Creative play and why I LOVE play-doh


The best part of having a young toddler for me is watching him learn and play with all the things around him, whether it is a stick at the park or some of the many toys he is lucky enough to own (courtesy of very generous grandparents!) It’s also a chance for me to re-live a little of my childhood through him.

Hence…. my LOVE of play-doh being reignited. I don’t know what it is but the smell when you open the tub is lush, and the smell stays on your hands. Endlessly people tell me to make my own it’s much cheaper, but it doesn’t smell the same! Other cheaper brands don’t even smell the same. When he’s older and having a post-beers-in-the-pub reminising with his friends (which lets face it we all do) what will he remember? Maybe the smell of Play-Doh like his mamma.

This blog post is a bit of a sales pitch. I’ve recently bought in a play-doh range for my shop all tried and tested on my little boy, and some tried and tested that haven’t made it onto there! His favourite so far is the pizza set. It gets endlessly rolled out (by me he hasn’t quite worked out that saying ‘roll it roll it roll it’ doesn’t make it happen you have to push the rolling pin along), put into the pizza pan, decorated and put into his play oven. The longest session so far an hour! For a 2 and a half year old with limited attention span that is amazing.

Play-Doh at ReeBee Baby

The others sold out really quickly but there are still some Elefun’s available. It’s one of his favourites, although he did expect the play-doh butterflies to flutter like in the real game. When they didn’t he chucked them in the air instead. Not something I’m so keen on I must admit.

So while I sit in the pub talking about the Play-Doh mop shop where you cut the hair he might talk about endlessly making Play-Doh pizza and feeding them to me.

If you fancy remembering what the smell is like wander over to or even my Ebay shop reebee*baby 😀


Post partum thyroid disease and post natal depression


Last week, researchers called for more screening of women in pregnancy for thyroid  function. A third of women who tested positive for certain markers went on to develop thyroid disease within 2 years. I am one of those women. This is my story, I can see what happened clearly now but at the time I was scared, very depressed and convinced I was a bad mother.

When my son was 6 weeks old my world fell apart. I went from being a normal tired and stressed out (but happy) new mum just about figuring out what I was supposed to be doing with a baby, to an insomniac, anxious, crying mum. I was living on 30-40 minutes of sleep a night and that wasn’t due to my son either, I lost an astounding amount of weight, had near constant heart palpitations and was so ridden with anxiety I hated leaving the living room let alone the house. The worst part was feeling like a baby sitter I went from adoring my longed-for son to no emotions at all, acting like his baby sitter not his mum. I lived like an actress, a smile on my face but a silent void of nothing behind it.  

It didn’t take long for my husband to realise something was wrong with me and get me to a doctor. My GP diagnosed PND at the time and I was put on paroxetine, sent to community mental health and very well supported in my recovery. When my son was 6 months old the hypothyroid stage kicked in. The weight rolled on, the extreme tiredness, fatigue, and a need for 8 times more sleep than I was getting, the anxiety lessened (taking with it those awful palpitations) but the depression got worse. My husband, mum and mental health nurse were practically the only people to see me cry. I couldn’t face being judged as a bad mother.

I was lucky 6 months later after insisting something was wrong and I wasn’t a hypochondriac nutcase, I got treated again and told about post partum thyroiditis. I am now on thyroxine replacement for life and still trying to get rid of the 2 stone I piled on in just 5 months!! Although I will be honest I could probably try harder. The cause? Who knows but one risk factor is blood loss at birth, I needed 3 units of blood as an emergency transfusion the day after delivery. That is a whole other story LOL.

The stigma of mental illness means a lot of people have no time for your illness or understand it. There was a physical reason driving my mental illness that only came to light when my son was 11 months old. How many other new mums suffer the same? My experience has taught me some good lessons. I am incredibly resilient and far stronger than I thought. That my husband is more amazing than I  knew for how he supported me through it. However, I still feel guilty for developing it even though it was out of my control, but am very thankful that my son was so young he had (still has) absolutely no idea.

