Friday, 26 June 2015

Launching my new website...

Great news! 

After finally getting my head around Wordpress I have put together a website with my very own domain name. I am happy to be able to redirect you to my not quite all singing, certainly not all dancing, BUT much prettier website now!

You can now find me at:

You'll find an easy click through to follow my blog and be updated by email when I post something new, as well as a click button to follow me on twitter!
I definitely earned my wine the evening I figured that out. 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Popping my #Britmumslive cherry: my (humble) review

Months ago I had seen 'Britmumslive' being promoted on Twitter. I had no idea what this was. A few clicks and a little research later I realised that as a new blogger and even newer Tweeter it would probably be best to buy a ticket, dust off some of my non-muma clothes (where did I stash them?!), prepare myself for some serious brain usage, and hopefully find out what this blogger business was really all about.

The fact that this event was being held in London made me feel instantly at ease; I know London - well, I lived there for 12 months 8 years ago. How hard can it be to dive back into the city...?
Well for a start I got stuck, actually stuck in between those unnecessarily lethal ticket barriers at Victoria. The machine ate my ticket, I walked through, I got trapped! Great; this was not quite the look of effortless sophistication that I was going for. After some negotiation with the ticket Bull Dog I was freed and sent on my way. No one saw that right?! Only about 200 other commuters... it’s fine.
The rest of the weekend was sure to go smoothly, the karma gods would see to that.
This might sound a little delayed but as I approached the impressive Brewery building I realised that I was all alone. I had assumed bloggers were kind of lone rangers, all sat at laptops scattered over the country tweeting links to their latest posts and uploading countless piccies to Instagram. How wrong could I be? This community was looking pretty tight knit- and a lot of fun. Let me in, let me in- I want to play too!
I pasted on my best 'please come and talk to me' smile and made eyes at countless ladies, basically I looked like a raving perv working the bar at 2am. I knocked back my Lindemans taster and silently convinced myself that the thimble of Chards was all the confidence I needed.
My nerves and unease slipped away as Deliciously Ella took to the stage; I let her inspiring words wash over me and fill me with a teeny bit of ambition. This blogging Belle has it all going on: a successful blog, a book deal, and a huge HUGE following of loyal fans. But, for the first six months of her blog life only Ella and her Muma read it, so even the likes of this Superwoman started at the beginning too.
We then broke a Guinness world record by wrapping our peers in loo roll and headed off to start the sessions... y'know how it is.
As the afternoon progressed I had just about managed to navigate myself around this big building and had attended all of my classes- what a good student (better late than never!) I think I was learning, my eyes were definitely growing wider at the opportunities out there for us bloggers. I was blown away by the success that @englishmum, @knackeredmutha & @honestmummy have had, at the perfectly entitled 'How successful bloggers do it' session. A Sainsbury's ad? London Fashion week invitation? Wow, ok blogging is a far more influential medium than I had imagined.
Classes over, now came the fun part - the bit everyone was looking forward to. Sipping wine and eating canapés with ALL.THEIR FRIENDS - I was bricking it. I spotted a few faces in the crowd that I had (literally in some cases, must work on my spatial awareness) bumped into during the afternoon, but they all seemed otherwise engaged. I was just beginning to consider downing my wine in one and running for the hills, or Barbican tube, when the very gorgeous Hayley of @downssideup flashed me her bright smile and made me feel so at ease. This was much better, I was at last having a conversation with a blogger - and an award winning one at that!
Karma must have been back on side, I met the rather scrumptious Cash of @comebackmum, a newbie just like me. Yippee.
Day 2 dawned, and ‘new girl’ butterflies were back. Selfridges was only how far away? No, no, get your butt to the Barbican Muma.
Carol Smiley's talk of Period Pants, I mean Diary Doll, was insightful... My order is in with John Lewis!
The sessions were packed, good packed. A buzzing energy filled that Brewery, voices grew louder and I really began to realise just how much blogging means to all of us. The line that epitomised this came from a fellow blogger sat in the audience next to me:
We had just been warned by one of the esteemed bloggers hosting this particular session, that we should buy our own domain name, and to basically spread our risk over as many social media platforms as possible. (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, youtube etc…) Because, at any time any one of those platforms could be shut down and we would lose that particular account.
well, on hearing this, the Muma next to me turned to her friend (lucky bitch), and said:
"That actually makes me feel a bit sick."
 And I suppose it would; I was beginning to understand that livelihoods are at stake, and huge amounts of dedication is involved in blogging. It’s personal.

