Back to work Blues…

I’ve put off writing this post for weeks, in a classic example of head in the sand denial. Tomorrow, I’m going back to work.

A bit of context first. I’m going back 3 days a week and doing a phased return, so only Tuesday this week and then 2 days a week for the following 2 weeks before doing the full three days after the Easter weekend. Bea isn’t yet 8 months – she will be on the 21st. Why am I going back now? Financial reasons. I’m technically self employed and have to employ someone to do my job while I’m on Mat leave. The funding for that is only for a set period which ran out some weeks ago and the cost of paying for a locum is prohibitive to do for any longer than I have done. Because I’m going back earlier than I would like, I’ve managed to arrange that Pete will do one day of childcare, and my Mum is doing the other two, then Bea will start in Nursery for at least 1 day a week from being 12 months. That may be more difficult than starting her now on reflection, but thats a topic for another post.

Housekeeping out of the way, how am I feeling? Well thats one of the reasons for not writing the post. I’m not sure I can adequately express how much I don’t want to leave her. Until now, I’ve left her for 4 and a half hours max, and a total of about 5 times in those 7 and a half months since she was born. I haven’t wanted to leave her, I love being with her so much.

I can hear the former me and the judgements I made pre-baby ringing in my ears. Having no understanding of how I would feel, I thought women who didn’t want to go back to work just didn’t want to work. Work doesn’t really feature in my thoughts, except that it will be the cause of me leaving Bea. I thought women who never left their babies (like I haven’t) were… I don’t know, like a shadow of their former selves. Why didn’t they want to go out and do the things they did before? Because it doesn’t compare to spending the day with your little love. Why did they suddenly lose interest in their careers or job? I never expected to be desperate to get back to work, but I didn’t think I would feel so strongly that I didn’t want to go. I suppose it’s an evolutionary thing. After all, if it were easy to leave our babies, mothers would have left them in years gone by and helpless offspring would have come to all kinds of harm.

I’ve heard so many friends and acquaintances tell me the reality is much worse than the anticipation. And I know that in months to come I will probably welcome some time to myself, when she’s a full on toddler and every moment is exhausting and full of ‘why’s’. Or maybe I won’t. Right now, every bone in my body feels that leaving her is wrong and I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

I’m terrified I’m going to miss out. I’m terrified she will miss me and feel abandoned. All I can think is that she might need her Mummy and I won’t be there. That I should be there.

So I may or may not be around for the next week or two. I can see I will want to spend time with Bea instead of blogging, but if I do find myself at a loose end there me be a post or two on these pages. Bear with me, and I’ll be back once I’m on an even keel again.


What I have learned: In 2014

The end of the year always makes me sentimental. This one more than any other seems to have passed by so quickly. I was 11 weeks pregnant this time last year, keeping everything crossed that my little baked bean stayed put and at the same time terrified of the future. I couldn’t see past the sea of ‘last’s’ Pete I and I would experience to the joy of the firsts that were yet to come. I have changed tremendously in this year – I suppose motherhood does that to you, but I’ve also had time to reflect on it all and what I’ve learned in that year…

Unconditional love does exist.
I think we all hope for unconditional love from a partner or spouse and I hope we all receive it, but the awe of the way your baby looks at you is true unconditional love. I realised that one morning, sat in my pyjama’s, a bit puffy from lack of sleep, obviously makeup less, could have been cleaner… the list of imperfections goes on. But Bea had never been happier to see my imperfect face. She didn’t care and that is unconditional love.

Human kindness is everywhere.
When you have a baby everybody is interested, in the same way people are interested when you’re getting married. Advice is impressed offered, wry stories told about their first born or new parenting experiences, and sadly much of it is passively negative. Since having Bea in contrast it’s the kindness and human nature of strangers that has struck me. On my errands about my local community or into Manchester, never a journey passes without a kind enquiry. Surprisingly many a man has engaged with Bea and I when we’re out and about. So many people have offered help with the pram, or give up a seat, or to get things for me and it’s enough to restore my faith in humankind but also wonder why we all are not so polite and kind to each other every day.

Letting go is freedom
The times I’ve felt most trapped by motherhood, the days when I’ve not been able to leave the house, or get something done, or just settle Bea as usual, giving up and letting go has always been the key. Often, with the benefit of hindsight, just to stop fighting battles that can’t be won is immensely relieving.

My work does not define me
There have been times I’ve felt insignificant since I stopped work to go on maternity leave, without purpose or direction, I suppose because I haven’t felt I was contributing. As time has gone on I have realised the contribution every mother makes to the future of society, or taking a microscopic as opposed to macroscopic view, just the future of their child. Work is only a part of me and didn’t define me before, but it does even less now.

