The Art Of Having It All

The Art Of Having It All

So I haven’t written a blog post in a little while. I could blame writer’s block but the truth of the matter is I’ve been watching the TV series Peaky Blinders. But now that I’m up to date, and Thomas Shelby is no longer a distraction, I have no more excuses. So make a brew and enjoy the next instalment of what’s going on in my brain today.

I thought I would write about something that’s been playing on my mind and since I’ve become a fully-fledged member of the Instagram family, it’s been niggling me somewhat; coupled with this and a post I read a few weeks back by another blogger, its inspired me to tackle a somewhat debatable and touchy subject.

Without wanting to offend anyone, I’ve got to come out and say it but… social media lies!

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It becomes very apparent when scrolling through your newsfeed that you’re engulfed by images of seemingly perfect homes, perfect relationships and perfectly made up mums and children. This is of course me falling foul to social media, as no one’s lives are as flawless as the staged images the little squares appear to portray.

People will only share what they want you to see and behind closed doors no one really knows the ins and outs of anyone’s world, no matter how “public” they seem to make them. (I’ve even had to Photoshop Mollie’s face on occasion because of her eczema being so bad, so we are all guilty of it.)

The pressure on women – especially mums – to have it all can sometimes be overwhelming. Not everyone has a home that comes straight out of Country Living magazine or looks like Holly Willoughby, because real life gets in the way. Most of us get through everyday life, coffee induced and running around like blue arsed flies, trying to navigate parenthood while ticking off a never ending to do list! This is why I find a lot of the content I read and see via YouTube or Facebook hard to relate too.

I for one like to do my makeup and hair most days. If I left the house with no makeup I would scare the neighbours, but I don’t have a makeup artist on hand so I probably won’t be giving you any tips on how to apply foundation! Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch my favourite Mummy Vloggers because I’m nosey. I also love to scroll through Instagram just like the next person because it’s human nature.

Social Media can be a fantastic platform but also a manipulative one, lulling us into believing that everyone around us is living a champagne lifestyle, when in reality they’re probably down Aldi doing the food shop with the rest of us, wiping baby sick off their clothes!

We live in a technological world where anyone and everyone can share their lives, so it’s always a challenge not to compare yourself to others. But the reality is that no one knows how long it’s taken to “stage” a snap posted to Instagram or how real it is anyway. So the next time you feel disheartened by someone’s status or photograph just remember even the salt looks like sugar with a filter.

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The Domestic Goddess

The Domestic Goddess

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Here it is – my riveting post on cleaning. Now before you switch off, bear with me and let me explain briefly why I felt compelled to write about such a thrilling subject.

I’ve owned a cleaning company for many years, so have seen A LOT of different houses and tried out various cleaning methods to suit each one. I therefore wanted to share some of my top tips to make life easier for you.

I of all people know that especially with young children, trying to keep a clean and tidy home is a bit like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing!

So brace yourselves, you’re in for a real treat.

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First off, you don’t need to clean your house in one go – you can stage it in phases throughout the week, otherwise you’ll spend the whole day doing everything and the next day thinking why did you bother.

I would also set out a timeframe for how long you spend on cleaning per day. This will keep you productive and save you from procrastinating.

Tip One: “Listing is assisting.”

Devise yourself a cleaning timetable, this will help you set out what you need to do daily. Mine is below:

Monday: Load laundry – try and complete wash, dry and put away in one day, otherwise it tends to just sit around all week and piles up on “the chair”. (I don’t iron)

Change bed linen – tip, if you keep your bed sheet and pillow cases inside the duvet cover then your linen cupboard won’t get into a muddle!  

Hoover through the house.

Wash kitchen floor.

Tuesday: Bathrooms – including washing the floors.

Wednesday: Polish and dust – living room, dining room (if you have one) bedroom and bannisters.

Thursday: Windows and glass, excluding bathrooms as this was done on Tuesday.

Friday: Deep clean kitchen including cupboard fronts, hob and fridge.

