An NHS advert asking women to choose between high heels and lipstick and motherhood is not only horribly outdated it misses the point entirely.

The advert, released by Walsall NHS trust shows a black stiletto heel (also horribly outdated btw) and red lipstick and asks “would you swap this… for this” alongside a picture of a dummy.
And apparently it was not the only advert to run in this campaign, which was intended for  and informed by teenagers.

There are two posters featured – the other one used features a games console.

At the very least the advert is perpetuating the stereotype that women who become mothers can not wear lipstick or heels.
Now, I’m sorry, but most days I don’t leave the house without my lippy on. It is true that I have switched to a lipstick that stays on all day so I don’t need to keep reapplying but this is more because I am lazy and drink a lot of coffee.
And I’m not an anomaly, I know very few mums who don’t wear make up. 
And you know why? Because I know very few women who don’t wear make up. And this is the crucial point, because having children doesn’t change who you are. It doesn’t alter the things you like or don’t like. If you liked wearing make up and wearing heels before you had kids, chances are you still will when you have them.
Obviously from a practical point of view wearing heels is not the best for park visits or beach trips. But hell, that’s got nothing to do with motherhood. There are different types of mothering, because there are different types of people.
Walsall NHS Trust released a statement which said that basically they didn’t intend to offend anyone, that it was an advert which was intended for teenagers (to discourage wanton use of emergency contraception) and was put together on the back of a consultation run with teenagers.
So I can see how it happened, but I now am even more confused as to the thinking behind it. I don’t understand why you would consult a group of people that have no knowledge on the subject for your ad campaign. Did they just ask the teenagers “what would you miss if you had a baby?” and then use their responses? Presumably not stopping to educate the young people involved on what they would actually miss – sleep, money, long baths, the chance to poo in peace. Or did they ask “what are your favourite things?! I don’t get it.
In a statement Nicola Wenlock, Divisional Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Sexual Health for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said that the posters do not refer to gender.
“While they talk about emergency contraception, which would be taken by a female, the images have been selected because teenagers have told us what is important to them as part of the regular consultation we have with them.

Teenagers will also help to inform future campaigns,” she added.

It feels like that aside from being an outdated idea of parenthood and the changes it brings (obviously because the focus group which informed it has no experience of being a parent) the campaign also missed an opportunity to change the myths surrounding motherhood. For teenagers, the question to ask isn’t: what items will you miss if you became a parent – because they can still access them – rather:  it should have asked: Can you survive on two hours sleep? Can you go days without washing? Are you ok about not going to the same parties as your friends? Potentially not finishing education?

But then there’s issues with the questions above also. I know people who have had kids young and they wanted to have them young. I get that teen pregnancies are perceived societally as not the ideal,  but – and I’m basically hammering the same point over and over again here-  people are all different and want different things. Having a baby doesn’t necessarily change that.

Last year Fizz sat her first lot of educational testing (KS1 SATS)and although I am not keen on this at all of course I wanted to be able to help her as much as possible.

At 8 she’s a sponge when it comes to school and we are very lucky that our school are quite open to keeping the children as stress free as possible. It’s hard because class sizes are large (30 per class) and there seems to be less and less learning by play. At home we try not to enforce sitting down and try and learn as we go. We are quite laid back when it comes to learning, but we are lucky that Fizz is very proactive too.

However I do sometimes feel the need to check in on what she is learning, of course if I ask her she’s all ‘I don’t remember’. It can often be worrying as a parent and we have thought should the need arise that a tutor would be a perfect way to help our children.

Now that Jedi is in school as well we are increasingly aware of how different our kids are when it comes to learning and their personal way of dealing with the school process. As parents it can feel quite hard at knowing how to sit down and work through homework or additional learning at the right speed and also the right way.

Some things that work for us:

Making sure we take time at the end of the school day to speak to the teacher. This helps us gauge how our child is feeling after a day at school. If they’re tired or grumpy it’s not the ideal time to make them sit down for an educational activity.

Make learning fun. We incorporate things like counting steps, discussing topics on the way to school when we are all less tired.

We also try and plan in some adventure time to learn. A trip to the Sealife centre or the beach are ideal to learn about nature/cause and affect. We talk about the solar system, new moons and the full moon a lot too.

There is always a way to feel more confident teaching our children. A tutor is a great addition should you need the confidence boost too!

 

We love our children, they mean the absolute world to us and we’d do anything for them. But as parents, we work incredibly hard and on the rare occasion we can get a break it’s much appreciated. Early mornings, late nights, busy days running round after little ones while also trying to work, run a house and make sure a million and one other tasks are done can wear you down. Maybe a family member has offered to look after your children for the weekend to give you a break, or perhaps you’ve booked a childminder or nanny so you can have some time off. If so, here are a few ways you can spend the weekend to make the most of your time.

Go to a spa

You could go with a friend or your partner and have some quality relaxing time together- or you could just go by yourself. Pampering treatments such as massages, facials, mani/ pedis and more will all have you feeling brand new. You could have a swim in the pool, relax in the jacuzzi or steam room and enjoy a nice lunch. Lots of spa days have things like afternoon tea options which are a lovely treat. A relaxing and elegant way to spend a day! If you check out sites like Wowcher and Groupon there are often great deals and discounts so it doesnt need to cost a fortune.

