Not so jolly jabs…


Scarlett had her 12 week vaccinations yesterday, and it was just as heartbreaking as the 8 week ones. That little face, the sad tears. Only this time I had my husband there to hold MY hand! I want to be able to adequately explain to her that it’s ok, it’ll only hurt for a minute and protects her from a whole host of nasty diseases, but I can’t. She doesn’t understand, and that little confused and hurt face breaks my heart!

I had to wonder how it must play out in Scarlett’s mind…which then led to the following poem…

“Keep smiling, please don’t cry,
Eyes wet with tears, asking why.
Such a good day, up till now,
“It’s for the best”, I don’t see how.

My Daddy hugs me, Mummy’s sad,
I look up, this hurts so bad,
I’m 12 weeks old, I don’t need this,
Pain not subsiding with Mummy’s kiss.

“See you soon,” the nurse replies,
I look up, mean lady I despise,
A stickers not enough for me,
Leave me alone, make her let me be.

For the best, to keep me safe,
I have to take that on good faith.
It’s not much fun, it’s not a ball,
If I had my way I wouldn’t go at all!”


A Ghostly Getaway…


Yesterday number 5 was ticked off our list! Map roulette! Now normally, the idea would be to stick a pin in a map but as we don’t own a road map (I know, it’s shocking, these kids and their over reliance on technology..!) instead we uploaded a map showing an area of no more than an hour and a half a journey away (I know that doesn’t seem overly ambitious but time constraints told us that if we were going to make full use of a day trip, we didn’t want to be longer than three hours in the car. Next time we’ll go further afield and stay for a couple of days wherever we end up!) ANYWAY, with the map on the screen we then simply closed our eyes, pointed at random and fate decided…we were off to Wotton-Under-Edge!

We packed up the car, picked up our friend Nick & headed to the M5. On the way we did a quick google search where we found there was a church, a few pubs, but more excitingly; a place called The Ram Inn, a building that had been visited before by the Most Haunted team, right up our street! It took about an hour to drive to Wotton, and we soon located a car park. After a walk round we stopped at the Falcon Inn for a really lovely lunch of proper pub grub, also seeing a piano which the pub owners happily let us have a little play on. As we finished our lunch, we called the number we’d found for the Inn. Spookily, at first we just got through to white noise, but on the second try we got through to the owners daughter who said her Father was going shopping and we therefore might catch him if we were quick and wanted to look at the Inn.

Well, with one rather suspiciously poopy smelling baby, and one adventurer on crutches, we decided that chances are, as it was a walk down the hill, we’d probably miss him but we could still amble down and have a nosey of the outside. So taking our time, we paid the bill and made our way down. When we arrived at the Inn, we took some pictures of the outside, taking in the old and dilapidated building and creating our own spooky ambience by imagining what sort of ghosts might be haunting the area. We then were welcomed by the owner John (who as a side note is apparently known as Rambo!) who kindly let us in and offered to show us round – jackpot!

On entering, we realised very quickly that this wasn’t a pub or Inn open to the public, this was an incredibly old (1,000 years old according to the copy of the building deeds that John gave us) privately owned building that not only had a whole host of ghostly stories but even an open grave in one of the rooms underneath the cement floor! On going upstairs, John led us to the Bishops room, a room he refuses to go into himself; and one he rapped on the door three times with a cane whilst asking ‘may we please come in?’ As if that wasn’t enough to chill us to our very core (& wonder if I was an awful Mother for bringing my poor beautiful innocent baby daughter into this place!) the stab marks in the beds in the Bishops room made apparently by guests seeing bodies within the beds when staying there, was certainly enough that we didn’t spend more than 30 seconds in the room!

The Inn was built on an ancient burial ground and there are far too many stories of child sacrifice than is comfortable for a new Mum to hear! We took lots of photos and listened to all of Johns anecdotes before he apologised and said he really had to get to the shops! Unbeknownst to us all, we’d stayed till shops closing time! We left decidedly spooked, and headed back to the car. On the way home we mainly discussed whether we’d have the guts to try & stay the night in the Bishops room (decidedly no!).