Guess what? I did make friends! Rina of @anglonip and Cash @comebackmum are my new blogging buds; I couldn't be happier to have a couple of chicas to call upon over the old interweb, to swap ideas, support blogs and do whatever modern day penpals do...
My review wouldn't be complete without a nod to the real stars of the weekend: the Britmums Co-founders; the gorgeously breezy Susanna Scott @amodernmother and Jennifer Howze @jhowze. Their soft Californian accents, enviable outfit choices and natural charm shone through, not just their presentations, but the sessions they hosted. I have no doubt it was a case of swans gliding across the surface while legs furiously kicked around sorting problems or issues to ensure the whole event ran without a hitch. These Mumas did it with style. Hats off, and thank you for inspiring me to carry on pouring out my random mumblings.
I'll be first in line to book my ticket next year.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Pipe Down C-section Haters

Since becoming a Muma and giving birth (yes, I will use that phrase, no, they didn't come out of my hooha) to our two scrumptious Hells Angels I have come to realise there is distinct snobbery when it comes to the wonderful world of BIRTHING.

You know the kind of thing I'm referencing here:

"Oh there was no time for gas ‘n air, just gentle chanting with a dash of hypnosis." Good for you honey, but please turn off 'pity eyes' when I relay my C-section tale in return.

Here's the thing: I LOVED my Caesarean Section. Yes, you read that correctly. Our first was a stubborn breach baby who chose to arrive earlier than my planned Section, leading to a swift trip straight to theatre. I'm not going to lie, I was bricking it. I had never had an operation before or been admitted to hospital, I had no idea what to expect.

I had endured long nights of NCT classes learning all about breathing and the various stages of labour. But that was all irrelevant now, my unborn baby and I were solely in the hands of a group of strangers - all holding rather sharp implements! That said, the spinal block has kicked in with almost immediate effect, the pain of the contractions had stopped and I was enjoying a strange state of calm. Hubster has a strong stomach and watched the entire process, my body being cut in two and clamped open while they rummaged around to pull Darcie into the world. The stress my body was undergoing was massive, but I was not in pain. I was listening with every fibre of my being for that first cry; for me that was my first 'meeting' of Darcie. I didn't see her all blue and fresh out of the drawer, it was all too quick,and they wanted to check her over. After an eternity we heard a noise I was going to become very familiar with over the next few months, a cry, from a baby: my actual baby!

The reality of having a baby had finally dawned on me, (thank god) this was real, and it felt great.

To add to this kind of idyllic setting, the radio was playing none other than 'Your Beautiful'. Good old Blunt had come up trumps, you couldn't have wished for a cheesier moment!

Major surgery teamed with a new baby was a little tricky - for darling Hubster. For me, it meant sitting on the sofa feeding our baby while he ran around for the first couple of weeks making dinner, bringing me coffee, entertaining the endless line of baby watchers, sorting through mountains of baby washing, basically being a human Jack in a Box. What's not to love about seeing your husband take up the slack after your nine months hard work?

A couple of years later, we were DING DING round two and I was all about the elective C-Section. So off I trotted to the hospital to meet with a midwife around week 25 to 'discuss options'.

This is when I realised that birthing snobbery was far from being exclusive to baby groups: this midwife could run the movement.

I understand and fully appreciate that medical staff have to present you with the facts. I just wonder how much the figures and cost of elective C-sections over hooha births really effect their advice and stance.

Count Midwife's opener was along the lines of: "You do realise by choosing a C-section you are increasing the risk of foetal death and death to the mother?" Super. Just what I wanted to hear. The tears flowed while I was brainwashed into agreeing to attend a V-BAC class with several of her other victims.

Why was I being made to feel guilty for wanting to re-enact the same magical experience I had loved the first time round? What happened to a mother's choice? I hear the haters out there: "Magical?? Pa!" But yes, it was magical. If magic isn't a new life being pulled from a water-logged hole INSIDE of you, whilst you are awake with darling Hubster getting a full frontal of your innards, then I don't know what is.

