Friday, 30 September 2016

Grab Your Party Dresses - Exclusive Event Invite!

Oh Hai,

I wanted to let you know about an event I'll be hosting on Sunday that I'd love for you to come to.

As you may know, Stand Up To Cancer have launched a HUGE campaign this year to raise money to help fight an awful wicked disease. Stopping cancer is a cause very close to my heart so I was so happy to help and be involved.

This Sunday I will be hosting an exclusive Tea Dance for the readers and viewers of my blog and channels.

"Um, Louise, I've heard the words 'tea dance', but I'm not sure I know what that means!", you say? Don't worry, I'll explain.

It's glorious. It's vintage loveliness at it's best. A gorgeous dancing room at the Waldorf in central London, tea (or other drinks if you're like me and think tea tastes like tepid puddles), cakes, sandwiches and then, dancing. Like proper old school dancing. Can you dance? No? Me either. Stand Up To Cancer are providing a fabulous choreographer to teach us some steps and have a great time.

It's very limited number so I'll be able to have a proper chat and dance with you (if you want to, you might see my dance skillz and want to sit it out haha), as well as all the usual meet and greet things (selfies and signings galore!).

I should say, it's a very chill relaxed event. So, if you just want to come along for the fun and atmosphere but don't want to dance, that's totally cool. The main thing is just to have fun and raise money for a brilliant cause.

Links to tickets and info is HERE and I really hope to see you there!! Let's fight cancer, together.



Monday, 26 September 2016

"Bottle Feeding or Shit Tits"

Oh Hai, 

A story about breasts for you today. 

Saturday night was great. It was one of those nights that's supposed to be a glass of wine at your local that turns into an evening of laughs and memories and 'omg's remember when..'s'. So good. Except for one guy. I won't name and shame him because that'd be a low blow so let's just call him, 'Richard'. Shorten that to whatever you like. 

My friend Hazel came up from London and her and I were going to have a girlie drink and a natter. Nice. Then, I invited my guy friend and he had a couple of friends there already, one of them being 'Richard'. So, a group of 5. Me, Hazel, Guy Friend, his Matey and 'Richard'. Got it? Ok. 

(A really old snap of me holding a drink - I think Zoe took this at Fleur's house a million years ago! - because I didn't take any pictures whilst we were out. Also, my 'shit tits' are in this which I thought was appropriate.)

Wine flowed (room temperature rose Echo Falls for us classy ladies thank you) and spirits were high. Chit chat, 'bants' (I hate that word) and story telling. Lovely. Richard seemed friendly. Took an interest in Hazel's love of script writing, asked about Darcy because he too has a little girl from a relationship he is no longer in, joined in with general socialising. Fine. 

Onto the second bottle and the subject of religion crops up. I'm a Christian and happy to talk about that. I'm not happy to try and persuade or force anyone to feel that same way as me though. I'm also not going to 'prove God exists'. I can certainly talk about Him and debate it all but, crazily enough, my powers don't extend to summoning the Good Lord into the village pub on a Saturday night. Hazel, Guy Friend and Matey don't have a faith and were happy to go with the, 'You believe what you like and we'll believe what we like and we're all cool', vibe. Lovely. Richard though, no. He wasn't letting it go easily, not til we all knew he was a, in his words, 'militant Atheist'. A lot of placating from me, 'Look it's fine, I won't change my mind and I'm not trying to change yours' and then eventually a firm topic change from the others and we were back on track with light convo. Phewf. 

The night carried on in good fashion, all sat on stools around a high table and the general hub-bub of pub life carrying on around us. Later in the evening, Matey's wife joined us (loveliest lady ever, Hazel and I decided) and the subject of having babies came up (they aren't there yet). Wife said, 'as long as you help me through the night with bottle feeds!', in a jovial tone. Matey said, 'Nahhh, you'll be breastfeeding!', in a matching tone. 

All of this felt fine. It was their thing. Frankly, I don't care either way how that lady feeds her future babies, she can do whatever feels best to her. I know 'breast is best' and that there is a lot of evidence to support that, but if a lady chooses to bottle feed her baby, I think that's up to her. Basically, I support both. Darcy was breast fed for a week before we had some serious health issues and had a stay in hospital. After that, it was bottles for us. I think I would have liked to have breast fed for longer but nature had other ideas and I was actually quite relieved to now be able to share the load. 

So, back to last night. Wifey and Matey are having a quippy little chat and we're all sort of chuckling along. Then Richard, good old Richard, steps in with an absolute beauty, 'It's bottle feeding or shit tits!!!'. 

I think in his mind, he was doing Wifey a favour and trying to sway Matey to bottles so that he would have to help more in the night. I think he thought he was saying something good or useful. 

Rage bubbled inside me. I erupted. 'DID YOU JUST SAY 'BOTTLE FEEDING OR SHIT TITS'?? ARE MY TITS SHIT RICHARD???', I said that as I grabbed both my boobs and kind of aggressively shook them at him (#WineRegrets). He looked instantly awkward. 'What's wrong with you? Tits aren't there for your personal sexual pleasure! They're for babies!!! NO WONDER YOU'RE SINGLE!', bit (too) harsh past-tipsy-me, bit (too) harsh. Sorry Richard. 

