I am extremely proud to have started writing for a fantastic website for mums the Motherload.co.uk. I would love to hear your thoughts on this somewhat sensitive topic of trying to be perfect and failing miserably! X
Hi, I’m Lucy and I have a problem, I like to move the furniture around in my house at least once a month. Now this might not seem like a giant issue in the grand scheme of things however it does at times cause anxiety, stress, back issues and that’s not just for me but my husband too!
We have always worked really well as a team and I am massively lucky that my husband pretty much gives me free reign in the house to style it however I think is best. I, in turn offer him the same privilege with outside space and he does as he pleases with the garden and numerous outbuildings we have accumulated over time (he does love a shed!)
This has at times caused much comedy for our friends as often I don’t know what his next ‘project’ is. Over the years I have come home to a large wood store built entirely of old pallets (a beautiful and clever creation but currently we have no fire to burn them on!) Elaborate designs etched into the grass with one of his many lawn mowers and my personal favourite, the day I went to a training course for work and was picked up by some colleagues to return home and say, ‘it’s the one on the left here’ for my friend to say ‘the one with the skip?’ I can’t imagine the look on my face when I saw for the first time what had only that morning been our driveway that now housed a large skip, giant mounds of mud and a very dirty but happy husband who took the initiative to expand the driveway.
Don’t get me wrong, I am quite sure that he would accuse me of being terribly impulsive with my interior design. He has before now come home to rooms being changed round and the occasional wall painted in an accent colour that he has always taken with good humour (honestly!) He particularly enjoys it when he leaves and a piece of furniture is one colour and comes home and not only has it moved but it also an entirely different colour, sometimes two!
Sadly it’s not just Karl who is at times affected by my need to change the ambience and format of a room. The children often walk in and say, ‘MUMMY! What have you done now?!’ We also have a very lovely cleaner who comes to help out once a week for a couple of hours who I am sure curses me and the movement of my ornaments on an almost weekly basis as she can never quite get used to where they are.
We have always owned many tape measures, so many in fact at one point I was tempted to get rid of some as I don’t think there is a need to have one on every available surface, however over the last year they have slowly disappeared. I now have one of my ideas to move stuff around and need to measure and have to ask Karl for a tape measure. He then makes an awkward face and tries to say he doesn’t know where any of them are, can’t recall the last time he saw one and I had better explain what I want to measure before he looks. I know he knows where they all are and he knows that I know!
This compulsiveness in my interior design comes to the fore at Christmas, particularly in the bit between Christmas and New Year when you look towards a fresh start and the tree starts to look a bit tired. I have hit this in dramatic style today and come up with what I think is a fabulous idea to create a library wall in the living room, a new toy storage and seating system in the boys room and the repurposing of an old chest of drawers into a desk come craft storage system. The issue of course is that I am recovering from major surgery and I can’t actually move anything myself so I will need an assistant. An assistant who doesn’t want me to have the tape measure again.
I will let you know how this latest idea pans out and I will also give you some sort of update on the new car port, fencing and shed system Karl is currently embarking on in our now finished driveway. I think we are both just as bad as each other!
I wasn’t planning on writing much over the festive period and wanted to do a little review of the holidays after the two big days were over however I felt today that I couldn’t leave it. I have to write something about the passing of George Michael.
2016 has truly been a year of loss with some of our planets hugest stars and talents passing away. Last night just as I got into bed I heard the news that George Michael had died peacefully at home aged just 53. I was floored and I actually couldn’t sleep. He was one of the musicians that I have loved since I was small. I am 33 and the days of Wham were around the time I was born and yet I still grew up listening to them.
Only on Christmas Eve we were on a family Christmas Train outing with some best friends and their children and were all singing along to Last Christmas. My boys know it more than any other Christmas song. Who doesn’t recall at some point in their life singing along to that song at Christmas and you can’t deny the emotions it stirs up.
