August 16, 2016

35 and the art of self acceptance 

I’ve spent my whole life criticising and being unhappy with my body. 

From a functional perspective it’s never let me down (except for the shoulder that doesn’t like to stay in the socket of course). I’ve delivered three healthy babies out of it. It gave me a career in dance which enabled me to see the world and led me to meet my life partner without whom I never would have gotten those amazing kids. 

My body works well, I haven’t suffered major pysical afflictions, it gets me from A to B. I’m reasonably fit I suppose in the grand scheme of things. 

And yet… It’s not enough. I am not enough. I’ve never been enough. I have looked at my body with cruel scrutiny and spoken words in the mirror  that would never occur to me to utter to anyone but myself. “Disgusting” “revolting” “gross”.


Even in the days of my dancing, a mere size 6 (us 0) slip of a thing I told myself I was fat, that I had cellulite, that I wasn’t good enough. 

After I produced my first beautiful baby and also after the two perfect others, I revelled each time in newfound disgust at the stretch marks and the saggy bits of skin. I worried about wether I would ever get back to my pre pregnancy body. The body that even back then wasn’t good enough. One of my earliest childhood memories is of looking longingly at my 3yr old companions flat tummy and wondering why my own was rounded. Ever since then, no matter what my size, I was not small enough or perfect enough or the correct proportions.

At 35 years old I am the heaviest I’ve ever been. In recent times I’ve battled along trying to be a weight my body doesn’t want to be on various diets and plans that don’t work. Is that how I’m going to spend the rest of my life? Chasing an idea of perfection that I will never attain? Knowing that if by some chance miracle and perhaps a bout of stomach flu, I do actually achieve it, it will still not be good enough. My size 0 21 year old body wasn’t enough so why would a 35 year old one be? 

Should I crawl into the bin and close the lid because I’m fast riding a bicycle of bodily imperfections down hill toward an older, fatter, less media like version of myself with every passing second? 

I never want my daughter to think that she is anything but absolutely brilliant the way she is made. How can I expect that of her if I despise my own body?

So should I start the painful process of trying to accept my body and *gasp* try to enjoy living in it?

Go against the grain of everything I’ve ever been programmed to think of myself perhaps? 

It’s not easy though, it sounds great, like one could just flip on the switch of self love and hey presto! No more endless cycles of diets and hatred. But changing the habit of lifetime takes work and patience and time. 

I’m taking the first step. It’s scary, but the goal seems liberating, if not entirely unattainable. So here we go…

Nb- Health and exercise are still on my agenda in terms of leading a long and happy life. Running, biking and dance are still and will always be things I love but I’m going to do them because of the rewards they give me, not because I’m using them to try and be a more perfect version of myself that doesn’t actually exist.

July 27, 2016

Relationship Advice for my grown kids

Dear children, 
Now that you are grown and now that you are finding your place in the world you might discover yourself on the verge of meeting that special someone and thinking about making a future. Or maybe you are still at the dating stage it doesn’t matter really, what I’m about to say; I hope you’ll consider it. 

Love Mum x


⭐️
•Don’t be with someone who hits you. I don’t care if you are the taller or the stronger one, I don’t care what you supposedly did to “deserve” it, it’s not OK hit someone. Ever. Ok, got that? Walk away from that shit now and don’t look back. Don’t hit them back, just leave.

⭐️
•Don’t be with someone who puts you down. Every time I see a couple who both or one part do this I cringe. It’s insidious and it’s not cool. The perpetrator might do it via their social media to shame you, stupid passive aggressive posts shared on the net that say things aimed at you. Or they might ruin the punchline of your jokes or tell people embarrassing private stuff. It’s just a way of trying to control you. If I ever catch you doing any of this this, I will so pull you up on it!

⭐️
•Mostly people DONT change. Don’t expect someone to change to suit you and don’t try to change yourself for someone else. Accept them as they are or leave. 

⭐️
•Whatever you’re doing, if one of you isn’t having fun, stop. There’s this thing you’ll have heard about its called consent. I think, consent is not enough, hold out for enthusiasm! Likewise, don’t be with someone who doesn’t value your right to yourself. We all have the final say over our own bodies, no one can buy you and you don’t owe someone physical attention just because you’re in a committed relationship. Conjugal rights are a thing of the past! 

⭐️
•Never ever give anyone photos or videos of your body, especially nudes. That shit will be all over the Internet before you can say #oopsshouldnthavesentthat

⭐️
•Be committed to each other, if one of you has half an eye out for something better then it’s just not the right time. Back away. Don’t waste your time on someone for whom you’re not enough. You’re worth way more than that.

