Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Sound the alarm! Mothers Day is coming up!

For some, it’s full of excitement and joy – imagining the breakfast in bed you’re going to get and the presents your babies will have picked out for you and the cute handwriting they’ll scribble in your card with.

For some, it’s full of dread as it comes to the day before and you realise you’ve got Sweet F A to show your mum how much you love her. (MEEEEEE. I’m writing this realising I’ve got my mother nothing.)

I’ve listed a few ideas below if you’re really stuck for ideas – but don’t panic too much. We lose an hour of sleep on Mothers Day night so to be honest, I think it’s all a bit of a fail and I’ll see you all in 2020.

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Underwear from the overwhelmingly amazing Lucky Sew and Sew for the Mother in your life who is currently breastfeeding and keeps getting really angry about how their breasts currently resemble two heavy sacks of grain on their front and all they can do with these milk bags is fold them into an ill-fitting griege bra from Mothercare and they just feel pretty pants about the whole thing.

Get yourself onto Lucky Sew and Sew and order the mothering figure in your life some brand new undercrackers. All these bras are handmade to order so you won’t be able to keep this present a surprise – you’ll need measurements!

Raising The Future t-shirt in black from Mere Soeur for the Mother in your life who spends her evenings on the sofa scrolling through Instagram and only ever half-watching whatever you’ve got on telly. She probably missed half of Killing Eve because she was so engrossed in someone’s Marks and Spencers haul on Instagram stories.

Me. This one’s for me. I’ve already got this t-shirt but it’s in white which is always risky when you’ve got little ones. Even more distressing when said children are having an intense love affair with tomato ketchup. (Unfortunately whilst link searching I’ve discovered that this is currently out of stock but…give her an IOU?)

The Create-Your-Own package from Don’t Buy Her Flowers for the Mother you never get round to see anymore. You’re either away at Uni, living away full stop or you just haven’t got round there recently. Weekends just get filled up so quickly and you’re trying to declutter and you really need…okay, there’s no excuse.

This one is really meaningful as you can tailor the package to fit whoever you’re buying it for. And it’s much more useful than a bunch of flowers. (Although if you haven’t been round in a really long time then I’d recommend doing both. Best to cover both bases.)

The Book Date Gift Box - The Book Matchmaker

The Book Matchmaker for the Mother who has just started popping her kid into nursery for a few mornings a week since she’s started to qualify for the free hours but she’s trying to avoid cleaning the kitchen floor and looking for something more fulfilling to do than complete 15 levels of Candy Crush during an episode of Homes Under The Hammer. (ME. THIS IS ALSO ME.)

The mum you’re buying this for probably can’t remember the last time she read a book that wasn’t about a cartoon animal eating everything in sight. A Costa gift card and a good book would mean the world, trust me.

Faces Of The Strong Girls Club t-shirt from Mutha Hood for the Mother who is raising her children to be strident and powerful feminists. She reads Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls to her children every night, and makes a point to tell her children about the Nazi history of Coco Chanel. She’s not here to sugar coat the world. But she 100% is here for displaying her feminism on her t-shirt in the form of beautiful watercolour artwork.

If you’re buying this for a mum who has a daughter then please bear in mind there’s also a mini version of this t-shirt available which would look SO CUTE.

 

Favourites Of The Month #2

So, somehow January seemed to last a thousand years and then February has been and gone like one of those nights where you lay down, blink and suddenly your alarms going off and you don’t feel rested at all.

Therefore, I feel like there’s been about three days in the month and I haven’t been able to ~ingest much this month. However, there’s still a few good little titbits I’d love to tell you about.

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I’ve relived my 16 year old dream by re-reading Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. Not for the faint of hearted, it’s a collection of short stories. Stories that are so gruesome that every show of the book tour ended with someone being carted off in an ambulance where they’d pass out and crack their head at a particularly vommy bit.

Okay, maybe I didn’t sell that very well. They really explore the darker side of seemingly ordinary people and just how far people will go for their fifteen minutes of fame.

