Thursday, 26 January 2012

A good cause

Kate over at Kate On Thin Ice recently caught my attention by asking for 90 bloggers to join her in supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer in a very particular way.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer is, in their own words, "dedicated to saving lives by finding the causes of breast cancer, improving detection, diagnosis, treatment and services". There's a wealth of information on their website, including everything you need to know to be breast aware. In fact, did you know there's a free iPhone app called "ibreastcheck", which includes a video showing you how to check your breasts and the facility to set a self-check reminder so you can monitor any changes in your own breasts? I didn't.

And Men, I'm talking to you too!

Anyway, Kate is looking for 90 bloggers to write about an important woman in their life in 90 words and to link up their posts using the linky code on her post here. The post can be about any woman that matters to you – a grandmother, a mum, a daughter, a friend, a blogger, a boss, whoever you wish. 

So why 90 words? This is because there are 90 numbers in a game of bingo. And why is this relevant? Well, Pink Ribbon Bingo have pledged to support Breakthrough Breast Cancer all year round with 15% of the gross revenue accrued through online play on the site being donated to the charity. Visitors also have the opportunity to donate a percentage of their winnings directly to the charity. Along with the fundraising element, Pink Ribbon Bingo and The Daily Mail online will be helping the charity to raise awareness by promoting their vital health messages such as TLC (Touch, Look, Check).

My 90 words are dedicated to someone who won't be expecting this: my sister.

We don't live near each other. We don't see much of each other. We don't speak often.

But you matter. You matter to me. Never doubt that.

I'm not like you. I'm forgetful, disorganised and hopeless at planning ahead. I try not to be but I always seem to be a couple of days behind where I should be. There's more but this post is about you, not me.

When you don't hear from me, it's not because I don't care. Please don't ever think my silence is a reflection of how I feel about you. It's not.

I'm very proud of you. You've always known what you wanted to do with your life and you've worked incredibly hard to be able to reach your goals.

You juggle raising your beautiful children with working full-time and the long commute that goes with it. You find time to be a domestic goddess. You're caring and considerate. You remember special occasions. You always go to see our grandparents when you visit. You're organised. You always make an effort and you have a listening ear for anyone who may need to make use of it.

You may not always feel it but you're strong and capable and when you put your mind to something, there's no stopping you.

You'll never stop being my sister.

I love you.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

You're beautiful (if a bit lop-sided)

Last week, I felt positive and upbeat. I was ready to think about tackling some of the many jobs that have been playing on my mind and I was full of inspiration about how I could move this blog forwards.

This week, I feel worthless. Don't ask me to explain why, I don't know. I can't make any sense of it myself.

One step forwards, two steps back.

So, on the advice of the Cheetah Keeper's mum, I'm joining in with her (relatively new) linky "You're Beautiful".

Inspired by a tweet from the Black Dog Tribe, which said:
All we can do is take one day and one step at a time. We’d love to hear what positive things you are doing today?

The Cheetah Keeper's Mum has invited everyone to link up any pictures or posts of anything beautiful you, or a loved one, may have seen or done today.

Well, my day started with my toddler getting annoyed that his fringe was falling in his eyes and when I asked him if he wanted mummy to cut his hair, he said yes.

"Cool Dude"

I armed myself with scissors and a comb and started snipping...and snipping...and snipping.

"70'S Popstar"

In my defense it's really hard to cut a fringe in a straight line.

And really, I should have known better as the last time I cut his hair, he ended up looking like I'd put a bowl on his head and cut around it!

The lovely Claire reckons he can carry off his wonky "do" and I should call it "The Tilt" and start a trend. What do you think?

So, this was my (lop-sided) beautiful moment today. To see more, go and visit the Cheetah Keeper's mum at Cheetahs In My Shoes and take a look at the other entries on the linky list.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Controversial reading

Just over a month ago, Mammasaurus tweeted an opportunity to join the team behind her newest brainchild Love All Blogs.
If you haven't come across it yet, Love All Blogs is a brand new blogging network, which supports any and all bloggers by providing, amongst other things, a weekly showcase into which you can enter one or more blog posts in order to attract more viewers, and a Community Network in which you can ask questions, find support and get to know others.

