A fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog run by digital journalist Hannah Gale. This blog is a place to make you feel a bit like you have an invisible best friend, make you laugh until you could do an accidental wee, and make you do all of the feels every once in a while.
I am a big believer in the little details in every day.
Y’know, the moments that just instantly pick you up even when you didn’t realise you needed picking up?
Things like takeout coffee or a slick of bright lipstick.
Things like an £8 bouquet of pink blooms from the supermarket or an ahem ~accidental~ pizza delivery.
And, things like a damn good outfit that just makes you want to give ya self a high five every time you catch your reflection in a shop window like DAYUM WHO IS THAT FLY THING?
Which, I guess, is where this post comes in. The current fashion trends doing the rounds on Instagram and on the high street, that… well, lift my mood.
The four trends and products that add a little punch of positivity into my day and make me smile over and over again.
1. SLOGAN TEES
They were kinda cute in 2016, even cuter for 2017 and HELLO THEY ARE JUST WONDERFUL IN 2018. They have sequins! And tassels! And motivational slogans!
I know it sounds like the sort of thing people say but don’t actually mean, but my mood is genuinely lifted when I’m wearing something that says something empowering on it.
It’s like every time I look down I get a little reminder to keep on living my best life, and I’m absolutely down for clothes with that kinda positivity.
2. TONAL DRESSING
You might have spied from my Instagram that I’m currently having a bit of a love affair with wearing matchy-matchy colours. Pink on pink? YAS. Blue on blue? YAS. Heck, I might even go wild this week and don a yellow on yellow look (and then just pray to the style gods that I don’t look like an actual banana tottering about Ipswich town centre).
Anyway yeah, matching colours is my new happy place. Some gals live for feeling cool and chic in head-to-toe monochrome, but my mood is brightest, when, y’know, I look bright.
Since discovering that you can in fact wear various shades of the same colour within the same outfit (groundbreaking, I know), I have a bazillion new outfit combinations within my wardrobe and it is v v exciting.
3. COLOUR POP BLAZERS
I’ve said about 5723785367 times before that putting on a blazer instantly makes me feel like I’ve got my life together. Wearing jeggings and a baggy jumper? Throw a blazer on. Wearing maternity dungarees and your boyfriend’s t-shirt? Throw a blazer on.
This spring the high street seems to have gone absolutely wild for the humble baby pink blazer (big fan girl over here), and the extra-sassy yellow blazer. Both are just the bomb at making a really boring cba outfit look and feel like you mean business.
4. TASSEL EARRINGS
Whilst this trend has been going strong for about… oooh, 12 months now, it’s really amped up its game for 2018. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. And now you can get them in every shade of the rainbow. Huzzah!
They’re a really quite wonderful way to snazz up an outfit without spending much money. And, if you’re feeling quite overwhelmed as to which colour to go for – my most worn are easily my red pair, swiftly followed by my black and white pairs.
You might have noticed that things have been a bit slow over on the ol’ blog of late. And yes OK I’ve just had a baby so yes that’s been a large part of why I’ve not had time to be like DAILY BLOG POSTS GO GO GO, but also, well – and this is a biggie to admit – I’m just not that into blogs anymore.
Dun dun dun.
Let me explain.
My blog peaked in oooh, about 2014. We were in a short but sweet online bubble of all being obsessed with sharing list articles on the internet – especially on Facebook. OMG LOL THIS IS SO ME YOU MUST ALL READ IT BECAUSE IT MADE ME DO A WEE AT MY DESK.
Buzzfeed started it, and those of us fast enough to go hang on, I think they’re onto something, jumped on the bandwagon.
(Although spoiler, I did actually have a blog dedicated entirely to ‘listicles’ back when I was twenty and at uni but let’s not veer too far away from my point.)
At the height of this blog’s traffic success I had 1.5 million page views in one day (thanks largely to this post) and I thought, fuck me, I’ve made it. Let me just sit back on my purple velvet throne and watch the dollars roll in.
But, as has happened with the internet time and time again, people’s habits shifted. The way they consumed information and content online changed, and suddenly they weren’t sharing list posts as much, probably because they were tired of seeing so bloody many of them.
And so, whilst I continued to publish the odd list post, I mixed it up with other content – fashion, beauty, home, travel, and lots of real-life stuff, because that seemed to do mildly well too.
And, here’s where I’m going to say something that you’re not supposed to admit publicly.
My blog traffic has been in slow decline ever since.
To begin with I was like hang on, WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?! But then I looked at the bigger picture.
Do I read blogs regularly? Fuck do I.
I mean yes, if I see something that catches my eye on Twitter or Instagram, I’ll click through. But do I sit and scroll through Bloglovin looking for a nice post to read? Absolutely not.
Because, and I don’t know about you, but I have become hideously lazy at consuming content.
Gone are the days when I’d schlep off to the shop for Mizz magazine and then spend an afternoon devouring every sentence to grace their pages.
Now I want things delivered to me in a flash.
Instead of reading 500 words and looking at 17 images of one outfit, I want to look at one image of said outfit, then skim read the 50-word caption and then tap to see where everything is from.
Instead of sitting through a 30-minute vlog with a cup of tea, I want to skip through someone’s stories and get a full update on their day in about… oooh, three seconds.
It’s shit. I know it’s shit.
When you pour your heart and soul into crafting words and images, you want people to stop and take the time to read it and to enjoy it. Heck, you want to support others in the same way. You want to give videos and blog posts the time and attention they deserve.
But the reality is very different. We are time poor and we don’t actually want to work for content in the pockets of time we do have.
Flash of wifi on the Tube? Just refresh Instagram. Quick phone pit-stop whilst you pee? Just refresh Instagram. Little bit of phone time before you get out of bed? Just refresh Instagram.
I mean yeah sure ok, it’s the app we absolutely love to hate.
But it’s also by far the most opened app on my phone.
