Tag: home

Introducing…Our Beautiful Chaos

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Let me introduce myself, my name is Manda and I’m a mummy to two boys and wife to Phil. I’m known on Instagram as our beautiful chaos. We are currently renovating out forever home which is what made me start my blog … interior design has always been my passion, even as a little girl I remember helping my mum arrange and decorate our home. I would spend hours rearranging my bedroom and making houses for my dolls out of anything I could get my hands on. I’ve always been more creative than academic, I sketch and paint and love designing things. I also love upcycling things for our home, I love natural materials so our home is full of branches, plants and rocks that I have sourced on our adventures and made home worthy. I have a hippy soul and I’m very in tune with my spiritual side.

Starting my blog was an outlet for my creative side, for my love of interior … that’s what it started with anyway …

My childhood was conflicted, on one hand I had a gorgeous family unit, my mum is and always has been my hero. Myself, my mum and my sister are known as the A team we have always been so close. Unfortunately, I had to grow up very fast and experienced another side to my childhood, I am still not ready to tell the world exactly what I went through but I suffered abuse as a child and then fell into a dangerous relationship and was physically, mentally and emotionally abused. I have also lost two babies, which I found to be the most traumatic experiences of my life.

One day I got brave and I wrote a blog post about myself and what I had been through, it was one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve done. To put myself out into the world was terrifying but it also set a little bit of me free. Since that blog post I’ve posted a lot about domestic violence, mental health and everything in between. It’s become my therapy and my release. I’ve wrote about things people who know me didn’t even know, it’s helped me so much. Then came the messages from people, they flooded in telling me how they had connected to the blogs, telling me what they had been through and saying how much the blogs had helped them. I can’t express how thankful I am that I have this platform to help others going through what I have been through.

And so, our beautiful chaos is now just that … it’s my life, all of it … motherhood, interiors, mental health, it’s the real raw me.

If I can help just one person I know my fight, my pain and my past wasn’t in vain. I’m now happier than I ever thought possible, I have daily adventures with my boys … I’m a mum trying to do this thing called motherhood, sometimes I smash it, sometimes I fall flat on the pile of washing I’ve not done but every second I adore it.

I’d love you to join in my journey, if you want to read more about the crazy life that is our beautiful chaos please come for a read, follow, message … I would love to get to know you too.

Manda xx

Instagram – ourbeautifulchaos__

 

Blog – ourbeautifulchaos.blog

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To read the previous Introducing… article featuring Trust Your Gut Click here.

 

[Written by Our Beautiful Chaos | Edited & Published by Dawson.xo | Photos by Our Beautiful Chaos | Subject to copyright]

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The problem with Big Bloggers

I always find starting a blog post is the hardest part of actually keeping up a blog, finding a theme, setting up your social links and adding pictures is the fun bit. But actually sitting down and thinking of something to say is a completely different thing.2018-03-19 10.38.19 1

I have quite a few people who say to me they’d love to start a blog but they just don’t know what to blog about, truth is, neither do i.

Blogging is half about having a passion and talent for writing and half about building up the confidence to actually share yourself online. You could write a fantastic blog piece about ‘All the reasons kale is good for you’ or ‘How to become a ‘girl boss’ in ten days,’ the typical kind of blog post you’re likely to see get thousands of hits but is it personal? Unless that person is a kale farmer or really is making thousands in a few days, then no it isn’t.

So should you make a blog that’s personal and bare all to the world or should you stick to the generic ‘popular’ posts? I realise I am being very hypocritical here because I, like many others, find myself slipping into the cliché stereotypical blogging category a lot of the time (and probably with this post). But blogging should be a passion, it should be something you are proud of and can happily say ‘I wrote this’ or ‘I made this’ ‘I took this photo’ and people to look at it and know that that is truly you.1521202204118

Trouble is, in the past few months blogging has become a phenomenally large, saturated, hobby,  with hundreds of thousands of people competing for a space on the popular page. Because of this competitiveness the lesser known blogs are pushed under the carpet and just like everything else in society, the blogger behind the page begins to try to conform just to get noticed.

Do we not teach people to be themselves and be honest no matter what other people think? Do we not teach people that looks don’t matter? That we should be individuals?

