Face Companions…


I’ve spoken before about how there are many interesting little side affects of pregnancy that you don’t hear about until you’re in the club! Probably for the best as you don’t get all of them and frankly if someone did write a comprehensive list of every single little thing you could possibly find while hosting your own little bundle, it’d take longer than the pregnancy to read through and there’s enough to worry about when finding it all out as you go without knowing every eventuality possible!

However, one of those charming little side affects that I’ve noticed this week is this one…you all know about my charming snaggletooth that’s been with me since a bike accident in my childhood. But recently, Snaggletooth is being joined by Wonky Eye. This charming new addition to my face does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a wonk to my right eye. In photos over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed it’s always slightly more closed and the eyelid is slightly more puffy than the left one. Some might say there’s at least a charming balance as the tooth that snaggles out slightly is on the left so to some extent, the eye now just balances out my face quite nicely.

And as I mentioned in a recent post, “Beauty and the Snaggletooth…” I won’t be taking any of the internet makeup tips to hide this slight wonk. For a start, I tried in the name of research and I just looked like I’d lost a fight; but also because I’m pregnant and my body is by all accounts doing whatever the hell it wants to do to successfully grow my child.

It did occur to me the other day that your whole body suddenly becomes like the overworked PA of a busy office, “yes yes I’m sorting out the healthy development of an unborn child right now, I don’t have time to deal with the facial alignment department, email me and I’ll add it to the pile. Oh and by the way, please let accounts know we cannot afford the added growth in the thigh area, it’s starting to get out of hand…” So I’m certainly not going to add to that stress by worrying about the eye situation. Medically, I’ve ensured it’s a safe and common side affect and that’s the end of it. Most commonly, it will disappear of it’s own accord either later on in pregnancy or once the baby is born.

And if not, well then, so be it, I spent a good 20 minutes in the mirror earlier trying to incorporate it into some kind of new sexy wink so I’m sure I can work with it! Pregnancy is a charming companion but aesthetically it’s not quite as glamorous as the brochures make out…

(Side note; I’m apparently probably sightly dehydrated so more water intake for me. There are other things it could mean so do be sure to get anything unrecognised or that you’re worrying about checked out)

Photo on 31-03-2014 at 14.59

Rollercoaster of crazy…


Pregnancy for me has been one big roller coaster. Being epileptic, I’m not allowed on roller coasters and this is my excuse for my inability to handle the sudden emotional turbulence!

First let me tell you this, I sit here currently with a cup of tea feeling calm, collected, at one with my growing bump, having just received a lovely text from my loving husband who is working away for a few days, after a lovely weekend spent together, and a fabulous brunch and afternoon tea with my brother, Mum and Mother-in-law for Mothers Day. I even went along to a rehearsal yesterday afternoon remembering all of my lines and in between scenes having a real giggle with my colleagues. Life is good, and on one level, things could not be going better.

Sounds all a bit like the films portray doesn’t it, how sickening…read on dear friend…

Last week, I had the following meltdowns;

1) As of yet, in week 25, I have no stretch marks. I know, poor me right? Thing is, I spent a lot of time talking about how stretch marks are like a map of your journey in becoming a Mother. Stretch marks are something to be proud of. Your baby created those whilst developing. So after reading in a pregnancy guide that from week 23 you might see stretch marks, I decided that somehow I was less of a Mother and a woman because my body didn’t have any. I wanted my map, I wanted my baby pattern! Yes this is ridiculous. And there’s still plenty of time, and believe me, once any arrive, I’m sure I’ll decide actually I was ok without any but for one morning last week, I was almost inconsolable over my lack of them.

2) I am also still getting quite regular sickness, the baby book says that this should subside around week 12 so at week 25, 13 weeks on, I’m currently looking for an email address to send my strongly worded complaint to. Sickness in the first trimester was twice/thrice daily so in some ways, yes it has definitely got better. But 2/3 times a week definitely still takes it out of me. Although I’m sure plenty of women have worse, I found it difficult to remember this on Wednesday when after throwing up a particularly tasty dinner, I burst into tears because (and I quote) “we’re on a budget, we can’t afford for me to be throwing up food!” Predictably, whilst stroking my back, my husband couldn’t help but laugh at me, which just increased the number of tears. Now I was affecting our finances AND my husband thought I was ridiculous. All in all, not my most impressive moment of sensible thinking.

