K. A. Richardson’s Time To Play: Blog Tour

Friday 30th September 2016

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The book I’m currently reading is Time To Play by North East Crime Writer K.A Richardson.

 

I always like

to have a book

to read.

Missuswolf Time To Play K.A Richardson

For those of you who’ve followed this blog for a long time, you’ll recall the days when this was solely about books and writing.

It’s somewhat expanded in the last couple of months but my heart will always be with literature.

Crime and psychological thriller’s tend to be my forte.

 

K. A. Richardson

I used to work with Kerry a few years back and I’ve loved following her writing journey. Back then, she was busy writing her first book, With Deadly Intent (cheeky post plug – read more on my interview with her here).

She was also in the process of setting up her blog too Kerryannrichardson.com

2016 has been a busy yet exciting year for Kerry. Her debut novel, With Deadly Intent, was released in April, followed by I’ve Been Watching You in June and now Time To Play was released on the 22nd of this month.

Back in July, Kerry also won author of the month over at the UK Crime Book Club.

At the time of going to press, I’ve Been Watching You was number 2 in the free Kindle Crime Chart and no 6 in the overall free Kindle Chart.

Pretty impressive achievements while working in a (very important) full-time job.

Biography

Missuswolf K A Richardson Author PictureMy name is KA Richardson, and I am a crime writer based in the North East of England. I write around my other work commitments so am constantly on the go. I love reading many genres, love speaking to people and spend a lot of time people watching in coffee shops, though if I’m honest this is more for the purposes of character building and plotting. I enjoy watching ‘cop’ shows from both the UK and the USA, and am a fan of sci-fi. I began thinking about writing as a career in 2010 and completed my Ma Creative Writing in 2011. I love to be inspired, and enjoy spending time with friends and family, as well as other like-minded folk. My website has some more info on me, if you’re interested pop on over to www.kerryannrichardson.com, or I can be found on Facebook as KA Richardson.

Time To Play …

DI Alistair McKay is still reeling from the ‘one that got away’ but when he is called to deal with a potential murder at the water side, he must put his personal worries aside.

As police diver, Marlo Buchanan, starts pulling bodies out of the water, it becomes clear that something isn’t right.

Someone is torturing young girls and dumping them in the local reservoir.

Then the body of a man is discovered and Mackay and Buchanan are pulled into the seedy underworld of human trafficking.

As the team race against the clock tensions start to run high.

Can they overcome their personal demons to work together?

And will they find the killer before he strikes again?

The team are back in the third novel from the gripping North East Police series.

 

Missuswolf Time To Play K.A Richardson

You don’t have to have read

the previous books

to read Time To Play

Although the book is part of the ‘North East Police’ series, the beauty of Kerry’s work is that the books are stand alones in their own right.

They focus on a different character in each novel and, although they make reference to previous character’s who are bobbing along in the background, this doesn’t distract from the main storyline.

My favourite style in this book is that the sections are snappy; almost like an intertwined diary. In any chapter, the date and destination heading change allows us to follow different character’s; from the police dive team, detective’s and scene’s of crime officer’s to the horror of the human trafficking world.

Interlaced within all that are the sub stories of the police officer’s lives.

The pace is good, it keeps it interesting the technique that Kerry has used.

The topic is very raw and the level of research that Kerry has done on both the subject and the roles of the police teams involved is a real credit.

Richardson’s got a good knack of getting inside the mind of a killer and their thought process to justify their actions.

Chilling,

but thrilling.

I’m not going to give too much away on this one for fear of dropping any spoilers.

The nights are drawing in and what better way to get all snug and cosy than to get your nose in a new book.

Time To Read

Time To Play

Missuswolf Time To Play K A Richardson

Have you read any of Kerry’s books?

Love Missuswolf xxx

Maternity Leave Essential: September’s Birchbox

Wednesday 28th September 2016

Missuswolf Maternity Leave Essentials Birchbox

 

Every month I receive a lovely little present in the post from myself to myself – a BirchBox.

I love getting post

– who doesn’t?

This month’s Birchbox theme is Heroes – celebrating heroic women who inspire us.

My heroic woman and ultimate girl crush is Beyoncé.

She oozes woman power .

Not only do I love her music (espesh after a fizz or four where I’m on that dance floor bootyshaking. Argh criiiiinge) I admire her work ethic too. She works super hard and is very humble. A good example to her little lady.

And that’s what I want to be. (You can read more about my obsession for the word Empowerment in my Guest Blog over on the Pocketnannies.)

For now, back to the beauts.

I have to say, this month’s BirchBox is rather late. There was some cufuffle with the payment at the beginning of the month (probs my fault for not having any pennies in the bank ooops). And although it was resolved swiftly with the  lovely people at Birchbox, my box went AWOL.

Another email to Birchbox. Who I can’t fault their customer service. They are quick to respond and advised another box would be on its merry way.

So I just picked mine up from the sorting office yesterday in Blyth. I do love a delivery but it helps if you’re bastard in to get in.

Which I never seem to be. I’m either running around like a loon at a buggy bootcamp or out singing and sensorying at a baba group.

And because of all this mix-up, I didn’t get my chosen ModelCo Highlighting Trio. Boo. Sob.

I got the ModelCo Creme Rouge instead. Never mind. #FirstWorldProblems

Missuswolf Maternity Leave Essentials Birchbox

Why it’s a Mat Leave Essential

Aside from it being affordable (despite my earlier mishap at the beginning of the month) the products are the right size to take in your changing bags.

Yes fellow Mammy Tribe – you are allowed to put products in that bag for you.

Mine is normally these little samples, an aloe lip balm (aaaalways got dry lips), a bottle of water and (was) an emergency KitKat. From the days where I felt faint from lack of sleep, food, water  –  just the general things you need to function as a human being and, you know, keep you alive.

The KitKat was replaced with an apple once the fainty stage passed (get me being all good and healthy).

Now the apple’s been tossed aside for Rice Cakes, Rusks and Wafers.That aren’t for me.

But I still snack on them. I mean, what better way will Ella learn than to watch me put her food in my gob?

Missuswolf Maternity Leave Essential Birchbox

September’s Samples

 

ModelCo – Creme Rouge –  despite being disappointed I didn’t get the highlighting trio, this is prob better for a crazy lady like me on the go. It’s a 2-in-1 formula to ‘add a flush of colour to lips and cheeks’. I can dab it on my lips and cheeks in a swift swoop and woohoo, I’m winning at life.

