Instagraming the shit out of life

Once again January is nearly over and I’ve not written a word in weeks. Life got in the way again, and I’m not sorry about that.

My last post was actually a guest post written for Bad Mum in early December. For those that missed me, you can read it here. I can share it now as the news is official. My bestie Gravy, has totally made a baby!

I did hope to write a festive post in December as I usually get creative and wanted to share some of my festive makes and bakes. Instead, I want to talk Instagram shops.

I’m not recognised as a trendsetter (try this lady for that!) nor do I care too much to follow fashion closely. I just pick things I like and hope I don’t look too much like Stig of the dump…I’m definitely not a fashion blogger. However, I do like to shop Independent, and I’m not just talking clothes (just as well as I look like an oversized potato these days….) #dontdresslikethismum

Im talking, quirky cafes and bars, locally sourced produce, handmade arts and crafts, and personalised touches. I have a particular fondness for ‘Mama Merch’ as despite my Bad Mum post,  I am very much in awe of all those mamas that can get shit done and still create. You get the gist. I like to support small, local business’, whenever I can.

I was hoping to write this post closer to Christmas as it has been a long time coming but I’m going to share it now. We’re all getting over the expense of the holidays I know, but we can still look, right?

Here’s my favourite pick of Insta-Shops:

1. @BlackandBleech

www.blackandbleech.com

‘Alison’ necklace from Black and Bleech and T-shirt from La Totch

I absolutely love their ‘Scandi’ take on monochrome and these beaut beaded necklaces are rad. Handmade and contemporary, they are also practical and baby-friendly! They’re made from Food-Grade Silicon and unfinished wood. It’s a cool gift for a cool mama, and perfectly fine for baby to give it a good chew!
I was already a fan before I discovered (and subsequently won in a pre-Christmas giveaway) this cheeky, little number:

Coffee and Calpol from Black and Bleech

Coffee and Calpol. Medicine for mama, medicine for babe. Take note: the gift box service is spot on! #bestgiftwrap

2. @iamacrylic

www.iamacrylic.com

Battersea Power Station by I am Acrylic

These guys have been a favourite of mine for a few years now and I am still in love with them. Most of the jewellery is made from acrylic and it’s all hand cut by fret saw (no laser cutting here!). All pieces are individual and iconic.
On suspecting myself and Mr Intrepid had duplicated an order (we ordered the same thing, separately on the same day 😂) they contacted him to query if he’d ordered me a surprise present, and offered to cancel his order without giving the game away. Super, sweet service to go with the super, sweet products. #bestservice

3. @mresoeur

www.meresoeur.com

Mere Soeur Pin

This is my mama crush. Everything about Mere Soeur is uber hip. Madame Mere Soeur herself, is a powerful, positive role model for us womenfolk and her merch oozes strength, support and good vibes. Never underestimate the power of a girl gang. #bestgiftsforyourgalpals

4. @nor_folk_store

www.nor-folk.com

T-Shirts all by Nor-Folk

Nor-folk is a graphic design-led, lifestyle brand. It’s neutral, minimalist and timeless designs are ideal for everyone. Quality over Quantity, and perfect for monochrome lovers. I’m a big fan. #bestfortwinning

5. @weareenough

www.weareenough.co.uk

Jumper by We are Enough Co.
This is your reminder. Even on your darkest day, you can do this. I can do this. I am enough. We Are Enough Co merch empowers, unites and supports through good times and bad times. A percentage of profits go to charitable causes that do just that too. You got this. Strong, positive designs to empower. Very special. #bestforreassurance

6. @la.totch

www.latotch.com

This one is as fresh as they come. New mama business. Cute ‘Type’ monochrome tees supporting women. Definitely one to watch! #bestshopperbag

T-Shirt and Shopper bag by La Totch. Necklace by Black and Bleech.

7. @gisellastapletonart
www.gisellastapleton.com

Rebel, Khalo Thayer by Gisella Stapleton

Prince by Gisella Stapleton
Gisella is a Peruvian born Spanish artist based in London. Her work is particularly influenced by women and her blend of colours really bring her creations to life. She is a real inspiration and extremely talented. #bestcolours

Wild Tina by Gisella Stapleton

Gisella is currently exhibiting at Coya in Mayfair, London until 1st March.

