A Good Day

Last night I cuddled my daughter in her bed as she struggled for breath. I sat her against my body to try to slow her breathing down, getting her to mirror her breath to mine. Techniques I had learnt when her brother had asthma attacks when he was a toddler, now used to battle Addie’s panic attacks.

Generally Addie is a regular 7-year old (8 on Thursday) She is a happy, popular, funny girl. She is clever and outspoken. She calls herself a “kid feminist” and is obsessed with women’s rights and aspires to be a powerful woman. But this year has been tough.

Addie is petrified of loss. She gets terrible anxiety over the thought of losing those she loves, possibly due to what happened to her when she was younger. She became clingy and had irrational thoughts about me getting ran over while I wasn’t with her. She pulled holes in her clothes, picked the leather off her shoes and cried an awful lot.

Losing our Grandad on New Years Eve added to her anxiety. Addie started having panic attacks and often cried till she was hyperventilating. Last night I held her through one of these attacks but I know things have shifted again in her mind. She had been told in the past (not by me I might add) that she shouldn’t cry, she is slowly learning that it is ok if she needs to and that holding things in only make her feel worse. This is the first attack for about a month and her self-control to come through it was evident.

Addie can now talk about how she is feeling, she is strong enough to share her worries and her fears. This morning she woke happy and was back to talking about scientists and celebrities.

Today is a good day and there are becoming more of these than there are the bad ones.

On Thursday Addie will turn 8. She is the most interesting girl in the world and I am so proud to call her my best friend. I have absolutely no doubt that she will be and do exactly what she wants in life. I am excited to share a whole lifetime of Good Days together. Happy Birthday Addie Rose

A letter to Myself

Dear 21 year-old me,

Hi from the future and all that. Hey, look at me….I’m a mum now and let’s just say things aren’t exactly how you thought they would be.

There you are at 21 years old wondering about what kind of Mum you’d make, there is a family at a festival who make you decide right there and then that you are going to be one of those super cool Mums, who take their kids to festivals, let them wear batman costumes and tutus every day and only feed them home- made, organic loveliness while you dance round the kitchen with the radio on full and your husband smiles at you, lovingly content with his perfect family.

Right here’s the thing…so I’m afraid there’s no such thing as a perfect family, oh and the husband doesn’t exist…the thought of kids at festivals is now horror movie scary and Batman costumes are sweaty and uncomfortable.

So yeah, scratch the picture perfect family from your list. You are the proud single parent of two strange but amazing children. 2 years after that “festival family” moment you get pregnant to a guy who wants to travel the world instead of start a family and the rest is history.

But here’s some things you do get right…

1. Your son is clever and polite, he will play PlayStation with you and obsess about the world.

2. Your daughter is fierce. She is girly and strong-minded. She does wear Dr Martens and plays the guitar (badly)

3. Other Mums can be arseholes. At 21 some girls are bitchy prepare for them after they have been given all the knowledge of the universe by simply pushing a watermelon sized creature from their Vag.

4. You are a cool mum. Your children love you and enjoy your company. You do fun stuff together (even if you would rather not take them to a festival so you can lay face down in a pool of your own cider spew instead)

5. There is no such thing as perfect!

I wonder if anybody ever became the “perfect Mum”, if they fulfilled their ideas of family life or if we all just did things slightly differently. I can’t imagine those that I’ve seen snorting a line in a pub toilet on a weekend had aspired to be “That Mum”.

I also think about those ladies who for whatever reason despite desperately wanting to, haven’t been able to become a mum at all, I cannot begin to imagine how awful that ache and emptiness must feel. So although sometimes I feel like I’m far from perfect I know that I am grateful and I am lucky.

So ignore that cool festival family, step away from that unsuitable boy and get the drinks in before the next band starts, you’ve got a whole world of unconventional family life sneaking up on you very quickly!

Love from your older yet still as ridiculous self xx

Colin the Caterpillar is getting married and I’m still single!

…EDIT…title change before someone has a coronary!!! Sorry!

My Sister got engaged to the love of her life at the weekend and I’ve had to bite my tongue every day since. Not because of their engagement of course, but because people are continually asking me if I’m upset by it.

