Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Stand and deliver: how it feels to deliver your baby standing up in a car park. All by yourself. In December.

Apologies for being a birth bore. But I couldn't resist retelling this story as my entry in the Mumsnet Blogging Awards 2015. 


Picture the scene: half two in the afternoon. One Born Every Minute repeats On Demand. Pregnancy pillow on the sofa. (No judgement, please). This maternity leave business was all very comfy. Who knew hours later I’d be delivering my own daughter, standing up, in freezing temperatures, all by myself?

I was on the loo when the contractions started.

"We need to get to hospital," I tried to call to my husband, but another contraction was coming -– weird, only two minutes from the last. Some nostril-flaring and deep-throat breathing got the message across.

The only thing I really cared about was my purple folder of maternity notes. Oh, how I loved the idea of a 'birth plan'. Yes, I’d be channelling my innate primal intuition as a labouring woman. Yes, I’d be trusting ancient birthing instincts passed through an ancestral line of strong, confident females, but I’d be doing so with detailed notes, thanks very much.

It was the perfect earth mother wish-list. I’d cherry-picked birth experiences like spa treatments, including everything from back massages to aromatherapy oils, convincing myself labour would be a nice bit of me-time. My left brain warned me my hypnobirthing teacher may have over-promised. My right brain was too high on scented candles to care.

I shuffled towards the car clutching my notes, an iPod loaded with hypnobirthing affirmations and my birthing ball – a logistic we should have tried for size before now – and we set off with me on all fours, bum against the passenger window.

The journey to the hospital was an endurance test. Every speed hump was a major obstacle; every corner strained my pain threshold.

I daren’t tell my husband but the contractions were back to back now and a sensation I remembered from my first labour was taking over. It felt like my insides were being wrung out. Oh dear, I was pushing.

Two words raced through my mind: Precipitate Labour. One of our NCT classes had skimmed over how to deal with rapid delivery but I switched off when I realised it was only a concern for those blessed with freakishly strong stomach muscles and a stretchy pelvic floor. I was mediocre in both areas.

I had a flashback of a yoga class I’d been to at 12 weeks pregnant.

"If the baby is coming too quickly, close your root chakra and use the break position." The yogi demonstrated a bum-in-the-air, head-down posture.

Manage that with a beach ball down your leotard and I’ll eat my root chakra. But here I was six months later, doing the labouring woman’s equivalent of a handstand, praying to God, Buddha, anyone who’d listen to slow the baby down.

I tuned into the hypnobirthing affirmations on my iPod.

"This is a natural process. Your muscles relax with every surge. Give in, go with them."

Somehow I stopped myself bracing against the pain and let it wash over me. Amazingly, it receded slightly. Still there, but at arm’s length. Maybe I could do this after all?

We were at hospital at last. I squeezed past the birthing ball – bloody thing – and hobbled, cowgirl style, towards the Delivery Suite.

I’ll never forget that walk. For someone giving life, it felt like I was dying. "Keep going," I told myself. "Follow. The. Light." I fixed my eyes on the luminous double doors of the Delivery Suite.

But it was too late. "Head. Head. Head," I chanted, pelvic floor straining at the seams.

"Get me on my knees. Run for help." The pain was an after-thought now. This was about survival.

I never got onto my knees. Before I had the chance to move my perineum was 'touching cloth'.

My husband banged on the window of a nearby car. "Help! My wife’s having a baby! Out here!" A couple piled out and fled the scene.

I reached into my knickers. Dare I have a rummage? It felt hard and tight. Yep, definitely a baby.

I was frozen for a moment, crouched over, half standing, half-squatting, rain on my face, an icy puddle at my feet, the lights of the delivery suite so close, yet too far. This was it. I was having my baby, all by myself.

A guttural ‘mooooooo’, vibrated in my throat. Every fibre of my torso burned and stretched, poised to split.

I dared myself to pat between my legs again. Damp matted hair, a narrow jaw, fragile as a bird. I was touching my baby for the first time.

Then – what the hell? – a thick rubbery ridge, hard and knobby under the baby’s chin. It felt wrong, alien almost. The cord – lassoed around the neck! I tugged it over the baby’s head like a rip cord and the body slithered into my hands.

My perfect baby; purple and waxy, lay glistening in my leggings like a fish in a net. I scooped her under the arms up to my chest. My husband wrapped his coat round us. A bleating cry pierced the wind.

