It’s not real

I took a photo earlier of myself in a new tee, sipping on an iced latte to post on insta. I look like I don’t have a care in the world. But in reality I’ve been in a bit of a weird funk the last few days. I cant shake myself out of a slightly negative head space. That photo doesn’t reflect my whole reality, in the moment that I took that photo I wasn’t faking a smile, it was genuine but it was a smile within a day of highs and lows.

I love taking photos, editing photos, posting photos. It’s a little creative outlet for me. Somewhere to document little highlights of my days with my babies. Somewhere to collate memories for them to look back on. But one photo is such a tiny sliver of my day. A snapshot of a happy hug between Jet and Nova is all well and good but the other 23 hours and 57 minutes are unaccounted for. The quiet, sometimes lonely moments, the rushing around, the nappy changes, the sick down my clothes, the tantrums over snacks, the gorgeous chats we have, all Jet’s new words, prepping his dinner, the days when he refuses his dinner, the laundry, bath time, the juggle, collapsing on to the sofa at the end of the day. There is SO much more to my day, my week, my life than what I show on those insta squares.

It’s not an intentional thing. I don’t purposefully hide parts of my life, I just can’t feasibly show it all. I try, within my captions, to chat openly. To talk about the highs and the lows. Those captions have opened up so many friendships, friendships that I sometimes forget are solely online. Other mums that I chat to almost daily, mums to ask for advice from and to compare notes with. It’s definitely in the honesty and the vulnerability that you engage best with people and I love instagram for giving me that opportunity.

But I’ve been thinking recently about how I come across to people. I have had a few messages recently from lovely mums asking for advice because ‘you seem to have it all together’. That couldn’t be further from the truth and I hate the thought that I am painting such a false image of my life as a mum just because I enjoy VSCO HB1-ing my photos within an inch of their lives.

I want my Instagram to be pretty and I only want nice photos of my babies on there. Not because that’s what I want you to think my life looks like all the time but because I’d rather remember my days in that way. Seeking out the joy in each day and capturing it in a photo. I don’t really want to take a photo of Nova’s poo explosion, or my greasy hair after forgetting to wash it for the best part of a week. And I don’t think you’d really want to see photos like that either?!

Anyway, this was just a long winded way of saying: Instagram is not reality. It is no one’s reality. Don’t compare your reality with other people’s highlights. It is a place where we get to choose what parts of ourselves we reveal (that sounds like some sort of strange striptease..) Some people enjoy posting the gross moments and the low moments, whilst for some, they’d rather stick to wisteria shots all day e’ry day. Whichever approach someone goes for it is still just a small snippet of their much bigger life.

A smile and an iced latte is a perfect little moment, don’t mistake if for a perfect little life.

Big love x

 

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Looking after number one

After bringing a little human in to the world it’s so easy to let your own self care completely fall to the bottom of your priorities. Before having children I could never understand why mums said that having a shower was a luxury and washing their hair was a near impossibility. Fast forward to a toddler and a newborn and I am now very much acquainted with dry shampoo. The juggle of keeping them both alive, safe and not sitting on eachother is a task that I haven’t yet mastered to allow me to be in the shower long enough to wash my hair.

But, it’s so important to look after ourselves. I am a much more short tempered, snappy parent on the days when I haven’t taken care of myself. The days when I don’t carve out 5 minutes for a quick (but hot) coffee. Or the days when I’m feeling greasy and have thrown on yesterday’s outfit with some suspicious sick coloured stains.

Showering before my husband heads to work has become my go to. Or having a bath once the babies are asleep. Using nap times to sit and have a break, or catch a quick 15 minute shut eye are some of the things I’ve put in place to keep me feeling alive, a little bit more myself and just generally a kinder, more enthusiastic mum.

I thought I’d share with you a few brands that are bang on the self care money. A few brands that are clearly run by mums themselves, who know what we need and how we need it.

First up, The Mother Box, run by two mums Beccy and Alexis. I am lucky enough to have these two steller women in my life as friends. Beccy is a Doula and trained masseuse specialising in ante natal and post natal care. Alexis is a trained midwife and Hypnobirthing coach. They are two amazing women, both passionate about caring for women at what is often the most vulnerable time your life. They created the Mother Box as a simple way to nurture and care for women through pregnancy and beyond (say that in a Buzz Lightyear voice and it sounds much more exciting).

