Why Online Food Shopping Is The Best Invention Ever

Online Food Shopping Missuswolf

I’ve always tinkered with online shopping. But now I’m a parent it honestly is the best thing that’s ever been Invented.

You see, I’ve come to realise that I lack patience anyway in shops. Other people getting in the way of the tops I want to look at, the shoes I want to try on or the cake I want to drool over really tests my character.

Throw in the mix a toddler who wants to pull anything breakable off the shelves and is a milkybar button away from a knee-buckling tantrum.

It’s all just too much.

Since Ella was born, I’ve tried to order a food shop to arrive every Sunday night. This stemmed from having a section and being unable to lift things. I’d order enough milk, nappies and wipes to see us through the week alongside the usual groceries.

Online Food Shopping missuswolf

This continued throughout maternity leave as I’m all for an easy life and this indeed made my life much easier.

Bath, bottle, bed then ding-dong. Sunday night food delivery.

It kept the rest of the week free for me to doddle around baby groups and boot camps. Alleviating at least one stress in my life.

So this has inevitably continued when I’ve gone back to work. I have even less free time now and I refuse to spend it battling with other people and a toddler in the shops.

My free time is precious and I’d rather be out in the park or woods – the better version of me spending time with Ella.

Pretty good mindful routine right?

So why on earth did we agree to do our pre Center Parcs food shop in store with a toddler this week??

Firstly, I grossly misjudged the amount of stuff we needed and got a small trolley.

With no child seat (she wouldn’t have sat in it anyway).

Well. The Man Who Lives With Us put her in the trolley. Obvs she loved it. Whizzing around the sock aisle (as again- aaaaaalways need socks). Living her best life.

Then the first tremors of rebellion.

She wants to get out.

I suppose rightly so really.  The items need to go in their respectful place. The trolley.

So far so good. Until she decides to help put the items in the trolley.

Then it’s a case of lifting her up, only to hand her the multi pack of crisps (that were at the correct height to begin with to go in the trolley), to then be thrown in full pelt. Making crumbs of crisps.

The beige tea aisle involved aeroplane role-play diving into the freezers. Why ever not?

Obviously the triggers for that ever-brewing tantrum took place in the alcohol aisle. So fitting as that’s the only antidote that will see you through this. Yet you spend your time terrified the hurricane you birthed is about to set free every drop of alcohol that is jailed inside a glass bottle.

The final kick in my motherhood ass is no doubt the checkout.

Unloading the sodden trolley not quite as quick as they scan them through. Too proud to accept ‘a hand with packing’ when it’s quite clear that I need all the help I can get. The Man has The Little Lady restrained while I’m profusely sweating trying to pack the bags and hoy them in the trolley.

Once upon a time I would’ve been embarrassed. Now I can barely conceal my rage and frustration.

This kind of stress would not have gone down if I’d ordered online in the comfort of my home in my PJ’s.

‘Well that was feckin stressful’ I fume as we stomp out the store.

And try to squeeze it all in the car.

Again, if we’d done this online we could’ve packed the car all at once at home. In a more streamlined, logistical fashion.

But hey-ho it’s done now.

Except when you’re halfway down the motorway and realise you’ve forgotten nappy bags, coffee and peppa pig yoghurts. Oh and to post your Auntie’s birthday card.

I’m all for an easy life. And sitting on my backside at home in my jarmies, I have all the time in the world to browse and shop.

With no distractions.

So I don’t forget anything.

And most importantly.

I keep my sanity.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Unsplash

Pregnancy: Stretch marks, Spider Veins and Varicose Vein Treatment

Varicose Vein Treatment Missuswolf

The Human Body truly is amazing.

It has ways of healing itself, expressing pain and the ability to show physical or emotional reaction when there’s something wrong.

The body responds to external and internal factors.

Take stretch marks. The tiger stripes that emerge when your skin is pushed beyond its elasticity. The marks are there. They fade in time. But they serve as a reminder of the journey you took. Whether it be the transition from childhood into adulthood, the miracle of growing another human being in your body or a huge weight loss. They can appear.

These seem to be the hardest to treat of them all. Prevention rather than cure is always the emphasis on stretch marks. They inevitably fade in time. Laser therapy could be an option to alleviate the aggressive ones. However, it doesn’t completely remove them. The process only makes them less noticeable.

As discussed in my previous post Finding Sanctuary in a Tub and a Saviour in a Bottle, I do have them. Mine are on my thighs and hips. However these weren’t through pregnancy. These were from adolescence.

And because of this, I rather went to town on lathering creams and oils into my bump, hips and thighs.

Spider Veins are another example. Again, I have a sprinkling of these on the tops of my thighs and again, they weren’t through pregnancy. Causes of these could be a number of things; heredity, adolescence or an occupation that either involved a lot of standing or a lot of sitting. Who knows. They are there. They’ve been there a while. These are seen as cosmetic and as such, I would not be able to get varicose vein treatment on them on the NHS in England.

Brief pulses of light, know as lasertherapy, would be the varicose vein treatment for spider veins.

For thin, red veins closer to the skin’s surface, a pulsed dye laser would be used.

For the deeper blue and purple veins, a laser with a longer wavelength would be required.

A solution that shrinks the veins is injected with a tiny needle and the spider veins should disappear after about eight weeks.

I’ve not ruled out having varicose vein treatment on my spider veins. It’s something I would consider in the future.

