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Friday, 24 November 2017

I'm still me

Hey everybody!

So, this week I've been having a really big think about myself. I'm a mummy and I love my boys so freaking much! However, the mummy role aside, I'm still me, Alice, a 29 year old with life aspirations, talents and things I enjoy. I feel I have lost this side of me a bit over the last few years as I have been so involved in family life, I haven't taken much time to pursue the things I love. I guess this happens during life at times, but I'd like to take it back a bit. For a start, I'm writing more, something I have a great passion for. I'm also a singer and I am determined to get at it again!
So, I thought I'd give you a bit of a back story today, to get to know me a bit better.

singing <3
Not much changes! 

 I've been singing since I can remember. I have memories of sitting on my swing in the garden singing Whitney Houston's version of I will always love you. She might not know it but my mum was a great inspiration for my singing as she always used to have the radio on and sing around the house; she's got a pretty good voice herself! My passion for singing increased throughout the years; I still remember mum and dad telling me to shut up when I got a bit carried away on our many long drives to holidays in France. Me and my family and friends used to put on shows for the grownups where we would piece together costumes and have a great time!

I don't know what to say, we thought this was epic at the time!

I loved singing so much, I knew I wanted to take it further, so once my GCSEs were done, against the wishes of some, I signed up to study a BTEC in Performing Arts. This meant leaving the comfort  of my secondary school and all my friends, but I was a determined young lady! My BTEC gained me so much more confidence in performing and made me a better all-round performer.

I then decided to take my singing career further and complete a music degree. Writing was also a passion of mine and I like to mix things up, so I chose a popular music and creative write course at Manchester Met; a course I still believe I would have loved! However, I'm a home bird and had fallen in love by this point in my life, so after a couple of weeks I returned home and transferred to a Music and English degree at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge. I commuted every day to Cambridge from Chelmsford for this course and by the end of my second year at uni, me and Pete had bought a flat together. Although my original course would have perhaps been more enjoyable, especially with the creative writing, I believe I got a better degree from Anglia and I got into jazz singing which I now absolutely love!

Now, one thing I don't think college or university prepares you for is how to actually get a job in the industry once you're done with your course. I had absolutely no idea what to do when I finished my degree and I had a mortgage to pay. I ended up teaching music in pre-schools for a bit before settling working full time in a Montessori pre-school. (horrible place!) After a while, I wanted to earn more money and started working for a financial services company, which was a great place to work and I made some wonderful friends. Eventually, I started to think about what I was doing with my work life. I had never wanted to be stuck in a 'boring' office job. I wanted to be hands on, in a job that constantly changed. I loved working with kids in the pre-school and decided teaching was for me. During my maternity leave when I had Harrison I completed some work experience which further confirmed my decision to go into teaching. I applied and somehow got onto the best course in England - the Billericay SCITT.  My year long training was the hardest year of my life; with a small child, very long working days and essays to write into the early hours, it was tough, but I did it and I'm still so proud of myself for completing the course with an outstanding. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love teaching. I'm one of those people who gets really attached (I'm pretty sure I fell in love with Pete the day I met him!) so I end up treating the kids like they're my own and care a lot about them. Teaching the children and seeing them grow is so unbelievably rewarding - it's just the politics and expectations set on teachers that sometimes gets to me - we are human after all, as are children, but that's a topic for another day.

with the band 
During all of this, I kept up singing. I was part of a mucical theatre group for a while, then a band and I also went round solo performing. My passion never strayed from singing. I guess life just got in the way a bit. However, I have some time now that I'm off to get back on it and make a go of my singing. I'm currently learning a ballad from a musical and will upload a video once I'm happy with it, so watch this space.

Performing Day by Day in Godspell. I loved this show!

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about me and I just want to say to all parents out there, don't forget you are still you. You still have passions and I believe in order to be happy in life we need to pursue them if possible. After all, one day our beautiful children will fly the nest and what will we have if we haven't given ourselves time to shine?