We’d done it. Our baby was here. The sight of her eyes squinting in the lamppost light, her body pulsing against my chest, will never leave me. In that moment, I knew if we could guide her through this, we could guide her through anything. In that fleeting second, just us and our baby pitched against the elements, feeling our way, I knew all we needed was each other.

As we shuffled towards the delivery suite in a slow procession, I looked at our tiny, screaming baby and saw everything with new eyes. Yes, my husband was ghost-white, flecked with bodily fluids and spooked for life. Yes, I was walking like a toddler with my leggings round my ankles, my bare bum mooning the car park and the still-attached umbilical cord swinging between my thighs like a party popper. But my baby’s heart was pumping fast as a bird. Her skin was pink and healthy. I’d never felt more proud and capable.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Little Loves

Read
This week we've been reading Greedy Spider, Look at Me! - a beautifully illustrated modern morality tale that was gifted to us by the author, Gary Piper.



I loved;
The moral - stories with morals have fallen out of favour in traditional publishing so it was great to find a book that had some 'meaning' and depth for a change. The message; that greed never succeeds over true love and 'hap-bee-ness' was a great conversation starter.

The kids loved;
The wonderful illustrations by Debra Hodgson - the fantastically quirky trees of Yummy Mead were a particular fave. We spent so much time exploring the topsy turvy trees and glittering bugs on the inside cover, my kids know their funny names by heart!

Gary is a talented visionary, who has drawn on his experience of inventing, building, playing with and licensing toys in his day job as a Toy Inventor to create a fantastical story that will fire up the imaginations of any to 3- 5 year old. You can buy a copy here.

Watched
We've decided to turn the telly off for the summer (just on week days) so I haven't watched much at all to be honest, unless watching the wildlings run wild counts? You can read more about our TV detox here. I've been so chuffed to hear that since reading the post, lots of friends have been inspired to try it for themselves. It's not that hard, honest! And the smug factor makes it all worthwhile ;-)


Wore
I've been rocking my rose gold wedges this week, just cos I can. I know the fashion mags are all over Autumn/Winter 2015 and I'm tragically slow on the the uptake, but hey, that's why I'm not a fashion blogger! These beauties are from Palmaira Sandals De Menorca - a brand I've been lusting after since spotting them all over the fashion blogs.

No wonder - many imitations of these shoes exist, but Palmaira Sandals De Menorca are made on the island of Menorca, using traditional methods and local village workers - so they come with an authentic seal of approval and the feel-good factor of an ethically honest product.

Ethics aside, they're super comfortable too - that leather is baby soft - and easy to walk in cos of the wedge heel. The only downside so far is that I didn't buy them earlier in the summer. 




Heard
I've been trying to run more over the last few weeks, and sometimes music doesn't quite cut through the pain. My antidote; podcasts. My latest discovery is Call Your Girlfriend - hosted by a feminist power-duo so achingly-hip and right-on, I'm glad I've never actually seen them. My eyes would likely freeze over in their reflected coolness. These girls are seriously well-read, funny and smart. I loved their take on Planned Parenthood, free bleedin’, and period feminism. I'm way to British and awkward to talk about his stuff, but in listening to them allows me to entertain the fantasy of what I might say if I did.

Made
August is birthday season for my son. (Who says birthdays only last one day?!) God knows why but I made a vow back on his first birthday that I'd always make homemade birthday cakes. I don't even like baking! But I did like seeing the look on his face when I presented him with this years' effort. Instructions can be found here.



Inspiration for the cake came from party decorations I was gifted by Hello Party.

Check out this gorgeous bunting and poster I was sent to help celebrate Henry's birthday! He was super chuffed to spot himself in print amongst his beloved dinosaurs and I loved how the decorations gave our gathering a unique, personal feel. Cos frankly, I haven't got the time or talent to make my own. Life's too short for Pinterest pom poms, right?




We had lots of lovely comments from friends who were interested to hear Hello Party also offer personalised decorations for weddings, christenings and anniversaries - just upload your photos onto the site, select from their beautiful collection of themed artwork and tick 'decorations' off the party to-do list.

I have the feeling we'll be enjoying our Hello Party goodies for a long time yet: the posters have been relocated to Henry's bedroom and I've tucked the bunting away so we can reuse it next year. If only birthday cakes were reusable, ahey?!

And finally
I've loved reading these blog posts recently. Maybe you will too?

One Day, by Random Musing by Nobody Important 


Can We All Calm Down about Pink, Please, By Esther Walker at Mr Fox Magazine

Laters, Little Lovers. x

Monday, 3 August 2015

We've given up TV so you don't have to; here's what we've learnt.