It’s how I know what beauty products to try next or what national day it is. It’s where I get outfit ideas from or how I know what the weather’s like. It’s how I hear about celeb pregnancies and find out what the best Oscar dresses were.
It is micro-blogging (and micro-vlogging) at its finest thanks to lengthy captions and Instagram stories.
It’s become a place where I digest tiny chunks of news, tiny chunks of fashion, tiny chunks of beauty and tiny chunks of real-life. And, thanks to being able to follow and unfollow who I please, it’s tailored to me. It is my very own 2018 women’s lifestyle magazine.
And I can’t deny it, I absolutely fucking love it.
Instagram is my home gal – and she’s the place I get the most engagement, the place I see the most ‘brand’ growth and the place I receive the most commercial opportunities from.
She’s also the place that’s easiest for me to upload to considering I’m extra time poor right now, and she’s the digital space that I’m genuinely enjoying the most right now.
And so, because of that, she’s where I’m laying my focus this year. She’s the social network and content space that I’m nurturing the most.
My blog will still be here and I’ll (fingers crossed) still be uploading regular content, but she won’t be my all, the way she once was, because when it comes down to it – it just doesn’t make sense. Not from a business perspective, not from a time management perspective and not from an enjoyment perspective.
So yeah, all of the above.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to upload to Insta stories (you can catch me over at @hannahfgale). See ya.
Chances are, you’ll have seen a loada this hunky stuff on my Instagram already but I thought FUCK IT, let’s do a blog post too. Because y’know, why not?
Now, I have to confess that I’ve been on quite the slippery shopping slope recently – mostly because I’ve suddenly been gifted with a body I vaguely recognise again and getting dressed has become a bit of a joy. I feel a bit like a child waking up to a Barbie Dream House on Christmas Day when I wake up in the morning and have my entire wardrobe on offer rather than just dungarees and super stretchy leggings.
So yeah, shopping.
As you’ll have spied from the image up top, there’s a bit of a theme with everything I’ve been picking up of late – and that’s monochrome with a sexy splash of red. Things that are – fingers crossed – kinda versatile. I’m big on red at the moment because I just feel like it a) goes with tons of other colours – pale pink, pale blue, black, white, cream and b) it adds a pop of summin’ summin’ to even the most basic of outfits.
Anyway, that bad boy haul…
I picked up these little sling back kitten heels in both black and red as part of my Instagram collaboration with Primark and lord almighty even I’m surprised with just how much I’ve been wearing them.
Y’know me, long-time lover of the sensible can-actually-wear-out-the-house heel, but these are extra great because they only cost £13 and DON’T GIVE YOU BLISTERS. I mean, not sure what else you can actually ask for in a pair of shoes?
Anyway yeah, look fabby (vom, hate that word, why did I type it?) with frayed blue jeans or with black wide leg culottes or with midi dresses and well yes ok with your entire wardrobe. K bye.
TOPSHOP WOVEN CIRCLE BAG
If you spent a chunky part of last summer eyeing up all the cute v expensive versions of this bag on Instagram that were doing the blogger circuit then, well, same same.
When Topperz launched their version last month it took me an entire two hours to fall prey to it, and it’s still sitting in my cupboard waiting for its first outing. To me it’s a real spring/summer bag so I feel a bit like a dipstick trying to sashay about in the current three degree climate with it, but love the fact it’ll go with pretty much every pretty dress and sandal combo come the warmer months.
Now these fellas are a bit like Marmite because yes ok they’re a touch gimmicky but FUCKING HELL I THINK THEY ARE AMAZING.
They’re a bit of a dupe (cough, copycat) for the Saint Laurent ones that cost approximately one hundred times more, but they’re pretty much the most wonderful way to cover up my ever-growing dark circles.
I feel like they just inject a bit of personality into a plain jeans and jumper kinda outfit, y’know? (Shop here)
PRIMARK TASSEL EARRINGS
Y’know me, wouldn’t be a Hannah Gale fashion post without me slotting in some obscenely in ya face tassel earrings.
My current flavours of the month are both Primark ones (huzzah to not having to spend a tenner to jump on the trend) – especially the pale blue ones as I think the colours a little unusual and would look completely banging with a tan (who wants to take me on holiday plz? Will take all your Insta shots?) and a red lip.
Both pairs were about £3 I think, but don’t hold me to that ok.
I won’t lie, I was swayed into buying it after seeing everyone with dollar sporting the monochrome Gucci Marmont which was just ever so slightly (by about £775) out of my budget. And, well, this one has a similar look about it.
It goes with everything from my leopard print faux fur jacket to my excessive blazer collection and has two compartments, plus an inside zip which makes it v practical too. (Shop here)
PRIMARK HEART BAG
Another buy as part of my Insta collaboration was this little red bag.
I’m a sucker for anything with hearts or stars on because basic millennial bitch or something like that, and loved the fact this had a gold chain strap which instantly makes it look a smidge pricier (I cannot for the life of me remember if this was £6 or £8).
Once upon a time I owned a pair of black round-frame RayBans and then at some point along the line (likely after a Pornstar Martini or seven) I lost them.
I love the shape – I think they look pretty effortlessly cool, but couldn’t afford to buy another pair, so have been buying cheaper versions ever since.
H&M usually do a pretty good copy, but I found these fellas in the Tottenham Court Road branch a month or so ago and have been wearing them religiously ever since (in all that glorious sunshine we’ve been having recently, lol I jest, I jest).
Ah motherhood, the greatest and most WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK thing you’ll ever do.
Herw’s 24 things no-one tells you about being a new baby mama.
1. That yes alright OK you’ll have to change your baby’s clothes a lot because of rather aggressive nappy leaks, but that you’ll also have to change your baby’s clothes a lot because you’ve splattered spaghetti bolognese all over them and lol go you.
2. Even if you swear you’re not going to become one of those lame ass parents who speak in stupid baby voices, you absolutely will. You will also use ridiculous words like dum dum, bot bot and bum bum.
