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A mum of 2 trying to stay sane in an overly airbrushed world.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Full Time. Part Time. All The Time.

In my experience the partner who doesn't go to work, the one who does the lions share of the childcare can be subjected to such classic cases of 'foot in mouth' disease:


"But I have to go to actual work."

"You get to have a lie in everyday."

"If I could play with the kids all day instead of work - I would." 

"Choosing and buying my families gifts is your job now." My personal favourite and the one which caused all surrounding oxygen to turn 50 shades of blue!

I'm sure you've all got your own versions of the above but such insight and wisdom from the other half can be frustrating, annoying and only ever about 20% truthful - after all most women will return to work in some form, meaning they will be work-ing, mum-ing, domestic godess-ing and partner-ing all in one. 

That's a hell of a lot of th-ings to be! 

Its not easy returning to work; back to the routine, back to caring about something more than nap times, feeds and tantrum negotiation. I returned 3 weeks ago, changing from full time to part time. I still work the equivalent of 4 days a week and it sometimes feels as though I am trying to 'have it all' but why shouldn't I have my own identity, career and earnings. 

That's the logical answer for going back - money, prospects and the future plans that see beyond school starts and when the kids can make ME a cup of tea! In reality it totally misses out the stresses of sorting childcare, being OK with your baby going to someone else for the majority of their day and then paying them most of the money you have just earnt.    

Doing this second time round...technically I'm now a pro (yeah right!), I tried to learn from the past. This time I ensured I did my ten (optional) KIT (keeping in touch) days and eased myself back into the commute, getting up at a set time and having to dress and exit the house with two children by 7:30am. I surprised myself...I enjoyed it! It was a nice break out of mum life, with a bit of adult conversation thrown in. I'll admit though, as my 'official' return date loomed and full time mum life came to an end - I did feel a certain sense of dread. 

Had I disregarded possibly the most important factor for me in returning to work? The effect on my mental health? 
Going back after baby one I was getting up an hour earlier than necessary, waking my baby through my own tears and spending my early morning playing with him or cuddling him so to turn down the churning feelings of guilt and heartbreak. 

Was this going to happen again? Would it be worse this time?   

Mentally I have been 'fine' for some months now, i'd even go as far to say I have been 'good'. The last thing I wanted was to set off on another loop of the depression roller-coaster! Ironically this transition was not what actually caused my recent and unnecessary loop de loop in to mental health mayhem. It was my own idiocy in forgetting to request my repeat prescription - then forgetting to pick it up...eventually ending up a week off my anti-depressants. 

WELL I WON'T BE FORGETTING THAT AGAIN! That week off the pills I spent in awe of how well I am doing on them and that I am no where near ready to even discuss coming off them yet. How I felt that week was like having bad PMT mixed with extreme irritability. I had to forcibly shut myself off to certain situations, triggers and people - another quick stab of memory into how life felt before I was diagnosed. It led me to a revelation...going back to work after baby two is SO MUCH better. I can only credit this to being diagnosed and treated for my depression. It's actually made work AMAZING!

Yes that's right, I described work as amazing! I literally feel like a different person at work - be that because I am a parent of two and its changed my approach or if its because I have re-found a little bit of the person that was shadowed by depression. 

Mental Health Awareness week has been and gone; my point is that every week is mental health week. Anyone out there in doubt if they are 'depressed' or sceptical that a little tablet can change anything please believe this; its blindingly obvious to me now that I have not been myself in any of the 3 years since I began pushing babies out of my vagina. If you don't feel right or you're aware of changes in your behaviour...GO AND SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR! You deserve to feel 'normal' again.
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Monday, 15 May 2017

Sexit: Can I Change My Vote?

Writing 'Hardcore Sexit' was a long, drawn out process; the idea to write about 'it' occurred not long after the whole Brexit whirlwind. A mixture of shame, fear and embarrassment made me leave it to fester for a further 9 months.

