*Sings* “Hello, hello, how are you?…” Mr Tumble, not now, please I’m having a crisis!

It’s 10pm, I’m reading about post-structuralist feminist theory and the theme tune from Mr Tumble’s Something Special randomly jumps into my head…”it’s good to see you, I say hello…”

ARGH! I think I might be going slowly mad!

Through a mix of determination, counselling and some hilarious failed attempts at mindfulness and meditation (what? you’re not supposed to just crash out asleep on the sofa listening to the CD, it doesn’t work like that, really!?) I had reached a point where most people I met might consider me to be relatively sane and in control of my OCD.  Just blogging about this I’m aware of the stigma, what if someone who doesn’t know this about me reads this?  A few years ago I’d have been mortified, last week I cheerfully told a lady at the swimming pool I had recovered from postnatal depression, didn’t die from embarrassment when Joss threw my knickers at another child and sang the loudest and tuneless of everyone in the group, it’s good for the soul, just putting yourself out there, I’m a while away from donning a ‘I have OCD’ badge but don’t mind so much being honest about my mental health, after all we all have mental health, whether sunny and delightful or occasionally we get a visit from The Black Dog.

So I was starting to feel a bit unhinged, a bit ‘uhoh it’s back’ and a bit anxious, which tends to make me feel hot and ill, nice!  I thought of Mr Chartwell, Rebecca Hunt’s brilliantly conceived of metaphor for Churchill’s depression, creeping Black Pat.  She captures the weightyness so well:

‘I understand that we share a wicked union, and I know the goblin bell which summons you comes from a tomb in my heart. And I will honour my principles, labouring against the shadows you herald. I don’t blench from my burden, but -‘ here he let out a deep breath, laying the glasses down gently – ‘it’s so demanding; it leaves me so very tired. It would be some small comfort to me if I could ask how long I must endure this visit. Please, when do you leave?’

“It’s hard to explain. With Churchill we know each other’s movements, so we have a routine, I guess. I like to be there when he wakes up in the morning. Sometimes I drape across his chest. That slows him down for a bit. And then I like to lie around in the corner of the room, crying out like I have terrible injuries. Sometimes I’ll burst out at him from behind some furniture and bark in his face. During meals I’ll squat near his plate and breathe over his food. I might lean on him too when he’s standing up, or hang off him in some way. I also make an effort to block out the sunlight whenever I can.”

I know why it’s back, trying to do too much and the old rusty brain thinking, hang on, can’t catch up, too many thoughts so it just grinds to a messy halt.  In short, I get a bit lazy, the fight to keep the lights on gets tiring.

A call to self-refer, the words relapse and  obsessive and I’m feeling like I have a safety net in place again.  Mammywoo blogged about the turning on of a light earlier this week, flickering through the dark, ironically I bought a S.A.D lamp later that afternoon fearing the return of winter, dark nights and the dark places we sometimes go to, my brain and I.

A few days on I feel a bit better again, Joss has enjoyed a bit of TV, the world didn’t come to an end because she watched a bit of ITNG whilst I took a few deep breaths, a bit of time with Daddy and the revelation that even if I feel really really shitty her grin stops me in my tracks is a relief, it’s really life enriching this new family life and having someone else depending on me is a huge relief, it’s easier to ask for help and easier to seek support when you have someone so dependent on you that you can’t go off the rails, however tempting.

So for today I feel OK, a good coffee, a spot of retail therapy and a grin from my man and girl are keeping me going.

 

Fabulous Fashionistas

“Just don’t wear beige, it might kill you!”

I would have totally discounted this TV show, it sounded like it was going to be one of those reality TV fashion shows but I did a double take when I saw the listing and am really glad I did!  Did you see it?

I think Channel 4 do some really promising documentaries, and this was definitely substantial as well as stylish.  The notion that you have an identity and a valued sense of self at 70, 80, 90+ has been quietened in favour of the ‘little old lady’ and these feisty ladies were keen to campaign and fight back, they have a voice and they want to be seen as well as heard!

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Jean’s turn to working in fashion at the age of 70 was so refreshing and I loved that Channel 4 let this play out without seeing these women as eccentric or kooky, they were simply loving life and embracing all of its colour instead.  Gillian’s wise parting words on ageing…”Don’t let it in!” was triumphant, spirited and left me feeling uplifted, inspite of lifes knocks and turns all six women were determined, words like campaigner, artists, fashionable and humourous are not only the domain of the young, and this programme was a breath of fresh air.

 

 

Little feet one year on…Small Steps Amazing Achievements

Looking at the fridge display of artwork today and I can’t believe it’s almost been a whole year since Joss created her first piece of artwork!  She was just 5 months old when we did this at baby group together.  At the time, the words ‘soon they will wear two little shoes’ seemed far far away in the distant future, but how time has flown since then!

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Early evening walks

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I love where we live, lots of greenery and the nicest walk, a 25 minute round trip at its shortest, part of a coast to coast route at its longest,taking in a pretty little marina with small boats and lots and lots of wildflowers.

I always like to stop and look at the big colourful cable wheels, and recently we picked over 1kg of blackberries, now frozen, over a week of evening walks.

We try to do this every night, and twice a day at weekends, this walk is where Alex proposed, where we’ve planned, sometimes rowed and dreamed.

It’s at the top of our street, we live in a small flat – but look at our garden!

I honestly wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world!

Nappykind Boutique Baby Legwarmers Giveaway!

It’s really taken a turn into Autumn this week don’t you think?!  We’ve been digging out some of the warmer clothing and winter woolens and I have started to pick up Joss’ crochet scarf again in the hope I’ll have it ready for her to wear when it gets really cold!  Legwarmers are a must under trousers on the colder darker nights too, especially as we’re still doing our early evening walk and noticing the leaves are starting to turn.

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Following my post earlier this week reviewing Nappykind Boutique’s baby legwarmers they have kindly offered three lucky blog readers a pair of babylegs each.  You can see more of the funky designs on offer at Nappykind Boutique on their website at http://www.nappykindboutique.co.uk/ 

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To enter the giveaway do the following to obtain entries:

1.Follow Nappykind Boutique on twitter for one entry
2. For a second entry like their Facebook page
3. For a third entry leave a comment below to tell me what you would use the leg warmers for (eg to wear in a sling, protecting knees when crawling, arm warmers etc) and say whether you’d like leg warmers for a girl/boy/or unisex (leave your FB and Twitter name so I can check if you want extra entries too)

Entries close at Midnight on 30th September and winners will be informed via the blog on 1st October (and by email)

Open to UK only

Winners will be selected via Random.org and Nappykind Boutique are responsible for delivering the prize

What’s the story?

What's the story?

Paris 2011, on honeymoon, I have long been a lover of French Macarons and we set out to find one of the many Laduree shops in Paris. We actually saw four in our time there, each one more luxurious than the last, all pastel colours, rose fragrances and pretty boutiques, it was pure Paris to me! I was restrained and bought just a small box, my favourite is the salt caramel, mouthwatering, I thoroughly recommend the Earl Grey too though, and the strawberry, and the coffee, the pistachio and the…

Ok, ok, I want ALL the sweets!

A Nappykind review and our lighthearted top tips for cloth bum babies and mums!

I received a 20% discount from Nappykind http://www.nappykindboutique.co.uk towards Joss’ new babylegs, all views and creative direction of this post are my own.

Joss and I have been using cloth nappies since she was old enough to fit the birth to potty styles, so since she was ten weeks.  We often get a lot of interest when out and about, we also do a lot of mythbusting, so thought we’d share our top tips for cloth bum babies and mums.  This is the first post in a series on cloth bum babies.

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1) Seems like a minefield of brands and styles?  There are people out there who can help you!

