25th July 2017

It’s my life – and I’ll pick up my phone if I want to…

I’ve felt the pressure for a while now. People going on Instagram strikes, others blogging about the virtues of a digital detox, the constant reminders that too much screen time is bad for us, the rants about mothers picking up their phones in the park and ‘neglectfully’ ignoring their kids…

The pressure to put down my phone and ‘reconnect’ with the real world has been ever present in my mind for a while now, making me feel like a bit of a crap mother whenever I scroll through my Facebook feed or upload a photo to Instagram during their waking hours.

So this holiday, I had a plan.

I’d have a digital detox.

It would clear my mind, make me feel like a good mother again, and I’d come out the other side feeling much better for it. It would be the digital equivalent of heading to a strict Thai detox resort for a month – and whilst I wouldn’t have the skinny thighs that living on a liquid diet under palm trees would bring, I’d be glowing from the inside like the virtuous, digital-free, totally-present mother I’d become.

I couldn’t wait to feel smug about it.

But when I got here, holed up in this beautiful Umbrian villa for two weeks, do you know what?

I didn’t want to do it.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realised the pressure had got to me. I realised that I’d started to believe that those moments of ‘time out’ scrolling peacefully on my phone when the kids were happy playing, or scoffing their tea, or watching an episode of Peppa Pig made me a bad mother.

Other people’s opinions had got to me – because whilst I knew I wasn’t neglecting the trio at my feet, I couldn’t help feeling like I could be doing something more productive for their wellbeing. Perhaps preparing a craft activity or organising a drawer of clothes. Sitting lazily on the sofa with my phone felt nothing less than naughty – and if anyone had walked into the room unexpectedly, I’d probably have hastily dropped my phone behind a cushion and adjusted my face to a fake smile that said ‘oh look at the little darlings – I’ve been simply sitting here and watching them for hours!

But having given it all some thought out here on this Italian holiday, I have realised it’s all utter nonsense – because when you work a 24-hour shift as a mother (and some days, I really do attend to their needs every hour of the day and night), it’s OK to have some escapism. It’s OK to have a moment to connect with friends, to check what is happening in the world  – or even, god forbid, play a bit of candy crush on your phone.

I’m pretty sure mothers throughout history have had moments of escapism, well before the days of social media. Reading papers, picking up the phone to give Aunt Susie a call while the kids play, watching an episode of Neighbours during nap time, getting stuck into another chapter of that Jilly Cooper novel while their kids ate dinner, or having a good old chin wag with friends over coffee at play dates. There have always been ways to zone out and get through the day – but I bet none attracted the wrath of the sisterhood quite like a mother scrolling on her phone.

So now back to my holiday – and the very nature of two weeks in the sunshine means that I’ve looked at my phone 80% less than I usually do, but I’ve enjoyed those rare moments of solitude. Having a browse when I’m sat in the passenger seat of the car, lying next to Mabel at nap time in a cool, air-conditioned room and picking up my phone for a while, or scrolling through pictures and videos with a glass of wine every evening before dinner and sending to family and friends.

It’s not cool to admit that your hobby is scrolling through social media on your phone, but I am going to say it.

I enjoy it. It helps me to escape for a while. It keeps me in touch with friends. And sometimes it’s the only thing keeping me sane when there is play dough all over the floor, untouched dinners on the kitchen bench, and a baby refusing to sleep unless I’m lying alongside her.

And I’m not going to bow to pressure to stop.

After all, it’s my life – and I’ll pick up my phone and scroll through social media if I want to.



3rd July 2017

Eight years ago today, my boyfriend left

I waved him goodbye, walked up the stairs, and sobbed big heavy tears into my pillow.

We were 26 and 28 years old then – and we had been living in Blackheath in London with our 10-month old puppy. Our weekends consisted of walking across the heath to the farmer’s market with our dog on a lead, stocking up on food from the various stalls, nipping into the village store for the papers on our way home, and then sitting in front of a roaring fire as the hours passed slowly and lazily. In the evenings, we travelled into London and met friends, laughing, chatting, and drinking wine and cocktails early into the next morning.

We were happy – and I was sure my soul belonged in London.

