"At the beginning of 2010 I came across my diary from last year. I had a quick flick through and was hit with the realisation of exactly how much my life has changed since January ’09. My diary is littered with words like ‘Golden Globes’, ‘Baftas’, ‘Brits’ and ‘The Oscars’ – all of which my working life revolved around...

Fast forward a year and my January is barren. The pages are a wasteland of days and dates and woefully empty pages. My poor, poor moleskin must have been sobbing into its perfectly intact spine at such a pitiful sight..."

Friday, 9 April 2010

GUEST POST: A Thoroughly Cheesy Anniversary

By Robbie Solomons

Last Sunday afternoon I went to Sopwell House for afternoon tea, to celebrate my first wedding anniversary.

We had sandwiches, assorted mini-gateaux, scones with jam and lashings of clotted cream… and tea, of course. It was a lovely couple of hours spent recalling the wonderful celebrations in that delightful corner of Hertfordshire on that day 1 year ago. I indulged myself, and all in the company of my favourite two people in the whole wide world.

It goes without saying that one of these people was my darling wife, Alice, (celebrating my 1st wedding anniversary really wouldn’t have been the same without her). Whilst I watched her spread an extraordinarily large amount of clotted cream onto half a scone and proceed to get some of it in her mouth, and most of it spread liberally around her face, I couldn’t help but marvel at just how lucky I had been to find, fall for and marry this beautiful human-being before me. I don’t believe in soul-mates, I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do believe that I couldn’t have met a person who makes me any happier than she does… cheesy, but true.

Talking of cheese, that brings me on nicely to the other person there with us that fine day. Burped up breast-milk, when left to cultivate in flabby neck folds, smells remarkably cheese-like… who knew? The neck folds (and cheese smell) belong to my wonderful daughter, Phoebe, who drew her first sweet breath on the afternoon of the 1st March this year, and has been belching milky screams ever since. She is beautiful and already has many talents, including:

  • The aforementioned cultivation of ‘neck-cheese’
  • The impressively high production of sticky/crusty green ‘eye gold’
  • Projectile pooing (I now approach her from side on when changing her nappy)
  • Various other assorted smells and discharges

Seriously though folks, she’s lovely and amazing and beautiful and sweet and with every day that passes I find myself falling more and more head-over-heels-life-will-never-be-quite-the-same-even-prefer-her-to-football(-but-only-just) in love with her.

Alice has been taking care of her during the days and through the night and I am in awe of how amazingly natural she is at the whole ‘mummy’ thing.

As I sat there, watching the two of them in the warm glow of the mellow early-spring sun, I knew I was blessed and happy. Never had face food looked so wonderful, nor neck cheese ever smelt so gorgeous.

I feel so lucky to have them both and if my 2nd wedding anniversary is anywhere near as good as my 1st, then I can’t wait.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Working Out

Oh exercise, my old friend. It’s been so long. I’ve just put together a running playlist, including

I’m all hyped up and ready to squeeze my big wobbly bum into my running leggings of last year. But, I have some questions…
1) Will it come to 7am, Bubs in bed, The Kiwi home, dinner plans a-go-go, and I be tempted to crack open the vino and veg on the couch rather than hoppety-skippeting up the road?
2) How on earth will I strap my gargantuan bazoongas down while I run? Last year my boobs were incy-wincy and I could flatten them down to pancake proportions with a runners top. What now? Gaffer tape?
3) Will I run around the block once, get halfway through the first song, then give up and never venture out in my trainers no never, no more?

Last year I was still yoga’ing at this point, until the big realisation. At my next Hatha class I told the teacher, who mentioned the ‘M’ word again. I was SO shocked. She said that this was the riskiest time for pregnancy, and concluded with ‘I am neither a pre-natal yoga teacher, or a mother, so I cannot tell you what to do here.’ Obvu, I left the class and slagged her off all day. But I was also well too scared to carry on exercising, and what will all the pre-eclampsia m’larkey, I haven’t done much in the way of working out since then.

Monday, 5 April 2010

GUEST POST: Change Is The Essence Of Life

By Jane Rainford

In the days Before Son I was carefree, drank too much, swore too much, drove too fast, went to bed too late and thought junk food whenever I wanted it was OK. Pregnancy and motherhood changed all that.

These are some of the things I have noticed:


I no longer want to eagerly unwrap my presents. In fact I no longer even want presents. Just get something for my offspring. I don’t need anything. In fact I never feel the need for any material things now. I always put my child 1st and last. Of course this is not necessarily a good thing. Ask Hubby, or ask anyone who says I need a break.

When he is not here I sleep so well. When he is here, a pin could drop and I can hear it.

Squeamishness is no more.
Sick, poo, blood... None of it even phases me, as long as it is his and not someone elses. Super Mummy comes out and deals with the situation and thinks about it later. Becoming a nurse would be another matter entirely.

Mummy brain takes over.
When he is not here I absentmindedly watch CBeebies, or scan though photos of him on my PC, or talk incessantly about him (without even realising it) yet when he is attached to my leg shouting “My Mummy! My Mummy!” I wish he was always the good-as-gold angel I have in my head.

Priorities change
That parachute jump that I always wanted to do just doesn’t seem important anymore. I don’t take risks. Someone is depending on me for everything. I can’t drive too fast. A nice safe car is so much better than something that looks good and drives fast. A trip to Pontins seems attractive, because he would enjoy it. It doesn’t matter that in a previous lifetime I would hate every moment. Now his joy is my joy.

This quote seems to sum it all up perfectly, I don’t know whose it is but it is beautiful and so true:
"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for
In what ways has being a parent changed you?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

I Wish This Was An April Fool... But It Ain't

The first page of the book I was reading on this day last year:

"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn't sound like much, I know. But in that flinch and bite of the chain, when it's all you've got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.
In my case, it's a long story, and a crowded one. I was a revolutionary who lost his ideals in heroin, a philosopher who lost his integrity in crime, and a poet who lost his soul in a maximum-security prison. When I escaped from prison, over the front wall, between two gun-towers, I became my country's most wanted man. Luck ran with me and flew with me across to India, where I joined the Bombay mafia. I worked as a gunrunner, a smuggler and a counterfeiter. I was chained on three continents, beaten, stabbed and starved. I went to war. I ran into enemy guns. And I survived, while other men around me died. They were better men than I am, most of them: better men whose lives were crunched up in mistakes, and thrown away by the wrong second of someone else's hate, or love, or indifference. And I buried them, too many of those men, and grieved their stories and their lives into my own.
But my story doesn't begin with them, or with the mafia: it goes back to that first day in Bombay. Fate put me in the game there. Luck dealt me the cards that led me to Karla Saaranen. And I started to play it out, that hand, from the first moment I looked into her green eyes. So it begins, this story, like everything else - with a woman, and a city, and a little bit of luck."

The first page of the book I am reading this year:

"I am Boo Boo."