Saturday: Daily jobs

Sunday: Daily jobs

Daily jobs:

  • Kitchen surfaces
  • Hoover downstairs (where needs be)
  • Bleach toilets
  • Tidy (end of the day ready for the next)
  • Make beds

Tip Two: “Make it clean like a dream.”

You need the right products in order to make it easier and quicker for you – e.g. cleaning a hob with a jay cloth and Windolene isn’t going to get you anywhere!

See below the products I use and for what:

  • Method Bathroom Cleaner – smells delicious and is nontoxic, perfect with kids around! The whole Method Range Is great if you’re looking for cleaning products that are environmentally friendly and clean well. Slightly pricier then your own brand cleaners but I would say they’re definitely worth it!
  • Bleach – Good ‘ole’ bleach, nothing cleans like the power of bleach, good for toilets, kitchen sinks and even baths! Own brand thick bleaches are no different to the branded versions and they’re a fraction of the price.
  • Cif Cream Cleaner – an underrated product in my opinion and slightly less harsh then bleach, perfect for kitchen hobs, tiles, and any kind of harsh cleaning you may need to tackle.
  • Flash Febreeze All-Purpose Cleaner (Cotton Fresh) – great for wiping down kitchen surfaces, smells fresh and is very easy to dispense. I have this in my own kitchen and it’s my daily go to cleaning product.
  • Mr Sheen Multipurpose Polish – great for all your woods needs! You can also buy it in various flavours, leaving your furniture smelling fresh and nourished!
  • Zorflora – any of the flavours that it comes in are perfect for making your floor shine and leaves it clean and smelling fresh. You only need a cap full in a mop bucket of water and it goes a long way. If you have wooden floors then I would suggest the Cif wood floor cleaner too.
  • Window and Glass Cleaner – great for shower screens and all glass! Again an own brand is just as good as the branded cleaners you can buy.

Tip Three: “Keep on track with a hack.”

Just a few of my cleaning hacks to make a dull job quicker!

  • Buy a multipurpose polish that can do glass as well as furniture – this will make cleaning a lot quicker and more efficient.
  • A Henry Hoover or a Miele are the best vacuum cleaners, they have long chords and will do all floors more quickly. I would recommend these over any upright hoover or Dyson.

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  • E-Cloths – great for buffing and any type of glass!
  • When cleaning out your fridge don’t bother drying the shelves or drawers as the cold air from the fridge will do this for you.
  • Use a toothbrush and Cif cream cleaner for the annoying scum that collects around the taps in the bathrooms and kitchen.
  • You can use baby oil on stainless steel for that extra shine.
  • A feather duster will not only get rid of cobwebs but will clean blinds and in-between some radiators too.

One last thing: If you keep up with your daily basics your house will always look clean and tidy.

Hope you enjoyed this post and it was helpful to some of you!

Wishful Thinking

Wishful Thinking

Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… ok it’s not, but as this post is about my Christmas wish list I thought I would try and get into the spirit of things! I wanted to share with you some bits I’m asking Santa for this year – whether I get any of them is another matter, although I think I’ve been a fairly good girl in 2017! I will pop the links below each one just in case you fancy treating yourselves!

I’m probably two years late to the party with this but I’ve been thinking of getting one since I started my Instagram account, so thought I would pop it on the list. It’s an LED light box. It will be great to accessorize pictures with and announcing news etc, and it’s a steal at under ten pounds too.

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Black A6 Light Box

I’m absolutely in love with these over the knee grey boots! The heel is just right without it being too high or low, and will be perfect for winter fashion like jumper dresses and chunky knits with jeans! I really hope I get these (hint Lawrence Adams if you’re reading this)

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Harmony Over The Knee Boot With Midi Heel In Grey Faux Suede

This coat has been on my wish list for a while. I tend to treat myself to a new winter coat each year… I better rephrase that – I did when I had a job, but since I haven’t been working that isn’t an option, hence why it’s made it on to this list! It’s from Pink Boutique, one of my favourite online stores. I’ve bought various dresses from this website over the last few years and have always been impressed by their quality and customer service. It’s also pink, a colour I’m obsessed with, so this coat is perfect for me!

