Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Post Natal Depression

There I said it.

It's not something I would ordinarily share on this blog, but I have read some very sad stories these past few days and something in me has clicked. I am not writing this for a personal cry for help, I've been there and I have survived. I am writing this as a plea for helping me raise awareness and for some direction to helping others. I am not ready to go through the ins and outs in such depth of just how poorly I let myself get, its a very personal thing to share and I feel this is early days in a grand plan.

I was one of the lucky ones. I had amazing support from my husband, who when things got incredibly difficult dragged me to my GP. My GP was also brilliant, I was eventually referred, received therapy and had a Mental Health Nurse in regular contact.What I desperately needed and never got was a mutual understanding from a Mum who like me knew where I was at, someone who understood me. Parenting Forums were most certainly a great help for me but there is nothing better than having someone with you in real time. I want to change that.

<Gulps some beer>

The problem with PND is that its very taboo and it is very scary. Women don't want to admit they are spiraling downward and they have a fear that getting help will backfire on them. No one wants to lose a child and that was my biggest fear.

I have always wrote best when I have passion burning inside me and this has struck a chord. I have that passion and I am in such a very different place to where I was only a handful of years back. A happy confident place that I never thought I could be again. I have such a strength in me now and it seems only right that I utilize that.

So what do I need from you? Whilst I am going to thoroughly look into it and dig out my notes for contacts I would appreciate anyone that can advise me or point me in the right direction. I am based in Bedfordshire but speaking to anyone in a similar position would be great.

Please comment below or contact me via Twitter or Facebook.

Family Days out. Thing of the past?

The BBC Breakfast Show that filtered through to me this morning whilst eating Bran Flakes and tackling three mini people was that more attractions are apparently stopping free admissions. This Thursday marks 10 years since most admission fees to museums and more were scrapped to ensure that "culture was for everyone", this led to in some cases a 200% increase of visitors. Surely this is great news?

Apparently not. Instead it has led to tourists taking advantage of the bargain day out. Many of the popular attractions abroad charge admissions and reap the awards of tourists bringing in the money. I could completely understand the argument of the rising numbers visiting the varied free attractions means higher costs of running, but surely the public would lose out too right?

I find it sad that its noticed that fewer families are in that significant rise of visitors, the UK economy can't be blamed for it surely? Are good old English family day's out no longer a common thing? The weather sure doesn't help, but wouldn't that mean more families would be taking advantage of the free admissions?

Some of our best days out so far as a family have been to the free museums, castle ruins and attractions that are on offer. Yes admittedly you still have to fork out the rising cost of travel to wherever your fancy takes you, but a packed lunch and a flask of tea lowers that outlay and you are giving the children some great memories. Only this past weekend we took advantage of the Fitzgerald Museum in Cambridge.

It was also mentioned that some adults when they were younger were not taken to these kind of places and therefore have not passed the experience on. My husband and I both did have the experience when we were children and by no means because we were privileged as we certainly wasn't.

Ashridge 2011

Some of my fondest memories are of my Mum collecting us from school and taking us for a picnic dinner one the Dunstable Downs or in the National Trusts Ashridge Woods. We would regularly have a mystery tour trip to somewhere new to explore or a trip to the Science Museum, we always were on new adventures. Its something that as a Mother I feel is important to pass on and my husband is just the same. We often enjoyed trips to places steeped in history before our babies arrived and its something we just didn't stop even when our babies arrived and we will continue to the point when they refuse to join us!

London 2008

 Even when my sisters have helped us out on a babysitting duty day they too have done the same, a trip to the woods. We can't wait for our trips to the seaside as a family if and when Summer ever arrives.

Norfolk 2010

Winchester 2009

Perhaps the problem is that fewer people are not willing to donate money to wherever it is that they are taking advantage of visiting, I will hold my hand up to that. Everyone is feeling the pinch financially in one way or the other but whats a extra £5 at least? That would only work out as a £1 each for my brood. I have no issues with paying to visit somewhere at all, that's not my point. But it does anger me when you find the popular places charging inflated costs that alienate families, air shows and zoo's always anger me as they are the types of days out that require some families to save for. However in light of what I watched this morning I will think twice before leaving a 'free entry' attraction without adding something to the donation box, with the hope that inflated prices don't return to some of our favourite attractions.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Cambridge, Quentin Blake and Pasties

Half term has officially left me broke and I am sure that I am not alone. Lets face it though with weather that's far from warm-ish it was going to be a expensive one. Our's consisted of many park runs in sub zero temps with the scooters to keep us active and warm followed by a hot chocolate and a ice lolly. Honestly...

