Sunday, 11 December 2011

Writers Block

I haven't written in a while. I have a bit of writers block, I guess. There is a lot going on, especially with my toddler testing the shizzle out of me on a daily basis and Christmas coming up but whether it's the weather or the stress or the chaos but I just haven't been motivated to write anything. Come an evening all I want to do after tucking the kids in is to sit in front of Australian Masterchef with a cup of tea, and then to bed.
The washing up isn't done. A late laundry is not put on. My book remains unread and my blog... well, you can see for yourself.
And then I was oh so unwell with the rather Y2K sounding Novo virus and have lost a whole week, which when on the run up to Christmas, is a hell of a long time to lose! But after a rather windswept walk on a wet beach in Brighton I am hoping that the cobwebs have been well and truly blown away. And, in fact, I am sure I could see the big block that has been standing in my way come tumbling out and roll down the beach, being swept away by the blustery breeze that may have come to my rescue today.

Thursday, 10 November 2011


My toddler is in a big boy bed.  Or rather, he's not. He's mostly out of it. I've waved a bitter sweet goodbye to daytime naps. I don't really see the point of trying for an hour and a half to get him down for a two hour nap so we are ploughing through the day without naps.
Bedtime is another matter. Charlie has always slept well. We have always been firm that bedtime is bedtime. We sleep trained at 6 months and it seemed to work. He goes down at 7pm and gets up at 7am ninety-nine per cent of the time.
I thought I was a tough Mum. Not tough like "You there, kid, shut up!" but tough with pragmatism. I am not a soft touch and I do use the naughty step but I know that what I do is providing good lessons that will help them later in life. People that push, throw and scream tend not to be so popular!
The big boy bed came about because he could basically get out of his cot in seconds and he was up, out and on the floor before we were out the door of his room.
First of all we tried the Super Nanny approach. That lasted four days. Then we put up a gate at his door and let him get on with it. He would get to the door and just cry. Sometimes for me, mostly for Daddy. I felt like I was caging him in. I wanted to teach him to make the right decision to stay in bed, not have that 'choice' forced upon him. Part of me wondered what the big deal was. After all, what was a cot but a smaller version of a room with a door gate? And we'd have him cry out in his cot, so why not his room? But always there was the nagging feeling that else where other parents are tirelessly traipsing up the stairs carrying their protesting children and doing it the 'proper' way. But no! It seems that globally the door gate is 'a method'. Dads at play groups use it. Mums on Twitter use it. I am not alone. I am not a terrible Mum for letting my son cry himself to sleep on the floor and then scooping him into bed. This is just another life lesson that he has to learn. We all had to do it and don't seem too scarred by the experience.
The little boy in question has just gone quite after 30 minutes of extreme protestations. I sat it out (with a glass of wine!) feeling terrible and searching for support. With validation received I say, bring on tomorrow night!

Fully Dressed

I tried. I really did. On Thursday I had a 2 year old birthday party with a few other Mums. The only one I knew was the birthday boy's Mum. I turned up with no make-up and I got quite a few sympathetic looks and lots of "Not going well, huh?" type questions. I must have looked so tired and rundown. For the first time that week I felt exposed and vulnerable. It made me self conscious. Like a self fulfilling prophecy, because I looked stressed out and tired and felt stressed out and tired.
Thursday night was a tough one with Baby Max. I awoke on Friday morning feeling very very tired but with places to go and people to see. I couldn't face feeling like I did at that birthday party so I slapped on the slap. With a splash of red lippy to really perk me up. Is it wrong of me to get a buzz when people at the toddler 'dance' group told me that I looked well. I haven't been without make-up since.
Am I weak? I can't work it out. The scores (!) of you that read this bog, I would appreciate your opinion. I can normally reflect on why I couldn't see a personal challenge through but this one has stumped me. I thought I didn't care. I thought I was strong and unvain (invain? not vain?). Do you wear make-up? Would you go without?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


My make-up is my mask. Everyday I put it on, deciding who I want to be. Shall I have smoky eyes with red lipstick? Or shall I go for the 'natural' look with nude shades? Either way, I do not leave the house unless I have put on foundation, blusher and mascara - at least. Say I oversleep in the morning and my son is running late for the childminders, do I throw on a pair of jogging bottoms and rush out the house sans make-up to make sure he gets there on time? No. I will be 20 minutes late rather than have a naked face.
So, in my own inimitable style, if it's not easy, if it's a challenge, i will impose it on myself. This week I am mostly going without makeup.

