Tuesday, 29 May 2012


On 29th May my best friends brother, Evan, passed away. He'd been fighting HLH, a disease which you can read about & you can also see pictures of him before & throughout his treatment here:


You can also donate to the Histiocytosis Research Fund too, in his memory.

Evan was a happy & brave little boy & every phonecall I've had with my best friend I heard about his ups & downs. He had been through so much, including chemotherapy & a bone marrow transplant.

Evan was four when he died.

Hopefully by raising money for research of the disease it might mean that others won't have to go through what Evan & his loved ones have been & are going through.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Drunk & Happy

Good news everyone!

I went out last night & not only do I not have a headache but I think I may still be slightly drunk! Hurrah!

The bad news is that I got so drunk that I inadvertantly chucked my purse, containing my iPhone down the loo - AFTER I'd gone - & not only has my phone now gone bloody bonkers but my purse isn't really in a usable state. Unless the grunge thing is coming back in any time soon. Toilet stench anyone? No? Just me?

I made a bit of an impulse purchase yesterday.

Yes, beautiful & a bargain at £19.99 from TK Maxx (my spiritual home).

So I was certainly feeling ready for a night of good music & crap dancing. All except it was very, er, challenging just getting DOWN THE HILL to the bar. Clearly I hadn't quite thought everything through enough.

By some miracle (because God saves his miracles for drunk girls in stupid shoes, clearly) I did not fall over all evening, which was pretty much a win all round.

As an extra added bonus I got IDed going into the first bar, which always makes for a flattering start to a night (unless you don't have your ID with you, then you're cursing the bastard who asked) & later when some bloke tried to chat me up & had me pegged at 21. I'll take that.

I told him I was married & had two kids.

Little bit awkward.

Not least because I'm not actually married & so while cursing my stupid lie of an answer spent the rest of the conversation covering up my left hand.

So, apart from the iPhone incident (nothing short of an actual disaster) it was a fairly good night & I didn't even start crying like I often have recently when I'm pissed.

Now, dear readers, I'm off back to bed. If I never return because of iPhone cold turkey - tell people I died drunk & happy.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Eyes Have It

Whilst going through all the pictures on my hard drive (and get royally distracted instead of organising things as I should have been) I was staggered as to how much Baby Girl looks like her big sister used to look as a baby. My eldest has big dimples whereas littlest has big chubby cheeks & they have different noses so in life they don't often look very alike - but there are glimpses. On looking back through these photos the resemblance just leapt out of the page. I think it's mainly in those big owly eyes - but judge for yourself..

 I can't quite believe my eyes with these two - Eldest as a baby on the left. If I hadn't have known better I'd have said they were both pics of Baby Girl!

Next up - Eldest as a baby left again & then the two of them together. So cute! Eldest still looks like herself here though too.

Then we have Eldest left & Baby Girl right, maybe not in the eyes in these!

& smiles all round

My Gorgeous Girlies. Both perfect, now & always.

Groovy Mums

I am honoured to announce that this week I shall be hosting the Groovy Mums blog hop!

Usually hosted by it's marvellous mastermind Kate over at Kate on Thin Ice today she has asked me to take the reins & set some challenges (which are optional as always - you can do as many or as few as you like, or none or all!). All I can say is that she is clearly madder than I thought but I'll do my best to do her proud & get you all grooving - or at least a little shimmy.

If you are new to the concept of Groovy Mums (#groovymums), if you think you could do with a bit of a boost or are simply a mum wanting to meet some other wonderful mums then please have a mooch here & see what you think!

Otherwise, never one to mess around (AHEM) I shall get straight down to business. This weeks challenges are:

1. Body - Your Sunshine Rituals

Summer, apparently, is here! Or at least, we're having a few days of sun & then it'll all be over. As we all know it's so important to cover up, but often we will put off smearing the lotion on if we can help it & then end up a lovely shade of lobster. As well as urging you to be safe in this window of summer we're having I would love to hear about how you've been spoiling your skin, your hair & your nails. I like nothing more than soaking myself in some aloe-vera lotion after a long sunny day & knowing it's doing my skin a world of good as well as feeling fabulously indulgent. What are your rituals? How do you keep safe & indulge? If you don't indulge then do! Treat your self & your skin & keep it feeling great too!

