WHY THE SWEDISH MADE ME CRY…

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to Stockholm by Baby Bjorn. They invited myself and my family out for a few days to be part of their upcoming campaign, but also to investigate parenting the Swedish way. The Swedes, and much of Scandinavia, have long been held aloft as parental paradigms to be emulated and I was interested to get the skinny on the Scandi way of parenting. Continue reading

WHY MY DAUGHTER IS A DICK…SOMETIMES

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know two things:

  1. I’m shit at writing regularly. I’m in the process of rectifying this.
  2. My approach to life, every day and every way is this: just don’t be a dick…

…which is why what my daughter is doing at the moment is just not ok.

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MY DAUGHTER’S A RAGE MONSTER AND ITS ALL MY FAULT…

There’s nothing more terrifying that having your own worst traits staring back at you through the words, actions, facial expressions of your children. It’s inevitable, but that doesn’t make the punch in the emotional gut any less painful. It’s even harder to take when someone else has to point out that maybe, just maybe, your daughter’s behaviour is a reaction to your own crappy ways of dealing with things. Ouch.  Continue reading

WHY I’M STARTING TO KICK MY OWN ASS…

It is a fact universally acknowledged that, as mums, we have the perfect excuse to avoid exercise and getting healthy. I mean, no one is busier than a mum, right? No one is more tired than a mum and anyway, don’t we spend all day running around after the kids? I mean, if that’s not cardio then I don’t know what is. And OK, I may eat oven chips and fish fingers for dinner but it’s only half a fish finger because, you know, I only ate the left overs so it doesn’t count, right?  Continue reading

I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT MARRIAGE BUT…

Remember those fairy tale movies we all saw which ended with a beautiful princess-to-be walking down the aisle to marry her prince? Remember how, despite our niggling voice of realism, we all kind of looked forward to the day when we would get our own fairytale? I mean however your vision of your fairytale looked, the end result was still the same. We all (more or less) thought we’d end up marrying the love of our life and, as the old saying goes, live happily ever after. Continue reading

CAMP BESTIVAL: THE BEST OF TIMES AND THE WORST OF TIMES

Camp Bestival is, hands down, the best festival you can go to if you want to take kids. As someone who use to tour with bands married to someone who still tours with bands, we generally avoid festivals for ‘fun’ like the plague. It’s the ultimate bus man’s holiday but this year we decided to take the plunge and give it a shot. It didn’t all go to plan but, much like childbirth, I’m already forgetting the pain and remember nothing but an amazing experience that I’m already looking forward to doing again next year. Continue reading

WHY I GOT NAKED AND TOOK PICTURES (AND YOU SHOULD TOO)…

A few weeks ago I was invited to Nat Lee’s (Style Me Sunday) Warrior Woman event. Apart from the fact that Nat is a good friend and I would pretty much walk over hot coals wearing a catsuit of rusty nails for her if she asked me too (now THAT would be an instagram shot if I ever saw one), the point of Warrior Woman is so vitally important that I would have done it even if I though she was a total wankpuffin. The fact that she isn’t just makes it all that more delicious. Continue reading

WHY I NEED SHIT TV IN MY LIFE

I’m a recent convert to Love Island. In fact, it would be more accurate to say I have become obsessed. I’m not going to defend it in any way. I’ve read an article trying to convince us that it’s an interesting dissection of society today and another article that even tried to call it the most feminist show in recent years. That’s all bollocks. It’s mind-numbingly, soul-achingly bad; it’s worse than The Real Housewives and it’s worse than Keeping Up With The Kardashians but it’s become as necessary to me and my mental wellbeing as the the tiny little pill I take each day to stave off depression. That’s a pretty big claim, right? I know. I’ve told myself a million times not to exaggerate but bear with me because if you’re a mum, you’ll understand why I NEED shit TV in my life.  Continue reading

