My Mum


I know you're not bothered by Mother's Day, but I didn't want to let the day pass without doing something special.
What better way to let you know how special you are to us than to write it here.

I've known since I was a little girl just how lucky I am to have you.
For 15 years we were the perfect family of four. 2 girls and 2 boys. An even team. I saw friends at school deal with family break ups and I felt so lucky to not be one of them, but I was always scared in case it happened.
And when my dads actions caused our unit to break I was scared.
I was scared about how the 3 of us would bond together to create a new unit. Turning into an odd number, I expected there to always be one left out.
I was scared for you. I was scared about how you would cope with someone doing that to you, to your children, to your family.
But, you got us through. Your strength, determination, honesty and love got us through it. And within no time at all we were a strong unit of 3.
You made us that.
And for that I am so so proud.

Of course we had our ups and downs, and things weren't perfect at times. But again, you got us through.
I remember looking through the window of what is now your house, after we had to move, and it being a big project. For me, at 17, it didn't look like a home. It was just a house. A downgrade from the perfect 4 bedroom house we had been living in as a perfect family of 4 for a few years. But you saw it's potential.
And although the move was tough and wasn't simple, your strength, determination, honesty and love got us through it.
And soon we were in our new home. Not just a house anymore, but a home. Our home.
You made it that.
And for that I am so so proud.

I know at 28 maybe Dale and me rely on you too much sometimes, but you never complain. You are always there to help. 
Always there to talk to. And to babysit. And I appreciate that so much.

When I look at you I see a beautiful, strong, determined, successful woman.
My best friend.
My mother.
My children's grandmother.

I don't know what I would do without you. (Well, ironing for sure).
And I love you so much.


Happy Sunday | Week Five

Whether or not you think Sunday is the end of the week, or the beginning of a new one, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on the week that has just past and to look at the things that have made me happy and made me smile.
I think it can be easy to look back on a hard week and miss out on those things. A week of bad weather for example can really make it seem as though the whole week was a complete fail. But it probably wasn't. We must all smile at least once a day. I know I do, even if I forget it.

Things that made me happy this week:


Oh yes, oh yes, I did it. I got myself a pair of Sun Jellies. After around three weeks of umming and ahhing at which colour to get and getting myself in a state I finally bought some black ones. I thought it seemed the sensible choice as they will go with jeans and with my other sundresses and leggings.
Oh my, they are so comfortable. Are only £14, with only £2 p&p, and it's super quick delivery.
I'm now planning my next colours. I think these will be perfect for our time on the boat too.
Yay summer! Come on!!

Washing on the line

Oh the feeling of joy and success when you look out onto your garden to a washing line full of fresh smelling wet washing, drying in the warm breeze.

The rabbit.

Sometimes I feel incredibly guilty that the rabbit is stuck in his hutch day in day out. I let him out as much as I can into his run but recently I've also let him have freedom of the garden. Our "grass" is full of weeds so he helps by eating the majority of them.
Harry likes to follow him around asking for cuddles and trying to stroke him, sometimes he will chase him which, although may sound cruel, the rabbit clearly enjoys because as soon as Harry stops the rabbit comes over to him as if he's saying "chase me, chase me".
He's not extremely tame but the more we are letting him out the more he will let me go near him.
I wasn't too impressed with him eating my mint plant in the vegetable garden but watching Harry giggle as the rabbit rolled around in the soil was fantastic.

Personal Messages

This week has been quite lovely in terms of messages I've received from people. Two were emails and one was on Facebook. It's nice to receive something that you know someone put their effort and time into writing, and the fact that those people actually thought about me enough to want to send a personal message to me. Things like that make me really happy.

A handmade card

Harry went to playgroup with my mum this week and came home with this. I adore it. The glitter is amazing amazing amazing and my favourite is the inside and the fact that he fingerpainted 'H''s. If you saw last week's Happy Sunday post you'll know he is obsessed with writing H's at the moment. It's adorable and I'm really proud of him.
Charles also came home from school with a handmade card. He was upset that I found it in his bag, but hadn't told me not to look so it was a bit silly really.
I love it although he still calls me 'mummy' and not 'mum' so we laughed at that.
These things are so precious. 

 What made you happy this week?

Linking up to:
The Ordinary Moments: Mummy Daddy Me
My Week That Was: Make, Do and Push



Am I Brave?

When I write about mental health, my mental health to be exact, I don't feel brave. I don't feel strong.
I just write it. Because it helps me.
Writing it all down is a release from it being on my mind, and on my shoulders. I can feel a weight being lifted and that feels good.
I don't think about who could read it. I don't think about it being on the internet for whoever to see. I just think about how much it helps me to write it down, no matter how personal it is.

