Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Comedy of Errors.

Sleep. Hmmmm. I dream of fluffy white pillows, feathery duvet and sleeping until my alarm goes off. I dream of waking up and not feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus, have been on a huge bender or feel about 92 years of age. I dream of looking in the mirror and not going, “Oh Christ almighty” at the visage that reflects back at me. I dream of not being woken 3 times a night and stumbling out of bed only to trip over my husband’s size 11 Crocket & Jones shoes, that really frickin hurt when they slam into your toe in the dark abyss. I dream of dreaming again. So, you can probably tell that the sleep is going really well at the moment. It has actually got a lot better. I haven’t slept in her room or been on paw patrol for weeks now. However, there are just multiple wakings where she shouts out “Mummy!!” at the top of her lungs and then demands “Hand” in a weak and dramatic little voice (no idea where these Judi Dench tendencies come from. Honestly.) On the plus side, we only have two more teeth to go. One bottom molar is rearing its ugly head at the moment so that was the reason for last night’s midnight and 4:40am wake up calls. I did actually get some sleep. The night before however, was not so good.

 I woke up that fateful morning feeling like a tfl double decker had ploughed into my side the day before. I had been in and out of my small one’s room. Hand and back rub administered, plus granules and Calpol for aching gums. I felt rough on Monday morning. I felt like my head had been stuck up my arse and my eyes had been forced open to look at the sun. Small one was dropped off at amazing Childminder, car was dropped off at home and I sloped off to work. I didn’t even have time for a Flat White, that’s how shit my morning started off. I walked to work from Willesden Junction. This place makes me sad. It’s just a series of railway lines, industrial waste land and really pissed off looking folk, like me. I arrived, signed in, went for a pee and then my producer came out. “Morning. Nice to see you. You’re with me this afternoon….” Oh FFS! This afternoon? I double checked my emails and there it was: OUP, 2-5pm. Bollocks with an extra helping of bums.  

 So, I said my Goodbyes and I made my way home with a face like a slapped arse. Oh good. The tube’s here, I’d better run for it. Great I’ve got a seat. The announcement tells me that’s it’s going to West Ruislip. I don’t want to go to West Ruislip. I’ve never been there but I know I don’t want to go there. Especially this morning as I want to go home and do the hundred and one things that I had planned to do on MY AFTERNOON OFF. I finally get home and have about an hour and three quarters. Needless to say, the flat doesn’t get cleaned, that letter doesn’t get posted and the car insurance doesn’t get renewed. Nothing on my list gets ticked off. I do however, manage a nice lunch, a blog post and put a wash on.

 So, the week must get better from here on in? Mais non, Harriet. Oh non indeed. This very morning I was working on an app. The previous recording that I had done on it was two years ago and had started well. I was 39 weeks pregnant and I had to take my maternity notes with me just in case. I had to travel to Bexleyheath but on that particular day the tubes were screwed and there had been a power cut at London Bridge. I remember ringing my husband in hormonal pregnant tears asking him what I should do. It took me three hours to get there. So, when I started off today I was hopeful of a safe and speedy journey. To Marylebone. Where the ruddy confirmation email had told me to go. I arrived 15 mins before my session. I just had a bad feeling. I walked up to the studio which I had actually worked at many years ago, only so many years had passed that it was now an estate agents. Really? Are you actually sodding kidding me!? I checked the email. Marylebone. It says Marylebone in black and feckin white. I rang the lovely guy that runs the studio. No, he hadn’t been at that address for over 3 years. So off to Bexleyheath I went.

 The bonus of these major cock ups is that I have done all of my required step count on my Garmin for the day and I did the job so quickly that I got off at my old stamping ground, Bermondsey where me and my husband lived for 10 years and before we were married. I ate my Pret looking at Tower Bridge and the river Thames. I walked along the Thames path and took a photo of where I got married and then walked to the station for my afternoon session. So, things turned out ok. I haven’t even told about the session I missed on Friday because I hadn’t put it in my diary when I was ill. Oh yes. My grey matter has shrivelled away like an old man’s todger. I wonder what else this week will bring? I’m due some luck surely? Maybe I will do the lottery tonight. Might as well make the most of my winning streak eh?

Monday, 24 April 2017

Shopping with children.

