Sometimes It’s Hard To Be A Woman, But At Least We Have Karma

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Sometimes you just have one of those weeks. Those weeks when you feel you’re tired and unmotivated, nothing goes right, you hate all your clothes and you just want to crawl back into bed and sleep your weird mind-funk off for a couple of days. Maybe only to be woken by someone bringing you sausage rolls or cheese toasties. And as we’re in fantasy land I’d like to specify Jamie Dornan to be the one bringing me baked goods, if you please.

I realised I was having one of those weeks by Wednesday this week: I’d ugly-cried at Call The Midwife (seriously took me hours to get over that episode), the jacket of Rachael’s new book, a random advert I don’t remember and the cialis brand finale of The Office (ALL THE EMOTIONS). I’d diagnosed myself with manflu on Monday having been flat-out knackered with a sniffle all weekend and dosed myself up on chamomile tea and sympathy. My productivity was low which is always the worst feeling for me and I felt like I couldn’t even put an outfit together (the horror…).

Jamie Dornan never appeared, FYI.

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I generally felt out of http://skelfsborg.com/buy-cialis-soft-online sorts and generic levitra soft tabs not myself – blaming January with its freezing skies and miserable commuters – until Mother Nature reminded me that HEY, I can eff up your week just cos you’re a WOMAN. And so I switched my blame from January to my bloody bloody hormones.

I’m fairly lucky with my womanly ways, as it goes. I remember being a teenager, listening to songs about love and passion and the cruel cruel world and just having all these FEELINGS. These teenage feelings that nobody really knew what to do with, least of all me. Back then it was all so new – the hormones, the boyfriends, the dealing with life – there was soooo much dramatic teenage turmoil that usually ended in screeching at my mum and wailing on my bathroom floor about how life wasn’t fair (sorry mum).

Now when I feel a bit hormonal there’s more grown-up situation of tucking yourself into bed nice and early to watch an uplifting film (my go-to is 500 Days of Summer for happy or sad situations), treating yourself to a glass of wine at the weekend or browsing TED Talks to re-ignite your inspiration. There’s more geeing yourself up by listening to Bruno Mars, cooking a lovely dinner and browsing ASOS.

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The grown-up version of hormonal turmoil is much more pleasant, it has to be said.

But it’s times like this that really re-affirms my faith in the universe. I know I’ve mentioned this before and I still feel a bit ridiculous writing this down – 19 year old me thought ‘Karma’ was nothing but the title of a Culture Club song – but since I started my singleton journey 2 years ago I have really felt the universe looking after me when I’m feeling a little bit rubbish.

It’s the little things. Sian, my lovely manicurist, giving me 3 extra stamps on my loyalty card because she knew I was having a hard day. An odd man at Costa telling me my cold-ravaged hands were beautiful (all down to you, Sian). The man at the tapas place around the corner from work giving me 10% off and sneaking me a free glass of wine. Winning a £50 voucher for Boden, one of my favourite shops. Sam at Ena Salon inviting me in for a haircut and making me feel (and look!) so good that I left walking on air.

Seriously, if you need a re-style please go and see him. Sam is hands down the follow link best stylist I’ve ever been to and the blow-dry he gave me this time around was nothing short of order cheapest viagra online magical. It made me feel like a million dollars. Look at all these smug selfies I took after visiting him!

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It’s more than that though – karma is how other people react to you when you’re having a slightly rough time. It’s how you react to other people when they’re experiencing the same. It’s when you know you haven’t been the best person you can be and something external to you recognising that – a broken egg shell at the supermarket or a rude shop assistant.

Bear with me on this, I think ‘Karma’ may be the only religion I’ve ever believed in.

Today is Friday so I have declared that The Week of Funk will be officially over. Bring back my productivity, my excitement, my ability to get dressed. Hormones are SO 2014…

What’s Your Best Mum Advice?