I've said a few times before, I'm not ashamed about my mental health problems.
What is there to be ashamed about?
I didn't cause them, and they are not a result of anything I have done wrong in life.
It's just something that has happened and something I have to learn to deal with and cope with in whichever way I can.

It's not easy living with it. It's unpredictable and that can be the hardest thing.
Going to bed on a high and wondering if I will wake up in that happy mood the next day.
Going to bed feeling so low and wondering if I will wake up that down the next day.
I know everyone can wake up in a bad mood, or not feeling quite right, but when it comes to depression, I think the feeling of "how long will it last this time?" is the scariest thing.
And how it not only affects you, but everyone around you.
You can't just snap out of it. Or have some chocolate to get over it.
It's within you all the time, like an active volcano waiting to erupt, and you don't know how severe it will be.

It's scary knowing that anything, small or large, can put you back in that low, dark place. The place you can go to so easily but struggle so hard to get out of.
Something so insignificant to others. That even you can look at and say "don't get wound up by it" will still affect you.

The thing that gets me through is people saying I've helped them. Or that they've felt the same and that reading what I am going through makes them feel better.
It makes it all worth it, the sharing.
I do worry about sharing it sometimes, mostly because of what people might think of me, rather than the actual subject of what I am sharing.

If I can make people aware of mental health, and how people suffer from it, then that makes writing about it even more important.
If I can make someone feel they are not alone, then it makes it even more important.

I don't necessarily feel brave or strong, but the fact that some see me as that is quite wonderful.



The Last Class

Last night I attended my final Stress Control session. There were 6 sessions in total and annoyingly I had to miss session 4 and 5 because I was so poorly although thankfully I was able to collect those workbooks yesterday.

Yesterdays session was about sleep and the future.
Sleep is one of my issues, as a result of the anxiety and depression but also because I have just got myself in this silly routine of not sleeping.
The reasons being because my husband is a snorer, and also because of when I was breastfeeding Harry. Even though Harry was asleep I would stay awake, waiting for him to wake up for his milk. We weren't in any kind of routine but I would wait and would end up giving up at 1am, and going to bed only to be woken 5 minutes later, or I would go to bed at 2, for the same thing to happen.
The session last night focuses on how we can improve our sleep.
We looked at writing a sleep diary and knowing why our sleep is disturbed, how we can relax, retraining our sleep, as well as looking at tips for sleeping better.
The aim being that an improvement in our sleep will mean we are more able to fight and control our stress/anxiety/depression in the daytime.

We then looked briefly at the future, and how we can control our future in terms of stress.
We focused on dealing with set-backs and the fact that it is ok to have down days and to remember that down days don't put us back at step one. We may have moved forward three steps but a bad day may only take us back one step, so to look at it postively that's still two steps we've moved forward.
We talked about letting others help us in certain ways. Not just by being there to talk but by letting people help around the house, or doing particularly jobs for us.
And also at praising ourselves. Saying well done and addressing a good day, and particular achievements.

I'm not sure if overall the stress control classes have helped me. But they've certainly given me things to think about and made me see that some of what I think is "normal" and to make me feel like someone, somewhere, understands.
I feel a lot of it is what I knew already.
I didn't go to the classes to be cured, or to come away feeling completely better. I was realistic with my thoughts.
But I am glad I went, because I almost didn't.

Now I need to think about my next steps.
Once again I'm waiting on yet ANOTHER assessment to see about getting CBT. I actually think I've had more assessments than actual appointments. It's incredibly frustrating to have to keep repeating the same upsetting things over and over again to strangers. Although I find it easy to write about I don't find it so easy to talk about.

I am aware of two other classes I would be suitable for but unlike the stress control classes, which was just sit and listen, these ones are a lot more involved and are a smaller group where you sit and talk. I'm not sure I want to do that.

I recently started taking anti-depressants and I'm going to try and be positive and realistic when it comes to those. If it means I'm on them for a few years then so be it.
I want to be happy not only for my family, but most importantly for myself. And to start leading a positive, fulfilled life.


Happy Sunday | Week Four

Whether or not you think Sunday is the end of the week, or the beginning of a new one, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on the week that has just past and to look at the things that have made me happy and made me smile.
I think it can be easy to look back on a hard week and miss out on those things. A week of bad weather for example can really make it seem as though the whole week was a complete fail. But it probably wasn't. We must all smile at least once a day. I know I do, even if I forget it.