So why is their post not good enough to get the attention?

Whether you are working on an old school hot pink flip Motorola (always wanted that phone) or a brand new Olympic pen. Or if you walk around with a rucksack of different lenses and a camera that weighs more than your entire body, every single individual puts time and effort into the content they create.

It’s not a secret that I know nothing about photography, but the photos I take I try just as hard to make them look aesthetically pleasing as a professional would do. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get to pick the brains of Hayley and learn a bit more about taking high quality images but a lot of the time my content is mediocre.

It’s also no secret that I have the academic level of a goldfish and sometimes can’t seem to even get my words in the right order before a large cup of tea in the morning, but when I sit and write a post I put myself into it, grammatical errors and all.

IMG_20180317_095610_343The problem is however, in the last few months I put all this effort in and I don’t get anything out of it. Instead I see more and more beautifully taken photos by hired photographers in luxurious backgrounds surrounded by the biggest fruit spread dominating the popular page leading to a blog post on……. ‘How to gain 100k followers by just being you.’ But you read the post, you see the photo and it is completely hypocritical. You’re telling people to hire a photographer, is that being you? You’re saying to travel to these locations [Insert some amazingly expensive holiday you wouldn’t be able to afford to go on even if you sold your soul], is that being you? You’re saying photoshop yourself to show your curves and attract attention, is that being you? You’re advising to remove any necessities that everyone has in everyday life out of the image and only have high end, pretty looking objects in view, is that you? And most of all, is the entire blog post YOU? Because im sure we haven’t slipped into some Charlie brooker fantasy where everyone lives their life in a conformed list of instructions just yet.

It is disheartening when you put your real self out there and yet someone with 500k followers talking some utter shit about something they aren’t passionate about blocks out all your content altogether. Because that’s exactly what happens.

If your image doesn’t get a certain rate of engagement within the first 2 minutes, Instagram then blocks your photo from being discovered by people who haven’t engaged with you either; ever, or within the last 24 hours. That means around 60% of even your1521455157978 followers probably don’t see your posts, let alone finding any new followers. And if like me, you are shadowbanned (Instagram claim this is a glitch on their software) then no hashtags ever work on your photos and no exposure outside of your engaging followers is given. At all.

So ‘what’s the point in doing it?’ People say to me. I’ve heard so many people say ‘ I used to blog but I stopped because no one was reading my posts’ and honestly, I feel ya.

Sometimes I sit here trying to think of witty posts or come up with an idea that covers a topic that’s really popular at the minute in order to gain traffic to my blog or my Instagram, but then I read back and think, this isn’t me, this isn’t personal.

I want to look back in a few years and laugh like, ‘oh remember when we first got luna and she shat on my laptop because I took my favourite bra that she was chewing off her’ or cry because I remember the pain of losing my two babies. I want to look back and go ‘aww look how small they are here, remember when she just started sitting up?’ or ‘Gosh look at me complaining about being tired here when im legit dying of tiredness right now, I didn’t have a clue back then.’ I want to look back and remember my writing fondly, I don’t want to look back and read ‘5 self help books that cured me of depression’ because truth is in the future no one is going to care, I’m the only one who is going to care and im going to regret getting a few thousand views on that verses a funny update that reminds me of a great time or a feeling.

IMG_20180319_212906_025I’m not dissing ‘big’ bloggers, they work hard and they are great at it, they deserve the exposure they get but what i’m trying to say is don’t change yourself or your blog to conform with them just because they are popular.

You wanna write a blog on how your dog’s poo progresses through life? You do it. You want to write a diary entry documenting your mental illness in the most personal way possible? You do it. You want to share you latest tinder date in every gory detail? You do it. You write about what you want to write about, write what you enjoy and what you know that ten years into the future you can look back on and say ‘I’m so glad I wrote that, Id completely forgotten about it!’ Don’t write for someone else.