It’s the weekend. Boomshackalack! It’s been a long old week, not gonna lie. I am still ill and its really getting me down. More tissues have been purchased (went for a prettier box this time. Nice Cath Kidston floral type pattern. Crap tissues but nice box). I’m off the Otravine but have had to buy some truly minging tablets called “Mucus relief”. Mucus. It’s one of those words isn’t it (especially when put together with the suffix ‘plug’),  like vagina, moist or tax return. It’s a word that makes you shudder and your skin crawl. I am getting there slowly but I managed to choke on some Starbucks scrambled egg that my daughter wouldn’t eat on Saturday because of this never ending cough. My husband came to the rescue with handfuls of napkins and water as the staff and other patrons just sat/stood and looked disgusted and appalled. Not the best reflection of human kindness that I have ever witnessed.

 My husband had let me have a lie in as I had been up 5 times with the small one who was calling out for me most of the night. At 5am I gave in and brought her into the big bed which means calling time on my sleeping whilst she pushes me out and spread eagles herself, snoring across my patch. When I awoke husband told me that he had already planned the day. Really. Have ya now, young man? His plan followed thus:
Activity 1. Daddy and toddler go swimming whilst Mummy has a quick sesh at the gym if she has the energy.
Activity 2. Sainsburys
Activity 3. Sofa bed hunting
Activity 4. Kew Gardens
What an action packed day! Not 1, not 2 nay 4 activities. Bless him. In this cunning plan there was no allowance made for naps or lunch. Fuck it! Let’s busk it. Throw my beautifully crafted routine right out of that ground floor window. We’re only dragging her round a shop for the afternoon. What could possibly go wrong?
This is how the day actually went…
After we had all fannied around for two hours we didn’t leave the house until 11:15. Now this is dangerously close to lunchtime and my poor little girl was angling for a nap as we left the house. As we closed the front door she clung onto her pram shouting out,” Pram! Sleep!”. Now I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that she wants a nap. Imminently. But oh no. You can’t veer off course with Daddy’s plan so I dropped my tired looking toddler and pensive hubster off at the pool. I hot footed it to the gym and did a 30 min speed workout, coughing up muck on the treadmill. I sped back to the pool, where I had been instructed to be waiting in the car at 12pm. I waited. Then I saw a traffic warden so I had to put money in the meter and went into the pool. I spotted the bright pink armbands immediately. They were still in the pool. Small one saw me and started howling. My husband, as wonderful as he is has absolutely no concept of time. Absolutely none. Apparently, she had just hung on to Daddy for the entire session and got really cold just to add insult to injury. We were there for another 40 mins whilst we changed small blue, shivering child into warm clothes and shoved Pomme Bears down her neck as a crap replacement for lunch.  We drove to Sainsburys and she fell to sleep as soon as her head hit the car seat. We did tag team shopping as I needed to get store cupboard essentials and toiletries and its easier if I do it myself and husband wanted to buy food for the week which means comfort food for after work ie. Tiramisu, biscuits, malt loaf and Brains faggots. She’d had a good hour so we decided to do lunch in the Sainsbury’s Starbucks, scene of my epic choke. She barely ate anything as had understandably been put off by her mother honking up food into a napkin. We set off for the sofa beds.

Now, my little one is pretty good in public. I can rely on her good behaviour in most situations. However, when she is “Hangry” and bored that goes out the window. One thing a toddler is probably not interested in is the thread count of upholstery, the type of mattress that a sofa bed has and whether it has removable covers that can be machine washed. Bless her. She was really good until she realised that this was not the kind of place that lets toddlers bounce on their stock. At which point she started rolling all over the rug and wanted to man handle the ornaments on the glass table, with skull cracking corners. Also, I couldn’t concentrate on the task in hand. If you’re potentially asking me to spend £1500 on something my parents are going to sleep on then I need to concentrate, without my toddler trying to introduce her cranium to a glass table. I’d never hear the ruddy end of it if it wasn’t right. We decided to tag team it so I went outside and we found a slope to run up and down. What is it with small children and slopes? That’s a whole hour of fun for my girl. The one in our local H&M has to be her favourite but any kind of incline will keep her happy. In fact, we were thinking of just making a slope in our garden and giving her a pile of sticks and pebbles for her looming 2nd birthday. She’d be like a pig in shit. Anyway, we swopped over and I got to look at the sofa beds that we couldn’t afford and then we headed off home, with no time for Kew Gardens. Quel surprise? Non? Poor child. She was treated to Kung Fu Panda and homemade Risotto for tea. Next weekend is all about her. We will swim together as a family, go to the park and we will not step foot inside a furniture shop. Infact, why don’t we just all go to the local H&M and run up and down her favourite slope. Now that would be fun.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Other people's children.