Actual varicose veins are not something I have suffered from.

Yet.

I imagine I may in later life. My grandma suffered from them a fair few years ago and she had them removed by surgery – which is known as litigation and stripping. There are also varicose vein treatments that now involve laser therapy and sclerotherapy.

Which is good to know.

As I’m queasy when it comes to anything to do with veins. I like to know there are options available now that don’t involve surgery.

I may have escaped lucky with my pregnancy with the The Little Lady but who’s to say that I’ll be as fortunate in the future?

I may get more stretch marks.

My spider veins may increase.

I may develop varicose veins.

So it’s good to know there are treatments out there and various options available should I need them.

Love Missuswolf xxx

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Image from Unsplash

 

Fresh Air and Paddington Bear

Fresh Air Paddington Bear Missuswolf

I’m doing Mindful November over on Instagram (with @Mamas_Scrapbook and @Blom_cards) and when I saw today’s post was Fresh Air, I had a smug-mam moment about it.

‘Ooooh this fits perfectly in to today’s plans and even rhymes. I can be a lyrical genius on Insta and pull off an awesome post’.

Obviously- the exact opposite has happened.

Of course it would.

The Man Who Lives With Us had warned me it would.

You see, today’s Insta Square was going to be our trip to Fenwicks Window to see Paddington Bear.

I was going to get that all important #makingmemories picture of Ella wrapped up in a hat and gloves, staring mind-blowing at the red and blue clothed bear in the window.

What happened couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’ll start as far back as leaving the house.

I don’t currently have a winter coat. There’s my yellow nana coat that’s past its sell by date festering in the garage. As I CBA to step foot in shops these days, my new winter coat is on order from Dotty P’s. Delivery due this week.

So off I venture into the garage to rescue the yellow nana coat. Of course Ella wants to follow. Why not? Who doesn’t love a good forage in a garage in the feckin freezing cold.

Cue Little Lady running full pelt out of the front door and landing flat on her face. The position she fell in was both comical and heart breaking at the same time.

There were tears. There was a heated exchange of words with The Man as to who was to blame (even though we weren’t ‘blaming’ each other as ‘accidents happen’. Eye roll).

Thankfully, no cuts, bruises or blood loss. After all that my coat looked shite anyway.

So off we troop, me in a grey jumper dress and a long cardie (that will no doubt be recycled and worn for next weekend’s girl date to York FYI).

As we approached town, of course she falls asleep.

Cue The Man driving around the West End for a bit then playing car-park-hopping until he found the right one.

So once we’d picked a side street in Shieldfield – the Little Lady woke up and off we trooped into town.

Minus the buggy.

For some reason we thought we’d leave that in the garage too. As she ‘likes to walk everywhere these days’.

Nope.

It’s a short walk, followed by a carry, followed by running off in the opposite direction, to another carry. Lather, rinse repeat that one.

And we’ve both got shit backs too so why we do this to ourselves is beyond belief. It even entered the conversation to buy a ‘lighter buggy’ while we were in town today. We didn’t even get as far as entertaining that daft idea.

We hadn’t even got to Northumberland Street and The Man needed a wee.

So did I.

We agreed he would wee in Pacific as I went to Primark to buy a hat and gloves for Ella (as yes, we forgot these too). I would then wee in Fenwicks and then ta-da – window time!

As Ella wrapped her vice-like legs (she is freakishly strong) around me for yet another carry, a part of her felt warmer than normal.

Yup.

Nappy leak.

On a grey dress.

I mean, the thought had slightly entered my head as we left that she may need a change as she’d downed two bottles of juice.

But no.

I live life on the edge.

I decided to risk it.

And I Never Learn.

If thoughts like that appear – ACT UPON THEM.

You will regret it later.

I decided to quickly dash into Primark to get the forgotten clothes. Hat, gloves and socks (aaaaalways need socks) chosen, The Man caught up with us. He stood in the queue while I went hunting for toilets near the Costa in Primark. Zilch. Couldn’t find any (thought there had to be some near food facilities??)

Aaaanyway purchase made and a mad dash into Fenwicks was had. Dodging the frantic Christmas shoppers and the Saturday Dawdlers, we jumped into a VERY packed lift. That went down. Then up.

And we got out on the wrong floor.

By now my frustration sweat was appearing but I was trying to appear cool as The Man was getting even more agitated than he already was (he hates how busy Town gets. And frankly so do I. So this was a disaster from the start).

Baby Changing facilities eventually located (on the other side of the store to where I knew the toilets were), where a full on outfit change for Ella ensued.

Her vest and tights were wet. But the dress she had on didn’t go with the spare tights so I had to change the whole outfit.

I was devastated that her pretty burgundy dress and cream tights, an outfit I chose especially for her to see Paddington in, were now replaced with a bright pink and red Minnie Mouse Dress and tight combo. I mean, it’s lovely don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the idyllic image I’d envisaged (nothing ever feckin is in motherhood – I should have also learnt this by now too!)

Facilities exited, The Man located – who by now is Hangry as he’s had no breakfast. Nup  – me neither mate – shall we get some grub?

As I so obviously know Fenwicks better than him (rarely there) we turn into the Saturday Dawdlers. Everywheeeeere is busy.

I had the bright idea of Greys Quarter.

Fifteen-minute-waits in every restaurant.

Right. The Decision was made.