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Winter Beauty Pink Fur Trim Hooded Puffer Coat

Next up are these alternative milestone cards for honest mums. Now if you’ve read my previous blog post on milestones then you’ll know that I’m not a fan of the “usual” milestone cards you can get for babies (I do own some but rarely use them). These look hilarious so I would like them just for the comedy value!

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Alternative Milestone Cards for Honest Mums

Snob by MAC is my go-to colour lipstick and as it happens I’ve run out, so on the list it goes! The formula is creamy and not matt or too sheer, and it goes on easily. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a bright pink lippy but not too loud like some shades you can get.

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MAC Lipstick

This beauty is probably just wishful thinking on my part but if I could have anything out of this whole list then it would most likely be this! I was gifted a lovely changing bag at my baby shower just before Mollie was born, however I’m now looking for something I can use that will go with my outfit choices. I thought this one would be perfect; firstly the colour will go with almost anything, and secondly it doesn’t really look like a changing bag which is another plus! Baby Mel do some really lovely designs and at £60.00 I don’t think it’s overpriced.

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Babymel Grace Pu Tan

This is a fairly mundane one but everyone needs a staple pair of black jeans in their wardrobe and Joni by Topshop are my favourite. They’re high waisted and, as I don’t have a bottom, are perfect for my shape and don’t fall down like other jeans you can get on the market! The only down side to these jeans is the colour fades, which is probably why I now own 4 pairs – all in black!

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MOTO Black Joni Jeans

My Christmas wish list wouldn’t be complete without a diary for the year ahead! I usually get a lovely diary from paper chase courtesy of my mum, but this year I thought I would change it up a bit. I had a look online for a diary that I could incorporate any plans that Lawrence and Mollie (she may be a bit young to have a social life without me but still) may have too, and I found this one from John Lewis that looks exactly like what I have been searching for. It comes with some handy planners too – oh and it’s pink… need I say more?

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Busy B 2018 Family Diary

Well, that’s that! I could go on but we would be here until next Christmas and that would be boring, so I’ll leave it as it is and pray that I don’t just get a lump of coal. Hopefully I’ve inspired some of you, not just for your own wish lists but for gift ideas too.

The Milestone Competition

The Milestone Competition

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Whilst watching Mollie attempting – and failing – to sofa surf the other day, I started thinking about how hard we as mums are on ourselves when it comes to what our babies should and shouldn’t be doing. Up until fairly recently, I was forever comparing Mollie to her more advanced peers in regards to not just physical skills like rolling and crawling, but also mental abilities too; saying Dada for example (she still doesn’t do this) until I decided enough was enough and began to embrace her learning capabilities for what they are right now.

Mollie, as you will probably know by now, is a right little character. She can light up any room with her funny little grin and giggle, but every step of her development so far I have scrutinised. I’ve thought her to have autism on many occasions and have even considered she may be mute after the health visitor told me she should be referred to a hearing specialist because she wasn’t “babbling” yet (she was 5 months old). I’ve felt guilty for feeling like this, obviously, but when you become a first time parent you’re transported into a land that is very unfamiliar territory.

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I’m all for sharing Mollie’s achievements and don’t get me wrong, when she does something new I get very excited, like any normal parent… However, I don’t shout it from the rooftops. Maybe I should, but my biggest bugbear when it comes to babies hitting their expected milestones is when it’s preached to you like the child has just won the Nobel Prize at 5 months old. I get it – your baby has rolled over at 8 weeks old and said muma at 12; has a full set of teeth by 6 months and is reciting humpty dumpty by a year. I understand that the feelings you feel are those of wonder and awe at your tiny human, which is absolutely fine. In fact, it’s more than fine. But please remember before it’s slapped all over social media to consider those babies that won’t hit their expected milestones on time and how their parents might be feeling.