I’m just off to work with only one bottle of Otrivine and a packet of Strepsils. This is an improvement on the Benilyn, Otrvine x2, packet of man sized tissues and a some vocalzones that I had to shove into my leatherette back pack with over-sized day glo yellow pompom. I think I’m finally on the mend. I am off up town after work. Whoop! Get me. Off out to see me bitches. However, illness and Easter has not been kind on my waist or arse so I have gone with a rock chick look as this involves a lot of black. However, I am sporting a cream tee with gold palm trees just to accentuate that easter egg Mum tum as little bit more. I look like a short, Minnie Driver who has decided to go to a fancy dress party dressed as a fat Alison Mosshart from The Kills. We don’t have a full length mirror at home and that’s actually quite a good thing. The clothes are on and I’m not stood in the mirror sucking in my stomach, mourning my skinny calves of yesteryear. Strong lip is well, strong and I have actually painted my nails. Well, I’ve tarted up the colour that I was wearing over Easter which was a bit scarred from washing up and putting teething granules in my daughter’s mouth. She’s a monster. I liken it to brushing a dog’s teeth. Ruddy lethal.

  I am really missing my small one today. I have spent a week with her and my family and it’s been really nice. I dropped her off at our wonderful childminders this morning, got into the car and had a real pang of missing in my stomach. I immediately drove to Starbucks for a coconut flat white to ease the pain and to also wake myself up. I miss her but the little bugger did wake up at 5:45. Today, work is taking me to that cultural and fashion epicentre that is, Harlow. Where I work, there is a Toby Carvery, no M&S food hall but they do have a drive thru KFC. Every cloud. It was only yesterday that we were running on the green, chasing doggies and staring at young, attractive men. ( My daughter of course. Always blame the child. The great thing about my daughter is that she has really good taste in young, attractive men.) We picked up sticks and other dubious looking stuff and parked up the buggy so that I could swing her round and make her walk like a drunk person. Really quite amusing. Whilst we stopped a little girl toddled over to us. Her Mum followed slowly as she was heavily pregnant. We said hello to this little girl and watched her. Ah, she’s cute isn’t she. Gosh, she’s very friendly. Oh, right. She’s now emptying the contents of our buggy. Yes, every last sodding thing. Most of the things belonged to my daughter. I managed to move my handbag out of the way. That oversized yellow pompom was too attractive to an over friendly 17 month old, with no boundaries. My little one just stood there as this child swung her butterfly handbag round and played with the contents. The mother just stood and watched. Then she found the snacks at which point I had to politely retrieve our stuff from this tiny Artful Dodger and say our goodbyes. I mean. WTAF!? If I hadn’t of stepped in this kid would have gone off with my handbag, a stick, a set of old keys and a butterfly handbag, oh and a packet of Tomato naughts and crosses. The Mum wouldn’t have said a ruddy thing.

What does one do in these situations, when someone’s child comes and nicks your stuff without a by your leave? It happens a lot. There’s inquisitive and then there’s just plain frickin rude. If my small one had even attempted to empty the contents of someone else’s buggy I might just have stepped in. I might have even used that little known word, “NO!” Yes, “No!”. Simple, yet so ruddy effective. It seems that a lot of parents have omitted it from their vocab. A bit like when other children come to our house and start chucking shit about. Maybe a. stop them and b. Say NO! We’re in someone else’s home. They don’t want Aunty Sue’s wedding gift totally fucked by your small hands ricocheting it off the screen of our television. Go outside and throw the gravel but then again, not at our windows and not all over the sodding decking. Gravel is a swine to get out of the grooves and I don’t have the time to kneel down and pick it out individually with my painted nails.

We had another run in at the library. My little one was sat down quietly thumbing through ‘Zog’ and this kid just came up to her and yanked it from her small, warm paws. The Mum did shit all! What is happening in the world. We’re going to end up with a generation of people who feel that they can just go up to others and rip their property from their very hands. Oh, I want an Iphone 6S. That’s mine mutha fucka. Ooh, I quite fancy a leather clad Kindle. Hand it over, bitches. That’s a nice Volkswagen Passat with ABS and Bluetooth connectivity. Get out of the driving seat and hand over them keys, ya bastard.  It’s a scary prospect. It’s going to be like a very aggressive episode of Swap Shop but without any swapping. I am showing my age but take a leaf out of the kids of Grange Hill’s text book and “Just say, No.” Go on. Say it. I dare ya. If they roll around on the floor and scream, so be it. Remember, we are supposedly in control. Well, apart from that time when she wanted that Windy fruit thing in our local bakery. And there was that other time in Sainsbury’s when she wanted a ride on Iggle Piggle’s boat. Oh, and then there was the time in Waterstones… Oh, bum. What have I created? Time to lock up your Passat and hide the Kindle.