My big sister loved them and she had a video which we watched on an almost continuous basis of all the Wham hits. I remember how much I loved the introduction to Club Tropicana and how rebellious Wham Rap was.
As I got older I began to respect the feeling and thought behind some of the lyrics penned by George Michael. There are lines I have drawn on from songs all the way back to the Wham days that still make me smile and define moments of how hard growing up can be.
We can all recall how gloriously handsome George Michael was and how clean cut he looked, almost like a poster boy of youth and fun. Of course in later life we came to find out that George like so many of us ‘normal’ people had his demons and struggled at times with his emotional and physical wellbeing and sadly in recent times he has been more publicised for this than his amazing and everlasting work.
I always liked him as a celebrity because he never pretended to be perfect, he accepted that he had flaws, struggles and spoke freely of his uncomfortableness at fame and how he wasn’t prepared for what his career had bought him in terms of his private life.
There aren’t many celebrities who will be found getting up to some of the antics that he did and not only get through them without dropping off the planet but write very successful and almost self mocking music about it. His appearance on James Cordons very first Car pool karaoke on Comic Relief was true testament to this.
I didn’t know George personally, I sadly never saw him sing live and the only close story I have is that once he was involved in a car accident with an Uncle of mine and was very grumpy with him when exchanging details and my uncle asked for his autograph!
I have also read about his philanthropy and how he liked to keep it to himself, the small acts of kindness that meant so little to the people he helped. In fact Esther Rantzen has said today that he is one of the bigger contributors to Childline, an amazing children’s charity and yet no one knew because he didn’t want them to.
Doesn’t it just hammer home to us yet again how precious life is and how we really shouldn’t waste any moment. I plan to embrace this ethos fully in 2017 and I hope you will join me.
So part of the soundtrack my growing up and still moving me today, Rest in Peace George and thank you for the music and that voice.
Some of my favourite pearls of wisdom form George and his many amazing songs:
People, you can never change the way they feel, better let them do just what they will (from Kissing a Fool)
The years will come and go, some of us will change our lives, some of us still have nothing to show (from Waiting for that Day)
I never should have looked back, in your direction, I know that, just the same old fights again (from Older)
I guess that cupid was in disguise, the day you walked in and changed my life, I think it’s amazing, the way that love can set you free (from Amazing)
Take me back in time maybe I can forget, turn a different corner and we never would have met, would you care (from A Different Corner)
Wise guys realise there’s danger in emotional ties (from Young Guns)
Make the most of every day, don’t let hard times stand in the way (from Wham Rap)
You put the boom boom into my heart (from Wake me up Before you go go)
Once bitten, twice shy, I keep my distance but you still catch my eye (from Last Christmas)
You take the grey skies out of my way, you make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day (from Wake me up Before you go go)
It’s funny isn’t it when you think about time, we have all these sayings that incorporate it.
‘Time is a great healer’
‘Time and tide wait for no man’
‘Time can change me, but I can’t change time’
We spend so much of our time worrying about where we are meant to be, when we are meant to be there, how we will get there and who will be there when we arrive. This goes for all walks of our lives.
I am a big fan of the ‘this time in the past’ feature on Facebook which gives you snapshots of your memories from that day for years prior. Mine often include the children and my best friends. People who play massive and important roles and who I am truly grateful for.
Time has changed all of us over the last year and it’s that time of year where we reflect on this and what we want for our next year.
My boys have over the last year grown into even bigger boys who have started to eat us out of house and home and have little concept of time and how it works. They want everything now, whether it be information, outings, food and often can’t grasp the things that tend to get in the way such as waiting until daddy gets home from work, waiting for people to arrive, waiting for me to get th new toilet roll (you get the drift!)
That youthful impatience and outlook on the world is so interesting as of course one of the lessons we have to learn as we grow is patience. We can’t have everything now and good things take time.
