Saturday, 24 August 2013

Read all about it! by Katrina

Yesterday was a very exciting day for us, our first newspaper interview had been published in our local paper, Spenborough Guardian. A lovely reporter for the paper, Lauren Ballinger, came to speak to us a couple of weeks ago to find out more about our HG journey and the ninemonthsof campaign. We are thrilled with the article and would like to give a huge thank you to Lauren for making it possible for us to spread more awareness about HG, the ninemonthsof campaign and the continued support to come over the next nine months. You can view the article here.

This weeks newspaper also had more exciting news inside for us, my nephew Zak's GCSE results. You may wonder why this is relevant, but Zak and I have always being close, he's more like my baby brother. I was 15 when he was born and I was ecstatic to hear after his birth "it's a boy!" So excited that the first thing I did was rush to Valley Parade to buy his first Bradford City kit... 16 years later and he hates football! Can't blame me for trying though!

When I was suffering with HG and Scott was at the football with my brother Ian, Zak would come and sit with me. (The only time in my life I was glad Zak didn't like football!) I would be laid on the sofa hugging a sick bowl and he would sit there for hours talking to me about school, ice hockey, his Playstation games.... He didn't mind that I barely spoke back. He would bring me anything I needed and just sit there so I wasn't alone. Once my baby bump started to show, Zak decided to give me the nickname "Podgy" This always made me smile, despite how ill I was feeling he never treat me any differently, he still made fun of me and played pranks on me. It really helped me to believe that I was still in there somewhere. This may not seem like much, but to me it was everything, there is nothing worse than being alone when you feel so ill. So I just want to say well done to Zak for how well he has done with his GCSE's and also to say just how proud we all are of him. I am so proud that Zak is one of Griffin's amazing godparents, and thank you again for all your support through the HG.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Behind the Scenes by Kimberley

I have decided to step briefly into the spotlight and introduce myself and the work that I am carrying out behind the scenes for ‘ninemonths of…’, to help make this campaign a success.

My name is Kimberley and I live in rural Leicestershire with my husband and two wonderful daughters. I am currently a full-time stay at home mother, but with ambitions to fulfil my dream of becoming a midwife in the very near future.

Pregnancy Sickness Support is a charity of which I am passionate about raising awareness.  Like all of the girls taking part in challenges, I have been unfortunate to suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum on two separate occasions. You would think that, after one pregnancy of suffering so badly, I would have learnt how horrendous it is to suffer from sickness all day, every day, for nine entire months!  But no, I went back for round two. I am incredibly lucky that out of two horrendous pregnancies, I have been very blessed to have two amazing daughters, Ruby who is just about to start school this coming week, and Lottie who celebrated her first birthday back in July.

I considered undertaking some form of wonderful challenge, like climbing three or even six peaks, however this could not happen as I am currently being ordered to put my feet up by my husband following quite a big knee operation last week. Anyone who knows me well, will know that I really struggle to rest and put my feet up and within a few days of having my operation, (which I've been told will require six months of intensive physiotherapy to recover from) I was live on-air at my local radio station giving an interview in support of ‘nine months of…’ and Pregnancy Sickness Support.

If you would like to listen to the interview, you can find it here; skip forward to one hour and sixteen minutes to find my piece.

My role within the ‘nine months of…’ campaign is very varied. My main focuses are to ensure the smooth running of the website, and help with the content management and planning. In addition to this, I have taken on some of the media and PR responsibilities. I have a wide range of experience in dealing with the media from my freelance work and previous campaigns with other charities.

Outside of this campaign, I run a successful blog at, and write for a number of high profile parenting websites.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the girls the very best of luck with their challenges.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Week 2: Birthday Brownies by Sophie

When we embarked upon this challenge we realised we might have to be a bit inventive as to where we will sell our baking. Especially in the first few weeks with me on maternity leave and Tom, my husband, being a student and on holidays!

Thankfully, this week cousin Charlie stepped in to help us out again. It was her birthday and instead of buying cakes to take into her office she asked us to bake for her and donated the money she would have spent to PSS. Charlie requested our tried and trusted brownies which have become famous and well-loved by our circle of friends. The brownies are often our "go to" recipe if suddenly we need to take cakes somewhere.  We had not intended to use them so soon into the campaign so I am sure they will feature again soon! Time-wise this week we were on a bit of a schedule to get them to Charlie in time and our little daughter Merryn was not her chirpy, happy self this week (maybe teeth are on their way). Therefore amazing Tom did the baking as I lay pinned to the sofa by Merryn!