If your blog isn’t getting great views, that’s okay, it doesn’t mean its shit. It doesn’t mean you should change and fit in to ‘what’s popular.’ So please, please, please, if you want to blog but are scared no one will read it, just do it! Do it for yourself. If you already have a blog and are unmotivated by it and low about it, please keep going because you started it for a reason.  Remember the reason why you considered blogging in the first place? Was it to ‘get rich quick?’ probably not. It was to express yourself, share yourself and have a little place on the internet that’s all yours. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks of it.

YOU DO YOU.

 

xoxo

You-do-you[I do not own this image]

 

As a way for bloggers to gain exposure I have recently started up my ‘Introducing…’ series, so if you are interested in being a guest post on my blog in order to reach a further/different audience please check out my page and show your interest or let know on Instagram.

Thank you to everyone who has already applied to be a part of the series, you guys are what makes it worthwhile!

Introducing Brief

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

For something a little bit different, to try to branch out on more of the ‘Lifestyle’ theme i decided to share with you my ultimate mothers day gift guide. I.e. A list of things i really want for myself with the occasional thing thrown in that my mom might like…

(John you better be looking at this i ain’t making it anymore obvious for you)

It’ll (Kind of) be my first ever mothers day so here’s a guide for all of you if you’re like my sister, who probably still hasn’t realised mothers day is actually this Sunday and you need to rush to get a gift!

Enjoy!

GIFTS

 

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1. Mum, never forget how much you are loved. Jug | £9 | Sainsburys
2. Indigo Floral Velvet Cushion | £24.99 | TK Maxx
3. Oh Yeah! Cream Donut Sweatshirt | £16.99 | TK Maxx
4. Personalised Bear Family Print |£28 | The Drifting Bear Co.
5. Personalised Enamel Planter | £12 | Sophia Victoria Joy
6. Large Scented Candle | £17.99 | H&M
7. Ribbed Eyelet Swimsuit | £29| Topshop
8. Blue Rug and Llama Mug | £5.99 | New Look
9. Multi Coloured Mango Slogan Water Bottle | £5.99 | New Look
10. Listography: One List a Day: A Three-Year Journal | £14.99 | Waterstones
11. BOD Exclusive 20 min Mermaid Bath Prep – With Pink Shimmer | £11.99 | Asos
12. Textured Box |£8.99 | H&M
13. Michael Kors Sexy Ruby 50ml Fragrance Set | £40.78 | Boots
14. Two Tone Striped Tee | £7.40 | SHEIN
15. Vans Old Skool Women’s | £60 | JD Sport
16. White Plant Embroidery T-shirt | £5.99 | SHEIN
17. Gold Metal Edged Glass Star Ornament | £18 | Dunelm
18. Rose Gold Flower Ring With Swarovski® Crystals | £15 | Accessorize

 

FASHION

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HOME

mothersday 51. Hand-painted stoneware plate | £6.99 | H&M
2. Harlequin Savannah Cushion, Lemon | £55 | John Lewis
3. Disney Bambi Photo Clip | £1.50 | Primark
4. Shell Pink Pig Mug | £5.99 | New Look
5. Umbra – Steel wire brass plated ‘Hello’ ornament | £17.50 | Debenhams
6. Metal salad servers | £9.99 | H&M
7. Glass Candle Holder | £8 | Primark
8. Home Collection – Gold cosmopolitan globe | £26 | Debenhams
9. Prosecco Print | £4 | Slay My Print
10. Salvage effect metal Lantern | £42 | Next
11. Scandi Pom Pom Throw, Grey | £65 | John Lewis
12. Stoneware Cookie Jar | £17.99 | H&M
13. Boja Set of Four Gold Foil Champagne Flutes | £32 | Oliver Bonas
14. Copper Coloured Metal Shelf | £180 | All Things Chloe Jane
15. Peachy Clean Bath Matt | $39 | Urban Outfitters
16. Set of two Contemporary Canvases |£15 | Next
17. Luxe Bar Table |£295 | Oliver Bonas
18. Liv 3” Footed Planter | $12| Urban Outfitters
19. Dirraw Washed Medallion White/Blue Rug | £54.55 | Rosalind Wheeler
20. Ziggy 49cm Tripod Table Lamp | £44.99 | The Lighting & Interiors Group

 

 

*I realise i didn’t link the websites and to be honest i’m not going back to find each individual thing to link them now cause its 5pm and i want food, you’ll have to search for it yourselves.

xoxo

 

 

 

Ngl, Pregnancy kinda sucks!?

