Beauty, General, Personal

Love The Skin You’re In

Following on from my previous post (you can read it here if you so desire), I thought I would just write up a little post on how I felt personally in MYSELF and in my own skin whilst on holiday.

I don’t know about anyone else, but before you go on holiday, it would usually be filled with going on crash diets, I’ve previously done diet shakes in the past (don’t ever try it – they are absolutely rancid and DONT WORK) to try and shift a few pounds before going away and to “feel  better in a bikini” or be “bikini body ready”.

This is the first year where I honestly couldn’t of given two shits what I looked like. Of course, I still wanted to look half decent, didn’t want to be scaring any of the locals or other holiday-makers in my 7 year old bikinis, but honestly, before going away I didn’t even give my weight a second thought. I would usually be panicking, thinking “oh god I have to be half naked in front of all those people, what am I going to do about my cellulite, my bingo wings, etc”. And I would be SO BOTHERED about going on the beach or by the pool, making sure I had every sort of cover up that there was ever designed with me in case I wanted to go to the bar or the loo, and HAD to cover myself up because NO ONE would want to see me in a bikini or swimsuit, asking Norms if I looked ok, and asking him not to take photos of me on holiday for fear of being “too fat”.

I think, now I am a mother, I have got this new confidence that I never had before. I’ve HAD to go out of my comfort zone, for the sake of my child, and I’ve HAD to be confident when usually I would shy away from confrontation or situations that would make me cringe into myself. And I think since then, I have just learnt to accept and have this new confidence in myself as a person, both inside and out. Yes, I could be slimmer, yes I could probably work out, yes I could probably eat less cheese and bread, but YES I could also be a lot more unhealthy and have really bad habits and be some sort of, I dunno, criminal or complete arsehole. But I’m NOT. I’m just a normal mum, on holiday, wearing a bikini or cozzie chasing my toddler around and eating Cheetos.

So, before we went, I had a little look online and in the shops, and bought a couple of bits to try. I ended up taking a cozzie and a bikini from Next, a bikini from Boohoo, a cozzie from Sports Direct and another bikini from Asda. I went for high waisted bikini bottoms, and ones that supported the melons. My favourite bikini was the one from Boohoo,  I just felt like it was flattering and a good support on the old boobs, and the bottoms were a good fit. I wore it nearly every day.

I’m not going to lie, of course I looked at other people who were more toned and looked like models in their swimwear and I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt a little self confident. But, with a toddler, you have no time to think about yourself, you are constant from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep. So I had no choice but to just – go with it. And do you know what, after I while I didn’t even give it a second thought, taking my shorts and t shirt off and just being in my bikini or cozzie, because I was just wanting to go spend time with my family. And really, thinking about it, who is ACTUALLY looking at you and is ACTUALLY that bothered about what you look like in a bikini? Because the reality is, its probably less than 1%. Everyone is too bothered about themselves and how THEY look, or looking after their children, or applying suncream, reading a book…the list goes on. We build ourselves up to think that as soon as we take one leg out of our shorts that a klaxon is going to go off and people are going to stop dead in their tracks and look and gawp at you in your swimwear. This holiday I finally realised – people really, really, couldn’t care less. The world isn’t going to stop because I am in a SWIMSUIT. Theresa May isn’t going to call a phase 2 crisis meeting with the Home Secretary. It’s FINE.

With this new confidence I can honestly say that I felt so much happier this holiday, and wasn’t worrying constantly or watching what I was eating or drinking, I relaxed and enjoyed myself and my first family holiday. And honestly, it was a revelation. Sure, I’m not a size 8 (or whatever the “perfect” size is supposed to be these days) and im sure some people probably looked at me and thought – oh, she could do to lose weight – or – oh she shouldn’t be wearing a bikini because of her size – but honestly, truly, I really couldn’t care what people thought. And it was so so refreshing. Here are a few pics of me on holiday, outfits I wore and of course, my fave swimsuit from Boohoo.

