Monthly Archives: April 2015

Hands, fingers, nails and varnish, nails and varnish.

IMG_4457I just love nail varnish, always have. I paint my nails regularly, I file them, I cut them and I try to be good to them. I’ve never been a nail biter but I am a chewer of the skin around my nails, it is a very bad look. In recent years my hands have started to to look dry and old but I find putting on hand cream such a chore. I hate the stickiness and as i fiddle a lot with my hair and touch my face I always worry about spots but I am doing better than I used to. Its something Ive had to concentrate on.

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When Lucia was born she was in intensive care for nine weeks and all the hand sanitising left my fingers cracking and bleeding, you can still see the scars. I’m not talking a little splurge of sanitising gel here, I’m talking industrial strength three product step wash over steel surgical troughs and no touching the taps to turn them off after. And that was before you even go into the main ward. When you did get in you couldn’t wear watches or rings, no coats or jackets, no long sleeves, cardigans or jumpers as the cuffs might have germs on them and then when you put your arms into the incubator through the holes you run the risk of passing these germs them onto to your tiny 2 1/2 lb baby who is hooked up to breathing machine. The result can literary be fatal.

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I tried a lot of different creams to try and ease the cracking and pain but the only one that even touched the sides was Neal’s Yard Citrus Hand Softener. I adore Neal’s Yard products, and their books. I bought my first jar at the St Alban’s store, after I had purchased it I was telling the lovely lady there why I needed it and she told me that she had some nurses as customers who bought it for the same reason. It is expensive, £15, but if you know anyone who has the misfortune to have to be in intensive care then please buy it for them now.

 

 

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Unfortunately my budget doesn’t stretch to the regular use of Neal’s Yard goodies – at the time I classed it  as a necessity – so I now use Nivea or Body Shop hand creams. I have tubes of them at work, in my house, on my bedside table and in my hand bag so i have no excuse for not putting it on regularly.

 

 

 

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I have digressed dreadfully, but in regard to nail varnish, my lovely boyfriend M has been back and forth to New York on business recently and I have furnished him with my Essie ‘wish list’. Its so much cheaper in the US (£5) and it doubles as my ‘coming home gift’ – win win.

I come to Essie late, after everyone else apparently. I did dabble with it a few years ago but found the formula too runny. Now it seems just perfect and the finish is great. I always use a Superdrug anti ridge under coat, a Barry M clear vanish top coat and a little spray of that super quick dry stuff for nail varnish.

 

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PS I also requested this little delight from Sephora, Instant Nail Polish Remover for Glitter. I highly recommend it. It works an absolute treat.

 

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Heigh ho heigh ho its off to (primary) school she goes

Having a baby was a long old slog for me and my soon to be ex husband, the getting pregnant bit was easy, it was keeping the babies alive that was hard.  Anyway, that’s for another time. So now here I am, the mother of a sprightly four year old little girl. I named her Lucia and I call her Lulu but now she keeps telling me her name is Lucia, nice huh?

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I went back to work when she was ten months old and she went off to full time nursery, I didn’t feel guilty (but I did feel guilty about not feeling guilty). She loved it, in fact she cried every time I picked her up. Then she went through a phase of crying when I dropped her off, that was in the months after my husband left, I really hated him, not for hurting me but for hurting her. For the first time ever I sat in my car in the nursery car park and sobbed. She was insecure and clinging for a long time, she hadn’t really been a very cuddly child until then, but I enjoyed the cuddles, so silver linings and all. Thank fully she is now back to her old self and runs through the nursery doors without even a goodbye kiss

In a few months she will be off to ‘big school’, OMG. What if they ruin her? what if she hates it? Will I be held to ransom by the evil holiday companies charging the earth for breaks during school holidays?

I’m a little sad that I will no longer be able to take a day off work and keep her home with me just so we can have fun on a week day, ‘the man’ will make her go to school all week and our fun will be reserved for the weekends. I also feel a bit sad that I wont be dropping her off or collecting her, commuting to London, full time job etc. I always loved seeing my mum waiting at the school gates at the end of the day and walking to school with her is a good memory for me. I try and hold onto those  memories on the days my mum is driving me mental with all her unwanted parenting ‘advice’. Its hard.

But the first hurdle is getting Lulu into the local primary school. My mouth dropped open when I viewed the school in our catchment and was told that the intake for Lulu’s year was eight places. Eight places? what? So fingers crossed she gets in and then I can concentrate on worrying about all the above. I want her to be independent and confident and happy but it feels a little bit like she is slipping a little bit further away from me, like the first time she crawled, when she literally was slipping out of my arms and across the living room floor. I know its the next stage in her growing up and I really want that to happen but since I won’t be having anymore children it feels very final.

Ps I found out on Thursday that she got into the local primary school. Hooray.

