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Be careful what you wish for…

Reunited!


As a busy mummy, I crave time to myself. Just blissful me time where I’m not required to change nappies, cook, clean or keep up with the pile of washing that never seems to end. I wanted to be able to go to the loo without a mischievous 1 year old following me, and eat a snack without a tiny hand pointing at it and throwing a hissy fit if I didn’t share.

Well last month, I actually had the opportunity to spend a full day and night on my own. It was my father in law’s birthday and as I was working, I couldn’t go to the usual family celebration up in Yorkshire so Hubs took Isla up to Whitby for the weekend, and once I’d finished my shift on Saturday afternoon, I had the whole place to myself until they got back on Sunday evening. I decided not to make plans with friends on the Saturday and just enjoy some quiet time in an empty house for a change instead of dashing off here and there.

Well guess what? I was lonely. And bored.

I really missed my husband and baby girl. This was my first weekend completely on my own since Isla was born and once the initial “aaahhhhh, peace and quiet” novelty wore off, I was genuinely at a loss for what to do. 

I binged on a few episodes of Game of Thrones (one of which was the Red Wedding episode which just bummed me out more!) got myself a nice tea and curled up in bed with a good ole chick flick. But I hated not having bedtime cuddles with my family, and hearing Isla’s sleepy snuffles over the baby monitor.

But the worst part came in the morning…I woke with a start at 6.30am (don’t you just hate waking up early when you don’t have to?!) and noticed I couldn’t see the green light on Isla’s baby monitor in our room. I then panicked that she’d woken up and I hadn’t heard her. I went into the hallway and saw her door, which is always closed, was wide open (you can probably see where this is going!)…panicking, I ran into her room and saw her cot was empty. I can’t describe how horrifying that feeling was, that my little girl had been taken. I was terrified and searched all around the cot in case she’d somehow climbed out, then ran into our room to grab my phone to call the police (yes, I know…). It was then I noticed that the reason I hadn’t seen the light on the monitor was because the baby monitor in our room wasn’t there. In my befuddled state I wondered if the kidnappers had stolen the monitors too. It was then that I remembered that Isla, and the monitors, were in Yorkshire. The relief was immense and I needed a good few minutes to compose myself!

Looking back it all sounds so silly, but you know what it’s like when you’re half asleep and you’re wondering if the dream you just had was real? That’s what it was, nothing made sense!

But I really did miss Hubs and Isla so much and all that Sunday I couldn’t wait for them to get home! Typical, I’d wanted time to myself and when I got it, all I wanted was my noisy family back!

* I’m delighted that this post has been published on The Motherload! You can read it here…

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My sanity saving sisters


We all need somebody to lean on, as Bill Withers crooned. And us mummies definitely need a good support network around us.

I feel incredibly blessed to have some wonderful mummy friends, some of whom I’ve met at soft play, some just on walks around our area, and some who I’ve know for years but as we had children at around the same time, we’ve reconnected and become close. As both of Hubs’ and my family live over 100 miles away in Wolverhampton and Whitby, my mummy friends have become like a family to me and every day I count my blessings to have them.

I thought initially I’d struggle to make mummy friends as Isla and I haven’t been able to get to many mother and baby groups. We went to baby massage classes when she was about 4 months old and we go to Tumbletots on Thursdays (I can’t recommend these classes highly enough!) but other than that, we missed out on going to many classes. By the time she was old enough to get much out of the classes, she was struggling with sleep regression and I had to be so strict with making sure she napped every 2-3 hours and unfortunately, the classes in our villages just happened to fall when she was napping. 
But now she only needs 1 nap mid morning and luckily, my two closest mummy friends live a short drive away and both have boys a few months older than Isla, and the three of them play together really well.

Having a baby is the biggest, and most amazing thing we will go through and let’s face it, without these kindred spirits who are also in the motherhood trenches with you, you’d go nuts. 

Even popping over to a friends for a cuppa can be the difference between a good day and a bad day. Watching your kids playing together (I love this photo of Isla playing with her little friend Oliver!) while you enjoy a nice hot cuppa can be a real tonic, I know it has been for me when I’ve been going slowly round the bend!

There’s no one else who can listen to your exhausted ramblings about how you’ve been worried that your baby’s poo is a different colour than usual, or that they haven’t pooed at all, that they aren’t eating or how sore your nipples are when breastfeeding. Because those who don’t have children find such talk dull, or gross.

This past year with Isla has been wonderful, but challenging, and my mummy friends have been amazing during those tough times. If I’ve been panicking about Isla’s eating habits, sleep or just being a grumpy little bugger, my friends have been amazing. Helping out with poonamis in the park (poor Oliver!), making a mess in their houses, getting covered in pig poo at the farm (remember that Laney?!) and having to pinch their food when our munchkins get peckish, we’ve seen it all! 

