Friday, 29 April 2016

The military jacket

Military inspired jackets seem to be everywhere at the moment, but I wasn't really looking for one, that is until this Marks and Spencer jacket kind of found me.  Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  This jacket fits the Spring jacket sized hole in my life that I didn't even know existed, and I now can't stop wearing it. 

In a gorgeous khaki colour, and definitely military inspired, this linen jacket is perfect to throw on for the UK's Spring climate (is it sunny or snowing?).  The cut is really classic and it's smart without looking too out of place thrown on with jeans.  And the length is great too, not too short that it cuts you in half, but not so long it looks like a trench.  

Definitely size down with this jacket, as I'm normally a 10, possibly a 12 as I'm breastfeeding at the moment (my boobs are now quite big), but this jacket is an 8 and fits me perfectly. The jacket is available in stores and online from Marks and Spencer

Have a lovely weekend, whatever you're up to.  I'm off for some newborn baby snuggles with my best friend's two week old baby. Yay!

Thanks for reading,    

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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Pregnancy skin changes

During my first pregnancy I don't think I ever really took much notice of any skin changes that I experienced, that, or I didn't really have any changes.  The only thing I did notice was after I had had my eldest, my hair started to fall out in clumps and I had quite strange regrowth around my hair line, made all the more noticeable when I put my hair up, which was my go to hair style at the time, turning me into some wispy samiad like creature.  But I digress. 

This time round, there seemed to be alot going on with my skin. During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I had horrible breakouts and dry patches all over my chin and jaw-line. No amount of cleansing or skin masks could shift it, and then strangely, the very day I had LL the breakouts and dryness just disappeared.  However, this was quickly replaced with dry skin on my body.  And I'm talking really dry skin here, like on a par with some sort of reptile.  

I'm not sure if it was the hormones, the fact that I was so sleep deprived my body was unable to actually function properly, nursing bras and vests being constantly worn, or a mixture of all three. No matter what I tried, and let's be honest, I buy ALOT of beauty products (husband please read...I hardly buy anything), nothing seemed to work.

I never thought to try the brand Aveeno, even though I have been using it on my eldest daughter's skin for a while now.  So whilst browsing in my local Boots I picked up Aveeno Skin Relief moisturising lotion, and I wish I had picked it up alot sooner. It is amazing, and this post isn't even sponsored!

Since using the cream, my skin has completely changed.  All the dry and itchy patches on my back have disappeared, and my skin actually looks healthy again.  Even though the product is for dry skin, the formulation absorbs quickly, unlike others I've tried, and it's not at all greasy with no sticky residue. It has a very subtle pleasant smell which you don't really notice anyway and, well, I just love it.  If you have very dry skin that nothing else seems to moisturise, I can not recommend this product enough.

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Don't judge me...I'm a health visitor

Sometimes I feel like I'm living a lie.  I'm like Clark Kent in Superman, well kind of. By day I'm a mum to two girls on a career break from the NHS, but my secret?  I'm a trained health visitor. <Cue audible gasp>. As jobs go, in my role as a mum and being around alot of other mums, the health visitor is not a person who is particularly well liked.  From mums feeling forced to breastfed, mums feeling forced to bottle feed, mums being told not to wean just yet, and comments that 'health visitors are all the same', it doesn't exactly make me want to shout it from the rooftops what my profession really is. 

Before I became a health visitor, I trained as a paediatric nurse (you have to be a nurse before you can then train to become a health visitor), and after several years on a busy children's medical ward I left because I wanted a new challenge (that and the night shifts were killing me). I wanted to spend more time with the families I met only briefly on the ward.  I wanted to educate and health promote and contribute to healthier communities.  I wanted to make a difference in the most critical time of a child's life. 

In any given job I think there are good professionals and not-so-good ones, and health visiting is no different.  Unfortunately, I think its the bad ones people are always keen to talk about.  I have heard some absolutely awful advice given to mums which has made me think they'd have been better off Googling.  That or asking the woman in the local post office.  And there's no excuse for that. 

Being a parent is hard enough without feeling judged or given contradictory advice.  And just for the record, I couldn't give a monkeys how you feed your baby. The main thing? You and baby are happy.  Happy parents mean a happy baby. I will by all means give advice if parents ask and support if they need it.  

It's sad, because in my day to day life I never hear about the amazing work that I know is done by health visitors.  That they help women living with domestic abuse and in refuges, mums with post natal depression, refugees or traveller communities.

I'm not writing this to say health visitors are perfect. Far from it. But as soon as I reveal I'm a health visitor, I feel judged.  And it's so sad, because it's a role that has the capability to make real change and support families, should they need it at such a special and unique time in their lives.   

I do feel embarrassed when I hear health visitor horror stories and that's not why I came into the profession.  I've now been out of practice for four years now on a career break, but of the things I hear, of targets and service cuts, it makes me wonder the future of the health visitor. How we access information, through blogs, You Tube, Google, all must factor into how information is given and accessed by families.  Families needs have changed.  The role has to evolve and change in response. 
The twin-set and pearls image may have gone, but there's still work to be done. And me? I still have another 2 years as part of my career break from the NHS and being away has made me think seriously about my career. Right now, I'm not quite ready to take off my Clark Kent spectacles. 

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Disclaimer: All views are my own and are in no way affiliated with my employer.  This is my personal experience and view of health visiting.   