The wait for Christmas is a classic example of time standing still for little ones, they are desperate for it to be the big day and it’s been what seems like months of waiting and it still isn’t here whereas us grown ups are desperately wishing for a few more days to get the food ready, parcels wrapped and house in order. If you are one of those super organised people not only do I bow at your feet but I also beg you to help me next year!
Time means the same for each and every one of us and yet we all think of it differently.
How do you feel about time today? Are you rushed off your feet or chilling to Christmas music with a chocolate baileys in hand (I’ve embraced the addiction, I thought it was best!)
Whatever you are doing I hope you have a lovely time today and time treats you well.
I have been for around five years now enjoying Instagram, it has been a creative outlet, a place I have made friends, somewhere I can see the joy and happiness people find around them and also to share in life’s varied events, ups and downs and to unite in groups of like minded people.
As most of you who follow my pictures know I love a few things over anything else to take pictures of, one of these things is flowers and the other is my view. Since I was a small child I have loved watching what is going on in the world around me, I draw back the curtains every day and view with wonder. This is wherever I am, at home, on holiday, at work, walking around, you name it!
This is massively reflected in all of the pictures I take of places I see and the world around me. I believe there are almost a hundred pictures in the last year just of the view from the bottom of my garden and the sea at Margate where I work. I get such positive comments from these pictures of my views and it got me thinking.
Life is tough, we are busy, we get stressed, we watch the news and hear of war, terrorist attacks, political unrest and poverty. Sometimes it is hard to just stop and appreciate what is around you. This is what #myhappyviews is about.
A weekly photo tag contest running from Tuesday to Monday with the winner announced on the Tuesday. Your happy view could be anything at all, your children, your family, your home, a rare cuppa, a vista, a quick snap from the car window, let your imagination go free. Tell me about your happy view and why it makes you smile.
The idea is that each week a little prize will be offered to the winner spreading some smiles and highlighting some fab businesses who donate the prizes. We are talking little tokens here but how amazing to say you have won a little something just for sharing something that made you smile?
I have always enjoyed taking part in hashtag galleries and feel that I can thank them for my continued love and progression of my pictures. I hope that the #myhappyviews feed will do the same for others.
I will do a weekly round up and announce my favourite on the blog and on my Instagram page. I would love for you to join in and let me know what you think!
The first week will run from the 27th of December and I will announce the first prize and some more details soon. This will be open to all but the prizes will only be able to be sent to UK addresses.
Hey all, how are you?
So we are on the home straight, the big day is fast approaching, school is nearly out and most of the windows on the advent calendar are open!
I am insanely excited for Christmas as I am every year but I find myself tonight unable to sleep because I’m so excited about an idea I have had.
Now, I’m not going to ruin the surprise just yet but I will be making an announcement quite soon, I can give a couple of hints, it involves Instagram and one of my very favourite kinds of picture.
You can call me mean all you want, you can beg me to tell you but you will have to wait, probably only until tomorrow as I’m terrible at surprises but I hope you will all like the next stage to my blog and Instagram feed.
I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time, effort and energy to read my blog since I started writing it in May this year. I have just overtaken the 1000 follower mark and although such a tiny number to some it means the absolute world to me.
Good night you lovely people and here’s to the big announcement!
I woke up this morning after a crappy day yesterday in so much pain, I hadn’t washed my hair in three days and was thoroughly convinced I smelled.
I really wasn’t with it yesterday and didn’t really leave the bedroom much apart from a couple of small disasters such as running out of biscuits and Leo having lost every pair of scissors we own so trying to assist in locating some so Nate could make 3D stars (takes after his mother!)
When I actually left the bedroom this morning I couldn’t believe my eyes, it appeared that some sort of bizarre micro climate had swept through every other room in the house and a tornado had picked up everything we own and either smashed it to bits or thrown it into another room. Was it a tornado you ask? No it was Nate and Leo, just two small boys with a day off school fuelled with Christmas excitement and a mother recovering from major surgery who slept most of the day. Karl of course was around but in that strange biological mystery that is the difference in genetics between men and women he hadn’t noticed said tornado but apparently enjoyed that new car series Jeremy Clarkson is doing instead of Top Gear!