My sister is 8 years younger than me, she is beautiful and has just settled into her first home. I am a 33 year old single mum who’s never been a homeowner or someone’s fiancé. Yet I have never been jealous of her one day of my life. I think being sisters the lines blur…if she’s happy I’m happy and if I’m happy then she’s happy.

Here are the reasons people assume I am unhappy about the engagement.

  1. I am lonely. What is that saying about being alone but not lonely. Yeah thats me. I don’t know how many times people need to hear that I do not need a boyfriend but it doesn’t seem to be going in.
  2. I thought I would get married first. To who??? My ex? a new love? The invisible f**king man?? I love a wedding (because I love fashion and flowers and food and making everything look fantastic) but I’ve never aspired to marriage. I’m not anti-getting hitched but I’ve never obsessed over it.
  3. I never wrote on my sisters engagement status on Facebook. Blah blah blah!!!! To the person who trawled through 111 comments to see if I’d wrote anything here’s your answer. I didn’t comment. I had spoke to her before it was Facebook announced. I’d already made it clear how excited I was. I was out partying, I had 25% battery left on my phone and didn’t want 111 notifications draining what was left! Haha
  4. I’ve been sad this week. Without too much detail, The end of August is tough for me. The anniversaries of losing 4 amazing people fall in the same week and I think that means I’m allowed to feel a little bit rubbish.

So here’s how I actually feel…. Nicole and Jamie, I am over the moon that you are now engaged. I am happy that you have found each other and are planning the most perfect life. I am excited to be part of a wedding (I can scan through 40,000 photos of wedding stationery now without feeling like a weirdo). I am sorry that I said “do I have to be a Bridesmaid?” as if it was the worst thing in the world. I promise not to take over but know that I will Instagram the fuck out of everything slightly wedding-y we do in the next 2 years and will tag you in every Rock-n-Roll bride post that I see before your wedding.

Congratulations on your engagement!

“Cause I know there is strength in the differences between us and I know there is comfort where we overlap”

Playlist- Part One 

  I found an old playlist that got me thinking about the memories and the reasoning behind the songs on there. It ranges from cheesy, cheery pop music to songs that make me want to break down in a corner and cry. I thought I would share some of the memories that go with the songs…the list is mega so I’ll do it in parts.

Welcome to playlist-part 1 and remember trends come and go but bad taste is timeless. Haha

1. Ash – Girl From Mars

So this song throws me right back to underage drinking and snogging boys in bands. I had my first (of many) “festival stranger snogs” to this song live. Covered in beer and piss in a time when there seemed to be no limits on how full a stage and tent at a festival could be. I had lost all of my friends (or it could have been the time when I took an inappropriate boyfriend and dumped him before we’d even seen a band) and had latched myself onto the nearest hot boy I could find. Aged 16 or 17 missing my favourite song due to a strangers tongue being down my throat. Ah the memories. 

2. Kate Nash- Little Red

If you lived in a 21 mile radius of my house in 2007 you’ll know this song. You will have heard me belting out “knock knock knock knock knock knock knock scraaaatch” over and over again to a screaming baby. This was Rory’s lullaby 

3. Ocean Colour Scene- The Circle

A 3.03 minute memory that still gives me the warmest, fuzziest feeling. Traveling back  in the very early hours of the morning after a wild night somewhere, the sun was rising as we passed the beach just as this song kicked in (picture a sunrise at sandsend local peeps) oh the feels!!
4. Jeff Buckley- Last Goodbye

Here is a life lesson……never, ever ever listen to Jeff Buckley when you have a broken heart. Years of counciling and citalapram can be thrown away by 30 seconds of this song! See also….