Pressing 'publish' was a whole other battle, as I prepared for one of three things:

  • No one reading it. Who cares about other peoples sex lives?
  • People reading it and thinking it was ridiculous!
  • People reading it and attracting all sorts of weird, wonderful comments from the depths of social media.
Luckily none of these scenarios actually happened and instead I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of women (and men) who took the time to write, speak or message me in support and share their own version of similar problems. 

I was not alone and people were willing to risk making themselves appear a 'frigid sex avoider'(FSA) too!

As (self imposed) leader of the 'frigid sex avoiders' I feel something needs to be done. Off I went to Google with its speedy searches to type 'Female lack of sex drive' et voila for the first time in years I have a sexual purpose!


Just to be clear when researching 'treatments' I had 2 things on my mind:

  • Money - I am not rich, i'm adjusting back into part time work following maternity pay so I sure as hell do not have money to 'spunk up the wall'.
  • Time - with 2 kids, a job and a life (sort of) everything needs to be flexible to that. 
SO...here's what I found: 

FACT: A 'sex census' of 24,709 British people found that at any one time about 16% of women have a low sex drive. 


The biggest contributor is age apparently...so best get my skates on before I spiral into geriatric sex avoider territory.


FACT: The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles found that 1 in 4 women who are in a relationship don’t share the same level of interest in sex as their partner. 


We're not alone ladies its a common problem, it just needs a bit more exposure. This is my new little mission, I lost my dignity long ago, so seeing as I've come this far I may as well try and get some good out of it.


Here's the bit you've all been waiting for (drum roll)...the plan.


The scientific one...I have found a clinic who specialise in dealing with sexual problems. The Havelock Clinic are running a series of webinars to tackle 'Female Sexual Desire' issues. Spread across 5 fortnightly sessions, its perfect for mums as its in the evening and you can just log in from your home computer/tablet - so no travel. Each session costs £35 so £175 total.



The experimental one...supermarket sweeping the hell out of Ann Summers with my resident sex addict mate to ensure I don't play it safe and try some different things.



The fun one...creating more time for each other, taking it in turns to organise "us time" - trying the alphabet dating game and self imposed phone bans on dates.


The cringe one...trying to work desire into everyday life, sending a text or two during the day, saying what you'd like to do when you're together. 

The easy one...Lady Prelox is a plant based supplement which will enhance female pleasure. £32 for 1 months supply and available from Amazon.


Watch this space - this will all be occurring over the next few months, I won't be doing it all at once (god no, we're taking baby steps with this). I'm starting with the sexual therapy, but I will report back on my Instagram and on here with how things are going and whether its worth trying!

Thanks for all the support so far. FSA's can and will be cured (I hope).
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Friday, 5 May 2017

Bank Holiday Hell


As parents we all crave that little bit of 'me' time; enjoy a few stolen moments doing something we enjoyed before you took responsibility of a small person. To some theirs no such thing as too much 'me' time. Spring has loads of potential with bank holidays galore; sounds perfect...unless you're experiencing your first bank holiday as a single parent.

Those familiar with my previous posts will know I have a friend negotiating her new life as a 'lone' parent. I stress 'lone' because the ex-other half would laugh in the face of anyone who suggest he parent more than he can get away with. Currently stuck in mediation 'purgatory' progressing through a system so slow and tedious it makes a snail resemble Usain Bolt. The road to divorce, legal intervention and justice for a child who wants the time they deserve from both parents is the most frustrating process I've ever witnessed. This isn't meant to be a 'pity post', far from it - I hope I am highlighting the real darkness that can be overlooked when trying to help those in this situation. 


The CBeebies bedtime song has long been a victory for me (like i'm sure it is for many far and wide); but when you're doing it alone its a bit of a curse...YES you survived another day, but once your child is asleep (hopefully without too many choruses of 'I want mummy and daddy back together') you face a silent house and a glorified form of house arrest where the previously simple tasks of nipping to the shop, going out for a walk or Domino's not offering delivery in your area are actual first world problems. 
Of course you have friends who can help in these situations - but what part of 'surviving' and 'doing it alone' is that? Even with all the friends, family and colleagues in the world bedtime equals social lock-down and a bit more time to think about everything

Now enter the bank holidays - a single parents bold and italic version of what is now every other night. That 'family' based occasion you dread to attempt alone that rubs salt in your still freshly wounded family. 
My friend would want me to stress that aside from the initial split - it has been these weekends which she has found hardest. These have been the time that reality has truly hit. Its not from neglect or lack of social functions to go to (far from it) but she now feels the inadvertent third wheel at events by no choice of her own and to no fault of those around her (who want her there more than anything). 

