Toodle-oo suckas.

I've had this thought in the back of my mind for a while. Since the ectopic pregnancy, I guess. I suppose you could say when I lost the pregnancy, I lost something else (a fallopian tube and a couple pounds, yes but something else too - I'm trying to keep this light so please be kind)... my love for writing? No, it's not that. My love for blogging? I just woke up and realised that I didn't really care for it much anymore. I woke up and everything changed, I thought differently and wanted different things. Sounds a little dramatic doesn't it? I was convinced I wasn't going to wake up though, remember. Facing your fear does funny things to your brain.


But it wasn't just that, I thought about if I would want to read back what my Mum had to say about me when I was three. The truth is, I wouldn't. And then I worried that all these demons that have been dug back up through CBT would have an effect on the way I write things. I don't want to come across as bitter because I'm not. But I'm juggling a lot of emotions these days. Should totally have been American, I do keep telling you (in a New Jersey accent).

To cut all this short, I realised that I didn't want to blog anymore. The world of blogging is no longer what it was and I don't enjoy this new world, it isn't my cup of tea.

When I started over three years ago, I knew very little about blogging. I just wrote what I thought. Turns out for the first few months it was mainly sweary, angry things about being pregnant. I read them back sometimes and cringe, but that's the point isn't it? I've learnt a lot, especially by documenting my journey through parenthood. I've made some amazing friends across the world, had so many wonderful comments (I never was great at replying - sorry) and only one negative one (apparently Lil gets sick because I never breastfed... hahahahaha... dickhead). It's been so wonderful to know that I'm not neurotic (well, not completely) and that something I thought only I was going through actually happens to others. Who knew we all went through the same thing?! Oh how clueless I've been!

She can roll her tongue... my job here is done.

I've worked with some great companies, had the pleasure of writing about some bloody brilliant Mums and have even been nominated for awards. It's been so amazing.

I'm not going to delete this blog though, especially if it can help another potty training Mum who is pulling her hair out because her child just doesn't get it. Or a lonely parent suffering from anxiety. And maybe one day Lil will stumble upon it and use it against me when she's going through her teenage angst phase*. Who knows?

If you want to keep up to date on what's going down and if I'm still saying what you're thinking, find me over on Instagram. I'm yesimcharlotte. **

Please know that I am so grateful to everyone who has read my blog and supported me. I love you all, even if I don't know you. And if you've come across this blog looking for huge mum tits, you've come to the wrong place... you pervert.

Farewell you bunch of lushbags xxx

P.S you can still email me about stuff if you want. Or not. Up to you.

*Hey, Lil, if you're reading this... you weren't a complete asshole. You were definitely lovely a lot of the time but, y'know... you were an asshole a lot of the time too. But I loved you more each day and I love you a million times more now. Now get off the internet and go do your homework. I love you.

**Please note: If you're family, I wont accept your request. I like to keep my Instagram account free from judgement. And yes, I do mainly post pictures of myself drinking wine. So now you don't need to follow me.

CBT and I hate you's...

The other day, I was bitching about how hard 'three' is when a friend said 'I don't know why people talk shit about two, I liked two.' And looking back to when Lil was two, I agreed. Tantrums dominated that age for a long time but it was a great age in general. Three is just a piece of shit.

I've found three particularly hard these past few weeks, she tells me she hates me and I think it back. She's spiteful and enjoys pushing me to the point where I snap and scream at her and then she lashes out some more. It's really starting to worry me and I feel quite upset at the way we are both behaving.

I've started having CBT sessions once a fortnight and it's involved talking about my relationship with my Mum. From about the age of 12, my Mum and I clashed and it was only once Lil was born that we put our differences to one side and started again. But up until that point, it was a very fraught relationship. And speaking about it has brought up a lot of unwanted anger and anxiety. I'm anxious that Lil and I will have the same relationship that I had with my Mum and I think I'm directing my emotions at my daughter, unintentionally. Could there be a link between my emotions and her bad behaviour? Is she picking up on my anger and reacting to it by being naughty? Hitting me and telling me she hates me.

I don't want to fuck my child up, let alone fuck her up by the age of four. Just writing about this is making me angry, angry at my parents. Anxious that Lil's dad and I will make the same mistakes my parents did. Worried about her behaviour.

I dug out 'Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children' and searched through to see if I could find an answer to how to deal with this rebellion on Lil's part. I love that she is so headstrong and independent but she's constantly pushing my buttons and whether or not my emotions are to blame, I need help and quick. Sarah Napthali says 'We delude ourselves that we can think our way out of a problem or we see it as a matter of finding the right person to advise us. We become beggars for our problems, asking numerous people for an opinion. So often, we refuse to relax until a problem is fixed, only to discover that our inability to relax was most of the problem.' 

I think my problem is that I am so anxious for my relationship with Lil not to turn sour that I am constantly trying to control her behaviour. Control her feelings towards me. I don't like it when she's angry with me, I don't want her to hate me. Perhaps if I relaxed a bit, she would stop lashing out at me so much. I need to stop letting her behaviour bother me as much as it is and not analysing why she's naughty. She's allowed to be angry, just as I am. I'm always telling people not to bottle their emotions up, why should it be any different for her?

It seems I have a lot to work on. Parenting is hard at the best of times but when you're dealing with a lot of unwanted emotion it really does test you. And three, oh three, you bastard. I'd take two again any day.

Summer Sun: Green People

As someone with sensitive skin I've always found it hard when looking for a sunscreen that doesn't piss my skin off and isn't factor 50. And then Lil was born and I found it even harder. The thought of putting chemicals on her skin makes my blood run cold and because of her eczema (which has kept at bay for a while now), I've always opted for 'green' products for her. And what I use on her, I use on me too.

