I have refrained from making remarks about Donald Trump. After all as much as I love to rant about things and this is the perfect platform. I almost didn’t want to taint my space with talk of this man. I still can’t believe that America has inflicted Trump on the rest of the world. This years election really has demonstrated huge problems in the American democratic process. But it’s too late now – we have Trump sat the head of one of the most powerful countries in the world. Effectively America is being driven by a pig in a wig…
At HQ we have been debating the finer details of Trump and his fascism for some months now. Marvelling over just how narcissistic one man can be. On occasion we have laughed, like much of the world. We never believed for one second this guy would be the leader of a super-power. We are not laughing now. One week in office and many executive orders later there is a bitter taste in the air and wiped the smirk right off our faces.
The States has to my mind always been a centre of democracy. The Land of the Free apparently. I have to say those freedoms seem to have been quite severely curtailed in the last week. Women’s rights, both in the U.S and across their foreign policy have gone backwards 10 years. But even the Women’s movement doesn’t compare to the treatment of those marked as ‘undesirable’ by Trump. The middle-east and its citizens have been declared dangerous to Americans. Those from ‘Muslim’ countries have been banned from entering the United States. Thousands were stranded at U.S airports as they were in flight when the decree was enacted. The ban doesn’t differentiate, amongst those effected is two-time Olympic champion Mo Farah, returning to the States where he lives.
I know it’s fear that drives this decision. That Trump has done this in some crazy attempt to protect America and Americans. But the truth of the matter is that in the last 10 years the most violent mass killings in America have been perpetrated by white men. Extremist terrorists are a concern to every citizen in the western world. We all live in fear every single day of another attack. But that is no way to live. Refusing entry to people based on their race and religion is eerily familiar to a time in our history, not that long ago. Have we not learnt our lessons? This kind of act is exactly what radical extremist groups want. Trump has effectively provided propaganda for the recruitment of young jihadist for the next few years. Instead of demonstrating the values that make America the dream and the ideal, he has shown the terrorists his belly.
Does anyone believe that banning the entry of every man, woman and child from these countries is going to help? Now I am no security expert but I would have said that this makes the entry of potential threatening people harder to track, as they now enter the country covertly. Let’s face it, if your goal is to blow up America a ban to travel to JFK airport is not going to stop you. Trump appears to be woefully advised in the enactment of this executive order. I can only hope that the Supreme Court will vote to over-throw.
In the mean time my heart goes out to all Muslims in America. How frightening it must be to feel so misunderstood and ultimately hated by the leader of your country. Please don’t judge the world by the example set by President Trump. You are not vilified as a religion world-wide. Most people understand that it is only a small percentage of Muslims that have been radicalized against the West. We realise that Muslims generally are peaceful, happy people who are just going about living their day-to-day lives. I am sorry that ones mans woeful ignorance is impacting your life and the lives of the ones you love.
It’s Puddings first day settling in with her new childminder today. I spent a long time looking at childcare for her. As a parent it’s so difficult to hand over your precious little baby to some one else. To trust that they will provide the same standard of care that you do. In truth my new childminder will probably give Pud more time and attention than I do. She won’t be flying all over the place, trying to sort the house out and get the food shop done!
The lady that will be caring for Pud seems to share my child-raising values. I think that’s what really clinched the deal for me. Not just the hundreds of qualifications or the beautiful set up in her home. She’s a sensible, practical person like myself. Not overly mumsy or fussy. I know she will care for Pud in a way that is similar to my own mothering style. She won’t wrap her in cotton wool or make her into a pampered princess. Most of all she doesn’t make me feel like I am a ‘bad’ mum for going back to work.
Making the decision to go back to work full-time will have a huge impact on all of us. For me personally it is giving me back my drive and passion. I believe it will make me a better mother. Having an outlet for my myself will enable me to enjoy the children more. Rather than feeling, as I often do, that I am a slave to their every need, with no time for myself. Is that selfish? Possibly. But as much as I love them, my children do not define who I am as a woman.