I know its been quite the while since I last posted and promised to be more attentive with the blog but I’ve been fairly busy with my head in a sick bowl.

Whoever said pregnancy is supposed to be the loveliest 9 months of your life was clearly a joker and my previous two pregnancies had me fooled. Now i know the whole concept of pregnancy is so wonderful, a life is growing (extremely slowly and painfully) inside you and your life and body is changing for the better and all that bullshit but to be quite honest, its actually pretty shit isn’t it?

For starters, my handbag has now been emptied of expensive perfume, light coverage makeup for touch ups and all things girly that are assumed to be hiding around in there. Instead I have jars of vitamins, some granny looking headache stick so I don’t go blind from these ‘pregnancy migraines’, foundation thick enough to disguise my appearance completely, and copious amounts of ugly panty liners, cause someones gotta say it, girls the amount of random shit that’s coming out of your vagina is not pre-warned or talked about! Okay you don’t get a period, but you piss yourself every day for  6 months straight if someone makes a joke and lets not discuss the latter. All i’m saying is no period for 9 months is no cause for the sexy thongs, you want those granny pants more than ever!

Every week I get a notification saying what week in my pregnancy I am in and how big the baby is now, which okay is cute, but instead of telling me my baby is now the size of some exotic vegetable ill never eat, how about telling me that at this week my boobs are gonna explode into mismatched bag of potatoes and ill be freeing the nipple for the next 4 months because no bras fit?

You’ll be blooming soon everyone keeps saying, but im struggling to understand how one can bloom without starting the day with a strong coffee or being allowed to devour a whole camembert for lunch?

‘Your skin may start changing now’ the midwife told me at our last appointment to which I was eagerly awaiting the morning I looked in the mirror to discover I was no longer a reincarnated Michael Jackson and my skin was glowing and full of colour. What I seem to have developed instead, is a reptilian trait of shedding my skin every day, my face is literally peeling faster than the snakes that live in the corner of my dressing room. Also, to add to the long list of nice things us pregnant women can’t have, we add hair dye. I was quite happily continuing my façade of being a natural light blonde and ignoring the fact that my hair had turned into a grey brownish colour by keeping up with my roots every few months. The confusion when people tried to work out whether it was my hair or my eyebrows that were the real deal was a much preferred first world problem (both are fake incase you hadn’t worked that out) because now im walking around with proper ‘council house’ hair, it’s a good job its winter because im living in hats so no one knows my true identity. The best thing about us moving to burton is the fact that I am 95% anonymous and I don’t have to bump into anyone I know for them to offer me some change and directions to the nearest St Basils.

We are nearing the midway point of my pregnancy and with that comes the gender reveal, probably the most exciting milestone in the pregnancy and everyone keeps asking me whether I will be finding out. To which the answer is of course I am, I’m not a philistine. I will be spending the rest of my pregnancy hoarding every single gender related item I can, so yes, I will be finding out the sex, (If the second child is a different gender they’ll just have to lump it cause everyone knows you go all out for the first and the second gets the leftovers). However, finding out the gender isn’t all that simple either, especially when your baby thinks your womb is some sort of Guantanamo bay and must escape any detection. It’s hard to tell whether I am feeling them moving, despite the fact the midwife informs me they are constantly wriggling away when she tries to use the doppler, because im not too sure what im expecting to feel? Having Crohns, I have a load of weird feelings inside my body like a Chest-Burster is gonna be born any day (Dropping in Alien references so John shuts the F*&k up) and so its hard to tell what is the baby moving and was is just a fart building up. We have tried many different techniques to try to get the baby to do a 180 just so we can tell the difference between constipation and a baby kick. At around 16 weeks your baby can detect light and will turn away from it, so we have been using our phone torches as some sort of siege to terrorise our child to ‘come out with its hands up.’ (Not literally come out I mean like show yourself, im already having a heart attack thinking about childbirth and ive still got 4 months left).