Daddy and Merryn Blogging!
This time last year we were still unaware of the journey we were about to embark upon and what impact pregnancy sickness can have both physically and mentally: a few days later everything changed. The challenge of baking for 9 months will hopefully be easier than those we faced last year, but Merryn is the best ever bun in the oven for me!

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Triathlon training, weeks 1 and 2: I swam! I walked! I... what was that thing with the wheels again? by Marilisa

Like learning how to ride a bike

So here I am, at the end of my first two weeks of training for a triathlon, and I have found my nemesis. 

No, not the little boy. I found him and he found me some time ago, at the end of a very long nine months. I'm talking about the contraption he is sitting on.

Somehow when I signed up for this challenge it never occurred to me that riding a bike after so many years would be tricky. It is, after all, the absolute archetype of the thing you never forget how to do.

Well, not so much, perhaps. Thankfully I have exercised my social conscience by training, for the moment, in the isolation of my back garden rather than inflicting myself on the already terrifying streets of London. After two weeks I have achieved
  • all of 0.64km of cycling
  • an intimate knowledge of exactly how hard the saddle is
  • a serious dent in my pride.
I think it's safe to say that the little boy was more successful than me in this venture, and his feet are about a mile from reaching the pedals.

On the plus side...

For all that I've been intimidated by the bike, I have very much enjoyed my first two weeks of training. I have had two lovely sessions in the pool, where I discovered, to my surprise, that there *are* people slower than me (just). The second time I even remembered to take my earplugs, so managed to try out my very rusty front crawl, without the risk of losing even more of my dignity to the tilted-head-hop-on-one-leg dance that follows the inevitable water-in-ears scenario. My technical challenge for the moment is stopping myself from doing a breaststroke kick when I come up for a breath and thus losing my momentum completely; for some reason my brain is interpreting "breathe" as "do a frog kick" - too many years of only swimming breaststroke, I guess.

I have also very much been enjoying walking. I am prone to knee injuries, so am planning to walk for the first few months to regain some fitness before attempting higher-impact activity. I did my first long walk on a beautiful evening last week, and the first thing I noticed walking out of the house were the delicious smells coming from the Indian takeout on the corner. 

It felt very fitting, somehow; while I was dealing with HG, that takeout was my worst nightmare precisely because of the smell of curry, which made me feel extremely ill. We spent the whole summer that year with the windows shut, sweltering inside the house, because I couldn't cope with the smells from outside. We'd frantically go round the house at 4 or 5 in the morning, opening windows to let some air through at a safe time when no one was cooking. 

So at the start of my first walk, I took a deep breath, and felt very grateful that I no longer have to deal with that. Before HG I would have taken little things like that completely for granted.

The boring numbers

For those inclined to stats, here's what I've done so far:

Week 1

Swim: 1 session, 400m, 23min
Walk: 4 sessions, 13.91k total, 2h28min
Bike: Let's just not talk about that, ok?
Also: One 10-minute weights session

Week 2

Swim: 1 session, 500m, 25min
Walk: 3 sessions, 11.31k total, 2h04min
Bike: I stayed on there for 10 minutes! During some of which I was even pedalling! 0.64k.
Also: Two 10-minute weights sessions

Now please excuse me while I go sit on some very soft cushions for a bit.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Starting Again by Amanda

You may remember that Week 4 saw me beginning a truly beautiful blanket. I was really happy with the way the colours were working together, but for some reason the blanket itself would not lay flat no matter how much I tried to force it to do so.

After a chat with Jen, the font of all wisdom when it comes to crochet, we decided that my technique is just not suited to the pattern as it was written and instead of spending hours trying to make my technique fit it would be far easier (and quicker) to start again.

So, with a slight sadness, I took the blanket apart and started anew. This in itself caused quite some conversation amongst non-crochet friends as I announced that I was "frogging" my blanket and they thought I had gone mad! Frogging is a term used in crochet circles to describe the act of taking out stitches to correct a mistake. Please don't ask me why this term exists because I honestly don't know. But I like it so I'm going to use it.

Jen's suggestion was to start again with 2 less stitches, making a 10 pointed star rather than a 12 pointed one. And I decided to change from a 4mm hook to a 3.75mm one for good measure. And it seems to have worked...
I'm going to have to start laying it on the floor and standing on a chair to fit it all into one shot!

It may look like I haven't made much progress since last week, but remember I started again and have done all those rows in this past week! I've discovered that when working on a blanket I am better combining my 10 minutes a day into 2 or 3 longer sessions as that way I can really get stuck into it. As the blanket gets bigger, each row takes that much longer to complete and so it is nice to sit down for an hour or two at a time and really add to it rather than making tiny additions that the odd 10 minutes here or there would allow.