These babies might just be taking their time but their anxious mothers (like me) then turn to the dreaded Google to determine whether their chid is “keeping up” with what’s expected. I’m aware I’m ranting here so forgive me – the last thing I want to do is alienate anyone with my ramblings… these are just my personal opinions on this topic.

The reality of it is that all babies are different. That may sound slightly cliché but it’s the truth. I think we forget half the time because we’re so caught up in this new world of parenting that they are just babies; tiny, dependent human beings that will develop at their own individual speed, and comparing them to other babies won’t make them do anything any faster. It’s a waiting game and they will slowly but surely hit their milestones as and when it suits them!

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A more realistic milestone for new mums…

If I can give new parents any advice then it would be to savour every stage that your baby goes through, not wish it away – however tempting that may be – because it’s really not a competition. And when the next person tells you their 4 week old is sleeping through the night (they’re not), just smile – albeit through gritted teeth – and nod. But when someone shares with you that their new baby is already smiling at 2 weeks old, you can tell them that they’re not… it’s just wind.

Liebster Award Nomination

Liebster Award Nomination

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My blog is nearly a whole month old! I decided to start “Oh Baby” because I wanted to share with you some of my first time mum experiences in the hope that I could relate to other mums out there, and also my views on various other topics. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog and support me on my writing journey!

This leads me on to the very exciting news that my blog has been nominated for a Leibster Award thanks to the nomination from Sublime.Mummy who has thought my blog worthy! You can read her inspiring blog by visiting: https://sublimemessagesblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/liebster-award/

Here are The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award

Write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers.
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it

NOMINATED BLOGS-

Check out these blogs that I have nominated further for this award –

  1. https://rachelli2614.wixsite.com/thejourney
  2. https://refluxandrainbows.wordpress.com/tag/babies/
  3. https://mymeaningfulmotherhood.wordpress.com/
  4. https://thewiningwomanblog.wordpress.com
  5. https://positivemindpositivemummy.wordpress.com/

Questions for me:

Do you have a favourite quote or words to live by?

“You can’t wrap your arms around a memory” is my most favourite quote. My media studies teacher in school had this tattooed on her ankle and I have loved the quote ever since!

Where is one place you haven’t been, but you would like to visit?

I have always wanted to visit Hawaii because it sounds very tropical and a fun place to be.

If you could give someone $1,000,000 who would you give it to?

I would give this amount of money to charity – either a children’s charity or a cancer charity.

What is your favourite movie or tv series?

Dirty Dancing/The Notebook

If you were going to be a character in someone’s book, who would you like to write it?

Rosamund Lupton as I think she is a fantastic author.

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

The Flash because he moves very fast and I need this to complete my to do list in my daily life!

What is your favourite food?

Macaroni cheese

Who has been an inspiration in your life? Why?

This is a difficult one as I have different people who I have looked up to at different stages in my life!

Salty or Sweet?

Sweet

How did you pick your blog’s name?

It just came to me when I was contemplating writing a blog and because I originally wanted to write all things baby, however I have decided to cover other topics too.

11 Random Facts about Me.

  • I was born in Eastbourne, East Sussex in 1988.
  • My first pet was a hamster named Basil.
  • I am an un-identical twin.
  • My favorite colour when I was a child was blue – it is now pink.
  • I like country music.
  • I have a fear of choking on steak.
  • I only like rounded tables in restaurants as they are more sociable.
  • I would love to volunteer to help abroad one day.
  • When I own my own house I will home a kitten from a rescue centre.
  • One of my best friends is also a twin.
  • I prefer the country to the city

Questions for My Nominees

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. Who is your greatest inspiration?
  3. What is your favourite quote?
  4. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be?
  5. Favourite place?
  6. Favourite song?
  7. What would be the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?
  8. Dog or cat?
  9. Best compliment you have ever received?
  10. What was the last picture you took with your phone?
  11. Greatest memory?

Again, thank you for my nomination and congratulations to my nominees!

