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Lazy lie in?

April 16, 2014

this morning we had a lie in. She woke up singing “Daisy Daisy”, and then read her ‘Acorn Story’ book, I got up and opened the curtains and the window, the sunshine and birdsong streamed in, I climbed back into bed and watched her reading …

she shut the book, “finished, Mummy, LOVELY day”,  abseiled over from her cot, feasted on milky and then dozed off again curled up beside me.

I was awoken a little later by a rather unpleasant sensation. She was trying to push my nipple in.

“Milky hiding mummy”, she announced proudly having succeeded, and then got rather upset when she couldn’t manage to wriggle it out again with her small sharp pointy little finger.

I got rather upset too as I couldn’t manage it either. I suggested she tried to drink some milky, that didn’t work. We both sat up and squashed my breast about and hurrah out it popped again to be gleefully pounced on by a thirsty small person.

A little later we pottered “outstairs” for porridge with Granby. “Sleep well Granby?”, Hope asked, “Yes thankyou,” Granby replied, “did you”.

Hope put her spoon down, looked a little perplexed and then said, “No Granby, Hopey lost milky, Hope sad, Mummy sad, Hopey push and Hopey FOUND IT”.

“I’m glad about that”, said Granby …

so am I!!!!


Word of the day

April 13, 2014


on trying to walk up the aerial runway slope in her sock feet.

That’s all!

Your help please

April 10, 2014

As a writer (it still makes me beam when people call me that), I don’t have a campaign to support (specifically), or a major issue, so my blog is about me, about us, our journey and the things that inspire, annoy, amuse, sadden and thrill me.

Over the nearly three years I’ve been writing here at Mush Brained Ramblings I’ve been amazed by the response, the emails I’ve had from people saying that they persisted with trying to have a child having read the blog, followed by emails saying that they’ve had a baby, notes from people saying I’ve made them laugh or cry or reflect and each and every one moves me. I still take huge delight in the fact that anyone reads anything I write at all!!!

As a result of this blog I’ve appeared on the BBC (radio and TV), in the national press, and have written for websites around the world (including Older Mum and Cambridge News) and am now a regular contributor to Huffington Post and Mothering in the Middle.

Generally I speak and write about the issues I have faced as an older mother, and commentate on the way older mothers are portrayed in the media. I’ve also written about breastfeeding, tongue ties and solidarity amongst women.

Last year I was proud to be nominated and then shortlisted in the Inspire category in the Brilliance in Blogging awards, and nominated in the 2014 MAD blog awards.

The BiB nominations are open at the moment and close at midnight (UK time) on April 12th (in two days time)… I’d be honoured to be nominated again if you’d consider it … and spread the word!!

in the Writer, Laugh, Family, Inspire categories … if you think I’m funny, or a good writer, or reflect family life or have ever inspired you.

The blog name is:

Mush Brained Ramblings

The blog url is:

My twitter name is:



and beyond that you can choose any of my blog entries to illustrate your nomination.

You can nominate only once but in as many categories as you like.

Clearly there are many many other blogs out there who are worthy (and probably far more so than me) … my personal favourite for the Outstanding Blog is DownsSideUp … and I also love Mamasauraus and all she’s done with Team Honk and have wept over the personal challenges and sadness faced by Jennie at Edspire.

So … pour out a coffee or a glass of something and if you would, spare a few minutes to consider a nomination… and remember nominations close at midnight 12th April

Thank you so much, and for all your support, patience and comment along the way.

We need your vote!!

We need your vote!!

“Is Being a Mother the Most Defining Role a Woman Can Have?”

April 8, 2014

I was delighted to have been asked to contribute to Cyma Shapiro’s wonderful project Mothering in the Middle, and then last month she asked what my response was to the question,“Is Being a Mother the Most Defining Role a Woman Can Have?” She asked other writers, older parents all of them and the resulting piece is a great read.

I was also pleased as punch to be the first contribution featured…. this is what I wrote:

“For years I was on the outside looking in, watching friends juggling their time, wiping little noses and strapping small folk into car seats. I felt for them. sometimes, wondered if they felt they’d lost their sense of who they were – the marketing director, the linguistics expert, the party girl, the intrepid explorer, the physiotherapist. Some seemed to get low craving a previous existence, looking wistfully out over the tiny crockery piled high in the kitchen sink or chatting late at night about how they didn’t feel very “me” any more. Now, I’m part of the club, I’m one of them, only I feel that I’ve found the missing part of me, the piece that makes me truly ‘me.’

I’m a mother and I cherish, relish and grasp every moment. I want to shout it from the rooftops and leap for joy every time I hear the sound of little feet dashing down the corridor towards me. Every night time, “Mummy” warms my heart, whatever the time. I am me: Ellie, writer, researcher, marketer, Springsteen fan and most importantly and above all else, MOTHER. And it’s the absolute heart of who I am.”

Read the thought provoking collection of responses over on Mothering in the Middle.

Thanks to Cyma and hats off to all the women who contributed.