2. Mind - That Niggling Feeling

Quite often in life there is always something that we need to do but that we keep putting off. If you are anything like me there will be about 23 of these things at any given time. This week I quite simply want to encourage you to tick one of these silly little things off your list & feel the satisfaction that comes with the knowledge that there is one less thing to do! For now...!

3. Spirit - Memories & Legacy

With the untimely death of two musical legends this week - Donna Summer & Robin Gibb - I've been hearing the phrases 'their spirit shall live on in their work' & 'thier legacy is their music' a lot recently. This has got me to thinking about what kind of legacy I'll be leaving my girls. The legacy I want to leave them is memories & stories. A knowledge of our family & what we are about. As a child I remember my grandfather telling me stories about his life in the Navy & being fascinated. Granted, perhaps some of my favourite rememberances aren't suitable for 4 years old ears but sharing is power - it gives such an insight. Memories, for me, also remind me of what happiness is. How would you like your spirit to live on? What stories would you like to share with your children that you haven't all ready? How do you want your children to remember you? Why not share a favourite memory with us? What else would you like to be your legacy?

4. Special Days - Diamonds & Rings

They say in times of 'economic downturn' it is important for the people to keep morale up & to have events which lift people's spirits. We are certainly doing that this summer with the Diamond Jubilee & indeed the Olympics. Whether you are positively enthusiatic or just plain nonplussed about these giant events, why not have a think about what kinds of events lift your spirits. Could you get involved in some activities nearer to home? Are you taking part in any of the national celebrations this summer? Could you throw a tea party? Could you have a rave? What event, big or small, could you get involved with that would boost morale in your area?

5. A Big Question - Do You Do Enough?

As a mother (& occassionally a not so groovy one) I am constantly plagued by one, consuming feeling - I'm not doing enough. Of course, it is natural as a parent to want to do as best by our children as we can, but, honestly do we really think we are doing enough? Or are we doing too much? How can we tell that what we are doing is right? I'm not sure I have the answers but I'd love to hear you discuss...

So there are my challenges! I hope you enjoy & please do link up below & share too. Here's wishing you the best of luck & a groovy week ahead!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Parenting & Compromise

Recently, I've been grappling with the issue of compromise in many aspects of my life.

The aspect that I have found compromise the most tricky is parenting.

Having spent the majority of my eldest daughter's life as a single parent &, though my daughter hardly sees her father, sharing a general view of what is acceptable & what is not for our daughter's upbringing has made me feel confident that I have got it right. She's always been generally well behaved, happy & smart & I have been proud of the job that I have done.

I suited single parent-dom because I was doing exactly what I believed was right by her & had no one interfering. I would say that I was always firm but fair. Or at least I'd hope so.

If she had done something good then she would be rewarded & if she'd done wrong then she would be punished accordingly. Though naturally I don't like to see her upset I had no qualms about withdrawing privileges, sitting her in the naughty corner for as long as necessary or even smacking hands & very rarely bums should it be appropriate. I have to say I hate the bum-smacking but I would only ever do it when absolutely necessary - &, more to the point, it worked. I don't believe that children should be seen & not heard or anything like that but I do believe that they should respect their elders & recognise when they can be playful or cheeky & when they need to do as they are told.

Other rules I had as a single parent were things such as only being allowed chocolate or sweets as a treat & certainly not on a daily basis. No noisy toys was a big rule - partly to do with my sanity, but mainly because I believe that toys that do everything for a child don't actually inspire imagination or creativity, in fact research has proven this. Wooden toys have always been a favourite with us as they are so durable & inspiring to a young mind. We didn't have a TV so she would watch things on iPlayer as a treat from time to time (but she's never been the type to want to sit in front of the TV all day every day anyway) & this did us just fine.
I want the best for her, that goes without saying & I think that children should learn to value what they have so I always bought her good quality & - though we were not on a high income, so I bought things to last - usually fairly expensive clothes & playthings etc. We ate mainly organic food, because this is part of my lifestyle & she would eat what I ate - salad, risotto, curry etc. - & things like beans on toast would be a treat.

