Wedding Planning Thoughts: Will I Change My Surname?

Wedding Planning - Should I change my surname?

Another wedding-related post from me – what do we think of them? We aren’t getting married for a long long long long time yet… but as my job is a wedding coordinator, and I am newly engaged I can’t help but start to think about wedding planning!

One aspect of the wedding that I have paid quite a lot of thought to is if I will take my fiancé’s surname. It’s something my views have chopped and changed on but I think I have finally come to a decision… although if it’s another five years before the bloody wedding they may well change again.

Women taking their husbands name used to be a legal requirement, under coverture laws which meant that everything a woman was – her legal rights and all obligations became her husband’s, and was signified by her taking his name. A married woman could not own property, sign contracts – as husband and wife were one, with the husband taking precedence.

I’m sincerely hoping that you are all reading this and thinking what a crock of shit. And rightly so.

Lucy Stone was a vigorous campaigner for the right for women to keep their maiden name; in the WHAT she kept hers after marriage defying convention. However when she attempted to register to vote, she was not allowed to do so unless she did so with her husband’s surname.

Throughout the 19th century married women were slowly afforded more rights; however it wasn’t until the latter half of the twentieth century that abolishment of coverture laws was complete.

I consider myself to be a feminist, although my partner is very traditional, so whenever we have previously had discussions over surnames I have protested (very voraciously) that I would be keeping my goddamn maiden name!

It’s not only what it signifies, (oh I feel like a twat for saying this) the patriarchy, the male dominance that despite massive strides made recently is very much alive and kicking. A woman permanently changing her name in marriage is a very distinct symbol of this.

It’s also very personal to me. I feel strongly connected to my surname, something I think a lot of you will be able to identify with. It’s a nickname used by my friends, it’s the name on my degree certificates, on a drunken night out we made a dance that goes with my surname – its ME.

I could continue, there are so many personal ties, jokes, and times when my name has meant a lot to me. And it’s actually really odd when you think about it, in modern society where both women and men study, get degrees, get professional qualifications and build careers – both sexes do all this in their own name, but it’s women who change their name still in marriage.

Apart from marriage, why do people change their name? Generally because they want to change who they are, or there’s something about their previous name that they do not like. Well there’s nothing wrong with my name, and I don’t particularly want to change who I am.

(Oh holy fuck guys, why did I start writing this blog post. I’m talking myself out of it again)

I’m unpicking a lot about how I’m feeling here haha. Basically it all boils down to this. I love my name, I love my initials, I love having the same surname as my parents and siblings and feeling very connected to them as a little clan.

But then, I had my own little boy.

And putting a name that wasn’t mine on that birth certificate felt strange. Obviously I’m there scribbled under mother, but he had literally just popped out of my vagina and he was getting a different name.

I know there are many families out there who don’t have a single unifying surname, and it doesn’t really matter. What matters is love and all of that malarkey.

But in that second I knew I would take D’s surname.

And I still feel that despite all my feminist ramblings, I will change my name.

And I’ll be proud of it, because it’s the name of the two most incredible people I know.

B

xo

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15 Months of Rufus

Rufus at fifteen months old

How was R’s first birthday three whole months ago?! With birthdays, Christmas and New Year it feels as if the time has just flown by – and R is growing up so quickly. It’s totally trite, and I get fed up of people saying it to me but it feels as if only yesterday he was a tiny  baby and I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that R will never be this small again.

Here’s what we are up to at 15 months old…

C H R I S T M A S:

Maybe this is a bit of an odd category, but honestly Christmas has been a pretty major development for R. Last year he was just a little squishy, sleepy milky baby with no idea of what was happening but this year whilst he obviously didn’t know WHAT was happening he knew something was up, and got super excited. We tried not to go overboard with presents, but a pretty sizeable mountain formed under the tree, and seeing him walk into the living room on Christmas morning and run round excitedly squeaking and pointing at everything is a memory I will cherish forever.

I was a little bit worried about how Christmas would go, we aren’t the strictest on routines but I knew we would have lots of people visiting and we were staying at my parents for a few nights – with sleep already being pretty rough I was worried that R would be very clingy, or upset. I needn’t have worried, within minutes or arriving at my parents R was in the arms of his aunt demanding she fed him mince pies. He ran around excitedly and got on with everyone, no matter where we were – at home, in a restaurant or staying in Yorkshire.

C H I L D C A R E:

I think that the craziness of Christmas has actually helped R settle in at the childminders. There was a period just before Christmas where things just weren’t clicking. He was really upset when we left him, and the childminder said he was extremely clingy during the day – and would want to be carried by her everywhere. You can imagine how upsetting this was to hear, and indeed me and D had reached the point where we contemplated switching up our childcare, but we didn’t really have a back up plan.

We decided to go slowly and take it week by week, looking to maybe move to a nursery in the New Year. However the first drop off after Christmas, which I was really worried about after a two week break – well it went without incident. NO TEARS. A poosplosion (poor childminder), but even then apparently he got very cross and shouty but didn’t cry.

Since then things seem to be going ok, much less tears, much less clingy-ness, and a happier baby all round. I think Christmas helped, seeing lots of different people, and maybe he’s understanding that we are coming back when we drop him off somewhere!  ( I hope so anyway – long may this continue!)

S L E E P:

Ugh. If you remember in R’s 12 month update, I was feeling fairly confident that we had cracked the sleep thing. LOL. LOL. LOL. It went to shit rapidly after I had written that blog post, and has gone off a cliff in the past few weeks. As in waking up every 45 minutes, ALL NIGHT LONG.