And so ended our random day trip. We spent the evening with a takeaway curry and watching the episode of Most Haunted that featured The Ram Inn & other frightening YouTube clips. It had been a really fantastic day and had it not been for randomly selecting a location, we may never have stumbled upon such a scary gem of the Cotswolds. We were very lucky to be invited into Johns property after just showing up on a random Thursday lunchtime!

Map roulette is definitely something we’ll do again & next time we’ll expand it so we can go further afield. In fact the idea eventually, is to turn up at a railway station or airport and get the next train or plane and see where it takes us! A sense of adventure can take you anywhere and hopefully Scarlett will allow her imagination and inherited sense of adventure to experience as much as she possibly can.

Although, if she’s not a paranormal fan when she’s older, yesterday wouldn’t necessarily have been an ideal road trip, but in some ways that’s the beauty of map roulette. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a town with the UK’s biggest metalworks, or the worlds most comprehensive collection of napkins, and other times…well other times you’ll find yourself stood next to a dug out grave inside a haunted building built on an ancient burial ground where children have been slain and witches spirits hang around…

…still, we didn’t like sleeping anyway!


Together we walk…


Number two on our ’30 before 30′ list is to take part in a charity sporting challenge. Something we’ve both done before, but not as a family as of yet. Now, not ones to do things by halves, we’re booked onto two, in the same weekend! And to cap it off we thought we’d throw in a charity coffee morning as well!

So on Friday 26th September, we’re hosting a Macmillan Coffee morning event in Cheltenham (it’s more mid morning really so that hopefully a few people can make it on their lunch breaks) with coffee, cakes and a general catch up whilst making a few pounds for Macmillan. Then on Saturday 27th September, we’re taking part in the Sue Ryder Starlight Hike which is a late night 10k walk around Cheltenham. And finally on Sunday 28th September, we’re heading to Stratford in the morning for a 5k Colour Blast to in support of Shakespeare’s Hospice. Scarlett (as long as she’s recovered from her cold) will be coming with us for all three events and the weekend is our first big fat tick off our list.

However, one of the big reasons for the list in the first place was to a) try things we hadn’t before or experience together as a family and b) as part of showing Scarlett things we think are important. Now for a start, I know the three of us taking part in a couple of walks and baking a few cakes, is not going to change the world. But getting involved and helping others is so important, in a world where there’s so much importance misplaced on the material things in life, we really want our daughter to appreciate the priceless things, and to have a giving nature as she understands that other people aren’t so lucky. I’m also aware that she won’t grow up and do charity work based on one weekend at a time in her life that she can’t remember. But it’s important to us to have these things as a part of our lifestyle. Not something we do once when she’s seven, before sitting her down and telling her that ‘charity is good.’ We want the message to be a bit more natural than that, for her to grow up being part of similar events, as well as bigger causes and knowing that helping such causes, in whatever small way, is valuable.

We’ll make some money for Macmillan at the coffee morning by selling cakes, and we’ve made an additional donation to boost out entry fee amount to Sue Ruder, but we’ve set up a fundraising page for the Colour Blast. Our aim is to make £100, and so far we’re 40% of the way there. The link to our fundraising page is here and despite the rather blatant plug, if any of you can share this link to people you think could donate, or spare a few pounds yourself, we’d be very grateful in any help we receive to make our £100 target! As you can see, not life changing events but a little bit to three fantastic charities and a fun filled weekend to boot!

So we’ve been going out for walks with Scarlett in tow to train for the 15k we’ll be walking overall in the two days, and Scarlett and I are doing our best to get our cold bugs beaten in good time to be fighting for for the three events.

Our big charity weekend is less than a week away so please feel free to come and join us (see links below for details), any donations happily received and one task on our 6 month list soon to be completed!