Monday: I got my son to the childminders on time (!) and go for a coffee with my sister-in-law. She mentions how tired I look. And I do. I have very dark circles under my eyes, always have. A makeover lady one one of those posh department stores asked if I had Asian blood in my family as my circles were so dark. Also I am quite pale. Not 'pale and interesting' pale, but 'my god! are you okay?' pale. It came in handy at school. All I had to do was not wear make-up and I could quite easily get away with going home 'ill'.
On Monday I also went to see Britney Spears in concert at Wembley Arena with my sister. It's one thing pottering around the local high street without make-up but it is quite another to venture out to a teeny-bop concert showing your wares! Luckily it was so dark and people were more concerned about whether their schoolgirl skirt was short enough to really care about my face. And then it struck me - people DON'T care. It's just me. I'm the one who cares. People are too busy going about their own business. Of course, this is me walking around in the dark so it's easy to say!
On the plus side, my sister said my skin looked clear!
Tuesday: Totally loving the time it takes to get ready in the morning! And if the kids wake before I have finished getting ready, so what? I no longer have to fear Charlie smearing my lipstick over his eyes while I am otherwise distracted. This was an odd day. My husband fell down the stairs with baby Max in his arms and once he had passed the baby to be he collapsed and started to fit. I called an ambulance and he was taken to A&E (more of that later - he's fine now) so the fact that I picked my son up and then walked to the hospital without make-up didn't seem so important.
Wednesday: Husband can't be alone in the house so haven't walked out the front door.

Tomorrow I have a children's birthday in the morning and then a playdate in the afternoon. I am not afraid to say that I am not looking forward to doing either of them so.... so exposed. To be honest, I am not sure what I am trying to achieve with this latest plan of folly. To loosen up a little, maybe? To find an inner confidence? To be able to face the world without my mask? Either way... here goes...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Banish laziness and get stuck into life!

This is my new mantra - banish laziness and get stuck into life! Although most people I know would say that I am far from lazy, I know better. Admittedly, I manage to get up and out of bed and do what I need to do; get the kids dressed, unload the dishwasher, put a wash on, etc. At the end of the day when my husband walks through the door the house is relatively tidy and more oft than not there is a dinner ready to go. So I can get that much done - I can do what I have to do. No, my form of laziness is much worse than that. I want to learn Bridge. But I can't be bothered. I want to learn to use my vintage Singer. But I can't be bothered. I want to read, blog, decorate, cut out recipes, plan my Christmas, browse Etsy, puttery treat myself. But I can't be bothered. My laziness stops me from doing what I want to do.
I have a collection of ideas and things that will enhance my life and make me happy but I am just sitting back and watching them drift into the ether whilst moaning "I can't get anything done. I don't have time. I'm so tired. Blah. Blah. Blah". This must stop. I must banish this laziness and get stuck into life. My life. The life that I want. And it starts here.
First of all I have identified the things that are cluttering up my free time, they are namely unnecessary housework and television. For the housework I will be following the advice of the lovely Alison May over at Brocante Home on 'Creating A Lifestyle and introduce a proper routine to my housework so I am not forever playing catch-up. For television I will peruse The Guide on a Saturday and handpick what I want to watch for that week - and that will be it. No crap. No filler. No mindlessly flicking through the channels before landing halfway through an one of the less funny episodes of Friends and letting that suck up twenty minutes of my time (last Lent I gave up TV for the 40 days but that will be at a last resort if this doesn't work!).
With that sorted I will also adopt and 'carrot and stick' policy. Y'see, I love a glass of wine before bed. I find it helps me unwind gets me in a good frame of mind before bedtime. Unfortunately that poor defenceless glass of wine will have to become a pawn in the game and will only be able to make an appearance once I have done (or alongside of) what I set out to do. If I "can't be bothered" the wine stays in the bottle.
To some the above may seem like quite extreme tactics just to get something done but needs must, people. Needs. Must. And I need and must get stuck into life.
I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

My (Glorious) Day!