Amika – Bombshell Blowout Spray – This is a lightweight spritz that is volumising, smoothing and texturising. This won’t be going in the changing bag as you spray it on damp hair. It’ll go on my dressing table for when I remember (and get the chance) to wash my hair – give it a little bit of TLC. Which reminds me I MUST buy some more Dry Shampoo. I’ve ran out of Batiste Tropical and the last Birchbox sample of Philip Kingsley. I’m currently using Schwarzkopf Got2be volumising powder, which is god knows how many years old. It’s my emergency supply and it’s a sorry attempt at pretending I have clean hair.

This Works – In Transit Camera Close-up – A mask, moisturisier and primer. In the same bottle. Wow. Def a pick-me-up in a bottle if there ever was one. You see I’m torn – this one will prob stay on my dresser to put on before my make-up. However, it may be a nice pick-me-up to have in your bag. If you have time to rub lotion on your skin that is. Which I don’t and even if I did I’d forget. Plus the season’s changed and so has my skin. It really, really needs make-up now.

NUXE – Prodigieux Shower Oil –  This smells delightful and is described as a skin-softening oil. Hmmm – this one will stay on my shower rack. I’m not likely to take a shower elsewhere at the mo. Or I can save it for going away. That’s if I went away anywhere (hint hint Mr W).

Puriskin – Nurse Aid Cream for Hands & Nail – This one is def for the changing bag! All that wiping of both ends of a small human takes its toll on your once beloved hands. This is described as ‘show your hands some love with a rich barrier cream when times are tough’ and ‘sinks in quickly‘. Sums up Mat Leave – we’re all for efficiency and a snatch of a pamper where we can. ‘Nuff said.

Plus the box is cute (love the colours and design) and it can be used as a make-up drawer on top of my dresser.

I’ll leave you with one thought …

Who is your Heroic Woman?

Love Missuswolf xxx

I’m a full on BirchBox subscriber – this post is all my own wafflings and ramblings.

Photo credit – Unsplash and Pixaby

Tots & Tums Fitness & Play

Friday 23rd September 2016

Tots & Tums

I feel so lucky that my pregnancy journey has taken me to places where I have met some truly wonderful people.

Tots & Tums Missuswolf

I met Rachael Logue back in January at a Lush Tums Pregnancy Yoga class in Blyth. She was about five weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy, therefore I feel like she’s the ‘mam’ of the yoga mammy tribe.

The first one in our class to disembark the pregnancy ride – and board the mother ship.

I discovered that Rachael ran Tots & Tums classes in Blyth. I remember being excited that there was something I could get involved in when Baba W arrived.

I’d put a plan in place (obvs – I’m such a dork). As soon as the hubster went back to work (and I had established some form of routine) I was forcing myself to get out there.

Out of the house.

Over the threshold of the front door – buggy and entire house in tow.

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Oh my god how tiny!

Out there into the big wide world. A world on the outside that had carried on as normal – while my whole world on the inside had changed.

I remember that Tuesday morning; a grey one back in April (19th to be precise). Hubby had been back to work a couple of weeks and the visitors had started dying down. After being housebound the majority of the time following my c-section (aside from the odd small walk) I knew I needed to get back out there. For my sanity and for Ella’s.

I power walked (as I was late – which I discovered becomes the norm once you have a small human) down to St Cuthbert’s Hall in Blyth.  I had my headphones rammed in my ears, drowning out baby whinges and basically the rest of the world in general.

I was in a bubble.

On a mission.

To make sure we definitely made it to this group. No matter how unbelievably daunting  the whole experience felt.

Tots n Tums - Blyth Star Enterprises

And do you know what?

It’s the best thing I ever did.

Just sitting chatting to other mammies who had the exact same experience that morning; that they or their partner had told them to do it – to get out of the house and go to a group.

Tots & Tums Missuswolf

It was good to talk to adults; even if it was about who’d had the least sleep, what feeding methods we were using and whose baby weighed what.

It was company – general chit-chat. And I must admit the pre-baby me would’ve hated doing this – going to a group and just talking about baby crap (literally).

 

But it was so good for me. I walked back feeling an utter sense of achievement. I’d managed to get myself and a tiny human out of the house! For a few hours aswell and, more importantly, we’d both survived.

I felt empowered.

I can do this.

I’m a warrior.

Missuswolf Tots & Tums

Over the past few months I’ve seen Tots & Tums grow and flourish into a wonderful support network for parents.

Exciting times ahead! With movement to the Little Stars at the Albion Centre in Blyth as of the 4th October, implementation of a Sensory Chill Room, Tots Playgroup, Mental Health Support Group and a Halloween Baby Rave to name but a few.

Check out Tots ‘n’ Tums Facebook Page aswell as Twitter to see what you can take part in.

Super proud of Rachael and all that she has achieved.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Twenty Facts About Me

Wednesday 21st September 2016

I was nominated by the lovely Naomi of Not a Perfect Parent Blog to write twenty facts about me.

Well, here goes …

1). My first (and probably most fun) job was working as a chambermaid at the Holiday Inn when I was sixteen. I worked weekends while at school and during the week in the school holidays. Many a time I turned up hung over (uh-hum again sorry mam). Not an ideal state for clearing the remnants of a stag do in a hotel room. Bah. I worked there with a couple of friends which certainly made it entertaining.

2). I’m terrified of wasps. ’nuff said.

Missuswolf Wasps

3). I have two tattoos – a faded Tinkerbell on my right (I couldn’t even remember which side so I’ve just had to look) shoulder, which I had done when I was nineteen. Obvs I regret it now and I’m looking to get it inked over (any recommendations of what to get/where to go are welcome). I also have the word’s ‘A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes’ on the left-hand side of my ribs.

4). I got to the final of the Newround’s Press Packers Journalism competitions – twice. (Cheeky blog post plug – read all about it and look at embarrassing photos here). I sadly didn’t win but got a trip to London and the Blue Peter Gardens (which were soooo much smaller in real life) out of it. Score!

5). I was the Princess of the Keel Row Shopping Centre in Blyth when I was about ten years old. Crrrriiiiinge!! I had to open shops and walk down the shopping mall with Santa Claus. I was a moody ten-year old and ungrateful for the opportunity.  I had a face like a smacked arse when I had the privilege of walking next to Santa. Ooooof!

6). I was part of a girl group at the age of eight called ‘The Disco Dancers’. We used to dance to 2 Unlimited’s ‘Get Ready For This’ on our front driveways. We used to wear (inappropriately) our crop tops and cycling shorts. We even sold tickets to people in the nearby streets to come and see us. Tickets which I typed up on my Typewriter (I was super excited by this). Strangely enough people actually bought them. But once the ‘rents found out we had to return all the money and cancel the show. hmmmph!

7). Although I’m on Maternity Leave and my love for my child is unquestionable – it’s the hardest and most mind-fucking job I’ve ever had to do. I’m an impatient workaholic and this mixed with child-rearing does not bode well. I clash with babies (you’d never guess it from previous blog posts?)