When I first started my blog I was five weeks pregnant. I called it ‘A Womb With A View’ which at the time I thought was absolutely hilarious – thank god my sense of humour has matured, even if I haven’t – and wrote anonymously about my experiences in case anyone from work stumbled upon it. Back then I knew no pregnant people and f-utilidades.com none of my friends had babies or children so I was somewhat of a lone ranger. My lack of knowledge about pregnancy, birth and motherhood was based on American sitcoms and the occasional flick through my mum’s Good Housekeeping magazine so I guess you could say I had an idyllic view of it all.

Which is why, since having children, I’ve been so passionate about writing about my life as a mum. It’s an incredible tale, one of highs and lows but most importantly the unexpected. I had no idea how difficult, tiring, euphoric and downright weird this journey as a mum could be and so I like to write about it for the benefit of those who are considering buying a ticket for the parenting train. I wish I’d had a blog like mine when I was a new parent to help me through that time; I tell you, it can be a pretty isolating experience being a new mum and I would have really appreciated a bit of solidarity.

SMA Nutrition have just launched a new campaign which will provide just that. B.A.B.Y (Baby Advice By You) is a campaign providing an extensive library of advice and golden nuggets of information from the best experts in the field: us, the mums! Containing personal experiences and opinions from those on the front line of parenting (*takes a bow*), the B.A.B.Y project will be what so many first time mums are missing – a best friend who’s done it all, seen it all, and has bought the cialis tablets for sale baby-vomit covered t-shirt.

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Tips To Entertain This January With Tassimo Perfect Host

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In my opinion January is the best month for entertaining. December is all about family – my auntie cooking a massive turkey and cialis next day delivery dad sending me home with tin foil parcels of honey-roast ham – but January is about my friends.

Obviously this doesn’t apply to you if you’re doing dry January. Sorry buddies. Unless you fancy being my designated driver, then I’m all over it.

Yes, January is an excellent month for entertaining at home. Everyone’s skint and a little bit miserable, it’s too cold to venture far out the house and you’re still feeling a little tired from all the celebrations of December. Do you need any more reasons to get partying at home? In case you do here are my top home entertaining tips. Fill up your wine glass and read on…

  1. Plan ahead

Last night when I was doing my Ocado shop I found myself unable to get my hands on either a cauliflower or minced lamb. They were completely out of it – nada, nothing. Which is why it pays to plan ahead and make sure you have all the essential ingredients for your dinner party

  1. Go fancy

I really love to make my friends feel special when they come to be entertained Chez AJT so I make an effort to go fancy. I don’t mean anything overly intricate but you’d be surprised at how far your linen napkins and matching glassware goes. I also love to go matching with my crockery and think white looks chicest.

  1. Be prepared

I once went to a dinner party and wildbeautyworld.com there wasn’t any white wine in the host’s house… CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?! I’m going to let you think about the dire consequences of this one yourself, but needless to say there was one very big Sauvignon Blanc fan (raises hand) who was not happy. That’ll teach me to pick a bottle of Rioja to take with me on that particular evening. I always keep in my house things I think my guests might like, from gin to beer to stilton to herbal teas and coffee.

  1. Pick your entertainment

I keep it simple at my dinner parties and stick on one of my Spotify playlists (and in January, my Fireplace for the Home on the TV), but for my 30th in July you’d better believe there’ll be a live guitarist playing Dire Straits covers in the garden. Oh yes.IMG_0686

The lovely people at Tassimo recently sent me a coffee machine to trial at one of my soirees over the festive period. I’ll tell you something; I never thought I’d be a coffee person but then I started working full-time in an office and now I can’t seem to get enough. The Tassimo has been perfect for my morning cup of joe (I literally can’t get going without it); I’m such a fan of the authentic taste and the crema it gives.

Tassimo asked me to arrange a gathering with my best buddies and sent over some specially-created recipes from John Torode so I could show off my hosting skills and new coffee machine but, as is our way as parents, it had to be cancelled last-minute (damn you children ruining my social life). Instead I decided to re-created one of his recipes on Christmas day, my favourite festive party dish of Devils on Horseback.

