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Cigarettes and Calpol

Attempting to make sense of parenthood, life, love, and my own mind.

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Life

‘If You Can’t Afford to Feed Your Child…’

The days leading up to and following an election are always strange, tense, and full of arguments. This time is no different, in fact this time nobody is really sure whether to celebrate, mourn, or just keep drinking.

Today I was asked on a Facebook discussion about benefits, food banks, and tax brackets ‘why did you have a child if you can’t afford to feed it?’. Obviously the lovely Max Off Of Facebook did say ‘not to cause offence’ first. So I’m not offended…

Well, Max Off Of Facebook, do you want to know how I found myself two years ago crying in a doctor’s office as he signed a piece of paper that meant I was entitled to a food bank voucher two years ago?

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Celebrating Myself…

I am not good at celebrating myself. At all.

The idea of throwing a party in the name of me fills me with absolute dread. Because surely nobody else really gives a shit?!

Birthdays come down to ‘I’m going to this pub, come if you want, or don’t, whatever’ and I don’t think I could so much as dream of actually throwing a wedding and I definitely couldn’t have a hen.

Yet I love, love, love organising this stuff for other people! Give me half a chance to organise your hen party, birthday, or even just work’s leaving drinks and I will be snapping at you ankles like a Chihuahua on heat.

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Kids Come With

The more parents I connect with online and in real life the more I realise something I’ve been doing for years without even noticing it. I see people posting about their child-free friends and how much they love their children, how their favourite days are when they all hang out together, and how their friends are an extension of their family – aunties and uncles to their kids.

And I realise I’ve been keeping my social life and my parent life completely separate for nearly six years.

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10 Podcasts You Need to Hear

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have just returned from travelling in the deepest Amazon for the past three years you may have noticed a trend that seemingly came from nowhere. Podcasts. 

I love a podcast. I listen to them falling asleep at night, when I’m cleaning the house, when I’m walking, running, sitting on a train, just feeling a bit lonely. Love them! This does annoyingly mean whenever I find a new podcast that I love I session it so hard that I’ve run out within the week and have nothing to left to listen to.

In a bout of nostalgia for the podcasts I’ve listened to and loved, and the ones I’m patiently waiting for the next episode for, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite podcasts. Join me in my addiction. Come to the dark side…

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Nasty Words, Lasting Impression

On New Year’s Day I received a pretty nasty message on Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter a long time and have received my fair share of abuse on the website; I’ve been called a freeloading tart for taking maternity pay (we’ll discuss that one another day), been sent many an unsolicited dick pic, and of course immediately become a fat whore because I didn’t find myself weak at the knees from a man’s advances.

But this time was different, this time felt a little more personal.

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My 2016

2016 has been a year that I don’t think anybody could put into words. Especially not somebody as under-qualified as me. It’s strange looking back at a year like this now we’re nearing the end, we’ve lost so many legends and watched the world we all thought was only getting better fall down the toilet, and globally it’s hard to be hopeful for 2017 when we’re only seeing the beginning. Brexit, Trump, Russia, Syria; I think we all know the proverbial shit is yet to really hit the fan. So y’know…something to look forward to.

Personally however I hope we all have a little more faith, and that we can look back at 2016 with at least a little positivity? I know I can.

12 months, many, many memories that will last a lifetime, and about 5 million photos taken. So instead of warbling on I’ve created a compilation of the best moments of my 2016, some photographed, some not, all completely bloody amazing! (I will not mention Brexit again, I will not mention Brexit again…)

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20 Lessons from Living with a Boy

It’s almost a year since my clean, tidy, pretty, girly flat was destroyed and filled with smelly boy things and a smelly boy. While he didn’t come with many belongings, he has certainly changed my home. Mostly for the better.

So what have I learnt in this year? Glad you asked, and luckily for you I’ve written a handy list.

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I’m Scared.

Brexit. The conversation of the moment. Everywhere we look there is somebody shouting about it. About how messed up the situation is. Or there’s somebody telling us to pipe down and get over it (you people are the worst, this is a decision that will change lives, destroy opportunities, and ruin futures, we won’t just sit down and shut up, part of democracy is the right to discuss what we believe to be wrong).

I don’t feel remotely qualified to discuss politics to this level. Because it’s confusing, purposely so, and is a full-time job to fully understand every separate view, decision, and comment. I try to keep up. I read a lot. I ask questions of those who know more. But I’m still not completely up to speed.

I do know that I feel lost and alone and afraid though and I feel completely unable to not say something.

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Babies or No Babies – No Judgement

The idea that white-haired old men maybe shouldn’t be who decide what we – as women – are ‘allowed’ to do with our bodies has become something of a hot topic recently. We’ve all seen, heard, and shaken our heads at the debates surrounding abortion and the Tampon Tax. We’ve all closed our eyes and said a silent prayer asking for the strength to get through another mansplained argument basically telling us that just because it’s our vagina doesn’t mean we should really get a say. And we’ve been doing this over thousands of different topics for thousands of years. I know, I know, #NotAllMen. Now isn’t the time, Nice Guys. Sit down.

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