When Green People got in contact asking if I'd like to try their organic, fragrance free children's sun lotion, I bit their hand off, not entirely happy with the suncream we were currently using.

Formulated for young skin, this sun cream is not only calming and soothing, water-repellent and suitable for sensitive skin (allergy or eczema prone skin and for sufferers of prickly heat rash), it's also rich in antioxidants and skin vitamins to protect and feed the skin from the outside in with rosemary extract, avocado and myrrh. Perfect UVA (skin damage) and UVB (burning) protection.

With every tube of Children's Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF25 sold this summer, Green People will donate 30p to The Marine Conservation Society, a national charity they've joined forces with that's dedicated to the protection of our seas. A brand with a conscience.

My only concern with this sun cream was that I wasn't sure if it would protect Lil as much as the factor 50 cream we'd been using. Green People answered this question for me: When protecting children in the sun, it's always tempting to go for the highest SPF. A common misconception being that an SPF50 offers twice the protection of an SPF25. This is not the case. Properly applied, an SPF25 lotion offers 96% protection against UVB rays, while SPF50 offers 98% protection against UVB - a marginal 2% difference.

A wedding in the sunshine.

Making the most of the heat (which was short lived, naturally).

I tried to find fault with this cream, really tried, and failed. We both wore it at a wedding we went to and again at the beach the next day and on a hot and sunny Monday. It does what it says on the tin, I can't praise it enough and it's definitely replaced our old suncream which left Lil's skin oily. If you're looking for a sun cream for the summer then I highly recommend this one. And what's great is that they sell a smaller version which is perfect for your bag or for them to take to nursery or school.

They also sell a huge range of other products too, go check them out here.

A huge thanks to Green People for sending us this fab product to review. As always, all words are my own and extremely honest.

Potty Training: when there are haters.

Since Lil was 18 months old I've had people asking me when I was going to start potty training her. When she's ready. Well she's intelligent enough, perhaps you should start now. Perhaps you should fuck off. I got it from everyone. Parents, in-laws, friends, family, strangers.

Then she turned two. We tried it, she was having none of it. Two and a half, no thanks Mum. Three.... nah, nappies fo' lyfe. We'd talk about the potty (Disney Princess, of course) every day. She picked out the pants she wanted, decided on the presents we'd buy her once she started going, she had it all planned out. And then, a few weeks after her birthday she just sat down and did a wee. HALLELUJAH!

I didn't push it, just asked her casually if she needed to go. Sometimes she would, other times she wouldn't and that was fine by me. And then last weekend, after we got back from a wedding, the nappies disappeared. Oh Mum, that means I'm a big girl and I can go on my potty all the time! The deal was no nappies unless at bedtime and if she needed to poop.

It's been five days since she started wearing pants in the day and she hasn't had an accident (yet). Poo's are saved for nappies right now and that's ok, she's doing a great job and I don't ever want to push her at anything (I mean, we don't like being pushed into anything do we?). A few people have voiced their opinions but I've just rolled my eyes and let it go over my head and I like to think my attitude to everyone elses' opinion is why Lil seems to be swimming through this whole change.

I started to panic a bit once she turned three but that was mainly due to others and their judgemental attitudes but both my Nan and my great, great Aunt told me to ignore everyone and just go with the flow. So I did.

I'm no expert on this whatsoever, but here are a few tips I found helpful if you're thinking of starting potty training or if you're starting to worry your child will start school in nappies (1. I had that same worry and 2. it does happen)...

Don't listen to anyones advice unless it's positive. Seriously. Everyone has an opinion that they're entitled to but it doesn't mean you have to listen. You're the parent, listen to your instincts.

Don't even think about trying it unless your child is showing signs of being ready. Looking back, it wasn't until just after her third birthday she was showing signs of being ready. The other times were just stressful and upsetting for both of us. It isn't worth it.

Don't go by others kids. If little Johnny down the road was potty trained at 1, well good for him! And if your niece was dry by two, ain't that lucky. Every single child is different and they will develop at different stages. Some can count to ten by their first birthday (apparently) and others are walking at 10 months. So what, concentrate on your own kid. I know other Mums can turn it into a competition but fuck them. Do not let them or anyone else make you feel like shit.

Bribery works. We have a chart for wees and poos. She wasn't bothered about the small presents for every time she went (kinder egg, smarties, whatever - a friend told me that five small chocolate bars a day are nothing over such a short period of time and she's right) although she was partial to three kinder eggs the other day. She is far more interested in the swag she can accumulate once she hits the orange box. Make it worth their while.

Try, try again. If you think they're ready and you try and fail, leave it a few weeks and try again. It doesn't hurt and you may find that next time they pick it up quickly and easily. And make it fun, it doesn't have to be a chore!

Good luck, don't stress... and fuck the haters.

One of those days.

Yesterday I was tired; a culmination of restless, humid nights... crammed thoughts... a demanding, dictating three year old. I didn't notice my pants were on my back to front until it was time for a bath, I had spaghetti in my hair and I just couldn't muster up the energy to cook. So we got take out... again. And this kind of day always end in tears thanks to my whizzing, whirring brain panicking about what's to come.

As I sat watching Lil play before bed, my thoughts turned to nursery and then school. Up until nursery, as parents, we are semi-lucky. If we stay home to look after the kids, we can be spontaneous in our weekly plans. A farm trip here, a lunch date there. It's the spontaneity that keeps things from dragging. And then it's time for them to start nursery so you're not as free to make plans as and when, nursery days restrict you a bit. And then there's school, leaving you with only after school play-dates, weekend fun and school holiday LOLZ (six weeks of them in the summer?! After all that time without them? Not sure if that's a good or bad thing).