Monday, 17 April 2017

She is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Easter. A time for family, chocolate, the Homeland season finale and several good bottles of vino. Unfortunately, this year, I still have a stinking cold, blocked sinuses and a bad attitude. We are spending Easter at my Mums. My small one will be spoiled rotten. Granny has got an Easter egg hunt all set up for her, something which I never had. The Easter bunny was seen as something very “American” (said with Celia Johnson rolled ‘r’) when I was growing up. Sainsbury’s is now full of plastic treasures such as Egg and spoon race sets and an abundance of rabbit ears all keeping the Chinese economy buoyant.
Up until last week I was lying suffering in my sick bed and I had been sent home from a voice over job for sounding like the girl with the cold. Yep, that’s me. So, I felt so utterly shite that I had to spend 24 hours lying down. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Well, I can. It was after my first taste of wine after having a baby and me and my friend went a bit mental on the old Pinot Noir. I think we had three glasses but not having drunk for 2 years we both woke up feeling like our drinks had been spiked and couldn’t move from our beds for the whole day.

This cold has knocked me for six. I tried to get a doctor’s appointment by
playing the call back game at 8am on the dot. After the 10th attempt I got through and all the appointments had gone. Bums. I lay there, with small one running in throwing her Peppa Pig slippers at me, pulling at the duvet shouting “Wake up, Mummy!” My husband kept asking me if I was “feeling better”. He couldn’t quite comprehend that I was out of action. The morning was full of questions. “What shall we wear today?” What shall I give her for lunch?” “Do you think you’ll feel better after lunch so we can go to the Park?” “How long do I microwave this for?”. The answer to all of these was “Urrrrggggghhhhhhh”, interspersed with my hacking cough and the clearing of my nasal passages. Around 11am the small one decided that it was nap time and that she quite fancied a snuggle with Mummy so we both conked out for an hour and a half which was rather lovely. Bless her, she was so worried about me. She kept saying “Ok?” with rising intonation. Mummy was a wounded soldier and she couldn’t understand what was wrong with me.

In the afternoon, they both went out and left me to it. I managed to make my 20th cup of tea and headed back to bed with no interruptions. There I lay, no Peppa Pig slippers in my grill, no shopping trolleys being wheeled in to play shop or demands for Play Doh. All was calm. It was an odd feeling. Quiet. Me on my own feeling like death warmed up. I farted around on my blog for a bit and then tried to sleep. Haha. That wasn’t going to happen.  I didn’t know what to do with myself. When your entire day is usually filled with going to work, drop offs/pick ups at childcare, reading stories, washing, nappy changes, snack time, cooking fusilli, scrambling eggs and waiting for your emails to ping with offers of work, lying in bed doing nothing is weird. I knew there was loads of things that I should be doing but was actually unable to do.

That night I took the blue pill in the Lemsip cold and flu packet. In days of yore you wouldn’t have seen me until morning, surrounded by my own hair and dribble. At 10pm I woke up as my husband had the tele on in the living room and it was like I was in the room it was so loud. I couldn’t be arsed to get out of bed so I texted him to turn it down. The small one woke at 2am so I hauled my sorry arse out of my pit to go and console her. Luckily, she went straight back to sleep. I lay in bed for half an hour trying to get back to sleep. I’d taken the blue pill for crying out loud! The next morning, I woke up and my husband bounced out of bed thinking that the little one next door had slept through and that I hadn’t moved from my peaceful slumber all night. Ha bloody ha. I arose out of bed. She is risen! Hallelujah! I felt slightly better but still not quite on form. No marathon running for me today. And, so back to reality I went. That’s the thing about motherhood: you can’t be out of action for long. The problem is that I kept going through this darn bug. Going to work, night wakings for these sodding molars coming through, birthday drinks for my lovely friend. I was hell bent on a normal service running but sadly I should have stopped for scheduled engineering works. Things have got worse and worse. I am currently typing this, sat by the fire at my Mums having been up for most of the night with a certain person who was being a bit of a bugger. With lack of sleep it’s one step forward, two steps back with this bloody thing. I want to feel well again. I want to get through 10 minutes of the day without blowing my nose. I want to be able to taste the cheese that I can now eat having given it up for Lent. I want to go to the gym to work off that cheese and go to work without having to apologise for the blocked nose and lack of voice. So, come on cold. Just piss off. Like an irritating friend that likes the sound of their own voice and drinks all your booze, you’re not welcome here. Time to bugger off so that I can go out with my friends this week and not feel like the resident leper. So, happy Easter one and all. Hope yours was full of chocolate and not Otravine. Otravine is a sorry substitute.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Growing a girl.

