Monday, 9 October 2017

The Owl Is Not The Father


Oh Hai, 

Last week was busy and this week is set to be even more so. Buckle up because I can feel a few 'challenging' days ahead!

Today marks 28 weeks pregnant and I feel like I'm nearing the home stretch. This pregnancy has felt so freaking long. I think it's safe to say, I'm not one of those people who relishes it. I relish the results, but the feeling uncomfortable, missing out on things and forgoing my blessed cheeses, that's a nil point from me. 





Today we are heading out to view some local nurseries for new baby to attend when she's old enough. I feel ok about this. It's funny because when Darcy was little, I was so against putting her in nursery as a baby and felt it was a reflection of my love for her if I did. IE. I didn't love her enough. I obviously now know this is cray. At 18 months I put her in for 2 sessions a week and by 4 she was in for 3 days a week and loved it. I loved it too!

Life is quite different now, I work full time, as does Liam and so childcare is definitely something we are going to need from an early point. I think a couple of sessions a week will really benefit us all and this time, I feel ok about it. No guilt, no fuss, just got to make sure it's a nursery we love.

Maybe it's true what they say about your second baby- maybe things do get easier!!

Toodlepip!

xx

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Festival Chic


Oh Hai, 

Good merry morning to you! There's something very soothing about a Sunday. A day of rest, to do nothing but enjoy your family and set yourself up for the week ahead. 

Well not today boys and girls! Today I'm heading off to Cheltenham Literary Festival to talk about my *whispers* Times number one best selling *stops whispering and is normal again* new book Wilde Like Me. 


I spoke about it this week at Henley Literary Festival (I get around) and found it so enjoyable to share a stage with smart, courageous woman who 'knew what they where about' as my Auntie Judith would say and an equally engaged, intelligent audience, so I have high hopes for today. 

It's funny because I wrote Wilde Like Me almost a year ago now but with the time it takes to publish and promote and all that jazz, you find yourself talking about it for much longer and I'm already (very slowly, writing the second). Next week I really do have to focus more on that, otherwise I think my Editor, Eli, might have a breakdown!

Right, lots to do before the car comes to pick us up (Liam's coming too yay!), so I'll see you tomorrow!

Have restful Sunday's!

Toodlepip!

xx

Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Whole Week


Oh Hai, 

Have you noticed something?

I've written on this blog every day for a week! When I started this blog for jollies in 2009, I knew nothing of making social media a career- I don't think anyone did really. 

As the years went by, other platforms sprung up and other projects presented themselves. In 2012 the opportunity to generate a revenue was there, as was a strong community of friends, things I loved doing and professional support (God bless my management company!). 



Over the last 8 years, I've learnt that I cannot spread myself too thinly. I can't make and edit multiple videos a week, write decent blog posts, write a book, manage twitter, facebook, instagram, talk at events and have a personal life. So, blogging slipped away a bit. 

This week I thought I'd do a little experiment to see if I still love it and yes, of course, I do. Blogging to me is like comfy old slippers. It doesn't get the most interaction, makes zero pennies and often this week I've just mused about nothingness but there's something lovely about that. It takes it out of, 'I need to do this today, it's my job', to, 'ahhh, I'll whip out a quick blog post'. I don't think it will ever be my 'main thing' again, but I love it none the less.

Turns out, yesterday's blog post ruffled a few feathers. I never thought it possible to cause offence (to the minority) by suggesting and explaining why cheating is wrong. To me that's very black and white. I've been told (nobody has contacted me directly but instead whispered on threads I'm not part of) that the issue has been that I singled someone out (although have not named or linked but did definitely refer to just one person) and that as my 'influence is greater than hers', that is unfair. 

So for that, hand on heart, I will say I am sorry. Perhaps I should have been even more clear that I think buying bots, followers, engagement etc is wrong for everybody and anybody to do. It is damaging to future brand relationships and insulting to readers/viewers. It is wrong for all. If the person who's insta stats I used is not cheating and perhaps just has those stats, my deepest of apologies, you crack on with ya good self and I'll hush my mouth! 

My apology is to anyone who has felt personally hurt by the way I voiced my opinions on my very black and white stand point on cheating. I still firmly believe that cheating is wrong but never want to cause personal hurt to another blogger (or yanno, person in general!). 

I'll leave it there and try not to cause too much trouble today!! Oopsie! 

Toodlepip!

xx



Friday, 6 October 2017

Cheaters Never Prosper


Oh Hai, 

I've woken up feeling irrationally angry this morning. 

I recently started following a woman on social media after I heard people speak about her at a conference I spoke at this weekend. I won't name her because that's mean spirited and I don't want to start a witch hunt. 

No idea what image to team with this post so went for my kittens looking mighty pissed off, probably thinking about bots. 

Having a quick look through her platform, it's clear that being 100% truthful all the time and she uses bots. 

What are bots? Well, there is a way (I'm not sure how but there 100% is) that you can buy followers for your social media. You pay a certain amount of money and your follower/subscriber count shoots up. If you're savvy and know the ins and outs of social media, it's easy to spot. 

I hate this. It's the ultimate cheat. It invalidates people who have worked for years to develop a social media brand, to form good strong relationships with people, to act with integrity. It says, 'why bother putting in the hard work when you can just buy the results?'. 

It is also an insult to an audience. Aren't they worth 'working' for? I say 'working' because I love what I do and although it's my income, it's also my passion. If all the money went tomorrow, I'd still do it happily (like in the beginning when I confidently said to my Dad, 'there's absolutely no money in social media but I bloody love it all the same'.)

Thirdly, as well as being dishonest and an insult to your followers, to buy bots and cheat in this way is incredibly damaging to our fledgling industry as we navigate ways to work with and collaborate with bigger brands. PR companies base who they would like to work with on stats like followers, likes, engagement etc (as well as your general vibe and other elements, but firstly, the stats). Let's say they go for the untruthful blogger who has forged her numbers and say, 'yep, please work with us on this campaign to promote healthy chocolate (a girl can dream eh?!)' and the so the cheating mum blogger says 'yes!'. Let's say the blogger has about 20k insta followers. 

