Only interested in the give away? Pah. Go right to the bottom of this post. And miss my hilarious anecdotes about heartburn and piles. On your swollen ankles be it etc etc…
Out of the sickness, into a thick fog… What has happened to my brain? It’s been stolen and replaced by an eighties computer – the super-clunky kind that took a hour and a half to load up, overheated and had to shut down every twenty minutes, and was only really any good for playing pac-man anyway.
It’s a little demoralising, when your bill-paying job is writing, to find yourself staring blankly at a screen of windows displaying mindless drivel from FeMail to Facebook because you’ve been unable, again, to remember a word for the intro you’re supposed to be writing. You know the one. That thing, the one where you… oh forget it, let’s check Twitter again…
On the other hand, I’ve been trying to stop, every now and again, and enjoy the weird and wonderfulness of this pregnancy. It’s too easy, with deadlines and toddler in toe, to let a second pregnancy slide by without appreciating how strange and miraculously alien it all is.
With that in mind….
Feeling: the baby! Moving and grooving around. I’ve had washing-machine tumblings and churnings for a couple of weeks, but it’s only recently that proper kicks and punches have become common-place. If I drink cold water, or sugary tea, baby gets its rave on. If I lie in the bath, I can watch little jabs and faint forms sliding across my tummy. Tom felt them for the first time on the weekend.
Wearing: Still in my old clothes, but on borrowed time with my jeans. Have found that a load of old dresses, ones that I used to wear belted, now look okay without the belt as pregnancy frocks. And when I say ok, I mean ‘a bit wild and batty’ but I really do think that’s a relatively strong look during pregnancy. I’ll be living in these for the next five months.
Working on: Johnny. How do you prepare a toddler for a sibling? And at what stage in the pregnancy? I’m trying not to think, too much, about how the new baby will destabilise his little world. It’s inevitable, it will pass, it will be wonderful for him… in the long run. And most of all, I do not need any more excuses to worry. But it would be good to have some practical tips. Should we try and get our hands on a doll, or some books? At the moment he’s grasped that there’s a baby in Mummy’s tummy. The baby, he says, is called Ronnie. And Ronnie is “a very naughty little girl” who’s going to be born “from my t-shirt” and live “with Mr Lawnmower, in the shed”. Hmm.
Eating: A whole lot. When I was sick, eating was the only thing that made me feel (briefly) better. Now I’m not sick, eating is the only thing that keeps me awake. Those jeans are going to be relegated to the attic faster than you can say, “a chocolate chip cookie please, no, make that three.”
But something weird has happened to my eating habits. I’ve never handled dairy very well, it upset my skin and my stomach, but I just ignored it because 1) pretty much all the best things have dairy in them and 2) I didn’t want to be that person. But for the last four months, dairy has really become my arch nemesis. It makes me vomit. It gives me stomach pains that make me curl up like I’m the foetus. So I’ve had to cut it back almost entirely. I could use a little advice, actually, on the best ways of ensuring I get enough calcium etc during this pregnancy. Anyone?
But in terms of my health, in terms of not anymore feeling like a really terrible matador being tossed around on a bull’s horns, it’s been great. And actually, I haven’t much missed eating dairy. I haven’t cut everything out. Butter as an ingredient when I’m cooking, for example. The very occasional bit of cheese (it’s CHEESE for God’s sake – the whole POINT of pregnancy). But I’ve tested out alternatives – soya milk, almond milk, rice milk… who knew all these grains had mammary glads? And here’s what I find works really well for me:
Alpro Unsweetened Almond Milk. Other brands are available, of course, but this one suits me. It’s actually better than real milk in tea and cereal (though not quite right in coffee). Also: Johnny is addicted to it.
Frozen soy yoghurt. Johnny came back from Wales with a serious ice lolly habit. And since becoming ‘with child’ I’ve developed a sugar addiction. I’ve been buying packets of cheap penny sweets in post offices, even though I know that one million children have stuck their grimy fingers in the jars directly after picking their noses. I needed help. And I found it in this recipe. After a lot of tinkering, and some immune boosting additions, I’ve settled on this for the moment…
The FOK recipe for Mango Lassi Soy Yoghurt Ice Lollies (I’m still working on the name):
- Two large mangos, chopped
- 250ml Alpro soy yoghurt
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp cardamon
- 1 banana, chopped
- Juice from 1/4 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of ginger
- 1tsp turmeric (good for boosting immunity)
(THE SIMPLE VERSION: Mango, soy yoghurt, honey. Wham.)
Whizz the lot together, pour it into lolly moulds, stick in freezer. Pray for sunshine.
F.O.K Sweetcorn Pancakes. The answer to all of my savoury snacking needs (and trust me, those needs are plentiful at the moment. I’m talking, every hour on the hour on bad days…) They’ve also proven an easy way to sneak veg into J since he loves them for lunch. He has them topped with tomato pasta sauce (I make a basic one every week and keep it in a jar in the fridge) and a little cheese. I stick to the pasta sauce. Mostly.
- 60g plain flour
- 60g corn flour (if you have it, otherwise, more plain flour or buckwheat works)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 egg
- 125 ml soy milk
- 350g sweetcorn kernels (frozen sweetcorn works just as well as tinned)
Whizz the sweetcorn up with a hand blender (you may not have to, but J would pick them out otherwise, and I quite like the smooth texture).
Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl, whisk the wet ones together in another, then whisk the whole lot up.
Warm some olive oil in a pan, and fry them on both sides, as you would an ordinary pancake.
Serve warm with tomato sauce (and cheese if you’re two), or hummus or baba ghanoush or anything really. You can double the ingredients and make some to keep too. They’re great warmed slightly the next day.
AND NOW THE BEST BIT: THE GIVE AWAY!!!!!!!!!
Alpro are offering a hamper of goodies to one reader. All you have to do is suggest your favourite, family, dairy-free recipe below. The winner will be picked at random next week. Only open, sadly, to UK readers.