Friday, 19 June 2015

Saying Goodbye to My Teeny Tiny Baby

I've been finding the last few weeks a bit more challenging, parenting wise. Not just because we have moved and I am in a new place, with no friends and a newborn to look after. But that's just it. My baby is no longer a newborn, and that's what I'm struggling with.

Having a baby has been a truly life changing experience, one that I wouldn't change for the world. It has honestly been the best thing I have ever done. Selfishly, because it has made me so happy. Not every moment has been magical. It hasn't all been sunshine and happy smiles, tummy kisses and cooing. It's bloody hard work and I swear, if I sing 'Row, row, row the boat' one more time I am going to lose my already fragile little mind. But up to now, I have (mostly) found it to be absolutely wonderful. I am in no way encouraging everyone to run into the streets and procreate. It is not for everyone. I have decided to take a brief hiatus from my usual sarcastic, inappropriate and foul-mouthed self and write a post that I fear will possibly descend into a mushy, emotional rant. You have been warned.

I write this feeling full of love and awe at my baby's continual development but it is also bittersweet as I find myself mourning the times we have spent during the 'newborn' phase. It all started weeks ago really, when I had to start packing away her newborn and 0-3 month clothes. I had a big lump in my throat and I wont lie, I shed a little tear (Ok, full on wailing). Perhaps I am still a hormonal mess, but I couldn't help feel sad that time is going by so quickly. I sat and stroked each baby grow as I put them into their plastic, vacuumed prison, and my heart felt heavy.

I don't necessarily want this to come across as woeful and pathetic, I'm just giving you an honest account. Every day my baby changes, and it really is wonderful seeing her grow and develop, having her own little personality that makes her so unique and special. In no way would I want her development to stop and I am proud of her in each new thing she does. If you follow my Instagram, you may have seen that I started (the minefield that is) weaning this week. This, as well as her being able to roll over has cemented my realisation that no, she isn't a newborn anymore. Now I am a rational person (a few may disagree) I know that she can't stay tiny forever, but believe it or not, it almost came as a complete shock when she didn't fit into 0-3 month clothes anymore. It was only when I remembered that she is actually 5 months old that I thought to open the 3-6 month baby grows! I am definitely guilty of squeezing her into a few outfits that she had outgrown for a few weeks longer than I should have. 

I don't want to go on and on about my own insanity, and I am sure I am not alone in feeling like this. I am writing this as maybe a cathartic exercise, so I can document how I have felt up to now and 'close the chapter' and move on. I have diligently filled in my baby book, and although it has space to write things in up to a year old, after 4 weeks it is just about documenting dates really. 'First solids, first Christmas' etc. There isn't much room for inane talk of feelings and wine-induced ramblings. And besides, I wouldn't want to put anything negative in there. Not that this is negative, exactly.

The last few weeks, as well as being wowed with her developments (honestly, the first time she rolled over, if you saw my reaction you would think that she had run a marathon. At 5 months old), I have also learned quickly that it's just going to get harder. I have to be more on the ball, more alert and basically a better parent. I can no longer leave her alone for any period of time whilst I do such trivial grown-up things like wash up, change my pants or go to the toilet. I now have to literally hover over her the majority the time. Long gone are the days of 3 hour naps, leisurely scrolling through Facebook, watching films 'on demand'. I was about to write 'I'm not complaining but...' and then I realised I am totally complaining. The thing they don't tell you in the books; sometimes being a parent (especially a stay at home one) is really dull. Whilst my baby was tiny, she slept so very much (I am fully aware I have been MEGA lucky and not all newborns sleep so much) and I had a fair amount of time to do the stuff I needed to do...sterilise bottles, washing, paint my nails etc but my time is increasingly being stolen by my ever-demanding infant. Sometimes I mind, sometimes I don't. I have been really lucky that up till now, my baby has been a dream. I'm not saying it to brag, I know how lucky I have been. And I haven't taken it for granted. It's a running joke that if we have a another baby, it will be devil spawn. The point is that now she is getting bigger and parenting is becoming more consuming and (yes I'll say it) sometimes feels like a chore, I will miss those sweet, sweet baby days. Every day is different. Some days I feel like I want to keep her up all night as she is so sweet and happy and a joy to be around. Other days, I can't wait for bedtime. Even then I know I am lucky because she sleeps through the night (barring last night when I could smell her nappy from downstairs!...) but occasionally I do yearn for the fleeting hours after her bedtime when I can have a bit of time to myself. 

These feelings absolutely nothing new. Nothing ground breaking here folks. Parents have been doing this, been here, done it, got several sick-stained t-shirts, they have been parenting since time began. I by no means think that I am any different. The difference is however that this is my first time doing this, so I can only talk about my experience as I find it. All the emotions I experience sneak up on me, sometimes when I am least expecting them and wash over me like a great wave. A wave I have to conquer, even though I didn't know that I was swimming. So when I started weeping over newborn clothes and that bloody Pampers advert (you know the one..."just because they miss you"...gets me every time! Well done Pampers!) it came as a surprise to me when I felt sad. I thought I would develop with my baby, my emotions would become more sophisticated and I would be able to just revel in each new phase. She is developing so much all the time, I think I just need a little extra time to catch up. I am making myself out to be a bit of a psycho. I am not depressed, or suffocating my child in size 1 nappies. I am doing what parents have done for years and just...reminiscing.