Check out my website for more of my performances. You can find one my favourite performances: 'When You're Good to Mama.' - pretty relevant I feel!

I'd love to hear about your journey so far, please comment below!

Have a great weekend.



Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Parenting is hard work!

We're having a bit of a tough time at the moment with the kids. Elliott is not settling well; I think he may be coming down with something. However, he has only slept through the night on a handful of occasions and is 12 weeks old. I don't think we realised how lucky we were with Harrison who slept through the night at just 6 weeks.
The calm before the storm. The boys enjoying a bath together before Harrison knocked the phone out of my hand and into the bath. Cue tears from everyone and a not-so peaceful, calm bedtime! 

Harrison's behaviour has also become progressively worse over the last month to the point where he bit Elliott today. Seriously?! My mother bear instinct kicked in and I was so angry with him; he spent the evening in his bedroom. I hope it has the desired affect as it's not normally something I make him do. I'm doing my best to make sure he has special time with me as he's been through a lot of changes recently - starting school, new baby, new puppy etc. but it's hard to enjoy that time when all he does is roll around and talk about wee/poo/penises/bums. What is it with toilet humour?! Please say I'm not the only one with this problem!

As well as the misbehaving children, the husband has taken it upon himself to advise me that all I do is sit at home all day doing nothing. Afterwards, he says he's joking but I truly believe he thinks I sit on the couch with a coffee and magazine, watching Come Dine With Me all day long. I mean, I wish- right?! I'm lucky if I get to eat my lunch without a baby balancing on my leg.

His comments reminded me of this picture, showing a mum who has truly done nothing all day. Maybe I should give that a go? I honestly don't think I could do nothing, particularly the cleaning; it would drive me mad! I wouldn't mind but when I am at work (teaching) I complete 11 hour days, so he must know I'm not a lazy person. In fact I'm the opposite; I often do too much and burn myself out. Maybe I should make a  video of my whole day, then he might change his mind.

Everyone tells me to ignore him but this topic is a real bug bare for me. STAY AT HOME MUMS DO NOT DO NOTHING! We work our arse off all day. In fact, it's a 24 hour job - more full on than teaching. There's an expectation when you're at home that the house will look perfect at all times and dinner will be prepared when your spouse arrives home. This isn't always possible when your 4 year old bites your 3 month old and decides to have a 3 hour tantrum.

I kind of love what this guy has to say about it:

What did you do all day?

It's a little controversial but I think he makes his point well.

All that being said, I love my boys so much. Everyone goes through rough patches and I'm sure in a few weeks time things will calm down. Fingers crossed!

I hope this post can relate to others out there. Life isn't perfect and parenting or adulting in general can be hard. There is no 'one solution fits all' in life. We need to appreciate each other and know we are doing our best; after all, everyone is winging it!

Have a lovely rest of the week.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Let's talk about baby weight

So as you may know I had baby 10 weeks ago and we went on our first family holiday at the end of October. It was one of those awkward situations where none of my pre-pregnancy summer clothes fit and I didn't want to buy a whole new wardrobe as I knew I'd be losing the baby weight, so I just took my maternity dresses and some leggings with baggy tops. Bad idea as I felt uncomfortable and too hot! I'm not complaining too much though;the weather was amazing and it gave me the perfect opportunity to buy a couple of outfits while out there!

