• If I were a Boy

  • Date Night

  • It’s a Dog’s Life

  • Recommended: Hello Fresh!

If I were a Boy

If I were a boy I wouldn’t be writing this.

If I were a boy I wouldn’t have to text my friends as soon as I got home.

This is not something I would usually write about, but it is something that is on my mind everyday and it effects my decisions and subsequently my life. For as long as I can remember I have been told to “walk home with a friend”, to “text as soon as I walk through the door”, “to be careful” and “to be on my guard”. Incase of attack. Our lives as women are apparently made up of a series of decisions and choices that could go well as long as a man doesn’t rape us.

I just watched the Game of Thrones episode (spoiler alert) where Sansa Stark is raped. I am a huge GoT fan, but the entire Sansa storyline from series 1 to present day has been plagued with the question “Who will rape Sansa Stark?” Will it be King Joffrey? A dwarf? A peasant or Lord Baelish? I hated it and dare I say it, now it has happened I feel relieved. Relieved it will no longer be hanging over me. This, plus the recent story of a woman who got rewarded £500 for attacking her attacker has made me really mad. I am so mad that I have to worry about rape every time I leave the house.

Since becoming a mother I don’t get to go out much, but this week I got invited to a dinner with some girlfriends and I will have to catch the train after 7pm to the destination. My gal pal invited me to said event and in the invite I was promised a buddy system escort service to and from the station. This is not because I am a weirdo who doesn’t like to go out at night or I cannot walk by myself, this is just how women have to make plans. If we want a rape free night – we have to have plans in place.

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I cannot help, but think that if I were a boy I wouldn’t have to make these decisions, I wouldn’t have to make these plans and no, I don’t believe every man is leaving the house with rape on their mind, but why do I and every woman I know carry the burden that they might?

Date Night

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If you follow me on Instagram you will know I have an obsession with @DeliciouslyElla and her food ethos. Trust me, I have all the healthy eating books that promise to nourish me and make me glow from within and I get a little something from each of them, but I always go back to Ella. She is my jam.

I am always trying to eat healthy, emphasis on trying and I find the Deliciously Ella app and book to be my ‘go to’ for healthy alternatives when I crave a curry from my favourite Indian or want to reach for a snickers. After weeks of really trying to be healthy I feel like I have kicked my sugar habit and I no longer crave sweet treats. I am as surprised as you, BUT every evening like clockwork I crave a little taste of luxury after dinner and where I would normally go hell for leather on the chocolate I go for the dates instead. Say what now?

I know. Dates. Medjool dates to be specific, they are the fattest and most juiciest of the date family and they have a delicious fudge like consistency. I open the date, throw away its stone and stuff with almond butter. Done. I like to sprinkle some raw cacao powder on top and stick in the fridge for an hour to set. They are deliciously sweet and filling, so you need only one or two and I cannot believe something so small has changed my nightly chocolate routine. Every night is date night!

What after dinner treats are you loving? Is anyone else reading “Get the Glow” by Madeleine Shaw? Ive just picked it up and I am eager to try the 6 week programme.

It’s a Dog’s Life

PetPlan got in touch with me and asked me to create a video of a “Day in the life” of my dog – Cosmo. I jumped at the chance to see what Cosmo gets up to in the day…turns out that a lot of it involves sleeping. It really is a dog’s life!

This was such a fun video to create as we have always known that Cosmo is a special pooch with a lot of personality and Shih Tzu attitude and we finally get to share her with the world wide web.

This video has been made possible thanks to Petplan, but all themes and content are my own. @petplanuk #petplan

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Recommended: Hello Fresh!

hello fresh reviewDo you ever get in food ruts? You know when you’re just out of ideas and inspiration about what to cook for dinner? I do and all the time. Sometimes I have days where I even eat the exact same things as the previous day because I have an empty fridge and no time to find flageolet beans that a recipe book requires. I will admit that I have often looked at an Ella’s Kitchen pouch with hunger and a strange curiosity before pulling myself together and ordering the same food as last week on my online food shop.

