away from the cat litter. I advise my pregnant clients not to handle the tray because of the risk of Toxoplasma. If you are worried you can ask your doctor to perform a test to see if you have antibodies to the parasite.

Prepare your home
A lot women worry about cats getting into the cot with the baby. When I had my babies I had three cats and I was very worried about this. I bought a cat net to go over the cot to stop any cat jumping in and to put my mind at ease. A stair gate can also be useful for stopping the dog going upstairs (something that will come in useful when the baby starts climbing too!)

Make time for your pet
When your baby arrives, do make time for your cat or dog when you can or she will feel neglected. Try and keep to her routine and give her a cuddle when you can. It’ll do you good too. Studies consistently show that owning a pet is good for us. It drops our blood pressure and creates a sense of well-being.

Having a baby can be challenging at times and maintaining who you are is important. Your previous relationship with your pet may seem at first glance to be a trivial thing to some, but I believe that it helps you to maintain a sense of self whilst everything around and about you is changing. Embrace the fact you have a furry friend!

Keep your pet’s routine
Work out in advance how you can manage caring for your baby alongside your dog’s usual walk times. It is important that your dog doesn’t feel rejected when the baby comes home; forward planning will make it easier to adjust your dog’s routines as your baby’s routines change too.

Ask for help
Having some friends and family who can step in to take on dog or baby duties will help you get the rest you need.

Get some fresh air
It can be really great for mum, baby and dog to go for a walk. I really enjoyed the exercise and the head space it gave me. Everyone’s needs were met so it’s a win-win when you feel up to it. Babies who get out in the fresh air on a daily basis also have much more chance of sleeping well at night. The soothing motion frequently induces slumber so, fingers crossed after you’ve walked the dog you can put your feet up with a cuppa when you return home.

Sarah Beeson MBE (photo credit Our Family Film)

Sarah Beeson MBE (photo credit Our Family Film)

Sarah Beeson MBE health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby agrees that preparation is the key.

Sarah Beeson’s safety tips for pets and babies

1. No matter how nice your dog or cat is, it’s better to be cautious as accidents can happen in a spilt second.

2. Never leave your pet unattended around your baby or put them close together. If your baby pulls or hits the animal they are likely to retaliate on instinct.

3. Play it cool, don’t try and too hard to get your pet to like the baby, they’ll become friends in their own time.

4. Be realistic about your pet’s ability to understand and recognise what’s happening; it’s natural they may feel pushed out.

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Am I changing the nappy right?

You’ll be an expert in no time but who couldn’t do with a few tips from a baby expert on avoiding nappy disasters. Sarah Beeson shares her top tips with Prima Baby magazine.

Safety first

When changing your baby’s nappy Sarah says “It’s safest on the floor. If you have a back or knee problem it’s fine to use a changing table, but you have to be there every second as your baby will soon get to the stage where he can roll off.”

The dirty deed

“Clean him every time, whether he’s done a wee or a poo. I’ve nothing against wipes, but some babies are sensitive and react to them. Alternatively, big lint-free cotton wool pads are good. Use slightly warm water and squeeze it so its not sopping wet.”

Preventing nappy rash

“Use a thin layer of barrier cream at most nappy changes. Every day, give your baby five minutes of nappy-free time kicking on the changing mat on the floor- it really does help prevent nappy rash. Line the mat with some paper towel or an old towel first.”

 

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“If you have a boy, make sure his penis is pointing down when you put the nappy on, otherwise when he wees it will go up his neck!”

About Sarah Beeson

If you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch.

Sarah Beeson is a health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson. Sarah’s memoir of training to be a nurse in 1970s London The New Arrival is a heartwarming true story published by HarperCollins.

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Do you love holding other people’s babies?

I must confess when I first had LO you think your baby is so awesome it’s hard to be interested in anyone else’s. I guess that’s just natures way of making your new baby the centre of your world.

But with LO starting school last week I got to hold other people’s scrumptious new babies at YoBeBe Apps Mums & Bumps Meet Up at Somerset House and man they were just gorgeous.  What a fantastic gathering of mums and mums-to-be. With complimentary gifts from Mothercare.

