I used to love staying out late, dancing the night away. But then I had children. And now I rarely go to da club. I'd rather spend the evening on my sofa. But recently I have discovered a new club - da book club.
I used to be an avid reader. For years I would read three or four books each month, losing myself in thrillers, classics and contemporary fiction. Then, I had a baby. And all of a sudden it would take me a month to read one book. And even then, it was normally a baby book. And when I had another baby? There was really no time for books, not even baby books. I think I managed about six books in four years, which made me feel sad. Other mums continued to read books, why couldn't I?! But it turned out that I wasn't alone.
Yes, another photo of Richmond Park. You might be thinking that I work for their PR department, but I do not. The park is just so close by and I have been going on weekly walks with my mummy friends. There is nothing better than going for a walk on a sunny day. I have been trying to take different routes to try and see as much of the park as possible. On Tuesday, I came upon this bit of beauty. Between the trees, the light and the leaves on the ground, I was left in awe of the autumnal loveliness.
Last week I headed to Chelsea to the Laura Ashley head office for their spring/summer17 preview. One of my favourite parts of blogging is getting to go look at lovely fashion and interiors. And I love Laura Ashley. I'm not overly girly, but I do enjoy florals and pinks. If I wasn't married and living with mucky children, I can imagine living somewhere full of flowery wallpaper, a pink armchair with candles all around. Hmmm.
For now, I am making do with lovely accents. I was especially taken with the blush. Even Husband can't argue with a little bit of light pink. And team it with grey for a cool, Scandi vibe. Speaking of grey, I saw some grey candles that looked fab. And only when I got close did I realise that they weren't real. Perfect when you have small children and you don't want to worry about them burning themselves.
Do you know those women who always wear pretty heels and generally look quite elegant yet cool? Well, I'm not one of those women. I'm the practical one wearing trainers/sneakers. Recently I've started going for regular walks in Richmond Park with various mum friends. Sometimes this results in wet toes. Trainers aren't that great for muddy walks. So I've been wanting to get some Goretex boots for ages. And last week I finally got some.
Along with some other bloggers, I was invited to an event at Hotter Shoes in Guildford last week. Not only did we get to find out about the history of Hotter, we got to go crazy trying on lots of boots. Hotter was founded in 1959 making slippers. These proved so popular that they started making an array of comfortable shoes and boots, and now there are currently 70 stores in the UK. And all the shoes made for Hotter, are made in their factory in Lancashire. That's right, their factory is based in the UK. I became a fan of Hotter shoes last year and was already the owner of two sandals, one trainer and one heeled party shoe, but no boots. Not until last week.
Most of the bloggers were trying on cute heeled boots, and of course Mrs Practical here was looking for boots that would enable me to walk for miles in comfort (and stay dry). The problem was that there were so many comfortable boots - even the ones with heels. But then I found some Gore-tex beauties and I knew that I had to get them. They didn't have the Orla boots in black, in my size, so the store ordered them for me (with free delivery!) and they arrived at my house four days later.
When HP asked me whether I would like to invite some of my friends over for a pamper party, I couldn't say yes quick enough. I invited five of my mum friends over, and they were equally enticed. Mums really love Prosecco and pampering!
When my guests arrived, we cracked into the fizz immediately. I had set up a table in the dining area for the manicures, and a lovely beauty therapist came in to do our nails. There was another lovely lady there giving foot massages, and I set her up in the living room for some quiet. We enjoyed our pampering while enjoying some nibbles and a good girly chat.
I live in dresses and leggings. And even though I have many outdoor adventures, I am not dressed like I am about to go creeping through tall grass or stomping in the mud. In September, Regatta invited me (and three other mummy bloggers) to a style masterclass with Vogue Williams. Vogue is a model and TV personality, and is the new face of the Regatta AW16 Heritage collection. Vogue and Regatta helped me find a sportier look for my weekends.
Regatta considers me to be a 'Weekend Explorer' because my family and I spend our weekends walking and discovering new areas. I like my clothes to be practical and warm. This is all true, but I never seem to be dressed appropriately for our walks. I normally wear my trainers which always leave me with wet toes. And my winter coat is made of wool rather than a fabric that will keep me dry.
I'm not joking ladies. There IS a No Bra Day, and it is here. So throw those bras in the bin. Okay, not all of them. But you don't need to wear a bra everyday, and you should especially take a break on the 13th October (National No Bra Day). This won't be tough for me, because, you see, I, um, I don't often wear bras. There you have it. I've said it. Now you know.
I've loathed wearing bras since I was a teenager. There was the initial excitement that occurred when I was first able to wear a bra, at age 11. Woohoo, boobs! But after a few years, I grew weary. What evil sorcerer came up with the underwire? Why should my breasts be squeezed in when they just wanted to be free? I used to get fed up and sneak my bra off during school. Luckily I went to an all-girls school. For years I would wear a bra, while quietly hating it. And then I got pregnant and lived in bras. And obviously I could not go without one whilst breastfeeding. But then when I was finished, my bra became my enemy again.
On Friday, Dubz took part in his first Dress Like a Fruit & Vegetable Day at school. I had planned to make him a costume but I was dithering about whether to make a carrot or a tomato. I even went to a fabric store, but my indecisiveness made me leave empty-handed. Dubz ended up in a hand-me-down pumpkin onesie that his sister used in Year 1.
Four years ago, I spent four days creating a strawberry costume for Moozles after spending a couple of days researching and thinking about what I wanted to make. Another example of how much better life is for the first-born child. Regardless, Dubz loved his outfit and had a fun day with his school friends (and I didn't have to make or buy a new costume!). I had to include photos of Moozles from Reception and Year 1 as she was just so cute.
You know how I love beauty treatments in the comfort of my own home? My favourite thing is getting a massage. My body never recovered from my second pregnancy (and pelvic girdle pain) and I seem to constantly have aches and pains. So today, while my children were at school, a lovely lady named Nicki from Urban Massage came to my house and gave me the best deep tissue massage ever.
A few months ago I was desperate for a massage, and as my regular beauty therapist was on holiday, I quickly booked something online. When the masseuse arrived the next day, she didn't bring a massage table (I obviously missed the small print) so I had to have my massage on my bed (and of course my bedroom was a mess). The whole experience left a lot to be desired. So I was intrigued when Urban Massage got in touch last month to ask me to try out their services.
When my big girl started school, I felt all the usual emotions - nervousness, excitement, worry and sadness. Four years later, my baby boy had his first day of Reception. And while I was a bit nervous that he would be scared, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief and happiness. I was happy to finally have a little bit of freedom. And of course, being a mother, I felt guilt. Ah, there's always some guilt.
I made the decision to become a Stay-At-Home-Mum over three years ago. Doesn't that mean that I should want to be with my children at all times? Maybe there are some mothers out there who want to be with their kids 24/7. But I am not one of those mums. It doesn't mean that I don't adore my children. It just means that I want, no, that I need time on my own.