Midweek pub lunches will be a thing of the past.

Without the freedom to plan play dates and boozy lunches with a toddler in tow (for the booze brigade, this has only happened a handful of times and I was never inebriated... except for that one time in Glasgow... I had supervision...), what is left for a Mum (or Dad) to do? Other than go back to work, obviously, but you know where I'm coming from. It's all packed lunches and homework and school fetes. I'm not saying it's a bad thing at all but it's left me thinking perhaps once she starts school I'll pretty much be surplus to requirements as far as the fun bus is concerned.

Morning selfies will have to wait until Saturday. Wah.

That means I have three months left of being completely flexible and just over a year of being in charge of how much fun we have in the week when she isn't a nursery. I don't think I can deal with this. It's alright for Mum's doing it a second or third time round, you get to be in charge of all the weekly fun again (and again). But for the others, the Mums who are sticking with one or whose kids have all started school... Now what?

Obviously going back to work is a (not so fun) distraction but it's pretty shit going from part time fun to being an actual, responsible grown up again. One with a diary and schedules to follow. Zzzzzz.

Are you child free from 9-3:30, Monday to Friday? Is it fun? Was it hard adjusting? How did you cope?

As the days whizz by I find myself more panicked by the prospect of the fun bus departing on a Monday morning and not returning until the weekend. So much so that I'm going to pop to the Co-op and get a bottle of wine (for later, booze brigade).

Etsy Love: Tawnie and Brina.

It's no secret I'm obsessed with Etsy. Most of what I buy these days comes from there! I'm always on the lookout for vintage clothes for Lil, her summer wardrobe is full of vintage goodness after I made a promise to myself to buy as little as possible unless it was from way back when. I'm doing well! I'm also always looking at jewellery and after spotting Tawnie & Brina on someones Instagram feed I was hooked instantly.

They're a no bullshit brand based in hip L.A (naturally) and their 'fuck off' necklace is so perfect... an essential, non?  They donate a percentage of sales to local 'no kill' animals shelters, Panthera organisation and marriage equality efforts. A jewellery brand with a heart.

Buy it here.

I've already started building my collection, their bracelets and rings are perfect for stacking (I always stack and layer in the summer) and I'm never taking my 'fuck off' necklace off ever again.

You can shop their jewels here at their Etsy store or find them here.

Moving Forward.

It's been six weeks since I found myself slap bang in the middle of one of the worst experiences of my life. It's very true that when you can't have something, it makes you want it a million times more. Although my body is pretty much healed, I still have lots to deal with in my head. Unanswered questions, worries about the future, lots of 'ifs' and 'buts'. Before all this happened we booked a break away to The Peak District and, looking back, I feel as though this was some kind of olive branch from The Universe after all the shit she threw at me in April. I just obviously didn't know it at the time...

I came back from our trip a little wiser and with a plan for the future and for now I'm sitting and waiting to see which path I end up walking down. Left or right?

Every Friday I still find myself thinking 'I should be this many weeks pregnant right now', it's still so hard to get my head around it all. But things can only get better. And they will, I'm sure of it.

Creepy Crawlies: A Learning Resources Review

Recently, as the weather has warmed up, we've been spending more and more time outside. But it's started to present a problem... Lil HATES bugs. Don't get me wrong, they freak me out too but I've managed to hide that very well, but she goes crazy when she sees an ant. I've done my best to explain to her that the little tiny insects won't hurt her and that they are probably more scared of her than anything else but it just doesn't seem to work (MUMMY AN ANT WAAAAAAAAAH. Lil, it's a grain of sand.)

She's a curious little soul and likes finding out about these creature that send her crazy (weirdo) and I'm hoping that as she learns more she'll freak out less and less. And when Learning Resources got in contact about one of their products, I thought perhaps it may help. At first, I thought these Bugnoculars would be fab for her but as her love for fishing is quite strong, opted to try this amazing Underwater Explorer instead because even though she likes to try and catch things with her net, she still freaks out once she's caught something.

As you can see, it's been a big hit and she's certainly mellowed to the creatures living in the water as well as those on land. A miracle! I'm still going to buy her the Bugnoculars though, we aren't there just yet! The Underwater Explorer is fab as it has a little ring to wear around your wrist to stop the boat floating away (this river was quite fast flowing so she wasn't wearing it - I was). It magnifies too so you can see the smallest of river creatures, such a great idea. I can see this being a big hit for a very long time...

A huge thank you to Learning Resources for sending us another fab product to review. As always, our opinions are our own and honest!

Life after two.

Two was a tough age, one rife with tantrums and shit fits galore and I really didn't think it could get any worse. As Lil hurtled towards three, people kept telling me to cherish the two year old paddies because three year old ones were worse. Pah! As if. What a fool I was to laugh in the face of the experts.

Three started off ok, or at least I thought it did but then the painkillers I've been taking for the last few weeks may have softened the blow (anyone know of any back street dealers selling the good shit? I've run out...). She's a good kid when she's good, a delight. Her wit improves with every week that passes and she will wipe the floor with you if she's in one of those moods. And then last week, it all went tits up. She was a really horrible little shit and it just so happened it was the weekend I really needed to her behave, at my best friends wedding.

I've never wanted to throw her or myself in the sea so bad. Her divvy little shit fits made me see red and so I grabbed her and whispered, harshly in her ear, that if she didn't behave I'd throw her in the sea so the sharks could have their dinner. Silly really because I've probably shot myself in the foot with that one, we'll see when we visit the beach next. Then, fifteen minutes later, she kicked off again... 'You see that tower? I will lock you in it and the witch will come and be mean to you and turn you into a slimy frog.' I won major shit parent points that day, if anyone heard me (which I'm sure they did) I dread to think what they thought. Little fucker though, the thing these kids push you to say. I did the childish thing of pulling faces at her too. Nice one, Charlotte.

