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32yr old Mummy to 3. Our 4yo disabled son, 2yo strong willed minx and our recent addition our little piglet Deacon born 21st June 2013. Making our way through the every day, remembering to smile, as it's the 2nd best thing you can do with your mouth.

Living Arrows {14th July 2014}

Written by InnocentCharmer. Posted in 2014, grayson

Seeing your children grow is a pleasure that we must relish, the girls at I Heart Snapping realised this and created a wonderful weekly linky called Living Arrows. I love taking part and creating a small diary of events in my babies lives.

living arrows

This week has been a hard week for Grayson and us as Grayson’s family and the next shall not get any easier, so it was lovely to head out to an early dinner with family on Saturday and then to a park on the beach for an evening swing.

Swinging is one of Grayson’s ultimate past times, he would do it for hours, now he is enjoying even more when out and about too as he is finally noticing a world further than his own.

Watching him enjoy the sea air and look as his cousin Ivy giggled in the swing next to him was just magical.


Do go and check out some truly beautiful photos over at I Heart Snapping.

Little Dish Tasting – New Meals To Try

Written by InnocentCharmer. Posted in 2014

Little Dish Logo

I love Little Dish – ever since Addison first tried their meals and a miracle occurred and she ate real food. So when they asked Addison and I to come to London to talk and try some new recipes we hopped on the train quickly.

We were very lucky to have the session run by CEO Hillary Graves and Lucy Jones a consultant dietician who works with Little Dish. It was amazing to hear that Little Dish have now been making meals for children since 2006 and sell on average 100,00 meals every week across the UK.

Little Dish

I have always felt so guilty feeding Addison Little Dish meals, like others were judging me, but she truly loves them and some days when we have been out at hospital or I have worked a 12hr day they were a great option for me, but after talking to Hillary and Lucy I feel guilty no more. Here are my reason why…

    • Little Dish create each recipe in partnership with our nutritionist to ensure that every Little Dish provides little ones from 1 year plus with the perfect balance of nutrition for a main meal. Every Little Dish meal provides at least one of a child’s 5-a-day, in fact most provide two. Our meals are made from 100% natural ingredients and we never add salt or sugar
    • We are committed to bringing little ones great tastes and smells, interesting textures and balanced nutrition because we know a rich variety of these fundamentals helps them to develop a healthy and adventurous palate. We believe proper food for kids is fresh and that meals that can be kept in the cupboard just can’t deliver the tastes or textures that kids should be experiencing from a young age
    • Our proper food follows the tightest nutritional guidelines of any children’s food manufacturer and all Little Dish meals are made in perfect portion sizes to give little ones all the nutrients they need
    • We have been working with Lucy Jones, consultant dietitian, expert in child nutrition and Mum to Archie, age 2, to ensure our nutritional guidelines are best in class

I have learnt that giving Addison or any child a Little Dish meal is nutritionally as good, if not even better than a home cooked meal where we add salt and spices. Little Dish have spent a great deal of time not only with experts like Lucy making sure their meals are good but also with the general public, Mums and kids like Addison and I, they surveyed 1000 parents (with children ages 1/3yr) asking them all about children’s nutrition and the guidelines, I can honestly say I was not surprised by the result…

  • 79 per cent of parents are unsure on the recommended salt intake for children
  • 40 per cent are confused by nutritional guidelines on packaging
  • 20 per cent worry about what their other half feeds their children

I am always questioning what I give Addison and the boys, I know they get enough fruit (as they are all fruit crazy) but things like portion sizes I am very unsure on. Being a parent is hard, as an adult we find diet hard, so why is any different with our children. That is why Little Dish have made sure to make their meals nutritionally good, but also making sure their clear packaging shows you all you need to know without being hidden in a mass of small print.

Little Dish meals

It was so interesting to meet Lucy at the event, I have spent a great deal of time with Dietitians for Grayson, which obviously was working on keeping Grayson alive on the small amounts he consumed, but my other 2 are dreadful eaters, I spend many a dinner time getting upset and actually some in tears. Lucy explained personality and emotional state is hugely important in terms of feeding habits, it has been shown that a very laid back child will always be a better and more varied eater, so all those meal times where I become stressed and even tense in my tone the kids pick up on, since the Little Dish tasting I have been trying to relax about how much they eat, especially Deacon who is currently still living on some purees and ritz crackers.