The brand would expect her to post a picture and caption and that that piece of content would achieve a certain amount of interaction. For the purpose of this post I just looked on a fave mum Yter's insta (Emily Norris, seriously check her out) and she has about 27k insta followers. Each of her posts consistently gets around 1.5k-3.5k likes and a good amount of comment interaction. This is in keeping with other insta mum bloggers with similar followings. 

So, we'll go back to the healthy (someone invent this!) chocolate #ad and the blogger who's bought bots. She post the snap and the post gets around 150 likes. Uh Oh! It should be more likes for that ratio of followers. This is because her followers are not real. It's a digital trick. They are not true people like you and I who tapped the follow button because we love insta, love seeing other mum's lives, love being involved and therefore are happy to tap the heart on a picture or leave a friendly comment. 

So Mr Healthy Chocolate now thinks, 'Oh that sponsorship didn't reap many rewards for my healthy choc brand, mum bloggers are a waste of money, I won't work with them again!' and this effects us all. 

In this new industry it is vital that we all work, share and create with integrity. It's not always easy. I've had experiences where I've been offered a lot of money to say something I didn't believe and of course, I always have the option of buying the blinkin' bots. However, the old saying is true and cheaters never prosper. It's not worth it. Audiences (readers, viewers, insta scrollers) are SO savvy and will spot a liar very quickly, as will eventually the brands and PR's in the industry. 

It's saddened me to find a bad apple in the mum community, one that I am so enjoying learning more about and getting to know but, I have to say, the rest are a very, very good bunch. I'm talking, smart, kind, listen-to-you-say-mad-things, good bunch. I would 10 out of 10 recommend them! 

The moral of this story is two fold. 1. Pregnancy hormones make you irrationally angry at things very early in the morning and 2. Don't be a dick, don't cheat the system, stay classy. 

Phewf! Feels good to unload that! (Secretly glad barely anyone reads this old blog anymore because this was a brave move to be so un-vanilla!)

Happy Friday!

Toodlepip!

xx



Thursday, 5 October 2017

A Hundred Things To Do


Oh Hai, 

Being busy seems to be the theme of this week doesn't it? Something I can't see slowing down for a few days at least. 



Today I'm travelling down to Henley for their Literary Festival where I will be speaking about feminism, everyone's favourite topic, and then signing my book for those who'd like me to. 

I'm quite looking forward to a snooze in the car if I'm honest!

Not much else to say, no idea what I'm going to wear but sure I'll cobble something together!

Tell me of your day!

Toodlepip!

xx

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Stress and Love


Oh Hai, 

Yesterday was a stressful day. Not huge tear inducing dollops of stress (I've had those days and don't relish them), but just a race against time to squeeze everything in and then a distinct disappointment when you don't manage it. 

I have a habit of taking things on and saying yes. Funny story, when I met Liam, on our first date I told him all the things I'd done up to that point in that year. He said, 'Wow, nobody can get that much done in one year'. I laughed and said, 'I've gotten that much done in 6 months!'. We always joke now that I have 'Big Years'. 

The best love letter I've ever had. 

A year doesn't go by where I can't list off a huge amount of events, trips, life experiences, changes or achievements. I'm really super crazy proud of that. I love filling my days and weeks with things and challenges and feeling accomplished when I tick them off. 

Currently I am writing my second fiction (this is where most of the stress comes from because I am so painfully behind), chairing the PTA at D's school (a far bigger role than was advertised!), committing to filming/editing/uploading 3 (sometimes 4) youtube videos a week, managing events (literary festivals, talks at conferences, photoshoots, meetings), prepping, planning and shooting for HelloWorld, keeping up with a busy social life (which I love) and of course, nesting and preparing for the new baby that will be here in 13 or so weeks. Life. Is. Busy. 

I love it. Also though, on day's like yesterday, I fret over it.  

Last night Liam said he'd handle dinner and domestics whilst I sat upstairs and wrote. I could hear him and Darcy talking and laughing and setting the table and I thought, 'fuck this, what's more important here? The sweet moments of my Daughter's childhood or writing another 500 words?'. 

I shut my laptop and went downstairs, sat at the table and had dinner with my family. It was lovely. The ultimate stress buster. 

Big loves to you today.

Toodlepip!

xx



Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Cosy House


Oh Hai, 

I'm writing this post from my car. I'm sat outside a restaurant waiting for my friend Esther who I'm rather obnoxiously having a 'breakfast meeting' with. AKA, a gossip, some brunch and some actual business (we're both on the PTA and she missed last week so I'm going to fill her in-woo). 

Yesterday I spent the whole day at home. Usually this would send me into a bit of a funk because I'm a 'need to get out and about' kind of a gal but more and more I'm starting to love by space and feel like it's my happy zone. 



My old house was so special to me. It was so snug and cosy and I felt like I knew and loved every inch of it. My new house is bigger and grander and sometimes I have felt, a bit too good for me. 

As the months have ticked on (about six now- time flies!), I have fallen more and more in love with it and slowly started to put my stamp on her. Bold colours in the lounge, shutters on windows, mirrors on walls, it all makes a difference. 

I'm not sure whether it's nesting (oh hi 27 weeks pregnant, you've crept up on me!) or just a general bedding in period but things are cosying up and I'm loving it! 

I keep having ideas pop into my head for what to do with spaces and how to make them special and that feels really encouraging. Long may it last!

Hope you're having lovely cosy days too, wherever you may be.