I would like to thank you for the wonderful response that I got for one of my recent posts. It was the one where I spoke briefly but candidly about my struggle with eating disorders. It highlighted for many of you, some of the battles that we may encounter whilst bringing up our little ones. And this isn’t just exclusive to girls. As I understand it, eating disorders and problems with body image are as prevalent with boys. It has probably always been this way but it is certainly more documented in the press nowadays.
 Parenting preys on those who worry and if you weren’t a worrier before, you certainly will become a worrier once that small person pops into the world. Well, they don’t just “pop” do they. But we’ll leave that one for another day. I am a self-confessed worrier and, as my husband calls me, safety chicken. I always follow the green cross code, I always wear a seat belt and I always check where the nearest fire exits are if I go clubbing. (Many of those venues are complete fire traps.)

No, having a child has increased these worries threefold. It starts with the sleeping. Are they breathing? Are they too hot? Are they swaddled too tightly? Is it too light in the room? Should the hood of the Moses basket be up or down? Then the feeding. Have they eaten enough? Should I do another feed? They threw the last one up, so should I go straight back in for round two? They’ve just done a poo so they must be hungry again? Then, comes the weaning, the teething, the crawling/bum shuffling/ dog with worms manoeuvre? Oh Christ, my child is doing none of those things? Will they have bad coordination, have autism, be unable to get into Oxbridge? Then they start to talk but the children in the NCT group have children that can say “circumference” and “algorithm” by the time they’re 18 months!   AAAAARRRGGH!!! When will it end????!!

The easy answer to that one is that it won’t. Ever. My mother was up for nearly 36 hours when I went into labour.  I was 36 years old at the time, had a mortgage, was married, had a career but she was still frantic. Mothers and Fathers will always worry about their children. However, I think that the relationship between a mother and a daughter is a strong one and I think ours is particularly so as my Mum brought me up on her own. She was divorced by the time I was my daughters age as my Dad had “other interests” and we moved down to Cambridge to be near my Granny. I was brought up by two strong women: my Mum and my Granny. Both nurses by profession so mealtimes were quick (a habit they had got into working shifts in hospitals) and I could rarely get away with being off school. It took me throwing up all over my mother in the bath for her to accept that I had a stomach bug. Granny had been through a divorce herself and brought up two children and had a very successful career nursing. My Mum trained as a health visitor when we moved and managed to do a degree whilst I was still a young child. She was at the top of her game when she retired from Nursing 3 years ago. These were strong female role models. The sort of role model that I want to be for my daughter. So, when your child turns around and tells you that they have something like an eating disorder I can imagine that must be terrifying. It’s only now that I am a mother myself can I fully appreciate that. You put everything into bringing up your children. I had an amazing education, good friends, was relatively bright and had a very happy home life. Somewhere along the line, the wiring went wrong and I went down a slightly different route to the one initially intended. My Mum’s 17 year old baby was hurting and she must have been scared as hell. Crikey, I’m barely two years into parenting and I find it difficult when my little one has fallen over or is in pain from constipation so how the hell will I cope with the bigger issues? I hope that I will be as strong as my Mum and my Granny were. They were amazing.

 One thing that I am very grateful for not having when I was growing up is social media. This is something that I am very fearful of for my own daughter. Things like SnapChat, where as far as I can make out, you simply give yourself a tongue as if you’ve got elephantitis, bulbous eyes and post it for a few seconds. Apparently that is entertainment. I see children as young as 10 on this ruddy thing, acknowledging nothing and no one as they stare into their device taking endless selfies. Interaction nil, satisfaction momentary. The darker side of this is the other images that are taken in private or unwillingly by others and then posted for all to see. Now that scares me. This is no longer a bit of fun but a weapon. A tool of destruction that can obliterate lives and self-esteem. That worries me more than anything. How will I protect my little girl then? It is a very different world that my daughter is entering into. We don’t post pictures of her on any social media as we feel it is her decision as to whether she wants an internet presence or not. My husband is in education so he has been to endless talks and training sessions about online safety and security and it scares the hell out of us. All we can be is aware and try to keep up to date as much as possible.

Sorry, shizzle got a bit deep and heavy there but it’s scary stuff. The other thing that I don’t want my girl to go through is an eating disorder. It really takes up a lot of time and energy. Time and energy that could be spent on many other things. The main one being, living. Really living. Enjoying the world and people around you, experiencing things and by looking up into the big wide world and not bumping into them because you’re on Instatwat, Snap Git or Face Ache, worrying whether you look thin enough in the photos, with your hips sticking out like two pieces of Toblerone. I want to teach her to value herself and be nice to people. To actually care what happens to her fellow human and live her life through life itself and not a social media unreality. And respect herself and her body.