3) I’ve been having a lot of nightmares, a LOT. I understand this is quite common. For me, I’ve always been quite scared of dogs but that fear has recently gone into overdrive as I’ve had many dreams where dogs attack my stomach, or birds attack my stomach (whilst pecking out of my eyes…obviously…) and I wake up in a cold sweat because of how vivid these dreams are. Now, also at this time, my husband and I are making our way through Game of Thrones, admittedly quite a bit later than the rest of the world. But to be honest, it may well be a bit delayed even more for me. I won’t post any spoilers in case there’s another one or two people as behind as I am. But I don’t think it’ll give away any plot when I say there’s a lot of vicious dog attacks, a lot of torture and killing and brutality, and a lot of crows flying about the place ominously. On Thursday, we were watching an episode and lets just say, a form of torture involved a rat on someones stomach. Even typing any more details makes me feel a bit ill again but I burst into tears and then had a go at my husband for letting it happen. Before you ask, no, he was not involved in the script, no, he was not involved in production and no, he had nothing to do with it happening. So why have a go at him like a crazed woman with no hold on her senses? That’s a good question and I will answer anyone asking why I was being so unreasonable with this, “I’m pregnant and unstable, leave me alone, unless you have a slice of lemon cake.”

I’d love to say those are the only three instances of ‘crazy’ this week, but it’s not. There have been tears over accidentally having a caffeinated latte when I’d ordered decaf and how much of a terrible Mother that inevitably makes me. There’s been tears over leaving Brighton after a quick trip to see my Dad with my brother because ‘it’s just so great to spend time with my family and I miss them so much.’ (always the case but I’m normally much better at holding it together!) And there’s been tears because I remembered my brother turns 21 this year and as he’s nearly a decade younger than me, he’s always been very much my baby brother and the fact that he has become an adult so quickly reminded me how quickly my baby will become an adult, which of course was then reason enough for a mini meltdown.

So yes, my Facebook profile shows a brilliant picture of my Mum, Mum-in-law and myself laughing together after a great brunch, and a photo from a date night with Tom where we really had a great day together. Funnily enough, I chose to not post a picture sat on the bathroom floor lamenting my obvious disregard to our food budget.

I have always been quite capable of handling my emotions and have been accused in the past of being somewhat unemotional outwardly. Well one of the biggest changes I have experienced over the past few months is definitely a complete and utter loss of that control. Things are wonderful, things are terrible, life’s a dream, life’s overwhelming. Having a good cast of people around you along for the ride, or at least to try and help you laugh at the inevitably awful ride photo at the end, is the only way I think I could ever get through it. It doesn’t matter who these people are, family, friends, strangers on a bus that make you feel better with a nice remark. Personally I have leant especially heavily on my husband, Dad and brother who are very reliable and always help guide me back to sanity when I’m in the middle of a meltdown. And then both Mothers have been an essential source of emotional support and feminine advice.  The one thing all five of them have in common is that none of them have at any point made me feel like an alien (I do that plenty enough myself!) So cherish those people, they are your lifeline when you’re struggling and if I’ve learnt anything (the hard way after a few months of stubbornness…) it’s that we can’t do this alone all of the time!

Also to be cherished are those moments of serenity and the pure absolute joy that pregnancy can also bring. This weekend when my husband left to go to work for a few days, he kissed me and my stomach and said goodbye to baby and he got rewarded with a little kick goodbye and the look in his eyes when I can see just how clearly he loves both me and our unborn child are the moments I will look back on forever (and probably the moments we’ll think about when we start talking about having a second child..!) Whatever your situation, those moments of joy are so much more important than the hard parts. In the future those are the moments you’ll look back on so however tough things can sometimes feel. Hold onto those moments comrades!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my serenity is being interrupted, I have washing out on the line and it looks like it’s starting to rain…it’s an upsetting situation, because I didn’t check the weather this morning…a really good Mother would’ve checked, in fact wouldn’t a really good Mother be more on top of the washing than I currently am at the moment? How am I going to manage when the baby arrives?…uh oh…crazy’s awakening…!


Having a ball…


Before becoming pregnant and having my hormones completely flood my system, I have to admit, I used to be quite cynical about how much ‘baby’ becomes the only topic of discussion and the over riding part of parents lives. As a rather selfish individual in my early/mid twenties, I didn’t want to see my friends that I’d previous spent hours chatting about the new series of Grey’s Anatomy with and/or nights out filled with hilarious stories and capers, only to then be sitting there hearing about their pride and joy had managed to burp after eating. Frankly I went to University with plenty of people who could boast the same and I wasn’t impressed when they did it, let alone a baby that stopped us going on exciting fun filled trips out.