Six long weeks of summer stretched ahead of us and already I felt like my kids' eyeballs were rotting from too much telly. Last week was a new low.

The littlest was ill. She wanted me to cuddle her to sleep for an afternoon nap. I plonked the oldest in front of the iPad and took her upstairs. It soon became clear the nap wasn't happening, but she was too tired to play and ended up curling up next to her brother in front of the screen. Half an hour won't hurt, I told myself.

But half an hour turned into an hour. Almost without noticing it, I'd emptied the dishwasher, loaded and unloaded the washing machine and swept the kitchen floor. Oh! The freedom! Check me out: Getting. Stuff. Done.

Still. I probably should've turned the telly off at that point. Except I was starting to feel a bit ropey myself. Cup of tea. Bit of a sit-down. Before I knew it, I was slumped sideways on the sofa being lulled into Peppa-trance. By the time my husband came home that night, we'd clocked up a week's worth of squeaky voices in one sitting and were dead to the world apart for the occasional oink.

That night I was full of big questions:

Is Peppa even a pig at all? Or is she a bossy cow?
Is there any job Miss Rabbit can't do?
Why do they need to lie down when laughing?

But  mainly;

*Whisper it* Could all this telly be bad for my kids? And me?

I don't mean in some long term, neurocognitive, socially-stunted, obese way. I mean like, right here, now. Cos whilst it seems that the iNanny is great at stopping them crawling up my leg while it's on, the second I turn it off it's like a Cbeebies apocalypse; all high-octane whining and primary coloured rage.

It's almost like the telly steals their imaginations, turning them into consumers who need to be entertained rather than masters of their own fun. A couple of hours of Peppa and suddenly the enchanted-fairy-castle-headquarters I've optimistically constructed out of sheets in the lounge is just 'a big boring mess, mummy'.

Not to mention the mummy-guilt. Every time I hear Peppa splashing in muddy puddles, a small part of my outdoorsy, crunchy earth mummy fantasy dies. We should be outside splashing real puddles, right? The real crunch came when my little one fell over when we were at the woods the other day and cried for Peppa instead of me. Gutted!

Something had to change. So I've decided to turn off the telly during the week, just for a bit to tame the addiction. I'm not getting precious about it. If we're at someones house and it happens to be on, I won't be shielding the kids eyes or anything. And we'll still be flicking it on as a treat at weekends. But in the week we're going unplugged. Ekkkkkkkkk!

We've only been going a week and the first few days were definitely the hardest. Here're a few things we've learnt already:
  • I'm as addicted as they are - telly has always been my crutch for getting things done. For the kids, it's more about boredom and tiredness. Finding 'down-time' alternatives and 'time-out' for me takes time but they are adjusting quicker than I am.
  • Puzzle books are our new go-to for the four-year-old; Where's Wally, dot-to-dot, maze puzzles and animal scrapbooks are his new favourites. He's also deeply attached to his Dinosaur Dictionary. Who knew there were 15 dinosaurs beginning with Z? Not us till we turned the telly off.
  • The 2-year-old is even more adaptable. She constantly amazes me with her role play and imaginative games. Cue terrible mummy guilt that I hadn't noticed this before.
  • We're reading a lot more stories. It's starting to rub off on the 4-year-old and he's starting to 'read' to his sister when I creep away for a cuppa.
  • They are playing together more and there are fewer rows. I didn't realise arguing over what to watch was such a big flash point.
  • They are getting better at playing by themselves while I get things done. 
  • They talk a lot more. Not TO each other and me. More AT each other and me. At the same time. Good and bad on so many levels. 
In summary, I have noticed a big improvement in their behaviour. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are definitely our low points of the week, which coincides with the screen time we allow them at the weekend and the hangover afterwards.

So with mixed emotions, I'm so glad it's Tuesday tomorrow. Only 4 more days till Saturday...



And then the fun began...

Sunday, 12 July 2015

We Need To Talk About Clingy Kids And Independent Play


Ever feel like you're throwing yourself into a bottomless pit of need?
Ever feel like the pit is so wide and deep, you don't even touch the sides?
Ever feel like no matter how much you give, your child still has more to take?

This is how I feel with my son whenever we attempt Independent Play. 

Today's effort went like this;

'Mummy, I need you to play dinosaurs with me.'

'Honey, we've had a whole morning together. We read your dinosaur dictionary. We made a triceratops out of loo roll. We made your dinosaurs a picnic and ate it at the park. I think you can play by yourself ten, teeny-weeny minutes'.