I found a five pence piece in the plug hole in the bath, red icing on the kitchen floor, empty sweet packets secreted in various corners of the house and some pants on the living room floor. I had a small sense of humour failure, my OCD kicked in and I couldn’t quite process what to do to rectify it all. I decided to try and pick up all the decorations from the Christmas tree but it hurt, I tried to clean the icing off the floor but it hurt so instead I had a cup of tea.
We then had lunch, Nate wouldn’t finish his and when asked to eat the ham in his sandwich he said, ‘you know I’m no meat eater, I would rather be a triceratops’ we then watched a programme about great white sharks at Alcatraz (don’t ask) which Leo said he couldn’t watch as it was far too ‘old school’ for him (he is five) and now I think I will have a little snooze.
Happy weekend you lovely people xx
I read a hilariously funny thread on The Motherload Page on Facebook this morning about a mum who had some choice words to say about Kirstie Allsopp and her home made Christmas programme. The thread turned into such a laugh that I had to stop reading as my post surgery tummy really couldn’t handle it.
This has got me thinking this morning about just how differently we see and think about things as mums. For any of you who haven’t seen it Kirstie has made a series of shows for the last few years about her making and crafting things for Christmas. These have included things such as driftwood trees, garlands, embroidered gifts, homemade chocolates and chutneys and on this weeks show pears dipped in gold leaf and used as place settings. The whole ethos behind it is to lose mass produced expensive gifts for handmade and cheaper unique alternatives.
Now I am a bit of a Kirstie fan and love her ideas of creating things for your home from old peoples junk. I also view this with dreaming eyes as I know I neither have the time or the cash to invest and renovate in old items. However it is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine to watch such shows and come Christmas I do get a real kick out of all the amazing crafts, artisans and ideas that her programme showcases.
In real life I like to do craft, I am a fan of drawing and lettering as you all know and I love a bit of papercraft. This does not mean I am very good at it though and I can recall last Christmas getting very uppity after watching what felt like a million you tube videos on how to fold paper stars and not actually achieving any and making what resembled boomerangs. Karl however tried one and ended up folding a perfect star which I still have on my dressing table now as a reminder of how much I made him laugh pouting as I couldn’t get it right!
I have found this year a way of making cardboard barn stars which not only have I managed but I also really enjoy so now the house resembles the bit in Elf where poor Buddy goes into overdrive making snowflakes. Cooking and baking, I barely get by, crochet and embroidery, I’m more likely to stick a needle in my eye and end up in hospital and things like felt make my teeth go funny when it rubs together and makes that funny noise! Anyway my point is as much as I enjoy watching and looking at such crafts I am no good at them and leave it to the professionals. For me though there is a kind of relaxation or therapeutic element to watching such arts being undertaken.
Some of the comments on the Motherload this morning however spoke of wanting to punch Kirstie, how unrealistic her ideas are and how the money she was spending (gold leaf on a pear for example) would be much better spent on other more important things (like prosecco or chocolate Baileys I thought!) I did note that her own children didn’t take part in the show and she uses other children who do not belong to her and do crafts well and behave impeccably. I imagine this is because she like the rest of us knows that if you try and do anything with your own children they see it as a cue to misbehave, cause merry hell and eat everything in sight. Kirstie is a mum to boys too so she like me will face challenges such as arm wrestles over who gets to eat the most cherries, tears and tantrums over the metallic sharpies and constant games of hide and seek because the scissors have gone missing…… again!
It can be seen as yet another pressure on busy mums at Christmas that not only do you need to buy everything, get it all wrapped and ready and have the kids at home for two weeks you also need to make things yourself and spend countless hours doing so and then delivering them with a smile looking glam and not pissed (because of all the prosecco and Chocolate Baileys!)