Then I became pregnant, and not even slowly, my brain got saturated with thoughts of my growing child, family days and the wonderful magic that becoming a family unit brings. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with my friends without children, absolutely not, but this is the biggest thing to happen in my life so far and therefore does tend to dominate my thoughts and definitely shapes my activity choices. However, I remain steadfast in my opinion that parents weren’t born the day they became parents, and our individual personalities are not just important to preserve but I feel can make us better parents when honoured.

On Saturday, I hosted a Masquerade Ball and I have to admit; after a pretty rubbish nights sleep on Friday night, the idea of getting dressed up, dancing around a bit and lasting till the midnight finish time, made me feel even more tired! Had I not been in charge of organising and running it, I would have definitely thought twice about going. But, I had an absolute blast! Dressed up in a new dress, (albeit one that protruded much more round the stomach than the last time I dressed up for a night out!) hair not only washed, but brushed and even styled(!) with a bit of make-up on, I suddenly realised how little I’d paid to my appearance in recent months. A new kind of exhaustion has kicked in recently and doing anything more than using a hairband to control my mane of frizzy curls was very far down my list of things to do when any shortcut was appreciated. But now looking at myself in the mirror, I realised how much of a boost it gave me to look a bit more human again! The band were brilliant, there was a sword fighting display and magician that delighted us all and overall it was so nice to be out and enjoying myself. I even found myself having quite a few conversations that weren’t baby based! For one evening, I wasn’t a tired Mother to be worrying about a million different things, I was an individual enjoying a night out with her husband and friends. And although crawling into bed at 1am was definitely felt the next day, in a completely different way I was totally energised and very much refreshed!

As I type this, I have to admit I’m sat in my pyjamas, no makeup on with my hair tied back in a ponytail, so it’s not like I’ve found a brand new resolve to dress up and party on each and every day! It’s one thing wanting to preserve your own identity outside of being a parent but quite another to ignore the fact that you’re a parent and not accept that life IS different! I’m still not sleeping well, and pregnancy really does take it out of you!

My point is that it’s still important to sometimes remind yourself of who you still are, and do a few things to still enjoy that person. My husband and I have just under 4 months together as a couple before the baby comes along and changes our lives even more so than she has already! And although it’s tiring, we need to try and make the most of that. In fact even when the baby arrives, after the initial period of time it will take to adjust to that lifestyle, we still need to try and schedule in sometime when the Grandparents, or other family or friends can spend some time with the little one and we can steal a little bit of time away as a couple and/or see some friends and not necessarily talk about how cute her little hands are etc etc. Not easy to do but very worth it and I truly believe it’ll make those really difficult times slightly easier.

The parents that constantly talk about their children all the time are in no way bad people, in the same way that those that don’t want to be involved with children because last minute holidays and nights out are more of a priority are also not bad people. Your thirties tend to be the decade where you start to lean towards one end of the spectrum or the other. But for those of us who want to, I do believe there’s a middle. One where family time is absolutely cherished, but you also sometimes (although it can’t quite be as spontaneous as the childfree years!) find yourself at the bar past 9pm or leave the house child free without a baby changing bag ready for any eventuality (after arranging child care of course, please don’t take this as advice to leave them at home whilst you run off on an adventure!)

So if you get invited to an event that you’d usually think, ‘God no, I’ve got nothing to wear/haven’t had much sleep this week/forgotten where my hairbrush is,’ maybe just take a minute and think about the last time you did something that you know deep down you’d enjoy or even did something by yourself or with your partner. Why not at least make a couple of calls about a family member or friend babysitting, and go for it, you may just be surprised that it’s just the thing you needed! We all need to let our hair down sometimes comrades!


Baby Brain…


Ahh baby brain. Before being pregnant you hear the phrase and think, ‘oh those crazy pregnant people and they’re crazy phrases…’ And then, well then you see that line on that pregnancy test, and you see that heartbeat on the monitor, and you slowly but surely transform into a Mother. But, and I’m not sure of the exact time this happens, you start to realise something…baby brain, it’s real and it’s here to stay (but if it makes you feel better, half the time, you’ll forget!)

And, I’ve got to be honest; one of the reasons I am now a firm believer in ‘baby brain,’ is because, frankly, I hope that’s what it is! Without sounding horribly arrogant, I used to be really quite intelligent, without starting to brag, I have more than one degree and have always been lucky enough to enjoy learning. The reason I tell you this is because two weeks ago, I got into the car for a weekend working trip and wondered why my husband was looking at me quizzically. It turns out I managed to leave the house with no coat but two handbags over my shoulder. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the first sign that certain parts of my brain had packed their own bags and gone on a permanent holiday, but it was one of the clearest. I committed to my decision though and for both days I went into the theatre with my head held high and both handbags swaying confidently by my side (somewhat to commit to it and somewhat because it was hard to keep remembering which stuff was in which handbag..!)