I won’t bore you with banging on about it here – I do enough of that, but I had a mini meltdown over it the other day. Whenever I talk about R’s sleep problems I am instantly given a million and one opinions, usually those of the ‘let him cry’ variety. But I can’t do that, it might work for you but its not how I want to do things. Which is ok, I complain about being up every single night but I know we will get there. I need to give myself a little love and support and remind myself that I am going the right way! Would love to hear off you if you have a bad sleeper, makes you feel pretty shitty sometimes doesn’t it?

T A L K I N G:

In all honesty I go from being really worried about R’s talking to relaxing and thinking it will come when he’s good and ready. He can say ‘Dadda’, ‘Mamma’, ‘Allo’, and I think we have heard a ‘Buh-bye’…. however he doesn’t use these very often! Some days you wouldn’t know he has said a word at all. This does worry me slightly as I feel like he should be saying a little more by now.

However, I am quite laid back really and think he will get round to it. It’s not a big worry it just niggles in my head from time to time. One thing that has massively reassured me over the past week is realising that R understands much much more than I thought previously. He can point to most of his body parts, several animals, and a lot of household/everyday items if you ask him to. He can also follow simple instructions ‘Take this to daddy’, ‘Wipe your face’, ‘Lift up your arms’.

As he understands so much, I think that when he starts to talk it will all come at once!

R A T E S:

Mince Pies/Christmas Cake – in fact all of the new food he encountered over Christmas.

Little Tikes Cosy Coupe – a Christmas present from my siblings, that occupies him endlessly!

My work lanyard

Throwing things, particularly over the baby gates

Being outside, which is brilliant as I’m enjoying following and taking part in the #150hoursoutdoors project, aimed at getting us all outdoor more in 2019.

H A T E S:

His cot

Sleep

M U M M Y  N E E D S:

A nap!

B xo

Why Did I Start Blogging?

Why did I start blogging?

I’ve been blogging for almost six months now, a whole heady six months. What started off as me posing in my pants and discussing new motherhood has well, stayed pretty much the same. Turns out its going to take a bloody lot of writing to make me feel more like my pre-motherhood self, maybe I never will, but I am starting to figure out that that is ok. So why am I continuing to blog?

I’ve had three blogs previously, all of which faded out almost quickly as started.

There was a very artsy blog during college, and even artsier one during my brief stint studying Fine Art at university. Then there was a book review blog, which crashed and burned when I started working full time.

I really enjoyed each of the above blogs, like really enjoyed them. There are some photos and work I did for the ‘artsy’ ones that I wish I still had. But with each of them, I think the problem was that I was trying to do something that I wasn’t. I was trying to make them look a certain way, do all the right things, tick the successful boxes – and ultimately putting the pressure on myself in that way meant when other things cropped up, I used these as an excuse to let blogging fall by the wayside.

However this time around, I’ve written about things that I really give a shit about. Motherhood, sex, my job.

And when other things crop up, and life gets busy – I let it. I don’t let it burn me out, trying to write on top of everything else going on and I don’t give up just because I’m not consistently posting.

That might mean that there’s not a stream of articles up here. I do try and post every Tuesday and every Friday but when it doesn’t happen, hey it doesn’t happen. But the way I see it is whilst I am amazed and in awe of those people who have made blogging their careers and livelihood, that’s not me (YET – lets never say never).

I work four days a week, have an absolute terror of a one-year old, a washing pile that threatens to consume me, love handles that aren’t going any where and all of the other life shizzle that occupies the corners of our brains.

But it’s exactly because of this ‘life’ stuff that I started writing in the first place.

When I was on maternity leave I stopped feeling like myself. I didn’t recognise my body any more, my boobs went from rock hard melons to deflated capri-sun pouches… EVERY SINGLE DAY, I could have started my own branch of Starbucks from the milk that squirted in every direction each feed, and my hair was falling out by the handful.

Whilst I abso-bloody-lutely loved getting to know my little pal, going out to the park together, going on play dates and seeing him grow and develop every day… I wasn’t spending much time doing things for me.

I didn’t recognise myself.

So I started writing, started planning posts, started taking photographs. I started talking about whatever was on my mind, be that post-partum periods, or wedding planning. And loads of you started writing back! I have received so many lovely comments and messages from other people out there, whose babies aren’t sleeping, whose boobs are out of control, or who are just feel a little bit overwhelmed with the world.

And that’s awesome. To know that at 3am when your toddler is screaming its not just you that’s up, to know that other parents have no freaking idea what they are doing and that everyone is just muddling by and doing the best they can.

So I’ve loved connecting with people, but more than anything just writing has made me feel so much better. Being creative, brainstorming ideas, researching things to write about and taking photographs – it’s all made me feel so much more like myself.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately as to whether blogging is a dying art, as the way we consume content changes – platforms such as Instagram are constantly evolving, and provide easily accessible snapshots of lifestyle, fashion, advice, real time chat.

I’m not going to tackle why I think that blogs still have a place in terms of overall creative content ( Field and Nest writes about it brilliantly here) however in personal terms, blogging will always have a place.

My most popular posts on here, are ones that I have thought twice about posting because I’ve wondered if they are too honest. But they are the ones that I’ve enjoyed writing the most, the one’s that make my mum laugh, my dad shake his head at, my fiance cringe at me sharing on Facebook… and the ones that make me feel most me.