Spring is in the air and I owe the bank a lot of money,

The seasons feel like they have finally changed and I now actually feel like spring has sprung. Daffodils are brightening up the grassy banks in my town and they are cheap as chips  at Tesco so I can buy loads of them to brighten up the house too.

Unfortunately I have not been filled with desire to spring clean but I do find myself unable to pass interior decorating magazines without purchasing at least one. This could also be to do with the really exciting news that Lulu and I now own our very own home for the first time ever!! I know!

It was part of the divorce agreement that my soon to be ex and I had drawn up. We bought the house Lu and I live in together 5 years ago, tore it down and built it back up, one floor board and ceiling at a time – in an exhausting 12 week period. We saved ourselves stupid to buy this place, sold our things, lived off baked potatoes and finally had a good deposit after 12 months. I love this house so much but all good things must come to an end and when my husband left it looked pretty likely that the house would have to be sold and Lu and I would have to move to a rented flat but after a lot of negotiating he and I reached a financial agreement that suited us both. Then there was lots of form filling, appointments with the bank, an anxious few weeks waiting my own mortgage to be approved and now the whole thing is mine all  mine,  as is a massive heart pounding mortgage but I try not to think too much about that part.

2013-08-11_1376236030My mum brought me up by herself,  and has always drummed into me the importance of paying your rent first out of all the bills, or a mortgage payment as is now the case. You can live without gas and electricity – you can, really. When I was a child we did, money was a little scarce so a battery powered radio, a camping stove and candles would do the trick, almost romantic except we were in basement flat in London with no carpet or furniture but hey, it could have been worse!. The most important thing was that the rent was paid so we had a roof over our heads and that practical lesson has stuck with me.

I’m rather proud of myself for being able to reach this stage, but I didn’t do it alone. My mum always has faith in my ability, my friends keep encouraging me in my bid to re build my life and now I think that I am very nearly there. The final step in compete closure of the practical elements my old life will be the finalisation of my divorce. Its pretty much just a paper exercise at this point but I like to have everything sign, sealed and delivered before I crack open the fizz, then maybe, just maybe, I will able to have the first good nights sleep in a very very long time.

Take another little piece of heart now, baby.

There are lots of elements of my separation from my husband that are complicated and frustrating but when it comes to arrangements regarding our daughter Lulu we have always agreed on the importance of stability for her, she sees her dad every Monday and Tuesday night and every other Saturday night. We even have a spread sheet! We are both as amenable and flexible as we can be to the other if something comes up and things need to be changed. I gave my husband two weeks notice of my long weekend to New York when I was meant to have Lu and it was no problem for him to swap weekends with me, see, Lu is our common ground. The first night she stayed with him after he left was also the first night she had slept way from home without me, it absolutely broke my heart and I sobbed all night. She was only two, still a baby, still in nappies. She needed me. She couldn’t talk properly, how could she tell me if she was sad or unhappy? She had spent the first nine weeks of her life in an hospital incubator, and now I was having to give her up again. I hated my husband so much for creating this situation but I couldn’t refuse him. I trust him implicitly with her, he is just as good and as capable a parent as I am and as time went on it became easier. I embraced the nights of uninterrupted  sleep  and Lulu enjoyed her time with her dad and his family. FaceTime is a wonderful thing. As long as she felt loved and safe she was happy wherever she was. But now it is two years later and Lulu is getting older and it is getting harder, for me,not her. She is now fully aware of who’s house she is at, who she will be spending the day with and when I Face Time her she is often far more interested in what ever game she is playing than talking to me. It makes me feel insecure, like the photo in Back to the Future that fades people out. I wonder if she is going to forget me, am I literally fading from her memory, am I not so important to her anymore? Please bear in mind that at the most she is at her dad’s house for two nights in a row and that she actually lives with me. I know that this is my issue, I want her to be independent, I’d hate for her to be pining for me. I know that she acts the way she does because she is secure in the love that her dad and I have for her. She is all the things I ever wanted her to be. Deep down I know that I am being melodramatic, that my baby loves me and misses and that I am important to her but every time she walks out the front door hand in hand with her dad that Janis Joplin song plays in my head…Take another little piece of my heart now, baby.

I think I might like another bundle of joy, maybe

Last week I turned 41, which sounds really old to me but I know its not because obviously I’m not old at all, am I? am I? It hasn’t made me sit down and ponder the meaning of life as I hurtle towards middle age but I have been thinking about practical stuff like babies, tick tock etc. And more specifically, about me having another one.

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My soon to be ex husband and I were together for 14 years, we had a number of miscarriages and finally had a baby girl, Lucia. She arrived rather early at 28 weeks and though she is absolutely fine health wise, she is now four years old, it is not unusual for preemies to have on going health problems. Not to mention the scary stats about percentage of survival rates when they are first born. Lulu was in intensive are for nine weeks, I was exhausted, my husband was exhausted, it was hard. My husband and I had discussed having another baby but decided to wait a year and then of course he left me so he was out of the equation entirely.