3. People, most notably those over the age of 65, will love to just peer inside your buggy. Half the time they won’t even say anything, they’ll just stick their head in and stare at your baby like they’re having a good nosey at the reduced shelf down Waitrose. Ummm can I help you, mate?
4. Your baby will mostly like sleeping in places you haven’t paid for it to sleep. Moses basket? Lol nah. Cot? Lol nah. Sleepyhead? Lol nah. On you whilst you’re trying to take a sneaky sofa nap? Abso-freaking-lutely.
5. You will always get to your cup of tea the very second it becomes undrinkable. I mean, you’ll drink it anyway because IT’S TEA, but y’know, you won’t actually enjoy it.
6. You’ll feel like one heck of a smug bitch when you roll into the last parent and baby space at the supermarket only to realise that for fuck’s sake, it’s approximately 2.7 miles away from the front of the shop. You’ve birthed a child and this is the kind of hero’s welcome you get?
7. Even if you’re not sure how much you even liked your midwife, you will mourn her the minute she signs you over to the health visitor. BUT WE’VE BEEN ON SUCH A LONG AND BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY TOGETHER, PLZ DON’T LEAVE ME, I CAN’T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU, I LOVE YOU, I MISS YOU, COME BACK.
8. Muslins will become your absolute lifeline. Baby dribbled milk down themselves? Grab a muslin. Baby thrown up in your hair? Grab a muslin. Baby doing a ginormous wee mid-nappy change? Grab a muslin. Parenthood making you do a big fat ugly cry at 2am? Grab a muslin.
9. Every time you hear someone who doesn’t have a small baby say that they’re tired, you’ll want to smush their face into the ground and tell them to pull on their big boy pants. Sleep deprivation makes you a calm, serene, wonderful person to be around.
10. The minute you feel like you’ve got your shit together and hang on I think I might be nailing this? You’ll suddenly be unable to put your pushchair down and oh god you’re really hot and the baby’s screaming and ow OK you’ve hurt your hand and is everyone staring at you and oh wow now you’re crying the end.
11. Around 72% of all your conversations with your baby daddy will be about nappy contents. I mean, you used to be mildly cool and discuss things like pizza orders and crime documentaries and now you’re just rating poos out of ten. Classy.
12. You will sometimes catch sight of yourself naked in the mirror and be like um sorry who dis? Everything has changed and yet you don’t have the time or mental energy to care about it for longer than about 2.4 seconds, which actually is kinda nice.
13. Even if you’ve got no clue how to hold a baby, change a baby or wind a baby, the minute you’re suddenly left in charge of your own, you’ll suddenly jump into action like you’ve been doing it your whole life and hey, look at you go!
14. Your phone battery won’t be completely rinsed from repeatedly scrolling through Instagram, no, your phone battery will be completely rinsed from reading Mumsnet threads about tips on getting your baby to sleep for more than three hours at a time.
15. And because of that, your Facebook feed will suddenly become flooded with adverts for the MyHummy and Baby Sleep Programs. You’ll spend half your waking day reading reviews because WHAT IF THEY ACTUALLY WORK?
16. You’ll also become an absolute buggy pervert. You’ll start shouting OOH LOOK THEY’VE GOT AN ICANDY PEACH IN BUTTERSCOTCH whilst driving past strangers on your way to the supermarket. Anyone would’ve thought you’d seen something mildly interesting.
17. Stretch marks can appear after you’ve had the baby. Including on your private parts. WHAT. WHO. WHY. WHEN.
18. You will become the queen of just winging it and hoping for the best. When childless friends ask things like ‘so how do you know if the bath water is the right temperature?’ you’ll just shrug and say ‘well, the baby didn’t scream so….?’
19. Your health visitor will give you enough leaflets for you to open your own GP surgery, which is cute for y’know, the trees and the environment. You’ll read the front page of one of them and then shove them all in a drawer never to see the light of day again.
20. You’ll notice that everyone in the world (but mostly other mums on the internet) have apparently got PHDs in baby studies. You’ll notice this because they’ll leave comments (on threads, on instagram, on YT videos) to kindly let other mums know that they are on the verge of killing their baby. Thanks hun, ‘preciate it.
21. Everyone will talk about this overwhelming love you’ll feel for your baby the moment he/she is placed in your arms. It’s SO normal if actually you’re like ok yeah I kinda like you, we’ll see. It can take days or even weeks before you’re like FUCKING HELL YOU’RE BRILLIANT YOU ARE.
22. Your camera roll will become 97% baby and you’ll have to physically restrain yourself from posting every single one to social media because lol, no-one will ever think your baby is as cute as you do (aside from maybe the grandparents if you’re lucky).
23. The only thing that will make night feeds even slightly enjoyable are snacks. And maybe Netflix. And yes OK maybe smelling your baby’s head for the 46726635th time, but mostly da snacks <3
24. Even when it feels hard and even when you’re crumbling on the inside, you’ll realise that actually you’re way stronger than you ever gave yourself credit for. High five, sista.
First off, big apols for the onslaught of LOOK I’VE BEEN SHOPPING POSTS you’ll be experiencing from my Instagram and blog of late.
(There’s more on the way, soz but not that soz).
After nine months of suffocating myself in maternity leggings and tent tops, I am very much enjoying the sudden freedom of being able to online shop without having a small alien stuck to my stomach.
DRESSES! TROUSERS WITHOUT ELASTICATED WAISTBANDS! SKIRTS! TOPS THAT DON’T HAVE TO BE LONGER THAN THE NILE! What a wild, wild world I’m living in right now.
Anyway, one of my fave recent splurges is this dress.
A little monochrome wrap number (can we call it animal print or is that a stretch?) from my number one home girl, ASOS, which I thought would be pretty cute for spring with some fake tanned pins and some sort of babin’ cross-body bag.
And also, £28? Yes kind sir, I will take three.