She gave us a few top tips which included

  • Getting kids involved with the prep of meals
  • Growing vegetables in the garden to then eat
  • Having meals as a family
  • Disguise vegetables in soups and sauces
  • Bake together
  • Introduce reward charts
  • Relax at meal times, any progress even small is progress

I really enjoyed hearing Lucy’s advice and I am hoping it will help with my fussy eaters. It is reassuring that Little Dish have taken a stand in hiring Lucy to help them complete their mission for Healthier Kids. They have spent a great deal of time refreshing their meals, Lucy says…

This refresh was about further enhancing the already strong nutritional profile in their chilled meals and paying even more attention to not just nutrients but also tastes, textures and proportions which are all important to the development of young palates. Parents can rest assured that Little Dish provides meals that are well-balanced and that their children will love to eat.

So the most important part what meals are Little Dish now offering

Little Dish

There are 13 Little Dish meals to choose from, including:
Fish Pie with Salmon & Pollock
Mini Cheese Ravioli in a Tomato & Veg Sauce
Classic Beef Lasagne
Alphabet Pasta Bolognese
Cottage Pie with Seven Veg
Spaghetti with Mini Meatballs
Mild Chicken Curry with Rice
Chicken & Butternut Squash Pie
Chicken & Veg Risotto

And our four brand new recipes, fresh from the Little Dish kitchen:

Creamy Tomato & Mascarpone Pasta
Pork & Apple Bites with Beans
British Lamb Hotpot
Limited Edition Fruity Lamb Tagine with Couscous

What was really exciting for me were the amount of meals above which were No Dairy ( I have highlighted in bold) with Deacon being dairy free I am finding it increasingly difficult to find items which will work in his diet as well as Addison’s without having to make all from fresh. This is brilliant by Little Dish.

The British Lamb Hotpot unlike the usual Little Dish meals who have animal characters on has a cute little boy to celebrate HRH Prince George’s first birthday as he will now be old enough o enjoy his first Little Dish meal. Along with celebrating the Royal 1st Birthday, Little Dish shall be donating funds from the proceeds to Kids Company a great charity which helps with support in all areas for vulnerable children in inner cites.

Little Dish

Whilst we were with Little Dish they did some blind testing on us the adults with their competitors meals that run against their own. I as a parent always try my kids food before they do (unless fish) – I am so so glad the meals we were given were not ones I have ever given my children as they were DREADFUL, they tasted nothing like the meals they were supposed to be, the textures were powdery, dry or like slop. They resembled nothing like real food. As with the couple meals I have had of Little Dish before all the meals we tested genuinely looked as they do on their packaging, proper little meals that you would be hard to know were not home cooked by me.

I especially loved the new Pork bites, they were the juiciest little meatballs and I even made Mr Innocent Charmer try them when I got home as they were so delicious.

Since our tasting we have tried a few of the meals, if you follow me on Instagram you will know Grayson has even taken to eating the Fish pie, which is MASSIVE and speaks volumes for the quality of Little Dish meals, Addison still has a firm favourite in Risotto and I am quite partial to the Ravoli which I have even taken to work for lunch.

Little Dish

I love the fact that I can now head to Tesco, Asda or Waitrose and stock up on Little Dish meals as they can now go in the freezer and be cooked from frozen too, making my life even easier.

I urge you to try Little Dish meals with children, I do not think you will be disappointed. If you would like Little Dish to send a couple of money off coupons please do comment below and I shall try to make that happen.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with Little Dish on their Facebook page where they hold regular giveaways and chats with nutritional experts.

Siblings {July 2014}

Written by InnocentCharmer. Posted in 2014

I don’t often get to take part in Lucy’s photo projects, taking photos of my babies (especially together) is near enough impossible.

So can you believe last week a couple of days before the Siblings Project was due I managed it and then forgot to upload a post, I think because I am so used to not ever being able to.

