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.
Having a baby is absolutely delicious. But it also completely strips you of your identity and then you have to play a fun lil game of piecing yourself back together again week by week until you can look in the mirror and be like HEY I KNOW THAT GAL! I KNOW HER! I DO!
And, whilst it’s still very much early days for me, I thought I’d share a few of the things that have made me feel more like me over the past few months. Like a Hannah Gale I recognise circa 2018.
I’m very much of the belief that a happy mama equals a happy baby, so am trying to take some time at the moment (and dedicate some mental energy) to the second most important person in my world, ME! Lol.
Here’s what has helped me…
1. TAKING AN HOUR TO MYSELF
Trying to take short bursts of time completely to myself. No baby in my arms, no baby snoozing on the monitor next to me, just an hour here and there where I don’t have to think about someone else before I get up for a pee. I usually go out in the car, turn my music up so loud that my ear drums are quivering, get some coffee, and then just enjoy hanging out with my laptop. I’m not gone long enough for the baby to miss me, I’m not gone long enough to miss the baby, but I’ve had a breather, a little break, and it feels good.
2. ONLINE SHOPPING
Ain’t no kind of clothes shopping that’s better than post-baby clothes shopping. After nine months of trying to squeeze yourself into ~trendy~ bed sheets, the online high street is suddenly your oyster again. Huzzah! I’ve found some of my best recent purchases to be trainers (thankfully it seems to be cool at the moment to wear them with midi skirts and dresses and I’m so here for that), crossbody bags (hello hands-free), and slogan t-shirts.
3. HAVING A PAMPER
I’ve been trying to take time to actual pamper myself a bit recently. Now, I’m not talking like lavish massages and facials, but actually – and this is a wild one – remembering to wash my face and moisturise day and night. Whilst it’s not exactly ground-breaking, it’s the little details like that in every day that make me feel more like a functioning member of society and less like a decaying potato.
4. HAVING ‘NORMAL’ CONVERSATIONS
Not that conversations about formula and sleep routines aren’t normal, but bleedin’ heck, it’s wonderful to discuss non-baby stuff too.
I try to make an effort to send texts to my mates about stuff I would have done before – a little pic of my latest Domino’s order or an update on a crime mystery we’re all hooked on. No matter how much I just want to chat baby baby baby because it can feel like the only thing floating around my head a lot of the time.
5. DATE NIGHT
Whilst we do a lot of family dates these days – brunches, lunches and overnight stays in hotels, we also try hard to have a night just the two of us every month.
It’s an excuse to put on all my good make-up (sometimes even EYE LASHSES and TAN and OK look I’m getting carried away here), to have a wee little cocktail and to pretend I’m still hip and fun and young and happening.
I’ll hold up my hands and admit that I was desperate to rush back to me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could have it all and LOL OK HUN GOOD LUCK WITH THAT ONE.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just accept that you’ve been through one of the biggest things anyone will ever go through in their life and y’know what? It’s OK to go slow. It’s OK to just live in that moment, to breathe deeply and let go of the person you were before. Because the new you is awesome too.
A lot of people who’ve clicked into this post will likely have had no idea that I ever struggled with an eating disorder.
It used to be something I discussed fairly frequently and openly on this blog – back in the day, but it became something that plagued my waking thoughts less and less and so naturally, I just stopped bringing it up as much.
So… Where to start?
I was fourteen the first time I made myself sick.
And probably twenty-seven the last time I made myself sick.
And twenty-eight the last time I thought about making myself sick.
Because that’s the thing with something like bulimia – even if you have won the battle and it no longer haunts you by the minute, the voice of temptation is always waiting around the next corner ready to jump out and overwhelm you.
So, while I have considered myself recovered now for the best part of a decade (give or take the odd fleeting relapse), I am not sure it is something that will ever completely free itself from the deep, dark corners of my brain.
And I am OK with that.
I can live with it. I can nod a quick hello to it like a neighbour in the street, without inviting it into my home. If that even makes sense.
I used bulimia for many things – as a way to binge eat and fill an emotional emptiness, to gain a sense of control over my life at a time when it felt like I had none, as an attempt to lose weight, as a cry for attention, and as a way to release some of the pent up anger and sadness sitting within me.
It became a go-to coping mechanism whenever I was in need.
Some kid on the school field call you fat? Just go throw up.
Your ex-boyfriend dancing with someone else in a club? Just go throw up.
Been chucked out of your mum’s house? Just go throw up.
Making myself sick was my safety net, an invisible best friend in a world that, at the time, was incredibly lonely.
I had never meant to get hooked or to rely on it as heavily as I did. And it’s wild to think how quickly something can escalate from being a hobby to being a habit to being an addiction.