Finally, its not a secret that with pregnancy comes a whirlwind of hormones, whether it changes physical attributes or your mental state it is important to report any changes to your dr or midwife. But im not sure my midwife was expecting to have such a paranoid pregnant woman on her, when she said you can text me at any time I don’t think she was expecting me to be like a bad smell and be texting her like ‘I’ve had diarrhoea and three farts in one go, is this normal? Is the baby still alive!? Have i gassed them!?’ ‘I’ve got hair growing in weird places, is this normal!?’ ‘I can’t stop eating olives, does this mean my baby will have good skin?’ ‘I rolled onto my back for like 10 seconds, have I killed my child!?” “Can you tell me if it’s a boy or a girl based on my symptoms? Go on! Just give me a guess?!’ Needless to say I bet she is looking forward to me having this baby more than I am. John has gone into a vegetative state of nodding with glazed eyes and saying ‘Yes, everything’s fine, here have some Mcnuggets” (HINT HINT. MCDONALDS SPONSER MY POSTS!)  to shut me up when I’m having a 2007 Britney meltdown.

As usual, I will end the post with a little positive disclaimer, because if you hadn’t already gathered I have a dry sense of humour but some people still seem to think im deadly serious in my posts. Obviously, there are negatives and positives to all pregnancies and I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of becoming a mother and can’t wait for the baby to come despite any nasty symptoms. There are also a hundred different things going on and I cant fit them all into a readable blog post.

*Featured photo designed and shot by Hayley Leaver Photography, click here to see more of her stuff.

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I’m now on Vero  as Chloe Dawson!

 

What I Actually Do – Day in the life of a Crohnie

Last week when I was having my 10am trip to the sick bowl, I was watching an interview, or rather a ‘debate’ on This Morning involving two women. One woman was a full time stay at home mom and the other a 9 – 5 working mother, and as much as I applaud the efforts of the working mom she caused a lot of uproar with branding the other as ‘lazy’ and questioning what exactly stay at home mom’s do.
This is a close debate to me because very often some ignorant person slides into my dm’s to ask me exactly ‘what I do?’ and yes I am a self proclaimed lazy arse, but I also work hard and do not do “nothing.” After talking to a lot of other Crohn’s sufferers I find myself telling them to not feel guilty about doing nothing or achieving nothing more than a 6 hour nap on a day they aren’t feeling great and yet I feel myself having to justify what exactly I do still.