Battling the bugs…


Scarlett has her first cold. It’s heartbreakingly adorable! There’s something about little baby sneezes and coughs that are really cute, which is strange because coughs and sneezes in adults are very annoying as noises go! It’s times like this however, we realise quite how inexperienced and helpless we are as parents.

Scarlett’s 12 weeks old, so she doesn’t understand why things hurt, why she can’t breathe through her nose properly. So understandably she’s crying a lot more and has this little sad look on her face, a look of confusion that yanks at the heart strings. When she’s feeding, she can’t breathe through her nose so she’s also feeding lots, but not for long. And sleeping although much more required, is much less possible…for all of us! We can’t adequately communicate to her that she will be fine. We just want to wrap her up, cuddle her and tell her that she’ll feel better soon and that we’ll look after her; which, don’t get me wrong, is exactly what we’re telling her but she doesn’t understand.

We’d started to think we had the hang of being parents (I know I know, stupid!) and then she’s poorly and we realise how little we know.

“She’s really warm, what temperature is too high?”

“Is it ok she’s being sick so much?”

“She’s filled her nappy three times in the past hour, is that too many?”

Three examples of hundreds of questions we’ve asked ourselves over the last couple of days.

As naturally busy people, we’ve also had to learn very quickly that although we may well be able to power through when we are ill, with a poorly baby, things have to slow down & stop around her. This weekend we had, between us, a good friends hen do, two good friends birthdays and two big work engagements. The work engagements we’re able to work around, we have to, we’re freelance and we have to have money coming in. But the social stuff all had to be cancelled. Now we’re both pretty well known for being extremely well meaning but chaotic, so we often have what could be considered strange things going on,

‘sorry we can’t make the meal as we’re up in York castle meeting a group of monks that day.’

‘….well quite, why wouldn’t you be?!’

but we really hate having to let people down especially at last minute. But one of the biggest learning curves certainly I’ve had is that once you’ve had a child, being a people pleaser is infinitely more difficult. Whereas normally I’d stretch myself as necessary to be able to fit things in, now, if Scarlett is unwell or we can’t arrange adequate child care, that’s it, game over, attendance missing.

The majority of people understand this and realise that with a baby on board, there’ll be times when we’re unavoidably unavailable, but it’s certainly difficult to adjust to when our whirlwind lifestyle (a whirlwind we’re used to) comes to a grinding halt beyond our control!

I also am now filled with a cold, so getting up in the middle of the night with razor blades in my throat, a pneumatic drill in my head and a running tap in my nose, as well as a baby who needs to take all the nutrition she can find from me makes a common cold uncommonly difficult to power through from!

All in all, this week has been a lesson that we’re very much still amateurs in the parenting game. Friday and Saturday night have been spent tucked up indoors at home, after getting a trolley full of calpol, throat sweets, tissues & lemsips (only the Dr recommended calpol for baby of course!). And not sat in a cottage in Oxford reminiscing about the time we bum boarded down a French slope after dinner with the bride to be, but instead taking in turn to walk Scarlett up and down (and telling her the story instead!), texting people to let them know we’re not going to be able to make something, and generally pausing as much as we can and taking care of our daughter (and secondarily ourselves). The ‘we like to take her everywhere with us so she can get used to our lifestyle and experience as much as possible,’ ethos is sound, but only when it’s suitable. Some Saturdays, regardless of what’s going on, will have to be in front of the TV with snacks and XFactor. And actually in a weird way, although it’s been tough, we’ve really cherished the bits of family time we’ve had together. In between confused tears and baby snuffles, we’ve had really lovely moments. She’s found the noise of me blowing my nose hilarious and the odd giggle and little smiles have been so rewarding. And although as a rule it’s not generally our style, I have to admit, sitting on the sofa, all cuddled up, homemade hot toddy’s in hand (our hands, not Scarlett’s!) Simon Cowell and co on the television, (despite the constant panic google checks…!) we made a happy trio indeed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, her glands seem swollen, let me just check again online what’s normal…

(As a slight aside, I’d like to add that I hope my lovely friend Naomi has had the best hen party ever. And a very happy birthday to both Pano and Maddy! We hope to celebrate with you all soon!)