Other examples are more common, I made a lemon cake but neglected to add any lemon. I’m somewhat reluctant to attribute that to baby brain, because although I’ve always been relatively intelligent, my common sense levels have always been awful and baking is not a natural skill I possess. Still, my baking skills were usually at least competent enough to include lemon in a lemon cake.

And I don’t know if anyone else will agree with this or my imagination has spread into parts of my head that my intelligence and rational thought used to reside, BUT I’m relatively confident that my unborn daughter is already mocking me. As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, she’s much more active at night, but get to a till and realise you’re trying to pay with a library card instead of a bank card..? Oh what do you know, a quick un-characteristic kick! Put a toasted and buttered hot cross bun in the washing up bowl leaving the knife on the plate…? Oh there’s my daughter, suddenly kicking away! Whenever I do something, roll my eyes and think, ‘thanks again baby brain,’ my unborn child seems to do anything she can to say, ‘you’re welcome!’

Luckily, the affect on your hormones and brain power is so well documented, friends and family do tend to be quite understanding, and especially luckily for me, my husband seems to have unending patience with me! On Tuesday, I cried twice; firstly because the t-shirt I wanted to wear didn’t fit and the cartoon character was so warped by my increasing size it was borderline frightening, and secondly about 20 minutes later because I burnt my hot cross bun (sadly not the one I accidentally put in a sink full of suds and dishes, that particular hot cross bun had been toasted to perfection…) But this is what I have deemed a ‘baby brain/loss of emotional control crossover’. I forgot to check the toaster level, but wouldn’t normally cry over it. I’m not saying I’ve ever had an emotional intelligence that would rival Ghandi or anything but I am starting to think that perhaps as women our intelligence levels are somehow connected to our emotional control. At this point, I would like to definitely assert that although I’m suggesting it happens to us all, (I’m more hoping perhaps that it’s not just me…) I am in no way trying to drag everyone else’s reputation with me.

The one thing that is for certain, there’s at least one other… a very close friend of mine is also pregnant, 6 weeks ahead of me; and we keep trying to meet up. Do you have any idea how difficult it is for two women addled with baby brain to catch up? I can’t remember the last time I saw her (although evidently, that’s not cast iron proof that I haven’t..!)

At the time of writing, it’s 3.30am, baby’s kicking, Daddy’s snoring and Mummy’s sipping a hot chocolate downstairs wearing only one slipper… Where’s the other one? No idea. But I’m soon to become a parent, and honestly? Losing a little bit of intelligence is a very small price to pay. Embrace the baby brain ladies, the little ones are worth it!

Training Wheels…


There’s quite a few things they don’t tell you about being pregnant, it’s not portrayed in the films, it’s not in the glossy magazines, it’s only when you’re with your friends, and usually not until you ARE pregnant that it’s all actually revealed. In one way, of course we don’t talk about it, if you’re not in that ‘club’ of having children, you don’t want to hear about some of the things you don’t necessarily ever have to deal with. Coffee time conversation about increased flatulence and itchy nipples..? No thank you very much, we’re British for crying out loud, now pour me another Earl Grey and let’s talk about the weather like civilised people..!

