Friday, 30 November 2012

Foodie Friday: seasonal baking

Waitrose heston hidden clementine pudding Apparently last weekend was the traditional time for baking and setting aside a Christmas pudding. In Hubbie's family it was always Children In Need weekend and I understand that mother-in-law has already made a start on theirs. I don't make my own pudding and besides we still have the Heston hidden clementine pudding from last year so we'll probably crack that open at Christmas. It's just right for us and if my boy wants to try some he might prefer the orangey bit (in a jaffa cake sort of way).

Waitrose all butter mince pies
Years ago I used to make my own mince pies and took great pride in sharing them out. Nowadays it seems there are a lot more fussy folks out there as people don't like the mince filling or the pastry or something and with so many types for sale: gluten free, icing topped, puff pastry, etc. I just skip it and if we fancy a mince pie I buy some luxury butter pastry mini ones. I think I might make some with my boy this year. I'm sure he'll love rolling the pastry and spooning out mincemeat. Once I've popped a cute little ribbon on the box they'll be the perfect gift for grandparents complete with teeny tiny fingerprints in the pastry.

Waitrose Christmas Cake making kit In recent years I have, however, taken on the task of baking a Christmas cake as both Hubbie and I do like it. The first year I bought a Delia kit from Waitrose and followed the instructions and it was ok, but massive. The following year I tried the Mary Berry kit from Tesco and it was very good. They also had a kit to make seasonal Mary Berry cupcakes which were sensational so I've kept the recipe to make those again (unless Tesco do a kit again in which case I'm stockpiling those !) I've gone back to Waitrose this year as the kit comes complete with icing and marzipan too - and it was on special offer a few weeks back so it was a bargain.

Waitrose Gingerbread tree kit
I've also branched out with the Waitrose gingerbread tree kit complete with icing and edible glitter. When I opened the box I felt like a bit of an amateur as it wasn't even a mix, but an actual bag of dough ready to roll out. Now I'm all for short cuts, but this was a little shorter than I was expecting. If I'm using a kit I like to be involved in some way whether it's to add eggs and butter or to mix a few packets together. Of course baking from scratch gives a genuine homemade taste, but sometimes it's just too tempting to try a kit and see how it goes. I'm going to freestyle it with the gingerbread by using a fabulous intarsia shaped baking mould that I was given by a friend last year. It is meant for shortbread, but I think this kind of crazy renegade behaviour is what makes home baking so exhilarating !

The fridge is packed with ready made pastry; all butter puff, pizza dough, shortcrust, croissant dough and I think I've got some filo somewhere. I spent last Saturday lying on the sofa watching cookery programmes and Lorraine Pascale was making canapes and treats on her show, so I decided that if ready made is good enough for her (and is on special offer) then who am I to argue ?

So I'll post photos as I go. If you want to know how the homemade sausage rolls (meat and veggie), Christmas cake, Christmas cupcakes and gingerbread tree turn out keep tuned to Comments appreciated, marks out of ten optional :o)

p.s. this post isn't sponsored by Waitrose, but it would be lovely if it was :o)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Mothering isn't just wiping snotty noses you know

baby in sling newborn
Mothering Monday is what I'm calling today. At the beginning of it there was my early morning playtime with my little boy before he went to nursery for the day. He loves to lie on mine and Hubbie's pillows and pretend he's sleeping to put me off getting him ready for his day, but ultimately it's a bit of fun for us both. It's my special Mummy time with my son and it sets me up for a day without him.

Then I went to visit a friend who I met when she was our NCT teacher and we've stayed in touch. Wendy helps me to feel better about being at home with my son and not 'doing a job.' It's from her that I've grown to believe that loving my son and wanting to be with him is not a weakness on my part. We also spoke about the phenomenon of the 'Tiger Mama' which there was a big fuss about a while back. The very idea that a parent might push and direct their children rather than take a laissez faire attitude to their education and socialisation was considered radical and controversial when Amy Chua's book was published last year. I grew up in an Indian household where it was expected that we do well at school, but my parents had neither the time nor the money to hothouse us. Instead they took an approach where they trusted the school to direct our learning and made sure we felt bad if we weren't doing well. It wasn't hardcore, but a hard stare from either of my parents is a pretty strong deterrent.