But to be a little more positive...

I'm not going to be a false preacher and say that every moment is wonderful, but I will say this; I genuinely find wonder in each day. Some days I have to look for it. But it is there. Even if it's a solitary smile during a day of tantrums and tears (mine, not hers!) even well-timed dribble (usually on Daddy's face) can have me in fits. I will miss my tiny baby. I know that I will never have that time again. Even if we do have another child, it wont be the same as I will have two little ones to devote myself to. It will have it's own merits, but I will not get this time back. I try to live conscientiously with this. I am definitely not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. But I will spend a minute or two each day thinking about how lucky I am to have a beautiful, inquisitive, healthy, sometimes screamy baby who makes me strive to be a better person, a better parent. However much I try to resist and cling to the past. Those gorgeous newborn days. Wine helps.

Obviously I know that some people have a massively different experience to me. Luckily, my baby only had a snifter of colic and has by and large been no bother. She is massively changing now and is far more let's say...vocal in her approach to communicating her displeasure at well, anything. The winds of change have blown and I will embrace them as best I can. I think because she has been such a 'good' newborn, my husband and I have been well and truly spoiled. So now, the slightest whinge and I think the world is ending and I can't cope and feel the inevitable guilt for swearing at my child because "I just want to do the fucking washing up" as I shouted at her today - Good parenting, right there.

I am so looking forward to the next stages. Like I said, every new thing is an Everest-climb to me. I will jump for joy, and celebrate my baby's accomplishments and milestones. I love her with every cell in my body and will continue to love her through every step, smile, tear and tooth. And I will always cherish the memories of her first months.

So for now, farewell my teeny tiny baby. Thank you for awakening a part of my soul I didn't know was there. 

Cute baby pic. Standard.

Thanks for reading.
Katie x

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

 Wash Your Faces!

Hello my lovelies. Today's post is about my current skincare routine, morning AND evening...Oh my. 

Stuff I put on my face.
Ok, so I admit I am a little bit in love with all things that you slather on ya mush. Creams, cleansers, toners, serums, oils and all that malarkey. You name it, I covet it. I haven't always been this way, my friends. Oh no. Back when I was a young, carefree, licentious little waif, I ran around without a care in the world for the juicy collagen and elastin that I was taking for granted and battering with alcohol every weekend. And lets face it, most weekdays. My skincare routine consisted of a healthy glob of 'Clean & Clear' in the morning followed by cheap moisturiser and I was good to go. There was no pm routine...I used makeup remover if I was compos mentis. That was it. But I was one of the lucky ones. I was never blighted with acne, or rosacea or eczema etc. Even as a walking bag of hormones during the teenage years, my skin was good to me (thanks, face).

I only really started paying attention to my skin when I started becoming interested in makeup. I quickly learned that you cannot go to bed every night with a face slathered in crap, and just a wing and a prayer without encountering problems. When you get up in the morning and leave your face on the pillow, you know things have to change. Sleeping in your makeup is an absolute no no. Spots, blackheads, dry patches and puffy bags will adorn your face like sad little reminders of all fun you had/tried to have the night before. Don't do it folks...let your face breathe. Even if you've (how do the kids say it?) 'hooked up', 'gotten jiggy', 'met a super cool cat down at the discotheque' me, he/she would rather see a lovely clean, polished face than Panda-eyed Penelope. So what if they thought your skin was flawless and your eyelashes could cause Tsunamis?...shit will get real as soon as they smell your jaeger breath anyway. May as well have a clean face.

I know as busy people, some of you can think of nothing worse than spending 5-10 mins at the end of the day doing the flannel fandango. But for me, since really paying attention to my facial needs (haha), my little routine actually gives me great pleasure. Knowing that I'm doing something positive for my skin is good but the main thing is the products I have been using and how grand they make me feel. It's not as much of a faff as you may think. I don't care who you are...male/female/animal/vegetable...everybody loves a little facial. If you say you don't, you're lying. Simple. I'm not going to harp on about it. You can achieve the same feeling in your own bathroom if you use the correct products. I promise. Now, don't shout at me for using products over a fiver. In the good old days, I would have much rather bought a pint than a moisturiser but then I had an epiphony. YOU ONLY GET ONE FACE! Of course, if you have shit loads of cash and are that way inclined, you can change your face. But for the majority of us, our faces are for life. So be nice to them. If you would happily splash your cash on new shoes/clothes/KFC then don't have a whinge about affording skincare. There are plenty of affordable products on the market and there are plenty of eye-watering extortionate ones too. I think the products I use are somewhere in between. I am not a skin expert, nor do I claim to really know THAT much. I'm probably doing it all wrong anyway. But I try to do my research and use appropriate products. Here are some I am using at the moment.