I remember feeling a sense of pride when I could tick off how many days in a row I’d forced my fingers down my throat, a sense of achievement at just how long I’d kept it up for.
It was a weird clash of feeling like FUCK, THIS IS BAD, I SHOULD STOP, THIS IS GETTING OUT OF CONTROL and LOOK AT ME GO, LOOK, LOOK, I’M ACTUALLY GOOD AT SOMETHING!
I had this weird fantasy in my head that one day the world would find out and I would be overwhelmed with love and support and kindess. That people would rush to my side and do anything to see me healthy again, happy again, that people would care.
But it never quite worked out like that.
Because as most of us know, society is still quite scared by mental illnesses.
People don’t know what to say or do, and so quite often, they say nothing instead. I guess for fear of making it worse.
Eating disorders are extra tricky because so much emphasis is placed on the weight-loss element, when actually, much of the disease stems from v v v complex emotional issues rather than just ‘LOL I AM FAT’.
And with bulimia, most people struggle to get their head around it because surely no-one enjoys throwing up?
There is nothing glamorous or aspirational (if a mental illness can be either) about smelling like sick, of rotting see-through teeth, of scabby fingers and knuckles, of bloodshot eyes, of tired skin.
And so whilst a few people confronted me over the years (and one ex-boyfriend literally frogmarched me to my GP’s office), the only real thing that helped me was me.
This gal sitting here in her pants and an oversized bright pink cardigan, Hannah Gale.
I realise it’s not particularly helpful to tell you that I just grew out of it. But I kinda did. It’s like I eventually realised that actually, I was more than bulimia, I didn’t want that to be the biggest thing about me.
I wrote a list in my diary of all the reasons bulimia was dumb – the idea of it effecting my fertility being the thing that haunted me the most, and I referred to it whenever I was feeling particularly low or vulnerable.
But more than anything, the very thing that has saved me the most, has been gaining control over my own life. And I guess that’s something which comes with age and independence.
Having that control to create a life environment that prioritises safety and stability, has helped me fight the triggers that led me to bulimia in the first place.
I have created my own home, my own job, my own family. I have made myself an adult life with as few of the things that make me question my sanity, and myself, as possible.
And in doing so, I have saved myself.
I guess what I am trying to say is that you cannot wait for anyone to lift you out of your darkness, you have to choose to start lifting yourself out of it.
And so to anyone struggling, just know that you are brilliant and brave and beautiful and just know that there is an escape from the madness.
It may not be overnight, and the temptations might not ever go away, but there is some peace and some sunshine waiting for you.
First up, I guess I should start with a quick sentence on what the fuck the fourth trimester is.
According to a v speedy Google search, it ‘begins the moment the baby is born, and ends when he/she is three months old’.
It’s a term which explains the immediate aftermath of pregnancy, those early newborn days, the part where your baby is all sweet Jesus I am not living in a warm, dark cave anymore and WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS SLEEPING AND EATING AND OMG TOO MUCH TOO MUCH.
Atti is, at the time of writing this, sixteen weeks and four days old. He is, well – we are – well and truly no longer in the fourth trimester.
We are out in the big wide world.
And it’s been a bit of a shock to the ol’ system.
Partly because we’ve also had a few other changes going on over the past few weeks.
Firstly, we’re in the midst of his forth developmental leap (a developmental leap for non-parents is basically where he learns to process the world differently or something who knows, I have an app to tell me these kinds of things). Secondly, DUN DUN DUN, our breastfeeding journey has come to a close, and thirdly lord almighty I’ve had my first period (and big ol’ whoosh of period hormones) in over a year. It was 3576573465 kinds of hideous.
Now, I gotta say, I heard a lot of great, juicy, sexy stuff about this stage of parenting.
I have had many a hushed whisper of ‘OK, so now is when it gets really good’.
That actually, once you’d got your head around the ol’ WOAH I HAVE A BABY thing and worked out your routine and what works for you and your baby isn’t so shocked about y’know, being alive, it’s much more manageable.
But let me be brutally honest here, this part, this delicious OMG he smiles at me all the time and he really knows who I am part, well… I’ve found it really fucking hard.
Maybe it’s the developmental leap, maybe it’s some weird no-longer-breastfeeding-guilt masquerading itself in other ways, or maybe – hear me out here – it’s the fact that I am no longer living in the newborn bubble.
Y’see, everyone accepts that the newborn bit is a bit of a shit show – quite literally.
Your entire world has been turned upside down, your body has done the most beautifully traumatic thing it ever will, and there is a plethora of support basically hovering on your doorstep. YOUR MIDWIFE COMES ALMOST DAILY. The health visitor. Parents.
Heck, even the postman came every two seconds with deliveries of flowers and parcels from friends once forgotten and distant relatives.