Paulo Nutini- Last Request
Bon Iver- Skinny Love

Damien Rice- The Blower’s Daughter (a song which I would have wrote about if I wasn’t haunted by it. It turns up every time I’m at my lowest point to send me over the edge)
5. Justice Vs Simian- We Are Your Friends

Dance music was never my thing, for most of my life a DJ was a guy who played CD’s at your Aunties 50th birthday party. I didn’t start going to “real clubs” till I was about 20 years old. We Are Your Friends takes me back to nights at The Empire, Middlesbrough which then, as it is now was perfect for my eclectic taste in music (ie. They play indie music that you can dance to)  I thought it was the greatest place on earth ( just beating the Aftershock tent at Leeds Festival….does anybody remember that place??)  because it played rock and pop and alternative and dance. I spent one night dancing with James Reighton ( when he was more Klaxons and Ketamine than Keira Knightley) and thought I was everything with dyed black hair, a top shop tinfoil dress and floral converse!!

See also

The Klaxons- Atlantis to Interzone
Peaches- Fuck the Pain Away

So yes, I know it’s no “the first time you heard The White Album” or learning the chords to Wonderwall. My playlist is as random and sometimes as trashy as my life has been. It is the soundtrack to the most fucked up movie you’ve ever seen…and that’s why I love it!

Now it’s your turn….

 Tell me about the songs that you loved that make up your playlist. 

The Shelf 

Say Hello to the last single girl in her friend group. All my mates have slowly got coupled up, settled down or married leaving just me ( currently in a relationship with a large Pimms, Love Island and my new cheek illuminator)

My friend married her childhood sweetheart, she left school with her future husband whereas I left with a brown envelope of B’s and C’s and a snog from a popular boy behind a prefab.

My long-term loved up friends have never had to understand the struggle of sex and dating in 2017. We laughed over wine while I told her the only man (boy??) I even slightly liked in real life was completely inappropriate and showed her how Tinder worked.

So for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure (??) of using it here is my rundown of Tinder.

(I talk about it from my viewpoint, a girl looking for a guy. Obviously there are other options on Tinder that are just as common, most probably just as ridiculous and as wonderful as my experience)

1.The Basics

So you set up your profile, put in the age/gender/location of who you want to meet and you’re good to go. Pictures of guys pop up and you swipe left if they’re horrific (there’s no time for personality on Tinder, it is brutal) right if there’s a possibility they might be a babe or up if you’re an absolute Keeno and want to “Super Like” them. If you both swipe right for each other you become a Match and you can message each other until you get a hotter match and accidentally forget about your other ones.

2. Hey 

The Beiber of the Tinder message world. It is just absolutely everywhere!! “Hey” is Tinder’s go-to greeting. Don’t ask what is wrong with Hi or Hello but they just don’t happen. (Sometimes the opening line is “Hey, how’s you?” which is the absolute worst- just stick with Hey.

3. Naughtiness 

Hands down if you don’t have a good sense of humour Tinder is not gonna be for you!!!!! You will get THE naughtiest messages! The most normal looking guy will ask you the dirtiest questions, suggest the most disgusting things and if you don’t laugh it off you are going to be seriously offended. For the other extreme please see Plenty of Fish for some serious melts!

4. Photos

According to Tinder profile pictures…90 % of guys have traveled the world, had their photo taken with a sedated tiger, worked as a personal trainer and walked around with their mates continuously pointing at them. The pointing is a good thing…at least you can tell who the profile belongs to… I will never swipe right when all the pictures are group ones, there’s always a chance it’s that creepy guy on the end of the group selfie. There are also the weirdest pictures. I have seen…..

Just children (no sign of the guy on any of them)

Pictures of someone’s gravestone

Couple pictures (yet no mention of group activities)

Dogs (there are loads of dog pictures!)

A wedding photo

Some Easter eggs

One of those naff  “man-u” quote pictures

5. Married? 

Here’s the bit that is going to freak out all my friends who read this. Some of your husbands/boyfriends are on Tinder! Not many but more than one or two. I’d like to think they are just too stupid to realise it’s a dating app but they’re possibly just too stupid to realise that people like me will see that they’re on it.

6. Accidents 

There have been a few occasions when I’ve been looking through Tinder while I’m half asleep and swiped the wrong way while nodding off. Luckily you can delete a match when you realise that 20 year old chav has appeared on your Match list

7.Jamie,Geoffrey and that S&M guy 

I have speed swiped through beautiful looking boys by mistake, gone forever just as you realise that they actually could have been everything. Yet some guys pop up constantly….not matter how many times you swipe left. Either they have thousands of profiles, they’re bots or there’s a massive glitch in the app.