But he worked in finance – and with the ‘credit crunch’ paralysing the financial industries in the UK, we both decided it was a sensible decision to accept a job he had been offered in Dubai.

It was a mutual decision – and in hindsight, it was the right decision. But I still felt like the world had been ripped out from under my feet on that warm July day back in 2009.

He told me he would give it 6 months and we’d see where we were. I moved in with my parents – furniture in the top of their garage, dog running a-mock in their house, and clothes crumpled in several suitcases. I flew out to Dubai to visit him every other month – and he returned the favour on the ones in between. That six months passed slowly and difficultly – but he didn’t return. I forgave him when he proposed on a sunny day in Greenwich Park with the sparkliest diamond and a view over London that will forever be etched in my mind.

That 6 months turned into 18 months – and we got married on a December day, with our beloved London blanketed in snow. And as January ticked around, I packed those belongings in a suitcase once again, kissed goodbye to our dog on my parent’s doorstep with tears pricking my eyes, and made my own way to Dubai to begin our life as husband and wife.

That was 6 and a half years ago now – and 3 kids and 6 homes later, we are still here.

I often think about our life in London – and my heart aches. But I don’t think it’s aching for ‘home’ – I think it’s aching for the simplicity of life before kids, when my skin was glowing with the benefits of regular sleep, when friends answered pleas to meet up within minutes, and the buzz of London living perked me up far quicker than a mug of strong coffee.

I adored that city and I adored that life – and if you had told me that I’d be living in the Middle East as a mother-of-three in eight years time, I’d have laughed until I was on the floor, then thrown a bowl of cold water over your head to sober you up.

I never had wanderlust. I never travelled the world after I finished university. I never wanted to live anywhere else in the world. Each to their own, but the idea of being an expat just wasn’t appealing to me – so I am as surprised as anyone that I am still here in the desert, bringing up my kids in a 45’C eternal summer and barely stepping out of my flip-flops in nearly a decade.

But I don’t regret the move we made for a second – and whilst my love from London has never waned, my love for Dubai has grown strongly and steadily alongside it as the years have passed. The city that embraced me as I grew three children in my belly, that has given me friends as close as family, that has offered us opportunity after opportunity, and that truly is ‘home’.

The pang in my heart I feel for the London skyline is still there – but now I feel the same for burnt orange desert dunes, for palm trees swaying the breeze, for silver skyscrapers jutting into a flawless blue sky, for starfish and pale pink shells on the shore, for the smell of jasmine in the air on a warm evening, for the sound of crickets when I head outside to my car. And for the people, every colour and every nationality, living shoulder-to-shoulder alongside us. Two cities and two homes.

Eight years ago today, my boyfriend left.

And I will never regret letting him go.



13th June 2017

On the subject of sharing photos of my children online…

19190877_10158867362955607_782359639_nIt happened this morning. I had five minutes to sit down on the sofa with a mug of coffee before the school drop – and I clicked onto Instagram to have a scroll. The fact that I was browsing social media while my kids watched a cartoon before school will have the judgy mums spluttering into their homemade oatmeal – but bear with me, because I’m only just getting started.

Because then I noticed something that stopped me in my tracks. A post from a fellow writer  here in the UAE telling other mothers why she never shows photos of her children on social media. I won’t be sharing the name of the writer, nor the website as this isn’t supposed to be a ‘name and shame’ – but I will say that the piece was titled “I know where your children are and what they are up to.” Woah. But it certainly made me click, which I guess was the intention.

So I did click – and I started reading. Apparently by sharing photos of my children online, I preventing them from living ‘virtually freely’. I won’t go into the rest of the article, but it follows a very similar tone. And the line that really threw me was: “You may choose otherwise and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you are fully aware of the consequences.”

And that’s the bit that made me stop in my tracks.

Because we are the very first generation of mothers that has raised children in the world of social media. It didn’t happen when I was a child in the 80’s, nor when my parents were growing up in the 60’s. It wasn’t something that my grandparents or my parents had to worry about.

A little like deciding how your baby will be fed, whether you use a dummy or not, how you will discipline, whether you will allow screen time, where your kids will go to nursery or go to school (and the list goes on), choosing whether we share the faces of our children online is now a decision that every parent has to make for themselves.

