An Open Letter to Tizzie Hall

THIS is an open letter to the self styled ‘International Baby Whisperer’ Tizzie Hall about her controversial recommendation to layer multiple blankets on a baby to encourage him to sleep through the night. Hundreds of comments asking Tizzie to clarify her position, beseeching her to consider the safety of babies worldwide, were deleted from her Facebook post today and she replied only to say that she stood by her method. Tizzie Hall, who is originally from Ireland but is now living in Australia, has no medical or scientific background and has carried out no peer reviewed research or studies of her methods.


Dear Tizzie,

I’m writing to you here as I have tried to engage with you on your Facebook page and on Twitter, but you have ignored me, deleted my posts and blocked me from your page.

You posted a series of photographs today of your newborn son, showing how you swaddle him and cover him in bedding in his cot at night. Your pictures indicated a total of seven layers of bedding, in line with your ‘Safe Bedding Guide‘ featuring blankets and sheets from your own range of bedding. You also say elsewhere in your literature that depending on the baby, parents can add up to 15 layers of bedding at night time.

I was horrified to see you advising parents to cover their babies in multiple layers of bedding, directly contrary to international best practice and the guidelines from organisations such as the NHS, the Irish HSE, Unicef and various SIDS groups. Overheating is a leading cause of SIDS. This is fact. It has been proven time and again in studies that babies who have too many layers on them are at a greater risk of dying in their sleep. This seems to be something you do not want to hear as you systematically deleted any and all posts on your Facebook page questioning your method and advising you of this. (You also advocate moving baby out of his parents room before five months old, again directly contrary to SIDS guidelines) You seem to believe that adding multiple layers of sheets and blankets to a baby’s cot will help them sleep through the night – you’re wrong. The babies may not wake, but this isn’t because they’re peacefully sleeping, it’s because they’ve passed out from the heat. An overheated unconscious baby isn’t the same as a peaceful baby sleeping through the night. Something you again don’t seem to want to even acknowledge.

This isn’t about your sleep training methods or your books or the products you sell Tizzie. I couldn’t care less how other mothers parent, what ‘routines’ they follow, how they feed their babies or how they get them to sleep. And if you can make money from that, then good luck to you. This isn’t about parenting, this is about safety. You have a huge amount of followers Tizzie, you have sold piles of books and have a successful business – parents look to you for advice. And you’re failing them. You have a duty to ensure that at the very least the babies who follow your method are safe. And right now, they’re not. Right now you’re endangering babies all over the world Tizzie. And for what? The price of a few blankets. Is it worth it?

One day a baby is going to die and it’s going to be your fault Tizzie. Your fault for advising new parents to over wrap their babies. Your fault for ignoring scientifically proven, peer reviewed research that says it’s dangerous to put too many blankets on a baby. Your fault for putting profit and your business and your ego above safety. Your fault. Your fault. Your fault.

I am a mother to a 14-month-old son and I don’t have all the answers. Far from it. Most of the time I’m winging it, feeling my way and trying to do the best by my son. But when it comes to safety, I don’t compromise. Neither should you and neither should any of your followers.

Overhaul your ‘Safe Bedding Guide’ Tizzie, to make it REALLY safe. Do your research. Call in help from the experts. Encourage your followers to put their babies to sleep safely. Better a slightly chilly baby at 3am than a dead one the next morning. Please Tizzie, reconsider your position. Before it’s too late.


Yours sincerely,


Karen Mulreid

We don’t know how lucky we are

My heart

My heart

SOMETIMES it’s like your heart is so full you feel as if it could explode at any moment.

Sometimes you feel almost frantic; panicked, like lightning is running through your veins. You feel happy and terrified all at the same time.

That’s what it feels like, to be a mother -  like falling in love while marching towards your death. That heady mix of unconditional love that threatens to overwhelm everything and a bottomless pit of fear.

His silky hair. His velvet skin. His tiny perfectly formed fingers. His smile, his big blue eyes, his arms reaching out to you. Only you.