Creating makes me feel better, putting words onto a page, turning the gobbledy-gook that swirls round my head whilst wiping down a highchair, or standing on a packed commuter train into sentences, paragraphs, images – its AWESOME.

And I write about things that I haven’t read about before, about kids that never sleep, and post-partum bleeding, and how sex is different when you are a parent – because I wish I had read about it when I was feeling a little bit lost.

So expect to see me swearing, showing far too much of my white bits, and writing about anything and everything on here. Because I bloody well enjoy it, and I hope you do too!

B

x

Ps. I would love o see what you have been writing lately – please share your links below!

24 Thoughts You Have When The Baby Isn’t Sleeping

So I know its super boring la-la-laaaaa you all know I never sleep. But I thought this might help those of you out there who also have a nocturnal child feel not so alone, or y’know just crack a sleep-deprived smile. For the rest of you, it’s an insight into my wild wild nights which hopefully will make you crack a smile also!

At the tender age of 15 months R is yet to sleep through the night. He rarely sleeps more than 2-3 hours at a stretch, and is usually up for the day between 5-6am.

Yep. It’s shit.

We’ve also embarked upon a super exciting new stage that the Wonder Weeks app did not warn me about where R really really likes falling asleep and napping for his dad. But not for me. Daddy and R can share a bed and I’ll stick my head in to wake them up and they will be snoring like two little pigs. I take him to bed with me and he clambers all over me, sticking his hands down my top, fingers up my nose, and pulls at my hair until I give up.

So in the hours I’ve spent rocking him, curled up with him asleep on me,  before I delicately try to place him back in his cot I’ve had a lot of time to think. Here’s the low down of what happens in those dark hours before dawn.

One) I have to pee. This is why kegels are important, because you always need to pee when there’s a sleeping baby on you.

Two) Oh shit, R is actually snoring away like a good un’ I’ve just been holding him and mindlessly tackling level 126 of Balls N’Bricks. Not a euphemism, D’s game of choice is Candy Crush. I shoot balls at bricks.

Three) Ok how good is my Cher impression? I’ve been sat here for twenty minutes practising it under my breath ( I watched Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again over Christmas, and Cher was iconic obv.) My Cher impression is terrible by the way, but I do practice it frequently circa 2am.

Four) *Composes email in head* Check me out this is dead productive, I’ll write it up in my phone notes as soon as he is asleep. *instantly forgets*

Five) Writes a to-do list for house chores/blog /work in my phone notes. CHECK MY BAD SELF OUT I AM SO FUCKING PRODUCTIVE, I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROARRRRR. *forgets about it by morning*

Six) How is it only midnight? This used to be the time I went to bed when I was young and cool and fun.

Seven) I have to be up in six hours. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh.

Eight) I’m kind of hungry. And kind of thirsty. And kind of need to pee again as this child is currently kicking his foot into my bladder. But he’s just fallen asleep so I’ll sit here for five more mins to make sure he’s reallllllllyyyyy asleep.

Nine) Ohholyfuck I have been up so many times already tonight. Can you DIE of sleep deprivation?

Ten) FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

Eleven) Ok, calm down B – it doesn’t help anyone getting cross. You are just going to have to sit in here next to the cot a bit longer. Shall we do some deep breaths? Lets breathe and count to two hundred and then he might have fallen asleep.

Twelve) Maybe this is a good time to do some kegels as well.

Thirteen)…. oh fuck I fell asleep on his bedroom floor.

Fourteen) Awww look at him, he looks like a little cherub all curled up, and he’s cuddling his bunny omg this is too sweet how on earth did I make him I don’t even care that I have been up twenty hundred times tonight he is so freaking gorgeous.

Fifteen) Lets gently sing a song, that gets babies to sleep right? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, how I wonder what you are…. oh great, now he’s awake and doing the actions.

Sixteen) Maybe I’ll just pop him in his cot, pat it to get him to lie down and he’ll self settle? Nope, he’s running laps – oh no wait, now he’s pooping.

Seventeen) ”My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender …..” I literally cannot stop thinking about Mamma Mia.

Eighteen) God Pinterest is amazing, it’s 3am and I am deep in the tunnels of designing my dream house whilst I sit next to the cot holding his hand. All those hours of playing Sims were totally worth it, I would be such an awesome architect. Now if there was just a real life motherlode cheat.

Nineteen) I’m now on Rightmove, pinpointing the exact location I want to live in, and the exact house I want to buy. With all the money I don’t have LOL.

Twenty) Oh shit did we pay the council tax?

Twenty One) We did. I checked my bank account, and we did. Smart move Becks. Not so smart move to order twenty-three paper pom poms off eBay to decorate the lounge with.  So Pinterest.

Twenty Two) Would you rather have a penis for a nose, or for an arm?

Twenty Three) OH MY GOD WHY IS HE AWAKE AGAIN??? WHY WHY WHY.

Twenty Four) He’s asleep in my arms, all is quiet and still, but I know it won’t be long before he’s too big for these cuddles. Just five more minutes, I love you baby boy.#

B

x

Hello 2019!

Hello 2019

First blog post of a new year and I’m typing it with a green smoothie in one hand, looking over my beautifully clean and reorganised living room whilst I burn a scented candle. JOKES. I’m drinking parma violet gin and eating Quality Street. The house resembles a cross between Toys R Us and a jumble sale and smells like dying Christmas tree.

I’m clearly not all about the New Year, New You baloney.

In fact New Years Eve, and the beginning of a New Year has been one of my least favourite times of the year for a very very long time.