⭐️

•Don’t be with someone who lacks insight. Are they always the victim? Are they never in the wrong? Do they have a history of falling out with family and people they’ve lived with before? The reasons probably sound legitimate or you’ve never heard the full story. It’s not normal to have a past filled with estrangement from family as well as big dramatic bust ups with flat mates and various friends. Can they say sorry without adding “but you…” If not this probably isn’t going to end well. Before you know it you’ll be starring in your own soap opera except it won’t be much fun. If they lack insight they are very unlikely to ever change.

⭐️
•Avoid poisonous partners. These are the ones who pour poison in your ear about everyone you’re close to. It’s the whispered “I notice you’re not the favourite child” or the “He thinks he’s better than you” type person. Divide and conquer. It’s a precursor to an abusive relationship, either emotional or physical and a sure sign of someone trying to gain power over you by ruining your other relationships.

⭐️
•Always be your own person. You don’t have to have the same opinion as your partner. If they won’t let you form your own opinions, run a mile.

⭐️
•Don’t think that because someone is not the same as you it can’t work out. Sometimes it’s the people who are opposite to us that bring balance to our lives. 

⭐️
•You can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself first. You can’t fix the person who seems as though they just need love, in the end they can only fix themselves. 

⭐️
•Be insightful of yourself and your own behaviour and have the strength of character to say sorry when you need to, after all none of us are perfect.

⭐️
•Be kind, love yourself first and always act and react with respect for one another ❤️

May 21, 2016

I’m a f8#king trapezoid pineapple, what shape are you?

For the first time, when I was about 15 I learned thanks to Mizz magazine or something of that ilk that all women have a “body shape” and by shape they mean an actual fucking shape, like a square or sometimes a fruit or if you are really lucky you get to be an inanimate object such as an hour-glass. Everyone wants to be the hourglass apparently. No matter how tall or short or thin or plump you are, these articles will put you in a box of self loathing along with all the other women in the world. There you go, doesn’t that feel nice and empowering?!
These days the internet is literally strewn with advice on how to decipher what shape you are followed by guidelines on how to battle with yourself to not be that shape anymore. 

  
Over the last 20 years I’ve seen this list grow to include, the carrot shape, the cucumber and once I actually saw in a magazine the toilet roll shape! Yes, I kid you not “take this quiz and find out that you are not a real person after all you are an actual bog roll! But don’t worry, here’s some dressing advice to help you look less like bum paper and by the way you need to do these exercises and stop eating nice food and generally just go and stop enjoying life because you are an actual fucking toilet roll”. 

These articles tell us to scrutinise our bodies for fault and once we’re lucky enough to be able to pick what shape we are they inform us that our genetic make up can be overcome with self hatred and restrictions on what to wear. 

“No more complex carbs for you Mrs Orange shape, it might cause you to store fat on your forehead, but don’t worry, if you drape a tea-towel lightly over your left arse cheek it will draw the eye away and then you will be happy and free -but don’t forget to do 50 chinups and drink 7 litres of raw wheatcress juice a day. There doesn’t that feel better? Wait, what? No?! Being told you are basically a piece of shit that should never wear a two-piece swim suit again makes you feel bad? Maybe we should write articles that make women feel good instead, maybe we shouldn’t get women to try and define themselves against the fruit and veg isle of the local supermarket or their child’s shape sorter toy…”
So I say, screw you stupid shape defining bollocks. I will wear what I like and I will eat white potatoes and drink red wine I will not wander through the local veg market and ponder wether I am more like a romaine lettuce or a conference pear. Come on women, join me, eat that last piece of cake, wear that dress you love- life is too short for this bullshit!  

April 10, 2016

Easy, no sew Kids Monster Tee!

Here’s a really easy to make kids monster T-Shirt. Perfect for a themed party or Halloween! You don’t even need to sew a stitch if you don’t want to, just use fabric glue! Here goes… You will need: Scissors Fabric glue Toy stuffing Coloured felt Glue on goggley eyes Some Eyelash yarn A pair of […]

https://theoriginalvintagekitchen.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/easy-no-sew-kids-monster-tee/

April 10, 2016

Using the bog in Peace, a privilege reserved only for the childless and my husband?

During my first pregnancy when the need to urinate increased in a sharp upward curve, I found it a bind. 