We can't be wholesome parents all of the time though, can we? That would just be boring.

So a month into three, I'm nodding my head in agreement that three is a pretty shit age. But on the flip side, she's so much more fun when she's not being a total pain in the ass. Swings and roundabouts, as they say. But it ain't no fun fair. Or playground. Whatever.

Here's to the new challenges each year brings. And to wine. All the wine.


Wow, what a fucking bittersweet month.

My beautiful little baby turned three at the beginning of April, she had a simple day choosing a lunch of sushi and a spree in the Disney Store (naturally). I was feeling super shitty after the injection and ended up back in A&E but was sent home later that day and we gorged on tea at Sainsbury's and then (her 3rd - fatty) birthday cake at home. I was so happy she wasn't sick for the first time on her birthday, what a star!

The end of that week I was admitted into hospital to have the ectopic pregnancy removed after spending the day in a lot of pain with the tube threatening to rupture. They removed the damaged fallopian tube too and I've spent the past two weeks in a bit of a lull but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel (in the form of booze and a holiday). I never, ever want to go through that experience again. The Universe can suck my balls for that one.

If one good thing has to come out of this month, it's that I woke up after the operation free from anxiety. It had started to make me really sick but it just vanished. I've still been worrying about things but I haven't felt crippled by them and I certainly haven't had any attacks - I hope it stays that way too.

I didn't know if I'd ever write another post, lack of enthusiasm and just a general lack of giving a shit really. But I quite like my little space to talk nonsense about being a Mum. A mum of one and a bloody good one at that, I'm very lucky. My pity party is over, much like this nasty month (almost) and I'm looking forward to the next party, one full of happiness and lots of fun.

Thanks for sticking by me you lot xxx

The magic number.

Exactly three years ago last Friday, I was on a maternity ward being induced at 41+2 days pregnant. I sometimes catch myself reliving my whole birthing experience in my head and wincing. But being at that same hospital at the same time three years later, I smiled at what would have been happening at that very moment. Smiled at how unknowing I was.

I've always believed in fate and often noticed 'signs' and to some extent I believe in 'The Universe' and everything it has to offer you. And on Friday as I was walking into the hospital at the same time I did three years ago, I thought it must be a good omen. I hadn't miscarried, I wasn't having an ectopic pregnancy, It was a viable pregnancy. Three days prior I'd sat in A&E for six hours, I was told at first I'd miscarried and then hours later I was still pregnant. Which was it going to be? Deep down I knew it would be good news, it was too much of a coincidence that I'd been here three years ago heavily pregnant and ready to give birth. It was a good sign!

After blood tests and a scan and lots of waiting, I was told that it was an ectopic pregnancy. I won't go into detail but it just wasn't possible that it could be a viable one. I felt a flood of different emotions in the space of three seconds, the most intense wave of mixed feelings but mostly I was frightened. I knew what was going to happen next, I'd spent the night before looking at my options even though there was a glimmer of hope it wouldn't come to this. As the doctor explained what those were, my mind whirred and whirred. I never knew it was possible to think so many things in a split second, the brain is a phenomenal thing. But still I was shocked that The Universe hadn't delivered, the 'sign' I thought there was simply my imagination running away with itself. I felt foolish.

It took seconds to decide that the medical route was best. The nurse gave me a shot of methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug - yeah, intense... I feel like I've been hit by a truck) and just like that I wasn't pregnant anymore (in my mind, not yet in my body). I have to go back to the hospital every week for the next month to ensure the hcg levels in my body are dropping (they've dropped by 2000 in four days so the drugs are working). My fingers are crossed this drug will continue to do what it's supposed to and that it doesn't result in a ruptured fallopian tube because that can still happen.

I've never found it easy to write about feelings of sadness or grief, my speciality is generally rage(!). But I am sad, I do feel as though I've lost something. I am terribly sad, I feel withdrawn, I don't want to be around anyone. I feel wretched and I'm in pain. It's a hard thing to grieve, a pregnancy that wasn't 'quite'. It's as though I have less of a right to feel this than someone who has lost a pregnancy further down the line and I know it's ridiculous. Every pregnancy that's lost should be grieved. I'm angry too, angry at others ignorance. I think people expect me to be up and about and doing things but ectopic pregnancies can be life threatening and until my hcg levels drop back to zero I've been told to rest. I could feel the effects of the drug for a month and I have to avoid exercise, alcohol, foods rich in folic acid. I'm exhausted and nauseous. But I'm trying to direct my anger into looking after my body (does that even make sense?), not at the ignorance and selfishness of others (I'm sorry I've lost a baby, have just had chemicals pumped into my body, am still at risk of a ruptured fallopian tube and an operation and have been instructed to rest. I'm sorry but this isn't a straightforward miscarriage!). People are dicks. Everywhere I look there are women pregnant and I feel jealous and I hate it. I'm not a jealous person but this whole experience has left me bitter. I know time is a great healer and this won't be forever but I'm finding it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank goodness for Lil.

As I write this, my almost three year old is playing with her princesses. Three years ago today I had a baby who was a day old. I am so lucky for what I have. I still believe this is a sign. It wasn't meant to be, as vomit inducing as it sounds.

A sign (perhaps) that three is still, and always will be, the magic number.

Can I take a sick day?

Just putting my head in the oven, be with you in a second.
Not quite.