I have cellulite. I have wobbly thighs. I have bingo wings. When I lie down and look at my phone I have double (*treble) chins. I have a tummy. I have stretch marks. But do you know? Who cares? So does the next person. We can pick ourselves apart until the sun comes up, but what good does that honestly, really do to anyone? It just takes us to dark and unhappy places. I once read something which went along the lines of “Beauty is in the eye if the beholder, however the most liberating thing is that in fact, YOU are the beholder.” The things that you pick apart on yourself, the fact your teeth aren’t straight, the freckles you have, the curly hair, the things you dislike about yourselves, are the things which make you unique and, more often than not, someone else finds endearing and beautiful. We should start to remember that the person staring back at ourselves in the mirror is actually the one who is the biggest critique, and no one else. That needs to stop. How can we teach our children to love themselves and be happy and confident when we can’t follow on the same advice we are serving?

Baby, Beauty, Friends, General, Parenting, Personal

An Open Letter to My Friends

Dear Friend, 

It’s me. Tara. Aka Mummy. 

I’m sorry I haven’t seen you in a while. I know you text me 4 weeks ago asking how things are and how William is doing, and that we needed to catch up soon. I did see it. I did want to reply. I really did. But these days, I barely get time to sneeze or go for a piss in peace. And by the time it gets to 9pm and the baby has only just gone down to sleep after me trying  since 7pm, all I want to do is eat something (But I usually dont) and go to bed myself. So please don’t be mad that I didn’t text back. I agree, we do need to catch up. I miss you too. 

I’m sorry I forgot to send you a birthday card. Or a Christmas card. They were written, and on the side ready to post/pop in to you. But the truth is, I can’t really “pop” anywhere these days. Gone are the days of just nipping out, as now it takes me an hour just to try and get a shower, amid all the crying, sicking, changing shitty nappies, cleaning up dribble from various areas of my hair, putting a dummy back in, finding said dummy that baby has spat out and managed to sit on, winding, sssh-ing, reassuring the baby that I haven’t abandoned them , that I’m merely washing the smell of baby shit and B.O. from my body, only to be a sweating mess again in 10 minutes after picking the baby back up to stop him from crying for him to show me the reason he was crying was in fact because he had trapped wind that turned into an acidic white vomit that is now all over my freshly soap and glory’ed skin. Excellent.

I’m also sorry I haven’t popped to see you after work because as well as how long it actually takes me to get out the house now with a small human, the amount of crap I have to bring with me for a small outing is actually unbelievable. I have a £60 bag, which is essentially the size of a weekend holdall bag, filled to the brim with so much shit, that it won’t zip up, and when strapped to the pram it makes the pram wonky and lean one way. All this crap just in case. Gone are the days of me leaving the house with my keys, phone, purse and perhaps a lip gloss and hair brush in a cute little Michael Kors bag. I don’t even use a handbag anymore.  I don’t need one. It’s not like I have time to put on my new Barry M lip gloss anyway. Plus, even if I did, within 3 minutes 45 seconds William would have smeared his little hand into my lips and subsequently into my hair and I will be basically a walking talking scarecrow with a baby attached to me hanging from my knotted but shiny and glittery hair in Barry M shade 678.

I’m sorry that you can’t pop here after work like we used to do. When we used to get chippy teas or naughty takeaways and sit and watch Corra Norra and laugh about Audrey Robert’s funny noises she makes or swoon over Danny Dyer and talk about all the rude things we’d do to him if we ever had half the chance. The truth is, I don’t even know if Audrey Roberts is still even in Corra Norra anymore, by the time I sit down after putting the baby to bed all the good telly is finished and I’m left with some weird fishing programme or QVC selling me a hoover or overpriced hand cream. The term “bath, bottle, bed” is followed as loosely as possible. It’s more of a “do whichever stops him crying and puts him to sleep” the fastest routine. So I sack it off and go to bed, to wait for the next time the small human beast will wake screaming at the top of his lungs like he is sitting in a pool of his own piss and up to his eyeballs in mustard poo, and hasn’t been fed for 45 days. (Obviously he isn’t any of these things).

