Dear Fellow Mama… We all NEED to let our hair down!

One thing I always feel really strongly about is when mums get criticised for going on a night out. Obviously, I’m not saying every week, but once in a while, I think it’s really important that mothers are given the opportunity to go out and let their hair down.

I recently got criticised for going out once/twice a month with friends, and my argument to this is I work full time (plus overtime), as well as having ‘mum duties’. I honestly believe Mums need a night out once every now and then for their wellness – they need that time to switch off and just have a night off.

I really feel for celebrities, stuck in the lime light, who get harshly judged for going on a night out when they do, because as if being a mum isn’t hard enough? God forbid they go out and let their hair down.

I definitely feel that over the years society has almost gone back in time when it comes to motherhood. There is this barbaric idea that we’re stay at home housewives… As if it’s 1950 again, as hard as it is to believe, guess what? Mums are perfectly capable of holding down a career, a home, a social life and raising children.

It’s no secret that I love a night out. I love my job, my friends and most importantly my son. Under no circumstances do I ever sacrifice time with Oliver for that, I work my social life around him. Of course, I link my social life with Oliver wherever I can. I have friends with children and friends without. It was only recently that I went to a garden party arranged through work and my friend Lucy and her fiancé Liam came… They were AMAZING with Oliver! Oliver loved wearing them out and I loved watching them entertain Oliver (side note: cannot wait for them to have a baby because after watching them with Oliver, it’s obvious they’re naturals). Plus there’s my friend Charlotte who recently came to the funfair with me and Oliver, and Oliver loves her to bits, not to mention my mummy friends such as the mummykind girls and Jacey who was even coming on days out with me and Oliver while heavily pregnant! Of course not forgetting Sarah, Oliver’s godmother, fellow mummykind girl and practically my life coach, who is getting mentioned here at her own request 😉

I love having two different groups of friends and being able to have the best of both worlds.

Anyway I’m straying from the topic, where was I? Yes, mums NEED time off. When I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis one thing my doctor said to me was, when do you get time to yourself? I sat and paused. “Well… When I’m asleep I guess,” and he stressed to me the importance of having time to myself.

Whenever I go out it’s with one of two groups of friends, and each have a different agendas!

Work friends/friends without children

Pros:

  1. Baby free
  2. Always about
  3. Know how to have a good time
Cons
  1. Sometimes cannot understand why I’m not always about
  2. Have a way better alcohol tolerance/stamina than me, leaving me to play catch up
  3. there is usually a drama on a night out
Mum friends
Pros:
  1. Rarely go out so appreciate a night out more
  2. Have the same alcohol tolerance so I’m not feeling like playing catch up
  3. Completely understand if I can’t come out
Cons:
  1. Rarely able to arrange a night we’re all free
  2. When we are all free we’re all too shattered
  3. Mum life – need I say anymore???
So to any mum reading this, sit and ask yourself when was the last time you let your hair down and just had a night off from it all? If it was longer than 3 months then you’re 100% due a good night out with your mates.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Clothing for Curvy Mummas – Where is hot and where is not!

In the first few months after I had Flo, I had sort of accepted that my life as Harriet was over. I think “accepting” this was my way of rationalising that it was okay to not give a shit about myself anymore. I had signed myself up for a life of over sized tops and leggings and I was more than okay with that.

A few months and a few mental health medications down the line, I was clearly in a better mind set. I accepted myself and made sure that I accepted body. After all, it had grown a perfect little mini me, so I couldn’t have been that bad, right?

I slowly got back into who I was. I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself, I’d always loved being different and realising that there were markets that cater for my new shape, identity, style and body really allowed me to get back to finding who I am.

Trawling through ASOS and favouriting items until I’m brave enough to buy them (or they go down in price!) has played a massive part in rediscovering ‘Harriet’-

I couldn’t tell you how many things I’ve tried on, with my mum whilst shouting “THIS WOULD HAVE LOOKED SO NICE ON ME BEFORE THIS” *points at stomach*….
or how many kooky items I’ve got for “jokes” that have looked gorgeous on me!
All I can say is thank goodness for free delivery and refunds!

Here are my favourite plus sized retailers and why,,,

1. ASOS – In my opinion ASOS is the biggest contender in the plus size game. Not only does ASOS have it’s own plus size range (ASOS CURVE) but it has plenty of other well known plus size ranges available on its app and website including but not limited to New Look Curves, Maya Plus, Daisy Street, misguided, boohoo, Chi Chi, John Zack Plus, Levis Plus, River Island, Little Mistress, Unique21, ect. With a fantastic range, massive variety, frequent sales and a great customer rewards system – ASOS is by far my most frequented fashion retailer and app!