Toodlepip!

xx

Monday, 2 October 2017

Glam Day, Treat Day, Best Day


Oh Hai, 

Although the weather is grey and blustery, our house woke up warm and happy. Honestly if you've just eaten then I'm sorry if I make you feel sick but it was so cosy and we all just worked together getting the morning going, me waving Darcy and Liam off to work and school (he works 2 mins away so has started to drop her off for me) in my dressing gown on the porch, feeding the cats, making sure everyone had everything. It was like an advert for the happiest family. 

I'm feeling positive for the day. I've got a huge to-do list, I'm behind on writing (as per), behind on a video edit (not like me, eep), have official PTA things to tick off and of course all the usual gubbins the day presents. All this before the 3pm school run- wish me luck!

Just an average Sunday morning look. 

Yesterday was such fun. Linda Blacker (check out her fairytale inspired work please, you won't regret it) came up for a magical maternity shoot and because it wasn't a work thing, it was just a 'Hi please can I hire you to do something lovely for me' thing, it was so relaxed. Darcy was involved, we set up camp in my kitchen/lounge, we had smoke bombs in the garden (the neighbours will have been very confused) and it felt fun to just indulge in something for us, not for anything else. A very glamorous way to infuse a bit of self love into the weekend!

Everyone packed up and drove off by about 5pm and I put a veggie lasagne in the oven for me and D because Liam was out with his niece. By this point we'd put on our pj's, I'd shoved my ultra glam shoot hair up in a bun and was ready to flop. Until Liam rang. 

I hope Chris next door wasn't too freaked out.

5.10pm and he was all, 'Oh hai, we're going to your favourite tapas restaurant, get your shoes and coat, I'm swinging back to pick you up in 5 minutes'. Best moment ever!! Darcy and I raced about getting dressed (Darcy decided on her 'fancy Christmas coat' and I thought, 'fuck it, you crack on my love'), sorting out my top knot mess bun and taking the lasagne out the oven. 

We sat on the porch under the outdoor fairy lights (yes, I'm that woman) for a mo and down drove my knight in shining armour on his trusty stead (Liam in his Nissan), we climbed in and had dinner out with his niece, with the best food and lovely chat. 

Finishing up about 6.30pm I thought, 'well that was bloody lovely' but Liam had more to give. What a man. He drove over to the Starbucks drive thru for chocolate cream frapperdodars with a shot of peppermint, my all time favourite winter drink. It was the greatest. 

After dropping his niece back, we trundled home, tucked Darcy up in bed with a Brambly Hedge mice story, he watched the rugby with the kittens, I watched Victoria with Rocket and we all went to bed happy. 

I know to many this won't sound like the best. day. ever, but that kind of thing is my idea of heaven. It was so unexpected. 

Here's to many more glam days, treat days, family days and cosy days this October!

How did your Sunday go?

Toodlepip!

xx

Sunday, 1 October 2017

On The First Day Of October


Oh Hai!

I've woken up on a grey and gloomy Sunday with a delicious man by my side, two over energetic kittens hurtling across the carpet, a sweet 6 year old tucked up at my Auntie Judith's house (I was out late in London yesterday talking at BritMums17- great day out!) and a general feeling of, 'oh my god, how did it get to October!?'. 

Me. London. The pink ruffle coat of my dreams. Taking from my insta.

I'm sure just two shakes of a lambs tail ago it was August and I was feeling frustrated at trying to find clothes to fit my bump and bod in the summer heat. Unlike most, I welcome the cooler weather because it means leggings and jeans and layers and comfort. You wanna eat an entire tin of Heinz tomato soup with grated cheese melted in, go for it, it's Autumn! Side note- I'd eat that any time of year but now it's a whole lot more acceptable. 

Today's a shoot with Linda Blacker. The Linda Blacker, fairytale photographer extraordinaire, and I'm looking forward to it. 

I read through the comments on my last post, about the fog lifting, and felt such love for you all. Firstly for being so kind about the fog but secondly for being so encouraging about this blog, this little space of ponderings. 

So, I'm starting the month on good footing and thought I would take ten minutes to share it. Tell me how you're starting yours and I look forward to reading them tomorrow. 

Gotta dash, Darcy needs picking up and I need to tidy the house before the shoot people arrive- it's all go!

Toodlepip!

xx

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Fog Has Lifted?


Oh Hai, 

Do you know how many blog posts I have started and not completed this past couple of months? Six. Six half written blog posts that started with the best of intentions and then either the motivation slipped away, I chickened out or I just felt it wasn't good enough. 


I wanted tonight to write a blog post just to say Hi, let you know how I'm feeling where I'm at, no big deal. Sometimes when you leave something for too long, it becomes a frightening thing that you struggle to get back into and I think that's what's happened here. I've made it a 'thing'. 

I'm un-'thinging' it. This is my blog, my space, my slice of internet to muse about crap and junk and not care too much. If I wanted to be super crazy serious I'd write a book....oh wait. That's not to say I don't think other blogs are serious by the way, I just think I need to stop placing so much intensity on mine. It's not a 'money-making' platform (I do the odd sponsored post but it isn't a main source of income), I don't currently heavily promote it and it's not my most current thing (you know, like how insta stories are all the rage). But, this blog was my first. My big step into the online world and the start of it all so it deserves some respect for that. 

I love this blog. Love tiptapping on the keys. I love the bones of it as they say up north. Does anyone here say that??

So, lately it feels as though a fog has lifted. I don't want to jinx it and am acutely aware that this could change any moment but for the past ten days or so, I've felt myself and that's felt good. I've been able to work hard, to arrange social things, to enjoy vlogging and to be more exciting as a Mum to my six year old.

Pregnancy is a crazy fox to tame. Your body is under strain, your mind is full of all sorts and your hormones are all over the shop. The first three months were fairly standard with nausea and exhaustion but what has hit me hardest has been the mental effects. I have felt so down, so flat and so lost. 