We had the indoor playcentre trips which always provide me with a interesting people watching session and I even got to read some more of my Bared to You book. We tried out the Go Wild this time which is the largest in Hertfordshire, plus they had a great offer of Kids Eat Free in Bella Italia and a half price off your next visit which I snapped up.

Saturday just passed however the husband was home so we decided on a trip to Cambridge. The Fitzgerald Museum have a lovely Quentin Blake exhibition, its a free day out and if like me you have children who love Roald Dahl  and art then its worth a trip. Its only a small collection but there is plenty more to look at, the children particularly loved the Roman and Egyptian zones. As always the gift shop at the end provides lots of fun and "I want's" but admittedly they had some brilliant books on sale!

The park and ride bus trip meant the younger two were well catered for, I had promised a bus trip over the half term after all. It was pretty cold but we wrapped up warm, had a lovely walk around the city and finished off by grabbing some Cornish Pasties, wedges and amazing home made cakes off the market. The girls loved looking at the old buildings and it was great to do something different than the same old parks.

Baby girl has stole my gloves in this pic and baby boy wanted his Everton socks on show!

My yummy husband and me!

Snood - knit by my amazing Grandma and my Vila Room31 coat kept me lovely and warm!

More clothes details below!

Next Blouse and Topshop Necklace

Leather Bag - My grandmas wardrobe!

Boots- Marks & Spencers from about 9 years ago, one of my best buys ever. The leather on these bad boys is amazing, not bad when I got them in the sale for £25! 
Socks - Next

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Printed Jacket Quest

That's it I can't take it much more. Hard as I may try I can not get away from the fact that I have a burning desire for a printed jacket. First it was the lovely Susie from Susie So So and I drooled, then it was the lovely Does my bum look 40 looking ace in hers, then after missing out (Not next time girls!!) on a bloggers meet up I spied the lovely Beth's round up post from Style Guile. With my love of prints and quirkiness, I can't help but think a designer out there had one made just for me, a la Kate Moss. Ok well a girl can dream right?

I have a thing for Jackets and Coats (just take a peek to my past posts), perhaps its because in the UK we spend most of our time hiding under them! I need a printed jackets in my life and my Spring wardrobe. There is no two ways about it! Patience however is not my virtue! Why I sold my pansy print Topshop one I will never know, a total fail on my behalf.

The husband vaguely liked the Zara one that has stole mine and others heart, but I am sure like most men a few others that I have eyed up will get the "Curtain" comment. But what's not to love about the colourful prints that will jazz up any outfit. Even trainers would look ace with this look!

After discussing with my sister we came to the conclusion that I would want a bluey version so I could match it in with more and she's right. A blue jacket matches jeans straight off and if you go for one with a colourful print you can wear a t-shirt of pretty much any colour. Sorted.

Just one thing though, I don't have a designers budget. This half term has wiped me out on savings and our Cornwall holiday approaching next month means I can't really warrant a new jacket. So until then my biker jackets paired with scarves will make do (Sob). I am sure Primark will soon be hot on the quilted collar of the trend very soon but until then I will have my beady eye on what high street, eBay and maybe even what the charity shop has to offer. Convincing myself to be good and avoiding Zara's at all costs.

This Topshop £65 jacket is a beauty, I totally love the geo print which is different to some of the paisley prints you find all over the high street right now. Topshop has a pulling power of me, must resist, must resist...

                This Zara £59 jacket is a also different print so if flowers are not your thing fear not...

 If flowers are more your thing, then this Free People Jacket Reduced from £102 to £53 is a lovely girly option.

As is this Red Herring £49 which is also available in Red!

If the smaller cropped jacket isn't quite your thing and its too short then have a lookout for a longer printed jacket. With the weather not looking likely to heat up anytime soon they are probably a safer bet just now anyway and will be least likely to go unworn for a while.

Whilst I am distracted by the fact that this model seems to have two stilts as legs and no thighs to mention I like the jacket!

This Zara one below would be great for someone who like's the printed jackets but doesn't want anything too "in your face"!

You can see more pics on my Pinterest, enjoy. Before I spend my whole Sunday morning wasted on browsing jackets I will leave it there. I'm off to get dressed, muse over anything printed my wardrobe has on offer and mourn the loss of my Pansy jacket!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Mummy needs a phone Samsung vs Sony!?

What's the first thing you do when you are thinking about what phone you are about to upgrade to? Do you hand over the job of a new phone to your other half or do you take it upon yourself to make the choice? Are you one of those laid back women that swan in stores, choose a phone and walk out? Oh I want to be you. I want to not care.

