Build your dream home in your current one

Before I moved to Brighton I lived on the top floor of a modernised 1920's council block. It had huge wrought iron gates and a carefully, cultivated courtyard, maintained with no compensation other than appreciation by the couple at number 1. I loved closing that gate behind me, it felt like an oasis from the dizzying bustle of the East London streets outside it. It made me feel safe and if there's anything an anxiety sufferer with an overactive imagination needs, it's to feel safe.

Despite this, it wasn't my dream home, the flat was London sized and this limited my options in terms of decor. One day I was lamenting this to my partner and told him, 'In the future, I want a room with a wall of books.' He laughed and I started to mentally prepare a rant about how he never takes me seriously and how he refuses to support my vision. Before I could deliver it he said, 

'If you want a wall of books, we'll get you a wall of books.' And that's what we did. The next day we ordered two Billy bookcases and dragged my moving boxes of books out the loft and shortly after I had a wall of literature and I was so, so happy. 

So I want to tell you today not to wait, don't let your dream home fester in the recesses of your mind, with a little work and a lot of imagination you can create it where you live today. 

The library. We may never be lucky enough to have a whole room dedicated to reading (everyone wants that right?) but a little nook is just as comforting. All you need is a high shelf, an easy chair and some good lighting and you're good to go. 

The designer kitchen. Nothing says posh kitchen like an island. Chopping mushrooms is much more joyful in the centre of the room. If you've got the space but you can't afford a redesign, you can fake it with a kitchen trolley; and for that light flooded feel, no need to rip out any walls, check out the VELUX roof windows shop to create a huge sense of space in the space you have. 

The hotel room bedroom. Before I had my son, my mum bought me a fancy duvet and it made a tough time, all the better. Add some plush sheets to that and trust me you won't need anything else in your boudoir.

The beautiful touches. As they say accessories make the outfit, you can upgrade your home with just a handful of simple pieces that draw the eye. I love the range at H&M  and Homesense is my go to for frames and cushions. Small changes can make a big difference, so why not have a new dream every week.  

In collaboration with VELUX roof windows 

25 ways to say no to a child

We'll have to ask Mum/Dad/Grandma/Your teacher/The neighbour 

We'll do it later

We'll do it tomorrow

We can do that when it's not raining 

Next week 

Next year 

When you'd older 

That's for grown ups 

That's for babies 

Batman doesn't do that 


We'll see 

I'll think about it 

Mum/Dad/Grandma/Your teacher/The neighbour says no

We'll save that for a special occasion 

If you're good

When we have more time 

I don't know how to do that 

It's not open today 

You won't like that 

You had that before and you didn't like it 

I've done that before and I know you won't like it 

That will make your tongue green 

I don't believe that meets acceptable health and safety requirements 


Self care 2.0

There is nothing more grown up lady with her sh*t together than getting your teeth cleaned, it is both basic care and totally decadent. I know this because I recently saw a hygienist for the first time in my life. Every time I went to the dentist he would say, 'You should see the hygienist.' And I'd be like, 'You should see my student loan.' I just wanted him to patch up any obvious holes and send me on my way. I even convinced myself it was a bit of a scam. You know, people are getting much better at this oral hygiene malarky, so lets add in some pointless extras to make up the pennies. So, I don't know why on my last visit I acquiesced, possibly because the mags at my dentist are sooo good and I wanted to hang out in the waiting room for an extra twenty minutes and finish Marie Claire, but I did. 

My first teeth cleaning was not what I was expecting, I'm not actually sure what I was expecting, certainly less sharp implements. Afterwards I ran my tongue over my teeth and they felt really, really clean. Not just debris free and vaguely minty but seriously clean, like they had never been used before. I went through the rest of my day feeling significantly more pulled together; I felt like I could open my bills, rather than just piling them on the kitchen counter; I felt like I might actually eat some kale. Teeth cleaning wasn't just a pointless extra, it was a message to myself that I am worth more. 

I often advocate for self care. I'm always telling my friends to take time for themselves, and I mean it. I always thought I did the same for myself. On this day I reflected on my version of self care and saw that it's pretty weak. A morning in bed eating Cheetos is definitely low level self care, lovely, but very low on the totem pole of looking after oneself. For my son care means nutritious food; consistent, tailored education and daily, sometimes hourly cuddles. For me it means eating semi regularly and the occasional bath bomb. I've never had a problem with putting my son first but isn't our primary task as a parent to be a role model? What am I teaching my child if he sees me letting myself crumble to pieces, teeth first. 

