These are a few of my favourite things

So it’s that sodding time of year again. Admittedly I love it but it can get a bit chaotic as a parent and it’s easy for us to get swept under the carpet. You probably all know I’m a massive fan of STUFF and my poor husband is constantly sent links of ‘ideas’ for me so I’ve compiled a list of my top Christmas gift ideas for us. Not the kids. US! We deserve it and these are my fav ideas for a busy lady at Christmas. There was originally supposed to be 5 but I just couldnt whittle it down. 

1) a bathboard. Easily the best £20 I’ve spent on myself this year. At the end of a stressful day half an hour in a hot bath with a glass of wine, some candles and a good book is enough to make me feel human again. Utter bliss! You can now add on a space mask or bathbomb too to complete the perfect gift and these are great for Men too. My husband uses mine for wine and snacks but he’ll kill me for telling people. Everyone deserves a pamper now and again.

 http://bathboards.bigcartel.com/

2) Gin! I couldn’t do a list without mentioning my favourite thing could I? Pickerings to be exact. I recently did a tour at the Pickerings distillery in Edinburgh with Steve and it was such a nice afternoon out. Highly recommended and great value for money. £10 each and included a G&T on arrival. Lets face it you wouldnt get much change off a tenner in Edinburgh for a decent G&T on its own and Summerhall is such an interesting location. 

Obviously we got to sample some of their wares and now I’m hooked. How cute are the little gin baubles? These sold out in in seconds last year so get them on your list sharpish! £30 for 6 and each is a double measure. You can also refill them year after year. Bargain! 

Pickering's Gin Baubles (pack of 6)

3) Blessed in London initial necklace 😍. The minute I saw this I knew I wanted one with the kids initials and I hope I’ve dropped enough hints to Steve. I have the star tassle earring and they go with everything. I always get complimented on them. 

https://www.blessedlondon.co.uk/

4) Its no secret that Im wax melt and candle obsessed. My lovely wax melt lady is closed for a knee op and having a well deserved Christmas break so I’ve treated myself to a candle from a local company called can to candle. They make candles in the cutest little kitsch cans and they smell amazing. I’ll definately be back! Once you try the amazing soy was candles you’ll realise how waxy and synthetic the likes of yankee smell. I’m a convert!

 

http://cantocandle.com/

5) I can cards. These are just so lovely and the ideal price point for a secret Santa gift. It’s basically a little pack of cards full of positive affirmations to remind you how bloody amazing you are. I have the self care pack and it’s fantastic how one positive sentence can just give you that much needed boost. Such a nice gift for someone who just needs to know that they’re fabulous. 

https://icancards.co.uk/

6) When a saw a lovely friend wearring her la pom pom earrings I knew I needed them I’m my life. They definitely get me noticed and they’re just SO cute! There’s something about pom poms that just take me back to my childhood and make me feel carefree (if only!) They also have the sweetest garlands that you can get made in any colour so perfect for any occasion. 

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LaPomPomShop?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=22444550

7) Now although this post is one for the adults I had to mention Rosie Girl London dolls. Purely because when I saw that did customer made dolls I knew I wanted an Amy Winehouse made and I was absolutely blow away with the detail. I’m not even going to pretend she was for Joy as I’m a huge Amy fan and love the idea of a doll that’s a bit different to the usual cutesy ones. Rosie does anything from Frieda Kahlo dolls to unicorns  and takes customer orders (at a very reasonable price) so there really is something for everyone. 

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/rosiegirllondon

8) Last but certainly not least Christine Alison is the Queen of eyebrows in Edinburgh. She’s the only person I’ve let near mine in around 6 years and we’ve went from HD brows to semi permanent brows- which I’ve managed to convince Steve saves me (him) money in the long run as I don’t need any products or monthly brow appointment. More importantly as a Mum it saves time and we all know how precious that is. 

Recently dermaplaning has been added to the list of treatments offered here and I got to be one of the first to try it out. Basically using a scalpel all the dead skin is removed from your face, taking any peach fuzz with it. Now as horrendous as a scalpel sounds it’s so gentle and there is zero pain involved. I almost fell asleep and the you get a mask at the end of the treatment to fill your new glowy skin with hyluronic acid to make you look even fresher. I saw an instant glow and my make up sits so nicely on my face. It’s really interesting to see all the junk that’s came off your face at the end. Dermaplaning is usually £65 but will be £50 for the duration of December so get booked in ASAP for all your Christmas parties.

https://christinealison.co.uk/

So what should have been 5 is now 8 but these are my firm favourites so if you’re stuck for a gift I hope I’ve helped a little with ideas. Feel free to forward to your Hubby to give him a nudge. 
It’s important for me to use small businesses where I can and some of those included are local to me so that’s even more special. 