And the truth is that nobody knows the consequences of choosing to share our children online. Nobody has ever stepped down these virtual cobblestones before.

We are all feeling our way in parenting as best we can – I’m a true believer that there are very few ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers – and criticising or scaring those that choose a different path is only going to make other mothers feel incredibly judged and filled with self-doubt. And I don’t think this is remotely helpful

But I digress.

So why do I share photos of my children online? For me it isn’t a blogging thing, as I only started this blog when my second child came into the world – and his brother had already been starring on my social media accounts for two years. For me, social media is a way of sharing my life with the world. And if my children didn’t feature, it honestly wouldn’t be my world. It would be an edited version.

And I’m not the only person that chooses to share their children online. Millions of other parents choose to do it too – mothers and fathers around the world, bloggers, photographers, celebrities, politicians, even royalty. I personally take steps to protect my children, such as never revealing their schools, nurseries, where we live, or the location of our regular activities. That makes me feel more comfortable with my decision – but I wouldn’t dream of judging anyone who didn’t follow the same steps.

Of course I have had moments when I’ve wondered ‘is this the right thing to do?” –  but for me, that moment of doubt is what makes me a mother. I had the same thoughts about breastfeeding, the same thoughts about giving my child a dummy, when choosing a car seat or a stroller, when wondering whether it was too early for my child to start school. We are natural born worriers – and I think that’s pretty much the definition of motherhood.

I am pretty sure that when my children are older and they look back at their life through the pictures and videos I have shared online, they are going to realise I made the decision purely through my love for them. I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to judge me for not being able to live ‘virtually freely’ (whatever that means).

And if you choose not to share your children online? I absolutely, wholeheartedly, enthusiastically respect you for that decision. Your life, your children, your decision.

There is no manual for motherhood, after all.



1st June 2017

When two become three…

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 21.17.04Mabel was sat on the living room rug today, surrounded by her toys.

She can crawl now.

Slowly, unsteadily.

But she can crawl.

And her brothers are suddenly fascinated by it. They laugh hysterically from the sofa, jumping down to copy her, hand her toys, or (in Stanley’s case) cuddle her until she flops down on her tummy.

I watch them – and I am suddenly struck by the fact that I have three proper children.

Not two brothers and a baby.

Three actual children.

But it’s more than that. Because as I stand back and watch them, ready to pounce if she’s in danger of getting squashed or she approaches a toy that definitely isn’t baby friendly, I am suddenly struck by the fact that the boys have a sibling.

Not a little baby, to tickle or coo at in her cot.

But a sister.

To play with, to laugh with, to argue with over toys, and to bond with.  And as I watch them together, playing on that rug with sunlight dappled in their hair, my mind skips forward.

And I think about the future.

I think about three children together on the beach, playing together in the sand, fighting over who gets the orange spade. I think about three teenagers in the house – two older brothers, keeping an eye on a younger sister, no doubt arguing over who gets to go in the bathroom first. I think about weddings, I think about big family gatherings, I think about a troup of cousins, I think about family holidays on mass, I think about Christmases years in the future. I think about the fact there are five of us now – and these flashes forward all seem very real.

And I know it won’t always be harmonious as they grow up together – but they will have one another.

When I was heavily pregnant last year, I worried a lot about how a new baby was going to change the dynamic of our family. I couldn’t wait to meet our baby – but I didn’t want her to change the relationship between the boys. I was pleased when I found out she was a girl, as the boys could still be brothers and nothing would touch their bond.

But watching them play together today, with the sunlight dancing in their hair, it suddenly became very clear.

I didn’t need to worry

Because they are working it all out for themselves.

And how beautiful – totally, gobsmackingly, tear-inducing, wonderfully beautiful – it is to watch it all happen.

Right there on the living room rug.



31st May 2017

10 things to expect when your baby learns to crawl…

18902645_10158801528805607_1012090826_n1. Coffee shops will not be your friend for a while. Coffee is still wonderful – but learning to enjoy it at home / at other people’s houses is recommended. Remember; practice makes perfect – and if your now-moving baby still isn’t a fan of sleeping (yawn), you will have plenty of opportunity to nail the perfect cup at home.