The way he discovers new things, plays busily with his toys, smushes food into his high chair; the way he delights in everything.

I stood in the cool dark beside his cot last night, listening to him breathing, watching him. He slept, as usual, on his back, with his arms thrown up carelessly behind his head.

So perfect. So content. So loved.

As I stood, I thought about the other child. The other perfect little being, not much older than my boy, who died yesterday in America after being accidentally left in a car. And my heart shattered.

I thought about his mother and his father. Destroyed. Broken. Their worst fear realised. Their lives undone.

How does a parent cope when they lose a child? I can’t imagine it. I don’t want to imagine it.

Stroking my baby’s forehead last night I wept for that other little boy and his parents. Tears of sorrow and tears of relief, that it wasn’t me. And it wasn’t him.

Hug your little ones a bit closer today. We don’t know how lucky we are.

Why does everything happen to me?

I’M GOING to have to embrace online grocery shopping. Not because I haven’t time to get to the supermarket, but because I can’t go back to Tesco ever again.

I’ve a long history of embarrassing myself in Tesco. I’ve been caught talking to myself more times than I care to remember. I’ve had to dump a basket of shopping and run due to a Crohn’s attack. And when I was pregnant I got sick into my own hand in the cheese aisle.

They kinda know me in there now. And I like to think they understand.

It had actually been a long time since I’d had an ‘incident’ so I was starting to believe that maybe my slate was being wiped clean and that I could go about my shopping like a normal person.

And then last week happened.

It was a warm day. I was wearing a summery dress with thin straps. All was well with the world.

I popped into Tesco for some milk and bread, moseying around the shop with not a care in the world. Everyone seemed in a good mood, smiling and nodding at me. I was delighted with myself.

And then I looked down.

One of the straps on my dress had snapped and the front of it had flopped down.

Exposing my entire right boob. I was wearing a bra, but it was a sheer one so it was diddy central.

There I was walking proudly around Tesco, one boob covered, the other roaming free, bouncing about. No wonder people were smiling at me.

I think they probably thought it was some sort of fashion statement? Something new the young people are doing these days. Like this*:

The asymmetrical male thong. Jaysis!

The asymmetrical male thong. Jaysis!


Maybe they went home to their families and said ‘Did you know it’s the fashion now to cover one boob and leave the other exposed? Kids today, eh?!’ and they’d all laugh and get on with their day.

Or maybe they went home and told their families about the oul wan wandering around the aisles with her tit out.


*You’ll never be able to unsee that now. Sorry.

Do not touch, okay?

MAMMY Dunne is getting her attic insulated so needed to clear it out before the work began.

“Get over here and take all of your shite out of my way, it’s been here for ages, you’re thirty five years of age for God’s sake,” sez she, up the wall with the stress of it all.

So over I skipped today to sift through bags and suitcases and boxes to see if there was anything I wanted to salvage or if it was all for the bin.

Predictably, a good 80 per cent of it was pure rubbish – broken toys and stuffed animals and piles of paperwork, the usual stuff most of us have in our attic.

However, there were a few gems that sent me hurtling back in time to the 1980s. Like this doll’s house, which I got when I was about five or six years old (’84/’85).

Nostalgia post dolls house open

I. Loved. This.

It was bright and yellow and sturdy. You clicked the little people into different dresses and into their beds or high chair and it was just brilliant.

Nostalgia post dolls hous figuresNostalgia post dolls house closed outside











Also, looking at it today it contains two women and a baby (though the little brunette doll is missing) so it also promoted same sex relationships! Excellent!

I also found my Fashion Wheel, which I got when I was about ten or 11 (’89) which I just loved. I thought it was the business.

Nostalgia post fashion wheel box closedNostalgia post Fashion Wheel box open















There was an inner wheel with a selection of heads, a middle wheel with a selection of torsos, and an outer wheel with a selection of legs. You mixed and matched to create outfits and then coloured them in.