It was also a pleasure to chat to the pregnant first time mums about bump life. They were already putting such thought and time into preparing for their Little One’s; my mum (author Sarah Beeson MBE) is right this is the best generation of parents ever. I was asked to speak to this group of women about my journey into motherhood, becoming an author and setting up my own business Wordsby.

Along with Marion a parent blogger at Poignee D’Amour who organises Free Meet Ups in Notting Hill and Elisa who teaches ballet with bump and baby from PregDance.  The advice we give in Happy Baby, Happy Family seemed to strike a big cord and one mum who’s read it said our instant baby calmer The Up-Down Technique stops her baby crying every time in seconds!

You can see Sarah for 1-2-1 Baby Advice at Mumsnet Bumpfest in London on 26 Sept.    And at Natures Purest Balham on 29 September.    There really is nothing more we like than talking to mums and expectant mums so please get in touch if your run a group in London or the Midlands.

Prima Baby Awards 2016

Prima Baby Awards Announces Author Sarah Beeson MBE Will Be A Judge

cropped-sarah-beeson-circle.jpgWe’re proud to announce that Sarah Beeson MBE will be one of the judges for the Prima Baby Awards 2016. Joining the Expert Judging Panel along with Annabel Karmel MBE, parenting journalists and other health professionals as well as the true experts – real mums and dads.

Prima Baby magazine is a leading title among today’s parents – a reliable, trusted, no-nonsense voice that tells it like it really is. It’s for this very reason that the Prima Baby Awards are held in such high esteem, informing parents about the products and services that do genuinely make life easier, better and more fun for young families.

So, whether it’s brilliant buggies, terrific toys, superb slings or first-rate family holidays, the Prima Baby Awards are all about honouring those in the industry who’ve made a truly positive impact on the world of parenting.

Advice and products today’s parents can trust

‘I’m honoured to be asked to be a judge with leading experts in the parenting industry for one of my favourite publications,’ said Sarah. ‘I reguarly write parenting advice for Prima Baby and know parents can trust the information and recommendations it offers.

I was thrilled earlier this year when Prima Baby made my book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby the book of the month. I’m excited to have the opportunity to test out the products and find out more about the innovators who are making babies and families happier with their businesses.’

Prima Baby Awards 2016

How to enter

Enter your product or service for the Prima Baby Awards online by registering. You can enter more than one product and category. Entry closes at 11.59pm on 2 October 2015.

All entries shortlisted by the Prima Baby team will then go to be judged by a panel of experts . The judges are Sarah Beeson MBE author and health visitor, Annabel Karmel MBE Prima Baby food expert, Kelly Beswick Prima Baby Editor,  Alison Alexander Freelance Consumer Editor, Hazelann Williams MadeForMums.com Reviewer, Dr Rob Hicks Prima Baby’s resident doctor, Becky Martin TV meterlogist and entrepeneur, Amy Goodman owner of children’s clothing brand Floselle, and Anne Richley Prima Baby’s resident midwife.

What are the categories?

The award categories span health and wellbeing, pushchairs, car seats and carriers, family travel, sleeping, feeding, toys, books, shopping and lifestyle.

On The Move
First pushchair
Travel system
Lightweight stroller
Double buggy
Twin buggy
All-terrain/Off-road pushchair
Pushchair accessory
Infant car seat
Multi-directional car seat
Multi-stage car seat
Carrier
Sling

Family Travel
Travel product for parents
Travel product for babies and toddlers
Travel cot
Travel highchair
Family holiday brand (includes hotels, airlines, tour operators, holiday parks, cruise lines)
Family day out

Health And Wellbeing
Newborn nappy
Baby and toddler nappy
Pants style nappy
Reusable nappy
Wet wipes
Nappy rash product (as voted for by parents)
Toilet-training product
Bath product
Baby skincare product
Bath accessory
Hero health product for mums
Hero health product for children
Home safety product
Thermometer

Bedtime
First bed
Cot or cot bed
Nightlight
Monitor
Nursery accessory
Baby bouncer

Feeding
Breast pump
Support pillow
Bottle
Breastfeeding accessory
Feeding equipment
Highchair
Organic baby and toddler food range
Baby food range (as voted for by parents)
Toddler food range
Free-from children’s food product/range
Family cookery book