Maternity Leave Maternity Go

Maternity Leave Maternity Go

It was a conversation with my best friend who is also on maternity leave that inspired me to write this post, and in light of the fact that my maternity leave is technically now over, I wanted to share with you some of my highs and lows of those 9 months and hopefully I can relate to some of you too.

The thoughts and feelings I originally had towards maternity leave couldn’t have been further from reality! The shock of giving birth alone puts paid to those rose tinted images of newborns with their perfectly made up mamas. Instead, the comparison to a lambing scene would be a closer fit. Before I got pregnant I used to ponder what maternity leave meant; being a yummy mummy floating from one play date to the next with a perfect new-born, freshly manicured nails, daily coffee mornings, not to mention the endless amount of time I would have to be the most organised housewife, and this would prompt Lawrence to allow me to stay at home and give up work for good. Oh how naive of my pre baby self…unfortunately real life rudely interrupted what my daydreams led me to believe.

The first few weeks after I’d given birth were a complete blur and all I kept thinking was what had I done, and god forgive me because all I wanted to do was sleep. The sleep deprivation far outweighs any of the other negatives, although the pain of going to the toilet post-birth still haunts me now! Finding the balance of some kind of normality was challenging enough and the constant feeding, nappy changing and checking whether she was still breathing became my norm for a period of time, which I never thought would end in the early days, but it did and we finally found our rhythm as a family of three.

It was only when Mollie fell poorly at 5 weeks old that I realised that maybe I wouldn’t get out of these 9 months what I had previously thought; the colds and infections that new babies come down with are fairly frequent! We have had a few A&E dashes and many trips to the doctors. Dislocating Mollie’s elbow at 19 weeks wasn’t my finest hour – a complete accident of course, it was an agonising wait at the hospital with many tears from both Mollie and I before it was all over! I had visions of social services coming round to take her away and I cried for the whole day until Lawrence told me snap out of it and get a grip. Not sure I’ll be winning any mother of the year awards in the near future though!

I also thought I would feature more heavily on the baby group circuit but getting out of the house before 10am most days is a real task. I find myself getting up at 7am just to achieve this small feat. Be thankful for your mummy friends because they will get you at 2am or when you moan about the colour of your baby’s poo not being normal. But whatever you do, don’t forget about your friends who don’t have children because they keep you grounded. It’s very easy to be swallowed up into a baby bubble and forget who you were before motherhood took hold. The odd day away from your babe is more than healthy!

Before I knew it, 9 months had been and gone and it seems like a long time but when you’re looking after a small human daily it passes in a flash!

However it wasn’t all doom and gloom, not at all because between the difficult moments of early parenthood there are many more happy times than not, and although it’s the hardest job in the world, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Through the sleepless nights, snotty noses and dirty nappies Mollie is such a joy to be around and her personality comes through more and more as she grows from month to month!

Babies are the greatest timewasters on earth – they can amuse you for hours with their funny antics and cheeky grins and I for one am very excited for what’s yet to come! My advice to anyone who is about to embark on their maternity leave is to enjoy and savour every waking moment… And sleeping moments too, because they will be few and far between!

My Babiie MB02 Stroller Review

My Babiie MB02 Stroller Review

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It’s Saturday night and I’m writing a baby product review while stuffing my face with Chocolate Magnums and Maltesers. You may well be thinking what has her life come to… however, I just have to tell you all about my new pushchair because I bloody love it!

So after deliberating for months and searching second hand sites for this particular one, only to be gazumped at the last minute, leaving me absolutely fuming, I’ve finally taken the plunge and purchased the My Babiie MB02 stroller. Now I also own an i-Candy and a Maclaren, so technically I’m not pram-less, however the Maclaren is ancient and a second hand purchase from a buy sell site, so I was in need of a new one.

I’ll keep this brief about the Maclaren but I was well and truly done over; the pictures looked lovely but as I loaded it into the back of my car and the crumbs spilt out all over my boot, it dawned on me that I had been taken for a fool. The i-Candy on the other hand, I just HAD to have because it’s an i-Candy and I threw a real strop when Lawrence decided he preferred the Silver Cross. But in the end I won – obviously – and we got the i-Candy and guess what… I hate it, but that’s another story.