Our poorly pea…


Our beautiful baby girl is poorly, her very first cold. Not a first we were looking forward to and one we can’t help but feel slightly helpless in as she’s clearly in discomfort and there’s little or nothing we can do about it but cuddle her, feed her, and try and show her as best we can that she’ll be ok soon.

“Daddy’s on the couch with you, Mummy’s in a chair,
Taking turns to comfort you, showing you we’re there.
You’ve never had a cold before, you’re only 12 weeks old,
we’re doing the best we can for you, using tips that we’ve been told.

Your little eyes are slightly red, your little nose is too,
your little tears are heartbreaking, there’s nothing we can do.
The night feels never-ending, as we wipe away your tears,
checking for your temperature, abating our own fears.

We’ve added in a bottle, to quench your increased thirst,
Both of us attending you, baby Scarlett coming first.
We wish we could just tell you, that all will be just fine,
but we can only hug you, you’ll feel better in good time.

Some people say these moments, are too much to bear,
A night of broken hours, both parents needed there.
We used to think that also, dread the hardest parts,
But now we are here with you, you’re the best thing in our hearts.”

Get well soon sweetheart X

Generation Gap Part 1…


As our daughter grows up she’ll be immersed in her generations culture, who knows what they’ll see as the next big thing…probably technology we don’t have yet, fashion we won’t understand and some ridiculous dance craze all the cool kids will be doing! My husband and I often chat about what we were into as teenagers and often it’s not necessarily what the history books will remember as being part of that era. For example, there is one photo of me in a shell suit, but it was very much a one off. Likewise in the 90’s there was a huge call for wearing sports branded clothes, but I was never really part of it.

When I was a child, I used to look at pictures of my parents and laugh at their flared trousers, and the ridiculousness that were my Mothers eyebrows (or lack thereof!) and I know they weren’t necessarily into the ‘in’ stuff of the 60’s & 70’s where they did their growing up. So I thought I’d create a little time capsule of things we were into for our baby to mock in the future whilst wearing her super trendy crimped hair without realising my generation were there first…

1) Saturday nights were for a steady stream of the classics, with only four channels, there wasn’t quite the competition for viewing and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because everyone was watching Generation Game, Gladiators, Blind Date and Noels House Party. From roughly 6pm, you didn’t really need to leave the lounge. In my house, Big Break and Casualty were also part of that staple, although Casualty was for my Mum, and God knows how a programme about snooker captured our attention! I went to see Gladiators live, that’s right kids, I even owned a foam finger, I was essentially as cool as it could get for that one day!

2) Autumn meant one thing…conkers! We’d all have conker fights at school (until they got banned after a few conker related injuries) in my school, there was a dark side, the pressure to win was enough to push people to the edge…microwaving your conker was supposed to harden it even more and it was like the secret drugs scandal of the playground. You wouldn’t be a true winner if you’d microwaved your conker, you were shamed! Personally I always used to get more injuries trying to get a hole in the bloody thing to put the string through.

3) Tamagotchis. These tiny little egg shaped computer key rings with a virtual pet you have to keep alive and look after were a huge and ridiculous fad. There was even a story about a couple going to court to gain custody of their tamagotchi in their divorce. Seriously. I had a few, they all lasted a few days. It was possible to keep them ‘alive’ for ages but my success was parallel to my success keeping plants alive, the more I looked after them, the quicker they tended to die. I lost interest in Tamagotchis quite early on but it really lasted elsewhere!