Speaking of Bots- according to my guy friends there are loads of girl bots to match with who will try to get you to sign up to porn sites/ send money etc. I have never matched with a guy bot but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Be careful guys

8. Friends

It’s always a bit awkward coming across guys you know in real life and never knowing whether to attempt a right swipe. I know some girls swipe right for anyone they know….I’m all for only doing it but just if you actually fancy them ( a little bit….you know who you are. Don’t get too excited! Haha)

9. Catfish 

Please watch seasons 1-6 of MTV’s Catfish even if just to learn the art of reverse image searching. Do not believe everyone online is who they say they are…I know of some real life horror stories and I’m sure you do too, be careful.

10. Fun

Remember that Tinder is meant to be fun…yes some people have married their Tinder matches or have had really great hook ups but these are few and far between. I have met up with two people that I met on there….one was awful, one was great..Both led to nothing.

I’d love to hear your Tinder successes or horror stories as well as your comments and opinions as always.

Of Course Sometimes Shit Goes Down When it’s 12 Thousand Dollars and a Trashy Parent*

*No explanation needed! If you know, you know! 

What do you want more than anything else in the world? Health, wealth, happiness? Love or a lottery win? World peace or a Cartier ring? 

Current mood: furious with everyone and everything! Prepare for some shade….

I am bored with bragging. I am tired of people choosing finance, extravagance and showing off over the things that really matter.

I have spoke before about “insta-lives” and how it’s hard to know what is real or fake on social media. I struggle so much some days when people are posting about their amazing lives/jobs/kids/husband. Today is one of those days, mundane (current sitch: hungover, sprawled on the sofa, watching Ab Fab, 10 fucking stone heavier after a diet of Boosts and Monster Munch) and seeing exotic holidays, glam purchases and meals in fancy restaurants is enough to push me to the edge. 

I’m pretty sure I do it too. I post about the free shit that I get, the amazing days out we get to have and the beautiful food we get to eat. I do however admit that my Armani jacket was £15 from work, that most of my expensive shit was free and that I spend most weekends with a serious case of FOMO wishing I was having a romantic meal with my non-existent hot boyfriend. 

When I do (if I do?) find someone to put up with me long enough to be my boyfriend/husband I would hope my Mum would spend her time “bragging” about how lovely he is, about how happy we are, about how he is a good Father and a decent person rather than how rich he is and how ridiculously extravagant my wedding will be. 

I would rather be happily sat in my Primark PJ’s binge watching 4 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race with the people I love than be crying into my Mulberry purse because my boyfriend isn’t quite as exciting as I hoped and because I’ve pissed off 75% of the town so not enough people see my over filtered fake-book photos. 

It is true what they say money can’t buy you class or morals or a personality but stick a filter and a vignette over everything and you can pretend it does! 

When I Grow Up + Clever Tykes Giveaway 

What does your child want to be when they grow up?  Let me guess…..

A firefighter? Nope

A Doctor? No not that

A Youtuber! I got it didn’t I?

I guess aspiring to be a Youtuber or Vlogger is a modern-day version of dreaming to be a rockstar or actor. Possible but probably not going to happen.

Sitting down with Rory and speaking to him about what job he would like to do (and getting over the initial “Youtuber” conversation) he had made some choice decisions. He likes the thought of working on video games or something techie. He would also like to own a Pizzeria, which considering he only decided he didn’t absolutely hate pizza last month is a bit of a radical career choice.

Addie on the other hand is still holding out hope of being a vet, Marceline (The Vampire Queen) or Taylor Swift!!!

I went through every job aspiration that ever existed when I was young. From an artist to an actor to a writer to a teacher to (and I quote) “I’m just going to live in London and get money and free stuff because I’m cool”. I eventually fell into a job I love and still have to be an artist and writer.

There are many books, films and TV shows where the main character becomes a princess or a superhero or a pop star. There are very few (none maybe?) about kids becoming computer programmers or business moguls.