You could find out about your local nappy library (I know, like for borrowing books, but fluffy, how good is that?!) here http://nappynetwork.net/nappy-library-map/ . I like coffee, and Joss likes cake, so we like to go to our local Nappuccino, Cappuccino, Nappucino, see what they did there?!  Many libraries or Real Nappy Advisors run them on a monthly basis, so you can get advice, chat to other cloth bum mums and as I did recently, get support when your little one has a teething rash and you have had offers of hundreds of different creams to use!  When I’m not working we go to a local one.

2) Save yourself some pennies and do some of the legwork yourself

We had a lot of poly-fleecy baby blankets that Joss had outgrown.  Fleece makes a great nappy liner, it wicks the moisture away from baby’s skin and is really absorbent, if you’ll excuse the TMI but I call a spade a spade, the poo just flicks off down the toilet and it’s a lot less wasteful than paper liners.  We try not to use disposable liners unless childcare necessitates, instead we make our own fleece liners cutting a template to the size of your nappy brand you can get lots of funky coloured liners for free in our case, or the £2 cost of a cheapo blanket.  Do tell the grandparents if you’ve just popped a virulent red in as this caused a bit of alarm until closer inspection revealed a cheeky monkey!  If you use disposable liners and you need to put a lot of nappy cream on as we have of late a fleece liner gives your nappies better protection too!

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3) Think about clothing for a big cloth bum

Many brands offer ‘a cut for cloth’ range for a big cloth bum.  We’ve found two some simple things invaluable, vest extenders and babylegs.  Vest extenders help accommodate a cloth nappy at night, meaning we save more as we don’t need to move up into the next size vests so often, most baby stores and nappy advisors sell them.  Babylegs are something that we really like.  They are so simple but effective.  Babylegs are baby leg warmers, they keep babies legs warm in a sling, unlike tights which can cause pressure wicking around nappy legs they are cut to the top of the leg, and when potty training (which is looking likely as Joss keeps loudly announcing ‘poo’ and ‘weeweewee’ in cafes) they are easier than rushing to pull tights and trousers down!

We recently took up Nappykind Boutique’s kind offer of a 20% blogger discount on babylegs, great as we were about to look for more to see us through the winter!  These funky mustard yellow ones are super soft and super warm.

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To add to my list of benefits above here are some more from the packaging:

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An added bonus for you thrifty mamas?  Not just for babies they can be used for older children and once outgrown they can use them as arm warmers too!

We’re really pleased with the quality of the babylegs stocked by Nappykind, they’re really stretchy, a good fit for my tall girl and come in a wide range of styles and colours.

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The postage offered by Nappykind is really reasonable and the leg warmers arrived quickly!  The only problem we had was that the washing/care directions on the packaging were in Japanese which I thought was rather fun, I did a bit of googling and we gathered they could be washed up to 40 degrees and tumbled too!

4) Sunlight is your friend

People always ask about whether poo goes in the machine and how I feel about that!  Until weaned a baby’s poo is really water soluble, once weaned the poo flicks off the liner and the nappy gets washed as normal.  Sometimes you do get a bit of staining, especially if you have a big stash of nappies and you want to wait a day or two between washes.  This is where the magic of sunlight comes in, rain or shine get the nappies on the line and the sun will help to gently bleach them out!  Follow the washing directions on your own nappies, they vary across brands and materials, i.e. microfibre, bamboo etc and be conservative about detergent usage, a little goes a long way and you want to avoid detergent building up.  We use Totsbots Potion, there are others on the market and many Mams use an ordinary detergent.  You will develop your own wash rinse routines as we have over the past year.  Oh and if you find a small plump raisin in the rim of your washing machine door, do not be alarmed, we sometimes have escapees too!

5) Want to save more money and the planet?  Wash your wipes

Opt for washable wipes, you’re washing the nappies anyway, this is a big saver and great for a sensitive bum.  I use just plain water and wet them as we go, others soak a stash for the day with a few drops of essential oils.  You could buy a washable wipes kit, you could also just use flannels as a friend of mine who got 5 towel bales as wedding gifts does!