Archive for Books

The Weanagers

One of Britain's WeanagersTo celebrate the launch of Britain’s Weanagers – a new fly on the wall docu-series – we’re giving you the chance below to win one of five new weaning books ‘The First Foods Book’ & some Ella’s Kitchen snacks!

We’ve all heard about the terrible twos, not to mention the testing teenage years, but what about those weanage months? That’s right, weanagers!

But how do you identify a weanager? To help mums and dads recognise this important stage in their little one’s development, parenting expert, Sarah Ockwell-Smith has identified 10 sure-fire signs your child is a fully-fledged weanager:

  1. Your baby won’t let you leave them, ever
  2. Your baby ends up wearing more food than they eat
  3. Your baby loves to empty stuff
  4. Your baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth
  5. Your baby does a great impression of you
  6. Your baby becomes a big fan of dropping things
  7. Your baby will have a favourite food one week, then go off it the next
  8. Your baby enjoys testing out their new pincer grip, even on you
  9. Your baby starts spontaneously waving hello or goodbye
  10. Your baby makes their mark on the house

Is your little one a weanager?Sarah comments: “The weanage months, from six to twelve months, are a constant series of firsts, exploration and wonder for both the baby and parent – from first foods and first teeth, to first steps and first words. Commonly glossed over in favour of the cute new-born phase and the challenges of ‘the terrible twos’, it’s time this period of development got the recognition it rightly deserves”.

Celebrating weanagers all over the country, Ella’s Kitchen is launching a NEW fly on the wall documentary series, ‘Britain’s Weanagers’. Exploring the exciting and, at times, hilarious weaning journeys of babies, the series stars four families who have all featured in the popular Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute.

Weanagers don't want to leaveMark Cuddigan, Head of Ella’s Kitchen, adds: “We are passionate about helping little ones develop healthy relationships with food and that really starts with the very first tastes. Weaning is a really exciting milestone for little ones and their parents. We created the ‘Britain’s Weanagers’ series to give mums and dads who are about to start weaning a fun insight into what to expect. It really brings to life our view that every baby is different and that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to weaning. We think the series perfectly captures the reality of weaning in a very charming, yet honest way and hope that we’re able to bring a smile to parents watching it.”

The docu-series is hosted on their YouTube Weaning Channel, which launched earlier this year. To view the episodes search ‘Ella’s Kitchen weaning’ on YouTube.


  1. Your baby won’t let you leave, ever

Separation anxiety is possibly the hardest developmental phase for a weanager, but it is a sign of great parenting and a good indicator that your baby will grow to be happy, confident and independent

  1. Your baby ends up wearing more food than they eat

Research shows it’s super important to let your baby play with their food, babies who do so may be less fussy eaters as they grow. Eating isn’t just about the food that goes into the baby’s mouth though, it’s about the touch and smell too.

  1. Your baby loves to empty stuff

Weanagers spend a lot of time working on their ‘filling and emptying’ skills, whether it’s the laundry basket, toy box or the kitchen cupboard. This habit of theirs actually helps your little one learn about the world, through repeated actions and experiences.

  1. Your baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth

This is a sign that they are developing their hand/eye coordination, practicing their pincer grip and investigating objects via the most sensory part of their body – their mouth!

  1. Your baby does a great impression of you

You are your baby’s best teacher and babies learn best by imitation. Every minute of the day, they are looking to you to see how to behave…so be sure to set a good example!

  1. Your baby becomes a big fan of dropping things

The desire to drop and throw everything is a common stage in the weanage years. Don’t worry though, your weanager isn’t being naughty; far from it, they’re actually being incredibly clever experimenting with gravity.

  1. Your baby will have a favourite food one week, then go off it the next

We’re all entitled to change our minds, right? Especially if you’re a weanager. During this time, your baby has increasing ways to communicate their preferences, and you’ll soon become familiar with what these are.