2. Baby toys will no longer be interesting. The best things ever will now be the remote control, your mobile phone, the cat, the dog, anything that belongs to an older sibling, glasses of water, glasses for your face, and old raisins / biscuits that fell down the back of the sofa a few months ago. Hide everything. Or consider investing in a baby cage.

3. Any feelings of broodiness for another baby will now disappear for a while. Consider a crawling / walking baby as Mother Nature’s natural contraceptive. If you are already pregnant, it is very normal to have nightmarish visions about being stuck on the sofa feeding a newborn, while an older sibling wreaks havoc on the house. And nine months later, that is exactly what will happen.

4. The toilet will no longer be your ‘safe place’. They will follow you.

5. If you ever make the mistake of handing your crawling baby a snack, be prepared to still be finding crumbs weeks later. Alternatively, trail behind with a dustpan and brush / mini hoover. Or just trap them in the high chair – every. single. time.

6. Consider filling a kitchen cupboard with unbreakable objects for your baby to quietly empty on the kitchen floor. And then watch as they ignore it completely and make a start on unpacking your fine china instead.

7. You will seriously consider designing a baby outfit made from bubble wrap. Or covering the floor of your entire home in soft padding. And maybe the walls too. But just as you sit down to start designing a prototype, your baby will take their first big tumble and you’ll realise you missed the boat.

8. You will find yourself shouting ‘Noooo!’, ‘Come back!’, “Stay there!”, and ‘‘Wait!’ more than you’d like to. And if you’ve ever owned a dog, the similarities won’t be lost on you.

9. Kiss goodbye to long baby cuddles in bed in the morning. Finding their way to the end of the bed, in order to ‘base jump’ to the floor will be the single most important mission of the day.

10. If a friend suggests a play date in a park, you will laugh hysterically, ask her if she’s mad, and then promptly suggest an alternative venue with four walls, super safe baby gates, and strong coffee on tap instead. And that is the very point when a wild love affair / absolute hatred with soft play areas begins. And you will stay there for the next 10 years.



14th May 2017

A love letter to my second baby…

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 21.49.51Dear second baby,

You arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

A whirlwind scented like newborn baby, sweet baby shampoo, and whiffs of strong coffee turned cold in my mug.

I thought I knew what to expect. After all, I’d done it all before. But right from the beginning, you taught me that it would be different.

I studied your face, as I cradled you there on my hospital bed. Your face rounder, eyes wider, and lips plumper than I had imagined, along with a shock of dark, black hair. So unlike your brother. So unlike the clone I had imagined growing in my tummy. Everything seemed different – and when you started sleeping long stretches through the night at just a few days old, I knew for certain that you had your own agenda.

It was your brother that made me a Mummy – but it was you that taught me to slow down and try to enjoy it. After all, I couldn’t possibly keep juggling at the pace I had been before. I tried for a while, of course, but I kept dropping balls. That night I plopped the baby monitor in a glass of water in a half-asleep state wasn’t my finest hour. Neither was the time I was running the bath and watching a toddler, when you suddenly learnt to roll – and practiced it expertly, over the side of the bed.

I couldn’t run around any more. Literally. That double buggy took brute force to move from one place to another. But more than that – I couldn’t give you the same things I’d given your brother. Music sessions, swimming lessons, baby massage, sensory classes… All off the agenda, choosing instead to stay at home or join your brother on play dates. His friends became your friends (you barely had any of your own). I felt guilty occasionally – no, I felt guilty most of the time – and I craved some time for just the two of us. I craved the time to cuddle and bond.

But I didn’t need to feel guilty, as I had forgotten you had something your brother never had. You had each other. And when I saw your relationship bloom – like a couple of wild flowers, petals and thorns intertwined – it made my heart jump and sing. Right from that first afternoon, where I watched you crawl after him, howling with laughter as he chased you on his hands and knees – to the little chats you had together as you learnt to babble and talk – to the long conversations you went on to have in your bedroom together as you fell asleep, like two little old men putting the world to rights.