No one said “Hang on a moment Mrs W- savour these frequent but lonesome loo trips for the privacy which you currently take for granted is about to be ripped from you for, the length of time I don’t know, how many children are you planning again?” Perhaps I would have savoured it a little more had I been warned. The pulling down of pants and quietly tinkling into the bowl. I might have treasured those last few quiet pees in peace. Maybe taken a mental picture. 
 Looking back from where I stand today I longingly recall the freedom that was taking to the bog alone. Oh the days where, when nature called, I’d saunter off to the bathroom to relieve myself. No thoughts given to anything except perhaps the silence of the house, or what activities I was going to move onto next. 

Yes, I didn’t know back then, how fortunate I was or that what lay in store after the birth of my first baby was literally years and years stretching out ahead of me where I would be forced to “go” under the watchful gaze of one then two and eventually three pairs of beady eyes. 

No I am not in prison or on a section under the mental health act, this is motherhood. 

  

So almost six years into my parenting journey why am I suddenly lamenting the freedom to use the loo alone. With the door actually closed (per chance to dream)?
Well, there was just something about today that strikes a chord with my bladder. Perhaps it is that whilst I desperately try to rock my jet-lagged youngest into a much needed nap my bladder is already at exploding point. Meanwhile, child number two who is recovering from a bout of food poisoning (a lovely residual souvenir from our hol) is dry heaving onto a pile of princess dresses and child number one is shouting  and bouncing on the bed. Oh joy! 
Finally after attempt four and having moved locations twice child 3 relinquishes into a slumber in his pushchair in the hall. 
I immediately go to rustle up a snack for child one who is bemoaning his abject hunger, dropping the puked on clothes by the washing machine as I go, all the while it’s almost 11am and I’m still not wearing a bra. 

Just then the husband has the audacity to saunter past me en route to the downstairs loo.

 “Stop!” I exclaim. “Please don’t wake the baby” followed immediately by a loud clunk of the door and wail from child 3. 

*oh Fuck*
Pelvic floor squeezed tight as could be, I pass child one his snack and shuffle down the hall towards the wailing one and thankfully find him eyes still closed. A quick jiggle of the pram and he falls back into a deep sleep- phew! 

The husband emerges, unemcombered by his bodily functions, lucky him!
Taking the opportunity, I rush to the loo. Could I perhaps use it in peace for once in this god forsaken half decade??? Even my three year old is allowed quiet time to pooh alone. “Go away” she tells me and I always do, respecting her need for privacy, promptly returning to assist in the clean up of course. I swear sometimes I spend half the day wiping arses that aren’t my own. 

I shut the door, breathe a sigh of relief and sit down. Suddenly I hear child one again “Mama!! Mama!! Where are you?!” He exclaims in stricken tones. I can hear him nearing child three and as we know, noisy older children are seemingly drawn to their siblings napping spots like traffic wardens to unticketed vehicles.

“In here” I holler like a deranged witch. I now abandon my idea of bathroom peace as a cranky child 3 for the rest of the day would be arguably worse. 

“But I can’t see you!!!” Child one continues. “Mama Mama Mammma!!”. Child two is standing next to him, hands on hips, face turned toward me with an expression of extreme scrutiny as I emerge pants barely pulled up. A pissed off expression on my face that matches theirs.

“Oh there you are Mummy. Where did you go? I couldn’t see you!”
“The loo darling, can’t I go to the loo now with out you there?” 
“Don’t be silly mummy” exclaims child two
“So was it a pooh or a wee?” Asks child one.
Cheeky little runts. By the grace of some kind higher force, child three is still sleeping. 

That’s one thing I can console myself with as I contemplate the next 5 years of observed bathroom excursions I suppose *Sigh*.

November 7, 2015

Dear Daughter

You don’t need my advice daughter, you will make your own way in life and do it well, but it’s here for you should you want to know what nuggets of wisdom I wish to pass down to you…

Advice for my daughter:-
1) don’t follow “diets”. They will only set you up to fail. Your body needs nourishment so nourish it. Take care of your body and your mind. Anything in excess is bad but all things in moderation are good!
2) there are so many voices on social media, learn to zone out the whacks and weirdos. Don’t post when you’re angry.
3) if something doesn’t feel right to you in your heart it probably isn’t right. That feeling is your instinct, follow it.
4) you can always find solace and escapism in a book when you need to. Read everything. 
5) only give your time to people who deserve it. 
6) your body belongs to you. You call the shots- always
7) don’t let other people label you. You decide who you are and where you want to go in life
8) beware of women who say they “don’t get on with other women” Embrace the sisterhood, it is a thing and it is good.
9) nobody can “make” you feel anything. You are responsible for your self and you always have choices. Choose what makes you happy.
10) see the beauty of you. Love who you are and do what you love. 