Finally the pressure from the midwives got to me, "You can do this! Give it a go!" Like they were encouraging me to try the new Big Dipper in Blackpool. So I did. It didn't work. After four hours of labour not progressing as they had hoped I was wheeled into the familiar setting. Once again the contractions disappeared and I braced my body to take on its next challenge. Baby Lila arrived and our world shifted a little more to the right once again. It was cheesy, and beautiful. This time I saw her as a freshy: all blue and icky. A piece of the puzzle I was glad to finally have.

Recovery second time around was not quite as luxurious as the first - my butler now had his hands full with a nearly three year old. However, the scar healed faster, and I felt stronger much quicker; possibly this was through necessity rather than nature knitting it all back together in record time!

I guess all I'm trying to say is, pipe down C-section haters - I earned my stripes just as well as you did. And to those who are dreading their ideal birthing plans ending in a C-section, please try not to. The fear is far worse than the reality.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Rose Tinting the Toddler Years: Make ToddlerMonsterItis work for YOU.

I seem to have been plagued by the condition ToddlerMonsterItis since my baby girl took her first wobbly steps back in November: goodbye sweet, sweet baby; Hello still reasonably sweet, but impossibly cheeky TODDLERMONSTER.

It is no secret that I am pretty negative about this socially inept phase. Those who know me have generously put up with my exasperated moans on a weekly basis: the teething, the dreadful sleep patterns, the sheer MESS everywhere- all the time (can I blame this on a burglary?!), the crying tantrums, the desire to toddle rather than ride the pram, – to name but a few.

Well as there is no sign of this phase transitioning over to the far superior Pre-schoolers realm any time soon, it is time for me to take a different approach before I sink into a deep hole of despair:

I give you my attempt at rose tinting the toddler years. Let’s take advantage of these unpredictable mood swings, the inconsolable tantrums and wayward frustrations. (-and that’s just the Mumas!)

We can use our pint sized whirlwinds to our advantage, I’m sure of it…

1)      Queue Jumping

Parked on double yellow lines outside the post office at lunch time? Need to get to the front of the queue ASAP? No problem, you just need to wake your peaceful ToddlerMonster, carry them without their comforter into the overflowing post office, join the snaking queue and wait for toddlerMonster to come round. 5 or 6 seconds should do it until the blood curdling screams begin. Even the hardiest Queue-goer will take pity. You will see the Queue part like you are an emergency response vehicle.  

Calmly make your way through the throngs of tutting, eyebrow raising crowds. Attempt to pacify The Noise for the sake of The Queue. If you experience resistance further down the line try suggesting to ToddlerMonster that you hope they aren’t sick AGAIN. If this doesn’t work, loudly realise the nappy has burst its banks.

You’ll be in and out that post office in minutes. No Queue for you Muma.

2)      Domestic Squalor

Has a thick layer of disorganisation swept through your home on a scale you thought not possible since the NewBorn debris washed up?

Does it looks like you hosted a playgroup by lunchtime? THAT’S OK. Is the Iroining pile is half way up the wall? THAT’S OK. If darling hubster is having fish fingers for the 3rd time that week for dinner then THAT’S OK: Toys are a necessity. Ironing is hot and a bloody lethal activity around a pulling tugging tripping waddler, and cooking one handed isn’t even a round on MasterChef yet. Frankly if you manage to conjure up hot foodstuff during the Witching hour, when ToddlerMonsterItis is at its peak then you deserve a medal – or at least a glass of wine!

3)      Missing an appointment
“I don’t recognise that number… oh they’ve left a voice mail…. Hang on a minute, VETS APPOINTMENT, BUGGER”

This is a regular occurrence for me. Trying to keep a track of appointments for myself used to be a tall order, but now I have two other people’s social diaries to add to the mix its frankly getting confusing. So missing appointments and rescheduling is becoming a regular thing for me - something which I have discovered can cushion the blow is ToddlerMonsterItis.

The basic workings of this tactic are:

1)      Realise the fuck up you have made.

2)      Contact via telephone to apologise & reschedule.

3)      Await gritted teeth acceptance of apology, and then release the hound.