Anyway, we’re here to talk about the My Babiie MB02 pushchair, not my opinion on the gazillions of other prams that are also available on the market.

 

Some of you may have heard of Billie Faiers, the reality TV star turned business woman and mummy to two children of her own. She’s also an exclusive product designer with My Babiie and the MB02 is from her range.

This particular model comes with a rain cover, detachable extendable hood, chest pads, drinks holder, shopping basket and bumper bar. The only thing it doesn’t come with is the cosy toes but you can purchase those separately for £24.99. This model costs £99.99, which I think is good value for what you get. However, I’ll let you into a little secret later on…

The MB02 model is suitable from birth up to 15kg and has 3 recline positions, a 5 point harness and bumper bar which keeps your baby safe – so it’s a win, win. They also come in various colours that are vibrant and fun… I’ve chosen the pink and grey chevron for Mollie!

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So I took Mollie out in the stroller today and the weather had a crisp autumn feel, the sun was shining so the extendable hood really came in handy and I love how you can still see baby through the little peep-hole when pushing. Because it’s such an eye catching design I got some lovely comments on it while walking around Tesco too.

It’s very lightweight to push and easily manoeuvrable. To fold it down takes two seconds and isn’t in the least bit complicated, which as parents we like, as when trying to build/take apart most baby equipment I end up either throwing it across the room/car park, or silently crying when I’ve ripped a nail or jammed a finger, so this is a real treat.

The height of the handle bars are also great because they don’t make you feel like Quasimodo. However, if you’re petite they may feel a little too high.

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I’ve bullet pointed below the pros, which may come in handy if anyone is thinking of buying one. I haven’t done the cons because I genuinely don’t believe there to be any. Not yet anyway.

  • Good Value
  • Lightweight
  • Great manoeuvrability
  • Well-padded for comfort
  • Eye catching
  • Easy to fold down and pop up
  • Good safety features, i.e. 5 point harness
  • Room for shopping
  • Extendable hood which provides great coverage from the sun
  • Cup holder for convenience

So, as the box says, let’s get rolling!

P.S I bought mine from a fab shop called Jolly Tots for £44.99 – they do factory seconds but it looks more like brand new to me! Jolly Tots delivered within three days of me ordering and had great customer service, so just bear that in mind if you’re looking to save some money when ordering!

This product review was in no way sponsored. It’s a personal, unpaid review from one mum to others.

The Great Full-time Mum Debate

The Great Full-time Mum Debate

me and mole

So it dawned on me this morning that I’m currently unemployed. For the first time in my adult life I can no longer afford the little luxuries that I had become accustomed to, and therefore my hair, nails and social life are all suffering as a result. Of course I can live without these things but I’m currently sporting eternal split ends, chipped nail varnish and two hungry caterpillars that have gorged themselves on my beautiful HD brows. I have fond memories of my carefree former self handing over my debit card in Primark to buy something I didn’t really need without a second thought, but those days are long gone. However, I made that choice not to work, as I had in fact gone back to employment for it to be one of the worst decisions I have ever made – dramatic but true.

Every mother debates whether to stay at home with their children or go back to work for the sake of her family. I toyed with the idea of going back to work properly for weeks leading up to the end of my maternity pay, as I knew that I would be without an income if I didn’t do something about it, and fast. I’m very fortunate in the sense that Lawrence can take care of me and I respect all mums who go back to work through choice and through no choice of their own because being a mum is bloody hard! So this post is just my personal journey I had with going back to work…I hope some of you will relate to it.

 

So, let’s rewind to August this year, when I was trawling through the job pages and bigging myself up on my CV. I was applying for various jobs as I wasn’t particularly fussy about what I did for work. One Saturday I had been out with friends to a bottomless brunch at Six in Brighton, and came home a little tipsy, so decided in that moment that I was going to be an independent working mum. Obviously I’d had one to many proseccos and wasn’t in my right mind, and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I had applied for a managers position with a cleaning company. Cleaning being my forte, I thought it would be a doddle… I was wrong.

