Browsing Category

LIFE

LIFE

Merry Christmas!

Awesome leggings from Blade & Rose, gift from my cousin.

When we did our NCT course, the lady running it asked everyone what they were most looking forward to about having a child, and I remember replying ‘I only had a child for Christmas’ which is a terribly glib and dickheadish thing to say but it was genuinely a major factor for me. I loved Christmas as a kid (yeah, really unusual there I know) and I couldn’t imagine growing old and not having a child to share all the joy and magic with (although I don’t believe in lying to kids about Father Christmas, but that’s a post for another day – Oli and I are already at war about it!). I have therefore been in my element over the past few days and am so excited that this year we are hosting my parents and my sister and having a big family Christmas day in our new house. We actually open all our presents on Christmas Eve, so really Christmas Eve is our Christmas Day, and this year on Christmas Day we’re heading off for lunch at Oli’s brother’s house. So we get two Christmasses!

Last year Daph was too tiny to have any idea what the hell was going on, so we didn’t really get her any presents, but this year we’ve gone a bit batshit and she has her very own personalised Christmas sack and about 30 stocking presents, plus a Mokee Teepee which I can’t wait to set up. She’s already had a few presents thanks to my aunt and uncle and has definitely got the idea that ripping wrapping paper from things is enormously fun, so I am sure she’s going to love opening everything. Whether or not she plays with any of the millions of carefully selected gifts is another matter, but I’ve realised that pretty much everything about having a baby is trial and error. Will report back…

Before then however, there’s a hell of a lot of prep to do and I really need to get off the computer and start cleaning. But just wanted to say merry Christmas to all of you who read this, and send all the mummies in particular lots of alcohol and sausage rolls to get you through the festive season! I’m going to have a little break from blogging until the new year (hands up who can’t wait to see the back of 2016?) and so I wish you all a very happy new year too!

And most of all a big THANK YOU for reading and commenting and stopping this working-from-home-sort-of-stay-at-home mum from losing my mind with loneliness. Mwah xxx

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Life updates

life-update-lifebylotte

More trees today, sorry!

Long time no blog. I apologise. If I’m honest, I’ve been a bit stuck for topics. Now Daphne is older, there isn’t so much to write about her on a regular basis (although she’s changing all the time, of course, it’s all quite subtle now and we’ve settled into a reasonably happy routine). I’d love to blog about the house but the truth is we’ve done a big fat NADA to it since we moved in. I don’t know how people manage to do up houses with babies/jobs/lives.

But here are a few little updates, just to reassure you I haven’t died:

  1. We have found a childminder! From January, Daphne will be going to a lovely lady in the village next to ours for one day per week. Even this feels slightly traumatic/scary, but at the same time, incredibly exciting as it means a whole day to myself to do whatever I like! Well, mostly work, of course, but still. I will have time to reply to emails, to plan stuff, to get ahead, to work on my book… I cannot wait.
  2. I have finished the first draft of my novel. It’s a bit of a mess (a massive mess in fact) but still, I’m really pleased as now I finally know what the story is about, and how to fix it. I had my critiquing session with my group at the Faber Academy last week (we share our first 5000 words with each other and give feedback) and it went really well, which was reassuring. I am sure it’s super boring reading on a blog about someone working on a book, but I have and I’m afraid it has been taking up most of my headspace lately, leaving little room for anything else. But I’m going to have a bit of a break from it over Christmas, and then get stuck in with the redraft in January. If anyone’s interested as to what it’s about, let’s just say it’s about new motherhood not turning out exactly how someone had planned…
  3. And on that note… I’ve been having a real think about the blog lately. When I first started blogging after Daph was born, it was as an outlet for all the experiences I was going through that felt so alien and new. But now I feel a bit more sorted (not much, but a bit) and also more like I should stop with the oversharing, as if I’m honest, I don’t think it’ll help me try to relaunch a career (more on that in a minute). So I’m trying to work out how the blog can fit into this new way of thinking. I don’t go to glamorous events anymore. My restaurant review days are well and truly over. My life on a day to day basis is incredibly mundane. I’m not one of those supermums who does crafts round the clock with their offspring, providing plenty of blog fodder. I could blog more about interiors, but somehow that doesn’t feel like it fits with the content I already have on here (plus there are a gazillion interiors blogs out there already). So yes. I need to make some decisions. I want to know what people find (and don’t find) interesting, so if you fancy sharing what YOU want to read about, that would be awesome and very helpful. I try to be honest about motherhood, and these posts do seem to be the most popular, but then I worry I sound like a right moaner… Generally it seems my real life friends like reading the personal stuff as a way of keeping up to date with my life when everyone’s so busy, but for those who don’t, I’m sure it’s a massive snorefest. Pondering pondering… and open to suggestions!
  4. Careers. Hmm, I shouldn’t write much about this really, but I am feeling so so saddened by the state of my former industry (magazine journalism). I haven’t done proper journalism for ages now, just bits and bobs here and there, but still, it was a bloody awesome job while it lasted. I found out the other day that the interiors website I worked on for four years from launch has been rebranded and basically turned into a shadow of its former self, with loads of staff being made redundant. I nearly wept! It is crazy how journalism has just died a death thanks to the internet. So yes, in 2017 I need to start making some firm decisions about what the hell I am going to focus on for the rest of my working life. SCARY stuff. I have written a list of priorities for my new career, top of which is not having to commute into London every day. More on that soon…
LIFE