It was not a fab day weather wise, we had promised to take Addison to the beach but that was not possible, but there was no way we were sitting in, so we still headed to the seaside to have a walk along the promenade and a spot of lunch, it was very windy so we found a little sheltered bench and made that our lunch place.

As I sat all 3 kids on the bench to unpack their lunch, they sat happily, talking to one another (as they do), it hit me this was that special moment, I quickly picked up my phone and kept snapping, they soon spotted me and demanded lunch but I am happy with what little pics I took, they are not perfect but they are super cute.

siblings July 2014

Look at Deacon’s wind blown face – cute!

kids july 2014

I think this is my favourite – Grayson’s hand placement, Deacon’s squint and how Addison was chatting with them.

The Bubbas July 2014

black and white siblings july 2014

If only Grayson had looked! This shows their little personalities well though.

Babie July 2014

Last but no means least, natural and gorgeous, oh little Deacon.

Do check out all the beautiful families that have taken part, it is a wonderful photo project.

dear beautiful

Dear Grayson….a true superhero!

Written by InnocentCharmer. Posted in 2014, grayson

To my big little boy, my superstar, my superhero, the most amazing boy on the face of this planet.

It has been a long time since I wrote to you, a very long time since I have written of you and your updates properly on the blog.

Don’t ever think for a second it is cause I am not proud of you, or no longer want to share your story. It is cause I have as your Mummy been fighting with many demons, ones I am struggling to resolve. My strength for you has been hard to keep constant. I feel like a failure to you my baby. I am your Mummy and I was given the task to keep you happy, to protect you, guide you, make life amazing. I feel I am not achieving that. I want to push that magic button. I need to. I 5 years on seem to be grieving more than I did 4 years ago when we realised your life would not be so smooth sailing.

swan child

Dealing with the knowledge that it is solely due to me you are this way haunts me daily, seeing you struggle in pain, listening to your breaths stop at night, never knowing what the next day shall hold for you and it is my fault.

But beside all that the love, compassion and above all else PRIDE I feel to be your Mummy, to have you as my son is what spears me on. You never complain. Seriously, what type of person doesn’t complain at being dealt such a hand – a genuine SUPERHERO that is who.

These past months have been hard and awesome all at the same time. You nearly left us on your birthday, you as always said “NO WAY” to those doctors. You told them they have no clue, you are a miracle and came out the other side even stronger. Learning to walk when we were 95% told medically you in no way ever could! You are now known as the self healing child, my miracle. Your walking journey has a long way to go, you may never manage without aid fully, but you will walk me down that aisle in November and I shall sob.

Miracle number 2 – we found out you have a serious, rare type of apnea and on a good night you stop breathing up to 200 times a night! I can not believe you are still here, I knew in my heart but so glad they finally see it. You still get up each day and perform miracles, learning to chew food, to walk in school, to tolerate crowds at school to leave the house and not meltdown, to look me in the eye (if only for a minute) to hold my hand.
But with all this comes worry and one of the most fearful reactions by doctors Mummy has ever to deal with. I have not slept since our meetings on Thursday. I am your Mummy you are not allowed to see my fear, but I have more than I know to handle for you my baby.
I am sure we can find a way. Promise Mummy like always before you will fight, promise me you will prove the doctors and even me wrong, there is never a time I needed you to more. Cause the alternative is not acceptable and does not bare thinking of.

Thank you Grayson, I daily feel anger for you, not towards you (well apart from your naughty willy touching) but because you deserve to be feeling the wind in your hair as you run, to sneak sweets when I am not looking, to play with toys and smile. But you don’t complain, you enjoy your world (I hope), you have touched more hearts than anyone I know, you make people look at the world differently. You have made me. The good and the ugly.


I love you, there are no words that explain how I feel, I love you is not enough. We shall fight these new very tough challenges and if that worst case has to happen we will say F**K you and make it! Because you are a star living on earth!!!!

**please if you feel in anyway I am asking for pity in this post, or do not like the honesty about living a life with my son move on and don’t comment, this post is not for you. It is for me, it is for my son and for the many people I am thankful I have to support me. Life is not a bed of roses, it is bloody difficult. But I love my son no matter what. Would I want him normal – hell yeah, but I would never not want him here.

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