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  • Happy New Year to all of our Customers!


    What a year it has been for women, for breastfeeding, and for tea.

    We are hardly in the same league as Malala Yousafzai, but we did reach new heights, and win an award or two of our own.
    Our nursing tea is a delicious and refreshing blend of fennel, verbena, and caraway, and helps to support and optimise the breastfeeding journey, and this year it took home some trophies!
    We know that you also continue to love our Red Clover Tea and Baby Stomach Tea; both caffeine free, natural and sugar-free, what's not to love?

    Our online blog and daily updates featured fabulous ways to enjoy our teas, whether you like them chilled, fruity, or steaming!
    Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, our teas are refreshing and revitalising, warming and reviving!
    The beneficial herbs we pick carefully for your enjoyment, and they don't just have to stay in our tea!
    We've shown you ways with cakes, savouries, and cooling dips - just check out our blogs of 2014.

    In June 2014, Janey Lee Grace endorsed our tea, proclaiming it a "winner product". We gained a Platinum Award, as "Best New Mum Product 2014"

    "Allergy and Free From" have our tea, and we made the bestselling herbal tea list on Amazon!

    You may have seen us at The Baby Show, in October? We wowed the beverage scene!

    As well as hitting retail and reputational highs, we got out and about supporting UK breastfeeding mums.
    In March, we joined forces with Peak Health Food store in Rugeley to support breastfeeding mums, offering free tea and a Neuners thumbs-up for feeding on-the-go. Emily Slough, the mum at the heart of the Rugeley campaign has now set up the support group "Free To Feed".


    In November, we shivered outside a London hotel with mothers and babies in support of Louise Burns; the hotel displayed a shocking lack of hospitality and an outdated and unlawful attitude. Claridges were, however, unrepentant.

     


    We handed out smiles, free tea, and our support and best wishes.

     

    We had a fabulous 2014, and look forward to the forthcoming year with anticipation.
    Follow us on Facebook for updates, offers, competitions, recipes and daily fun and light.
    In 2015, we hope to bring you all daily joy, inspiration, love, oh..... And tea!


    Here's to 2015!

    Cheers!

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    This month, after journeying through galactogogues, herbs, high days and holidays, we return to talking about me and you - about nursing mothers, babies, and children.

    Embarking on a new breastfeeding relationship as a new mother is exciting, enormous, individual and unique; every baby, too, is different, of course.
    For those of us who have been breastfeeding for ever, those first few fledgling weeks are dim distant past, but for many of us we  nevertheless think of the early weeks as the crucial time when we struggled to get things established, and worked to get things right; we were unsure, and needed help, reassurance, and support.
    In retrospect, things come down to a few general rules and tips for stress-free breastfeeding success.

    Firstly, plan ahead and make sure that you are supported. Know where to find help and reassurance, if you feel you need it.
    Have family and friends ensure that you have a full freezer of healthy meals that mean no-one has to spend time slaving in the kitchen - with a new baby in the house, there will be more pressing concerns, and hot meals ensure that morale is high. In addition, post-birth, every mother needs nutritious food to recover, recuperate, and provide essential calories.
    If you feel so moved, spend a few hours here and there in your final weeks of pregnancy preparing favourite meals for your freezer. Stock up on healthy snacks and old favourites so that you don't have to run out to the shops at a moments notice.
    Keep healthier take-away details by the phone.
    Explain to family and friends that you will need willing helpers on the housework front - enlist reinforcements keen to lend a hand with the vacuuming, dusting, laundry and dishes.
    Close friends with free time might wish to hang out, make tea, and watch the baby, so that you can catch forty winks.
    Make sure that family members are aware of how a breastfeeding relationship works - you feed the baby, and their job is to care for you. Partners can be hands on in every other way, and bond with baby by providing cuddles, baths, and changes of clothes.
    For second babies and beyond, a mother comes to realise that each child is different - while one has learned a lot already, don't be afraid to find yourself in new territory.

    More scientific evidence is turning up on the benefits of your placenta for after the birth. The ultimate in ecological mothering is provided by this amazing organ that has nurtured your baby or babies for up to nine months, so why not use it rather than waste it? - find a local  qualified IPEN practitioner to collect and encapsulate your placenta after the birth, and they will deliver it back in handy capsules a day or so later - you can even opt for a smoothie on the day! Some mothers have been said to find the restorative effect of placenta pills astounding.
    That extra fortitude, in wobbly moments, goes a long way. Placenta benefits are not fully understood, to date, but the many testaments stand to suggest mothers find a balance, find further emotional strength, and physical stamina, while ingesting placenta capsules in the first year after giving birth.