The morning routine goes a little something like this.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel Oil
Asda Skinsystem Vitamin E Face Toner

The Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser SPF30
The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye cream (minus the screw cap...oops)

Clean, tone, moisturise. That's it. 4 products. Sometimes I use eye drops if my eyes feel tired. But all that stuff above takes about 3 minutes. None of this "I don't have time for a skincare routine" balls. The Nutriganics is a really gentle cleanser, it smells nice and leaves your skin soft and supple. It has lasted me quite a while (and I use it as my pm second cleanse too...yeah that's right...second cleanse!) so it is well worth the money! I am umming and ahhing about the toner as it can feel a little harsh for my skin. However it was £1. ONE POUND. It is a perfectly decent toner. The 'Vitamin C' moisturiser is fine. I prefer the 'Vitamin E' moisturiser in the same range, both do the same thing really, I just prefer the smell of the Vit E. It's really important to put SPF on your face to protect yourself from the harsh rays of that big 'ole burning ball of fire in the sky. You can buy SPF separately too. And the eye cream is a little more delicate for the sensitive skin around your peepers. You may think it's a little costly at around £11 but you only need the tiniest amount so it lasts for ages.


This process is a little more involved. If you have a face full of makeup (ahhhh delicious makeup) then you need to take it off. And then clean your skin. A double cleanse is important because if you just take your makeup off, it's guaranteed there are still remnants of stubborn mascara and the like. You buy the good shit for longevity, so by default you need to buy good shit to take it off! I recommend a good oil cleanser for your first 'going over'. Cue this little bottle of amazingness...

Una Brennan Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil

Followed by these...
Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Gel
Nivea 3 in 1 Micellar Water

Asda Skinsystem Vitamin E Face Toner
The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask

The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye cream

Phew. This may seem a bit excessive to you but really doesn't take that long. And yes, it is all necessary. Some of the products I have already mentioned. The Una Brennan stuff...oooof. Now this stuff is what skincare wet dreams are made of. It goes on beautifully, is brilliant for facial massage (yes, it's a thing) and it smells so divine that I genuinely look forward to washing my face every night. It is around £10 but feels so much more expensive than that. A bloody bargain. The packaging is a bit crap, I would prefer a pump. But I can't really complain. Go buy it. Now. (No, this is not sponsored. I have serious lady-wood for it). The Micellar water is a simple, very affordable makeup remover. Sometimes I use it first. Even if I use it after my double cleanse, there is STILL evidence of makeup on the cotton wool. You would be surprised at how makeup lingers. Clinging onto your skin the way a toddler clings to your legs when you're desperate for the loo! The oil is nice, use sparingly to avoid feeling greasy. The overnight mask rehydrates your skin really well, It sinks into your skin overnight leaving you fresh faced, even if you don't feel it. It has the consitency of 'Flubber'...pretty cool. It's £22 but again, lasts for absolutely ages. I've had mine since Feb and am not even half way through. Pea sized glob of eye cream and you're good to go.

I'm not suggesting that you all run out and spend all your well earned pennies on this stuff. This is just the stuff I like to use. And I bought it over a period of time, not all in one go. It may take a while for you to find a skincare routine that suits you and your lifestyle. But it's so worth having a dedicated routine. The proof is in the pudding. As I said, I've never had problematic skin but since taking an interest in skincare, I really have seen a difference. I am 28...and using all this stuff has made me look at least...27!

No makeup! (just a sweep of mascara)

Obligatory selfie pout
I am not bragging. I don't have the best skin in the world by a long stretch. But the point of this was to tell you about the products I use. They work for me. They may not work for you. But once you find the right products for you, the dreaded routine can actually become something you enjoy.

Some other stuff I likes...

The Body Shop Sumptuous Camomile Cleansing Butter
Yes to Grapefruit brightening Facial Wipes
Nspa Hot Cloth Polish (A total dupe for the 'Liz Earle' cleanser I reviewed before, at half the price)

Seriously though, it's not about providing magic solutions to your tired skin (that your kids will be smearing their banana paste breakfast on anyway!), or about winding back the clock and looking youthful...embrace your age, own it and be proud of the skin you are in (easier said than done, I know) But at least bloody take care of it! You can have gorgeous skin, just wash your faces, bitches!

Thanks for reading! Let me know the products you love (or hate!)
Till next time, take care.
Katie x

Monday, 25 May 2015

Keeping My Modern Military Family Together

If you follow my Instagram (modernmilitarywife), you will have seen recently that I've moved. The Hubster and I have been talking about this move for well over a year now and finally the time came for me to pack up our stuff and make the move down South to live in the dreaded Army Quarters. 

The main reason for my move is so that my husband could see his daughter daily, instead of just at the weekend like he has been doing since she was born 4 months ago. It's been a little crappy for me, having (by choice) to do everything alone but even crappier for him. At this age, the spawn changes everyday and Mike said he felt like he was having to 'reintroduce' himself to her every weekend which in effect, he was. Now, without blowing my own trumpet (though credit where credit's due...I'm awesome) I have taken to Motherhood very quickly and easily. This is down to a number of reasons I think. I have lots of experience with little ones. Although I don't have any younger siblings, the majority of my friends have sprogs that have been unleashed upon me in the past several years. "Auntie Katie" is my default name. Not only that, I happen to have birthed an extremely well behaved, happy, placid baby. I am not trying to brag (Ok, maybe a little bit, but not to the point it becomes nauseating, I hope.) but seriously, she is (mostly) an absolute freaking dream. I don't know where she gets her delightfulness from because quite frankly I can be a stroppy cow and her dad can be a miserable sod too. Laws of mathematics I suppose, two negatives blah blah blah. What I am getting at, is that I have not upped and moved because I needed help. I have done it to keep our family together.