Monday morning swung round and I had a call to invite me to an interview, which I went to dressed in my “power” attire. To cut a long story short, I got the job thinking this is great, easy peasy. Fast forward six weeks and I’d broken out in a full body rash, which is currently still raging, I had a chemical burn on my left eye and I was a nervous wreck so much so that I was prescribed anxiety medication, which of course I’m no stranger to. So what happened next I hear you ask, well.

The job description itself wasn’t the issue but the ten hours that I had signed up for turned into twenty over a five night working week, and the reality was that although I had been promised I wouldn’t actually be cleaning, I was doing exactly that almost every night, sometimes not getting home until 10pm. It was not what I had Imagined and on my first night I ended up in A&E due to getting floor cleaner in my eye – hence the chemical burn. As I drove down to the hospital on my own – with only one eye functioning – I thought to myself, do I really need this job? And to make matters worse, my boss refused to give me the following night off due to being short staffed.

Alarm bells should have started ringing then, but they didn’t. I was having to fire people left, right and centre, and I’m really not one for confrontation so my dreams of becoming an independent working mum were slowly unravelling before my one good eye! It was when I was resembling a dot to dot and about to go on holiday that I made the decision to quit. I waited until I’d been paid and then sent a courteous email to my unsuspecting boss, cowardly maybe but I didn’t care. I may now be poorer as a result but you can’t put a price on happiness and that is worth more then a paycheck.

 

I do feel that as mothers we are under pressure to go back to work and not only that, but a lot of the time we are expected to run a household too. I think we forget in the midst of it all that we are doing a full time job in raising our babies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I may not be on a salary but I  would rather be knee deep in my daughter’s nappies than be earning money to get my hair done. So for now I will stay unemployed and broke but I wouldn’t have it any other way – that is unless anyone wants to offer me a job? Just kidding.

Anxiety my old Friend

Anxiety my old Friend

Anxiety… For some it’s an occasional feeling that comes with the apprehension of a job interview or the stress of moving house – a normal anxiousness that doesn’t englulf you but rides in and out of your life sporadically. For others, however, it’s a constant emotion that follows you around like a dark cloud; it lies dormant in our psyche, comparable perhaps to a medical condition that can flare up, sometimes without warning.

There’s no face to anxiety. It could be your best friend, your mum or your postman. Anyone can suffer from it and it’s usually a smiling face. Anxiety is being overwhelmed by the smallest of tasks like washing up or thinking you’ve left the straighteners on. These are all things that someone with anxiety can experience on a day to day basis, however there are times when things can take a more serious turn.

This post is about my own personal struggle with anxiety. I don’t claim to be an expert on it – most definitely not, although Lawrence calls it my specialist subject – but for those who do suffer with it, I want you to know that you’re not alone. In light of last week’s World Mental Health Day (10th October) I wanted to tell my story, though it’s a hard one to write.

From a young age I’ve always been anxious, from having a phobia of being sick as a child, to having body dysmorphia as a teen. It wasn’t weight that was my issue, it was my skin; having a spot meant I would go into hibernation for days, sometimes not even going to school for the fear of everyone staring at it. I even gave cognitive behavioural therapy a go.

However, as I got older my anxiety faded into the background with the occasional episode that could last up to a couple of weeks, like when I thought I was dying. I genuinely believed that the staining on my skin from a new blue jumper were bruises and I had six weeks to live. That wasn’t anything compared to 18 months ago when anxiety reared its ugly head in a big way.

An attack of anxiety is usually sparked by triggers – certain events or things in your life that can ignite an episode – and mine was something as simple as red patches that appeared on my face that I couldn’t cover up with make-up. It sounds so silly but it ties in with the feelings I had as a teenager, so you could say those feelings never really went away. The rollercoaster had well and truly started and I’m still not sure if I’ve got off yet.