Clever Tykes is a series of books aimed at primary school children aged 6-9 years. The books aim to introduce enterprise and life skills to children through the use of entrepreneurial role models. 
We were given the first three books in the series to read and review ourselves and to give away to you guys. The books are Walk-It Willow, Code-It Cody and Change-It Cho.

The first in the series, Walk-It Willow follows the story of a girl who turns her love of dogs into her very own dog walking business. The story, along with the others highlight decision-making, resourcefulness and the importance of hard work through the use of strong, likeable and realistic characters. The books also include target literacy and numeracy skills for key stage 2 level learning. Both of Addie and Rory (aged 7 and 9) enjoyed the books and happily chatted about their future careers for some time after reading them. They found all of the books good fun. Rory’s favourite was Code-it Cody and Addie’s was Walk-it Willow. 

Clever Tykes are a husband and wife team, Jodie and Ben. As well as being mentioned in Forbes Thirty under Thirty list and having their books stocked in high-end retailers such as Harrods and Selfridges, they also secured a deal to supply 23,000 books and resources to primary schools across the U.K. This is thanks to a sponsorship from Lloyds Banking Group. To learn more about enterprise education CLICK HERE or to register your school for this initiative Click Here

To win your own set of Clever Tykes books  comment below and let me know..

****As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?*****

And then follow the instructions on the gleam app below…

We Got One Thing x Clever Tykes Giveaway

The Girl with Big Eyes and Big Ideas

I have worried about you every single day since I knew you existed. I worried that I wouldn’t know how to manage with a girl, I had mastered being a Mum to a boy ( as difficult as it was at times) Was I girly enough myself to be the right kind of mum to you? 

I worried the day that I started to bleed and all my fears about being a good “girl mum” disappeared. I sat in the Early Pregnancy Unit amongst distraught Mums who had lost their tiny babies in utero and prayed to a God I didn’t even believe in, begging that you would be ok.

When you arrived one week early I was worried as I bled and bled and bled. I worried about blood transfusions and that I may have to leave you to fend for yourself in your first days.

You were tiny and yellow and spewy and your brother was scared to death of you. You were sick every single day and I worried it may never stop. You had a million outfits and I still find bags of barely worn baby clothes to this day as I bought more and more to replace the ones that you ruined with your acidic spit. Yet still you thrived.

My post-natal depression meant that I worried about leaving the house, I was scared of the whole world and needed to protect you from it. I hated people looking into your pram, saying your name wrong, talking about how much you looked like your Dad. I would have bundled you up forever if you didn’t need the sunlight to help your teeny body. 

When your Dad left I worried how you would cope, you cried constantly through the nights and sometimes I would hold you close and cry with you. I look at pictures of you from then and wonder how anybody could walk away from a girl so small and so sad and just be ok about it.  

You were left with a world full of promises that were never met yet once again you thrived. You learnt the importance of family and loyalty and love. You became brave and honest and bold.

That little girl with the big eyes and big ideas now knew how life sometimes kicks you, hard, that no matter how much you want something you don’t always get it and how sometimes what seems like the worst thing in the world turns out to be the beginning of something amazing. 

I look at you now as your about to turn 7 years old and although I will always worry about you till the day I die, I know that you are the most wonderful girl there ever could be. I am endlessly proud of, yet cannot take credit for who you are today, you are too strong willed and independent to be moulded into anything other than exactly who you want to be. 

So here’s to you Addie, (named after the kindest Queen Adelaide and St Adelaide, patron of families and princesses and empresses)  the perfect third link in our little chain. You are bold enough to be whoever you want to be and I am so proud of all that you are, every quirky, beautiful little part of you. Happy Birthday

I Am Too Old For Zara (and don’t even mention Topshop or ASOS)

I am 33 years old and a often still IDed by overzealous checkout staff while buying a bottle of Viognier with my ‘big shop’ (like binge drinking 17 year old me would have bought an £10 bottle of wine). One of my friends has once been asked if she was my mum and I still get chatted up by 19 year old boys.

I love looking younger than I am but the press would have me believe that fashion is “too young” for me.

Statistically less than 1% of 33 year olds interact with the brand Zara, I dread to think what the stats are for ASOS and Topshop. Good old Zara with its floral print and camel coats, nudes and naturals for days. Fast fashion, yes but wearable catwalk copies that I love.