4)      This is the easy bit: ToddlerMonster will see you are on the telephone. You are not therefore 100% engaging with her, this will massively piss them off. To the point where they cry: LOUDLY.

5)      Cue tone change from down the phone, sympathy washes up the line: forgiveness is close.

6)      Suggest your preferred rearrange date.


8)      Hesitation from down the line, that date or time doesn’t suit them – but kindly voice will switch things around to make that work because “you do sound like you have your hands full”

9)      BINGO.


4)      Making a quick exit

 We’ve all been there: suckered in to attend a YawnFest out of obligation. Side glances at your watch, contemplating the fake ‘There’s an Emergency’ friend trick for a speedy exit. Actual concern that a soggy Vol au vent could be the last thing you eat should you die of boredom here.
Fear no more; You are harbouring an unruly, unpredictable but desperately sweet looking secret weapon. ToddlerMonsterItis.  Muma’s gotta do what a Muma’s gotta do. A quickie whinge because they can’t suck their toes with their shoes on can easily be elaborated on in this situation…

“We had better leave now before she gets EVEN MORE tired, and works herself up into a right state. What a shame. We were having such fun!”
Done. Thank me later. You are out of there. Windows down, radio on.


I would love this list to grow, I need more Toddler positivity in my life. I have a good couple of years before the beloved pre-school phase kicks in – share some ToddlerMonster one ups with me, please!!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bugaboo Bandit: My Confession.

Homage to my dear Bugaboo..

Yes I know, I know: it costs a FORTUNE. In fact it was so expensive that when we sold my husband’s beloved ‘sports car’  in favour of a car which the bugaboo could fit into (yes the irony isn’t lost on yet more expense being squandered on the Bugaboo here…) the proceeds didn’t even cover the extortionate amount!
That minor detail aside, I had decided long before Darcie had begun to give me morning sickness that the Bugaboo was the one for me. I admit it wasn’t a choice made entirely on its practical merit (I blame Heat mag here) – however I did of course brush up on these points when standing in Mothercare persuading long suffering Hubster that this is the ONLY pram we could consider, and just how could he make a pregnant lady cry.

“Look, it has an adjustable handle – perfect for your 6”4ness.”

I struggled with a second practical based sell so settled for “We will look JUST like Gwyneth & Chris Martin strolling around with baby Apple” – I may have been speaking Marshan but it seemed to clench the deal.

Bugaboo ordered. Muma 1: Hubster -£1000.

Little did I know that this one purchase really was all I needed to buy for our teeny tiny human. Really I shouldn’t have bothered buying any of the following for quite same time:

Rocking crib / Moses basket / big cot / cot Mobile with strange not of this earth animals hanging from it which played Eurovision style music / bath seat / bath sponge floaty thing / bouncy seat (one for upstairs, and one for downstairs) toys – a variety of world discovery essentials promising to ensure your child evolved faster than next doors / baby gym (what the..!) / books / jumperoo – a new born essential, obviously. I may have gone a bit over the top, hormones flowing I wanted to ensure Tiny Human wanted for nothing and that every possible need and whim was provided for.

How naïve was I: The 3 B’s was all I needed for months: Boobs, Bottles & BUGABOO!!!

I remember the Bugaboo arriving like it was yesterday, I was only 10 days away from my Breach inspired C-section. I was one big Muma by this point, up until this moment I hadn’t nested. Hubster was secretly hoping I would have surges of SuperHouseWife – this seemed to have pasted me by. However Bugaboo delivery day saw me spring into action: instructions in about 20 different languages, wheels, metal bits, soft bits resembling seating and an iron will I put the entire thing together, single headedly.

I sat for the rest of the afternoon staring at the Pram, all ready for an actual tiny human to take up residence. I must admit I couldn’t resist the urge to give it a quick wiz around the lounge, how I didn’t take it for a spin down the road screaming “LOOK, I BUILT THIS” I’ll never know!

Darcie arrived unexpectedly 2 days later – I should have guessed something was up: I am the most untechnical person, I can barely work the washing machine. The fact that I had just built an entire object from bits was basically Mother Nature sending me a sodding great telegram: BABY IMMINENT!