8). I love to swim. My dad taught me and my sister’s from a young age and we all love the water. I remember pulling that trump card out when I went swimming with my hubby for the first time. It was many years ago. He didn’t know and thought I would be shit like I am at most sports. But I beat him. Winning!

9). I have odd-shaped ears. One is shaped like an elf ear – my pixie ear. I could have easily been cast in Lord of The Rings and there wouldn’t have been any need for prosthetics.

Missuswolf Cadbury's Easter Eggs10). When I was pregnant, my biggest and most unforgiving craving was Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. My third trimester clashed with the Easter build-up. You know – that build up where the supermarkets have a seemingly endless supply of those little eggs (pictured). The ones that are about a quid, with a Freddo or a creme egg to accompany them. Those one’s that are cleverly displayed at the front of the shop for greedy cows like me. I used to nip in for milk or a loaf and come away with two easter eggs and a cake. All for me. Fatty Boom Boom!

11). I’ve been to Vegas three times and it’s def an Adult’s Playground. I want to go next year for our ten-year anniversary. Hubby doesn’t  and wants a family holiday. Suppose I should stop being selfish and succumb to the family holiday.

12). I’ve been to Mexico where I was a Bridesmaid for my best friends wedding. It was an unbelievable holiday and again somewhere I’d love to go back to. Eventually (prob when I’m fifty now – groan).

Missuswolf Mexico

Aaaah Mexico

13). I’ve been with my hubby sixteen years and we’ll have been married ten next year.

14). We were one of the latter couples in our friendship group to have kids. We kept putting it off in favour of holidays and getting everything out of our system (pissed). I’m so pleased we did. It’s bloody hard work parenting and anyone who has a baby to save a relationship is mad. It’s the one thing that tests your relationship – even a one that’s sixteen years old.

15). I love Jazz music. Strangely I went to a psychic about six years ago who not only told me to write but that there was a black jazz musician spirit following me around. Spooky.

Missuswolf Radler's

16). I have seasonal alcoholic drinks. I drink white wine and Radler’s (Foster’s and cloudy lemonade) in the summer and red wine and Bailey’s in the winter. Obvs not mixed together though. Yak.

Missuwolf red wine R

17). I love cigars. I’m like a bloke from the fifties – cigars and bourbon. I went to Cuba three years ago where this was very acceptable. I love a good ‘ladygar’ and often buy one when I’m going to a wedding. Yup – I’m that classy. I smoke one at the night-time do. Last time I did it was just before I fell pregnant. I stood outside with some of the girls at a wedding; rather like a scene from high school – puff puff give.

Missuswolf Cuba Cigar

Gotta love a ladygar (sorry mam). Oh to be that thin and carefree again!

18). I love Girls Aloud. They were the soundtrack to my twenties. My friends and I would pester the DJ (sorry Liam) in the Travs at Crammie (RIP Travs) to play them. So we could dance and twirl around like twats  amongst the punches and chair throwing. Good times.

19). I also love Beyonce. Pure girl-crush for this lady. She’s so empowering – works hard and a very good example to her little woman.

20). I’m obsessed with the word Empowered. Since bearing a child I’ve gone all #whoruntheworld and in constant #warrior mode. I don’t know whether this work ethic is to set a good example for Ella or a subconscious effort to escape the daily parenting job …

So now you’ve realised I’m a crazy cigar-smoking-easter-egg-eating elf, I now nominate:

The Sparkle Spy

Elementary V Watson

Hartlepool Family

Book And Brew

The Sweet Guide

 

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images – a mixture of my own and from Pexel

 

Fresh Air, Fitness and Friendly Faces: Baby Bootcamp

Monday 19th September 2016

It’s Monday morning. That can only mean one thing in this crazy Mat Leave schedule of mine: Baby Bootcamp.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

Who would’ve thought it – the hardback A5 black diary that I used for work is now used for my Mat Leave? Alongside the family wall calendar in the kitchen?

Well, me actually.

I was freakishly organised in my last job.  I planned a lot. So obvs it was going to spill into organising mine and Ella’s getting-out-of-the-house-time. And I’m still claiming baby brain aswell as blonde moments so I need two diaries. I’m aware I’m weird.

Plus if I don’t keep busy I go mad. Last Friday I stayed at home in the morning as I had an unsettled baby (sorry Kim I was meant to come to running club. I really am coming back).

Cough – blog post plug – This Girl Needs To Run.

Although it’s nice to have some time at home, we usually drive each other mad (which we did) and then end up going out (which I had to do). All the way to the Fish and Chip shop in the afternoon. Where I met my Grandparents. Which was the perfect excuse. Although I really wished I had made running club.

Oh well, I’ll just have to burn the calories off at …

Laura’s Baby Bootcamp

So – Monday morning’s is Baby Bootcamp at Northburn Park in Cramlington.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

It’s ran by the lovely Laura Watson-Joisce, who I often joke has been my personal trainer while I’m on Mat Leave.

Not only does she do the Bootcamp’s but she teaches Body Pump and Body Combat at Xercise for Less in Benton. I haven’t been for a couple of months now though oooops. Must get ahead start to make room for impending Festive period-Baileys-and-Mince-Pie- consumption.

Now Baby Bootcamp’s are a perfect way to get back into shape and socialise with fellow members of the no-sleep poo-talk gang.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

The sessions are forty-five minutes long and they tend to start with a jog around the park to warm up.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

 

Laura then shows about three different exercises at a time. For example lunges, squatting with your buggy and jump squats (I think I’ve got the terminology right??)

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

 

We’ll probably do about 20 reps of each exercise three to five times. Then she’ll move onto another set of exercises, such as planks, running man (is that the right word?) and sit-ups.

Missuwolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

And every session is different.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

We make use of the benches and the railings to work on our mammy arm muscles (lord knows we need these for lugging the babas around!)

Missuswolf Baby Bootcamp

 

At the end of the summer term we did circuits. It was fun – hard work – but we had a laugh. It definitely keeps you motivated and you can push yourself as the weeks go on.

The class is tailored to all levels and there are options to follow if you’ve had a section (which was me).

If you’ve got a toddler you can bring them along too.

toddler-baby-bootcamp

 

Take a peek at the Baby Bootcamp Facebook page here.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

I’ll be devastated when I have to go back to work in January (obvs I’ll miss baba) but I’ll miss going to Baby Bootcamp.

What better way to start your week with some fresh air, friendly faces and some fitness?

Love Missuswolf xxx

My Parent Hacks: No.1 Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep and Night Feeds

Thursday 15th September 2016

First Hack of Parenthood – if you’re bottle feeding, get yourself a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine.