NEW MUMS JUST NEED YOU TO DO ONE THING…

It’s no secret that I found the transition to motherhood hard. I’ve banged on and on about it in the hope that honestly recounting my experience may chime with other mothers struggling and perhaps offer them a virtual life raft to hold on to. After all that’s why I started the blog and why I still write it because it’s still necessary. Despite all our efforts to dispel the myths surrounding motherhood, they still exist. New mothers (and old mothers) are still finding themselves lost in a haze of breast pumps, maternity pads and wailing babies.  Continue reading

MY RELATIONSHIP WITH BOOZE…WHAT’S NEW

Over two months ago I posted the most personal blog yet detailing my relationship with booze and the negative impact it was having on my life, my relationship, my children, my bank balance. The response to the blog was overwhelming. I received hundreds of emails, literally (I stopped counting after 230) from other women (and a few men). All of them called me brave (or ‘brace’ thanks to auto-correct), some thanked me for writing their story, some were grateful that I’d held a mirror up to their own drinking habits, some just wanted to say, “Me too. I’m here.” None, zero, absolutely not one of the emails was negative.  Continue reading

WHY FAMILY HOLIDAYS DON’T HAVE TO BE ABOUT THE KIDS…

Think about this: instead of looking for ‘family friendly’ holidays, why aren’t we searching for ‘parent friendly’ holidays? I mean, when you think about it, that’s what we’re all looking for but because we’re all so used to putting the small people first, we forget all about that. Kids Clubs are great – essential even – but where, in those ‘family friendly’ holiday packages – is the focus on the parents?  Continue reading

THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT SOLO PARENTING…

I don’t know if you know or not, but my husband is away a lot. I try not to shout about it too much….yeah right. I’m always banging on about being a bloody ‘tour widow’ and left alone with two small children and a job and blah blah blah. I’m not one for keeping my whingeing to myself. A misery shared on social media is a misery made bearable in my book. Right or wrong, oftentimes Instagram saves my sanity. Continue reading

WHY EVERYTHING CHANGES IN YOUR THIRTIES…

It’s easy to fall into the icky-sticky trap of believing that you’ve got your shit together once you get to your thirties. It’s true that you may feel more comfortable in your own skin (hopefully), you may give less fucks about what other people think of you and hopefully you’ll be earning decent enough money to afford you some of the finer things in life  – that’s all good stuff. But, it’s also possible that your thirties will also throw you some curve-balls. Continue reading

WHAT I’VE LEARNT SINCE I BROKE UP WITH BOOZE…

It’s been four weeks (a little over actually) since I gave up booze. For a whole month plus two days I haven’t touched a drop and, in all honesty, I haven’t found it too hard. This probably has something to do with the fact that I scared myself shitless and keeping the memory of that feeling close to me means that turning a drink down is easy peasy. But, there are times when it’s more difficult and after a month without booze – the longest I have ever gone since I tasted my first drink – there are a few things I’ve learned… Continue reading

WHY I’M PUKKARING UP TOMORROW…

You may or may not know my history, my story, my journey to the place I find myself in today. It’s not straightforward and its littered with questionable choices, terrible outfits and a frequent lack of direction. One thing that has always remained though was my propensity for hard bloody work. I’m a Yorkshire lass and, quite simply, you’re not allowed to be a Yorkshire lass unless you’re a grafter. From my first job at 13 right up until the job I do today, I’ve always given it my all and I’ve always worked. I took it for granted that I would always be able to do that, if I wanted to…not anymore. Continue reading

WHY I’M 35 BUT LOOK 45 AND FEEL 105

I hope you don’t mind but I’m calling bullshit on adulting. When I was small, I couldn’t wait to do all the adult stuff. Driving, drinking, using a credit card, decorating a house, having dinner out with friends, get married, have kids…I wanted it all and I wanted it now. I was about seven. Continue reading

A SOBERING READ

I’ve thought long and hard about whether to write this. Once I decided to write it, I struggled to figure out how. Why didn’t I want to write it? Because doing so makes it true and it makes me accountable. It makes me publicly responsible for something that honestly, I’m probably 50% in denial about and the other 50%? Well, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about that. Continue reading

WHY YOU SNUZ YOU AND DON’T LOSE….