And my phone! OMG MY PHONE! It was constantly a-buzz with ‘DO YOU NEED ANYTHING?’ and ‘hello when can we visit plz’ and ‘hi me again can you send some more photos’.
But once all of that has died down and the congratulations cards have come off the mantelpiece and you’ve packed a load of newborn clothes into a box in the loft and finally eaten through every pack of biscuits and gourmet freezer meal, well, things are a little different.
it feels as though this is the time when you are supposed to claim back some level of normal.
When the reality is that everything feels so far from normal.
When Atti looks for my face, finds it, and then smiles, I am so flooded with love that my eyes water and I praise the sweet universe for bringing such simple happiness into my life.
And in the same breath, he will scream and it will pierce my soul and I will wonder, how, if ever, I will get through it.
Parenthood has the ability to make you feel such intense emotions at both ends of the spectrum and it will leave you crying and laughing and smiling and struggling to breathe all at once.
It is so deeply, overpoweringly incredible, but it also challenges you, pushes you, forces you to question everything.
I know it will get easier, the same way I know there will always be a tough day for every three sunshine-y ones.
I also know that it will all be entirely worth it. That every tear and wail of ‘I CAN’T DO THIS’ will be rewarded with memories that make my life just feel like the most breathtaking journey I’ve ever been on.
But it doesn’t stop it from feeling hard in those moments, for making you feel like you’re struggling to stay afloat, like you’re treading water for dear fucking life.
So here’s a big up to every other not-quite-brand-new mums out there. You’re doing amazing. Every single day you are doing amazing.
You are doing amazing when you’re putting on lipstick and heels and you’re feeling like the pre-baby you.
And you’re doing equally – if not more – amazing when you’re in belly-button-high pants and a t-shirt that’s stained with baby sick, lasagne and your tears from the last three days.
And, no matter what it sometimes feels like, you have got this more than you’ll ever realise.
Big love, gal. You’re a super hero, you.
I’M WEARINGBlazer – Matalan (old)Earrings – H&M (in-store)Top – River IslandJeans – River IslandShoes – Primark (in-store)Sunglasses – No idea pal, borrowed them off Chloe
Because as glorious and rammed full of love those early days are, they’re undeniably hard too.
1. Bookmark blog posts from other new mums who a) make you chuckle, b) make you do a therapeutic cry and c) make you realise that you’re absolutely not alone in this. Some of the words that brought a little relief to me via a virtual hug were Morgan’s ‘Thoughts On Early Motherhood’, Rosie’s ‘Life With A Newborn’ and Jen’s post on breastfeeding.
2. Fill the house with all your favourite food, and then when you think you’ve got enough, BUY MORE. Frozen food you can whack in the oven or microwave is the best (we lived off of COOK’s macaroni cheese and mushroom risotto for the first few weeks), and then make sure you have plenty of snacks. I kept leftover Christmas chocolate and a bunch of bananas next to my bed (along with a litre bottle of water) to help make the night feeds a little less gruesome.
3. Plan ahead with things that will help with newborn ailments (like colds and nappy rash) before they happen so you’re not left crying into a muslin at 3am because your baby is screaming and you can’t get to Tesco. Lols. Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment is a fantastic shout because not only is it free from toxic ingredients and fragrances (hurrah!) but it creates a barrier that protects super delicate baby bum skin from the causes of nappy rash. After all prevention is better than cure! It also has pro-vitamin B5 which aids natural recovery of skin whilst also keeping it super soft and moisturised.
4. Find other women who are in the same boat as you and never EVER let them go. Everyone knows plenty of people who have had a baby before – but nothing beats finding other mums who are at that exact same stage as you. Meet them at NCT classes, find them on Instagram, re-connect with random acquaintances from 2012 via Facebook messenger. Find people who you can compare nappies and feeds and sleep with, people that will force you out the house for coffee and people who – bottom line – just totally get it.
5. Make your home feel like a super cosy little sanctuary that you’ll enjoy spending time in because you’ll likely be housebound more than you’re used to. This is absolutely your go-ahead to buy as many posh candles, fluffy blankets and cushions as your heart desires and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
6. Delete any apps that have a habit of making you compare yourself to other people. I sacked off Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin’ for the first month (I used Facebook messenger to desperately harass other new mums) and lived in a wonderful little bubble like it was the olden times or something. Highly recommend.
7. Record or download loads of rubbish (read: incredible) TV that you can zone in and out – none of this hooha where you so much as blink at the wrong time and you’ve completely missed the storyline. My faves are/were Say Yes To The Dress (it’s on pretty much all through the night on TLC), Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Teen Mom (OG, 2 and UK).