 

A big part of my anxiety after he left was the thought that he had taken with him my last chance to have another child. I was 38. How would I ever find someone else I wanted to have a baby with? I’m clearly not in my first bloom of youth, health complications mean that if I want to get pregnant (that part that is not usually a problem for me), then I have to spend six months prior to conception leasing with my specialists and amending the doses of medications that I take regularly but which can affect a baby. There would be none of that, ‘lets see what happens’ kind of stuff! There would be anxiety surrounding a possible miscarriage and even if I got through the first three months there is a high chance that my next baby would also be premature. And then even if all the above went well there is a high chance that I could come out of remission of a chronic illness that I have. Not looking so rosy now that I’ve written it all down. Not to mention thinking that should I actually find chap then it would be best to know him for at least a year pre getting knocked up, just to make sure he isn’t mad/married/UKIP voter, and then there is the small point of needing him to want to have a baby with me. Phew, exhausting stuff.

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I also wonder if my broodiness is linked to the fact that soon I won’t be able to have a baby, age etc. nice chap in tow or not. Ladies, don’t we spend so much of our lives fretting about getting pregnant when we don’t want to that the idea of not being able to get pregnant even if we want to seems just odd?

Thats a lot of stuff swirling around in my mind.

Here is the reality at the moment.  I have found a very nice chap, he isn’t mad keen on having a baby but would consider it if it was very important to me. He has two delightful tweenagers of his own. I still find looking after Lulu exhausting but as she gets older I am starting to reclaim some of my ‘grown up’ time. Ironically, since my husband left I have more time then i ever did to recharge my batteries as he sees Lulu every every Monday and Tuesday night and every other Saturday. So a big part of me, the selfish part, likes the routine Lulu and I are now in. My divorce is nearly over, I own a house and a big fat mortgage, I am off to Oxford in January to start my phd (fingers crossed), I will still work full time and commute to London, Lulu will be starting primary school in September and I already feel there aren’t enough hours in the day to do want I want and need. Life is finally settling down for Lulu and me, she is happy, I am happy.

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I don’t think I have any reserves of emotional energy left to deal with losing another baby, I don’t want to be sad and for Lu to see me that way. I just don’t have the energy for another baby if I’m honest. People have commented on Lulu being an only child but I’m okay with it, I was an only child and it really wasn’t that bad! Don’t misunderstand, I wanted lots of children but it just didn’t turn out that way. If I was in my 20s or 30s this post may be a very different one but I’m not, i’m in my 40’s.

I worry that I may regret my decision not to have more children but I know deep down that for me and my child it is the right choice. I shall continue to coo over friends babies but then I get to hand them back when they cry/poo/vomit. I have a fantastic brood of god children, 6 in all, who I can spoil, so I count myself very very lucky in the children stakes. And if my broodiness becomes overwhelming then I shall revert to my back up plan – a pair of sausage dogs.

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me.

IMG_6116Today is my 41st birthday and I am unsure how I feel about it. Mainly because I’m feeling rather unwell, see last post, Some of my favourite things.  I’ve never had that ‘oh my God I’m turning.. ‘ apart from my 21st when I found the first unsightly vein in my leg, how shallow! I was busy when I turned 30 planning my wedding, when I turned 40 I didn’t bother celebrating as I was mourning my husbands departure (not from this earth but to Northampton to live with his girlfriend) and now 41 feels old, arrrggghh soon i’ll be 50!!! I can’t be nearly 50, inside my head I’m only 20. Right time to get a grip. Today I got up early, baby Lulu gave me the Frozen birthday card that she had chosen and written all by herself, and I received a very beautiful candle from M (the delightful boyfriend) which he covertly purchased yesterday during a jaunt to Darsham Nurseries, very pretty. My mum also presented me with a card. She has already given me this beautiful sewing machine. I love it and have even subscribed to a lovely sewing magazine as I have no idea how to use it. Obviously the machine still remains in its box. But I WILL use it.

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I went into Southwold and had a massage, manicure and pedicure at The Retreat. Ask for Lorna, she is the best. I stopped off at The Southwold Bookshop to buy my mother some books to say a massive thank you for baby sitting while M and I enjoyed some child free time.

 

 

 

 

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A quick coffee at The Two Magpies Bakery while I waited for M to finish his manly massage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And then a mad dash home to collect the troops to go for a delicious lunch at The Anchor in Walberswick.

Topped off with a heavenly nap when we got back to the house, all alone in bed, no children banging me on the head with dolls or demanding to change Disney princess outfits.

It has been a lovely day and I am grateful to have had such delightful company to help me celebrate it.