I love the idea of renewal, of turning the page, signing off, looking over the year that’s been and excitedly thinking of the year to come. A New Year means spring is near, the days are getting lighter, shoots are pushing up through the frozen ground… whats not to love?

Well New Years Eve has always felt like forced-fun. It’s the most sparkliest, most fun, most champagne-filled BEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR EVER. Kiss a hottie at midnight, watch the most super-duper awesome fireworks, then wake up and start a juice cleanse which promises you will absolutely feel the best ever.

Ugh.

I can’t be doing with all that.

It’s not that I don’t like glitter and fizz and fireworks, but I like it when those things happen just because they happen. Not because they all have to be crammed in before midnight.

Same with resolutions. Go for it, give up sugar, or booze, start running, start writing, travel more, save money – but do it because you want to. Not because it’s January the 1st and you are going to hit the resolutions so hard that three weeks later you are feeling more burnt out than before.

I’m  fan of doing things slowly, of small changes that can over time become something amazing and beautiful. Every day can be a fresh page, without the pressure of doing something big and smashing and go-getting.

With this in mind, here’s what I am looking forward to in 2019, the small changes that I am going to try and make – these might not happen today, tomorrow, this month even – but having something positive to work towards makes me feel a lot more excited than putting pressure on myself to give up something or create a ‘new me’.

Get Outside More

Being outside is so so important to me, even a short ten minute walk can make me instantly feel calmer and happier. It’s something I have noticed since going back to the office after maternity leave. In my year off I would take a walk every day with R in the pram, and now – if I spend eight hours inside at my desk I notice the tension in my neck and shoulders and the negative impact upon my mood. I’m going to try to get outside more during the work day, I’m sure a ten/fifteen minute walk in every direction from my office would open up some new places to explore, and new sights to see.

It’s a change I am going to try and make for our family as well. Whilst we do make a lot of trips outside, to the park, on days out, on walks with family – I wouldn’t say its something we make a priority every day. But we do have a gorgeous little garden and I’m determined that this is the year we start making use of it. I want R to play in nature, to explore and learn – and as his parents, its for us to show him how beautiful the world is.

Drink More Water

Doesn’t everyone say this in January? But it’s something that really is important, and something that I am pretty poop at to be honest. However it’s importance has been reiterated by my midwife when pregnant, and also by my optician in relation to my eye health (yes I talk about eye health on here, it’s a coooool blog ‘kay?).

So yes – STAY HYDRATED GUYS.

Be Creative

If you’ve been here since I started blogging last year, you’ll know that I started writing these posts in order to feel more me. A big part of me is creative; I’ve studied fine art, poetry, and have a pretty big obsession with craft supplies (like I said, such a cool blog).

All of this kind of went to shit, not just from having a baby but just from y’know being a grown up and having a busy job and feeling tired and wanting to spend my evenings binge watching Parks and Rec. However I found that once I started putting some of my time to being a bit more creative, getting out the pens and paper – I felt happy to be doing something practical, and actually more energetic.

This year I want to continue with my calligraphy, continue with blogging – and again involve my family by putting this creativity towards our little house – taking on DIY projects with D – and creating a home for all of us.

Make Time for Myself

I’m going to leave this one open ended. There’s a lot of little ways in which I want to make time for myself. There’s the totally cliched, spending more time in bubble baths with facemasks on, but I also know I would like to spend a little more time on my own. Straightening out my thoughts and plans, calming my mind and being more focused and productive.

I sound a bit hippy-dippy with all of this don’t I? Being creative, calming my mind, getting in touch with nature. I’m looking forward to implementing these small changes though – I’d love to hear if you are making any plans for the year ahead?

Happy 2019!

B

x

Hello 2019!

My #blessed Christmas: It’s OK Not to be a Pinterest Mom

I freaking love Instagram. And Pinterest. And Twitter. Hell, I love social media and some really amazing things have come out of it. I’ve got an awesome group of mums who I have never met irl, but who are there to answer any and all child related questions at any and all hours of the day. I get to find amazing things taking place in Manchester through social media, from toddler groups to food festivals. I get to find creative inspiration, outfit inspiration, and of course just have a good old nosey at the people I used to go to school with and haven’t spoken to in at least ten years.

However as much as I freaking LOVE a shot of a beautiful out-of-focus twinkling Christmas tree with a glass of champagne in front of it, or a wholesome smiling family in matching pyjamas watching Christmas films with perfectly bubbly hot chocolate – social media can sometimes make you feel, well a bit shit. I’m a perfectionist asshole at the best of times, but when all I see is hand crafted cards, presents with freaking mini trees on them or houses that are bereft of a single christmas cake crumb I begin to think HOLY MOLY MOTHER OF SHITBALLS THATS WHAT I WANT MY LIFE TO BE LIKE.

And then I normally spend a bit too much money on some unnecessary purchases, that I envision smoothing out the creases in some corner of my life.

Please tell me it’s not just me who feels like is right?

It’s even worse at this time of year because Christmas just comes with so much pretty stuff.

And I swear this ramps up a notch when you become a mum. I think it’s a healthy dose of twenty-eight years of social conditioning kicking into overdrive. Mums are meant to be home-makers, bread-bakers, apron-wearers, and now we are also (according to Instagram) meant to buy our families matching pyjamas, pose with our festive socks on and also fit in a workout at 5am, and then make cinnamon scented playdoh and set up a fine motor skills activity before popping to work and having a side-hustle.

LOL NOPE. I’m crying. I’m actually crying. If you read my previous post you might notice that I don’t have time for a pee without multi-tasking let alone fit any yummy mummy shit in.

