2015: A Lookback

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So here we are nearing the end of 2015! It’s been a year of huge changes, brought about mainly by the fact that this time last year I was mummy to an 8 month old who was barely crawling – this year Max is 20 months and very much into toddlerhood. Returning to work In February I made the decision that I wouldn’t be returning to my old job in London – although I loved the company and my role, the long commute just wasn’t compatible with nursery opening hours, and the cost of travel made the job simply not financially viable. Handing my notice in at work was really emotional – I never realise quite how much my sense of self ...

The Inbetween Days

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The build up to Christmas is always so hectic that I relish the time between Christmas and New Year - that strange quiet time where everyone's off work, where the days blur into one in a whirl of family, walks outdoors, and general decluttering of the house for a fresh start in the new year. It's such a pleasure to have John off work and be able to spend so much time together as a family - it's lovely to see how Max clearly adores every second he spends with his Daddy, he seems to spend the whole day giggling,  squealing and generally running riot. And I know I'm a better and more fun parent for having someone around to share ...

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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Congratulations - we made it! Christmas Eve is here; time for last minute wrapping, finishing touches, and hot chocolate. I genuinely hope that you all have a fantastic festive period filled with love, laughter, good food, and good company.   Eat, drink and be merry!

5 Happy Things #7

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I love the build up to Christmas, perhaps even more than the day itself! The feel of anticipation in the air, the smell of cinnamon and oranges, and the fact that it's perfectly acceptable to smile at a stranger and say 'Happy Christmas!' Last week we took Max on his first visit to see Father Christmas at Legoland Windsor. As you can see from the picture it was a great success! He started to get grumpy in the queue, and despite the beautiful maze of Christmas trees and cute little log cabin, there were no smiles for Father Christmas. Just lots of crying and desperately trying to get away. Not even the present could win him round! Father Christmas was so ...

The importance of asking for help

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In the last few years I've come to the realisation that I find it very difficult to accept help from people. My first instinct is to say thanks but stress that I'm perfectly capable of handling things. Because admitting that you need help is akin to admitting to weakness in my mind. But it's become apparent lately that it's so important not just to accept help when it's offered, but to ask for help when you need it. I'm lucky to have a fantastic husband, who is a wonderful father, but sleeps like a log so rarely wakes up in the night if Max is upset. And he's been upset a lot lately, having had a succession of colds, and a nasty ...

Skincare Pick-me-ups for Tired Skin

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It’s been one of those months lately – full of coughs, colds, viruses and ear infections. Which when one member of your household is 20 months old, means that no one is getting much in the way of sleep. What’s always amazed me about baby induced sleep deprivation is that it is possible to still walk and talk and function something along the lines of a normal human being, even when you feel like a extra from The Walking Dead. So to stop myself from going full-zombie, there are certain skincare items that I know I can rely on to give my skin a little lift and a bit of a glow, even when I’m feeling at my lowest. Mask of Magnaminty ...

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree…

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Like 90% of the population I absolutely adore Christmas and getting the tree up is the occasion that signifies it's all started. For a few years now I've gone for the highly coordinated look with a very traditional red and gold theme, but this year, now that I'm seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child, I've been drawn to adding more unique, personal ornaments that we'll treasure over the years. Things which are a little bit kitsch and with a hint of nostalgia about them, that become old friends over the years that we can reminisce about as we hang them up. So this year I've added in amongst the red and gold some little touches which give our tree a ...

A Whistlestop Trip to Rye

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One of the things that I miss the most about life before becoming a mum is the little trips away we used to do on a regular basis, so we thought it would be nice to squeeze in a small trip before Christmas. As we'd not both left Max overnight before we wanted to limit it to one night, so decided to head to Rye in Kent - an old town that we've stayed in before. Not too far away, and since we'd been before, not too much pressure on fitting everything in with limited time. As luck would have it, Max came down with a nasty cold and went from a nice and easy babysitting prospect, to very clingy, snotty, and ...

Our Christmas Traditions

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I’m going to put it out there: I love Christmas! I think it’s telling that every member of my family feels this way – we’re cracking out the Christmas tunes as soon as bonfire night is over and done with. And I strongly believe that it’s because my parents always made a real effort to make Christmas special, with lots of different family traditions.   Now I have a family of my own, I want to keep all of those traditions, but also add some more of our own. This will be Max’s second Christmas, and I want to make it really special for him as I know he’ll be so much more aware of everything this time around.   Advent We’re not a religious ...

When to give up on your dreams

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For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a singer. As a child I discovered I could sing, which was something of a revelation for a quiet, shy child who always struggled to find the courage to raise her voice in school. In my early teens I wanted to be in musical theatre, and then somewhere around university I discovered that my voice was far more suited to opera.   Singing opera is a time intensive craft that requires years of technical training, of building the required muscles and training them to work in the way that you want. Years of working out what your voice type should be – a difficult task when, as a woman, your voice ...