I wasn’t sure if this style would suit me because my boobs are currently the size of two small cargo trucks, and y’know, these things tend to be ferociously low-cut (plus, this particular fella had a nice big cut-out section on the back and lol this gal can’t go braless).
But it turned out just whacking a black vest from Primark underneath sorted out both of those problems. AND as a nice extra bonus it also ensured that if the dress were to become untied at any point I wouldn’t accidentally flash my nipples at the general public which is dead handy at keeping my dignity fairly intact.
For this ~lewk~ I teamed the dress with my fave HELLO, I HAVE ARRIVED yellow blazer (now sold out but similar budget version here) and my £12 Primark kitten heels.
And yes, I’m v aware about 96% of people are not about the kitten heel life but lord help me if I try and wear stilettos out the house because I will fall over.
And these, my friends, are angelically comfortable. They also come in red and yes, I own those too.
So yeah, I reckon this dress would also look pretty sweet with black tights whilst it’s still positively Siberian outside and maybe some black ankle boots if that’s more your jam.
I’m a big fan of the fact that because it’s monochrome it pretty much goes with everything ever, so fingers crossed I get a fair bit of wear out of it.
OH and yeah, it’s breastfeeding friendly, should that be something that floats your boat.
First up, I just want to give a shout out to anyone reading this who is a) pregnant or b) currently trying to blindly navigate the first few days or weeks of life with a newborn.
YOU ARE AMAZING. Like actually just pure fucking amazing. Give yourself a standing ovation gal.
I want to tell you that hardly any of the crap people insist on spouting to you about life once you have a baby is true.
Yes of course you’re tired and yes of course it’s a bit hard, but y’know what? I honestly think that once you’ve got the shock of labour and having someone else to look after it’s a walk in the park compared to pregnancy. Especially that last bit where it feels a bit like the baby might fall out every time you stand up and people like to make comments about how whopping your bump is. Twats.
So just remember that you got this, and even in the moments where it feels like maybe lol you absolutely do not have this, just know that every week gets easier.
Just know that actually you can absolutely still be the old you. You just have to get a bit bloody good at being organised, at saying yes to all the offers of help and at prioritising what’s important to you.
Have I done a face mask or the ironing in the past two months? Nah mate I have not. But you better believe I’ve been having fortnightly manicures and taking outfit snaps for Instagram because they make me feel like me. And I like to believe that if you feel good on the inside then you’re radiating all that onto your kid and being a calm, patient, smiley mama (I just died a bit inside typing that, I AM OLD) and that’s surely a wonderful thing, right?
Anyway, the first few days after we bought Atticus home are a bit of a blur. I was insanely tired following two nights of missed sleep thanks to labour and my c-section (birth story over here if ya haven’t already read it) and didn’t have time to recoup any energy before being thrown into motherhood.
Whilst we were lucky that Atti took to breastfeeding relatively easily, he refused to sleep unless Chris or I were holding him, which temporarily rendered his cot, his Snuzpod, his Sleepyhead and his bouncer completely useless.
Sleep guidelines say that you shouldn’t co-sleep with your boo, but it quickly became clear that if we didn’t then I might die from sleep deprivation and surely that’s not so grand for him either? (Not being at all dramatic, obvs).
So Chris moved to the spare room and I spent every night feeling guilty that I might be on the cusp of accidentally murdering my son (spoiler: I didn’t kill him and he did start sleeping in his Snuzpod, praise the lord).
When my midwife visited on day four and told me it was likely I might start feeling overwhelmingly emotional within the next few days, I was all like tell me something I don’t know, whilst doing a smug hair flick because GUYS, I FEEL FUCKING FANTASTIC, THIS ISN’T EVEN HARD.
And then 6pm hit and I had to do my daily stomach injection of drugs to stop my blood clotting (a wonderful side-effect from my surgery) and all of a sudden I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe.
And it went like that for a week.
The idea of night time and the darkness and the fear of the unknown – Would he sleep at all? Would I sleep at all? Would we actually make it through to morning? – completely overwhelmed me and I felt completely and utterly trapped in something much harder than I’d anticipated.
The prospect of never sleeping and of having to devote every waking second to someone else was, well… it was a bit much. I mean, if we’re being honest here, it wasn’t just a bit much, it was a lot much.
There were moments – usually when I had a baby vomiting across my bare boob at 2am where I seriously doubted my decision to have a baby. Maybe I hadn’t been ready, maybe I hadn’t anticipated just how difficult and all-consuming it would be and maybe, just maybe, I was an idiot.
And then just as quickly as it started, it stopped.
And I was like heh, OK, this is do-able. And more than do-able, this is actually pretty bloody ace.
It sounds ridiculous and maybe a bit depressing, but I reckon those first weeks are the hardest because you can remember your non-baby life so vividly. A couple of days ago you were sliding into bed at 9pm, watching a lil summin’ summin’ on the iPad and then moaning about the two times you had to get up in the night to wee because of your dumb bladder.
You can remember living completely selfishly, but the more time that goes on, the less easy it is to remember a life without a baby. You just adjust to a new normal. And actually, it’s fucking weird because somehow you survive quite happily on very little sleep. It’s like your body has some special back-up battery it’s never let you use until now.
SOME DAYS I HAVE FOUR HOURS SLEEP AND DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT COFFEE. UM U K HUN?
I think it’s made a huge difference that I’ve been able to get out the house and do a lot of pre-baby activities, which means that my life doesn’t feel too different from before.
Because I was self-employed and therefore not entitled to Maternity Pay, Chris was entitled to full Shared Parental Leave, and he negotiated with his boss to have longer off work than the standard two weeks.
It meant we were able to attempt to take on the world as a family – to go for brunch, for coffee, for walks, to the doctors, to Tesco, and even to London and Cambridge – to do the normal things we used to do as a two, but as a three.
Which in turn has meant that I’ve become pretty confident at just taking the baby wherever I go. I’ve breastfed and changed him in public, taken him on the Tube and taken him to coffee shops whilst I’ve done work.