What a glorious day today, huh? I got up this morning with no real plans. Maybe the swings, maybe the playgroup. Then my friend texted me asking if we would like to join her and her two girls for an afternoon up at Knebworth House for a picnic and fun. Would I?! I got the kids ready and jumped in the car, cranked up the Tom Tom and we hit the road. I avoided the motorways and henceforth got driven round every motorway in Hertfordshire! Then the postcode I'd plugged into my delightful satnav took me right outside the park. Unfortunately it was the private entrance. So off we go on our merry way again. One rather stressful stop at Tesco's later (maybe you saw me? I was the strained woman chasing a 2yr old down the aisles with a car seat in a trolley!) we pulled up at Knebworth House and Park. And it was shut. Yes, shut. Closed. On the nicest day of the year so far and these beautiful grounds were closed. BACK IN THE CAR!!!!
My friend knows a place down the road - Stanborough Lakes - which has a kiddie park and somewhere to have picnic so about another 26 roundabouts later we park and all pile out of the cars.
After a spot is found and all the food we bought is spilt onto the rug my friend and I pour a cheeky glass of Rose wine and we sit back and watch the kids play. Well, the toddlers at least. They were running for no real reason and in no real direction, holding hands and laughing as they fell over. Charlie was happy. Really happy. He felt free and in good company (he loves my friends daughter) and without rules as he could come and pick at food when he wanted and then run off again, and he probably had more 'Chocco Bites' then were all together good for him! He was amazing to watch. He made me smile and filled my heart with joy. I reflected on the post that I wrote this very morning and marveled on how the feelings of what you do when it comes to your kids can change on the spin of a penny. How you can be at your lowest low one moment and then at your highest high almost the next.
When we got home I feared the worst as he'd had 20 minutes sleep the whole day but he just got on the floor and played with his cars. And allowed (and I know how the use of that word sounds and that's exactly how I want it to) me to put my feet up with a cup of tea. As I watched him press buttons on his toy and dance to the music I could fill myself welling up with love and pride.
I'm going to be a better Mum. I won't get stressed or impatient with them. Those aforementioned 'moments' will be better...ummmmmm.... controlled (for want of a better word). I want Charlie to be as free as he was today until he isn't anymore. Yes, I know that is idyllic and pretty much impossible but what's the point of an idyll if not to try and make it happen?
As I said, what a glorious day!

The Lost Week

Last week was hard. Really hard. I am not sure what triggered it. I woke up feeling rather run down and bunged up, feeling the beginnings of a cold, but instead of phoning my boss and saying I was ill and then going back to bed with a Lemsip I had to get up at 6am, feed Baby Max and then get Toddler Charlie up, make him breakfast and then traipse down to a playgroup and spend a whole morning in a room with wild toddlers and screaming babies. And it went downhill from there.
Charlie is very astute when it comes to picking up on peoples emotions and an imbalance can really affect him. My stress, although I was trying so hard to contain it, was putting him on edge and making him clingy and whiny, which made me even more stressed.
On top of that, because I was feeling a bit pooey I wasn't on top of things I am usually on top of, like the housework, shopping and paperwork so I felt as though things were falling to rack and ruin around me, which made me even more stressed.
There were a few times during the week when Max was crying and Charlie was whinging, or I was trying to settle Max and Charlie would be screaming and shouting, that I had to leave the room, close the door and count to ten. A few times I cried for 'no reason' and a few times my husband got it in the neck when he came home.
Everything and everybody else disappeared in a fog of stress. I was putting all my efforts into just getting through the day without a meltdown that I forgot birthday's and didn't get back to people and left library books to run up a fine.
But I have emerged. I took the kids to my Mum and Dads over the weekend and managed to get out with my Mum and sister for (more than) a few glasses of wine and some adult conversation. And that's all it took for me to shed the mantle of Mummy for a few hours. On Monday I drove home feeling a little hungover but also like a weight had been lifted and so far this week has been a really good week. I am able to enjoy my kids again without feeling like they are dragging me down.
I was careful not to hide my stress but also not get emotional about it. For example when someone would ask me how I was I was reply with frankness that I was having a tough week and feel really down. I didn't want to hide behind this expectation that we, as mothers (or whoever is the stay at home parent), that we can't show a weakness, that we can't say that it's all getting a bit too much.
The 'real' side of being a Mum is coming through a lot on the blogs that I have started reading (a list of the ones that make me laugh and cry will appear here soon) and they have made me feel a lot better because I know it's NOT just me and I AM a good Mum.
A friend from University is pregnant at the moment. She is due in four weeks and we went down for her baby shower recently. I am not her only friend who has children but she asked if she could phone me if there was anything she wanted to know. I said, of course, but reminded her that she had people closer to home who had had children. I know, she replied, but you tell it as it is. As soon as she said that I felt glad that I had forced myself to be honest about being a Mum no matter how difficult it is. And I will continue to do so.
I love my kids more than anything in the world but sometimes I want to be in room without them. Sometimes they make me cry. Sometimes they make me more stressed than any bad boss has ever done. Sometimes I wish I could step into the Sliding Doors version of my life. But I would never change it. Much.

Monday, 19 September 2011

No Child Born To Die

Two years ago I was induced with my first child which resulted in a long and a traumatic labour. Second time round I wanted a birthing pool delivery that was free of pain relief. Alice Ko was the midwife on duty when I rushed in after an accelerated labour. She immediately took charge, teaching me how to use the gas and air and was firmly supportive when I panicked and wanted to get out of the birth pool. If I could hand pick a birthing experience that would have been the one; and that is thanks to midwife, Alice Ko.