So first off I’m going to state that I don’t feel I have to justify myself but there are a lot of you who are non-maliciously, genuinely interested in what a week is like for myself as a Crohn’s sufferer, work from home, M.E diagnosed, pregnant, student.
Already, my illnesses are a type of job, they are something I live with everyday and they can determine the path I go down in my life. A year and a half ago I gave up work to focus on my health and have not returned to a career since, and I do not regret that, nor do I feel like I am lazy or a ‘doll scrounger’ because of my choice to focus on being mentally and physically well over the 9-5 grind. I work hard to do normal tasks some days, sometimes getting dressed is an exhausting task or even a walk with Luna (despite the fact she’s pop-eye on a leash) can tire me out for the entire day and with the build up of my exhaustion comes a flare up, with a flare up comes a debilitating change in life, days in hospital and watching loved ones suffer the thought of what will happen to me this time. So when I say I do not work full time or have a ‘proper career’ I am not ashamed or feel guilty for being a stay at home person and any other chronic illness sufferer should not feel guilty that they too cannot work or cannot pay into the state like many other people in society can and do.
With that said this is what an AVERAGE day (there are obviously days I lie around in a vegetative state with one arm round my sick bowl and the other in a pic n mix tub watching Netflix) looks like for me.0001
I wake up when my natural body clock wakes me up, because if I don’t, boy do I know about it. On the days I have to set an alarm I fight a battle of morning sickness and body fatigue as my digestive system hasn’t clocked in yet, my body has awoken before my functions have and so they work at dysfunctional time differences. So majority of the time I let myself wake up naturally to avoid any premature trips to the toilet and alleviate the chances of a midday nap. I go down to luna, who has already attempted her prison breaks and escapology routines in which she somehow manages to escape her cage even with cable ties and a padlock on (I don’t even know how she does it but I can earn big bucks from her skills, Houdini is shaking in his grave). Feed her some goop whilst trying not to gag and then have a cup of tea, or on a bad sickness day, a cup of boiled water (wild, I know) and then run to the toilet and sick it all back up again…
“Welcome to the second trimester” they said… “Morning sickness will be going now” they said…
Well my stomach and my toilet disagree. So once ive gotten my vomiting out the way I go get dressed, which I think is the actual hardest part of the day. It’s the part where you mentally make the decision that your day is beginning and you mean business, despite feeling like its time to go back to bed already.
0003If it’s a work from home kinda day, then ill be lucky to be arsed to do my makeup cause that is commitment usually only saved for leaving the house. Joggers on, messy bun (that looks more like a sparse turd on my head because my hair is too thin to do a proper messy bun) and eyebrow-less. Our post lady (despite being half blind and unable to tell what number our house actually is) delivers my ‘blogger mail’ (again this is NOT something that happens EVERYDAY) with the same astonished expression that Michael Jackson really hasn’t died and is living at number 11 in her home town when I greet her. I spend a couple hours doing the house work and talking to the dog like a mad woman who has had no human contact in years whilst debuting my new album at top volume and a well-choreographed cordless vacuum dance to accompany it. Then by lunch time I have finished boring mundane chores and sit down to go through my emails. I argue with a few collaborators about how I deserve to be paid for advertising their brand or products and write up briefs or ‘pitches’ to them with my set fee in the hope they accept and delete all the spam about how I need a penis enlargement for my non-existent dick. Then if I have Instagram or blogging jobs to do I try to do them whilst its still light outside, setting up the brands product in some shitty layout and blab on about what I think of them in painstakingly unnecessary detail that the company are happy with. Although this proves to be a lot harder than anticipated because there are only so many flat lays or backgrounds I can use for variety within the four walls of my house (and yknow, eyebrows off means I ain’t leaving the house unless for emergencies).
If I don’t have any blogging or insta jobs to complete then I log onto my student account and do some of my uni work, or rather, I pretend im doing uni work but actually got side tracked by the latest serial killer documentary that I have on in the background and then come deadline day I cry into my laptop until ive finished and then repeat the whole cycle again come next assignment. The great thing about Open uni is its so flexible, if im having an ‘ill’ day, where I don’t get anything done, I’m not reprimanded or lectured, instead offered extra support should I want it. You get out exactly what you put in, and there’s no in-between. If I only do an hour a week of uni then I’m not in trouble for missing online lectures or activities, I just notice a decrease on my own ability come the next marked assignment. You are given your assignment due dates for the whole year when you start so there isn’t really any excuse as to why I could miss my August 2018 deadline because I knew it was coming from October 2017. Still, im a pro at leaving it to the last minute.
When I’ve finished work there is usually only an hour or so before john gets back from 0004work so I usually just chill, watch some shitty American tv show and sleep because by now im exhausted. Im exhausted every hour of the day thanks to Crohn’s but when my tasks are done that’s when I reward myself with a nap (it’s the best part of everyday). When john gets home and ive awoken like someone having a nightmare in a horror film, wondering what year it is and where ive been for the last decade, we take luna out for a run. She has developed a keen talent of finding any way possible to get into the River Trent and swims around for a little bit providing the current isn’t strong. If the current is strong, I turn into a crazed mother running after her screaming like she’s the kittens in the ‘Aristocats’ about to be swept away but she never is because y’know, shes a dog, shes a good swimmer. When ive finished having heart palpitations and accusing john of not caring or getting in the river after her, we head home and argue about what we want for tea. The system is fairly simple, ‘Did we have pasta yesterday?’ ‘No?’ ‘Pasta it is’. If the answer is yes its, ‘Okay think of something today and we’ll have pasta tomorrow’. I cook tea and we watch some shit tv before retiring like an old age pensioner to bed at like 10pm where I kid myself into thinking im going to finish my book tonight but instead end up falling asleep to family guy.
Like I said previously, days differ, sometimes I meet up with friends for a drink, sometimes I have to go to venues for various things, sometimes I am at doctors or hospital appointments or tests, some days I check up on the Etsy shop (full feature coming soon) and some days I do absolutely nothing.
So yeah, I do do ‘nothing’ but I don’t do ‘nothing’ at the same time and I’m not ashamed to not have a full time proper job. Of course on a bad day I think badly of myself, chastise myself for not being stronger or having the motivation to push through and get a 9-5 job and feel guilty that some people don’t have the choice but to work. But everybody has their own guilt battles, mom guilt, breaking a diet guilt, work guilt, not going to the gym guilt, spending money on irrelevant things guilt. It’s a natural part of mental health to feel guilty for things we have or do that we know others may not be as fortunate, but it doesn’t mean we are in the wrong. If you have a chronic illness and cannot work, if you are mentally effected by work or if ‘work’ is deteriorating your own health, there is no shame and nothing wrong with taking the back step. It doesn’t make you ‘lazy’ or a ‘doll scrounger’ or a ‘freeloader.’
In July I will be adding to my list of jobs, I will be a full time stay-at-home mom, and I have no shame in being just that. My life aspiration was to be a mother. So I am proud to be able to achieve that and focus all my energy into being the best full time mom.