Friday, 22 April 2016


To my two gorgeous girls,

I used to always wonder if the sisterly bond would come naturally or if it would be something that we needed to nurture and encourage.  But now I see that it was there all along.  When you were in my tummy LL and Bee used to kiss and pat my bump, the sisterly bond had already begun.  And now I see it flourishing and it's so special to watch. 

LL, when Bee walks into the room, your whole face lights up and I see a smile on your face that I never see you do with anyone else.  You concentrate so much on what Bee is doing and you can't move your little head fast enough to track her movements.  Everything she does you find hilarious.  You are fascinated by this little girl who sings and dances for you at the top of her voice, runs around in princess costumes and snuggles down for stories. 

Bee, you are such an amazing big sister, and I see how proud you are of your little sister.  When I pick you up from pre-school and the other children crowd round to see LL, you proudly hold her hand and make sure no-one pokes her or hurts her.  Whilst I was cooking yesterday and LL was in her high-chair, she threw her toy on the floor.  You ran and picked it up for her without hesitation, I didn't even ask you, you instinctively did it.  You watch me and how I talk to LL and copy me.  I see you pat her hand and chat away to her, teaching her things that you know about the world. 

I can see now that the bond between you both is so special.  I hope so much you will become best friends.  I know there will be times to come when you both argue, but I hope that no matter what you will always look out for each other.  You are so lucky that you each have a special person, you're both half of me, half of your Daddy.  I hope if there ever comes a day when I can't wipe your tears or pick you up when you fall, you will do that for each other.  

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

A Spring in her step

I met up with my mum last week for a lovely lunch in our local garden centre, and obviously there was lots of tea drank, gossiping, laughter and cake, don't forget the cake.  I thought she looked really lovely in the outfit she had put together, and she agreed to let me take some photos to post. 

Her outfit was quite simple, but really elegant and on trend for the UK Spring weather, where its lovely and warm one day and cold and brisk the next. Trench coats are everywhere at the moment, and this blush pink one is a different take on the classic cream colour.  She's styled it with a classic blue polo neck and cropped jeans, which really makes the pink in the coat pop out.  A perfect and classic Spring time look. 

Top: Jasper Conran for Debenhams.  Similar here and here.  / Jacket: Marks and Spencer.  Similar here.  / Jeans: Dorothy Perkins / Shoes: Marks and Spencer.  Similar here and here. / Necklace: Dogeared Jewellery.  Smaller version here.

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Well Hello There...

Hello again...and well, quite frankly it's been a while.  I've been lost in the abyss of sleep deprivation and I have used every ounce of my being to just survive get through the day.  It's been hard, but last night I got a whole three hours sleep in one go, and today I feel like a new woman.  To say the nights have been tough would be an understatement. Hourly wake ups have been my norm now for the last five months.  I've cried, I've Googled, I've wondered what the hell am I doing wrong, I've Googled some more, and then it's all fell into place as to why LL is awake and in pain.  Silent reflux.   

Why I didn't trust my gut instinct five months ago I do not know, and why I listened to a GP that it was probably just me I do not know.  I'm angry at myself. As a mum and health professional I should have known better. All the signs are there.  It all fits in to place.  And for some reason, knowing what it is, I feel like a weight has been lifted.  I feel like I'm not doing anything wrong.  It isn't me.  It isn't my milk.  It's not colic. It isn't normal.  It's silent reflux.  

But enough of silent reflux for now.  I'll go into more detail in another post.  I don't want it to take up all of this one today. 

In the horrible midst of sleep deprivation I've pondered if I'm doing anything right at all.  Having no sleep really does give you a skew-whiff view of yourself and the world. And for me, it zaps any creativity. I've questioned this blog, why I'm doing it, my writing skills, everything.  

But I'm here today, and it feels lovely to be here.  Thank you for sticking around. And thank you to the person who told me that they missed my blog, it means alot.  

I also feel guilty (gosh, I do like going on a guilt trip don't I?!?) that I've not documented LL as much as I would have liked.  Whilst yes, sleep deprivation has been a big part of these first months, there have been the most amazing times too.  LL's cheeky little face when she gives me the biggest smiles.  When she scratches on the side of her cot in the morning and then rolls to look for me lying next to her.  The way she makes you work for about 10 minutes before giving you the tiniest giggle. And the concentration and awe that she looks at her big sister with.  

Her big sister is the best big sister in the world.  She wipes LL's mouth and sprints to get a muslin cloth or wipe for me.  She chats away to her about what she is doing.  She holds her hand and is so proud of her little sister when we go out.  She copies how I talk to LL and will talk away to her about what she should and shouldn't do. I am so prod of her. 

I am so lucky to have two such amazing little girls.  But I feel that's what's been missing on my blog.  I worry I haven't captured it.  I worry I've spoke of the negatives too much.  I've not spoke of the utter joy they both bring me.  The pride I felt when a stranger said what two wonderful girls I had. 

I worry that when they are older, they will read this blog and wonder what on earth happened for five months.  But if they ever do read this blog, I hope they know that even though I found it hard at times, my heart was more full than it's ever been.  That every night before I go to bed I check on them both and kiss their little heads, and I know in my heart that this is the moment.  Right here and right now, with them both snoring soundly and tucked up safely in their beds. This is what life is all about.  Not striving to be anywhere.  Not wishing for more or any less.  Just as we are today and right now.  

They've changed me so much, and so much for the better.  Right here and right now is where I'm meant to be and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.