To quickly see the window and head home, with the idea of grabbing some food from somewhere on our journey home (another Saturday afternoon Maccy D’s drive through no doubt).

Oh no no no.

There was no quickly seeing The Window. The queue was at the bottom of Northumberland Street.

The Man nearly died when this realisation hit.

In order to save his sanity and our marriage, we quickly ran by it on our tippy toes.

All the while Ella looking the other way.

Too much of a nosey parker people-watching to stare at a bear stood in a window.

Big. Fat. Waaaaaaaaah!!

So – no, we didn’t have the patience to deal with town on a Saturday a mere few weeks from Christmas with a toddler in tow.

We sidled along Northumberland Street to head back to the car. Frankie and Benny’s is our fave haunt and luckily the one near Pacific wasn’t busy. Table straight away and no waiting. Hoo-feckin-rah.

A rather relaxing lunch with a surprisingly well-behaved Ella (although there were several attempts at climbing out the high chair. I turned into the parent I swore I never would and shoved Mickey Mouse Clubhouse repeats on my phone).

As we left F&B and made our merry way back to Shieldfield, playing pass the parcel with a I-will-not-wear- my-hat-or-gloves Ella, The Man attempted to say those words.

The Man: ‘Well, I don’t really want to say it but -‘

Me: ‘Oh yes you do – you can’t bliddy wait!’

The Man: ‘Told You So!’

And he had.

The whole car journey into town that this was not going to turn out how I had in my head. And I had known that. And even agreed that what I had planned wouldn’t be perfect.

But it was faaaaar from perfect – if you class perfect as everything going according to my plan.

It was much better.

As we had an afternoon that we can look back on and laugh (and learn from!) Ella was just happy to be out and about with her mammy and daddy in the fresh air.

And at the end of the day.

That’s all that matters.

#MakingMemories

#Eveniftheyareshitones

Love Missuswolf xxx

Image above is the only one I have today of being in the Fresh Air. And there most certainly is no Paddington Bear.

March Of The Mummies 2017

On Tuesday 31st October the March Of The Mummies takes place.

Pregnant Then Screwed is an international pressure group and will be marching to Westminster from Trafalgar Square this Halloween.

Concurrent sister marches are taking place across the UK with our very own here in the North East.

The sister March taking place in Newcastle will start at Newcastle Civic Centre at 12noon and march to Grey’s Monument.

The protest seeks to highlight the issue of maternity discrimination which haunts 77 per cent of new mums, and pushes one in nine pregnant women out of their job (EHRC, 2016). 

There are five key demands, one of which is of particular interest to me:

Subside childcare from six months instead of three years.

Those who’ve followed me for a while will know I went back to work full time in January following ten months of maternity leave.

I pay approx £530 a month in childcare fees.

This is for 29 hours a week – three eight hour days and one five hour day.

The other day and a half is juggled by grandparents and flexible working.

I’m lucky that my employer does the childcare scheme, so £220 of my monthly salary prior to tax goes straight to the nursery. It probably equates to me being down about £150 a month rather than the full £220. So about £70ish ‘saving’ if you could call it that. (Maths is not my strong point!)

The other £310 is paid after tax.

Now before I get people saying I would be better off going part-time and not spending as much on nursery – I couldn’t afford it.

I’d still be paying for nursery the majority of the time and with less wage it’s just not feasible in our circumstances.

Plus I still want to be in the rat race.

To push at my career while opportunities are being presented to me.

It’s not easy but I’m managing to find a balance.

I just feel penalised for wanting to work and paying for the privilege because I’m a mother. Two years ago that £530 of my salary would all be mine. I wasn’t paying to go to work then – so why should i now?

84% of generation Z and millennials seek flexibility when job hunting and the UK economy would be £165 million richer/more productive if all businesses got on board (Government’s capital and wellbeing report 2017)

The economy benefits if more people are working, surely the government should be encouraging this?

Rather than forcing parents to feel like they’re sacrificing salary or hours because they are, well, parents?

I don’t blame the nursery either.

They need money to function. And that should come from the government instead of the parents themselves.

Like they fund schools.

Nursery is just as educational and should therefore be funded from the outset.

I’m working full-time.

Contributing to taxes and the economy.

Yet I pay 32% of my monthly wage to do this.

Because I’m a mother.

And in this day and age, with the cost of living being so high, I don’t have the luxury of not working at all.

So to help run a house, raise a family and god forbid have a career myself, I pay £530 a month for the privilege.

Where’s the fairness in that?

MUMMIES MARCH ACROSS THE UK THIS HALLOWEEN

The march is being supported by a number of MPs and celebrities. The demonstration follows the success of its recent campaign, ‘Give me Six’, which seeks to increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from three to six months. This campaign has the support of 99 MPs and more than 54,000 people. 

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed said: 

“March of the Mummies is our first demonstration, and we are encouraging those attending to dress up as mummies (the walking dead kind) to highlight the archaic legislation that is in place to protect and support working mums. Despite the success of our #GivemeSix campaign, little progress has been made on maternity and pregnancy discrimination. In March 2016, a Government commissioned report revealed that the number of women losing their jobs for getting pregnant has almost doubled in the last ten years. Since then no decisive action has been taken and in that time 84,000 women have lost their jobs. We are marching, along with our sisters in cities around the UK, to demand recognition, respect and change for working mums.”

