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The Dreaded Pox

I haven’t been blogging for a while as it’s been so busy with one thing and another, the first of which I’m about to fill you in on…

We’d always hoped that Isla would catch chicken pox young as children cope with it better the younger they are apparently. So when the ladies at her nursery told me one Friday afternoon when I went to collect her that one of her little friends had been sent home that day with chicken pox, we fully anticipated that the time was near. She had been a bit off for about a week prior to this, being clingy when I dropped her off at nursery (normally she’s straight off playing with her friends and doesn’t give me a backward glance!) and had had a runny nose, which I’d put down to a combination of teething and a cold that Hubs and I had both had. And within two hours, it arrived.


When we were putting her to bed that night, I spotted some of the tell-tale spots on her back (see above). The next morning she was covered from head to toe, the worst was on her back and face (below).


So began a flurry of trips to the supermarket to buy calamine lotion and extra Calpol (Hubs) and phone calls to various relatives to find someone to look after Isla at home for the next five working days (me), as the ladies at nursery said she’d be contagious until all the spots had scabbed over, which usually took around six days.

Thankfully, both our bosses were very supportive and we made a plan that Hubs and I would each take two half-days off that week to look after her, while my mother-in-law would have her on the Tuesday and Wednesday and my dad the Friday, the final day of her containment.

So began the task of keeping our active, wriggly, always-going-at-100mph toddler cooped up at home. That weekend wasn’t so bad as we were able to at least let her loose in the garden as we had nice weather and we bought her a new counting toy to keep her interested for a while.

By Thursday she was getting restless, but luckily we were able to take her out for a short walk around the quieter streets in our village just in case she was still contagious, and needless to say she was getting bored being stuck at home with just mummy and/or daddy to play with!

We bathed her spots with calamine lotion morning and night and gave her calpol before bed if she was grizzly and in all, Isla coped so well with the pox. Aside from a runny nose and a slightly decreased appetite, she was fine in herself. She didn’t scratch once, she slept fine as usual and was still full of beans. Thankfully she was also very well behaved with my MIL and Dad, who hadn’t looked after a child alone since I was a baby! 

By Monday she was absolutely fine and ready to go back to nursery, like she’d never been away! I’m glad she had the chicken pox early and we all came through unscathed, so that’s one less thing to worry about for now!

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Stop scaring us with birth horror stories!


“It’s the worst pain you’ll ever feel.” “Take all the drugs, everything you can, it’s the only way you’ll cope.” “It’s horrendous. There’s no getting around it.”

I had all of these comments and many more in the weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter, and they scared me half to death. I have a low pain threshold at the best of times and thanks to everyone’s horror stories about very long and painful childbirths, I was so nervous about giving birth. I heard no positive birthing stories at all so prepared myself for the worst.

So to say I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t all that bad is something of an understatement.

I started having contractions at 3.15am on Sunday 6th September and we went into hospital at 7am where we were admitted to the assessment ward as there wasn’t any room on the labour ward, and ended up staying there until 9pm until there was a side room available for me. My contractions were painful, but not unbearable, and came every 5 minutes for most of the day and night, during which all I could have was paracetamol.

We finally went up to the labour ward at 9am the next morning and I was induced at around 10.45am, where the contractions got much more intense, and after 2 hours of pushing and an episiotomy due to her head being in the wrong position, Isla was finally born at 7.57pm.

Yes, it was long (41 hours to be precise), yes, it bloody hurt towards the end and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience of my life, but it definitely wasn’t the pain-addled, gut wrenching scream-filled horror show I’d been lead to believe and at no point did I think “I can’t do this”. I’m not saying I’d do it again every day, but I’m definitely not dreading the idea of doing it again soon.

I’m not at all diminishing how tough, gruelling, painful and traumatic labour is, especially when things go wrong and we need to prepare for a rough couple of days, also I’m sure I was lucky. But it would be nice if we shared our positive childbirth experience too. A good friend of mine is expecting her first in April and said she’d been scared to death by horror stories too, but had felt better hearing mine. 

I’d love to hear some of your positive birth stories too!

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

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A nod to my child-free friends


In a previous post, I paid tribute to my wonderful mummy friends who have been so amazing since I became a mummy and who I wouldn’t be without now. Well this blog post is for those amazing, understanding, supportive, non-mummy friends, the still-footloose-and-fancyfree ones who are effortlessly cool and don’t judge me for being a boring mum. 

They say you find out who your true friends are when the going gets tough, and since having Isla, our lives have turned upside down and we’ve truly seen who our real friends are. So for those who are still here, I just want to say thank you:

  • For not rolling your eyes when I waffle on and on about Isla for the seventh time in half an hour.
  • For understanding when I have to be selective about what plans we do together, either for monetary, childcare or sheer exhaustion reasons.
  • For being flexible and making the effort to come and see us to keep our friendships alive, as you know it’s hard to just “pop over” these days, and get togethers involve much planning and revolve around Isla’s routine….
  • And also for understanding when I’m so tired I call it a night early when we do get together.
  • For not kicking my arse to kingdom come for not replying to texts/Facebook messages/Whatsapps for hours/days/weeks because my memory is just plain terrible these days
  • For offering to babysit to give Hubs and I a bit of a breather
  • For still sticking by my side even though my life has changed beyond belief since my daughter was born. You are my true friends, and I’m thankful every day to have you in my life. 
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A year in review

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This year has flown by in the blink of an eye! Our little monkey has grown so much, from a wriggling baby into a full grown, mischievous, loving little toddler who has such a personality!

Now she’s nearly 16 months, her appetite has increased threefold and she eats like a gannet! There’s very little she won’t eat, her favourite is still the tomato and butternut squash pasta I make for her, and she also loves sweet potato fries, Petit Filous and grapes. I can guarantee though, as soon as I publish this, she’ll go through a stage where she won’t want to eat, the contrary madam…

Her vocabulary is coming along nicely, as well as the usual ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘nana’ etc she also like to say ‘uh oh’, ‘this’ or ‘that’ while she’s pointing at something she wants, ‘ta’ when we give her anything (she’s learning her manners!) ‘hiya’ or ‘hello’ (which she prounounces ‘hewwo!’) ‘ratbag’ (Hubs called her ratbag as a joke twice and now she won’t stop saying it!) and bizarrely, ‘doctor’! Since we bought her back from the hospital last month, everyone she sees she calls doctor! She’s also said ‘kiss’ once but hasn’t said it since!

Isla is a big bookworm and loves to sit with her books, turn every page and point at everything on every page. She’s really placid and happy to play with her toys while I enjoy a hot cuppa every now and then. She’s such a little charmer as well and smiles and giggles at anyone who comes over and makes a fuss of her. She’s also brilliant at sharing her toys with other children, and offers the toy she’s playing with to her friends when they come over and join her. We’re so lucky, she sleeps brilliantly at night (7pm to 7am) with a good nap around mid morning. I’m really chuffed with how well her social skills are coming on.

My only concern is that she’s still not walking unaided yet. She’s brilliant at cruising around the furniture andpushing her walker round and round the living room and kitchen, but when we try to get her to walk holding our hands, she just sits down and crawls over instead. I’m fairly sure it’s mostly a mixture of laziness and the knowledge that she can get there quicker by crawling, but it does worry me slightly. I know babies do things in their own time and she’ll walk when she’s ready, but I can’t help but wait anxiously for those first steps.

Here’s hoping Isla will see in the new year by walking!

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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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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.