I love working on blankets as there is something very soothing about it.  There is the added bonus, of course, of knowing that the blanket will be truly treasured. As I work on this one I can't help but wonder who might buy it and which beautiful baby will be wrapped in it. Will it be an HG baby? 

I remember making several blankets while pregnant with Oscar and receiving two crocheted blankets from friends as well. Having them to hold on to whilst going through one of the worst times in my life helped to remind me that I was doing it all for a reason and that there would be a baby at the end of it all. I hope that maybe this blanket will also bring that same comfort to someone else.

So with that thought in mind, I am going to leave you so that I can continue working on the blanket itself! Don't forget you can sponsor me at BT Donate or buy me a gift card via Black Sheep Wools so that I can keep my yarn stash full for all the projects I have planned.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

True friends will do anything by Emilie

I've managed to recruit my amazing friend, Lindsay, for my next hill walk! We've decided to go up Ben A'an on Saturday. According to Richard, this walk is easier than the last, but I think I'll be the judge of that!

I've been finding it hard to fit any training in this week: with Fergus going back to nursery and having my mother-in-law's and brother-in-law's birthdays, I've been distracted and busy with sorting the presents and baking the cakes, while still fitting in the nursery run. It's amazing how a 30 year old suddenly turns into a child when he cuts into a rainbow cake! The look on his face was amazing!

I had my first weigh in on Friday, I managed to shed 3lbs.... I was so pleased until I had a slice of the rainbow cake and realised that that would probably be the 3lbs straight back on. It was so incredibly yummy though, Kenny's lucky he went home with it! 

Lindsay is amazing in so many ways. She really helped and supported me through my most dark days with HG. I could not have done it without her. There are very few people who I can say were there for us when we needed them, which I find very difficult to write. Unfortunately my family live hours away and Richard doesn't have a big family, so with his mum being restricted by ferries, as she lives on an island, we were really needing our friends. Well, I think we definitely found out, the hard way, who our friends are.

Lindsay was an angel - she was the first person I told about the pregnancy. I can remember sitting on the sofa and telling her I was pregnant and asking her if she could help if I fell ill again. She was excited and said 'of course'. I don't think she truly knew what she was letting herself in for! 

Lindsay became a second mum to Gus, she took him out for days out so I could get some rest, she came round to cook him dinner while I spent the time with my head in the sick bucket, she'd tuck him into bed when I couldn't manage it and, come the end, she more less became my escort. Every time I left the flat, 95% of the time she would come with me. I honestly needed her help and could not have managed without her.

I have friends that I grew up with, that I love to pieces and hold very dear. I know they would have done the same if I hadn't moved so far away, but they kept in touch regularly and it was enough to keep me going.

HG is so lonely and depressing. I'm lucky to have friends like Lindsay and the girls at home, and even through all that, Lindsay's willing to hike up hills with me now! What a cracker! 

Lindsay with Murphy a couple weeks old.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Prawny Peasy Pasta by Muma Dean

This is soooo quick and easy, I came up with it when I was searching the cupboard and freezer for something to make for the kids when we didn't have a kitchen, just a microwave. I didn't make much because Rob and I planned to have a takeaway later but it was so yummy that I regretted it after and have since made it for the whole family.

It literally takes about 10 mins, or as long as the pasta takes to boil.

Quantities are a bit random for this one, depending on whether you're making it just for the kids of for the whole family. This much makes enough for three hungry children plus left overs for packed lunches the next day.


A mug full of frozen prawns
A mug full of frozen peas
A mug full of frozen sweetcorn (or a small tin)
3 spring onions chopped up small
A table spoon of butter
Half a tub of Philadelphia cheese
A small handful of grated cheddar
Your favourite pasta (I think the little bow ties go well with this but obviously the picture is with tagliatelli as that's what I had in the cupboard this time)


Get the pasta boiling (did you know, once it's at a rolling boil you can turn the gas/hob off and leave it for the the time on the pack and it'll be cooked perfectly... little money saver there for you! Although it doesn't really work for spaghetti).

Put the prawns, peas, sweetcorn, spring onion and butter in a bowl and microwave it to defrost and warm up (if you're organised enough to defrost them earlier then well done!). If they make loads of liquid then pour a bit off.

Once they are hot stir in the Philadelphia and stir into the cooked pasta. Add the cheese and serve.

You'll be amazed how yummy this one is!

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Appreciation by Katrina

Every day I look at Scott and Griffin (my husband and son) and I feel so thankful to have our little family. I'm so proud of how far we have come and how strong we have become.