Things that made me happy this week:

A Kind Heart

I'm in my second week of being poorly which sucks. Charles is better though so has returned to school, with my husband doing the morning school runs to help me out.
On Tuesday I was having a particularly bad day and in between doing dinner and then getting ready for the bedtime routine, which I've been doing this week whilst my husband is working overtime, I took myself off to the bathroom for 5 minutes to take off my make up and just have some time to myself. Normally the boys would be in and out as per usual but Charles knocked on the door and I said I would be out in a minute. It was like he understood I needed some time to myself.
When I went downstairs I couldn't see him so assumed he was waiting for me in his bedroom and I had missed him. Then Harry told me he was under the table.
He appeared with a card with hand drawn heart balloons on the front and inside the words 'To Mumy, Love Charles, Dady and Harry' and on the back the number 8 with eight kisses, he had accidentally drawn nine but decided nine was far too much so he crossed it out.
The card was to make me better because he knew I was feeling so poorly.
This card meant and will always mean so much to me. I love that he knew he had a few minutes without me around so went to find a blank card and a pencil to make me a card. I love that he hid under the table to surprise me. I love that he put everyones names in it.
I love that he wanted to make me feel better.

A Family Dinner

I usually do the boys dinner around 5/5.30 and then I eat with my husband around 7. My husband has been working late this week and getting back at 8 o clock and so I decided to make Spaghetti Bolognese for me and the boys one night. My husband has gone off it so I very rarely make it now. It was lovely and Charles was so excited that I was eating with them.
We talked about school and about some boating weekends we have planned in April and May. We talked about school, and girls, amoungst other things. It was just so wonderful.
Excuse the dirty mouth.

The Cuteness

Harry lined his Bob the Builder toys up, plus another digger on the end, sat in the middle and asked for me to take a photo of them. How could I say no? Yes he may have chocolate all around his mouth but I don't care. The moment was just so wonderful, I love how he put his arms around them too, like a proud friend or a proud owner.

The Letter H

This week Harry learnt how to write the letter H. Although he doesn't know his alphabet in full yet he is really good at recognising letters and being able to tell you some words that begin with those letters.
He is so proud of being able to write 'H' that he is obsessed with writing it at any given opportunity. I keep finding pieces of paper with an H written on them and pages in my notebooks with 'H' on almost every page.
I love it and am so proud of him.

Ricky Martin

I adore Ricky Martin and feel ashamed to say that I didn't realise he had new songs out that I never even knew about. I went onto YouTube to watch the video and listen to Vuelve on Monday (my go to song if I am feeling down) and then came across this.
Why is it not released in the UK? Madness!!



That Little White Pill

Yesterday I wasn't sure how to feel.
I was pleased that I have made big steps and will hopefully be feeling a lot more settled in my emotions soon.
I was relieved that I no longer have this "should I or shouldn't I?" question hanging over my head. 

On Tuesday, in desperation, I wrote a letter to my doctor, almost begging for an appointment as it's so hard to get past the receptionists. Tuesday evening at 7pm the phone rang twice, I didn't get there in time but saw it was WITHHELD so hoped for the best. Yesterday morning, at 8.30 on the dot my phone rang again.
It was my doctors receptionist. He wanted to see me that morning.
At 10 am I'm sat in the waiting room.
I felt so incredibly anxious.
I felt everyone was looking at me. EVERYONE.
I didn't know where to look, what to do with my hands. I felt fidgety, and uncomfortable.
I felt scared and shaky.
The moment my name appeared on the scrolling board I let out a sigh of relief and hoped my wobbly legs would carry me the short distance down the corridor to my doctors room.
Part of me wanted to run away and not go through with it but the other part was pulling me into the room, encouraging me to do the right thing.

I went in. We sat and talked for a while.
Discussed my reasons, my options, my worries, and my next steps.
And then he signed the prescription.
I'm now on antidepressants.

I first went onto antidepressants at 15, something which I believe doesn't happen too much now because the brain is still developing, and I didn't have the best experience on them. As a result I've got a very negative view of them and always wanted to overcome anxiety and depression by myself.
I felt I was letting myself down by going back onto them. Like I was or am weak.
But I've tried for 5 years not to use them.
I've tried many other ways to try and overcome this illness and it's time to accept that I've done all I can and need to help myself by sorting out the balances within my head and my brain by taking medication.

For now I am only on 50mg, I have to give it 2 weeks to start working and then see from there as to whether or not I stay on that amount or raise to 100mg or 150mg.

This was all weighing so heavy on my head and my heart yesterday.
But today I woke up and actually forgot about it, until my husband asked if I had taken my tablet.