Mammasaurus has entrusted me to write the weekly introduction to the Love Book Blogs Showcase, which is incredibly exciting but also a little daunting, given that I'm still very new to the world of blogging. Anyway, as I'm now 3 weeks into my new role, I figured it was time to actually mention it here!

Although I've been given free reign to write about whatever takes my fancy in my weekly intro, I'm trying to keep it relevant and I've decided to use it as a space to encourage book-related conversations amongst the blogging community (or anyone else that may read the showcase) and to hopefully inspire more posts that can then be entered into the next showcase.

This week I've asked:
What have you read that was surrounded by lots of hype and what did you think of it? Was it deserving of the media buzz? Maybe you’ve read something that caused you to change your life in some way, or affected the way you think?
 For me, three books immediately sprang  to mind:

 Like many others, I loved Judy Blume books with a passion and when the rumour mill started at high school that she'd written a book with actual S.E.X in it, every single one of us wanted to read it! "Forever" was on permanent loan out of our school library and the waiting list to read it was immense! As a child, I recall it being a very  tender story of first love and losing your virginity. As an adult, I found myself questionning the healthiness of their relationship and thinking it was "for the best" when they broke up. It's funny how time and a bit of life experience can change your view on something isn't it?!

 Ah, "Flowers in the Attic" that sunny afternoon read all about child neglect and incest. I can remember reading this book as a teenager because I couldn't begin to imagine why such shocking and taboo topics would be the subject of a novel or how they would be addressed. My memory is faint on my reaction to it and I'm tempted to add it to my ever-growing reading list to see what I make of it as an adult and mother.
 There was so much hype regarding this book that I gave it  a go even though I wasn't particularly sure what it was about. For me, this book is the equivalent of films such as "Saw" and "Hostel"; so-called torture porn with scenes of horrific violence for nothing more than violence's sake. I recall it leaving a very nasty taste in my mouth and I would never read anything else by the author.

So those are my "controversial reads". What are yours? You can tell me in the following ways:

  • Leave a comment
  • Hop on over to the Love All Blogs Community Network Forum where I've started a thread on this topic
  • Tweet me using the hashtag #conreads
  • Write a blog post (and if you send me the link, I'll even spread the word about it on twitter for you)
Lets get the conversation flowing x

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Once more, with feeling

You may never have watched an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but chances are you know there's a musical episode. And what an episode.

I've been surprised to find one of the songs stuck in my head the last few days. I keep catching myself humming it and then singing parts out loud. I've even sung it as a nap-time lullaby to the baby.

The song in question is called "Going Through The Motions" and this is me. It's where I'm at right now. By rights, this should make me feel depressed but it doesn't. I feel strangely joyful when I sing along. I know what's to come for Buffy and I know that like her, I can pull myself up and find my place again. I feel empowered and just as Sarah says to Jareth the Goblin King in the film "Labyrinth", I can say to that little voice in my head "you have no power over me".

I hope you enjoy the video.

Every single night
The same arrangement
I go out and fight the fight
Still I always feel
This strange estrangement
Nothing here is real
Nothing here is right

I’ve been making shows of trading blows
Just hoping no one knows
That I’ve been
Going through the motions
Walking through the part
Nothing seems to penetrate my heart

I was always brave
And kind of righteous
Now I find I’m wavering
Crawl out of your grave
You find this fight just
Doesn’t mean a thing

She ain’t got that swing

Thanks for noticing

Demon and vamps:
She does pretty well with fiends from hell
But lately we can tell
That she’s just
Going through the motions
Faking it somehow

She’s not even half the girl she-ow…

Will I stay this way forever
Sleepwalk through my life’s endeavor

Handsome young victim man:
How can I repay-


I don’t want to be
Going through the motions
Losing all my drive

I can’t even see if this is really me
And I just want to be

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Commercial break : I spy with my little eye #6

...something beginning with S

There are 5 things beginning with S in this picture. Can you spy them all?

Click on the badge below to  find out how to join in with this game of I Spy and to check out the other entries:

Mum of One

Saturday, 14 January 2012

An unexpected delivery

I was very surprised this morning when husband brought 2 parcels, both wrapped in brown paper, into the living room and announced they'd just been delivered for me. I was mystified and even though I'm very forgetful at the moment, I knew I definitely hadn't ordered anything online and I wasn't expecting anything in the post.

