A Mum’s Guide to the Office Christmas Party

Some background information: my party is tonight, I used to always take the next morning off, now I don’t work Fridays but my daughter doesn’t go to nursery either

Stage 1: carry a ton of stuff to the office, various tights in case one breaks (mums are organised like that), a second outfit choice in case you’re not “feeling” choice number 1 and all sorts of makeup you never use and that you’ve had for ages.
Stage 2: strategic lunch choice as you know you won’t eat for ages and the whole “lining your stomach” thing is actually true and very needed when you have to look after a toddler the next day
Stage 3: spend the afternoon getting slightly more and more excited and wondering at what time it is acceptable to go and get ready
Stage 4: getting ready, the tradition is my office is for the girls to go and get ready Together in the biggest bathroom in the building. Every time a random person from another office comes in , they are always quite shocked by level of noise and stuff everywhere. Getting ready involves outfit choice (see above), trying to make yourself look as good as possible despite your lack of makeup application skills, the big glasses or no glasses debate and lots of laughing and “you look amazing”. Yep we all scrub up pretty well!
Stage 5: strategic drinking, my plan is always to only drink champagne and white wine and NO SHOTS. Who you sit next to is also very strategic and most importantly always aim to get the last train home, this reduces drinking time.
Stage 6 (the next morning): famous bloody last words, is it really morning? Why is there makeup all over my pillow? Of course you can watch telly whilst mummy just sits with her eyes closed drinking tea and trying not to be sick…

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My Third Letter To My First Daughter

Cheeks, in less than a week you will be 2 YEARS OLD, needless to say these were the fastest 2 years of my life. I’m writing this so I remember what you were like and to try and embarrass you and maybe make you cry when you’re older and hopefully read this.

I’m going to start with my favourite photos of you of all time.

Look at those cheeks! Look at that smile, you’re really cute. I can’t resist, here  are some more (mummy is obsessed with taking pictures of you!):

 

I’m not sure where to start, you might want to know what you are like…well you are quite the character. You are EXTREMELY independent, “me do it” is one of the things you say the most. Determined is another characteristic of yours, if you don’t want to do something well basically I have to force or bribe you. For example yesterday, we went out for a walk and you were wearing your “bellies” once you realized there  were no puddles outside so you couldn’t do “splash”, you decided you would stop walking and just stand by a wall:

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I had to pick you up and carry you down the road. The power struggles are a daily occurrence, usually involving not wanting to go in the buggy or hold my hand in the street or let me brush your teeth etc etc. Sometimes it makes me want to scream (and sometimes I do but clearly it doesn’t help the situation at all), sometimes people give me pitying looks in the street and sometimes I’m actually quite pleased you seem to have such a strong character but I don’t think we’ll know if this is your personality for ever for a few more years as it is also quite typical behavior of other monsters your age.

You love the following:

  • dinosaurs
  • playing catch
  • watching telly (mainly Frozen, Shrek 2 and Bing)
  • having a bath
  • doing chores – helping to cook and stirring things is a particular favourite
  • having tea parties
  • having your own seat on the train
  • feeding the ducks
  • doing anything by yourself basically!

You definitely have your habits and know what you like, this is what happens on a typical day:

  • wake up and chat straight away, you always have something to say, nowadays it’s usually “Elsa, Anna?”, you could watch Frozen all day, mummy bans you in the morning but every evening you watch it. The morning is for Bing and Postman Pat, you used to love Bing more than anything, Elsa has taken over

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  • You then come running over to sit on my knee, the minute you notice I have started eating breakfast and basically proceed to eat as much as my breakfast as I will let you
  • When we leave for nursery, I have too force you into the buggy by bending your legs, EVERY SINGLE DAY
  • Your BFF is called Maya, you are both so happy to see each other every morning
  • EVERY SINGLE DAY you whine when I leave you at nursery but are then fine within a minute
  • EVERY SINGLE DAY you come running up to me when you see me in the evenings as if you hadn’t seen me for weeks, it’s the best part of my day, sometimes the best part of my week. You cheer me up, wipe away any work or life stress and make me happy EVERY SINGLE DAY
  • Nowadays, you insist on walking home in the evening, this is fine as long as you hold my hand…
  • To be honest you are quite easy in the evenings, as long as there is Elsa and milk everything is fine until it’s time to brush your teeth…

