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A pain in the, er, back

Lately, my Twitter timeline has been full of people talking about back pain. Perhaps because I follow alot of people with young children (back-cripplers), who knows?

My husband and I run a back pain studio and I’m finding it really hard not to pimp out the business to my pain-riddled followers. Bad business sense? Perhaps, but the Twitter account in question is a personal one and I don’t want my followers to feel obliged to make an appointment or that something is being pushed on them.

So I thought instead, I’d just add a wee post for any of you who do suffer to give advice on how to manage back pain, the best ways to prevent it and who to see if it all gets too much.

Your best defence against back pain is strength. If you can get to a Pilates or core-strengthening class, you’re on your way to a stronger back which gives greater support to the spine and reduces vulnerability to injury. Better still, if you can it’s well worth going to see a specialist sports therapist, rehab professional or physio (even if it’s just one session) to get a specific core-based exercise programme.

Work on ‘activating’ your core each time you lift your child, twist or move with weight. Read here on how to do this.

Avoid twisting to lift or put down your child/something of significant weight. Stand straight on, keep your back straight and bend your knees.

A hot bath and ibuprofen can work wonders for short-term back pain.

If you get pain down your legs, there’s a chance you may have a prolapsed (slipped) disc. See a chiropractor or osteopath if this is the case.  If there is no prolapse, it could be tight muscles in your buttocks causing the problem. A good sports or deep tissue massage can see to this.

Sports or deep tissue massages are amazing for easing pain and tension. I’m not just saying that because it’s my job, honest.

Stay active. The more mobile you are, the less chance you have of seizing up and causing further damage. Keep walking, keep moving but know your limits and listen to your body.

If you don’t already, exercise. If you have a long-term back problem, seek advice from a physio or sports therapist before you do but exercise keeps us strong, supple and our joints mobile. Even if it’s just a 20 minute walk each day, it’s all good.

If you push a pram with an adjustable handle, make sure it’s not so low that you’re stooping over.

So, there we have it. I hope that helps some of you and please feel free to comment if you have any questions. Good luck!


Etsy shop is go!

So, seeing as I’ve been going a bit blanket mad recently, I’ve decided to channel my efforts into my Etsy shop. Take a look here, if you like. I have 3 beauties waiting for new homes 🙂


His, his and hers

I used to struggle with lunch ideas but now the boys are older and eating what I eat, I like to sit and enjoy a proper meal with them, not just a quick sarnie. More so since trying to include more superfoods in my diet, as I mentioned in this post.

So today we had one of our storecupboard staples, roasted veg cous cous with lime and mint. I added some rye bread, cheese and grapes for the boys and accompanied mine with a big leafy watercress salad.

Serves 4, you will need:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 courgette, thinly sliced
Tin chickpeas
100g cous cous
200ml veg stock
Handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
Juice of 2 limes
handful fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped

1. Drizzle the veg with oil and roast for 20-30 mins until starting to brown
2. Put the cous cous in a bowl, add the stock, cover until all the water is absorbed then fluff up with a for
3. Add the chickpeas, veg and tomatoes to the cous cous
4. Mix the mint into the lime juice, pour over the cous cous, stir well and serve

This is also lovely with feta or goats cheese and you can add whatever veg you have in. Red peppers and aubergine also work well. You can use quinoa instead of cous cous for an extra protein hit.

Making room

When I was first pregnant with Finn, Andy and I were determined that our house wouldn’t get filled with toys, baby paraphernalia and general plastic, loud stuff. We didn’t want our kids to have loads of unnecessary toys and would try as much as possible to stick to traditional, educational toys. Then 4 Christmases and 6 combined birthdays came and went (via our generous family and friends) and we find ourselves left with this

Our conservatory, ladies and gentlemen. The conservatory was here when we moved in and we have never really liked it. It’s freezing in the winter and doesn’t get the sun in the summer. Original plans were (and still are, one day) to take it off and create an extra, proper room in its place that’s warm and stuff.

But since having the boys it’s been lovely to have a space just for them. It means the rest of the house is free from toys and we maintain our grown-up space. However, this is what I’m left with at the end of a day at home. Carnage.