'No.' (Crazy head-shaking.) 'NO! NOOOOOOO!'

'Honey, I need to do some jobs* (*Make a cup of tea,) and some work** (**Muck about on Facebook). 

'But I neeeeeeeeddddddddd you'.

'You're fine, honey. Take your Iguanodon to the garden, make a jungle'.

'Primordial swamp, mummy. Iguanodons need swamps. And snacks. And mummies'. 

Oh yes, I'm responsible for the emotional demands of Iguanodons as well as children round here. Dino-sized guilt! 

Luckily, I was recently offered the opportunity of a consultation with Onna Alexander. A co-founder of the Pikler UK Association. Oona has twenty years’ hands-on experience working with children and families - first as a teacher, then guiding parents and young children as a group leader. About ten years ago she came across the work of Dr Emmi Pikler and, having now done extensive training in Pikler’s approach, she gratefully acknowledges Pikler as her greatest source of inspiration.

I could have talked with Oona all day and would've loved to have heard more about Pikler, but we only had 45 minutes: the dinosaurs were still hungry. Luckily Oona had some quick-fire myth-busting techniques to help me rethink my whole approach to independent play.

Myth Number 1
My child needs me to play with him. 
Nope, according to Oona. All he needs is to feel a strong loving connection, which will empower him to play on his own. 

Hang on, he's Velcroed to my leg. A pretty strong connection, no? Thing is, the tighter he clings, the more I'm forced to - and there's no nice way of doing this - peel him off, one white knuckle at a time. Before long I'm locking myself in the loo just for 2 minutes of alone time. Strong feelings? You bet. Loving? Not so much.




Technique
Apparently it's a matter of baby steps. The first being sitting and watching him play, without taking part. When the role-play demands kick in (Roar, mummy, roar! Like I'm roaring. At you.') I'm to remind him I'm enjoying watching him without joining in.

What about when he plays hardball? You know, when he can't reach the exact shrub the triceratops wants for lunch, or find the exact moss the T-Rex fancies sleeping in, and the tears start squirting? Oona calls this 'getting creative' and advises me to remind him I'm enjoying watching him solve the problems for himself without joining in, thus volleying the imaginary ball back into his hands. So no more dreaming up ever-more intricate and fantastical scenarios in an attempt to capture his imagination, then. Step way from the prehistoric soap opera, Jude. 

Myth Number 2
It's my job to play with him.
Of course having fun with our children is all part of bonding and being a parent, but our real calling is to support our children's journey towards becoming independent, says Oona. Sounds simple, but this was a big revelation for me. I'd always felt like I should play with my kids on demand and felt guilty when I said no. But Oona's words made me realise that by stepping back, I'm not taking something away, I'm giving him something better; the opportunity to become more self-reliant. 

Keep telling yourself that when the tantrums kick in, Jude. Oona has tips for this too. 

Myth Number 3
I need to solve his tantrums.
Typically when I force the Independent Play issue the Red Mist descends and I quickly fall back on the ye olde parenting favourites of explaining, distracting and redirecting. 'I can't play now, I'm on the phone. Diplodocus is hungry. Go make him a leaf salad.' Unsurprisingly, this never works. Salad never solved anything.

Technique
Oona's take is that rather than trying to palm my son off with alternatives, I'd be better off  
acknowledging his feelings and letting him know he's been heard whilst still sticking to my boundaries. Give me exact words, I begged, knowing this would be tricky when the dinosaurs were charging. She had me write these down;

'It sounds like you really want me to play with you,'
'You're telling me you want me to play.'
'You wish I could play with you now.'
It's going to be hard for you to play without me.'

That's it. No justifying or rational explanations. No trying to solve the problem or distract him. I'm just to repeat these phrases and be with him till the tantrum burns out, without giving in. The idea is that he'll be soothed by my presence and feel heard, while I get to stick to my boundaries, guilt free.

'Even when he's butting me with his Raptor and threatening extinction?' 'Yup,' Oona continued. 'You can still hold him and cuddle him when he's cross. Use phrases like ''I won't let you break that/ hit me/ hurt your sister,'' but don't send him away or demand he stops. Let the tantrum burn out and you might find he has a moment of softness and opening up when you can reconnect.'

Ekkkkk! All sounds pretty exciting and revolutionary. I can't wait try these techniques out with my son. And his dinosaurs. Listen out for the stomps and roars....  I'm hoping for a dino-sized improvement.
And then the fun began...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Gym Instructors; No Match for a Gym Buddy.




