Category Archives: Non

Gonna dress you up in my love In my love

Yep, my spending ban went out the window a while ago and I’m not sure why. I have never really been into fashion or shopping but damn the ease of online shopping and all the pretty clothes the people I follow on Instagram wear.

I must admit though that I fear my shopping habit maybe a smidgen out of control and as such I have reigned my self in entirely, I think it has to do with not feeling very well or happy, new clothes cheer me and maybe it allows me to be someone else, just for the first few moments I put a new item on, someone who is capable and wears nice clothes….a proper grown up who is in control.

Realistically aren’t we all just waiting to be “found out” for the “no idea what we are really doing” frauds? Crikey, I digress, this is about clothes not psychoanalysis.

So this is a round-up of what I thought proved  rather popular this summer,

Bardot tops, and dresses – so pretty and feminine but not for me, big busted. But how gorgeous is this.

This was the year of the pom-pom and the tassel for interiors, clothes and accessories. I coveted many colorful pom pom embellished bags and sandals but didn’t succumb, however I did cave in to my desire and bought these tassel earrings on Amazon.

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My partner seems to think look rather odd, admittedly when I wear them I do feel a bit of a fashion fraud, perhaps more of a Pat Butcher than the ever stylish Erica Davies I was going for. So I have ordered a few other sets fron the lovely Alice’s Wonders, see below, for my upcoming holiday. I think I can carry these off.

Boho dresses were big news, Next did a good line aside Zara, see below, but not really my thing, I am rather small in stature and feel a little mumsy in mid length blousy things though I do love them.

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Zara £59.99

Yellow was a popular colour, remember ‘that’ yellow M&S dress. If it’s good enough for Vogue…I dabbled by buying a long-sleeved blouse but am always so worried about looking jaundiced so that was about as daring as I got.

French market baskets and the round straw hand bags were everywhere, often seen filled with pink peonies casually placed in a beautiful stylish kitchen. Despite being so summery I just couldn’t justify the purchases as I have many bags and a few baskets already.

 

Slogan tees continued their reign with feminist slogans leading the way, as it should be! I got a few from Girl vs Cancer, I went for one saying “Lady Lumps”, Love4Grenfell(see Lu modelling it below) where all profits go to those who are victims of the fire. This is a place very close dear to me as that tower was my first ever home. and Topshop.  The feminist slogan was having a real moment, and not one that will end I hope.

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My only issue being the sizing as a big boobed lady a round neck isn’t very flattering hello mono boob, a v neck is much nicer, but not very available in this genre of t-shirt. And to fit my bobs in I ended up with Large sizes, so the t-shirts ended up as rather short dresses, not the casual wear with jeans number I had envisaged, and as my Instagram told me it should be but i love them none the less.

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Love4Grenfell £10 plus P&P

Turns out good old Marks & Spencer was my go to shop this summer, with a smattering of Next, Topshop and H&M. I also couldn’t resist a few dresses in the Zara sale. I chose Gingham, which also made an appearance this summer.

Now who are these ladies of impeccable fashion taste that I follow, well here they are

The Fashion Lift

The Edited

The Frugality

Chloe Loves to Shop

Little Spree

Violet and Percy  This blog/shop has an emphasis on lifestyle and interiors but occasionally you get a peek at Flora’s outfits and they are always great, so much so that I saw her wearing a pair jeans in a recent post and they looked so amazing that I asked where they were from and immediately bought them all with in a 5 minutes of her photo appearing, isn’t social media super?. In case you were interested they were the High Rise Wide Leg Jeans from Gap which are now on sale, completely out of my comfort zone but I adore them.

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I really looking forward to what Autumn/Winter brings in the world of fashion and am so pleased I have discovered these woman who inspire me. For the first time ever, in all of my 43 years, I am thoroughly enjoying buying new clothes and trying new styles.