And that’s all well and good, a year ago if a friend had started telling me that she was having an unusually coloured discharge and did I think it could be thrush, I would have been backing away slowly, nodding and smiling and hoping it would all soon stop happening to my ears. Even writing it down is making me slightly uncomfortable, and yet all these things are a ridiculously natural part of pregnancy, perhaps one of the most natural processes there is. But now I am pregnant, there are quite a lot of things that have come as a surprise, a shock and in some cases, unnecessarily a worry.
There’s an old joke about the treatment of teenage boys searching out pictures of scantily clad women in the woods being an outdated pastime thanks to the advent of the internet; and in the same way, the internet IS a wealth of information about pregnancy. HOWEVER, this is a fickle double edged sword. For example, I am epileptic, and so when I became pregnant, one of the big concerns of myself and my husband was how would this affect our pregnancy. So we did a quick google search, ‘epilepsy and pregnancy.’ We clicked on the first result and one of the first sentences we read was this one… “the risk of death in childbirth is increased.” Aaaaand that was the end of us reading online!
The problem with the internet is every worst case scenario, even the once in a lifetime, and would never happen again scenarios come up when you start looking. For a novice in the parenting world, all you then see are warning signs and awful outcomes. Yes of course you also find the miracle stories online, the heart warming stories that for couples struggling to conceive can go to for comfort when all seems hopeless. But in general, the internet is a dangerous place, and led to at least an extra weeks worth of sleepless nights as I had nightmares of my inevitable demise.
However, the benefit of these things being passed on from woman to woman, family to family, is that it becomes part of a sacred journey. The simple fact is, my midwife gives different advice to my Mother’s generation midwife, which was different again to my Grandmother’s midwife advice. In reality, so much is unknown; the amazing journey from pregnancy to Motherhood is not an exact science and is in fact different for every woman. In some ways, there’s no point in oversharing those details because you may not experience them all; the examples above are all anecdotal from several different friends and/or family and I could add as many different ones from my own experience. It’s all terrifying, it’s all ridiculous, it’s all very empowering, and it’s how we learn to become Mothers. There’s no definitive textbook that sums up every baby either, that’s a whole new journey of fear, excitement and discovery; one we’re thrust into after just 9 months training experience.
So although it would be a hell of a lot easier if you knew what almond oil was recommended for and why you’re friends are smiling smugly when you ask; or if you were totally prepared for the feeling of your ligaments stretching without assuming that something was going horribly wrong because of the pain, it would then be even harder when you’re thrust into the unknown after the birth!
The pregnancy months are our training wheels, our parental stabilisers, the preparation for the new life ahead with a tiny one completely under our protection. Does that mean we should be grateful for each and every surprise that comes at us that we have to deal with? Probably, although I dare any pregnant woman to look me in the eye and tell me they’ve never broken down in tears because they have no idea what they’re doing! We’re scared, grateful, excited and terrified…and will remain so, but at least after these nine months, we may have grown into those feelings slightly better!
I feel like if I could play a soundtrack to this post, it would be Michael Jackson’s ‘We Are Not Alone’…! I certainly should have played it yesterday after an exhausting day left me feeling a bit fragile and overwhelmed. But don’t we all sometimes! Comrades, we’re all in training, but we can do this, YOU can do this; get the breast pads, stretchy pants, and comfort foods at the ready, we’re doing this together!

Beauty and the Snaggletooth…


This week, my husband and I had a post wedding treat and visited a local spa and photoshoot place in Cheltenham for an afternoon of relaxation with some photos at the end of it. It was a really lovely day and really nice to spend some quality time together as a couple.

As part of the treats, I had my hair and make-up done, and don’t get me wrong, it was lovely to be pampered. However, one thing I did notice is how long it took to really cake on the make-up, and the reason for this was to make sure any ‘imperfections’ were hidden. But I couldn’t help but notice that in the process, some of my individuality was also hidden, the chicken pox scar on my forehead, the faint mole on my right cheek, the scar just above my lip from falling off my bike (I have always been relatively accident prone!), the little bits on my face that made me me. I have, since the age of 11 been blighted with horrible skin. My Dad and I have spent thousands of pounds and many many hours trying out various remedies, and the acne I was assured was only teenage, is still going more than strong 18 years later. It has got me down over the years but I’ve learnt to live with it. So when the make-up was being applied I was pleased to see the spots disappear but sad to see the other parts disappearing too.

Now obviously, I can’t have it both ways, show off the little imperfections I don’t mind that only belong to me, whilst hiding the imperfections that I feel blight me; but what did strike me is just how different my face looked once caked with all the make-up. Much better than normal, I initially thought but even my husband said he barely recognised me and can that really be considered real beauty?

I’m not a big fan of modern show home type homes, I love some character in the house I live in and that character on my face was being polyfilled. I have spent many years trying to go out in public without worrying about whether people will only see the acne on my face and many years trying to prove that my character makes me more than a few spots on my skin. And I’d hate to think that my daughter would turn down event invitations if she felt her hair wasn’t in place, or she didn’t like the dress she was wearing. I want for her to be confident enough to be able to stand up, shoulders tall, and make her mark uninhibited by the way she looks, and that goes for both sides of the spectrum. A very good friend of mine gets intimidated easily on nights out because people are always staring at her as she is strikingly beautiful.