When I was pregnant with you, I worried about my heart being split in two. It didn’t seem fair on either of you to have to share my love. But what I didn’t realise is that the very second you were placed in my arms, my heart would grow again. The same crazy, powerful, unconditional love – all over again, for you.

I don’t know what I expected from being your Mummy – but it probably wasn’t this. I expected your brother all over again. I never expected this little boy, with eyes the colour of a deep ocean, cuddles that wrap right around your heart, a fiery temper, and a sense of humour that has the whole family rolling around the floor. There have been hard times, wonderful times, heart-warming times, and times when I wondered how I was going to make it through until bedtime.

Yes, you arrived in my life like a whirlwind.

And how thankful I am to have been in your path

Mummy xx

Photo by Lidiya Kalichuk – www.lidiyakalichuk.com



28th April 2017

How has life changed with a third baby?

18190916_10158637440150607_875274830_n1) I’m winging it like never before…

I still felt fairly organised when I had one baby. After baby two, I was clearly beginning to lose my touch – but things weren’t yet crashing down around me. But with baby three, I threw the rule book on everything I knew out of the window and started winging it. I honestly think you could throw another few babies at me now and life would remain pretty much as it is.  I have gone to make a bottle several times in the last few months, for example, only to discover we don’t have enough formula left in the jar. This would’ve horrified me with my first and even probably my second baby, but somehow didn’t shock me with my third. I basically just wing it to get through the day in one piece. And thankfully we somehow always get through the day in one piece. That’s something, at least.

2) I ache physically…

A friend with three children told me a few years ago that it was her third baby that put her body under the most strain – and knowing I’d quite like a third myself one day, that conversation always stuck with me. And she was right. My third was a big baby, which I don’t think helped, but my back is damaged, my stomach muscles still haven’t come back together (quite a bad case of diastasis recti, I am told by the experts, which I need to fix) and I still feel like I am pregnant sometimes with my lack of core strength. I’ll get it back to some extent, I’m sure – but I can’t imagine ever feeling or looking like I used to. She’s all worth it, of course.

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3) It’s so noisy at home – but it’s usually laughter…

Having a baby in the house with two older brothers has filled our house with squeals of laughter throughout the day. They like to play the clown, while their little sister laughs and squeals in agreement. She’s an incredibly quiet baby compared to her brothers at the same age, but that third baby joining the gang still seems to have tipped the balance. The adults are outnumbered now i guess. In fact, I truly understand the meaning of the phrase ‘I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF THINK!” since Mabel has arrived on the scene. And I can’t – until they are all in bed in the evening, at least.

4) I barely sleep…

It was kind of OK in the beginning. Mabel was a good sleeper and I guess I was surviving on adrenaline. But then she went through a bad case of sleep regression at 6 months and has woken several times a night since. I can cope with the middle of the night stuff, funnily enough – but it’s the early starts that kill me. She wakes anywhere between 4.30am and 5.45am to start her day –  averaging at around 5.15am. And when she wakes, she makes these loud squeals and immediately wakes up her eldest brother, who bounds into the room like a puppy on a sugar high – and the silence is well and truly broken until they all head to bed again that evening. I am drinking way too much coffee at the moment…

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5) It takes us hours to get out the door…

I am surprised by what a gigantic difference having a third baby has made to our ability to get out of the door in the morning – but that small human has stumped us. And it’s not just physically getting them into the car in their respective car seats – but it’s everything that comes before it. Packing the bags, dealing with last minute wees and poos, making sure we have everything we need for each different age (from bottles of milk for Mabel, to snacks for the boys). Sometimes I really can’t be bothered and we make no plans at the weekend – but by 9am, the boys are running up the walls and we do something anyway. And I’m guessing we’ll get better at this with time.

6) Travelling takes on a new spin…

Being an expat, I have travelled on a pretty regular basis with all of my babies. In fact, I’ve just added it up and Stanley has now travelled on 29 long-haul flights in his just-turned-5 years, while Wilfred has flown on 15 in 3 years, and Mabel on 4 in her 7 months. That’s not to mention the regular weekends away to hotels – and the dashing around and staying in so many different places when we are back in the UK. And whilst I know we will keep doing it (as we are expats and we really don’t have much choice if we want to visit the homeland) it now exhausts me to even think about it… I’ve cancelled weekends away recently, as even the packing is too much at the end of a long week (let alone having three excited kids refusing to sleep in hotel beds). And whilst we are still planning to head home in the summer, I wouldn’t be devastated if it didn’t happen (for the first time ever). Home, our own things, our own car, and our own routine is more important than ever.