The five key demands being presented to parliament:

1. Increase the time limit to raise a tribunal claim from 3 months to (at least) 6 months

2. Require companies to report on how many flexible working requests are made and how many are granted

3. Give fathers access to 6 weeks non-transferable paternity leave paid at 90% of salary

4. Give the self-employed access to statutory shared parental pay

5. Subsidise childcare from 6 months old, rather than 3 years

To find out more about Pregnant Then Screwed please visit www.pregnantthenscrewed.com

For more information about ‘March of the Mummies’ please visit www.marchofthemummies.com or follow the hashtag #marchofthemummies

Love Missuswolf xxx

Who’s Been In Our Tree 

Who’s Been In Our Tree is a book written by Diana Batchelor and is designed as a support mechanism for children who are victims of burglary.

Diana Batchelor is an experienced practitioner and researcher in the field of criminal justice.

With the use of animals as the characters, Batchelor tells the story of the aftermath after their tree is burgled.

Fox, Badger, Hedgehog and Squirrel wake up to find that everything in their tree is upside down.

Furniture is empty where the TV and games used to be and they discover that a bag of their favourite things has been taken.

Batchelor has used the animals to depict different reactions that a child may experience and relate to.

A child will then be able to identify which animal they feel that their emotions relate with the most.

Batchelor has, in conjunction with Dr Fiona Snyder – a Clinical Psychologist, written about the strange things that start to happen after the burglary.

Again, each animal experiences something different – something strange.

Like a bad dream.

Or feeling frightened to be alone.

The story proceeds to tell of different coping mechanisms for each animal to try.

Again, a child reading this could identify the animal that their fears relate to the most and see how that animal coped with their experience.

At the end, there’s the opportunity for the child to reflect on their experience in the ‘What About Me’ section. It is here they can create their own plan on what steps they’re going to take to make themselves feel better.

There’s also a useful section for adults to consider in ‘Things To Talk About’. This encourages grown ups to listen to the child and ask them about their reactions and feelings.

I caught up with Diana Batchelor who told me more about the book …

Can you tell us what the story of Who’s Been In Our Tree is about? 

Who’s Been in Our Tree? is a book for 4-8 yr olds to help them deal with the impact of burglary. The story is about four animals whose tree has been burgled. It teaches children about a range of shock reactions, reassures them that feelings of anxiety and stress are normal following a traumatic event, and equips them to make plans to cope. The main emphasis is on letting out feelings – finding ways to share and express them. It was developed with the help of a child clinical psychologist. Feedback I have had so far suggests it could also be helpful following any type of stressful life event, and that older children appreciate it as well – perhaps up to 11yrs or so.

What motivated you to write this story?

It all started when I was supporting children who’d been victims of crime in London. One boy had been having nightmares ever since the family home was burgled. I met with him and his dad over a few weeks and we drew pictures together. One week he drew his front door that had been damaged, and then together we drew their shiny new one which helped to make him feel safe. It was clear that he could express his feelings through drawing, which he was finding hard to do with words.

His dad asked me whether there was a story book they could read with him, to help him understand what had happened and feel safe again. I was determined to find one! I searched high and low but had no luck. Fortunately, drawing helped the family communicate and they found a way out of the nightmares. But now some years later I’ve written this book with him and his dad in mind. It uses bright, simple drawings as a way to help children like him understand their own feelings and come up with their own ways of coping. He doesn’t need it anymore, but I hope it will help others like him!

You can find out more about the book on the Who’s Been In Our Tree website

The book is also sponsored by Victims Support. Read more on Batchelor’s interview with the organisation here.


~Social Media~

Twitter @WBIOT

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~ Where To Buy Who’s Been In Our Tree ~

Amazon 


Love Missuswolf xxx

Disclosure – I received a copy of this book as part of this feature 

This post contains affiliate links 



This entry was posted in Books.

All The Eighteen Month Olds

As I was doing my usual Sunday morning scroll through Insta – a plate of toast half balanced on my lap while Mr Tumble entertains the Little Lady – I came across Chrissy Teigan’s adorable video of her daughter Luna.

Luna is a similar age to Ella and I love following Chrissy Teigan’s motherhood journey.

The video is Give Me All The Eighteen Month Olds and it’s Luna copying every word Chrissy says.

And it’s utterly adorable.

Chrissy starts by saying the words mammy and daddy and then goes through some other words, each one in turn Luna copies.

My heart melts.

As it’s very much Ella. Copying every word in her cute little interpretation. (Although Ella is actually nineteen months I’ve used a bit of poetic licence for this post.)

Like this week ‘Palpol’ (Calpol) has been added to her vocabulary after the recent bout of nursery germs.

Her most common phrase is ‘I’m stuck’ – which is thrown about when we are so blatantly trying to entrap her; the high chair, the car seat, her cot bed.

It’s actually her overused phrase; when she can’t be bothered to get off the sofa herself, when she’s trying to climb onto the dining room chairs – when I’m pottering in the kitchen and she’s clawing at my legs, desperate for a nosy at what I’m doing.

I’m in love with this phase and the inquisitive little sponge that follows me around.

To watch her grab her books and bring them to my knee (def a girl after my own heart).

To listen to her little voice as she copies the words she knows, or shout ‘Quack Quack’ at the duckies or ‘Woof Woof’ at the doggies.