  1. Your baby enjoys testing out their new pincer grip, even on youOh no! A Weanager!

Towards the end of the weanage months, your weanager will really start working on that pincer grip of theirs. All of the practice picking up raisins will now come to fruition – just keep an eye on your keys and phone!

  1. Your baby starts spontaneously waving hello or goodbye

Weanagers are social little beings and their communication skills increase by the day – prepare for lots of waving ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.

  1. Your baby makes their mark on the house

Your baby is becoming increasingly mobile and learns a lot about the world by touching everything. This exploration phase is likely to be marked by tiny sticky handprints collecting over your house, on everything from your TV screen to your light coloured linen.
The First Foods Book


To be in with a chance of winning 1 of these First Foods books & some Ella’s Kitchen goodies, just RETWEET THIS TWEET and Follow @TheBabyWebsite on Twitter and @EllasKitchenUK

The 5 winners will be announced on Twitter and on our Twitter/Blog Winners Page on November 23rd.


The Honest Toddler by Bunmi Laditan

The Honest Toddler

The Honest Toddler

A Child’s Guide to Parenting

The toddler stage can be a real shock for some parents, when your cute, sweet little baby morphs overnight into a mini-monster who seems hell-bent on making even a simple trip to the shops a horrible humiliating experience for all concerned.
The Honest Toddler is a deliciously funny guide to parenting which aims to provide the answers every parent seeks. What are you supposed to do when your little one simply lies himself down on the supermarket floor screaming? Or what do you do when she simply doesn’t want to wear shoes today?

Play-Date Etiquette

Who better to teach parents about the needs of toddlers than a toddler himself? The Honest Toddler covers the big questions – How Can You Prevent Siblings?  Who Does Mummy Belong To?  Sleep and Weaning Your Parents Off It – and is packed full of general advice on play-date etiquette (don’t touch – just don’t!), preferred toddler foods (ice cream and toast), sleep training methods (hint: none) and the proper response to random aggression in the playground (embrace it! The Honest Toddler has everything every parent needs to know to keep their little angel/devil happy.

Buy Now From Amazon

Read or Write Reviews of The Honest Toddler

The author, Bunmi Laditan lives in Canada and has two young children.  She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Mothering and, where her satirical pieces on parenting and politics often go viral.

The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner

The Two Week WaitI just finished reading The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner. It’s a book well worth reading although there’s a fair chance, if you’re like me that, you’ll end up in tears!

Without giving too much away, it’s about two women who although they don’t know each other, will be forever connected, even indebted, to each other. In a nutshell, they both want a baby but one is infertile and the other hasn’t got a partner. Part of the story is set in a very colourful, vibrant Brighton where Lou’s other half has to decide if she wants a babywith Lou. Cath and her husband Rich live in Yorkshire and although Cath is desperate for a child, Rich feels she’s gone through enough after her cancer treatment.

The The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner is a real page-turner and I for one will be looking out for Sarah’s other books.

The Antenatal Group by Amy Bratley

The Antenatal Group by Amy BratleyJust finished reading The Antenatal Group by Amy Bratley and I loved it! Whatever kind of books you’re normally into, you’ll like it too – I guarantee.

It’s about 5 very different pregnant women who meet in an antenatal class and become friends. If they hadn’t been pregnant, their paths might never have crossed but at this stage in their lives they all have something in common. They’re all going through pregnancy – some have a textbook pregnancy, some find it more difficult. They’re all about to give birth – some with more ease than seems fair, some find the birth traumatic. They all have young babies – and again some find those early days easier than others.

There’s a quote in the book that kind of sums it all up. Just after describing babies as ‘the ultimate equaliser among women‘, Erin reflects…”No matter how successful, or attractive, or well off you were – or indeed the opposite – babies cried and didn’t sleep and needed endless attention and whoever you were, whatever your circumstances, you had to try to learn to cope with that‘”

If I say more I’ll give away the story and I don’t want to spoil it for you. Read it. You’ll love it. I did!