There will be hiccups along the way, there will be sadness and hurdles that we have to get over but there will also be some great times. I am a self-confessed worrier and safety chicken but there is a big world out there and I want my daughter to go out and get it. Explore it, travel it, eat it, drink it (responsibly), smoke it (within reason and only once, just to try it), kiss it (under supervision) and also learn through her mistakes and achievements. Parenting is tough and there are many things that our parents didn’t have to deal with that make it that little bit tougher but I’m up for the challenge. Bring it on. Here’s to my brilliant Mum and dear Granny (God rest her soul). They’ve grown a girl and I’ve not withered through lack of watering or feeding yet. I am strong and have shiny, curly petals. I’ll be even stronger once I’ve shifted this feckin cold. Here’s a tip: don’t put lots of Olbas oil into a hot bath. It tingles but not in a good way. More of a melting your skin kind of way. See, that amazing education wasn’t wasted at all now, was it…

Monday, 10 April 2017

This is a two flat white problem.

I’ve got another sodding cold. I managed to avoid the vom bug (both small person and Daddy had it. Daddy single handedly redecorated the bathroom) so every cloud. But because of all the late nights I have succumbed to a vile cold. I’ve got through three boxes of tissues, one bottle of Otrivine, two packets of nurofen cold and flu and half a packet of Lemsip. Now, the irony of all of this is that a certain nearly to be two year old has started sleeping. Even with the arrival of a molar, her sleep has been transformed. She must have known that I’d started writing a blog. I’ve had to administer a paw for the odd night but she’s done really well. However, I am now not sleeping. Ha bloody ha. Last night, I decided not to watch the final round of the Masters. This is a tradition of mine. I watch it every year, normally fall asleep but I find it incredibly therapeutic. The sound of cracking golf balls, the gentle applause from the spectators and the soothing tones of Peter Alliss. Wonderful. I was so tired though that I went straight to bed, put on The Archers Omnibus and fell into a peaceful slumber at about 9:45. At 1:30 I woke up. Bugger.

1:40am Normally, I would get up and go to the loo and gradually get back to sleep. But not last night. I got up, went to the loo, got a glass of water, had a look outside in the garden, took a nurofen, shoved some otrivine up my nostrils like an over-zealous clubber and then tried going to bed. Oh, all this after a really tremendous coughing sesh. Daddy still snoring away and no stirring from the monitor. How are they sleeping through this!?

2:15am I checked Instagram. It’s amazing what people post in the early hours of the morning. I checked Twitter. I had a look at the BBC news app. You’ll be pleased to know that Sergio Garcia won The Masters.

2:30am After another good hack into the duvet covers I realised that I was about to run out of perfume so I went on my favourite website to purchase a new scent. It’s a Brighton based company called Eden. They produce Vegan scents and many of them are practically the same as the big brands. So, I will smell nice in an ethical way. That’s one thing I can feel good about.

2:45 More tissues needed and more Robinson's squash as my throat feels red raw. That’s the great thing about a ruddy good cold and being a voice over artist. No voice, no work. And no work means no pay as I’m self-employed. It really couldn’t be a worse situation. Fatigue is also a great way to truly bugger one’s voice. With the amount of times I’ve lost my voice this year I should really look into learning British sign language, a career in mime or maybe becoming a librarian.

3am Still. Sodding. Awake. What’s that? A tremor of the monitor bars? Ooh. Now this will occupy my insomnia. I go in and administer a hug and then she goes straight back to sleep. No paw patrol. No stroking back. No teething granules a la Wolf of Wall Street. I creep back out of the room and do a turn about the living room.

3:30am I have finally found a comfortable position for sleeping and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

6am SFX Birds tweeting, 42 year old man snoring, bus going past. Small child shouts “Mummy” very loudly to get my attention as she wants to come into the big bed for morning snuggle.
Then there were three all crammed into a standard double. Daddy snoring, small one lies there snoozing rubbing my hand furiously, Mummy lies there eyes wide open. Still. Sodding. Awake.

7am Alarm goes off. I drag my weary backside into the shower, leaving my small family snoozing and snuggling. Oh, how cute. I’m so happy for them!

8:35 I leave the house and head down the hill making sure that I have time to get a Soya Flat White before my train. The lovely chap at Puccino’s gets it all done with a minute to spare. I get a seat and neck my caffeinated beverage.