John absolutely loves these. Devils on Horseback are a hot appetizer or small savoury dish normally served as part of a Christmas feast but can be a great appetizer for any party occasion. You can also soak and redevgroup.com cook with verjuice, which John also adores.

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Devils on Horseback

You will need a large flat tray and 24 toothpicks

Preheat the http://wildbeautyworld.com/cialis-online-50mg oven to 200 c

Ingredients:

– 24 large prunes

– 100ml hot earl grey tea

– Orange rind

– 200ml cream sherry

– 24 rashers smoked streaky bacon

 Instructions:

 

  1. Place the prunes into a large bowl and rub the orange rind between your hands, so it releases its aroma.
  2. Heat the sherry, and then pour with the tea over the prunes.
  3. Add the orange rind, giving it a stir and leave to sit for 10 minutes. This should help plump the prunes up and give them loads of flavour.
  4. Lay out 6 slices of the bacon on a work surface and place a plumped prune on each rasher of bacon at end closest to you. Roll the prune up into the http://agp.qc.ca/levitra-doses bacon and place on the cooking tray.
  5. Repeat until all of the bacon and prunes are used. You should have a little liquid left in the bowl, which will be used to baste the bacon as it cooks.
  6. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, brushing with the sherry mix every 5 minutes or so.
  7. Serve hot or warm, as they are better that way.

 

 

2015, A Late Welcome

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Although I haven’t written my summary of 2014 yet I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time thinking about it. It feels like 2014 was a really big year; I reached the end feeling the best I ever have. Professionally, emotionally, personally. The year has been pretty brilliant, if not a bit of a character builder.

Throughout the year I can safely say I’ve made mistakes, found myself in situations I’ve then had to extract myself from, learning lessons along the way. I can safely say I’ve never worked harder or pushed myself more than in the last 12 months, but contrary to what I always believed it turns out that hard work, it makes me happy! Who’d have thought it? Despite the onslaught of early mornings, late nights and http://nauticalprogressions.net/viagra-online-cheap knackering days I’ve been surprised at how much satisfaction the rx online viagra feeling of a solid 12 hour working day brings me ;) My eyes have more bags than John Lewis but I think they call this character building, and it works.

Clarity is a good word that I’d give to 2014. Everything in my life now feels clarified, concentrated, meticulously crafted. I feel like I have a wonderfully curated – small but wonderful – circle of friends that has shrunken slightly but in an entirely positive way.

I’ve found out things about myself that I didn’t know before, from what makes me happy to what I need to stay sane in my work and dating life (er, quite a lot, sorry bosses and boys). There have been times where I have prioritized work above everything else and I’ve achieved so much, but striving for a better work/life balance in 2015 is definitely something I need to aim for.

I’ve found clarity in the sort of person I want to be, and realised what behaviours in others I can tolerate and which I cant. I have little time for negativity in others and seem to have developed a mindset of constant positive thinking.

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Without hugely bigging myself up I think I have ended the year a much nicer person. I’ve become a lot more aware of my own spirituality and place in the universe (seriously, 2013 me would be rolling her eyes big-time at this) and I really try hard to be the best person I can. I like to make life happy for other people and have been finding it easier to cut the bad wood out.

I have a love and hate relationship with New Years Resolutions. On one hand, why is it only this once a year that we’re widely allowed to take stock and enter site make positive changes? On the other, what a great time to take stock and make positive changes… so this year I have resolved to keep on keeping on. A couple of little resolutions never hurt anyone, am I right?

2015 will be a busy one – I turn 30 for a start – so I’m keeping it simple. Keep being nice, keep working hard (but balance it with family life), keep enjoying and working on my health (EAT LESS BUTTER) and just have fun. Laugh lots, spend time with wonderful people and stop being hung up on not getting enough sleep. And above all, think positive thoughts. AND WRITE, always keep writing!

It feels good to be in 2015. I’m happy to be here.

PS: Looking back – January 2014 / January 2013 / January 2012 (can’t believe I used the phrase ‘New Year New Me’ without irony) / January 2011

 

This Year I Didn’t Get A Christmas Tree, Or What It’s Like To Spend Christmas Without Your Children

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This year I didn’t get a Christmas tree.