To watch her toddle in her pink glitter wellies, chasing the autumn leaves and squeling in delight as she jumps in muddy puddles.

To watch her pick an item of wet clothing out of the washing machine and bring it to me to hang up (it’s not too young for child chores is it???!)

Not that it’s all puppy dogs and rainbows.

Far from it.

This morning hasn’t been without it’s frustrations.

This phase has brought with it a clingy child (I think it’s complete noseyness at what I’m doing to be fair but we’ll go with clingeyness).

Although I’m finding this new found clingyness adorable (I finally get long proper cuddles hurrah!) It has again made the simple art of showering an absolute hurdle today.

The constant whinging.

It would be ok if it was a full blown tantrum and bam you’re done.

But the sheer constant whinge drives me Insane.

So while the other half plays football, I’ve ‘I’m stuck’ her somewhere, jumped in the shower, thrown on some clothes, attempted a slight smear of make-up and ruffled some dry shampoo in my god-knows-when-i-last-washed-it hair.

The last week has been a tricky one – working full time round a poorly toddler while the OH works away. Throw in my own immune system deteriorating i’m sure it’s one of those weeks I’ll look back at in awe (or some warped sense of fondness).

Motherhood is an ecstatic ride of frustration, exhaustion, hurty heart, complete and utter awe all wrapped in  overwhelming undeniable love.

I’m finding each phase is not without its difficulties; the lack of motion isn’t savoured with a new born due to lack of sleep, the enjoyment of movement is then masked by the physical exhaustion at times of racing after a toddler.

Who always wants to go in the opposite direction.

Or where they’re not supposed to.

So it’s easy to look back with rose tinted glasses at those new born days.

Just like I’ll look back on rose tinted glasses on these days.

But these days of walking, talking, sharing and exploring are truly magical.
And with each phase, like they said it would, it passes quickly.

I need to stop.

I need to slow down.

And enjoy and embrace this topsy turvy toddler.

Watching your little person find amazement in mundane things you take for granted – it makes you see the world in a whole new light.

So like Chrissy Teigan says.

Give Me All The Eighteen Month Olds.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images Unsplash and my own 

World Mental Health Day 2017: Awakened

World Mental Health Day 2017 missuswolf

Last year’s World Mental Health Day post focused on the importance of mental health while on maternity leave.

This year, I’m taking the angle of work-life balance.

More than ever I need to look after my mind. I’m working full time, attempting to run a house as well as look after an eighteen month old.

I’ve got everything I ever wanted.

Which is why it’s important that I look after myself.

So I don’t loose it.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to read a book called ‘Awakened‘.

Debbie Stokoe, a copywriter and blogger, shares her experience of depression and the importance of a work-life balance.

The book came at a perfect time in my life.

2017 has been one of significant change.

I went back to work after maternity to a new job.

That in itself was hard. Not only did I have to mentally prepare for leaving a little person I’d spent the last ten months caring for full time. I had to prepare for walking into a new job.

Fast forward two months and I’m offered a project role.

In that same month, I also moved house.

The cards had well and truly been thrown in the air.

And over the course of the summer they’ve slowly drifted back down into place.

Their new places.

It’s a wonder I didn’t have some form of break down.

Reading Debbie’s book has helped me put things into perspective.

Too much change at once can be difficult to process.

There’s a paragraph that really struck with me.

It’s about mindfulness.

Being in the moment.

Something a lot of us (including me) are not very good at.

I once thought being busy was good. I thought I was achieving things.

The constant.

Thinking that The Constant was good.

It meant I could race through life and not be alone with my thoughts.

To over think things.

But since embarking on motherhood, I’m more mindful than ever. Babies quickly grow and a triumphant toddler soon takes over.

In that respect I’m now mindful to take each day as it comes.

To enjoy the moment.

To listen to her little chitter chatter.

To take the plastic tea cup when offered. To pretend to sip it. To gasp that it’s the nicest cup of tea I’ve ever had.

And to inhale that freshly bathed smell as I read her a bedtime story.

As it ain’t going to last forever.

So I’m grateful for Debbie’s book to put things in perspective. And to also to introduce me to meditation.

Debbie recommended Jessica Mullen and The Honest Guys. I’ve found them on You Tube and they’ve been really useful to listen to.

I’ve lost touch with reading this year with everything that’s gone on. Awakened has pulled me back into the reading game. I’ve now picked up The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. A book I started before I moved.

So what is Awakened about?

Debbie kindly gives us an insight into her book and her life …

Having read Awakened, you’ve written a compelling journey of self discovery through your working life as well as personal events. What inspired you to write Awakened?

I went through a lot of pain and the main inspiration was to help others to avoid that if possible. I talk about how I was affected by perfectionism and low self-esteem as a child, which affects a lot of young kids today who feel pressure to push themselves too hard, so part of it was to hopefully get a message to them to start being more compassionate towards themselves. In terms of the work-related mental health issues I experiences, I just felt very alone and scared when I was going through severe depression and wanted other people who are experiencing similar things to realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I guess I tried to write the book that would have helped me when I was ill. Hopefully it will also help family members and friends of people who are suffering from similar health issues to understand it better.

World Mental Health Day 2017 missuswolf

It was also a healing process for me to write about what happened to me, and cathartic in many ways, even though I had a lot of resistance arise about revisiting these difficult times in my life. It helped me to understand myself better and to work on certain things that still affect me (I’m still too hard on myself about a lot of things).