One bad day does not a bad mother make (and nor do bad habits form in one night.)
And neither do two, or three bad days for that matter. It’s hard to remember on a bad day, but Bea crying doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong. She won’t hold it against me in the future and it doesn’t make me bad at my new role. I learned not to be afraid of picking her up from her cot when she cries, (in case she starts doing it every time I put her down,) or feeding her in the night if she wakes up in the early hours (in case she wants a feed every night.) It’s so easy to make yourself feel bad. Sometimes babies just need cuddles. And so do mummies :)

Pete will do anything for me and together we can do anything
This isn’t the first year that Pete has supported me unconditionally, but it’s the first time I’ve realised it at the time. He has physically supported me through late pregnancy and in the weeks and months after my c-section. He’s emotionally supported me through my doubts before having Bea and worries about motherhood after. He’s worked day and night to get the house finished or cleaned or tidy, when I was hugely pregnant or when Bea needed me. He’s fetched and carried a million different things when I was immobile or feeding. And when towards the end of the year we’ve been back to working together again, we’ve knuckled down and achieved a lot in the house, even when mountains have needed to be moved. I wouldn’t want to do it all with anyone else.

It’s been a truly amazing year, in the awe-inspiring sense of the word. It’s been difficult, frustrating, intense, frightening, exhausting but totally fulfilling. I have no idea what 2015 will bring but I know just being in my little family will be just fine with me.

How has your year been readers? Did you have any big revelations?


*All the photo’s in this post are by Peter and Laura Lawson taken when Bea was 7 weeks old.

Bea @ 6 weeks and Nursery sneak peek!

A few weeks ago now Laura and Pete came over to capture some images of Bea while she is still tiny. We had discussed when would be the best time when we did my maternity shoot and one thing Laura said stuck with me, ‘You’ll never want to do it, you’ll never feel ready, don’t worry about tidying and everything, just get us round.’ So at 6 weeks we bit the bullet (once she was smiling,) and arranged a date. In typical fashion we had a bad night prior to them coming, and Bea then proceeded to have the most out of character day she has ever had, grizzling her way through the photos. I was tired, managed to do my hair and not much else, even throwing on some everyday clothes. But you know what, I didn’t care. I wanted images of us in our daily life, just celebrating the every day joy that Bea brings us. And that’s exactly what we got.

Head on over to the Lawson photography blog to see the whole post AND some of the photos were taken in the nursery, so you’ll get a sneaky peek of that too. :) Full post on the nursery coming soon…

Thank you so much Laura and Pete – you really do amaze me every time with the moments you capture forever.


Capturing the bump…

I never planned to do a ‘bump shoot’, thinking I would have lots of selfie style bump shots to suffice and Pete would have taken plenty too. Whilst the former is true, the latter hasn’t been – we have been far to busy in the house to be anywhere worthy of dressing up and taking photos of late. Maybe it’s also the looming end to my pregnancy that has made me cherish it more, I will certainly miss this bump and shifting baby inside, but I hope the reality in my arms will be infinitely better. :)

I had planned to have a newborn shoot, when baby is fresh and still scrunched up and small, to capture that newborn bubble the three of us will hopefully be in (read: chaotic, sleep derived blur,) and so at the last minute last week I decided to ask our good friends Laura and Peter Lawson to do a bump shoot too. They made us feel so at ease in front of the camera and I knew they would ‘get’ how blessed out together we both are just now, as they had their little boy Albert only 7 months ago.

I’m so glad we did it now and Pete loves the results too. This was too special a time in our lives not to make some memories to treasure and now I just have to pick some for the wall!

Have a great weekend readers, see you next week!


April in Instagrams…

I thought I’d switch up the format of this monthly post and I’m grouping together things by type so you can see the stuff you’re interested in… enjoy :)

The garden bloomed this month and it’s so good to see it all come alive – often for the first time as this is our first spring in this house.

I got into maternity dressing and hopefully managed to keep some of my signature style…

The cats seemed to spend all month stretching on the carpet in various sun patches whilst I enjoyed afternoon tea at the Lowry and Pete really bonded with baby kicking. :)

This month goes down in history as the-month-we-got-back-into-our-bedroom. There’s a long way to go with finishing touches but I love it already.

And just as one hell hole gets cleaned up, another one opens… our cellar makeshift kitchen and kitchen work is well underway. The cats continued to snooze through it all of course.

How was your April readers?