How am I now? My thyroid dose is still being tweaked but for the last 5 months I’ve been great, back to my old self again. For anyone suffering PND in whatever form, take one day at a time, have small goals, and take comfort in those that support you and the fact that there are others out there who have been there and know exactly what you are going through. And those that don’t support you…. you’re better off without them.

Some helpful resources on PND and thyroidism:

Why I love mother’s day


Today is always very special for me and I do tend to remember why I’m so lucky to have my son. Having known since my late teens that having children would be ‘difficult’ and that pcos meant I was branded infertile, when the broodiness eventually hit in my late 20’s, mother’s day became quite hard, especially when a million and one people would comment on “it should be you next”, “when are you having children?” over and over again. Or my favourite “come and cuddle this newborn it will make you broody”. Maybe you are reading this nodding your head. It took 3.5 very looooooong years to conceive my son. After endless hospital appointments, drugs, countless friends and family excitedly expecting their own (some having more than one in that time), many times driving my husband insane by crying over the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. Round after round of failed first line treatments, it seemed IVF being the only option loomed on the horizon. We sat in the first consultation at the IVF clinic nervous but excited, looking at all the baby pictures sent in by successful parents, reading the mountain of literature they hand you when you walk in. We left knowing that in 8 months time we would be at the top of the list and our dream would be one step closer.

We also left not knowing that I was already pregnant with my son. Even when I started throwing up 2 weeks later I didn’t think anything of it and put it down to a virus. Until the test showed two little lines. On March 8th 2008 our lives changed. The years of waiting, and hoping to be parents had come true. Any woman with infertility problems will recognise the endless temperature charts, feeling phantom ovulation pains and pseudo-pregnancy signs that “had” to be true, the obsessive compulsive addiction to reading anything and everything about fertility. Endless ovulation tests whether it involve peeing on a stick or spitting on an ovulation microscope, plugging in temperatures and signs daily on fertility software and analysing the graphs, a fortune spent on ‘cheapie’ pregnancy tests ‘just in case’. 

And now I type this with a son who is nearly 2 and a half fast asleep in his bed, 2 gorgeous handmade cards on the mantlepiece and a special painting tacked to the wall. Mother’s day is my day to remembering what we went through to have him and how lucky we are.  It’s also my day for being uber-sentimental so forgive me for that.

Broken resolution but beautiful new clothes!


I’m going to pretend it’s not March and that I have posted on my blog since January – I hang my head in shame for 2011 being another year I didn’t keep my resolutions for. I will think of a suitable excuse for the next inevitable lapse in blogging.

It’s been a fab year of change for ReeBee Baby. The heart of my business is still the embroidery and making beautiful clothes and gifts myself not to mention the very lovely iron-on patches but it’s time to branch into other areas. To keep pushing my little retail cyber space forwards in 2011. I’m very excited about all the new clothing and gift ranges from well known names like the Very Hungry Caterpillar (who doesn’t love that book my son adores it and wants it read over and over again but that’s side tracking myself), Elmer the Elephant (another cool book) and Isabella’s Toy Box (based around yet another fab story) (all found here But also clothes from Arabella Miller (gorgeous organic prints, and Little Green Radicals (some of the best designs in fairtrade children’s clothing I’ve found

Why the divergence? I love sourcing products whether it’s the latest in embroidery designs or techniques to fab clothes for babies and children. I’ve worked very hard at bringing traffic into my site! It’s not as easy as it sounds either I can tell you. At the begining of the year I got inspired by a quote from Marva Collins “success doesn’t come to you, you go to it”. And that ladies and gentlemen is my motto for this year and that’s one resolution I haven’t broken yet.