Its simply a stark reminder of what you have lost and what others still have. Sounds petty and childish but IT ISN'T FAIR. 

Of course it is all part of the process and as each public holiday comes and goes it will get a bit easier, but if I have learnt one thing from my friends experience; it is that she is by no means the minority (far from it) but there seems to be very little to no support out there for newly single parents or their children. With two more bank holidays before we hit the hell that is Christmas - maybe we could all try and dedicate them to trying something different with those experiencing extreme change? Steer away from the traditional, make some new memories that can overshadow the past and make that home alone time a little less hellish.
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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Hardcore Sexit

I didn't mean to vote out.

Can't even remember doing it.

If I could find a way to take it back and rejoin the sexual union I was once part of I would!

I wish I could remember when it happened; the moment I was switched off and I lost all desire to do 'IT' anymore. I definitely wanted to do it the day I conceived my first child, so at least that is somewhere to start...

Since that day four years ago I have had two children (a 3 year old and a 10 month old), been diagnosed with Post Natal Depression (PND) and then dealt with everything else that life has thrown at me.

SEX really has been the last thing on my mind.


Well, it was until I realised it was a problem. Listening to others talk excitedly about all the great sex they were having and then the awkward almost constant knock backs I am serving my husband led to a never ending load of questions:

Is it me?

Is it my husband?

Is it the kids?

Am I in the wrong marriage?

Am I too tired?

Am I abnormal?

Have I just lost it?

The answer to all of those questions is NO! I can say that so confidently because even if you offered me the most romantic, passionate night of selfish pleasure with the man of my dreams I would still rather do other things - like sit and watch some good telly or have a really nice dinner; sex would be the last choice, I just have no interest.

I have sought help, I have discussed this with my GP, Health Visitor, in peer counselling and to my friends. Everyone seems to think it can be easily fixed with a few nights away and trying some 'new' things...been there, done that, still not wearing an 'I ❤ Sex' t-shirt. The only distance I have gained towards an answer is finding some like-minded mothers with PND who also feel like me but were just too scared to admit it.

A female Viagra would be good...and I know the more you have it, the more you want it. That is all well and good if you have a solid week without your kids to try and get back into the groove...but I don't have that luxury and in a world full of sex it seems totally alien and isolating to actually be admitting that I just don't know what to do from here. I know its not just me, I know its related to parenting and having the PND...so what can I do to help?!

I care enough to write this, I care enough to admit it to groups of people who really don't care to know my vag is as dry as Gandhi's flip flop and most of all I care and worry about the damage this affliction will do to my marriage. I know it bothers my husband - so how long before he tires of trying and just goes elsewhere? I'd really like to be able to want to have sex with him again, to not dread his advances and fear pushing him away even more.

I'm sorry I have no answers...I just thought this needed saying and I hope it rings true with someone else!
Anyone else out there? Or is it just me? 😖
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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Note to self...

If you could have a super power, which would you choose? 

Psychic abilities, invisibility, x-ray vision, super strength? 

I'd love the power of instant hindsight. To not make really stupid decisions, waste time or money on things like:
  • Spending £50+ a month on a mobile phone bill in my early 20's.
  • Eating takeaways everyday for the first few months of uni. 
  • Being 'friends' with people I knew I didn't like.
  • Not putting into my pension until I was 25.
  • Having a full on fringe cut into my thin, shapeless hair and then pairing it with hooped earrings.
Instant hindsight would make me rich beyond my wildest dreams, a better person and have a few less grey hairs. Wouldn't it?!