4) Funfaxes! Oh yes, for a while organisational fun was where it was at! They were like Filofaxes, only for kids. God knows why kids needed to be so on top of their paperwork but we loved it! I suppose with the 80’s bringing about the image of the successful businessman walking round with his briefcase & Filofax, we all wanted to look like that banker. No I don’t mean banker, what’s the word I’m looking for…? Anyway, as well as the classic Funfax, they spawned a whole host of themed ones, with various things going on, sports, mystery, you name it, there was a Funfax for it. Both my husband and I favoured a detective one that looked like it was wrapped in brown paper with ‘TOP SECRET’ emblazoned on it in yellow writing. We were both pretty awesome as kids.

5) Choose your own adventure books. You’d be reading a page in a book, get to the end and Timmy & Sharon had to decide where to go and as the reader, you had to choose. ‘To walk through the cave, turn to page 5/to walk round the mountain turn to page 7,’ so you’d turn to page 5 and, oh shit we got eaten by a cave troll, the end…at which point you immediately went back to page 4 and decided actually the mountain looks pretty good after all. If these can be found for sale, I’m still partial for a cheeky choose your own adventure!

6) We were the first generation of video gamers, starting with machines like the Atari which was one joystick & a red button. I spent hours with my cousins & friends playing Pacman & Spider-Man. As teenagers, there were two camps & you tended to be on one or another, Sega & Sonic, or Nintendo & Mario brothers!

7) We were also the first generation of internet users, we were the first lot of teenagers to get home from school, turn the computer on, dial up to the internet (wait 4 hours for connection) and chat to our friends on msn messenger or aol online! And no doubt halfway through a desperately important conversation about how fit the sixth formers were, a parent would pick up the phone and cut the connection! Cue a twenty minute process to continue, “so anyway yeah, did you see James Bowman in assembly? So hot.” Like I said, desperately important stuff!

8) As kids, TV was as described above, but as teenagers, a second wave of reality show (reminiscent of Opportunity Knocks) suddenly appeared and took us by storm, and before Simon Cowell became the king of judges, we knew nasty Nigel! Popstars and then Popstars the Rivals, without which we wouldn’t have had Girls Aloud and Cheryl Cole. I even had a Popstars final night in one of my first flats and watched the Will Young vs Gareth Gates final, the production value of which these days is utterly dwarfed. In the XFactor, first auditions have more pazzazz but at the time, it was quite the TV event. One of my clearest memories of Popstars is Zoe Birketts performance of Get Happy. The new wave of reality show has been going strong for the last 15 years or so now, who knows where there’ll be in another 15!

9) We as teenagers watched the first series of Big Brother, before it was a cheap and tacky channel 5 programme trying to find the craziest individuals desperate for their 15 minutes of fame, it was a really interesting social experience, one of my personal highlights was the weekly psychology episodes where a psychologist with the biggest eyes would explain why their behaviour was likely to be as such. A relatively realistic cross section of society with Craig winning the first series & taking home the £70,000 prize. The programme has now morphed into a grotesque version of itself, I miss the naughty Nick Bateman days, a format that would be deemed a boring science show now, but at the time was brand new and unlocked a real voyarism.

10) The rise of the alcopop! First there was Hooch which is apparently now back..! And then there was Smirnoff Ice, VK vodka drinks, Reefs, Bacardi Breezers and many more. Available at obscenely cheap prices (you could usually get 3 for £5) we were never sure if it was the alcohol content or the sugar & colouring content that made us feel worse in the morning! More friendly on the teenage palate than real spirits and cheaper than beer or wine, it was the beginning of the binge drinking phenomenon – not that that was really the first time the UK had unhealthy drinking habits, that’s a historical issue! But it certainly came to the forefront of the media, especially with the uprising of the ‘ladette’ image of the 90’s which I was never part of, although I have to admit as a teenager I was somewhat familiar with an alcopop or two! As an epileptic, in my teenage years I never drank to the same excess my friends did but VK pineapple was my alcopop of choice.

In the interest of not completely disappearing down memory lane, I’ll leave it there…for now!

Who knows what fads we’ll see in the future, every generation thinks the next one is more wild, less sensible and worse than their’s. I’ve had this discussion with my Dad, he’s part of the baby boom post war generation, the one that then could not stop living to excess in the 80’s and caused my generation all these financial problems, so if there’s fingers to be pointed, I’m going to suggest the post war/over excited one..! But with ever emerging trends, each generation sees their own fashions, fads and new features. I’m excited and terrified to see what my baby girl gets into, and she’ll go through the same arc of mocking us for our interests, getting into her own (& not realising a lot of them are recycled!) and then realising she’s too old to be ‘hip’ as the ‘current’ generation come out with new things!

As parents, we can only try and ensure when she gets to the teenage years, *gulp* she’s as safe and sensible as possible. My husband and I both look back and think to some stupid things we did as kids fondly but now with an understanding for why our parents were maybe a bit uptight about it..! I think back to certain events with a whole new perspective (must remember to apologise for a few things..!) a perspective I’m going to try and remember my baby won’t have until she has kids of her own, if in fact she even chooses to have kids of her own.

So do I look forward to the day Scarlett says she’s going for a quick drink with friends and then we get a 4am call asking to be picked up from some nightclub? Not at all! But is it a right of passage for her to take her turn in making her own, probably not very sensible, decisions? Sadly…yes it is!


Birthday Bucket List…


Avid readers of my blog will know that my poor husband celebrated his 30th birthday with a small family BBQ, which was lovely but should have included several other events that had to be cancelled as I was pregnant and had a rather severe kidney infection which had landed me in hospital. However, I turn 30 six months today and we were chatting about how to celebrate. We decided against my husband picking up a hospital worthy infection (that’s soooo 2014 dahhling.) and the conversation led onto all the things we thought we’d have done by the time we were thirty.

We’re both really quite lucky in that we’ve both ticked off quite a lot of our individual lists, married, baby , have travelled etc.. But it gave us an idea, an idea that enabled me to write a list (win win!). We have six months, so we may not be totally victorious and a couple of the entries will be somewhat down to luck. HOWEVER, allow me dear friends, to introduce you to our new challenge…

30 Things to do before we’re 30!

I know I know, my husband is already 30, but as I effectively ruined his birthday, we’re now turning 30 on the 5th February as a team!

The rules are as follows;

– we both have to finish each entry, where necessary with adjustments (for example, my husbands gluten free so any food challenges will need to be necessarily adjusted.)

– some of these things one or both of us has done before, we may well have included it to experience it anew together, or to include our new addition baby Scarlett

– our main constraint will be financial so where we can we’ll be doing things creatively to avoid unnecessary costs!

– all are welcome to join in with us and add additional activities to add to our challenge album!

– number 22, apologies to all our parents who will massively disapprove but henna also counts and that’s not as permanent so you never know, we may go for henna instead…!

1- Visit Stonehenge
2- Take part in a charity sporting event together
3- Perform music live together (me singing, Tom playing an instrument, something we do at home a lot but never have done in public together…because of fear!)
4- Host a murder mystery evening (I love these and have done them before, now I have a baby I suspect it’ll be slightly less raucous!)
5- Play map roulette (pack the car, grab a map, close our eyes, stick a pin in it, most likely miss the map and yelp in pain, eventually hit a random location and head on off!)
6- Do a dance class together (dance style not yet specified, suggestions welcome, maybe we’ll try a few!)
7- Attend a dinner/ball (the last one we went to we organised which was slightly more stressful!)
8- Do some volunteering
9- Create a piece of artwork
10- Have a movie marathon day (movies to be pre selected, day will be suitably accompanied with snacks and all are welcome to join us)
11- Try pole dancing (we may wimp out of a class but Vikki assures us she has a home based pole we can try!)
12- Face my fear at Birdland and feed the penguins (with head keeper Ali’s help!)
13- Appear on a gameshow (assisted by gameshow experts Stuart & Ali)
14- Eat a pot noodle sandwich (as pointed out by Matt – not acceptable after you’r thirty and neither of us has ever done this!)
15- Have a weekend in Tom’s honourary homeland Scotland (hopefully including visits to see Toms honourary countrymen!)
16- Try a deep fried mars bar (well…when in Scotland…!)
17- Go to a foreign restaurant and order stuff we’ve never tried/can’t pronounce (recommendations welcome)
18- Attend an ancient English festival (along the lines of the Newent onion fayre etc)
19- Go ghost hunting (on an official hunt, guided by a knowledgable friend…or rogue! One suspects October will be best for this!)
20- Meet a celebrity (a bit of luck may have to feature in this one!)
21- Attend a live music event
22- Get a tattoo (cue an angry email from my Father in 3…2…1..!)
23- Go for a cookery lesson
24- Have a family photoshoot (we have a huge family so the more the merrier but I suspect it will only include parents & siblings if we even manage to co-ordinate that when we’re all free!)
25- Go on a steam train (either just a journey or make the most of one of the events they run)
26- Complete 5 random acts of kindness
27- Make Sloe Gin
28- Arrange & have a baby naming ceremony for Scarlett (more complicated than it sounds!)
29- Start a band (this must include more than just the two of us and at least one live performance, band member volunteers welcome!)
30- Secret number 30! (So named as I’m planning it as my husbands Christmas present!)

There are hundreds of things we could list, but this is our ‘turning 30′ list, chances are we’ll then have a more expansive list, maybe ’35 things to do before turning 35’ (it’s going to start getting tricky when we approach 70…!) thank you to all friends and family who made suggestions, any that didn’t make it onto this list are probably down to budget (or time constraints!) and have been placed on the next list on a wider timescale (We WILL get to Australia Lou I promise!)

Challenges like this are common in my life, I love a good goal or adventure, and we want to instill the same sense of fun (including or excluding the love of lists, that’s up to her!) in Scarlett however she may choose to use it! Where possible she will be involved, after all, she’s a huge part of our life and we want her to be a huge part of it even if she’ll have no memory of this particular one!

The challenge officially starts today, and looking at Scarlett’s smiling face (said smiling face pictured…!), she’s keen to help me, so if you’ll excuse me comrades, I had best get on, we have a list of 30 things to complete in six months…



Family on tour…


My husband and I have our own separate career paths but since getting married have also combined our skills and created a family business together. All three of these career strands have one rather major plus in common, to the most part, they can all be continued round our baby.

At two months old she has spent many hours in theatres, studios and on sets either being looked after by one of us whilst the other one works, or being incorporated into the days activities. Last week, we together ran a stage combat course and Scarlett was good as gold, got plenty of cuddles from participants and very rarely had to be walked outside because she was making a fuss.

The family at work!

The family at work!

Some asked us if we were going to get ‘normal jobs’ after finding out we were going to have a baby. Hell no!! We wouldn’t be the parents we aim to be if we gave up and took ‘regular’ jobs, and in the year since we found out we were expecting, she has only been a source of motivation and inspiration, and both of us have seen our careers flourish as a result. It hasn’t been easy, it would have been much easier to get office jobs with the security that regular hours bring and the financial safety that sort of employment provides. But fighting through together several months of really scrimping and pulling together means a stronger foundation and more confident long term success.

It’s a lifestyle that Scarlett may grow up to hate, she may get to a certain age and crave the routine of a 9-5pm job. And that’s fine. Even to us, it’s important to us to have a ‘base’. Somewhere we can all call home regardless of how often we travel about, it’s important that in four years time, she goes to the same school and is able to develop relationships etc. etc.. But alongside that, we hope her life will be enriched by the opportunities our life choices give her, both of us frequently get the opportunity to travel and if we’re not working at the same time, we can travel together. We both get the opportunity to work with some amazing people and in amazing places, and our lives are constantly creative and full of different experiences.