Now, things are very different.

I still feel as though I uphold the 'firm but fair' parenting style. I am a little less patient than I used to be & for that I feel guilty but other than that I still think she is on the whole well behaved. But since moving in with my other half & now that we have a daughter together things have got a little more tricky. I have had to compromise on some things, but on the whole I feel that my wishes for the girls get lost.

My partner's family are incredibly generous, kind & loving people. I'm lucky to have such a wonderful set of in-laws but on the whole it seems we are very different. Christmas & birthdays (& generally any other excuse to give something) are occasions where gifts are given in a huge abundance, the likes of which I have never encountered & I feel very overwhelmed by it all. I'm not a huge gift giver - I believe in giving thoughtful & meaningful gifts where possible & would spend more money on something that the recepient wouldn't usually get rather than on a lot of everyday things that aren't really going to last.

Since moving in together my eldest daughter's toy collection has tripled, at least & her clothes collection has never been so far departed from what I would choose for her. What is more, her room is stuffed full of things 18 months ago she would never have known about, let alone would I have allowed her to have. I hate to sound so ungrateful but all this stuff is stuff that frankly I don't want her to have - stuff that I don't believe children need - but what can I do?

It seems like such a huge waste to be giving it away or selling it not to mention just plain rude but I feel as though my ideals are suffocating under a mountain of stuff. How far do I 'compromise' before it actually becomes just giving in?

Not only does this all go against how I believe my daughters should be raised but it goes against what her father & his family believes. Though my partener's family treat my eldest the same as they would our youngest daughter, should they have any hold over how I raise my eldest daughter anyway, as they aren't actually related? & though she doesn't see her father often & he doesn't actually contribute does that mean that he has no say?

The question of my youngest daughter is slightly different, but then there is the question of whether me treating my daughters differently because they have different fathers isjustified by the situation.

It is a minefield, to say the least.

The long & short of it is that, without meaning to sound rude or ungrateful - I certainly am grateful for everything my in-laws have done for us & for them being so kind & helpful & warm towards us (& I'm sure they must think that I could do some things differently or better, though they never say as much) - I am not raising my children the way I want to raise them.

I feel lost & I feel trapped.

I feel as though my opinions don't count.

& that's not fair.. is it?

Or is that compromise?

Monday, 14 May 2012


When I was pregnant with my second baby I felt so detached from the whole process; so differently from my first glorious, glowing pregnancy that I worried so often that I would still feel no connection to the baby when he or she was placed on my chest for the first time. I couldn't comprehend just how I would be able to love another living creature as much as I loved my daughter. I couldn't imagine feeling that completeness of emotion be shared between two.

Now, as I sit, as I so often do - or at least as often as I get the opportunity - with my youngest daughter clasped firmly to my chest, her head resting against my cheek & her face full of innocence, laced with curiosity, yet somehow looking on with the dignified silence of someone with immeasurable wisdom - I wonder why that should be? - I feel, still, complete. I do not feel as though my love has been shared or stretched, I feel as though it has simply grown, yet all the while nothing has been taken from me. In fact I feel as though more has been given to me. 'Love' does not sum up what I feel for her & for her elder sister. 'Love' doesn't even touch upon it.


Her fine flash of downy auburn hair against my cheek is the softest sensation I have ever felt & when I move my face to bury my mouth & nose into her scalp her scent is one so delicious & complex - one that tells me she is made of me. It is different to that of my eldest daughter in a thousand ways yet somehow the same.

As I hold her, in whichever position she is pressed against me it feels as though she fits. I was made to carry her & she was made to be held by me, first inside & now out.

Everything about both my daughters is love. I feel incredibly humbled by the love they have for me as well as the feelings that encompass me when I have them near to me & the anxieties I feel when I don't.

It is not enough to say that they are my world, but I cannot describe it any other way.