(Atticus that is, not Chris lols).
It’s one heck of a juggling act, but contrary to popular belief you don’t actually have to spend every day with a newborn cooped up on the sofa in your leggings watching hideously awful (read: wonderful) TV.
You just do that for four days in a row and then on the fifth day you venture out and pretend you’re abso-fucking-lutely nailing life.
And, aside from having a newborn’s head to sniff at the end of a sucky day, there’s been one other pretty awesome thing that’s come out of this early bit of parenthood.
And that, guys and gals, is how much I love myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I have days where my body freaks me the hell out. Why you so doughy? Who these new stretch marks? But, birthing and looking after a very small creature has made me realise how awesome I – and all mothers – actually are.
I want to give myself some sort of large gold trophy that takes up half the living room.
Women are champions. They are strong and brave and hard-working and selfless, and I don’t think I quite realised just how much until I had a baby myself.
Some days I am dancing and singing to him whilst he’s in his bouncer, I’ve got a bean chilli on the go, I’m editing some photos, drinking a glass of wine, washing up, sticking some bottles in the steriliser and somehow still smiling and remaining sane and I think LOOK AT ME GO.
So yes motherhood has been terrifying and all-consuming but y’know what? It’s been utterly bloody wonderful too. Here’s to seeing what the next few months hold.
Lol, I so meant to upload this post the day after Valentine’s Day like a particularly on-it kinda blogger, but every time I had a spare hour or two to whip my laptop out, I chose to nap instead.
So yeah, LOOK WHAT I WORE FOR VALENTINE’S DAY.
You might have already spied this little get-up over on the ol’ Insta grid, but I wanted to stick it into a little something for the blog too because this outfit, well, this outfit just felt incredibly me.
Y’know when you put something on and you’re like freaking heck, this just speaks to me on 7256875 levels.
I picked up this EVERYONE LOOK AT ME coat in the Black Friday sales when River Island had a discount offer on (it’s now sold out, but there’s a wonderful green version), and hadn’t worn it anywhere near as much as I’d hoped, purely because it’s quite a dramatic colour.
And when I say quite, I mean it kinda makes your eyes wince away in horror, in the cutest possible way obvs.
Anyway for V Day this year, we did something pretty low-key and headed to a restaurant in Ipswich for afternoon tea with the baby.
I drank about seven cups of tea because girl’s gotta make the most of the fact it’s unlimited, had an impeccable sausage roll, and an even more impeccable little caramel choux bun.
Not a bad Wednesday afternoon tbh.
So yeah – the details in this outfit. Obviously there’s the pink coat which I teamed with a striped jumper (from GAP, similar here) and that bladdy metallic pleated skirt that I seem to wear in 27% of all outfit posts.
I mean, it has an elasticated waistband and that’s all you need to know.
I also wore my new v cheap heart sunglasses (might have just put in a sly order for a black pair too), my Topshop heels, and the wee little Kate Spade bag Chris bought me when we went to New York a couple of years ago.
When I got in the car to shoot this outfit with Chloe she said: ‘I like that you could have just gone for the coat or the rainbow stripes or the glittering pleated skirt but you just thought fuck it, I’m going to wear it all. And I am here for that.’
Y’know me, not one to keep things simple and understated.
But yeah, I felt good. I felt like Hannah Gale. In fact I felt the most Hannah Gale I’ve felt since I fell pregnant, and I won’t lie, that felt absolutely fucking awesome.
Peace out, gals.
Coat – River Island (similar £20 one here)Jumper – GAP (similar here)Skirt – La Redoute (similar £15 one here)Shoes – Topshop (similar here)Bag – Kate SpadeSunglasses – eBay
I think my 2018 might have peaked around three hours into January the first, when I y’know, birthed a small child, but nonetheless I thought it might be nice to lay out a few personal goals for the year.
It’s always a lovely wee blog post to write and then reflect back on at the end of the year, innit?
And I always find it inspires me to get my head in the game of life and focus on the things I actually want – gives me a bit of motivation to actually crack on and stop lazing on the sofa thinking about nachos whilst googling Teen Mom news. No you need to get a life.
Oh and you’ll have to excuse the fact this post is going live in February. I feel like I spent January in a prolonged state of Christmas limbo. I napped, I ate Christmas chocolate and I was off work. It was pretty bloody bliss if ya can ignore the whole sleep deprivation thing.
Anyway, GOALS. Let’s go.
UPGRADE MY CAMERA
Whilst me and my gal Olympus Pen have been in an exclusive relationship for the past few years, I think the time has come for me to move on. Soz hun, it’s not you, it’s me.
I’ve actually had three of their infamous E-PL7 cameras (broke one, had one stolen), which just goes to show how well it’s been loved. But recently I’ve been shooting with Chloe on her v v snazzy new Canon and YES PLEASE JUST TAKE MY MONEY.
I feel ready to take my blog photography to the next level, and whilst it’s all very well and good borrowing hers when we shoot together in the glam ghetto of Ipswich town centre, it’d be nice to have my own to shoot flat lays and lifestyle shiz at home, as well as to y’know, shoot with other people.
I’ll stop saying shoot now. This isn’t a Louis Theroux documentary.
FIRST FAMILY HOLIDAY ABROAD
We’ve got a little staycation with the Gale clan lined up for later this spring (our first vaycay with both my older and younger siblings EVER), but am keen to get a lil snippet of vitamin D with Chris and Atti too.
I have no idea where’s good to go with a baby or what age is best to travel at, and it all depends on how much work I take on in the next few months – but it’d be v dreamy to start creating those wonderful family memories somewhere that isn’t our living room.
KEEP ON GROWING
I mean, I’d rather my gunt didn’t grow too much bigger, but if my blog and social channels could keep on going on the incline that’d be just swell.