I briefly mentioned my wax melt dealer Gail and although she’s closed for Christmas I’ve included her link so if you want to try out her melts you can do after the year. 

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SimplyScentedDevon

I hope you get everything you want… and more 😘.

Yvonne 

*This is not a sponsored post*

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#effyourinstagramstandards 

 

Isn’t Christmas just amazing? All that giving and luscious food. As well as the pretty trees and family time, right?

It’s pretty much rammed in our faces the second Halloween is over. Quickly our Instagram feed switches from the Autumnal pumpkin patches to picture perfect trees that wouldn’t look out of place in Harrods.

The Elf on the shelf. Don’t even get me started on that fucking elf. Who invented that smug little wank? Like we don’t have enough to do as parents in December. Let’s strategically place an Elf every day and take nice pictures. Fuck that I say! I’d rather have a snowball!

We all get so excited about making our families happy and understandably so but I really can’t stand pictures of piles of gifts. I’m sure it’s posted with the best intention but I can’t help how shitty that could make some people feel if they’re feeling the pinch. Also is it really wise to spoil our kids to such an extreme? it’s so easily done but we really need to be mindful that although they are sweet now there’s something particularly unapealling about a spoilt adult with a sense of entitlement.

I saw a post about a Christmas tree and how it was £15 and the lovely lady that posted it thought is was ‘not Instagram worthy’. Is that really What’s important now? Sadly I think it is for a lot of people. The tree was beautiful by the way!

Sometimes I think we get a little bit caught up in making a nice picture and forget to actually enjoy the moment. We all have such high expectations and it’s no surprise really when we’re surrounded by such perfect images.

Let’s not forget for a lot of people Christmas is time for reflection and that often means missing those who are no longer with us. A lot of the time we’re so busy putting on a face for the kids that we forget to allow ourselves to consider our own feelings.

The run up to Christmas is such a big deal it puts so much pressure on that one day. It can end up being a real anticlimax. Letting kids eat what they like and receiving lots of gifts can be confusing and overwhelming so we can hardly blame them for behaving like prized dickheads for most of it.

Last year Joy was tiny, clusterfeeding and colicy so Steve and I took (sober) turns at trying to settle her and ended up eating our stone cold Christmas dinner in front if the TV. Was it terrible? Hell no!  I mean it could have been better but we were together and let face it eating is a something most of us take for granted. Plus we can harp on about it in true parent style when Joy is old enough to care.

Even advent calendars seem to have lost their way. Gin advent calendars costing over £100? Really? I’m all about the cheap chocolate. I love a gin but come on! We seem to be losing our grip on reality here a bit. Or did child benefit go up massively and I missed the memo?

I’m a huge fan of Christmas and like a lot of Mums I let the boys do the tree then rearrange it the second their backs are turned. Although as much a I want it to look nice I really don’t want it to look perfect. We all need to stop striving for perfection or realising that perfect is different for everyone. I’ll certainly be checking out that £15 tree and there the only gin in here this year will be from Aldi. It going to be amazing!

I think we all just need to rewind a bit and enjoy this time of year. Bring back tacky (kitsch) 80s decorations, ignore the pressure and get stocked up on Lidls faux Baileys (£3.75 and amazing by the way!)

Take some lovely pictures but don’t let them get in the way of family time and don’t be disappointed when the kids have a tantrum or Grandad moans about the Queens speech for 3 hours. It’s just one day. Merry Christmas!

#effyourinstagramstandards

Yvonne

Try not to be a dick 

Once upon a time I was a dick. I didn’t mean to be. Dick is maybe not right…. delusional is probably fairer. 7 years ago I had a baby. Baby Lewis. He was a happy little thing, ate well and slept through the night from about 6 weeks. That actually is a thing. Who knew?

I can almost guarantee a few people already hate me at this point. I don’t blame you really. I wasn’t smug but admittedly I took the credit. He was a good boy and I was clearly born to parent the shit out of life. As soon as I wrote that I realise how fucking smug that actually make me sound. Sorry! Never once did I look down my nose at people who had non sleeping, unsettled babies. I may have been delusional but I’ve never been THAT person.

I suppose I just didn’t really think in all honesty. When you have a child you know your child and their ways and quirks. Other children didn’t really come into it.

When Steve and I decided to try for a baby 6 years later I still didn’t really think. “you never get two the same”. Many an old dear told me but I didn’t really take it in. Who wants two the same anyway? I want my kids to be their own people!