I don't know why it happens but I become a fully fledged phone geek. I am slowly driving my husband insane and even my family are sick of me, I need a slap. Now I am iPhone-less and using a phone that is as tempremental as me its becoming essential that I figure this one out.

I wish I could be happy with a beat up Nokia like the lady sat beside me today, I bet she only uses a £10 top up each month too. I've always struggled to make a choice even choosing a meal on take away night becomes a complex situation. Gone are the days of choosing a phone based on whether the screen was a colour and if it had a 'flip' feature or not. No one was thinking about the screen sizes back when the Baby Ericsson was created.

I have ran out of stores to play around in, I've searched the web and read every guys blog going. However not once have I come across a Mummy's view on all this, am I alone with this dilema?

I am pretty sure that the 3 store staff recognise me when I walk in, maybe even have a e-fit mug shot of me behind the counter with the header  "Time Waster". For anyone else browsing phones this weekend I'm that crazy lady with all the kids playing around with every phone they can lay their hands on, while her husband say's yes get that one. Why is it though that when a woman goes in with children some staff try to sell a phone that quite obviously isn't what I is wanted. Don't talk to me like I am stupid, it is insulting. I am trying to make a informed choice after all <adjusts my serious geek hat>.

I am the kind of mum that uses her phone for everything, a quick google of cheap days out, a map of the latest child's party location, searching for a eBay bargain, Twittering, blogging or catching up on Facebook. All I ask is that my camera reacts quick enough to capture all three children smiling at the same time, actually just looking at the camera is a bonus. It has to be happy to hit the ground a few times with no hissy fits of not switching on after, I don't have the time for a phone that acts like a diva. It also needs to be quick, when I ask for my app I would like it loaded yesterday. 

Sick of my iPhone's boring ways, having to squint at the screen and being just like everyone else its a given that I need a bigger screen and something not apple.

The latest thing to be in the media is 4G. Now I am not a heavy downloader of music or films so am I really going to notice the speed? I get a pretty quick speed with 3 as it is and considering its not likely to be fully up and running for a good while yet do I want to pay the premium of having a 4G phone?

Yes when I go on to sell my phone when the contract ends it may not be worth as much as a 3G but then when you weigh it up with what you are saving over the period of the contract it breaks evens anyway. On the topic of a contract, what happened to the good old 12 month ones!?

So whats it to be?

A Samsung Note 2 would allow me to use the stylus to cut around anything I like, paste to a note document and upload on to my blogs or social media pages. While the nifty dual screen mode appeals for my multitasking  The 8MP camera is decent and has its burst mode, it's got a great size screen and decent 1.6ghz  processor on it. However 3 don't as yet have it on the 4G, although possibly towards the end of the month but with no date and I don't want to move from 3 as the deals are some of the best around. Its big but the way I see it is it will be easier to balance on my shoulder whilst multi-tasking my mummy jobs!

Or do I revert back to my Pre-iPhone days and go for the new Sony Xperia Z? The durability side of things its going to fare well being waterproof and dustproof, browsing in the bath would no longer feel so dangerous. It also has a decent 13MP camera with a super quick burst mode. The processor is 1.5ghz but am I going to get precious over a 0.1ghz? Slightly smaller that the note 2 but still with a great size screen.

Or do I hold out for the allusive Samsung S4? Can I really wait months though? I don't think my husband could take my constant complaining! My problem is there will always be something new I just have to sort my sorry self out and take the plunge. So what's a girl to do? Someone please give me a virtual slap and bloody good shake, as I am sick of myself now!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Mummy's Bathtime Fail

Mums reading will surely be aware of this book....

If not buy it. It will provide you with some truthful humor to the bedtime story.

All I wanted after finishing my first day back on the "Shred" after a 2.5 week break was a lush hot bath. Not one of those bath's that has to be taken at 9pm when the children are asleep, dinner is cooked, husband fed  and I have caught up on any 'stuff' that needed 'stuff' doing. Where does all this 'stuff' come from anyhow!?

What I wanted was a bath at 6pm. Yes I realise that's unreasonable and I was setting myself up to fail but with the husband finally on his day off and on children duty I thought I was safe.

The bath was run. It was one of those deep, hot and bubbly types, that a cool white wine would have partnered well (sadly I have none in the house). Almost too hot it was the type that leaves you with a red torso stripe. I had lowered my numb heavy self in and I had my smutty mummy "Bared To You" book started. I've finished 50 shades so I am happy to give Sylvia Day a chance. Don't judge me.