Luckily Zara are on my side, it isn’t them saying I don’t fit their demographic, these statistics are just based on social media interaction. So maybe women my age are too busy talking on social media about their post birth vagina and how they are scared of other mums in the playground (ok maybe that’s just me). Yes most of us are more likely to be sharing work worries or parent problems than the fact that we have still never seen “that coat” in our local Zara. 

I have leant to love all of my body, even the huge arse that guys love to comment about  but they’ve never had to be the one trying to squeeze the fucker into a pair of skinny jeans. Even on days like today when I have eaten a full packet of biscuits for breakfast I am happy with how I am.

There was a time when I was ill, covered in fresh surgery scars, grey skinned and mega bloated. I hid my body in prom style dresses with sleeves. I was grumpy and frumpy and mumsy and miserable. 

Now I wear what I want regardless of my age. I still love Topshop and ASOS (although I find myself looking at stitching and material quality more and more. The days of buying the same Topshop dress 4 times because even though it was ruined after 2 washes I still NEEDED it, are long gone) 

I will wear a crop top, a denim pinafore dress, slogan t shirts if I want. I even want (need?) some of those Minna Parikka bunny sneakers. 

So who’s to tell me I am too old for Lycra or mesh or sports lux. Definitely not any statistics! If it’s good enough for Baddie Winkle then it’s good enough for me 

It Just Didn’t Work Out 

Warsan Shire is my favourite female poet. Her poems of nationality and family and struggles are loved by many. Even Beyoncé used Warsan’s words on her critically acclaimed Lemonade album. When Warsan talks about “why we failed at love” in the poem above, the list is heart wrenching and beautifuly sad. I find myself relating her “excuses” to my own breakups, that end of the world feeling that we have all had when a relationship breaks down. 

The classic words “it’s not you, it’s me!” always leave you with self doubt, reasons that make you know it is in fact you. Your fault, your issues, reasons why no one will ever love you again. 

Obviously time heals the most horrible of breakups. The truth is over time someone will love you and make the excuses/reasons from before seem crazy. 

I asked my friends for their breakup stories, reasons why they were dumped, why they left their ex’s, why love didn’t last. Instead of being poetic and life affirming and heartbreaking most are simply hilarious. Thanks for your contributions and thanks to a couple of my exs (numbers 1-4 belong to you, arseholes) 

34 “New” Excuses For Why We Failed at Love

  1. His Grandma died
  2. I was too boring 
  3. I wasn’t accepting of his choices (because I had an issue with him sharing a bed with his ex)
  4. I expected too much of him (when he wouldn’t celebrate my birthday) 
  5. He didn’t want to be with someone who had children
  6. He didn’t buy valentines presents 
  7. She had a huge Minnie Mouse tattoo
  8. He cried way too much
  9. He couldn’t celebrate our anniversary because his cow had been put down.
  10. “I don’t think I can stop myself from sleeping with pretty girls”
  11. He called me Hun
  12. I didn’t have the same hobbies (gambling and weight training)
  13. He liked his car more than me
  14. “Your soul is not good enough to be loved”
  15. Because my parents were divorced and he “just hated divorce”
  16. I was too tall
  17. She was the slowest eater ever
  18. He bragged he was a “compulsive masturbator” (his words)
  19. She said “Cold Slaw”
  20. I didn’t clean a dirty mark that the dog had made on the wall
  21. I cut my hair
  22. He liked my best friend more than me
  23. She said my head was too small for my body
  24. She smelt like my mum 
  25. He had a “micro-penis”
  26. He had an ex with the same name as me and couldnt get over that
  27. I was “too forward” for saying tit in front of her mum 
  28. He didn’t want a child (yet had a baby straight away with his next girlfriend) 
  29. A psychic told her to leave me
  30. Because I was sweaty on a date 
  31. He loved me but hated how I looked
  32. “My mum thinks you have a bitchy face”
  33. He bought himself an ice cream but didn’t offer to get me one
  34. He just left one day and I never heard from him again.

I can’t see us winning Young Poet Laureate from that beauty but it’s brilliantly funny