Hello Again!

Wow, it’s been a long time. It seems that life just continues to get in the way of blogging. I started writing this post on the 30th of May and good ol’ WordPress promptly lost most of it… it’s taken until now to get round to finishing. Recently I’ve found myself thinking of lots of things I’d like to share so I think it’s time to get back on the horse. Its been so long though, I think it’s time for a little catch up first. And I’d love to hear from you guys as to whats going on with you?

Going back a little further than the last 2 months, I started working a bit more in January. I used to do 2.5 days of seeing patients and another half day was admin time. It felt like a really great balance as I did 2 full days and friday afternoon, but I’d go in on friday morning to get some work done and keep my admin up to date. Because we are generally understaffed and workloads are getting greater all the time, I offered to increase to 3 full days of seeing patients and do my admin from home (because I don’t have or want childcare for the extra time the admin would require.) I have full access to my desktop from home but it means I’m squeezing paperwork in at home in Bea’s nap times or usually at night, and its really tipped the balance in a negative way. My work days are way busier because I’m trying to pack extra in, I’m staying later and still have stuff to do at home. And that ends up just making everything feel worse. At the moment we still need it at work, but I’m thinking all the time about whether to change things back.

The house is also being a bit of a mental drain, if not a physical one. We started one of our main bedrooms back in January – stripping the walls ready for the mammoth job of replacing the wooden windows, re-plastering, putting a new (old) fireplace in and then getting to the fun part of actually decorating and filling it. Its going to be a playroom for Bea and then in the future will become her big girl bedroom when we need the nursery again. Its been somewhat of a false start however as we have been messed about by the company we ordered our windows from and as I write they are promising they will be fitted next week. Funnily enough, I’ve heard that one before from these guys, more than once, but I’m not going to write any more about it otherwise I am likely to swear. A lot.

We have also got another super exciting house project on the go but that one deserves a whole post of it’s own. ;)

I finally started doing some exercise recently, well in January. I found a running buddy, my friend Meriel, and she basically kicked my behind into making it out of the front door for a change. Being brutally honest I have done pretty much no exercise since Bea was born (another blog post in the making,) and there have been lapses when life didn’t allow or I lost my motivation, but I’m pretty proud that over all, I feel like I can call myself a runner now. I get out at least twice a week and my ‘minutes per kilometre’ number is falling all the time. More than anything the regular exercise has actually made me crave more. I miss it when I don’t have opportunity and I feel good when I have managed to do something, even if it’s a short run. High fives all round!

I’m feeling pretty sad I’ve let things slip around here, partly because I miss the posts I wrote about Bea – the last one was when she was 11 months – almost 12 months ago now and she’s turning into a little rock star. I guess part of the reason I don’t get time to post is that I prefer to focus on her fully, but I miss documenting all her little changes and cuteness. Despite the odd very trying day (hello toddler tantrums!) motherhood is still the best adventure I ever embarked upon.

So I’m going to leave it there, because I want to write more, be here more, and if I waffle on much longer I won’t manage another post!

Now what have you been doing so far this year?

Rebecca
x

Summer Capsule Part 1 [Work wear]

Hi!

This week, I’m going to (finally, I know!) share my summer capsule. You can read more about my past capsule wardrobes and reasons behind it here. Its been a long time since I did a capsule, the last was in Autumn. I was inspired to start by Caroline Joy over at Un-fancy and she does 4 a year. Her seasons in Texas (and now Seattle, ) don’t quite align with ours and having lived with a capsule for almost a year, I realised I don’t need to update 4 times a year. I added a few pieces to my autumn wardrobe for Christmas, then updated a few tops for spring before the weather started to warm up. This wardrobe I’m about to share has been in effect since about the beginning of May and I plan to wear it until October. I’ll be shopping for Autumn/winter pieces in September when the new season stock comes in.

As it’s Monday, I thought I’d start with my work wardrobe. My capsule has had to include a work section for the first time this season, as I went back to work in March. I’m lucky because I dress pretty casually at work so a lot of my wardrobe is interchangeable, but I do have work staples that I use to smarten up the other pieces I mix in and that give it more of a professional edge.