 

Pamper yourself at home

If you don’t have the inclination to go to a spa, how about pampering yourself at home instead? You could soak in a hot bath with plenty of bubbles. Shave your skin, apply a hair and face mask and then when you get out, slather yourself in a luxurious body lotion. Light some candles and enjoy a peaceful evening meditation, listening to music, reading or watching Netflix. Buy yourself some comfy new pyjamas, a dressing gown and some slippers, these on glerups.com are especially good for busy mums as the rubber soles won’t wear out quickly when you’re walking around the house.  Whip up some tasty hot chocolate and you could order a takeaway, that way you have hot food brought to your door giving you a night off the cooking. Worry about the calories another day, this night is all about you! Get into bed early and sleep undisturbed, giving yourself a nice lie in. Chances are you’ve not had one in years!

Go on a night with the girls

If you’re not completely lacking in energy, how about a night with the girls? A few G&Ts, dancing, chatting- your clubbing days might be behind you but the occasional night to let your hair down is no bad thing. If you don’t fancy going out then why not host a night in? You could throw a dinner party or a cocktail party. It’s a great way to get everyone together, in a world where many of us struggle seeing our closest friends due to time constraints. It can also help you to maintain your identity as a friend and person rather than a mother.

 

Whenever you’re lucky enough to get a weekend free, how do you spend it?

 

When we were offered a chance to review Sticklebricks recently I jumped at the chance. Both myself and Gav had played with these as children and we couldn’t wait to see what had changed and if the kids loved them too!

We were set a few products from the range including the farm set and the little builder set. With three different sets and multiple ways of playing all 3 children (2,4 and 8 years old) jumped straight in for a big build!

I was surprised at how little had changed with the toy. You find with reboots of my childhood favourites are often a bit flimsier or smaller but these look, feel and work just the same as when I played with them years ago.

The kids have loved playing with these and they have built the farm, cars and very tall towers mixing up the selection of kits we were set. I personally love the robust storage they are sent in as well – who doesn’t love an easy way to tidy up after play has finished!

Overall we have loved having this imaginative play addition to our toy box. They really are a great way of improving motor skills when building and also we have counted, talked about colours and sang Old McDonald as we built.

The prices are pretty reasonable for a child’s toy and I love how the starter box is under £10, perfect for a birthday gift!

Did you have Sticklebricks when you were younger?

A bit of history: 

Sticklebricks first launched in 1969 and have been a toybox favourite for decades. Stickle Bricks remains the perfect first construction toy for toddlers!

A bit about the kits we were sent :

Little Builder £9.99 – is the ideal start to a toddler’s collection. Combining a variety of different coloured and shaped bricks, children can stick, stack and construct!

Farm Set £16.99 – has special farm-themed pieces and offers endless play opportunities! The farms set includes animal pieces, a farmer and a tractor with moving wheels!

Fun Tub £19.99 – is full of assorted colourful bricks and is perfect for young builders with grand designs in mind! Doubling as a handy storage container, it’s perfect for little hands with big imaginations!

A few weeks ago Gav and I were invited on a date night to Patty & Bun. The restaurant is placed in the heart of Brighton Laines and is styled towards the mid end burger eating experience.
We booked in for a weekday date and hadn’t expected it to be too busy just after the work day finished.
We arrived and around 3 tables were taken. We were seated at a table of two in the window, nice for people watching but if the weather had been warmer additional seating was outside.
The staff were were attentive but not annoying and were happy to converse with us when we wanted to and step away intuitively.
The cocktails were 2 for £10 and we both went for an Expresso Martini. These arrived quickly and we perused the menu while enjoying.
For our sides we decided to forgo the chips and try something new. We went for the beef brisket nuggets and the winger winger chicken dinner. The beef brisket stole the show. It was tender and full of flavour, the portion was enough to share and was our fave dish of the meal. The chicken starters was full of flavour however it was more a tangy tomato then a BBQ sauce.
For the mains we had the Smokey Robinson and the Hot Chic. They came and firstly they were much bigger than we assumed. If there’s a place for a dirty, messy burger Patty & Bun have it down. It was the messiest and funnest dining experience I’ve ever had. The burgers are so full they fall apart and that’s all part of the fun of their experience.  My burger was packed full of flavour and I’ll definitely be back to visit again!
To finish we had a Brighton Bier and a Pink Lemonade whicb we both recommend. The lemonade was a great simple drink after having so much flavour. They also offer milkshakes which we did see other customers have and these looked epic but we were both far too full to try them!
What Gav said:
Patty and Bun is a great place to eat – a lively joint with the friendliest of service, delivering a gloriously sloppy, tasty burger. The starters were fantastic too, with the Beef Brisket Nuggets in danger of stealing the show completely. With an impossibly tasty Expresso Martini to liven things further, our visit was as fun as the food delicious.
Patty & Bun Brighton is based on Ship Street, Brighton. We were given our meal free of charge in exchange for an honest and open review. All views are our own.