How does it feel to give birth at any age really? Could you describe birth to someone who hasn’t experienced it and really communicate what it’s like in a way that would make them feel it?

Even if you could, would that birth experience be their birth experience? I’ve given birth twice and I’m not sure there were comparable, even though it was the same hospital, the same vagina.

I was pregnant the first time around when I was just 16 years old and gave birth at 17 and now, aged 42, I often think about the women starting families for the first time. It feels a lifetime away to me. How on earth would I cope with the exhaustion and pain of pregnancy and childbirth now, let alone the sleepless nights and relentless parenting. If there is one perk to having a baby as a teenager it’s that you have a LOT more energy.

Baby Bee

Me and baby Bee

When people find out that I had a baby when I was 17, their first reaction is often ‘that must have been hard’, but honestly, I’m not sure it was. You have an adaptability and resilience when you’re 17, a kind of carelessness almost, like the world is yours for the taking. At 17 I felt invincible, immortal. Nothing much worried me – I just lived. Things happened, I made things happen.

Giving birth as a teenager, I felt like I knew it all. I didn’t really have a plan, I certainly didn’t have a birthing soundtrack or preferred blend of essential oils, but perhaps that worked in my favour? I know a lot of women have births that don’t go according to their ‘plan’ and they end up feeling like they’ve failed somehow.

I was naïve at 17 for sure, unprepared even, but maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing, maybe it allowed me to just go with it, to do whatever needed to be done without self-criticism.

I wonder sometimes if this isn’t just my entire approach to life to be honest.

To give you a little flavour though of what it was actually like for me, giving birth at 17, I’ve reproduced, unedited, my own ‘birth report’ from the time, transferred from the Peter Rabbit notebook I wrote it in 25 years ago. I have shared this before, a long, long time ago, but as you likely haven’t been reading my blog for ten years, I thought it was worth another look. View Post


Today I have a review of the Cozy Mum and Me baby wrap from Bee and baby Joey, who is now over three months old! Can you even imagine? I’ve been a Granny for over three months! Bee was very kindly gifted a baby wrap from Cozy Mum and Me, and here’s what she and Joey think.

When I was pregnant I was a bit of a sceptic when it came to baby products. I was so desperate not to fall into the new parent trap of over buying loads of fad items that I was more on the unprepared side if anything. I pretty much just bought a multipack of vests and a second hand Snuzpod (which he never wants to go in, typical) and apart from that I was lucky enough to have my mum picking up loads of clothes at new to you sales for me and I also received some really nice gifts.

Two gifts that I definitely couldn’t have lived without have been my breast pump, which I use all the time and could never have afforded, and our Cozy Mum and Me baby wrap.

I’d never been particularly interested in using a wrap because I didn’t think they were all that useful and I didn’t understand how they worked – how does just one strip of material secure a small baby to your body with a few folds?! But our Cozy Mum and Me wrap has been an absolute life saver.

Once you get the hang of it and realise that the baby isn’t suddenly going to drop out of the bottom of it, a wrap is really useful even if you don’t use it as your every day way of carrying your baby. As well as being able to get on with things around the house, you can use them on walks outside and also just as a way to comfort and bond with your baby at home. It’s a really easy way to get some quality skin to skin time in while still being practical enough that you have a bit of freedom to do other things too.

Cozy Mum and Me wrap review View Post


In collaboration with Louise Wood

It’s nearly three months now since I became a Granny.

Baby Joey is doing well, and we visit him a lot, but it’s bringing back all kinds of memories for me in terms of just how relentless parenting a new baby can be, as well as just how expensive. Bee is lucky that she has the support of her partner, as mental and physical health issues during pregnancy meant she couldn’t work.

Being out of work with a new baby on the way was far from ideal, as babies don’t come cheap! According to the Cost of a Child report, created by the Child Poverty Action Group, the basic cost of raising a child over 18 years is around £75,147 for a couple and £101,883 for a single parent.

That’s a lot of cash isn’t it?

baby money saving tips

Worth it

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Advertisement feature in association with Infacol

Did you know that September is Colic Awareness Month? No, me neither. Only I do now obviously, as do you. To celebrate, if that’s the right word, I’m hosting a giveaway in association with InfacolInfacol is Britain’s number one colic remedy and has been used by generations of parents to soothe trapped wind, colic and griping pain.* It can be used form birth onwards, it’s sugar, alcohol and colourant-free.Colic awareness month

The prize bundle includes lots of treats for a new baby, including a sleep suit, some Infacol, Izzie the elephant cuddly toy and muslin cloth – head to the end of the post for details of how to enter.

Before you do that though, Bee has written a letter to her partner about all the things she was worried about before baby Joey was born.

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Advertisement feature in association with Solar Buddies

sun protection for kids

I asked Bee to write this post, as sun protection for kids is something she’s about to have to start thinking about!

At the time of writing I’m nearly nine months pregnant and I’m absolutely boiling hot 100% of the time. I spend most of my time lying out somewhere like a beached whale in front of a fan, cursing my decision to become pregnant in October. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking.