I’m sorry as well that when we do meet up, I don’t have anything exciting  to tell you anymore.  No gossip from work.  No funny stories to tell you about how I bumped into so and so we used to go to school/college/on nights out with and she’s looking like God knows what now , or her new fella looks like someone from Shameless. Or how I saw this really cute outfit in New Look that I thought would look amazing on you. Or talk about what the Kardashians are up to this week and oh my God did you see Kim K in Heat magazine..? All I’ve got to talk about now is nappies, how many bottles of milk William has had that day and how many ounces he drinks, and how he cried all morning  and the only thing that would console him was me blowing raspberries on his feet. I’m sorry that this is boring for you. But literally, that’s all I have to say. Because that’s what my day consists of, day in, day out. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sleep, Feed, Change, Wind, Cuddle, Clean up, Play, Sing Row Row Row Your Boat, repeat. 100 thousand times over.

I’m sorry that I can’t go with you on that night out. I would of given anything to go out with you, get dressed up in something other than leggings covered in milk and spit, and a t-shirt that smells questionable under the arm pits. I would of loved to have been able to go out without carrying the contents of my house, not worrying about lip gloss being smeared into my hair, and sitting at a table that doesn’t need to have room for a pram. It would of been amazing to drink something other than cold tea, from a clean glass rather than a cup that has been used for over a week and not washed because you just simply haven’t got the time or the energy to stand and do dishes.

The truth is, since becoming a mother I have in fact turned into a bit of a shite friend. And for that I am sorry. But the truth is, I’m not sorry I’ve become a mother. 

Yes, I look back on the times when I could leave the house freely, carry my little bag around in the crook of my arm, smell clean and divine and have washed hair that’s nourished and conditioned and not stuck in some bobble and unbrushed for the 3rd day in a row, and feel a little bit sad. I do miss the life I had, when we could hang out whenever we wanted to, go have a drink willy-nilly and end up getting in at 1am wondering how the hell we managed to end up in a club on a Tuesday night?!

The truth is though i don’t miss the life, I miss you. However, being a mum is my priority now. The nappies, the milk, the gummy smiles and the belly laughs at me tickling under his arms. The 4am cuddles because he’s had a bad dream and only mum cuddles will do. This is the life I’ve got now, and I can’t imagine any different. 

It’s not that I don’t want to see you. It’s just that with all the other crap that’s going on, it’s hard to fit it all in. 

I am a mum. But I am still Tara. It’s just Tara has changed. But she does still love you. And I just wanted to let you know that even though we don’t see each other as often as I’d like or as you would like, I still care. I just can’t do a lot of the things I used to any more. My priority is now this tiny human I pushed out my vagina, and unfortunately all the other stuff has to wait. 

Please be patient with me, this is all new to me and I maybe haven’t got the whole social life-parenting-ratio figured out yet. I’m not doing it on purpose. And I’m certainly not pushing you away. It’s just life has now changed.  I enjoy nothing more than lying in bed staring at a tiny human I made, or singing The Wheels on the Bus to try and make my baby smile while holding a wet wipe over his little you know what so that he doesn’t piss everywhere while I change his nappy for the 50th time that morning.

But please know this. I’m always here, if you ever need me. And again, I’m sorry.

But if you ever need wet wipes, I’m the one you should call. I’ve got thousands of the fuckers upstairs.

T x

Baby, Beauty, General

Body Talk

So my last post was about bags. This one is going to be about a different type of bag. The ones under your eyes. And other various body parts/functions/bits. So I will just warn you that by the end of this even if we have never met you will know me quite well. Well, my bits and pieces.

Everybody knows that when you cart a small person inside of you for nearly a year that your body changes. I mean the huge burgeoning bump gives it away really. But what some people may not realise is its not just your belly that changes, and maybe doesn’t go back to normal. 