Your personality: Your true character traits that came out when you were just a baby, before the world had a chance to make an impression on you are:- 

Bright eyed and inquisitive. Your first word was door because you couldn’t wait to get out of it and off to explore by yourself. We nick named you danger baby because you strove to climb any thing you could and seemed drawn to things that you could topple on top of your self or get into trouble with. You are so independent. 

You excel socially, you love other children and they love you because you have a great sense of fun and adventure. You know how to engage others with your good sense of empathy. You have a quick temper and you are assertive- these are good traits -don’t lose them. We are just trying to work on focusing them in a positive way. These traits show that you have passion. Your spirited character will take you far because I can see an inner strength in you, that is a rare quality! 

July 14, 2015

3 Kids in a Car! Road Trip Ideas

Every summer we road trip from our home near Oxford, UK to Bordeaux in France with our kids. It can be a fun adventure with the ferry ride and picnic stops on the way but without pre travel car organisation it can become stressful and tiresome! 

Here is how I set the car up to make the driving bits as fun as possible!

  
 
Blankets! Keep some folded under the front passenger seat. Kids get cool when they’re tired!

 
For the older kids a passenger seat organiser that hangs up with some toys, water bottles, kiddy wipes, and books in. I have this one above and a small one I put behind the driver with other little things of interest in…

  

Sticker and activity books are a must!

   

 

A car seat protector for any newly potty trained children.

This one is by Close Parent and fits sugly into any child seat without compromising safety.
  
Even if your children are long past the potty training stage I’d recommend taking a potty, disinfectant wipes, hand gel, plastic bags and a loo roll. If someone gets caught short you’ll be prepared! Certainly, my 5 year old doesn’t like the gaping holes they have instead of toilets at rest stops in France and my two year old could easily dissapear into one!

  
A holder for a tablet so the children can watch a film. They will get restless with constant tv but if you mix it up with activity books, games and CDs it can work really well! 

  
Story CDs are great when you need the kids to chill out. 

  
If you’ve got a baby in the car, a baby mirror and a soft dangly toy will help to keep them occupied.

   
 

Older children love snacking- include some little treats they wouldn’t normally have (note the smarties). It’s great for distracting grumpy children! 

I’ll add some fresh fruit to this just before we leave!

Don’t give a baby in a reclined seat any food as it’s a choking hazard.

  
Some stuff for the grown ups!

  
Other tips…

1) be prepared to stop more often and don’t have an eta written in stone. It will just make you grumpy when things go off schedule!

2) play eye spy, 20 questions or tell jokes

3) listen to the radio for 20 mins and then switch to some other activity before it gets boring!

4) check before you leave where the services and rest stops are on your route. Are there any toll roads? 

5) keep a coin purse handy with change for toll booths, parking and pay toilets

Have a fun adventure! 

Happy Road Trip :-)))

May 18, 2015

The 10 phases of late pregnancy


1) Nerves- Fear of the unknown. What will happen? When will it be?Will the baby blast out of your ass? What if husband is on the train and your mum is out without her phone? “Am I ready, what were we thinking having a baby?!!” type worries also strike at unexpected moments.


2) Excitement- There’s not long left now. Look at that cute little baby vest! Who’s eyes will it have? Hair or no hair? The thrilling notion that you’re going to have an actual baby soon grips you!!! Yay!!!


3) Hunger- fridge raiding at 2am


4) Indigestion- result of 2am fridge raiding


5) Irritation- Why is he (poor husband/partner) snoring? Who left that plate next to the dishwasher? Why are your older children trying to climb on you mid Braxton hicks contraction. You can’t sleep! Surely weeing this often is not normal. If you have to see Amanda Holden’s severely botoxed forehead whilst channel flicking one more time you’ll scream etc etc


6) Nesting- the urge to clean house/prepare for a zombie apocalypse now takes you over and you can’t sit still- everything just has to be perfect or the universe will implode!


7) Feeling like “it’s time”- being uncomfortable, then there’s a hormone shift which results in intermittent crying or laughing at nothing in particular. Braxton hicks step up a notch. Wait, is that wee on your leg or leaking waters? The baby must be coming soon, everything is a sign that labour is imminent!!


8) Boredom – It wasn’t a sign that labour was imminent after all! Now you are waiting, waiting, waiting. Tick tock blasted clock! Counting down days, looking back through the calendar to check you’ve got the dates correct. “When exactly was my last period” you ask yourself? Googling early signs of labour!


