Letters to Peanut Free on Kindle Until Tomorrow

Dear Readers

A couple of weeks ago I announced that my wee e-book would be out soon and so here it is:


My pregnancy and motherhood diary written as letters and poems because there is nothing more beautiful than:

  • the art of writing letters.  Not emails or tweets or text messages but filling a plain sheet of paper with scribbles and doodles and whatever else you may want to put in a letter.
  • poetry– poems often stay with me for a very long time after I have read them and words and images haunt me like friendly ghosts.

In Letters to Peanut I wanted to catch the emotions that come with first discovering that you are going to become a parent in nine months and then with grappling with sleepless nights, leaking bras and the first twelve months of being a mother (as well as the occasional panicked feeling of ‘Is this for real? I’m actually allowed to be responsible for another human being?)

But it is not all panic! There are times of immense joy that I would love to share with you. The first scan, steps and that first time Peanut made it clear that a chip off the floor was a delicacy worth three Michelin stars unlike anything I cooked.

Here is one of my favourite haiku poems from the book.  I wrote it during long and sleepless nights when the whole world seemed to be fast asleep apart from me, Peanut and a curious fox:


together we learn

the night language of foxes

And for the book romantics out there – print copies will be available in a couple of weeks (formatting takes a bit longer).

This is my very special and magic moment – introducing Letters to Peanut to you and it is FREE for you to download until Saturday 9 November!

I will also be sharing my experience of self-publishing over the next few months so watch this space.




P.S. I would love to also thank everyone for the amazing support so far.  And a big hug to Helen Braid – a very talented and patient cover designer.

Post Comment Love

Letters to Peanut E-book Out Soon!

Here is how it started…

Dear Peanut

One day you will ask me what you were like as a baby and whether you have always hated broccoli.  And if it is not you who asks this, it may be your psychoanalyst.

I will not always have the answers you want.  You know the score, too little sleep and too much gin have done some damage to your mother’s already distressed brain cells so I have scribbled down all my memories of you in the first year of your life.

This is the story of your beginning.




And here is a sneak preview of the cover designed by Helen Braid:


I did it – took the plunge and typed up all my poems and letters written first to the ‘bump’ and then to the newborn Peanut.

Letters to Peanut will be available on Amazon very soon.

So watch this space!




Post Comment Love

Help Yourself

help yourself

Hi everyone – you can read this week’s post about self-help and parenting at The Real Super Mum Blog. Warning – those scribblings may change your life!

Daddy Cool

DoodleBuddydadIt was BlueBeretDad’s birthday a few days ago and I decided to throw him a surprise party.  No, not the one where everyone hides behind curtains and under the tables and scares the hell out of the unsuspecting birthday boy.  More like the one where the unsuspecting birthday boy stumbles into the room after having been up at 3am, 5am and 6am (the baby) and falls over a flock of balloons.  Then as he staggers into the kitchen the fridge door is plastered with his embarrassing photos from school ping pong and chess clubs.  Yes, the kind of surprise where he then yells: “What the hell!” as he slips on the puddle of porridge mixed with mashed banana – Peanut’s favourite parent-trap.

Once he got over the initial shock of the idea of having to socialise with people taller than 80 centimetres and with more complex vocabulary than “Dadada. Mamamama. Baaaah. Whaaaaaaa.”  BlueBeretDad got very excited.  We don’t have guests very often (time, babies, time, babies excuses used by everyone, even by people with no children and a lot of time on their hands) so he decided to make most of it.

Throughout the evening the drinks were flowing, people were sparring ideas (BlueBerets love a good debate), babies were stuffing their faces with sausage rolls and a balloon or two blew in my face.

There were a few dads among the childless hip crowd.  Some dads to be, dads with extensive fatherhood mileage and counting and relative newbies (the “Phew, Bean is 6 months 3 days 5 hours and 25 minutes old and still alive” type).  As I was watching the Dads Club from a corner of my left eye, the corner of my right eye busy registering Peanut disappear into the depths of the recycling box, I started thinking that contrary to the general view of the public, dads don’t have it much easier than mums.

Ok, according to statistics they earn more than us, their careers don’t take a blow when an offspring arrives and, let’s face it, they don’t have to go through the whole pushing out an oversized object while being torn to shreds/ being scalpelled to bits by a sleepy consultant baby delivery process.  But if you think about it for a minute, it is not that much compared to what they miss out on.

Expectant dads get one tenth of attention that their pregnant partner gets.  The whole world revolves around the bump and the carrier.  Been there, done that, dealt with furious BlueBeretDad after he was blanked and snubbed by midwives and health visitors.  The Expectant Dads are supposed to engage with their unborn baby and it must be difficult when all you see is your partner looking more and more like the gym ball she is using to practise for the L- Day.

During labour, an “are we there yet” dad is expected to support through screams and swearing, wipe the sweaty forehead, ignore whatever that thing floating in the birth pool is(no, not the baby, THAT THING), be strong, know better than the committee of midwives and consultants what’s better for his partner and the baby, be enthusiastic about cutting the umbilical cord and forget about hunger, their own bodily functions and the latest Premier League score until their partner (drifting in her own drug- and/or hormone induced bubble) tells him to bugger off because she is exhausted and needs to feed their bundle of joy and catch up on some sleep.

Then it is all about nipples, clogged up milk ducts, random leakages, losing post partum weight, post natal depression, new mums’ support groups, mums’  forums, mums blogs, mum and baby this and mum and baby that.  While the Dad, having discovered that staring into those dark alien eyes is more fun than he ever expected it to be, and having exhausted his few weeks of parental leave, goes back to work.  He tries to focus on spreadsheets and avoid those red buttons that can annihilate the world (only if you press them when you are not supposed to).  Then he goes home and is welcomed by a colicky baby and a partner who has just lost it and has not been out of her gown and in the shower for the last six weeks.  There is no food in the fridge and the cat moved out a long time ago.