OK – so I’m all for falling for the latest fad but when it came to my second baby I was determined to keep things real. Apart from anything else, our house was already bursting at the seams with plastic shit that my eldest never used. I couldn’t afford to lose more space for shit that the newest small was never going to use. So, I kept it strict: she needed stuff to wear, something to sleep in, something to be pushed around in and something to go in a car in. Everything else was gravy. Continue reading

CIGARETTES & FORMULA: THE SECRET CONSPIRACY

There’s only one way to start this blog and it’s like this: I don’t give a shit how you feed your kids. I don’t care what decision you make and why you make it. Whatever your decision, as long as your babies are fed, I don’t care whether it’s fresh from source or formula, whether it’s boob or bottle. This is not a blog designed to incite bitching and moaning about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding. It’s an argument that’s sooo 2013 and frankly we’re all bored. I’m starting from the premise that, as mothers and women we are all on the same team and therefore passionate about supporting each other in the decisions we make.

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A NIGHT IN THE LIFE…

12.01am
Drag way back to reality after lovely dream about one of the Ryans. Can’t remember which one. Not 100% sure I could tell them apart. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It was lovely. Remember why I’m not dreaming anymore – smallest child mewling. Boobs leaking. Check clock. I’ve had 32 minutes sleep.

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WHAT THE FUCK AM I GOING TO DO AFTERWARDS?

It’s an understatement to say that Christmas is not what it used to be. As a parent, it’s a financial nightmare. As a mother, it’s a logistical nightmare. As a family, it’s a hotbed of flash points some of which, inevitably, will lead to a Hunger-Games style fight with only one left standing victorious and sober. As a kid however, it’s without doubt the most exciting time of the year. It’s the time during which everything seems to stand a bit more still – mum and dad aren’t rushing off to work, Christmas lights are twinkling in the corner of every eye and chocolate is everywhere. Continue reading

WHY WE SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN THIS…

In this day and age, and by that I mean, this day and our age, we should know how to treat people properly. We should know better than to bully people. You would think that once the knee high socks and bunches are gone, once the playground politics are behind us and the Mean Girls membership cards are well and truly burned, that we would, as grown women, understand that being a bitch gets you nowhere. Continue reading

WHY THE SECOND TIME AROUND IS BETTER…BUT ALSO WORSE

I’m asked all the time…what’s it like the second time around? I’m sure all of you with more than one Small have been asked the same question. I asked every parent I met who had two children when I was pregnant with my second and the answers fell clearly into two camps. Some responded by saying, “It’s really hard. Having two is three times harder than having one.” That wasn’t really what I wanted to hear. The other response was more optimistic, “It’s so much easier the second time around.” Now, that’s more like it. Continue reading

WHO IS // SHANAEL

Elodie Malek is the founder of Shanael  – an online boutique with a host of gorgeous stuff for babies, kids and bedrooms. I’ll admit, it was a shop I hadn’t used or heard of before the lovely Elodie approached me and it was so refreshing to come across someone who was quietly doing their own thing and doing it beautifully. Here at Not So Smug Now we like to introduce as many new mamas building their empires as possible and Shanael has a whole host of products that you’ll never have seen or heard of before. Of course, you’ll want a bit of everything. Sorry about that.

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WHY YOU NEED TO CHEER UP (AND SO DO I)

Yesterday morning I was driving in the car with both my children in the back seat. We were going to a playgroup where both my children would be stimulated and I would have a chance to drink a cup of coffee and have at least half a conversation with an adult before one of us would have to run off to prevent our children from causing irreparable damage to either themselves or someone else.  Continue reading

WHO IS // DOT TO DOT LONDON

Welcome to the new BUSINESS version of WHO IS. I’m often approached by amazing women who don’t have kids who are doing amazing things in the kid industry and, as part of my commitment to supporting all women, I’ve decided to launch a new Business version of WHO IS.