I then reached the stage where it was getting to hot (the bath not the book you must understand) and I had to make that decision, "Do I stay in a bit longer or shave and get out..." It had probably only been 5 minutes.

As much as I try I don't seem to programmed for anything more than a 10-15 minute bath since 2005.

The ritual leg shave had begun when I had the first visitor in the form of a popping 3 year old in desperate need of the "Torlet mom". I then proceeded to have the spanish inquisition on why I am shaving said legs all with the sounds effects that you just don't expect of someone so small. The husband then enters questioning my choice of book with the odd hint thrown in. After attending to the noisy toddler the husband leaves and I was left with child no1 taking it upon himself to add his toys to my bath.

With Woody, Buzz and Lightening McQueen making for uncomfortable companions, the girls arrived asking if they can get in. Spying my book on the floor they inform me it's naughty to have a book in the bath, picking it up where I have left it rested at my page and begin to read the cover. After a "I am a adult, therfore allowed" speech I snatched the book back. By this point it was very evident that a 6pm bath was a total fail.

The thing is for us mums it doesn't end there does it? We have the humiliation of getting out to an audience. "Why's your bum red mummy?" Then you have to deal with being watched getting dry and creamed to the endless confidence crushing questions.

Moral of the story? Stick to the 9pm bath until I forget and try it all over again in a few weeks time.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Shopping Haul... Primark Trainer Wedges, Denim Shirts and more!

So after a day of trying I have finally managed to get the photo's of my ancient phone and on to the laptop!
Below are a few old bits I have mixed in with the few new bits I mentioned buying in Primark .

This is pic heavy so apologies in advance!

First up is this lilac marl effect mullet cut top £6 which is lovely and lightweight and great for layering. Outfit 1 is with a old pair of River Island jeans that I dip dyed in the summer, Topshop necklace and the new Primark trainer wedges that are almost identical to the ASH version but at only £18!

Outfit 2 is with my Topshop jamie jeans, these are great for holding in a mum tum! This scarf is from Topshop and the Primark wedges again. The Topshop lightweight jacket I picked up for about £8 on good old eBay last year. Goes with pretty much everything and it's a bit different to the more fitted style that are everywhere right now.

Then with a different scarf and a gold bag, both are old! The scarf from memory I think is Accesorize...

Next up is the Khaki skinny jeans reduced to £7.90 right now which is a bargain and the fit is good on me. They had lots of different colours so worth looking at. I really like navy and khaki so have worn it here with my breton top that I bought about 3 years back in New Look (yellow New Look necklace of course) and then added my new Primark camouflage scarf. I have been hankering after a camouflage scarf since checking out Helen's blog over on coco mama style, so I was happy with this £4 cheat.

Next up is my new denim shirt, I have been umming and ahhhing over a exact style in New Look. The only difference I can tell is that this one is only £10! The belt is from Next and the necklace from New Look. Apologies on the creases, I didn't have the time to iron it from the bag!

Nearly there promise.....
Just wanted to show the shirt with my wide leg spotty trousers also from Primark but from last year not this year! So retro!

Last up is a midi dress. I have a thing for these right now this is my 3rd, Primark have quite a choice if you don't want to pay Topshop prices. This one is a sleeveless jobby and only £10, I had a Topshop vest style aztec dress last year that I sold as it was quite see through. This Primark one is a thicker material so happy to wear it without tights and not have my booty on show. 

The boots are from New Look pretty recently and then the faux leather jacket is Topshop, a £10 eBay bargain! Below I have dressed it up a bit however dressed down with sandals and a denim jacket or converse it would be a much more casual option.

I also had bought a pink jumper but I didn't like it when I got home so that's going back! Leaving it at that now as this was pic HEAVY! 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Style Icon... Gwen Stefani

Over on Fashion Mommy's blog she has a dead simple to enter competition running, that's worth a look. The way to enter is simple, leave a comment on who is your style icon. I sat having a think about my entry for a minute or so and the one lady that stuck out for me was Gwen Stefani.

I totally love her unique looks, its not as wacky as Lady Gaga but she stands out. My most fave thing has to be her signature lippy. I do love a good bright lippy, in fact today I had my that alone with no mascara!

Her clothes can be such simple pieces with a touch of a wacky print or one stand out item that really makes the outfit. My love of clashing patterns also comes from her style too.

Ashlee Simpson looks great too...

Obviously I didn't take these pictures, half are from google and half credit to JustJared

So who is your style icon, do you find that you dress in a similar way?