8. @lennieandco
www.lennieandco.co.uk

Unisex Handscreen printed t-shirts and sweatshirts made with eco-friendly inks. Award winning (Junior Design Awards 2016) clothing for our little one. My own BV loves his tees from here. Fun designs to wear on fun days. I’m looking forward to getting him the new ‘bossy’ tee. #bestforfun

T-Shirts both by Lennie and Co

9. @amanzi_live_life_as_water
www.facebook.com/amanzi.live.life.as.water

No website for this one yet. Handmade in Cornwall (yay home county!) crocheted hats and blankets made to order. Fam-A-Lamb received a beautiful hat each as a gift and we just love them! Great for gifting (and receiving). Just ping them a message with your request! #bestforhandmade

Fam-A-Lamb hats by Amanzi Live Life as Water
This is proving to be quite a lengthy post as there are still a heap more cool shops I have not yet mentioned. Il carry on Instagramming the shit out of life for now but watch this space for a part 2!

Lindsay x

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Shake it like a mango, party like a pear…

It’s been a while since BV found a new favourite book. We picked up this beauty recently on a friends recommendation.

Thanks to childrens movies and The Elf on the Shelf company, a lot of children believe their toys come to life at night. I have to admit, I was never one of those children. Too much of a cynic I guess? Or maybe the result of having older siblings determined to always have the upper hand? I hope that my son grows into his childhood with this ability to just believe. Who knew that the buck did not just stop at toys though? Who the hell knew that fruit comes to life too?! Wowzers.

Written by Clare Foges and Al Murphy, Kitchen Disco is a silly story about what happens when the sun goes down and the fruit bowl comes alive. Clare Foges’ eccentric tale begins, when most days are ending, as the family go to bed.
As soon as the house is quiet and the occupants are asleep, the fruit wake up and get their groove on. The Pineapple high fives his friends, the lemons break dance and the melon dances with a grape (obvs!). You just can’t help but bop along too.

Of course this is made even more silly by the colourful illustrations. Thank you Al Murphy.
The pages are themselves, alive with colour as the fruit throw shapes across the pages. The beautiful holographic illustrations pop right out of the book. They really do bring the fruit alive.

My toddler has a fondness for the absurd, and this really brings out the fun side of storytelling. Its perfect for our pre-bed rap. Yes, we do that.


Kitchen Disco brings a smile to both our faces and a bit more personality to BV’s bookshelf. Clearly one of the funniest and most colourful books we have discovered in a while, and it’s now a firm favourite.
So listen closely as you go to sleep tonight and you might just hear your fruits answer to Fatboy Slim (Fatboy skin?) as they get up and then get down….

BV rating 10/10

Lindsay X
Kitchen Disco is published by Faber and Faber.

Follow Clare Foges on Twitter @clarefoges
Follow Al Murphy on Twitter @mr_almurphy

A letter to my Judge

Dear Judgy McJudgyson, if that’s even your real name…?

Why do you do it? Silently judging parents and how they parent, particularly if they parent differently from you. Does it come from your own insecurity?  Are other parents’ methods making you question your own methods? No one wants to think they’re not doing right by their child. You are having doubts. In this competitive sport that parenting has become, your way is the only way.

However, your silent judging isn’t so silent anymore. I can hear you. 

You’re staring at me. You’re pointing and whispering-“I can’t believe she’s doing that” saying that/allowing that” Well listen up Judgy McJudgyson, so what if I am?!

Somehow every parenting decision I have ever made is fair game for criticism: Did I find out the sex? What kind of birth did I have?, Does my child have his own room? Am I going to breastfeed?, Why am I still breastfeeding? Do I allow my child to watch TV?, Is he still in nappies?  Oh.My.Effing.God!, Are you going out? Without him?

“Oh” you say, “I’m not doing that” (eye roll). Why do you care whether or not my child watches CBeebies 12 hours a day, eats ice cream for dinner or spends most of the night cuddled up in my bed instead of his own?