This all changed last week when I discovered Hello Fresh, a delivery food service who will send you 3 or 5 delicious recipes and all the ingredients in the exact quantities you need. The meals are super simple to prepare (each taking under 30 minutes), they are farm fresh and will break your routine and allow you to discover exciting new recipes. Best of all, they are very flexible and you can pause your deliveries if you go on holiday or if you’d rather have a Chinese! They offer a trial box so you can dip your little toe in the water to see if you like it, which is what I did last week and I am hooked.

Our box arrived last Thursday and not really knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised. Three delicious recipes, complete with ingredients and instructions on how to make each yummy dish. One of my biggest pet peeves is waste. I hate finding mouldy veg and fruit in my fridge and having to throw food away, but I do all the time because I’m not organised enough to write meal plans and list all the ingredients I need, let alone finding time to skip up and down the food aisles. My style is more supermarket sweep! So Hello Fresh is my saviour.

I have realised that it is impossible not to talk about a product on blogs with enthusiasm without readers thinking that you have been sponsored or paid – for a plug, but dear reader – please know this… I will always be 100% honest with you about the content that I am choosing to create and share with you. Your trust is everything and without it this blog would not have a purpose. The Hello Fresh leaflet is something that popped into my post box as it probably did yours and is genuinely a service that I would recommend. Not only will your kids think you have slaved away over your piece de resistance, but you will never waste another bag of curly kale again. Thanks BEY!

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Thomas the Tank Engine turns 70!

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I don’t know what came first, a boy or Thomas the Tank Engine?! Max is a toddler who loves all the stereotypical “boys” toys – I trip over Thomas the Tank Engine daily and there is always a digger or car hiding on the stairs waiting for me like the first five minutes of a Casualty episode.

Our newest addition to the Thomas family is Thomas Pop ‘n Go which Max now loves to push and chase Cosmo with. Poor dog, but she’s just as transfixed by all the popping balls as Max is.

Can you believe that Thomas turns 70 this year? Bust my buffers I need to get the number to his dermatologist! Aside from the Thomas breeding programme in my house, I enjoy and encourage Max’s love and curiosity for Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. I remember watching the show when I was a child and I love sharing it with Max. Plus, anything where Ringo Starr has to do all the voices, complete with different accents gets my vote.

“They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight”

Are any of your little people embracing the stereotypes or are they open minded when it comes to toys?

Throwing Shade…

IMG_2342Since joining the mother – hood, pure zen has always been a cheesy quote on Pinterest that I have already pinned and not something that I can physically covet. Until now, as the time has come where I can actually own my own little piece of pure zen thanks to MAC cosmetics. Of course, I am talking about lipstick here and not a Bali yoga retreat.

It might seem crazy in the coconuts to dedicate an entire blog post to one shade of pink, but not only does this tiny bullet take me from zero to hero in a 2 second wipe, but this is the first ever lipstick that has made it into my handbag. I have always been a tinted moisturiser instead of foundation kinda gal and up until now my lips naturally pouted with a dab of lip balm on. Long gone are the days of sticky glosses and lip liners – who has time? (not even Kylie Jenner…apparently) besides I hate it when my croissant sticks to my face and Max is too cute not to try and snog 100 times a day.

I am now in my dirty thirties and when you reach your third decade…things are expected of you. You should understand mortgages, taxes and politics. You should be saving the money you can no longer spend in Topshop due to their non existent hemlines and everything being cropped (true story) and you should know a thing or two about make up and spend all your money on skin care. It is so hard being a grown up.

I asked for recommendations from girlfriends who wear lipstick well and who are also mothers, so they understood my need for speed and Pure Zen by Mac was the first words ushered by all of them collectively. The term “your lips, but better” was thrown around and £15.50 later and lighter I was throwing some serious pinky nude shade all over the place.

Pure Zen by MAC is honestly the perfect pinky nude shade my lips have ever seen. It does make my lips look better and with just a smudge of lippy on I can fool the world into thinking I have my life together because I apparently had time to rouge. Little do ‘they’ know that I applied it whilst frantically packing Ella’s kitchen pouches into the nappy bag, putting a toddler in shoes and removing the previous days dried rice cake from the hood of his coat.

Mwah!