Everyone judges from the outside, and sadly that’s second nature, women’s magazines are filled with it – on one page, ‘OMG check out Beyonce’s stomach, pregnancy rumours afoot’ with a big red circle round the ‘offending’ stomach. The next page, a big special on how ‘you too can lose 4 stone on the misery diet, just look how beautiful this celebrity with unlimited funds and resources looks on it,’ with a picture of a completely unblemished airbrushed celebrity, usually with an ‘inspirational’ quote on how much better their life is now. Then on the next page, they’ll be a heartwarming story on how we should all love ourselves for who we are and not let men get us down with their horrendously shallow ways. It’s strange though, I don’t see one man on the previous two pages pointing out the flaws or coming up with plans on how we can all look much better than we do. Not only that but somewhere in the magazine you can be absolutely sure that they’ll be some kind of half naked picture of a male celebrity who has no doubt spent 6 months on a horrendously difficult training plan for a film part that we’re encouraged to drool over because of course, women aren’t as shallow as men..!

Luckily the trend IS changing, Dove did a fantastic campaign to show women of all different shapes and sizes, and a lot of ‘diets’ coming across now emphasise being healthy instead of being skinny. And I hope that my daughter will be a part of that side of things, for women AND men. The individualities of our personalities is what really makes us all unique and special and that’s absolutely the case with our looks as well. Which is why when we were offered some airbrushing of our pictures, we said no; for only a tiny bit extra they could straighten out one of my teeth that’s slightly wonky (affectionately named snaggletooth in our house, it’s always there in pictures, snaggling away, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to shut my mouth for pictures or avoid smiling just so people can see I don’t have perfect teeth.) A lot of my favourite pictures have snaggletooth out in full view but if it’s a natural picture of us all laughing together (me and my family, not me and my teeth..!) I’m certainly not going to let the slight wonk of a tooth make me hide that picture away! So no, I do not wish to spend £6 on getting rid of snaggletooth. If he was decayed, then yes, I’d spend money on sorting it, but the wonk is there to stay.

I’m lucky enough that so far the stretch marks have been minimal in pregnancy, but it’s early days still for them and if they come, they come, and they will forever be marks on my body to show what beautiful amazing thing it managed to do by growing a child and for that reason, I will cherish them. My baby made those and every woman should be proud of them.

Attached is a picture of my face, on one side, there is no redness and no imperfections and my eye looks more impressive. On the other…well on the other side you can actually see what my face looks like! The light when I took it isn’t even really good enough to show how different, but it’s my face and both sides of my face thoroughly enjoyed the day. We’ve got a couple of the pictures from the day as a keepsake as the photographer caught some really lovely natural moments; they may not have been the pictures the photographer recommended, as in one I have slight double chin and in another my hair is half covering my face. BUT, ‘double chin’ is because Tom and I are genuinely laughing together and ‘hair face’ is a moment caught between myself and my baby as I was getting ready to pose and she started kicking.

Moments is what life is made up of and moments are what we all remember, I hope my daughter has the confidence to embrace those moments without reserve. It took me a long time, I’m 29 and I’m only just starting to do so, ten years ago I would never have posted the picture attached because I wouldn’t have wanted people to see that my face is a bit puffy from pregnancy and I have bad skin. Does it mean that when teenage boys in a supermarket on a Tuesday night shout ‘pizza face’ at me I don’t care..? God no, I find a spare ten minutes and absolutely ball my eyes out! But do I stop going to the shops and/or plaster on the make-up? Absolutely not, how dare they even try to make me feel bad about the way I look. But maybe, just maybe if we all start standing up for who we really are and what we really look like, we’ll all realise that it is the smiles and not the teeth, it is the laughs and not the double chins, that are really important to cherish.



Life happens to us all…


Does anyone ever feel good enough or prepared enough to be a Mum? This morning I have been up from 6.30am because my darling daughter has been kicking me and I seem to have done something to my shoulder which means my sleeping positions are down from either side as an option; to one side, with a sharp and painful reminder when I try to roll over.

Now even from my limited experience of being nearly 10 when my baby brother was born, I know that frankly – there is much worse to come. Soon enough I will have no sleep AND a little girl who takes away any kind of napping opportunities. But I have to admit, this new lifestyle of no sleep and then keeping up with the day has had a bit of an affect on how I feel. If I can’t manage on no sleep now, how am I ever going to manage when the baby arrives?!