Toys And Books
Baby gift/keepsake
Baby toy, 0-12mths
Toddler toy, 1-3yrs
Pre school toy, 3yrs+
Electronic toy/app
Toy retailer/website
Baby & toddler book
Pre school book
Parenting book

Shopping And Lifestyle
Change bag
Maternity lingerie brand
Maternity fashion range
Mum’s fashion
Newborn and baby fashion
Girls’ fashion
Boys’ fashion
Children’s shoe range
Family supermarket (as voted for by parents)
Nursery retailer (shop or website)
Hero beauty product for mums
Hero pregnancy product

Special Awards
Innovation of the year
Can’t live without…(as voted for by parents

Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is published by HarperCollins (4 June 2015). You can read all about her nurse training in her memoir The New Arrival: the heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London.

An Easter Rural Retreat, BBC Radio 4 and Mother-Daughter Shopping

Like most of London on Munday Thursday we wanted to do the big Easter Weekend Getaway but first we had to do a quick TV interview with Good Morning Britain on shared parental leave.

 LO insisted we wear our matching Poppy England Forest dresses for the cameras.   My husband, Takbir and I were interviewed in the kitchen. LO took this photo – not the most flattering angle. Thanks kid! The three of us had a quick game of alphabet cards, like you do before a hectic packing session. LO didn’t bat an eyelid about being in front of the TV cameras but then she did feature on Location Location Location when she was ten months old and wasn’t a smidge of trouble. Packing done, at last we were off in a northerly direction to Staffordshire to my mum, Sarah Beeson for a bit of much-needed family time.

Good Friday was a bit of a wash out. But my mum being the lovely mama she is took LO in the morning and let us have a lie-in. She even brought us breakfast in bed. On Saturday Sarah hosted a lovely lunch for our friends and their gorgeous new baby. I was so pleased to see them using the Faye & Lou rainbow muslins we bought for their new arrival. It made me rather broody. On Easter Sunday LO was thrilled to wear her new Poppy England boat dress, white cardigan and yellow petticoat for the first time. She really loves swishing around in her new petticoat. And she does rather like to jump up and down on her Grandma’s bed (under supervision). It’s quite nostalgic for me to see her lying on the quilt my own Granny made. I thought she might be shy of the lovely ladies from BBC Radio 4 who joined us for our family interfaith celebrations but she was chatting to them happily as soon as they arrived. Going to Broadcasting House for radio interviews with Harriet Scott and Robert Elms on BBC London, BBC Radio Stoke and Hackney Radio stations last year with Mummy and Grandma when The New Arrival came out means she takes TV cameras and radio mics in her stride. My husband’s family arrived for our annual Easter Egg Hunt and lunch. My lovely sister-in-law Nazia even brought these Easter Cupcakes. She’s so clever and is another mumpreneur and runs Cocoas Cupcakes in Birmingham Nazia even made these homemade personalised golden Easter Eggs for all the children. How’s that for creativity at interfaith family celebrations! I was amazed at how easily Sarah talked about our family to BBC Radio 4 producer and presenter whilst preparing the lunch. She looks so at home in her country cottage kitchen in her Poppy England apron we gave her for christmas. I can feeling some weaning advice and recipe videos will be needed when her next book Happy Baby, Happy Family comes out.

LO and her cousins love, love, love our annual Easter Egg Hunt. It just fills you with such joy to see them enjoying themselves and being together as a family.

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Takbir prepared halal lamb for Easter Monday lunch. My mum served up chapatis, riata, quorn and chickpea curry, salad, spiced potatoes and rice followed by a lemon and cream pie. It was all very, very good. We all think good food is one of the benefits of being a culturally rich-mixed family.

Each of the children, even though they are only between three and four years old, loved being interviewed about what they liked about Easter, Christmas and Eid. They just take these events as celebrations and a time to be together as a family, they don’t see that some of them are muslim and some of them are christian.

This year the children were all ready for the egg and spoon race, though I must admit there was a fair bit of cheating.

They all beat the dads in the parent and child race.