Life Update: Skin Care & Make Up

After joining YouTube last year and realising that yes, my face is on display every single week for approximately 13 minutes, to more people than I can even fathom, I decided to seek professional advice about make up and skin care. My usual slap of BB this and ‘maybe she’s born’ with that kind of clutter wasn’t cutting it, mixed with my ‘starting nursery guilt’ tears and sandy playdates at the park (why does every park have sand?). I needed guidance, recommendations and good advice and after 20 years of making the same mistakes I decided this mum did not know best.

I started with skin care, after reading Caroline Hirons blog I soon realised I had been swindled by excellent beauty marketing strategies and had placed my hopes in packages of false promises. First things first, with the help of Hirons I got clued up and started to wash my face with water. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Secondly I got a facial (a good one, a recommended one – this is important) with The Lanes Healthy & Beauty salon in Brighton. The staff know me, my concerns and they took the time to help me and I went to them with terrible ‘mum acne’ (thanks hormones!) and with their professional help and guidance – I can smile again, which sounds melodramatic, but when you are putting your face ‘out there’, you want it to be your ‘best face’ you know? My face was letting me down and stressing me out, which in turn just caused more face chaos. I now take the time to make sure my face gets clean, but also that it gets what it needs. My face is not perfect and still a work in progress, but I feel like ‘me’ again and it feels nice and free to not have to hide it anymore.

Diet – I couldn’t mention skin care without mentioning the dreaded D word, but this isn’t ‘i’m on a carb free diet’ kind of D, I am talking about my actual diet as in – what I put in my temple (originally my temple of doom/chocolate). My temple has always been filled with chocolate and sugar and I soon realised that this had to go if I wanted my hormones to stabilise. I still have the odd “sod it” moment, but they are few and far between and my face is thanking me for it so honestly that is all the progress/ammo I need to eat cleaner and try to make good choices. It is a daily struggle to not wander face first in to a Mars bar, but the sunshine is helping!

Make -up! I have the basics; concealer, foundation, mascara and blush. Nothing terribly fancy pants and nothing that rocks my world, my make up routine just gets me by and makes my face a little better then it really is. Since joining YouTube, the beauty vloggers have opened up my un-curled eyelashes and shown me that the possibilities are endless and there are tutorials on a 3 minute face, a 5 minute face, a drag face, a natural look, a glam style, a ‘barely there’ face, a beach face, a diva face….etc. Cahhhhpeesh? Any face, YouTube has it. Apart from advice about application there is also a tonne of review type videos and recommendations for brands, looks and everything from drugstore products to luxury designer goods. Find a vlogger who you can relate too and trust, especially as they get sent a lot of these products by PR companies to plug, so you need to trust that their opinion is honest and true. Remember they need you as much as you need that mascara. I love Anna from Vivianna Does MakeUp or Fleur De Force.

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This post started off as a “this is my favourite” kind of thing, but somehow turned into a life update. Do you like this style of post? What would you like to see more or less of on this blog? Please do let me know by leaving me a comment below or getting in touch with me on Twitter, Facebook or even instagram.

I’ve been drinking…

IMG_2546Tis the season to be…healthy? The sun has been showing up most days around this neck of the woods and I am far too pasty and wobbly to be getting anything out so the health kick has begun and salads are my friends. I am a long time fan of Deliciously Ella and between the recipe book and the app I am in healthy hands. Having the app is great when I am out and need to grab ingredients for dinner because I have a healthy shopping list to keep me in the zone. If you follow any of my social media ramblings then you will know I am a nutribullet nutter and i’m now a proud owner of a juicer. My poor instagram followers. I cannot help it – juicing is so beautiful!

IMG_2441For those who would like to know where I get my recipes from for both my juicer and nutribullet – there is no secret, they are either Deliciously Ella recipes or Honestly Healthy concoctions. These two babes are my ‘go to’ for healthy snacks, inventive salads and blended everything. Between the two of them I have enough recipes to last me a long and healthy lifetime and they always have something to cure my “I want a mars bar” at 4pm dilemma.

IMG_2673So there you have it –  prepare for a dozen pictures of spinach cocktails, kale jumpers and any vegetable that can and will be spiralized. What are you crazy kids doing to get ‘summer ready?’ 

IMG_2685Nutribullet, slurp, sleep, repeat.