I'm generally a very chipper person, always looking on the bright side and always managing a bit of get-up-and-go but since finding out I was pregnant, that seems to have hugely dissipated and I've been left feeling like I'm loosing it. I started to suspect I perhaps had mild pre-natal-depression and spoke to some of my good friends about it. A couple (Jessica and Emma I'm looking at you) were fantastic and one, rather painfully, not to nice at all. 

A week later (after failing to bring myself to talk to my midwife at our appointment), Liam and I took Darcy to the park to collect conkers and whilst she played on the swings, I sat on a bench (with a hand bag full of conkers) and cried my eyes out. Full, snotty, heaving cry in a public place with no tissues to hand-yay and you'll be glad to know, my gloves were machine washable! I told Liam how low I felt, how shit as a mother and girlfriend and general human I felt and how I feared I would never recover. 

Liam said, 'I think you're really suffering and I'm here for you'. I didn't sit on that park bench and feel jubilant but I did feel like a weight was off my shoulders. 

It is very hard to admit you're not feeling well but when you do, it's such a relief. 

After bench-gate, I decided to take it day by day. I mentioned how I felt to my stepmum Tina and she was very kind. Emma was a constant support and Jessica showed great care. Liam let me take my problems and give them to him. I had a bit of a team. 

Emma and Jessica suggested I speak to my GP or midwife (as did Liam actually) but each day, I started to feel a bit more 'me'. I kept thinking, 'Oh wow it's nice to have a good day' or 'Oooh I haven't cried or obsessed or frantically fretted today'. I started to be able to watch programmes and not think it would happen to me or Darcy (I would watch something with any violence or trauma and couldn't get it out of my head that it was fiction), I stopped having nightmares. 

Now, it's been about a week and a half. It's not a 'oh hooray that thing has 100% gone forever' but just having this 10 days has reminded me of who I am and reminded me that even if that fog descends again, I'll be back. Having the support of my main people and being encouraged to reach out to the Dr if I need to has also been hugely comforting to me. 

There's no big hurrah to this update. No big life lesson other than to say, there were quite a few rubbish days but lately, the fog has lifted and it's been good. Long may it continue! 

If you have felt like me, for whatever reason (pregnancy related or not), speak to someone. I know that's so cliche and boring but after 24 weeks of not really saying much, when I did, it REALLY has a positive impact. 

Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this post, I'd love to hear them. 

Big Loves, 

Toodlepip!

Louise xx





Thursday, 21 September 2017

Happy 8th Blogday!


Oh Hai,

This morning I woke up in a luxurious hotel in London. Not a bad way to start the day. I'd been in London the day before to shoot some footage for HelloWorld and had intended to attend a premiere that evening, so, booked a lovely hotel to primp and preen in before walking the red carpet in a floor length cream and sequined maternity dress. The. Glamour. 

Well, the shoot ran on, I missed the premiere, I got to my hotel tired and frazzled, they noted this, upgraded me to a suite, I put on my over sized asda pj's, ordered some tomato soup room service and was asleep by 9.30pm. The. Glamour. Ha!! 

This sort of experience is definitely the stuff of 2015, the year of glitz, but not so much of 2017. I'm enjoying the novelty.

Thank you @Amy_balabil, twitter.


2016/2017, my Sept-Sept 8th year of blogging has been blissful. I talked two years ago about my heart breaking and life crumbling, one year ago about building myself up and healing and now, life is good. Life is so, so good. 

I was in a taxi last night with a close friend and he talked about a great heart ache and how although at the time it felt as though the world was falling apart, it needed to to give him what he has now. That resonated with me because I can see that I needed to walk through those hard years to be in the year I'm in and I'm so crazy grateful.

Thank you Grumble Designs, insta. 

September is my favourite month of the year. Despite having been out of full time education for 11 years now, I still seem to run on an academic calendar and for me, September means a fresh start and new beginnings. 

Last September I was at the beginning of a new relationship and feeling great. My days were filled with getting to know an amazing man, making an effort (you know how at the start you try extra hard to look nice haha) and slowly introducing Darcy into the mix.

Thank you @bek_jw, twitter. 

Lucky for me, Darcy took to Liam from the off. He was and is great with her. We were quite strategic and made sure to never rush, never do gifts (I've had step parents buy my love and know it doesn't work) and never push and it worked. Liam was everything I had hoped I would find in a man and as you all know, it's still going very well. 

Professionally this blog year has picked up too. 2014/15 was amazing, 15/16 I needed a break but 16/17, I have found my stride again. I am loving my content, loving my slightly older audience, loving being in the 'mum crew' (ha, cringiest term ever) and just really enjoying, for the most part, internetting. As well as making videos and general social media, this has been the year I wrote and released my first fiction into the foray and it was received with rave reviews and a healthy spot at Number One in the Sunday Times Book Chart. Can't complain at that! Added to that I've had TV appearances, another stint on Radio One, worked with fantastic brands, articles I've written published in magazines and I'm currently working on the new and set to be incredible show, HelloWorld.

Thank you @DeelyBopper, twitter.

As well as internet life, my real-life life is looking pretty sweet. My circle of local friends has expanded what with a house move (the new neighbours are ace), I've started being more involved with things going on at Darcy's school (I'll never say no to a parent/teacher cheese and wine night!) and our never ending schedule of playdates has also been a joy for me as I grown so close to some of the parents. What's even more lovely is that Liam has too and we have a wonderful social group going on. 

Something I haven't written about in this post yet about my wonderful new life is the wonderful new life I'm growing! I'm currently 25 weeks pregnant with my second baby girl, expected January! Liam and I had talked quite openly about wanting to have children and were happily surprised to find we were able to have one so easily. So many of my friends try to conceive for so long and so it doesn't escape me how lucky we are. 

It's been a year of change. I'm in a new relationship, I'm in a new house, I've taken on new roles in lots of the things I do, but one thing that hasn't changed over all these years is you. 

