The Bedtime Tag

I’ve been tagged by Jaymee from The Mum Diaries to take part in The Bedtime Tag. 10 questions all about my bedtime routine. I love reading these kind of posts because, quite frankly, I’m nosy! Do let me know if you decide to take part in the Q&A yourself as I’d love to read your answers. :)

The Bedtime Tag:

Describe your usual bedtime routine.

Firstly… Hahahahahahaha…. bedtime routine… hahahaha. Right, OK… I’m done.

My ‘bedtime routine’ usually starts with me drifting off on the couch in front of the telly at around about 8pm! Since I’ve had two children to look after all day (Jasmine’s two-years-old and Elowen is a mere 7 weeks) I’ve been absolutely knackered come the evening. I can’t remember the last time I managed to watch a TV programme from start to end! (No Sherlock spoilers, please!)

I will continue to drift in and out of consciousness for several hours before finally admitting defeat and heading to bed.

I’ll brush my teeth, go to the loo and if I’ve worn make up that day (which happens very rarely at the moment) then I’ll wipe it off with a face wipe. No fancy skincare routines here – by this point I just want to get into bed ASAP.

I’ll then get into bed and feed Elowen whilst scrolling through Instagram (what can I say, I’m addicted). I’ll lower my phone’s brightness so that when I use it throughout the night (nightfeeds) it’s not so glaringly bright. Once Elowen is sated I’ll pop her in her co-sleeper crib (for all of 10 minutes until she ends up back in bed snuggled up with me) and then it’s off to the land of nod I go until my first wake up which is usually around 2.00am.

What are your favourite pyjamas?

These ones…

I fell in love with them when I saw them in a shop window back in November. Stephen remembered and bought them for me for Christmas. They’re so fleecy and snug! I also love that the trouser legs are cuffed because I’m short (5ft 1in) most PJ trousers are far too long for me and I end up tripping up over them!

What is your current bedtime reading?

I loved watching the BBC TV series Versailles last year so I asked for the book (which is based on the series) for Christmas. I need to start going to bed earlier to make time to read it. It’s not one for the fainthearted – it’s rather racy.

What would I find on your bedside table?

Not a lot – I’m not a fan of clutter! But you will find my Lumie Bodyclock, my aroma diffuser, a notepad and pen, my book and a bottle of water. I usually keep my phone under my pillow… which probably means it’s frying my brain or something.

What scent makes you sleepy?

Lavender!

What is your usual bedtime and wakeup time?

Bedtime tends to be anytime between 10.30 and midnight.

As for wake-ups? Every two hours! ;)

What are your top three bedtime products?

  1. My breastfeeding pillow
  2. Lavender room spray (I use this one.)
  3. My Lumie Bodyclock

What is your most common sleeping position?

I usually sleep in the foetal position, facing out of the bed (towards Elowen).

Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

A small orang-utan named Hogan. (I’m not referring to my husband!)

What is your worst bedtime habit?

Eating food in bed and then complaining that there’s loads of toast crumbs in the bed clothes.

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I’m now going to tag some bloggers whose answers I’d love to read so please join in if you fancy it:

Jess

Vickie

Janine

Cassie

Amy

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Pregnancy after a loss & blogger guilt

I spent a long time um-ing and ah-ing over whether or not to write about my current pregnancy on my blog. As somebody who has had to deal with the heartache of having two miscarriages, I know how upsetting it can be for somebody going through a loss or infertility to constantly see pregnancy updates. I know how it feels when it seems like everybody else is celebrating bumps and babies and you’re not. It really bloody hurts. And now that I’m pregnant again? Well, I feel guilty that my happy news could be causing somebody else to feel miserable. I hate the thought of that.

What I realised though, when I was going through my own grieving process, was that every woman should be able to celebrate, feel happy and talk about their pregnancy – in whatever form that takes. The fact that I got upset about seeing/hearing about other people’s pregnancies was my problem. Not theirs.

I spent a lot of time blocking, muting and deleting pregnant bloggers on social media. And I know – I know – how horrible that makes me sound. I still feel a little disappointed in myself and ashamed for reacting that way. But in all honestly? It wasn’t personal. It was self-preservation. And that’s what I needed to do to get through that stage of my grief. I had to protect myself from hurting anymore whilst I licked my wounds and allowed myself the time and space to heal.

Of course, not everybody who goes through early pregnancy loss will feel the same way I did. I don’t mind admitting that I was angry and bitter at the world. I’d love to have been able to be genuinely happy to hear of other people’s baby news but it turns out I’m just not wired that way.