Due to a stinking chest infection, I’ve not been able to concentrate on too many books this month as I’m either constantly coughing up gunk or suffering from a raging headache. I did manage to read A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which I had heard about since it was a show on Sky 1 last year. I had no idea what it was about, but it turned out to be a story about a vampire and a witch who fall in love ~against the odds. It wasn’t groundbreaking literature but if you’re poorly, or going on holiday and want something to read  other than books about beach-side cafes then I’d recommend it.

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We’re late to the party but have binge-watched Killing Eve in about three days this month. I’m wimpy so had to watch some of it behind a cushion, but what I saw I loved. To have the two main characters be female, they don’t rely on any men (in fact they kill lots of them) and the only character who mentions “childcare issues” to be a sixty year old man – it was amazing.

If you haven’t watched it yet, I’d recommend getting it in in the next few weeks. I have a feeling series 2 is coming out in the next month or so, so if you watch it ASAP you’ll skip that terrible feeling when you emerge from a solid week of living in a TV show and realise that you haven’t got anything to live for until 2020.

I’ve also watched Shane Dawson’s Conspiracy Series. My God, give that man a Netflix series already. In episode 1, he looks at the California fires that happened last year and whether our phones are listening to us all the time. Episode 2 looks at his friend who suspects they were being groomed for human trafficking (!!!) and whether Chuck E Cheese recycles left over pizzas. Note: you WILL order Pizza Hut after watching this, it really sells greasy pizza to you.

We’ve also watched Russian Doll on Netflix which is amazing. It’s basically the idea of Groundhog Day but it’s absolutely piss your pants funny. I also think it’s going to be a series we watch and then go on Reddit, realise there are loads of Easter Eggs and then go back and watch it again with new eyes.

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If you know me, then you’ll know how weird I get about David Tennant. It’s a stage of weird that 15 year old’s normally have for members of All Time Low. So I’ll try and hold it back whilst I tell you about his podcast.

Right.

That guy who’s kinda cool and Scottish and was the best Doctor in the history of Doctor Who and also played Casanova in that hilariously campy TV special and was also in Broadchurch where he just said the word MURDER in a Scottish accent, God he’s a great actor isn’t he, and did you see that video on Youtube where he got the special award at the NTA’s and he was just so happy and proud and cried when his dad was on the screen and have you seen his eyes? They’re so DREAMY.

Sorry.  Sorry.

Uh…David Tennant has a podcast out called David Tennant Does A Podcast With… and the episode with Olivia Colman is fantastic – you can tell they’re the best of friends and you feel you’re there laughing along with them. And in case you couldn’t tell, I’d happily listen to DT (as his friends on the podcast call him, don’t ya know) read out his shopping list. Definitely listen.

I’ve also been enjoying Last Podcast On The Left as usual, but a particular episode of note was Episode 351 which was about Ouija Boards. If you’re like me and love ~spooky shit then I’d definitely recommend.

There’s a whole world out there past the stories your Nan tells you about when she used a ouija board with her friend Bev and then the next morning she came down and found all the spoons mysteriously on the kitchen floor and all the photo frames of Great-Aunt Lynne upside down on the walls.

What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Let me know in the comments!

 

Dry January

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I’ve been drinking to the point of no return for as long as I can remember.

Passing out in the snow at the age of 16 in front of the boy I had a crush on. Being shoved into a taxi at University and waking up the next morning with no recollection of what club I’d even been taken out of. Even this New Years Eve, I don’t remember anything past half midnight.

For years, it was all fun and games (sort of) but recently I’ve realised that I really struggle to go to an event or a party without having a drink in my hand.

I decided that this year I was going to not drink for at least the entirety of January. For some, that might not sound like much of a feat but over Christmas, I drank a lot.

To be honest, for most of the year, an evening would consist of sitting in front of the telly with a rum and coke.

I think my body needs a break.

It runs into my blog post that I wrote earlier this month about how my word for the new year is brave.

And it’s definitely a challenge to go against my own routine and stop drinking for a month, or longer.

I don’t go out often, so it’s not like I have to sit there in the pub every Saturday night watching everyone else get bladdered whilst I sip a cup of tea.

We went out the other weekend to see Enter Shikari and we went to Nandos beforehand and I had a Coke and watched Reece have a cider. When we got to the venue, I used my friend’s O2 Priority and got two Pepsi Max’s for the price of one and then that was me sorted for the evening.