 

 

Lucky that my breasts are small and humble So you don’t confuse them with mountains

My name is Miriam and I have rather large breasts, they can make my back ache, my shoulders can hurt from the straps and they cost a small fortune in bras. However, I know that this doesn’t have to be the case all the time and properly fitting bras and undies can make the world of difference to posture, mood and attitude. Added to these reasons is the fact that after 43 years I have learned to love my breasts. I no longer view them negatively, as the cause of great uncomfortableness due excessive male attention and cat calling, non stop bouncing when moving in excess of a fast walk, the need to buy tops 3 sizes larger than my bottom half, they are not horrid appendages that I cover up but are part of me, and right now I really like me. So in celebration I recently cleared out all of my old underwear and repurchased nice new properly fitting bras and knickers, lots of them. Out went the bras that sort of fit but I kept having to heave them up to avoid the 4 boob situation and out went the knickers with holes in as well. My boob size has whizzed up after being on such a large amount of meds, bloating, steroid weight gain etc, but despite having lost some of the gained weight my boobs firmly remain a 36G (see feature pic where my cup size would fit me as a hat). It wasnt cheap by any stretch of the imagination. But I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who was so fed up of listening to me complain about my uncomfy bras that he gifted it all to me. I shopped online at both Bravissimo and Figleaves, sticking with the brand Freya for sets and some Panache knickers.

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Same as above but in Sand

 

If you are bra buying then I would highly recommend Rigby and Peller, the Regents Street branch, the staff are a delight to encounter and the bras spectacular. You don’t get physically measured they look at your boobs and make their prediction, and they are always right, but I can no longer afford £80 plus for a bra though they are wonderful.

John Lewis are my general go to for measuring and fitting, good array of D+ bras, excellent service and very informative. But when I was pregnant the lady flatly refused to let me have an underwired bra……she clearly did not know the agony of carrying around these puppies and a huge tummy, I am only 5ft 2 (and a half). I ended up with a big mono boob, sweaty and vile, for the whole pregnancy. I should have just bought what I wanted but it was my first (and only that lasted more than 12 weeks) pregnancy. What did I know!!

Bravissimo are also rather good. In fact they were, and remain, the company who are dedicated to larger busted ladies, their clothes range is wonderful too, though a little out of my price range. I particularly like the fact that in each dress size they also specify Curvy, Really Curvy or Super Curvy in order to accommodate boob size. Their motto is “Clothing designed with your boobs in mind.” The fit is excellent, I have a three of their dresses that I bought a few years ago for weddings.

I have had terrible experiences at Marks and Spencer’s when it come to bra fittings, at multiple stores, such a shame. I have also found that their plain cotton knickers just don’t seem to be as well wearing as they used to, the material also seems a little thiner.

As I now live in the sticks and have no desire to schlep into London on the weekend since I do it for work all week, I have taken to measuring myself, and quite sucessfully, though be warned, the same bra size in different brands can come up significantly different. I found this out a few years ago when I was first measured at Rigby and Peller. This is mainly why I stick to Freya, they are true to size, exceptionally comfortable, pretty, not those huge matronly looking things that used to be the only options, and they are reasonably priced. I orderd some Panache bras in the same size and they were simply huge, so back they went.

I also sleep in a bra, yes, an underwired one. It is so uncomfortable for me not too. But I also have a couple of lycra bra tops I sleep in though admittedly the support isn’t as good.

Having spent a small fortune I decided to look after the bras properly, this involves hand washing them every 2 or 3 wears with a liquid for delicates. I’m going to get as much use of these comfy perfect garments as possible.

I must add that it is a mystery to me that, when I already have such a large chest, so many bras in my size are essentially padded. I have no desire to minimise my chest size but neither do I wish to enhance it with an additional bulky layer. But each to their own.

And I wonder if you know How it really feels to be left outside alone

Duvet days

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Baby Lulu helping Mummy out with the guest list at Fabric

A friend of mine from Instagram recently posted the following quote ‘main caption above recently. She is a fellow spoonie, a fellow endurer of autoimmune disease and chronic pain and fatigue. Her post got me thinking a lot about how being so unwell really changes ones relationships in a way that can be really hard to deal with, from both sides. I spend my time either at work or at home, there are no other destinations for me these days. I am too tired, too sick, in too much pain. This is not how it used to be. I have spent half a life time working in clubs, I am a naturally sociable and curious person, I like being out and about, meeting people, talking, eating out. Having fun.