The move was successful, if a little stressful. In the last 7 years, I have moved 5 bloody times and I am so well versed in the packing routine that I can say with absolute's really shit. It's one of the worst argument-inducing, hair/tooth-pulling, most dull activities you can partake in. The funny thing is, although I am a military wife, and have been for the last 2 and a bit years, this is actually the first time I have moved because of the Army. My previous moves were due to a number of different reasons. I like to think of myself as a free spirit. A wanderer. A unicorn fart blowing in the wind embracing change etc etc. That's not exactly the reality. I get bored easily. That's all. And each time I have moved, I have bitched, carped and complained every box dragging step of the way. I hate the utter tedium of it all. 

When we first got together, Mike was living in Germany, and had been for about 8 years. When we started our relationship, the cogs were already in motion for me to move from the Midlands to Brighton. Which I did. He was actually due to go on tour not long after we got together so to be honest, it didn't really make much difference whereabouts I was in the country. But that's for another post. After a year in Brighton, I moved back to the Midlands as all of Mike's family and lots of our friends are there. It was hard saying goodbye to Brighton. I had made lots of lovely friends and for the most part had a great time. I loved being close to the sea, and my lovely sister and brother-in-law are based there too. Even though at that time Mike was still posted to Germany, he had put in a request to come back to the UK as we were intending to get married, again, another post. So long story short, for the last 3 years, I have been Midlands based whilst Mike has been commuting. I constantly had people asking me how I coped, being so far away from my husband. This question always left me wondering about the nature of our relationship. The truth is that I coped just fine! And so did he. When he wasn't on tour (that's a completely different kettle of fish!) and we only saw each other at weekends, we were cool. I had my wobbles and missed him of course, but I wasn't falling apart like some people almost made me believe I should be. The fact is that we are both independent people. I can be dreadfully clingy, and an emotional mess. But on the whole, I would say I am independent. I've never really known any different. In my previous relationships before I got married, I was always the 'breadwinner', the 'primary carer' as it were (God that sounds awful. Fuck it, it's true) and so am used to sorting out my own shit. I have worked since the tender age of 13 and I moved out of my parents house when I was 17 and never looked back. I did sometimes wonder though, does it mean we are not as 'in lurve' as other people who just can't bear to be apart? Then I would have a fucking word with myself and remember that we are just grownups and life isn't like it always is the films. I am still a sentimental soul at the core, but I am also practical. What good would falling apart do anyone? Being apart worked for us. I always joked that living apart kept us together, that we had at least an extra year of marriage in us due to living unaccompanied. And this was true...until following a 7th month tour, I fell pregnant. After the baby came along, we realised that it was no longer practical for us to live apart and so Mike sorted us out marriage quarters close to his work.

And so, back to the move. As well as being a moany tit, I am also a bit of a hoarder. Don't judge, I'm working on it. A sentimental fool at heart, I keep every bit of crap attached to a happy memory be it a card, a train ticket or the wrapper off a reeeeeally good chocolate bar. Ok, perhaps I'm not quite that bad, but close. I got a lot of shit. I wanted to take the opportunity with this move to declutter and downsize a veritable plethora of trinkets and treasures I no longer wanted or needed. I managed one cupboard before I got bored and ended up in the pub. I don't mind unpacking, but man alive I hate packing up my stuff. Last time I did it in Brighton, I had a 2 hour meltdown, crying on the floor with a bottle of wine surrounded by piles of junk. This time was a little different as Mike was around to help. And help he did. Although his idea of packing is to throw (literally throw) EVERYTHING in boxes. On a side this end I have actually unpacked the following due to his packing technique; empty crisp packets, empty cigarette packets (neither of us have smoked for over a year!) countless bottle tops (where the fuck do these things come from?!) amongst other massively annoying things. But anyway (hmmmm). The move seemed to sneak upon us and before we knew it, moving day was here. It all got done in the end. I was a bit nervous as I had not seen our new house in the flesh. Mike had, but I didn't see it until the day we moved in. You see, that's trust right there. Nail-biting, send me a picture of every goddamn square inch trust.

Massive relief! The house is actually pretty nice, and one of the benefits of quarters is that it's cheap. Which is great (thanks shitty, shitty maternity pay). We can finally afford to start saving. Well, try to. Babies aint cheap, kids! 

I've had my reservations about moving onto a base. Army wives don't have the best reputation and from what Mike has told me, some of them are total knobheads and can be really cliquey. My plan is to just be myself (well, not too much. Don't wanna scare the gals off!) and be nice to everyone. I'm really not into any 'hierarchy' bullshit. I always treat everyone the same. A personal policy. So far, I've had a chat with the lady next door and she seems nice. Early days. I'll keep you posted. The surrounding area is beautiful and even though this is a temporary move, I hope we will be happy here, and Mike enjoys seeing his offspring (and his loving wife, ahem) everyday.

Cheering dad up on his lunch break.

So the purpose of this post was just a bit of an update. Moving has not bothered me (apart from missing my fab mates!) but to be honest, we will be back in the Midlands at least once a month so both Nanas can get their baby fix and we can see our friends. So it was never goodbye really, just 'smell ya later'. It will be interesting to see how me and the Hubs get along as we are not used to being in each others pockets all the time. We can't even go a weekend without bickering, so if you don't hear from me again, assume one of us is dead. Or locked up for killing the other. 