Don’t get me wrong, handing Pud to the childminder this morning was tough. Not for Pudding, but for me. As I drove away I couldn’t help but feel that this was the end of a chapter in my life and Puddings’. No longer will we be girls together all week while Pie is at school. She will be out on her own adventures, learning new things from another person who isn’t me. Undoubtedly I will miss those first steps that I have been waiting for these last few weeks. I probably won’t hear her first proper word. It makes me sad. But I also know that in the long term this will be good for her. She will get to socialise with other kids and learn to trust other people.
I know I have picked the right person to look after my little Pudding. When I go back to collect her in a couple of hours she will I am sure have had a lovely time. In the meantime I am going to try to swallow that mummy guilt. Drink a hot coffee and enjoy a deep bath (without the addition of plastic toys…) We will enjoy our last full week together and then get ready to embark on a new big adventure. We might not be hand in hand all the time but at least we will be walking in the same direction.
‘Ah poor Pudding’ I chuckled at some point two weeks ago. My little lady was full of cold and kept sneezing all over the place. I felt sorry for her, poor girl was not happy Pud at all. Of course we were all suffering the dramatics of Puddings first real baby cold. She whinged all day, wiped snot in every conceivable place and had us up at all hours. But calpol was dispensed and cuddles were given.
I hadn’t anticipated for one moment that soon all of us would be suffering. Pie got it first and battled through with minimal fuss. Mr Pud came next – a day on the sofa saw him right as rain. Then is was my turn. Armed with my flu jab and an extra boost of vitamin C from my recent orange obsession. I was quietly confident…
Alas! My yet again less than capable immune system let me down. Badly. Now the baby cold is what I like to think of as a bunch of juvenile bugs. Think over excited puppy, as they go whizzing round your body. Bit of a runny nose, half-hearted cough and a few sneezes. Then they fizzle out, unable to take a proper hold. Well at least that is how they operate in most people. However, once they meet my immune system they manage to morph. Suddenly juvenile bugs are grade A assassins. Their only intention is to capture and hold my sinuses. Once they have a strong hold they can camp in there for weeks.
What was previously a ‘baby cold’ has now become a sinister sinusitis. The assassins are in and have been holding me hostage for well over a week now. No more hilarity at Mummy sneezing. Oh no, now everyone is running for cover. My patience has been replaced with a constant headache and the inability to bend down. Just to add a little extra to this already less than fun party are some feverish chills and achey joints. (Yeh good work flu jab you have done me a solid here).
Having to admit defeat and take time off work was a low point. But I told myself a few days rest and I would be on it. Well that was 6 days ago. I am by no means ‘on it’. Unless of course ‘on it’ means curled up on the sofa under a blanket surrounded by tissues. In which case I am very much ‘on it’. It is a sign of how bad things have got when the dog has given up stealing the used tissues.
Yet again I underestimated the ‘baby cold’. I should have been wearing a mask last week! It is too late for me, but I warn you save yourself. Those puppy-like viruses and bacteria are coming for you.
For most people the birth of a premature baby is a shock. It is a whole new world you are stepping into and it can be pretty daunting. Your tiny fragile baby, in a large plastic incubator, surrounded by wires and tubes. Sometimes it can feel as though your baby is unreachable. You can feel helpless and unable to be the parent you had anticipated. It is ok, these feelings are natural. Being separated from your baby is one of the hardest things any parent can go through. But there are things you can do that can really help to support your preemie.
To your baby the outside world is a loud scary place. The only sound that will be truly familiar is your voice. Talk to your premature baby, hold him and soothe him. He is just as frightened as you are, you need each other to complete this journey. Have a look at the infographic below for some ideas of what you as parents can do to help your premature baby through this difficult time.
These are simple ideas to help you bond as a family and look after each other. If you need more support or want to talk to people who know how you feel have a look at the BLISS website. This fantastic charity has been supporting parents of premature babies for many years and they really understand the emotional ups and downs of having a preemie.