I smile every morning when I walk into the kitchen with Griffin, the most feared room in the house during HG. Oh the kitchen, for some reason during HG I found my kitchen had a particular smell, one that I just couldn't describe but would instantly cause me to vomit if the door was ever left open. I remember coming home from the hospital with Griffin, the first thing I did was walk into the kitchen, I just needed to find out if the smell was still there. I couldn't understand where this strange smell had gone, it wasn't there anymore. It still amazes me to this day how HG could do such strange things to my sense of smell!

I can't help but laugh when I think back over some of the extremes Scott had to go through during HG. There were three key foods that I could not smell without throwing up, these were potato, onion & garlic. I remember one of my hospital admissions very well as there was a man sat with his wife five beds across from me, he had brought a chip butty with him from the fish & chip shop. I cannot begin to describe the overwhelming smell of potato.... Who knew potato could be feared so much? Scott would eat his meals on the doorstep or sat by the kitchen window with it wide open, and he would avoid garlic, onion and potato because I could smell it on him for days after. He had to shower in baby body wash that was fragrance free because just about any smell could turn my stomach. Over the last sixteen months it has helped us both to look back and laugh at these things that seem so extreme now.

It was this experience that has inspired me to join the Nine Months Of campaign. And just like during my pregnancy, I'm relying on support from others to help me achieve my goal, only this time it is to raise as much money and awareness for PSS  as possible so that they can help many more women. I've already had lots of support and I'd like to say thank you to Laura Burton, Nan Porter and my mum Denise Wallbridge for your sponsorship and your support.

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here:

Monday, 19 August 2013

Week 2: "I'll just stay in the shade..." by Helen

Nine months of 9k Week 2 – Location: Leatherhead Leisure Centre

This week Rich, Anna and I are in the midst of chaos as we attempt to decorate the entirety of our new house before we move in next week, *stress*, and so our 9k walk had to stay local. After much consideration, we agreed that a walk to pass by our local Leisure Centre would be appropriate as week 2 of pregnancy consisted of nothing but leisure, relaxation and general well being! More exciting locations will follow… after we have moved into our new home!

Nine months of HG Week 2 – “I’ll just stay in the shade…”

“I am ROASTING!” was the phrase of week 2. We were in St Lucia so of course it was hot but no one else was overheating and guzzling water like a crazed lunatic.  I seemed to spend most of my time either in the shade with a cold flannel over my face (scented with lavender, no less) or drenching myself head to toe (and those in the vicinity) with water in every bathroom I came across. That week I mostly took the appearance of a drowned rat.

We visited the Capital, Soufriere, to take a dip the hot sulphur springs and enjoy a mud bath, which was heaven despite a hint of nausea that I attributed to the overwhelming stench of the sulphur. The next day Rich’s dad chartered a boat to take us fishing in the (choppy!) Caribbean Sea. The lurking nausea crept back once more but this time I put it down to a combination of diesel fumes and lolloping waves. I plastered my nose in fragrant hand wipes, caught a barracuda, drank a beer and felt much better! That evening as everyone tucked into the fish we had caught during the day, I nibbled on bread and wondered why I was the only loser suffering from lingering seasickness.

Opening pressies before dinner. 

The award for Outstanding Moment of Week 2 goes to the evening of Rich’s dad’s 60th birthday. Still feeling overheated, tired and queasy, I opted for a light meal. I sipped delicately on a small glass of wine (very out of character for me!), I enjoyed a lovely salad for starter and to my relief I felt pretty good! Later my vegetable-based main course was placed in front of me and… WOAH!  A Caribbean Sea-sized wave of nausea hit me like a ten tonne truck. My stomach somersaulted and belly-flopped onto the floor. Shocked, I swallowed a retch, took a deep breath and attempted a bite of my dinner. “Um, I feel a bit queasy *swallow retch* I think I’ll just nip to the loo. Er, Rich, can you, erm, come with me?” I all but ran to the bathroom, curled myself over the toilet bowl, retched and retched then vomited a little. Rich followed and asked if I was OK. I replied, “I've just been sick. I think I'm pregnant.”

Needless to say I could not eat my meal which was a wonderfully humiliating situation in itself only to be spectacularly surpassed moments later by a visit from the head chef asking me what was wrong with his cooking. *cringe*

This was just 2 weeks and 6 days into pregnancy. She was barely even attached. Just a minuscule bunch of multiplying cells quietly wreaking havoc in a tiny corner of my body. Start as you mean to go on, I suppose!

Please support our 'nine months of…' campaign by donating here: