Busy and blessed…

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In the past month, we’ve been in Paris, Brussels, St Ives and we’re on our way to Portugal to end off a very busy month. And those destinations don’t account for the work done in our hometown and nearby. We’ve been burning the candles at both ends, trying to make the most of the wonderful places we’ve been as well as getting the work done and we consequently found ourselves yesterday with a huge mound of washing, a backlog of emails and we were really REALLY tired!!

We are very lucky to have an extremely supportive family and yesterday our Mums took a couple of bags of washing each and a couple of bags filled with charity shop donations each. It was an enormous weight off our shoulders to say the least! Our always chaotic home is now back in its (still chaotic but that’s how we like it!) order and our bags are packed for a week in Portugal! 
It’s a special trip as its a commemorative week to celebrate my brothers 21st birthday, my 30th and Dad’s 65th. We’re going to a villa we’ve been to several times before but it’s the first time it’s not just the three of us Lade’s! This landmark year we’re accompanied by my husband and baby, and my brothers girlfriend. It will technically be our fourth flight of the month (and our seasoned travelling daughters fourth flight of her little life so far!) but this time, when we arrive, the only thing we’ll need to do is pick up the hire car and head to the supermarket for supplies for a relaxing week in the sun! 

When we get home, we’ll have a backlog of emails and the day we land we have to head straight to a theatre festival dinner event we’re guests at, so it’ll be business as usual but I think one of the reasons we’re able to do it all is because we really really love it! 

Last week we hosted a theatre group at home while my husband choreographed their fights and I provided a lunch for them all whilst Scarlett happily played in her little adventure area, we also spent three days in a theatre in St Ives working on a production of West Side Story whilst chatting to cast and crew for an article I’m writing. In the same trip, as we were in such a beautiful town, we also went on a boat trip to see seals at the aptly named Seal Island(!) and had a fantastic Eurovision Song Contest party at the aforementioned theatre! A lot of people commented on how well Scarlett slept anywhere despite the noise and how happily she played and spent time with everyone whilst there were loud sound effects and so much going on. This is down to the fact that her entire life has been spent in and around theatres! She’s very used to our world of chaos and ridiculousness! So much so, it’s now mundane enough to sleep through a lot of the time!

Our priority of course is always Scarlett’s welfare, we make sure she’s got enough to eat, drink and schedule in enough time for her to sleep. She gets lots of interaction with other children who similarly spend a lot of time in theatres as well as children with more ‘traditional’ upbringings, and she also is very comfortable in the company of other adults from all walks of life. She does not suffer from our lifestyle, our opinion is that she hugely benefits from it. In the month of May as we have not yet had a quiet day, it’s only us that realise how tired we are from our schedules!

Whilst we’re away, our Mums will be making our lives a bit easier by going through our washing, and my Dad and brother will be making the week slightly easier by giving us a bit of time throughout the week to have some child free relaxing time (and of course Dad made the whole thing possible by sorting the holiday in the first place!). 

All in all, my point is that we’re often asked how we do it all and the truth is, we couldn’t if it weren’t for our supportive and loving family! Between the four Grandparents, two Uncles and Aunties, we have eight people who are always at the end of the phone when we need to ask for last minute babysitting, or a lift somewhere, or (and often most importantly!) an ear at the end of the phone. 

I’ve spoken before about the fact that my parents are divorced and have been for many years but they did it for my brother and I (and having both lived with them as a married couple, we can both confirm they made the best decision!). I’m not being flippant, my parents are a fantastic team, they are a real example of how to ‘break up a family’ correctly. Because they made that decision we are all able to now spend Christmasses all together and other important events. When Scarlett was born; they both, together, welcomed the three of us home from the hospital with a big (and very welcomed!) lunch and had decorated our lounge with ‘baby girl’ balloons and banners. Many people comment on how well they get on and how they can’t believe they’re not a couple. But believe me they’re not! I don’t think either of them will mind me saying that as a romantic pairing, they’re a disaster!! But both my brother and I always toast their wedding anniversary, half as a joke (we’ve always been wind up merchants and it’s fun to mock them both, it’s a kids prerogative!) but half as a toast, not to their marriage, but to their parenting partnership. I don’t know any other couple that divorced so well..! They are still a divorced couple however and so this week in Portugal, we’re going with Dad and not Mum, and we’re chatting to Mum about arranging a trip away at some point which Dad won’t be invited to! They both have a very close bond with Scarlett and although they’re in different situations, neither has a better or worse deal than the other.

Likewise, on the other side, Scarlett spends one day a week with her paternal Grandparents and always comes back (usually with a couple of tell tale cake crumbs or icecream marks!) having visited a lot of the locally based family. We are certainly not doing this alone! 

My husband and I are slightly different. Just in general! Compared to the rest of our family, we have a very ridiculous lifestyle and have provided our parents and siblings with plenty of eye rolls and knowing glances over the years. Before we joined up to be ridiculous together, we were both individually ridiculous and caused our relations all kinds of hassle in the years before we sorted ourselves out and carved the road we’re now on. And even now, when we’re financially comfortable, and successful in our careers with a happy, healthy daughter, they still all come round sometimes to find us surrounded by washing because we’ve decided getting EVERYTHING out of the wardrobe to have a sort out the day before we go abroad would be a good idea…! Luckily, as we will always do with Scarlett, we’re not yet old enough to stop getting treated to the odd takeaway curry, or the washing up getting magically done, and as many more adulter adults (it’s a phrase..) than us have confirmed, we are unlikely to ever get too old to be able to go to our parents, it’s the joy of the lifelong contract you unknowingly sign when you first discover you’re going to be a parent! And hopefully when Scarlett chooses her own path in life, however chaotic or different to our own tastes it may be, we will always provide a crash mat for her to fall back on in case things don’t turn out as she hopes, or just for those days she needs to fall back for a little rest and a cuddle!

So thank you Mum and Dad (and Mum and Dad in law!) no children really thank their parents enough and we’re just the same but hopefully they all know how much we appreciate them. They all tell us to slow down a bit or try and relax more and even as they say it, I think they know we will mean to (really!) but probably won’t(!). None of us would be without our parents, and one day we sadly will have to be, so in the meantime; sorry for not slowing down (this is an apology in advance but we think you know this..!), sorry we don’t thank you all enough and thank you, for everything.

   
     

Extras from Exes…

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How long do you keep things that belonged to ex’s? I’m currently watching an episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and it’s an old one where Robin & Ted argue over whether you should keep stuff that belonged to ex’s. Ted himself says in the narrative that by the time you reach your late twenties, you have been in several relationships. 

By the time you hit thirty, everyone has a relatively significant past behind them. And your life on this day, is a culmination of where you’ve been and who you’ve met. I’ve never really understood why people’s ex relationships become a real taboo part of anyone’s future. Whether or not you regret a relationship or regardless of if they ended amicably or less so, it’s all a part of your story. In the same way that we all have lifelong friends, and some friends in various parts of our lives who we grow apart from or fall out with or lose touch with, ex relationships are markerstones of our lives. 

You also gain so much from every person you encounter in your life. Even if the lesson is learning from mistakes. My husband and I met aged 5, but of course, between then and now, we have both had many relationships and friendships and experiences. All of those have brought us to the point we are now and without those experiences, we may never have come together when we did. 

So however disastrous an encounter may have been (a short-lived internet dating experience comes specifically to mind!) it was part of my growth and I therefore don’t regret it. And as for belongings, maybe I could be accused of being cold but I can’t relate objects to being emotionally powerful if you no longer have an emotional attachment to them. So for example, I have my Nan’s sewing box and it means the absolute world to me. But likewise I have a shot glass from a trip to Amsterdam that a group of friends (along with an ex partner) went on which technically my ex bought me. But when I look at it, because I no longer have feelings for my old boyfriend, I instead remember laughing with one of my best friends when I got my hand stuck in a sliding door(!), and a friend narrating our inner monologues at dinner, and many other happy memories from my experiences in Amsterdam!

Memories of Amsterdam!

Memories of Amsterdam!

Being in a relationship is not just really about two people, you meet their family, and meet new friends. And when the relationship ends, it can often be hardest to lose the associated family, especially if it’s a family you were a part of for some time. And likewise, some objects or possessions are not about the individual, but more a time of your life that was important to you. I completed degrees while in other relationships but that doesn’t mean I relate those events to the person I happened to be with at the time and that’s true of everyone. And what are you going to do, pretend whole chunks of your life didn’t exist?! I went on a weekend away to Brighton for my 21st birthday with an ex boyfriend, should I pretend I never turned 21, not mention it in case my husband gets upset that there were men in my life before him?! No don’t be ridiculous, if any one of them had meant as much to me as my husband does, I would be married to them instead! I had a great time in Brighton for my 21st and I’m not going to photoshop the photos, there’s no need to hide your past unless there’s unresolved feelings or issues which for both my husband and I, there aren’t. We both know about each other’s past, and have happened upon at least one of each other’s ex partners when out and about. Anyone who has been a part of my husbands life, past, present or future are part of who he is and they are therefore all held positively in my eyes. And would always be welcome in our home (I mean, call first, just in case we’re out, but you know what I mean..!). 

Nobody has the right to take away from any relationship you’ve had in the past, the memories you have from that time, or how it affected and changed you’re life. And that counts for all relationships, not just romantic ones. I understand jealousy, and sometimes jealousy can be very healthy for a relationship, it can keep things exciting. When he’s doing a workshop, my husband often gets a lot of female attention and watching other women find my husband so attractive reminds me how I first felt when we initially got together. Someone once asked me on a weekend workshop whether I knew if he was seeing anyone, and although a mischievous side of me was tempted to tell her to go for it and watch the ensuing awkwardness as my husband a) never realises when someone is flirting with him and b) then feels very uncomfortable when he does realise. But as funny as it would have been for me, I couldn’t be that cruel and told her that I hoped he wasn’t seeing anyone as I was his wife! 

The important thing to realise is that life is emotionally linear, as you grow and change, your feelings and emotions grow and change. The relationship I have with my husband is nothing to do with a relationship he had aged 17. And likewise, belongings that have accrued from other relationships in no way negatively affect your present relationship.

My parents have always been very open about their past lives (meaning life before i was around…also known as the dark ages..!) and I’ve learnt through them and learnt from their mistakes as well as my own. That openness is something I want to pass onto our daughter and any subsequent children. Both my husband and I have made plenty of mistakes in our lives, and by being honest and open with Scarlett, hopefully she won’t make the same ones (or at least she can put her own unique twist on them). But she will also learn from the relationships we’ve had. Although by the time she’s a teenager, our past relationships will be ancient history to her! But if she ever comes home in tears after someone has broken her heart, I can sit her down and tell her about when I got a phonecall at 15 to tell me my boyfriend of a year had cheated on me, and tell her how my heart sank, how I felt like it was the end of the world and I’d never feel happy again. I won’t be telling her because my heart is still broken, I don’t still lie awake upset about it! But at that point in time did go through it and so I can share the experience with her. I had my heart broken a few times, my heart has some scars from throughout the years and when I met my husband it wasn’t a perfect heart, it was misshapen and bruised and I had been using it for 28 years; and as much as we’d all like to believe that when we meet our life partner, we do so with a clean slate and perfectly new heart, that’s not the case. But that’s ok! It’s much better when two experienced hearts with a more unusual shape realise that they fit each other perfectly, the scars and individual journey have only shaped them to come together and fit. And for that, you both have your pasts to thank! So if anything, you should revere the keepsakes from the journey to find one another! 

My personal view is that If you try and erase your past, you’re disrespecting your future. No-one can truly move forward without accepting/forgiving/healing and letting go of your past, and as soon as you have done so, you realise that possessions can only have emotion attached to them if you give them such.

My first ever boyfriend age 12, happy memories but in no way a threat to my husband..!

Me and my first ever boyfriend age 12, happy memories but in no way a threat to my husband..!

So coming back to ‘How I Met your Mother’, I agree with Ted (at the beginning of the episode in question!) it’s crazy to expect your partner to get rid of everything they have been given from an ex. Yes, if they want to put up romantic pictures together, that’s a whole other issue and slightly more of a problem(!) but there’s certainly no reason to throw out a lamp because someone from the past has touched it! 

And so to my darling daughter, when she shuts herself in her bedroom with some loud music on shouting that no-one understands her, I can tell her with experience, that everything’s going to be ok. Meeting several Mr or Miss Wrongs is absolutely necessary in finding your way and growing. We all get hurt in life and it’s full of ups and downs, but whatever the situation, you should always look back with a smile. On your own personal journey in life, there’s bound to be a few dodgy service stations, a couple of fabulous side roads, but it’s all worth it and necessary to get to your final chosen destination!

Holiday heaven…

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I was planning on writing some blog posts while we were away, after all, it was Scarlett’s first trip abroad, first time on a plane, first time on a family holiday just the three of us. However, with three days in Paris and two days in Brussels, working in both and having never been properly to either city before, there wasn’t really any time to sleep let alone write! 

We were nervous about taking a 10 month old on a plane, and not just any 10 month old, our very excitable daughter who does NOT like sitting still. We’ve all been those people who get on a plane, clock a baby and think, ‘oh God I hope they’re not a nightmare!’ Now we were the people walking onto a plane, seeing the people thinking that and thinking the same ourselves! 

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We flew with three airlines, EasyJet, Brussels Airlines and British Airways so in terms of reputation, we were starting with the worst (that’s not fair, the most basic) and getting better as we went, ending with the most reputable for coming home. Well first of all, although there were slight delays in taking off with all three, they were delays we didn’t really notice as none of them were significant, and although most of the airport staff were relatively joyless. All the air carrier staff we dealt with were very helpful and friendly. EasyJet was slightly more uncomfortable because you really are packed in like sardines and it really is no frills, but overall we have no complaints about any of our flights. Scarlett was excited about her adventure in the air, so excited that she slept through the first two. Luckily the flight she didn’t sleep through, we had a row to ourselves, much more room and she sat in her own chair just entertained by looking around her and apart from quite a bit of laughing and ‘chatting’, she wasn’t at all a problem. We also got complimentary champagne on our last flight so we had a fantastic time!

Anyway, to the trip itself! When I wasn’t working we did a lot of exploring and saw two very beautiful city’s in (apart from one afternoon of rain) beautiful sunshine. We were centrally based in both and walked EVERYWHERE. We worked out that we walked roughly 18 miles in total, so this week, we’ll have to do another 8 so we can say we’ve completed a marathon!! Our favourite part was Montmartre, which is sort of known as the seedy area of Paris but is also the artistic side. So it appealed to us! it’s also home to the Moulin Rouge, which is essentially a strip club that’s been made romantically glamorous by the Baz Luhrmann film and has become quite the tourist attraction! But there was a different venue we had in mind when we explored round and that was the ‘Cafe De Les Moulins’, which some of you may know as a key location in the film Amelie! We went there for breakfast and had the famous creme brûlée!

And of course we saw all the usual tourist spots such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and Love Lock bridge! 

In Brussels we found out that the waffles, chocolate and mussels stereotype was not a joke, that really is 90% of what’s available! We were there as the city was celebrating Pride and it meant that the city had an electric and celebratory atmosphere. Everywhere there were multi coloured flags and even the Grand Place was lit up in multi coloured lights at nighttime! We saw lots of groups dressed up and it made for a fabulously fun and upbeat atmosphere for our two days there! 

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Throughout the five days, Scarlett had a few firsts, especially with food, and very aptly, she had her first croissant in France, her first waffle and her first proper chocolate in Brussels! She also had her first time on a plane, her first time using her passport and slightly less excitingly her first time on a coach!

However, there was one more purpose of our trip that we’d planned before going. As I’ve mentioned before, on our wedding day, I had quite a lot of sickness while pregnant and my epilepsy had also started causing me problems again. Thanks to that, I remember very little of our day, we also used the legal vows at the registry office which, for anyone who knows us, knows is not really our thing! So we’re planning to renew our vows on our 5 or 10 year anniversary where Scarlett and any other children can be involved but in the meantime, we decided to set a date to make our own vows in a very personal ceremony of our own devising so we could marry each other in our own way. 

So we picked out a special outfit, we picked a date, researched some venues and we excitedly wrote our own vows ready for the day. It was especially precious to us that we could involve Scarlett in it. On Tuesday 12th May, we woke up, got ready in our finery and headed to the Amelie cafe to write a few vows to both sign. We then headed to a special venue and with Scarlett as our witness, we said our vows to each other which was very emotional and absolutely perfect. We went for a big celebratory meal and had plenty of champagne and red wine throughout the evening! Although it wasn’t a legal ceremony, it meant more to us than any government mandated vows ever would! And of course with Paris being one of the most romantic cities in the world, we just had the most amazing day! We have some very special memories, and a very special Celtic spoon engraved with our names and the date which will be framed with our vows and put up at home along with some photos. Our wedding day last year in February was obviously an important day but sadly I have very little memory of it and therefore we will cherish the memories of the day we made our personal vows to each other in Paris. 

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And of course never ones to shy away from celebrating, we have a renewal to plan to celebrate with all our family and friends in 5 or 10 years time! 

So we’ve had our first family holiday and have come home exhausted but with many happy memories! In just 11 days we’ll be off again for a family holiday to Portugal but this time there’ll be no work to do at all, just sun, sea and cocktails by the pool! (our life isn’t always this jet setting, it just happened that we had two trips so close together!) Our first trip to Europe will always be very special to us and Scarlett is now a seasoned traveller. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we go to both cities but it will always be the first and to all and everyone going on holiday soon, I wish you a very fond bon voyage!     

List on life…

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A couple of recent discussions with friends has lead to a list being made (pause for excitement…) ok…read on!

5 things you can’t or don’t predict when choosing a life partner.

1) How you & you’re partner vote. Politics is kind of boring and kind of important. Voting is a right many fought for & we all have our own opinions. The majority of us however, in a normal week, don’t go round talking about who we vote for. We may discuss how the potholes are becoming a disgrace or how NHS waiting times are just not good enough, but we don’t do so wearing a political sash. When elections come round, all of a sudden people are passionately discussing it. A quick look on my facebook news feed & I can see the political stance of a large portion of my friends and (thanks to online debates) their friends voting plans. I have never started a relationship and asked what party they vote for as a deal breaker. I personally enjoy a good debate over social, political, religious and moral issues but I wouldn’t cut friends out of my life over a difference of opinion (someone who makes it clear they’re voting for the ‘death to all’ party I might give a wide berth to but as a general rule..!).
My husband and I have discussed it and voted the same way. We come from very similar backgrounds and work in similar fields so it’s not a huge surprise but it’s something we hadn’t really spoken about beforehand. Having witnessed a couple have a blazing row about their political stances (one Green Party, one considering UKIP..!) it made me realise that it’s the type of thing you don’t necessarily cover at the audition stages of a relationship. You’d assume some people with really strong views might but in general, I don’t think we really do. And likewise your views can change, mine have, I’m voting differently than I did five years ago, as is my husband. We now live in a different constituency which of course can make a difference but it’s interesting to think whether it would cause friction if we chose different. I’d like to think not, but after sitting behind the unhappy Green/UKIP coalition couple, it certainly makes one wonder!
2) How to bring up children. When entering a relationship, you discuss whether or not you want children. A lot of people do it quite early on as it is make or break situation. It’s not a decision that can easily be compromised on (ok dear we won’t have children but as a compromise I want us to do more paper mâché and watch CBeebies..!). 
What you don’t necessarily go into depth with are the details. What type of school do you want your child at? Do you believe in harsh discipline or a softer approach? Even simple things, what hobbies will you encourage? No first time parent comes equipped with any experience. We’re all learning as we go and it’s a steep old learning curve. Almost every day you have to make choices and if you’re at odds with your parenting comrade, you have to debate it out before making a choice and it won’t always be the choice you would rather. 
My husband and I have avoided any major clashes but we don’t agree on everything. Im a bit more gung ho whereas my husband can sometimes err a bit more on the side of caution! That statement stands for most things in our life really, he’s always happy to get dragged along with me but I think sometimes he probably wishes I’d think about things a bit more before jumping headlong! Anyway, I recently read an article about a couple who paid for a legal go between as they had reached an issue that they simply couldn’t come to an agreement on. The Father wanted their son to attend boarding school (the one he had attended), the Mother, who knew he’d attended boarding school but had no idea he was adamant his children would follow, wanted their son to attend the local comprehensive. In a quote, “I’d homeschool before I sent my child to boarding school.” Before that sticking point, they may well have been the happiest couple on the planet! But on your fifth date when you’re considering this person as a potential long term partner, you’re not likely to discuss the schooling options of your metaphorical children! 
“I’m having a lovely time, this is a great little Italian place. So picture the scene, Sid’s passed the 11+…”
“Sorry whose Sid?”
“Sorry yes, our future son Sid, he must be named after my Grandfather. And I want him to go to boarding school. I also think that I prefer the idea of baby led weaning. Oh and by the way if you vote Lib Dem I’m leaving now.”
3) How you’ll deal with an emergency or crisis. Fingers crossed, when you meet a new partner, you’re not immediately delved into a massive crisis. You’d at least hope they’d wait for the third date to drag you into a big drama anyway! However, at some point in your relationship, one or both of you will go through something really difficult. What you don’t know going in is how one or both of you will deal with it and how (and if) you’ll be able to get through it together. 
When I was pregnant with Scarlett, my epilepsy (a condition I hadn’t really been bothered by for a number of years) reared its head. I was on medication that could potentially affect our precious cargo. My kidneys then started malfunctioning enough to hospitalise me because of the different medication I was on, and I have a bicornuate uterus which brings with it its own exciting complications! It was scary, it was upsetting, it was our first set of emergencys. In a way, it was lucky we were near the beginning of our relationship because we were able to see, yes, good, we’re both level headed, calm and deal with things like this. This will put us in good stead for the future! I know some people who are married twenty years when they suddenly are faced with a trauma that they have to deal with together. And it’s not something you can prepare for. You don’t draw up a list of emergency procedures with a list of ways you should deal with hundreds and thousands of potential situations! You can’t guess what situation you may suddenly be faced with. Life just happens to you and in the same way you can’t know for sure what’s round the corner, until something like that happens, you can’t know for sure how you’re going to deal with it as a couple.
4) Looks. I know that sounds stupid, unless you go on a blind date and then get forced to marry that person without looking at them, the majority of us can absolutely and do consider looks when choosing a partner. My Nan always used to tell me that if a boy was going to sucker me in with looks, to make sure it was the eyes and the smile that really got me as those were the only two things that would look the same at 80! 
People change, they age, they put on weight/lose weight/change their hair/change their style. Their overall look develops and changes. The oldest most tattoo’d Grandmother that has been on TV a few times started getting tattoos quite late on, her secondary school picture shows a totally different person! Health affects us, lifestyle affects us. From a physical and aesthetic point of view, chances are, we’ll look significantly different at 80 than we did at 21 (the exception is of course Jennifer Aniston who has looked that good since her early twenties and shows no signs of looking her actual age anytime soon, down to I can only assume the genes of a magical beauty unicorn!). Since we’ve been together my husband’s look has already quite dramatically changed. And so my Nan is so right, because clean shaven with a Tony Stark haircut or bearded and moustached with the long hair and ruggedness of Aragorn, the way those eyes shine when he smiles at me stays exactly the same!
5) Who we are. When I was 17, I had spent a lot of time in hospitals and really admired the hugely intelligent doctors and nurses who helped me through a difficult time when my epilepsy was in full swing. I decided I wanted to be a surgeon. When I was 6 I told my Mum I wanted to be a bus driver because I liked to travel and meet new people! For a lot of my youth and early twenties I swung between wanting to be an actress and wanting to save the world. In amongst it all I got a criminology degree, and a psychology degree because I wanted to be Poirot! Throughout everything I’ve always written, so without knowing it, I’ve always been a writer, it’s only the last couple of years I’ve actually got paid to do so. And that just covers a small array of career plans. That doesn’t touch the vast journey of my ideals, hopes and dreams. 
In your teens and early twenties, they change almost daily. By thirty you’re supposed to have worked it out but the worst kept secret is that nobody really ever does. As individuals we are constantly changing and developing and growing. We have different friends at different stages of life (as well as some precious lifelong friends who stick with us even for that few months you decided you were only going to eat grass and wanted everyone to call you Sister Nature). And it’s healthy for our goals and ideals to adjust and develop.
There is no guarantee that your partner will grow and develop on the same path as you or in a compatible way. I’ve had some brilliant past relationships where we started as ‘soul mates’ because we were both from the same school, or liked the same band or could down the same number of Jägerbombs on a night out. As they start to end, a lot of the time you realise it’s not necessarily that something’s gone wrong, you’re just not right together anymore, it’s time to disembark from the Jäger train! The chances of this happening decrease as you get older, but we also as people tend to connect with people on a deeper level, for example whether you have the same morals, similar life goals. Taste in music is still important but aged thirty you’re much less likely to decide to marry someone just because you love their Nirvana tattoo..! This of course is a generalisation. There are some teenagers who absolutely have their crap together and know exactly what they want and there are most likely some thirty year olds who decide that it’s enough that their Tamagotchis have the same name to build a life together! The point is, you can’t make a decision on a life partner based on who you will become, only who you are. And if and when that changes, it may change things. 
This may seem like a list to try and make the point that no-one should ever decide to get married because at some point, one of the above points will prove that your relationship is doomed..! NOT SO! If I had to say I was making a point, it would be that you don’t have all the answers, and won’t even necessarily recognise if you’re considering the right questions. And that’s ok. It’s kind of why life is so great. If you’ve just found out that you’re house is about to be repossessed, your husband has dyed his hair green and wants to take the kids to a cult he’s just joined on the way back from voting Tory whilst you decide actually maybe you’re now a vegetarian who wants to train to be a lawyer instead of a midwife, it’s all ok. Give yourself (and your husband) a break. It may seem like a lot, it may seem that everything you felt so sure of on your wedding day is now a sham. Not so. Life is happening to you. Firstly, cults aren’t generally safe do maybe do put your foot down on that one..! He maybe Tory and you Labour but is that important enough to make you forget how much he makes you laugh? His hair may now be a green you don’t like but maybe it brings out the hazel in his eyes? And if you want to be vegetarian and a lawyer then why the hell not! Give it a go, change your mind back and get in a double pack of bacon! 
Obviously I’m not suggesting that dramatic changes every five minutes are a sensible idea but now and then, it’s ok for things to be slightly out of your control and just see where life takes you. You can try and learn every little detail about your chosen life partner but however much you try you’ll every so often be thrown a curveball. And for some people the above causes rifts, or an individual changing is too much for the other and the relationship breaks down. And that’s really sad for all
involved but again, it’s not your fault. 
Luck has a huge role to play (as does fate if you believe in that kind of thing!) I was incredibly lucky to find my husband and I look forward to any and all of life’s curveballs for us to dance around and mould into part of our story. I hope to pass on these thoughts to Scarlett and any other children we may have in the future. 
I guess my point is, above are five things you don’t or can’t consider until they happen in a relationship. And if you can’t plan for those things, why worry about them. After all, you’re left with everything else. Does that person make your heart swell, do they feel like home, do you want to choose them as your family? My sensible advise to my children would always be to choose a life partner based on life morales and outlooks on what you want your future to look like; but just as important is that feeling. The one we can’t explain, the one that makes someone feel like family. 
So comrades, whomever you choose to spend your life with, hold on tight when the rollercoaster give us bumps and drops and let yourself adapt without worry. And wherever your journey in life takes you, hold your head up high, slap on a smile, and enjoy!

Publicly Private…

Standard

There’s a second royal baby. Which has become HUGE news. Now, I’m not about to talk about whether I think it should be such big news or not as I’m on a quick writing break (ironically writing socially to break from writing professionally but still, a breaks a break!) so I don’t have time to get into the various arguments. My main point is about the Mother. Kate gave birth around 8am this morning and this afternoon was pictured making her way home with her precious new baby girl. As is expected of her, she was in a fresh outfit, and her hair and makeup was flawless. 

She had, roughly 6 hours to go from the throes of childbirth, to being smack back in the public eye, a huge public eye. SIX hours! I think back to when I had Scarlett and six hours after I gave birth I had only just been brought up from recovery into a ward. Now ok, my little girl was an emergency C-Section and the new Princess by all accounts was happily an uncomplicated and routine birth. But still, thousands of cameras going off in her face, the pressure to look well presented a few hours after the most painful experience of a woman’s life?! 
In the first pictures take of me after I had my baby, my face is very swollen still from the steroid injections that I’d had when Scarlett had tried to be born even earlier than she actually arrived. I didn’t have any makeup with me and I was wearing the BIGGEST pants I’ve ever known to exist with a really loose nightie. The pictures are not me at my most attractive! They ARE my husband and I at our happiest which is why we proudly have a few of those pictures up at home but if I knew I was going to have an unscrupulous public and hundreds of media across the world, I probably would have been slightly more concerned!
  
My point is, any woman who has given birth knows what an emotional, beautiful, exhausting but precious time it is and although I know there are exceptions; most I know would hate those cherished hours to be interrupted by the worlds press. Any mother (and father) deserve at least a day to enjoy the news and the new situation to themselves and their family and friends. 
The six weeks after a baby’s born, your world is turned upside down. I barely got out of my pyjamas, the house was a mess and I was never entirely sure whether it was night or day. If news reports are to be believed, Kate and William will at least now have some time at home together in private. And I really hope they do. George and his as yet unnamed sister are not going to have a normal upbringing but those beautiful children certainly won’t care about the media and the press at their tender young ages. They’ll want a loving and happy family. I hope that after the strobe lighting that must have greeted them when they left the hospital today, they will be allowed some time together as a family unit. 
Some people feel that with the money and power the Royals have, we’re somehow ‘owed’ the details of their life, or that it’s part and parcel of the life they lead. I’m not leading the ‘poor rich girl’ chorus, I’m simply saying that we are all people at the centre of it and today a young woman gave birth, a little boy became a big brother and a young man gained a daughter who will probably forever have him wrapped around his little finger! Like any baby, she may have colic, she may not sleep well, she may have any number of things that make the very early days so difficult. And whatever extra help they may or may not have, today was still one of the most precious of their lives.
One day we hope to have another baby so Scarlett has a sibling and we have a second child, and I still remember the tears and smiles and private joy we experienced with the first, and will no doubt will have with a second. When we arrived home for the first time, we arrived home to a decorated living room filled with ‘baby girl’ balloons and a much appreciated lunch of bread and meats and of course, a cup of tea! It was a perfect day! I was in a lot of pain, we were in a daze and I just can’t imagine how we would have coped with hundreds of cameras and members of the press and the public being outside the hospital waiting for us.
  
I’m very happy for Kate and William, as I am for any family who welcome a new person. I hope that the intrusions didn’t ruin their magical day and I for one, although interested in what name they choose, how they’re getting on etc, can certainly happily wait for that information whilst they have some cherished time together as a family.
There’s a new Royal baby and that’s huge news, but however big news a baby being born is, its never bigger than for the parents, and that’s the way it should be.