8. DO NOT PUT AWAY YOUR MATERNITY CLOTHES. I threw my jeans to the back of the cupboard and then had to scramble about on my knees trying to find them a week later when lol good one, still didn’t fit in my pre-baby ones. I survived the first few weeks in maternity leggings (especially great after a c-section), stretchy dungarees, shirts, slouchy t-shirts and just as slouchy jumpers.
9. Don’t forget to think about you. Say yes to the help (regardless of whether that’s someone else doing your clothes washing or someone allowing you an hour out the house for a coffee and a manicure), stock up on things like paracetamol and nipple cream so that you’re not in pain and remember that it does get easier. This is the hardest part and you’ll look back in a week, a month and a year and realise how far you’ve come, and just how much of a bloomin’ bad ass you are. YOU GOT THIS GAL.
This post is sponsored by Bepanthen but all views, thoughts and tips very much my own!
Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment protects against the causes of nappy rash, and cares for babies’ soft and sensitive bottoms through the day and night. Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment is gentle enough to use at every nappy change and is available at all leading supermarkets, chemists and independent pharmacies. RRP £3.99 for 30g, £5.99 for 50g and £7.99 for 100g.
I’ve got a list as long as my boobs (lol) of blog posts I feel like I should be writing.
And I planned, in the tiny pocket of writing time I had today, to maybe write something about social media (groundbreaking, I know), but there is one thing that’s been playing on my mind since I woke up and so whaddya know here we are typing about it.
Y’see on this very day last year I was in Corfu.
I was reading Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon, eating pizza for lunch, and posing by the pool in a little Primark swimming cossie, taking photos for Instagram.
But what I didn’t know at the time was that I was pregnant.
Or, that less than 24 hours before, my nan had passed away – alone – in her care home.
It’s been a funny old year. Excellent beyond belief for the most part, but full of little twists and turns that have pulled my emotions in unexpected directions.
And losing my Babcia was one of them.
I wrote about it at the time (you can read it here), and to this day it is one of my favourite blog posts. It makes me smile and cry all at the same time, and it makes me feel incredibly privileged to have had such a glittering firework of a woman in my life.
But what I didn’t mention back then was that it had taken six weeks for the news of her death to filter down to me.
And I still find that fucking hard.
I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye or to lay her to rest the way most people do.
And, when, a few days later, I found out I was pregnant, I spent five and a half weeks believing she was alive and that I would be able to tell her.
I knew, that because of her dementia, she likely wouldn’t understand it was her great grand child, but I hoped that she would smile and show some warmth for the stranger in front of her.
I’d planned to drive back to Sussex the week after my 12-week scan – to tell my dad and my step-mum and brother and sister on the Saturday, and to drive over to see my nan on the Sunday.
It’s hard knowing I excitedly said dumb things to my boyfriend like ‘oh my god, how cute is it going to be when Babi holds the baby for the first time. Like OK, I know she won’t be able to hold it exactly, but like, just to take a photo of them together’, when actually, that was never a scenario that would have ever happened because she’d already gone.
I won’t go into details of why exactly it took six weeks for the news to reach me or why she was alone when she finally took her last breath, mostly because I’m still not even sure of the truth behind it, even today – but just know that I would have given my everything to have been there. To have held her hand. To have whispered that I loved her.
I cried almost daily throughout pregnancy because I missed her so hard it hurt.
I had a real craving throughout the entire nine months to be looked after – which, for those that know me well – is not something I’ll often admit.
I like to think I’m independent and strong and brave, but I didn’t feel any of those things whilst I was carrying Atti. I wanted to be waited on hand and foot like a sick little child, to have someone stroke my hair and cook my favourite foods.
And I wanted the one person who had looked after me the most when I was little, the one person who had made me feel special and important above all others.
I think pregnancy made me mourn her harder than I would have otherwise. Maybe it was the sadness that the two would never meet, or maybe the hormones, but it drowned me in a way I wasn’t ready for.
I choose to believe that she was never destined to meet my child – or children. That Atticus was her parting gift to me. That a little bit of her – her energy and kindess and for want of a better word, spunk – lives in him.
The same way I choose to believe that my grandad sent me Chris because he knew he would pick me up from the lost world I was living in within my own head – that he would give me stability and safety.
Y’see, in a week, it’ll be five years since he died.
And I struggled a lot with his death too – mostly because although he was elderly and in and out of hospital, I – rather blindly – didn’t see it coming.
I’m not a religious person. In fact I’d go as far as to say I was an atheist. But when my grandad died, I prayed to him.
When I was a kid, my nan had made me pray to a cross in her room before bed, and in copying that action, I felt a closeness to them.
I asked him to send me some of this strength, I asked him to help me, to look after me. I apologised for not saying good bye. I told him how much I missed him and how much I loved him.
I even wrote to him in my diary.
I mean, it sounds absolutely fucking wild reflecting back on it and even admitting it.