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Letter To My First-Born

Dear Billie,

It’s been a little rough for you recently. You think I haven’t noticed but I have. You don’t yet have the words to full explain why you feel immensely pissed off a lot of the time, but don’t worry babe. I understand and I’m sorry. Continue reading

WHY ONE BUGGY IS NEVER ENOUGH

So you’re pregnant for the first time and amongst many of the decisions you have to make, the buggy decision is probably one of the biggest. And the most fun. I mean, show me a mama-to-be who doesn’t spend most of her time googling buggies, asking friends with kids for their advice, assessing every buggy they walk past in the street. Oh yes, us mamas love us a good buggy. Continue reading

THE DAY SHIZZLE GOT REAL…

OK, so I’m at that point in pregnancy where I’m done. I’m over it. I’m hating almost every moment I have to spend being pregnant. My husband isn’t just sick of hearing me whinge, moan, groan and creak with every movement, he’s also questioning my desire for another baby. Apart from the fact that it’s a bit bloody late to be asking those questions, I’m not whingeing about the baby. I’m whingeing about the pregnancy. I’m like a four year old staring into the oven waiting (not so) patiently for the cake to be cooked. I can’t bloody WAIT for the baby to come but the cooking bit? Stick a motherfunking fork in me; I’m done. Continue reading

WHO IS // LITTLE HOT DOG WATSON

I first met Emma at a Mother’s Meeting Business Club. Little Hot Dog Watson hadn’t yet been launched but she was well on her way to creating a beautifully branded product that no one else was offering. Which, let’s face it, is all you need. Fast forward a few months and Emma (and her company) are killing it. The Little Hot Dog Watson sunhat has become this seasons MUST HAVE accessory for all Smalls in the sunshine. With innovative technology (including mosquito repellent…Not. Even. Joking) Little Hot Dog Watson is making staying ‘sun safe’ easy and oh, so cool. We’re delighted to be featuring Emma on the blog today and finding out who is Little Hot Dog Watson.

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WHY THE FUNK DO I DO IT?

Whenever I meet up with friends they always ask me how the blog is going, which is nice of them. And then, just like clockwork, the second question out of their mouth is, ‘Do you make any money from it?’ Once I’ve picked myself up off the floor and stopped laughing deliriously, I explain that no, I simply do it because, well, I like it. It’s probably 45% because I love writing, 45% because I’m a total narcissist and the last 10% is all about the vain hope that someone reading it, somewhere, feels a little better about themselves and this parenting lark because something I said resonated with them.  Continue reading

WHY I’M GETTING BIRTH BODY READY (AND WHY MY HUSBAND WON’T SHAVE MY VAGINA)

I gave up worrying about whether I was beach-body ready a long time ago. It’s not that I don’t care about how I look in a bikini; fear not, I’m riddled with all the usual insecurities about flabby bits, cellulite, stretch marks, varicose veins and rogue hairs. It’s just that somehow time runs away from me and before I know it I’m on the plane home and I still haven’t tackled any of the above. So, beach body? Whatever….I’ve got more important shit on my plate (like carbs, and chocolate). But, when it comes to my birth-body? Well, that’s a different story. Continue reading

HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER WHEN PREGNANT IN ONE SIMPLE STEP

Don’t worry; I’m keeping this one short and sweet but I did feel compelled to write something just in case I can help any fellow pregnant women out there who have to brave the zoo that is public transport. It can be a veritable war zone out there battling through harried commuters who are plugged into electronic devices striding determinedly down narrow walkways without a care in the world. This total disregard for the small human that you’re busily growing inside you can wind even the most placid of mamas-to-be up into a frenzied puddle of angry hormones but, here’s the thing: your pregnancy isn’t everyone’s first priority and how much can we really blame perfect strangers for not holding your impending bundle of joy in the forefronts of their mind? Continue reading