8:50 Waterloo Station. I head straight to Pret. Another Soya Flat White is ordered. Today is a two flat white problem. The other problem is the fact that I barely have any voice. I spend £10 on Vocalzone, Lockets and tissues and anything that a Koala with a raging Eucalyptus habit would lose a paw for.

And there you have it. It’s not even 9 o’clock but I already feel like I’ve done a full day’s work. I can not wait for the snot to dissolve, the crack in my voice to lift and my need to spend money in the cold and flu department of Boots to cease forthwith. Anyway, I think it might be time for another Flat White…

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Mama's got a brand new gym membership.

I have been meaning to start jogging for a while but it’s not really my bag. I’ve done charity runs in the past, the odd 10k and finished the London Marathon before dark but I’ve never been one of these whippet-like women who runs everywhere. I have to be really in the mood. The only time I get to do any kind of jog is when small one is safely tucked up in bed, washing up is done, toys are out of tripping distance and husband is home. The thing is, that by the time I am ready to clad myself in lycra, I’m knackered and end up walking to the Sainsbury’s Local for wine and crisps or chocolate.
Before my daughter was born I was a proper bouncing gym bunny. Four classes a week, including Zumba, Legs, Bums and Tums and Body Pump. I was well fit. I had tight buns, my legs were frickin awesome and I could walk up to our sixth floor flat without my lungs collapsing. Oh, and the muffin tops were minimal. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been a skinny Minnie but a size 10 wasn’t out of the question. I was also a regular on the tennis court. Just after my little lady was born, I was doing home workouts and then it all just slipped away into the ether. Piff, puff, poof!

So, the other day I had had a particularly good night’s kip and woke up with renewed vigour. I emailed our local YMCA gym and booked an appointment forthwith. At 11:30 I went in, by 2:30 I was a fully fledged member. Buns of steel here I come! Or thunder thighs more like. I wasn’t quite as unfit as I thought so that’s good. However, I stepped on the scales this morning and it’s not good news. Since going to the gym my appetite has increased somewhat but I don’t think I’ve been doing the requisite amount of exercise for the amount of carbs consumed. I’ve started doing weights and although my thighs don’t wobble as much their circumference has expanded. I would be a rather useful speed skater at the moment. .

 When you have a baby your body changes. Hips widen, pelvic floor becomes like a weak bridge and Pepsi and Shirley hang towards the floorboards. I will be honest with you, that for years before having a baby I suffered from eating disorders and image problems. I used to worry about what I looked like, the number on the scales, the measurement on the tape measure. I was diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia when I was 17. I lived with it all the way through University, my 20’s and early 30’s. I went to my GP before I went off to Uni but was told that I was 6 pounds over the designated weight for treatment. That’s just what you want to hear. So, I basically screwed up my acting career by being too self-conscious to go up for certain parts and worrying constantly what people thought of me. I did a lot of touring theatre and then finally found my happy place with voice over. I was good it and it wasn’t solely dependent on looks. However, having a baby and especially a daughter really changes your perspective. Also, being in my late 30’s has made a difference. I just don’t care like I used to. If you don’t like me, that’s a shame but that’s life. If you don’t like the way I look, that’s a shame but that’s life and if you don’t like what I write in this blog, well, that’s a shame but that’s life. Its ok.

 I loved being pregnant and although I really looked after myself and watched what I ate I didn’t worry about weight gain or how my body was changing. I embraced it. Going to the gym is not about making myself look nice for other people and watching the numbers and how many calories I’m burning. It’s about keeping fit and healthy so that I can run around after my daughter and also feel good. And by that I mean healthy. That great feeling when you breath in and you feel really good. Sadly, as I write this I am at work with a vile cold and the most important thing is blowing my nose and eating biscuits. But once I feel better I will be back on that treadmill and lifting that shoulder press. I have always exercised and played sport so it’s great to get back into it. My daughter will be made to play tennis whether she likes it or not. I am expecting her to be the next Jo Konta so that I can go to Wimbledon and not have to queue. So here’s to feeling good. Really good. Happy Thursday everyone.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Cream carpet vs Spag Bol