Do you know what’s really helpful? I am cramming my heart and soul into raising my son, struggling with a myriad of everyday, normal woes, financial, health, work -whatever – when I am judged by you.  Super mum, who arrogantly knows just what to do. It’s amazing. And oh so welcome. Because that’s what I need: a kick in the teeth by someone who’s got this mothering thing in the bag.  

Your judging has sadly become part of my mum culture. I try to keep my opinions to myself, my own mum taught me if I’ve nothing nice to say then I shouldn’t say anything at all. And this is (mostly) how I live. I remove myself from the situation. I do not need your opinions and I do not need you.

I know I’m never going to stop noticing how other mums do their thing and wondering how my own choices stack up. I think it’s fine to notice. It’s fine to discuss our differences. Whatever works-right? I know I’m not like you. I hope I’m not like you. I never want to make any mum or parent feel the way you make me feel.

We are supposed to share our war stories with each other. Offer a hand, an ear or a cup of tea. I’m on an island and I can’t swim, for fucks sake pass me a fucking life belt!

It’s become the norm to mercilessly judge our fellow parents, yet behind closed doors we share the same worries and angst. We should be mindful of each other’s feelings.  Somewhere along the way we have forgotten, that we’re all on the same team. What’s that African proverb….? Oh yes, It takes an entire village to raise a child.
Well listen up Judgy McJudgyson, you can roll your eyes at me and point your finger all you like but you and I are the same. We are mums and we need each other, so Mum the fuck up and join this village!

Yours Sincerely,

Lindsay McLindsayson x

The Reluctant Hostess

As a child I’d cry if anyone came to the house, and not just strangers; I remember sitting at the top of the stairs at Bromley Cres. crying my eyes out because my Grandparents whom I loved, had come to visit. The cheek of it!

Fortunately, I am no longer shy in my every day life. I enjoy meeting new people and I am confident in one-to-one situations.  I’ve got several close best friends, including some that go as far back as school days; and I have a phone book full of mums whom I see pretty much every week. Cram them all in to my flat for a sober, toddler birthday party and I am sick with nerves.

I love to have guests, but I’m not much of an inviter, self-consciousness creeps in and overwhelms my good intentions.

Growing up, I don’t recall ever having a birthday party although I attended many. I always assumed it was because of the expense (5 kids, 5 birthday parties) but now I have realised it is just too stressful. When I was 11 and in my first year of secondary school, myself and my two younger siblings begged to have a party, and eventually we wore our folks down and convinced them in to agreeing to letting us have a Christmas Party. One condition. I had to share it with my little brother. Easy.

He invited his entire class and I invited a select number of my own classmates. I was too embarrassed to invite boys, so I invited girls only, including some of the “cool” girls. I was painfully shy and hitting puberty- can’t imagine why I thought this would be a great idea. The “cool” girls obviously didn’t attend (No boys – duh!) and that was it for me.

I was picked on and bullied after this for not being “cool”. Do you remember when you were at school and there was always the one kid in the class that really smelt? Or, everyone said really smelt, and you went along with it just grateful that you weren’t the smelly kid? Well, I was the smelly kid. Or at least, I was the kid everyone called the smelly kid. I think it was because (despite the fact I was showering 2-3 times a day in attempts to just not be the smelly kid) once in PE I didn’t use deodorant (for fucks sake, how many 11 year old’s use deodorant?). Anyway I am digressing, these days I try to avoid hosting.

For my sons birthday I teamed up with a lovely, sociable mum (whom also had a birthday tot), my wing woman, (safety in numbers and all that) and planned an outdoor party in the park (neutral ground). I don’t know what I was thinking to be honest, I am a rubbish hostess. Hosting is most definitely not my forte. Anyway, of course my leading lady got sick and the rains came, oh and Sainsbury’s didn’t deliver my grocery’s due to a “technical error”…I needed a Plan B. Let’s have the party here in my home! You know, the one where I avoid hosting coffee mornings or playdates at?  Great idea stupid ass. Rarely does anyone get an invite to my flat, I dislike it so much. We are fortunate enough to live in a very affluent area with pretty river views and lovely neighbours. However, I live above a pub in an old flat. On the upside, the windows and ceilings are high and magnificent, and the flat is spacious and light, and the downside? the kitchen looks like it belongs in a 1980’s youth hostel, and the bathroom grows more mould than Alexander Flemming. Hardly yummy mummy territory.