Every single time I have asked for your support or needed a pick-me-up, one or more of you has been there. And I mean EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. To people that don't immerse themselves in this crazy world, they might thing, 'nah, it's just a stranger, it doesn't mean anything', but oh my God to to me it does. I have loved celebrating with you, sharing with you, sometimes crying with you. This community is one of my best relationships and I'm never unaware that without you, there'd be no us. So, as ever, thank you. For everything. Always.



Every year I finish with the sentence from the year before. 

In 2016 I said -

"Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community, sixth year, sadly, a broken heart and seventh year, strength. What do you think will come next?"

This year I will add - 

Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community, sixth year, sadly, a broken heart, seventh year strength and sixth year, love. What do you think will come next?

Love. I think the theme of this year has to be it. Love from Liam, the love Darcy has for our new family unit, our love for this new baby coming in 15 weeks, love for our growing social circle and the love I have received from you. Love wins. 

I want to also say a big thank you to all the people who submitted art work for this post. I couldn't choose all of it but have loved each piece and hope you do too. 

So on we go into our ninth year. Crazy. I'd love you to tell me in the comments when you found our community, what you like about it and a little about yourselves. Share the love!

Toodlepip!

xx

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The First Trimester


Oh Hai,

I've got 15 minutes before I have to dash out the door to collect Darcy from school and rather than do the 85 jobs I have on my list (ring the solicitors, load the washing machine, open the post etc), I thought I'd write this blog post!



With the end of the first trimester in sight (we had our official NHS 12 week ultrasound on Monday which gave us an official due date of January 1st!) I wanted to write up my thoughts and feelings on how it had been. Partly because I know when you find our you're expecting, your favourite thing to do is read anything and everything on the matter and also because I want to look back on this and have captured the moments.

I'll start by saying my first trimester has been a healthy one and that's the most important thing. I had a small bleed at week 11 which felt frightening (should I talk about this further or is it TMI?) but after an emergency scan I was reassured and baby is fine.

I have suffered a lot less than many women. My friend's Marie and Reb both had HG and so comparing my experience and calling it 'bad' feels quite wimpy!

Here's how I felt -

Initially, very overwhelmed. Although we'd discussed and planned to start trying for a baby in Summer, by Spring we were pregnant and I was shocked how quickly it had happened. I felt unprepared and struggled to wrap my mind around the concept. That sounds so silly considering I knew I wasn't being careful with contraception, I knew we were going to try in May and I knew I wanted a baby but still, I felt overwhelmed. A few weeks on though and I'm fully onboard!

Tired. OMG the tiredness hasn't been like, 'oh I'd love a little snooze later', but like, 'shit me I might literally lay down on the floor of Tesco and sleep for 4 hours in a minute'. Thankfully I work from home and Darcy is in school so I've been able to take plenty of rest hours but I can't imagine how challenging it must be for people who work in out-of-the-home environments or Mum's of pre-schoolers. I tip my hat to you ladies!! I still don't feel like I'm back to my pre-pregnancy energy but I'm not napping every day and I'm hopeful that'll get better.

Sick. Whilst I've rarely actually been sick, I feel sick every. single. day. Morning til about 2pm I'm fit as a fiddle and then come the afternoon it's game over. By evening I can't be in or near the kitchen because the smell of everything tips me over the edge and I can't remember the last time I fed the cats their stinky meat pouches! (Don't worry, Liam feeds them!). It's the least fun feeling sick. It sucks the joy out of everything and leaves you grumpy and sloth like. I've noticed it's eased off a bit this last week so touch wood that continues please. Ginger biscuits and regular little dry snacks have helped. I've also been drinking so, so, so much water which I think has helped too.

Hormonal. Sometimes I have felt so low for a few days in a row and googled pre-natal depression because it's so unlike me to feel so down. I think the nausea and tiredness held me back in day to day life and that sucked the joy out of things, making me feel super deflated. I couldn't seem to get any buzz or zizz and just felt quite lonely and grey. I don't think I realised how rubbish I felt until I didn't feel like that anymore because although now I still have moments of anger/sadness that feel much stronger than usual, I don't feel as grey. Liam has been a saint through my moods. God bless him.

As far as pregnancy symptoms go, that's pretty much where I'm at. I've had a few little things like bigger boobs or going to the loo a million times a day but they haven't seemed as news worthy as the ones above.

In all of these things, the things that have helped have been just taking it slow. Boring and tedious but I've found 'pushing through' leads to even more exhaustion, tears and set backs the next day. I'm really thankful to have such a supportive partner in Liam and have felt very much like I'm in a team and not doing it all alone which has been so, so appreciated.

I won't be doing weekly updates on my youtube channel but I might keep you updated a bit more over here if you are interested? I've really enjoyed blogging about pregnancy so I'm sure you'll see a lot more from me over here, do let me know what you'd like to read about!

Toodlepip!

xx



Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Baby Pentland Is On The Way!


Oh Hai,

The most likely scenario here is that you've come over from my YouTube video and already know the news but in case you're new - I'm pregnant!! 

I wanted to write a blog post on it in case I forgot to talk about all the things in the video and to document this, it's quite the moment isn't it?



Seven years ago this Summer, in 2010, I found out I was pregnant with Darcy. She was a planned baby with my then-Husband and after a good pregnancy but traumatic delivery, in April 2011 my beautiful little girl was born. 

With the memories of a difficult birth and the breakdown of my marriage looming, I vowed not to have any more children. I was pretty set in that. 

Over the years lots changed. Business boomed, Darcy bloomed and I learnt how to run my life as a single Mum. I thought about having more children and thought it would be nice but didn't think I'd meet the right man or be in the right frame of mind to start a new chapter of life. 

Until Liam. 

Liam walked into my life last Summer, quite unexpectedly. For the first time in my single life, I wasn't excessively looking or dating with any intent. I'd decided I'd be alone forever but just enjoy drinks with hot men here and there and flirt mercilessly, haha. 