Anyway, one sunny afternoon we moseyed into the town of Albufeira to have a look round and visit the beach. Elliott needed a feed so we stopped at a bench and Pete began to feed him. Being the magpie that I am, I saw a shop with pretty things, got distracted and wandered over to it. For some reason I took the now empty buggy with me, auto pilot I guess. A man outside his restaurant trying to persuade custom said to me "Where's the baby?" "Haha" I responded "I knew I'd forgotten something!" His response absolutely dumbfounded me "Expecting another?" "No!" I snapped back and walked off. Now I was wearing my JoJo Maman Bebe maxi dress which is figure hugging. However, does this random man have the right to ask me, when he can see I have a small baby as it is, whether I am pregnant again? I think not.
These pictures were taken 3 months apart. Yes the tummy is still there but so is the happy, healthy baby boy that my body grew and protected for 9 months! 
I don't understand why people feel the right to ask this question of anyone. Would you go up to someone who you think looks poorly and say "got cancer?" I think not (my mum had cancer - horrible disease!) I mean maybe people do, but it's not appropriate. What is happening to our bodies is our business and if we choose to share it then that's fine. Up until that point I was actually feeling pretty good about my body; I didn't put on as much weight as when I had Harrison and I was proud of what my body had done, producing 2 beautiful children, something I know not all ladies are lucky enough to experience. This was a bit of a blow though and it knocked my confidence.

Mums, we need to look after ourselves and our bodies, but in our own time. If you have just given birth or are pregnant, your amazing body is growing and protecting that child of yours - that is a miracle. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I am now back at Slimming World, a place I feel confident I will loose my baby weight, as I did with Harrison (I would absolutely recommend it!) but I did it in my own time.  I am a true believer that there's no point rushing weigh loss. I see so many people going for it with these fad diets with milkshakes and god knows what and all they do is pile on the weight, plus some more, once they quit. I took 2 years to loose my baby weight with Harrison but it stayed off. As long as we mums are looking after ourselves by eating well, exercising (a given when you're a mum - am I right?) and drinking plenty of water then that's all that matters. Our body is like an engine and if we're not looking after it, it will fail and we won't have the energy we need to look after our kids; that's just not on.

So I suppose what I'm trying to say is: mums you're bloody amazing and beautiful. Don't let anyone tell you different and rush you into loosing baby weight; do it in your own time and try your best to be happy in your own skin. Think of all the positives that amazing body of yours has given you and if you ever start to feel down, take some time for yourself; have a pamper,  buy yourself an outfit you feel sassy in because trust me, if we are happy and healthy, it'll rub off on our children.

If you've had a similar experience to me then please share, I know I won't be the only one!

Have a lovely week!


Monday, 6 November 2017

He's arrived! (well he did 10 weeks ago!)

Well, what a few months this has been! After my last post re tiredness my pregnancy ran smoother although I did suffer further with tiredness and achyness. Once I got myself a bump band (from JoJo Maman Bebe) and lots of very early nights I felt better.

I made sure I looked after myself - I bought maternity clothes, mostly from Debenhams, JoJo Maman Bebe, H&M and Matalan so I felt a lot more sassy than during my first pregnancy when I mostly wore hand me downs that weren't my style and made me feel unattractive. For some reason maternity clothing costs the earth - because they can I guess - if anyone business savvy wants to set up an affordable maternity clothes shop with me I think we'd do great! That being said it's definitely worth taking some time and treating yourself mums! I looked out for sales and got most of my dresses for under £20!

My baby shower, surrounded by all the amazing women in my life. I am one lucky lady! (with one silly husband, if you spotted Pete in the background!)

One of the hardest things for me during my pregnancy was not knowing what we were having as I like to be super organised and get everything ready. Of course, I didn't mind what I had  - I just wanted a healthy baby. However, I must admit the rush of being the one to see and reveal the sex at the birth was kind of worth it (but don't tell Pete!) I had a lovely, chilled water birth. I have been studying mindfulness a lot and my friend has recently trained as a hypnobirther (I'm not sure whether this is the correct technical term - sorry Fran!) If you're thinking of completing a course on hypnobirthing I would highly recommend Fran. Check her facebook page out by following the link:
She gave me some great advice and I was totally ready when it was time for Elliott to make his arrival. In fact, Pete didn't even believe I was far along enough "You're too calm!" he said - brilliant! If you want to hear more about the birth, just let me know.
Just chilling in the birthing pool

Elliott Stephen John Loates arrived on 23rd August 2017, 3 days early and much earlier than expected as Harrison was a week late! As soon as Elliott arrived I was broody for the next one. I was just so ecstatically happy! I must admit that has faded a bit now. I love my boys to bits but the tiredness has kicked in so adding another bub to the mix right now probably isn't the best idea!