Thankfully, the ‘angry and bitter’ stage did pass and over time I gained better control of my emotions. Deep down I understood that people weren’t trying to deliberately hurt me or rub their pregnancies in my face. (It’s crazy how self-absorbed grief can make you). But my biggest ‘eurka moment’ was when I realised this: No matter how resentful I was towards others, it wasn’t going to bring my babies back. I was wasting all of my energy on something I could never change. I had to move on.

For me, moving on meant trying again for a baby, but for others it might mean something completely different. You’ll know what’s right for you.

Forgive me, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this blog post, it was never one I had planned to write but it was something that has been on my mind ever since I found out I was pregnant again.

I guess, amongst all of the “and what do ya know, we got pregnant straightaway” pregnancy blog posts out there (and they are no less worthy than any others) I wanted to write something for those who have been or are going through what I went through. I think this is the blog post I was desperate for somebody to write 8 months ago.

So, I’ll tell you what I wished I could have read then:

Whatever you’re feeling, it’s normal.

You’re not a bad person.

It wasn’t your fault.

Want to try again? Do it. Need more time? Take more time. Done with trying to conceive? Who could possibly blame you?

It gets easier. You won’t feel this bad forever.

Do what you need to do to protect yourself from further hurt. If that means temporarily pulling away from pregnant friends or relatives then that’s what you need to do. Anybody with an ounce of compassion will understand.

There is hope.

There is support, you just have to find it.

And once more… it was not your fault.

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Lately…

I’ve been relatively absent from my blog over the last couple of months and whilst I’m certainly not under any illusion that there are hundreds of people wondering where I’ve been, I thought it would be nice to have a catch up. Bloggers disappear, without a word, all the time and I tend to be one of those people who wonder “What happened to them?” Sometimes life gets in the way and other times, they just fall out of love with it all. In my case, it was little bit of both.

As most of you know, I had a miscarriage in November and that was what turned everything on it’s head. It came at a time when it felt like 95% of mummy bloggers were announcing pregnancies and whilst I was pleased for them all – it can become truly exhausting being happy for everybody else. Especially when you’re battling with your own grief. I had to look after myself and take the time to heal. It was then that I decided to take a step back from the blogging community. For my own sanity, if nothing else.

I, at least, was in the fortunate or unfortunate position (depending on which way you look at it), to have been through this all before. I knew that it would get better in time, I knew that my grief wouldn’t be this painful forever. And I’m glad to say that things are getting better and the pain doesn’t sting quite so much. I can now smile at the pregnant ladies at our toddler groups without fighting back the tears. I trust that my turn will still come. I have to believe that it will.

The amount of time I suddenly gained from not blogging was more than I knew what to do with. Well, at first anyway. But then I joined the library (it only took me two and half years!) and I have found myself getting lost in books again. I can spend a whole morning at the library – browsing the aisles, running my fingers across the spines of books,  searching for a title that grabs me. I’ve slept so much better since swapping my ‘up until gone midnight on the laptop’ routine for one that involves climbing into bed at 10pm to read a few chapters of a good book. Better sleep = less grumpy. Less grumpy = more patient. More patient = happier mummy. Happier mummy = happier daughter.

Talking of being more patient. I never feel like I have to rush around anymore. Whereas before I would snap at Jasmine because she wasn’t walking home from nursery quick enough . I’d worry that she’d then be late down for a nap and I’d have less time to blog or clean the house or prep dinner… The list of things that I thought I needed to get done was endless.

Those things are no longer priorities. Instead, I let Jasmine stomp in every puddle on the way home – even the pathetic 4×4 cm ones. I encourage her to run along the different types of gravel we come across, as many times as she likes. We touch the leaves and twigs on every bush we walk past. We say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to every person and animal we meet. We loiter all the way home and it’s ace. I just wish I had known it sooner.

I’ve started doing more for me and I now know that I’m not being selfish for doing so. A realisation that took far too long to come to me. In January, I rejoined Slimming World and I’m slowly working my way back to my target weight (which I achieved in the summer, before I got married… and then subsequently comfort ate like a mofo after the MC). I also recently started going to cardio kick boxing classes which make me feel a happy, satisfied kind of exhausted.