Turns out, Liam flipped that idea on his head and over the year, we've found we fit perfectly and have built a wonderful life together. My deep down hope was to find a man who would love me and accept and respect Darcy. What I've found in Liam is so, so, so much more. Hurrah for love and for good men!

From the off we talked about having a baby at some point in our future and had planned to start seriously thinking about it this Summer. At the end of April though, after feeling completely exhausted on a photoshoot and suddenly realising the dates (honestly it was like in a film where suddenly it hits you), I took a test and hey presto, that Summer baby was already cooking! An early blessing!

We. Are. Thrilled. 

We waited quite a while to tell Darcy (she's SO excited, more on that later) and clearly, have waited a little bit longer to tell the rest of the world but I'm getting to a point where I won't be able to hide it at events much longer and with the book tour coming up, I thought I should let the cat out the bag! Also, I'm desperate to make baby-related content! I want to do product reviews, share my tales, hear about yours, shop (me oh my I can't wait to shop for it) and just yanno, be open!!

Baby Pentland is set to be a much welcomed addition to the family, making his or her appearance January 2018!

I'm a Mother of TWO!!! 

I hope you will be happy for us all as we embark on this adventure of blending our family, giving Darcy a baby brother or sister and becoming parents together. If you have any Q's, pop them in the comment section below and I'll pick a few to A in a future blog post. 

Thank you always for all your support, I'm going to need it over the next few month- pregnancy is hard work haha!

Toodlepip!

xx


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Glossybox features Wilde Like Me!!! Say whhhaatt???


Oh Hai,

Thank you for all your support on my last post - an update before an update, you guys are seriously the best. 

Today I wanted to show you something really freaking exciting (to me and hopefully you!) because it's a bit of a full circle moment. 

(Each box is filled with a selection of beauty and lifestyle samples. This edition included - Sanctuary Ultimate Salt Scrub Sachet, 111 Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel, Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo, Sleek Makeup Power Pump Lip Crayon and Batiste Stylist XXL Plumping Powder)

Back in 2011 (have any of you been around for that long??), I was invited to a blogger pr event for a brand called Glossybox. They were a beauty subscription service you could sign up to and each month a pastel pink (sometimes changes for seasons or special months) box pops through your door full of samples, vouchers and loveliness. They hosted an event one evening on the London Eye and Zoe and I travelled down for a night of fun and laughs and to celebrate the glory that was Glossybox. 

Six years later and I'm in one of those little pink boxes! Sort of! 

As you'll all know, my new book, Wilde Like Me, is out June 29th and thrillingly, I have collaborated with Glossybox to have a sample of my book (the first couple of chapters) in their parcel of goodies! How cool is that? 

(Oooeeee my book!!)

As well as my book there is a host of beauty bits that I'm sure you'll love. I've listed them above but I'll also talk about them here because who doesn't want to chat beauty more often??

Sanctuary Ultimate Salt Scrub Sachet - This is actually a product I'm going to use tonight because it's been a big week and we're seeing friends this weekend. You can either use it as a quick scrub in the shower or let the oils sink into your body as you soak in the bath (that's the one I'm going for!) and then you'll be left exfoliated and glowy!

111 Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel - As I get a bit older and continue wearing contact lens for longer than I probably should each day, I find myself constantly reaching for eye products to give me that fresh-awake look. Super excited to let this work it's wonders!!

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo - If you know me, you'll know I'm a huge fan of highlighted luminescant skin so this is absolutely something I'm glad to recieve in my box. It's summer too so you could use a dab of this down your skins when you're wearing skirts to give your legs an extra gorgeous sheen. 

Sleek Makeup Power Pump Lip Crayon - I'm a long time lover of Sleek and at one point collected ALL the palettes so I have high hopes for this little number and feel confident that I'll like it. 

Batiste Stylist XXL Plumping Powder - Big hair, don't care? This is one of those powders that you sprinkle onto the roots of your hair, massage in and it gives you amazing lift and volume. Personally I think the bigger the better with hair so this product certainly gets my vote!!


Lucky for us, Glossybox have offered readers of my blog a a voucher code to redeem 50% off their first box plus a free beauty gift. This offer is valid until the end of June 2017 with one per customer and UK only. Simply enter LOUISE50 at the checkout and the box of joy plus a big sneak peak of my book are yours!! 

Glossybox will also be hosting a Facebook Live broadcast on Wednesday the 14th of June and there will be an opportunity to win a signed copy of Wilde Like Me - there are 10 available so you're in with a good chance - hurrah! 

As the book hype revs up and more and more of my favourite people and brands get on board, I feel more and more buzzy with excitement. I've already had so many people tag me in their insta flat lays of the box which is lovely- you guys take some gorgeous instagrams, oooeee!

Do let me know you order or already have the box and do let me know what you think of Wilde Like Me!!

Toodlepip!

xx

Saturday, 3 June 2017

An Update before An Update



Oh Hai, 

Guess who isn't going to be winning consistent blogger of the year any time soon? Hi, yes, it's me. *Takes a bow*. 


Sorry, so sorry. Things have been, well, that's what this post is all about. People say, 'I've been so busy' quite flippantly, myself definitely included, but honestly, things have been so bloody busy. 

That's not to say I never have a single free hour or so to dedicate to my blog but just that I have been busy re-distributing my time. This year and last I have been forcing myself to do something quite shocking every single day- shut. my. laptop. I know, this is f*cking crazy but let me tell you ladies (and 3% of men google analytics tells me that reads), it's wonderful. Actually using my eyes to look at things and be part of the world around me that isn't digital has been great. Great for me, great for those around me and great for my mind. 

As well as dancing about in real life using my eyes to look at non-screen things, I've been beavering away (hate that phrase, makes me think of oral sex- 'beaver') on a few other things so I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell you about them now. Next week there'll be another update on something else pretty wild, but that can wait.