I unwrapped the parcels to find a brand new MAM microwave steriliser and a set of MAM bottles. How. Bizarre. I'm breastfeeding the baby and a little voice in my head wondered whether someone had sent them to me anonymously in the hope I would move him onto bottles so he, and in turn I, would sleep better. Nice bit of paranoia I've got going on there, right?

With no invoice or other note accompanying the parcels, I resorted to scrutinising the address labels for clues and this is when I quickly realised they were connected to a "helping hands" raffle. I racked my brain some more and then realisation suddenly struck.

Back in November 2011, I'd bought tickets in the "...a helping hand" raffle organised by (formerly known as to raise money for the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation.

You can read more about the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation here but in a nutshell, it is working incredibly hard to raise awareness about postnatal depression as well as campaigning for improvements to perinatal mental health care.

If I'm honest, I hadn't expected to win anything. I never win. But there it was on the website, one of my numbers had been drawn and I had indeed won a prize. The steriliser and bottles were mine, all mine! Okay, I may not actually use them but I do have a friend who's due to give birth in a few month's time so I plan to see whether she would like to make use of them.

If I'd seen the email confirming my good luck, I'd have known to expect today's delivery. As it was, it was much more fun opening the parcels and then figuring out where they'd come from and why. All in all, it was a very unexpected morning.

Boo and Me

Friday, 13 January 2012

Of blood and other matters

Before I start, can I just warn you I've lost my blogging mojo. It's gone completely AWOL and shows no sign of reappearing in the near future. So, if this post is a disjointed mass of ramblings, I apologise and if you can send some coherent writing vibes to me, I'd really appreciate it.

As mentioned in my previous post here, I'm not right in myself at the moment. I'm not even sure if I can put into words what that sentence actually means but if I'm honest, at the time of writing that post, I was at a real low. I felt like I'd suddenly dropped into some kind of black hole that had sucked all the joy and life out of me, and it scared me.

I phoned my doctors and booked an appointment to talk about my worries. My usual doctor wasn't available so I reluctantly accepted an appointment with one I'd never met before as I knew if I didn't, I'd back out and end up keeping everything bottled up tight within me.

You hear stories about draconian doctors with little compassion and understanding for mental health issues and I was concerned about what I'd let myself for in. Fortunately, the doctor I saw was calm and sympathetic and importantly, he didn't flinch when I produced the 2 pages of "symptoms", some physical and others emotional/mental, I'd scribbled down whilst sat in the waiting room.

The doctor listened and then agreed in a very non judgmental way that there were issues we needed to look into. The fact he said "we" and not "he" made me feel positive. I was being included and would have some form of control over whatever plan of action was constructed.

Step 1 : a blood test to find out if my feelings were as a result of low iron levels/an underactive thyroid/diabetes/liver function/kidney function. There's probably more but I can't remember.

Step 2 : treatment for anything flagged up by the test or, if nothing, consider different PND treatments.

That brings us up to last Tuesday when I had the joy of a fasting blood test. If you haven't had one of these before, it differs from a normal blood test in that you're not allowed to eat or drink in the 12 hours before it. For me, this was hard, as lately I seem to have a voracious appetite and I NEVER go that long without food.

I had 4 vials of blood taken from my left arm and have a lovely purple bruise as proof of my bravery. I considered taking a photo of it but it's Friday now so it looks much less impressive than it did!

The results should be in next week and until they are, I'm trying to manage myself the best I can while ignoring the little voice in my head that's telling me I'm a failure and a bad mother.

There's really not much more I can say.

Boo and Me

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Commercial break : I spy with my little eye #5

...something beginning with T

Strictly speaking there are 3 T's in this picture. Can you spot them all?

Click on the badge below to join in with Mum Of One's game of I Spy and to see the other entries:
Mum of One

A midnight wandering in the buff

Picture the scene : It was nearly midnight. Husband and baby were sleeping soundly next to me. Toddler was snoozing deeply in the next room. I, on the other hand, was wide awake; insomnia having decided to pay me a visit. 

All I could think was I really needed some sleep, ANY sleep, before the night feeds began. Lying in bed quietly with my eyes closed wasn't fooling my mind into winding down so I took to twitter in the hope it would distract me enough to then be able to sleep.