This is the bit where I get a bit less objective, here are some of the things you do that make you “you” and make me think that you will probably turn out to be quite clever…

  • You started smiling at 3 weeks old and haven’t stopped since!
  • You have taught yourself some of the words to the Frozen songs, here you are in action:
  • You never forget anything and remember the most random of things – for example a few months ago we went to a new pub one rainy Sunday  afternoon and you had apple juice. Over a week later, we went past that pub again and you started shouting “juice, juice!” outside the door, I don’t know how you recognized the front door, to this day you still ask for juice when we go by that pub…
  • We were folding washing recently and you remembered that a nightie I was folding belongs to “mamie”
  • You know how things are “supposed” to be – if anybody doesn’t take their coat off and walks past the hallway, you are very quick to remind them!
  • You know how to have a good time! You were recently dancing for ages in a local pub even though nobody else was!
  • You have compassion and empathy and it is very sweet and makes me proud. Talking of mamie, when she had to leave for the airport a few weeks ago, mummy was very sad and you saw this on my face, came over, gave me a hug and stroked my back, my heart skipped a beat. It was so sweet and probably the only thing that could have made me feel better.

I could go and on and on about you, all I want you to know is that I couldn’t love you more if I wanted to (and I am sure daddy feels the same), you’ve been one of the most challenging parts of my life so far because I want to do the right thing and sometimes that means not screaming or getting angry when you just will not do something you need to do – I had never realised how difficult it could be to deal with somebody that only weighs 12 kilos but is stronger than me in many ways!!! Stay the confident, funny, lovely girl that you are, I am already so proud. You are not only challenging but you are very fulfilling too, you were definitely missing from my life.

I also want you to know that even when mummy escapes, it’s not because I don’t want to be with you, it’s because I need to be with myself for a while and with other people and come back a happier mummy (the below pic is from the day I came back from Ibiza, 12 hours before mummy was dancing under a flight path and some of my makeup is still visible! You can also spot some of the grey hairs that have appeared since your birth…)

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What do I hope for you in the future?

First of all, I hope you get to travel and go to some of my favourite places in the world such as New York City, Ibiza and France . I hope you have great friends like I am lucky to have, I hope you get to live in different countries like I have but unlike me I really hope you do a job you are super passionate about like some of these ladies. Mummy has a great job but it’s not my dream job (that’s having a cooking programme on TV in case you’re wondering…), maybe you could be the first female President of the USA? I just want you to be HAPPY and have fun, lots of fun. As one of mummy’s good friends says “the first rule of fun is to have more fun” , which is very true.

Mummy loves you and will be there to guide up, dance with you, pick you up when you fall and high five you when you reach the dizzying heights that I know you are destined to reach. Carpe Diem Cheeks!

 

Bravissimo To The Rescue Of My Post-Breastfeeding Boobs

My boobs used to my “thing”, one my “USPs” if you will but then I got pregnant, had a baby and lost weight. I’ll never know if this was due to breastfeeding for 19  months or the stress of being a new mum, probably a combination of both!

Anyway, things are not the same anymore, I guessed what size I am now but it just wasn’t good enough, I needed professional help so I jumped on the tube to Oxford Circus to go to the best place I know medium- big boobs(they cater for D cup upwards), Bravissimo to get fitted for some new bras.

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A good fitting bra is like well shaped eyebrows, it can change and improve things A LOT! I had an appointment for a fitting but you can just walk in, I actually turned up an hour early like an idiot but that was no bother at all and the lovely Jessica was assigned to me. The fitting area is in the basement and has a lovely waiting area:

I explained that I was looking for an everyday bra and one for “going out out” and low cut tops. They don’t use measuring tapes at Bravissimo, they basically have a good look at you and at the bra you come in wearing. What’s important to remember that Jess pointed out to me was that 90% of the support comes from the band and most women wear a bra that is too wide, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable but you should be able to get more than 2 fingers into the back of it. Here is a great video that clearly explains what good fitting bra should feel and look like: http://www.bravissimo.com/perfectfit/fitting-video/#

They have a lot more tips here and here.