The first three months…

I wasn’t going to go backwards with this pregnancy in terms of what I share on the blog but then some of the times when I most desperately wanted to read about other peoples experiences was of the ‘getting pregnant’ (more on this to come later,) and the unspoken first 12 weeks. So for those of you who are planning or trying or in those secret weeks, here’s how I found it.

I’ll start at the very beginning…

We found out we were pregnant very early on. I had always said that I wouldn’t do a test on the first day I was late, but when it came to it I managed to hold out 2 extra days (because my cycle varies a little anyway,) then caved. I was so nervous that I did the test without Pete because I didn’t want to disappoint him if it was negative! It all seems crazy now! Especially when we looked back and said deep down we both knew – My boobs were bigger and ridiculously sore, and my nose was like a highly trained sniffer dog – nothing escaped me! When Pete came home that night Francesca was around and it was killing me to act normally, then our wedding photographer came over to deliver our album (better late than never,) and it was only at about 9 o’clock that I dragged him upstairs to tell him finally! And then I fell asleep.

That was the beginning of what was really my only major pregnancy symptom, I have never been so tired in all my life. Every night I was in bed between 8.30 and 9.30 (for someone who usually goes to bed at 11-11.30 this was a major departure from the norm,) and in the day I just about coped. I didn’t get much else, fleeting nausea was so mild and if I ate it went, so I ate and ate and ate. I’ve never eaten so much in my life and yet I didn’t gain weight for few weeks, so despite the advice that you don’t need extra calories until the third trimester, I must have needed them somewhere!

The lack of symptoms meant I really worried. I wouldn’t say that I was wracked with worry or it was the only thing on my mind, but I certainly found it hard to be positive about being pregnant. So much of my experience so far has been coloured by my medical background and because of my time spent doing Gynae on-call shifts, essentially dealing with women who were having possible early miscarriages I prepared myself for the worst. I googled miscarriage statistics and as each week passed I felt better. I think I knew deep down though that it would work out.

I actually found those first few months quite depressing. It sounds spoilt but I am so used to being active, going out and doing things and I’m also naturally a very open person. Not telling people was hard, but the sleeping was awful, for me at least. Coupled with the dark nights I felt like I was only ever asleep or at work and I really missed getting out as much. We did tell some people though on the premise that if something went wrong we wouldn’t have kept that a secret either and before we told our family we paid for a private scan at 9 weeks, right before Christmas. I couldn’t bear the thought of telling them and them later being disappointed and Christmas would have been too hard otherwise. It would be very unusual for me not to have a drink in my hand!

After Christmas the time flew and I didn’t have my scan until almost 14 weeks, the latest possible date to have the anomaly screening, (that we agreed we wanted regardless, so we could prepare if there was bad news.) It was so amazing to see this little human kicking up a storm on the screen when just a few weeks before it had looked like a wriggly baked bean.

By this point I was on bump watch. I knew it wouldn’t be for a while that I would pop a bump out but my shape changed so early on in pregnancy that I wanted to actually look pregnant. I was so bloated right from the off that my tummy filled out after only a couple of weeks and my boobs have gotten so. much. bigger. Most people when I told them our news had already guessed, even my work colleagues at only 11 weeks. It has taken a lot longer though to get a real bump rather than just a different shape. I could feel my uterus at 14 weeks, but not see it, then about 16 weeks I started to feel different and it’s only now that it’s definitely there, although sometime I still feel just a bit porky!

One thing I did stress out about was what to eat or avoid. The advice is so conflicting and people can essentially write whatever they want on the internet with no medical evidence to back it up. I had always dreaded being pregnant as I mistakenly thought I couldn’t eat so many of my favourite foods – seafood, deli meats, runny yolked eggs. After reading a lot in the first couple of weeks (I found this the most reliable source of advice, with the specifics covered in the comments section particularly helpful,) I realised that the guidelines change all the time. For example rules around cured meats like salami have changed since some of my friends were pregnant a couple of years ago. Essentially it boils down to 3 categories: Things that you need to moderate (like caffeine and alcohol,) things that could make you sick (like food poisoning,) but won’t harm the baby and things that could give you a pregnancy threatening infection like listeria or toxoplasmosis. It’s a personal choice but my take so far has been that if I wouldn’t worry about getting ill from something pre-pregnancy then I won’t worry now, but I have avoided certain cheeses, pate and rare meat, as they pose a small but possible risk of listeria and toxoplasmosis.

So there you have it, we’re almost up to date! I plan to do a monthly pregnancy update from here on in with my experiences, but for now feel free to ask me any questions, I’m sure many of you out there can identify with some of the things I have experienced and I hope reading about it helps some of you going through or yet to go through it. Feel free to chip in with your experiences too!