Darcie, seemed to approve of our choice in pram too. 8 days after my c section I managed to hobble about 10 meters out of our front door pushing her in the shiny new, flipping gorgeous, pram. Practically bent over double I retreated back to the sofa, but that first little ‘walk’ (in the loosest sense of the word- more of a put the bins out distance!) - really is such a treasured memory.

From then on the Bugaboo did us proud – Darcie slept in the pram top placed inside her big cot for months, she loved walks in it, I loved pushing her in it , look one handed!- Only a few minor collisions occurred…  The ease of slotting the ridiculously heavy car seat on top of it was frankly a godsend.

Our newest addition now has the pleasure of the Bugaboo, although she is currently at ToddlerMonster phase and so the pram top is now gathering dust and god knows what else in the garage.

The bugaboo has soldiered on, it has endured Tantrums off the Richter scale, witnessed the knee GENTLY in the chest trick to assist with the little known about ‘Toddler stiff as a board back arch’ condition. It has had more food and drink spilt on it than a playgroup floor, survived being literally thrown into the boot of the car after been dismantled in grotty car parks. Actually it has survived many an argument about how best to collapse it in the early days! But it has gallantly carried our screaming squirming children, and all of my shopping for over 4 years now. What am I going to do with my Primark bags when I can’t hang them on the buggy anymore?!

You have done us proud Buggaboo, I salute you.

Is it just me who has an unhealthy sentimental affiliation with their pram, please reassure me I am not alone here..?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Stay-At-Home-Muma or Working Muma? My choice...

As sensitive a subject as Breast verses Bottle; I’m half wincing even beginning this blogpost. The time old argument, or rather ‘discussion point’ of Working Muma V’s Stay at Home Muma seems to rage on. Article after article is written on the subject, all contradicting the last, all claiming to be the latest research and written either by Earth Mother herself wrapped in her tie dye gently rocking back and forth on a rush matt with a toddler feeding from her, or City slicker Muma: louboutins- check!
These two extremes don’t really cater for The Lidl Muma – and by that, I mean me! What’s right for the Muma that’s been educated reasonably well?
I was fortunate enough to go to a very academic school, we were all aboard the conveyor belt of GCSE’S, AS levels, A levels, and then on to University as a standard. Utter scandal ensued should you have deviated from this, the very thought of ‘vocational course’ was placed next to shelf stacker as an option. From university I went on to work in recruitment mostly: I’m basically very gobby which helps in a sales environment!
I remember the day I finished work and begun my journey in to MatLeave like it was yesterday: An over indulgent lunch with my colleagues, well friends actually; I spent 50 hours a week with these people! Anyway I bid them all adios with armfuls of Pink goodies, vowing to return in a years time…
However, I just couldn’t tear myself away from my Darcie shaped bundle. I even went to a keeping in touch day, shame it was a financial planning meeting that had me wishing I could bolt out of the door. My brain felt like mush, did I get the train through to Paris because I’m clearly not speaking the same language anymore. That evening I broke the news to The Hubster that I just couldn’t go back to work and asked if we could financially survive.

If I’m totally honest I haven’t looked back since I waddled out of the office door ready to embrace Mumahood. Don’t get me wrong, there have been been moments where I have thought how lovely it would be to have a lunch break, especially when I have been on an involuntary starvation day due to a colicy baby, or a loo break sometimes, ALONE. And yes I have yearned to have a quick browse around the shops on late-night Thursdays after work on more than one occasion. But, and here’s the big but, my bottom line and my raison d’etre: I don’t want to miss out!

I don’t want to be the one to miss the first step, or first word – which would have been nice to be Muma just once: Dada got that, twice.  It’s the more mundane everyday stuff that makes you the constant: toddler tripped up and it was me that comforted her, toddler cuts another tooth and needs more cuddles, toddler whacks victim for custard cream at playgroup, – Hell, Toddler has morphed into ToddlerMonster and chucks ‘treasure’ down the loo!  I want to be the observer, the comforter, the disciplinarian, and not miss a beat.

However, in my quest to Nurture have I thrown away a great education and a career to boot? Is it realistically possible for me to return to work and still not miss a single thing? Well, of course not because it’s physically impossible to be in two places at once. It doesn’t seem fair that nature has given women a heart wrenching choice to make: follow your career, aspirations and dreams that you may have worked long and hard to build, before children. Or park it. Can a happy medium be reached or do you just end up not achieving either terribly well?