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*As you may have noticed some of the photography is 100% better than any of my own, including the main header photo. These photos were taken and are owned by HND Photography student, Hayley Leaver. Click on any of her photos (Watermarked) to check out more of her work and show support. More of her images will be featured in upcoming posts.

xx

 

To check out my previous post Click here

My Instagram

Hayleys Instagram

 

The Bell “Apparently”

So back when I became the boring adult age of 22, where no birthday is ever worth the rave until you reach 30 (which is a terrifying concept), me and john spent a few nights in Ticehurst at The Bell ‘Apparently’.

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We booked two nights in their lodge called ‘between the lines,’ each lodge is completely unique and has a different themed design. Between the lines was centred around literature and classics, the country life of sitting by a log fire playing old board games, (John is going to kill me for not being able to name an old fashioned game he played back in the dark ages when he was a child) and reading a romantic novel. The theme is evident throughout along with a cosy romantic vibe, the place was just immaculately beautiful and I can’t wait to book another trip. If you want to book a night or two at The Bell click here, you can book a room in the main hotel or a private lodge, like the one we stayed in.

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On the first day, after 4 hours of praying that kitty (or Jon snow as I like to call it to piss john off) – the car by the way – don’t ask – didn’t break down (very ironic, but that’s for a different day) we spent the time drinking in their bar and retiring to chill out in the lodge. We started up the log fire and john nipped to the shop to get a bottle of whiskey whilst I ran a bath. Anyone who knows us will know that baths are like the number one on our list of luxuries and one of the reasons we ended up together (besides Craig David – again, don’t ask) and seen as john left his copper, roll top, mother-of-all-luxurious bathtubs in the world behind in Kings Heath this was the best bath experience and we were making the fucking most of it. Like parents who have escaped the children for a night, we enjoyed not having Luna cry every time we kiss, or wipe her dirty arse across the carpet, or sit on our heads whilst trying to watch a movie. I lay in the bath and john sat on the balcony beside it, smoking a cigar (Mostly johns part, sorry mom), drinking whiskey and chatting beside the log fire. (As well as fighting over who’s music to listen to as the lodge had built in speakers all around.) It was perfect.

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When it started to get too chilly we ordered a Chinese to the lodge. I made john do the shame walk into the restaurant to ask for plates and cutlery and turns out beside the fact Ticehurst is the most aesthetically pleasing and beautiful, tiny country village, they also do the BEST chicken in black bean sauce dish I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, (and in 22 years ive had a lot). BUT they didn’t do yuk sung so y’know, point down to the beautiful village we wanted to move to. The village was so ‘British,’ the kind of country village that is portrayed to the rest of the world as what England is actually like, amazing architecture, 70’s cars, farmers delivering eggs fresh in the morning, fish mongers weighing out their fresh fish and a butcher on every corner. Instead of the pouring rain, vomit clogged drains and left over Chicken Balti on the pavement with bottles of bud and empty plastic packets of cocaine that is Birmingham.