Running on empty

bruises-lifebylotte

No one told me that once you had a toddler on your hands, you’d be covered in bruises. And that every part of you would ache. But it’s true. I am literally covered in bruises as Daph is constantly knocking into me, throwing things at my face (my mobile phone has hit me in the eye at least five times in the past two months alone), and generally requiring me to save her from imminent death and thus injuring myself in the process. It is full on protecting a one year old from their many and varied attempts to harm themselves. Since having her, I’ve had about 300 colds, another bout of norovirus, shut my finger in my car door and lost a fingernail in the process, dropped my (switched on) hair straighteners through my finger tips losing lots of skin in the process, bashed my arm against our banister trying to stop the pushchair from knocking a huge glass-framed picture over (yes, really) and then last week, I topped it all off by falling down the stairs. While holding her.

She now weighs about two stone (not joking), and somehow I managed not to drop her as I fell (meaning she was absolutely fine), but this achievement left me feeling like I’ve been in a car accident. I have a bruise the size of my palm on one buttock (it’s gone purply-black now and is very impressive – I’ve been sharing bum-selfies with everyone and anyone I know well enough not to judge me), a huge bruise on my elbow where I knocked it trying to lessen the fall, and polka dot bruises all down my spine from where it bumped its way to the bottom of the stairs. It bloody hurts. Every part of me hurts. My neck (which has never not hurt thanks to a career spent hunched over a computer screen) is now a complete write off – leaning down to haul Daph off the floor 1200 times a day means I am rapidly turning into the hunchback of Notre Dame.

I am exhausted. Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and any other bloody way you can be. I had booked a spa break next week with my sister, and I was so looking forward to it (and the hot stone massage) but unfortunately we’ve had to postpone as we’re going to a funeral instead. That just about sums up 2016.

The upside to all this moaning is that I am incredibly excited about Christmas and the new year. 2016 has been one of the hardest years of my life for so many varied reasons (not the worst, but the hardest), and has also been pretty shitty for most people I know. So all I can think is that stuff is going to get better. The only way is up! Last night, Daph slept from 7pm to 7.20am when we had to go in and WAKE HER UP. I am taking this miraculous event as a sign. Things are going to improve. Just a few weeks left of this godawful year – hang on in there people, we can do it.

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Simple pleasures

small-pleasures-3-lifebylotte

Blame the fact I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale at the moment, blame the fact that November seems to be dragging on unbearably long, blame the fact that I haven’t been out for dinner with friends for nearly ten weeks now as I’ve been totally housebound six nights a week, meaning adult conversation is somewhat limited – whatever it is, I’ve been in a very reflective mood lately.

The other night, I made Oli do some silly quiz someone had posted on Facebook – a bit like Mr & Mrs, you had to answer questions about the other person. One of them was ‘What do you like the most about me?’ and, somewhat incredibly I think, Oli said my ‘positivity’. I nearly fell out of bed (we were just about to go to sleep). I try very hard to stay positive, but I do have a tendency to moan on – for me a bit of whinging is cathartic and I do love a good rant. Generally speaking though, I’m quite a content person. When I moan I’m trying to make light of things – it’s my way of dealing with stuff, trying to turn it into some silly exaggerated joke.