So a few weeks ago I was struggling with juggling nursing and being a mum. Life was tough and I could see no way of making it better. Then followed an even heartier kick in the teeth when I failed to gain the substantive post for the job I have been doing for 2 years. Yep I have to say I was pretty damn low. In fact so low I was seriously contemplating leaving nursing forever and becoming a postman. (I love post, I just think it’s so exciting get stuff through the door…)
Then came a moment in my life where someone actually stood up and basically said don’t be a dickhead. She was right, I either threw my toys out the pram or I picked myself up and dusted myself off. Stopped bemoaning the unfairness of the situation and actually proved I was more than what I was threatening to become.
It was hard. Almost crippled by self-doubt and the fear of failing a second time. But then I thought about what I have already overcome. The challenges I have faced head on – not least this last year with PND after Pudding. The time had come to stand up, to fight for what I believed and to put myself out there.
So I did. In went the application for a job I never would have applied for a year ago. Every time it crossed my mind over Christmas my stomach did that awful flip-flop. I let myself have moments of day dreaming that I had the job. Every time I did my confidence grew just a bit more. But not just that so did my passion for my nursing career. I felt re-energised for the first time since the children. I felt like me. Not just Mummy but a woman who could achieve her dreams of a career and family.
I planned how I could work and have the kids cared for. I read, anything and everything that might be useful. The interview was confirmed and I redoubled my efforts. Now I wanted this, really wanted it. No longer a pipe dream, I believed I could make this happen.
The interview date came. Sat waiting to be called my hand shook a little, my stomach seemed to twist and dance entirely to its own tune. If I thought the pre-interview wait was bad the post interview wait was a whole new form of torture. My mind analysed it over and over and over until I could barely remember what had even happened! Then finally the moment was there – as the words came out of my managers mouth I couldn’t really understand what she was saying. Let alone believe it! I had done it, the job was mine. Holy Shit!!!!!
So in the next few weeks I will start my new post. Full of enthusiasm and the passion to make positive changes. Will it all be plain sailing? Ha unlikely! I am on the steepest learning curve of my career. It’s going to be tough, a whole new challenge. Not just for me but for all of us as we try to juggle a new working pattern. Will it be worth it? I believe it will, but watch this space…
It’s a disappointment bigger than a Brachiosaurus that my boy Pie has not the slightest Iguanodon in dinosaurs. It’s not for lack of Triceratops on my part. Right from an egg I have been talking to him about these amazing creatures, but I may have been speaking in Velociraptor for all the good its done me. He doesn’t even Tyrannosaurus to look interested its like talking to a Diplodocus most days!
He would rather talk about Star Wars or Harry Potter! It really gets my Spinosaurus up when I show him a dinosaur and he calls it a dragon. Why can’t we talk about Pachycephalosaurus or Zigongosaurus? They aren’t difficult names for my own Sauropod to get his tongue round! Yet he behaves like a creature from the early Triassic period and calls them all dine-saw…(Damn you George Pig) I know it’s not the be Allosaurus or end all but I always thought having kids would enable me to justify my own geeky love of dinosaurs!
I can still remember that first trip to the Natural History Museum with my own family. The sheer excitement as we walked through the door and came face to face with a colossal skeleton! It was an awe-inspiring moment, even now it still makes me Gallimimus. It cemented a life long passion and a desire to study Paleontology. (Alas this is waiting for my retirement, not many dinosaurs in Birmingham!)
After a relentless first year of forcing dinosaur clothes, books and toys on him, Mr Pud has now banned me from trying to brainwash him into my Cretaceous period. I am not even allowed to show him Jurassic Park until he is older, not even the bit before it gets scary. But how can my Anklyosaurus-biter be such an old Stegosaurus? Maybe I will get lucky in Pudding and she will develop into a Gigantosaurus nerd like her Mother, after all who else is going to run round the Natural History Museum with me?
Oh my don’t you think Christmas flies by faster and faster each year? All the planning, preparation, wrapping and cooking; then before you know it, it’s gone. You are left sitting in your pyjamas on Boxing Day morning surrounded by bags of wrapping paper and enough leftovers to see you through to the end of January. If you are like me post-Christmas can leave you a little flat! So here are my top tips for picking yourself up in the New Year.