But the thing is, all that stuff and posed photos is just that – stuff and posed photos. Nothings perfect, and Christmas isn’t either.

I’ve never been one for the big perfectly planned gestures, and twenty million outfit shots to get THE ONE, so this December I am reminding myself to take it slow and enjoy the moment.

My parents came round last weekend bringing with them a Christmas tree, which we decorated with R running riot whilst I practised our Christmas-day dinner and cooked a beef wellington. The tree looks bloody gorgeous, the beef was pretty wonky (but tasted ok) but its the time we spent together that means the most to me. And no photo or Instagram caption will ever do that justice.

This Saturday D, R and I spent a slow morning in the house. All of us stayed in our pyjamas, none of which matched and I definitely had jam down my top from yesterday’s breakfast. We ate cereal together, me and D had coffee – then we all ran around the lounge waving brightly coloured plastic toys (oh the horror) before taking all the cushions off the sofa and slouching down to watch The Grinch together. All of my photos are incredibly unflattering, most of them feature me and D with stickers on our faces – but it was perfect. Christmassy, perfect joy.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind, and to start feeling the pressure. Christmas needs to be THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER with ALL OF THE THINGS. But it doesn’t. Not really. This year why don’t we all just do what makes us happy? For me that’s going to be spending time with my family, doing things that we all enjoy and probably taste-testing every single mince pie on the high street.

Who knows there might even be a few pictures of this reality online, and you should do the same, because I will like the shit out of anyone’s photo who even attempts a beef wellington.

B xo

The Bearded Man’s Guide to Parenthood: Part One

The Bearded Man's Guide to Parenthood

Guest post by my favourite bearded human – D!

 

Having children is fascinating. Take the meaning of life, it has been a source of debate for eons and therein lies the answer, on a personal level the meaning of life is itself personal, unique to each person, but on a species wise level surely there is a unifying purpose, the propagation of said species so that the next generation can figure out what the meanings to their individual lives are. That’s what a child is, a perfect blank canvas filled with potential and endless possibilities. A new life that will be shaped by everything you do to help it, and by all the decisions they will make throughout their life and frankly…. that’s fucking terrifying. That is next level responsibility, it’s a bloody good job I am not alone in this. By now you’re well acquainted with my partner, this is her blog after all, and you are more than well versed in the antics of the chaos-tornado that is my son, and you will know me as “D” : R’s dad, and this is my side of the story….so far.

As I have said, having children is fascinating, and it’s fascinating from the get go. Trying to conceive was a lot of fun. However, it’s after conception that the really interesting stuff starts. You see your partner change, they start growing life and evolve into a mother, you gain whole new levels of love and respect for someone that you didn’t think it was possible to love anymore, you also didn’t realise you could fear them so much.

That one super fun time of the month that all honest men who have lived with a woman know about becomes a fond memory as hormones get blasted into hyperdrive. The expectant mother may cry for an uncomfortably long time over how good her can of jelly beans is, or not talk to you for hours because you knocking over that glass of water earlier was a calculated and deliberate plot to make a mess and vex her. She may be apoplectic that after you’ve trimmed your beard, there are seven rogue hairs chilling on the bathroom floor (though to be fair here, whenever I trim my beard it looks like Chewbacca’s been in the bathroom so it’s a bit understandable). However, you have to cowboy up and get through it with patience, understanding and a pretty thick skin, because while you may be experiencing the hormone rollercoaster, so is she, and she is doing it without booze, rare meat and six cups of coffee a day.

It’s all worth it though, because (soppiness alert!) the moment you see your first child born is phenomenal, I’ve never felt anything like it. The best way I can describe it is like having a bucket of perfect temperature warm water tipped over your head, you are bombarded with emotions, your knees go weak and the love and admiration you feel for both your partner and your baby is heart-explodingly powerful. It’s probably this emotion bonanza that makes you not care about stuff that would have had you gagging the day before, like being pissed, shat and vomited all over. But then you take the baby home, and our aforementioned friend responsibility rears its big scary head, removes your rose tinted glasses and reminds you that you have so, so, so much to do.

Your routine changes big time and it is well and truly out of your control. Baby hungry? Baby gonna eat, then baby gonna spit up, then baby gonna need a change, then parents gonna need to change. Baby need the toilet? Baby gonna go toilet and then baby  has to be changed and then baby probably gonna wee some more mid change and turn everything into a disgusting, wet misery experience. Baby sleepy? Baby gonna sleep. Mummy and daddy sleepy? Tough shit. Rinse, repeat. There’s no point sugar coating it, its bloody hard.

Other things change as well, like how you cant sit slackjawed and drooling on the couch all night staring like a zombie at your smartphone/tv/laptop. When we did our antenatal classes they mentioned how a lot of children now that aren’t autistic are registering on the spectrum because they don’t receive enough interaction due to their parents being glued technological accoutrements of modern life with detrimental knock on effects to the baby’s social development. At the time I was all smug and like “ugh people are such dicks, who does that?”

Fuck me it’s hard to put the phone down.

It’s almost like a reflex, checking the time or the weather becomes a quick Facebook check, how’s my eBay watch list going, haha dank memes – sweet, but again, that little human running around needing attention, you made them, you have to look after them, you have to tear yourself away and sing wind the bobbin up for the 7th time, you are – dun dun duuuuun… responsible!