I guarded this jealously, evident by the fact that it’s still in pretty good nick. All the parts are there and I made sure to write ‘Karen Dunne Do Not Touch Okay’ on the colouring pencils, just in case anybody got any bright ideas.

Nostalgia post fashion wheel do not touchNostalgia post fashion wheel KD is cool















(I was also very immodest as a child, as I’d also written ‘KD is cool’ on the front of the pack of pencils. In case you were in any doubt.)

I was pretty obsessed with not letting people touch my stuff, as you can see here from this box of Monopoly, circa 1972, as I had written ‘The Dunne children own this so don’t touch, K’ on the inside.

Nostalgia post Monopoly box outsideNostalgia post Monopoly box writing















I wasn’t, however, that particular when it came to my touching OTHER people’s stuff, as you can see here from the box of this Game of Jaws, where I had written ‘Karen Dunne age 8′ scribbling out my sister’s name underneath.

She turned her back for one minute …

Nostalgia post Jaws boxNostalgia post Jaws box my name











Top of the heap though today was my collection of Barbie dolls. I was OBSESSED with Barbie as a kid, particularly this Day to Night Barbie which I got from Santy around ’86/’87.

Nostalgia post Day BarbieNostalgia post night Barbie










By day she was a businesswoman, complete with briefcase and power suit. But by night, her skirt came off and turned around, into a pretty chiffon party skirt, perfect for a night on the tiles.

I lusted after that sparkly pink strappy top she has on there. LUSTED after it. And look at those daytime pink and white stilettos – sweeeeet!

There was also Dynasty Barbie (check out those elbow length gloves) and, um, Big Poofy Skirt Barbie. Those might not actually be their real names but you get the gist.

Nostalgia post Dynasty BarbieNostalgia post poofie skirty Barbie










I even found my Bridal Sindy and I have to say, bar the big poofy sleeves, I’m digging that wedding dress. It came complete with veil and fluffy slippers for Sindy to wear. No uncomfortable heels for her, no Sir. And unlike her Barbie sisters, Sindy wasn’t a cheap floozy, she boasted a pair of modest knickers.

Nostalgia post Sindy brideNostalgia post Sindy slippersNostalgia post Sindy knickers

There were also my Jem and Shana dolls from the Jem and the Holograms cartoon series. I was MAD about this cartoon as a kid, I thought it was just fabulous.

It tells the story of Jerrica who runs a foster home AND a music business who turns into her alter ego Jem, by touching her special earrings.

Nostalgia post Jem dolls

The doll has earrings that flash when you flick a switch on the back of her neck and get this, after TWENTY FIVE YEARS in my mother’s attic, those earring still flash. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore!

I also found one of my most prized possessions from when I was a kid – my Sindy hostess trolley. I don’t think anyone uses hostess trollies anymore, but basically they were little contraptions you used to keep the food hot when you were transporting it from your kitchen to your dining room when you were hosting important dinner parties.

Nostalgia post hostess trolley

Everyone who was everyone had one, dahling

It comes with plates and plastic food and the tiniest most perfect set of cutlery I’ve ever seen, it’s exquisite!

Of course after 25 years in a dusty attic, the whole haul needs to be cleaned so they’re not fit to be played with just yet, but once I clean them up, I’m going to have a ball reverting back to being ten years old.

I might even let The Beast have a go. Maybe.

Did you have any of these toys? What was your favourite when you were a kid?

Boots haul – my preeeeeeties!

IT WAS my sister’s birthday this week so I headed into Boots to pick her up a present. Of course, I bought her a voucher in 16 seconds flat and then spent the rest of the time browsing for myself.

*sings* Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters. Hey, it was three for two, what was I supposed to do?

Anyway, I picked up three things that I had been lusting after since reading about them on the real beauty blogs, so in my defence some bigger girls told me to do it.

Seventeen Cheek Stamp

Seventeen Cheek Stamp












First up is the Seventeen Cheek Stamp in ‘Bashful’ a gorgeous little blusher compact, kinda like an ink stamper, that comes with a dinky mirror in the lid which I had read about on and Nurse Fancy Pants.