They don’t play with lots of the toys and have outgrown many of them so today we decided it was time for an overhaul, a reclamation of play space and a good old-fashioned clear out. It took about 3 hours, thanks to my ‘helpers’ taking out the toys just as soon as I’d pack them away (annoying, much?) but we got there in the end and now have only toys they play with (but seriously, do they still need this many?) Here is the end result

The train set lasted the best part of an hour before Godzilla Max decided it was better on the floor

Thrifty vintage desks. £4.50 on eBay.


I gave Finn the letters to his name to see if he can spell it out. This is what he came up with. He’s now known by his Norwegian name, Fiehln.


Crazy blanket lady

…Strikes again.

I fed my ongoing blanket obsession today after a visit to my local fabric shop (which, if you live in Bristol and you sew you should go to by the way, it’s a gem). I picked up some of this gorgeous Kumari Gardens fabric by Dena Designs. I have previously used this for a patchwork quilt and love love love it.

I’ve been wanting to make a fleece baby blanket fo a while so I got some lovely soft fleece and put it to good use, all finished off lovely with a turquoise satin ribbon trim.

What do you think? I love it, I just need a baby now to wrap in it (I’ll borrow one).



We have a colourful history with camping trips. In the 10 years Andy and I have been together, we’ve not once had a camping trip which hasn’t seen some kind of drama. We’ve had floods, breakdowns on the way home (resulting in us sleeping in the car), flat car batteries (resulting in us sleeping in the car on a racecourse. Yes, really) snowstorms, God awful campsites, illness, stir-crazy toddlers. You name it, it’s probably happened to us.

So, we thought we’d make our lives a bit easier, and more comfortable, and buy a campervan. We sold our second car and used the proceeds to buy Bertie, a 1982 Bedford camper. After a few more disastrous trips under our belt, the final straw came at Easter when we found ourselves on a campsite (read: in the middle of a field) with no working showers, filthy toilets and no facilities bar the aforementioned ‘amenities’. Smelly grown-ups, bored kids. On the day we were due to come home the county saw the worst snow it had in a number of years. Stranded, unable to leave with no food or clean clothes I’d fallen out of love with camping and was set to sell Bertie.

Except I wasn’t quite ready to give up that easily so a few weeks back we booked one final make-or-break trip. The rules: I book the campsite, We don’t travel too far and it must have facilities for the children. So I found a gem of a site in Devon and off we went.

It was fabulous. The sun (remember that?) shining helped and the campsite was superb. I was just at the end of my illness and Max was still not 100% so we decided on a weekend of Doing Nothing. No day trips, no sightseeing (my Dad lives in Devon so we have plenty of chances for that) just spending time together and relaxing. In the broadest sense of the word, with 2 pre-schoolers around.

Tell you what, I’m booking all the campsites in future. Wi-fi, freshly baked bread, an indoor pool, adventure play for the kids and an OFF LICENCE. Amaze. We played, we swam, we ate, we read and, er, watched DVDs. The boys aren’t ones for sitting colouring, crafting or reading (yet). To little, too much energy. The trick, we’ve discovered, is to go somewhere where there’s plenty to keep them occupied. Happy kids = relaxed parents, yes? They spent the entire break running around, playing, making up games, pretending to be puppies and having a ball. I’m already looking forward to our next trip.

Lust List

The wedding dress edition.

No, not my wedding dress, silly. I’m not planning on doing that again. No, this is for by brother’s wedding in July. He’s getting married in Barcelona and I’m beside myself with excitement for many reasons. The first, and most obvious is that I get to see my big  brother marry a truly lovely girl who makes him very happy. Also, we get to have a holiday (yay!) if the darned passport comes through in time. Lets not talk about the passport.

But…I also get to buy a pretty new dress, something I don’t get to do very often. They have an informal dress code and it’s going to be very hot so I’ve been keeping my beady eye out for floaty, summery, colourful dresses and here’s what I have so far…

Janet dress, Coast

Butterfly print maxi dress, Oasis

Tahiti dress, French Connection