If I thought having baby might curtail these activities (it didn’t really, my ex husband and I just let Lu slot into our lifestyle, with a few less ‘out until at dawn’ scenarios) then it had nothing on that the impact developing fibromyalgia had on my life.

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Pimms in Nottinghill

I understand that at times friends don’t ask me to go places because they know I won’t be able to and I imagine that they don’t want to put pressure on me or make me feel bad when I decline. I cannot cope without rest, lots of rest, so that does put a stop to evening afterwork shenanigans. This has also meant that I don’t make plans anymore, ever because I have had to cancel at the last minute more often than not as my illness varies greatly day to day, I could be fine one day and then barely able to walk the next. I hate hate hate feeling like I have let people down so now I just don’t make any plans. I spend my evenig and weekends with my mum and my daughter. I know it probably isn’t hugely healthy, that I should be with friends, to let off steam, chat, be ‘me’ but we don’t always get to do what we want. I know I am doing my best.

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Lunch at the Oysterage in Orford, Suffolk

I’m not trying to do anyone a disservice, maybe the people who don’t ask me just don’t wat t see me, I can accept that! But for those who do like me, it is really important for me to still be asked to spend time with you, it makes me feel valued and wanted and all those things we are never meant to rely on other people for but we do. Each time a friend invites me to do something, knowing that I will probably say no or cancel at the last minute, it makes me feel really included which is so important when one has an illness that can be so debilitating and isolating.

So please, if you have a friend who is unwell, be it depression or any other illness, please remember, when they say no to an invitation, don’t be hurt, don’t vow to not bother again, it matters that you asked, it matters so so much.

 

Let’s find a cozy nook Beside a babbling brook

I haven’t really wanted to write for the last few weeks. Every day brings more awful news and no words I have can do the events justice, so I have done the sensible thing and remained quiet. However, Lulu and I did have a lovely little mini break a short while ago and I wanted to write about that, particularly now as it brings me very happy memories.

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Huge deck chairs

As a single mum I am the one that makes Lu do all the boring unfun things like homework, and going to bed and brushing her tangled hair. She witnesses the mundanity of domestic life on the weekend , when we can spend time together, as I work full-time the week nights are pretty much, homework, bath, bed. However she recently asked if we could go away to a hotel, just her and me. I have no idea where the thought came from but it sounded like a great plan, a mini break for us both. Away from the distractions of boring home life.

I needed somewhere close by so the drive didn’t exhaust me, also as I won’t drive when I have taken my painkillers so I was limited distance wise. I was originally quite taken with the Cotswolds, about an hour and half from our home. Cute little villages, just right for a stroll,  a place that did good food so we didn’t have to fend for ourselves but as my online search continued I came across the The Great House at Sonning in Berkshire and the plan changed. It was perfect, on the river, beautiful looking rooms, lovely restaurant menu, a bar with loads of sofas for pre dinner cocktails and a luscious looking deck chair strewn lawn leading down to the river. I managed to nab the last room on the Saturday night I wanted and opted for the more expensive river view room (£180) as a treat for us. It is also worth noting that at the moment there is no two night minimum stay at the weekend which makes it a much more affordable option for a jaunt away. I also requested that a bouquet of flowers be left in the room for Lulu as it was our first mini break together and I wanted to spoil her, the lady on the end of the phone was incredibly helpful and indeed the bouquet from Sonning Flowers (£30) that we arrived to was perfect for a 6-year-old girl. I booked dinner for the evening and breakfast the next morning, having discussed my Coeliacs disease requirements (gluten free food). The lady I spoke with was completely unfazed by my food requirements and that is always a good sign, much better than the ‘you’re what?’. An immediate anxiety attack follows that comment.