A squinty, sweaty mess trying to pack up our shit. Note the xmas tree far right...told you I was a hoarder.

Thanks for reading. Take Care,
Katie x

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Too Posh to Push? - My Elective Caesarean Section

This is a fairly difficult post for me to write. I have been thinking about writing about my decision to opt for a c-section for a while but for some reason I have put it off. I think I have been afraid of feeling judged or tempting raised brows from all the know-it-all, been-there-done-that types, which is ridiculous because for the most part, I simply do not care what people think. It was a decision I made for myself, my baby and my little family. My vagina (that's right - I said it!), my decision. End of. Or is it? 

Those who know me will know that I am by large an open book. A sweary, sarky open book. I like to think that I am pretty liberal and there are not many topics of conversation that are off limits to me. I am a fairly confidant conversationalist, if the topic is something I have an educated opinion on. If not, I will either shut up and listen or switch off if I'm not interested. If something bothers me or I don't wish to discuss something personal, I have no qualms in politely steering the conversation in a different direction. However, whilst I was pregnant and the big scary subject of GIVING BIRTH (yes, it deserves shouty capitals) came up, I found myself squirming and feeling uncomfortable regarding my decision to opt for a c-section. This was largely because when people found out about it, they would then ask why and I would feel the need to staunchly defend my choice. I reiterate...MY CHOICE (thanks again, caps lock).

Let me say, I am not ashamed of my decision. I applaud those women who give birth naturally. I applaud those women who deliver with assistance. Or without assistance (ouch). I applaud those who have a water birth, or an emergency section, or a home birth, or a drug induced pink elephants on parade type birth. You are all beautiful and are real life super heroes. High fives all round. Mostly, people were surprised but supportive about my decision. Then there were those who were not so supportive. More 'quietly judgemental'. And let me tell you, they really pissed me off. Especially the relative strangers who decided to wag their horrid, judgy fingers at me and tell me that it wasn't the way nature intended. Or that I was a drain on the NHS if there was no 'medical' need. Or that in their day, they were lucky if they had an asprin etc. Then there were friends (and are still friends...just.) and even my own husband who (once) called me a wimp. "But thousands of women do it everyday"...Good for them I say. A hearty well done. It is not for me.

Opting for a c-section is not an indication of a weak woman. Unfortunately, many see it that way. Now I am by no means at all suggesting that all the newly pregnant ladies should run off to their local surgeries demanding a c-section thinking that it is the easy option. Being sliced open is NO FUCKING JOKE. Let me tell you possums, it was the hardest, most painful, emotional, bizarre thing that I have ever been through. And totally worth it.

But why Katie, WHY?! 

I have always wanted children. Not to the point where I would say it's all I've ever wanted. I enjoyed my life before my baby. The spontaneity, the cinema trips, the meals out, the times spent with friends, and the drinking, oh the drinking! Oh yeah, and conversations that didn't revolve around poo. The consistency, smell and volume are a daily topic of conversation in the Modern Military household. Sad twats.
Once we got married, the natural progression for us was to have a child. We had discussed it a few times before we tied the knot and we were both on the same page. The kid page. That's not to say that kids are the only option for newly weds. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart and I respect anyone who has the balls to go against the grain and raise a glass shouting/slurring "I choose life!" Hurrah for you, you sexy bitches. We however, started trying almost immediately. Now, I say 'trying' and by that I mean we were 'doing it' *giggle* without protection, thinking that it would happen when it happened. And it did eventually. I was not checking my vaginal mucus every 4 seconds to test when I was ovulating. Forgive the visual. It took 16 months to get pregnant this way. The non-trying trying way. During these months I was harbouring a little secret. And upon discovering that I was in fact 'with child', it came to fruition and I had to admit it. I was TERRIFIED of giving birth. I was terrified of having no control. Not knowing when my little bundle of joy would decide to enter the world. What if hubby was at work? (bear in mind he works 4 hours away from home!) Too many questions to list. Now, I've seen One Born Every Minute (they don't even show you HALF of what giving birth involves...episiotomy anyone? Placenta delivery? Pah!) and I have read everything on the internet regarding birth. That's right, everything. Took a while I'll tell ya. Not only that, I have been present at a real live birth. Back in 2007, I was asked to be my best mate's birth partner and witnessed first hand the terrifying glory that is vaginal birth. I have been on the front line. That's right folks. I was not an uneducated, wide-eyed little girl stumbling around waving the caesarian flag. 
I did my research. I didn't even know I had a choice to be honest. If you read my post about 'finding out', you will know that I was bloody scared. It was only when I was truly honest with myself that after a few short weeks of being pregnant, I had to speak to my doctor about it. I couldn't bear the thought of a vaginal birth. It kept me awake at night, I couldn't function properly when thinking about it and I had real anxiety. Not the kind of 'anxiety' that a Kardashian feels at the thought of wearing Primark. Real, full on, panic. I spoke to my sister at length about it. She is not only a Theatre Nurse in a busy hospital but she herself has had a c-section. She told me to talk to my community midwife about it and ask about an elective section. So I did, and we took it from there.