HOW TO AVOID BEING A MUM WHO’S A BIT OF A DICK

In good news, parenting is a rapidly changing landscape. Generally speaking, over the last two years there’s been a revolution amongst mothers in particular that has seen them embrace the sisterhood over the motherhood. We’re not lending our support to women because they’re mothers as much as we’re lending our support to women because they are women. That means we’re spending less time defining them by the kind of mother they are and the way they choose to parent and more time celebrating the fact that, as women, we are all in this together and frankly, we need all the love, support, good vibes and fanny power we can get.  Continue reading

DUMPED BY MY CLEANER & OTHER MIDDLE CLASS PROBLEMS

Yesterday, I was dumped by my cleaner. By text. The shame. I wouldn’t mind except that she was the only cleaner I’ve ever had that cleaned my house like I would. Yes, she was completely unreliable and, despite the fact that she only came once a fortnight (which was more like once a month by the time she cancelled and rescheduled), I held on to her because, well, cleaning my house just once a month is probably more than I would do left to my own devices. Anyway, it’s all moot now – she’s dumped me. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and cleanerless. As far as middle class problems go, it’s definitely up there.  Continue reading

WHY MY MARRIAGE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY KIDS

It seems obvious to me but sometimes I look around and I wonder whether I’m weird. I’ll be honest, my husband thought I was weird at first too but this is what I believe: my marriage is more important than my kids. I’m not suggesting I love my kids less than I love my husband. I’m not sure any love for a human that you didn’t heave out of your fanny can come even close to that instinctive, overwhelming, unconditional love you feel for your kids but that’s kind of the point. Right? Continue reading

WHO IS // JENNY RAYMOND

Jenny Raymond is one of those people that’s quietly pretty damn impressive. Founder of Mamazou.com – a social hub for parents – Jenny is all about supporting her fellow small-havers. After having her daughter, Jenny (much like the rest of us) spent most of her time tearing her hair out with worry and ‘googling’ and checking out Netmums and Mumsnet for all the advice she could get regarding how to keep her Small alive. Her experience on such sites was mixed: not always friendly, or indeed helpful; quick to judge and cliquey. So, like many #mumbosses before her, she decided to create her own. Taking on the giants of parenting forums is no easy task and while Jenny may come across as quite shy, she’s fiercely determined to make sure that Mamazou.com is a safe, social, judgement-free space for parents to support each other.

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MY BIG FAT PREGNANCY

I’m 33 weeks pregnant. I think. It might be 32. To be honest, it’s the second child so I’m not 100% sure how pregnant I am. I could sit down and work out the dates, but I tend to gauge how pregnant I am by the efficiency of my pelvic floor. By those standards, I’m pretty frickin’ pregnant. Needless to say, I’m also pretty large and, while I know that my body is an amazing thing (I mean, it’s building a human atom by atom), I’m also developing a fairly complicated relationship with it as it changes…changes that are happening beyond my control. Continue reading

#STEAM’ING THROUGH A TUESDAY MORNING

I can’t be the only mama that hates craft. The thought of painting, cooking, baking, sticking and gluing with a toddler is usually enough to drive me to a strong drink and lie down. It’s all tied up with my issues around control and largely it comes down to one thing: the mess. I just can’t enjoy watching glitter go everywhere. Or glue go in hair. Or paint on the walls. I wish I could. I really wish I could relax and enjoy the crazy chaos but it’s like listening to nails scratching down a blackboard. Thank god for Nanny – she does all the crafty stuff and for that I shall always be grateful. Continue reading

WHO IS // ANOUSHKA BEAZLEY

A lot of the time I get introduced to amazing mamas through other amazing mamas that I know well and love. While this is one of my favourite things, it’s also pretty cool to be able to usher a mum into the #sisterhood fold who perhaps is a little new to the mama scene. Ladies and gents, mums and dads, let me introduce you to London-based mama and author of my new favourite book The Good Enough Mother (available on Amazon) – Anoushka Beazley. I was given the book by my husband’s best friend, via my husband who handed it to me with a mumble about how I should read it because Ben (his best friend) knows I’m into mums. I mean, he isn’t wrong, I just think there’s a better way of phrasing it. Anyway, I digress. Anoushka has created a book about a mother yes, but more importantly a woman, that’s laugh-out-loud in a dark and satirical kind of way…a little bit like motherhood now that I come to think of it. Anyway, read on. She’s ace.