I want to invite, I really do. I know how loved I feel when I’m invited. I watch friends do it with ease and grace and admire them for their ability to fold people into their lives. I can’t concentrate once the anxiety sets in. The promise of forced interaction in the name of good parenting instills a panic.  What if no one shows up?, or worse, what if they do? Oh god, what if they notice my washing drying in the bedroom, or that my bathroom towels don’t match?

Sweat trickles down my back and my lips are dry. I am talking. I am not sure what about, I am talking non stop. I am acutely aware of the awkwardness I’m desperately trying to hide. I can’t tell if my guests are startled by my deliberate effervescence or if they think I am witty and charming (I did make them wear moustaches!) I am 20% having an ok time, and 80% racking my brain for something to say and wondering when they can all go home? I am at my most uncomfortable as I do my best to ensure everyone is having a nice time.  My surface level housekeeping, eclectic furniture, fear of saying the wrong thing, and decidedly awkward inability to offer anyone a drink, stops me, if I even have a minute to think about being a hostess.

I am lucky enough to have an amazing husband with a level head. Mr Intrepid works in hospitality which we all know is technically hosting for a living. He is charming and he is witty and despite the fact that this party is for a 2 year old, his emergency trip to Waitrose brings us booze. Hurrah.

Oh and there were cakes!

Cupcakes & photo both by Passionfruit Bakery

Happy 2 year old? Tick #ParentingWin

Parents plied with booze mid afternoon with no offer of an alternative, whilst being ordered to wear moustaches?

#Hostingwin? – jury’s still out on that one!
Lindsay X

Start each day with a grateful heart ❤️

I recently stumbled across an article online that was written by a girl whom I no longer speak to, nor have seen for more than 10 years.

She was once in my original Girl Gang, a great friend throughout my teenage years. We went to school together, hung out together, partied together, and eventually lived together.

I cannot pinpoint where it all went wrong to be honest. One day we were great friends, the next we were not.

I decided to go travelling with my boyfriend which meant moving out of the flat we shared together. One day during my week of ‘packing up’ I came home from work and she had gone. It was a tricky time. The rest of the gang were still friends and for a while there was lots of nonsense floating about, “she said this, I did that, her friends did this, this happened…” You know what I mean, don’t you?  That’s often the down side of having a Girl Gang. When there’s trouble in paradise, girls are the worst for stirring it up. Especially teenage girls. We never spoke again and gradually over the years the rest of the gang spread out and followed new paths.

I did see her in a club once and tried to make friendly drunk conversation, but it never went past the ‘how are you’s..?’  We finished up on on bad terms and after all the things that were said, there was a grudge.

Anyway today, she popped up and for the first time in years I remembered her. Downtrodden. That’s the first word that came to mind when I thought of her. I knew her to be moody and negative. After reading her article, I’ve realised now she was just unhappy. I can’t believe now I didn’t realise that at the time. I let my own teenage angst rise above everything. How different we’ve become as adults? 

She has written a few books and they have been published. I am surprised, shocked even at her outlook at life, and the biggest surprise of all?  I’m not bitter, I am inspired. The article does her a great justice, her life is very different now. I am grateful that I paused to read it. She starts each day with a grateful heart. I cannot reconcile in my head, the person I once knew, with the positive person she is now. Despite the fact we are no longer friends, I am full of gratitude that our lives once crossed paths.

Lindsay X

Girl Gang – We is a sisterhood, innit?

ladies-4468

It has been 20 years since The Spice Girls released ‘Wannabe” (man I am old!) and I remember it well. Rumoured to have been written in just 20 minutes, it topped the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks, eventually becoming the best-selling single by a female group in the world, and selling over 7 million copies worldwide by the end of 1997. Wow.