I feel somewhat refreshed and like a weight is off my shoulders.
Although I'm still a bit disappointed that it has come to this, me taking that little white pill everyday, I've accepted that I need to look after myself. And not abuse myself by accepting these awful thoughts and letting tears become part of my daily routine.
I have a long way to go, and other changes in my life I need to make. Other things to accept and realise, and I'll get there.
It just might take me a while.



A Letter and a Wait

I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it a nightmare to get a doctors appointment. We don't have to ring up on the day for an appointment, you only do that for an emergency appointment, but booking one for a week or two weeks time with my own doctor is becoming impossible.
I love my doctor. He is supportive, and I trust him. I can say anything to him.
I can sit there with him and say "Hi, so I think I'm dying" and he will not be fazed or make me feel like I am overreacting. He will talk it over with me, ask the right questions, and say everything right.
I can take the boys to go and see him and he will always ask how I am. And that remembering means a lot. It's easy to feel like just a number when it comes to your doctor, because really you are. A lot of numbers.
But the fact that he remembers what I'm going through means a lot to me.
He tells me to call if I ever need to speak to him or to get an appointment whenever I need to talk about the depression and anxiety.

So, anyway, I am due to see him soon. To discuss the next step in this anxiety and depression battle.
I think for a while we both ignored the depression part. He knows how much "depression" means to me in that I am so scared of it and don't want it to be a part of my life anymore. And we tried to focus on the anxiety.
But it was time to face up to it. And to forget about plans in the past to avoid medication.
I told him my fears. And he understood.
And when I asked for him to keep an eye on me and to not let me go on them alone he understood and said he would be there for me.
Which gave me a wonderful sense of reassurance.
I had to do other things before the medication route was to begin. These things I have done and I wrongly put off going to see him because I wanted one last go and doing this by myself.
I started focusing more positively on things in my life. And writing about them.
I have tried to address and accept the depression. Almost like an "Ok, you're here, lets work together, let's not fight".
But the depression has other ideas.

I have fought so hard against this, and I feel I am going nowhere. Just reversing and smashing so hard into a brick wall. Harder and harder every time.

And it's time to accept that I can't keep doing that. And I need to try and stick some bumpers up.
And if those bumpers come in the form of antidepressants than that is what is meant to be.
It's not my ideal. But is depression my ideal? Of course not.

So, I try and book an appointment with my doctor. I'm desperate.
I feel at my lowest this week. I say that because I forget about how low I feel, but yesterday I wanted to shut myself off from the world completely.
And I don't want to feel like that.
And then there's another one of those brick walls.
Being told you should ring back in two to three weeks to see if you can get an appointment.
I say ok. I didn't know what else to say.
But coming off the phone I realise that it's another month of desperation. Of fighting and feeling scared and I consider ringing back and begging to see him.
I consider seeing another doctor, which I don't want to do at all.
So I write a letter, to my doctor. Telling him I phoned in desperation but won't be able to even see about getting an appointment for another two or three weeks. I drop it off at the surgery. And now....I wait.

So, whilst I wait for a response I will plough through the darkness some more.
Swimming to the top to find the light and the happiness to fight this and to not let it completely take over my life.


Chilli and Lime Dressing | Recipe

After recently trying an amazing chilli and lime dressing, but not wanting to pay £5 for a bottle of it, I decided to have a go at making my own.
It was my husbands birthday last week and I wanted to make a 3 course meal.
We went for lamb shanks for the main and Eton Mess for dessert, so I wanted the starter to be simple, easy and quite light.
I opted for prawns and thought it was a great excuse to try and make this dressing. The only ingredient we had to buy was a lime as the other two we have as a regular cupboard essential.

You need:

1 lime
Olive Oil (I use Extra Virgin)
Sweet Chilli Sauce (I used Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce)

It's simple. Super simple.

Half the lime, squeeze out the juice into a bowl.
Add a shot glass (yes, that was my genious way of measuring) of sweet chilli dipping sauce and mix.
Then add 2 shot glasses of olive oil. Mix again.
Then enjoy served with prawns and lettuce, with bread, or a salad.



Why Do I Do It?

I'm having a bad afternoon.
I'm poorly, I'm tired, the school run was awful. So awful.
I'm questioning myself as a mother. Whether or not this is right for me.
If I am "up to the job". 
My anxiety has gone sky high.
I have a bazillion (yes that's a real thing, in my head anyway) other things in my mind hurting and smashing against every side 
I am breaking. Slowly into a million pieces.

And what do I do? What do I want to do?
I want to write about it?
I want to head straight onto my laptop, open up my blog, and write about it.
All of it.
And I then I hit publish.
And people read it.