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GO HYPNO…YOU WON’T REGRET IT

If the people who know me well were surprised I was going for a home birth, it was nothing compared to the shock they hid (with varying degrees of success) when I told them I was also going to do hypnobirthing. I was met with many slightly cocked heads, covered in polite smiles and quizzical eyes. You see, I guess they don’t see me as the ‘hypnobirthing type’. I can’t blame them…if you don’t know anything about hypnobirthing you could be forgiven for assuming it’s a bit vagina-whispery and a lot of bollocks. Continue reading

WHO IS // LAUREN DERRETT

There’s been a real revolution recently surrounding mamas. The world is starting to wake up to the fact that being pregnant, or having a baby doesn’t immediately cancel you out as a human. It doesn’t mean that we don’t like nice stuff or treats or little boxes of love that make you realise that someone, somewhere hasn’t forgotten about you. The Whole 9 Months was founded on this principle. The mama behind it, Lauren Derret, wanted to  show mamas-to-be that there was still room to make them feel special with gorgeously curated gifts for them. We’re big fans of these ‘doula boxes’ and we’re delighted to feature Lauren in our WHO IS// blog.

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SCHOOL DAZE

I’ve come to realise that this parenting thing is a steep and oh, so constant learning curve. We never have it nailed. Just as we get them sleeping, we need to get them eating. Then they need to walk and talk and before you know it you’re trying to convince them to use a toilet rather than curling down a turd in the middle of the local library (true story). None of this is easy; it keeps you on your toes and, in moments of quiet reflection (read: rocking back and forth in the corner asking, “When will this be over?) you’ll wonder if you’ll ever be able to rest easy again. Continue reading

WHY I’M HOME BIRTH BOUND THIS TIME ROUND

Three years ago I would have sold my bodily organs before I considered giving birth at home. I thought it was a bonkers idea – something that women who ate hemp and tofu off well-polished rose quartz crystals did in between Oms and tantric sex. Yes, I was obnoxious, judgemental and oh, so very wrong. This time around, I’m avoiding hospitals like Zika-infested mozzies. Why? Not because hospital births are wrong or less good; not because I know ‘better’, but because I’m changing what didn’t work FOR ME the first time around. Continue reading

WHO IS // KEELY COBURN

Every now and again you meet a mama who you kind of fall a little bit in love with, you know, in a totally spirit animal kind of way. For me, that happened at a Mothers Meeting Business Club when I happened to sit next to the gorgeous Keely Coburn. Mama to three girls, including twins, Keely founded Mama’s Little Secret when she struggled to find breastfeeding tops that were stylish and practical and despite having twins attached to both boobs most of the time, she launched her first collection. Since then, she’s grown her business between the naps and nappies…and what’s more she’s a bloody lovely lady.

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IT’S A SLIPPERY (WATER) SLIDE INTO BECOMING THAT FAMILY

We’ve only gone and done it. You know those hotels? The ones we’ve spent our entire adult life avoiding? The hotels packaged up with charter flights and transfer coaches all wrapped up in a kids club bow with nightly entertainment (God help us)? Yep, well we’ve just thrown our hard earned cash at one of those happy, jolly, Butlins-in-the-sun, type places and, you know what, I couldn’t be more excited. Continue reading

WHY WE MUST USE OUR GIRL GANG POWER FOR GOOD

Girls…we’re a tricky breed. Put a bunch of us in a room together and it will either be the best, most inspiring and heartwarming night of your life, or it’ll be a Hunger-Games-style, fight to the death, bitch-fest. It’s a sad but true fact that, for some reason, the female of the species have been socially programmed to be, at best, wary of each other and, at worst, downright suspicious and mistrustful. Continue reading