So we’ll start with the obvious. The belly. You look at your previously smooth skin all stretched and sore and you can’t believe that it could even stretch that much. I mean how has it not ripped?? Like, seriously? How can your skin stretch THAT MUCH without ripping yet you turn a page of OK! magazine too quickly and your left with a bleeding paper cut? It makes no sense! But it happens, and for most women, me included, you can get stretch marks. Now I had some anyway on my hips because my weight and body shape has changed over the years, going from being a size 10 dancer who was really fit and could eat a share size bar of galaxy for breakfast lunch and tea because I was dancing so much that the calories and fat just dripped off me, to me now, size 14 curvy, lumpy, bumpy, not-so-much-of-a-dancer me. I mean I  can dance. I think. Well when I’ve had a few pinot grigios I think I can.  Anywho. So yes, stretch marks.

Now when I was carrying William I only actually had some small ones around the old bikini line area, just where it was stretched the most. He lay very low for about 8 weeks so that area was my heaviest. But it wasn’t until after I gave birth and my skin wasn’t stretched like those stretch Armstrong toys from the 90’s anymore thay I realised how many I actually had.  Now I’ve never been the most slim person, and I never got my midriff out even when I was smaller than I am now.  But to look at yourself and have these dark red pink lines all over your stomach all wriggly like worms shooting here there and everywhere, that weren’t there before, I’m not going to lie I was a bit disappointed. I had hoped I wasn’t going to get any. Like I said, I’m not sure why, I don’t tend to go out to Lidl in a crop top baring all to the neighbours as I’m buying cottage cheese and ham. But I felt like I now didn’t have the OPTION to. If I wanted to.  So I tried everything, cocoa butter, coconut oil, bio oil, soap and glory, aveeno, the list goes on. 

Then I saw something posted on Instagram and it stopped and made me think.  So much so I went back and screenshotted the thing and I’m going to share it with you now.

It just made me think. Of all the things in life, are a few stretch marks REALLY that bad? I mean, there are so many thousands of women who would do anything to be in my shoes. Would kill for the stretch marks that come with carrying a child. And I feel so very blessed to be able to say I did that. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to look at them and it took me a while to get used to them.  I mean some people may say mine aren’t that bad. But everyone has their own perceptions on what is good, bad, beautiful, ugly, etc etc. So I just slap my thousands of different moisturisers I’ve got on them so they don’t dry out and get itchy  (that’s awful trust me – plus when your stood there scratting away at your belly you do get some funny looks) and get on with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very self conscious of my body and I am in no way shape or form some beautiful model with a body of a goddess, but they are there and that’s that. It’s a reminder of what an amazing thing your body can do without breaking and I think that’s pretty cool.  So I thought I’d share a pic. Of myself. And my mum tum. It’s wobbly, has got stretch marks on it, and I wear fat pants when I go out and pull my jeggings up to my bra to make myself look slimmer, but it’s me. And I’ve always said I’ll be honest on this blog, and if seeing a picture of my mum tum makes 1 person feel a little bit better about themselves then why not. Besides in a minute I’m going to talk about my tits and fanny so my stomach probably isn’t going to be the biggest problem here.

See? So yeah, that’s my new belly area. And when I look at it, yes I miss my old skin, the smooth, unmarked, soft tummy skin. But then I also look at it with fondness, that’s where I grew my son. I nurtured him. Made him and cooked him enough so he could come out with 10 fingers, 10 toes, and his cute button nose. The part of my body i used to rub and he used to kick back at me. The part i used to watch intently as i watched him wriggle around to get comfortable inside of me. The thing i actually am starting to miss, my baby bump. It’s MY mum tum. Yes it hangs over my leggings. Yes it could do to be firmer. Yes I could do to tone up everywhere. But I was never bothered about being a certain size or weight before, so why should I now? And Wills loves rolling around on my jelly belly, and I mean, who can cuddle into abs anyway? (I’ll use that as my excuse as to why I don’t go to the gym. Like for the next 100 years).