To be honest, I could tell the difference between my drinks being alcoholic or not. I was very nervous and quite shy, which is definitely not me after a few vodkas. I have also been known to get carried away at a gig and end up somewhere near the front being elbowed in the head but this time was different.

I was quite happy to stand at the back and enjoy the show. I’d also had a filling the day before, so was okay with the idea of rubbing Bonjela into my gums instead of throwing back shots of Jager.

And the fact that I woke up the next morning without the deep thumping headache that I’d become accustomed to after an child-free evening. That was quite nice.

To be truthful, I’ve really enjoyed being alcohol-free this January and I think I’m going to turn it into Dry February and possibly Dry March.

Although, we did get a LOT of gin for Christmas and we’re going away for our anniversary in March so surely I can have a celebratory cocktail for that.

I think I’m going to just take the next few months as a lesson in moderation.

Can I have one cocktail on my anniversary without having to be carried home? Can I have a vodka and lemonade at a gig without having a fight with a complete stranger? Will people stop asking me if I’m pregnant every time I reach for a glass of water instead of champagne when at a ~social function?

I’m hoping I’ll find out over the next few months.

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Couch To 5K: Week 1

I’ve started running again.

(I use that term loosely, by the way. It’s more “moving-slightly-faster-than-my-usual-stroll.”)

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I did start running back in 2017, got two weeks in and suddenly it started getting dark in the evenings and I got too scared and stopped. All through 2018 I put it off and put it off because I was just petrified again.

Until I woke up on 3rd January this year and decided it was third time lucky.  So I put on tracksuit bottoms, my scabby old New Balance trainers and told Elliot that I was going to go for a run whilst he was at school.

Because if you tell a five year old something, you’ve got to see it through. They have memories like elephants when you tell them something you’d rather they forgot.

When I’d started running previously, I listened to the Couch To 5K podcast which, in hindsight, I wouldn’t recommend.

You have a slightly robotic voice (sorry, lady that does the voice over for the C25K podcast) and cheesy music that sounds a bit like Ronan Keating and a bit like Gary Barlow playing in between.

And it was bearable. But not for long, so as I said, I gave up.

This time, however, I found the Couch To 5K app, where you get to pick someone to narrate your runs (I went for the lovely Jo Whiley) and you can listen to your own music, with a few interruptions from Jo to tell you when to run and when to stop.

Yes, I just called her Jo. We’re on first name terms now.

Anyway – long introduction over, I thought I’d tell you about what it’s actually follow this plan through, from the eyes (and legs) of someone who once proudly announced to her Year 10 class that she’d failed PE that term, and who begged her mum to write a note remarking that Hayley was on her period for the third week running and therefore would not be able to join in with PE again.

Jokes on me, lads, because I obviously came on my period on the day I planned my first run of 2019 for.

Week 1 of Couch To 5K consists of running for 60 seconds and walking for a minute and a half alternately for 20 minutes.

Sounds easy, right? HAHAHAHA.

I stuck to my promise to Elliot – I dropped him off and then set off to do some exercise. However, I forgot that all the parents that I normally avoid in the playground would now see my hefty frame jogging around.

And I panicked.

And I wanted to just go home, curl up on the sofa and watch a Shane Dawson video.

BUT. Instead I headed out of the back gate of the playground, wandered around a few streets where I couldn’t see anyone before heading off in the vague direction of my house.

And then the time came for my first run..jog..okay, power walk. Somehow, I found myself fighting past that voice in my head that says “You look like a bloody idiot. Who do you think you are? Someone who can actually do exercise? Everyone that looks at you is going to absolutely wet themselves laughing thinking YOU can do this?”

I put one foot in front of the other and actually jogged for the sixty seconds.

I cannot stress enough – it sounds like nothing. But it’s tough. And it’s okay to admit that it’s tough when the last exercise you did was lunging for a buttered piece of toast that your child nearly dropped on your freshly hoovered carpet.

Somehow the rest of  the run passed by in a haze of me nosing at whether everyone else’s recycling got taken that morning and a medley of Fall Out Boy’s greatest hits and before I knew it – it was time for my 5 minute cool down walk.