    Get to know the rhythm of your baby; eat, sleep, and dream your baby in the early days, and invest in a wrap-sling for skin-to-skin to help your breastfeeding relationship along.
    Not every baby takes to a sling in the same easy way, but most do.
    The first three months have been called the "fourth trimester". At this time, baby needs your closeness, to be responded to, and the magic of milk and touch; the happy hormone called oxytocin courses between mother and baby, keeping mama happy and ensures optimal neural development for babe.

    The early days can be stressful, but take time to enjoy your beautiful baby, and the experience of being a new mother.
    Have your partner wear your baby while you luxuriate in the tub, or get out for refreshing country walks. Don't forget to shop for treats, such as essential oils for new mothers, a facial refresher for those more sleepy days, or a cosy wrap just for the sofa or to encircle you both while out and about.

    Relax in the knowledge that there are breastfeeding professionals out there ready to help if you have concerns or worries.
    Find your local drop in, and get to know other new mothers who are experiencing similar practical and emotional changes in their lives - it is sometimes very helpful to hear how others are doing.
    La Leche League are amazing for knowledge and support, and meet in a location near you - get down to a meeting and relax with others while enjoying well-earned biscuits and tea.
    Don't forget the army of helpers called peer support, who work with The Breastfeeding Network - they have funding, now, to come out to visit you, and offer online and telephone support.
    Lactation Consultants work with the NHS and independently; qualified IBCLCs can identify and sort out most problems promptly, and put you on the path to success.
    LLL leaders will know the people who can help, and will be able to provide you with often crucial local information.

    The best phrase I ever heard in relation to breastfeeding was, "it takes a whole community to breastfeed a child", and this is absolutely true.
    Don't feel that you are alone, or that the weight of caring for your baby sits heavily upon your shoulders alone!
    Seek Support, Enlist Help, and know that you are doing fabulously.
    Breastfeeding gets much easier, and for most mothers becomes like falling off a log. On-demand feeding provides nurture and security, and develops into the most amazing parenting and bonding asset. As your confidence grows, you will find they breastfeeding is liberating and nature's simple solution to getting about without hassle. Your milk is ready and available wherever you are.


    The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding to the age of two years, and beyond. Many mother now practise what is known as natural-term breastfeeding, or child-led weaning, which means that the child shows the way, and the parent follows the needs of the child, allowing them to pace breastfeeding for as long as they feel that they need it. Again, every child is different, with some eschewing the breast before two years, while others need the breast beyond five years.
    Some children are happy to feed through subsequent pregnancies, and then alongside their siblings, while others choose this time to wean.

    Breastfeeding journeys are amazing. Enjoy every Day!

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    FENUGREEK: PART 2 08 September 2014 | Comments (0)

     Blossom has bloomed and fallen, Summer reached dizzy hazy heights, but the unpredictable and inclement conditions of late may have brought about a certain over-familiarity with galoshes, wellingtons, and mackintoshes.
    Curling up with a steaming cup of herbal health certainly promotes an inner glow, and in addition, some tasty warming comfort from the kitchen never goes amiss!
    So, this instalment sees the continuing exploration of all things fenugreek taking a home-spun turn. How to get a flavoursome and fulfilling forkful of fenugreek fandango?
    Look no further, as we bring you a delicious dhal, and a delectable dessert.
    The helter-skelter hubbub of holidays and excursions often call for a combination of quick and easy, and pre-prepared suppers. A dhal seemed just the thing.



    Dhal
    200g Yellow Split Peas
    100g Red Lentils
    Medium onion
    Garlic 6-8 cloves
    4 further cloves sliced.
    1 teaspoon each of fenugreek seeds, cumin - some seeds, some ground, ditto for coriander, madras curry powder, ground turmeric.
    1 unwaxed lemon, cut into wedges
    Around 12 frozen spinach bricks, or one bag of fresh spinach leaves.
    Bunch of Fresh Coriander.
    Begin by simmering both varieties of lentils in water until soft. Set aside.
    Then, sautée onions, lots of crushed garlic, and add fenugreek, cumin, coriander seeds.
    Add the lentils, a little water, some chopped lemon pieces, washed spinach leaves or frozen
    bricks and simmer until the lemon and spinach have cooked and all of the flavours have combined.
    In another pan put the ground spices - coriander, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, and warm under a small flame until toasted very gently,
    and stir the now enticingly aromatic spices into the dhal.
    Then, heat a small amount of oil in a pan, carefully add the garlic slices, and fry until it starting to brown.
    At this point, one can stir in a splash of vinegar, and a teaspoon of spiced mango chutney into the cooked pulse mix, if a hint of sweetness is desired.
    The dhal can be served scattered with the fried garlic pieces, drizzled with the garlic-infused oil, and then topped with roughly chopped coriander leaf.
    This dish is so terribly versatile; it can either be a hearty main weekday meal accompanied by a flatbread to tear, or fluffy aromatic rice, complemented
    by a small refreshing cucumber salad, or it can be set amongst an assortment of dishes for a more celebratory affair.
    The last scrapings of dhal also make a handy and nutritious sandwich filling or toast spread.
    Fenugreek isn't only for use in savoury cuisine, of course, for it finds a place in sweet baking, too. A cake flavoured with fenugreek,
    along with other toasted seeds is a traditional postpartum gift to the mother in some Middle Eastern countries. Of course, given the health benefits of fenugreek,
    along with its galactogogue status, this makes perfect sense!
    There are variations for this cake, as with every traditional culinary creation, some complex and contrived, while others are earthy and unctuous.
    As I have explored the culinary meanderings and ornamental elaborations about this fenugreek cake, I have imagined cooks, neighbours, mothers and daughters,
    and those in haute cuisine disagreeing vehemently upon whether the seeds should be soaked, boiled, or toasted, and whether they should be ground or whole....
    Or, whether one should stick to semolina, or waver with wheat flour. Or indeed, whether yeast will suffice, or if flower water is a kerfuffle too far?
    There appears to be many a filigree and fancy flung at fenugreek cake, and I arrived upon a seedy little number, and threw myself headlong into the flirtatious fenugreek fandango that yielded cake in the afternoon.



