Need A New Pair Of Trainers?

My love of trainers is no secret.

There aren’t many outfits that a decent pair of trainers won’t suit. And call me crazy but there aren’t many occasions either. I’m a big fan of wearing trainers to work (hey, it’s officially acceptable now – I once read in Grazia that loads of the team wear them to work) and when it comes to heading out to the park with my daughter, they’re a no-brainer.

My weekend uniform of late has been that classic combo of trainers, striped top, statement necklace and skinny jeans (although I am now coming around to the idea of – gasp – boyfriend jeans) and I’ve had to stop myself from buying new trainers, most weeks.

Knowing how much I love them, online retailer Cloggs.co.uk have asked me to road test a pair for them. I hadn’t come across Cloggs before but loved browsing their shoes and trainers – they stock a huge number of different brands and styles. From Clarks court shoes to Joules slippers and from kids’ Uggs to sleek men’s lace ups by Ted Baker. I challenge you to take a look and not find at least five pairs of shoes you’d buy.

But back to trainers. Cloggs cover all the big trends, as far as I’m concerned…

Gorgeous trainers

1. Converse Allstar in mallow pink, £45.99

2. Vans Classic Slip-ons, £39.99

3. Converse Allstar hi-top in rose gold, £64.99

4. Skechers Flex Appeal, £58.99

But it was a pair of ASH hi tops in black leather that I went for. The leather is so soft, the first time I wore them, it felt like I was wearing worn-in shoes. They were so comfortable. The buckles give them an unusual twist, compared with usual lace ups, but they have a side zip to avoid a real faff every time you put them on or take them off. Continue reading

Bad Mums’ Club: I Work Full Time And I Love It

Working 9 to 5

When you meet someone for the first time and the conversation turns to kids and family, there’s always one question that comes up.

“Do you work part time?”

It’s become so common for women to return to work, after having a baby (or two, or three..) compared to 20 or 30 years ago, when the norm was to stay at home and look after your kids, while the dad went out to bring home the bacon. I think it’s fair to say that now, most women who do return to work, go back part time. So people kind of expect you to say you work part time.

But I work full time. And when I’m asked the question, I take a deep breath, smile a big smile and in my breeziest voice, I say “No, I work full time.” I pause, looking for some kind of sign that will indicate whether the other person is thinking “Oh, OK” or “Full time? You are a BAD MUM.”

The other person will usually then ask about childcare and I’ll garble out in a faux-enthusiastic way, “Oh-she’s-at-a-nursery-five-days-a-week-but-she-LOVES-it.”  I really over-egg the pudding here, often babbling a bit about how she has SO MUCH FUN with all the other kids and HOW GOOD the nursery is. If I feel like I’m being particularly judged by the other person, I’ll throw in a “Pre-school is SO GOOD for their development at that age – they focus on learning much more than you’d think.”

If I’m ever asked why I work full time, I never tell the truth. But I’m going to do it here. Now. Are you ready?

I work full time because I love working.

Not because I have to, because I want to. I choose to work full time and I love my job. Admitting this is securing my place in the Bad Mums’ Club for life, but it’s the truth, and I can’t be the only mum who feels this way.

Going back a few years, I hated maternity leave. I found it so boring and yes, I suspect in hindsight that I suffered from PND but even taking that out of the equation, I still think I would have hated it. I’m just not the kind of person who enjoys being at home with a baby, day in day out. Some people love it. Some people don’t.

I was desperate to go back to work after maternity leave, and I went back three days a week, to start with. But in all honesty, I dreaded those two days a week that I was at home. I felt a weird panicky pressure to make plans for those days, to ensure I wasn’t alone with a one-year-old all day (still as boring as being with a young baby, if you ask me.) When my daughter was 18-months-old, I started a new job and told my new boss that I could work full time.

It was the best thing ever. And I had a great excuse if anyone asked me why I worked full time – I could simply say that my new job required me to do five days a week.

Of course, my decision to work five days a week is completely selfish. I am thinking 100% about me, about my needs and what I can – and can’t – cope with on a day to day basis. This is the right thing for me. But it’s not a guilt-free decision. I worry a lot that working full time is the wrong thing to do, as far as my daughter is concerned. Will it have a negative effect on her? Will she develop insecurities because of it?

And actually, shouldn’t I sacrifice my happiness for the sake of my child? If she is the most important thing in my life (and she is) then shouldn’t her happiness be my number one priority?

Well, actually, no. When I have all of these worries swimming around in my head, I remind myself of that thing that other mums tell you: You need to be a happy mum, otherwise you can’t be a good mum. And it’s true – if I worked part time and was at home with my daughter for part of the week, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. And surely some of that unhappiness would rub off on her?