Oh the joys of looking after a sick child. Everything is either amplified and they get on your nerves more than they normally do or they turn into sad little mice. Fortunately she only has a cold, unfortunately that means her inside voice has turned into a shrill shriek alongside one billion demands per second. Oh my ears!

I've never had a ton of patience, especially when I've had to nurse my husband on his sickbed (ie. never because I NEVER get nursed on mine and I don't get a day off to be ill either but you get my drift... manflu is enough to drive any sane woman to madness... manflu does not equal death) but I thought having a child went hand in hand with having all the patience in the world. Yesterday I realised that's a crock of shit, having a child doesn't mean you're any more patient than... well, I don't know what really.

Dear men...

And don't get me started on looking after a sick child when you're not 100% yourself (I don't remember my body aching like this since the newborn stage). I'm as snappy as snappy the alligator (who?!). Every single demand that's thrown at me is met with a tut and an eye roll (ok maybe not the reasonable ones - cuddles, calpol, watching a dvd... I'm not a complete monster) and a countdown until bedtime until I remember that bedtime is sure to be a pain in the arse and the hours that follow, equally horrendous.

When do we, as mothers, get a break? When will we hear that all mothers are entitled to 5 sick days a year (PAID), 30 days holiday and a hefty bonus? Somebody, please?

I'm asking for what's left of my sanity.

Olive and Vince and a princess nightie.

Lilian is obsessed with princesses. This isn't the road I thought she'd go down, we've always opted for gender bending toys and pink was never an option. It's funny how things turn out because she's such a girly girl and loves swirly dresses and her favourite colour is, of course, pink. I won't lie and say I'm pissed off she's turned out this way because secretly I'm delighted. I used to be the same. Oh sue me.

The other day we were in Marks & Spencer and she spotted a Peppa Pig nightie, 'I like that dress Mum'. I explained to her that that was a nightie and you wear it to bed. A bit like pyjamas but dress pyjamas. 'Rapunzel wears nighties to bed mummy...' And then I thought... why doesn't Lil wear nighties? Because she wears pyjamas.

I thought about getting her a nightie but those god awful ones in M&S resembled vomit on a dress (sorry M&S - I love you still, lots) so I did what I always do, every day without fail... went on Etsy. I scrolled down for ages before I stumbled across Olive and Vince and what a find!

In a little workshop in England, we take pleasure in producing by hand fun, practical and comfortable clothing for toddlers. We hold a strong belief that style should never compromise comfort, nor overlook practical issues such as quickly dressing and undressing a toddler. With us you will never find a crunchy denim, itchy lace or clothes that restrict a bendy toddler’s movement. You can have total faith that anything you find in our store will have been made with comfort as THE number one priority. Our own little ones inspire our sewing and we make the stuff we want for them. You’ll see hints of retro styles, symmetry and simplicity, but most of all fun!

Simplicity and fun - the two things I always look for in clothing I buy for Lil. This is the kind of nightie she needed! Traditional and made of 100% cotton. AND the type of nightie she could wear in the summer during the day too, perfect.

And the story behind Olive and Vince is as cute as their nighties (they sell other kids clothes too - tie dye and leopard print... ALWAYS a winner).

Naomi and Natalie both live in Devon, Naomi by the seaside and Natalie in a little leafy suburb. They have been good friends ever since their children were born in 2009, with little Vince belonging to Naomi and Olive belonging to Natalie. Shortly after meeting, Naomi and Natalie embarked on an amazing mission to learn to sew and make clothes together. 

When Lil unwrapped her package (not daintily like a princess), her eyes almost popped out of her head...

'It's a dress!'
'It's a nightie Lil, for you!'
'Wow, like Rapunzel!'

Yep, she looks like a princess.

Her little nightie is so beautiful, I'm going to frame it when it no longer fits her. Such amazing quality, I'm going to buy more!

Read more about Naomi and Natalie here.  

Olive & Vince are on Twitter (although not actual Olive & Vince!). Visit them on etsy here.

Dorset Apple Cake

I'm really shit at baking, as I have pointed out before, but on Friday we got a delivery of local fruit and veg in a box from a nearby farm. Inside were some cooking apples so naturally I was going to make an apple pie but then I remembered how rubbish my last attempt was so googled apple recipes and this one popped up.

I'm not very good at following recipes and like to experiment so really baking isn't for me. But this time I decided to follow every word and see what happened. The only thing I kept out was the almonds as I really don't like them.

It doesn't look too interesting, does it? But it was so good. I excelled myself if I'm honest (although it's not really hard considering how bad I usually am at baking). Perfect with a cup of tea and even better as a Mother's Day treat. And it's super easy.

You're welcome.

Look Mum, a snake!

We've kinda gone back to our co-sleeping ways just lately. Mainly because of the nightmares and terrors but also because getting up and down to see to her so many times in the night has broken me and is a pain in the arse.

She settles down quite quickly once she's in bed with me and some nights when she gets into my bed (not every night), she doesn't move. But last night was a different matter. According to Lil, there was a snake slithering around the room... 'Look Mum, a snake!' At first I thought she was just dreaming, then possibly hallucinating until I freaked myself out. A fucking snake in the room! Turns out it was a dream although she was pretty adamant she could see one.

There's nothing quite like settling back to sleep at 2am knowing, smugly, you have another five hours left of sleep. It's pretty blissful. And then... 'Mum, an owl is sitting there LOOK!' An owl. I knew that wasn't possible so I cuddled her back to sleep, telling her there was no's just a dream.


What is this kid on? She didn't eat anything she doesn't normally yesterday except for an ice cream. It couldn't have been that, could it? She's had more sugar than that in one day and it hasn't affected her other than she's bounced a little harder off the walls.

And then, tonight, we read Rosie Revere, Engineer and it clicked. That's where it came from! She'd pointed out a snake, a bumblebee and an owl in the story a few days prior. They had obviously stuck in her mind and she'd dreamt about them.

Kids and their imaginations.

Although I'm still not so sure about the snake.

Don't worry, Mum.

We seem to be going through a period of zen in terms of Lil's shit fits and it's really nice (obviously). What I've learnt this past ten days is that when my child isn't being a highly strung almost three year old, she's actually very chilled out. She doesn't have many cares (except, perhaps, whether or not she's going to get some form of chocolate that day) and although kids generally don't, it's come as a shock.

You see, if you haven't worked it out yet then you'll need to know that I'm a bit highly strung (thanks to the father of my child for pointing that one out), it runs in the family (both sides) and because Lil is much like me (stubborn, creative, witty), to see her so carefree (when she's not throwing shit fits) is refreshing. Before, she would have a shit fit if she spilled water down herself (I'm hoping this phase has passed) but now she just laughs and says 'not to worry mum, we can clear this up' and it makes my heart flip. It just isn't a big deal to her (or me, I might add) whereas four weeks ago she'd scream blue murder.

But, much like her father, she's beginning to become so carefree and chilled out that she just isn't bothered about certain things that bother me. Like tidying up, for example...

Lil, I need you to tidy up before you get more toys out because it's getting very messy.
Oh don't worry, Mum, you can just clear it all up later.


Lil, if you drop play-doh on the floor you need to pick it up because Monty will eat it otherwise and he'll have a poorly tummy.
Don't worry, Mum, at least his tummy will be gold and purple like the play-doh. You can pick it up for me.

And then she smiles sweetly.

Headband from here.

See. Not a care in the world.

As much as I don't want this lovely carefree attitude to change right now, if I have to pick up one more fucking toy or prise play-doh from the dogs mouth one more fucking time I am going to lose my mind once again (ohmmmmmmmmmm).

Ah, parenthood.

Night terrors and potty training.

I'm tired. We are going through a rough period also known as night terrors, the very awful threes (even though she's a month off three), constant 'I wants' and general exhaustion that they don't tell you about, you know... the exhaustion that you thought wore off once they stopped teething? Yes, that exhaustion. Turns out it sticks around for much longer than you anticipate. You won't find anything about that in those dickhead 'how to' parenting books.

Everything has started to annoy me, I'm agitated and I'm losing my temper quite a lot and quite often it's with the wrong people. Sorry about that. And to make matters worse, my child is straight up refusing to have anything to do with her potty. She couldn't care less about it and even with the most magnificent bribes, she's still not budging. I've tried the right way, the patient way and my way and nothing will coax her out of those damn nappies.

I don't know what to do. I'm at the end of my tether. I'm going to wait another month and try again.

I've read up on night terrors and nightmares until I've gone cross-eyed, she seems to alternate between the two and every night ends up in my bed and I start the day on broken sleep which, regardless of how many hours of broken sleep, is a recipe for disaster and often results in a very unproductive day. The amount of TV she watches has been reduced, she doesn't have her ipad anymore (only for long journeys) and she doesn't have anything sugary after 2pm. She goes to bed around 7.30 and for the first three - four hours she sleeps very well but as soon as I get into bed it all kicks off. I just don't know what to do about it - see a doctor? Cut out sugar completely? Am I doing something wrong?

If you've had experience in this, please let me know how you went about making it better. She doesn't wake in the night (if she does, she goes straight back to sleep) but she tosses and turns quite a bit. I'm really starting to lose my sanity over her sleep.

10 things I love about her.

The shitty threes feel as though they have been going on forever (for those yet to experience, they're worse than the terrible twos) and at the moment I feel as though I'm winging this parenting business. The tantrums are epic and she has a mean right kick and slowly her behaviour is grinding me down.

I constantly have to remind myself that underneath her monster outfit, she's a very sweet and kind little girl. So I wrote a mental list and then thought perhaps I should write it down properly so I have something to go back to when I have a bad day...

1. She is stubborn. So stubborn. Apparently she is exactly how I was at this age. I often catch myself inwardly smiling when she refuses to do something she doesn't want to do, I feel like this will never change and it makes me proud to catch a glimpse of myself in her.

2. She loves to read. This months favourite is The High Street and she can recite parts of it which makes my heart swell, especially when she pronounces cockatoo as 'totatoo'.

3. Her wit is impeccable. See HERE.

4. She's a performer, she likes to dance and sing. Especially if it's to a Disney princess song. Damn princesses.

5. She's the most creative little thing I know. More creative than her creative parents (and one is the global head of a creative department). Her current favourite thing to do... fashion a dress out of play doh for her (you guessed it) Disney princess magiclip dolls.

6. Her diverse taste in music. This was inputted by her Father, mainly because he is to blame thank for this.

7. How her face lights up when she sees something she loves (mainly the Disney store, kittens and babies). So much excitement.

8. Her sass (aka attitude). Self explanatory if you're a reader of this blog.

9. 'I lick the wall Mum'. She's started licking my face. Disgusting but equally entertaining. Little weirdo.

10. Her ability to wrap her little arms around my neck and make all the bad shit just melt away into a puddle on the floor. She's kickass in jumping in those dickhead puddles too.

Lil, I love you.


Pancake Day in March? Flippin' hell.

I had a heated conversation with my Nan the other day. I mentioned Pancake Day to her to which she replied 'oh bugger we've missed it'. No Nan, I said, it's in March. But she wasn't having any of it. She ranted on at me for a good ten minutes telling me I was wrong. Well she should know better...