So thank you ladies, I love you to bits, and owe you my sanity!

* I’m thrilled that this post has been published on The Motherload! You can read it here…

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I’m worried that I worry too much

On an average day, I’d say that I stress about 239 different things. I admit, I’m one of life’s worriers. If Isla wakes in the night, I panic that she’s going to go through sleep regression again, and if I try and ring someone and they don’t answer, I automatically start worrying that there’s something wrong. Yes, I admit, I’m also prone to over reactions too.

Here’s a brief rundown of just some of the worries that go through my head during the day:

  • Is Isla napping for too long?
  • She hasn’t napped long enough, will she get overtired and not sleep tonight?
  • She’s taking ages to eat this meal, has she lost her appetite? Is she ill?
  • When will she take her first steps? Why isn’t she walking yet?
  • She’s small for her age, is that something to be worried about? (the health visitor says it’s fine, so I know this one is irrational)
  • She won’t be bullied at school for having red hair will she? I must make sure she learns a martial art 
  • Is she drinking enough? How much water/milk is she supposed to drink in a day anyway?
  • Should Isla be more advanced mentally/physically by now?

The worrying goes on and on, and let’s face it, as she gets older there’ll be much more bigger things to stress over. Toddler tantrums, teaching her how to read and write, school places, keeping her safe when she starts playing outside alone, teenage hissy fits, I could go on and on. 

Mums please tell me the worrying gets easier to control?! I don’t want to be known as the over cautious mum!

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Little things to make me feel less mumsy 

Sometimes it can feel like I’ve lost touch with my pre-Isla self, something I didn’t want to do before I had her. Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby girl with everything I have and I love being a mummy, but sometimes I miss the woman I was and while I swore I’d never become one of those mums who can only talk about their babies, I admit I’ve already committed some mumsy sins. Having a baby changes your entire life and sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my identity.

So it’s the little things that make me feel like my old self again that I really appreciate and I need to feel normal again. Here’s just a few of them:

  • Wearing nice, matching lingerie – I’ve never been a “throw on whatever bra and knickers I can find” person, I’ve always tried to make sure my underwear is a) matching and b) decent looking. My stint working in lingerie for M&S has made me very OCD about throwing out bras that are ill fitting and/or old and as soon as I stopped breastfeeding, I treated myself to some really nice bras and knickers from Rosie for Autograph lingerie. Now just something as simple as popping my silk Rosie underwear on makes me feel like a million dollars
  • Putting on make up – as I’ve touched on before, I don’t tend to wear much make up but when I do, I feel much less of a slummy mummy. I’m not one of those effortlessly polished mummies who leaves the house with a face full of perfect make up, most days just a quick swipe of tinted moisturiser and mascara is considered making an effort! But when I do get all dolled up, it makes me feel like a prebaby version of me again and I love doing my nails. These Maybelline ColourShow ones are my current favourite
  • Enjoying me time with historical porn – relax, I’m not admitting to a fetish to a blue movie entitled ‘The Dick-torians’, I mean the tv show The Tudors! Hubs works away 2 days and nights a week so I make the most of these evenings as ‘me time’. Once Isla is in bed at 7pm, I eat tea and then have a nice relaxing bath with bubbles and everything, then curl up in bed with one of my favourite box sets. The Tudors is my favourite, so I can drool over Henry Cavill without judgment!
  • Going out with my child-free friends – I adore my mummy friends, they’re amazing and supportive and I’d be lost without them. I’m also lucky enough to have some wonderful friends who don’t have children and who have not only stayed in touch with us (it’s shocking how many friends stop calling when you have a baby) but who have been incredibly supportive and helpful. I’m aware that constant baby talk is terribly dull for non parents, so going out with my friends who haven’t had a baby gives me time to switch my baby brain off and give my mummy self a break.
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Big girls don’t cry (oh yes they do!)

I’ve always been the emotional type, but I’ve become so much more sensitive and emotional since having Isla, especially things involving babies and children. Some things are justified, but others have made non-mums raise eyebrows as if to say “what a pansy”.Here’s just a few random or silly things I’ve cried at since having Isla, rated from 1-5 (or 😥😪😰😓😭) on how much I cried:

  • A bloke finding out he WAS the father to his ex’s baby on Jeremy Kyle 😥
  • The scene in Aladdin where Al has to dig through the snow to rescue Abu, and he cuddles his cold, vulnerable little body to him 😓 
  • THAT scene in Dumbo, you know the one, I can’t even think about it it it without crying 😭😭
  • A poem on Facebook, written from the POV of a baby who’s mummy is trying ‘cry it out’ 😪
  • Isla nuzzling her head under my chin when we were having snuggles
  • The first time Isla laughed 😰
  • The Amazon Prime adverts with the Shetland pony who gets left out by the horses, his sad little face gets me every time! 😪
  • The Dogs Trust advert where the dog looks longingly at a knitted toy of his future owner and then they go trotting off together into the sunset 😪
  • DIY SOS, every time. 😭
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Mum’s the word

Some days, I look at Isla with fondness, and more than a bit of sadness, as I think how much my mum would have adored her.

