How To…

…Stay Sane!

Sometimes life just feels like its on a constant mission to make you crazy and I think things are particularly mental just after you’ve had a child, whether it’s your first, second, third, fourth…(if it is your fourth then you’re actually legitimately insane and you either don’t really, or really do, need to read this article) the adjustment is always huge and things can take a long time to settle.

I have a couple of things I need to do to stay sane, but mostly I’m not that great at doing them, so I thought I’d write it all down…

  1. Self-love! Trying not to make crass jokes about masturbation here, but if that is the thing you do to (quite literally) love yourself then do it (after your stitches have healed). I like to knit. For me. For myself. I have knitted one or two things for my child but honestly I’m only really interested in knitting clothes for myself. So sue me, I’m loving myself with yarn baby!
  2. Meditation! I am a meditation pusher. My mother is a Vitamin C pusher – if there is anything wrong with you from a common cold to a phobia of lemons, she will tell you that Vitamin C will solve it. I’m the same with meditation. People always tell me that they’ve tried it and they didn’t think they were any good at it. Well what did you last try that you were good at the first, second or even third time? People who hate running do the couch to 5k challenge all the time and it’s hard but its good for them and eventually they become a habitual runner. Meditation is just the same. I use apps or I look up meditations on YouTube and I always feel at least five times better than I did before. End. Of. Speech.
  3. Medication! Granted this isn’t for everyone. I have depression so I HAVE to take it. Although not everyone with depression does but I keep doing this really annoying thing where I decide I don’t need medication any more and come off it, then chaos ensues and it never takes long before I’m back on. Now I’m a mother I can’t afford to do that (I did – chaos ensued), so medication is a key ingredient of the sanity cocktail I’ve invented (along with gin, obviously).
  4. Getting Out! If you don’t have a child promise me you’ll do one thing? Next time you leave your house just take a moment to relish picking up your bag or keys and just gleefully stepping over your threshold and out into the world mere seconds later. Once you have children THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN. It takes at least two hours to get out of the house these days, there’s just so much detritus that I need to take with me! Including a baby! But my son wants to be out, staring down strangers to the point when they say things like “it’s like he knows what you’re thinking, isn’t it?” followed by nervous laughter. So we spend much time out the house. Sometimes I just get in the car and drive, no idea where we’re going but we always end up where we’re supposed to be. It is hard and you won’t feel like it because you’re exhausted and you haven’t had a shower in five days, but dry shampoo the crap out of life and get out and about, it will make everything so much better!
  5. Eating Well! Before you think I’ve turned into one of those “insta mums” who puts on freshly ironed pyjamas, a full face of makeup and cuddles a neutral-coloured bowl full of fruit and flaxseed, while my husband takes a picture of me not actually looking at the camera and post it with the caption “Morning lovelies! I just love these sunny mornings where I can tuck into a healthy brekkie while my baby sleeps until 10:30am. #perfectlife #valenciafilter #dontyoujusthateme”. Because to me eating well doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthily. It means finding a balance between crying and frantically shoving cake and cheese into your mouth when your child FINALLY sleeps, and only eating salads and porridge oats because you’re trying to lose baby weight while also keeping your child alive with your own body by breastfeeding. For me, eating well has become about compromise – salad is good for your body, but cake is good for your soul. Eat both.

Douglas feels a different way about eating well, he thinks it means you have to wear food like facial hair…I mean, he’s not wrong.

Douglas food

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How To…

…Sleep in This Heat.

The hashtag #toohottosleep has been trending for a good couple of days now and I am not immune to this. A solid night of sleep has evaded me for almost a week now. So, I’ve come up with a couple of tips on how to try and sleep during this pesky heatwave.

Continue reading “How To…”

5 Reasons Why…

…Weddings Are Actually a Good Idea.

Who knew!?