Harrison is making a super big brother. He started school in September so there has been a lot of change for him but he's coping well. Over the last few weeks his behavior had started to deteriorate but with a little TLC and by really focusing on not getting snappy and shouting at him (tiredness does horrible things) it has improved and he's back on track.

One thing I haven't mentioned yet is our other new member of the family. The cuteness competition is on! Tilly Beau Loates arrived on 22nd August (yes the day before Elliott) Tilly is a rescue dog we adopted from a pound in Cyprus so she wasn't allowed to travel until she was 4 months old. I had a niggling feeling that she would end up arriving at the same time as the baby (didn't realise it would be that close) but she was too cute to say no and I knew I could cope. We are extremely lucky because she is the sopiest most loving little pup you ever met - such a lap dog! We all love her very much! She's just been spayed so she's in the cone of shame at the moment. Even so, she's loving all the extra cuddles.

Tilly Beau Loates

We've already had our first family holiday; we went to Portugal over October half term. I LOVED it there. We stayed at the Paraiso De Albufeira where we had a room with a little kitchen - perfect for making up bottles. They had good food, great facilities and fantastic entertainment, especially for the kids. Travelling with the kids was fine; Harrison played on the kindle and the baby slept; I held him in the baby carrier to save my arms. Mum and Dad came too. It was lovely to spend time with them and have help with the kids. We had a well needed break and I can't wait to go back there again (next year, fingers crossed).

Elliott's first family holiday. 

That's all for now folks - I'm off to have a bath with a relaxing Lush bath bomb as both kids are in bed and we've been fed- go me! I hope you've enjoyed this update. If you have any questions or would like me to talk in more detail about anything please comment below :)



Friday, 3 March 2017

15 weeks pregnant and tired!

I'm up the duff! Harrison is one excited little boy.
 I shared the happy news with the world last week that Pete, Harrison and I are expecting a new addition to the our little family. However exciting this new is, it doesn't stop the feeling of pure exhaustion I am experiencing right now. Since finding out I'm pregnant, I have been feeling sick, tired, had sore boobs and have what I would call  a superhuman sense of smell. Although I haven't actually been sick, every time I smell something my newly pregnant body doesn't like, I wretch. My lovely husband, Pete, says that I sound like a dinosaur and my son, Harrison, now often imitates the sound - what a lovely pair of boys I have! I've also gone off everything I would normally love, in particular lush products, smelly candles and chocolate. It's like I'm a different person - newly discovering my likes and dislikes.

As I have previously mentioned, I am a teacher - a very full on and tiring job. This week the exhaustion has got so bad that I've had to come home from work this week and take a couple of days off. Now enters the mum guilt. I feel guilty that I'm not at work doing my job properly; I feel guilty that I can't play with Harrison as much; I feel guilty that I don't fancy doing the dinner or housework. Why is it that us women carry so much guilt?! I love my husband but when he gets in from work and goes straight on his computer instead of doing housework or playing with his child, I highly doubt he feels any guilt at all. Perhaps it's because we women are more of an emotional sex but it's draining and I do wish I could let it go every now and then.

I've been studying a lot about mindfulness recently and have discovered, understand and now use a little saying whenever I am worried, stressed or feeling low; 'it is what it is until it isn't'.  Simple words that say so much; there really is nothing I can do about the way I'm feeling at the moment, apart from of course eating and sleeping well - both of which I feel I am doing. I believe that feeling this tired is my body's way of saying "Alice, you are growing and carrying a small human being and you need to have a bloody rest!" So maybe for once I should listen to my body, take some rest and hopefully, as everyone keeps promising me, get my energy back in a few weeks time. Here's to hoping!

baby at 13 weeks :)

Any other expecting mums out there - I feel for you! Share your pregnancy experiences; every single one is different and even this pregnancy is nothing like my last one.

Have a great weekend!