They are my world, & everything more.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Never Mind the Balilaikas...

Sat in our favourite coffee shop in York - Coffee Culture check them out! - talking to a close friend about personal rubbish & surely annoying the poor folk who could overhear our - my - whining, we got onto the subject of classical music somehow. Don't ask me how we got from bitching about dickheads from our past & maturely swearing about life infront of the 5 month old to classical music because I haven't the foggiest, but somehow the topic came about. When I started rattling on about piano lessons in my childhood, she was baffled as to how, in 8 years she hadn't realised that I played.

I had just assumed she knew, but clearly it'd never come up in conversation before now. It's not something that I do talk about much, especially as I gave it up just before taking my Grade Six exam, so I'm not particularly skilled, but I assumed that all my close friends would know that kind of stuff about me. It's part of me!

I don't listen to a massive amount of  classical music but it's certainly something I enjoy in private from time to time & something which I think it is important for my children to grow up knowing about. Just today we were watching the BBC Young Musician of the Year finals & I was explaining to my daughter that the girl was playing a cello & when she replied "Oh. Well at Grandpases I have a balilaika. It's triangle shaped." I  was rather impressed she'd remembered what it was called! Obviously something must be going in & it's because she enjoys music & plonking away on the piano & strangely enough her little balilaika. Anyway, I digress. Back to my friend & my revalation...

Maybe her outlook of me will completely change. Or maybe not.

But seriously, isn't it weird. I know all there is to know about me & the people closest to me know all my secrets yet sometimes the obvious things get lost & that feels like a massive chunk of me has been missing from her perception of me for the past 8 years.

What do you guys do in secret? What are your passions & talents? I'd love to know, because I think it gives a massive insight into the kind of people we all really are.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Babies Cry

This morning was my morning for a lie in. The Man has a day off today & so it was his job to get up with the noisy baby one. We're having a bit of 'peace & quiet' (a purely relative term) as Eldest is at my Mother in Law's for a few days.

As I laid in bed about 8am, drifting in & out of sleep because I could hear the baby girl crying downstairs as the Man prepared her bottles I was suddenly woken by a BANG BANG on the wall.

Did the neighbours just bang on the wall?

No, they wouldn't have. Would they?

This was followed by muffled voices. A woman in an annoyed tone & a man's voice in what sounded like a reasoning tone.

Oh my god, they did bang on the wall.

They must think I neglect my baby.

Granted, given all the depression bullshit, I have trouble getting to sleep on an evening & so some mornings baby girl will have been crying for 15-20 minutes as I wake.

Shit. How do I explain this to them? I'm not a child abuser, I'm just tired.

& besides, she's been ill for the past few days.

Good lord I must explain this to them at once! I mean, they don't have kids.. what if they can't have kids & they get woken up every morning by our baby crying? Are the walls that thin? What if they've recently lost a baby? What if they hate kids & we're here bugging them with our reproductive prowess? What if it's been building up & up & up & they just can't take it any more...?

God, are we inconsiderate knobheads?

As I mulled this over, thinking of writing them a letter or going round to explain or apologise & getting increasingly upset I realised I should probably go & tell the Man. He always knows what to do.

I told him what had happened & what I was worrying about & at once he dispelled all my anxieties in a simple statement.

"Well, even if that is so.. it's not our fault. Babies cry."

Oh yeah. Babies do cry. Quite loudly sometimes. & as for depression, that's not my fault either.


& then I got to thinking...

Maybe they were wound up & tired, or maybe they do have problems or maybe they are just first class twats. But whatever the situation, they didn't give the amount of thought or worry I gave to them when they banged on the wall this morning. They probably didn't think: 'Well, what if she's depressed? or what if the baby is ill? or what if the baby just cries on a morning because it's a baby?'

I should have just friggin' well banged back & not given a toss, but then maybe that would make me like them.

So my baby cries.

She's happy, healthy, loved & cared for, but she cries & sometimes I'm tired.

So you can just about bloody well sod off.

Inconsiderate knobheads.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

PND: How Can You Help?