So obviously, I aimed that walk back up the hill, into the Co-Op, bought some milk and went straight home for a celebratory cup of tea.

You have to repeat each run three times, which sounds absolutely dire. BUT I’ll tell you a secret.

It gets easier. You might even find yourself wanting to go out for a jog.

That little voice that says people will be peeking through their curtains to laugh at you does go away eventually.

And before you know it, it’s time for week 2.

I’ll let you know how that one goes.

My Actual New Year’s Resolution

There is a definite line between people who see the new year as a chance to wash all their curtains, hoover under the sofa and re-organise the sock drawer and also those who see it as any other Wednesday.

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And I can see both sides.

Towards the end of 2018, I put off doing so many things as I kept saying to myself “I’ll do it in the new year” and now I can’t get away with that anymore.

I’ve seen people making lists of 20 things they want to change this year: lose a stone, stop smoking, become a millionaire and that’s fabulous. But I need to aim a bit smaller.

And I actually did write out a list. I didn’t really mean it when I wrote it, “lose weight, save money, exercise more…” All stuff I knew, come December, I’d be putting off until the new year again. I realised that I’d need to see things differently to actually get shit done.

This morning I was listening to Fearne Cotton’s podcast with Zoe Sugg and that definitely gave me a kick up the bum with regards to realising what I want to achieve from 2019.

I realised that this year I would like to be braver.

No, I don’t mean I’m going to book tickets to Thorpe Park and start watching Luther without the cushion in front of my face. I’m still going to have that strange, irrational fear of demons.

I mean I’m going to feel the fear and then do stuff anyway.

And I feel the fear on the regular. Anxiety is a big part of me, and always will be. I can’t make it go away, but I can stop abiding by it’s ridiculous rules.

Fear normally stops me from going for a run every other morning. (No, shut up, it’s not the fact I’ve done no exercise since I was forced to play bench ball in Year 10) and it’s fear that stops me from sharing the shit out of my blog posts and achieving the goals I set myself every month.

I deserve to reach my full potential, and I’m not going to let my own fear take over this year.

Like I said, I’m not turning into Yes Man and you definitely won’t see me jumping out of a plane wearing a parachute and a Go Pro on my head. But you might see me actually running around my local park, actually booking a dentist appointment and creating regular content on here.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

 

 

5 Years of Elliot Doyle

It’s Elliot’s birthday!

He’s 5 today. 5 whole years of Elliot. Smelliot. Jellybean. Beanington bear. Beanotown. Beanbag. The list goes on.

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Half a decade since he appeared into the world with a snip, crackle and pop. (I might tell my birth story one day but trust me, you’ll need gloves.)

He’s gone from being a tiny little person with a massive head to being a massive person with an even bigger head and a bit more hair.

And he’s also been the biggest driving force in my life so far.

Because of him, I know I can deal with anything that gets thrown at me. Even toy cars and human shite.  I am so capable of anything I want to do, as I raised Elliot. I fed him from my own nipples for like, 9 months. (And I will continually parade that around as it was fucking hard and I’m proud of myself.)

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I can’t believe I’ve kept someone alive for five years.

Sometimes I get really scared that a small child has relied on me to deal with everything wrong in his life. If he falls over – it’s me he looks for. If he’s hungry or thirsty, it’s my job to sort it out for him. He’s my job.

When we’re walking to school and he reaches up to my hand because he wants to know I’m there.

Little things like that make me realise that I’m literally this tiny person’s life.

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He has so much joy in his heart and he’s constantly making me laugh. He’s the cleverest person I know, he understands so much about the world for the short time he’s been in it.

He also reminds me of myself, as he’s definitely an observer and will sit back before joining in with things. He also falls over a lot which he gets from me (sorry) and he’s also quiet and a bit shy. Which is good, in a way, as I’m glad he’s a lovely thoughtful little boy.

It’s really hard to write out everything I love about him. Because it’s just Elliot. Like, I go mega creepy and could 100% sit there and watch him sleep. (Sometimes I do.) And even when he says he’d like a snack and goes into the kitchen to grab a banana, I find that adorable.