The situation was placated by my guy friend and everyone calmed down and moved on. I apologised to Richard for being so shouty and tried to explain that I'm just really passionate about women's bodies. I'm sure if he had a blog, he'd be writing about me too haha. 

I've thought about it this morning. Should I have semi-yelled at a man I'd only met that night in a pub? Probably not. Do I still feel the same in the cold sobriety of the morning? Yes. Yes I actually bloody do. 

'It's bottle feeding or shit tits'. No. It's bottle feeding or breast feeding. It's feeding. It's loving your baby with all your heart and making choices that are best. If you can, breast feeding is so worth it. It's bonding and nourishing and doing what your body was beautifully and wonderfully designed for. Your body has just grown and delivered an infant and your breasts are (hopefully) full of milk to sustain it. 

(Found this on my FB from 2011. Darcy after a feed, note the bottles and my enormous drink and cereal since feeding meant you were basically trapped for 30 minutes at a time ha. I wish I'd had actual pictures of me breast and bottle feeding.)

If you are unable, for whatever reason, bottle feeding is available. When I bottle fed my tiny Darcy, I felt that bonding sensation. I cradled her in my arms, held the bottle to her lips and watched her drink. I was keeping her alive, watching her grow, cuddling her warm body, it was lovely. I'm sure her Dad felt the same when he fed her, a task we were able and happy to share. 

Feeding, however you do it, is lovely. We're clear on that. 

You know what's not lovely though? Having a man put his sexual preferences ahead of your maternal instinct, your dignity or your self worth and spouting off about it. 

Child birth and everything after is beautiful and worthwhile but also, for many women, quite distressing, upsetting and esteem knocking. Your tummy is wibbly, your vagina/stomach may well be in stitches, you've just gone through crazy pregnancy changes (more hair/less hair, stretch marks, swollen feet, varicose veins, weight gain, spotty skin, the list goes on) and all in all, physically, you're feeling exhausted. 

You need love and reassurance. You want to be told that you're incredible for bringing new life into the world, that you're glowing (yeah it's sweat and grease but a lie here and there doesn't hurt), that your partner has never loved you more, watching you care for that baby. 

You know what, your 'tits' might change. They might be bigger or smaller, they might hang lower, they might not feel as sensitive sexually. They might actually stay the exact same. Ultimately, whatever you do to them, they will still just be your breasts. A part of your body to be loved and cherished. 

They will not be, 'shit'. They just kept a human alive for goodness sake! 

My breasts are not meaty toys for a man to play with. Of course I like a sexual partner to enjoy them in the appropriate moments, but they don't exist for his soul pleasure. They exist for me, for my children. 

I'm disgusted that Richard felt that breast feeding equals 'shit tits' and I'm disgusted that he voiced his opinion so brashly. When I questioned him on it I said, 'Does the Mother of your little girl have shit tits??'. 'She bottle fed', was the reply. Lucky her I guess, lucky the man she once married didn't have the opportunity to make her feel like crap. 

If you are a lady reading who has breast fed or ever does, I salute you. It's hard!! It takes determination and strength and love. I also salute your tits, whatever shape or size or, lolz, 'shitness' they are, I think they're bloody fantastic. 

And, 'Richard', if you're reading this, my tits, despite their brief stint of supplying my baby with milk, are fucking fabulous



Edit - 12 hours after original post.
Richard has messaged. He, like a lot of us in our lives, made a flippant remark after a few drinks. He fully supports whatever way a woman wants to feed her baby and fully supported his wife in her choices with their child. He's glad this post has sparked support and love for women and their bodies and has apologised for any offence caused.

Personally, I of course still stand by the sentiment and message of this post. However, there are now no bad feelings towards Richard and I'm glad he is with us in our love of bodies, babies and self worth. Richard, apology accepted, you're alright! x

This post is dedicated to my good friend Clare who exclusively breast fed her baby girl, Hope,  for 5 months, with just one breast (the other wasn't playing ball). It was rough but she did it, happily and lovingly. I hope she never meets a 'Richard'. 

If you would like to pre-order my book, click HERE

Thursday, 22 September 2016

You're chill, I'm chill, We're all chill.

Oh Hai,

Yesterday I did the school run, came home, threw caution to the wind and made a video without so much as brushing my hair. HOW GLORIOUS. 

I'd half filmed it already with a vloggy trip to Homesense but I needed to complete the haul section. I'd put it off for over a week, waiting for the perfect moment to be fully made up or my house to be gleaming and then I realised- that's never going to happen. Never ever. 

'Sod it', I thought. I'll just film it now, as I am, just like this. 

So I did. And everyone was fine. In 1979, no-one died. If you know where that last line is from, we are soul mates. 

Anyway, less on my new feeling of school run-filming liberation and on to the video. 

Thanks for being chill about my new chill- long may it continue!

Have a great Thursday!



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