Every step of the way, I was told to think carefully about what was ultimately my decision. And boy did I do a lot of thinking. And what really was soul searching. I felt that I would be called a wuss. A charlatan. For Christ's sake Geppetto...I just want to be a real woman. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted the c-section. It ticked my boxes. The recovery time was not ideal by a long shot, but if it meant eliminating my encompassing fear which lets face it, throughout my pregnancy would have ultimately had an adverse effect on the little pipsqueak growing in my belly, I was all for it. I spoke to several different doctors and they all agreed that a c-section was an option for me. I really worried what people would think. Pregnancy does crazy things to you, and as a normally headstrung, grounded, rational woman (ahem, husband may disagree) I can tell you, those hormones fucked with me. Normally I would not give a flying fig what anyone thought but those hormones turned me into a quivering, fearful mess. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. I was right to be fearful (but not right to care!). Lots of people judged me. Twats.
I suffered many a snidey comment, especially from older women (even the nurse administering my cannula in the theatre had to put her two cents in). And you know what, really it's not their fault. People are always cynical, quick to judge, even jealous of the comforts afforded to their successors. But although I had the ultimate comfort (sort of) during the delivery of our baby, the aftermath of having MAJOR surgery was utterly horrendous. I don't want to alarm any of you who are about to undergo a section, nor do I want to put anyone off who is considering it as an option for their family. I am simply telling my story and trying to give it the gravitas it needs. "Having a section is a walk in the park" someone said to me. It is indeed a walk in the park. If the park is filled with quicksand. And full of rabid dogs. And on fire. The physical trauma really took it out of me, and I'm not going to lie, I wasn't expecting it to be as bad as it was. But with determination, a squishy new baby to look after and some liquid morphine, I got through those first three days. Not without plenty of tears and a near breakdown at 3am the second night. One day soon I will write my 'birth story', but not yet. The purpose of this post is to explain about my choice for a section. And to tell you that it is in no way, shape or form the 'easy' option.

I don't know where people get off asking you such personal questions about your body and your choices when you're pregnant. It's pretty strange really. Having questions fired at you, all indirectly involving your vagina. People feel a right to ask you all sorts of crap when your pregnant, and have the cheek to judge your parenting ability based on your answers. They are full of advice. You mustn't eat this, you mustn't drink that, you should take these supplements 'cos our Lisa did and she gave birth (naturally with no drugs) to a super baby with the ability to shit gold nuggets and do really hard maths. Sometimes (most of the time...ok, every time) you just want to shout "fuck off!" and if you're anything like me, sometimes you do.

I hope this post will help anybody feeling judged and under the microscope feel a little better. It's ok to want to stab someone in the face who unnecessarily casts speculations about you and makes assumptions about your body and mindset. (I said want to...I am not condoning violence!) We make decisions based on what is best for us and our families. It doesn't matter what Tom, Dick or bloody Harry has to say. My section was the right thing for me, and I'm really glad I went down that route. And I would do it again. My recovery was remarkably quick in the end. I went through a week of hell. And then I just bloody got on with it as my husband had to go back to work 5 days after our baby was born. So I single-handedly looked after a newborn almost immediately after being (albeit by choice) sliced open a few days previously. DID YOUR LISA DO THAT?!? 

Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, and it is not for us to judge the decisions of others if they aren't harming anyone. That being said, we all fucking do it. I am not going to get on any bullshit high horse and give you any holier than thou rubbish but the point I make is this...Judge from afar people. Go home, sit in your comfy chair, pour yourself a drink (ahhhh, drink) and bitch about others with your husband/wife/BF/GF/friend/cat. Shout your opinionated little mouth off until the cows come home. But do it in private. Pregnant ladies do not need nor want to hear what you have to say regarding THEIR bodies and THEIR choices. So just zip it. Remember, you asked the question and if you don't like the answer that's your problem. It isn't your job to try put doubts in her mind or make her feel small. Clearly...I am slightly bitter.

And to my pregnant comrades...people are going to give you their opinion constantly. Get used to it. Good and bad advice. Names, nurseries, preferred hemorrhoid cream...try to take it with a pinch of salt despite wanting to claw your own face off. Or theirs. Just relax and put your smiley happy psycho face on. Remember, they aren't the ones pushing anything out of their orifices so they may have an opinion, but it is your decision. Don't listen to that woman (there's always at least one) who gave birth with no pain relief, listening to whale music, channeling the chakras of the cave women they are descended from. Good for them. Hope they enjoyed the medal they got for that one. Don't be a hero - take the drugs. Or do whatever the hell you (and the health professionals) think is best. It's your body and your baby. (And the fathers of course)

So long for now lovely readers, with my vagina intact I bid thee farewell till next time. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. 


Ready to be sliced and diced.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Montagne Jeunesse; Black Seaweed Peel Off Masque

I bought this mask completely randomly from Asda as a little treat. I rarely come back from any supermarket without at least one of the following; a cushion, a candle, make up or skin products. My husband thinks I have a serious addiction and should seek help. I think he should put up and shut up...if a little luxury keeps my little world in balance, what's the harm I ask? Ok, I'll admit, coming back with only these things and no food or milk for our baby is bordering on problematic, but enough about that :)...

...I decided to try this particular mask as I tend to favour masks that you can see. Now, what I mean by that is non transparent or clear. I like to be able to see a big gloopy mess working it's magic, this is probably why I love LUSH products so much. I saw this and thought, it doesn't really get more visual than 'black seaweed'. So into the trolley it went...along with a candle. Or two. Ok, three.