But why am I doing this to myself?
Why am I writing all these crazy, attention seeking things down?
Why am I allowing myself to be judged? To be talked about?
By friends, strangers, enemies.

I write and it makes me feel a tiny bit better. Not completely. It doesn't fix anything.
But just a tiny bit better.
But would I feel better if this was private? If I hit publish and I knew I was the only one reading it?
No, what would be the point of that?
But why am I constantly opening myself up?
Saying "hey everyone, look crazy moment going on over here! wooooo!!"

I'm not stupid.
I can see it.
A roll of the eyes.
Here she goes again.
I get it. I do. I understand.

I can understand why it would be so hard to be friends with someone like me.
For me to be normal, and to be all "Wooo, Joules. Woooo boat. Wooo *other stuff I obsess over*" and then to come here and be like "Woah, she didn't say anything about feeling like that?"

There feels like no point in saying that I'm not ok when I'm asked. It's annoying if someone says "Actually no I'm not".
I know that. I used to work with someone just like that, although she did it for the attention. Really she did.
I don't want anyone to think that of me.
I'm not like that.

I say I'm ok, because it's easier.
It's easier to say I'm ok, because I don't always know what's wrong.
But also, it's easier for those who ask, who won't know the right thing to say.
Because there isn't a right thing to say.

I just want a cuddle.
I just want to be liked.
I just want to be me again.
Not this mess.

But why do I do it?
Why do I tell complete strangers, people who will never meet me?
People who like me, or don't like me?
Why am I opening up like this?
What am I doing to myself?



Happy Sunday | Week Three

Whether or not you think Sunday is the end of the week, or the beginning of a new one, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on the week that has just past and to look at the things that have made me happy and made me smile.
I think it can be easy to look back on a hard week and miss out on those things. A week of bad weather for example can really make it seem as though the whole week was a complete fail. But it probably wasn't. We must all smile at least once a day. I know I do, even if I forget it.

Things that made me happy this week:

My Rocks

This week has been truly awful. Charles and I have been poorly with colds and then were also both hit by a midweek sickness bug. He's been off school and has been upset at the possibility of his girlfriend forgetting about him (really!) and has ended up with a serious case of cabin fever.
It's been tough. I've had no energy and it's one of those weeks that I'd probably beat myself up about but you know what, it was beyond my control so I'm going to write it off and not worry too much about it.

A Birthday

This week has been such a fog of illness, sickness and general yuk that I keep forgetting that on Sunday and Monday we celebrated my husbands birthday. We had a family day on Sunday because of Charles having school on Monday (well, we didn't know he would be off with illness at that point) and my husband was at work until late.
We had a wonderful time on Sunday, went for a meal out and headed home to a chocolate birthday cake.

Joules and Norfolk

If you know me at all you will be very aware of my obsession with Joules, and my love of the Norfolk Broads. I took advantage of a 20% off offer recently with Joules and bought two really cute keyrings.
This week they arrived, along with the brochure leaflet that is normally in the bag, and an added bonus/extra was this Guide to Norfolk.
Their new range is inspired by sailing, which is perfect for me of course given our new purchase, and the photos taken to show off their new range were taken on the Norfolk Broads. Squeal!

A New Favourite Quote

I love searching for quotes on Pinterest. I find it a form of therapy, I find it inspirational, relaxing, comforting and stress relieving too.
I've said it before, but it's almost like it's that friend who always knows exactly what to say and can tell you exactly what you need to hear.

A New Mug

I have a few favourite mugs. I have a different one depending on my mood, my day and so on. Silly I know. I had a pretty one my Aunty (in-law) bought me one Christmas and also finally a lovely Cath Kidston one just before Christmas which was a gift from a PR, both of these broke in our old dishwasher and I was so disappointed.
I just got round to replacing the Cath Kidston one, with a different design, but it's beautiful all the same. I love it and am really precious over it.



Blogger/PR Relationship

In blogging there are a few things we all agree on, one of those being that an important thing to do, if you want to review or work with brands, is to build a good relationship with a PR company.
I feel really lucky to be been able to build a really good relationship with a PR company since i first worked with them on my Babymule Changing Bag review back in 2012.
And now, I'm SO excited to announce that they are sponsoring me to attend Britmums Live in 2014.
That PR company are......................

To celebrate our "partnership" we thought it would be fun, and informative, to put together an interview for you to get to know BumpPR and also to get an insight into how to approach and work with a PR company.