Order The Antenatal Group by Amy Bratley from Amazon . It’s not out yet – it’s out in April. As Editor of TheBabyWebsite I was fortunate to be sent an advance copy. I’m probably not even supposed to write about it yet – if so, apologies Pan Macmillan!

Oh yes – and here are some reviews of The Antenatal Group by some reviewers on our Product Review Panel..

Christmas Books for Children

Christmas in my house is all about the children and their toys. But just as important are the books. In the lead up to Christmas, I’m always  looking about for new Christmas themed books on the market. This time of year can be so magical and really capture their imaginations.

Here are some books I’d like to share with you:

Santa and his squeaky red noseSanta‘s flying in his sleigh, bringing gifts for Christmas day. Squeak santa’s red nose and meet all of his bright, colourful friends who have squeaky noses too. Watch the cheeky elf making toys, for all the good girls and boys – maybe this can be a lesson for good behavior. (Suitable for 1+ years age)

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas is a modern Christmas classic with a strong moral about the dangers of being greedy and truly appreciating the value of Christmas. My son’s going to love this one! Danny wants everything for Christmas. But what he gets is a dinosaur, a very hungry dinosaur. Danny’s new dino eats up all of Christmas, but as we all know, what goes in must come out…Danny is about to have the most EXPLOSIVE Christmas of his life! There’s poop, presents and prehistoric creatures in this festive feast! Check out what our reviewers think of The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas.

Diary of a Christmas Wombat is a colourful diary of an unexpected journey (read what other reviewers think).

Christmas comes but once a year, and it?s just as well for Santa?s reindeer, who have to fight with Mothball the Wombat for the carrots left out for them by the local children. Follow Mothball when he takes an unexpected sleigh ride (Age 3-5 years).

When I Dream of Christmas will take children on a magical journey of discovery, whilst helping them and their families appreciate the joys that a traditional Christmas has to offer (Age 3-5 years). See what our reviewers think of When I Dream Of Christmas.

The Snow Bear As the snow begins to fall just days before Christmas, Grandad helps Sara build an igloo in the garden, and Sara sculpts a small polar bear to watch over it. And what could be more exciting than sleeping outside under the stars? But when Sara awakes in the middle of the night, she finds the igloo is no longer in the garden but lost in a world of ice …and her snow bear has transformed into a real live polar bear cub. Sara and the cub set out on an enchanted journey through the wilderness – will they ever find their way home? (Age 5-7 years)

So that’s just a few of the new Christmas Books for Children that I’ve discovered this year. If I find any more good ones then I’ll be sure to let you all know!

Babies in Waiting

Babies in Waiting by Rosie FioreJust finished reading a book called Babies in Waiting by Rosie Fiore.

Babies in Waiting

I really enjoyed it and it’s one of those ‘nice’ easy-to-read books that you can just pick up and read anytime. You know the sort of thing I mean…. The rice is cooking, you’ve just hoovered the stairs and have a quick 5 minutes before dinner, so you pick your book up to read a chapter. No complicated plot to remember, easy to follow characters and a great heartwarming story to keep you wanting to find out what happens to everyone at the end.

In a nutshell, Babies in Waiting is about 3 women who get pregnant at different stages in their life and who ‘meet’ on an online forum and despite being very different people become friends. I won’t say any more and go and spoil it for you. Read it for yourself. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.


