Breastfeeding in Springtime (aka Rejoice, Non-Frozen Nipples)

It has probably not escaped your notice that I really enjoy fashion, styling clothes and generally keeping online retailers afloat throughout the year. One thing I have become slightly expert in over the last few years is adapting my wardrobe and style to allow a boob to be extracted on short notice (for breastfeeding purposes, rather than having embarked upon a new career in exhibitionism).

I’ve never really worn clothes that are designed specifically for breastfeeding; I’ve never found anything in the sort of style I would comfortably wear, and also I reckon that most ‘normal’ clothes can be fashioned in such a way as to allow for a boob to be whipped out if needed, so I’ve never been convinced by the need to buy a special dress with two layers or a sweatshirt with zips or whatever. To each their own.

But in the event that you’re interested in making the high street work for you, I thought I would take a look at what is on offer for breastfeeding mamas as spring approaches.

First up, Zara…

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Any excuse for a spending ban lapse…

Is there any ‘holiday’ shitter than Valentine’s day? I hate it. A tragic orgy of the smug, the twee and the desolate.

My husband and I do tend to mark the occasion with a card, but not usually a gift. Any time we’ve tried to make more of it, the universe has knocked some sense into us (like the first year, when I didn’t realise we were even going out and he bought me a present, some flowers and wrote a heartfelt card and I gave him a jokey card that probably had some rhyming profanity in lieu of sentiment, or the year we went out for a preposterously expensive dinner and he got food poisoning, almost immediately and grievously, or the year we went to a very boozy dinner at the River Cottage farm and accidentally left without paying…).

But. (There’s always a but in these blog posts, isn’t there?!) Despite my loathing of the day and all the nonsense that goes with it, and despite the ridiculous inconsistency of this position, I have found myself admiring some clothes online that could fall to be categorised under some sort of Valentine’s Day heading (although I would strongly recommend that you don’t search “Valentine” on the ASOS website or you will have your eyes burnt by such horrors as this or, even worse, this (neither of which is suitable for work, I should warn you).

Anyway. I hereby acknowledge the stupidity of this entire idea and simultaneously share with you my favourite ideas for Valentine’s Day dressing…

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New Year: New Starts or Same Old?

New Year’s resolutions seem to be getting a bit of a bashing on my social media this year! I have no interest in obsessing about my weight or adopting a crazy diet or giving up booze or any such nonsense, but personally I really enjoy the ‘new term’ feeling of January and the opportunity to reflect and plan for positive change. I might not keep up everything over the whole year, but some things usually stick and I feel better for them.

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Material Girl

I realised recently that I had slipped into a bit of a rut, in terms of my appearance, and that perhaps it was reflective of a sense of exhaustion and maybe even futility about life currently. Not in a dramatic way; just in a kids-tag-teaming-through-the-night-and-I’m-completely-knackered sort of way. And I realised that my lack of effort in terms of my appearance was not only reflecting my ennui but also feeding it. So this week I have been taking a bit more care: drying my hair rather than scraping it into a ponytail, wearing shoes other than my trusty Nikes, putting on some lipstick… and it feels good. I’ve felt more confident, eager to face the world, and that makes me happier.

I don’t want to overthink it, as I am clearly prone to do. I’ve been mulling over a post  on self-esteem, body image, and being a good role model for my children (my daughter in particular), but the soul-searching is proving a bit… bleak. So, I’m actually going to let myself enjoy the process of making an effort for a while, instead of lamenting my inability to separate my appearance and my sense of self-worth! And instead of fighting our image-obsessed, patriarchal society (I’ll do that soon though, I promise), I thought I’d share some of the things that have been improving my mood this week…

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I don’t want an early night

I have been tired for a long time. I thought I was tired before I had children but it turns out I wasn’t. But now I am. My son was three in August, so I suppose that makes me just over three years’ tired.

I know this is nothing on those of you with older kids. And I’m not even sure that it goes away when they turn 18 or leave home or find a life partner or have children or do anything else that makes them unarguably grown-up. My mum still seems pretty tired. Sorry, Mum.

So, I am tired. You are tired. So it is and will be, now and forever.


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Village People

It’s become something of a cliché to talk about a parent’s need for a village to raise their children but, as I lie in my bed failing to sleep off a debilitating bout of infective mastitis and I hear my wonderful nanny taking care of the children downstairs, it feels like an omission not to talk about it.

I live far from my parents in Scotland, and quite far from my husband’s parents in the south of England. I didn’t go to school or university in London. Many of my friends from law school or work have since moved to the sticks to raise their kids: escaping terrifying stabbings on the doorstep, choking pollution and exorbitant house prices in search of charming village greens, enormous back gardens and (it would seem) a fucking hideous commute.

My sister moved to south London a couple of years ago; though it’s not really *that* far, it involves a day trip, organised in advance, rather than popping in to see each other. (My other sister moved to Mexico, so it’s a good job she’s so lovely or I’m not sure we’d be on speaking terms.)

So to where/whom do I turn, when my left boob turns a blazing red, I have a dizzying temperature and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck?

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