1. I moved house! I'm sure if you follow my vlogs you'll know this but I now inhabit a different building each day. The building itself is an upgrade on the previous in terms of size and location but in terms of love, I'm not there with it yet. My old house still has a piece of my soul. I made so many memories there and most of them amazing. I started this blog there, I bought my baby home from hospital to it, I had a million parties, guests to stay, cosy nights, christmas trees, paint jobs (lets never discuss the time I painted the door blue, hated it and painted it back to white again) and laughs. It was a happy home, the happiest home I've ever had actually. 


The time came though to spread out, I wanted more space, I wanted something solid to invest in and the time was right for a change. In the new house, I'm about 80% unpacked but the final 20% is all the sentimental crap you carry with you through your life (I have my late Mother's wedding dress, as well as mine from my now divorced marriage- where on earth do you put things like that?!) and finding homes for all of it and putting your stamp on the place. I think because I haven't built a lot of memories there or put my stamp on it yet that I'm struggling to bond with it. Does that make sense or do I sound like I'm losing the plot? It's a time thing I think. You can't rush the accumulation of knick-knacks and junk. You can't just buy it all either because that's not the same. You need to pick it up bit by bit on days out or delirious 3am online shopping binges with memories and love attached. It's a luxurious 'problem' to have, so I'll move on.



2. I've travelled. Since we last spoke here (aside from my tour update) I've been to Malaga with Liam's friends and family for his 40th birthday, New York with Liam again for his 40th birthday (you're only 40 once right??), Disneyland Paris with Darcy and about 45 little day trips for various things. When I compare this to last year where every other week I was dashing off meeting the Pope or partying at Cannes Film Festival (yes I know, I'm exceptionally cool), it's not that crazy but it's felt rather full on. Life this year is so much more homey than last. 2016 was a game of juggling motherhood and dating, it was like I was leading 2 separate lives. This year it's very family, cosy, homey. It's nice. Perhaps soon I'll buy a frilly apron so I can bake organic wholewheat protein cookies whilst managing my mini empire- how very modern. 



3. Book, book, book. I've only mentioned this about six hundred and forty five times but I WROTE A SODDING BOOK. The book itself isn't sodding but I say this so often I think I might tattoo it to my forehead haha. Before embarking on this task, I thought I knew everything I need to. How wrong I was!! I wrote a non-fiction on 2015 and so felt I knew the score and everything that came with it. Fiction though is a whole different ball game and I knew from the off I wanted to have full ownership and control so that meant buckling down and working. It's been a steep learning curve (and there were times I certainly wished I hadn't started) but the sense of joy and pride from finishing and knowing I've given it my all is immense. This week we (Liam, myself and my publishing team) drove to Diss on the east coast to see it being printed into an actual book. I've mentioned on instagram but I'll repeat it here- it's absolutely fascinating how they put a book together, so much skill and craft and finesse goes into each book. Next time I'm in Waterstones, I'll take a moment to think about how much goes into it all. Wilde Like Me (my book) is officially out on June 29th so this month will be full of work towards promoting it and making sure it sells well. Fingers crossed!! You can pre-order yours HERE


As I mentioned above, there's a bit more to tell but I thought I'd leave it with these three first and then commit a whole blog post to the other project next week- I'm sure you'll like it! 

Feels nice to write over here. If there's anything you think I should focus on in the blog world, let me know because I'm a little lost and in need of a push in the right direction. 

See you next week, 

Toodlepip!

xx

Thursday, 25 May 2017

I'm Touring The UK for Wilde Like Me!!


Oh Hai, 

Long time no see! The last few months of my life have been big. Good big but BIG. I finished the book, Wilde Like Me, I'd been writing for what felt like an eternity, I moved house and my boyfriend Liam moved in with me. Big things eh?

The house move went smoothly although two months later I still have boxes dotted in every room, the boyfriend move went even smoother (he's pretty easy to live with and cooks a lot so there's nothing not to enjoy there!) and finishing the book in April was a big achievement. 



Between April and June 29th the book becomes and actual book. My A4 transcript pages get turned into book pages at a printer, early copies are sent out to select people, I go to a million events to promote it, we plan a book tour to meet as many readers as possible and essentially I spend my day hoping and praying it's well received. So far we've had some ah-mazing quotes from people like Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Giovanna Fletcher. As you can imagine, that was such a boost. 

Like many authors do, I've decided to do a book tour around the UK to celebrate my new (book) baby and meet some of the readers who'll be enjoying it. In previous years I've done the traditional sit-at-table-and-sign thing but this year I wanted to do something a bit more. At each venue I'll be either giving a reading, answering any questions, signing your copies, enjoying cocktails (yes, a Wilde Like Me cocktail has been created and will be served at some venues!!) and just being a bit more casual about everything. The event is ticketed and spaces are much more limited because, perhaps selfishly, I want to actually experience the meeting of each person and have a proper author-reader evening, rather than a rushed, fleeting experience. Although that means not as many people can come, I think it means the events are FAR better. Quality over quantity and all that. 

With all that in mind, if you would like to come along and having an evening with me (lucky you haha), ask anything at all about the story, the characters, the process, have your copy signed and just have a really fun evening, THIS link will take you over to the Waterstones site to book a ticket. 

If you can't make it to an event but want to keep up with all the happenings ('all the happenings'?? Am I suddenly very middle aged and trying to talk 'cool to the youths'?? Good god), you can sign up to my official newsletter which goes out once a fortnight (so as not to clog your inbox). It's always full of exclusive info and is the place to see/read things first before I post them on any other social medias. You can be part of that, HERE

If NONE of that floats your boat and you just want a copy of the book to land on your doorstep at the crack of dawn on June 29th, HERE is the link to pre-order your copy. It's currently on sale too- yay!

I'm so looking forward to practically living in the book for the summer and hearing what you all think of it as you read. See you there!