The responsibility I feel as a Stay At Home Muma to show my girls that women are invaluable to the work place is huge, I’m not leading by example here at all. I feel I must try to convince them that Muma is more than just a cleaner / cook / driver / occasional fair weather gardener. I don’t want them assuming that just because Muma doesn’t work I don’t have a brain and can’t answer their billions of critical questions - I can work Wikipedia just as well as the next Muma thanks. So with this in mind I’m now an upstanding member of the Nursery PTA and a wannabe Blogger, the fact that Darcie has begun referring to me as Muma On The Edge is frankly frightening.

This is a topic really close to my heart; I do strongly believe that every Muma strives to do the very best they can for their babies, its nature’s way. There is no perfect way to bring up our babies, just your way. And my god I hope I don’t fuck this up…

Friday, 10 April 2015

Sod the Gym Membership... Get a Soft Play Pass.

I'm not really a 'gym' person. I realised this when I once paid £500 for an introductory half hour session, a long time ago. Enthusiastically, pre-children I signed up to the gym right below our office one January along with all of the other girls from work. A sort of group new years resolution. 'We could spin during lunch' we hailed, 'we could swim after work' we cried. Some even went as far as to chip in with 'we could do Body Pump BEFORE work'. At the time I didn't like to pipe up with the fact that I thought we had all gone RAVING MAD! We already worked long hours in a thankless sales office, frankly the thought of doing anything other than eating my meal deal during lunch time blew my mind. Let alone the prospect of waking extra early to 'pump bodies' (whatever that meant!) And when work finished, that was it I was outta there and into the bar next door to moan probably about being fat and unfit amongst other things.
So having signed up and set up the monthly payments I skipped along to my induction. Never to return to the gym again!!! But they tie you in, you cannot, to quote Friends 'QUIT THE GYM' they don't let you. In my case the Gods took pity and the place burnt down! No joke..

I digress. So, Soft Play AKA Muma-Gym.

I have never quite experienced physical exertion like I did during one particular visit to a well known Soft Play centre. Lila was 6 months old and Darcie had just turned 3. My greatest error was to have innocently assumed that going it alone with the two of them and no little chums to play with Darcie was a good idea. I spent the next 2 hours crawling, jumping, climbing up, climbing down, lifting Darcie over, dragging her under the brightly coloured 'FUN' jungle.  All the while dressed like a marsupial, wearing Lila! EXHUSTED, why don't they sell wine in the café?! Gap in the market there.
8 months on and the girls are a little older, obviously. But this has meant they are stronger, faster and braver. If I thought climbing through tunnels, up sheer drops, down loopy slides (which test your pelvic floor, I might add) was tiring enough, it has nothing on trying to keep eyes on two children literally running, amongst other children running, amongst throngs of Mumas sipping MASSIVE mugs of caffeine, amongst the enthusiastic young YOUNG staff who frankly could do with having their own parents there to keep an eye on them.
In between the cries for refreshment - just how much juice can a 4 year old get through in one session?! Jugs upon jugs of the stuff, and the cries for yet another snack to keep those energy levels at an all time high, you have the cries all Mumas fear most: those cries that have been inflicted by your own child.
Cue sympathetic voice, and fake smiles, to poor little Johnny who Darcie pushed down the loopy slide because actually he had been sat there for about 10 minutes telling his gathering crowd of nippers that he was king of the slide. NOT.FOR.LONG. While I don't condone pushing, fighting, snatching bla bla etc I do have to reserve my 'serves you right Johnny' face, and adopt the more appropriate 'sorry my child hurt your child' face. What I'm really thinking is, "Put your oversized caffeine fix down and teach Johnny the way of the world: starting with basic slide etiquette!"

If you can survive a soft play session without a) breaking a sweat and b) not thinking "Where the fuck are my fucking kids" you've done well, very well.
I come out of the 'fun' warehouse with ringing ears, teary over tired children, a bad back, DISGUSTING socks and an overwhelming need to wash mine and the kids hands in bleach.
But, We'll be back next week...