The time-suck part aside, I have missed blogging. Writing here on Tinyfootsteps has always been my favourite creative outlet but recently I’ve chosen to keep a diary instead. A diary that is for my eyes only. Understandably, my thoughts and feelings have been so raw over the last few months that I’ve been less willing to share them publicly. Everything about the whole damn situation was ugly. My blog was supposed to be my ‘happy place’ and I felt the ugliness was creeping in.

So where do I go from here? I’m not really sure. I think I am just going to keep on doing what I’m doing.

Healing. Taking things slow. Looking after myself. Getting fitter and stronger. Reading. Writing for me. And jumping in tiny, pathetic puddles with my girl.

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My Blog Post Highlights of 2015

Last January, I did a round-up of my favourite blog posts from 2014 (which you can find here). Not only is great fun to go back over my old posts and pick out my favourites, but it also serves to remind me of the type of posts that I enjoy writing the most.

As a blogger, it can be easy to get bogged down with what you think you should be writing instead of what it is you want to be writing. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that most of the posts I’ve selected here were written earlier in the year. Because as the year went on, I definitely felt like I’d lost my way a bit when it comes to this here blog of mine. Going forward, in 2016, I am vowing to write for me again. It may mean that I blog less often but hopefully each post will be something that I can be proud of.

Without further ado, here are my 10 favourite blog posts from 2015:

The elephant in the room (that’s Actually a Bear):

What do you do when your child is given a 3ft tall teddy bear for Christmas? I mean, other than look utterly horrified because you have no room for it in your house?  Here’s my advice: Don’t, whatever you do, give it a name.

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I’m sure, as I helped Jasmine unwrap it, I was unable to mask the look of sheer horror on my face. The look that said “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?!”

Dancing with strangers:

Finding that elusive ‘me time’ is hard when you’re a stay-at-home mum. So much so, that in order to get some, I went out by myself to go dancing with strangers.

party, holidays, celebration, nightlife and people concept - group of happy friends dancing in night club

I took a deep breath, swung open the double doors and walked inside – the music already pounding. I took off my coat and put it to one side. In my head I was trying to work out how to go about making the change from looking like a rabbit-in-headlights to throwing disco shapes in the most inconspicuous way possible.

Why I’m OK with being ‘just a Mummy Blogger’:

After experiencing some negative vibes towards the ‘mummy blogger’ community at a blogger event I attended, I wrote this post explaining why I am more than OK to be ‘just a mummy blogger’. It seemed resonate with so many of you.

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I don’t want people to lust after some made up ‘lifestyle’ I’m selling. I want people to nod along as they read my writing, to recognise themselves in my words and to feel like they can relate to the things I’m going through. That, to me, makes me a ‘successful blogger’ in my own right.

Peter Pan Syndrome:

Shortly after my 28th birthday I wrote this post about how I feel about ‘growing up’ (it turns out I don’t much like it). Do you suffer with Peter Pan syndrome? Great! Let’s build a den!

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I accept that I’m an adult. I accept that I have responsibilities (my mini human, being the most important of them all). I have bills to pay. A mouth to feed. A home to take care of. A husband to love and cherish.

But please, don’t ever tell me I’m a ‘grown up’. That is the WORST.

Should I keep my maiden name?:

On the 9th June I married my partner, Stephen. During the run up to our wedding I wrote this post – it was basically me ‘thinking out loud’ about the pros and cons of keeping my maiden name. It got a lot of really interesting and thought-provoking comments. FYI – I have kept my maiden name… for now!

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Sometimes life presents you with opportunities to wipe the slate clean and start again. Opportunities such as starting a new job or moving to a new area. You can reinvent yourself a little. I feel the same way about a name change.

It takes a village… {Jasmine starts nursery}:

In September, we made the big decision to send Jasmine to nursery for two mornings a week. As a stay-at-home mum, I felt incredibly guilty about this decision. Ultimately, I was sure that it was the right thing for us to do, as a family. If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of sending your little one to nursery, this post is for you…

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That’s what us mums do, isn’t it? We make decisions for our children, in the hope that they are in their best interests, and then proceed to feel guilty about them. Regardless of the outcome.

When it happens again… {Miscarriage}:

This may seem an odd post to include in my ‘highlights’ and I suppose it is, in a way. It’s a post that was both incredibly difficult to write and to read back but here’s the thing: we need to talk about miscarriage. The more we can be open about the subject, the less taboo it becomes and the less isolated and lonely, those of us going through it, will feel. I don’t want sympathy – I want a baby. Still, we need to talk about miscarriage.

