Sunday, 23 February 2014

Review: Ummah Foods halal chocolate

Everyone that knows me knows how much I love chocolate, yet despite my husband being Muslim and the amount of time I spent in a Muslim country, the concept of halal chocolate was something I had never really heard of. So when Ummah Foods offered to send me a couple of bars of its halal chocolate to try out, I jumped at the chance.

The chocolate is packaged simply, but colourfully. We were sent two bars of the milk chocolate with peanuts and looking at the bar itself, you could see it was well packed with nuts. The chocolate is halal because no alcohol or animal products were used in the product itself, the making of it and its packaging. It is this that also makes it suitable for vegetarians. But how much, if at all, did this affect the overall taste of the chocolate? Well I found the taste very smooth and surprisingly - but not in an unpleasant way - a little more bitter than usual milk chocolate. The pieces of peanut were large and added a tasty bite to the chocolate itself.

I think it is great to see more halal products coming onto the market in the UK and would certainly look at buying this product again, especially for friends or family during Ramadan or Eid. The chocolate is also available in milk chocolate with raisins, mik chocolate with raisins and peanuts, milk chocolate and 60 % dark chocolate. Availability is limited at this time, but you can visit the site here to see if there is a store near you.

Disclaimer: I was sent this chocolate in order to write a fair review and was not required to write a positive one. All words and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sick baby, job interview and new things

I have been utterly rubbish at blogging for the past two weeks as things have felt so hectic at home. I had a job interview that I thought went really well, but I didn't get the job... despite having got myself a fancy new dress for the occasion! I've been applying like crazy for jobs because we want to get The Grumpy Egyptian his visa and get him over here soon. Things seem a little sparse on the ground, but fingers crossed something will pop up soon. Despite the disappointment of not getting the job, it did mark the first time that I had left the Mini Grumpy Egyptian with someone else... ever. She is nine months old now and I don't think I have left her with anyone for more than five minutes or the time it takes to run into the doctor's surgery and run back out again. I left her with my Dad and thankfully she seemed ok. Made me feel better about doing so in the future, but I must admit that I am not looking forward to actually going back to work and having to leave her for such a long amount of time. Will deal with it when I have to deal with it I guess.

Secondly, the Mini Grumpy Egyptian hosted a lovely playdate for her mini friends last Tuesday morning, but by mid-afternoon she was not looking well. Dinner revisited us while a couple of dodgy nappies - the kind you pray you will never see again - had me reaching for the clothes pegs. Having not improved by Thursday we visited the GP who told us it was a bug and sent us away. By Friday night she was even worse and on Saturday we rang the out of hours GP. Given that she was not herself, not keeping hardly anything down and rather grouchy they decided to send us across the corridor to the children's ward. Having visited there before for a test that wasn't offered in Oman, I must say that they are lovely. They worked out that she was a bit dehydrated, but luckily just needed some rehydration medication delivered slowly (10ml every 10 minutes over 2 hours much to the mini one's irritation as she wanted to nap!). We were there for a couple of hours and 24 hours later, the Mini Grumpy Egyptian is much better thank god.

Finally I have lots of review posts that I need to write up including some lovely aromatherapy products from a local company, halal chocolate and Sudocrem so look forward to those.

How has everyone else been? Fellow bloggers, how do you cope when real life just gets too much and blogging seems to be a bit of a struggle? Is it ok to have a little mini break?

The Egyptian Mummy

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The unnecessary shame of using formula

Image taken from this site

Any mum who has ever formula fed will know exactly what THAT look is. They will know what it is like to sit in a mum's group amd be asked "but why aren't you breastfeeding?" Or "don't you want to do the best for your child?" Then there is the damn right obnoxious rolling of eyes and looks of judgement others prefer. Formula feeding your child does not make you a bad parent. Leaving your child to go hungry so you can take the moral high ground or driving yourself insane after weeks of not being able to breastfeed efficiently makes you a bad parent.

When I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. I read articles online and bought all the pads and creams in preparation, but what I wasn't ready for was a baby that just didn't want to latch. After the emergency caesarean that shot the Mini Grumpy Egyptian into our lives, I was in shock not just from the surgery but the realisation that I was now a mother. After being wheeled into my hospital room, a scrunched up ball of baby was thrust into my arms, my gown pulled down and her face shoved in the direction of my boob. There was no magic moment of her searching for my boob or latching on immediately, in fact I remember having to literally stick it in her face! 

We did manage to breastfeed, but the bad latch continued and after 2 weeks she had struggled to gain back her birth weight. I started pumping so I could supplement her with a bottle of my milk rather than turning to formula. Things didn't get easier but she began putting weight on. I remember crying down the phone to my mum one day in agony and sheer disappointment that breastfeeding wasn't turning out to be that amazing experience I had read about. When we got to the UK, I asked my health visitor about the Mini Grumpy Egyptian's slow weight gain and voiced concerns that I was feeling the stress of cluster feeding. I was told she was gaining at a steady rate and didn't need to have formula.

I was never asked whether I NEEDED - for my own sanity - to give her formula. I couldn't bring myself to say that I thought I needed to introduce formula once or twice a day so that I could relax for just a moment and allow someone else to deal with a feed. There was this shame in the back of my mind that if I said that then I wasn't being a good mum. After all we are meant to sacrifice ourselves for our children, but what about a little me time? Is that being selfish or by doing so would I be a better more relaxed mum?

When the Mini Grumpy Egyptian was five and a half months old, I gave in. I went to Boots and bought some formula. She drank it so fast and her weight began to follow a proper pattern! I started on 120ml a day and increased to around 180ml a day with breastfeeds when required. I'm more relaxed as it means someone else can feed her while I pop the washing in or eat my lunch. She seems fuller and now that she is on 3 meals a day, her sleeping patterns have got less erratic. 

I have friends who wanted to breastfeed, but weren't able to despite their best efforts as well as friends who chose not to breastfeed for personal reasons. And I tell you what.... They are bloody good parents. This post isn't meant to mock those that solely breastfeed - congratulations by the way - but I'm sorry to say I don't believe it makes you a better parent than someone who doesn't. Breast is as we all know best, but it doesn't give you the right to judge those who don't or indeed can't. So take a moment next time you are about to say something about a mum who is formula feeding and think about how you might be about to make them feel.

The Egyptian Mummy