We then tried on different styles as like with clothes some shapes are going to suit you better than others, it’s not just a size thing. Here’s how you know if the bra is fitting properly:

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Jess asked me if I minded if she stayed in the (rather large) changing room whilst I tried bras on or if I preferred her to leave, I was not bothered about her staying at all. Plenty of room in there and I’m not prudish with things like that.

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I probably tried on about 10 different bras. She went upstairs to get me some tops to try them on (they also sell clothes via the Pepperberry brand) and settled for this one for everyday and this one (that I would never have picked because it was a soft cup) for more revealing tops…I also really liked this one but they didn’t have my size so I will probably order it soon.

I’ve worn the first one a few times and love it! Perfect shape and comfortable! I have gone down 2 to 3 back sizes and a few cups sizes since being pregnant so ladies you really need to get fitted! I bet lots of you think you are a 34-36 C, I bet you’re more like 32D!

Have you worn the same bra size for over a year? Does the back of your bra ride up? Do the straps fall off? Do your boobs pop out at the front? Are you pregnant or have you recently had a baby? Then get yourself down to Bravissimo!

Thank you Jess for helping me find some great new bras that fit properly and make  me feel more confident. I can now embrace my smaller boobs!

 

5 Things I Hated and 5 Things I Loved About Breastfeeding

*The original version of this was posted on the Huffington Post Parents blog section
A was born at the end of 2014, for those of you who regularly read this blog, you’ll know she was born with tongue-tie, which meant breastfeeding started off very badly. However after having her tongue-tie clipped (twice!), I continued feeding her for 19 months and 2 weeks, I can tell you that on day 2, when my nipples started bleeding and I fed her in absolute agony, I would never have believed that would happen. I had a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding and here’s why:

5 Things I Hated About Breastfeeding:
1.Tongue-tie bloody tongue-tie -, it was so painful and stressful, it ruined the first month with my baby. It’s simply a nightmare and I’d recommend getting it fixed ASAP if it happens to your baby. I wrote the story here
2.The time it takes at the beginning, especially if you have a “comfort” feeder, you can basically spend your life feeding. Newborns love boobs and so you better get used to your sofa and using one hand. Don’t even get me started on growth spurts…
3.The fact that you’re basically the only person, who can feed your baby and the stress this implies if you leave them too long. Because of the tongue tie A had a bottle every day for the first 3 weeks but then I made the mistake of stopping and she wouldn’t drink from a bottle for the next 10 months! Once I left her for a few hours and my mum had to spoon feed her milk!
4.You have to wear tops that can be opened or lifted up AT ALL TIMES. Goodbye good old bodycon dresses that obviously you used to wear on a regular basis!
5.It ruined my boobs, I lost 3 cup sizes, my boobs were “my thing”, I no longer have “a thing”

However, as with most things in life, it’s not all bad! On the contrary, in my humble opinion and experience, the good outweighs the bad and I have no regrets. There is indeed a silver lining in everything…

5 Things I Loved About Breastfeeding
1.Tongue tie may have been very painful but thanks to my blog post about it, all sorts of opportunities came my way – including speaking about it on national TV.
2.I loved the fact that you have to stop and feed, it did stop me from running around like a mad person and made me slow down and share special calm moments with my daughter
3.Breastfeeding was the one thing that would CALM my baby, PUT HER TO SLEEP anywhere!

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Post boob nap

Comfort her and generally have a magical effect on her. It would have been a hundred times harder to get her to sleep on planes, trains, stop a tantrum and generally calm things down when there was a crisis! Also killed a lot of time during said plane and train rides.
4.She loved it, it made her happy, and it made me happy knowing I was doing something healthy for her (to make up for all the TV and biscuits she’s been consuming!)
5.It sure burned a ton of calories over 19 months, yes my boobs are gone but so are quite a few lumps and bumps and for that I will forever be grateful.

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The last time I fed her

For any of you, who breastfed, what did you enjoy about it? What were the bad bits? I would love to know!

