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I had scheduled 2015 to be the year of me, the year I turned forty, which when I actually see this in black and white seems rather selfish. 

My dream was to get a little sports car, get married and have a honeymoon in New York or in fact team the wedding and honeymoon together in NYC. This is all before I knew baby two, Luke, was making an appearance.

For nearly four years, I had put off having baby number two, making every excuse under the sun not to. The reason I did this was simple.

I was scared, no petrified that I would loose myself again. Here’s my frank tale of my own personal experience. 

Following the birth of my gorgeous little girl Emily, I felt bereft. Actually thinking back, it started to happen during my pregnancy.  I didn’t know who I was and how to be.

I mean, who in their right mind launches a new business just four weeks before the birth of their first child? Who works at their own event just six days before the birth humping boxes and putting up rails? Me, that’s who. I wasn’t in my right mind and I should have listened to the alarm bells already sounding.

I was used to being a fabulous partner, daughter, granddaughter, niece, friend and health & safety manager but then a new title of mummy was bestowed on me. It’s the one I’d always dreamed of having (although I felt I didn’t deserve it) but in reality as I looked in the mirror I ONLY saw mummy, I no longer saw ‘Suzanne’ a person whom I actually quite liked.Suzanne at 36 weeks pregnant (1)

Physically, my pregnancy was near on perfect, yes I got a bit tired and needed to take a week off work, but that’s by-the-by. But emotionally, it was a different story. My constant love/hate relationship with my body reared it’s ugly head when I didn’t get the ‘perfect bump’ – the one that is portrayed in all of the pregnancy magazines. Mine was a ‘B’ shaped bump so immediately I thought I’d done something wrong. What the heck could I have done?

I vomited at the ward visit to the RVI when they did a show and tell of all of the instruments that ‘may’ be used in birth. Who in their right mind wants to see them?

I stuck my head in the sand when it came to possible complications that could arise and read nothing. I liked the bubble I was in and I wasn’t going to do anything to burst it.

Then there was the the labour. I sounded (apparently) like a screaming banshee and 39 hours and a hideous forceps delivery later, little Emily Elizabeth was born. Nicola was with me from the start of contractions. I insisted on going for a cuppa in the tea room on Belle Vue bank, Low Fell; when I literally stood up at the start of each contraction, she insisted on me going to get a tens machine. Richard took over and had to watch his usually very composed financee, change into a gibbering wreck.

I won’t go into the whole saga of the birth but here are a couple of snippets…

I was so drugged up (something I didn’t expect to happen) that I didn’t realise I had a team of people behind me when the epidural had not been administered correctly. I was then prepped for theatre as I got so tired that I was no use to anyone, and as my waters had been broken for me, I really didn’t have any other option.

At this point I hit an all time low. I did not want to go to theatre.

After the birth of Emily, our daughter was passed to Richard and a lovely photo was taken, but there wasn’t one taken of Emily and I, or the three of us. I can’t remember if this was because I requested it or ‘just because,’ but instead of having a beautiful picture of the three of us on that day, I have memories of being scared and alone.

I sustained a double prolapse from over exuberant pushing and I went through two years of physio to help.  To this day I’m still not right, Pilates is finally helping but I still may decide on reconstruction.

But the pain of the day. Beautiful Emily was born with Erbs Palsy and was my little tea pot. I felt guilty, viewing it as my fault being so stubborn and not accepting a C-section, I put my baby through this and how dare I do that?

And breathe. I’ll take a break and get part two finished very soon.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handmade soap

Having very fussy skin means that I have to be really careful what I put on it. Anything rammed with loads of additional ingredients which I can’t read, just irritate and make me itch.

Natural soap tends to cause fewer problems, so I was excited to try these bars from Oakwood Soaperie. My favourite fragrance is definitely the Carrot & Orange which surprisingly is also packed with Greek yoghurt as well as fresh organic carrot and citrus essential oils.

Mike preferred the fragrance of the Honey & G’oat which is particularly suitable for sensitive skin like mine as it contains no essential oils, but is packed with Northumbrian Honey, Goat’s milk and oats.

The soap isn’t drying and has left my hands feeling smooth and lovely. Looking at the size of the bar on the sink in the bathroom,  I reckon it will see me through to the autumn!

£3.95  for 100g

Nic x

John Masters Shampoo, Detangler and travel setThis is not a blog about hair products but I’ve just spent £60 on the John Masters range, without so much as the flicker of an eye. I love them, so I bought them. My ever-so-calm purchasing power, got me thinking about how things (me) change. 10 years ago spending a small fortune on hair products just wouldn’t have happened. Request them for birthdays, yes, but me spend that much on a ‘treat’ for myself; absolutely not.

Throughout my 20’s I was a cheap-shop shopper. Addicted. In my 30’s, I realised the amount of money I was wasting on £5 tops and just how awful “fast fashion” really can be. So I launched a business, Daisy Green (with Suzanne), and over-compensated for my “throw-away” lifestyle buying nothing new for 12 months. Instead, I became the queen of the charity shops and clothes swaps. It was fun. I still love a good rummage in a nice charity shop; people throw away the most amazing stuff.

Recently, I was chatting with the very lovely Sharon McArthur, The Leadership Confidence Coach, who is in the business of making us more confident (check out Red Handbag). Our conversations are lively, but we always come back to the same conclusion; know yourself, love yourself, and everything else follows.