At this point I have no idea where I’m going with this post, it’s half lovey-dovey doe-eyed adoration, half cautionary tale about responsibility. It’s totally different to draft one, which Becks said had absolutely no clear objective and was a meandering sequence of god knows what. I feel like this version is too. But maybe in a way that’s perfect because that is the essence of parenthood. I must confess a lot of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m relying on instinct, and more importantly – Becks to make sure that that I am being responsible and doing the right things for my son. But I am also a big doe eyed loved up mess, I fucking cried at Arthur Christmas the other day, no lie, parenthood has prised open some weird Pandora’s box of emotions, its all very weird. Ultimately though, its all worth it  trading in of large elements of your life that once was for the responsibility roadshow. I love being a Dad and I cant wait to watch my son figure out the meanings to his life, and maybe, just maybe, I may even figure out how to write a better blog post, I guess if Becks lets me loose here again we’ll find out!

D & B xo

 

The Bearded Man's Guide To Parenthood

A Day in the Life of a Working Mum

A Day in the Life of a Working Mum

I’ve been toying with writing this ever since I read the brilliant Hannah Gales’ post. She received some negative comments on her post, as her job looks very different to what some people might consider ‘work’. Well newsflash bitches, it’s the 21st century and working motherhood isn’t easy for anyone. Snaps to Hannah for sharing her life and being very honest about it.

Here’s a day in the life of B…

Monday 3rd December

02:00 – R shrieks and wakes me up, but it’s D’s turn to do the night wake ups, I poke him in the back until he wakes up and stumbles off to settle R.

03:00 – He’s up again. We’ve had over a week now of appalling sleep due to five teeth coming through on top of one another, which combined with a shocking cold does not a happy R make. D grumbles a bit at this one, saying he has been up all night long. Tough shit pal, that’s why we take turns.

05:00 – R’s up and I take pity on D, and go get up for the day with him. He’s still pretty sleepy so we hunker down and snuggle in his room, it’s a peaceful start to the day.

05:20 – R spots his water cup and starts shouting and pointing at it. I pass it to him and he promptly blows bubbles in it, spitting water down the front of my top. I guess that means its time to get up properly.

05:25 – I’m changing R’s nappy and realise I have forgotten to get a clean one. As I reach for a clean nappy I hear a giggle and a splash. R has found a water glass left by the sofa from the night before and upended the contents all over himself. The first outfit change of the day commences.

05:35 – R is in a nice clean nappy and set of pyjamas. So of course he does a massive poop.

05:45 – Playtime! We sit and take his plastic animals out of the box one by one, lining them up and making animal noises before taking them for a ride in his train.

06:15 – Breakfast – Avocado on toast, and we share a banana. But wait, OMG how could I be so silly I gave him the blue cup and he wanted the green one. He can’t talk yet but he shouts and points at things to tell me what he wants!

06:30 – I shout up the stairs to D. We need to be getting ready for work, he needs to be out of the door in forty mins and I’m still to shower.

08:00 – In between looking after R and getting him ready for the day, D’s showered and gone to work, teas prepped for the evening, and R is cleaned up from breakfast and dressed. I’ve put a wash in, showered, got my face on and now R is playing in his room whilst I dress.

08:15 – Granny has tagged in, and is looking after R today, I head out the door as he cheerfully waves me off.

08:37 – Classic Northern Rail. The trains delayed. I post on my Instagram, a photo from the weekend that I’ve edited the night before.

09:03 – After a cramped sweaty train ride I get to my desk only marginally late. Heading up my list of things to do is to chase wedding enquiries. But first, coffee.

11:00 – Meet a lovely couple who are shortlisting venues for their son and daughter-in-law (to-be) as they live abroad. We chat about the Manchester rain, architecture, and it leaves me with a really positive feeling.

11.50 – Time for the second Instagram post of the day, this time on the works account. I look through the images I have lined up to post, select one and tag the photographers. Make a mental note to myself to get ahead of schedule with posts for December.

12.00 – Lunch date with the fiancée (still feels weird typing that). We meet at my work to try out the Christmas menu and its bloody amazing. The whole of our lunch is taken up with chat over child care arrangements. It’s becoming more and more clear that the childminder isn’t working out, and we agree we need to look at alternative arrangements ASAP.

12.45 – Lunchbreaks are running into overtime and I was hoping to squeeze in a few photos for a blog post – we take some walking down the stairs to leave, and I hope they are ok.

13.00 – Back at the desk and I put together a detailed list of information for this morning’s show round. A photographer drops me an email asking questions for a  wedding next year, and I schedule in a meeting with the bride and groom.

14.00 – Weddings done for the day, thoughts turn to Christmas. Chasing pre-orders, deposits, and dietary requirements for our restaurant… busy busy busy!

15:30 – I hit the mid-afternoon slump and get a mug of tea. To perk me up I spend twenty minutes or so checking out the latest images of our venue from wedding photographers, emailing them to request images, and generally having a good old nosey for some wedding inspiration.

16.00 – I am missing R now, the nearer the end of the day gets the more and more I miss him, to the point where if the train is delayed AGAIN I might actually start a train co-op amongst my fellow passengers, I reckon there’d be a lot of call for a privately owned train on a South Manchester line.

17:24 – The train home is on time, not too crowded, and I actually get a seat. It’s a Christmas miracle.

18.00 – Walking through the door to the smell of tea cooking is heaven, good work granny! R is very very excited to see me, and we sneak in a quick cuddle before dinner.

18.30 – After a promising start, R chucks most of his dinner on the floor. I discover that if I give him my fork he does a pretty good job of stabbing bits of food and directing it to his mouth with only minimal danger of him poking his eye out. Even though it is pain-stakingly slow he’s doing so well with the fork!