How would you compare writing Awakened to anything you’ve previously written?

I’ve never written a book before so it was a new experience! I’m a copywriter so I write for businesses for a living, and I’ve been blogging about art and culture for about six years, so I’m using to writing things like websites and blog posts. I decided upon the chapters then dedicated a couple of hours each morning for four months to writing it. I was pretty disciplined about writing every week day. I hadn’t been that vocal about mental health in the past so it was quite daunting being so honest and discussing my deepest, darkest feelings. There have been times when I’ve felt like not putting it out there as I have some fears about what people will think, but the message is more important than my fears.

How do you organise your work and life to ensure you get a healthy balance?

I became self-employed partly to have more control over my life, and to a certain extent it’s worked. It suits me better as I can organise my workload if I’m having a down day (I’m still affected by low mood) and I can work from home which means I don’t have to deal with people that annoy me as much! It has its stressors though, mainly because of the uncertainty and ‘feast or famine’ cycle that can happen when you’re self-employed (either too much work or not enough work) so it can be difficult to feel balanced.

How do I stay in balance? It’s a lifelong work in progress and I’m constantly changing my routine to feel more balanced. I have a morning routine which involves a combination of yoga, meditation, a walk and drawing an oracle card (I talk about my spiritual path in the book). I am still trying to limit my use of technology but I make sure I stay off my phone after 9pm and read before bed. It’s important for me to get out in nature at the weekends and switch off. A weekly yoga class also keeps me in balance, and regular holistic therapies such as massage and reiki. Reading a lot also helps and I go the cinema or theatre once or twice a week which inspires me and gets me away from a screen.

If you had one piece of advice on wellbeing that you’ve learnt, what would it be?

Learn to love yourself. It sounds a bit cliched, but life gets much easier when you’re your own best friend. I’ve always been too hard on myself, which started at school. I was always pushing myself to be an A grade student and if I didn’t achieve that standard I would berate myself. Being a perfectionist does not lead to a happy life. You can never celebrate your achievements and nothing is ever good enough. I think it’s so important for kids to learn to love themselves (not in a narcissistic, selfie-taking way) and not measure their happiness against external factors, which society teaches us to do. When we learn how to do that (and there are many ways to do that, such as learning about self-care, finding your passion and purpose, and learning to appreciate the little things and have more gratitude) life flows better.

World Mental Health Day 2017 missuswolf

And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know

If you read the book you’ll know, but I have a Facebook spiritual group with over 1,300 members. I realised that I felt ‘different’ and was having interesting spiritual experiences, so I created it to find my tribe and talk about spiritual topics such as angels, past lives and the law of attraction with like-minded people. Now I don’t feel so lonely or out there and have made life-long friends as a result of the group.

You can get a copy of Awakened here.

Where to find Debbie and her support groups:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/DebbieStokoeWriter

Twitter – @DebbieStokoe111

Instagram @socialbflycomms 

Stay Sane At Work website – www.staysaneatwork.co.uk

Facebook group – www.facebook.com/groups/StaySaneAtWork 

You can take part in World Mental Health Day today in the Time To Change #inyourcorner campaign

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Unsplash and Time To Change website

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Awakened as part of this post 

Postnatal Depression and Me: Guest Post by Emma Koster

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

Today’s guest post in support of Postnatal Depression Awareness Week is written by Emma Poster.

Post-natal depression and me

I can still remember the day clearly. Evie was coming up to six weeks old, and my Health Visitor had just arrived for our six-week post-natal check. We went through the usual “how is your caesarean section scar healing?”, “any problems with feeding?”, “have you thought about contraception?”, and so on.
Then, though, we went on to talk about how I was feeling.

It was part of the NHS’ screening for post-natal depression programme, and it was filling me with dread.

Postnatal Depression Awareness week

The Health Visitor explained that she was going to ask me a series of questions, and she would then score my answers to determine whether I may be suffering from post-natal depression.

I already knew what the score would say.

I’d found those first six weeks incredibly hard.

If I’m being completely honest, I’d found the late half of my pregnancy a struggle emotionally, too.

I lost count of the number of times I cried each day. I really felt like I wasn’t coping, and I was having more and more thoughts about harming myself.

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

I loved my beautiful baby, Evie, of course I did.

But, I wasn’t enjoying being a mummy back then.

Please select the answer that comes closest to how you feel

Although, deep down, I already knew that I as suffering with post-natal depression, I had no idea how to talk to anybody about it.

Was I just supposed to blurt it out?

What would people think?!

It was only when the Health Visitor started asking me direct questions that I felt I could start to admit how I was feeling. She asked me how often things had been getting on top of me.

Most of the time.

In fact, I felt like I wasn’t coping at all.

How often had I felt scared or panicky for no good reason?

Often.

Very often.

Having somebody ask me these questions, and asking me to pick the most suitable response, it was exactly what I needed.

The Survey Says …

It came as no huge surprise that my answers suggested I was suffering from post-natal depression.

My Health Visitor phoned my doctors surgery on my behalf, and booked me an appointment for later that day.

The diagnosis was confirmed then, and I was put on some medication to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

It took a while for the tablets to start working, but I instantly felt a little better after admitting to somebody how I had been feeling.

It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

The months that followed were hard, but I gradually started to feel like things were getting easier.

Alongside the medication, I made other changes.