Obviously as the industry has become more and more saturated and there’s been algorithm changes and whhoknowswhatelse, it’s become harder to make your accounts and your online channels stand out from the crowd.
A lot of fellow bloggers and ‘grammers have found that they flatlined in 2017 or even lost followers, and whilst mine did continue to grow, it’d be super to follow that trend in 2018 too.
Because as much as I enjoy my online world as a creative outlet, it is my business too and I have to think about it in the long-term.
BUY A DESIGNER BAG
Gah I hate myself for saying this because I never thought I’d be the sort of gal to place possessions over experiences, but I’d really like to treat myself to something special in the bag department.
I wanted to scream FUCK IT and YOLO and LOL LOL LOL WHO NEEDS DA MONEY at the end of 2017 to celebrate a pretty intense year (lost my nan, won a v special blog award, was on front cover of magazine, grew a baby), but suddenly came over all sensible Susan and decided to save my money as a maternity leave safety net.
I want to make sure that whatever I invest in gets a lot of use but still feels me. I’m thinking maybe red as a I use my cheapo red Mango bag almost every day – I also love the Gucci Soho Disco bag and the JW Anderson Logo bag but reckon at this stage it’s worth waiting for something new and spectacular yet timeless to hit the scene.
FIND A DECENT WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Obviously a lot of this year is completely up in the air because I have only just begun on my wild, wild journey of balancing being a full-time baby mama with being a full-time blogger – and I’ve no idea how I’ll strike the balance.
I want to be a 10/10 mum, but at the same time I think a lot of setting a good example for your child comes down to making sure you’re making yourself happy too. So I guess I want to show ambition, determination and hard-work, but I also want to be there. Who bloody knows, eh?
SEND MORE POST
One thing I noted in the aftermath of having a baby was how very kind people were with their cards, flower deliveries and cute surprise pressies.
I for one, am utterly shit at a) keeping hold of people’s addresses once they’ve given them to me and b) actually buying a card/present and then wrapping it and getting it to the post office once I’ve had the OMG BRILLIANT idea of sending something. Basically what I’m trying to say is I’m a bit lazy, and I don’t want to be lazy, I want to be thoughtful.
So this year I’m going to be better with pals and family. I’ll remember birthdays and send cheer-up-you-mega-babe parcels just ‘cos, so watch this space.
And aside from that? I want to remember to take time for myself, I want to remember to not be latched onto my phone like some sort of crazed addict, and I want to be a good girlfriend, the kind who says compliments and does the washing up once in a blue moon and doesn’t moan about boring shit, y’know? I want to be kind and helpful and I’d like to be generous, both with my time, my attention and with the way I treat people.
First off, I am aware the title of this blog post is a little ~wild~ considering we’re less than 40 days into 2018, but hey, watcha gonna do.
I had big blogging plans to compile a nice little cliche ‘fave beauty products of 2017’ post back in December but waddling and naps and moaning about how much I missed red wine kinda took over and LOL no such post was ever created.
So here we are now.
Anyway, these are the beauty products I’ve been using pretty much every day so far this year. The low-maintenance stuff that’s been making me feel slightly less like a giant decaying baking potato.
Obviously I haven’t had oodles of time to sit around attempting to blend out cute glitter smokey eyes for Insta selfies for obvious reasons, but I have had time to y’know, wash and attempt to make myself look like a functioning member of society.
And these are the beauty fellas that have been helping me.
MAC LIPSTICK IN ‘PLEASE ME’
Chris bought me this for Christmas (I asked for it, he’s not like some rare present-buying genius) and it’s become the every day shade I slick on to make up for the fact I look a bit (read: a lot) like shit.
Despite the fact the photo makes it look like some terrifying vivid shade of bubblegum, Please Me is actually a pretty neutral pink shade – call it the perfect daytime alternative to nude lips for gals that aren’t quite hip and happening enough to copy Kylie Jenner. Shop here.
GLOSSIER MILKY JELLY CLEANSER
After staying strong for an entire two weeks after the Glossier UK release at the end of last year, I finally fell prey to the online hype during their Black Friday 20% off offer and snapped up their infamous jelly cleanser.
Anyway, my first impressions were that it was a bit average. It smells a bit blah and doesn’t do anything ground-breaking, but what dya know what? I seem to be using it every day. Heh.
If you’re looking for something heavy-duty to remove your make-up at the end of the day, this isn’t your badger, but if you want something light and simple for a morning cleanse or a no make-up day cleanse then actually it’s pretty bloody perfect and leaves skin feeling super fresh and clean. Shop here.
BOBBI BROWN FACE MIST
The heroes at Bobbi Brown sent me a few skincare bits for my hospital bag and this fella is by far my favourite – probably because you can apply it in less time than it takes to pull on a pair of knickers.
I’ve been spritzing it on morning and night after my cleanse (lol look at me pretending like I’ve been cleansing twice a day) in an attempt to a) wake myself up a bit and b) make myself look hydrated and glowy and less like a dying rodent.
I’ve been using this since I was 17 because it’s aces (and always on offer) and decided to switch over to the stretch mark variation about half way through my pregnancy.
I quickly neglected all other stretch mark lotions and potions purely because LOOK THIS ONE HAS A PUMP APPLICATOR which makes it a lazy gal’s dream.
(Disclaimer: I did get a handful of stretch marks after my boo was born, but am continuing to use this to help convince the aggressive purple lines to eventually turn silver). Shop here.
EMPORIO ARMANI’S ‘BECAUSE IT’S YOU’ FRAGRANCE
Chris and I were sent the matching new men’s and women’s fragrances from Emporio Armani last year and I’ll be honest, I’ve definitely had worse post.
And guys, guess what? THEY’RE BOTH REALLY ACTUALLY VERY NICE. LIKE, REALLY NICE. So nice in fact that we both wear them most days.
The women’s one has a light, feminine sweetness to it, whilst the men’s one now reminds me of Atticus being born because Chris would whack on half the bottle whenever he went home for a shower whilst I was in hospital which will forever make it that bit more special. Shop here.