I was fed up. What I wanted was a friend. My best friend, Anna, to be precise. That and a few glasses of wine, my body weight in chocolate, maybe even a holiday in the sun...

Nothing like a spot of PND to make you reassess your life balance. Much as the nightly glass of vino was doing a grand job boosting my serotonin, I had a nagging feeling there must be a healthier way off the tablets. Had she not moved away, Anna - an awesome Personal Trainer - would be kicking my mood into touch with one of her hardcore workouts and massage/ torture sessions.

We used to go to the gym together all the time. Back when she lived the other side of town rather than the other side of the world. Back before we had kids and were averaging more than quarter of an hour to ourselves in 24. Motivation wasn't a problem then. We'd chat on the treadmill. Gossip over the weights. We even had time for a cuppa and some carb-loading afterwards; all very pampering.

Then we had kids. Pampering became more about the brand of nappy we used than anything else.
Besides, Anna had moved away and I'd lost the only person I knew who could get my arse off the sofa.

The only time I broke a sweat without her was when the kids dragged me onto the trampoline. At least it worked out my pelvic floor. Clench! But it was doing sod all for my serotonin levels. No wonder I was slamming doors and hiding in the loo when the kids did my head in.

I think it was Anna who told me that when you're stressed or angry, the body releases flight or fight hormones. If you don't burn them off, you just stay stressed long after the moment has passed. Throwing toilet rolls and kicking the cistern wasn't cutting it. I was going to have to join a gym. On my own.

Enter the gym instructor. Tanned. Neon leggings. A bag of lettuce she snacked on like crisps. We were not gonna be friends.

She wouldn't let me hide in the changing room cubicle when I'd signed up for her class.

She didn't buy my delaying tactics when I spent most of the 'warm-up' untangling my headphones.

She wouldn't let me lurk in the back row till I found my groove. 'Beginners at the front where I can see you, please.'

She had no mercy when it came to floor-to-ceiling mirrors. 'Beginners at the front where you can see yourself, please.'

She had a tragic obsession with 90s dance tracks. And a Britney mic.

I had a feeling she wasn't that bright; always losing count of repetitions and taking ages to count to 12.

She thought I was just sweating when I was actually crying.

She said ridiculous stuff like 'don't forget to breathe,' when I was clearly hyperventilating. And 'find yourself a partner,' when there was only 3 of us in the room. (So I'd lost my Gym Buddy. Was she trying to rub it in?)

She wasn't shy about getting butt-naked and rubbing oil into her abs in the changing rooms.

She didn't even have the decency to go to reception for me when I forgot my locker combination after the shower, dripping wet, and wrapped in a too-small kids towel.

Basically, I hated her.

So it was weird that the more I started hanging out in her classes, the better I started feeling. Turns out, raising my heart rate still raised my mood. 20 minutes in, I felt the red mist rising off me like steam. Yes, it really, really hurt, and made me look and feel really, really hideous in front of someone who wasn't promising tea and gossip afterwards, but I won't be stopping anytime soon.

In fact, next I find myself getting teary and twitchy from being patient with the kids all day or snappy at the husband for being 15 minutes late when the kids have been screaming for 20, I'll be back for that gym instructor's 'Now, That's What I Call 90s' ASAP.

Lettuce though? Instead of crisps? She's on her own. I'll be raising a cuppa and some unrefined carbohydrates to Anna; still the best gym buddy ever. xx

Monday, 22 June 2015

Oglee Poglee Craft Workshop Review and Craft Box Giveaway!

Messy play. *Shudder* The mere mention of  glitter and glue used to have me twitching and reaching for the vacuum cleaner. Yes, I wanted to be cool, laid-back mama helping my children channel their inner Picasso. I just didn't want to do it at home... One spilt paint pot too far and the house resembled a crime scene; red hand prints on the walls, paintbrushes being brandished like weapons and a toddler in the corner inhaling Prit Stick. 

Which is why I was so thrilled to be invited to an Oglee Poglee craft workshop over half term. A chance to indulge the hooligans' craft habit and flee the crime scene afterwards. Get out of jail free!

I was more than a little nervous - in my experience, Glue + Toddlers =  'anti-social' behavior, but I needn't have worried. The leader, Claire, was well prepared with reassuring wipe-clean tarpaulings, aprons for all and a designated wash up area.  

The session began with a story about a fascinating made-up world starring the curious Oglee Pip and a chance to explore his box of treasures. The story was long enough to inspire the kids and introduce the 'Outer Space' theme but not so long that they got fidgety. 