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All I’ve ever wanted to do is grow babies, give birth to them and nurture them. And I can’t. It’s not working. I’m not working. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. My body is broken. My heart is broken.

The day that Bunny went missing:

It’s a moment that every parent dreads, their child losing a favourite toy. This is a story about the day my daughter’s beloved Jellycat Bunny went missing. (Have tissues on stand by!)

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“Well, this does not look good.” I said to Stephen, feeling extremely downbeat. “The first 24 hours are the most critical, if we’re ever going to find him.”

3 Life Lessons I’ve learned from my baby:

I wrote this post when Jasmine was 9 months old. In those 9 short months she had managed to teach me so much about life. Find out how she taught me to love myself, be determined and have a jolly good cry every now and again!

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My daughter is constantly showing me what life is all about. She doesn’t understand the concept of inhibitions, let alone have any. Her mind is unaffected by society – it’s pressure to look, act and be a certain way.

Is there a blog post that you wrote in 2015 that you’re particularly proud of? Tell me about it. :) 

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Why I’m OK with being ‘just a mummy blogger’

A few months ago I was a guest at blogging event in London. It was attended by a vast array of bloggers – beauty, fashion, travel, lifestyle and, of course, parenting bloggers. At one point there was a rather heated discussion in which the phrase ‘just a mummy blogger’ was used. It irritated me and made me feel deeply uncomfortable. I’d go as far as saying that I felt animosity towards mummy bloggers (and parent bloggers in general). Are we lower down in the blogging food chain? Apparently so. Perhaps because not all of us take it so seriously? Perhaps because some of us do it as a hobby? I’m not sure why there’s such hostility but I don’t think it’s right.

Lately I seem to spend a whole lot of time feeling like I’m not enough. ‘In real life’ I feel awkward and embarrassed when people ask me what I do. Because, you know, I’m just a mum. And now, it would seem I’m also ‘just a mummy blogger’. Ever since that day I’ve completely lost my blogging mojo. I question everything I write because it all seems so inconsequential. What’s the point? I’m just another one of those mummy bloggers.

To be honest, I’ve probably said it myself a few times, when asked what type of blog I write. (Not that it would take a genius to work it out.) “Oh you know, I’m just a mummy blogger”. And that’s because I don’t fit into any of those other categories. And I probably never will.

Let me completely straight with you, Dear Reader. I wake up and dress myself in jeans and t-shirt (probably the same jeans and t-shirt I wore yesterday), I scrunch my hair into a bun and that’s me sorted for the day. This has nothing to do with being a mum and not having time to make myself ‘look presentable’ but because this is the way I have always dressed. That is what makes me feel comfortable. I’m low maintenance. But let’s face it, I’ll never make for a fashion blogger. And I’m certainly OK with that.

I rarely wear make up and have very little interest in anything beauty related. So, I’ll never be a beauty blogger. Well, that’s OK.

My passport is God knows where, gathering dust. I sure as hell won’t be ‘travel blogging’ any time soon. That’s fine, too.

And then there’s ‘lifestyle blogging’. This is the area I supposedly have to ‘move into’ if I want to be ‘successful’ blogger. What determines a ‘successful blogger’ anyway? Money? Stats?

The thing is, I am completely and utterly aware of the fact that I do not have a desirable lifestyle. Nor will I go to great lengths to create the illusion that I have one.

I am plain and I am ordinary.

That’s not to say I don’t have a happy and fulfilling life, of course. But I’m like any other stay-at-home-mum in any other house, on any other street, in any other part of the country.

I write about the plain and the ordinary. I write about being plain and ordinary.

I don’t want people to lust after some made up ‘lifestyle’ I’m selling. I want people to nod along as they read my writing, to recognise themselves in my words and to feel like they can relate to the things I’m going through. That, to me, makes me a ‘successful blogger’ in my own right.

Listen, I love that there are so many varieties of blogs out there. Some people are so good at what they do – they’re beautiful, inspiring and live utterly wonderful lives (or so they will lead you to believe). The internet is a big place and there’s room for us all.

But should I be ashamed because my blog mostly serves as digital scrapbook of my daughter’s life?

I don’t think so.

Should I feel embarrassed because I talk about the ups and downs of motherhood instead of, say, beauty products?

I don’t think so.

Do I not deserve to feel proud of my space on the internet because it’s not all white walls and geometric interiors?

I don’t think so.

I am just a mummy blogger. And I’m OK with that.

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Mami 2 Five