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Lu was particularly taken the picture of the stag, there were more lining the hallways

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Bathroom of dreams…those tile though

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My favourite part of a hotel room? the air conditioning or fan

I dropped the mini sausage dog off with my partner, dogs are allowed – woohoo – but I wanted to give Lulu my undivided attention, and he gave us a lift to the hotel as I was flagging a bit. We arrived for check it at about 3.30pm, the weather was picture perfect, sunny and blue skies. Check in was painless and we took our bags up to our room which was just as lovely as the website photos and the best bit? A fan in the room. Lu was thrilled, a massive bed, the big tv, a lovely spinning desk chair, a shiny bathroom with a shower so big that lu could lie on the bottom and present to swim. There were also jars of sweets, biscuits and fresh milk in the fridge.

Lu is as impatient as I am and after admiring the room and opening the windows off we went to explore the bar. At this point I must say that out room was over what turned out to be the resultant and outside dining terrace so there wasn’t much of a river view, save a sliver in the distance if you stood up tall, and the noise of the customers kept me awake during the night as it was so hot I kept the windows open, however I was so disturbed that eventually I relented and closed them. I did mention this to reception when I checked out so do be mindful where your room is. The other half of the building over looked a second beautiful lawn leading down to the river that is used for private functions though you may run the risk of being kept awake by the tradition wedding disco.

 

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I had the very same ballet bag when I was little

The bar and restaurant is called the Coppa Club and seems to manage to be all thing to all men very well. A lovely chrome bar with stools and an amazing cocktail and wine list. Comfy sofas for lounging and there are beautiful old paper backs scattered around for you to browse. As Lu and I sat at the bar drinking lemonade and drawing in her colouring book the rest of the bar consisted of ladies lunching, people working on laptops, families and couples drinking Pimms. Lu decided we needed to move to the beautiful velvet sofas and I took the opportunity to confirm our dinner booking and my gluten free status. After a while we ventured out onto the lawn with our drinks and relaxed in the deck chairs, listening to the music playing at just the right volume for me, people watching and admiring all the dogs in attendance. There was a bar outside which  had a BBQ going should you be minded. Lu was not a fan of the deck chairs and made us move twice. I add that the place was packed, we were lucky to get seats. There was also a wedding reception taking place on the next lawn, the bride was having photos taken by the river and she looked gorgeous. Lu loves a bride, I think she is quite taken with the ‘princess’ concept. So we admired her for a while and then decided to get dinner early. The restaurant staff were utterly charming. We were seated by the open doors to the terrace with was perfect as it was still so warm. Our waitress talked me though the menu and Lu got her own menu. We both opted for streak and chips. I had a crab linguine to start, Lu went off kids menu and had broad bean and feta humus – not a hit with her. However our mains more than made up for it, they were absolutely delicious. Mine came with huge grilled mushrooms and Lu and I cleared our plates. She drank a coke, which she had been looking forward to since I had made the booking, such treat for her (mean mummy) and I had a Seedlip and Fentimans tonic. Seedlip is a delicious non alcoholic spirit, a bit like gin. It was delicious, icy cold and refreshing. A fantastic substitute for alcohol, I gave up drinking over 3 years ago, but there is only so may elderflower presses that a gal can drink.

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Outstanding food and such good prices

Pudding for Lu was ice cream and for me a butterscotch pot with salted caramel. It was sensational, Lu and I were literally fighting over the empty shot glass it had come in. I shall be asking for the recipe. Then Lu wanted a cuddle so clearly it was time to go to bed. We had a fabulous shower, with the most enormous rain shower head I have ever seen. Then into bed to watch Over the Hedge on the iPad.

After a less than restful sleep – see note above about room location – but  superbly comfortable bed we awoke to the horrible news about the Tower Bridge and Borough Market attacks. I made a few phone calls to ensure that everyone I knew in the area was ok and since it was plastered across the TV and had the great pleasure of explaining to Lu, in language that will not terrify a six-year-old, that again, after the Manchester Area ‘fire’ some people have done some very bad things and some people had been hurt. We then called nanny, who live in Greenwich to make sure she was ok and for Lu to tell her all about the incident.

