I was overwhelmed by all the messages and comments on my post about finally seeking help for anxiety. I have always been very open about the fact I suffer from it and so had lots of questions and messages of support from others over the past year or so… but I hope by finally seeking help I can help encourage others to do the same.

I first started feeling more anxious than normal in the year after I had Vivienne. It was more a sense of uncertainty. Like I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing day to day. Going from a full time job commuting into London and a routine of a week… to having no set plans, just a baby and a sense of freedom that we essentially could do or go wherever we wanted. A lovely freedom looking back but at the time it gave me this strange sense of uneasiness.

I got on top of it and when I started working again, and writing the blog it had all but gone.

Then after I had Margot it reared its ugly head again. So badly. We moved house when Margot was just a few months old and that certainly didn’t help either. Then Vivienne being so unwell before Christmas and our horrid scare. It had got to the point where evenings were spent practising breathing techniques and reading anxiety books instead of relaxing and enjoying time with my husband. In the day I could just be walking down the road pushing the buggy… and out of nowhere my chest would tighten and the dreaded anxiety take hold. I couldn’t put my finger on the triggers. It was so frustrating as I am the sort of person that likes to figure things out (a magicians worst nightmare at parties) and with my background in psychology I always thought I could ‘sort myself out’.

Meeting with a friend that had similar feelings and finally took herself off to the doctors was the final push I needed. I made an appointment – thought I was going to vomit in the waiting room, cried my eyes out in the doctors room and then walked away with a spring in my step. I did it, I asked for help and now I have it.

Personally I think mine is a mixture of hormones post pregnancy and from past traumatic experiences – the death of a best friend, Viviennes meningitis at 18 months old and pneumonia at Christmas, a traumatic birth with Margot and the stay in hospital afterwards… things I perhaps thought I was fine about at the time and had ‘dealt’ with but are still there, little worries in my head.

I start CBT next month and cannot wait. I want to learn how to control my anxiety and I want to get on and enjoy my life without the constant intrusive feelings of being anxious. I am always such a happy person, love my life and what I do, my children, husband and my family… and these anxious feelings are so unwelcome. I am looking forward to updating you soon on how they’re gone… and for all those who might feel the same I urge you to seek help too. You cannot regret it.

Ax

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When I told my own mother I was working with BABY Born she was very excited – she reminded me that the Zapf Creation dolls were my absolute favourite as a child. She would take me to Harrods in town to treat me and I remember them so well. I love the nostalgia one toy can bring, memories that come flooding back. I had a floppy bald baby (who still lives in my childhood bedroom at home) and ‘Kay’ who had the fullest head of hair and a big blunt fringe I used to comb everyday.

Vivienne’s BABY Born is a boy doll – she wasn’t too happy about that at first. Declared he a she and informed me that what was hidden inside his nappy was in fact just a ‘bottom’ and not the ‘willy’ I had told her it was. The clothes he came in were ripped off and a frilly pink dress put on. This was not influenced by me one bit, I find her gravitation to what have always been known traditionally as girls toys – so interesting. At a birthday party this weekend us mums stood round and commented that the boys ran straight to the construction area playing with diggers and anything that has wheels – the girls were dressing up and playing shops and princesses.

Well as always I want to make sure Vivienne (and Margot) always have a choice and if they choose pink and frilly so be it. At this age it’s all about learning through play. Making sense of the world around them, gaining confidence in everyday activities. Three year old Vivienne (like most children her age) bends and invents reality – I find it fascinating to watch. The little scenarios they come up with. The things they say – oh they have me in stitches I try to capture them on camera but it’s always out of nowhere.

All her previous experiences, things she hears us say, things she watches on TV and watches out and about – they’re all used to create this little imaginative world of hers. I love it so much – just watching from the side lines and listening to her play.

She’s been babysitting BABY born today and went off to Kingston with the car seat I don’t know how many times. Scolded the he/she baby for taking its nappy off, told it how much more dinner it must eat before pudding, and given it a lesson on using scissors (after its three apparently). She told me with Margot and her new baby she was very tired ‘it’s hard work mummy – I have two babies now’. Had me in stitches – too right Vivienne its hard work!

Vivienne has the BABY born interactive doll with nine different functions that make it more real for her… she literally feeds it in a highchair at the table, changes its nappy, dresses and undresses (continuously!) and bathes it. To say she is smitten would be an understatement.

BABY born

Ashley x

 

*This post was written in collaboration with BABY born. All photography, words and opinionsĀ are my own*

 

 

 

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Ok this Girl Crush Tuesday it is all about the woman that pushed me to get the fringe chop. True I don’t wear it down all the time, (its hard work styling it and my hair has a touch of the monica-abroad about it most of the time) BUT I just love the look when I do make the effort. And if there is anyone in the world that rocks a fringe better than this girl – please point me in their direction.