A Much Needed Spa Afternoon at ESPA at The Corinthia

I got a voucher for some treatments at ESPA at The Corinthia from a very dear friend just after I gave birth to A back in November 2014, I had a great experience and today I went back for the 3rd time. There are times in life, especially in a working mum’s life, when you need to treat yourself and escape. For me, the ideal way is to go here:

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The spa is on the first floor of the beautiful hotel, just walking in to the impressive lobby puts a smile on my face:

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I was greeted very nicely and enthusiastically by the lady at the reception desk and offered a drink (chamomile and mint tea, it wasn’t very warm and I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be or not…))whilst I filled in a medical questionnaire (I should have asked why I was doing this as I had done this before). There is a café next to the reception area where all the products are shown, I didn’t use the café. There is complimentary water, fruit and nuts in the actual spa area in the floors below.

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You are then taken to the changing rooms, where everything you could ever need is provided (slippers, robes, hairdryers, magazines, all sorts of products, showers, sauna etc).

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I had about an hour and a half before my massage and mini facial, which I spent very happily sitting in the massive Jacuzzi, which is next to the pool on the thermal floor, which is 2 floors down from the ladies changing rooms:

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I also had a lie down in a “sleep pod” and then finally sat down to read on the heated beds by the fire in the changing rooms, despite the lack of privacy, this was my favourite bit as it was so warm and cozy. Honestly just reading Marie Claire in peace was such a treat, I’d pay just for that.

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I probably came across 10 other guests in total, it was really nice and quiet.

I was then taken to a really nice treatment room (one of 17) for my massage and express facial. The therapist was seriously good, she listened to me and gave me the exact massage I needed. She focused on my shoulders and upper back and told me at the end that indeed I had a LOT of tension and knots in that area and that I need to have massages more often, well if she says so 🙂

All the ESPA products they use are natural and ethically sourced and smell and feel lovely!

I actually enjoyed the facial a lot more than usual, I don’t know if its because the products smelt so nice or because I was already super relaxed but it was really enjoyable, apparently I need to drink more water, quelle surprise!

Anyway, here I am “glowing” afterwards:img_0109

It’s amazing what 4 hours in a Spa, far away from reality can do! It’s definitely a luxury spa with high quality treatements and facilities but if you want a treat, you can go wrong by choosing the Corinthia.

And guess who was very happy to see me when I got home?

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So As Not to Forget What My Daughter is Like At 19 Months Old

Time is flying! A will be 2 in November and when I see pictures of a year ago, I realise how much children change and you can easily forget what they were like. This blog is a great way to make sure I don’t forget. I’m not sure I could forget such cheekiness and craziness. Here are some photos from the past 4 days that sum my monster up pretty well, I wouldn’t change her for the world!

  
Thursday night post nursery snack wearing sunglasses, she loves to “accesorize” with bags, hats, glasses, my jewellery etc. She usually puts something on her arm, says “bye bye” and walks off!

   
 
Friday morning playing with mummy’s hair, this caused much laughter and I lost a few hairs in the process! Later that day, I took her for a haircut, she has very straight hair and the minute her fringe gets a bit long she literally can’t see! Here is the result:

  
A likes to give orders and on Saturday it was “off” as in we have to both take our clothes off (I was allowed to keep my underwear on!)

  
A also likes to throw and empty things and say “uh ho” as if some mysterious ghost was to blame

   
 
She loves baby but baby ended up in the bin and was “sad”, poor baby having A for a mummy!

  
Sunday night story reading was accompanied by sunglasses of course, daddy then proceeded to “help” by putting on some relevant music at 7PM

   
 
Needless to say things can get quite tiring but we’re never bored even if we both get frustrated (I’ve missed out any pictures of tantrums and moaning!), she’s my cheeks and I love her. She’s just got my crazy family’s genes!

Anyway Allez Les Bleus!

Reporting live from a hungover mum

Wine

G&T

Sambuca

Cosmos

Nearly fell asleep on the train home.

A woke at 6.30AM and it felt like I had been asleep for 5 mins.

Tv, biscuits and playing with my iphone are the name of the game today, my head cannot handle any whining, crying or screaming.

Bad parenting is probably the only way to survive being hungover with a toddler. Is it acceptable to pay for a babysitter in the day so I can go back to bed?

But it was really fun to be out and not have to deal with the whole nursery/bedtime routine though.

However I can’t believe it’s not even 9AM, wish me luck people.

PS: apologies for a random post but my brain is not exactly working