Perhaps one day, I’ll look back and regret working full time when my daughter was so young, but all I know is right now, it’s the right thing for me. I am happy and my daughter genuinely does love her pre-school. She thrives there. She loves the company of the other children and enjoys learning new things every day.

So she is happy, I am happy – why then do I feel like a bad mum?

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I’m linking this post up to The Bad Mums’ Club – a collection of posts by bloggers on our failings as mothers. The Bad Mums’ Club consists of me, Morgana from But Why Mummy Why, Aimee from Pass The Gin and Katie from Hurrah For Gin but really, everyone is welcome. Do visit MorganaAimee and Katie‘s blogs to read their Bad Mums’ Club posts!

Now for the technical bloggy bit…. (ignore this if you’re not a blogger)…  If you are a blogger and want to write a post and link up, you can add it to the bottom of this post. Here’s the badge, if you fancy popping it on your post:

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Things Everyone Loves… But I Just Don’t Get

There are some things in life that everyone loves, in a universal kinda-way. You know, Brad Pitt… chocolate… fairy lights… Friends… those things that if you’re in the pub with someone and the conversation dries up (awkward…) you can turn to talking about and everything will be alright.

“Favourite episode of Friends?” you could ask. (My answer would be “Series 2: The One Where No One’s Ready” – it’s a classic.)

But then there are things in life that everyone LOVES… but you don’t really understand why. People enthuse about these things, and you really want to love them too, but you just can’t work out what the fuss is about.

So ladies and gentlemen, I bring you… the things everyone loves, but I just don’t get:

prince

When Prince was here in the UK recently, playing some live shows, everyone was excited. People were tweeting about trying to get tickets, talking about how much they love him, discussing favourite songs. And I was confused. “Is liking Prince a thing?” I hadn’t realised. I remember him releasing stuff in the 80s, when I was a kid (true fact: I thought he was the boyfriend of 80s pop singer Princess) but his music largely passed me by, and hearing it in recent years hasn’t made me develop a new-found love for him. In fact, I’d go as far as to say tunes like Raspberry Beret kinda annoy me.

Continue reading

Mother’s Day Outfits – Sorted!

Isn’t Mother’s Day the best? You get a valid excuse to have a lie-in, get flowers and probably a nice Sunday lunch in a family-friendly pub somewhere (lunch time wine? Don’t mind if I do!)

And of course, it’s nice to look good – and feel good – on Mother’s Day so using all of the tips I’ve picked up from those clever fashion editors I’ve worked with in the past, I’ve created a couple of outfits for Mother’s Day, using clothing from F&F at Tesco. (YES! Fashion doesn’t have to be expensive, ladies!)

They’ve got a lovely Aztec biker jacket which is very Zara, and teamed with their cream lace top and boyfriend jeans, it creates a casual but on-trend look. If you’re off for a nice pub lunch, these demi wedge peep toe shoes are perfect (remember to paint your toe nails a nice bright colour). I’ve added a statement necklace and classic black handbag to complete the look.

F-and-F-Tesco-outfit

Showing how versatile the boyfriend jeans and lace top are, this second outfit sees them paired with a gorgeous kimono top from F&F for a different look. This would look great if you’re being treated to a sneaky evening Mother’s Day date. Stick on some bright court shoes and a clutch and you’ll be good to go! Continue reading

What Does Motherhood Mean To You?

Motherhood means different things to different people. For some, it’s their reason for existing, for some it’s something that’s been a long time coming, for others, it’s pure joy 24/7. When you actually start to think about it, you realise that being a mum is such a huge part of your life and it’s difficult to pin down to one thought or emotion. My life was pretty full before I had my daughter, so how have I managed to fit in being a mum, around everything else I do? It makes my head spin a bit, when I think about it.

But what does motherhood mean to me?

To me, motherhood is a reminder that there’s more to life than work. It is – ultimately – the single most important thing in my life. And that’s not something I say lightly. I’m not one of those sentimental types who posts cutesy messages on Facebook about my child being my whole universe. My career is hugely important to me, and I work hard to progess and achieve things. But motherhood has taught me that family is more important. It’s a cliché but have many people been on their death bed and wished they’d spent more time in the office? So while my career is still a high priority for me, it’s sits just below ‘family’ in the pecking order.

What does motherhood mean to you?

Lovely change bag brand Pink Lining recently asked mums to submit a photo of them with their family and to say what motherhood means to them in six words or less. The photos were turned into a video, just in time for Mother’s Day…

Beautiful, isn’t it? I’d love to know what motherhood means to you – comment and tell me. And do check out Pink Lining’s fab range of change bags – when I had a newborn, I used to lust after other mums’ Pink Lining bags. They’re so pretty!

• This is a commissioned post – thanks to Pink Lining for working with Not Another Mummy Blog. For more info on posts written for brands, see my Work With Me page.