For those that don’t know, my mum died of breast cancer in November 2007 when she was just 52, I was 20 and at university at the time. I miss her every day, especially now that I’m a mum myself, and I know how much know that my mum wanted grandchildren to spoil. 

I’ll be honest, when I see or hear my fellow mummies saying that their mums have been looking after their little ones, taking them out for the day or just babysitting them for a few hours, it breaks my heart. And when it’s been a crappy day, I wish so much to have my mum around for some motherly advice.

My mum was an incredibly brave and inspiring lady. She’s the reason why I try to raise money for cancer charities every year, and just generally try to be a good person. I think to myself, would doing is make mum proud?

Although we fought like cat and dog when I was younger, once I grew up and got out of the “omg mum you’re so embarrassing/annoying/mean phase, we became really close. My dad plays snooker with his friends on Monday nights which became mine and mum’s girlie night. We’d have what mum called “a little drinkie” (Lambrini when I was younger and then gin and tonic for her, vodka and orange for me when I was old enough) and watch romcoms such as Dirty Dancing or Ghost (mum was so hot for Swayze!) 

The last photo in the slideshow was taken during one of the breaks in chemo in January 2007, we went down to London for a weekend to do some shopping and to see Phantom of the Opera, our favourite musical. That’s actually a wig she’s wearing there as she lost her hair. One of my funniest memories of this horrible time was when it started to hammer down with rain while we were shopping and we ran into a McDonalds to dry off. Not giving a shit, mum took her wig off and stood there drying it off under the hand dryer. The look on some snooty bitches faces was hilarious! 

Understandably, the chemo made mum feel like shit so I did what I could to help her feel better. I’d give her pedicures and manicures during our Monday nights and when her hair grew back really curly, I’d help her straighten her hair to style it like this wig as she liked it so much. 

I miss her so much every day, and now I try hard to raise money for cancer charities in her name so that hopefully, one day, no one else will have to lose a beloved family member to this shitty disease. 

Next year will be 10 years since we lost mum, so in September 2017 (you heard it here first!) I’ll be taking part in the Wolverhampton half marathon to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. I wanted to do something big for the 10 year mark and doing something as challenging as a half marathon in my home city is perfect. The route goes past the street where I grew up and my uncle’s house (mum’s twin brother) is right on the route too.

So now I’ve got to get myself fit, I’m hoping to do it in around 2 hours and I have a dodgy knee so this will be tough. But compared to chemo, what’s a little running?

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Baby weight be gone!

There comes a point where you can no longer blame your extra weight on baby weight any more. For me, I said all along that this cut off point would be when Isla turned one, and now that she’s 13 months, my baby weight excuse has now expired and I’m still a stone and a half heavier than I was pre-baby.

I put on around two and a half stone when I was pregnant, and lost a stone within the first few months of Isla being born as I was breastfeeding, but the rest has settled around my midriff annoyingly and refuses to budge, so I’m wearing a size 8 top at the moment but a 12 in  trousers.

I’ve had a few issues with my extra weight. These aren’t excuses mind you, just genuine bugbears of mine. The first is that I have PCOS and that makes losing weight more difficult, plus I love my food. I freely admit I have no willpower and hate feeling hungry.

My attempts at dieting over the years have all been unsuccessful, and now I look back, completely ridiculous as I was around 8stone 10lbs and a size 8/10 before Isla was born. A very wise person said to me during this time that I’ll look back one day and realise that I never needed to diet and I’d wish to be the size I was, and they were right!

But all that’s about to change. I’m determined to lose at least a stone of this baby weight and get back to 9 stone. I’m overhauling my diet and cooking a lot of Slimming World recipes, and the house is now full of fruit and vegetables instead of crisps and chocolate.

I’m signing up to do the Wolverhampton half marathon (more on that later) and I’ve been doing some exercise videos from YouTube when Isla is napping (including the dreaded plank!) and going to the gym when she goes to nursery on Friday mornings, and now I’m working part time in retail, being on my feet for hours at a time helps too. 

I’ve bought some snazzy workout gear, including some funky leggings as you can see. Those blue dip dye leggings and grey stripy legging were a steal from George at Asda for £7 each in the sale, and the crop top was only £5.99 from New Look. This crop top has also become my motivation as I’d like to look like Kate Hudson does in her Fabletics gear! Consider this my “before” image!