Along came Joy. Our beautiful, sassy Joy. 6 weeks in and she didn’t sleep. Obviously I wasn’t worried as I knew Lewis was in the minority. Fast forward a year and I was starting to realise that sleeping all night wasn’t really Joys thing. That was quite hard for me to accept. It’s easy to think you’ve failed as a parent, especially when you’ve had a ‘textbook’ child first. 16 months in and I know I haven’t failed. Joys thriving, she’s smart, funny and she sure knows her own mind. What more could I ask for? Actually a full nights sleep would be nice but let’s not push it eh?

Joy suffered with colic and reflux. She didn’t settle without a boob in her mouth for 5 months. She was a screamer and we’ve never left her to scream. Judge away! Lewis would wimper for a few minutes at bed then drift off. Joy could scream herself into projectile vomit and that’s just not something I’m willing to let happen.

We co-sleep (mostly) and Joys a complete Mummys girl. Many a time I’ve cooked the dinner with her in the sling and she gets stroked to sleep like the Lady of the manor. That’s what works for her- and us and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard the old “rod for your own back” I wouldn’t need to do a lotto. Funnily enough it mostly comes from people with no children or people who had theirs when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.

I adore both my kids. I don’t always like them but I love them immensely- and equally! They’ve taught me everything I know about parenting and now I know just how different they can be. I’m not a dick anymore and I’m certainly not delusional. You get what you’re given and you love them regardless.

Once you’re an adult no one gives a shit about how much you sleep so I’m not sure why we put so much pressure on babies.

If you’re reading this and you have a Lewis please don’t panic. This isn’t to put anyone off. They are all worth it. I promise! If anything this is to let all the parents with the non sleeping, non settling kids know that they are brilliant. It’s not a reflection on us and we can sleep when we’re dead right? 😉

Yvonne x

Dear Rose… 

Dear Rose,

I bet you have to think before you even remember me but I often think of you. I don’t think you would have forgotten me although I wouldn’t blame you if you did. You probably see people like me every day. 

You were my health visitor and I was a naive 24 year old with not an ounce of common sense. 

I planned a baby with someone I thought I knew. I really didn’t but the less said about him the better. For the sake of my son. 

So I found myself 24, pregnant and very much alone. That wasn’t my plan. I was angry at that fact for so long. I didn’t want to be that person. Who does? 

You showed me that ‘that person’ could be anyone. Most of all you believed in me when I had zero faith I could make this sorry situation work. You gave me strength and never once looked down at me- and so many others did. 

You made sure I didn’t just make the situation work I fucking rocked it and you made sure I knew I did. Little comments of praise and texts here and there. They were the small things I really needed and I could tell you meant it all.

I genuinly believe there are some truly great people in the world. I’m not talking the Kardashians and all these other ridiculous people were constantly confronted with. Proper role models who make a difference to people’s lives day after day. People like you.

I was at my lowest ebb when I had Lewis. I hid it well as I always do but you saw through that. You supported me through it all like the guardian Angel I needed and you gave me the confidence to continue alone. 

When I moved house I got a new health visitor. I felt a bit sad to be leaving you but by this point I’d met Steve (my now husband) and we were ready to plan another baby. I text you to tell you and as predicted I got the loveliest response. 

My health visitor with Joy is nice. I see so little of her but she seems lovely. I don’t really need her and I just hope she’s spending her time with the people who do need her. Like you did with me. I do hope you guys realise the impact you have on our lives. 

I don’t think I ever got to properly thank you but I hope you know how much I appreciated everything you did for me and I have no doubt that you’re still making a difference to others. You rock Rose! 

Thank you! 

Yvonne (and Lewis) x 

Joanie Clothing 

Recently I was tagged in a picture by a good friend. It was a bikini she thought I’d like. I’ve never really had myself down as a bikini kinda gal but I did like it. So I took a brave step. I bought it. 

I’m 32 and a size 16. That’s doesn’t really mean anything though with today’s mental sizing. I have some 12s and some 18s. Does anyone know what size they really are? 

I’ve been thinner. Much thinner. Also much bigger too and I have to say I was probably at my most miserable at my thinnest. I was thin but I couldn’t socialise as I’d gain weight. What a the bloody point of having a good figure when you don’t even get to showcase it? 

Anyways I’m over it. Hitting 30 was a turning point for me and I thought f*ck it! life’s too short to not buy the bikini. I have as much right to wear the bikini as anyone else and does anyone really care what I look like? Probably not. 

My body had produced two perfect babies via C section and I had my gallbladder out last year. I have stretch marks and scars but I have respect for the body I have. Its still a work in progress but that’s okay. 

I bought the bikini from Joanie and I’d never even heard of them before so was dubious. I was wrong to be. The bikini is fabulous and I feel fabulous in it. I now own another 2. Don’t tell my husband! 

For me there’s a gap in the market. I often find high street shops either too young or too old for me. I’m over bodycon but I’m not quite ready to hang up my party frocks yet. No one really wants to see me in a bodycon dress but I’m not dead yet so I may as well flaunt what I have. In a way that makes me comfortable. 