It wasn’t really a conscious decision. I’d planned to get our tree the weekend of the 13th but after spending those couple of days in London with old friends (hungover, post the annual Christmas pilgrimage to Shoreditch House for Espresso Martinis) a busy garden center was really the last place I wanted to be.

Then it didn’t happen that next weekend and by the lovelovefilms.com time life slowed down enough… well, it actually didn’t ever slow down enough. Suddenly it was the 23rd of December and what would be the point in getting a Christmas tree then?

I think, though, the main reason I didn’t get a tree this year was because I knew the children wouldn’t be around to enjoy it. That’s why I didn’t haul my box of decorations out the garage or locate my fairy lights. I didn’t really want to celebrate Christmas without my two sidekicks.

Having children makes Christmas so special. They are what it’s all about. And I feel like I went from being a child at 24 to celebrating Christmas with my own children, so I didn’t have many years of Christmases without them. I’ve never really gone out to the pub with friends on Christmas eve and returned to my parent’s house belting Christmas carols at 1am, I’ve never spent Christmas day snoozing on a sofa with a hangover before gorging on cheese (note: I do always gorge on cheese, though).

So this year felt very strange at all. I didn’t want to think about what Christmas would be like without Elfie and Hux and so I just didn’t think about Christmas at all. I just pretended it wasn’t really happening, and work complied by being crazily busy enough to let me bury myself in it.

Dropping them off with their dad on Christmas Eve was predictably awful but I did it without crying before going to get a bikini wax to take my mind off Christmas without them (FYI it totally worked). And then off to the pub – hooray! I finally got there on Christmas eve! – for Prosecco with family.

Waking up at my house alone on Christmas morning felt strange. Not bad, not good, just strange. It just felt like a normal day. I opened some pressies at my parents’ house, Egyptian cotton bath sheets, Diptyque candles and John Lewis pjs, THRILLED :), and then we journeyed up to Rutland to my aunty and uncle’s house.

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And despite the children not being there we had a really lovely day. We ate delicious turkey (thank you aunty Jinny!), drank red wine, scoffed cheese, played games and rang bells (yes, really). I have to say though I am glad it’s now the 27th December which means it’s just 360-odd days til I can have a blow-out Christmas with them next year.

In the meantime I’m making the most of my adult time: catching up on sleep – very much needed after a hectic December – going to the gym, seeing friends, spending time relaxing at home. Planning my next moves. As cheesy as it sounds I love the new beginnings that come with a new year and 2015 is definitely going to be The One. The year I find my work/life balance, the year I get properly fit, the year I turn 30.

Let’s have it…

 

The Day Elfie Became A Princess

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For reasons I really want to write about at a later date, I’ve become somewhat of a feminist in the last 12 months. It’s been an odd thing – I’ve gone from feeling slightly ambivalent about feminism to being confident that I strongly identify this way. Not to sound emotional about the whole thing but it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster – empowering, scary, shocking, maddening, exciting.

And as such I want to make sure my children, both Elfie and Hux, know they can do whatever they want to do in life, be whatever they want to be, no matter if they’re a boy or a girl. I try not to gender stereotype them, I’ve never dressed Elfie in pink and Hux in blue. Hux loves his tea set and Barbie and  Elfie likes to craft guns out of LEGO (I think she learned about guns from her friends, all boys, at school?) and goes gaga for Spiderman. Yet despite this Hux still spends an unhealthy amount of time banging his head against walls (such a boy) and Elfie has a total love affair with anything Disney Princess.

Which is how I knew she would go into paroxysms of delight when I took her to the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Harrod’s . I really shouldn’t have told her about the expeirence so long in advance because for two weeks she spoke of nothing apart from the day she would be turned into a princess. All the teachers and lunchtime helpers at school knew, as did quite a few people in the supermarket as well as our next door neighbour. SHE WAS EXCITED!