But two months later I met Chris in a bar in Shoreditch and things have, quite literally, never been the same since.
Despite the fact I don’t necessarily believe in life after death, I have to believe that they are still out there, that they are guiding me and watching me and sending me love. Because without that idea, I feel a little lost.
Grief is the toughest pain we ever experience as humans – and I would go through labour ten times over to just have one night of pierogi and card games with them.
The funny thing with blogging is that I write a post with a slight opinion in it and then two weeks later am like lol disagree with everything I spent two hours typing out.
I’m currently in a bit of a weird spot with work.
Typing out blog posts is a mega mission at the moment because in v shocking news that you might all have to sit down for – trying to get 1,000 words written on the regular whilst trying to keep a small baby alive, is near on impossible.
And I am living for Instagram stories at the moment. Living for it. Not only because it’s the easiest content to create when you’ve got to do it in tiny pockets of time, but because I can ramble on about anything – clothes, make-up, food or baby – and you’ve all got my back.
The sense of community on Instagram is insane. It keeps me going on hard days. It reminds me I’m not alone. It gives me advice (of which only some is unsolicited, lol). And it makes me feel like I’m in a crowd of awesome women when actually I’m in my grey trackies slobbed out on the sofa with a baby who’s crying because he’s forgotten how to nap.
But I love writing. It brings me some sort of weird inner peace, just being able to type sentences from the inner workings of my soul.
But a lot of the things I want to write about, to dissect and evaluate, are things about being a mum.
I never wanted this to be a parenting blog, and I stand by that – because shocker – there is more to me, and to most mums, that just the fact that we’re raising tiny humans.
But it is becoming harder and harder to ignore that it is a huge part of me.
And as much as I love clothes and beauty and food and travel, the ideas that come most naturally to me are the ones about my daily life – and right now, that’s helping a three-and-a-half-month baby grow up.
I feel a bit lost, like I’m fighting against nature, and it’s been bringing me down a little in the past few weeks.
I get serious mum guilt for ever craving anything more than quality time with Atti – for wanting those snatched hours at the house to drink coffee and answer emails as though nothing has changes, for wanting to go for cocktails with friends or dinner with my boyfriend.
I feel like he should be enough, and in most ways, he is. But I still need to recognise myself. If that even makes the slightest bit of sense?
I mean who knows what I’m even saying.
I want to be old Hannah with a sprinkling of new Hannah, but instead I’m new Hannah with a sprinkling of old Hannah and it’s freaking me out a little.
I get a lot of messages about how well I seem to be doing and how well I seem to be balancing everything, but I have to admit that the reality is that it’s really fucking hard. It’s a constant battle. And I often wonder if I should just take a deep breath and let go.
Let go of all the expectations I set myself to get out the house and see people and take Instagram photos and continue working and writing, or whether I should fight to hold onto this part of myself that I hold so dear.
Because it took such a fucking long time to like myself, to become proud of who I was and what I was doing, and I’m just not ready to fully loosen my grip on my old life.
I’m not sure if that makes me a bad mum, or an undeserving mum, but it makes me a mum none-the-less.
And then I think of you guys – the people who have stood by me since my blog design looked like something from the BBC news archives, and I don’t want to alienate those of you who literally give no shits about anything to do with babies or pregnancies. You deserve more.
I want to have decent, quality content that is about all the other stuff that’s relevant to a twenty-something, the way I used to.
And so I get left in this place where I’m constantly questioning both my online presence and my real-life presence.
I want to be everyone. Every version of myself. I want to wear the girlfriend hat and the friend hat and the cat mum hat and the likes clothes hat and the goes on holidays hat, as well as the hat with the big neon sign that says MUM MUM MUM.
And it’s made me lost confidence in myself a bit, because I’m not as sure of myself as I once was. I can’t work out my place in the world or how parenting slots in with me, as a person.
And so hello here we are now.
I’m not sure what my point is, but I just wanted to lay all my cards out on the table and say HEY LOOK IT ME.
So yeah, that.
Blazer – Topshop
T-shirt – Very
Skirt – Nasty Gal (similar here)
Trainers – Next
Sunglasses – Primark (current stock)
Bag – Primark (current stock)
I have three hours to myself this morning and in that time I was supposed to clear out my P.O. Box, get my nails did, reply to the most crucial emails hovering in my inbox and write two blog posts.
And lol, supposed to be home in 32 minutes and only just opened WordPress so this is going super swimmingly.
WHY DOES LIFE GO SO QUICKLY ALL THE TIME.
Anyway yes hello and breathe, here is a blog post crammed with all the tiny ways – some obvious and some less so – I manage to balance blogging with having a very small child.
I mean, some weeks are easier than others and some days I cry and shout and get overwhelmed, but some weeks I feel like super woman and I’m like who run the world?