Then it was time to roll up our sleeves and unleash creative chaos! My son went straight for the foam clay and got stuck into making an alien out of pipe cleaners and googly eyes. My daughter was transfixed by marble painting 'shooting stars' and 'meteors' on giant black paper. There was also shiny circles and textured paint to make planets - addictive stuff: so tactile! And a spaceship making area where my son got busy with matchstick 'nails' and a hammer. The younger kids loved the water play area with stars, planets and alien toys. And even the littlest fingers enjoyed squeezing drops of ink onto coffee filters to watch the colours make magic patterns.



I loved how Claire helped the children bring everyday materials to life - printing with lids, squirting with bottles and building with polystyrene. It was also fun to discover new things. The foam clay is a new favourite I might even bring out at home!

The session finished with a calming story and a biscuit before we left with our many creations. The kids also came away with a sense of pride in their new skills. The parents, with a new respect for the dark arts of messy play. Craft is no longer a contraband to be feared. It's just good unclean fun.

We weren't the only family think so. Ursh, Mum of Jack (4) and Charlie (4 months) said

'We absolutely love these workshops! The themes are great and well thought out and we get so much done in an hour, my little one is always asking me when the next one is whenever we leave. Good quality crafts used and overall a very enjoyable hour for both of us. Even my 4-month-old wanted to watch and see what was going on. Would recommend to anyone with young ones. ' 

Fancy joinning in the fun with your little one? Claire has generously offered one lucky reader a personalised Oglee Poglee Space Adventure Craft Box, RRP £17.99, jam-packed with everything you need to explore deep space, dodge flying comets and collect moondust. Each box also includes an Oglee Pip adventure story, a magic button and even PVA glue, so there’s no need to buy any extra bits!  

Don't worry there's no pressure to create a great masterpiece. Oglee Poglee Craft Boxes encourage ‘open-ended’ creative play. Each child decides what to make, thereby avoiding the stress of creating a picture-perfect craft. They can customise Oglee Pip’s story books, design their own creations and even take the magic button off on marvellous adventures all of their own.


To enter the give away visit my Facebook page here - if you enjoy it, please 'like' and share. Many thanks! Good luck!

Bring on the unclean fun!

Monday, 15 June 2015

I'm going to Britmums Live thanks to Pertz Leggings; the shape of feeling good!

So, Friday is a big day. I'm off to Britmums Live; the biggest blogging event of the year devoted entirely to a parenting audience and run by the UK's largest parent blogging network of more then 4K influential and engaged bloggers.
  • My name is Jude. I blog at http://www.makemeanearthmother.blogspot.co.uk/ - and no, I'm not an Earth Mother. I just wish I was. 
  • You can find me tweeting at @mmearthmother
  • I'm 5ft 2. I have dark short hair and blue eyes - and look like this;

  • This is my second Britmums and I'm in it for the long haul: I'm going both days.
  • I can't wait for The BiBs Awards Ceremony - lots of my blogging buddies are up for awards this year so I'll be on the edge of my seat, cheering them on. I'm also looking forward to meeting some new faces and discovering some new blogs. The Keynote Speech delivered by Deliciously Ella will also be a highlight. Ella's blog 'Deliciously Ella', is all about embracing healthy living and gets over six million hits a month! Her book has been the fastest selling debut cookbook since records began! Inspiring? Just a bit. 
  • I've been sponsored by Pertz Leggings so I'll be proud in my Pertz on the day. Pertz definitely deliver on their promise to give me 'the shape of feeling good.' Their unique design and fabric limits my ‘muffin top’, flattens my tummy and banishes the dreaded leg wobble, giving my thighs definition and support. Hello, canapes! Goodbye holding in my tummy and worrying about what I look like all day!

  • This year I'm really hoping to fire up my creativity and feel inspired by Britmums Live. I'll have been blogging for 2 years come September and sometimes I do wonder where it's all going. Events like Britmums help me refocus and remember that it's not just my lonely voice echoing around cyberspace. I'm part of a fab community! A day without the kids will also be a novelty.
  • This is my second Britmums so I'm by no means a pro but to the newbies, I'd say; relax and enjoy it! It is intense and there will be lots of hugging and squealing going on but don't be intimidated. Not everyone knows each other - and even the odd person who does will be up for meeting new people. That's what Britmums is about; looking up from our computer screens, making eye contact with the faces behind the avatars and reaching out to new blogging buddies. Look forward to meeting you! 
See you there! xxx
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