They offer a range of boxes for during and after pregnancy. They kindly sent me a ‘Brand New Mother’ box after I gave birth to my daughter Nova.

The box includes post partum healing bath salts, lactation flapjack, a beautiful scented candle from another fab mum run business Seven Seventeen, A booklet with lots of advice on healing and recovery, Nip and Lip soothing balm and lots more.

I particularly loved the bath salts and took myself off for a gorgeous, relaxing bath for quite a few nights in a row. Heaven.

The Mother Box is a fab gift idea. How much better to turn up to a friend’s baby shower with one of these perfect boxes than yet another pair of baby leggings and matching hat. (as lovely as leggings and hats are!) I wanted to give an uncomfortably long hug to any friends that bought a gift for me rather than the baby. Because, in reality, the baby doesn’t need a wardrobe full of newborn clothes, they only fit for a blink, but how much more would you appreciate a healing bath or nourishing herbal tea.

Next up is skincare brand Dr Hauschka.  This brand just launched new Mother and Baby kits last month, created by a mum the kits are all 100% natural and certified organic. Fun fact (although actually quite a scary fact) Currently, for a beauty product to be labelled “organic”, only 4% of its ingredients need to be so. To be certified organic by NATRUE, a product needs to be formulated with 95% certified organic ingredients. A pretty big difference! Dr Hauschka products are certified by NATRUE. I thoroughly recommend you have a quick read through their website, they are a genuinely inspiring company determined to find sustainable, environmentally friendly ways of creating safe, natural beauty products.

I have been trying out the Just For Mum, Mum and Baby on the Go and the Bathtime Baby kit.

A few of my favourite products have been the night serum because, let’s be honest, what mum of a newborn doesn’t need a good night serum?! I’ve also been loving the Blackthorn toning oil, which I’ve been using on my post baby bump and the Rose Deodorant which is natural and very breast feeding friendly (both of these come in the Just For Mum kit)

Jet (my toddler) has quite sensitive skin, prone to dry patches and so I’m vary wary of what products I use on him. The Bathime Baby Kit has been fab, very gentle on his skin and a lovely peace of mind for me knowing that it is all natural and completely safe.

The third and final brand is The Natural Mama Company. They kindly sent me their Breastfeeding Box 

The clue is in the name of the company but The Natural Mama Company have a great ethos: Caring for new mums with only ethically sourced products. The box includes the oh-my-goodness-softest-thing-I’ve-ever-felt reusable breast pads. I’m not gonna lie, I heard re usable and I cringed a little bit. The idea of reusing a milk sodden pad that had taken up residence in my bra for the best part of a day didn’t overly entice me. But I have been completely won over. The pads are SO soft (as I already mentioned!) They wash really easily and come out like new and it is so nice to know you are doing your small part for the environment, not filling up landfill with your milk filled chuck away pads.

Amongst lots of other bits, the box also includes a seriously stylish reusable Chilly’s water bottle. Because what’s sexier than staying hydrated AND caring for the environment? Can I get an Amen.

Peace out x

 

A note to me, before you

To me, in my early twenties, baby free, not knowing what was round the corner.

Sleep. You enjoy a nightly average of 8 hours, sometimes more, sometimes less when you’ve been up late checking instagram, scrolling until the wee small hours and then have to get up early for work. Because, you know, 8am is SO early.

Sleep in the future will be something you dream of, although you don’t really get a chance to dream about it because you’re not sleeping. When you do finally lie your exhausted head down on your heaven sent pillow you’ll hear that cry that you know all too well. The cry that says my gums are on fire and the world is ending, the cry that says I’m scared to be in this dark room on my own, the cry that says I just don’t really want to sleep tonight and so I’m not going to let you either, Cue a night of pure sleep related torture. The torture that let’s you drift off for 15 minutes before rudely awakening you again.

Me time: You love to read, getting through piles of page turners. You go to the theatre and cinema a lot, not having to give a second thought to bath time/bed time/babysitters. You enjoy a cheeky trip to get your highlights done: 3 hours of uninterrupted time with Cosmo and a cuppa. Sometimes, when you’re feeling particularly good you enjoy a quick morning work out before your day starts.

Me time in the future will be attempting to get your hair done whilst bouncing a baby on your lap, apologizing to the room when he decides half an hour in that he’s had enough, apologizing to the hairdresser each time he tries to grab her scissors, the hair dryer, anything in reach. Never before did you think you’d whip a boob out in the middle of a hair cut, but needs must.