Toodlepip!

xx

PS- Don't forget to follow the #WildeLikeMe hashtag on twitter for competitions and fun stuffs too! So much going on!! 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Flying Long Haul With Children! TIPS


Oh Hai, 

If you follow me on instagram (if you don't, what? why?), you'll know that I recently took Darcy out to Disney World in Orlando and that obviously, it involved a long haul flight. 


I've had a few messages and comments asking how I find this or if I have any special tricks for getting through it all so I thought a blog post might be apt. 

We're really lucky and have had to opportunity to travel long haul quite a few times. In fact, in her five years, Darcy has been on ten foreign adventures, so that's twenty flights, eighteen of which have been long haul across the Atlantic to either Orlando or Seattle (both over 8 hours away). 


I've picked up a few little tips and techniques but what I will say is that every child is different and you know best how to care for your own. Just because something works for one mother, doesn't necessarily mean it will work well for another. 

We first started flying when Darcy was 2 years old. My whole family flew out to Orlando on a virgin flight sat in economy. It was really cool to have three rows of people I knew and loved and also meant that Darcy had plenty of people to play with and cuddle, so that definitely helped. I took a lot of small toys on that trip, a really really lot. I think I had about three sandwich bags full of little toys for her to play with. I bought them all new so that she'd be super interested in them and spend a bit longer with each one- that's your goal here- occupy as long as possible! 



On subsequent flights I've taken the toys and added things in like stickers (children live for stickers, any stickers, all the stickers), crayons (although I've found she's bored of these now and would rather feel a bit more superior and use a biro) and, at the grand old age of five, her all time love, the iPad. I know we're all for lowering screen time and letting littles have golden experiences like milking cows and running freely through meadows of blooms but let's face it, a bit of screen time on a flight isn't going to give them brain rot but it is going to give you your sanity. We have a Leap Frog tablet with loads of non wifi needing games loaded onto it but you could always download a few apps to your iPad or phone before you fly. 


(Did you know one woman can drag three cases, wear a backpack and keep a child in check all by herself- women are crazy strong!)

Most long haul planes will have little TV screens in the seats- take advantage of these! It's Darcy's dream day when I say, 'you know what, sit down with a blanket and just stare at a film for a few hours, I don't mind' and on the flight, I'm fine with it. Once we flew out to Seattle with Delta and the screens didn't work, at all. That's 9 hours in small chairs with a four year old who wants to know if we're nearly there yet. I hadn't bought the iPad thinking, 'she won't want that if there are tv's available' and I regretted it all the way across the ocean. 


Snacks are your friends. Most planes serve food, drinks and snacks throughout the flight and most of the time it's really quite nice. Sometimes though, you're little cherub decides they hate everything, even peas which they liked a lot the day before but now, no, they detest them. They also now detest chicken and pasta and bread and salad and perhaps even orange juice. Cool. Hopefully this won't happen to you but on the off chance it does, wouldn't you be glad that you bought a plain cheese sandwich and a banana from Pret before you boarded the flight? You might even be glad you bought those four kit kat chunkys that you can eat feverishly in the toilet every hour so that you can cope. Buy some snacks. If you don't eat them, you've wasted a tenner. If you do, you're both happy people and that's a risk worth taking. 



Dress your bambino is comfortable clothes. That Baby K trouser one piece is adorable but it's not going to be so fun when you have to wrangle them out of it to almost nudity for them to have a wee in the very small loo on board. Leggings, tee shirt, jumper and trainers are my usual go to and can be de-layed if you're arriving somewhere hot and you've packed a pair of shorts. Always take a spare set of clothes incase there's an accident (from them, from someone else or turbulence) and if it's a night flight, consider jimjams- nobody will judge you, I've done it quite a few times and it's great because they're automatically dressed for sleep and it helps them nod off- yay, wine and film time for you!!

(This was just before we discovered that the tv's on the plane didn't work on our flight.)

This is very luxurious and I'm aware not for everyone but we have flown in a variety of different 'classes'. I don't really like the term classes because it sounds a bit elitist but that's what airlines call them. We've flown business with British Airways (very nice but make sure you book a child's meal otherwise your little one is going to be eating a herb encrusted stick of asparagus and a perfectly marinated piece of salmon), and premium economy with Virgin. We've also travelled economy with Delta, British Airways and Virgin. I have to say, I don't think the seating arrangements makes any difference to a child's behaviour. All they give a monkeys about is the TV, snacks and toys. However, I'll be blunt, that level of comfort made a big difference to me. A lot of our trips have been just me and the child and to be able to skip lines, sit in a spacious, enclosed (business has little walls and windows), environment with everything easily on hand makes life lovely. If you're travelling solo with a child and you can upgrade (I know, it's extortionate), just consider it. 

(Do you know how fun it is to lug your giant car seat across the world? Zero fun, that's how much, zero). 

One of the biggest things I have done for each and every flight (even a 2 hour squeezeyjet flight to Spain) is talk, talk, talk about it before hand. The more you talk about it, the more familiar they are with the concept and the less of a shock everything is going to be when the board or when you ask them to do something. When she was very little, we practised sitting nicely with legs out and hands on knees (sounds tedious but she was game for it during the flight so I was glad of all the, 'shall we play aeroplanes?') and we now talk about the plan for the flight. So, 'This flight is going to be so fun! We're going to watch a film, have some lunch, have a nap and then when you wake up, you can watch another film or play with the toys'. I find that if Darcy has a brief outline of how things are going to play out, she's much more able to behave. I get it, I like to know where I am with things too. 

I hope some of these tips have been useful to you. Ultimately, all you can do is do your best. Give them something to sip or suck for taking off and landing (ears and pressure don't always mix) and cut yourself some slack- it's hard work parenting in such a squished environment, nobody is going to judge you if your child isn't a perfect angel all the time and you don't need to feel fretful about it. 

Sit back, put their headphones on and enjoy your flight!

Toodlepip!

xx

PS- Leave your tips below- I'm sure they'll be helpful to everyone else as well as me! 



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