Anyway... we were kindly sent a game to try out from the fabulous people at Learning Resources. Lil was so excited to find out what was in the box that had been delivered that she actually had a meltdown. I went and hid in the kitchen until she'd composed herself and then we continued to find out what was inside.

The Pancake Pile-Up Matching Relay Activity Set is for ages 4-8 but it's great for 3 year olds too. We've played it every day for the last 5 days and it's really helped Lil with her balancing.

How to play:
Separate into two relay teams.
Turn over an order card to reveal a pile of pancakes.
The first player in each team select the first pancake on the card and race to place it on their plates.
A relay continues until the whole pile is in place and matches that on the card.
Pancakes can only be carried using the plastic spatulas.

So serious.

Obviously there was a little bit of cheating going on (Lil) but we had so much fun racing to see who could do it the quickest (not pictured - I have no idea how to set the timer on my camera). It's also great for playing 'What pancakes would you like today Mummy' (this morning I had blueberry and strawberry) and great for developing recognition skills.

This game gets a huge thumbs up from us and remember, pancake games are for life not just for pancake day, yo.

Buy it here.

Thanks to Learning Resources for sending this to us to review. All opinions are my own (and Lil's) and honest.

Around these parts.

Things have been crazy to say the least since we ended up in 2014. Much like last year, this year is whizzing by already at an almighty speed which is great because this weather is so bloody miserable but on the flip side it means I'll soon have a three year old. Dear God.

Tantrums, a hideous (but really bloody great) workload, a new job for Lil's Dad, tons of ironing, shit weather, one hundred anxieties and a long and tiring search for childcare aside... so far this year hasn't disappointed on the fun factor.

She's got swag, I'll give her that...

She continues to come out with some pretty amazing one liners on an often daily basis which makes my heart explode so bad that all I can think about at the moment is having another baby. Oh Lil...

'Can you stop taking my picture mum I'm trying to work...'

Anyway, there is a lot of change happening around these parts just lately and I'm excited to share some of it with you soon. I shall leave this pointless blog post there.

Happy almost spring!

Fashun dahling.

Buying clothes for Lil is fun. Way more fun than buying clothes for myself which is probably why I don't have many. Yes, I admit, she's is like my own little real life Barbie doll. I know, controversial. Whatevs.

Anyway, she is super into clothes and I think it's wonderful. She makes clothes out of play doh for her princess dolls and accessorises them with play doh bags and hats, she is a little fashion designer in the making I'm sure of it. She was made from two creatives so, y'know... it's in her blood (although we talk about her flying to the moon and being a doctor too so it isn't all pink and barbies and shit).

Where am I going with this? Ah, clothes. If you're a regular online shopper for children's clothes you may have noticed that things have gotten a little stale. Everyone is selling the same stuff, as lovely as it is, and it's getting a bit boring. So for spring / summer I have pledged to buy as much vintage as I can for Lil's wardrobe. And it's going pretty well.

So I thought I'd let you in on my favourite online vintage stores (from etsy, obviously - that addiction is through the roof).

Retro and Me - My all time favourite. 
Fawn Vintage 
Udas Kids 
Oh Sydney 
Magpie and Hen

You are very welcome...

Three is NOT the magic number.

We are hurtling towards her third birthday and while I constantly wish she'd stop growing so quickly, a large part of me is wishing away age 3. They call it the terrible twos for a perfectly good reason, because it's fucking awful. But it passes, it really does pass. And is replaced by the fucking-god-awful-I-can't-believe-this-is-happening-to-me-why-do-they-not-tell-you-about-it monstrous threes.

No, Lil isn't three yet but she entered the terrible two's phase around this time last year so it's pretty standard that HERE WE ARE AGAIN, knee deep in tantrum bullshit. And let me tell you something, it's on a whole other level to the nasty two's. Oh yes.

Like butter wouldn't melt. Pj's from here.

This time around, however, the tantrums are limited(!) to when it's the three of us. At the weekend when we are supposed to be spending lovely family time together. Well it ain't so lovely. In fact it's so not lovely that today I felt like throwing myself off a bridge. But not before taking a handful of diazepam washed down with neat vodka. 100% proof. It was awful. Awful. I went to the gym once we were home and ruined myself. I ache so bad and usually that feeling is reserved for the next morning, so bad that I want to vomit.

But this horrendous weekend has taught me something. If she can't be nice when we are all together at the weekend, the weekends will have to be spent apart. As in I disappear for the weekend. Alone, without child.

Now there's a thought.

Animal storage jars.

I came across this craft when scrolling through the Monday Makery section at Sisters Guild. We have a lot of craft...bits and they're all chucked in a drawer in the cupboard under the stairs so this is a nice way to organise them and put them on an empty shelf of the book case. I'm all for pops of colour and this is one of the loveliest small storage crafts I've seen. Not that I'm good at or remotely interested in most crafts but this one was easy.

It's pretty self explanatory but head on over to Sisters Guild to take a look. Here is my effort...

Just a few DON'TS before you go and raid your fridge or cupboards for half empty jars:

1. Be careful with the super glue. This may be an obvious one but even the carefullest of people (me) can glue their fingers together. After finishing this craft I'd glued my fingers together three times and glued my finger to the tube of superglue tube twice.
2. Don't buy the animals from the Early Learning Centre unless you want to pay over the odds. I got ours from Wilko's (£1 each) and our local chazza shop. I was tempted to use the ones we already had but didn't care for the consequences.
3. Don't let on to your kid what you are up to because they'll want to help. This isn't a craft for kids. Unless you want to fill their lungs with spray paint fumes (it did cross my mind, she might have napped then... I'M JOKING).

Happy crafting!

Mother / daughter love and hate.