With the summer upon us, I need to think about ways to make sure my new baby doesn’t get too hot as well. We have varying togs of sleeping bags for him and a range of different styles of vests, but even then I’m concerned about how warm it gets in the bedroom at night.

It’s really important to think about how to keep kids safe in the heat when they’re outside too. The sun can have a massive impact on their health, and it goes deeper than just the sting of a sunburn you weren’t prepared for at the beach. Every time you get sunburnt it increases your risk of developing problems such as skin cancer and this can affect you at any age. The choices we make now in terms of looking out for our kids while they are out in the sun will impact them in later life whether that’s cosmetically, like being more prone to wrinkles, or their health being threatened in the future.

There are a few simple ways to help kids stay safe in the sun, and it’s about more than just slapping on some sunscreen when you first head out for the day. You can never be too careful with kids in the sun, so it’s a good idea to follow these recommended tips.

1 – Know when it’s safe to be in the sun

While it’s really important to get out in the sun and get some much needed vitamin D, it’s best to keep out of direct sunlight when it’s at its brightest between 12 and 3pm. Move into the shade or inside during these hours if you’re able to to make sure that your kids aren’t affected by the day’s harshest rays. If you have to be out in the sun, big beach umbrellas are a great idea for some makeshift shade.

2 – Keep on top of your sunscreen game

We should all know by now that just applying sun cream once during the day isn’t going to be enough to offer proper protection, but it’s easier said than done during busy days and when kids are off playing. Make sure you get the highest factor of sunscreen possible and apply it regularly throughout the day, especially after swimming.

A Solar Buddies child friendly applicator is great for this as its chunky design, roller ball and sponge makes the sunscreen super easy for kids to apply. It’s especially useful for packing in a kid’s bag for school or nursery, as it will be easy for them to apply themselves if staff aren’t able to do this, with less mess, no waste and no sticky hands.

Solar Buddies sunscreen applicator

3 – Think about the clothes they are wearing

With the hot weather on the rise you may think that less is more when it comes to clothing and keeping cool, but this can actually be really dangerous for kids. Even with sunscreen on, it’s a good idea to keep covered up as much as possible in light, breathable fabrics for maximum sun protection. This is especially important for babies with delicate skin.

4 – Accessorise

The accessories your child has are as important as the clothes they have on and the sunscreen they wear. We may think of sunglasses as more of a fashion item to block the glare of the sun for adults, but the skin around the eye area as well as the eyes themselves are so delicate that they’re actually recommended for everyone over six months old. Hats are really important too, especially ones with extra flaps that cover the neck and ears.

5 – Kit out your car

I’d never considered having to protect kids from the sun while they’re in the car, but this one is really important especially on long journeys in the middle of the day if you’re going on holiday or to visit friends and family. The windows alone don’t block out harmful rays so make sure you fit the back windows with the appropriate sun shades to prevent this. A light blanket is also a really good way to stop exposed legs from actually getting sunburnt during a car ride.

Do you have any top tips for keeping kids safe in the sun?

Find out more about the Solar Buddies child friendly sunscreen applicator here.


how to keep kids safe in the sun

Photos by Chema Photo and Luke Michael on Unsplash


Okay, so I’m not going to go as far as a rebrand or anything, but if you follow me on social media AT ALL then you cannot have failed to notice that one week ago today Bee gave birth to a baby boy! Does it seem ages since I teased you with the scan photo? It feels like a REALLY long time to me.

It turned out to be even more exciting than I was expecting it to be, as Bee hadn’t realised she’d be allowed two people in the delivery room, and so when she found out, she asked me to be there.

Casually, like ‘if you fancy it.’

I definitely DID fancy it.

I’ve actually always wanted to see a baby be born. It’s weird, because although I’ve done it twice obviously, you don’t get to really SEE it. You’re so involved in the searing pain, ripping of flesh etc, that you can’t exactly concentrate on watching and marvelling at the miracle of birth.

Bee was absolutely amazing, as I knew she would be. Although I know she worries a lot about things, she has this incredible way of handling stress or pain, where she just seems to focus inside herself and go all quiet and calm and powerful looking. She did it when she had her skull drilled into, and she did it again last weekend.

Bee’s partner was an absolute star too – they make an adorable couple and he couldn’t be a better daddy.

Anyway, here he is, on the day he was born:


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A post shared by Jo Middleton 🐱🐾 (@slummysinglemummy) on

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When Bee told me she was pregnant, back before Christmas, I was very excited.

Partly I was excited at the thought of stopping to chat to people with the baby in the street and them being SHOOK when I said ‘Oh no, it’s not MINE, I’m Granny!’ They would say things about how surely I wasn’t old enough, and I would laugh coquettishly and then ruin it by muttering something about just having greasy skin.

Partly I was looking forward to the opportunity to try doing things differently, to have actual money to spend and to have someone excited to go to a farm with me again.

Mainly I just wanted to be able to get one of those tiny baby feet and put the whole thing in my mouth and say NOM NOM NOM.