Top Tips for Beating New Year Blues
Make a pledge to get active – yeh I know it’s a cliché and that January sees an influx of gym memberships (that are never used after February) But you don’t have to join the gym to get fit. Just a promise to take the dog out more often, or to walk to school on those cold bright mornings. Keep your goal achievable – you don’t need to set yourself up to fail!
Clean out your wardrobe. Come on admit you are never going to wear that dress ever again. And those shoes? What were you thinking. Be ruthless – if you haven’t worn it in 6 months get rid of it. Better still bundle the best bits together and get yourself on eBay. With all that extra cash you can hit the sales, buying things you actually want to wear!
Book a holiday – I was doing this whilst cooking Christmas dinner! It doesn’t have to be the holiday of a life time (unless you got a Christmas bonus in which case go for it!) But just a weekend away later in the year will give you something to look forward too. Loads of places take a deposit these days so if you are strapped for cash you can book now and pay a little later in the year when your finances have recovered from Christmas.
Set a goal – what do you really want to do this year? Sky dive, feed a meerkat or something more simple like read a book or spend more time with family. Decide what 2017 is going to mean for you and set yourself a target. It doesn’t have to be life changing – but it does us good to have something to work towards. Pudding, for example, has decided that she is going to curb TV use at HQ by chewing the buttons off the remote. You have to have goals people!
Appreciate what you have. It’s not always about striving towards the next thing. Sometimes it’s learning to enjoy what’s around you. Taking the time to really make the most of friends and family. Finding joy in the little things, is the beginning of true of happiness. So whilst the New Year is a time to look forward and plan, it’s also a time to reflect.
So there you go a few simple ideas to banish those New Year Blues. Have you got any others you would like to share?
So tis the season right? The perfect time of year for popping that all important question. You want to get it right, but how is the best way to go about it? No one wants to end up like Phoebe from Friends emabarrassing themselves and their partner to be! We have been having a chat with pals at Dobell Formal Wear and together we have 5 top tips for making your proposal go without a glitch!
Making your Proposal Perfect
Timing is everything! This is the most popular time of year for to propose to your other half. With almost 37% of folks proposing on New Years eve. What could be more romantic than getting down on one knee as the clock strikes midnight?
Location, Location, Location – Of course you can make your proposal anywhere, somewhere significant to you and your other half is beautifully romantic. The most common place to pop that question is in a restaurant, with nearly a quarter of proposals happening over candle lit dinners. Looking for something a bit more exciting? Top landmarks are the next most popular engagement destinations.
Look the part. Oh yes guys this is a big one! According to Dobell Formal Wear the most popular outfit choice is a blue suit, white shirt and tie. The lovely ladies will find you hard to resist in such an ensemble. Planning is everything don’t get caught out in your old jeans!
Down on one knee? Well this is a tradition that seems to be fading fast. We can only imagine its due to the expense spent on the proposal outfit. Only 32% of men plan to get down on one knee to propose to their other half this year.
Ring a ding ding: Tradition used to state that the engagement ring should be 3 months salary. In these modern times only 7% of guys follow this tradition whilst nearly a third say they buy the ring that they like, within their price range.
Got everything planned but that perfect outfit? Don’t panic Dobell Formal Wear have exactly what you need. The 21st of December is the busiest day of the year for buying that all important proposal outfit. I bet you didn’t know that enough ties will be brought to stretch from Edinburgh to Big Ben!
Get over to the Dobell website and use our code pudding10 for an extra 10% off everything you need to look the part for your perfect proposal this year.
*DISCLAIMER This is a collaborative post with Dobell Formal Wear – all thoughts and opinions are our own*
So Christmas is nearly here and before you know it January will be knocking on the door. Now that New Year is round the corner the birth of your little bundle of joy is suddenly looking a lot closer. You have dreamed about the pram, picked out a few sleep suits and got the all important first stuffed bear. But the nursery? Oh you have thought about it but nothing quite lives up to all you dream of. You want a perfect room, a beautifully neutral space to enjoy with your new arrival. Somewhere to sit and feed, cosy but uncluttered. A space for everything and everything in its place.
So for your planning pleasure I have teamed up with Murals Wallpaper to bring you 5 beautiful nursery ideas.