Logically (and in my more sane moments…!) I know that this is a massive life change and the whole point of 9 months pregnancy is for your brain, heart and every other part of your body and mind to prepare; financially, emotionally, physically etc etc. I knew I was going to go from a girl living her life depending on whatever she fancied doing from day to day, to full time Mummy with no real say on how day to day life goes in one completely smooth and flawless step. But sometimes, it’s so difficult to remember that. You have to remind yourself that friends and family Facebook pictures are the highlights from other people’s lives, nobody posts pictures at 4.30am of themselves crying because they just don’t know what else they can do to get to sleep! And I’m the same, I post the picture of a group of friends wearing Big Bang Theory masks having a fantastic relaxed and fun evening; because cut to four hours later and sitting awake in bed in my husbands arms weeping because I’m not sure I can manage with the next day after not getting any sleep, and that doesn’t make for such a socially acceptable picture! Which is why I think it’s so important to catch up with friends and family in real life, over a cup of tea you can smile over getting no sleep because you realise none of you are getting any! And that’s not even just the friends who have kids, every single person is fighting their own battles, it doesn’t matter how happy you are in your life, there are always problems. Life isn’t easy, nobody gets out alive!

So today I feel drained and soon I will leave the house to go to London, not getting home until at least 9.30pm and I’m already slightly anxious that tomorrow night will bring no reprieve. But I’m trying my hardest to not give myself a hard time about that. I have a wonderful, loving husband, I have a beautiful and healthy baby girl growing inside me. And I know that even though I’m tired, when I look back on today, I’ll remember watching the good times with friends and colleagues, I won’t remember being tired. In fact, the truth is, in reality, life is very good.

So I don’t know if anyone else is sitting at home in their pyjamas thinking, ‘no, not today, I can’t today, please not today.’ I say, I feel a bit like that too, and if I could, I’d give you a big old hug! We’re all in this together, this ridiculous journey called life. If you are lucky enough to feel prepared as a Mum, please feel free to pass on tips. So if you can people of the world, put the kettle on, close your eyes, take a deep breath and lets do this!

Hopes and dreams…


I have always been an advocate of dreaming big, that way, there’s always something to aspire to, something to look forward to, something to plan for. But I am also a ridiculous writer of lists so the opportunity to make another one is always an exciting prospect for me… (small things!)

Because of that, I have written a bucket list (for those unfamiliar with the term, it’s a list of things you want to achieve in your lifetime) I wrote it firstly as an early teen and then during the various stages of my life and development of my personality (I’m not quite as bothered about owning a pair of Kappa popper trousers as I evidently was aged 13) have updated it accordingly.

With the little one on the way, it got me thinking about what her hopes and dreams might be and as discussed in my last blog entry, we’ve been thinking a lot about what her personality will be. But one of the things that occurred to be post posting, was how much my personality was perhaps different to how my parents thought it might turn out. What did they want me to achieve? What type of adult did they hope I’d turn out to be? As a child, most of the things I did was because my parents decided it for me (I say most because I don’t think they had much say in the playdoh eating incident of 1990) I went horse riding because they took me horseriding, I learnt to play the piano because my parents arranged for me to do so. Even down to smaller things, we spent a lot of time on the beach because ‘home’ was still Brighton and we spent a lot of time with family there on the beach; and consequently I have a real love of the seaside and swimming in the sea. A love that could probably not have naturally developed in the town I grew up in in the middle of the Cotswolds.


And it then got me thinking about the bucket list in my head for my child. What do I hope for her? What do I want for her to do? Some of them inevitably will clash with who she develops to be and some she will have no interest in doing herself but for the first few years at least, it’s down to us as parents to shape her experiences.

So, as it quite nicely leads on to an opportunity to make a list, I thought I’d write a really quick one of the first 20 things that come to mind that I hope for my baby girl to experience or achieve in her lifetime. Maybe I’ll show her when she’s a teenager and she can be embarrassed by my ridiculous ideas or impressed at how many she’s already ticked off, who knows! The list is random, because it is literally some of the first things to fall out of my mind so please do excuse the random jumps in timeline!

1) See as much of the amazing world around us as well as falling in love with wherever is home

2) Spend a day in a home made fort (wearing cape and mask optional but recommended)

3) Fall in love

4) Also to have her heart broken, something that will break my heart but I really do believe is a necessary part of life (saying that, her Dad reserves the right to be on hand with a shotgun for whoever breaks it..!)