Missuswolf Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep

If you’re anything like me and want to make life as easy as possible – especially in regards to anything small human related – this is it.

It’s like a coffee machine. For babies.

And so simple to use.

Set the dial to desired amount of ounces and press once.

A shot of hot water followed by a beep indicates it’s time to throw in your ounces of formula powder.

Shake – then press again.

A steady flow of cooler water is then followed by a beep to indicate the bottle is ready.

Hey-ho presto – just like that.

So, let’s talk about Night Feeds …

My Parent Hack for night feeds? Take the machine to bed with you and keep it on your bedside table.

I used to take however many sterilised bottles I needed for the night with me to bed too.

I’d then measure out the formula I needed for each bottle into one of those plastic baby paraphernalia containers (don’t know correct name). This too would come upstairs.

So my bedside table looked like a Starbucks for babies but guess who didn’t have to get out of bed? (I need to add here that we live in a townhouse – the bedroom is on the top floor and the kitchen is on the bottom. That’s an awful lot of stairs to navigate when tired. I did this for our safety really :-p )

My mission in those awful early days was to get as much sleep as possible.

And if that involved Parent Hacking my way there then so be it.

As soon as Ella stirred, I’d switch the torch on my phone on (not the bedside light and definitely not the big light!) This was a tip from my sis which I took as gospel as she has good sleepers.

I’d then use the machine, make the bottle, lift teeny-weeny Ella out of the Bednest next to me (more about this in future blog posts) and feed her.

I wouldn’t make any eye contact or talk to her.

I know this sounds harsh but you’ve got to be cruel to be kind. I was helping her differentiate between night and day.

Once I’d fed and winded her, back in the Bednest she went, off went the torch and back to the land of nod I went – instantly. Hurrah!

You don’t have to use Tommee Tippee bottles either – we used MAM bottles (more about them coming soon too).

Keep an eye out for the likes of Asda Baby Events where this is reduced down to £60.

It’s all about trial and error in those early days.

You do what you need to do to survive.

Love Missuswolf xxx


 

 

Fizz Friday – Mammies Night Out & other #LittleLoves

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Missuswolf Coffwee Work Sleep Repeat Little Loves

 

Today I’m linking up with Coffee Work Sleep Repeat’s #LittleLoves …

Read

I See You Clare MackintoshI finished reading ‘I See You’ by Clare Mackintosh last week. I’ve previously read ‘I Let You Go’ (cheeky blog post plug – catch an earlier interview with the author here) which I really enjoyed so I was looking forward to reading her second novel.

Both are psychological thriller’s, which I went through a phase of being obsessed with last year.

‘I See You’ freaked me out a bit as it’s based on someone watching people’s commutes to work. Plus now I have a mammy head on my shoulders I seem to have lost an outer layer of thick skin when it comes to reading gritty books.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it – I did. I still think ‘I Let You Go’ was much better but I like Mackintosh’s writing style and the concept of the book was quite clever.

The author used to work in the police force and has used her experience to write from the investigation side. There’s also a sub-story intertwined from the police officer’s side of things that ticks along nicely in the background..

But I loved the surprise in the middle of ‘I Let You Go’ which seemed to divide reader’s opinion. Some felt it was misleading – I thought it was good planning and inventive on the author’s part.

Watched

I love a good who-dunnit (remember Broadchurch, ahhh flippin loved that programme – and David Tennant ooooh).

Well, on Sunday night the hubster introduced me to Sky Atlantic’s current who-dunnit.

Missuswolf Little Love Unsplash

 A Night Of.

Since finishing Stranger Things on Netflix about a month ago, I’ve been in search of a new binge-fest box-set. Aside from downloading all of Sex And The City to sneak in here and there (it makes me want to drink fizz and whisky. Hmmmm)  and The Get Down (which is more of a music development story) I’ve been craving a gripping mystery.

A what happened?

Did he do it?

What’s going to happen to him now?

Cleverly filmed, love the camera angles – it’s as if you’re amongst the drama. The girl in the back of the cab talking to the driver, the conversation is filmed through the rear-view mirror. I love little things like this. Builds up a bit of tension.

I also love the little snatches of camera angles of what the character’s are up to – actions, no words. A sergeant clearing up his desk items and signing out as another one signs in; no words exchanged just simple actions.

Simple actions that jivvy the story along, a subtle indication signalling the end of their shift.

And the beginning of a new day. A new day of what’s going to happen??

I think the writer’s and screenplay have done a fantastic job in creating interesting character’s and intricately portraying them on screen. Wow, I hope I sound like I know what I’m talking about haha!

From the lawyer who has eczema on his feet and wears sandals to air them, to the  main character who suffers from asthma. Little interesting traits that are played upon and trickled into the storyline.

Also the opening credits are mint – they remind me of the beginning of the likes of True Detective and Hannibal.

Wore

Missuswolf What I wore - Next Dress Little Loves

I wore this blue and white dress to an evening do at a wedding last weekend. Not to everyone’s taste but I love a bit of pattern – espesh a nod to the sixties.

It’s actually from Next and a purchase I made last summer. I took it on my hols to Turkey.

It didn’t get much wear after then as I was preggers.

Poor dress,  must’ve been feeling a bit lonely and neglected. So I took her out on Saturday night.

My cream sandals are from H&M and I kid you not, they are about seven years old (told you I’m in desperate need of a fashion haul). Just need to ration the cake eating a little more. And do a few buggy bootcamps.  You can then catch my Fashion Haul on Elle Blonde in October.

Made

Ouch this is embarrassing. I haven’t made anything. Does making the tea count??

Heard

Headphones Little Loves

I am obsessed with Ellie Goulding’s Still Falling For You.

I love this lasses voice and absolutely adored Love Me Like You Do  from that naughty Fifty Shades film.

Steven Halpern’s Comfort Zone has also been on my playlist this past week. We listen to it in Postnatal Yoga (more of this in future blog posts) and it’s so relaxing. I’m actually listening to it right now – it’s become my writing music.

And Lastly

Last week was a super busy week!

The start of a new school term has brought with it all the baby groups – hurrah! From Baby Bootcamp to Baby Massage, Tots ‘n’ Tums and Jolly Babies (keep toot for more about these in future blog posts).

Yep – I know.  I’ve turned into a baby-group whore. I never thought I would be one for going to groups but ha there you go. It keeps me sane.

I’m embracing it (see my post on how it also helps PND here).

Throw in a McMillan Cancer coffee morning too and a mammies night out on Friday anyone would think I was on my ‘Summer Holidays’ 😉 (inside joke – or maybes not. I think I’ve explained it in a previous post??)