This month, I'm embracing self care 2.0. What are the things I need that will really elevate me? Perhaps I will visit an chiropractor for my totally dodgy neck; maybe I will finally commit to a yoga practice. Maybe I'll discover that if I upgrade how I look after myself, I will level up my entire life. 

19 totally sucky things about motherhood (for balance)

1. Rejection. Cold, straight rejection. I don't want your boob, I don't want your kiss, I don't want you.

2. Responsibility. Get up early, get out the house, don't drink vodka (much).

3. Feeling alone, even when you're not.

4. That learning to ride a bike feeling - what if I fall?

5. Become accustomed to a new identity.

6. Being told how you can do it better, and secretly knowing it's true

7. Time. Where's my time? Why did you take all my time!?

8. Being a role model, when you're not in the mood for f**king role modelling.

9. Being forced to think about someone else.

10. Knowing you will make a lifetime worth of mistakes and feeling powerless about it.

11. Having to try your best, even when you don't feel like it.

12. Seeing the worst bits of yourself in someone else.

13. Having more things to say yes to. Another birthday party, how wonderful!!!

14. Taking three times as long to do even the most mundane things.

15. Discovering a whole new branch of the internet and all the scary information that lives there.

16. Realising you can never be ready for it.

17. Understanding yourself on a deep and sometimes painful level.

18. Believing you no longer have time to reach your dreams.

19. Love. Loving someone so much it hurts.

19 totally awesome things about motherhood

1. Cuddles, so many cuddles. How did I survive without all these cuddles?

2. Responsibility. Get up early, get out the house, don't drink vodka (much).

3. Play. We forget to play and it's so good for the soul.

4. That learning to ride a bike feeling - I'm doing it, I'm doing it, I'm really doing it!

5. Finding a new tribe. Mums rock. Fact.

6. Understanding your parents better (I'm sorry.)

7. Time alone feeling like a holiday.

8. Being an inspiration.

9. Being forced to think about someone else.

10. Knowing you can make mistakes and it will all be okay.

11. Having a reason to try your best, even when you really really don't want to.

12. Seeing the best bits of yourself in someone else.

13. Having a reason to say no to the things you just don't want to do.

14. Being with someone who sees the ordinary as extraordinary.

15. Discovering a whole new branch of the internet and all the lovely people that live there.

16. Learning new skills every day.

17. Understanding yourself on a deep and sometimes painful level.

18. Believing that if you can do this, you can do anything.

19. Love. Loving someone so much it hurts.

Cuddle Fairy

Four things I will do but only if I really like you

I mock you. I will tease you. I will challenge you. I will laugh at your imagined flaws. The crueler I am, the closer we are. I reserve politeness for my enemies. 

I ignore you. When I meet someone with whom I truly connect, I want nothing more than to sit in silence with them. I need no more than your presence. I long for an hour with you on a quiet train, as you read your book and I read mine.

I don't respond. You text me, you email me, you send me Facebook messages and I just don't reply. Not for an hour, not for a day, sometimes not for weeks and weeks because I want to respond honestly and openly and when I have the headspace. I think you deserve that. Sometimes I feel so connected with you I reply in my mind and think you have received it. 

I won't cook for you. I almost never cook because I hate cooking. I will eat the food you cook for me because I like you and I like eating. If you come to my house you will get pizza and/or wine and I won't feel shame because I love you enough to show you my failings and believe you will still love me. 

Today you will move

You may not wipe the dust from the yoga DVD that has been moonlighting as a coaster for many, many months. You may not dig out the membership card for the gym on the other side of town; the one with the good towels; the one you told yourself you would attend because going would feel like a treat. You may not get to the body pump class in the musty church hall and feel empowered by the camaraderie. You may not complete 10,000 steps. You may not sweat but you will move. 

You will walk to to shop for more milk but as you walk you will stride with purpose; you will remind yourself 'I am moving' as you do. You will lift your child above your head and think about all the muscles it takes to bring about that action. You will stand up in the morning and agree to start a new day, if nothing else you will do that.