I had no idea then just how much of a phenomenon The Naked Chef would become, and looking back to that time, I never would have thought then that I'd be sitting here today writing for The Huffington Post and kicking off their Thriving Families month. So it turns out that I did inspire quite a few people, and many of them were mums and dads. I'll never forget being chased down the street by this big, muscley bloke one day and when he caught up with me, I genuinely thought my days were numbered and he was going to punch me but he simply smiled and said: "My missus said I should start cooking because of you and if I'd seen you a few weeks ago, I would have lumped you. But actually, I'm really enjoying cooking and I'm better than you now!" That was one of those moments where I started to understand just how powerful food can be in changing people's lives for the better.
Our children have information about their birth families. They take the form of 'Life Story Books', age appropriate records of their lives. Provided initially by the Adoption Team and subsequently updated by us. They look at them often.
I was so caught up in the system; I'd forgotten what was important. I was a preoccupied stranger in my family home during the week. My son only got to see me at weekends when I was shattered and yet so propelled with guilt that I should have more 'Quality Time'.
The toddler, on the other hand...Mouse has encountered more calamitous incidents than me and her father put together. Her latest badge of honour is a sizeable graze on her elbow from pissing about in the garden wearing flip flops on the wrong feet. It blends in nicely with the receding scab borne from a pretty savage slide at soft play.
My family were my motivation for getting my health back, I make no secret about it. They are also the reason I know I need to maintain my health... Here are some of the key practices I believe that as parents we can have to keep our families fit and healthy.
Until we had Brody, I lived in a disability free bubble. I admittedly didn't spend much time thinking about disabilities and I certainly didn't know that 6000 children are born every year with a genetic condition that is likely to remain unknown. Fast forward 4 years and I am only too aware of this.
What I haven't seen are any posts about how to stop yourself becoming housebound during these long 6 weeks. Because sadly that is already the case for lots of families I know, and will continue to be until the schools reopen in September.
So we all know the overwhelming joy and love yadda yadda yadda that comes with having a baby but what about the other lesser talked about, but undeniable perks about owning a tiny person? We all know how parenting is a 24/7 job with no paid holiday or annual leave, but that doesn't mean to say there aren't some hidden benefits...
As foster carers we have the same aspirations for the children who are in our care as for our own daughters: we want them to enjoy a carefree summer, to feel safe and happy, and to grow and flourish. We want to hear laughter and singing.
Prince Harry's admission that he didn't speak about his mother's death for years is a stark reminder that many children deal with emotional trauma that would knock most adults sideways, in silence and on a daily basis.
Many parents seem to have the luxury of time this summer, hosting barbecues, taking their children to playdates or birthday parties. But for our family of three, two working parent household with one child with additional needs, summer is even more of a juggling act than usual.
My husband worked his last day as a teacher in a primary school the day before my birthday. The kids had finished up their year at that very same school just a few days before that. They will not be returning when school resumes later this year... We are taking a gap year!
Whilst Instagram might tell us that every day of the holidays should be filled with sunshine, smiles, adventures and kisses, the likelihood is that the odd day here and there will inevitably be tainted with tantrums, tears, arguments and, occasionally, all out war. But here is a newsflash; that's okay.
I don't like rules as such. I find them suffocating. I want my children to feel safe, but I don't want to control them. I certainly don't want to 'punish' them, or chip away at their little souls by making them feel small or ashamed. Good communication with children would be my chosen tool in giving them the boundaries that they need.
I continued feeding her for 19 months and 2 weeks, I can tell you that on day 2, when my nipples started bleeding and I fed her in absolute agony, I would never have believed that would happen. I had a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding and here's why.
Making friends as an adult is hard, especially when you don't see the same people every day. Once I found them, my mum friends became a lifeline to me. I was so much happier with these incredible women in my life to share every stage of my motherhood journey with.
I often wonder what happens to other parents going through this horrific journey without the kind of support I had from my mum, partner, family and friends. What happens if you don't have someone trustworthy to be able to lean on, and cry tears of anger, tears of pain, tears of happiness, tears of exhaustion? Where does their emotional support come from?
It is so important to begin teaching children environmental stewardship from a very young age. To know is to love, and whilst they are still tiny, children still have the eyes to see magic in its full glory. This is the best time to fall in love with Nature and understand its complexities.
I always planned to make a programme about the dark times, but I don't think I realised it'd take me five years to feel strong enough to do it. Now, after so many supportive and heartfelt messages, I'm glad I did.