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Breakfast on the terrace, we felt so sophisticated

The sun was blazing so we had breakfast on the terrace. There was no porridge which Lu had been looking forward to – though she never eats it at home – so being my child she ordered a plate of bacon and a fresh strawberry cocktail. I had a salad of watermelon with yoghurt, lime and coconut which was fantastic, and of course – coffee. The terrace was extremely comfortable, cushions, throws, anything you could want. We had let time get way from us while we were watching the news and so packed up quickly after breakfast and lazed around on the lawn again, this time on bench which Lu much preferred and waited until we were collected and whisked off of a lovely family lunch.

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Lu dressed as Dorothy. She loves a dress up outfit

The other slight disappointment, apart from the noisy room, was that the hotels website picture gallery showed children river swimming and Lu and I were rather excited by this, we even brought our swim suits. However, when I asked at reception they said they hadn’t heard of anyone swimming in the river, I had to bring up their website on my phone to show then the photos but still nothing.

 

As a complete aside, and by a very strange coincidence, I have actually been to that hotel twice before when it was in its old form, both times with my ex husband, for a huge family birthday party and then for a family wake. It had not occurred to me it was the same place until we turned not the car park, small world huh?

The Great House underwent a huge refurbishment last year and looks nothing like it did.

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One of the many cute dogs we encountered

Lulu and I had a wonderful time, all the staff were simply delightful and made us feel so welcome, we even go smiles and waves as we left the car park. I would go back and stay in a heartbeat. I am very envious of the locals, they get to pop in whoever they want. However, it does seem to be a great place to hold a wedding……

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Saturday night at the movies

Well actually it’s a Friday night and the film is watched at home…

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I am one of those people who can never decide if I like routine in life or if that gets too dull and I need to mix it up a bit. So, I have come to the conclusion that having a few traditions is nice but too many makes life feel prescribed. The beauty of having Lu is that I can now start to invent lovely new family traditions for her and me, probably a reaction to my somewhat flux filled childhood, but whatever the reason one of the things that Lu and I do together is our Friday Film Night.  She chooses the film, but to avoid having to watch the same Barbie film each week I usually preempt it by ordering a film from Amazon that I can bear to watch happily. This means that I can revisit some of my childhood favorites. Recent screenings have included- Labyrinth (when Bowie died), Pinnochio – which neither of us liked, Despicable Me 2 – again, The Secret Life of Pets, Finding Dory, Top Dog – a dreadful American childrens film about a sausage dog race which I may be forced to ‘lose’ lest she makes me watch it again. There has also been a variety of Barbie films (I bought a box set, I know!) which aren’t that bad really. My GP told me that Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses was her favorite (most bearable) when her kids were little, I love my doctor.

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I  make popcorn (in the microwave, I’m not that good) and I order those cardboard cinema popcorn boxes online so we have the whole experience but before the popcorn Lu and I have a bubble bath together, get into our pyjamas, light some candles and light the open fire if it is chilly. Then have a little carpet picnic made up of all the things she has requested that I buy from M&S on the way home from work. Usually hummus, carrots, chorizo slices, cherry tomatoes and crisps. As Friday is also Lulu’s Sweetie day (mean mummy, sweets only on the weekend) we usually end up with Percy Pigs too. It is the best time, I relish it, and she is always so excited about Fridays because of it.

If I am having a bad day illness wise and am just too tired and overwhelmed we get into my lovely super king size bed and watch the film on my TV or the IPad, and have our little picnic there. No damn illness is going to spoil my time with my baby.

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A slight caveat; Lulu now does Beavers on a Friday night from 6-7.15pm so we have a Saturday or Sunday Movie Night instead. But never fear, she still gets her sweets on a Friday.

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Sometimes I let my mum join in…

This is it, this time I know it’s the real thing

No, this isnt about love, its about something far more important. My PhD. I wrote a little while ago about having to give it up after many years of planning and one short term at uni. At the beginning of this year my Supervisor sat me down and did some honest talking – my favourite kind. I really wasn’t well enough to get all the required work done and was already behind – arghhh, so she said “Take some time off, get better, come back and start again.” So I listened to her. I wept a bit, but I completely agreed. In fact I was so distraught that I went for a run – I know!!!! Clearly I was out of my mind with sadness and confusuion..