This included making time for ‘me’.
Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

Not easy when you have a new-born, I know, but so vitally important.

I also started being more honest with other mummies. Up until that point, I’d found that all the mummies I met at baby groups would tell me how much they were enjoying parenthood, and how wonderful everything was.

I, of course, smiled and nodded along.

Once I admitted, though, that I was struggling, and didn’t have a bloody clue what I was doing, everybody else started opening up more too.

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week PANDAS

It was so refreshing to learn that I wasn’t the only one who had no idea how to get their little darling to sleep in their cot.

I wasn’t the only one who sometimes struggled to get dressed until gone midday, if at all.

I wasn’t the only one who struggling to enjoy the first few weeks of parenthood. Phew!

Fast forward a year

Evie is now thirteen months. I’m not quite sure how that has happened, but the big black circles under my eyes seem to confirm it.

I’ve seen my GP regularly about my post-natal depression over the last year, and together we have agreed to start reducing the dosage of my medication.

In hindsight, I was probably a bit too eager to do this, and ended up taking things too quickly.

I started to feel like I was struggling again, so I increased the dosage slightly, again with the advice from my GP.

I wouldn’t say I feel more like ‘the old me’ as I am pretty sure the old me wouldn’t be routinely sniffing another human being’s bottom to see if they had ‘gone’, and wouldn’t – usually – be singing silly songs and blowing raspberries as they graced the aisles of the supermarket.

I do, though, feel much better.

Yes, I still doubt my parenting skills regularly.

After all, little humans don’t come with a manual, and I becoming quite a pro at ‘winging it’.

I am, though, enjoying being a mummy much more than I was.

I feel I am coping much better.

I finally feel that I am beating post-natal depression.

Em x

Thank you to Emma for sharing her story.

If you’ve read this post today and feel that it relates to what you’re currently experiencing – please- don’t suffer in silence.

There is help and support out there.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from PANDAS and UnSplash

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week: Guest Post on PTSD

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week

This week I’m proudly supporting PND Awareness Week with PANDAS

Today’s guest post is written by Claire North and her experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The 2nd August 2014 was the start of a very exciting new venture for me and my husband as I was taken into hospital to be induced with our first baby. We had waited patiently for 38 weeks and the time had finally come.

PANDAS Pregnancy image

My labour induction started like most, pessaries and a hormone drip to get baby on the move, eventually after 6 hours my waters were broken and from then on things started to progress pretty quickly, after getting to around 5cm dilated I could see the midwife rush around, she quickly dropped the bed and asked me to lay on my side!

She pushed the emergency button and a load of midwives started running in, I could see the colour drain from my husband and mam’s face and I knew something was wrong immediately.

I was told that my babies heart rate had dropped and so I was being taken to emergency theatre to be monitored.

On arrival to theatre it was all systems go, the midwives and doctors were rushing around and prepping tools ready to deliver my baby by Caesarean section.

I lay there wondering if my baby would be alive when he was born and my eyes were pouring with tears. Some tests to check the epidural was working took place and things went from bad to worse when I was told I would have to go under general anaesthetic in order for my baby to be born!

Because of this my husband wasn’t allowed to be present for the birth, I sobbed!

I was so worried and scared, would I wake up from surgery? Would I wake up to my baby having died?………..

I came round a few hours later, I remember I was in so much pain but it soon disappeared when I was handed a beautiful healthy baby boy!

He was perfect!

Postnatal Hands PANDAS

Life was great, sure I had the regular baby blues but nothing out of the ordinary or so I thought. I would wake in the night from terrible nightmares and repetitions of my birth, I’d have dreams that my baby boy had died.

I told myself that I didn’t deserve this baby and that he would die.

I became over protective of him, I wouldn’t let anyone else take care of him because to me I couldn’t trust them to take care of him properly.

On odd occasions when I did have to leave him with my husband I would be stressed, constantly texting and I would rush home to see that he was safe.

I would get anxious when meeting with friends and would decide on if I was going depending on how safe it was, example. Was it near a lake where my baby’s pushchair could roll in, was it raining making the roads bad and higher risk of a car crash…basically extreme thoughts! I struggled on by myself and hid it from my family and friends for almost 1 year.

The turning point for me came after a huge breakdown.

Post Natal Depression - Image from Unsplash

My little boy had been sleeping through the night for some time and yet I found myself waking more and more to check my baby was still breathing….except he was no longer a baby!

He was a toddler!

My husband began questioning why I was waking to check him and I broke down, I knew it was because I was due to return to work!

I was going to have to leave my boy with someone else whilst I was working and I couldn’t bare the thought.

My husband rang the doctors and took me down to the surgery straight away, I was scared, I thought I would be judged, the doctor would think I wasn’t capable of looking after a child and my husband would think I was a failure…. I was so wrong!

The doctor was very supportive, they called Talking Matters and made an appointment for someone to call me.

The next day I received a call from them and talked about all my feelings and thoughts and the lady listened, she didn’t judge, she assured me and more importantly told me that someone could help me!

Help me stop these terrible nightmares/flashbacks/extreme thoughts, it was the first time in almost a year where I felt a little relief and that I wasn’t alone.

Two weeks after my telephone appointment I met with my counsellor, she was amazing! She taught me coping mechanisms, calming strategies and more importantly how to take time for myself and listen to my own needs!