Having said that, I have been trying really hard to be positive lately, which has been really tough, given the state of the world in general. There’s an interesting message in The Handmaid’s Tale which basically says ‘we didn’t know how good we had it until it all changed’ and that’s kind of how I feel about the state of things world-wise at the moment. It’s all very good thinking change will be better, but what if it’s not, what if it’s worse?

small-pleasures-lifebylotte

Anyway, in order to counteract this rather deep-seated sense of malaise and fear – especially as I have a little one to think of, imagining the world she’s coming into is terrifying quite frankly – I’ve been trying to appreciate the small things in life. Each day, trying to live in the present (which is one of my top tips for coping with life in general actually). I do think having a baby makes you appreciate the simple things – it’s a cliche because it’s true. I used to be all about fancy events, expensive clothes and handbags and, well… showing off, and while I do still like most of these things (!), they seem to come at a price. But it’s the little things that now bring me those small thrills of excitement, like you used to get as a kid.

So, here are a few of my simple pleasures. Things that make me smile. I’d love to hear yours too.

small-pleasures2-lifebylotte

  1. Cold walks wrapped in big coats. Watching my breath mist in the air.
  2. Online shopping arriving (especially when it’s something cute for the baby).
  3. The smell of Christmas candles. Candles in general. Let’s be honest, they don’t have quite the same effect on long summer evenings.
  4. Lebkuchen.
  5. My daily gin and tonic once the baby is asleep at 7pm.
  6. Writing. It’s been hard – I’ve written about 76,000 words now, done over just nine weeks, and am nearly finished with the first draft. But it’s so satisfying to be working on something that I feel passionate about.
  7. My blow fan heater. Economical it may not be, but god that thing brings me joy. #toastytoes
  8. The baby running around naked before her bath every night and being ridiculously excited about it.
  9. Getting a decent night’s sleep after a year of not doing so. Just waking up and not feeling exhausted is amazing – I will never take sleep for granted again!
  10. The Missing. I don’t watch much telly at all, but this is addictively good and I get very excited when I realise it’s Wednesday and there’s another episode on.
  11. Christmas coffees – OK, they are responsible for around half a stone in weight gain each year but still. No one has to see my white flabby thighs, it’s winter.
  12. And on that note… no one has to see my white flabby thighs, it’s winter. I don’t have to shave my legs every day and faff about with fake tan. Hurrah for low-maintenance beauty.
  13. The colour of the leaves on the trees outside my office window. It’s insanely beautiful. I have tried photographing them but my windows need cleaning and the pictures don’t do them justice. Instead, please enjoy these recent pics by my professional photographer sister. Suffice to say, nature beats everything.

Oh god, have I just described hygge? Shoot me now.

small-pleasures4-lifebylotte

LIFE Midweek Musings

End-of-week Musings: the UK cat killer

percy3

Our beautiful mog Percy

Apologies! This post is late – again. I’ve had food poisoning/norovirus (no idea how you tell the difference) over the past few days and have been in an absolute state. On the mend now finally, thanks to lots of rest and dioralyte.

This week I wanted to do a quick post about the UK cat killer. A bit random, I know, but actually it’s something I’ve been following lately and it’s really upset me. For those not in the know, there’s a horrible sick git out there taking great pleasure in killing (often decapitating) cats late at night, and leaving them for their owners to find. There’s been more than 100 confirmed murders now, most of which have taken place around the M25. But the police are still no closer to catching the person responsible.

I wanted to write about this because since we moved house, we’ve wondered what to do about Percy and his access to the garden. We have a cat flap in our living room, but as our downstairs is completely open plan this means he can come and go as he pleases, leaving a trail of muddy footprints across our carpet/rug/sofa/dining table/everything (he loves the new garden, and he especially loves digging in the mud). So when we go to bed, we’ve taken to shutting him in the downstairs loo (should add, it’s quite a big loo!), with his bed, litter tray and food etc. It feels quite mean to have him confined to a relatively small area all night, and we were considering getting a cat flap fitted on the loo window too so he could get outside that way, but we’ve decided not to do that until this terrible person has been caught. It’s just not worth the risk.

So yes, that’s what I wanted to say really. Just in case you hadn’t heard about it and have a cat that you love and want to keep safe! Please spread the word. The official advice from the people investigating this killer is to keep your cats indoors at night – most of the killings have taken place over night. If you want to read more about it, there’s an animal rescue organisation in South Norwood (the killings started in Croydon) who have all the information you could need, and there’s lots of stuff in the press too. This is a good article.