Now, I am definately no skin expert. If you are looking for specific advice about skincare and the whole jungle that is parabens and collagens and hyaluronic acids and blah blah blah stuff, head over and check out Caroline Hirons blog. I have recently discovered this lady and can honestly say...the woman knows her shit and her no-nonsense approach is excellent. What I am getting at is - I will try most things once, and I likes what I likes. I usually try to squeeze all of a mask onto the back of one hand before applying. The consistency of the mask was quite runny, which made it a little difficult to apply without getting it somewhere you don't want it - down your front, in the sink, on the floor. There is plenty to go around though so losing a little bit was no problem. In fact, I reckon you could get two uses out of the packet if you really wanted to. Thrifty endevours.
I managed to get it on, it looked like this...

It did not have a strong smell. Some may disagree but I didn't find it particularly overwhelming, and certainly not unpleasant. I am guilty of always leaving masks on for too long. I like to leave them on in the bath and remove them not long before I get out. On this particular occasion, it is perhaps because I left it on too long that I ended up unsatisfied with it. The mask never seemed to 'set' and was a little gluey, even after 40 minutes. I like my baths quite hot and maybe the steam affected the drying of the mask. I'm not sure. It felt quite nice whilst it was on, but to be honest, I forgot it was there. Some people might like that quality in a mask, but I am not one of them. I want to feel it's doing something, and unfortunately this one did not hit the mark. When I came to take it off, it didn't really peel off as the name would suggest it would. I had to scrape it of with an exfoliating pad and my bare hands and nails which I really didn't enjoy. Clawing at my face after a relaxing bath is not really desirable.

After I finally got it off, it actually left my skin quite soft, and not tight at all which some masks tend to do. It hadn't appeared to do anything miraculous to my face, but nor had it done anything negative. It left me looking like this...

Forgive my giant face! So in conclusion, this mask isn't the greatest thing I have ever slathered on my mug but it's not offensive. It came in at £1 so it didn't break the bank. I wouldn't buy it again but it did no harm to my skin. I just think it's not for me and I lean more towards clay masks or citrus type masks. Somebody else might love it though!

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have tried this and what you think. Or let me know any recommendations you think I might like.

Take care,
Katie x

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

First weeks after a positive test and our first scan…

We had our first scan on July 10th 2014. I had waited for what seemed like forever for this date and I can’t describe to those who have not experienced it the sense of anticipation and stress I felt leading up to it.
I don’t think any newly pregnant woman does not have the same fears or anxieties. ‘Is the baby ok?’, ‘What if there is a problem?’ or even ‘What if there is nothing there at all and the test was wrong?!’ These are all common worries. However common they may be, it does not change the fact that right up until you see that little blip on the screen, I’m not sure you really believe it. Or you're scared to believe it in case there is a problem. All I remember about that time is that I was terrified and in some ways, these feelings ruined the first precious few weeks of my pregnancy.
As soon as those little positive lines appeared on the test, I was overcome with a sense of foreboding anxiety. Over the moon yes, but haunted by an unseen cloud of doom and gloom. At this time, the internet was not my friend. Whilst trying to seek the comfort I so desperately craved and trying to chill the fudge out, I read horror story after horror story about women who had lost their babies very early on, had blighted ovums and a whole host of other equally upsetting things that went wrong with their early pregnancies. This sent me spiralling into a bit of a depressive state (fun for Mike). Why did I not feel the way I thought I should, or wanted to? Happy, glowing, content with our little secret that only a handful of people knew about. I felt guilty about being consumed with worry but didn't dare voice my concerns. I am not really one for 'divine intervention' or fate but I felt that if something were to be wrong, it would be my fault as I had ‘wished’ it upon myself by thinking about it too much. I have learned now, albeit too late, that there is no ‘normal’ way of feeling. That was how I felt. I think in hindsight that I should have embraced it a little more and vocalised my worries. It may have helped, it may not. I hope that other women have a better experience than I did and don't send themselves stir crazy wading through a cyber landscape of miscarriage and brimstone.
Although my husband was supportive in his little way, he didn't quite know how to react to my unrelenting madness. About a week after finding out I was pregnant, he came home one night to find me hysterically crying over the washing up, shouting at him for every reason under the sun and telling him that he needed to take me out because I felt like the walls were closing in on me. Now, I can imagine this was a little difficult to deal with after a week at work in the field on exercise and a 4 hour drive home. I won't forget the look on his face. A mixture of weary surprise and ‘holy shit, is this how she’s going to be all the time?!’ He took me for a drive, talked rubbish to me and after half an hour, I had calmed down. Thankfully, this was a fairly isolated experience, but for the majority of the pregnancy I was screaming quite a lot internally.
I tried to explain to my midwife during my first appointment how I was feeling, but I was quite aware that I sounded like a crazy person so didn't unleash all of what was going on inside my head to her. She was nice, but I felt that she had heard it all before, which in all fairness, she more than likely had! Waiting for the scan was difficult, made worse by the fact that it was booked for when I was nearly 14 weeks, not 12. For the last year and a half, I have been tracking my menstrual cycle on an app called ‘Mydays’ so I was fairly certain of the date we had conceived (turns out I was spot on!) so I was disappointed that I would have to wait till nearly 14 weeks. Those two extra weeks felt like an expanding eternity. After my initial appointment, it felt quite strange to just be given a pat on the head and sent on my merry way. I was told to eat healthily and take my folic acid. What? That's it? The midwife didn't seem to understand the gravity of what was happening to me. And only me. Because of course, it's not like any other woman had ever been pregnant in the history of the universe...right?
And then the sickness began…
From around 6 weeks, I felt AWFUL. I was tired and constantly nauseous. My skin was terrible and I felt drained of energy. This was on top of the unyielding worry. I started being sick around twice a day although I felt sick constantly so it’s not like there was no warning. I work in a secondary school and on a few occasions, had to run out of class to be sick. This was difficult to explain away, as I didn't want to tell my colleagues (and certainly not students, they tend to be somewhat gossipy) that I was pregnant. I was thoroughly miserable and a few times (this is hard for me to admit, but it is the truth) regretted being pregnant, which would set me off again as I felt so guilty that the thought had even crossed my mind. I’m not a good sleeper at the best of times and have never been but I was barely sleeping, and would burn out in the middle of the day. Working full time, there was not much I could do about it. I think my husband thought I was faking sometimes. At this stage, you are not physically showing at all so I think it’s difficult for men to really understand what you are going through, being the visual creatures that they tend to be. One minute I had been fine, then almost immediately after finding out I was pregnant, I was a hormonal, screamy mess! I’m sure he thought I was after sympathy. And you know what, sometimes I was. Being the wife of a squaddie, I have always found sympathy or indeed empathy to be in short supply. The words "man up" were heard in our house more than a few times. The words "insensitive" and "bastard" usually followed. I digress. This horrible sickness lasted until around 11 weeks. Then came some sweet relief. I stopped feeling so nauseous which was my main complaint and had a little more energy. In fact, I was so paranoid that I thought something was wrong because I didn't feel unwell. Seriously, I just can't win with myself!