Ten things not to say to a news editor about being an older mother

April 8, 2014

The media led furore around older mothers has reared its head again, with headlines inferring that the 50% rise in new mothers over the age of 50 was responsible for excessive pressure across the National Health Service. The percentage increase was huge but in real terms the number of women (in the UK) giving birth into their fifth decade went up to the massive total of 154. There is generally a rise in the number of births to older parents (35 and upwards).

I was one of the 1,600 women over 45 giving birth in the UK in 2012, so to that end I must put my hand up and take partial responsibility for the terrible burden we (growing band of) ‘midlife mothers’ put on society.

I’m often approached by the media about my experiences. What issues do I face which younger mothers might not? How does it feel to be an older mother?

My response is and has consistently been the same, that I am where I am, that I’m extremely blessed to be the mother of a wonderful, exuberant and thriving 2 year old and that (in common with mothers everywhere) I’m doing the best I can for my daughter to ensure she has a happy childhood, and a safe and secure future. I’m still breastfeeding her and we have an immensely supportive network of family and friends.

Sometimes that’s OK, but often I get prodded by the journalist looking for an angle, “How did you deal with the public’s negative view of older parents?”, “How have you dealt with the nasty comments people have made?”, “Did you feel judged by the medical profession?”, “Are people rude to you when you breastfeed in public?”, “You must have had a terribly difficult pregnancy?”, “Do you have low energy levels due to your age?”, “Do you struggle to cope with the pressures of parenthood now you are older?” “How do you feel about putting such pressure on the NHS?” “Do you think you’re selfish having a child in midlife?” and so on and so forth.

I’ve had words put into my mouth and angles that simply weren’t a part of our journey invented. I also pulled out of a piece because it stated that I was distraught about the abuse I received at the hands of the NHS (which was 100% untrue, they were wonderful).

The exaggerated mainstream media response to the supposedly widespread negative view of public breastfeeding (see previous piece highlighting that it seems the case that more mothers reported a hostile response to their bottle feeding than breastfeeding), also appears to be true as regards older mothers.

I was interviewed for a (very un age specific) piece on blogging and parenting for a well known Mother and baby magazine, again, it took time, and again, the piece didn’t appear, the embarrassed journalist emailed me to say that the magazine considered that I was too old for their audience. Which seemed shortsighted in light of the published demographic of their readership.

Last week, I was approached to write a piece for one of the broadsheets on being an older mother, and encouraged to make it controversial. My view was that there was no controversy. I took 5 precious hours (when I could have been doing a million and one other things), I wrote and submitted the piece. I was thanked for it, and then I was complimented on it and told it would appear the next day, I sent photos over to accompany the piece. It still hasn’t appeared, and the editor isn’t responding to emails.

A good news story wasn’t what was wanted. Which is a shame really, as a bit of good news never did anybody any harm and often inspires or helps others.

So, to that end and to set the record straight, and because lists seem to be as popular as selfies at the moment, here are my ten tips on what not to say to the news editor when you want your piece on being an older parent to appear in the national press.

1 – I haven’t experienced any unpleasant comments about being an older mother…
but I was once asked if I was ‘the nanny’.

2 – I had my daughter when I did because that’s just how it worked out…
I’d always imagined I’d have a child in my early 30s, it didn’t happen due to a huge number of factors including miscarriage and bereavement. Having a child later in life isn’t something most women plan on doing, and they have a huge number of reasons as to why they embark on the journey to motherhood when they do. I was extremely lucky to have been able to have my daughter.

3 – I’ve not found other mothers judgemental or unfriendly
Something incredible has been the way I’ve felt that having a baby has ‘given me’ other women, I’ve relished getting to know other mothers, and have made many friends. Ultimately we all share the same issues and insecurities concerning our journeys. One of the women I become closest to when I was in the States last year has a daughter the same age as mine, and is herself 30 years younger than I am, almost to the day. She’s been harshly judged for being a very young mother.

4 – I didn’t wait to have my daughter in my late 40s because of my high flying career
Ha ha ha ha ha! and see the answer to 2 and note that I am currently a hard working self employed mother of one. As to her future financial security I am doing all I can to ensure she’s taken care of should anything happen to me (just as the other younger mothers I’ve met are).

5 – I enjoy every day as a mother, and sure I get tired from time to time, but so do all mothers of toddlers
Last night she was awake from 4.30 – 7am chatting, she’s getting to the “Why?” stage. Today I’m tired … it’s part of being a mother, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Also I don’t understand why people find spending time with a child dull in any way… but maybe that is because I’m older. 20 years ago I probably would have had more of an urge to be out and about, and less patience for singing songs about Dingle Dangle Scarecrows, but as it is I revel in every second I have with her and have no compunction about running around, kicking balls, sliding down slides and playing with her.

6 – I had a straightforward pregnancy
The main issues I faced were to do with external factors such as tripping over, being involved in a taxi accident, being exposed to shingles and it was only at the end that my own health was affected. Compared to the complexities and health issues many mothers I’ve got to know experienced, we had a great pregnancy … not even swollen ankles and no gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. I kept fit and I took great care of my diet and avoided anything that could have been perceived as a risk to the pregnancy.