On my show today I referred to me and my guest Sarah Milne as part of the "Mummy Mafia' of presenters on Croydon Radio who present shows during the day covering topics of interest to us and similar families. The main part of my interview with Sarah was about an appeal that she has launched through the charity Williams Wishes which is named after her son who received an organ transplant a few years ago. The appeal is to enable families who will be spending Christmas in the children's ward of Croydon University Hospital to have a nice day by providing them with some christmas treats to have in the hospital environment. When my sisters were young children they often spent the weeks leading up to Christmas in hospital so I know how hard it can be to make plans for a family day when you don't know if all of you will be at home. A child being ill causes distress to all the family anyway and if that child has an ongoing condition or a range of illnesses it can become all you think of. William's Wishes offers children the opportunity to ask for a wish during their illness and to have something special. The charity also supports siblings and family members as it can be anyone in the family who needs cheering up.

blood donation bronze award
We also spoke about the importance of organ donation and how three people die every day while waiting for a donated organ. I carry a donor card and have done for over 20 years. I have discussed this with my family and have asked that in the event they respect my wishes and agree to donate quickly to ensure as many people as possible can benefit. My parents did not want to discuss it, but I reassured them that as they would be asked to make the decision (at the time I wasn't with Hubbie) it was important that they be brave. No parent wants to think about their child dying so it was a tough concept for them to come to terms with, but I think they realised I was only asking so they didn't feel ambushed if it did happen. It amazes me that the national average for being registered to donate is only 31% and in my local area it is half the national average. Once you're gone it isn't going to benefit you to keep your organs and they could save more than one person's life. In the same way that I am passionate about giving blood I also believe it's something we should all give serious consideration to. I used to joke that no one would want my eyes as they don't work properly, but actually if they can be of use to someone who am I to say they can't be reused. After all it's the ultimate adherence to the Green mantra to reuse and recycle isn't it ?

Finally we spoke about her charity record 96th Son which is available on itunes and the profits from which are going to the Hillsborough campaign. The song was written in response to the recent report that found that what the families of victims have been saying for 23 years was in fact true and that their loved ones had died when some of them might have been saved. I spoke with Sarah off air about how I had always heard people say being a Mum opens you up to a different set of emotional responses. I didn't really understand that as I always believed I was capable of empathy, understanding, love and caring, but once I had my son I was overwhelmed by what I called the 'lioness mama' response which for me was to defend him against anyone and anything that could possibly hurt a single hair on his head. I simply cannot imagine how a parent who hears that their child died when they could have been saved must feel or how they process that loss.

So I'm asking that you consider the following in the run up to the Christmas season.
An advent wish if you will:

* Donate to: - the Christmas appeal target is £500 and any amount will help

* Register as an organ donor at

* Give blood: - stocks run very low in the winter months, but the need for donated blood does not reduce

* Download 96th Son from iTunes:

and finally:

* Listen to my show so you can hear a few cracking tunes and some interesting topics of conversation: www.croydonradio.podcast. You don't have to be a Mum to listen, I promise !

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I am thankful for...

a vase of flowers in a restaurant in Edinburgh I'm not American, nor am I especially interested in celebrations that are American in nature, but I like the idea of giving thanks. Whether it's for a safe crossing and successfully displacing an already settled people or for a hot meal on the table I think it's a worthwhile exercise to consider what we have and to give thanks for it.

There are the big things we thank for - like family, health and happiness if we are lucky enough to have those. Then there are the small, but meaningful things like a lovely conversation with someone we don't see very often or a bargain that we weren't expecting to get. In my case having Hubbie at home for a few weeks has made me appreciate how lucky I am that the father of my son is so keen to be involved in his son's life and genuinely enjoys spending time with him (and me).

In the last few weeks I've found a few new things to be thankful for:

- The wonderful community of bloggers I've come to know and love who write beautiful things and share their thoughts publicly so I don't feel like it's just happening to me (about pretty much anything). It's also made me appreciate the women who support each other rather than get upset about the ones who try and bring other women down.

- My fellow presenters and lovely listeners who make me feel less like I'm talking to myself every Monday on The fact that I now have people asking to be guests on my show is wonderful. Today Robert Elms had a guest on who was on my show a few weeks back - I got him first and I'm feeling most smug about that :o)

- The lovely competition prizes I've won in the last few weeks meaning my son gets the Snowman on DVD for Christmas thanks to and a lovely new baking book for me thanks to All without any cost to me - that's a bonus !