So yes, here’s how I’m doing it…
1. I work with Atti’s naps. Some are thirty minutes long and in that time I can edit some photos or have a quick blitz of the emails or post a little summin’ summin to Instagram and have a bit of an upload sesh on stories. It’s all about using those little snippets of time productively rather than lol going to lie on the floor and open every social media app on my phone.
2. The car is my best friend – because that’s the only way I can actually get Atti down for longer than half an hour (although yes, I’m aware you shouldn’t leave a baby in a car seat for longer than two hours). I use the driving-him-to-sleep time to either pick up a coffee from Starbucks Drive Thru (let’s face it, I’m always in the market for a fresh shot of caffeine these days) or, my new thing is to drive to random parts of town I’ve never been to before to scout out outfit shooting locations. Every cloud and that.
3. Before I go on a ‘nap cruise’, I make sure I have ample car supplies. I pack my phone, laptop and phone charger (and snacks and water, obvs). That way, once he’s fallen asleep, I can park back up outside my house and connect to my own WIFI and hello let the work session commence.
4. And, if he’s being clingy and will only nap on me (v cute, but v restricting) I just whack on the baby carrier (we have an Ergobaby 360) and get going about my business.. I did my tax return when Atti was five days old, I just strapped him to my front, made a cup of tea and away we went.
5. I say yes to all the help I can get. We have the luxury of having one local grandparent which means I normally drop Atti off for a couple of hours once a week. I’ll then use those two hours to either head to a coffee shop and write, or I’ll pick up Chloe and we’ll head out to shoot some outfit photos.
6. My boyfriend was able to negotiate his working hours once Atti was born, which now means he has every Friday off to look after him. This is when I’ll go into London (I normally leave the house at about 7am) for meetings and events. I also get the majority of my writing done on the train to and from London which is a nice bonus.
7. I use a tripod and remote to take Instgram photos in the house whilst the baby is either having one of his infamous power naps – or when he’s having a giggle to himself in his bouncer whilst watching Vampirina (I’ve got no issue with a bit of help from the TV – I was basically raised by Nickelodeon and I’m fine… pretty much).
8. During the weekend we try and do a bit of tag-team parenting. Chris will go out for a two-hour run and then we swap shifts when he gets back so that if I’ve got a deadline I need to hit or I need a bit of ‘old Hannah’ time, I can leave him in charge and tap out of baby duties.
9. I put a lot less pressure on myself than I did pre-baby. It sounds silly but I was always my worst critic before Atti was born and was constantly beating myself up for not achieving more. Now I’m a bit more realistic with myself and accept that lol, raising a baby is a whole job and a half in itself and if I manage to get anything else done – whether that’s a blog post or a washing load – then that’s just a sparkly bonus.
10. I’ve also adapted my content to make it easier for me – which is why you’ll see less blog posts but more on Instagram stories. Taking cute blog photos and having time to type an actual entire paragraph is a luxury that I don’t have most days, so instead I focus on the things I can – things like Instagram stories which can be done on the move, in the car, and within little pockets of two-minutes Hannah time.
11. For the past couple of weeks I’ve also tried to limit the time I spend on my phone in front of him. I want to have quality work time and quality mum time and not do a half hearted effort on both. I want to feel like I have separate time to do a semi-decent job at both and so whenever he’s asleep I switch into work mode, and whenever he wakes up the phone/laptop goes down and hello I’m a mum again.
And that’s about it. If you have any tips please, please do hook a gal up – this balancing lifestyle is bloody hard but also pretty spectacular too.
I’M WEARINGDress – H&M (sold out online but still in store)Clutch – ASOS (old)Shoes – Primark (current stock)Sunglasses – eBay
Currently sat in the car with a snoozing baby, dreaming of sexy lunch ideas (jambalaya from the freezer? Gnocchi with a cream cheese sauce? Something with halloumi?) and I thought now seemed like as good a time as ever to pen a little something on my current fave beauty squeezes.
I remember when I was pregnant I received approximately 743362394 (slight teeny tiny exaggeration) telling me I wouldn’t have time to do my make-up every day with a small baby.
This is a lie.
I still wear make-up six days out of seven and on the seventh it’s because lol ain’t leaving the house for anything unless the Domino’s delivery driver needs flagging down.
So yeah, these are the current bits and bobs making me feel more like a distant cousin of the Kardashians and less like a decaying sausage looking sad at the bottom of the bin bag. Enjoy!
CHARLOTTE TILBURY INSTANT LOOK IN A PALETTE
I want to apologise profusely in advance for this one. It’s a fucker. It was gifted and its retail cost is an almighty £49. Lol.
But oh sweet lord how it makes the angels sing. I owned the original natural beauty version which launched a couple of years back, but sadly had it stolen a few months after. Anyway, Charlotte has since launched a couple of additional versions – my fave being the Seductive (oo-er) Beauty version.