Team Yellow…

Good morning readers! This morning I want to talk scans… more specifically, finding out the gender of your baby. (Apologies for the baby bombardment, I’m kind of on a deadline here) ;)

Our ’12 week’ scan; We’re joking that we might have a little skier on our hands!

So, on Thursday we have our 20 week scan and of course, we have the option to find out what we’re having. After weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, deliberating and mulling it over (with a few heated discussions thrown in!) I am still undecided and the clock is ticking. I really don’t know what to do.

Firstly I should say, Pete knows exactly what he wants to do. He has been so excited from day one and he wants the surprise. He thinks finding out if it’s a boy or girl takes some of the magic away from the actual birth (I am still undecided if I feel there will be any magic in the room when I’m labouring,) but I disagree. Even if you know the gender, you don’t know what he or she looks like, what hair colour it will have, if any, eyes and all the rest.

I started off wanting to know, then I didn’t, and now I’m really undecided. I can argue it both ways. I like the idea of not knowing, as it’s our first. Although initially my thoughts were that I wanted a girl and so I thought finding out would give me time to come round to the idea of a boy, as time has gone on I have been less bothered about the sex and more interested in a healthy baby. After all, it’s a done deal now! I would never plan a gender specific pink or blue nursery, so I don’t need to know for the decorating.

But then because it’s our first, it’s all very surreal. Until feeling some movements last week I didn’t feel pregnant at all. I wonder if I knew I was having a little boy or girl would I be able to get more excited about it and bond with this little thing better before it’s born? Would I enjoy the pregnancy more if I could really immerse myself in shopping for it and picking things out with a little person in mind?

And then my thoughts oscillate back again. What if once I found out I thought, I wish I hadn’t? It’s too late then and I want to respect Pete’s wishes too, after all it’s his baby too. Either way readers, if we do find out, it’s going to be a secret! I want to share baby Norris’s arrival with appropriate fanfare and surprise everyone, including my family and friends.

So I need yo hear your thoughts to help me decide! Would you find out the sex of your baby, or did you? Maybe you’ve had more then one and done it both ways? I await your wisdom readers!


PS Feel free to guess based on the scan pic for a bit of fun! And cast your vote quickly below…

My Instagram Month: February

Hey guys!

First today I wanted to thank you all for the lovely messages yesterday. It’s been so exciting reading your comments and realising how many of us are expecting together! I won’t be over running the blog with baby stuff but it will be lovely to hear your thoughts and advice.

As I’ve kept so much of my life to myself over the last few months I wanted to get back to the monthly round ups. As always you can follow along daily on Instagram here.

  • We started off the month as has become tradition, at The Drawing Room. (See my review here.)
  • I’m so happy that the mornings (and nights) are getting lighter.
  • I’m obsessed with the macaroni cheese at my new favourite local restaurant, The Laundrette.
  • We stopped at Baileys while we were in Wales and once again bought almost nothing!
  • A spring fling with yellow fashion
  • I’m still reminiscing about our old house and shared the downstairs tour with you here.
  • Neon pink wool for baby craft projects!
  • Francesca’s best brownie batch yet.
  • Work started on our bedroom a couple of weeks ago and we had the wall knocked through to the bedroom and the walls have been skimmed and are drying as I type. Roll on the decorating!
  • I’ve been getting back into lipstick with some old favourites (MAC creme sheen in ‘lickable’) and the H&M lip crayon I reviewed last week.
  • Last weekend I went to Chester for a Spa hen party and it was the best thing ever. So relaxing and made me realise I needed to make time to do it again before the baby arrives!

I hope you have had a great February? I’ll be back next week with more baby talk and the usual FF style and substance ;)


News Flash!

Ahem! So, today is quite a big day and I’m going to let the picture do all the talking… :)

I can’t believe that the time has gone so quickly already and I’ve been waiting to have a bump to show you all! It’s lovely to be finally able to announce that Pete and I are expecting our first baby! I’m almost half way along now and so glad the bump has finally popped out so I can start talking babies, motherhood and get advice from so many of the mums who I know read Florence Finds.

As always, the blog is a reflection of my life, so I hope I don’t put off those of you who don’t have or want children, yet or ever, but I’m not expecting to have a personality transplant now there are three of us, so much of the blog will remain unchanged. Hopefully, this will be a welcome addition, it certainly is for us. :)

Anyway, I’m going to write a bit more next week, for now, I’m so glad you all know!


PS I’m wearing the ASOS dress I posted about last week in a size 12 for extra room!