Now while we are on the front sort of area, I might as well go on to talk about the two girls. Boobs, tits, saddlebags, tatas, whatever you want to call them. They go through lots of changes when your pregnant and afterwards. When your “with child” they grow, as they are preparing to feed your baby, so they get bigger as you start to prepare for milk. Your nipples get big. I mean, so much bigger. I have small nips. Not tiny like a little dot, but they aren’t big. But when I was pregnant thay changed. Even more so after I’d had William. Like they doubled in size. And they change colour. One day they were pink, the next thing I know they are like a brown colour. Like a deep dark pinky brown colour. And your actual nipple end, whatever it’s called, that sticks out all the time. Like you literally have two quarter pounder burgers on your chest. What with the leaking, and the evolution of the nipple, and the breast growth, there’s a lot going on over there. You get burger nips, they go back to normal.  But I really do believe that you should go get measured for a bra while you are preggo. I mean bras are really uncomfortable at the best of times, but when those ladies start to grow, you need a good over shoulder boulder holder to keep them in check. Especially when your milk comes in.  Because they go HARD AS NAILS. Seriously.  Like the water in the shower even makes them hurt. They are rock solid, and leaking everywhere. If your breastfeeding, this I assume becomes a normal feeling, your boobs will be full of milk until your little one has guzzled it on a feed. But because I wasn’t able to breastfeed, or rather it didn’t particularly happen, obviously the milk sort of..well dries up and disappears. So you go from having these massive big hooters to all of a sudden being a bit..well…deflated. Literally. Like I’m not saying they are now two deflated party balloons that were once used to make a sausage dog sculpture. But the milk goes as fast as it comes in, and you are sometimes left with a bit of an airy bit at the top of your breast. Mine are pretty much as they were before, albeit a little less…how shall we say it..north-facing. They have sagged a little.  But I expected that. I mean they aren’t like spaniels ears or anything, but yes, they are different to what they were like before. Nothing a good bra won’t fix. And the burger nips have gone too. My little rosebuds have come back to me. Thank you Jesus. Because those fuckers are scary the way they creep up on you. Asda should start selling burger nip outfits for Halloween. 

The next part of my body which obviously I need to speak about is the vagina. Your Minnie.  It goes through a lot, if you are lucky (if you look at it that way) enough to have a natural, uncomplicated delivery. It is stretched to literally full capacity. Your pushing something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a 2 pence piece. 

Throughout being pregnant I was worried about how the delivery would go, would my fanny ever go back to normal, will it look like a kebab and be all droopy like everyone always says they go like? Would my husband ever find me attractive “down there” again? Would I just constantly piss myself? Would I rip? Could I ever look at it again? So many questions going round in my little head.

Of course, when your pregnant your little flower already starts to change. Your body is getting ready to push this tiny human out. It sort of..not swells up, but it certainly changes. 

After the delivery you are very sore down there. I mean of course you are. I had stitches, so of course I was very conscious of them. Sitting down is scary. You do it with such care and at the speed of a snail that has overdosed on sedatives, just in case something tears again, your all puffy and swollen and can’t walk properly, sitting on a hard chair is such a scary prospect, your wearing a maternity pad which is the thickness of a roll of kitchen roll, and you don’t know you need a wee until the very last second so you have to kind of waddle/run/shuffle to the loo, hoping that by clenching your thighs together it might stop you from pissing yourself, as you don’t have the ability to hold your wee in straight after giving birth due to all the pushing. There’s been several times I’ve done a sneeze or laughed too hard and I’ve dribbled, not from my mouth. If you catch my drift.

But let me tell you, it does go back to normal. I darent look at my Minnie for about 3 weeks. I was scared of what I might find.  When showering I just sort of…dabbed it. I couldn’t possibly give it a proper scrub, what happened if I ripped my stitches out? You are literally petrified of anything or anyone going near your foo foo. Chairs, midwives, pants, wee, you name it, everything is a threat. But when I finally managed to pluck up the courage to look at the old girl, I was pleasantly surprised. She didn’t look too bad. So a little note to you expectant mums – there is light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to book in for a designer vagina and a vajazzle after having a baby. Just give it time. Don’t be like riding a bucking broncho the day after you’ve given birth.  Time is a beautiful healer for your body. Besides, after the ordeal you don’t even want to look or have anything to do with it anyway. You just leave WELL ALONE. 