Later this week, we start a week we’re dubbing ‘Jordvengers on Tour!’ Despite being horrendously cheesey wordplay and sort of geeky, it’s a perfect example of how we want our life to be. My husband is working three jobs, one of which we have accommodation sorted for, the other two of which are near enough that we can visit some family and friends, and I have one job but both husband and baby are able to accompany me on set. So we have seven days away, five days working, two days visiting people and/or places and as a bonus, our travel is covered within the bits of employment. We leave Thursday so admittedly, with a baby, it means half a day packing and preparing. My biggest worry though is the soundtrack, for our longer journeys I’ve been making cd’s for the car or ‘supercool mega mixes’ and the pressure to keep them of a suitably high standard is pretty intense!

Of course, it’s slightly harder than the above paragraph describes (the lifestyle now not the cd’s!) we have to allow extra time for journeys to account for any feeds, no journey is light on luggage and if we’re away for work and Scarlett has a bad night, that’s tough! Depending on which of us is working, the other can do the lions share of a difficult night, but otherwise, caffeine is our last defence!

It’s a lifestyle that’s definitely not for everybody, and it’s a lifestyle that will have to have adjustments to accommodate our family’s most important member, but it definitely suits us and will hopefully provide our daughter and any future ‘Jordvengers’ (I’m not even apologising for how ridiculous that sounds!) with a creative, fun and rewarding upbringing.

There are hundreds of ways to bring up your children, and you’ll never get everyone agreeing that your way is the right way. But the happiest path is the one you’re most enthusiastic about, the path that even if it seems to have trees blocking the way and roadworks all over it, is the one that in your heart you know is right for you. Your friends may think you’re crazy, your family might despair, but if it’s where you want to go in life, it’ll always be worth it in the end. We all want the best for our kids, and that includes them living their life to the full, but how can we expect them to choose what makes them happy if we don’t lead by example? It’s not necessarily the easiest choice to choose the life you really want, and sometimes it seems like it’s not worth the journey, but doing what you really love will always be worth getting past the trees in the way, always be worth fighting past the roadworks. Compromises won’t be as hard when you’re passionate about where you’re going and if you don’t feel like you can quite do it for yourself, do it for your kids. I won’t pretend it’s not hard work but I can promise it’s worth it. For now dear friends, I must go, I have a mixed cd to prepare, we’re soon to go off on another working week adventure so there’s just one thing left to do…


Baby’s bedtime scare…


I’ve seen Paranormal Activity, let’s be honest, we all have, I’ve seen all of them, even the questionable spin off ‘The Marked Ones.’ Which is how I know not to set up a video camera with recent events. Our beautiful baby girl is becoming more sociable, that’s not to say she’s organising soirees or heading out to night clubs, but we’re getting more and more smiles and coos.

When we’re in the bedroom, usually when I’m feeding in the middle of the night, she often looks around, gives me little smiles, it’s adorable….until…

…there’s a certain spot on the ceiling with no noticeable marks or anything of note to look at, that she’ll every so often look up and stare at. Like, really stare at. And then she’ll smile! The sort of smile we get when she’s looking at us and we put in a lot of effort to get a smile, a reactive kind of smile!

The only other time she does similar is when we’re sitting on the sofa next to the stairs, she’ll stare upwards, through the banisters and up towards the landing, but in these times, she doesn’t usually smile, just stares. You know…as if something from the bedroom comes to the landing and peeks down the stairs to us downstairs when it’s not hanging out on our bedroom ceiling.

I’m slightly ashamed to say that I’m too afraid to look at the same spot on the ceiling or up through the stairs when she’s looking there! One things for sure, I won’t be setting up a video camera anytime soon, I’m happier not seeing anything. If it starts to get stranger, my instinct is to move house and burn this one down. I’m a massive horror film fan but not so much a horror life fan!

They say that kids are much more sensitive to the paranormal and more likely to sense and see things. My logical mind says that there are hundreds of more sensible explanations…my daughter is utterly beautiful but I have to admit when she looks up at that ceiling, she beautifully terrifies me!