Cigarettes and Calpol

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



World Book Day Defence

Today is World Book Day. A day that for some parents fills them with absolute dread while other’s can’t wait.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I am a big fan of any day designed to get children excited about books. I love seeing my social media filled with smiling faces holding up their favourite book all dressed up as their favourite character. I love seeing what the Tiny Idiot decides to go as, and frantically trying to fabric glue things together. I love seeing what the parents who are actually crafty create.

And then the negative comments come…
People moaning about kids dressed as Disney Princesses, people moaning about kids dressed as superheroes, people moaning about kids dressed as Chase from Paw Patrol.
‘Go as a proper character from a proper book!’ people who didn’t have to get a child in fancy dress at 8am this morning yell, ‘It’s just lazy!’ 

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Child-free and Full of Questions – Child Birth

Next up in this mini-series which mostly involves my friend’s Whatsapping me about poo, we’re talking child birth! It’s one of those things that before you get pregnant you try to avoid thinking about in too much detail, and you’re certainly not going to research, then you get pregnant and you’re supposed to know everything. Do you want an epidural? What’s an episiotomy (we’ll get to it, and sorry in advance)? And most importantly who fishes the shit out of the birth pool?!

I asked my non-pregnant, non-tiny human rearing, Pill-guzzling (especially since these conversations) friends what they want to know about child birth. Warning, this may get graphic…

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Due Date

‘When are you due?’ is probably the question you hear most throughout pregnancy. And understandably so. You use it to gauge what symptoms somebody’s suffering, when they’ll be able to drink wine again, how long you have to plan a baby shower, and some people like to shout a star sign at you. I don’t mind being asked, but I have started answering in a way people aren’t used to.

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A Bad Day

Today has been a really shit day.

It’s been one of those days where my child has been an arsehole at every turn and I’ve run out of ways to try and discipline her. It’s been one of those days where I’ve totally questioned my ability to parent and therefore have been sent into a spiral of self-hate and my little ball of anxiety has burst.

Crying on her bedroom floor while trying to change her bedding was probably the lowest point.

It’s one of those days that no Instagram filter could fit and there’s no way of trying to make it look perfect, but also why should I? Why do we feel the need to hide the bits of parenting that hurt and are exhausting and leave you feeling like a shit? It’s the reality. We share everything else so why not this? So I am sharing it, lucky you, you get to read my woes.

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Induction, Nudity, and No Stitches: My Birth Story

I’ve been thinking a lot about labour recently, being pregnant will do that to you! The first time you’re pregnant you have literally no way to know what it will feel like, how it will happen, or really how you want your birth to go. The second (or third, fourth, fifth) time you know what’s coming, for some mothers that makes it less scary, for others it makes it much more so.

One of my favourite types of blog to read is a birth story. So here’s mine. This all happened nearly six years ago so it’s a little murky, apologies for that. I’ll try and live stream my next one to make up for it.

So settle down with a cup of tea and a good old fashioned gulp of gas and air and lets do this!

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How to Survive the First Trimester (ish)

There are women out there who will tell you pregnancy is a beautiful time of blooming and happiness and that they loved every minute of it. I am here to tell you that these women are liars. Or even possibly robots. Pregnancy for me is a continuous flow of shitty problems; pain, vomit, fainting, and massive engorged breasts that look nothing like the perfectly pert models with their fake bumps on the ASOS maternity section. It’s shit and I hate it.

However, for most of us it is the simplest way to get our hands on a tiny squishy baby. So it’s something of a necessity.

The first three months were for me – like so many, many others – hell. Sickness, fainting, constipation, anxiety, zero sex drive, agonisingly painful breasts. This post is a combination of little things that might help others find it a bit easier and a chance to moan about it all to garner some sympathy. Which I think are both important and necessary.

(Note: yes, I’m going to moan about pregnancy in this post, because it’s hard. This doesn’t mean I don’t realise how lucky I am to be having a healthy pregnancy. It doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled to be having another baby. We are more than aware just how hashtag blessed we are, this doesn’t stop it being a crappy experience.)

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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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For the Midway Mummies

If your an avid reader of parenting blogs, or perhaps take the more chill approach of stalking perfect parent Instagrams until you know everything about a family including the babies’ birth weights, you might have noticed that there’s something of a warfare between different styles of parenting. It can be a minefield trying to work out where you fit in amongst the mummies in your timeline.

My timeline is mostly made up of two specific types of mum. On one side you have the Hippy Mummies, the middle class hippies who breastfeed  until the kids are eight and follow the strict rules of gentle parenting. And on the other side you have the self proclaimed Slummy Mummies, who proudly declare that their children have eaten chocolate buttons for dinner the third night in a row and painted the bedroom walls with shit.

The joys of sites like Instagram mean that of course people exaggerate, people portray them in ways they want to be seen, not necessarily how the are. But for the real mums watching these accounts it can be hard, it can feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, feel like you must be doing something wrong if you don’t belong to either of these sides.

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