The Spice Girls helped pave the way for us women ( I am not forgetting there were plenty of empowering, legendary women previously… but that’s a different story…). The Spice Girls were trailblazers of independence, assertiveness, ambition and sexuality. They knew the power of a sisterhood. They gave us Girl Power, and are the epitome of Girl Gang.

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I was part of a small clique whilst I was at school, back then I was the runt of the litter, adopted by a group of sassy girls after a few years of loneliness. They were my Girl Gang.

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We lived the 1990’s. We survived falling in a bog (you know who you are) on our Duke of Edinburgh Award, we sang our heart outs to Oasis and Pulp, and pretended we didn’t like Take That, we used fake ID’s to get into clubs (it’s rude to ask a lady her age!), and covered for each other with boys, parents and teachers! There was an unspoken agreement of support and unity. Despite spending all of the 1990s sat on a wall in the worlds tiniest mini skirts, we had each other’s backs.

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As an adult I’ve (without intent) formed a grown up Girl Gang. They don’t differ too much from the young girls I knew 2 decades ago. I’ve worked with them and lived with them, partied with them, cried with them, travelled with them and said goodbye to them. These women have supported me during relationship woes, carried me home drunk, carried me through the mud at Glastonbury (whilst 6 months pregnant) planned my hen party, been my bridesmaids, cooked me meals, ate my meals…. I’ve missed them and I’ve loved them. They keep me sane and focused, and wild and drunk (less so now I’m a mother-that would be irresponsible…) They do not all live in close proximity, and they are often busy but, I have them.

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I lost myself when I became a mum, I was lonely. I didn’t know how to combine my old life with this new one. Until now.

Last week I went for dinner with a group of mums in my local area. We are a local Facebook group, a Whatsapp group and a mum group. These women are beautiful and strong. I have gotten to know them in the last couple of years. Most of them are women I have met at coffee mornings and baby groups. They are all different. Some of us are women whose paths would never had crossed if we hadn’t become a mum at the same time. In some cases, it’s the only thing we have in common. As I sat there scoffing my face with pizza and red wine, listening to these women talk and laugh together, I looked around at these mums and I realised something. I am once again part of a girl gang.

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We can chat, or we can cry. Drink too much coffee, drink too much wine (hic!), talk about our husbands and our kids, talk about work or lack of it. We can bitch and vent, and laugh. Or we can simply just be (netflix and chill?). Sometimes theres a birthday or a playdate or a happy hour but always, its us, the Mum Gang.
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I am thankful for my Girl Gang . We are there for each other no matter what. Just like our 90’s sisters before us, we have each other’s back. ‘We is a sisterhood, innit?’ 🤘🏻

 

Lindsay x

 

 

Labels Schmabels

I recently read a blog post by a lovely friend of mine. Stop with the labels! I am a Mother not a Mulberry!  It resonated with me on such a level that I feel like I need to respond.

I am proud too of labels I am known by: wife, daughter, sister, friend, weird tattooed girl with the metal in her face (true story!) and yes, a mother.

However, I am also proud to be that mother. I have judged, and I have been judged.

I am a ‘helicopter’ mum. I need to stay close to my boy, how else can I really know for sure that he is ok? I will smother him with love if that means he will grow up never doubting it.

I am a ‘sanctimummy’. Of course my way is the best way. It has to be like this. What kind of mum would this make me, if I had no idea what I’m doing? I may not be tutting, but I am judging. Myself though, obviously. If you think I have my shit together then I am winning at something. Woohoo.

I am a Tiger Mum. I am demanding. I want my child to grow up compassionate and smart, kind and strong. I want him to be all the things I strive to be, and I will push him until he knows he can be everything and more.

All of these labels are ways to judge and criticise but I am proud to have them all.
Mothering is hard and I’m winging it working at it…everyday. I am not a designer handbag, but I am in every sub category of mother, I am all of the mothers, and I am the mother, and I am fricking awesome.

Please follow Jenna’s posts here, and if you’re in need of some fellow mummy support or amazing pregnancy and birth hippy love, then here’s where you can find it! ❤️ www.doulanatal.co.uk

Lindsay x