    Fenugreek Cake
    Dough -
    1 cup of semolina
    2 cups of plain flour
    3 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
    2 tablespoons anise seeds
    2 tablespoons sesame seeds
    1 tablespoon fennel seed
    1 tablespoon nigella seed
    1 tablespoon caraway seed
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    1.5 teaspoons dried instant yeast
    Pinch of salt
    3/4 cup olive oil
    1 cup milk - dairy, soya, or as you like.
    For the syrup -
    1.5 cups of white or light brown sugar
    1/2 cup dark brown or molasses sugar
    2 cups water
    Juice of half a lemon.
    Firstly, take all of the seeds and gently toast them on a low heat, moving and turning them to prevent them from burning.
    Set aside.
    Warm the milk gently and pour the toasted seeds into the milk.
    Blitz milk and seeds with a hand blender or mixer.
    Put the yeast, salt, flour, sugar, and semolina all together in a bowl.
    Add the olive oil and combine well.
    Add the warm seeded milk, and stir until a sticky dough is formed.
    In a shallow dish or tray, spread out the dough and cover for one hour.
    While the dough rests, the sugar syrup can be made.
    Put the sugar and water together in a pan, bring to the boil, and then simmer gently for around 15 minutes.
    Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.
    Leave to cool.
    Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees.
    Bake the dough for 20-25 minutes until golden.
    Straight away drizzle the cooled sugar syrup over the cake until it is covered.
    Leave to cool.
    Traditionally, the cake must be left overnight, and eaten the next day, once all of the flavours have developed and the syrup has
    seeped down and soaked into the cake below. While baking, the aromas that waft and encircle are mouthwatering, indeed!
    The cake is incredibly enticing, and ought to be whisked away for its overnight sojourn, once cooled.
    However, impatience gained the upper hand here, and slices were devoured gleefully and greedily, which leads me to report that the
    cake is delicious eaten hot or cold. On cutting, this cake was like a moist seeded focaccia, with piqued pillows of airy
    semolina punctuated by the aromatic crunch of seeds, and the sweet soaked delectation of sticky syrup.
    There are quite a few traditional variations to consider when making this cake, and more complex and refined versions call for rose water,
    pine nuts, almonds, or orange blossom water.
    I think I had better bake them all, in the guise of research.

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    Bonnets, Bungee, Bicycles, and Yarn-Bombing - Happy Holidays!

    July has already started, and with high summer comes the proverbial bonnets cast asunder as the school holidays commence.

    Many parents feel an ever-changing mix of emotions, between missing the school run, and the mild adrenalin-fuelled sense of panic with the weeks stretching out in front, September's far horizon being a good way off.

    We all love spending quality time with our children, but parental burn-out can hit after only a few weeks of summer holiday. A little inspiration can be a welcome resource when the repertoire of ideas is all but used up.

    Everyone's children are different, in terms of temperament and moods, and children differ in their abilities to entertain themselves, or concentrate for longer periods on projects or tasks. Some children can immerse themselves in intricate drawing or colouring for an hour or more, whereas others barely wish to sit, no matter the weather.

    Thus, it is a good idea to plan ahead and have plan B's, along with C's and D's in place before the holidays actually begin. And, in today's fiscal climes, we unfortunately must keep a weather-eye on the purse strings, too.