Bee was adamant that the baby was going to be a girl, and that she really, really wanted a girl. In fact, so sure was she that her and her boyfriend would be devastated if it wasn’t a girl, that they decided to find out the sex of the baby at their 20 week scan last week, just so they could give themselves time to get used to the idea.

It was a boy.

Of course Bee realised immediately that it didn’t matter at all, and if anything she seems even more in love with the baby than ever before.

I on the other hand was shook. View Post


In collaboration with LionsHome

Hey, it’s Bee again. Maybe I’ve mentioned it once or twice on the internet, but I’m having a baby in July.

Lately I’ve been feeling really envious over people’s nurseries. I try not to look at sites like Pinterest because they’re totally unachievable goals as far as I’m concerned and I don’t know how to upcycle anything from Ikea into something else so what’s the point really?

nursery decor ideas

I’ve been looking at the nurseries of people I know though and thinking a) how cute they are and b) how expensive it must be to kit one out. I know that it doesn’t HAVE to be and you can get loads of stuff as hand-me-downs or in charity shops but they always look so nice that I can’t believe it didn’t cost them a fortune. What’s worse is that I can’t even start now because I don’t have a second bedroom. I’m waiting to be able to move house so I can get a place with two bedrooms, so I can’t even plan it out in my head because I have no idea what the room will be like.

Anyway, once I am able to start collecting things I’m going to have to think about what kind of stuff I want. I am finding out the sex of my baby if possible, but I don’t want this to impact too much on how I decorate the room. I really love neutral colours on babies as I think they’re the cutest – things like white and grey are my favourites and I’d like to incorporate lots of these into a minimalist yet cosy kind of design.

nursery decor ideas

I was having a look at some of the things that make nurseries extra special and cosy online. I would like to have some things that are personal to the baby, like pictures of us in a family and some nice soothing artwork on the walls as well as some personalised stuff when I finally think of a name (how the hell are you supposed to pick ONE name for your kid to have FOREVER?)

I was looking on the LionsHome website and came across some really cute things in the baby accessories section. I especially love looking at GroBags – there are so many cute designs and they have so many to choose from on the website. I think cute sleepy babies in a bag are the best thing in the world, plus it keeps them so nice and cosy. Also from looking at the website I’ve decided that I probably want to get a white cot – it’s gender neutral and it’s so easy to match everything to it. White cots also never go out of style so if I ever had another baby (gah wait what?!) I could use it again!

What nursery essentials did you buy? Do you have any good recommendations?


Today’s post is in association with Notino and has been written by Bee

Hey guys, it’s Bee here. You might remember me from such exciting events as being pregnant with SSM’s first grandchild! I’m about half way through now so not long to wait. The baby is parboiled, if you will.

Anyway, this got me thinking about when I was younger and how much I looked up to my mum. It seems crazy to me that when I was about three years old and have my earliest memories of her, she was only 20, which is over three years younger than I am now! I can’t imagine being my age and having a six-year-old child, I really don’t know how she did it. I guess because she was a young mum I always looked up to her and thought she was really cool, as well as my aunty who is 13 years older than me who I saw a lot of the time growing up.

Baby Bee

Baby Bee

I have some really vivid memories of wanting to be exactly like them.

I remember always thinking my mum was the most beautiful lady I had ever seen – I’m sure a lot of little girls think that about their mummies too. View Post


Since discovering I’m going to become a GRANNY this summer – read all about it here – I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want my Granny name to be.

In terms of the more traditional options, Granny is my favourite. I’m not particularly keen on Nan or Nanny. I don’t know why, but when I think of Nan I imagine a woman in one of those cleaning tabards, leaning against a back door, smoking a cigarette and looking cross. No offence to all the Nans out there. Nanny is just Nanny McPhee, and I don’t have any hairy moles (yet).

My mum and her mum are/were both Gran, and my Dad’s mum was Grandma, so I want something a bit different from those, and Granny has an air of mischief about it that I like. I imagine a Granny would do thinks like hide miniature bottles of prosecco in her handbag when she took her grandchildren to soft play. Although come to think of it, my Gran used to take a thermos of gin and tonic when she took me to the beach, so perhaps that’s more genetic than name based.

Me as a Granny emptying my vast handbag, Mary Poppins/portable gin bar style

So what should I be called?  View Post


Happy New Year!

I love a bit of new year. I love setting goals and fresh starts and spring cleans and all the things that typically come with a new year. I’ve already washed the kitchen floor and cleaned the bathroom today, and I’ve not eaten a sausage roll in about 20 hours.

Although I do love Christmas, December felt a little bit overwhelming. I had a little knot in my stomach of anxiety that came and went throughout the month and I found it hard to get as excited as I usually would about list making.

(Horror! What is life without the joy of a list?)

I knew that once Christmas ticked over though, that I would feel better, and I did. I do. I have a new diary, a cool calendar, a fist-full of lists for all occasions and I’m ready for 2019, whatever it may bring.

One of the things that 2019 is set to bring is this:

grandparent blog


No, it’s not mine, at least not entirely. It’s 25% me though. Come July, Bee is going to be a Mummy, and my blog is going to become, at least in spirit, Slummy Single (Grand)Mummy. View Post