Tell us about bumpPR

bumpPR is a PR agency specialising in parenting and family products. We work with about 40 different brands, including everything from breastpumps to tricycles. We’re a team of four girls who are super-clued up on cloth nappies, breastfeeding and creative play.  None of us have children yet, (although Lisa is getting married in June!) but we love babies. We have a great office in Soho, packed with loads and loads of baby products.

What is the best way for a blogger to approach you if they want to work together?

The best thing to do would be to send us an email, with a little introduction to you and your blog. Ideally, you’d have an idea of how you would like to work together, perhaps taken a look at our website and what clients we work for. A personal approach goes a long way for us, and it’s definitely worth putting in a few extra minutes into your email.

What is the worst way for a blogger to approach you if they want to work together?

We’re not huge fans of emails that don’t address us by name (our names are in our email addresses!) The process can just be a lot slower if a blogger doesn’t tell us much about themselves. We reply to everyone who approaches us, but it makes our job much easier if we know why you want to work with us.
We don’t approach bloggers without having a good read through their posts and about me section, so if bloggers approach us in a similar way we are always really pleased.
Oh…and also it’s always a good idea to include a link to your blog! (You’d be surprised but it does happen)

What puts you off working with a blogger?

Probably the things discussed above for someone we have not worked with before.  We’re very lucky in that we have never had a terrible review from anyone.  Things that could put us off though would be; taking a very long time to review something (and not letting us know why – we’re very understanding all it takes is an email!) or a review that was very brief and didn’t include much information or photos.

What type of bloggers do you enjoy working with?

We like to think we are a friendly bunch, so we like bloggers that are friendly too! We’ve worked with lots of different people over the years, but there are just some that really stand out. They make extra effort when replying to emails, their reviews are outstanding and they just go the extra mile.  Those are the people we work with time and time again.

We also like creative thinkers; we want people to read the reviews with interest, so anything you can do to make it visually appealing, funny or different always goes down well.

When selecting bloggers to work with, does blog design or blog photography matter to you?

It’s not everything, but it is certainly important.  First impressions make a big difference, not only to us, but to our clients. If we set up a review and are asking a client to approve a sample, we need to know they can look at a blog – and think great, that looks professional.  

Good photography is also really important for reviews.  Personal photos that show the product in use are so much better than standard cut-outs! (Although we do understand that with some products like breastpumps and nursing bras, you might have to use them!)

What is more important to you, social media presence or page views?

Good question! We are generally interested in both. We always like to know the number of unique visitors a blog has, as this gives us the best idea of how many people are reading the blog in the first place. Often, someone who has a lot of a unique visitors will have a lot of Twitter followers too, but not always.

If we are asking you to host a competition, social media probably has the edge, because it is such a quick and easy way to reach lots of people. For reviews, we’d probably say unique visitors, as you can’t really get a review into 140 characters!

What is your opinion on “blaggers” (people setting up blogs simply to get “free” things)?

Luckily, most of the bloggers we hear from have a genuine interest in working with us.  We’ve never had anyone take a product and not review it. If someone can provide a great review in return for a product, then it’s worth it for us. One thing that is obvious is that reviews take a lot of time and effort.  It’s rarely a case of something for nothing. If a blogger approached us, and we didn’t think their reviews were strong enough, then we would probably politely decline the opportunity to work together. We work with lots of brands, and some blogs are better fits than others.  

Have you had any big client/blog fails you can tell us about?

No, thank goodness! We are all quite thorough when setting up projects with bloggers. We tend to build up relationships first, and it seems to work for us. We hope that if anyone ever had a problem with a product we sent out, that they would give us the chance to resolve the problem first.

You sometimes put a call out for reviewers on Twitter, which request has had the most response? And have you ever regretted doing this because of the amount of mentions/dms/emails you then receive?

The most popular so far has probably been the smarTrike & Go. We had so many responses for that one! We didn’t regret putting out the request, because we got to meet a few new bloggers as a result. The only hard thing was writing back to those who we couldn’t choose. We always feel very mean, but we make sure we reply to everyone to say thanks.

