The importance of Family Wellness: How grief helped me to prioritise and change career

It’s coming up to 3 years since I last wrote in this blog and, I’ll be honest, it may as well be a lifetime ago. So much has changed for our little family in such a short space of time. I lost my mum, a loss that coincided with a career change and the welcoming of a live-out nanny to our household.Whilst the latter two were considered positives - a big step forward for my career and more help at home, yay! The loss of a parent is not something one can prepare for or come to terms with in any space of time, let alone the 6 weeks I had to say goodbye to my mother, prepare for a new job and arrange a new timetable for the family – one which would see me coming and going at all hours with military precision.
After 12 years spent working for the same employer, a move to a different organisation presented me with bigger challenges and responsibilities that I was eager to embrace. However, with the new job came a 24-hour shift pattern; incorporating evenings, weekends and bank holidays – w…

Camping: The life hack to family therapy

With a month passed since my official return to work I can safely refer to myself as a working mum again. But, while the 9-5 stuff came flooding back the second I stepped into the office, every Friday evening I find myself flinging my life sucking lanyard across the room and wailing “was it always this hard!” to the mountain of laundry eagerly awaiting my return.
In truth no, being a full-time working mum didn’t seem hard at the time, but I suppose a year out in the real world would dramatically change anyone’s outlook on life. And, while I adore my job, I find myself yearning for the other stuff too. I want the hours at the gym back and I need another day out at the museum!  *sobs hysterically*. When will I ever find the time for life (I think that's what all the kids are calling it?) my wonderful free life, now that I’m a work drone once more.
Life doesn’t fit into the sleepwalking hours, you know that mentally exhausted stupor after work and before bed where I am simultaneousl…

Time to banish the mum pouch: update

I said I’d post an update after 8 weeks – it’s more like 10 because the 2 weeks I fell off the exercise wagon totally don’t count.  I’m at the halfway point and honestly, I’m starting to see some improvements. The mum pouch is slightly less; I’ve rediscovered my collarbone and the tiny dents in my arms (under a certain light) could pass as biceps. Progress! I’ve lost 4lb and 8 inches, 4 each from my hips and waist.  A result is a result (even if this is less than I hoped, nay, prayed for) and this one is largely down to a combination of weight training, running and cycling. I’ve been mixing it up by doing whatever I feel like on the day but have made sure to fit in at least 4, hour long sessions a week.

 I have to be completely transparent though, whilst I am happy with these teeny results I know I can do better. Exercising alone won’t bring about the changes I’m after. If I want a toned tum and arms that make Davina weep, I can’t come home from a weights session only to sit down for…

Surviving a nursing (breastfeeding) strike.

A month before my son’s 1st birthday I was thinking about the dreaded return to work and wondered - with him starting nursery and us being apart for most of the day - if it was time to bring our breastfeeding journey to a close. I didn’t dream that my baby would take the decision out of my hands completely but he did. A few days later the little man staged a strike that struck our booby world apart with apocalyptic force.
As with all of the breastfeeding problems we’ve faced in the past, this one was down to teething. Usually when those pesky white buds are about to make an appearance I can’t get him to stop feeding (or biting) but this was different. I was faced with a baby who refused to feed. Every time I brought him to my breast or tried to feed him in any way he would clench his little jaw and pull back. The only liquids he accepted were tiny sips of milk or water from his cup.
Frantic, I had him checked over by a medical professional. When the nurse confirmed it was just his te…

The 5 stresses of throwing a children's party

It’s been a few years since I last threw a party - a creepy crawly themed affair for my eldest in the local church hall - and I looked back at that memory with fuzzy fondness. I thought, heck why not do the same for the tiny man's birthday. We’ll have a little garden party, invite a few of his nappy wearing chums and it’ll be so much easier because we’re at home, right? Wrong!
I seemed to have developed some kind of party planning amnesia but the second I clicked send on the e-vites it all came flooding back to me...
The 5 stresses of party planning.
Have I booked enough, have I booked too much?
Gone are the days when a Spice Girl’s album on repeat and a McDonald’s toy wrapped in 15 layers of newspaper were enough to entertain the kiddies. The party industry is big business and there’s choice, choice, oh so much choice when planning entertainment for the wee ones. In hindsight I’m not sure a 5ft bell tent was necessary but I’m glad I drew the line at a party pony.
Who did I forget t…

Time to turn it off and stop comparing...

The irony of writing a negative post about social media on social media is not lost on me, but I have a Facebook hiatus coming up and I am ridiculously excited.
The highlight of our family vacation (apart from spending endless time with my three darlings obvs) has to be the turning off of my mobile phone.  The house is safe, thanks to the in-laws, and the people I generally worry about 24/7 are with me, so off it goes in my case until our holiday is over.
Without the tiny blue flashing device to distract me the change is instant:  I’m more aware of the conversations happening around me (as opposed to muffled background noise), I care less about what other people are doing and I realise that right here, right now, the life I’m living - while not perfect - is pretty freaking awesome.
The new buzzword being thrown around is mindfulness, feel the moment, be at one with the moment (blah, blah, blah) but it really does pay to take the time out to just be. To experience things fully and n…

Time to banish the mum pouch!

Sorry, I'm sure my pictures are TMI for some of you - it’s certainly too much for me every time I look in the mirror - but public shaming is necessary here folks because my mum pouch (or that saggy flap of skin below my naval) is the bane of my existence. 
I suspect people think I’m a bit of a narcissist when I mention the mum pouch but this is because I’ve become an expert at hiding it. High waist jeans and granny knickers are a god a send - the pouch can simply be tucked in and concealed - but I’m the one who has to look in the mirror every morning knowing that I’m not happy with what I see. Weight and shape are two entirely different things and whilst I like what the scales show me, my current shape is similar to that of a deflated balloon.
It’s not like I haven’t tried either. I stayed active throughout my pregnancy and regular swimming, cycling and running sessions have helped me to shake of most of the baby weight but this belly won’t budge!
I’ve been forced to take a long …