Midwife on Call by Agnes Light

Midwife On CallWhat with Call the Midwife starring Miranda Hart on Sunday evenings and my favourite One Born Every Minute on a  Wednesday I seem to be constantly grunting and pushing in front of the telly instead of the usual couch-potatoing! And not content with watching women give birth I seem to have a whole load of books around the subject too. A while back I read and loved The Midwife’s Confession (a must-read for any Jodi Picoult fans) and have just finished Midwife On Call by Agnes Light. And once I’ve read all my Christmas books, the next on my list is The Midwife of Venice. Midwife on Call charts Agnes’ 30 year career as a midwife and shows how the actual experience of Childbirth has changed through the years. I thought the book gave a genuinely  interesting insight into a midwife’s job from the ’60s onwards. It was refreshing to read that Agnes is a mother herself so knows what giving birth is really all about. How annoying is it when, say, ‘childcare gurus’, and the like, mouth off about ‘sleep-training’ when they are childless themselves and have no real conception of having their own baby up all night screaming the place down! (I think we all know who I’m talking about there!) The author is clearly a caring, warm individual who loved her job. Midwife on Call isn’t a great literary work by any means but if you like books about women having babies (I do!), like ‘medical dramas’ (I do!), like autobiographical books (I do!) and you like books showing how things that affect you have changed through the ages then you’ll enjoy Midwife On Call. Read what Agnes Light wrote on Helena’s Blog. by Kathryn Crawford (Editor)

Using my Kindle

It was one of my birthday presents earlier this year and I was quite excited, having read all the reviews and other hype in the press over the preceding few months.

I live in a household of sceptics and I must confess to having been a little so myself at some points, but because I had several olde-worlde ‘paper’ books left to read, the Kindle was temporarily shelved.

Last week, however, I embarked on my first novel ‘kindle-style’; a good old Ian McEwan – ‘The Innocent’, a really good read I hasten to add.  After a quick fiddle with font sizes and orientations I settled on the defaults and got stuck in.

Reading with the Kindle is a breeze, no trying not to lose your page by wedging a thumb in between pages at the bottom, no pages working loose at the spine, no having to change the angle for each alternate page to keep the text out of shadow.  Whatsmore…. yes, there’s more!  If you stumble accross a word that you’re not sure about, there’s a built-in dictionary to explain all.  (It doesn’t do German Menu Items unfortunately though – anyone who’s read The Innocent will know what I’m talking about)

Am I a convert?  Don’t know really.  I’ll have to let you know after my next holiday.  I know the baggage will be a bit lighter next time though.

Perhaps I’ll drop back and let you know then.

Poorer Grammar, Fewer Customers

More Laughter, FEWER lines???

Being ever the stickler for the correct use of English, I couldn’t help but be smacked in the face by a Marks and Spencer Advert which appeared on our site this morning.

More laughter, less lines!  What!!  Surely not!  That Great British institution crumbling under the weight of prescriptive curriculae that has been blighting the minds of our current generation of young executives.  Are today’s creative advertising designers really that poorly educated in the use of their mother tongue that they could fail so miserably in the creation of a four-word strap line?  Or was the alliteration considered of primary importance over and above correct grammar?  Possibly!

More educational diversity, fewer mistakes!

Come on M&S, get it together, if only for me and my obsessive compulsive literary tendencies.

I thought my derision of apostrophe abuse was enough.  I must be getting very old, bitter and twisted!


Before I Die

I just read one of my 16 year old daughter’s books – ‘Before I Die’ by Jenny Downham.

Talk about traumatic! My mascara was everywhere by the end of the book. The book is about a teenager who is dying of leukaemia and has a sort of ‘Bucket List’ – a list of things she wants to do before she dies.

It’s a very uplifting book and raises many issues about how we deal with death. The girl in question has a 10 year old brother and some of the questions he has about his sister’s imminent death are at the same time funny and immensely sad.

There’s a programme on TV tonight called ‘Teenagers Fighting Cancer’ and I can imagine that many of the teenagers featuring will be going through similar emotions to Tessa in ‘Before I Die’.

I don’t want to spoil the book by going into any more detail but try and have a read of it sometime.

It’s all about seizing the moment and celebrating life while you’ve got the chance. I’ve always wondered how I would react if I or one of the people close to me were diagnosed with a terminal disease, well this book takes you through the reactions of mother, father, brother, best friend, boyfriend and even the morbid curiosity of school friends.

It’s well worth reading this Random House book but make sure you’ve got a box of tissues handy!