In real life there's a pretty shimmer off the blush

In real life there’s a pretty shimmer off the blush

Do remember to blend, or you'll end up looking like Bosco

Do remember to blend, or you’ll end up looking like Bosco

It leaves a lovely light flush

It leaves a lovely light flush


You stamp the blusher on to the apples of your cheeks and then blend with your fingertips. Bashful is a kind of a dusky rose pink with a subtle shimmer and it’s really beautiful on. I only put on a single light stamp and then blended it and it was just enough for a daytime flush. This is absolutely buildable for night time wear or if you wanted to make a feature out of your cheekbones.

Rockin' Curves Mascara

Rockin’ Curves Mascara

Next we have Rimmel’s Scandal Eyes Rockin’ Curves mascara (Kerrriiiiist, the names they put on these yokes) which I had seen on So Sue Me.

Eyes before, with no mascara

Eyes before, with no mascara

One coat

One coat









One coat

One coat


The thing about this mascara is the wand as it’s twisted to catch the tiny inner lashes as well as the longer outer ones. I was a bit confused though, not sure which way to hold it – the scoopy part facing up or facing down? Anyway, I gave both ways a go, but I probably should have watched a tutorial or summat.

Two coats

Two coats

Two coats

Two coats









The mascara itself is a pretty dry formulation so it doesn’t clump at all and my lashes felt nice and feathery soft afterwards. It coated all my lashes and gave nice volume but it was quite subtle. I needed two coats to really look like I was wearing mascara. It’s nice ‘n’ all, but were my eyes scandalous? Hmmm, not really.

Rouge Edition Velvet

Rouge Edition Velvet

Finally then I picked up the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick in ‘Frambourjoise’ a gorgeous red that just lovely and vibrant and I adore it. I had seen it over on Lovely Girlie Bits and knew I had to have it.

Lovely matte finish

Lovely matte finish


This goes on liquid like a lipgloss, but instantly turns to a matte lipstick on your lips. It’s so lovely and soft and velvety, it feels GORGEOUS on your lips. It sets pretty firmly and would certainly last for work or going for a drink. However, when I was testing it I put it on just before a big meal and by the end of the meal all trace of the lipstick was gone. Now, that could just be because I’m a horse and a sloppy eater, so don’t let that put you off.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with my purchases. Have you tried any of the above, or have I enticed you to try?

** Note: In all of these pictures, yes, I’m wearing a towel on my head, I had just washed my hair!

A Week in Dinners – with Bumbles of Rice

I’VE been taking part in the lovely Bumbles of Rice’s linky challenge this week looking at what real families eat for their dinner every night.

Since The Beast came along we’ve been making an extra effort to cook from scratch and to use fresh ingredients and also to try to include vegetables and fruit at every meal. We did Baby Led Weaning with Seán so he eats what we eat, which is great, as I’m the laziest mother you can imagine.

Anyway! To the dinners!

Monday:  we had Cheat’s Pizza. Basically a grilled Mediterranean wrap with pesto, ham and cheese (popped back under the grill to melt the cheese) topped with vine tomatoes and a green leaf salad. Seán didn’t have the tomato and salad but he made up for it by horsing into a banana and half a punnet of blueberries after!

Pesto, ham, cheese on a wrap. Cut out a slice to give to Seán

Pesto, ham, cheese on a wrap. Cut out a slice to give to Seán

'Pizza' topped with vine tomatoes and a lovely spinach and beetroot salad

‘Pizza’ topped with vine tomatoes and a lovely spinach and beetroot salad













Tuesday: we had turkey burgers, garlic bread and roast vegetables. I made the turkey burgers myself and they’re REALLY easy and tasty. It’s just turkey mince, shaped into patties, dipped in egg and then rolled in breadcrumbs. I add basil and parsley to the breadcrumbs to give them a bit of flavour. Fry then in a little olive oil until they’re cooked through. I served them on some garlic bread and roasted mushroom, courgette, red pepper and tomatoes. Seán also had peas as he’s mad about them.