19.00 – Bath and bedtime. I’m on duty. As the bath runs I twirl round like a ninja as R tries to get his hands on: my razor, granny’s hairspray, daddy’s deodorant, my deodorant (he tried to lick it like an ice cream), my epilator, a heavy perfume bottle and a pack of cotton wool pads.  I make a note to sort out the bathroom shelving.

19.20 – After a bedtime bottle he’s asleep. That was bloody quick!

19.30 – Time to hang a load of washing on the airer, put a mountain of laundry away, then I do a quick sort of of some of R’s clothes for the charity shop.

20.00 – I’ll just do a quick bathroom clean whilst I’m up here….

20.30 – Due to someone (ME) ballsing up the Morrison’s online delivery, our orders are all out of whack. Me and D run through a meal plan for the week ahead, whilst I make packed lunches for tomorrow, and then put together an online shop.

21.00 – I type up a blog post (half of this one haha, that’s why it’s taken a week to get to you), check my emails, reply to all of my friends and family whose texts I HAVEN’T been ignoring, and then write my Christmas card list. Fuck me I’m tired.

22:00 – On my way to bed I find a piece of avocado and toast in the branches of my fiscus tree.

23.53 – R is screaming, he’s chucked his dummy under the cot and I can’t find an emergency back up. Happy Monday all.

It’s a wee bit busy at the moment guys, and 95% of all my possessions have smeary toddler finger prints on them but I love it. I love it all.

B xo

8 Wedding Planning Tips From Someone Who Plans Them For A Living

Wedding Planning Tips

Ok lads and lasses. Buckle yourselves in because we are heading for one long-ass engagement. When D proposed to me almost two months ago, I really wasn’t expecting it – although it may have crossed my mind when he started acting a little weirdly in the run-up to popping the question – I didn’t think it would actually happen until it was happening!

Well once I had got my head around the fact that I was now a fiancee, and started remembering to wear my ring every day we started talking over y’know real grown up wedding plans… and quickly concluded that LOL it ain’t happening for a few years yet. Because weddings are goddamn expensive. And yes I know we could elope and it just be the two of us and our bairn, but I want a party!

Having said all this, do expect the odd bit of wedding chat around here. I currently work as a wedding coordinator for a Manchester venue and have done for three years now, so here’s some wedding planning advice…

 

1.Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

 I read a really great wedding planning tip recently which was that when you start planning, to write down the three things you absolutely MUST have at your wedding, and the three things you absolutely DO NOT want. Make your partner do the same, and then compare lists. That’s what important.

It might be music, food, having all your family and friends around you, but I can absolutely guarantee it will not be having your napkins folded a certain way, or having the best favours ever.

Whilst yes, these tiny details contribute to your overall day, no-one will notice on the day if they aren’t quite as should be. So don’t worry about them. Especially not on the day. If a bride ever starts to get a bit worried on the day about details, I make sure she has had a glass of fizz and then talk about how special the ceremony and how happy she looked walking down the aisle. That’s whats important. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF (that’s my job because yes, as your wedding coordinator –  I will breathe fires of fury if the napkins aren’t folded the right way).

2. Ask all the questions. 

ALL OF THE QUESTIONS. There are a million things that you may have never thought about before planning a wedding but can add on additional costs, and hassle, if you don’t ask them up front.

Practical questions: where are the toilets? Is the venue easily accessible to disabled guests? What time is the licence until? Do we have to get married at a set time?

Financial questions: How much is the deposit? Can we set up a payment plan? What does this price cover?

And don’t be afraid to negotiate on prices. This might not be as simple as knocking a few pounds off, but if you really love something – a venue, flowers, cocktail bar, ask what they can do with their prices. They might have an alternative you haven’t considered (ie. getting married on a weekday), or be able to recommend other brilliant vendors.

3. Read your goddamn contracts. 

Related to above, but please please don’t sign anything unless you 100% know what you are signing up to and have read and understood it.

4. Do things your own way.

Just because something is traditional doesn’t mean you have to do it that way. I don’t suit white, or ivory, or cream, and full length and strapless is my idea of hell. So I’m pretty certain I wont be going for a traditional dress – currently feeling something one shouldered and yellow… or maybe a wedding jumpsuit!

Equally feel free to consider things such as a different running of the day. It’s become much more popular to have a small civil ceremony and wedding breakfast, followed by a big party the next day/week/month.

A three-course wedding breakfast isn’t the be-all and end-all, I’ve seen everything from afternoon tea weddings on vintage china (my gal Tea Time Yorkshire  can take care of you if that’s what you fancy!) through to pulled pork and beef brisket rolls, served with massive dishes of mac n’ cheese and sweet potato fries!

The perks of doing something a little bit different, is that it can also prove to be cost-cutting as well.

5. Find people you love and listen to them. If you go to see a photographer, and love their work but don’t love them, don’t book them. And this goes for your venue, your florist, your caterers… you get the picture. If you get on with people, feel like they understand you and your ideas, then your whole planning experience will be more enjoyable. You’ll also feel more confident in them, and that will save you a lot of stress in the run-up to the big day!

My second part of this point is – listen to them. If you pick people who you love, and who share your vision but they are saying that something won’t work, listen to them. Maybe your florist is advising a different type of bloom to the one you have your heart set on. Well ask them why, and listen to their answer. It might completely blow your budget, and leave you nothing for table centre pieces. It might be a beautiful flower, but not complement your other choices perfectly, or fit with the shape of bouquet you want. If you pick people you love, and enjoy working with then trust them to help you decide.