Sounds great in theory, but would I really have listened to someone telling me to be sensible, even boring at times? The simple answer to that is NO! I'd of told myself to chill out and to let me enjoy being young! The truth is that I've hit that 'age' where I realise my mother was trying to do that for me...😳
All those times I was told to save money, take my make up off, eat properly and go to my lectures at uni - that was my instant hindsight...trying to steer me in the right direction. I'll admit now my mother obviously had a point, but at the time I really liked the naive bubble I was living in. 

Let's take the man I aspired to marry as an example:
18 year old me...

Marriage material - 18 year old me:
1. Rich
2. Older than me
3. Tall
4. Fun
5. Spontaneous
6. Formula one driver
7. Decisive

Marriage material - 30 something me:
1. Has a job he enjoys so not too grumpy
2. Taller than me
3. Fun
4. Supportive
5. Hands on father
6. Handy with practical tasks (DIY, mechanics, gardening etc)
7. Replaces toilet roll when needed

Quite a contrast; 18 year old me was shallow, unaware and totally clueless to what actually mattered in 'real life'. 

In hindsight, instant hindsight probably wouldn't be that great. Without all the poor decisions, bad haircuts and wastes of money I could still be living a very naive life.

If I'm destined (or already heading) to being my mother then I may as well wish for a better super power...definitely going to go for the ability to teleport - that way I never have to undertake a long car or plane journey with my kids EVER again. That's much more valuable!
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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Helping Your Newly Single Mum Friend

Friendship: A chance meeting that develops into fun, memories and a million WhatsApp messages. Your only agenda for being there is because you want to be, it's a bond built on pure appreciation of a particular person. Maybe that's why a friends pain can sometimes feel like a personal attack.

When a friend is going through tough times it's hard to know what to do that will actually help.

Hopefully I can give you an idea of where to start.

My best friend's husband recently walked out on her and their son. Casting aside a relationship of 11 years and a child of pre-school age with little more than a look back over his shoulder and a few texts telling friends and family to 'look after her'. He left behind a heartbroken woman and a child with no comprehension of why daddy would leave and make mummy so sad. 


Breaking up IS hard to do. It's even more traumatic if it's unexpected, unrequited and dealt to you in a way you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. In the space of less than a minute, my friend's life (as she knew it) was over. The person she shared most of her hours with, loved, cared for and most importantly parented a child with was suddenly just someone she used to know. She was inadvertently alone.


(Why he left is irrelevant to the point of this piece but let's just say my friend was not at fault, a court of a million men would rule her the victim).




What's followed that day is weeks of unravelling lies, constant questioning, revelations of deceit and extreme shock to the point of physical illness. To my friend's extreme credit she's dealt with it with more pride and dignity than I ever could. She will say herself, the only reason for this is because she is now the sole parent - all her strength is needed to keep her child in a stable environment and try to answer the heartbreaking questions like 'why daddy is lost' and 'why are mummy and daddy not friends anymore'. She doesn't get a break or choice as to what days or hours she can commit to...that child is her priority regardless of any of her own personal issues or feelings and beyond all the tantrums and testing behaviour she does the right thing.


It's fair to say she's having a pretty crap start to the year, but she is getting there and these are the things she feels helped her most in those first few traumatic weeks:

1. Be there. To talk, sleep, drink, or eat. Help them to function and care for themselves - this will be the last thing on their mind.
2. Make plans. Take each day at a time, but start to make future plans for a day out, night out, anything to look forward to.
3. Childcare. Parenting is tough at the best of times,  but doing every bedtime, bath time and meal time alone is horrendous. Any offers of help to do some of the routine will be well accepted.
4. Make new memories. Everywhere they turn will hold a memory or link to their previous life. If you can, try and go to new places or take a break somewhere they are free of constant reminders.
5. Know when to stop. Everyone will have an opinion and want to air it - especially if there has been wrong doing on either side. Just try and stay aware, there will be days it's all they want to talk about and others when they just need a break from it. 