- Loyalty points schemes that I've quietly and diligently been saving with for months and thanks to which my son has an enormous garden playhouse (Tesco) and an electronic tablet thing (Boots) that we would never have bought otherwise. Hubbie has a leaf blower / vac thing (Nectar) that he's very pleased with and that means the whole back breaking task of leaf clearing is now less painful, but far noisier, more fun and he looks like a horticultural ghostbuster when he's using it.

The main thing I've come to be thankful for is that I have been doing this 'full time parent' thing for a while now and instead of feeling embarrassed or explaining it away I'm proud of my work as a Mum. In fact I've coined a term for it that reminds me of one of my favourite clothing companies:

The hardest day at home with my son beats the best day at work in an office (original 2012).  

flower petals on bed in Kerala

Sunday, 18 November 2012

I'll be there for you (even if you're not there for me)

white cat sitting in the window nose to nose with a soft toy cat
Apparently Sunday evening at 6pm is when we get that 'school tomorrow' feeling which transports us back to childhood and the doom laden realisation that the weekend is now over. I offer this as an explanation for the 'misery memoir' tone of this post as I began writing it at 6 this evening. I've been pondering the things that disappoint me in life - initially this was prompted by a few instances of food related disappointments:

1. The bottle of water I bought from Boots that smelled and tasted like sewage - I found this out as I took a swig of it during my Zumba class <retch>

2. As I finished tucking into a delicious dish at a ball in a posh golf club I found the bar code sticker that had been left on the stuffed aubergine I'd just been eating.

3. The middle of my pizza fell through the shelf onto the floor of the oven. I was left with half a pizza -  presumably that is why it's advertised as low fat ?

4. I opened a pouch of toddler food to give my son only to find it was mouldy. However, Ella's Kitchen sent me a freepost envelope to return it to them and responded very quickly. All in all great customer service.

Then there are the emotional matters that cause more of a deep rooted upset than these pretty minor irks.

my lovely friends who deserve my love Years ago my Mother told me that I do too much for my friends and when they don't reciprocate I get hurt. Of course she knows me better than anyone and has watched me people please my entire life and get walked over or ignored instead of acknowledged or appreciated. I'm still learning who deserves the time and effort and have realised that in life we have friends we do for and friends who do for us. A friend who is in both categories is a rare find and I'm very blessed to have a few of those too - they're precious and I hope they know who they are (they tell me they read this and that's one of the reasons I love them so).

One of the things that concerns me is when people I think I know and actually like share photos or updates on Facebook that are offensive. In the last week I've had shared with me two posts that are racist, uninformed or just plain wrong. How these people can agree with those views and be friends of mine just baffles me.

Then there are the friends who disappear. When my son was born I met some other first time mums who I became close to and we met up and our children became quite good friends. Then they both fell pregnant again and I didn't so they stopped being friends with me. I'm making a causal link here, but in the absence of an explanation that's all I can do. It hurt and I was upset, but let's face it, if all we had in common was our children then we weren't really friends were we ?

Then the cause of this post in the first place. I was up early and out all day helping someone who has never yet thanked me for a single thing. I always think I'm just being petty for wanting to be thanked, but being actively rude to me when I try to help and making a point of effusing over everyone else and ignoring my contribution is a step too far.

Croydon Radio, DJ, presenting "Are We Nearly There Yet ?"This is also one of two people I've had as guests on my radio show who have shown little to no interest in what I've tried to do to help them. I present a radio show on which I invite guests to talk about their work and to help them promote their local businesses. Most guests are very positive and kind about being invited on and make an effort to get their friends and family to listen as well as using the appearance to build their profile.

I have invited onto my show some folks who I know quite well who have behaved as though they are doing me a favour by being on. One of them completely ignored my questions and just delivered a monologue, therefore missing the entire point of it being an interview. I have also asked them to help me promote my show and blog and they haven't been willing to do it, so clearly this is a one way street in which I mistakenly think we're friends and we're not really.

I'm having a bit of an audit of people who are worth the effort and those who aren't and I'm not sure they will make the cut. Not that they'll notice of course. In case you are wondering why I'm sharing here, I am safe in the knowledge that neither of them read this blog.