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Just wanted to post cute pics of my puppy

The idea was always to start again this September but I must be honest and say that there have been many times when I felt that it would be impossible, that I wasn’t really improving very much health wise and that I would never be able to do it. I want to be realistic and I feel a little pressurised, all self inflicted. If I started again in September and it doesn’t work out and I have to give up again it will be the absolute end, I just won’t be able to muster the energy to contemplate a third attempt.

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Sleepy puppy

But I am feeling a little improved and being realistic this may be the best I ever get health wise, it could get worse or better but I can only deal with the here and now. So I had a chat with my liver Consultant, who I have been seeing for may years, and he said “just do it, it will be fine”, so I emailed my Supervisor last week and said “please have me back” and she said “of course”.

I have no idea what will happen between  now and September but at the moment I am feeling really really excited about going back to uni. Of course I shall still be working full time, I am still a single mum but that is all fine with me, I’ve taken those things into account, it will be hard, it would be for a completely well and able person, but I am ready. Now, if only I hadn’t spent all my refunded fees money on clothes and expensive candles to cheer myself up!

Ps The images of Livia. my mini sausage, has nothing to do with the content of this post but who doesn’t love a cute puppy picture?

Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?

As a lawyer I am very familiar with the ‘clean break’ theory that is trotted out when discussing divorce but obviously when one had children, providing all is well with both parties, then this is just not possible, financially or personally.

So where does that leave the grown ups? In general, and as far as can be expected, my relationship with my ex husband regarding Lucia is pretty much based on reading from the same hymn sheet. However since she lives with me and he moved an hour and half away there are some decisions that I make for Lu that aren’t going to go in his favor but realistically someone will inevitably lose in situations like this on occasion.

I have no interest whatsoever in my husbands life, beyond his relationship with Lucia. Of course his health is important to me as he needs to be able to look after Lu but we aren’t friends, it isn’t how he wants the relationship to work despite my suggestions and that is fine – kind of. Being honest, I still find it odd that he can walk out on me after 14 years and feel ok about throwing all that history and shared experiences away, but each to their own.

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A few weeks after my ex husband left

But (isn’t there always a but?) recently my ex husband’s girlfriend of 4 years broke up with him. This was further complicated by the fact that he lived with her and her two young children. This of course had a knock on effect on Lulu which of course had a knock on effect on me. When did life get so complicated? That my ex husband’s break up should effect me in any way is ridiculous but of course Lulu was very upset as her dad was moving out of the house she stayed in with him, his home. Also the fact that she wasn’t going to see her dad’s girlfriend’s children anymore all added to making her feel very unsettled and I was left picking up the pieces. Through gritted teeth mind, muttering “for fucks sake hasn’t this six year old had enough disruption?” grrrrr. Next came Lucia’s expectation that now her father was single he would be moving back in with us. She was utterly heartbroken when I explained that wasn’t going to be happening as that wasn’t what her father wanted. Lucia’s distress and the tears she cried while I cuddled her broke my own heart all over again. It truly feels so bloody unfair.

 

Everywhere I am there you’ll be

I had an awful dream this week. I was about four months pregnant and my waters broke and I knew that I would lose the baby but I went about my everyday life. Not able to accept the inevitable but being so so sad as I knew it was hopeless and the loss felt overwhelming. I thought if I can keep the baby inside me everything will be okay and none of this is real.