Joanie fills that gap for me. They do real clothes for Sizes 8-22 and at a really good price too. They have sexy, quirky, casual and formal and it’s now my go to website. 

The sizes are real and the fabrics are lovely so no more looking like a size 16 sausage squashed into a cheap polyester skin.

The clothes have a vintage feel but there’s both ends of the spectrum on this and if vintage isn’t for you I still think you’d be hard pushed not to find something you like. 

As I wrote this I got a text to say my next Joanie order is coming today so I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures. Again, please don’t tell my husband but if you are reading this it was all in the sale. £6 polka dot palazzo pants anyone? Yes please! 

This isn’t a sponsored post so these are 100% my views on some gorgeous clothes that I paid for. Seriously! Go see for yourself.

https://joanieclothing.com/product-category/dresses/
Yvonne x 

P.S have you ever seen anyone that happy to be in a kids paddling pool? We don’t get much sun in Scotland. Can you tell? 

We are good enough 

when you hear of postnatal depression what do you think of? For many it’s not bonding with your baby instantly after birth. For me that wasn’t the case. You see it’s different for everyone. There isn’t a right way to suffer PND and there certainly isn’t a wrong way. unfortunately you get the version you’re given.

For me I’ve been treated about a year after both my kids. Looking back it reared its head immediately but I soldiered on. I don’t know who I was trying to kid.

The stigma is still there with any mental health issues. People are frightened to speak up for fear of being judged. When you’re already feeling like you’re not good enough the last thing you need is others thinking it too.

I instantly bonded with both my children and it was love at first sight for me. weirdly the case for me- as it is for most is I love them… a bit too much.

Newborns scare me. The anxiety they give me drives me insane. I love the squishy, pink, milky bundles but what about all the other stuff they come with? For example cot death statistics, how much they should be eating, pooing and bloody peeing! Anything I can worry about I would.

When I had my first I slept with the windows locked in a first floor flat all summer. For fear someone would come and take my baby. I called my Nan once to ask her to look after the baby while I had a shower. She suggested I left him to sleep while I showered and I genuinely couldn’t believe she would suggest something so absurd.

When I had Joy, my second I stayed awake for 3 whole days. Even when she slept. For fear of something happening to her if I slept. Of course that didn’t last and I eventually passed out with exhaustion.

Second time round it’s much easier to spot though and  luckily I’m surrounded by love and support. I’m now very good at asking for help if I need it now and I’m aware of the importance of self care. We all need to look after ourselves first. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

The more we talk about these issues the more we educate others. If we normalize talking about mental health then we put people at ease and eliminate ignorance.

My point? Keep talking. If unsure ask questions. Never be ashamed and make sure you have a good GP who understands what’s going on. I can’t stress that enough. These issues are often easily resolved but only once treated. Either it be with counselling, drugs or maybe both. Whatever works for you.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. We’re all guilty of it. Some days I can clean the whole house, have 2 playdates, make the dinner and do a food shop. Other days I stay in Pjs and that’s okay too. It’s about balance.

I’ll say it again. Keep talking!

I’ve posted some links below that may be helpful:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Postnataldepression/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx
https://insighttimer.com/
Yvonne x

Think before you compare

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Social media is everything now isn’t it? Surely everyone knows it isn’t really life though? Or do they? I think we’re all guilty of looking at someone’s pictures on Instagram or Facebook and feeling a bit envious but we need to think about the bigger picture.

They amount of lovely pictures I share of my family having a great time is nice. It doesn’t show my son complaining about not wanting to go outside as he’d rather play xbox though. Or my pregnancy ailments making it such a struggle to even walk to the car.

We tend to paint an idealistic picture and that’s normal but I do think we need to be aware of this. The grass isn’t always greener, so water your own grass and stop worrying about other people’s. The person you may envy for always being out sipping fancy cocktails may well be envious of our family life and would do anything for a child (however whingey). You just don’t know. We all have a story and we don’t always want to tell it.

My life is far from perfect. My son misbehaves and I shout (a lot). I use so much profanity in everyday life I should have been a sailor and mother earth I am not. I’m messy and love a good drink. My husband and I argue like normal people but luckily he see I’m usually right and it’s all good (chances right?).

We post nice pictures as when we look it’s the nice things we remember. Who wants to remember the time your kid pissed everywhere? Or broke the TV with buzz lightyear? Not me, although sadly the Buzz fiasco will always haunt me. I’ve never forgiven Buzz for that. My son is now in the clear though.  Just.

The moral of the story is: Be thankful for what you have and be happy for other people. Easier said than done eh? Unfollow people you don’t like too. That’s not good for anyone.

Yvonne x