Thank you for reading though, you're lovely. Will you be my friend ? :o) 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Foodie Friday: Lovely Leftovers

eggs, milk, whisk and measuring jug baking ingredients You know you've graduated from occasional to full time 'home baker' when you see a recipe you like and find that you've got almost all of the ingredients in the kitchen already. 

A lovely fellow blogger sent me a recipe for caramelised banana cake this week as I'm always salivating over her photos of delicious bakes on Twitter. It's on my list to bake this weekend as I have some bananas to use up (as I always do). Finding ways to use up leftovers is a pet passion of mine. 

A few months ago I decided that I'd got too used to relying on pre-prepared food to make meals with and made a commitment to cooking from scratch again. This means that the weekly shop is made up of raw ingredients which gives me a range of options for meals as well as leftovers to come up with creative new ideas too. 

Only the other week I found some remnants of peppers, soggy tomatoes and sad looking mushrooms. I roasted all of them with some onions and added them to some couscous I'd forgotten I had in the cupboard. Of course now I've opened the couscous and have to use it up, because let's be honest it's like pesto in that you really have a craving for it (sort of) then you're stuck with what's left for ages afterwards. So I decided to pair it with some orange slices I froze a while back - I buy them and then don't eat them, but I can't be bothered to unpack the juicer and wash it after use so they get frozen for 'later.' I've also got some honey that needs to be used up in the next few months so I've googled a fab looking recipe for honey and orange couscous cake - perfect ! 

The occasional foray into home bread making has left me with a few packs of fancy bread mixes and I've found that even when they are past their best they make a brilliant tear and share bread and also enable me to use up the odds and sods of sundried tomatoes, olives and rosemary which I push into the bread mix before it goes in the oven. Even if it doesn't rise much it's packed with flavour and you just call it 'rustic' to cover up any mistakes. 

vintage baking bowl and biscuit tin, rolling pin and measuring cups.Last night I remembered I had some pine nuts left in a tin so I toasted them in a small pan and scattered them over the salad and hummus we ate for dinner. It's only a little touch, but it felt a bit 'cheffy' and reminded me of one of my favourite dishes at Giraffe restaurants

Essentially I hate to throw anything out so if I can use it I will give it a go. I can't be the only one who searches for new fangled ways with old favourites can I ? 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Adults Do Have Disorders too you know

ADHD logo adults and children affected
On Monday I presented my radio show as usual and this week the topic I covered was Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. It was suggested to me by my guest and fellow presenter who was diagnosed with ADHD only 2 months ago, even though he believes he has lived with the condition all his life.

Before I spoke about it with him it hadn't occurred to me that adults could also have the condition. In fact I had intended to have a second guest on to talk about being a parent to a child with ADD or ADHD, but he was unable to participate at the last minute. As it turned out this was no bad thing as it gave me the opportunity to really get into depth about the topic with one person which made for an engaging interview.

I was fascinated to learn that it is possible to hide ADHD and not be the 'naughty' child that we have come to expect from the stereotypical idea of a disruptive and noisy presence in the classroom or home. What I also didn't know was whether or not a child with ADHD can be 'cured' or will always have the condition and can manage it as an adult so they can function in society without being singled out. It is not uncommon for parents to worry about the behaviour their children display and to seek answers in order to help their offspring. The difference here is what if you as a child learn to cover up and your parents or carers don't see it so you struggle along without any support ?

While we are familiar with the terms Autism, Aspergers, Bipolar Disorder and ADHD or ADD it is entirely possible that we don't really know what any of them are. In his search for answers my guest was repeatedly misdiagnosed and it was only due to his tenacity and self awareness that he eventually got a diagnosis of ADHD which is now being treated with medication.

In my research process to find a parent who would talk to me on the show I asked around and was told that parents can be reluctant to talk about it as they don't want to appear disloyal to their child. Maybe that was the real reason behind my other guest's non appearance ?

ADHD image of child drawing on walls
I really hope that this show is a good start to exploring the topic and that in a future show I can interview a parent or even a young person with ADHD. If people can move on from the belief that it's just old fashioned naughtiness hopefully we can then have a proper discussion about what is needed to support young people and adults.

If you have experienced ADHD yourself or are a parent or carer I'd appreciate your comments about this show and suggestions for what to include in the follow up I plan to do.

Thank you.