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Didn’t think she would make it through the night, day 5 after she was born

And the reason this was so realistic and horrible is because I had lost a number of babies before I was luckily enough to have my daughter, Lucia. With each of those pregnancies I got a little further along before the sonographer said ‘I’m really sorry I can’t find a heart beat’. When I was pregnant with Lucia my waters broke at 28 weeks and while I thought ‘oh, how lovely we will be able to take our baby home later today, earlier than planed but hey ho’, Not able to accept that really it was unlikely she would live and really I thought that this was just another pregnancy that was a little further along than the others and that realistically I would probably have another number of miscarriages before we actually managed to carry a baby to full term, ridiculous huh?.  As if that is how it works, that you get a bit further along each time you are pregnant until you hit the magic 40 week mark. But my 28 weeker did live, nine week in intensive care and then we could take her home,

With miscarriages, or in my experience anyway, once you are told your baby no longer has a heart beat you can wait for ‘nature to take its course’ and expel the baby or you can have an operation to have it removed. They do these ops on specific days of the week so you carry your dead baby inside you for at least a few days. These are only really options with early miscarriages. I know this sounds disturbing to some but to me I wanted to keep my baby inside me as long as possible, keeping it safe. I didn’t drink during my pregnancies but when I knew the babies had died I could have a drink if I wanted but the act of swallowing that first sip of wine felt so final, that when I took that sip it was acknowledging that the baby I was carrying was dead.

And then this week, a few days after my dream, a Facebook memory popped up of me at a cousin’s wedding a few years ago (see main picture). It was a few days after I had found out I was pregnant with my first baby and I was so thrilled. Little did I know that a few weeks later I would be in A&E bleeding and then a few weeks later being told ‘I’m really sorry…’.

Maybe subconsciously I had remembered that this time of year is the anniversary of my first pregnancy, I don’t know, but it made me feel sad. I always feel sad when I think of my lost babies, it make me weep, that never changes. The passage of time has enabled me to be able to not wake up crying even morning, to not cry every time I see a new born baby in the street, but the intensity of the pain in my broken heart doesn’t change however it no longer stops me in my tracks.

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The day Lucia came home after 9 weeks in intensive care

I wholeheartedly believe that having Lucia has helped me deal with my grief hugely. I am grateful every day that I am lucky enough to have her, she isn’t a replacement for my lost babies, but for me I knew that the only thing that would help me after losing my babies was to have a baby in my arms. This isn’t the same for all people, I know this. I wanted to try and get pregnant again as soon as I had physically recovered from the operations but my ex husband was reticent, he thought I needed to psychologically recover first but I was desperate, I wanted/needed a baby. Getting pregnant was never a problem, usually happened with in the first two months of trying. Keeping them alive inside me was the problem. I found great comfort in the people and forums on social media I encountered who were going through  the same thing. Whenever someone got pregnant you wished them luck and hoped that they had a #stickybean.

So, am I feeling nostalgic as a friend has commented? yes, I think I am, but not in a ‘wasn’t that a wonderful time, if I only I could relive it’, but in a ‘goodness wasn’t that a painful time in my life, and my, it still hurts now.’ I will be mindful of my self, look for signs that I am getting depressed and address them should they appear. But right now I am just a little wistful, wondering what the babies would have looked like, missing them and grieving them still, as I shall always do.

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Now its just Lulu and me, her daddy left when she was two. She is my hope, my reason and my love. xxx

Starfish and coffee Maple syrup and jam

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It’s a 2 coffee kinda morning

Last week I posted a photo of two mugs of coffee I had on the train to work which I captioned “Its a 2 coffee kinda morning” and I got a comment from a friend of mine, Helen, a super solicitor, we worked at the same law firm in London. She suggested the unthinkable ‘Have you thought of giving up coffee?’ as she had done so a few years ago and felt much better for it. She did acknowledge that it may be a step too far for me! Wise woman.

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I wish I could remember where this was??

But I did give it some thought. I know it has caffeine in and is generally believed to be not very good for you to have too much but I just can’t think of not having it. I don’t just down coffee for its energy giving benefits, I genuinely love it. I look forward to having my first cup everyday with great excitement (maybe I need to get out more?). I tweet with some lovely coffee aficionados such as @BrianCoffeeSpot and when I go on holiday I always research the local coffee shops in order to find the good ones and make a point of trying them out. Also, since I no longer drink alcohol, meeting for a coffee is a treat and a lovely way to conduct my social life. I realize that one could order a different drink and on the days that I am feeling a bit coffeed out I have Earl Grey tea. Mainly because I am so ridiculously fussy about the tea I drink. It is aways Yorkshire Gold, milk and two sugars and I never let anyone else make it for me. But Earl Grey is okay when out and about. I despise the taste of green tea and oddly enough fresh mint tea gives me a tummy ache.