For £50 you get a bronzer, a highlighter, a blusher to sweep on your cheeks and a blusher to dab on the apple of your cheeks. There’s also three eye shadows which are all supposed to be applied at once for the full look (obvs you can use them individually too).
There’s a video on Charlotte’s website which shows you how to use the entire palette within five minutes and I cannot explain how helpful/life-changing it’s been. My make-up has honestly never looked this good, I’ve never had so many compliments and I’ve never felt more confident. Highly recommend.
BOURJOUS ROUGE VELVET LIPSTICK IN SHADE 10
I think I mentioned a while back that I was really into MAC’s ‘Please Me‘, which is like a nice subtle every day shade of pink. Anyway lol looks like I’ve ditched the bright lipsticks altogether because this badger from Bourjois is a similar shade. Not too brown, not too purple, just a lovely wearable soft pink kinda colour.
Cue spending your entire life savings on fancy four-day hen dos, overnight stays in random corners of the country you had no idea even existed, and weeping whilst your best mate since omgz foreverz says ‘I do’ to a guy you might have once told her to sack off.
What a wonderful time of year, eh?
And with weddings, comes the all-terrifying quest of working out what to wear that will a) make you look like INSANE – only second to the bride, obvs and b) make you feel comfortable for a day that feels like it might possibly have been going on since 1992.
So I’ve compiled my list of top tips for wedding guest dressing (spoiler: I have teamed up with the wonderful people at House of Fraser for this one) to help you on your merry way. Enjoy!
1. I thought I’d start with an obvious one, but work out what makes you feel your best and absolutely run with it. For me it’s a dress length that falls below my knees (less fake tan needed, obvs), and a shape that nips me in at my waist and then flows out over the ol’ mum tum. When I go back over old photos of special events these are always the style of dress I look back at and think heh, I look kinda cute here. And so I return again and again.
2. Another alternative is sacking off the whole dress thing completely in favour of a jumpsuit (no fear of accidentally flashing your pants which is always a triumph), I especially love a culotte one as I’m so short and find the wide leg shape super flattering on my thighs.
3. OR look at pleated midi skirts if you want something you can get a decent cost per wear from. Look cute with a plain cami top or shirt with a bouji bag and heels and equally as cute with a slouchy jumper and trainers.
4. Oh and word of wise advice, do not buy your outfit a couple of months in advance whilst two days into a health kick and assume you’ll fit into a size smaller than you are. Did this back in 2016, ended up changing into a different dress half way through the day because can. not. breathe. Clever, v v clever.
5. With bags, you have two options. The first is that you just accept that actually, ridiculously cute clutch bags cost £££ and so you may as well invest in something absolutely insanely delicious that you’ll be able to wear to every wedding/fancy shamancy birthday party/trips to the races/posh occasion for at least the next decade. Me? I love an enamel box clutch. Hubba hubba.
6. Or two, you go with a chain cross body that will leave your hands free, but also be usable in your usual day-to-day life. Something classic in a nude or black should be just the ticket.
7. Don’t buy a pair of stilettos approximately the same height at the Empire State Building and then give them their first wear to a wedding. Because you’ll a) be standing for approximately 62% of the time and b) you WILL get dragged onto the dance floor for the Macarena. Give ’em a few wears around the house first so you know exactly where to place the plasters before the blisters hit.
8. Or do the Hannah Gale and opt for the midi heel. Comfortable (although still recommend giving them a few wears whilst you’re doing the ironing first because shoes can rub in the weirdest of places), but still give you enough height to make you feel v sophisticated.
9. With the wonderfully predictable (lol) nature of the UK weather, it’s probably best to bring a lil cover-up with you. Thankfully, that will give you a very valid excuse to lay your hands on this spring’s must-have, the humble blazer. A slightly oversized boyfriend-style is my favourite as you can layer a jumper underneath and wear it with jeans and trainers most of the year round.
10. I always get asked how I get away with low-cut or wrap style dresses, given my, ahem, larger chest. The answer my friends? Safety pins. If it’s the first time you’re wearing a dress/jumpsuit/etc, I’d definitely whack a couple of pins and maybe some tit tape in your bag because it’s likely you’ll only notice the slight hiccups in the way it fits when you’re an hour or so into wearing it. Always nicer to feel secure rather than risk flashing a nipple in a wedding selfie.
11. Other things worth shoving in your clutch include – plasters (obvs), a hairband, lipstick, eyelash glue (ain’t nothing worse than one becoming unstuck an hour into the day heh?), concealer
And 12. Even if all else fails and you’re walking around barefoot before the food’s even been served and you’ve had to unzip your dress because haha it seems to have shrunk, just remember that no-one looks back on a wedding and goes HA, remember that girl who had a wardrobe fail? Go, enjoy, be a queen, laugh, make memories, etc etc etc.