Through my bad years (about 12 of them), I didn’t like myself let alone love myself. But that time is long gone. So even though I know that happiness does not come from buying stuff, happiness does come from treating myself. I am worth it.

At the top of my “things I love to treat myself with” list are:

  1. Taking friends out. When I have money, I’d spend every penny I have on them. And what a nice feeling that is.
  2. Holidays. Weekends away. Every 6 weeks if we can. It has to be done!
  3. Looking after myself:
    1. Make up. I have nearly given up cheap brands. And swapped to more quality brands. (Still feels weird.)
    2. Hair products. Let’s face it, if your hair isn’t right, you just don’t feel good.
    3. My first great quality white shirt. A bargain in the sales from Fenwick. I’ve never paid £60 for a shirt. But it started life at £160. So, it’s a bargain. Especially when I absolutely love it.
    4. Clothes in general. I am sick of buying clothes that last 2 minutes. I always recycle the items I no longer love, but I’d much rather buy things that will last.
    5. Shoes. Shoes. And more shoes.
    6. Magazines.

Melissa Jelly ShoesAnd those feelings of guilt about spending on myself? Or taking breaks? Or enjoying my friends’ company? I used to carry enough guilt to lifetime. I’m off to the shops.

Nicola x

 

Who wouldn't want to go walking here?It’s January. Everyone hates January. The darkness. The wet. The short days. I could go on. I think we have to search for things to enjoy in January, so I’m sharing a favourite beach of ours.

This picture, full of winter sunshine, was taken at Druridge Bay, Northumberland in late December 2015 and it couldn’t have been more glorious. Cold, bright and beautiful.

For all of us living in the North East, we’re definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, walks and getting out into the fresh air. And mostly, they’re not overcrowded.

Druridge Bay is simply stunning. And at seven miles, is long enough to really get out and stretch your legs. We parked the car at the Country Park and set off for lunch at Amble. On this particular walk, we passed cyclists, surfers, a couple of horse riders (and the horses) and a few people surfing the sands which looked like awesome fun.

You’ll come across sections of the beach that are black; in the 19th century coal was mined nearby and some of it is still there on the sand. You’ll see anti-tank blocks and pill boxes too, on the coast to help ward off a German invasion during World War II.

 

Coal on the beach, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

From the Druridge Bay Country Park to Amble it’s 3.5 miles and should take about 70 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to take pictures, collect shells and mess about!

The Old Store House, Amble

After about 3.5 miles, you reach the little town of Amble. You’ll see the caravan park on your left so be sure to come off the beach there. The sign is wonderful; Amble, The Friendliest Port!

A couple more minutes along the road, you hit The Old Store House. We’d never been in so we decided to give it a go.

Perfect for walkers, the floor is stone… no worry about the mess. The pub is light and friendly (as are the staff) and the food was perfect for us hungry pair.

Mike chose the Northumbrian cheese platter, which for £8.75 was about the best value, largest platter we reckon we’ve had. And for me, some sweet potato wedges, £3.75 and creamy garlic mushrooms on lovely toasted rustic bread £5.75, enough carbs to power us back along the beach.

We’d definitely recommend The Old Store House and you can see what you’d fancy on their menu.

If the sun does come out in the dreary old month of January, the blue sky on this beach gives a different meaning to January Blues.

Nic x

 

LoveNorthEast

Nicola's Murad skin analysis

Murad Skincare. Heard of them? No, I hadn’t either until we attended the Murad event launching this new-to-us beauty brand in House of Fraser at the Metro Centre, Gateshead.

First things first, there were lots of the usual claims pronouncing the actual and real difference these products would make to our skin. (I’m jaded. I need skincare evidence).

Keeping an open mind, it was a good start learning that the products were developed by Dr Murad, a dermatologist, for his clients as a direct response to their individual skincare needs.

Having my skin analysed via the Murad Youthcam, I was told it was in pretty good shape, great to hear given all the sunbeds and excessive sun bathing of my youth.

The analysis gives a glimpse into the future, projecting what my skin might look like in 5 – 10 years time if I did nothing to protect it. It wasn’t that much of a surprise, in ten years time I’ll be 50 and won’t look like a teenager. But it did make me consider a better beauty routine.

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting ShieldStep in the Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield. I’ve been using this product for about 2 months now and I absolutely adore it. The texture is gorgeous, it basically is a one-stop product to “replace your treatment, primer and SPF” whilst “immediately blurring and correcting whilst combating the signs of ageing”.

I always use it over my facial oil (once that has had some time to sink in) and I do notice a slight smoothing of the pores and the texture of my face.  Knowing it is SPF 30 is one of the best things about this product as I’ve always had trouble finding a nice moisturiser that doesn’t irritate my face with a high SPF factor.

But slight blurring and SPF aside, the thing that I really love most about Inivisiblur is that my make-up stays put all day long when I use it. It just seems to cling to my face and there’s no need for top ups throughout the day.

The product isn’t an everyday buy. At £55 it’s expensive compared to many high street brand products. But that’s the thing, it isn’t just another high street product that goes to waste. I use this everyday. I think I’ll get 4 months out of one tube, so at £12.50 per month (and saving money on not buying a primer and SPF moisuriser) it’s one I am definitely sticking with.

Nicola x