Kirstie Allsopp will have at the very least, a team of researchers, a make up artist, a hair stylist, an assistant, a runner, someone who cleans up as she goes, someone who buys the stuff in for her to use and childcare on tap. She is also a famous celebrity who has plenty of cash to spend on gold leaf, artisan chocolate and things that are sold at posh Christmas Fairs. This is clearly not and never will be me, I am just happy if I get a compliment about my cardboard stars and a few likes on Instagram. I don’t think Kirstie wants to pressure us mums into a craft induced anxiety attack she is just doing her thing.
It really doesn’t matter what is under the tree this Christmas but who is sat around it. Whether that be your family, friends, moaning children, sleeping elderly relatives, drunk, sober, on their third bottle of chocolate Baileys or whatever. My point is that we are all bloody amazing and our families and friends are grateful to have us even if they haven’t got a place name marked with gold leaf or nothing but beans on toast for their dinner. Christmas is what we make it, we are who we make ourselves and no amount of gold leaf will do anything about that if we don’t believe it.
I leave you with a quote from Lady Cora from Downton Abbey, ‘You are being tested, and you know what they say my darling, being tested only makes you stronger’.
Hi everyone, how are you all?
Well as you will mostly know I’m back home from the hospital having had my hysterectomy. I’m feeling very tired and in pain but from the second I opened my eyes I felt so much better.
I had read about lots of other women in my position saying the same and I thought it all sounded a bit too good to be true, how can you feel better in such a short time and how does your body know that quickly. Well I was wrong, I feel stronger and better than I have in a long time despite having just been through a major operation.
I’m not going to go on about the whole thing now for a few reasons, one I feel I will write better when I’m a bit more with it, two I don’t want to bore you and three I’m already getting sleepy!
I managed to drive Karl mad this morning by putting the television on at 0500 and watching some programme about security at Australian airports, the boys loved it (particularly the man smuggling birds eggs in his underpants) and he struggled getting them ready for school. I’m now the bad influence parent, the rebel, should be interesting!
Loads of love xxx
So when I was at school, 1995-2002 (yes I am that old!) I went to an all girls grammar school. It was a very good one, high on he league tables, full of amazing teachers and somewhere I could absolutely flourish.
One of the strongest memories of school was that we as women could do anything, we could be whatever we wanted to be and were encouraged to think outside the boxes convention had in the past put us in. I couldn’t tell you just how many conversations I was involved in about what we were going to be when we grew up, what our further education would be, what in the world would we change and how exciting those prospects were. I actually remember once totally judging another girl who said she wanted to be a mother and have a family. I wasn’t thinking about anything like that at that time in my life. My ambition and drive would get me a career way before I had the time to think about marriage and children.
How wrong and misguided I was. Please, please don’t get me wrong every single person in this world should be able to be what they want, who they want, to do what they want to do and to be happy but I also think we should remember that one of the most important and hardest jobs we will do will be to raise others in this world.
I have a career and it is massively important to me, I have worked hard and I have achieved things that make me very proud. I however back in the days of sixth form and dreaming of the life ahead of me would never have read the following job description and even considered applying:
‘WANTED: unpaid vacancy, 24 hour cover, sole responsibility at certain times for small human boss. Always on call, can never be absent without prior planning and permission, ability required to deal with situations under pressure, on demand and with a view to taking a lesser role after an 18 year probationary period however may be longer depending on the needs of the employer. Always financially responsible and expected to assist with all kinds of personal hygiene and bodily fluids.’
It’s funny as I wrote this I had to stop as Leo loudly exclaimed that he needed his bum wiping!
As women we have the ability to rule the world, we are also responsible for raising the future leaders of our world, the people of tomorrow are down to us and that is one hell of a job description. This is course the same for men and women but I do feel like at my school in particular we could have been more open and honest about the fact that although we could do whatever we wanted we also would have another hugely important and massively rewarding job if we chose to and that it would be the hardest, most testing and possibly the one we should be the most respected for in the future.
Just a thought for all for today xx