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On the second day we took a trip to Hastings, where we took a basket of smoked cheese biscuits and selection of pates intending to eat it on the beach like a 1950’s couple, but instead we found a true crime museum and spent hours sitting in an electric chair, marvelling at preserved evidence from big crime scenes and learning how to make weapons out of plastic spoons. So again another perfect day. (More on Hastings another time).

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That night we ate at The Bells Restaurant and it was like a Michelin star, they really pay attention to detail and the décor of the place is just incredible. Morning, Afternoon and evening they have a centrepiece filled with suitable foods. In the morning is a spread of continental goods, pastries, cereals, fruit, and in the evening is a huge meat joint ready to be carved surrounded with various tapas. The menu’s they offer are ever-changing with the seasons and in pure autumnal country fashion we shared guinea fowl, mushroom arrancini, beetroot soup, braised leg and butter poached breast. It was completely different to what I would usually pick, I’m more of a frutti de mare kinda gal but it was divine and I will definitely be ordering it again. As for breakfast, i’m sure judging by my Instagram it was obvious I was going to have the eggs benedict or royale (I can’t remember which is which – the one with the smoked salmon) as that is my go to brekkie and john being john went with the biggest breakfast he could find…every morning.

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The hotel and lodges themselves are honestly phenomenal and well worth the money, the attention to detail is incredible, every document, tour guide, wine list and lodge guide was addressed personally to me, every day they served homemade cookies in bell jars and loose leaf tea of every single variation possible. The quirkiness of the lodge was so intricate I don’t think we even uncovered all of its magic and I cant wait to book again and try a different lodge out as every one has its own secret. Between the lines had a headboard made from novels and hand drawn images from notebooks. It also had a mezzanine floor with chaise lounges and crates full of records. The artwork throughout the hotel is all one off individual pieces with a story behind them and all the rooms boast their own poetry fitting with the ‘storytelling’ theme they have created. It was like the whole of Alice in Wonderland was compressed into a building.

I can’t really say anymore because i’d be here all day waffling on about how amazing this place is. So with The Bell’s motto “I will always love you, my friend” I bid you farewell.

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22

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I’m not entirely sure what this post is gonna be about or even going to include but I thought I hadn’t written one in a while so imma try whack one out of these chubby little fingers of mine. As you know I turned 22, it was kind of unavoidable considering I’d plastered it all over social media and I’d promised John if he didn’t get the giant balloons so I can sing Taylor Swift ‘22’ and quote it in a cliché insta caption, then his life wouldn’t be worth living. But he pulled it off blaring it at 5am in the morning.

I spent my actual birthday doing the craziest, wildest shit ever, literally the best day of my life, I spent the morning…wait for it…completing a Sudoku. Not just any Sudoku, the extreme level Sudoku in the take a break mag. Really was a wild 22nd. But mom and dad did surprise me by coming to visit in the afternoon and we had cupcakes and did what civilised people do before I got to change into my ‘I don’t have to uphold a reputation and am free to ruin my life’ persona. My friends came over and we stuffed our faces with posh food, talked about politics and drank prosecco, like how 22 year old adults are supposed to act…(That’s adulting, right?) I’m joking I have the mental age of a 16 year old and go out with a man child so it was just like any other day, we were dicks that drank too much, broke the ‘No smoking we are sophisticated adults now’ ban, argued about Donald trump and slavery, cried about how old we are, wondered how the world began, joked about how we manage to hold down respectable careers, argued over who was paying the bill, bitched about our mutual enemies, smothered our dogs, laughed till we peed, shotted Raki till 6am and I shan’t go any further than that cause I’m sure you’d only love to know what Josie (professional accountant by day) gets up to by night…….

Turns out being 22 is the exact same as being 18 except you wake up with a horrible headache, next to the same man as the night before, a dog that’s pissed all over the floor and weep silently because you spent too much and can’t afford the mortgage. Oh, and a parking fine for parking outside your own house and being too fucked to drive it.

Same shit another year.
On the note of birthdays and friends I have a few blog posts coming up in the future (I’m lazy and they are all half-finished so imma say at least sometime before the year is up) about the lodge me and john spent my birthday week at and another one about “real friends” which is a little controversially honest to say the least, but until then, adios amigos.

xoxo

 

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