2. New Look Curves – I love that New Look uses the same fabrics and prints for all their women’s ranges. This means that regardless of a ladies size, they can wear what is on trend and feel comfortable rocking it. New Look’s clothing never fails to pull me in and I’m almost guaranteed to spend money every time I visit their website or store.


Tea Dress / New Look / size 22 / £20


3. Forever 21+ – Despite what the name says, I’m certainly over the age of 21 but always manage to find lovely pieces on F21. Generally their ranges seem to be targeted for slightly younger audiences, but I never seem to be sort of options in their sales! Their prices are generally fairly reasonable and despite their sizes not being conventional – 2x or 3x usually tend to fit me very well!

Cami Dress / Forever 21 / size 2X / £10


4. George – Unlike most supermarket brands ASDA’s george caters up to a size 24. Their size 24 is usually pretty generous and always fitted me very well, even at my biggest (four stone heavier than I am now!) … They don’t differentiate styles between sizes which means a size 24 lady can rock the same dress as a size 10 lady. Their clothes wash well, last well and look good.


Dungaree Dress & Top / ASDA’s George / size 20 / £20


5. Simply Be – although generally quite expensive, you can quite often find some pretty lovely pieces at Simply Be, most ranging in sizes up to 32. Simply Be does well at catering for all sorts of ladies in all sorts of walks of life.


And here is my guidance on other well known plus sized retailers that aren’t doing it for me like my top 5 do!

1. Pink Clove – Pink Clove have the right idea. With on trend designs and patterns, they could have so much to offer. The quality of Pink Clove’s clothing is pretty poor- I got a tropical print dress that only took one wash to bobble and a dress that unraveled at one of the seams just from being tried on once. I’d generally recommend to avoid unless you have time to throw away fixing clothes that should really last longer.

Baseball Dress / Pink Clove / size 22 / £12


2. River Island – With amazing quality and fantastic pieces to get anybody asking “where did you get that?” I couldn’t recommend River Island enough. However, their plus size range is incredibly pricey and really quite limited.


Cardigan / River Island / size 26 / £40


3. Supermarkets like Tesco’s F&F and Sainsbury’s TU – Are usually the perfect place to pick up a fashion bargain. With the same ranges available for both mainstream and plus sizes, they’re certainly a winner for me. Although the fact that most stores only cater up to size 18/20/22 many, many women are left out. Generally their women’s range sizes are also fairly stingy – I’ve known plenty of ladies who have had to get a size or two bigger than they actually are. That being said, I’ve heard Tesco’s F&F are planning on catering for up to size 30- of this is true, I hope all other supermarket fashion brands follow suite!


Top / Tesco’s F&F / size 22 / £7


4. Boohoo – Am I a size 18, or am I a size 28? With Boohoo I have literally no idea. With items almost identical to the smaller sized range, they have their heart in the right place, but the quality between that range and their plus sized range shows that plus size ladies certainly aren’t their priority.

Velvet Wrap Dress / Boohoo / size 28 (still doesn’t cover my bum through!) / £20

5. Yours – Primark quality at Topshop prices all because you’re considered plus size? Yeah, jog on. I avoid unless they’ve got a sale on and even then, I only stick to the lingerie section. I have heard that their men’s plus size range – Bad Rhino is actually pretty promising. I hope this serves as a reminder that you’re allowed to be you and have your own identity, even on this side of parenthood! Being dressed in what you want to wear can make such a massive difference to how you feel and how you see yourself. Treat yourself and see that even the little things can go a long way in making you feel more human. x

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

Celebrity style walk-in wardrobes only for you!

As parents, we all know that finding enough storage space can be such a hassle! That’s why Alanah from Bravo London has written this guest post to share some space-saving ideas, not only making life as a parent easier but allowing you to live in luxury!
Celebrity style walk-in wardrobes only for you!
The life of celebrities often fascinates most of us. Their lifestyle, their collections are always looked upon as premium and rich. Do you dream of having a royal quality of walk-in wardrobe for yourself? Just imagine a closet that is only occupied by your numerous pair of shoes, bags, trendy dresses and so on! Does this sound interesting to you? Then let us help you live this dream of yours. We here at Bravo London have the most innovative and ingenious ideas that would transform your small space into a spacious walk-in wardrobe exclusively for you.
Sliding wardrobe doors are always space savers for you. Your rooms look more spacious and at the same time give a premium storage option. Bravo London helps you with the best style of sliding wardrobe doors like glass doors, metal doors, wooden doors, etc to make your interiors look more stylish and premium.
 