I don’t want to alarm anyone, but as of 2.54am this morning, I am a mother to a 12-week old.
Things to tell you: I have used the word ‘son’ once because it freaks the bejesus out of me (I say ‘my baby’ rather than ‘my son’ because for some reason that makes me feel less old).
I have also had one hangover, fallen over whilst carrying the car seat once, experienced two with-baby hotel stays, had one date night, been to London for work events five times and cried because I’ve struggled to balance it all, ooh – about three times.
It has been quite the whirlwind.
I’ll stop with all the dramatic italics now.
And so yeah, I thought now seemed like a good time to check in and give you all a proper update on the whole motherhood lol I have a baby thing.
Where to begin?
I guess I’ll start with the basics. The things you might be interested in if you too have a baby and want to compare experiences.
Atticus is currently combination fed. He snacks from the boob if we’re at home during the day, and I usually express two bottles – one in the morning and one before bed – and the rest of the time he’s on formula.
I wasn’t going to mention feeding as I know everyone (and their aunt’s parrot’s best friend) has an opinion on it, but I feel like it’s important to talk about it honestly. Combination works best for us because of the flexibility – but also because my oversupply was making it hideously hard to breastfeed at night without turning on 473284 lights and coating us both in a small lake of breast milk. Which was then, y’know, making us both extra tired and extra grumpy.
Atti’s not the world’s greatest sleeper. He still wakes every 2-3 hours for a feed most nights and is ridiculously hard to settle after about 4am – even with white noise and a dummy and every other self-settling device known to man.
BUT he’s a pretty chilled out happy baby during the day so y’know, swings and roundabouts.
He smiles (BEST. THING. EVER), he’s obsessed with watching The Simpsons on the sofa, and he babbles his way through entire conversations.
And, he is a delight. A real bloody delight.
I edged back into the working world when he was a month old. Partly because I had no maternity pay and was worried I’d run out of money and partly because I – dun dun dun – missed it.
I didn’t expect to, but the motivation just came flooding back the moment my pregnancy ended. And, I mean maybe it’s a bad thing, but I feel like work defines me just as much as motherhood does.
I enjoy it. I thrive off it. I live for it. It makes me feel like me.
Some people use things like exercise to give them a mental boost and a break from the monotony of every day life – but for me, my work, my blog and my online space gives me that.
It is the very thing that gives my head a much-welcome break from the constant stream of nappies and feeds and steriliser tablets and naps and dummies.
And because it’s something that I no longer have access to 24 hours a day, I feel like I enjoy it more.
My work has become a treat and I no longer feel guilty about how much I get done because it is no longer my number one job in life – being a parent to an actual child, and not an online child, is.
In many respects I’ve found the whole motherhood thing easier than I expected. I mean sure OK yes the sleep deprivation is a fucker (although you absolutely do get used to it), but actually, I’ve been amazed at how easy it is to just go on living your life as normal.
In all the LOL YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THAT AGAIN advice I was given whilst pregnant, one of the only positive things I heard was from Chris’s mum, who said: ‘Your life doesn’t actually have to change that much if you don’t want it to.’
And y’know what? It hasn’t.
Sure of course, those early days were wild, mostly because you’re shellshocked and the baby’s shellshocked and you’re all like WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.
But then after you’ve all calmed down and got to know each other and you start venturing out the house and doing normal things like brunch and popping to Tesco and having a little peruse on the high street, well then suddenly you’re like wow my life actually looks a bit like it did before.
I mean granted you have to look for parking spaces big enough to get the car seat out, and you have to take a bag full of nappies and muslins everywhere you go, and you can’t like, put yourself first the way you did before, but I think you can absolutely recognise your old life in your new life.
I still text my mates about crime documentaries and JW Anderson bags and Big Macs, I’m not only good for LOL LOOK MY BABY DID THIS.
Although spoiler: I am a bit.
I worried that I would lose my identity after I gave birth and that everything I found interesting or knew about myself would change, but it hasn’t.
I am still Hannah.
And if anything, I feel like a better Hannah.
A kinder Hannah and a warmer Hannah and a sparklier Hannah.
I’ve said for a long time that I was happy and that life was good but that it always felt like something was missing. Everyone said that if that was how I felt then maybe I would always feel that way, that I should be content with my lot as it was. But I knew. I knew that when I had my own family, my own baby, my own children, that I would feel complete.
It’s corny as fuck, but it’s true.
I feel like I have found the place I was always supposed to end up.
And, bloody hell, it’s one heck of a juggling act, and it’s tough and it’s tiring, but quite honestly, life couldn’t be any better.