Regardless, doing all this (bar mammies night out) with a little human in tow is bloody hard work.

Especially when she shits herself (covering me) in the middle of the raffle being drawn at the coffee morning.

Good job I had a black top on.

I nearly wore white.

What an effing disaster that would’ve been??

On the plus side I won this lovely picture frame from Live Laugh Love and I bought this adorable  Home Sweet Home sign from the ShabbyChicMaisonbelle Stall.

Missuswolf Home Sweet Home

 

Right – Mammies Night Out. I went out to Maharaj’s Lounge, an Indian Restaurant in Blyth, with the girls I met when we all did Lush Tums Pregnancy Yoga (more about this too in future blog posts).

Maharaj's Lounge - Blyth Mammies Night Out

Mammies Night Oooot. Yes, very girls gone wild I know.

 

The last time I went to Maharaj’s I was actually pregnant with Ella but didn’t know it. Ooooops. I drank a loooottt of wine and shots that night. Bah – she’s turned out fine hasn’t she ??!

We had loads of fun with the staff – they’re good crack. They also told us about their Tapas Tuesday, which may be another possible Mammies night out. In the not too distant future either.

Missuswolf Kir Royale Wallaw

Perfect way to end a chaotic week –  with a delightful Kir Royale in The Wallaw

Cheers.

What have you been up to?

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images – credit to Unsplash

 

 

Naked Orgasm at House of Fraser: Beauty Confidential

Last Thursday I attended a Beauty Confidential night at the House of Fraser at the Metro Centre.

image

It was the first time I’d ever been to this type of event and I was über nervous.

Leaving the hubster to baba bath ‘n’ bed duties, I skipped out the door.

It felt so good to get out. Just me, no baba-in-a-car-seat-contraption that now breaks my back and without half the house in tow.

Me and my Cambridge Satchel.

I deliberately drove slow (the event was on 6-9 so plenty of time). Who knew being in a car by one self was so utterly delightful?

It felt so good to get out.

Selfish Mother alert …

And even better to go and look at beauty products – hurrah! Something for me. (Please note me time is very important for members of the parenthood sorority. See the importance of this in my post supporting PND week).

To be honest I’m an awkward person in Beauty Hall’s. I’m always overwhelmed by all the products on offer. I’m rubbish at making on the spot decisions.

I’m a planner by nature and I’ve realised that this has seeped into my shopping game. I’m more of an online shopper where I can sit in my pj’s, drink wine and peruse.

But alas, I can shop online at House of Fraser if I wanted to. I can also collect points there with the Recognition Card I signed up for. (That’s the second card  I’ve signed up for in two weeks. The last one was an organ donor at the Tall Ships. Who knew I’d go visit such an event and end up giving my organs away?)

Anywho back to Thursday and it was good to go out and peruse over all the beauty delights. I teamed up with The Sparkle Spy herself  who was my partner in crime for the evening. Having not met each other in real life before, it was Little Lost Blonde Girl meets Girl at Tom Ford Counter in Red. Had we been a couple in a movie it would have been our meet-cute.

Both being bloggers and Beauty Confidential virgins, we chatted about our common ground before heading straight over to the Urban Decay counter. The Sparkle Spy is a connoisseur in the Naked eye palettes and, having friends who champion these, I found the majority of Naked 2 tested all over the backs of my hands.

I’ve also been after Urban Decay’s Comfort Matte Vice Lipstick in 1993 since – well –  what feels like 1993. It was sold out! I came across it on an Instagram account I randomly ended up following about a year ago. It’s a bloke who is a hairdresser but also does awesome make-up. He regularly dresses up his twelve year-old sister. It’s unreal what he does as she looks about twenty-one when he’s done. She ‘rocks’ (credit to the The Sparkle Spy for that word) the 1993 lipstick . And-I-want-it.

Bliddy sold out online everywhere and on the Urban Decay website too.

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Never mind, I got myself the Naked 2 palette. I’ve been playing around with it all week. My main combo at the mo is Bootycall, Tease and Snakebite (shamelessly sums up my teen years. FYI mam and other family members I’m JOKING).

I wear a lot of brown and neutral eyeshadow and this has been a dream to me. The darker two on the far-right (Busted and Blackout) I used on my lower lash-line when I went out at the weekend (to give me what my hubby calls ‘bitch eyes’. I like to think smoulderingly sexy. Don’t think smoulderingly is a word but for the purpose of this blog post let’s run with it). They did a lovely job of replacing an eye pencil and lasted longer.

The next counter we invaded was the NARS one. I follow them on Insta and I tested a few of their lippies. The Sparkle Spy recommended their blush called ‘Orgasm’. I tell you what I did blush when I asked for one of those off the shop assistant! She was fab and hooted away with us both about the names of all their products. I’ve been after a new day blush and this one is a dream. It adapts to your skin tone and gives a nice subtle glow. It’s now replaced my MAC Melba.

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We were slightly confused by the leaflet that we were given. It listed certain products at their RRP and then showed a reduced price. We thought that if we bought items at the shown reduced price on the list that added up to £50, you’d get a tenner off. So I was about to throw some Benefit mascara in the mix to make it up to the £50 when the lovely assistant (who hooted about the naughty-named-NARs products) explained that wasn’t the case. The leaflet was actually showing what you would pay on the particular product if you spent over £50 and got the £10 off.

So RRP minus 10.

Never mind.

Confusion over.

We got the products we wanted (bar 1993 – boo). Waah. Hiss. Sob.

Recognition points collected, we said our goodbyes and off we both went into the sunset.

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Love Missuswolf xxx

 

This entry was posted in Beauty.

The Woes of Weaning

Quite Frankly She Said Sunday Best

 

Missuswolf woes of weaning

Image credit: Pexels

Yesterday I hit a brick wall in the ever-growing milestones of mammy-hood; weaning.

That magic six month mark (already?) approaches this weekend and all I’ve dabbled in is baby porridge and baby rice.

To be honest, I’ve been pushing it to the back of my mind. I’m so settled with our bottle and sleep routine now that it seems cruel to change things.

Six months of winging it and I finally feel like I’ve found my feet when bam! Let’s change things.

I suppose I need to get used to it.

This is just another obstacle thrown into the crystal maze of  parenthood.

And I had a Major Monday Meltdown.

Let’s start with the fact that the Health Visitor comes to visit you around the twelve week mark, armed with an enticing purple folder. Said folder contains books to read (blog post plug opportunity – Little Gems: What Ella is Reading) info and handy teeth brushing equipment (why didn’t I just type toothbrush and toothpaste?) as well as leaflets on Baby-led weaning and introducing solid foods.