6. Please, please, please don’t get too shitfaced. For everyone’s sake, but especially because if you wake up with no memories of dancing the night away and a stinking hangover wellll damnnnn that’s the most expensive hangover of your life.

7. Make sure you can pee, dance, and generally move around comfortably in your dress/suit. For you guys in a suit this applies less to you, but do bear in mind comfort when choosing one. Don’t wear a heavy suit, even if it looks amazing for your summer wedding, you’ll be sweating your ass off, want to strip that jacket off as soon as you can, and no one wants to be dripping in their couples photographs.

If you want to pick a big floofy marshmallow of a dress, then do your thing and buy the goddamn dress! But make sure you can twirl, dance, and move around in it! I’ve seen too many brides trapped in a lacy corset, looking uncomfortable, and struggling with their skirts even before the day has got fully under way!

8. Don’t try to please everyone. Because trust me, whatever you do it won’t please everyone. Its the thing I hear most when planning weddings, ‘but if we choose lamb grandma won’t eat it’, ‘Mum says we MUST have a cake’, ‘Dad’s not so fond of the table set up, can we change the top table?’ And whilst I will grit my teeth and smile sweetly if relatives are around, I will always try and remind the couple that it is their wedding day, no-one elses, and they should do what makes them happy.

All of your guests, your friends, your family, are coming together to celebrate your love and your future together, so make the day reflect that. Pick food you love, wine you love and do things YOUR way. It’s the personal touches that make weddings unique, that make people go awwwww on the day, that Aunty Maude takes a picture of, and that people remember. It’s your wedding day, make it yours.

 

B xo

 

*PS. The magazine in the photo, and the wedding blog I recommend to everyone is Rock n Roll Bride.  

Becoming a Mum : Guest Post by the lovely Laura Nichol

Becoming a Mum - Guest Post by Laura Nichol

Hi! I’m Laura and me and Beccy have been friends for many drunken hazy years….and look at us now! Parents!! As every new mum knows, we are all just winging it through parenthood.

Motherhood didn’t start quite as I expected. Everyone tells you that as soon as they put that baby in your arms, you will be enveloped in the most powerful love imaginable. That’s not quite how I remember it.

After an easy pregnancy and a relatively ok labour I was waiting for the moment you see on all the TV programmes where they put your baby on you and you cry and smile and say sweet things. Well, that didn’t happen. I had a nasty cut so once they pulled Henry out; they whisked him away as the room was filled with doctors to take care of me.

My body went into shock due to the trauma of what happened and the amount of blood I was losing. Once I was fixed up they put him too far away from me, I couldn’t even see him. I was too weak to even move to bring him closer.

So I felt I missed that initial bonding moment and was desperately searching for this almighty love I was meant to have.

Not only feeling the pressure to find that, I also felt I had to ‘get into a routine’ and ‘get back to normal’ as soon as possible. That’s what you’re told. So once home that’s what I set my mind to. Fitting my newborn into what I used to do. Housework,  daily long walks and factoring in a nap or two.

What I didn’t do, was rest. Three weeks after Henry was born I was putting him down in Moses basket and I felt a pain in my back. I then blacked out.

I kid you not when I said this was the most terrifying moment of my life. Henry was blissfully unaware, gurgling in his basket, as I tried to understand why the hell I couldn’t get off the floor and what was this searing pain in my back. Remember this is from someone who had just been through labour on Co-codamol, nothing else.

Fast forward to two hours later and my husband rushing home after a very panicked phone call. I demand that Luke change and feed Henry, as I was sobbing on the floor after managing to sit myself up.

After an intense phone call with our GP about the level of pain, he sent some very strong medication, express delivery! He also explained that when you’re pregnant your body shifts to make room for your little baby inside. When they come out, it all shifts back to normal and sometimes this happens too quickly. Especially if you don’t take it easy. Therefore nerves, discs, (all kinds of things you take for granted in your back!) can get trapped or shift.

I felt like such a failure. I had taken a year off work to do one thing. To look after my precious little boy and I couldn’t even stand up.

I had a week where I couldn’t go upstairs, couldn’t go to the bathroom on my own and worst of all – I was too scared to hold Henry, in case my back went and dropped him. Luke would lie Henry next to me so I could just see him and talk to him. I was so worried he would forget who I am. Crying yet?

And that’s when the love kicked in. The one that swells your heart so much you feel it would burst.

I did all I could to get better as soon as possible so I could be a mum to my baby again. It totally changed my perspective and I wasn’t bother about getting back to normal. I wanted to make up for the time I couldn’t look after Henry.

So now, I spend my days doing all I can to make my little Henry happy. Whether that’s energetically singing doe a deer, a female deer, for 20 long minutes or endless woodland walks where he pulls all the leaves off a tree.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy! But after having a time when I couldn’t look after Henry, I appreciate the time I have with my Mr Wrigglepots so much more.

 

 

I have absolutely loved reading Laura’s post, despite it making me feel immensely sad, there is so much pressure to ‘get back to normal’ as a new mum, when really that mindset can be extremely detrimental! I think one thing we have both become aware of since having babies is that there is a new normal, one that is different, and one you can only find yourself. 

Thank you so much Lauz, it means the world to me that you have written and shared this.

Want to give Laura a follow? Her Instagram is full of the incredibly cute Mr Wrigglepots, and amazing photos from the North Yorkshire Moors. 

B xo