Luckily for me, one of my favourite newbie bloggers, Only Five Fingers from Father, Son And The Odd Blog Post, was mooching about in a slightly inebriated state (I can confidently say that based on the content of his tweets!).

If you haven't met fingers yet, go and take a look at his blog, especially his posts here and here, which really showcase his versatility. He proclaims himself to be a normal bloke in a not so normal world and whilst this may be true, he's also a great writer, full of personality and his love for his family shines through.

So, I took the opportunity to challenge fingers to write me a "cheering up song" with the condition it include 2 of my favourite things; Buffy and cake. In return, I promised I'd post the results here on my blog. I hope you enjoy what his post-midnight brain fuelled with beer and wine came up with. I did!

I wandered lonely in twittering world,
A post was all she asked
To write a verse, like a wandering fool
And in glory then to bask
The subject of her task was simple
It really wasn’t a toughie
To write a ditty and not take the piss
Of her obsession for little old Buffy

I have no idea of who that is
It leaves me not well placed
To write some witty verse or two
And not be over faced
I grab a beer and then a wine
To lube my creaking mind
I decide to check the net for buff
And pray I won’t go blind

I‘ve found that Buffy slays vampires
She also looks quite buff
It’s fair to say I’ve horn right now
From gazing at her muff
I’m sure this isn’t what was in her mind
When setting me this task
But bare with me, it’s late, I’m drunk
It’s more than most would ask

Seems slayer loves her cake as well
Least this is what she asked
To include some sponge, chocolate or plain
Her passion is unmasked
Combine the two she laughed and joked
Its easier than it seems
And so right now I head to bed
Buffy’s cakey muff is in my dreams

From buff to muff and onto cake
These verses know no bounds
Combine the two is slayers whim
Her kinky night we’ve found
A love of both is strange I feel
In fact it’s somewhat kinky
But I need to stop, I’m so tired now...
So post my verse and link me!!

I doff my hat to you Mr Fingers for coming up with what is undeniably an unexpected way of intermingling Buffy and cake! Should I have known better? Probably!

To let Only Five Fingers know what you thought of his adventures in travelling minstrelism, follow him on twitter and nudge him into conversation. Don't forget you can also leave a comment here x

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Commercial break : vintage threads

There's a new meme in the erm, wardrobe and it's all down to that Mother Venting who wants to know the stories behind our oldest items of clothing. 

Well, Mother Venting tagged the lovely Mum Of One and Mistress Mummy who in turn tagged me so get ready to change your opinion of me once you see what's been hiding in my wardrobe!

I bought this cardigan on a whim from Bay Trading Company. It's a 3/4 length cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves and it's fabulously bright and bold, which I love, love, love! I have NEVER seen anyone else wearing it and while I suspect that speaks volumes about my fashion sense, I like to think it's because I'm brave enough to forge my own path in the world of fashion!

This is my party dress, bought from H&M and the photo really doesn't do it justice. It reminds me of the sort of dress Alice would have worn to the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice in Wonderland. You can't really see but there's yellow netting under the skirt part of the dress, which really speaks to the "little child at a party" in me!

In case you're wondering, it's a coincidence that both my cardigan and dress have flamingoes on them. I don't have a thing for them...honest!

These are my favourite witchy boots and this photo is dedicated to Mistress Mummy who told me earlier this week, when I was complaining about not having worn heels since New Years Eve 2008, that something every woman needs to do is sit down, put their heels on and remain there. Advice duly taken!

As you can see, I don't really have any stories behind my clothing and although I have some pieces I really love, I wouldn't necesarily miss them if I had to give them up. It's not that I'm not interested in clothes. I am. I'm a big believer in wearing colour, rather than black and grey, and in finding your own style. But I've temporarily put that interest on hold until I've finished breastfeeding at which point I will be seriously indulging in some pretty knickers and underwired bras!

To tell us about their vintage threads, I'm tagging Margot And Barbara, Dorky Mum and Only Five Fingers. I wonder what they'll show us.

Commercial break : i spy with my little eye #4

...something beginning with N

Can you guess?

Click on the badge below to visit Mum Of One who is hosting this game of I Spy and to see the other entries:

Mum of One

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