 
We offer the best and a very affordable range of walk-in wardrobes. Well, organising such wardrobes is also a great task. Below are a few of the points that would help you with the additional sections that you would not want to miss on while opting for a walk-in wardrobe with sliding wardrobe doors. 
Your flattering bag collection:
 
Now it’s time to gather all your flirty and fine lined bags in one place and store them in a very well organised manner in your walk-in door wardrobe. Slide through the doors and flaunt with style among your friends and envy them with a separate handbag section to showcase your amazing collections. The sliding door wardrobes are the best to have in the walk-in wardrobes.
Seating for comfort:
 
If you are getting ready for a party, a walk-in wardrobe is the best place where you can get ready at once, no hassle of searching for things here and there; you have your dresses, your makeup, your handbag and your shoes all in one place. At this point a seat or a comfortable table is very important to help you to be seated while you are trying to look your best for the party. 
Place for your stunning shoes:
Now you don’t have to worry about placing your favourite shoes under the storage closet away from everyone’s sight. Just show off your stylish collections by getting an extra, manageable space for all of your shoes in one place, making them visible to everyone.
Dazzling jewellery section:
 
Add to the beauty of your wardrobe by opting for a sliding glass door jewellery section. This part of your wardrobe would make your jewellery collection dazzle, a perfect treat to eyes.
Island Units:
 
If you have a little more space in your walk-in wardrobe, then opting for a perfect island unit would cut off the empty space and let you have more storage options. You can arrange other collectables like hats, scarves, belts, etc. in this unit and keep your wardrobe mess free.
Make your collections look more organised and wow your friends and family with the stylish walk-in wardrobe options available with Bravo London.

Check out Bravo London’s Facebook page or website (above) to speak to a design specialist today!

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…

No Second Thoughts

Concentration is a thing of the past. Long gone are the days I could recall information. I’m pretty sure that when people have conversations with me that my eyes are glazed over and I just smile and nod in agreement.

What are our plans for tomorrow?
What food do I need to prepare for tomorrow?
What clothes are ready for tomorrow?
Am I prepared for potential night feeds?
And breathe… I can sit down to relax.
Oh! I forgot I need to eat!!
Sound familiar? The life of a mum, (or dad).
I don’t know about you but I just cannot think straight. My head is like cotton wool all of the time. People did warn me about baby brain but I think I underestimated it. I’m not even sure there is much of a brain in there… it’s most definitely shrivelled a bit. Concentration is a thing of the past. Long gone are the days I could recall information. I’m pretty sure that when people have conversations with me that my eyes are glazed over and I just smile and nod in agreement. At work I ask questions constantly because I can’t remember what the new systems are. I don’t know how long I can get away with “Oh it’s just that I’ve been on maternity leave and I’m trying to get settled back in.”

The thing is I really want to be able to sit and chat about things the way I did but all I can think about is my daughter. I have a one track mind now. I worry that I seem uninterested in other people and that I’m not a good listener anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to know what other people are up to, or that I don’t care, it’s more that I can’t stop thinking about my day ahead, my daughter’s day ahead. I’ll admit I’m not the most organised of people and this is probably why I am trying to plan things constantly because I’ve only made myself stressed out when I’ve not thought things through very well in the past. It’s as though the part of my brain that is still functioning is trying so hard to get on top of things that there’s no room in my head to think about anything or anyone else. When I try to enter into a discussion I end up talking about myself and my family because that’s all I know about at the moment. I feel that I’ve become selfish. I’m so eager to have adult conversations with people but I have no idea what to talk about. Love Island anyone? I watched about 3 episodes but I know people at work loved it so it’s a possible topic… maybe? How about The Twirlywoos, now that’s a TV show I can talk to you about. I know you know all the theme songs too!

I don’t know about you but I worry about how people may be perceiving me right now. I am still Charlie though. I may not currently have the interest in, or more importantly the time to do the things I once did and I may have disappeared into the background a bit but I will find myself again! When you talk to me I hope you still find me interesting, just bear with me, I’m just getting used to my new role; I’m finding my feet. I’m juggling. I don’t have the hobbies and interests that I once had that maybe made me a bit more interesting to talk to. My conversations are about my daughter, this is my new life. My role at the moment is “Mumma.” I am the entertainer, the cleaner, the chef, the comforter, the launderer, the driver… Is it any surprise that I can’t concentrate? That I’m constantly tired? All those parents out there balancing their different roles with ease, or at least showing it, I’m envious!

I’m still learning, perhaps it gets easier. Time will tell, but for now I’m planning for tomorrow… oh and cooking my dinner!
This blog is my journey to find my new self. I hope it can help you too if you feel a bit lost. Maybe we can explore some new adventures together.

If you liked this you may enjoy reading…