Well not me, thats for sure. In the lead up to my wedding I was a mess, the three days before – a wreck. I was snotty and ill and crying and dreading the ‘big day’ (it makes it worse when people call it that). However, something amazing happened – when I woke up on ‘the morning of’ I was calm, happy, relaxed, still a bit poorly but nothing a lemsip and glass of fizz couldn’t fix. I loved getting ready and then when the actual event got started I actually had the best day of my entire life. It was the opposite of what I expected, but actually exactly what everyone said it would be. I can’t wait to see the wedding video because at the moment it all feels as though it was a really wonderful dream! Yesterday I received these beautiful pictures and they’re really helping it all seem like reality.

We got married!
“We got married!”

Continue reading “5 Reasons Why…”

How To…

…Work From Home!

Now that I’m freelance I find myself spending a lot of time in my little home office, resisting the temptations of YouTube, day-time telly, a spot of cleaning or just going out and about round the local charity shops!

So incase any of you dear readers  are suffering from the same cheeky temptations I have put together a list of tips to help keep you on track (I’m hoping this will benefit me in a follow your own advice way).

How To Work From Home:

  1. BAN YOUTUBE (she says, whilst playing a Eurovision Song Contest Concert on said media channel – it’s got all the hits! And Graham Norton!).
  2. Set yourself specific times, I charge an hourly rate anyway so it really helps me to turn every distraction off, put an hour timer on my phone and then when that goes off I can pause and have a little break (a Euro Break).
  3. Get up and at ’em! Even though you don’t have a boss tapping their watch when you walk into the office anymore, you should probably get up at a reasonable time. If you end up waking up at 10am it’ll just make you feel bad and that’s not a good way to start the working day!
  4.  Get up and get out! No I’m not talking about your one night stand – I get up when Chris gets up (sometimes before – he’s a last minute man) and walk with him to work. Then I either jog or walk back home, which gives me really good time to think about the day ahead and the exercise puts me in a really good mood. I would thoroughly recommend a walking start to your day!
  5. Get dressed! This might seem like an obvious one but back in January I spent a lot of time working at my desk in my jammies but now I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a bad idea – it never puts me in the right headspace to work. I’m not saying put your suit on or anything, right now I’m not wearing what I would wear to a meeting but I am wearing clothes (and even a bra!) which makes me feel a lot more ready to work than my dressing gown does.

There are my five tips from working home – and I’d have written this blog a lot quicker if I didn’t have a cat on my computer the whole time…

Tips for working from home

How Not To…

…Buy Clothes!

I have mentioned before that this year I have decided to buy no new clothes, for the entirety of its course, but someone recently enquired how on earth I refrain from purchasing said items, so I’ve put together the traditional five bullet point list on How Not To Buy Clothes:

Continue reading “How Not To…”

How To…

…Dress for Work.

I work from home, so technically I could wear whatever I want to work; my cape, my onesie, my pyjamas (not that I’ve ever done any of the above…ever) but there does come the occasion when I have to leave my home office and venture into the outside world to meet with other business people – for business purposes.

Previously I’ve always known what to wear because I’ve known what was expected of me by the business I was representing, but these days I’m just representing me which poses the question, how should I dress for work?

How to dress for work

Because it took me a while to get into the swing of what I really should be doing with my life I have had the benefit of working for a variety of different types of business, in one of my first jobs out of uni I worked in an office where my immediate boss came into work every day looking like a cross between a slightly musky teenager (despite being around 30 years of age) and a painter and decorator, it seemed all he could do to change out of the t-shirt he’d slept in before moping his way to work to sit with his hood up (I kid you not) in front of his computer screen. Now this didn’t sit well with me, work is important, and you have to get yourself in the zone mentally, if I was to go to a meeting wearing tracky-b’s I’d be in my ‘watching Geordie Shore zone’, which I don’t think would be entirely beneficial. I think it might also appear that I honestly couldn’t care less about the meeting and that would also be very bad.

However, I have worked in a couple of suited-and-booted, office attire, pencil skirts all-round, offices and I have to say that didn’t sit well with me either – quite literally, pencil skirts are not great for spending a day sitting in – they’re not so great for walking either, really not sure why they were invented other than to make bottoms look good, which was probably the crux of why I didn’t like wearing them. I felt a little bit too sexy, in all honesty I probably looked like an incredibly tired mum desperately trying to be smart and fit into her pre-pregnancy, slightly sicked-on work clothes. But I felt quite sexy, and I didn’t think that was the right mental zone to be in either. Heels make your bottom wiggle when you walk, and pencil skirts are tight on your bottom – I’m kind of fine with that on a night out but not really in a business meeting.