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7) It feels like she has been here forever…

As one of three children myself, I always dreamt about having three children of my own. It was always my magic number.  But if I’m honest, there was a time a few years ago when I had the two boys and was more than happy with my lot – and I wondered for a while whether we were ‘done’ after all. Life was getting easier and the two boys together just felt ‘right’. So when I was pregnant with Mabel, worries constantly flitted through my mind about whether we were destroying this precious  family unit unnecessarily. But I realised that I had no need to worry from the very first night that Mabel was born. Within hours, she felt like she fitted in. Now I feel like I have known this beautiful little soul forever – and that her brothers have always been alongside her.

8) But it’s really hard getting rid of the baby things…

Having had the three babies I always dreamt about, I really thought that I’d feel ‘done’. I wrote blog posts about it, listed maternity clothes for sale, and promised cots and buggies to friends when Mabel had grown too big for them. But whilst I am still 99% sure we are done, the other 1% wants to hoard baby clothes, keep my maternity clothes hanging up in the wardrobe, and cling onto cots, toys, and buggies for dear life. I expected to feel relieved to be done with them and totally ready to pass them on – but the truth is that I still feel pangs of sadness about the newborn days being over. I am hoping that time will convince that 1% of me that I am utterly bonkers. After all, I may eventually get to sleep again as they all start growing up. Hopefully, at least…



6th April 2017

10 things that make us feel unexpectedly emotional as parents…

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 22.21.471. Packing tiny clothes away. We are obsessed with our children growing from the moment they are born. Regular weight checks, plotting them on a growth chart, cheering when they reach milestones. Growing is obviously a good thing. It’s obviously what we want to happen. But when the moment comes to pack away tiny outfits into a storage box, we hold each one up and feel like blubbing.

2. Watching performances at nursery and school. Standing on a stage singing (or possibly not singing – it doesn’t really matter) in front of parents shouldn’t be a tear-jerker – but from the moment they walk into the room with their classmates, you seem to have something in your eye…

3. When they tell us they love us. We’re not entirely sure they understand the meaning of the word ‘love’ at their age, but that doesn’t stop us soaking up every second (and shedding a tear or two as we recount the story).

4. When they tell us they hate us. We know they don’t really mean it. We know they don’t understand the meaning of their words. But still – the first time your child tells you they don’t actually like you very much, it stings.

5. First smiles. Rewind to those first delicious moments when your little baby meets your eyes and breaks into a giant smile. It’s the best feeling ever! So why are you wiping away tears?

6. Getting ready to have another baby. We are giving our kiddies the ultimate gift in a new sibling, but as the bump grows and excitement builds, we can’t help dwelling on the fact that our time together as a tight little unit is coming to an end.

7. Their first day at the childminder, nursery or school. You always thought you’d jump for joy and relish the freedom – but when it comes to saying goodbye and walking out the door, you are a crumpled mess on the floor.

8. When siblings begin to bond. It happens slowly – but over time, you notice your children fall in love with the new little person in their life. And then one day, out of the corner of your eye, you catch a moment between the two (or three or more) of them. A tender kiss on the head, a giggle together, a moment playing together. And that is enough to make you sob with happiness.

9. When you are handed your first masterpiece. The moment your little one toddles out of nursery or runs out of school grasping a painting or picture just for you is a momentous one. And who ever thought painted macaroni could give you the feels?

10. Birthdays. Hooray! Another year old older! The day I gave birth! Let’s celebrate! Let’s party! Order the cake! Send the invites! (Where has my baby gone? Blub).



17th March 2017

Dear Mabel, you are six months old today…

17327911_10158426069295607_1072781804_nDear Mabel,

You are six months old today.

Half a year.