Please sign the petition to ask the Government to do more to ensure that no child need die because they do not have access to a healthcare worker

Monday, 5 September 2011

And so on...

I've been away for a while. It's hard to find the time to sit down and write. Sometimes I feel as I have nothing to say and then sometimes I feel as if I have too much to say and I don't know where to begin!

I have set myself a challenge. To only buy 'pre-loved' clothes between June (when my son was born) and Christmas. This means plain old 'second-hand' and of course the odd vintage piece. This challenge came to me for a few reasons. First of all, money. I love clothes and I love looking good but all too often the bits that I want are out of my price range and I end up buying something in a sale that I don't really want or need but feel I should have as I want some new clothes. Second of all, my body. After only spending 54 weeks not pregnant before having my second child my body has no idea what size and shape it wants to be. Although I am not actively working to get the baby weight off, running a home and running after a toddler is sure to help me fight the flab. I was a skinny minnie before Charlie and now I am a happy size 12 but will I stay this way? I dunno. So I am loathe to spend money on clothes when it may not even fit me a few months.

I am loving it! I love a good challenge anyway (hence me trying to learn Bridge and sewing on an old Singer, but more of that later) but this has been so successful. After spending £35 in British Heart Foundation and walking away with 5 tops and 3 jumpers I was on a roll! A pair of silk trousers from M&S and a beautiful green skirt from Zara later (purchased at St Christopher's Hospice) I was hooked! My aim is to get pictures of all my finds on here but I'm suffering technical issues (I can't find the cable to hook the camera up to the laptop!).

And a strange thing is happening. I am stylish. I was always well groomed and always tried to match my bag to what I was wearing. But stylish? That wasn't really a word that described me. Until now. And I am not sure why this is happening. Is it because I have picked such great pieces that style is now effortless? Is it because I have to really work hard to find these pieces and so want to make the most of them? Maybe. All I know is that people are telling me that I look great and complimenting me on my outfits. I feel so ... proud, when I tell them that I am dressed head to ankle (new shoes!) in second hand clothes and my whole ensemble probably came to no more than £10! although I draw the line at second hand pants!
I suffered from a spot of temptation this weekend and saw a beautiful wine coloured pants suit in Peacocks but I stuck to my guns, and felt quite good about it. Onward and upwards!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Me, Myself and I - The Story So Far

After pontificating about why I am doing this let's get stuck in shall we? My name is Becky. I am 32 years old and I am one of those 'grown up' people you read about, y'know - married, got a house, two kids, nice family car, live in the suburbs, blah, blah, blah. It all happened over a decent period of time so I didn't notice it all creeping up on me and now here I am. Happy and coping. Or is that coping and happy?
I got married in 2007. Small ceremony (the two of us and a witness) in a low key location (City Hall, New York City) and young Charlie entered the world almost two years later. Perfect. It's all going according to the plan I didn't even know I had.
After my maternity leave of 52 weeks I got made redundant (boo!) but got job of my dreams on same day (yay!). Even more perfect. This is going better than I thought it would.
And then two weeks after my son's first birthday I got pregnant again, and 9 months later Max joined us. This was not in the schedule! Six weeks in to my new job I had to tell them I was pregnant and then I had to spend 8 months working full-time, looking after toddler / house & home / husband whilst pregnant.
And now? Well, now I am at home full-time with two under two (although I can only say that for another month!) and boy, does that bring ups and downs. I also aspire to live a life full of vintage loveliness (see Brocante Home for details!). I s'pose what I am hoping is that this blog shares those ups and downs and those aspirations with those who stumble across this and maybe someone, somewhere will take something away from this. Maybe.


Well, after spending most of my time reading other women's blogs I have finally decided to pick up my own pen (so to speak) and start to write. I'm still not sure why. Let me try and work it through here,

1. I love to write. I miss writing. I was always scribbling something down as a teenager, whether it be poetry, musings or diary entries I was never without notepad and pen.

2. I take pleasure in the real and (arguably) mundane. Sometimes 'normal' people talking about their 'normal' lives can be incredibly funny and sad and everything inbetween. And also fairly inspiring.

3. After life throwing me a curveball I feel the need to share. Maybe it's me, or maybe it's the culture we live in - who can say? Maybe it's a bit of both.

All of the above lead me to the not at all original idea to start a blog. I have no idea what I'm doing or how to go about managing one of these so we'll see how far I get. This could be my first and last post!