From my own battle with depression I have been introduced to the concept that serious change will provoke a 'chain reaction' of emotion:

1. Denial
2. Realisation
3. Anger
4. Letting go
5. Searching
6. Understanding
7. Acceptance 


It's not uncommon to re-visit these emotions and 'go back a stage' along the way. I have found it helpful as a way of  referencing where I am.


Most importantly reassure them it's OK to feel moments of happiness and enjoy things again. That they will never be alone, and they're strong enough to get through this.


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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Merry Christmas....Enjoy The Microwave!



Yes, you have read the title of this post correctly. My husband feels that as a woman, wife and mother I would want a microwave as a gift 😒.

He is not a bad person or husband; in the same way that I am not a greedy, materialistic cow-bag. I'm extremely lucky to have a loyal and caring man helping me through the day to day struggles of life. It just feels like he no longer feels the need to try and do heartfelt things.


He can do romantic things. 

He can put thought into presents.


He used to before the engagement ring took its place on my finger nearly 5 years ago! Could it be this romantic ritual of lifelong commitment that renders the end of romance as we (think) we know it?

Should a gift for a loved one always be meaningful and well thought? Or is a practical, useful gift just as good?

    My own mother told me I was ungrateful in turning my nose up at the microwave...but not one of my friends could keep a straight face. 

    Am I unreasonable? 


    Do I expect too much? 


    I do question my judgement...but then to my amusement whilst watching Emmerdale over Christmas a story unfolded of a husband buying his wife a kettle for Christmas - to much disagreement and hilarity. My husband of course found this hilarious, as if it had cemented his place in the comedy hall of fame. 

    He has form though, check out previous offending articles: 

    1.



    (Bought in lime green)


    • These were birthday presents bought 2 months after an amazingly romantic and well planned secret proposal...the link between these two items is that the retail park nearest our house at the time had both an Argos and Sports Direct.
    2.

    • My 30th birthday gift 2 years post-proposal...mirrors are now a great bone of contention in our house and he will always try to get one in to prove its an OK present.
    The irony of the situation at Christmas just gone was that I'd bought him something I knew he'd truly love. A hospitality day at his beloved Leicester City FC on the booze with some mates. I had taken time to find him something he wouldn't get to do every day and really enjoy. In contrast to what would have faced me, a kitchen appliance which would reflect my own disgusted reflection back to me every day.  

    Luckily the microwave was never purchased, the moguls who invented Black Friday bought him some time to revise the original plan, as I'm sure you can imagine my face when he said he wanted to go and get me a microwave on that Friday a couple of weeks before Christmas.


    Whether my husband is just lazy, complacent or simply too practical to now put thought into my presents - please do not let it happen to you! 

    Be clear.


    Drop hints.


    Sometimes they all need a little help...


    It doesn't need to break the bank - she probably just wants a gift which in someway represents your love...be that a song with nice words, a photo of you together, or even just an evening without the kids! 

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    Tuesday, 31 January 2017

    Now That's What I Call A Theme Tune!

    This is a quick but controversial post - a little bit of fun to brighten your day. I think its likely to divide people more than Mr. Trump himself (big statement).

    The 80's was an epic decade for many reasons, but I want to focus on its awesome kid's TV theme tunes. Listening back to the ones on my list, they've clearly had a lot of time, money and thought put in...3 words I could not bring myself to say about the Peppa Pig theme tune even if you paid me. 

    If you're lucky enough to be too young to be familiar with these, or your brain is frazzled by a baby/toddler/children to remember then please take a moment to click the link and enjoy 😄


    1. The Wuzzles
    I would give my front teeth to get Henry into this. Brilliant concept and so cute!
    "Ooooooooh they got originality, living with a split personality."

    1. Duck Tales
    I couldn't split the top two...both catchy, both lyrically suited to the characters and the shows - pure Disney perfection.

    3. Chip and Dale
    Its a pure coincidence these are all Disney so far, maybe they just had all the big money to spend or it could just be the Disney legacy of fantastic musical arranging!?