bumpPR comes across as a fantastic company to work for, what do you each like/love best about working there?
Firstly thank you... I am passionate about making bump a fun, supportive and creative environment in which people thrive and want to work.  We certainly are a friendly bunch... But then again we work in PR... It’s our job to be lovely. It's all about balance - work hard, play hard! I'm honoured and delighted that I appear to have achieved this and so happy the people we work with pick up on a positive vibe.
The best thing is waking up each morning and knowing I am coming into a lovely, friendly office.  There is a lot of opportunity to be creative, and let’s face it who doesn’t love babies. (Not there are actually any in the office)
bumpPR is a wonderful place to work. There is a lovely atmosphere in the office; although we are all extremely busy, it is a relaxed environment where we laugh, share ideas and have fun! I think the parenting industry in general is a great industry to be in. Our clients, the journalists, bloggers we work with etc are always friendly and if it is easy to get on with each person you come into contact with in the industry, it makes work an enjoyable experience. I suppose my favourite thing is that I actually love all the products we promote. Our clients are so passionate about their products, but so are we. One thing is for certain, when it’s my turn to enter motherhood, I have a rather large wish list …
I’ve only been working at bump for 2 months, but I am loving it so far. The girls are lovely and super helpful – I really feel that they genuinely want to help me learn and develop. My job is genuinely fun and the atmosphere is light-hearted often hilarious!

If you were each to start your own blog, what would the topic be and what would your blog be called?
We talk about this in the office all the time! We are approached so often and sometimes you hear of a blog and think what a brilliant name... It can make all the difference.  I think I'd go for 'Life's a beach' I love the beach, hence the website and general brand theme. It reminds me of happy times and come rain or shine makes me smile! It's also very generic so it could grow with me! (P.S the girls later told me, this is the name of our company blog –I told you it was a good name!)
I set up a blog a few months ago, but have very much failed to keep it going. I think I managed four posts or something. It is (was?!) called doodles and dinners, and is about my two great loves – food and drawing. Since then I have even more respect for bloggers, it must take so much time to blog successfully!
Other than being obsessed with talking about food, I love watching films and programmes and I always have a book on the go too. In the office, if we are all watching the same programme, we love to have a discussion about it. We will all say what we think is going to happen next; who are favourite characters are etc. If I had a blog, I think I could talk films, programmes and books all day long. Maybe it could be called ‘Chloe’s Comments…’ If I got really good, I would perhaps be invited be premieres … hmmm…
I have a blog, which I do update sporadically (should really get on this) in an attempt to keep my family in friends in Wiltshire updated on what I’m getting up to in the big city – it’s called ‘A Slice of Life’ which began life as a blog about baking! It has an over ‘bumpkin in the city’ vibe, which is essentially what I am.

Cake is a big thing you are known for loving and tweeting about, so it would be rude to not ask what your favourite flavour is?

The girls always laugh at me but I am a creature of habit... If we're talking treats accessible to the office for me it is always a classic hummingbird cupcake with chocolate icing! If this is something I'd bake at home, or to be a little more realistic... Something jack would bake at home I would have to say a traditional Victoria sponge! At the moment I'm on a cake shortage due to the obligatory wedding diet, only 3 months to go now though and boy you should see the wedding cake!  
This is so difficult; I probably have to say a really gooey brownie. Red Velvet cupcakes are definitely a close second.
Now, that’s just a really difficult question! Working in Soho means we are surrounded by lots of irresistible treats. I would have to say my top 3 favourite have to be a Gail’s Blueberry muffin, a Ben’s milk chocolate cookie and a black bottom cupcake from the hummingbird bakery. I am hungry even thinking about it!
I’m pretty sure that liking cake was in the job description – unfortunately, it being the beginning of the year and Lisa getting married this year and Chloe on the Cambridge diet, there has been a lack of cake in this office thus far. I’m sure this is great for the waistline but I not-so-secretly hope that this changes in due course. My favourite flavour of cake is Red Velvet – thanks btw, now I want some!

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Camouflage Skibz Bib
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Ewan the Dream Sheep
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And That's What I Shall Do.

A couple of months ago I went to see my doctor. Mainly to address my anxiety and at this point we decided to accept that yes, depression is present too, despite my denial and unwillingness to acknowledge it.

My doctor is fantastic, I can talk to him about anything and he will say the right thing in most cases.
When I told him that I think everyone is looking at me thinking "Gosh, she's fat" or "Gosh, she looks awful" he asked me how I knew and said maybe I should just ask them.

We talked about my need to please people. To make people happy.
Particularly online I think. It's an odd world to be part of.
Wonderfully odd, being able to mix with and communicate with people you would never have talked to in real life. People above you in terms of class, or maybe even below you.
People you would look at in real life and maybe turn your nose up at them, don't deny it, we've all done it. Or maybe people you would look at and think "she would NEVER talk to me."

I am so desperate to be in with those people that I think are above me. To be recognised by them, to be accepted and noticed by them.
I don't think it's bad to strive to be better than you are, and I'd like to think I am realistic. I know I can be that person. I can be like them, I know we could be good friends.