Gorgeously neutral and chic, this simple theme of grey and white creates the perfect place for your new arrival to catch those needed zzzzs. I love the mixture of stars and hearts. Teamed with simple white furniture the Mural Wallpaper creates a modern nursery that will grow with your baby.
A pale pallet of soft pinks and blues, keeps this nursery beautifully neutral. Simplistic cloud patterns will brighten even those dull grey February days, leaving you calm and relaxed. Again crisp white furniture helps bring this Murals Wallpaper alive – keeping the room feeling fresh and inviting.
Know you are expecting a special little lady? This stunning woodland design complete with birds and owls is perfect. Elegant and fun with lots of things for little ones to look at as they grow up. This paper creates a brilliant nursery and captures imaginations as babies grow. A few girly accessories and some cute bunting will set this Mural Wallpaper off wonderfully.
All the Leaves Are
Another more feminine idea with this stunning leaf drop paper. Beautifully colourful yet subtle. A quirky pattern that will remind you of all the seasons. This Murals Wallpaper is right on trend, but trendy doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable like those pre-pregnancy shoes you craved! This nursery gives off a warm glow, a cosy feeling of nights spent curled up with baby. The pattern has so much going on that a just a few accessories are all that is needed to complete the look.
Ah have you been dreaming of those clear cut nordic lines in your nursery? Its understandable but sometimes minimalistic can feel a little cold. This paper from Murals Wallpaper brings the gorgeous nordic colours and prints with a twist of cute fun. Clean and bright this nursery is perfect for baby boys and growing boys.
Fallen in love with these ideas? Or perhaps you think you have some great designs of your own. Mural Wallpaper can create wallpaper from your own uploaded images. Does a nursery get any more personal than that? Have a look at the Mural Wallpaper website for further details.
*DISCLAIMER – This is a collaborative post with Mural Wallpaper. All thoughts and opinion are my own. All images are from Mural Wallpaper*
Today you turned one. It has been a year since a nurse laid you on me and I met you for that first time. My squashed, slightly potato shaped Pudding. I knew I loved you before I saw you. But once I could feel you on my skin, see your face and feel your hand clasp round mine, I knew I would love you forever. My troll haired Pud. You have completed our family. We are now the awesome, foursome.
It hasn’t been easy. I can’t deny there were times when I thought the PND would beat me. Would drag me down, tear our family apart. You wouldn’t let it – your smile got me through those darkest of days. Knowing you needed me kept me fighting. You will never know how low I felt in those early days of your life. You saved me Pud, saved me from myself.
I don’t know how a year has passed this fast. What a crazy year it has been. My little squashed potato you have blossomed into an independent little diva. The troll hair remains but that helpless newborn has gone. I remember those early cuddles, you curled into my neck. Fast asleep on my chest. Long gone are those days. Now I am lucky to get more than a passing wave as you crawl off on your next mischief-making adventure!
You are the cutest little thing right now. You always wake with a smile and a giggle. I love walking into your room and finding you babbling to your bears. You are an adventurous, plucky little lady. Forever climbing the stairs and diving off the sofa head first. The sausage dog loves you. She totally dotes on your every move, rolling over to allow you to stroke her tummy. Suffering you sitting on her and pulling her ears. You two are thick as thieves as she sits under your highchair scoffing scraps!
I know your brother has loved you from the beginning. But today watching you together as he helped with your presents I felt so proud. I knew then how much you loved each other. How important you are to each other. I know you two will fight, I know it won’t always be a rose garden. That’s ok, it’s what you do with your siblings – but just try not wind him up too much. I can already see he is going to be the sensitive one out of the two of you.
So now you are one my gorgeous Pudding. What excitement will the next 12 months bring? I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that this year has gone so fast. I can almost feel the time running through my fingers like sand. I want to catch it. To stop it, to have one more sleepy cuddle with you. One more moment listening to you babble. I know you have to grow-up, that you will continue to amaze me every day as you do so. But I will treasure this year in my memory. Remind myself of how you felt curled against my skin in the delivery room. For now though my Pud, you are one and to you my darling Happy Birthday.