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How not to look like a fat frump when pregnant

You will notice, because you are smart, that I almost never promote anything on this blog. “Oh it’s too much like hard work,” I say to the occasional food person who gets in touch wondering if I’d like a free packet of spelt. “I’m so lazy,” I say. “I’ll never get round to it, sorry.”

But the fact is that I’m not interested in food freebies. (Sometimes I wonder whether I’m interested in food full stop.) If I want something for free I will say to my husband: “I want some rare albino truffle please,” and he will make a phonecall and it will turn up on my doorstep and I won’t even have to write about it.

But clothes? Cloooooothes?? Special nice clothes for preggy ladies that don’t make you look fat or pinch your bump or squish your boobs?

“Do you want some?” asked my friend Celia. “From ME+EM. We want you to be a sort of brand ambassador.”

“FUCK YEAH” I screamed. I didn’t even stop to say “Oh but why me? I’m so shit and fat and ugly. You don’t want me, you want someone more glamorous and interesting.” No, I did NOT say that, I just asked how much stuff I could have. Should I hire a parcel van to drive to the shop? Because I can do one on my Addison Lee app…

Then I immediately started to fret about it, as I always do. That the clothes wouldn’t fit or wouldn’t be nice and I would take a lot and then not wear them but have to be nice about them anyway. And then I would break our special bond, the one where I tell you the absolute truth about absolutely everything and don’t try and sell you anything, ever.

Don’t worry. I am not leading you a merry dance. This shit is for real. It’s amazing. There are dresses here that make you look, if you’re under, say, 20-24 weeks like you’re not pregnant. Especially from the front. And after that, they just expand like magic so even though you look like a Sherman tank, you feel comfy.

Pregnancy wear is mostly so so horrible. Massive floaty things with a big print. But this is all terrifically chic. And THE best long-length jersey vests and long-sleeved t-shirts EVAH.


These are the things I got, which are particularly excellent and I recommend to you, pregnant or not. More original, I think, and better fabrics than Isabella Oliver or Seraphine – though God bless them both, eh? Where would we be without them.

On the ME+EM website they do a thing where they use skinny models for all the clothes, so you can’t really imagine how they would work on a massive pregnant arse and giant blobby tits, so this is my edit for anyone with a blubbery mess to cover up.

Just think of me like a very badass Gwyneth Paltrow, yeah?

Almost all of this comes in different colours and is available HERE. The sizing is very generous. I am 5’6” and weigh in at 10 stone 3.5 and fit into a small.

Crepe swing dress. MAKES YOU LOOK NOT PREGNANT. £104. You will wear it everywhere and it’s crepe so it won’t get bobbles.

Tuck neck swing dress. This is just so cool, such a nice shape. Great with long boots, ankle boots or little slippers. £115. I will be wearing this on Christmas Day.

Extra long layer T. The last word in long-length long-sleeved tops. Soft as a kitten. £42. There are also excellent vests at £19 each. Fucking BARGAIN.

V-neck box pleat dress. Very similar to one at Isabella Oliver but a nicer colour, a more slimming fit and less expensive at £104

An amazing thing. If you only get one thing when you are pregnant, get this. It is sort of drapey and concealing without being heavyweight so you don’t end up looking like a piece of soft furniture. It also has lovely long sleeves. I plan to wear mine until it has holes in it. Knit sleeve 3/4 jacket – £119

And a snood. Because I’ve decided that I hate scarves. Wide rib snood – £68

Happy shopping and have a great weekend.


Gwyneth Paltrow’s lamb tagine

Here I am! Yoo hoo! Sorry, I know I’m late. There was this thing with a thing and then my phone battery died and then I locked myself out and it all just fell on my head.

Good New Year? No of course it wasn’t. Ha! New Year is dreadful. What a stupid question. Well don’t worry it’s nearly February, the year has begun in earnest and we can all get back to whatever it is that we normally do.

I’ve got a peace offering for you to make up for my tardiness – a lamb tagine that I did out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, It’s All Good.

Everyone’s got such a problem with Gwyneth!! I don’t understand it. So she wants to live a semi-vegan diet and work out for 6 hrs a day so she doesn’t look fat when she has to put on a size 0 dress and stand on a red carpet having her photo taken by 4 million people? That’s her life and her choice, people. Speaking as someone who often has to put on a dress and be photographed for the paper looking fat, I understand where she’s coming from.

And GOOP is just hilarious. Fact. Her nonchalance in recommending a $400 grey cashmere sweater to her readers because “it goes with everything” is simply a laugh out loud moment. No?

Okay whatever. I wasn’t that crazy, in all, about It’s All Good. I found the fact that they didn’t bring out a British edition (so that all the measurements are in cups, spring onions are scallions etc) annoying. And everything requires about a million ingredients. And the pictures are just frightful, the food looks flat and boring – but the full-length photos of Gwyneth wrapped in a $550 goat hair Mexican blanket looking soulfully into the distance are a giggle.

I do absolutely love tagine and this is a really terrific one. I honestly ate my half of the pot in about 5 minutes. I am a fast eater, but even then. So do this! I don’t know in what way this is supposed to be healthful and restorative (it certainly isn’t vegan) but it is very easy and generally delightful.

Just don’t go crazy and make the vegan brownies from the same book because they are just diabolically disgusting.

So here we go

Serves 4-6 if you are having rice with it. If only a salad then this serves 2.

1 handful chopped coriander
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2-inch nub of ginger, peeled
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp good olive oil
some sea salt
500g of whatever stewing lamb you can get your hands on
about 300ml chicken stock
a pinch of saffron if you have it
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
about 200g butternut squash, peeled and chopped

the recipe also specified 1 small preserved lemon, chopped up but I cannot STAND preserved lemon so I left it out.

1 Put the coriander, garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, pepper and olive oil in a blender along with a large pinch of salt. Blend this together and then thoroughly cover the lamb in it. Marinade for six hours, overnight, or as long as you possibly can. Even 30 mins will make a difference.

2 Preheat the oven to 160C and put the lamb and all the marinade into a casserole dish. Put it over a medium flame and brown all over. Sprinkle over the saffron if using and then add the chicken stock. Bring all this to the boil and stir to release any browned bits stuck to the bottom.

3 Cut a piece of greaseproof paper big enough to sit over the top of the pot, then scrunch it, wet it and set it over the lamb. Put the lid on and cook for 1.5hrs. Check occasionally that it hasn’t dried out. After 45 min stir in the butternut squash and the chickpeas and keep cooking.

4 add more salt and pepper if you think you need it and then serve with more coriander sprinkled over the top.

Eat wrapped in a blanket, looking soulfully into the distance, thinking about the day when BOTH your kids will be at nursery all morning.

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