    4. Inspector Gadget
    I was obsessed with this when I was young, literally wanted to be Penny. Even named my dog after her, they've since remade this and made it all modern...they've ruined it.

    5. Gummi Bears
    The last Disney offering but one of those tunes I can remember singing with friends at primary school. Good times.

    6. Thundercats
    Pure 80's tune...I think they've also remade and ruined this ☹️.
    "Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo."

    7. The Racoons
    This song was, and still is far too big for a cartoon. Makes me feel a bit emotional even now! Beautiful!

    8. Bucky O'Hare
    Way ahead of its time! Rabbits in space fighting off intergalactic toads (makes Macka Packa and Iggle Piggle look tame).
    "Lets croak us some toads!"

    9. Count Duckula
    Beautifully British and catchy as hell! Anything with David Jason involved is a winner...(perhaps not Pip Ahoy though?!)

    10, Sharky and George
    Another one which we used to sing in the playground, looking back now it was so obviously French - never noticed it at the time. Hasn't aged as well as the rest but still a classic! 

    Kids these days...don't know what they missed! 

    Any issues with any of these - please feel free to take it up with me on here or on social media 😉
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    Monday, 23 January 2017

    You Can't Call Them That!

    Being a 'Rebekah' I was 1 of many at primary, secondary and even in halls at university. I have married into the Smith's so it's even more important to have an uncommon name.  I've always had 2 rules that would put me off a name for my children:
    • If someone I knew already had it or called their child it. 
    • If it appeared in the top 10 most popular for that year.
    Baby 1: I could of told you what his name would be before even thinking about having a baby. I was a bit 'Monica' about it, that was my baby name and I couldn't bear the thought of someone I knew getting to it first! 🙈
    Despite it being a made-decision, we kept it a secret when we were pregnant, so we had to endure the dreaded conversations with others about potential baby names.

    Enter my wonderfully sweet, but opinionated mother-in-law (MIL)...

    MIL:  Make sure its nothing too modern - i don't like modern names.

    Fair enough. 

    MIL: Don't have anything too old fashioned either - nothing like Cecil, George or Henry. 

    Thanks for that MIL so nothing modern, nothing old...what does that actually leave us with? Sweet FA!

    The name we had chosen was Henry 😳🙄 (this wasn't in the top 10 in 2013).

    Baby 2: this time we had nothing decided and just had a shortlist to choose from on their birth date. When he was born the first name was agreed within minutes and it met everyone's satisfaction. 

    It's his middle names that still cause controversy 7 months on! They took around 2 weeks for us to be sure of but once we had them, we loved them! We knew we'd get a mixed response but we didn't expect the following conversation:

    Enter my wonderful MIL once again,this time on the telephone...

    Husband: Oh by the way we've picked Louis' middle names - but I'll tell you next time we speak, as I've not got time to go into it now. 

    MIL: Not got time to go into it?! Why what's wrong with them?? You've not named him after a footballer have you? I hate it when babies are named after footballers!!

    Husband:(Laughing) Well I'll have to tell you now - but you've put your foot in it again!

    MIL: It's nothing silly and old fashioned like Cecil or Percy is it? You know I don't like those! 

    Husband: (Sigh) His middles names are Kasper after Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City goalkeeper) and Percy because Bex really likes it...

    Well that didn't go down well...the rest of the conversation was spent convincing them it wasn't  a joke. 

    Both my in laws still cringe at Percy and my FIL can't even bring himself to say it (Percy was the name of his grandfather who fought in the battle of the Somme - so really a nice nod to him).

    Advice? Don't let others sway you - there's always going to someone who pulls a face at your choice, but they're not the one giving birth to them, suffering the sleepless nights and wiping their bums for the foreseeable future! They'll get over not liking it, quicker than you regretting not picking the name you really liked! 

    P.S. Yes, if we have a 3rd they will be called Cecil 😂.
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    Monday, 16 January 2017

    The NEW Plan

    This year I'm not making resolutions. I'm just going to be kinder to me. I'll still be chasing my weight loss goals, but that is not going to be what defines whether I have a good year or not.  