Followed by the obligatory weighing of the baby. (Bad mam here left it three months until I weighed her again. Without someone coming to my house to do it, I’m rubbish at trying to get to the health centre. Ooops. Well Ella you outgrow your clothes so I presume you are growing).

Don’t get me wrong, the talk from the Health Visitor about weaning was really good and positive. I was filled with confidence; I can do this, I can cut veg up and crack this baby-led weaning lark.

Well, it went in one ear and out the other. I just remember the guidance, no earlier than twenty weeks. But then I heard somewhere you could do it from seventeen. Argh mind-fuck!

I was putting it off.  Yes she was paying attention to us when we were eating (scowling across the room as she’d been strapped in her swingy chair so we could scoff pizza). Yes she was drooling and shoving her hands in her mouth. But was it teething or was she ready to be weaned??

After speaking to a few people, baby rice was dropped in the equation.

Just shy of five months old I started giving her some baby rice after her lunchtime bottle (when I remembered!)

I use Cow and Gate Infant milk so it seemed only natural to use their baby rice. I must have signed up for something somewhere in my mammy haze as I’ve received their 5 step weaning plan book in the post too.

This ticks over nicely, the odd bowl of baby rice here and there, getting Ella used to different ‘textures’.

Then I throw in the mix a bit of Banana Baby Porridge at about the five and a half month mark. Again, when I remembered. I was still stuck in my old bottle routine so I kept forgetting to add this at breakfast.

Aside from January, September always feels like a month for new beginnings. It’s that old back-to-school feeling from (many many) years ago now. With my Facebook feed filled with first-day-of-school pics and teacher friends going back to work, it kick-started my ‘right, let’s learn how to feed this child – part two’.

It’s meant changing my routine. Sitting Ella in a high chair at breakfast for a start as a reminder to myself to give her porridge. This is as opposed to lounging in bed or on the settee bottle feeding while I flick through Facey and Insta.

Growing Family Bounty PackI’d had a trial run over the weekend of feeding her her first pouch meal. I’d received one of those free Bounty Packs you get over the course of your pregnancy and maternity leave (preggers ladies if you haven’t already, sign up to Bounty to get these. You get handy little samples in like nappies, creams and eventually weaning stuff. I got more toothpaste too, all else fails at least she’ll have sparkling bright teeth. When they eventually come in).

Inside this pack was a couple of samples of the HIPP pouches. Lunch for Ella this weekend was the pureed carrots, cauliflower and peas. The packs can be kept in the fridge for twenty-four hours after they’ve been opened. Brill. Lunch sorted for the weekend.

And, although dubious of the flavour at first, she seemed to take to this. Hurrah!Inside of Growing Family Bounty Pack

Confidence boosted, Monday was the day.

I’d ordered by usual Asda online shop for Sunday night (still not ventured into doing a big food shop with a baby in tow. Online shopping is my way forward. Shop in pj’s with wine and it’s delivered to your door. You don’t have to get ready, juggle a baby or speak to people – apart from the delivery driver. Bonus). In this shop I’d included frozen broccoli, cauliflower and peas – ready to puree and cut up to do a mix of puree and soft finger foods.

Monday lunchtime came.

I’d done my morning buggy bootcamp – yey me. I didn’t have time to get changed but find pottering around in my gym wear makes me feel more productive.

Feeling all purposeful, I got the magic bullet my sister lent to me and all the various contraptions that go with it. I opened the weaning book to ‘Step One: Recipes’. I looked at the pathetic bit of broccoli that I’d taken out of the freezer that morning to defrost …

Wait – what??

Broccoli doesn’t need defrosting!

I can steam it from frozen!

Argh I’m going back to (for those who know me) my microwaving-carrots and turnip-boiling days! I thought I was getting better with age. Clearly not.

So rather than steam one piece of broccoli, I decide to get some more out of the freezer as well as the cauliflower florets. I’ll be healthy and eat some too and hopefully Ella will see how much mammy loves it(!) and she will love it to.

Veg steamed, broccoli placed in blender and mixed with baby milk.

Which has spilled all over the bench and the kitchen floor.

Messy Kitchen from weaning

Yep that’s the morning breakfast crap next to the magic bullet paraphernalia. And the how to use a magic bullet and wean books. Help me.

By this point the kitchen is upside down and Ella is wailing as she’s starving.

I go to feed her only for her to continue wailing. She’s got her bottle what’s her beef?

Oh – bad mammy has done a rush job of cleaning the teat and there’s a tiny bit of blockage.

Teat replaced with properly cleaned one a-la-blue-peter-here’s-one-I-made-earlier.

Round two.

Bottle drank successfully. Thank-the-lord.

Random tiny bits of broccoli scattered on her highchair tray ready for her to lead her lovely self into the world of weaning.

 

 

 

But first let’s try this pureed-mush-attempt.

 

 

Ella begrudgingly took a mouthful of my home-made goop.

Ella weaning

Mammy’s sorry for sharing this Ella but a picture paints a thousand words.

Maybe it wasn’t pureed enough??

Possibly, as after the next mouthful she choked (I panicked – major fear of choking) then promptly threw up the bastard broccoli puree along with nearly all her milk.

As sick seeped down her highchair, onto my leggings and all over the floor I put my head down and full on sobbed into her tray.

God who am I? I’ve worked in stressful and pressurised environments for years yet I crack when I try to feed a child. Get a grip!

The only saving grace was that when I lifted my head (and I said I was sorry for being a rubbish mam and making her choke) there she was – smiling right back at me.

She was laughing at me.

After my futile hour and a half which ended in my child vomiting, she still championed me. She thought I was silly for getting upset.

Cue whatsapp messages to sisters and fellow mammy friends for immediate advice.

And a well-timed visit from my sister-in-law and nephew.

Their wise words (from the sisters, sis-in-law and friends and not one year old nephew obvs) made me pull myself together.

No it’s not plain sailing, yes they choke but get used to it they have really good gag reflexes and most of all – don’t put pressure on it.

And do you know what? My instincts had been telling me to stick with the baby rice, porridge and pouch routine. It had worked at the weekend so why make life harder than it had to be?

Messy Weaning Kitchen

Ah my life summarised in one photo: Blender, Baby Formula, Bottle, Vanish, a messy sink, an overused slow cooker, and a pint glass that I now drink water out of instead of beer. #nofilter #nofilterneeded

I can practice perfecting my puree but in the meantime I’ll tootle on down to Aldi and grab some of their pouches.

Needless to say she hadn’t touched the ‘soft finger food’ of broccoli on her tray.

Sis-in-law had some great tips on this as she’s six months ahead of me. Cutting up bits of, say, my toast into little pieces at breakfast. Scatter this on baba’s tray and let her play with it while I eat. If she eats it – bonus! Likewise with other bits of veg.