Now another thing which has changed for me since having the Champ is my hair.  I mean it was never thick and luscious before. I’ve always had thin, shitty waffy hair. But I am currently suffering with hair loss. It just comes out in clumps. Now I’ve read that this is common.  However it isn’t the most delightful thing when your washing your hair with your shitty 2 in 1 shampoo that you bought for a pound (because it will save you time in a day that already doesn’t have enough hours in it) and it’s just coming out in clumps. Apparently it gets better. I’m hoping so. I never really got the whole pregnancy glow and thicker fuller hair. I just got sweaty face glow and greasy roots hair. So I think I’m owed some good hair somewhere along the lines. Just to show you I’ve got a photo of the general amount of hair I lose when I brush my hair after washing it (every 7 weeks or so – or whenever I manage to get the time – it feels like it’s every 7 weeks. Dry shampoo becomes your friend. Like, your bestest best ever in the world if-destroyed-still-true-best-friend).

Lovely I know.  So yeah so far I’ve got saggy boobs, saggy belly, stretch marks, am going bald and a vagina that’s OK but not quite as good as it was a year ago. I’ll be honest, I sound like quite a catch if I do say so myself. My husband is a lucky, lucky man.

Now sleep deprivation is going to happen. Your baby in the first few weeks can feed every hour or 2. You become exhausted. And your face shows it. I have bags big enough for Coco Chanel to think about using for a new line of travel gear. You are sleep deprived, your bags become dark and your eyes are red and tired and puffy. Invest in some good concealer, trust me. If it’s the only make up you put on, it’ll make you feel (and probably look) 10 times more awake than you perhaps are. When I take my make up off I literally look like I’ve not slept for approximately 15 years. 

OK so this last subject is one that I’m not sure everyone gets, but hey I’m going to throw it out there anyway. Perspiration. I don’t know whether it’s hormonal or what but since having William I am literally Sweaty Betty. I can’t even begin to comprehend it. I know I’m not completely alone as one of my darling friends (I’ll keep her nameless as I’m sure she doesn’t want to be known as Sweaty Betty’s long lost friend Perspiration Patty) has had similar issues after she gave birth. I mean I understand people sweat. I sweat myself! In the heat. In the sunshine. When it’s really hot in a kitchen. Abroad. But I am literally using Sure deodorant as if there is going to be a national shortage and I’ll never be able to spray my pits again. I can only put it down to hormones, I am hoping it will settle down when I am hormonally stable.(Whenever that may be. Perhaps when I’m 96?) So yeah, a word of warning, it could happen to you, so go down to superdrug and stock up on some deodorant, no one likes to smell of beef and onion (B.O) and you don’t want to make your baby or your partner pass out from the fumes that may come from your underarms.

So these are just the main things that have happened to me since having the little man. Of course everyone is different, and I completely understand that some people want to get straight back into their fitness regime, or fit right back in their size 8 jeans, and some people maybe just don’t care at all, or some people like myself just want to try and eat the right foods, enjoy a treat and not become obsessed with a number on the scales.

 I just wanted to share what happened to me, and if it makes one person feel a bit better about their mum tum or cellulite or shitty hair (which I do have, both cellulite and shitty hair), then great. At the end of the day, your beautiful baby grew inside you, and I’m sure you think they are the most perfect and beautiful thing that ever graced your eyes? Well looking back at you in that mirror is the beautiful person who made that baby. And that’s what your baby will see. A beautiful person. The person at the centre of their entire world. They don’t give a flying fuck if your “fat”, thin, have a monobrow, have hairy armpits, have a zit the size of Wales, or haven’t had your lip waxed for 5 weeks. They look at you and they think you are utterly perfect. 

So it’s about time we started to look at ourselves in the way our children do. Don’t you think?