Listen to Are We Nearly There Yet ? every Monday online at or podcast it now

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A birthday, a baby break, a blogfest and a botox fuelled tirade

Phew what a week it's been: Hubbie turned 40, we had our first night away from our son since he was born, I attended the inaugural Mumsnet Blogfest and this blog gained notoriety thanks to a woman who can't move her face. So here is what I learned from it all:

Selection of cheeses - international house of cheese
Artists impression of Hubbie's birthday gift.
The last minute selection of cheeses I bought for Hubbie as one of his 40th birthday gifts seemed a better idea before I sat with it on the train home and all the other passengers thought it was me who smelled a bit funky. He does love it though.

Ordering gnocchi isn't always as safe a bet as it seems. The goats cheese sauce was a big error and I don't think that's because I subbed out the smoked chicken either - who knows how bad that would have tasted (well Hubbie actually, he had that and was belching smoked chicken for hours afterwards !)

My son will stay happily with his Grandparents while we go away for the night and he doesn't miss us half as much as we miss him. Having said that it was wonderful to be able to lie in and have a leisurely breakfast and a swim with Hubbie - even if we did coo over the babies who were having a swimming lesson at the same time.

The Mumsnet Blogfest was in no way scary at all and I needn't have worried about being lonely as it was a genuinely friendly gathering of women, many of whom were just as worried as I had been about going.

I was sitting next to Tanya Byron in the first session and I had no idea until she took the mic to address a point to the panel. I knew I knew her from somewhere, but had no idea where from.

Giving myself permission to eat what I wanted was the best decision I've made in years. I not only enjoyed myself, I also tasted really good food - Beverley Hills Bakery cakes are to die for ! (and don't tell anyone, but I also had a sneaky glass of prosecco !)

A goodie bag can really make or break a great day and the one we got from Mumsnet weighed about half a tonne and was full of proper stuff. Caitlin Moran's new book and a Bonne Maman cookbook, decent chocolate (Divine and Green & Blacks), Nails inc. goth polish, Lush's latest product, a Boden brolly and not just vouchers or samples of rubbish. This was a seriously epic freebie !!

Being slagged off in an article written for the venomous Daily Mail feels completely hideous, but actually I'm being told by all and sundry that it is a badge of honour. I'm now going to order the t-shirt they have in the back of Private Eye that bears the legend "I'm the one the Daily Mail warned you about."

Please feel free to add your own comments below on the journalistic integrity of the botoxed bint :o)

I'm the One the Daily Mail Warned You About! by incurablehippie
It's tempting isn't it ? 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

So where *do* babies come from ?

kerala holiday to help fertility
A holiday might help ?
I've learned a lot of new terminology since becoming a parent. My least favourite right now is secondary infertility which sounds rotten however you look at it. I do, of course, appreciate that having my beloved son is a wonderful gift and am very grateful that we have him in our lives. I guess I just hoped that when we tried to have another baby it wouldn't be quite as fraught as the first time, nor take as long. So imagine how much fun it is to find out that we aren't in the subset that fall pregnant again really easily the second time. Instead we're finding it's startlingly similar to how it was the first time. This time with added guilt as craving another baby makes me feel I'm devaluing my son in some way. I also realise that it's nothing like it was when we genuinely believed that we wouldn't be able to have a child at all. For anyone who is in that situation what I'm struggling with right now must seem a bit 'princessy.'

In the first instance we were able to dodge enquiries about babymaking with the usual 'we want to spend some time just the two of us before we start a family.' or 'I'm concentrating on my career right now.' After a few years had passed though I was reduced to a terse 'we can't have children' in response to any polite enquiry from a stranger who didn't really need to know the details of my life.

The enquiries from family were more difficult. Telling my own Mother that it wasn't about not having enough money for IVF, we'd genuinely prefer to adopt was a repetitive conversation that only really ended when we did in fact find out we were expecting a baby. Whether this can be attributed to a miracle or tenacity I still don't know.

Of course now the questions are, 'will you have any more ?' or 'when do you think you'll have another baby ?' Both of which cause a ripple of panic as I haven't yet worked out a response that isn't tinged with bitterness or tears. Telling people that you're trying and it's making you feel like a failure doesn't seem to be enough to head off an awkward personal conversation.

Then there are the stupid things people say when they find out it's not happening for you.