Ricky Gervais: pure genius


Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. Pure genius. I haven’t watched much of it but some of the faces and body language signals in what I did see were hilarious. The fear and discomfort showing in the fake smiles and over clenching jaw muscles.
Not many would have the courage to stand up in front of the world not to mention Hollywood and say half the stuff. The betty Ford clinic jokes, the adoption jokes, the plastic surgery jokes… You get the picture.
Let’s take those topics that normally are tightly controlled by media flunkeys and put out what a lot of people silently think.
We are expected to worship Hollywood stars like they are the ultimate in perfect humans. They look flawless, addictions are in the name of their art, and money means frankly, anything goes. Well done Ricky for pointing out their faults.
It’s especially funny when you remember the posing and 30 second sound bites on the red carpet immediately before the ceremony. Yes I’m wearing… Yes I worked incredibly hard and am outstanding in… No I don’t think I’m going to win…
He’s reminded me that we all need to be able to look at ourselves and laugh when we are on the receiving end. Especially when in public and on the receiving end of a speech. That’s the theory anyway.

Make Do and Mend 2011 Continues…


So my one blog a week resolution has been blown out the water I remembered this lunchtime – that’ll teach me for making stupid resolutions that I have absolutely no chance of keeping.

My make do and mend resolution is keeping tho’. Like a lot of people this winter my boiler decided it would be a good time to lose a shed load of water all over my kitchen floor ruining the disgustingly hideous brown carpet tiles in there at the moment (not my choice of tiles inherited when bought the house can I hasten to add). I spent ages searching the internet for lovely new floor options before hubby having a eureeka moment. Hence our last purchase has been reclaimed parquet floor blocks. There is original parquet flooring hidden under carpets in the rest of  the house.

So not only with a LOT of hard labour will I have a gorgeous new floor but I’ve re-used something that someone was going to skip!! I feel very self-righteous.

On an embroidery note I’ve been busy making wall decorations and pictures for my own house and will be adding some of them to my shop in the next couple of weeks for general sale. I’ve become fascinated by sashiko embroidery. It’s from Japan and used to have a practical function of joining a lot of layers of fabric together so the pattern forms like a padded pattern. Not many people would wear a padded t-shirt so I’m framing it to put on walls. Embroidery library have some gorgeous designs my favourite being the Blooming Sashiko set but I’ve also had fun with my software designing my own. And on a make do and mend note I’ve upcycled some of my son’s old clothes that don’t fit him any more into some funky appliques to sew onto his clothes that do fit him.

Well on that note I’m off to polish my new environmental halo 🙂

Frugal or tight???


As part of my 2011 resolution to write more just because I enjoy it I thought I’d put down my thoughts on being tight…. I mean frugal. I’m naturally tight with money, I don’t know why but since being absolutely skint as a post grad and not having enough to pay petrol or food a few times I’m paranoid about being money conscious. Or as most other people see it… tight.

So when I had my son and gave up work to be at home with him the first thing I became obsessed with was looking after the pennies… blah blah you know the rest of the saying. With the current VAT rise and the cost of everything (seemingly) going up it’s become a bit more important to me. I want money left in the budget to do nice things with the family.

So here are my favourite ways to keep the cost of essential baby stuff down:

Washable baby wipes a.k.a. cheap fleece blanket for £3.99 cut into squares and wet with Bibs n Bots shea butter wipe cubes so much cheaper than buying endless packs of disposable wipes (altho’ I do use them too) and it’s not extra washing if like me you use washable nappies.

Washable nappies. I’ve spent about £270 on nappies rather than £750 on disposables. Result – I’m sure I should be allowed the profit to spend on shoes 😉

Baby vest extenders. Fabric with poppers on that pop into the vest poppers making it that little bit bigger. Really useful if you use washable nappies gives you a little bit extra growth room.

Baby food purees. A portion of unused home made puree wastes a lot less money than an uneaten jar of baby food – but you will never look at mashed carrot the same again! And I’ll never understand how babies can love one thing they hit toddler age and it’s as though you’re trying to feed them arsenic with the fuss they make.

Home cooked food. When I lazy my shopping bill goes through the roof. When I actually take the time to cook from scratch everyday my bill is usually halved and with my brand spanking new slow cooker I’ve been saintly organised so far this year.

I’ve got to give myself a plug iron on patches to cover unsightly holes in trouser knees or make boring cheap clothes more beautiful LOL