The Beast's plate

The Beast’s plate

Patties, dip into the egg, then into the breadcrumbs

Patties, dip into the egg, then into the breadcrumbs

Turkey burgers on garlic bread with roast veg

Turkey burgers on garlic bread with roast veg


Wednesday: we had pasta Bolognese. I just bung mince into the pan then add mushroom, peppers and whatever other veg I have going in the fridge, chuck in a tin of tomatoes, some tomato puree, some basil and some garlic (all dried) a spoon of sugar and then let it simmer. Voila! A firm favourite here, it was gobbled up.

Mmmm! Steamy!

Mmmm! Steamy!

Thursday: I went out for dinner with the girls! The Beast and Yer Man fended for themselves while I had Dim Sim to start followed by scallops and prawns in a ginger and soy sauce and apple crumble for dessert. SCRUMPTIOUS!

Apple Pie!

Apple Pie!

Dim Sim

Dim Sim

Prawns and scallops

Prawns and scallops

Friday: The Beast was packed off to his Nana’s with pasta pesto, ham, tomatoes and peas so we had a Tesco Dine in for Two meal. We had a cheese and leek filo pastry yoke, with maple roast vegetables and some mash. Was really yum! We generally don’t eat ready meals as they’re high in salt so we wouldn’t share with Seán and it’s a pain to have to cook separately for him, so we usually only occasionally have junk, when he’s not here.

Filo pastry yoke!

Filo pastry yoke!

So there you have it! Our Monday to Friday menu this week. It was a bit of an unusual week as I’m normally not out for dinner and we wouldn’t normally have a ready meal either but if every week was the same, it’d get very boring.

Tell me, what’s your weekly menu like? Head over to Bumbles of Rice to read what everyone else is having for their dinners. Thanks to Sinéad for the idea, it’s been really fun!

But you LOOK fine …

I SAW this on Twitter earlier today and thought it was hilarious.

Full House!

Full House!

It’s a Long Term Illness Bingo Card, made up of the phrases those of us with chronic disease (I have Crohn’s Disease) hear on a regular basis, so often in fact that you could play bingo with them. Hence the name. Clever, no?

But you LOOK fine is probably the main one. Closely followed by my personal favourite: My aunt had that, she died from it. Eh, thanks?

Anyway I was discussing it on Facebook and Twitter, having a bit of banter back and forth with others who co-exist with long term illnesses trying to outdo each other with the worst things people have said to us when we’ve been ill. I felt lighthearted enough, I’m having great difficulties with my Crohn’s at the moment but today was a good day, so I felt able to laugh about it.

I logged off then and went about my business, making lunch for The Beast and I and then packing us both up for a walk in the sunshine followed by a trip to the post office.

It was on the way home from the post office that my day turned from good to bad. Just like that. In an instant I went from looking and feeling well, to being more humiliated than I’ve ever been in my life.

I soiled myself. In my front garden. Desperately rummaging for my keys, trying to get the door open, turn off the alarm, get the buggy in through the door. But it was too late.

I was hit by an instant bout of chronic diarrhea. It destroyed my clothes, my underwear, even my shoes. All my neighbours were out mowing their lawns, playing with their kids, washing their windows. I’m sure some of them saw me stumbling in the door, like a one woman dirty protest.

It was horrific, I’ve never been so embarrassed and so disgusted with myself in all my life. It’s an all-too regular side effect of having Crohn’s Disease, that sudden, urgent need to find a toilet in 30 seconds flat. That familiar, sickening cramping in your stomach. Most people with Crohn’s have experienced it but that doesn’t make it any less humiliating.

It was somewhat prophetic that I played Long Term Illness Bingo with Twitter pals this morning and then suffered at the hands of my disease this afternoon.

This hasn’t been an easy post to write, but perhaps the next time you feel the urge to tell a colleague or a friend or a neighbour that she LOOKS fine, think of me today who, in seconds, went from perfectly fine to in pain and excruciatingly embarrassed.