9) Being zen- You are an earth mother. You are ready when baby is ready. You’re so calm, la la la whilst lighting a scented candle and thinking “ommmm”


10) Total and utter resignation- You convince yourself this baby is never coming, “I give up” you think, followed by “I’ll just be pregnant for the rest of my life, I’m cool with that” and settle on the sofa feeling somewhat like a beached whale! 




Now mix these phases up and repeat over and over ! :-))) 



Please add your own phases below.

March 22, 2015

My Princess And her new dress

So, picture my daughter. She’s barely even two and a quarter years old and she already (much to my dismay) has a total princess obsession. Getting dressed in the morning is no easy feat. “Don’t like it”, “I want princess dress” and “no” are repeated to my offerings of what must seem like boring (but in reality very expensive items from Boden and Next). If I wrestle her into something she doesn’t like, I will find her throughout the day in various states of undress as she tries to extrapolate herself from said outfits. The Boden knit wear hung on a random bush by the playhouse, and once a pair of tights down the toilet.

My girl is a fire cracker! She likes to pick her nose and wipe it on me and her fly away golden hair is often lopsided in her bunchies but I tell you what, my girl knows her own mind! 


In my efforts to coax her out of the now completely bedraggled princess Sophia dress that she has been wearing on repeat since Christmas, I ordered some of these cheap and cheerful net skirted dresses you see on Amazon. I was getting desperate. You see, if it was up to my daughter she would be galavanting up and down the Oxfordshire countryside dressed like a Katie Price, Gypsy bride meets Glastonbury festival reject (Wellington boots are all the rage this season apparently)! I’m totally laying the blame for the wellies at the door of Peppa, that darn Pig has a lot to answer for if you ask me.


As an example, the other day, in order to get daughter into a “normal” dress (Sophia was on a spin cycle that day) I had to make up an elaborate tale about a Hawiian princess- who was also a marine biologist because even princesses have to have goals- due to the dress having a beach print on it. She very mistrustfully put the dress on in the end but I don’t think she was convinced.


My point is that I grow weary with the constant battles and story making up all the while trying not to make it look like I give the remotest of figs, because two year olds can smell fear, and once they get a wiff they become drunk on power and will never ever do that thing you desperately want them to do- ever!!!


The point is my daughter loves this dress, sage green is her absolute fave colour or purple and she calls this her flower princess dress, I think the floaty net skirt helps a lot! Yes it’s teamed with a pair of wellies, a gruffalo back pack and a smearing of mud but my girl is happy🙂

   

So thank you seller of this dress, my two year old looks like she’s wearing normal clothes but she feels like a princess. It’s a win win situation! 

July 29, 2014

Losses. The last taboo

Losses, miscarriage, spontaneous abortion, whatever you want to call it, that unfortunately common occurrence that afflicts women yet is so unspeakable. Maybe it’s the British way to put on your best stiff upper lip, pretend it never happened and cry into your pillow -Alone of course. It’s just not something we talk about, secret anguish aside. It’s the last taboo.

Recently, several friends of mine have been unfortunate enough to experience it. One was a surprise pregnancy but they were ecstatic all the same and the other was a much longed and tried for baby. Both were utterly unexpected and devastating. They only disclosed this info after gentle probing from me, having been through the whole sordid experience myself on three occasions, I knew the signs. These are only the ones I know about.

Talking about it is cathartic, mentally healing and allows us to organise our thoughts and feelings. The key to this is to talk with someone who’s been there. After all, those who haven’t been there don’t always get the ugly gruesomeness of it. “Are you sure you were even pregnant?” I was asked after the first time it happened. I had no scan photo to prove it was ever there, perhaps I made the whole thing up?

Looking into my life via a social media platform one might assume I have never suffered a pregnancy loss. Two children and another well on the way, it certainly looks as though I have it all. I didn’t post about my losses, feeling it not appropriate and also that it might seem attention seeking. I wonder though, how many others might have come forward saying “me too”.

Do we keep schtum to protect others from the embarrassment of not knowing what to say? Is that helpful? Is it the inevitable guilt we feel post loss that seals our lips-
such as the was it because I vacuumed the stairs or drank too much tea before testing questions we ask ourselves. Blame and guilt, the curse of the mother and yes, you are a mother if you’ve ever had that positive test. Perhaps when we chalk it up to experience and lock it away like a dirty little secret we aren’t giving ourselves the best chance to deal with it. I’m not suggesting social media is the correct outlet but reaching out to a friend could be the first step on the road to freeing ourselves from that guilt and sadness.