Morning work outs will still take place but you won’t need your yoga mat. Just the stairs; you’ll do 20 repetitions as you run up and down to collect what you need, and then forget what you need and grab something else and then remember what you need when you get back downstairs.

The theatre or cinema seem like a waste of an evening seeing as inevitably you’ll just sleep through it all anyway. Occasionally you might attempt a day time baby showing of the latest Hollywood hit, but you’ll miss most of it changing nappies and trying to subtly wipe your child’s sick off the mum in the chair in front before she notices.

Nights out are simple: cocktails and friends and chats. Perfect.

Nights out in the future take a mountain of planning, they involve slightly fewer cocktails (at least while your feeding) and people will chat but you’ll struggle to keep up (behind your eyes you’re actually asleep) and then you’ll check your watch and realize you’ve got to sprint it back home because you forgot to pump and so like Cinderella and her pumpkin you’re about to get a very public reminder that you are overdue feeding time.

You find yourself judging mums that you see. Mums in shops running over your toes with their range rover style buggies (I’m looking at you Bugaboo Buffalo), mums ruining the zen in your ultra cool, quiet hipster café as you sip your chai latte. Mum’s using dummies to quiet their screaming toddler on the bus. Because you won’t ever need a device like that to calm your beautiful, hypothetical child.

In the future you will adore mums. You yourself will want to pop to the shops for an hour of sanity, hoping desperately that he stays asleep, embarrassed when you knock all the clothes off the rack because you ended up buying the widest and biggest of all buggies, oops. You will appreciate and adore dummies and will whisper your apologies to your stash of Mam lifesavers.

Love. You think you love people now, you think you appreciate the world now, you think you look forward to the future now.

In the future you will love until you feel your heart might actually burst right out of your chest and land in front of you. You’ll love so dearly you could cry, you’ll love so fiercely you could take on the world and you’ll love so loyally you would lay down your life.

You will have ambition like never before, ambition to achieve for yourself and for him, ambition to inspire him and ambition to shape him.

You will have compassion that hurts your soul. Compassion that keeps you up at night as you long for the world to be better, compassion that kicks you into action.

You will have a purpose greater than ever before, a purpose that shapes your life from the moment he arrives. A purpose to shape a future generation.

You will respect yourself. Finally. You won’t stand and judge yourself in the mirror. You won’t pick apart each small feature that you don’t like. You won’t worry what others think about your figure, face, abilities. You will love your body, you will be in awe of what your body is capable of and you won’t judge yourself on your appearance because you so desperately won’t want him to ever judge a single person based on their appearance.

So, to me then: enjoy your lie ins, enjoy your nights out, enjoy your girly chats, your long walks, your spontaneous holidays, enjoy your clean home, your endless clothes budget. Make the most of them, because something better, something greater, something life changing, life giving, life affirming is coming your way.

Motherhood. The best hood you’ll ever join.

 

Head over here, for more fun with Jet x

 

Hypnobirthing || What’s it all about?

I filmed a little video for my Youtube channel chatting about my experience with Hypnobirthing and why I am completely in love with it. After filming a few people asked a couple more questions so rather than chatting and waffling for too long in another video I thought I’d jot down some extra thoughts here. Hope its helpful if you’re expecting a bubba!

Also, just quickly before we start, a disclaimer that I am by no means a Hypnobirthing expert. I read and LOVED Katharine Graves Hypnobirthing book and based my birth around what I learnt in that book. So just see this as one mum’s findings to another x

Was the hospital receptive to our hypnobirthing plans?

Yes, they were amazing. We live in Brighton: Yoga studios round every corner, vegan cafes more common than Starbucks and a hub for The Green Party. So I suppose its unsurprising that the local hospital has a very holistic attitude too (with 3 birthing pool rooms compared to the country’s average of 1). But I would hope that wherever you live midwives would always respect the decisions of you, the mother, whether or not its an idea that they are used to.

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The power of kindness

So, I don’t want this post to turn in to a pity party. But lets just start with the facts:

Henry (my husband) is away in South Africa for 8 days. I am pregnant and Jet, our 18 month old has a stinking cold (thanks November). He woke up this morning really irritable and just not really much fun to be around. I’m shattered and not feeling super well myself. But I’d been getting through the morning okay, pouring all my energy in to being positive around Jet and trying to distract him from his poorly, snotty, sore throat, bad mood.