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And so last Sunday we arrived at Harrod’s looking like this (above), not particularly princessy, I think you’ll agree? We made our way to the fourth floor to see how this transformation would take place.

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Now there is something I find totally magical about Disney. Disneyland Florida 1999 is still in my personal history books as the BEST HOLIDAY EVER and I literally get chills in our local Disney store. The stories, the characters, the music – it’s so wonderful, no matter how old you are.

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When we first arrived at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Elfie was given a buzzer that would go off when it was our time to be transformed. A quick five minutes later and it was our turn – we were off to meet Charlie, our very own Fairy Godmother-in-training! Charlie used her magic to summon up the main woman, the Fairy Godmother, who told Elfie all about what it meant to become a princess. We were taught the magic words, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo! And we magicked the doors to the boutique open. IMG_9840

We’d selected the ‘Coronation’ package, which meant Elfie would be transformed into none other than Anna from Frozen. And upon being shown to her very own changing room – poof! – a few more magic words and Anna’s dress and a beautiful pair of glittery shoes appeared. It was magical!

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The Fairy Godmothers-in-Training set to work. Elfie chose a hairstyle, a nail colour and face paints and was lavished with so much attention. At one point she had four Fairy Godmothers-in-Training attending to her every need: brushing her hair (which I am SO NOT ALLOWED TO DO, fyi), singing to her, reading her stories, painting her nails, talking to her about her favourite princesses… it was wonderful.


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It was an absolutely priceless moment to see, she was so aware of being pampered and to see her feeling like the http://osa-online.net/cms/cialis-china most important person in that room at that time – I felt so proud. She was beaming, absolutely lit up from the inside. She looked like a real princess, and I’m sure felt like one too, as ‘Princess Elfie’ had been her name ever since we’d entered the boutique. I’m not going to pretend I minded being referred to as ‘Queen’, either ;)

One of the best moments was when she got the first glimpse of herself as a princess. She couldn’t believe the way she looked. And then the seriousness with which Charlie crouched down and explained what was expected of a princess was lovely – that she was loyal, caring, kind and a friend to all. Pretty good life advice, really.

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We were led to the ‘window’, where Elfie had her picture taken overlooking her kingdom, and then on to the royal throne where Elfie swore to behave in a princessly manner. Wide eyed, she was given a bag of goodies (a big cuddly Olaf that she hasn’t let go of since, Anna and Elsa dolls, a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique certificate, a framed photo of her as a princess and a little makeup bag) and we slowly wandered through the kids department and out of Harrod’s.

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She refused to wear a coat (it was 6pm and FREEZING) but totally basked in the adoration of all the tourists who kept stopping her and telling her how beautiful she looked. This lasted for a while – two tube train journeys to be exact – until we boarded our train home and she promptly fell asleep. It’s tough being a princess!

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The hair do stayed put for two days (luckily school was closed for training the next day) and the makeup lasted 24 hours. Basically she did NOT want to stop being a princess. She’s taking her princess crown and http://www.hexicamaerials.com/buy-discount-cialis sparkly shoes into school for her ‘treasures assembly’ next week and hasn’t stop talking about the day since. It has obviously been a very special event for her.

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It’s not the natural levitra most feminist thing I’ve ever done with her but I would absolutely do it again. As important as feminism is to me I believe it is also important for children to be made to feel special. And on this day I could see that she knew just how special and beautiful she is from the inside out.

I can’t finish this write-up without praising the Fairy Godmothers-in-training. Each and every one we met was so sweet, enthusiastic and captivating to the little girls in the boutique. They were so lovely to us both, even at the end of what must have been a very long day for them. Ten out of ten.

When I found out the price of the experience – £300 – I wasn’t sure I would be able to justify that amount of money on an hour. But for what Elfie got out of it? I think it is definitely worth it. I’m already planning on taking her again for her birthday and I for one CAN’T WAIT.

You can find out more about the experiences (they start at £100) and book online at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique website here. And for what it’s worth, if they did the equivalent adult’s experience I’d be first in line.

Huge thank-you’s for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for having us last weekend. We will definitely be back!