I have to say, I didn’t give a lot of thought to my work wardrobe. There’s a big difference in working 5 days a week when my philosophy was that I spent so much time at work I might as well look nice while I worked, to working 3 days and just hoping you can find something without food or snot on it that’s passable and comfy and fits your postnatal body! Consequently, I pulled out a few postnatal and even pregnancy pieces and was forced to buy a new pair of trousers that fitted, et voila!

Tops/Dresses


Dress // Blouse // Chambray shirt // Shirt – Monsoon

I have quite a few nice work dresses but I don’t fit them just yet, plus when I initially returned to work and for about 3 months, I was expressing still so needed boob access. This jersey dress I bought and wore during early-mid pregnancy and it’s still flattering now, plus it washes easily and quickly, like the blue blouse that I hardly wore in my AW capsule, but has come into it’s own for work. This chambray shirt was an amazing find by my mum in GAP. I loaned one of hers during pregnancy and wore it open over things but it had a really soft fluid texture with fantastic drape, just like this one she later found for me. It works brilliantly tucked in as a shirt for my own particular style of smart-casual work wear. The remaining shirt is an old favourite of mine. I don’t usually do such blousy florals but it’s colour is bold enough and the fabric thin enough that it’s perfect for summer. As you can see, I always roll my sleeves!

Skirts/Trousers


Trousers // Trousers // Skirt // Skirt

My old navy work trousers had had very good use before pregnancy, so I intended to renew them on my return to work, but I’m not yet at my usual weight, so I held off and went to Zara for a different work pair. That was particularly demoralising (when did the sizes in Zara get so small?!) but they did have a good selection of styles in Navy trousers and I found a flattering pair that made me feel smart again. I’d say these get the most use week in week out and were pretty cheap at £24.99! Again the jersey tube skirt was a pregnancy buy that still works now as it was just a size up, and the printed skirt was a postnatal win that came from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe and I fit! Yay! The only ‘this season’ addition were these jogging bottom pants, which again, my mum found. A complete bargain from New Look, I think they were £10. They are ridiculously comfy, work for work because of the silky (but not shiny) fabric, tapered ankle and with a tucked in blouse or shirt, they look great.

I wear all of these with either navy pointed flats, or summer sandals, depending on the weather, and of course opaque tights earlier in the year.

To make the whole look a bit more ‘done’ I have a small selection of jewellery I wear for work too – which is quite nice, as I don’t get to wear much at home. I stick with a gold pair of studs and my sparkly ones, plus 2 rose gold pendant necklaces that I have. I don’t paint my nails anymore (although toenails are an essential in sandals I think,) but I do always wear make up to work. Not much, but again, it makes me feel more done and professional.

So here are my tips for creating a functional capsule wardrobe when you are a working mum. I’m making the assumption that you a. don’t want to spend much, b. don’t have much time, and c. would rather spend said time and money with or on your baby. ;)

  • Choose a colour palette and stick to it, particularly for your basics – mine is Navy and blues, obviously.
  • Make sure you have a good look through your old wardrobe and check for any keepers that still fit.
  • Choose fabrics that wash easily, dry quick and don’t need ironing, so you don’t have to get changed before you cuddle your messy baby or toddler when you get in.
  • Think about using things in ways you wouldn’t normally – i.e., tucking in a more casual summer shirt or chambray, and dressing up items like ‘relaxed trousers’ (Read:jogging bottoms) with heels.
  • Make sure you have one outfit or top and bottom option or a dress, per day you work, plus a spare, then even if you only get to do your washing at the weekend, you’ve always got something to wear.
  • Dress it up with jewellery and shoes, and have fun with those pieces as they’re probably bits you won’t wear when you’re off-duty and being mummy who gets clambered all over and needs to wear flats to run round after said baby/toddler.
  • Treat yourself to some new makeup if you’re feeling a bit sloppy or nervous about going back to work. Getting your game face on always helps and gives you confidence. ;)

Ok, I hope you enjoyed that insight and I’ll be back later in the week with my casual wardrobe, knitwear and occasion wear. Give me a shout if you have any questions and i’d love to hear about your work wardrobe and how you approach it!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Blue tile jumpsuit

What I have learned… About being a working Mum

I’ve been back at work for almost 3 months now, my first day was 17th March and I didn’t write about it until now because I spent most of the first month doing a phased return. It wasn’t until after Easter that I was back to my usual 3 day week, so I’ve now done 2 months of that.