    I'm at a point now with my postnatal depression (PND) that I can offer some insights into how things get better! 
    I have been on anti-depressants for 3 months and had about 12 sessions of counselling. It took a few weeks to feel any difference, but the change I feel now is amazing. 
    My main symptom was numbness - like I was switched off and everything else was more important than me. In my previous post I described how I never felt like I 'had' depression because I had nothing to be depressed about. The last few weeks I have realised you don't necessarily need something to be depressed about. I was just living in a heavy fog, a state which caused unconscious day to day survival. I knew I wasn't myself, but there was so much going on that it just got brushed under the carpet, to be dealt with another day. Part of me even wondered if it was ever possible to get it back - that maybe it had gone forever and it wasn't even worth trying. Why bother? I should just try and make the best of who I was.  

    I've thought of 3 examples to illustrate the changes I now feel:

    Before treatment: I couldn't remember how I had felt on my wedding day. I knew I had loved it, but I couldn't revisit the emotion at all. This made me feel useless, sad and as though I had no idea why I had got married at all. 

    After/ongoing treatment: I can remember vividly all the different emotions I felt on that day and now have that desperate need to do it all again. I can relate to my husband again, I no longer wonder what made me want to marry him, the smudged connection is now clear again.  

    Before treatment: Despite owning thousands of songs, I had no care to listen to them or even think about making time to play music.

    After/ongoing treatment: I massively missed music and listening to songs. I now have loads of time or space in my day for it - I even pick it in favour of watching TV. 

    Before treatment: I had lost all urge to buy myself clothes, not that I didn't deserve them - I just hated having to make the decisions. Deal with things not looking how I wished they did or just having to trawl through finding things that looked good. For someone who used to be known for their ASOS addiction - I barely visited the website. 

    After/ongoing treatment: I have much more interest in having things, I want to treat myself to things I enjoy and miss having the disposable income I used to have for buying clothes etc (probably not such a bad thing).

    I urge anyone that feels any sort of connection to anything I've written to address it. It's scary, it's hard to put into words to a doctor - you will feel like a prize knob moaning about not being right, but trust your instinct. You deserve to feel happy again!

    I've now set a list of goals, things I enjoyed and did regularly before having the kids. Now I want to make sure I am getting the 'me' time I enjoy and that makes me feel good and not just sit on my arse counting down the minutes to bedtime!

    In 2017 I will utilise my 'free' time by: 
    • Reading more (at least 3 books) 
    • Painting my nails
    • Enjoying good scented candles
    • Keeping this blog going

    Join me in being kind to you. What would be on your list?

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    Tuesday, 10 January 2017

    #NoFearGoSmear

    Instagram is a fabulously positive example of social media at its best. Scrolling through my feed earlier this week I came across a story about a beautiful young lady called Amber who died at the age of 25 following a 4 year battle with cervical cancer. Her family and friends are now campaigning to lower the age of routine smear testing to 18 - something which could of saved her life. 

    Please take the time to sign their petition here or for more information visit her friend  @franky_sw on Instagram.

    Seeing that has prompted me to re-post an old blog I wrote about smear testing. I wrote it pre-baby 2 and about how I'd totally forgotten when and where I'd last had a smear test, I hope it can jog anyones memory who maybe due a test to go and get booked in! 

    Off we go back to August 2015...

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Do you remember when you last had a smear test? 

    I couldn’t! 