Postnatal Depression Awareness week

For so long I had tunnel vision and it was baby baby baby!! Over time I began to start doing things for myself, I started going out more and enjoyed it, knowing that my little boy was safe and sound at home.

I guess the reason it took me so long to admit I had a problem was because there wasn’t a lot of awareness at the time and I was scared.

I can’t say that it’s an overnight fix and that after one chat with a counsellor everything will be better but I can tell you that you aren’t alone.

And you ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB!

Thanks to Claire North for sharing her story.

If you’ve read this and feel that you’re experiencing what Claire went through – please – speak up. 

You are not alone.

There is help and support out there.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from PANDAS and UnSplash 

PND Awareness Week 2017

PANDAS PND Awareness Week 2017

Postnatal Depression Awareness Week runs from 4th- 10th September this year.

I’m a firm believer people come into your life for a reason.

Rachael Logue, a lovely lady I met at Pregnancy yoga, was pivotal in my postnatal journey.

At the time, she was setting up Tots and Tums. 

These sessions alone got me out of the house with my tiny new bundle.

To have a coffee.

To chat to other new mums.

To escape my own four walls for someone else’s.

Motherhood is a crazy ride that you’re thrust into.

And once upon a time, it was a community – a village even- that helped raise a baby.

Now, despite social media providing a means of online community, we are actually more isolated in ‘real life’ than we once were.

Which can enhance those already overwhelming feelings a new parent (or even a second or third time parent) is experiencing.

Rachael was diagnosed with Postnatal depression last year.

A year later and Rachael’s doing much better and Tots and Tums has gone from strength to strength.

It’s now rebranded as Relax … Holistic Baby Fitness.

Relax Holistic Baby Fitness

There’s so much happening it makes me want to be on maternity leave again!

Joking aside, this is a great support network offering baby classes, fitness clubs and relaxation sessions.

Rachael has pooled her energy into helping other parents by providing that community of support.

That community that helps you raise a baby.

Read Rachael’s story again below …

I didn’t recognise that I was suffering from Postnatal Depression straight away, despite being trained in PND and Mental Health and previously suffering depression.

You see, my own business collapsed three years ago when the funding ceased. I had to let go of twelve members of staff; twelve local people all with families to look after and roofs over their heads – twelve people who had bills to pay.

Just like me.

I suffered from anxiety which turned into depression.

Post Natal Depression - Image from Unsplash

Through suffering depression three years ago, I recognise that I have manias: On a high I can take loads of work on and I feel like I could conquer the world. Last week , I had three really good days where I was involved in Jolly Babies, Lush Tums Postnatal Yoga and then a day trip to Whitby with my family. On a low, I want to shut myself back in my bubble, away from the world.

I’ve learnt that it’s all about understanding me as a person.

Which I thought I did when it came to having my second child, Evie, back in February.

I had Evie at 09.50 in the morning and I was out of hospital and home by 5pm – make-up on the lot – getting on with motherhood. 

My feet hadn’t touched the ground.

I went back to work after six weeks on the Postnatal Depression project that I had created while I was pregnant.

I was busy;  I’d get up and take Cameron to school and then I was off working at the groups that I’d set up.

I was focusing so much on my family and supporting other families in my work that I completely forgot about myself.

My breakdown point was when I’d left the house really early one morning. I was just walking around Blyth in the rain in what I can only describe as a confused mist. I felt lost and numb.

Postnatal depression talking PANDAS







I remember the day. It was a Tuesday.

I couldn’t think straight.

I found myself walking towards and going intoTalking Matters on the main street in Blyth. They couldn’t see me straightaway but they did give me a leaflet with a contact number on. I rang the number and talked, which helped a lot. 

I knew what I needed to do but I just hadn’t been thinking straight. I made a doctors appointment that day. 

I gained support from the doctor who didn’t dismiss it as just the ‘baby blues’.  They prescribed me some medication – sertraline. I’m now into week eight of taking this. 

Sertraline tabletsWhen I was suffering Postnatal Depression, I wasn’t one for not getting up and ready in a morning; I had to do this to take my oldest to school. It was the little things – like the thought of folding clothes. Simple chores became too much to deal with. I also went into a zone where I didn’t want to see or contact anybody. I wanted to stay at home, just me and Evie.

I retreated into my own little bubble.

You hear of mother’s not bonding with their babies, but my motherly instinct and love for Evie was over-the-top love. I’d do things like take Evie off my partner when he held her.

I’ve found that you do forget about yourself and therefore you do need to take time out. I did postnatal Yoga in Ridley Park on Friday and, although I had both kids with me, it was still time doing something for myself. Cameron even enjoyed it, it was accessible to things he never thought he would be interested in. It showed him that it’s not all about xbox and school, that it’s natural to go into the park and get involved in other activities with other people.

Postnatal Yoga in Ridley Park Blyth

I’m slowly getting back on track now and I’m taking things one step at a time. I’m in a good place now and getting out and just talking with other parent’s has made a huge impact already. I’ve found that it’s good to talk and not suffer in silence.

PANDAS PND Awareness Week 2017

PND Awareness Week is all about that – raising awareness of those feelings of postnatal depression.

If you’ve read this today and it resonates with how you’re feeling- please – speak up.

There is support out there.

To find out more on where to get help or how to get involved check out the PANDAS website.

You are not alone in this.

This is the motherhood.

We are the sisterhood.

Love Missuswolf xxx