I warn you that if you are on the edge and considering a fringe this might be your push… be prepared. And if you’re not in the market for a fringe – hope you can just enjoy soaking up the inspiration.

Introducing the uber stylish Julia Stegner.

Remember the Chloe campaign with the two girls walking around Paris all seventies boho chic? That was Julia back in 2015. In fact I am pretty sure she’s been in more than one of the Chloe campaigns. She is a Chloe girl through and through. Yes she is a model so of course she’s going to be genetically blessed (I had to remind myself of this when I read we were the same age – eeeeek!) but its the casual way she wears her beauty. I loveĀ the natural wave of her hair, the grown out fringe, casual mum-style, splattering of freckles and the no-makeup makeup look. She is well and truly in my locker of style inspo.

 

Thank you so much for reading…

Ax

 

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When you think of love do you think of loving your husband, your boyfriend, children, family, friends. I bet loving yourself comes right down the pecking order, if you even think of it at all. So here’s your Sunday night reminder to take a little look at the way you talk to yourself, the way you criticise yourself, put yourself down and demotivate yourself. Would you ever speak that way to your best friend? If you wouldn’t why do it yourself?

Negative self-talk is so powerful – it can take you from a low mood to a foul mood in moments. However – being your own best friend can actually do the reverse in just seconds.

It takes practice and won’t come naturally but if you can make that your priority this week and then look back next Sunday I am sure you will feel better about yourself. More positive, happy, in a lighter mood. And the more you can manage to do it – the more that self love will become unconditional.

So this Sunday evening it’s time to start the practice… think about where you feel unhappy, and start from there… nurture yourself… look after yourself. After all – to be the best mum you can be – you have to put your own gas mask on first.

Ax

 

 

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I am always hesitant to write resolutions for New Years – instead I like to think of them as my goals for the year ahead. Creating a plan for life. Things I would like to achieve and ways in which I can get there. This year there really is one goal. A simple aim – to just go through the year with a content feeling of happiness. And as pinterest and instagram like to tell me – happiness is a choice – not a result. So I am flying into 2018 making a conscious choice to feel happy in each and every area of my life.

How to achieve that – I have broken it down into five categories of my life that I deem to be really important to me…

  1. Happy as a mother
  2. Happy as a wife
  3. Happy in myself
  4. Happy as a friend
  5. Happy in my work

To be happy as a mother I know I must be humble enough to realise I certainly haven’t got it mastered. Brave enough to keep trying. And thankful enough to see the grace in it all. Its not easy through the mess and chaos. And I will continue to always try and be ‘in the moment’ as I know thats when I am always at my best.

As a wife I know my husband gets put to the bottom of the pecking order now the girls are here. I want to dedicate time that is just his. Not me talking about the girls, or life admin, schools and bills… nor saying ‘hang on a minute babe I just need to post this picture’. But time that is blocked out (in my mind) as time for just us like it always used to be. I truly believe the best relationships are nurtured. And my husband is my rock he needs to be shown that every now and then.

To be happy in myself… comes complete body acceptance, accepting the dimples that once weren’t there, the stretching post-pregnancy skin that no longer sits taught across my stomach… the lines on my face… the marks of having a life and a damn good one at that. And to be truly happy I know I also need to be healthy (maybe just healthier)… less McDonalds and more fresh produce thats going to nourish me. Chocolate wine and gin are non negotiable. But regular exercise is on the list.

Since having children finding the time to see my absolute diamond friends has become really hard. As people have moved to Hackney and Bristol (you know who you are) and even those close return to work and our schedules no longer pair up. I am going to be business like in arranging ‘meetings’ because there really is no other joy like spending even an hour with one of your best friends in the world, talking serious or nonsense, laughing, hugging, reminiscing, putting the world to rights. I think everyone needs that time.

And lastly being happy in work. A little tricker as I think I really need to work out where I would like to be this time next year. Perhaps thats a whole other post. But I know the thing that makes me the happiest with my blog is getting messages from people who follow my stories and read my Instagram posts. When I know I have made someone laugh or helped them find the perfect patent boot, cheered them up when they’re having a grey day or just helped them realise they’re not alone in this crazy motherhood journey.

I hope maybe this will help you think about what you want to achieve from the next year. Just breaking it down into areas and what you could do to get yourself there.

I’d love to hear what you’re planning and how you’re planning it.

Thank you so much for reading,

Ashley

x

 

 

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