But the more I try, the more I watch them, the more I get to know them, the more I think I am wasting my time. And I think I need to step back and think about me. Pleasing me, and taking care of my own feelings rather than theirs.

In life we have certain experiences with people. These are things others may not see. Things said or done in private. Things done openly that others are blind too, or maybe think is acceptable when really, it isn't.

When you then warn others of this behaviour, and they ignore you, or brush it under the carpet. What are you supposed to do?
Continue and seem like an obsessed crazy person?
Or do you step back, and watch, and wait for the day the realisation kicks in? If it ever does?
What if the person you warned accepts that behaviour? Is made to look like a fool by their peers?
What if that person won't listen to you because in reality, they like the attention they are getting from this person?
They like the drama it causes elsewhere?

You can try your best to step back and to just accept that the friendship was never meant to be. But it's hard online.
It's hard because it's always there. In your face.
You can't help but to feel laughed at. To feel like your warnings are seen as jealous behaviour.
You've kept so much to yourself and it eats away at you. Inside.
It hurts.
You try to walk away from this online life but why should you?
You create your own space, this place that is yours.
Why should anyone ruin it?
Why should you allow them to ruin it?

I have been quite strong in real life, breaking away from family relationships and friendships that drain me and make me feel in a way I shouldn't.
Of course it was hard but it was the right thing to do.
Yet online, it doesn't seem to work with everyone.
Some you can break away from, in a certain sense because they will always be there in some form.
But with others, it's hard to accept that they will never be the person you want them to be, or never see you as the person you want them to see you as.
They see you as a number.

The best thing to do, although really really tough, is to realise that maybe, YOU are too good for THEM.
Looking at the ones around you who do think you are good enough. Who fit into your everyday perfectly. Who you don't have to fight so hard to please or to be noticed by.
The ones who like you for you.

My doctor told me to think of myself and my feelings more.
And that's what I shall do.


Siblings: The Family Portrait Project | March 2014

As my boys get older they are becoming closer and closer. Real best friends, with a mix of arguments too but most of the time best friends.
I just love seeing them playing together, be it at home or out, laughing together, hatching plans together, saving each other from daddy when it's play time.
Harry constantly makes Charles laugh, sometimes not knowing exactly what he is doing or without even trying. Charles has to work a bit harder to make Harry laugh, by certain expressions, doing certaing things or even walking on Harry's tummy.
After school Harry will sometimes walk and just wants to hold Charles' hand. I'm not good enough. He wants to stick with his brother, and he wants everyone to know what a team they are.
Last week as we walked back to the car Harry stopped halfway, stopped holding my hand, turned round to his brother and said "Need give you a cug". And they stood on the pathway, with people walking past, in this tight embrace. With a tight squeeze Harry let go, they held hands again, Harry held mine, and we walked to the car with Charles saying "That was nice".
I really am so lucky.



Happy Sunday | Week Two

Whether or not you think Sunday is the end of the week, or the beginning of a new one, I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on the week that has just past and to look at the things that have made me happy and made me smile.
I think it can be easy to look back on a hard week and miss out on those things. A week of bad weather for example can really make it seem as though the whole week was a complete fail. But it probably wasn't. We must all smile at least once a day. I know I do, even if I forget it.

Things that made me happy this week:

An Uncle and his Nephews

My brother doesn't live near us. He moved away when Charles was still a baby, but we are incredibly lucky that he still visits as often as he can. Harry can take a while to warm to him, but I think this is down to him liking the attention if he is shy at first.
These photos are from our visit to Jimmy's Farm last Sunday. We had a really lovely time, especially as the boys got some fun bonding time with their Uncle.


There's something about pigs that I really like. I could watch them for hours. At Jimmy's Farm there were some beautiful big pigs. Including some lovely blonde fluffy ones. If I had lots of land I would definitely keep pigs.

A school report and parents evening

We recieved Charles' first school report this week and also went along to our second parents evening. There is nothing quite like being told how well your child is doing and how proud the teacher is of him. We are such proud parents.

New Make Up

I was selected to do an assignment for Collective Bias than involved me having to buy some cosmetics...squeal! I love all of my new items especially the Rimmel Colour Rush Balm and L'oreal Tweed Top Coat.

Money on my Mind

I am obsessed with this song. The boys now sing along to it with me, or by themselves. On Wednesday this week I sat in the garden whilst Harry played and put this song on my phone via YouTube. It was lovely sitting feeling the sun on my skin listening to such a beautiful voice.
When I first heard the song a few weeks ago I didn't realise it was Sam Smith, Harry recognised his voice from Naughty Boy's La la la...which I thouht was quite clever.

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