I thought it was best to escape the house for an hour so we popped over to a new café that we’ve discovered in our area. Its amazing if you’ve got little ones. It has loads of toys and space for them to run around but it also serves actual, good coffee. Shock horror. A café can suit kids and adults.

I am also quite behind on some work, not lots, just a few emails that had deadlines that I needed to get out today. I settled down at a table and Jet ran off to play. I was quickly trying to ping out at least one of my emails when I noticed a mum pull Jet off her little girl.

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And so it begins

I am writing this on a Friday morning, I’ve just dropped Jet off at nursery and I’m back home trying to distract myself from the little tear stained face I’ve left behind.

Its been 17 months of just me and Jet. I can’t imagine how many hours we’ve spent together if you add them up over the last year and a half. With just a handful of days away from him and two nights away its fair to say he’s had a LOT of mama time. And of course, its been perfect. Perfect in a stressful and tiring and draining and lonely and precious and brilliant kinda way. I feel so lucky to have been able to spend this amount of time with him while he’s still so little. But this mama is ready for a break (ha! never before would I have called work a break, the things motherhood does)

Being self-employed is odd, there’s no boss waiting for your return and no set monthly income ready to begin again. Because of this I’ve put off returning to work, knowing that I’ll have fallen a few steps back, having to regain my place in the industry I work in. But over the past few months I had found that my patience with Jet was shortening, his bed time was getting earlier and the amount of time I was checking my emails while with him was increasing. These are not things I’m proud of, every night when I put him to bed the horrible mum guilt would wash over me, knowing I hadn’t been the best I could’ve been for him that day. Did I make him laugh enough? Did we have enough adventures? Had I given time to nurture his little, eager mind.

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Magic in the air? No, it’s just glitter.

I love hotels. Love’em. Some of mine and my little sister’s fondest memories are of family hotel stays. Running down the carpeted corridors in our socks (we thought it was the best feeling, not totally sure why, it’s not like we didn’t have carpet at home) and stealing all the watermelon balls from the melon section at the breakfast buffet. Still to this day when I hear Marriott I think of perfectly spherical melon pieces.

Fast forward a few years and the love is still there (for hotels, not melon. Actually scrap that, melons are still great) I don’t run down the corridors as often but you will definitely still always find me hovering at the breakfast buffet.

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Escaping from Jet for the night

Before I had a baby I would talk about the kind of mum I was going to be. Not wanted to be, going to be. I would talk about how my dummy free, organic eating, baby signing child was going to be perfect and fit in to my life perfectly.

I also was excited about time away from the baby before it had even arrived! I would day dream about girls weekends away, spa nights with Henry and trips away with work. I didn’t want to be too attached to the baby. I wanted it to be happy without me and able to be passed from sister to friend without a care in the world.

What I didn’t expect and didn’t see coming was that when I gave birth a part of my heart would leave my body and take residence in my new little bundle of perfection, Jet.

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36 hours in Copenhagen

My husband, Henry, is a musician and in May was on a month long European tour. It just so happened that one of his 3 days off fell right in the middle of the trip in Copenhagen. So Jet and I booked a last minute flight (thank you BA airmiles) and we went out to see him for 36 hours.

Travelling with a baby is always an interesting experience. You never know quite how it’s going to go. Our flight was at 7am so we had to leave home at 3.30am. I packed up the car and then transferred Jet into his car seat, still in his pjs and sleeping bag and off we went. It’s an hour drive from our home in Brighton to Heathrow.

Jet did himself proud, he woke up as we parked up at Heathrow and was awake whilst we got the shuttle across to our terminal, we sat and had a little Starbucks breakfast together and he was in a great mood- I think he knew it was a little adventure!

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365 days of Jet

I made a little video for Jet’s first birthday. Here is the written poem that goes along with it.

For 40 weeks I carried you as a part of me
I didn’t know you, but felt you when you were small as could be
You came in to the world weighing 7lb 13
A bundle of beauty, I was living my dream

Weeks 1 and 2 were a hazy affair
of nappies and kisses and sick everywhere
We stayed in our bubble not venturing out
Sleepless but happy and managing that new parent doubt
Doubt that we understood all your needs
Juggling the crying and struggling with feeds

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