"My pregnancy was a mistake." In all the years I've been married (and the ones before) I didn't make a mistake that resulted in a baby - this one baffles me. How exactly do you fall pregnant by mistake ? I used to know a woman who would fall pregnant when she suspected her relationship was skittering into the buffers and I'm sure she used this line on the boyfriends/husbands concerned.

"We fell pregnant on our honeymoon. It's funny really as we were hoping to go back for our first anniversary, but of course we'll have to get a passport for the baby now." How unbearably smug are the newlyweds who score the honeymoon baby ? I cannot stand this one, it's up there with always winning the best raffle prize or getting a strike every time they go bowling.

"Have you tried acupunture / shamanistic healing / traditional chinese medicine /  Zita West / co-enzyme Q10 / agnus castus my friend swears it worked for her." I've tried everything - yes even the stupid stuff - and if you suggest another crazy ass idea I'll probably try that too. I'm desperate for something, anything to work. According to one holistic therapist it's about me being honest about wanting another child. Of course I'd never considered that what I think is pain, anguish and desperate sadness might just be indifference and indecision about having a baby. Silly me.

"Oh we just fell pregnant as soon as we started trying. We didn't think it would happen that fast." So why did you start trying then ? This is the person who tells you how easy it was for them to get pregnant every time they tried and is a special from of torture that makes me wonder if they also go up to people who are selling the Big Issue to boast about how big their house is and that they're considering a second property.

Closely followed by the couple who decide to have another child and lo and behold a month later she's pregnant and tells you that she's never had any problems falling pregnant and proceeds to tell you exactly how she does it. For me this is like the person who complains that they just have to eat or the weight just falls off them. If I don't walk away at this point there is a risk that prolonged contact could result in a serious assault.

I have no idea what it was that tipped the balance for us last time - maybe it was the fact that we were in the adoption process, maybe it was one of the holistic therapies we tried, maybe it was the three holidays in a row that we took, maybe it was the champagne that we decided it was ok to drink at New Year. Or maybe it was just the right time for us.
Marty McFly and Doc from Back to the future

Whatever it was I suspect it's going to be like Back to the Future and however much we try and repeat it something will be different. The main difference - of course - is that we have our wonderful son already.

That's a pretty great point to start from.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Seeing red

halloween cat give blood donation Hallowe'en isn't really a British tradition. Guy Fawkes and bonfire night are, but children dressing up and extorting sweets and / or money from people on their doorsteps is not. Of course the tradition of kids pushing a broken pram around with some old clothes in it and demanding 'penny for the guy' while sucking on the tail end of a Rothmans is the seedier side that I recall from my own upbringing. I'm not against Hallowe'en as such, I just find it unnecessary to celebrate in such an American style.

I have noticed, however, that the obsession with gothic and dark topics is a British tradition dating back to Dracula and Frankenstein. Let's not forget either the Rocky Horror Picture Show and it's cult following and the fan obsession that pre-dates all these modern day imposters.

This reminded me that as a teenager I was a big fan of the vampire chronicles by Anne Rice and then of the TV series Buffy. In recent years we have had the TV show True Blood and then the truly awful teenage obsession with the Twilight series. The latter is like Dawson's Creek with blood sucking. The angsty teenage vampires are so dire it makes me wonder if as a teenager I was as morose and I have to conclude that wearing only black and purple for 15 years is a sign that I probably was.

gothic rose give blood donation What I can't understand is why we are so fascinated with the idea of the undead or more likely the immortal. In the Buffy series the relationship between her and Angel was a metaphor for sex before marriage leading to the end of the world. On the one hand Joss Whedon writes powerful women characters and on another he seems to have a whole moral issue with teenagers getting involved with demons and vampires - which I guess I can understand on some level.

It does surprise me that with such an interest in blood we still struggle to get young people to donate theirs. I was terrified of needles when I began donating at university and went with my friend Robin to keep me calm. I'm still not a fan of needles, but the process is so fast and the nursing staff are so kind it's a simple procedure. Also, I break my diet and allow myself a treat of biscuits and tea or a forbidden pack of crisps after giving blood. There is nothing better than the post donation biscuit and brew to make it all worthwhile.

I think the Give Blood folks are missing a trick here - maybe doing a big drive on blood donation on Hallowe'en is the way to go. If the number of people dressed in blood soaked costumes and vampire outfits is anything to go by it's got to be worth a try.

If you have never given blood or haven't given for a while go to

It could save someone's life.

And you can still trick or treat before or after :o)