Also need to give a standing ovation to Batiste Dry Shampoo for keeping a gal going even on the tough days, to Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo for smelling like happiness and being cheap as chips and to Clinique Moisture Surge for being the best every day moisturiser for haggard people. You guys are champs.
I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago. Y’see, in the days following the birth of my son, Atticus, I felt a desperate need to attempt to piece together all the details that surrounded his arrival into the world.
My labour wasn’t necessarily traumatic or negative, but it was intense and long and left me feeling a little shell-shocked, and so writing about it – as with every event in my life – was my way of accepting it and finding closure. My way of better understanding it so that I could move on.
So, as with any birth story, it might be best if you plonk yourself down with a good ol’ brew and some sort of delicious biscuit (the Co-op have some sweet as lemon and white chocolate cookies that I tried the other day that are absolutely top dollar, if you’re in the market for suggestions).
Mostly because THERE ARE OVER 2,500 WORDS. TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE HUNDRED.
I’m not even slightly soz.
And hey, if you don’t like babies, it’s cool if you wanna swan off to some other area of the internet instead and do quizzes about cats and pizza, I won’t hold it against you.
So yeah, let’s get a-crackin’.
My story starts on the morning of Saturday 30th December 2017 at Ipswich Hospital.
The little gremlin in my belly had been measuring big at all of its scans, and because of that, the consultant suggested I might like to get induced on my due date to avoid any complications.
And so we rolled with it.
We swanned up to the antenatal ward at 8am with a cool bag full of Marks & Spencer snacks which we’d carefully handpicked the day before (everything from dried apricots and mango chunks to a BLT and Percy Pigs), Scrabble (we played two games and I lost both, although in my defense I was probably a bit distracted) and a sense of apprehension at the complete unknown ahead of us.
Because things were pretty busy at the hospital I wasn’t actually examined until midday, and soon thereafter a pessary (which is basically like a 2D tampon straight out of a 1990’s Game Boy game) was inserted right up into my vagina. It didn’t particularly hurt, but it was a little uncomfortable – a bit like someone was giving me what’s best described as a ferocious fingering.
The point of the pessary is to kick-start labour, and for some women this can be almost instant, whereas for others it can take a second dose and a couple of days. So I was a bit like let’s just play it cool and not expect too much and if it happens then HELLO BABY NICE TO MEET YOU, and if not, then what’s another couple of days of waiting after nine months really going to matter, eh?
We spent the afternoon walking around the hospital trying to get things moving and reading v outdated magazines with nice stories about dead babies (strong work, hospital), and then I started to feel what’s best described as trapped wind pains.
They weren’t the sort of pains you could time so I just assumed I y’know, needed a poo or something.
I’d had similar pains throughout the last month of my pregnancy which had never amounted to anything, so I decided not to read too much into them. And, at 10.30pm, I sent Chris home to get some proper sleep whilst I set myself up in bed with a Harry Potter audiobook and a colouring-in book.
No, you’re predictable.
Anyway, I probably only listened to about three minutes of Stephen Fry’s soothing voice describe Hogwarts to me before realising that nuh-uh hunny, this pain ain’t the one.
I downloaded an app to attempt to time the pains which were by this point coming in noticeable waves and asked one of the midwives to attach my TENS machine to help me ride them out.
I started trying to silently bob up and down on my birthing ball without waking any of the other three pregnant gals on my ward – which was actually quite hard considering I was crashing about during each contraction like a labouring hippo in an antique shop.
When the contractions were lasting about 60 seconds and coming every few minutes I asked if maybe it would be a good idea to get Chris to come back to the hospital.
The midwife seemed hesitant – and reader, at this point I was well aware the baby wasn’t about to shoot out of my vagina unannounced – but I really needed some moral support and someone to stroke my hair and pour Lucozade down my throat.
He waltzed back in at 2am and by 4am, whilst spread out on all fours on my hospital bed, my waters theatrically broke, exactly the way you see on TV.
And they were baby pink which y’know, helped me feel fairly certain that I hadn’t just accidentally done a really big wee all over myself.
And fter that initial gush, it just kept on coming.
Turns out it’s not just one woosh of water and that’s you done. Oh no, there was water and mucus and lumps and bump and gross bits and blood and pretty much everything residing in my womb aside from the actual baby. All over my bed, my clothes, my legs, the floor, the entire hospital.
Labour is so dignified.
I felt very sorry for a) my boyfriend who looked like he’d just seen me being cut in two and b) the midwife who had to get on her hands and knees and attempt to mop it all up.
It was at this point that I whacked on a nice big adult nappy and changed into my nightie like the goddess I am.
I was escorted up to the labour ward not long afterwards, but because things were still really busy, I was taken to an assessment room rather than a delivery suite.
At this point the pain had really amped up a gear and my hypnobirthing breathing techniques were no longer cutting it, so I was offered paracetamol and morphine until I could be examined and the doctors could come up with a game plan.
I decided to have a 6am candlelit (fake candles supplied by the hospital, obvs) bath which Chris later described as ‘like something out of a horror film’ mostly because I was thrashing about in the water whilst making distressed roaring noises.
And I’ve got to be honest here, the hours that followed were easily the hardest of my entire labour.
There was still no-one available to examine me and the midwives were reluctant to offer me any stronger pain relief, so I mostly just sobbed on the floor and told Chris I couldn’t do it anymore whilst ramming Wine Gums in my mouth between contractions with the hope of keeping my energy levels up.
You know me, strong independent woman and all that.
Anyway, at midday all my prayers were answered.
A midwife sauntered into my room, told me we were headed for the delivery suite next door and that absolutely yes I could have an epidural and she’d ring the anesthetist now and would I like to chow down on some gas and air whilst we waited?
Spoiler: I chowed down on a lot of gas and air whilst we waited.