This week I was asked to do a guest post for the Wriggly Rascals team! I was delighted they'd asked & so here it is:

When I unexpectedly fell pregnant with my second child a lot began to change for me. Not only did we have to find a new house, & did I have to give up the job I loved, but I faced a struggle worse than any I’d experienced throughout my life: depression.

For the most part I felt as though I couldn’t cope with everyday life; that I was worthless & pathetic for being unable to keep on top of simple day-to-day tasks; that my children would be better off without me & that I deserved none of the good in my life. 

Please read on over at Wriggly Rascals, who I've done this guest post for!

You can also help a Mum in need by taking a quick survey, right here

About Wriggly Rascals
Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at www.wrigglyrascals.com
They really are doing wonderful things, please take the time to see for yourself!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sausage Rolls & Small Domestic Fires

Yesterday, our baby girl did her first roll from back to front! Amazing! & all the excitement before 9am. That is unheard of in our house, mainly because I'm not usually coherent before 10am.

I thought we had peaked in the excitement stakes & was all ready to sit back & enjoy a day of blissful boringness, maybe pop to the shops if it didn't rain but unbeknownst to me, as I stepped out of the shower & came down to the smell of burning all was about to get a little frenzied.

After a slight panic that one child had perhaps set the other alight I checked on both. One safely tucked up in her cot & one enthralled in a game of 'not setting anything on fire'. I assumed the smell was coming from outside. I continued getting dressed & then stuck my head out of the window just to check. Nope. No burning. It was stronger now inside & smelled plasticy.

It was coming from under the stairs where we store shit & kindling & the such & where the fuse box is.

Oh dear.

It was the fuse box. It was MELTING.

I turned off the switches in a panic with a broom handle - I remember all those dodgy safety videos from school, where a bloke is mowing his lawn & the wire to the mower all at once & that kid eagerly trying to retreive his kite from a pylon (ignoring all the DANGER OF DEATH signs), don't fuck with electricity! - & got the stuff together to take the girls out of the house. As we left the house it started chucking it down. At least it was the right weather for the house burning down. I couldn't reach my OH (who had the landlords number) & as I got soggier & chillier the only thought that crossed my mind was, what every responsible & mature adult would have thought in this situation: FML.

A mocha & a muffin from Starbucks later & the situation wasn't as soggy as it had been 30 minutes earlier. The OH had come home from work & we'd found the number for the electrician (though landlords are still blissfully ignorant that their dodgy wiring nearly burned down their house).

All in all this just makes me glad that we are moving this July. Though it's not ideal, hopefully I shan't have to panic for too long about the same thing happening again.

And, at the rate she's going today, if there are any more problems, baby girl will be rolling out of danger like a speeding sausage-roll. She can't half go...

...most of the time, anyway!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Wedding Institute

A few weeks ago I found out I'd won a competition. This  is rare. This is basically unheard of, so I jumped for joy upon reading "Congratulations Chloe! You have won...".

I couldn't remember what I had entered this month & I didn't recognise the name so as I read on "...tickets to the Wedding Institute at Saltburn-on-the-Sea" courtesy of Under the Vintage Veil (a simply gorgeous company). Oh! This'll be a funny one to explain to the other half! & as much as I get all girly about weddings I don't want him getting the wrong impression!

To be entirely honest I was a bit baffled as to why on earth I had entered this competition in the first place. Hmm. Oh yes! My lovely friend is getting married. I hoped she could come!

She could & though I was a little apprehensive at the idea off spending the afternoon in a hall full of potential bridezillas, we both braved it.

& not a big green wedding-dress-clad monster in sight! & what is more, there was so much cake. I have to say, everybody we talked to was genuinely lovely & obviously very talented. My particular favourite was the immense Victoria Sponge cake & the

My partner in crime thoroughly enjoyed all there was to offer & was buried under an avalanche of inspirational ideas & I've basically got my own wedding planned too (shoot me).

Here are some of my favourite bits from the day!



Despite the torrents of rain outside, it was a bright & sparkly affair. We loved every second of it!