5) Disappear into a book and feel that connection to a whole new world of adventure

6) Experience new cuisines, new experiences and new ways of doing things so she can truly make decisions on her own tastes and preferences

7) Laugh so much her tummy hurts, preferably often

8) Do things with complete abandon; whether it be dancing to whatever tune is in her head regardless of whose around, or having the confidence to be into an unpopular pastime without fear of ‘being the loser’

9) Be a good friend to others and to have good friends

10) Learn about her history and be proud of where she’s come from

11) Be generous and charitable to others and appreciate whatever she may have without dwelling on what is popularly termed online these days as ‘first world problems’

12) Have a zest for life and be able to pass this zest onto other people

13) Make mistakes and be able to learn from them and not let them be in charge of her

14) have the courage to do things that scare her

15) Get completely wrapped up in a first love relationship and experience the innocent bliss of young love

16) Run down a hill, with that ridiculous freedom and energy that only kids posses

17) Build a snowman

18) Find joy in the ridiculous and appreciate the value of time spent just enjoying ‘playing’ even as an adult

19) Have no limit to her imagination

20) Have a determination to make her mark, however that may be


PS. At age 15 I managed to get that pair of Kappa popper trousers so dreams really can come true…

Personality Ponderings…

It’s very well known that once a baby is born, the parents don’t get much sleep. What I’m not entirely sure is the case for everyone is my daughters tendency to spend most of the day peacefully residing in my stomach; waiting each night for the midnight hour to start kicking away and generally having her own little private party! Consequently, I’m finding it very difficult to sleep at night and a struggle to stay awake in the day!
Once on maternity leave, I’ll be able to nap in the day and who knows how productive I can be at night (there are DVD box sets just calling out to be watched…!) but somehow I’m not sure the baby will allow me to stay a night owl even if I do give into it.
Traditionally, I have always been a night owl, could it be that I have already passed these genes onto my daughter or is it natural for babies to start early in not allowing their parents to get any sleep?! (And I use the term parents as a plural, if I’m awake, a lot of the time you can be assured my poor husband is always awake…who else am I going to complain to at 3am after all!)
It’s got me wondering how soon our children gain traits from their parents, inevitably there’ll be some they’re born with (eye colour, height etc) but are personality traits ingrained from the beginning or are they picked up during childhood?
I have traits of both my parents, I can even see traits I gained from my Grand Parents and in fact, since reading up about my paternal Great Grandmother, I can see traits that come from her too. Now, I have very happy memories spending time with my Dad, Nan, Grandad and Mum, but I’ve never met my Great Grandmother, so where has that familiar determined ambitious streak come from? Through my Grandparents? Or something beyond anyone’s control? Embedded in my DNA before I even entered the world?
One of the reasons it’s been on my mind is because I have been thinking a lot about what type of personality my baby girl will have? I am very different to my Mum, I am into very geeky things, was a bit of a loner at school, and am unashamedly enthusiastic about what I enjoy. I am also very much a family girl and a definite Tomboy; whereas in contrast my Mum is very sociable, much more feminine, not particularly into the slightly more odd things I am and has always had a lot of friends. I always wonder if we would have got on at school if we were the same age! Please don’t misunderstand me, Mum and I are very close and both love reading and going to the theatre, and are both very generous; she’s not a stranger to me(!) but in terms of personality traits, I have a lot more similarities to my Dad who amongst other things, is equally enthusiastic about the things he’s into. (For me it’s superheroes and learning, for him it’s genealogy. I think he sometimes feels we’re quite different but in fact that unashamed passion for interests is one of our biggest traits in common)
Anyway, getting back to my point (baby brain is not ideal for being particularly concise!) I wonder if my daughter will be running round to Nana’s house to get her eyebrows shaped and practising her ballet moves (fulfilling a dream of my Mums that I always failed to fulfil as a youngster!) or if she’ll be at home with me creating adventures where we both pretend to be explorers in a far away land set in the 16th century. Or if she’ll be quite different altogether, and Mum and I will be standing on the edge of various sports pitches wondering who the hell she got the sporting talent from!
My husband and I often talk about what our child will be like. The chances are, my tendency to be a precocious little madam will be strong enough to come through, with that in mind she’s likely to be stubborn and determined to get her way!! (At this stage let me highlight that I’m only concentrating on the traits on my side to keep this entry shorter than a thesis sized piece!) but will we still see the traits from the 1920’s members of my female bloodline?
Is the kicking at nighttime an already present personality trait that she’s got from her Mother? Or is nighttime activity a common baby trait that’s simply led to all this speculation! Either way, I hope for her sake she’s not as much of an over thinker as her Mother!
I also hope to start getting more sleep soon, so for whatever reason our precious little bundle chooses the middle of the night to be at her most active; I’m going to have to have some quiet words and ask very nicely that for Mummy’s sanity, she swap her daytimes for her nighttimes!