I have met many women throughout my life who have had the opposite response and encouraged me to embrace the sexy side of business (in a completely non-illegal way – I’d just like to point out). And I do understand that there are arguments for using ones feminine wiles to a beneficial business outcome (again, I’m talking non-illegal, like cleavage, nice legs and some gentle flirting wiles, not “well they do say I’m great with my hands” wiles) and it has been described to me before as using all the weapons in ones arsenal. I’m not sure how I feel about this and it certainly is a larger subject for another blog post but me myself, I prefer not to think of business as warfare.

Having thought about it, I very much believe I’ve found the uniform for me – Smart Casual! The middle road of every dinner and party invitation, the ultimate cinema attire and the I’m hungover but having lunch with my parent-in-laws today outfit. You may think that this is not necessarily the right mental zone to channel during a business meeting but I have come to the realisation that how I present myself to potential clients must be a complete representation of the true me. I’m a smart casual kinda woman, even when the invite just says casual, I’m tend to turn up in more smart attire, when the invite says formal, I’d still prefer to be in slacks and flats (although I do tend to go all out – one mustn’t offend). It’s like handing over a business card – it has to represent you and what you do perfectly, and it’s no different with your attire. If I were to turn up to meetings in suits it wouldn’t at all represent what I’m all about. I’m a writer, writing isn’t what I do, it’s what I am, so if I dress completely like myself I’m kind of hoping that will come across! And if the person I’m meeting with has a lower opinion of me not turning up in a suit then we probably wouldn’t have been a right fit to work together anyway.

How to dress for work

So my advice to anybody looking in the wardrobe tomorrow morning and thinking “what to wear, what to wear” is wear what best represents you, lets perhaps go with the best version of you, not the I-really-shouldn’t-have-had-that-extra-glass-of-wine-last-night version. If you’re a suit-up kind of person then go for it, it obviously suits you (ha!) and represents all that you’re about, if you’re tempted to wear tracky b’s then you may be either need more sleep or to review whether the job you’re in is really right for you (if you’re a gymnast, or you work in a gym, or you’re some kind of sports teacher then you’re completely sorted – worry not). Embrace what you’re about, inside and out (rhymed), I honestly believe the day, and the business will be better for it!

How to dress for work

How To…

…Get Seriously Self-Righteous

My new year’s resolution this year was to buy no new clothes for the entirety of 2015, so I thought I would let you know how it’s going; pretty well! The other day I did have to go shopping with my soon-to-be Mother-in-Law (for her wedding outfit!) and it was a little bit like taking a sugar-addicted Diabetic to a Ye Olde Sweet Shop UNTIL I found a top and dress in the French Connection section of John Lewis which was made from exactly the same material that I bought for £3 a metre in Vietnam and have also made a top and a dress from. There are only three differences; that my material is purple not white (although the pattern is EXACTLY the same); some lining choices and that in its complete entirety my dress AND top cost me around £20 to make (including material, pattern, zips and lining, etc) and the French Connection Dress is £125 and the top costs £85. This is EXACTLY why I decided to do No New (well one of main the reasons anyway). I have been walking round with an entirely self-righteous air ever since.

The dress:

Make your own dress!

The top:

make your own clothes

An image of the material the French Connection top and dress is made from:

If you wish to see the remarkable similarities between the four garments I would suggest you type ‘French Connection Nebraska’ into the search section of the John Lewis website.

I know that I was lucky enough to stumble across (quite literally, the market was very small and the stall owners insisted on napping on the floor) this fabric in a far off land but doesn’t it just go to show what we’re actually paying for when we buy expensive dresses from highstreet designers?

I will be posting up more pictures of my No New year shortly but for the meantime I’d just like to say SUCK ON THAT MODERN CONSUMERISM.

#justsaying (/shouting).