I won't bore you with our love/hate relationship. If you have a daughter (or just a child for that matter) you'll know how it goes. You'll also know if you are a daughter yourself.

Peace Mum. Yes please, Lil.

Things have been pretty tough round here lately, my anxiety has reached a whole new level (I actually thought I was dying the other day and begged my husband to call an ambulance) and Lil has taken the form of the devil (she out tantrums any tantrum I have ever seen). She reminds me of my teenage self and at not even three this spells trouble. Big trouble. She slams doors, gobs off (SORRY FOR NOTHING MUMMY) and screams and hollers. She hates me sometimes but she still creeps into my bed in the middle of the night wanting cuddles.

But all the tears and drama aside, she still makes my heart burst with pride with her one liners and witty little Lilisms. This afternoon I grinned from ear to ear when a friend commented on how much she is like me with her wit. She came running into the kitchen calling 'froggy froggy where are you? Oh there you are froggy!' Do I look like a frog, Lil? 'You do sometimes Mum'.

She tells me her Dad winds her up, she thinks the dog is an idiot and that the cat who lives a few doors down is a stinky old poohead. These kids...

This one drives me crazy. So ridiculously, infuriatingly crazy. She makes me want to poke my eyes out and punch myself in the ovaries for even considering having a child. But she also brightens up my life on days when I'd rather crawl into a hole (sometimes she's the causer of those days... what a headfuck).

Lilian, you're a little div. But you're my amazing little div.

I'm just tired.

About three weeks ago, I discovered that Lil had a full set of teeth. I screamed and danced and picked her up and spun her around and phoned everyone to tell them. She'd been teething since she was eight weeks old (yes it is possible, don't try and pick an argument with me over this) and boy what a nightmare we'd had (by we I mean Lil and I). The poor kid has really suffered and in turn so had my liver. But those days are over (the teething not the liver bashing) and I'm more than elated to never have to deal with teething again. Goodbye to tiredness too, right? No more wake ups means more sleep for mumma.


I'm so tired. I'm anaemic and I'm taking iron for it so it figures that I'm tired but I'm just tired. Up in the night tired. My kid has started having night terrors again tired. I'm the one who sees to her in the night tired. I'm tired, ok?

Kids are hard work, you all know that. And even when they can fend for themselves and occupy themselves they are still fucking exhausting. They talk back and argue with you and ask why why why? Naively I thought that around this age it would so much easier but it's not and I'm tired. In 2 years and 9 months I've had four nights off. That's however many days on call for 24 hours. OVER 12000 days.

And the tiredness is making me crazy. If Lil's dad sighs, I automatically take that as him sighing because he's tired and who the fuck does he think he is being tired, he doesn't know what tired is. And my Dad yawns and I'm like get the hell out of my house you don't know what tired feels like. And my sister yawns and I go heavy night was it? I'll show you a heavy night.

It's making me hateful.

Really, Lil is a dream with her sleeping. She goes to bed at 8pm (on a good night) and wakes up between 7:30 and 8. I'm lucky, I know. And some of you are shaking your head and thinking I don't know what tired is BUT I DO. When I wake up six or seven times in the night to see to her those 12 hours account for sweet FA. And I'm rarely in bed before 11 (either because of chores or not being able to get up from the sofa or, more recently, WERK) and it takes a good hour for my brain to switch off. So I don't get 12 hours sleep. Try six and a half of broken sleep. I'm tired.

Exercise, fresh air, vitamins and coffee. Most days it works but on days like today when nothing works, I'm beside myself.


Monster Painting.

I'm not claiming to be a craft queen because let's face it, I'm not. The sewing machine that my husband bought me two years ago still hasn't been used and the craft cupboard is an absolute shit tip. The thought of play doh colours getting mixed sends my blood cold and Lil mixing paint colours frustrates me (although I am getting better at getting over myself, I promise - proof to follow).

I need to spend more time with her getting crafty because she's very creative and much like her father, if her creativity is stifled she goes a bit crazy. So I dug this book out that was in her Christmas haul and got some inspiration.

Here is the result:

All you need is some paint, a black pen and some googly eyes that you can buy in Wilkinsons for ridiculous money (I'm sure they sell them in your local 99p store too).

Let your child loose with their fingers and the paints and once the picture is dry, let them stick the eyes on and draw the faces (I did the faces because although I'm not as anal as I once was, I still have some mum art standards, or whatever they're called - I can't bear for her art to go to waste, basically, so I often intervene).

And there you have it. Cool art to hang in that gallery of kid artwork you said you'd never have once you found out you were pregnant.

(almost) Sugar free banana bread.

Banana bread is a winner in this house but it never lasts longer than twenty four hours. It's the perfect stodge for these ridiculous winter days but every one I've baked so far, while tasty, is very sweet. I'm trying to cut down on sugar so I googled sugar free banana bread. Dire results. Don't want none of that wholewheat shit, not just yet.

So I took this recipe and adapted it.

285g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
110g butter
1 tbsp honey
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
85ml semi skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small packet of chocolate buttons

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Add bicarbonate soda to flour.
Cream butter and eggs, add honey.
Pour dry mixture into wet and add mashed bananas and milk.
Add chocolate buttons and fold.
Grease loaf tin (I used 8x5) and pour mixture in.

Bake for an hour-ish. Stick a knife in and if the cake doesn't wobble like jelly it's probably done. The knife will always come out smeared because there is mashed banana in the cake. I find it's all about trial and error. Or something.

For me, this was sweet enough. Nowhere near as sweet as the original recipe (I've baked this before) but it's just right. No pictures because it looks like shit (slightly too brown) but trust me on the taste.

You're welcome.