During that period of anxiety, I couldn’t sleep, I would wake up five times a night just to look at my face, I wouldn’t eat, I couldn’t work and I even left my Dad stranded in France as I refused to get on the plane. I would literally curl up into a ball on the bathroom floor and cry until I had no tears left. I would call my friends and be hysterical to the point that they would have to come and sit with me until I calmed down, and I’m forever grateful for that and them.

The intense phase, as I call it, went on for a few weeks and then as the months went by my rational self came into play and I managed to take each day at a time, setting myself small goals like going out for dinner with friends or doing a supermarket shop. I would still have moments where I would feel like I was spiralling out of control, and still do to this day, but I can usually catch myself before I fall. Deep breathing and medication help.

For now the sharks have stopped circling and I’m in a good place but for how long I don’t know. A few days, a few weeks, months maybe, but no one can predict when it will happen again. I have a good support network – my friends, family and, of course, Lawrence all prop me up when I’m feeling unsteady.

Those people who say anxiety isn’t real or to snap out of it have obviously never experienced true anxiety. I can tell you now that it’s very real. Try feeling disconnected from your own body and being beyond recognition to yourself… too many times it’s swept under the carpet and dismissed like so many other mental health conditions. But this is the time to act and speak up, because there is help out there. So for now I’ll leave you with this… it’s ok not to be ok.

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Pear is the new Hourglass

Pear is the new Hourglass

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I’m writing this blog post while downing a packet of chocolate buttons…family size, of course. I woke up this morning with great intentions – as I do every morning – to only consume foods with a stalk. However, as usual it’s 11am and I’ve caved already. Moaning Myrtle (Mollie) hasn’t been very well this week, we’ve had a hospital trip that wasn’t ideal and she currently sounds like Darth Vadar, so chocolate is today’s saviour. The majority of the time being a mum is 90% worry and 10% moving piles of “stuff” to other piles of “stuff”, so if eating eases this then I’m going to roll with it…literally.

I thought I would touch upon a topic that will probably resonate with a lot of mums and that’s our post-natal bodies! Before I had Mollie I was a size 8-10 and that was largely to do with metabolism and my job as a cleaner – I was on my feet all day. I LOVE food and anyone who knows me will tell you I’m the original buffet slayer. Lawrence actually can’t listen to me eat, he sometimes eats his dinner in another room to me which is utterly ridiculous. I’ve diagnosed mystopia – the phobia of other people chewing!

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My pre-baby bod – size 8-10

Anyway, all jokes aside, speaking on a personal level I gained 4 stone while pregnant and the struggle is most definatey real! I would eat when hungry, bored, tired and upset, and nothing green either! I admire and envy anyone who can maintain that kind of self control when pregnant, as it provokes a hunger from deep within that I have never experienced before and willpower is not my forte.

After Mollie was born I immediately felt lighter…obviously. However, in reality I was still at the heaviest I had ever been. There is so much pressure on us mums to “snap back” immediately after your baby is born and this is largely (excuse the pun) to do with social media and celebrities bouncing back 2 weeks after giving birth. But that is NOT real life. Good on the mums that do though. If I could have your secrets please share, I won’t pretend I’m not jealous!

Immediately after having a baby the first few weeks are nothing you could ever prepare yourself for, with a variety of emotions and not only that, but the physical pain as well (which no one warns you about), and the hunger you feel especially if breast feeding is insane. I believe that we as mums should give in to that because we have just given birth to an actual human being and deserve a medal at least, so rewarding ourselves with a piece of cake here and there is fully acceptable! Anyone who says that birth is a breeze is most definitely lying, or a man

My boobs are certainly no longer in their prime and they were my best asset but I won’t cry for them! Our bodies may never be the same again but I personally wouldn’t want mine to be because giving birth is so far my greatest achievement and my baby is my most precious gift (cringe). Don’t get me wrong, I do want to be comfortable in my own skin but the only way I’m “snapping back” is on my own terms and in my own time, so I will embrace my new curves, even if they’re not in all the right places!