Adventures of a Free-From Clothbum Mum!

Cloth nappies, dairy-free living, reviews and parental ramblings!

The True Diary of Baby’s First Year: Review


Now, I’m an absolutely avid book reader. Well, ok – that’s a lie. I USED to be an avid book reader but I seem to have waned over the years, especially recently. When I got pregnant, I thought that I’d read lots and lots of books aimed at mummies-to-be, but I really surprised myself. I just didn’t.

I think part of the reason was that I read a little bit of one (not to be named but astoundingly and annoying popular) book that got me so angry with it’s very prescriptive and, in my opinion, cruel methods that I decided to just follow instincts. The internet has been incredibly helpful and through it I’ve discovered a whole host of people whose books I might not have come across, along with books that have affirmed the way in which we have chosen to parent our little one (I’ve discovered names for the things that we’ve been doing just as they felt right!)

Charlie Plunkett is one of these people. She’s written quite a few parenting books/ diaries and I’ve actually contributed to her most recent book, ‘100 little words on Parenthood’ that I obviously think is well worth a read (not that I’m biased, or anything…!)

Her book, ‘The True Diary of Baby’s First Year’ is one of those parenting books that is just so refreshing. I’ve been reading it over the past month or so and it’s drawn me in beautifully. The book is written as a week-by-week account of Charlie and her husband, Dave’s journey into parenthood following the birth of their son, Cole. From the moment I picked up the book, I felt instantly very comfortable – there’s just something about the way in which Charlie writes that makes you feel as if you almost know her and can really relate to her. I’ve found myself really feeling for them as I have read about their battles with getting Cole to breastfeed properly at the very beginning, through to taking part in baby massage classes (we loved ours and it sounds as if Charlie had as much fun at hers as I did at ours!) as well as nodding in total agreement when I read about how emotional Charlie got on her first Mother’s Day (I was a bit of blubbery wreck on mine!)

What I really like about the book is that at end of each week, Charlie has written some simple, bulleted little hints, tips and ideas for new mums to pick up suggestions from. They’re really effective and I wish that I’d had that kind of resource easily to hand when I was starting out with little Monkey. There’s a particularly helpful section in Week 2 for new breastfeeding mums that has information on how you can include Dad (which, I think is so so important) and later on in the book I found her thoughts on Steiner-style education quite interesting (it’s actually led me to rediscover this way of teaching, which is something that I’m finding fascinating).

I’ve found the references to vegan recipes very interesting (and mouthwatering) and, again, really wish that I’d seen this earlier as I got to a stage where weaning Monkey (who has quite a few different allergies and intolerances) quite tricky. This has led me to Google more vegan recipes that I’ve been alternating with other meals in our house and he absolutely loves them. It’s been really useful for giving me alternatives to a lot of dairy-based meals which I was struggling with – so thank you, Charlie very much for inspiring me!

I’d really recommend this book as one of those that you can either curl up and lose yourself in (as best you can with an ever-increasing bump if you’re reading this prior to having your little one) or as one that you can dip into for handy little hints and tips. By the end of the book you really feel that you’ve been allowed a precious insight into Charlie’s world with her beautiful little boy.

daisytheclothbummum was sent this book for reviewing purposes. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Three Brilliant Books! ‘Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball’, ‘The Fearsome Beastie’ and ‘The Jelly that wouldn’t wobble’

Ever since Monkey was really tiny, I’ve shared books with him. Obviously, when he was really little he stared (slightly cross-eyed) at all the lovely, bright colours – but as time passed, he became more and more fascinated with them. From quite early on, he’s loved turning pages of books (more than the actual content at times – we can go through a book many, MANY times just turning and turning pages…it’s apparently very intriguing stuff!)

But recently there’s been a bit of a change in what he seems to be more focused in. He’s paying far more attention to all the little, more intricate details on the page and has suddenly got fascinated by real books. What I mean by that is books with paper pages as opposed rather than board books. I was a little concerned at first as all I could picture was him quite happily ripping through book after book and whooping with delight (he adores sitting and ripping paper), so I was very cautious when he was around paperbacks.

So, when I was offered the chance to review three gorgeous books, I knew that he’d thoroughly enjoy himself (although Mummy would have to keep them at arm’s length from him).

The first book we looked at was Tamara Small and the Monster’s Ball , by Giles Paley-Phillips (illustrated by Gabriele Antonini)


If was using this within a classroom (or with an older child) then I would say it’s perfect for someone who is becoming more fluent in reading (although there are more challenging words for an older reader to tackle) as it really captures the imagination with superb rhymes and wonderful illustrations. In this book, Tamara isn’t able to sleep and gets taken by a monster. It turns out that she gets to go and join in the funky and fun-filled Monster’s Ball and the illustrations (combined with the beautifully-written prose) show the monsters, ghouls and other ‘scary’ characters to be actually funny and friendly! My little man giggled at all the pictures and particularly seemed to like one little purple monster that had three eyes! This book has a great feel to it and the illustrations towards the beginning insinuate a rather scary, eerie feel to the book which means that the friendliness of the monsters is a lovely, unexpected little twist!

We then looked another book by the same author/illustrator. This one, The Fearsome Beastie was the winner of The People’s Book Prize and is a wonderful book.


This is a modern take on the fairy tales of old – a Beastie is roaming the snow-covered streets, gobbling up children that cross his path. The day is eventually saved by Granny wielding a rather large axe and creating a yummy Beastie stew! Whilst the fact that this book is written in highly-entertaining, well-crafted rhyming couplets is something that went completely over my little Monkey’s head, the rhythmic pattern of the story entranced him and he settled into me quite contentedly, listening all the way to the end of the story. Again, the pictures fascinated him and he pointed out all the children to me with lots of chattering!

I can see this book being a really great addition to a classroom to use alongside older fairy tales – it would be a great comparison tool and could be used with most children in primary schools.

The final book that we were lucky enough to be sent was The Jelly that wouldn’t wobble by Angela Mitchell (illustrated by Sarah Horne), which has been nominated for The People’s Book Prize


In this rather wacky book, it’s Princess Lolly’s 89th birthday and she gets presented with a jelly. But the jelly is problematic – it just doesn’t wobble! At all! So all the guests and members of her household try to get the jelly to give a little wibble and a shake. But it won’t! Young children will absolutely love this book as it gets more and more madcap with the turn of each page and the battle of wills between the jelly and the princess is really funny! My little Monkey didn’t really sit still for this story (it’s a bit too old for him at the moment) but loved looking at all the pictures. It was a little disconcerting at how much he licked his lips when he saw the jelly, but very funny when he tried to lick the page! I’m sure that over the next few years when we revisit the book he’ll get more and more from each reading! This is a great book and throughly deserves the accolades that it has received!

Overall I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these books and little Master Clothbum got a lot of pleasure out of looking at the pictures with me. At the moment, I think our favourite is ‘The Fearsome Beastie’ due to the way in which my little man responded to the rhyming couplets (he seemed to be swept along by the rhythmic pattern) but I’m sure that as he grows he’ll get even more out of each of the books!

I was sent the books for reviewing purposes but have received no payment. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own


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