And if he is the one doing the stay at home dad thing… Well, then he is still in the category of the weird species that no one knows what to do with.  Not many yummy daddy support groups out there, sitting in cafes and sipping daddy-ccinos.  The majority of baby changing facilities are in female toilets.  Mum’s still the word.

Most stories about absent parents are about absent/ not involved enough/too selfish dads.  However, I have met a lot of people with absent/not involved and too selfish mums.  Maybe it is time to realise that there are rotten apples on both sides of the gender fence and mention that fact more often.

Nope, not easy to be a dad”  I say to myself as I serve BlueBeretDad sauerkraut juice (psst, the best hangover cure in the world but not for wimps) while Peanut tests how many times he has to hammer a coconut against BlueBeretDad’s head before either cracks open.

Trust No One

trust no

It started with Roquefort; the blue – veined monster was out to get me and Peanut, who at that time was still a bump.  The thing is, I love blue cheese and the more it smells like old socks the better.  Yet, I convinced myself that as soon as a microscopic piece touched my mouth, both Peanut and I would explode and cover the living room in bluish, sticky goo. In the end, I dared myself to have some.  BlueberetDad nuked it in the oven on my pizza.  My heart melted with the cheese.
As it happens, I enjoy my Stilton and gorgonzola with a glass or two (ok then…. sometimes three) of red wine.   A few months into the pregnancy, I went out with my three lovely friends aka the groovy book club ladies for a night of gossip and tapas.  The waiter came to take the orders.
Three glasses for the wine?” he asked.
No,  four.”  I said; it was my monthly treat and no one was going to take it away from me.  He put four wine glasses in front of us with a glare that said it all.   My child wasn’t even born and I already was a negligent mother.  Alcoholic, borderline cheesehead.  Whom can Peanut trust if not his own mum to make the right choices?  I saw him grab the umbilical cord and make an urgent call to the Grey Matter.

“Hello.  Mother, this is why I have already failed before I am even out.  Cheers.”

Then there were the medics.  You know which ones, the natural birth with no medication haters everyone loves to criticise.  The incompetent sleep deprived and often unable to utter a word of English bunch who were supposed to deliver my baby.  After scaremongering birth story number 1,234,567 brought to me by media and other well-wishers whose job is to flock around heavily pregnant women, I hid behind the couch with one hand over my ears, the other over my eyes.
The size of the baby I pushed out! Think watermelon but worse. You’ll never be the same.”
Life put our worries aside.  The staff in the birth centre, where Peanut decided to make his first appearance, will always have a special place in our hearts and memories.  They didn’t fall asleep.  They spoke fluent English.  They held my hand when I screamed in their faces to bloody hurry up with that pain relief.  They wiped my face when, in response to gas and air,  I was sick all over the place.
Until you have a child, you don’t realise that the world around you is occupied by coffee tables, cleaning products, bookshelves, loose nuts and bolts and every baby’s favourite , Evil Plastic Bags,  just waiting to injure, bruise and suffocate your offspring.  You move the clutter up the shelving, then you move it back down again when you realise that, even though out of reach, if your inquisitive monkey doesn’t choke on it, it will knock them on the head.  In the end, most of the stuff ends up in charity shops.

We are not at that stage yet but….soon there will come a day when any man not wearing his own children as a protective badge screaming “Hey. I’m not a pervert. I’ve kids too so don’t give me that look when I approach at the playground’s gate”   may be a potential threat.  Then again, stranger is a stranger.  Be it a woman or a man.  They may just like children.  Or find it refreshing to listen to the clink of the little people’s laughter.   Like I do.  But it’s ok because I’m a woman and by default unable to harm anyone, aren’t I?

Starting nursery was a leap of trust for the BlueBerets.  How could we entrust our most precious possession with someone else?  Someone we didn’t know.  Someone we couldn’t spy on when we were at work.  I even considered placing a spy camera in Peanut’s hair.  Then gave up as there just wasn’t enough hair to cover it up.  The first day at nursery I left with my heart jumping out of my throat while Peanut waved happily goodbye and went on to snatch his pal’s building blocks.

The truth is that the overprotective mother in me would lock Peanut up in a bubble wrap plastered room for the next 25 years.  No bruises.  No falls.  No dangers.  No UVA and UVB.  The sensible mother in me says it is not a good idea.  The sensible mother reminds me that I grew up running outside all day, with a latchkey dangling around my neck.  My friends and I ventured to neighbouring housing estates, filled with excitement, adventure and pride.  We were free.  Any grown-up watching our mischief could tell us off and we were scared of them.  Well, I was and it didn’t help that I used to accidentally cycle into them and their shopping bags (took a while to figure out the whole left – right steering and braking mystery). Bad accidents happened and bad people happened.  Teeth were knocked out, and knees and elbows were but one big crusty scab.  We had a blast.

One of the best lessons in assessing risk that I learned was when I decided to swing upside down from a tree branch to impress others.  I miscalculated the distance and bashed my forehead on the pavement and I never made that mistake again.

If I wasn’t allowed to figure out the world for myself I wouldn’t be the person I am today.  A strong person.  A trusting person.   A ”life is full of great opportunities so grab them” kind of person.

I hope Peanut will be like that too.  The BlueberetMum and Dad will trust him to make his own mistakes.

We will trust.

Trust but verify.