Some of you may recall that I was dreading my return to work. I cried the night before, partly because I felt like I was abandoning this little thing that had only ever known me being there almost 24/7. Partly it was purely selfish, I felt like I was missing out on watching her grow up and develop.

So I made it through the day without her… And this is what daddy daycare looks like…

A video posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

In actual fact, It’s been nowhere near as hard as I thought. Work is so busy (for those of you who don’t know, I’m a GP) that I didn’t get a moment to think about her all day. The first few times I left her she was with Pete, happy as larry, then later on with my mum, so that made things easier too. Coming home was amazing. When I started back at work, Bea wasn’t quite 8 months old so we weren’t quite at the stage where she was excited about seeing me again, but then as the weeks went on she started to get really excited when I came home, clapping and shouting and reaching for me. There have been crushing moments too though. The day I returned to work, Bea properly crawled, to the incentive of her expressed bottle that Daddy kindly put on the floor in front of her. Another day I came home and she had started clapping, (taught by my mum,) as lovely as it is for mum and her to have that experience and memory together, it still cut deep that it wasn’t me who taught her.

Being back at work has had it’s plus points though. I know after almost 8 months at home with Bea I was starting to take our time together for granted. There were times I needed to get some life admin task done or a bit of house work and she got plonked and shushed, inevitably towards the end of the day with a deadline looming and the witching hour underway. As she got more mobile that got harder and I got more frustrated. Now, as much as possible, the time I have with her I spend with her. When something needs doing, I plan to do it later… not much is getting done, but, whatever. I think I’m more patient with her too, being away makes me fresher, more ready to face the challenges a crawling, almost toddling, non-stop little minx brings with her. ;)

Objectively, now I’ve done both, I’m not sure how I feel. We just did our garden with the money that I earn – we use my salary at the moment to plough into the house and live more carefully on Pete’s. I’m so happy with it, but I hate that that essentially represents putting material things ahead of my time with Bea. I have more than once considered what it would mean to give up work, financial cuts we would have to make. I know I’d be as happy in a smaller house, so we could still afford holidays and the like, but with Bea every day. I’m pretty sure that if had had the option I’d have taken a career break, but there’s very little information about it available in my line of work and I do know that if you are off for over 12 months, there are retraining consequences. I’m also a partner and have obligations to my practice and partners. To some extent I feel I’ve made my bed and have to lie in it. Unfortunately I don’t buy the working woman positive role model argument… my Mum didn’t work and it didn’t stop me forging a challenging career, however I also don’t feel it influenced me in how I feel about being wishing I was at home with Bea either; I want to be home with her because I want to spend more time with her, not because I feel children do better when they have a stay at home mum (or parent) as a constant.

All those things considered, a lot of this is selfish rather than considering Beas needs. She is a happy little thing, doesn’t seem at all bothered by me leaving and copes really well with our days apart. Her relationship with Pete has blossomed. Although he was great with her before, its really gone to the next level and he knows her routine and quirks (almost) ;) as well as me now. She and my Mum also have a lovely little bond going on and its amazing seeing mum make her laugh or do things with her that I wouldn’t have thought to do.

Of course I know that there will be countless things she doesn’t learn from me, at nursery, at school, even at University (if she goes,) but its hard making the transition from being the lynchpin to all her new experiences. At times I have felt recently that she needs me less because she doesn’t see me as so central to her life now, she has had to reply on others as her touchstone throughout the day. And I know that its great that she has so many people around her, loving her, cheering her on and ready to catch her when she falls, but it doesn’t stop me wishing it was me. I also know I’m lucky to be able to work part time and I will say that 3 days is a reasonable balance but at the same time, more than enough for me.

I don’t think I’ve given any answers in this post, if you’re searching for them yourself, goodness knows I wish I had them myself, but I hope if you’re dreading returning to work it might help in some small way. I certainly found it was a bit like when I was pregnant and people would tell me that having a baby was ‘the best thing ever!’ – I used to think, ‘It might be for you…!’ and couldn’t comprehend how I would feel when she arrived. Similarly people told me the anticipation of returning to work was worse than the reality and it is, but I couldn’t see that at all when I was dreading my own return, until I had done it and it was fine.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, as always readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS All these photos are from my Instagram account, you can follow Bea and I’s adventures here.