He is the best person, and I’m genuinely privileged to be able to say I know him and that I’ve been a part in making him into this amazing person.

(Don’t know how I managed it as I’m still a bit of a wreck at 25!)

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Here’s to the next 5 or 6 years of you being a glorious, gorgeous little boy, before you then transform into an evil teenager and we fall out every day and I can’t tell you the Christmas Elf is watching you to make you talk to me again.

Happy Birthday, son.

Sorry I couldn’t find you a BB8 cake in ASDA or Sainsburys (I went to both!) but the cake I did get is double chocolate so I thought that’d be good enough. However you have got an orange Nintendo DS and I think we’ve won the parenting game there.

 

19 New Years Resolutions for 2019

Are you like me and sick of making the same resolutions for the new year? Lose weight, go to the gym, save money.  Same old bollocks, different year.

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Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Here are 19 ideas of what I’m going to try and do this year (and fail miserably, no doubt – but that’s okay!)

  1. I will remember to take my reusable cup everywhere I go. I will not get paper cups. I will not take Instagram boomerangs of me doing a cheers with Elliot’s water bottle with the caption “Shopping with my bestie!”
  2. I will remember my fricking reusable shopping bags whenever I go out. I am so bloody sick of imagining my cupboard under the stairs, that is absolutely chock-full of reusable bags cackling at me as I pay another 20p to carry my Aldi shop home.
  3. I promise to stop going to Sainsburys for bread and milk and coming out with a new duvet set, three vases and a DVD for Elliot before getting home and realising I never got the actual food.
  4. I will stop going to the bloody Co-op three times a day as I keep forgetting to buy things when I do the actual weekly shop. I must stop the daily trips to the shop in my pyjama bottoms and no bra. It’s getting embarassing when Elliot proudly tells people he went to the shop at 7:10am in his pyjamas and Crocs for milk.
  5. I promise to actually utilise my Netflix account to watch the many award-winning films and TV shows that are available to me, instead of watching Gavin and Stacey on repeat.
  6. I will also possibly maybe buy my own Netflix account instead of using my Mum’s, when I haven’t lived at home for nearly two years. I am an independent young woman.
  7. I will remember to send birthday cards to everyone this year. I will not give people their birthday presents on Christmas Day. (This is especially embarrassing if your Dad’s birthday is in May and you found his presents at the back of the wardrobe mid-December. Soz, Dad.)
  8. I will stop caring about who Jake Paul is dating.
  9. I will get a skincare routine and stick to it. I will not fall asleep in my makeup and then resort to wiping my face with a baby wipe once I’ve woken up. I will stop smearing mascara all over my wedding present pillowcases.
  10. I will stop playing Candy bloody Crush until 2am. I will definitely stop changing the date and time manually on my phone so that it gives me 5 more lives each time. I will stop Googling “candy crush cheats level 667” at 2:30am when I’m stuck.
  11. I will actually sign petitions when I see them on Facebook and stop giving up when I get to the “confirm your email address” page. I’m so lazy, I just don’t bother to go any further and then it never lets me sign anything. I know, Brexit is probably my fault. Sorry.
  12. I will stop listening to podcasts about flat earth and Ted Bundy and utilise the Internet to broaden my mind.
  13. I will hoover my house every day. Seriously. I really need to hoover.
  14. I will paint my toenails regularly this year, not just once at the beginning of summer and then watch it slowly grow out until Christmas.
  15.  I will stop buying black ankle boots.
  16. I will stop scrolling through Zoopla when I’m bored. It doesn’t matter how pretty a five-bedroom house next to Greenwich Park looks. It’s 3.4 million pounds, Hayley. Shut up and hoover your own house.
  17. I will stop buying tights and just unravel the ones I’ve got. If I leave the pile in the airing cupboard any longer, I think it might turn into a black hole and eventually the whole universe will get sucked in there.
  18. I will do something cheesy like stand in front of the mirror for 10 minutes a day and tell myself how gorgeous I am. Joking, I haven’t got 10 minutes to spare and I’m constantly forgetting to shut the curtains so end up flashing my neighbours when I do get dressed.
  19. I will step out of 2007 and stop listening to Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge on repeat. Seriously, it’s gone too far.