Growing Up & Letting Go

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A friend with a one year old asked me if “it has all gone fast” the other day. “It” is being a mother and “gone fast” is Max’s ‘baby years’. I replied “yes and no”, because yes…wowee I have a two-year old, but it has not been sudden. I still remember the sleep deprivation, the sterilizing, the puree, the sore nipples and I remember living in the process. The process of Max becoming a toddler who crawled, walked and has not stopped running since and I feel very privileged to be a part of that process.

This week I left Max at nursery. I have been settling him into nursery for a long time and it has been one of the hardest things I have had to do since becoming a madre. I don’t even know how many ‘settling in’ sessions we have had – it has been that many – much to the dismay of family and friends who simply look at me in horror and say “you haven’t left him yet?!”

It is not as simple as yes or no. Since pregnancy and birth I have been bombarded with bonding rituals and ideas and ideals and chances are that you have too and then one day you are expected to take your mini human to nursery, turn your back and walk away. It feels like the most un-natural thing to do and it certainly isn’t something that just happens overnight or falls into place. It takes a lot of work, trust and bravery.

Firstly, just finding the right nursery is half the battle – it is up there with finding the dream house, husband, labour ward and buggy. Much like house hunting, when you find THE one YOU know. I walked into Max’s nursery and instantly felt happy and at ease with the environment, the staff and their ethos. Secondly, the staff – these are the people who are going to help your child grow into an awesome human – ask them all the questions. Apparently I am that parent – the staff at Max’s nursery most probably think I am a loon, but “for the first time in forever” I don’t care. I am a mother, give it to me straight, I haven’t got time for nonsense – I have to clean somewhere with a wet wipe stat. Cah-PEESH? Communication is key. Thirdly, ‘settling in’ sessions – the best gift a nursery can give you – use and abuse these chunks of gifted time. My nursery allows for 6 ‘settling in’ sessions, but I have friends who have had half of that. As with everything in life – there is wiggle room and you can negotiate. Also get settled, find your peg, check the exits and get comfortable because you could be there for 2 sessions or 10. One size does not fit all and that is OK.

Today marks my third “turn your back and walk away’ day, so please know that I have no clue what I am doing and I am by no means an expert, but this is and has been my experience and it is true what they say – it does get better/you get tougher. Trust that the nursery have yours and his best interests in mind, trust that he will eat, play and learn, trust that he/you will cry, but trust me – he will be OK.

Since starting our nursery journey I have noticed a huge change in Max and for the better and it is amazing. Amazing, amazing. Grab a cracker and some relish because here comes the cheddar, but wow. Max has gone from being a very shy and clingy toddler to an independent and curious kid who wants to make you laugh and it honestly feels me with the most overwhelming pride. The dread of leaving him is always forgotten and replaced with the most incredible high when the nursery tell me what he has been up to or what he did in my absence and honestly it is worth it.

So it is official, Max is growing up and learning to let go and reach out for new experiences, but I am still part of the process and even though we are not at our destination yet, I am trying to enjoy and learn from the journey.

Old Haunts, New Memories

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The west pier in Brighton has always had a special place in our hearts. We have made new friends in front of it, shared a tinny or two beside it, burnt many a sausage whilst looking at it, we’ve flown kites into it and we watched it burn down, which was incredibly sad, but today…we shared it with Max.

It may seem strange that we have only just shown Max Brighton’s West Pier, especially as we live in Brighton and have been back for an entire year, but it wasn’t a priority sadly. The West Pier is a skeleton of its former self and we were busy showing him the boats at the Marina and the colourful beach huts on Hove Lawns, until today when the sun was still shining at 5pm and the promise of Summer smacked us in the face with some good ole nostalgia and we shimmied down the pebbles and made some new memories.

It wasn’t until we skimmed our first pebbles and collected a few shells that we even realised how special this place is to us. It was a mad evening – there was an insane glare on the water which made it look like there was no horizon and the water was as calm and still as a pond. It was serene, beautiful and incredibly peaceful.

Sometimes I have real moments where I regret coming home because I fear what I am missing out on, but equally I felt like that when I was that side too – I apparently think the grass is always greener. (I am working on it), but sharing this special part of our old life with our new life was so humbling and filled us with all the feels.

I am so excited about summer in Brighton and making some new memories in our old haunts. It is so special to share this place with Max – who is turning out to be quite the Brighton dude.