Within an hour I’d been changed into a hospital gown, had a catheter installed, had my epidural administered, been examined (HELLO 3CM DILATED), and was hooked up to a drip that was was pumping me full of Syntocinon to further speed up the labour.
And honestly? It was bloody wonderful.
I had a kick-ass midwife who waited on me hand and foot and made me feel like a queen. I couldn’t feel any pain, but because of the epidural I was bed bound indefinitely and hooked up to machines to monitor the baby’s heart rate. I also had to have my temperature and blood pressure taken every hour.
The type of epidural I’d had meant that I could administer my own dose of it every 20 minutes (it would never go above what a doctor would prescribe) which meant I could keep it at a level where I could still feel my legs and slight tightenings in my back every time I had a contraction, but not any actual pain.
I guess it helped me feel a little more like I was experiencing my own labour rather than feeling completely detached from it.
My room had huge windows and loads of brand new birthing mats that reminded me of school PE lessons. And, although I couldn’t use them, they a fantastic spot for Chris to nap – the midwife even got him pillows and a blanket so he could get comfy.
It was just, well it was really, really nice.
I was examined again early in the evening – and by this point it had been 24 hours since the initial pains had started – and found that I’d progressed to 7cm. The consultant then decided it would be worth increasing my dose of Syntocinon to get me through the last leg of labour.
And that, my friends, is when the problems started.
Every time my midwife attempted to up the dose, my baby’s heart rate would randomly dip for a few seconds before returning to normal. The higher the dose, the more often it would dip, until it got to the point where it would no longer bring itself back up to a normal rate unless the Syntocinon was shut off completely.
By this point it was coming up midnight and we watched the New Year’s Eve fireworks cascade across the Ipswich horizon from our hospital room. Which, probably would have been quite lovely and poignant was had I not been riding into my second night without sleep.
I was examined again and had made it up to 9cm dilated but there was a tiny bit of cervix still in the way – the consultant asked me to try pushing to see if I could move it out the way, but alas nope.
And so the words ‘emergency c-section’ were uttered.
My baby’s heart rate was dipping every few minutes and the general consensus was that we just needed to get the little chump out as soon as possible.
And so we did.
Chris was asked to prepare an outfit for the baby, I started aggressively inhaling some lavender oil on a tissue because MUST. STAY. CALM and then within a matter of minutes I was being wheeled on out of my delivery suite and up to the operating floor.
I’m not sure I had enough time to feel scared or to even really take in what was happening, but there was a moment, somewhere between having a second cannula rammed into my hand and having an ice cube slid about my body to see how well my anesthetic was working, where I let one teeny tiny tear fall out of my eye.
And then I remembered that I was going to meet my baby within the next ten minutes and suddenly it didn’t really matter so much that ten complete strangers were hovering above my abdomen staring down at my overgrown pubes.
Having a c-section is a funny sensation. You can’t feel any pain, and yet you can still feel everything.
I was told it would be like having someone doing the washing up inside you and I gotta say, I can’t think of a better comparison.
It took about ten minutes of being pulled about before I heard the first hyena shrieks of my baby at 2.54am, which was nice because at least I instantly knew he/she was very capable of breathing on his own.
The baby was then held up so that I could see it, and there was a weird moment where I felt completely detached, like this thing in front of me couldn’t possibly be my baby. As though I was watching someone else’s episode of One Born Every Minute.
A few minutes after that the baby was brought round to me so that I could see that HELLO I HAVE A SON, and then he was placed next to me because there wasn’t room for him to be snuggled onto my chest.
And that’s where we had our first awkward mum and son encounter where I just mumbled ‘I love you’ and ‘hi baby’ on repeat like a shit Furby whilst also being completely dumbfounded by the fact I couldn’t recognise myself in the teeny tiny pink creature blinking up at me.
(As his face has become less squashed-in-the-womb we’ve decided that he has my mouth and chin, so hey that’s something, right?)
I stayed in surgery for another half an hour whilst I was stitched back up, before I was wheeled into recovery and my little love bug was weighed (a v healthy 8lbs 5oz) and checked over before coming over to his number one gal for some skin-to-skin contact and his first taste of breast milk.
I don’t actually remember the few hours after that particularly vividly – the first baby photo on my phone is taken at 5.37am, and aside from that I’m assuming I probably gobbled up a few snacks from the snack bag, whinged about the fact I wanted a shower but still had a catheter shoved up my private parts and just stared at the baby sleeping like he was as exciting as the last episode of Broadchurch season one.
We named him Atticus, purely because we liked the name, but also thought Atti as nickname was particularly cute. His middle names, Robert and Rudolf, are both family names that mean a lot to me and Chris.
I also secretly think Robert Rudolf is a v strong stage name should Atti decide to take Hollywood by storm and then maybe buy me and Chris a condo in Malibu. So y’know, that too.
Anyway yeah, we stayed in hospital another day and a half – I had morphine and paracetamol to deal with the fact I’d just had pretty major surgery and now had a newborn to look after, iron tablets because I’d hemorrhaged during said surgery, and injections in my tummy to stop my blood clotting.
Chris’s mum came to visit, as did my dad and step mum, and we were photographed (looking like we’d died about 73567 times over) for The Ipswich Star because Atti was one of the first 2018 babies born at the hospital. And bless the little goblin, he even ended up making the front page. That’s my boy.
I ate a lot of jacket potatoes, changed a lot of nappies, and FaceTimed my best friend who was drunk in New York who kindly told me I looked like shit.
What are friends for, eh?
And, whilst my labour and hospital stay was a lot longer than I’d hoped for, and I basically worked my way through the entire pain relief list, I wouldn’t change my experience for the world.
And heck, even a few weeks on I’m looking back like yeah ok sure I’d do that again for another baby.
I had incredible midwives who made me feel strong and capable and looked after, but more than that, I have a healthy little flump of a son with a baby daddy I really bloody love, and honestly, what more could I ask for?
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.