This morning, our day started at 5am. Your biggest brother woke up – and minutes later, the entire house was awake too. As I lay there, with heavy eyelids and feeling groggy with sleep, I decided to flick through the photos on my phone. I went right back to the beginning of my pregnancy with you – and as I flicked through those photos with sleepy eyes, so many happy memories came flooding back.

A silhouette of a tiny bump in a hotel mirror. The scan pictures with you sticking out your tongue. The note scribbled by my obstetrician that read simply ‘Girl’. The final pregnancy photos, where I cradled my bump protectively in the knowledge it would be the last time I’d feel a baby under my ribs. The first photos of you, staring peacefully into the watery eyes of your Daddy. Meeting your brothers for the first time – you curled and sleepy, they with just-washed hair in their printed pyjamas.

And then the photos since those precious first days in hospital – photos taken almost daily, with eyes that get bluer, thighs that get chubbier, and a dimpled smile that gets sweeter by the day.

You grew so quickly, Mabel. But I’ve done this mothering thing twice before and I was prepared for that. I soaked up every second of the early days. I didn’t allow the pace of life to sweep me away. I sat still for hours, nursing you, holding you, letting you sleep in my arms. I drank in every second of your newborn days – and when you grew, I was ready for it. I was ready to get to know the person you were becoming.

I embraced every little milestone, I enjoyed pulling new clothes out of your drawers when poppers got too tight, and I looked forward to taking your photo as another month ticked over, documenting your change into a little girl.

And what a wonderful little person you have become!

You are still so quiet, so thoughtful, and so serene. You spend most of your time watching your brothers, playing quietly with your toys, or seeking me – your Mummy –  in a busy room. You adore being held, being tickled, being kissed, and listening to me singing songs. You are wary of strangers, burrowing your head into my chest for reassurance. You are happiest at home with your family, rolling around on the floor, practicing sitting in your ring, and jumping happily in your jumperoo.

Soon you will be weaned. Soon you will crawl. Soon you will walk. Soon your hair will be long enough to be scraped into pigtails. Soon you will wave me goodbye on your first day of school. I know it’s coming – I’ve been there before, which is exactly why I’m enjoying every second of these baby days.

I enjoy leaving you in a spot and knowing you’ll be there when I return. I enjoy the fact you still sleep beside me in your bedside cot, so I can hear your breathing as I drift off to sleep. I enjoy your gurgles, your giggles, your chubby rolls, your delicious slobbery cuddles.

I enjoy everything about you.

6 months, Mabel.

Half a year.

It’s not a long time really – but already, I can barely remember life without you. When I look at pictures of the four of us before you were born, the photos seem incomplete. When I think back to holidays, or day trips, or celebrations, I wonder where you were, before realising suddenly you were yet to exist.

We never knew it back then, but you were our missing puzzle piece, the last pea in the pod, the little girl that we’d all fall in love with from the second she was placed into our arms. Everything seems right now, with you alongside us. Neat and tidy. Exactly how it should be. Just so right.

And you know the best bit?

This is just the beginning.

Your beginning.

And I can’t wait for the rest.

Love from Mummy x



8th March 2017

Dear Mabel, I want nothing to hold you back…

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 14.28.09Dear Mabel,

Today is your first International Women’s Day.

And the truth is that I feel differently this year, because this is the first time I have been mother to a girl.

So I thought I would write you a letter to tell you about my hopes and dreams for your future. And how I say this as not just a mother of a little girl, but as a mother of two beautiful boys too.

I hope – like me – you grow up truly understanding your worth. I don’t want you to ever feel inferior to any man. I want you to feel just as strong, just as capable, and just as ambitious. If you decide you want to fly planes or fight fires or join the army or save lives on an operating table, I want nothing to hold you back.

But here’s the thing; it doesn’t have to be like that if you don’t want it to be.

For me, being a feminist means you can be whoever you want to be.

It means you have a choice.

So if you grow up and decide that you want to be a hippy, or an artist, or to be a barista, or to stay at home with your babies, I want nothing to hold you back either.

With the world of your side (and mothers raising a generation of little boys that see their sisters, and female colleagues, and girlfriends as their equals), you can be whoever you choose to be.

And believe me my darling, I hope the world is always on your side.

And if it isn’t?

You show it exactly where it should be.

Love Mummy x