    It was a thought that hit me as I ‘overheard’ (office eavesdropped) a colleague discuss needing to book hers. Call it baby brain, mum madness or just complete mental failure but I actually had no recollection of when I had last spread my legs all in the name of good cervical health.
    So I retraced my steps (mentally) through the years…
    2014 – had just had a baby, definitely no smear done.
    2013 – I was pregnant, definitely no smear done.
    2012 – Lived in a different part of the country, had a different job, no clue if a smear had been done!
    So, best case scenario I was definitely due my 3 yearly smear (if it had occurred in 2012)…but worst case scenario I had completely forgotten about it, fallen out of the system by moving locations in the UK/doctors as my job had dictated… SHIT! How could I have been so absent-minded to forget and not have it noted somewhere of use!? This is why I have a Filofax!!!
    In that panic I rang my current doctors, explained I was definitely due my smear but had no idea how overdue it was. That’s when I discovered the wonders of a central database that could trace and pinpoint the exact date, time and place of your last smear: 4th July 2012…still can’t remember it but safe to say I got booked in ASAP!*
    Following a bit of reading up I have since discovered you can have a smear if pregnant but I just felt it was better to be checked and get my results before adding any potential complications or unneeded stress if the results weren’t as I’d hoped.
    Happy to say in just under 2 weeks I received the following in the post:



    My cervix is 'normal' woop woop!
    My very own letter confirming my cervix is ‘normal’ woop woop!

    I’m lucky, many others are not as 3,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year (NHS Choices). My story proves that even with the best of intentions you can forget – especially when you have children it’s the last thing you have to think about! Get your next smear check in your diary, contact your GP, check your recall date and make sure you go!!!
    *It’s worth noting that the UK labs are really strict with smear samples. They will not test them unless they are taken the day you are due your smear test or later, so don’t book in earlier than necessary unless you are worried, have symptoms to indicate something may be wrong or your doctor has advised you to!
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    Monday, 9 January 2017

    Priceless Moments

    My father in law told me as we were hanging wedding photos that soon they'd all disappear in favour of photos of our kids. I was pregnant with Henry at the time and just laughed, thinking to myself... 
    Yeah whatever! As if I've just spent a shed load on these photos of us looking the best we ever will to move them in favour of pictures of snotty kids and babies!
    Nearly 4 years on and sadly I must admit he was right! 

    The fight for wall space in our house is now weighted heavily in favour of those snotty faced, pooey panted, torture enforcers (the kids). 
    Since our wedding we have spent somewhere in the region of £2k on photo shoots and photos. I've always preferred photos to other pieces of art - so can honestly say I do not regret spending one penny of it on them! 

    They're more than just memories; every picture offers a story of that time - our own personalised art. What better way to remind us that sometimes we are all happy to be around each other than by covering the walls of our home with them! It may sound self indulgent, vain or unnecessary to some; but its not like the walls of Katie Price's home - we don't fork out on the full hair, makeup and airbrushing that gets you overly perfect pictures. Our photos are always very much the reality of the time. 

    Some may argue that in a time where everyone has a smart device capable of capturing fab photos, then paying for a professional may seem unnecessary. If you're anything like me though you'll have a phone full of misjudged selfies and heavily filters shots of your kids that you think are arty. Every time I view a professionals efforts with my family I instantly know there is no comparison to the quality, style and time they've spent producing the priceless memories I'll look back on as years continue to speed by.  

    As a family we have 3 photographers we love and continue to use; alternating photographer every few shoots so we get a variety of styles. Our shoots are always a minimum of 6 months - 1 year apart so there is a notable change in the children.

    Here are some of our favourites:


    1. Claire Basiuk - Claire Basiuk Photography - Manchester)


    L - Our wedding & R - With Henry 1.5.

    Things may not go to plan - but you'll always get the reality of the time captured!
    2. Catherine Bradley (Clearvision Imagery - Leicestershire)


    With Henry 6 months.

    Louis' newborn shoot Henry 2.5.

    3. Lizzie Adams (Shoot It Momma - Leicestershire)

    Louis' 6 month shoot - Henry 2.5
    You'll always get images that you'd probably not even think to capture yourself!
    All 3 of these fabulous photographers is willing to travel so if they're not local to you then you could still enquire with them. I found all 3 via the powers of the Internet (Google or Instagram), so if you're thinking of getting some shots its worth a quick search. There's nothing I like better than having a good nosey of a photographers website, scrolling through a portfolio and getting an idea of style and the jobs they enjoy. 

    Make 2017 the year you invest in some personalised art of your own! I promise you won't regret it!
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