When you find out that you’re with child you start looking at websites and reading articles that you never thought that you were ever going to need nay be interested in. I had barely peed on the stick when something came through the door for the previous owners of our flat. It was an NCT mag. Now, usually I would have returned to sender or forwarded it like a good girlie but I have to say that this was nicked and read, with interest. I had heard of NCT but my friend had told me that the C didn’t stand for Childbirth, it stood for something else beginning with C. She didn’t have a great experience.  We didn’t have tonnes of mates in the area and knew nothing about rearing a child so we thought, “Why not?”. What’s the worst that can happen? I had heard horror stories about NCT. People not getting on, being forced into a group of parents to be with no sense of humour or sense of irony. To say that we were nervous before our first meeting was an understatement. We arrived early as I am a time pedant. Well, I used to be before I had a child. One other couple were there before us and Annie, our lovely NCT lady. We sat down and the nervousness started to come through. Whenever myself or my husband are slightly apprehensive in a situation the comedy comes out, whether it’s appropriate or not. My husband said something truly offensive and then the session ended and we came away thinking that all the other couples hated us and thought we were knobs.
 However, as we went to more sessions we relaxed and met up with our group socially and realised that we were bloody lucky with the people that we had been put together with. They all had sense of humours, were scared like we were and bloody good company to boot.( The only time I stepped over the line really badly was when I started talking about prolapse and likened it to a tumble dryer hose being hung out of a utility room window). We had lucked out with our group. Another couple joined too from a coffee morning that some of the other girls had been to, so our group was complete. A bunch of rather good folk.
Over the past couple of years we’ve all been through a lot. Good births, bad births, babies in hospital, babies with allergies, rashes, unexplained tummy upsets and there have been very sad moments too. Everyone pulls together and supports the one that is going through it and the love and kindness from this lot is astounding.

Every year, around the time of the kids birthdays we go away for the weekend. We all book a big house in the country and fill it with travel cots, baby wipes, booze and pasta. This year we all went to West Sussex. The weather was balmy and the children all whizzed round the massive garden and narrowly missed tennis balls on the court as the Dad’s and me smashed them into the foliage. My small person loves the outdoors. She spent all afternoon pushing her dolly round in its buggy, kicking footballs and hitting stuff with sticks. She also discovered that eating grass is a really shit idea.
All the kids had supper, my little lady had a bath with her gentleman friend and they were pretty much down for 7:30. Boom! Dinner was in the oven and just as I sat down with a glass of red the bars on our monitor started flexing up and down. Bugger. I went up and administered a tummy rub and removed the duvet as the temperature was not to her liking. She went back to sleep but there were lots of unsettled noises. In the end I moved her into the day bed covered in pristine white sheets that belonged to the holiday let. At half past ten the monitor bars were going bonkers so I said my goodnights and retired upstairs. I walked in to a scene that all parents dread. My small one on all fours, crying with a dark pile of something in the bed sheets. She had chucked up all of her dinner. At these moments one is faced with a dilemma: do you remove the child or do you deal with the pile of regurgitated fusilli and half eaten carrots from the sheets. I went downstairs and got my husband. This situation needed back up. He took child out of pukey situation and I started the process of stripping the bed. The other problem was that we were also in a room with a very thick, shag pile carpet in a lovely shade of cream. Brilliant. My poor little one had been truly poisoned by something so proceeded to throw up throughout the night. I couldn’t sleep as I had to listen to her stomach going and then had to whip her out of her cot into the cavernous Dirk Diggler bathroom. The last episode finished at 3am and she slept until 6:15. At that point I brought her into the Queen sized bed, her hair smelling of sick and her pyjama bottoms with some collateral damage on them. They actually weren’t her pyjamas either. We had to borrow a pair as I didn’t bank on her getting through three pairs of pyjamas. I mean, spag bol goes everywhere and it’s an absolute bugger to get out. It’s bad enough at home but when you’re away and the owners have taken an £800 deposit, that gives you focus! My friends who were sleeping below us could hear me running several times across the shag pile into the Dirk Diggler bathroom.

In the morning, it was like a scene after a battle. The sun shine through the blinds, the birds were in full song outside the window and there was a bin full of vommy tissue and used baby wipes. All was still. My small one was sprawled across the bed snoring away. Poor little thing. What a ruddy awful night for all concerned. Luckily there was some industrial strength carpet cleaner that removed most of the offending stains. We had got away relatively lightly. Tescos Extra of Fishbourne did extremely well out of me. I spent £50 by panic buying anti bac spray, wipes and hand gel. Also, a twin pack of PJ’s, bed sheets and baby wipes.
All our mates were brilliant. If it been any of the other kids I might have been hinting loudly that they bugger off home as not to spread any bugs but I think that it was pretty obvs that she had been poisoned by something that she had shoved in her mouth from the garden. Who knows? Who knows what makes a toddler empty the contents of their supper on a crisp white bed sheet. Anyway, we had an amazing weekend surrounded by good friends, good wine and good food. Oh, and anti bac. Lots of anti bac.

In training.

Sorry I’ve been quiet of late. I am, very unusually off sick today. I have no voice. Well, some but in the same register as Barry & Wi...