7- Nobody has ever said anything nasty to me about breastfeeding in public
Quite the opposite, I’ve been offered glasses of water, pieces of cake, comfy chairs and complimented for ‘sticking with it’.

8 – Medical staff were unfailingly supportive
They were pragmatic early on as to the higher levels of risk for an older woman and were kind, supportive and encouraging throughout the pregnancy and birth. At my follow up appointment my consultant asked if I was planning another pregnancy, I asked if she thought it a good idea and she said, “there’s no reason why not”. The midwives that nursed us after the taxi incident sent a card to celebrate my daughter’s christening and made time to come and visit us when she was born.

9 – I didn’t have a child to ensure that I am looked after in my old age
She may well end up living on the opposite side of the world, who knows, that’s entirely up to her. She has her own life to lead, she has an incredible network of friends, family and Godparents to ensure she is supported in all that she does, as do I.

10 – Every woman has her own story, her own issues and her own journey as regards motherhood.
So don’t be quick to judge or generalise. My own mother was herself an older mother, and the times she spends with my daughter and I now are some of the times I value most. Had things worked out differently I’d have had a child much younger, but I am an older mother, I love my daughter and will do all I can to give her best start in life and be there for as much of her journey as we have together.

So, there you have it, our good news; older mother has child and nobody bats an eyelid shocker!

Hope and dreams ...  (c) Paul Clarke photography

Hope and dreams … (c) Paul Clarke photography

… it pours

April 3, 2014

So in the last few days …

- mother / Granby (nearly 90) tripped and fell over in Cambridge, she was in town to have an eye test and caught her stick on the kerb and fell but was rescued by wonderful folk at Aromi cafe who fed her biscuits and helped her up (now resting full of lunch but very shaken)

- Hope was awake alot in the night fretting about a little boy she saw being upset by older children in the park

- when she was asleep it was in bed with me and was pretending to be the biggest star fish in the world so I ended up sleeping on the bottom edge of the bed on an inch of mattress

- I’m still battling with the end of this vile horrible bug and feel all bleugh (as Snoopy would say)

- the African sand cloud (yes I thought it was an April Fool too) is causing my dodgy lungs to breathe very shallowly and therefore cough which isn’t helping the existing bug (and you really can feel it on your lips when you go outside)

- I spent 5 precious hours writing a piece for the Telegraph which they approached me and asked for, approved, thanked me for, and now haven’t published

- Hope got very upset when she got her hand stuck the the triangle shaped hole in her shape sorting box thingy last night, contemplated calling the emergency services but instead smeared it with butter which did the trick … which reminds me I need to go and clean it.

- I clipped a car in the playground car park (barely even a scratch on it and no mark at all on mine) on Sunday and left a note under the windscreen wiper apologising and the bloke phoned and was extremely grumpy about it, and now says it will cost £1,500 which means bang goes my no claims bonus … which made me wish I hadn’t been honest and left a note, which in turn made me feel crap for having that thought

- the to sort out pile of possibly too small clothes has reached the ceiling

- I decided my feet were so grim I needed to get them attacked with machetes and sandpaper and went into town to the only nail bar that offers this service and they had a big queue and said to come back in 5 hours, which of course I couldn’t do so am still in thick socks to disguise my hooves as feet

- I found a white hair in my moustache, yes I seem to have developed one first spotted a few months back, (and several in my eyebrows), I’m clearly beyond over due for the quarterly full body overhaul

- I lost my reading glasses

- I had an eye test, with the eye dilation drops, and they found a cataract (“odd in someone your age more normally expected in someone in their 80′s”) which means I need eye surgery at some point soon

- the bag of walnuts on the back of the kitchen door burst (after a certain short person poked her spiky little fingers into it) and they went all over the floor

- my ‘wear them all the time’ boots have developed a hole at the front (after a certain short person poked her spiky little fingers into it)

- the wicker chair in the sitting room has developed a hole which has become a large trench (after a certain short person poked her spiky little fingers into it)

- I’ve become an evil bad tempered old bag


there are now two bloody wasps diving bombing me,

oh and when I opened the skylight to try and let them out the long handled hooky thing fell on my head.

Other than that all is marvellous …

which is true!!

Hope made me chuckle hugely this morning singing “She’ll be coming round the mountain” while she was having her breakfast, you can’t be miserable when there’s a two year old waggling her fingers (with raspberries on the ends) and singing, “Aye aye yippee yippee aye”.

Shutting up now … as the saying goes, “no rain, no rainbow” …



April Foolery

April 1, 2014

She’s started to make jokes.

Hope: “Daddy Pig says, ‘MOOOOOO’ “

a big pause followed by

Hope: “HA HA HA HA funny … Hope funny”

a bigger pause

Hope: “Daddy Pig says, ‘BAAAAAAAAAA’ “

a very short pause

Hope: “FUNNY”, uproarious laughter, “Hope funny”.

Seems apt for April Fool’s Day.