Throwback: Me and the triplets, circa 1990
Last week my triplet (I know!) brothers and sister turned 30.
Which gave me an excuse to dig out the old family albums, tucked away on the top shelf of a wardrobe at my parents’.
For an hour or so I got lost in a little bubble of nostalgia. Laughing at our chubby cheeks and gap-toothed grins.
And then I found myself thinking about the rather inglorious death of the family photo album.
Most of us new parents have probably got more photos on our phones of our little ones in the first month of their lives, than there are in existence from our entire childhoods.
Pretty much every single day of Sonny Jim’s life has been snapped on my phone. A fair number of them end up being posted on Instagram, and being WhatsApped to his daddy.
Not long before Sonny Jim was born I went to lunch with one of my best friends.
Strangely she had turned down the offer of a lift, meaning she wouldn’t be drinking either.
The reason was soon revealed. She was pregnant too. It was very early days, but that didn’t stop the two of us giggling together about our little ones being friends and working out just how much of our maternity leave would overlap.
Soon after I had my baby boy. And she had her dating scan at 12 weeks. I got to grips with life as a new mummy. And her pregnancy progressed.
Until 21 weeks. When her little boy, Alfie, was stillborn.
As I laughed watching my son start to work out how to roll and giggle, she was looking at her son lying silently in a cold cot in Southend Hospital’s butterfly bereavement suite. Continue reading
Heart breaking: This image has haunted me
Millions of people have now seen the photo of a two-year-old girl screaming, while a US border agent pats down her mother.
Taken last week the snap has become symbolic of the “zero tolerance” border policies in America, which has caused hundreds of children to be separated from their parents.
My Sonny Jim is the same age as that little girl.
And I haven’t been able to get that photo out of my head since.
To be entirely honest, I’m not big on world news. So much of what goes on around the globe seems to shoot straight over my head as I battle the will of a toddler who doesn’t like eating dinner or being indoors.
Yet that image, when it flashed up on my Facebook feed, cut through all the little mundanities of my day. Continue reading
Not just a mama: At my first pole dancing class
Often when you have a child, a big chunk of your identity gets lost.
Overnight you become the most important person in the world to someone else.
You’re their food source, their comfort, their safety…. You’re their mum. And everything else in the world is secondary to that.
As they get a bit bigger they obviously don’t need you quite as much – their neck can hold the weight of their own head for a start.
But still, being a mummy can be the thing that defines you.
After waiting for nine years for my boy, and undergoing fertility treatments galore, I can hand on heart say that being Sonny Jim’s mummy is the best title I’ve ever had. I’m a work-from-home mama for the sole reason that I want to grab every minute that I possibly can with my little lad while he’s growing up. I never actually realised I’d love “mummying” as much as I do. Continue reading
I can’t imagine anyone will have missed the fact that tomorrow is Father’s Day.
Hardware stores must do their best business in the first weeks of June and sales of bacon probably go up as fry ups are prepared.
But too often the role of daddy is seen as secondary to mummy, surplus to requirements in many ways when it comes to parenting. And admittedly, some dads ARE rubbish. Those mamas, single-handedly doing both the job of mum and dad, are nothing short of heroes in my book.
Yet there are a lot of good uns. And the most important thing they ever do, is just be there. Whether it’s a snatched kiss before bedtime, a cuddle on the couch, or push on the swing, those moments are like tiny beads on the necklace of a child’s life. A tiny, tangible bit of love that helps build them a brighter world. Continue reading
Picking strawberries in his pyjamas: Sonny Jim in the garden
Helloooo strawberry season!
It’s a sure sign that summertime is here when strawberries hang heavily from their runners.
Last year more than 137,000 tonnes of strawberries were sold in the UK, with shoppers spending upwards of £1.3 million on the classically British berry.
And the cold start to the year (remember that snow?!) mixed with the recent warm days and cooler nights, has led to a slightly later start to the strawberry season. The resulting slower strawberry ripening means this year’s British strawberries look set to be packed with more flavour than usual. (Sonny Jim certainly seems to be enjoying the dozens he picks daily from our garden’s strawberry patch!)
And Essex has more than a couple of spots where you can pick handfuls of strawberries yourself. Here are some of the best… Continue reading
Going down well: One of my porn star martinis
When your local bar has an extensive revamp, reopens with a new name, new look and promises “epic food, creative cocktails and great times” then it was only a matter of time before I’d be checking it out.
The Oakleigh, in London Road, Leigh-on-Sea, launched a couple of week ago and is offering a new restaurant, cocktail bar and evening bar.
It’s on the site of the former popular Bellini Bar and Brasserie, which closed a few months back – and is run by the same folk, namely the McManus Pub Company.
I’ve had a fair few girly nights at Bellini (pre-baby, its oh-so-moreish jam donut cocktail gave me possibly one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had!) so when I was invited along for dinner and drinks at the Oakleigh, there was no way I would be saying no.
The husband and I headed up there last night, after our tot was tucked up in bed and the babysitter safely installed in front of Love Island. Continue reading