    So..... What to do for those six-ish weeks? Well, for a start, parents have differing views on whether they should be "occupying" their children at all; some consider that from boredom springs creativity and self-sufficiency, while others scurry to fill every moment of their child's imaginary "diary", without prior consultation. And, circumstances vary widely, from having acres to spare, to city dwellers with but a balcony ledge. No matter, as on days of sunny skies, parks and gardens are free and sometimes offer fairs, bazaars and festivals, too.

    Make the most of long days by packing drinks, snacks, and a picnic, using shade and remembering hats and sunscreen for the zenith of the day. Some playground areas even offer water play, where swimming gear and towels are de rigeur, and keeping cool thus effected. Don't forget to hone park and yard gaming skills - take along frisbees, jump rope, and chalk for hopscotch.

    If wheels are the thing, don't forget roller skates/blades, skateboards, and scooters - unicycles for the more adventurous! Stilts and Pogos aren't in vogue, particularly, but may offer a modicum of amusement. Once bored of swings and slides, there are museums, galleries and libraries to discover, and many of those have free entry, unless you want to see something specific.

    With time on your side, you may wish to go further afield and walk the countryside highways and byways, even taking in a child-friendly B&B. Your children may enjoy such things as working historical farms, stately homes and their surrounding gardens, or larger monuments like Stonehenge or Hadrian's Wall? Beaches are not only for sunbathing. You can hunt for fossils, collect shells, stones, and bits of fascinating flotsam.

    While you are out and about, don't forget your camera, and pencils, pens, and paper. Outdoor sketching is great fun, and can provide a springboard for later artistic creations. When the storm clouds roll in and the heavens open, one needs to be prepared. Paper and scissors can provide simple fun, just by folding and cutting concertina-ed people and animals for decoration, and for older children there are specialised paper cutting kits for purchase online. Coloured paper can be folded, sculpted, and decorated.

    Why not prepare a box of fabric remnants cut to size in small squares for the budding little mosaicist. Bright colours and patterned or shiny pieces can be further decorated with foil wrappers, old buttons, glitter and sequins. Plenty of colouring pencils and fibre pens are a must, along with sharpeners, rulers, rubbers.

    If a metaphorical hand up is needed there are now beautiful colouring books for children; Dover and Buster are two that come to mind. If your darlings can play nicely together, there are plenty of board games that offer hours of fun, and there is always an opportunity to teach Chess or Draughts, or have a family Monopoly or Scrabble tournament. Then, there's the likes of Twister or Wii.

    Picnics and Camps can always be relocated to the veranda or front room, guaranteed to foment frivolity and giggles. Something for parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles is the imparting of traditional skills such as knitting, sewing, crochet, embroidery, or more obscure crafts such as macramé.

    Tapestries are absorbing, and available in simpler designs for beginners. If you have the facilities, pottery is exciting - why not visit your local potter or glass blower? Movies are a great diversion, and often seal memories of association. If the cinema isn't possible, make popcorn in a pan and bring the cinema atmosphere to your lounge! Movie Sleepovers muster major excitement, whispering, and glee into the small hours. If your gang need a gentle bit of encouragement to be bookish, libraries have their annual Reading Challenges that are often themed, and come with prizes, certificates, and the pomp and excitement of ceremony in September. Stack the shelves with chapter books, but also comics, magazines, and anything else that might snatch their attention - all reading is good.

    Where there's space and time aplenty, why not build a tree house, or turn your loft, basement, or spare room into a model railway extravaganza. And if you don't, there's always bounding out with rock climbing and outdoor specialist camps. If abseiling and canoeing isn't their bag, other summer school offerings abound; there's everything from musicals and dance schools, to languages, BMX tricks, art and craft, parkour, and a myriad choices waiting to be discovered.

    Past Summer holidays are evocative and halcyon, indeed. I have fond memories of my grandparent's cottage with marigold bedecked borders, a heady sunny greenhouse filled with the intoxicating aroma of tomatoes, and the sound of buzzing aphids, rainy afternoons with a Spirograph and a button box, jelly and icecream and cheese spread on toast for supper, and laying in bed watching the town lights twinkling far off to the sound of drop forges in the distance. Grans, aunts, and uncles are often keen to have time with their smaller relatives, and parents can do well to accept offers and use the time to recharge batteries.

    Children often love time away testing their independence; they delight in the similarities and differences of others' homes, and enjoy expanding and enriching their parameters of experience.

    If forging experience is a goal, why not foster political and citizen awareness with active engagement or protest - put newly acquired craftiness to good use with a spot of yarn-bombing, or just get on the march!

    Find a cause and campaign for it. Share the load with play dates and stopovers, and return favours; a good network is crucial. Remember to relax and have a good time - holidays are for recuperation and kicking back (and not just for the kids, hopefully....) Whatever's your bag, be it bivouacing, bicycling, or bungeeing - Happy Holidays!

     

     

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