Baby-led weaning takes time and patience (ha! My downfall).

So I added this in yesterday morning. Toast on the tray after her milk and porridge. She wasn’t the least bit interested but hey-ho. Maybe she was full.

No worries. I’ll keep doing what feels right for us both.

And that seems to be what I’ve learnt so many times in the last six months in this new crazy life of mine.

Plus – I’ve gone back over my Health Visitor leaflets and read them. Properly, not skimming.

Yep.

Your baby is ready if they can:

Stay in a sitting position and hold their heads steady (Ella can’t sit up properly just gets propped awkwardly in the high chair. Hmmm)

Co-ordinate their eyes, hand and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth all by themselves (ah – she’s not yet fluent in mastering all this together)

Swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths …

Ella feeding

Says it all really. At least she’s got a sense of humour about it here

But if you do have any tips please share for this mammy who has been in despair.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Post Natal Depression – It’s Ok Not To Be Ok: PANDAS PND Awareness Week

PANDAS COVER

 

Although I haven’t suffered from Post Natal Depression (aside from the common mild baby blues just after Ella was born) I know a few people who have.

Men and Postnatal DepressionHaving not suffered I hope I’ve done PND justice for those who have and are suffering with it in today’s blog post. I also hope that I do raise awareness for people who need help. Parenthood is a rocky enough ride and we need to support each other whatever way we can. And please remember – both men and women can suffer from Pre and Postnatal depression.

My baby blues mainly consisted of midnight meltdowns – sleep deprivation plus a crying baby made me yearn for my old life. What the hell had I done?!

All joking aside though, it’s hard work being a new parent and adjusting to your new life.

Mild baby blues are extremely common to start with and normally disappear within a couple of weeks.

But for some people, they never go away.

Postnatal Depression Symptoms PANDAS

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair few sporadic down days after having Ella and I’ve put coping mechanisms in place for these. But it’s when these odd days become long periods of time that it’s best to talk about it and seek help.

I was worried that I’d be prone to PND. I’m the type of person who needs to keep busy. I have an overactive imagination which needs distracting otherwise I overanalyse and worry about ridiculous things.

I’m very aware of depression. I know people who have suffered it and I’ve experienced it mildly a few years ago, when I wasn’t happy in a job. At the time I don’t think I acknowledged how down I really was and I didn’t really talk about it (other than whinge to my hubby!)

Looking back, I wish I had spoken up. My focus at the time was determination to change my life. I shifted my focus into getting another job and writing.

I’ve always found writing therapeutic and, after having a bad day a few weeks ago, I’ve thrown myself back into it again.

Me time.

Which I think is important because as parents, you tend to forget about yourself. Allowing yourself time each day for something that is just for you that you enjoy, is important. Take the offers of help and have a nap, a bath, go for a walk to the shops or out for a drink with a friend.

The baby will be fine in the company that it’s in. And you will return to your bundle of joy revitalised and with new energy to give them those big cuddles that you sometimes take for granted.

Reflecting on the early years of this blog, writing is what kept me going through a time when I felt low. It gave me a purpose. And although we have the biggest purpose in the world looking after our gorgeous babas, we do need to have a purpose that is just for ourselves.

PANDAS Post Natal Deprssion - writing

If you’re reading this and are feeling any of the symptoms, speak up and get help. Write things down if that helps. I know it does for me as it clears my ever-clogged brain.

After experiencing that very low period in my life, I was worried that I’d suffer from Postnatal Depression.

Having worked full-time all my adult life, I’ve been so used to being busy. The thought of going from a chaotic work lifestyle surrounded by people, to a much slower pace at home with only a baby scared me and I worried how I would adapt.

I was hoping that I knew enough about myself that I could avoid feeling it.

 

I’m of the opinion that a healthy mind and an active lifestyle make for a happy mama – and a happy mama equals a happy baba. So my strategy for after having Ella was to get busy and get involved – to get out there to Baby Groups and Buggy Bootcamps.

You may well have a chuckle at all that absurd things I get caught up in but I’m telling you – they’ve saved my sanity.

Socialising, fresh air and exercising.

Planning something to get out of the house for in a morning (such as the Tots ‘N’ Tums classes in Blyth) helped me enormously in those daunting early days when I was left alone with a baby. To get out and meet other parents and have a chat with a cuppa.

I was also lucky to have a good support network of friends who’d already had kids. They encouraged me to go out with them early on, even giving me lifts when I couldn’t drive after my section, which I’m eternally grateful for.

And it seems to have worked for me so far.

But this doesn’t work for everyone.

I’ve learnt that Post Natal Depression is not something you’re ‘prone’ too and there’s not a ‘type’ of person to suffer from it.

Anyone can get postnatal depressopm

It just happens.

It makes you feel like you don’t want to do any of these things no matter how well intended you may have once been.

And it doesn’t always happen in those early weeks. It can creep up on some people a few months after the baby’s birth too.

This has only come to light in the last couple of weeks with some of the mammies I got to know when I was pregnant. I hadn’t seen some of them for a while at any of the groups and there were reasons for this.

I heard accounts of what they’ve been through with Post Natal Depression and Post Natal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And the common theme that helped them all through – was talking.

Postnatal PTSD/Birth Trauma Symptoms PANDAS

Talking to someone about it – that has been the key to their journey of recovery.

Asking for help.

And that’s what groups like PANDAS is here for – a support group which gives people with pre and postnatal illnesses the chance to support each other through their ongoing recovery and build the confidence they need to return to a good quality of life.

You can read more about the group at their website: PANDASfoundation.org.uk

Below are some very honest accounts from some women who have experienced Postnatal Depression

 My Journey With Postnatal Depression by Heather Raffle

I realised I had post natal depression late in October 2014. Austin was only 4 weeks old. I never imagined for one second that I would ever suffer from post natal depression even though I’d suffered from depression in the past. My mother suffered very badly from post natal depression and had recognised the signs in me so sent me to the DR’s. I felt horrendous, a failure, not a real mother. How could everyone else cope and I couldn’t. The whirlpool of self-doubt and embarrassment just didn’t stop. Then I talked to my wonderful dr, she had suffered with her 1st baby and was told to just get on with it. She was the most understanding and comforting person I’d spoken to in weeks. She wanted to treat me with antidepressants, something that they commonly do with post natal depression because other methods of help are just too time consuming for a mother of a new baby. 

 

I was told from the second Austin was born that I would have this unconditional love, this sense of belonging and undying need to protect him. Do you know what? I didn’t, I resented him. I resented his cries, his need for affection, his need to be loved by his mother, to add to the stress he was also lactose intolerant, something we didn’t realise until he was 6 weeks old. I felt this way until he was around 6 months old….but now, oh my word, I feel it! So strongly it physically hurts sometimes! Haha! 