Me, feeling particularly sorry for myself.

Finally the day came for our scan. It wasn't until 5.30pm so I had a whole day of work to endure first. Mike had travelled home from his base that day to come with me and traffic had been bad so I was worried we were going to be late. I, of course blamed him. He picked me up from school and I cried the whole way there. When we got there, we were directed to wait (more waiting...really?!), and I saw three or four couples go in and come out looking happy. I hoped desperately that we would follow suit. Mike was very quiet and didn’t say much apart from “what will be will be” which was all he could say really. It was finally our turn.
We went into the little room and the bored-looking lady told me to lie down and unbutton the top of my trousers. She was very quiet and barely looked at me. To her, I was just another crazy pregnant lady. I tried to smile and offer a few pleasantries but she didn't seem interested so I quickly gave up. She squeezed some of the ultrasound gel onto my tummy and pushed the wand firmly down. This bordered on painful. I had drank so much water (as directed) that I needed the toilet very badly and thought I might wet myself, which I'm sure would have been very amusing and a great anecdote. Then I finally saw it. With my unblinking peepers I saw my little pipsqueak pop onto the screen and my heart skipped a beat. I was totally mesmerized by the image. I don’t recall seeing any movement and kept asking “Is the baby ok?”. The technician just nodded and continued checking whatever she was checking, making no attempt to explain what she was doing. Mike said “Ha ha, I’m glad it’s not just a big poo!” (how romantic and appropriate) She showed us the spine and the bottom and then all of a sudden, it was over. It lasted from start to finish, around 5mins. We took our little picture (pricey!) and toddled off, feeling happy but bewildered. I then had to have bloods taken which due to my ridiculously small veins, took tiny pediatric needles, and two phlebotomists! The only thing that rivaled the feeling of happiness was going to the toilet afterwards. It was without question the best wee I have ever had.
The first pic of baby MMW.
And that was that. When I thought about it later, I wished I would have asked a lot more questions, asked to hear the heartbeat and generally been a bit more pushy, as the technician we had was pretty useless. I felt really angry about it afterwards as I had been so worried for weeks and then I felt that she had robbed me of my magical experience. I got myself into a mood (a pregnant woman in a mood? surely not I hear you cry en masse), and we even had an argument on the way home. When I got home I cried for an hour, which was totally silly. It was mostly relief I think. Nevertheless, our baby was fine and this was wonderful news.
I felt very lucky. Seriously lucky. I can’t imagine the devastation I would have felt if there had been a problem and my heart sincerely goes out to those couples who do experience problems. My advice to any newly pregnant woman is to not trawl the internet and take solace in the fact that (in my experience) the sickness subsides. Although my first scan was a bit of a crap experience, my second more than made up for it…that one truly was magical! Let me know if you would like to hear about it.
I hope reading about my experience will help someone who also felt/feels a little depressed during their first trimester. It does get better!
In a state of constant surprise that I was actually with child.

Take care,
Katie x

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A long time coming….

I came up with the idea to start this blog just over a year ago. I managed to start it, but have since let it fall by the wayside. However, now is the time to get my arse into gear and start writing as I intended to a year ago! I am now on maternity leave and would love for this blog to be up and running as I have a bit more time to focus on it (when my baby allows!) Please let me know if there is anything you would like to hear about. If you read the ‘about me’ page, you will know I have an interest in beauty, science, books...and wine! I plan to do reviews of some beauty products very soon and perhaps some products I have found useful during my pregnancy. Is this something anyone would be interested in?
Take care, Katie x