Before we waved goodbye to BBC Radio 4 and went on a long country walk through the village we had a family photo. As you might have noticed there’ll be an extra Little One at next year’s gathering (my Sister-in-law Abeda is a pregnant with her second and Nazia and Fateha already have two children each). I wore my Poppy England Forest dress and new yellow cardigan again but followed LO’s example and wore my new yellow petticoat for the first time too – I now want to wear a petticoat everyday – they’re such fun.

On Tuesday Takbir went back to London but LO and I stayed on in the countryside for some clean living. LO and I had a wonderful afternoon exploring one of my favourite places Shugborough Hall. I was hoping to take a few days off; I haven’t had a proper day off since New Year’s Day.

My mum brought me and LO breakfast in bed on Wednesday morning (she really is the best mum ever) and LO had picked me this lovely flower to have on my bedside table. It’s wonderful to feel Spring is really here, such a celebration of new beginnings and family life.

I usually sling a few snacks into the nearest bag when LO are out and about in London but Sarah whipped up in no time a lovely picnic lunch. She put this basket onto the back seat of her car and took us to the playground at Weston for a picnic lunch and running about in the spring sunshine.

It was so lovely to do a bit of mother-daughter shopping at Trentham Gardens. Last year we bought LO a mini doll for her birthday from Natures Purest Trentham. It was so nice to find a mixed race doll and we got her the Papa and Mama & Baby dolls for Christmas. She asked if Mimi could have a sister and now her little World Family will be complete with brother Felix and sister Flora to add to her dolls for her next birthday.

One of my cousin’s has a new baby, who we also sent some blue and white star Faye & Lou muslins. But Sarah being the loving auntie she is, couldn’t resist buying the new baby a bamboo blanket from Zoe at Natures Purest too. We were given one for LO when she was a baby and it really is so soft and snuggly. Another of my cousin’s is expecting – by the end of the year there will be three new babies in the family.

My day off was short-lived as we got a phone call from HarperCollins to tell us the final proofs for Happy Baby, Happy Family were ready. So the rest of the week was spent going through them. Though it’s terribly exciting to see the book come together; it’s off to the printers next week. Less than eight weeks to go now (4 June 2015) and a bit like waiting for a new arrival.

More excitment on Friday when we realised Sarah’s advice on gentle parenting was featured in this month’s Gurgle Magazine.

And our top games to play with new babies are in this month’s Mother & Baby magazine. So, it’s been a great week. Not without its dramas (the washing machine broke) but it’s definitely been a case of Eat, Pray, Love this week for our whole family.

Amy Beeson is working mum. She runs Wordsby Communications and co-writes books with Sarah Beeson MBE. With her husband, writer Takbir Uddin she is part of the Interfaith Marriage Network that supports couples and families who are in interfaith relationships.

(LO was given her boat dress by Poppy England but every other product mentioned in this article we paid for).

Red Nose Day 2015 My Kid Dressed Me and we went to the Science Museum

On Red Nose Day Friday 13 March 2015, I joined in with #MyKidsDressedMe again with mums and dads from across the UK raising money for Comic Relief. Here’s a little a bit about the story behind this viral campaign. And I don’t think LO did too bad a job – though most people wouldn’t have gone for the purple tights.

comic relief headshot mykidsdressedme

Here’s a really short video of the two of us in matching ensembles – LO does love to dress like her mummy. She styled me in a red and white spotted dress, white cardigan with black beadwork, purple tights, red court shoes, a string of pearls and a white ribbon for my hair. We went to London Science Museum and had great fun.

science museum mykidsdressedmeAt lunch at The Deep Blue Diner for our #FunFriday the waiter complimented us on our matching outfits. I don’t know if he believed me when I explained LO had dressed us both for Red Nose Day. Here’s a little message from LO after lunch.

blackboard mykidsdressedmeDo have a look at the fabulous styling of all the mums and dads who took part in #MyKidsDressedMe for Comic Relief over at Story of Mum. And a big fat thank you to everyone who donated.

red  nose thank you

Tweet your photos to @RedNoseDay @StoryOfMum @TheBearRabbit @Amyibeeson

Amy Beeson is a writer and brand creative at Wordsby Communications. She is the co-author of The New Arrival: a heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London and Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby.