Pregnant Then Screwed Live

It’s been four weeks since I went to Manchester to attend the Festival of Work and Motherhood hosted by Pregnant then Screwed and I’ve just about processed it all.

Pregnant then Screwed was founded by Joeli Brearly when she was sacked by voicemail after informing her employer she was 4 months pregnant. What they did was wrong, discriminatory, and when she reached out to them she was ignored. The next stage would be to raise a tribunal claim, however she was suffering health issues and was advised to avoid stress so made the decision not to. She then launched Pregnant then Screwed to give woman a safe space to talk and share their experiences.

I came across them through Mother Pukkas instagram page and was immediately hooked. I feel so strongly about what they are fighting against and for and having been in a situation where I’ve been discriminated against, I felt an instant kinship with so many people.

Joeli announced in January that she was having a live event in Manchester and I knew I had to be there. I travelled down the night before and was nervous and excited to hear from the speakers and meet like minded people.

I met amazing and inspirational women who were all sharing their stories, being open and honest with each other. It was a celebration of women and how strong we are. I heard some awful tales about how badly some women had been treated at work and how they have or are in the process of overcoming. It saddens me beyond belief that in 2018 employers still mistreat their employees and discriminate against women who are pregnant or on maternity leave.

There were panels and workshops lead by amazing women covering everything from building up your social media profile, mindfulness for kids, tips on returning to work after maternity leave, how to negotiate a pay rise or promotion, tips on setting up and growing your own business and so much more.

A few major highlights for me were the panels on Flexible Working by Anna (Mother Pukka), Sara Allan,(Further and More) and Cheney Hamilton, (MummyJobs). I also loved the mental health panel with inspirational woman really talking sense about mental health. Natasha Bailie, Clemmie Telford, Anya Hayes and Candice Brathwaite talking about mental health and the difficulties they have had, and have worked on, and are still working through. Finally the workshop run by Nicola Washington, “Too Much Mothering Information” on “how not to be a self obsessed bore online and how to win at the social media content game” was brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever come away from a session so energised before. It made me really think about my blog and social media feeds and what I want from them. I called Mr B as soon as I came out totally buzzing with ideas and I’ve got some plans afoot which I’m super excited about.

Please go and have a look at Pregnant then Screwed and see what they are fighting for, I’ve listed some of the main issues below.

The Current Problem

  • 54,000 women are forced out of the workplace each year for being pregnant
  • 390,000 working mums experience negative and potentially discriminatory behaviour at work each year
  • There are currently 2.6 million Mums out of work in the UK
  • Pregnant woman and new mums have limited access to justice and less than 1% of women discriminated against take legal action against their employer
  • Discrimination can have a huge negative impact on confidence and mental health
  • Pregnant woman and new mums are extremely vulnerable and less likely to navigate the confusing legal system

We need to make changes. We need to talk and empower woman in the workplace. We need to lead the way in making the changes now for the future of all working woman and ensure history doesn’t repeat itself for future generations. Please look them up and support in anyway that you can.

I can’t wait to start making the positive changes I’ve been thinking about and to take you all with me!

Cx

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Bacon Casserole

When Little D was a newborn I bought a slow cooker. I was breastfeeding him and he was permanently attached to me and would feed for hours so I needed something to make my life easier. I had no clue about them, what size to get, what I could make but after procrastinating for ages I picked up one from Lidl and hoped for the best. I’m so glad I did because I love that I can chuck all the ingredients in first thing in the morning and I usually don’t need to worry until later.

My Mum bought me a slow cooker cook book for my birthday and I looked on the web for ideas. I found it quite difficult finding things that worked for all 5 of us taking into account the kids food allergies. A lot of things were tomato based which were out because Miss C couldn’t tolerate it. I’m not afraid of using spice and I think kids needs to try all different flavours to adapt their palates at a young age so I was happy to make curries and hot pots as long as they suited everyone.

We eat a lot of chicken so that was the first place I looked for inspiration. I came across this recipe and it was an instant hit. The only amendment I would suggest is I usually double the flour, stock and purée quantities. I also shred the chicken halfway through cooking or it can go a little dry.

If you’re going to try it then let me know how it goes.

Good luck

Cx

The start of something new

Miss C has been going to “the cafe” since she was a bump. It’s a local place which does nice food, reasonable prices and they have lovely staff. She’s never been able to eat anything because of her allergies but this morning after her emergency doctors appointment we popped in. I hadn’t had as much as a drink of water and she hadn’t eaten much either. We spoke to the chef who checked the allergens list and the kids chicken and chips was safe but then we realised the chips would be cooked in the same oil as mozzarella sticks. I was just about to give up on the idea when he said he would oven them and then they would be completely safe. We were both delighted and she had her very first meal there.

If you are out eating with someone who has dietary needs it can be really intimidating. If I take the kids out then I usually take food with me unless I’ve done hours and hours of research and called ahead to make sure it’s safe. The thought of either of the wee ones eating something and having a reaction doesn’t bear thinking about and the guilt is immense. Miss C has overcome 7 intolerances already and we just need to tackle her cows milk protein and soya allergies, but I have a plan for these.

I have to admit I felt really emotional sitting there watching her enjoy her very first chips and knowing that she had food that I hadn’t brought with me. Obviously since she is a sassy threenager she styled it out by wearing her shades most of the way through lunch.

The Kids Are Alright

Today Mark and I are celebrating 20 years together. 20 years!!

When we got together we were 17 and 18 and our relationship moved pretty fast. We moved in together after 6 months and bought our first flat 6 months after that. We got engaged on my 19th birthday and married when I was 23.

From the very beginning we were all in and I knew straight away from the start that he was the man I wanted to marry and have children with. It was intense and we were determined that we would do what we wanted and faced everything that was thrown at us together.

There was a lot of barriers in the way in the early days. Everyone seemed to have an opinion and didn’t hold back in telling us what they thought. We were told we were too young, too dumb, didn’t know what love was, it would never last, I was only interested in getting pregnant. But here we are 20 years later and still going strong.

It feels like such a big achievement and I suppose by today’s standards it is. We’ve had amazing highs and some awful lows, but we are stronger together and always get through whatever it is we are facing.

We’ve grown up together and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings.

Mark, thank you for the journey so far, there’s no one else I’d rather share it with.

Cx

Here are some of my favourite pictures of us over the years, finishing with our 3 little monsters.

The boy is 2!

How did this happen? My boy is 2 today and the last 2 years have been a complete whirlwind.

Things he likes

His big Sisters

There’s only 17 months between Little D and Miss C and they are really close. He was a bit lost when she started nursery last year because she’s always been at home with him. He loves going to nursery to drop her off and pick her up and gets so excited when he gets her back.

There’s 8 years between him and Miss B and he absolutely adores her. She is really protective of him and he has such a soft spot for her. He really looks up to her and she is great with him. He loves it when she reads him a story or builds a den for him and I love watching their relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, they all have their moments together. On Christmas Day he and Miss C spent the whole day fighting over a talking Jessie the Cowgirl doll and there are regular screaming matches over toys but in general they get on well.

Music and Dancing

He loves nothing more than shaking his butt to music and in particular he loves Little Mix, Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift. He also loves the Frozen soundtrack and wakes us up most mornings by singing “Let it Go”.

I am a big fan of Strictly and when the last series was on he was so excited to get up and dance around with his sisters, getting swung around and dizzy!

Movies 

He loves watching movies and his current favourites are:

  • Frozen
  • Moana
  • Cars
  • Tangled
  • Sing
  • Toy Story

I hit a stage of CBeebies overload so was really glad to have movies on instead. I don’t think I’ve seen the same hand full of films so much in my life (even taking into account the Dirty Dancing years) but it’s good to mix it up.

Food

The boy can eat! He eats everything that’s put down in front of him and even though he has a severe egg allergy it’s not held him back in anyway. We’ve had to adapt a few things but I’m glad to say he’s thriving and loves to try new things. His favourite dinners are spaghetti bolognese, sausage casserole and chicken and chorizo stew.

Housework

Just like his sisters he has been involved in the house and routine from as soon as he could be. His favourite jobs are sorting the washing, loading and unloading the machine and drier. When I tidy the living room, he goes around behind me and picks up any toys lying around and loves to hoover and dust. I think it is so important that kids get involved with the household stuff and are encouraged to be independent and he is more than happy to get stuck in.

Things He Doesn’t Like

To be honest there isn’t much he doesn’t like, he is pretty chilled and laid back. He really is a little ray of sunshine, always smiling and happy. He is a joy to be around and even though he doesn’t seem to like sleeping past 5:30am much (cheers son) I wouldn’t change him at all.

Here are some pictures of his magic twos

Two Minutes

Two Days

Two Weeks

Two Months

Two Years

Happy birthday my gorgeous boy

Cx

Vegan Vanilla Cake

When I found out the boy was allergic to eggs I wasn’t overly concerned. Having dealt with his sisters allergies for the previous few years I was confident I knew what I was doing. Obviously he wouldn’t be having scrambled or dippy eggs but as always there are hidden ingredients in things where you wouldn’t expect.

One thing I didn’t think about was cake. We’ve always tried to hang off giving the kids sweet stuff too early but as it was coming up to his first birthday I knew I had to do some research. I had a look around and the majority of responses pointed me in the direction of a Depression Cake, so called because it was made during the depression when there was rationing and cake ingredients were scarce.

I made the chocolate cake which was egg and dairy free and it was really nice although quite heavy. It had the consistency of chocolate brownies and it tasted lovely.

With the boys birthday coming up again I decided to look for a vanilla cake recipe, because to me there’s nothing nicer than a vanilla birthday cake.

I had a look around and found lots of different recipes and read through reviews and opinions until I settled on this one.

Since I’ve never made it before I decided to do a trial run and today used the recipe, halving the quantities, to make cupcakes.

They were really simple to make and I didn’t need any special ingredients, everything was all ready in the baking box. I substituted the butter for dairy free Vitalite and the whole milk for Almond Milk so it was dairy free too.

I got the girls involved in making them and they had a lot of fun, especially licking the bowl at the end. Everyone was eager to try them so while they were still hot we all tried one. They were absolutely delicious and got a thumbs up from everyone. When I make his actual birthday cake I’ll document it for you all but I would recommend this recipe for anyone looking for vegan cakes.

Big thanks to Mommy’s Home Cooking for letting me link it up.

Cx

Period Charity Project

Last year at school Miss B learned about periods and as a naturally curious 9 year old she asked me lots of questions. I believe in being open and honest with kids so I answered everything that she asked and tried not to be too graphic. We have looked at towels, tampons, liners and she knows where they are kept incase she needs them. We also talked about personal hygiene and how important it is especially as her body is growing and developing.

I was alerted to a Glasgow based charity who are working with and supporting homeless woman and doing amazing work. One of the projects they are running is a Period Friendly Program, helping woman in a homeless situation to regain their dignity and provide them with sanitary products, help, support and information. I was sent some information on what they are doing which I have put below, PLEASE take the time to read it, I would love if the woman being helped felt comfortable enough to talk to someone, anyone, the way Miss B feels able to talk to me. They need help, support and care, not judgement.

The crux of it is that you can help in one of two ways, the first is by donating some money to help the Simon Community provide much needed products. A 5 day period pack costs £15 and includes; 5 towels, 12 tampons, 3 pairs of pants, travel wipes, disposal bags, information and advice. If you want to provide that level of support to a woman in need and donate £15 today then please text PFPR28 to 70070 with the amount you want to donate – £5 or £10. I’ve donated and will forego my McFlurrys for a month and you all know how much I love those!

The other way you can help is with time. I know most people have very little free time, but I’m hoping that now Miss C has started nursery I will be able to spare a few hours a month to help out.

If you have a couple of hours to spare a month or a week they need their P.F.Pals to do the following:

  • Visit the period friendly points and restock their supplies
  • Collect and sort donations into Pax and refresher packs at our warehouse in Glasgow
  • Help raise funds and products to maintain the period friendly points and pax.
  • Support, promote and raise awareness of the issues homeless women experience.
  • Be a listening ear and a support to the women we reach out to.

Go check them out here

About the Project

Every year the Simon Community supports over 500 women experiencing homelessness. Their journey to being out on the street more often than not, begins before they are even 10 years old. Their experience of trauma often leads to substance misuse, high risk behaviours, mental health and physical health problems. The trauma they experienced as a child can be replayed through domestic violence, sexual violence and exploitation. It’s no wonder the life expectancy of a women on the street is 43. The Simon Community reach out to women through their street team in Glasgow, they provide gender specific services that support women to recover their lives and emergency accommodation to help them be safe and off the street. Launching a Period Friendly program against this background might seem like a drop in the ocean but it’s always been about more than free sanitary products. It’s about dignity, about people and services that listen, understand and care enough to do something a little extra. No woman should ever have to make her own tampons, wear the same pants for a week or change behind a bin. The Simon Community believe that the smallest bit of generosity can go a long, long way.

In order to give these women the support they need, Simon Community Scotland are launching a new project on the 23rd August 2017 in Glasgow called Period Friendly Point (PFP) which supports homeless women to have a period of dignity.

It works like this – the Period Friendly Points (PFPs) are locations that are catered specifically for the homeless. However, it is hoped over time that more organisations e.g. coffee shops, will want to become a PFP themselves. The PFPs will have a bespoke display containing free and easily accessible sanitary products, wipes, pants and disposable bags, along with information leaflets to assist the women with using the products. Pregnancy tests and infection tests will be on hand to give the women peace of mind – often homeless women don’t live a healthy lifestyle so their period may stop or become irregular. As well as this, it’s been researched that around one in four female rough sleepers have been sexually assaulted which can also lead to pregnancy queries.

In the PFPs the women will have the opportunity to chat to any member of staff about any issues or queries they may have or if they simply fancy a chat. Simon Community have found that homeless women in particular often didn’t have anyone to talk to about periods and feminine care when they were younger due to institutional care and traumatic childhood. Therefore the women tend to be very closed and embarrassed about the topic so they want PFP to be that level of care and support that they have missed out on, Simon Community believe no woman should have to go through their period without having someone to talk to. These PFPs can be identified by stickers of the 28-day calendar logo being placed on windows, doors, walls of a fully functioning PFP!

In addition, Simon Community’s Street Team will be handing out Period Friendly Pax – these are discreet and compact bags, specifically designed for women sleeping rough, containing: tampons, towels, pants, wipes and disposable bags. These bags can be refilled by our Street Team or at their nearest PFP. There will be a small card in these bags explaining to the women what the project is about and where the PFPs are located.

Simon Community believe this project can change the lives of many women. Women experiencing homelessness already have to deal with lack of sleep, no access to cleaning facilities, an unsafe environment and lack of food & drink. You’d think this couldn’t get much more challenging, but then her period comes.

Simon Community Scotland facts from recent study:

  • 78% didn’t know how long a tampon should be kept in for
  • 61% have had to go without sanitary products multiple times – instead used newspaper, toilet roll and old rags
  • 70% of women have never spoken to anyone before about their period and don’t even know what a period is.

These figures show exactly the need for a project like Period Friendly Point.

**Period Friendly Point isn’t just about providing free sanitary products, it’s about providing people that are willing to listen, care and understand. **

Period Facts!

  • On average a normal cycle lasts 28 days and a period lasts on average 5 days.
  • You should not keep a tampon in place for more than 8 hours
  • If your passing large clots, bleeding between cycles, soaking your tampon/pad two hourly or seeing dramatic changes in your period you should see your GP.
  • The Average women will spend 3500 days menstruating during her lifetime.
  • Periods are often heavier, longer and more painful during the winter.
  • Tampon is french for plug and around 70% of women prefer tampons to pads.
  • The average period releases 35ml to 50ml of blood. More than 80mls is regarded as a heavy period.
  • When a woman’s fat percentage drops to under 10% her periods will stop as it’s the fat cells in the body that supply the estrogen needed to trigger menstruation.
  • Common and less common names for your period include: Aunty Flo, On the Crimson Time, Monthlys, Shark Week, The English are coming, on the rag,

How you can help

Simon Community will continue to support women in need and help them have a ‘period of dignity’ and for that we need your help.

A 5 day period costs us and our suppliers £15 and includes; 5 towels, 12 tampons, 3 pairs of pants, travel wipes, disposal bags, information and advice.

If you want to be that level of support to a woman in need and donate £15 today then please text PFPR28 to 70070 with the amount you want to donate – £5 or £10.

Period Friendly Pals

If you have a couple of hours to spare a month or a week we’d welcome your help. What we need our P.F.Pals to do is:

  • Visit the period friendly points and restock their supplies
  • Collect and sort donations into Pax and refresher packs at our warehouse in Glasgow
  • Help raise funds and products to maintain the period friendly points and pax.
  • Support, promote and raise awareness of the issues homeless women experience.
  • Be a listening ear and a support to the women we reach out to.

Thank you very much for making it this far and I really hope we can work together to help this fantastic cause.

Cx