Postnatal Hands PANDAS

 

The more I spoke to other mothers about it the more I realised its a very normal thing, so many women suffer and do it in silence because they’re afraid of judgement. Who are we to judge anyone else? All us mummies should stick together. 
When Austin was about 9 months old I started leading baby sensory classes, which was wonderful!! I got to see mummies at their most venerable, spend time with them, nurture them and help them all through the tough times they all faced, depression or not. That helped me come full circle, a safe haven for the mummies attending and me running them. 
Austin is 2 years old in October and I still have moments where I get sad about the lack of bonding we had in those first few weeks but he’s no less loved, he’ll always be my first beautiful baby and for the happiness he brings me everyday I can’t thank him enough. There is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel and from experience please don’t be afraid to talk, it really does help. 

 Mummies need to take time to find themselves following the birth, especially with the first. It took me well over a year to make time for myself and to find my identity as a person and not a mother/wife.

The life of a PND Sufferer – by Rachael Logue

Rachael runs Tots ‘N’ Tums in Blyth and is also a local PANDAs contact

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 PANDASI remember the day. It was a Tuesday.

I couldn’t think straight.

I found myself walking towards and going into Talking 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.

Rach Evie and Cameron

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.

 My PND Story – By Louise Sharp

I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I have trouble remembering the first two years of my son’s life. I can not tell you at what age he got his first tooth, his favourite food as a baby, his first word or when he began to sleep through the night.  I’m not even sure of what age he took his first steps.

 Postnatal Depression PANDASMy second child, I can tell you all her milestones. I think that’s mainly due to the amount of times I’ve had to go over them with paediatricians, therapists, doctors. She has autism, and was finally diagnosed at age six just last year.

My youngest,  Emily. I know all her firsts. Mainly because I was extra vigilant looking out for any red flags we had with my eldest daughter.

Each pregnancy was different. All had the usual sickness and discomfort.  But my third pregnancy, I just wasn’t feeling those feelings you associate with pregnancy. The excitement,  the happiness, the eagerness. I didn’t really feel anything.

I brought my feelings (or lack of) up with my midwife whilst getting my bloods done. I was assured it was perfectly normal , due to hormones and it would all settle down probably by my next appointment.

 

Postnatal Depression PND

Only it didn’t.  I didn’t take joy in shopping for baby clothes, I was in no rush to pack my hospital bag, I just wasn’t feeling it. I was emotionless.

I booked a 3D scan around the 32 week mark, hoping that would make everything feel more real, I don’t think it did. It was a wonderful experience, of course it was, but the sadness continued.

The years which followed my daughters birth in September 2011 were dark, very dark. I was dealing with the likelihood of my oldest daughter having autism, which was causing stress along with that lingering feeling of worthlessness. But before even falling pregnant with my daughter, I was dealing with body image issues. I hated my appearance to the point it was affecting my everyday life. These feelings got worse. I’d stay home all day unable to face the world, or I’d only leave the house when it was dark. I’d avoid mirrors and my reflection in windows. I’d panic if we had a party or wedding to go to. I hide away in the toilets to avoid any social interaction.  And my heart would pound and my  head spin if I saw anyone with a camera.

Pre/Antenatal Depression Symptoms PANDAS

I’d apologise to my children, as small as they were and unable to understand, for being a useless mother. I’d tell them I loved them as the tears rolled down my face, and that I was doing my best. I’d ask my husband why he was with me and give him the option to leave, which always left him gobsmacked and confused.

I’d go to bed each night and secretly wish I wouldn’t wake up. I’d have dreams of living a life where I am happy and have friends around me, and wake up devastated when I realised they were just that. A dream

My husband found me a video on Youtube about the ‘Black dog’, and asked me to watch it. I did. I broke down and he told me to get help.

Pre/Postnatal Anxiety: Symptoms PANDAS

I went to my GP, told her my feelings and filled in a questionnaire. From that she gathered I had depression and extreme anxiety. I was referred to the Mental Health Team. Again. I was already in therapy before falling pregnant with Emily dealing with body image issues. Hence my panic when faced with the prospect of having my photo taken. I was a mess. An absolute broken mess

That was September 2013. From then on I had fortnightly visits from my Health Visitor. She didn’t come to pry or check up on me. She came to lend and ear aswell as advice and support, and I thanked her for that.

October 2013 I began attending well-being courses. I picked up techniques to deal with stress, become assertive and gain confidence.

Summer 2014 I had my first appointment with I think it was a life coach. She pretty much assessed me to see if she could help. She couldn’t. My condition was too extreme.  I was then referred to a clinical psychologist. Again

PANDAS Pregnancy imageI met with my therapist every two weeks and I think I had around 10 sessions before I decided I felt ready to face the world alone once again.

I learned through these sessions I was suffering with post-natal depression, and that the depression had even grown DURING pregnancy. I found out through a quick glance at my notes at the doctor’s surgery as they came up on the computer screen during an appointment, that  I had been suffering with PND after the birth of my second child. I found out through a letter sent to my doctors and a copy to sent to me, that I’d even been suffering with PND after the birth of my first child way back in 1999. I had my son at 21 so I’d spent most of my adult life with depression. I genuinely thought I was just useless, unlikable, disgusting. I was non of those. I was depressed.

PND took away my memories of my first child growing from baby to toddler, it kept me indoors, it filled me with fear, took away my self-esteem and stripped me of my confidence.

 

When the therapy ended, I took up blogging. I decided to chase my dreams and enrolled on a distance learning course. This both occupied my mind and my confidence began to grow. I‘ve taken up exercise, and spend most days either in a gym or an exercise class. I’ve made new friends. I even spend two hours on a Sunday night as part of a team for a local radio station. I’m still building up my confidence to become more involved, but I know I will. I know I can do it. I can do anything if I continue to believe in myself.

Postnatal Depression PANDAS

Over the months I’ve thrown myself into situations I would usually avoid. I’ve done things I could never imagine doing and I am in a place now where I have never been in before. A very good place and although I am an anxious person by nature, I have my anxiety under control and I will never let depression take over my life or steal my memories again.

 

Depression During Pregnancy

 

You can also suffer from depression during pregnancy. Fellow blogger Adventures of a Monkey Footed Mummy experienced this and you can read all about her very honest account here.

Talk to someone

So please, please if you’re reading this and feel like this relates to what you’re experiencing, don’t hide it away.

If you’re suffering but not saying, just remember:

It’s OK not to be OK.

Love Missuswolf xxx