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A very cute place in NYC

My ridiculous plethora of illness and diseases have meant that I have had to give up a lot of the things that I enjoyed. I gave up smoking ten years ago in preparation for getting pregnant and I gave up drinking three years ago as even one glass of wine would give me a hangover. Not something on wants when single-handedly dealing with a six-year-old. I was diagnosed with coeliacs disease 20 years ago, so am entirely gluten free. Considering the fact brunch and afternoon tea are my two most favourite meals of the whole day and that they are predominately gluten based feasts. I moderate my intake of the nightshade family; tomatoes, aubergine and potatoes as it exacerbates my arthritis, as does orange juice. I don’t eat take aways or pre prepared food. I cook from scratch because I can and I enjoy it. So taking all of these things in to account as well as the absolute pleasure I derive from each mouthful of coffee I think I shall continue to worship at the altar of caffeine a while longer.

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Pat Val, an old fav

P.S. Prince – Your purple reign shall never end in my heart xxx

And I know its gonna be A lovely day

Mornings are my nemesis, always have been. I am a night owl through and through, from writing uni essays at 1am, to all the years I spent working in the club industry and the long night shifts as a criminal defense solicitor attending police stations to see clients. I long to be up and at ’em at 5am, doing my sun salutations and journalling or whatever I would do with all the extra time, maybe taking over the world. Though of course I would be so exhausted by 12noon that I would need a lie down but that sort of stuff is frowned upon at my work place. My mum, on the other hand, literally wakes up singing, it irritates me beyond belief. The mornings are for the radio, coffee and NO talking.

I have read lots of blog posts about how to have a better morning, which in turn leads to a better day, and I have really tried to implement the things that I think would work for me and my lifestyle – single mum, chronic illness, commute to London, full time job.  I read a very amusing post recently titled how to get up when your alarm goes off and not hit the snooze button, I scrolled down and it literally said – alarm goes off, you get up, done! Made me laugh. None of this setting your alarm an hour earlier than necessary to facilitate the endless snooze button pressing. My uni friend Caroline reminded me recently that I used to have to put my alarm clock on the other side of my room as when it was next to my bed I had been known to turn it off in the fog of tiredness and go straight back to sleep missing my lectures.  So I have started just not pressing the snooze button, believe me I want to but compared to the anxiety of rushing around fearing being later for work, resisting the urge is worth it.

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I make sure my coffee machine is good to go the night before, fill it with water, clean the milk frother out, who wants to be scrabbling around washing up at 5.30am before your first cup of coffee? And that even if the kitchen is a bomb site then I have at least one cup available. I also make sure that any containers I need for lunch are clean. This next one is for those of us who take loads of meds, or who takes loads of supplements. Instead of popping out the 26 tablets I take each morning and risk making a mistake or missing some, I prepare a dosset box every Saturday morning that lasts 7 days. Basically I have two boxes, split into seven compartments and labelled Saturday to Friday and I fill each one with the days tablets so in the morning I just flip open the relevant day lid and into my mouth goes my pills.

I usually have a big glass of green juice first thing as food makes me feel nauseous. A green apple, 1/3 cucumber, small head broccoli, half thumb fresh ginger, half peeled lemon, half head fennel, 2 sticks celery. But I am lazy and have no intention of peeling, cutting etc first thing so I make up portioned bags of the veg three days at a time so I just grab a bag out of fridge, shove it into juicer and bang, breakfast.

I have also spent many a morning searching for my f***ing keys, as I fondly refer to them. So, as simple as it sounds, I now leave them in a bowl on my dining room bookcase, it is their home. As soon as I walk in the door there they go to rest until I need them in the morning.

See, nothing earth shattering, nothing new, but things that mean I don’t start my day in a right grump. So even if the rest of the day is not a super success, after all I can’t control everything, then at least I know my morning started as well as it could have.