Thursday, 21 September 2017

Happy 8th Blogday!

Oh Hai,

This morning I woke up in a luxurious hotel in London. Not a bad way to start the day. I'd been in London the day before to shoot some footage for HelloWorld and had intended to attend a premiere that evening, so, booked a lovely hotel to primp and preen in before walking the red carpet in a floor length cream and sequined maternity dress. The. Glamour. 

Well, the shoot ran on, I missed the premiere, I got to my hotel tired and frazzled, they noted this, upgraded me to a suite, I put on my over sized asda pj's, ordered some tomato soup room service and was asleep by 9.30pm. The. Glamour. Ha!! 

This sort of experience is definitely the stuff of 2015, the year of glitz, but not so much of 2017. I'm enjoying the novelty.

Thank you @Amy_balabil, twitter.

2016/2017, my Sept-Sept 8th year of blogging has been blissful. I talked two years ago about my heart breaking and life crumbling, one year ago about building myself up and healing and now, life is good. Life is so, so good. 

I was in a taxi last night with a close friend and he talked about a great heart ache and how although at the time it felt as though the world was falling apart, it needed to to give him what he has now. That resonated with me because I can see that I needed to walk through those hard years to be in the year I'm in and I'm so crazy grateful.

Thank you Grumble Designs, insta. 

September is my favourite month of the year. Despite having been out of full time education for 11 years now, I still seem to run on an academic calendar and for me, September means a fresh start and new beginnings. 

Last September I was at the beginning of a new relationship and feeling great. My days were filled with getting to know an amazing man, making an effort (you know how at the start you try extra hard to look nice haha) and slowly introducing Darcy into the mix.

Thank you @bek_jw, twitter. 

Lucky for me, Darcy took to Liam from the off. He was and is great with her. We were quite strategic and made sure to never rush, never do gifts (I've had step parents buy my love and know it doesn't work) and never push and it worked. Liam was everything I had hoped I would find in a man and as you all know, it's still going very well. 

Professionally this blog year has picked up too. 2014/15 was amazing, 15/16 I needed a break but 16/17, I have found my stride again. I am loving my content, loving my slightly older audience, loving being in the 'mum crew' (ha, cringiest term ever) and just really enjoying, for the most part, internetting. As well as making videos and general social media, this has been the year I wrote and released my first fiction into the foray and it was received with rave reviews and a healthy spot at Number One in the Sunday Times Book Chart. Can't complain at that! Added to that I've had TV appearances, another stint on Radio One, worked with fantastic brands, articles I've written published in magazines and I'm currently working on the new and set to be incredible show, HelloWorld.

Thank you @DeelyBopper, twitter.

As well as internet life, my real-life life is looking pretty sweet. My circle of local friends has expanded what with a house move (the new neighbours are ace), I've started being more involved with things going on at Darcy's school (I'll never say no to a parent/teacher cheese and wine night!) and our never ending schedule of playdates has also been a joy for me as I grown so close to some of the parents. What's even more lovely is that Liam has too and we have a wonderful social group going on. 

Something I haven't written about in this post yet about my wonderful new life is the wonderful new life I'm growing! I'm currently 25 weeks pregnant with my second baby girl, expected January! Liam and I had talked quite openly about wanting to have children and were happily surprised to find we were able to have one so easily. So many of my friends try to conceive for so long and so it doesn't escape me how lucky we are. 

It's been a year of change. I'm in a new relationship, I'm in a new house, I've taken on new roles in lots of the things I do, but one thing that hasn't changed over all these years is you. 

Every single time I have asked for your support or needed a pick-me-up, one or more of you has been there. And I mean EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. To people that don't immerse themselves in this crazy world, they might thing, 'nah, it's just a stranger, it doesn't mean anything', but oh my God to to me it does. I have loved celebrating with you, sharing with you, sometimes crying with you. This community is one of my best relationships and I'm never unaware that without you, there'd be no us. So, as ever, thank you. For everything. Always.

Every year I finish with the sentence from the year before. 

In 2016 I said -

"Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community, sixth year, sadly, a broken heart and seventh year, strength. What do you think will come next?"

This year I will add - 

Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community, sixth year, sadly, a broken heart, seventh year strength and sixth year, love. What do you think will come next?

Love. I think the theme of this year has to be it. Love from Liam, the love Darcy has for our new family unit, our love for this new baby coming in 15 weeks, love for our growing social circle and the love I have received from you. Love wins. 

I want to also say a big thank you to all the people who submitted art work for this post. I couldn't choose all of it but have loved each piece and hope you do too. 

So on we go into our ninth year. Crazy. I'd love you to tell me in the comments when you found our community, what you like about it and a little about yourselves. Share the love!



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The First Trimester

Oh Hai,

I've got 15 minutes before I have to dash out the door to collect Darcy from school and rather than do the 85 jobs I have on my list (ring the solicitors, load the washing machine, open the post etc), I thought I'd write this blog post!

With the end of the first trimester in sight (we had our official NHS 12 week ultrasound on Monday which gave us an official due date of January 1st!) I wanted to write up my thoughts and feelings on how it had been. Partly because I know when you find our you're expecting, your favourite thing to do is read anything and everything on the matter and also because I want to look back on this and have captured the moments.

I'll start by saying my first trimester has been a healthy one and that's the most important thing. I had a small bleed at week 11 which felt frightening (should I talk about this further or is it TMI?) but after an emergency scan I was reassured and baby is fine.

I have suffered a lot less than many women. My friend's Marie and Reb both had HG and so comparing my experience and calling it 'bad' feels quite wimpy!

Here's how I felt -

Initially, very overwhelmed. Although we'd discussed and planned to start trying for a baby in Summer, by Spring we were pregnant and I was shocked how quickly it had happened. I felt unprepared and struggled to wrap my mind around the concept. That sounds so silly considering I knew I wasn't being careful with contraception, I knew we were going to try in May and I knew I wanted a baby but still, I felt overwhelmed. A few weeks on though and I'm fully onboard!

Tired. OMG the tiredness hasn't been like, 'oh I'd love a little snooze later', but like, 'shit me I might literally lay down on the floor of Tesco and sleep for 4 hours in a minute'. Thankfully I work from home and Darcy is in school so I've been able to take plenty of rest hours but I can't imagine how challenging it must be for people who work in out-of-the-home environments or Mum's of pre-schoolers. I tip my hat to you ladies!! I still don't feel like I'm back to my pre-pregnancy energy but I'm not napping every day and I'm hopeful that'll get better.

Sick. Whilst I've rarely actually been sick, I feel sick every. single. day. Morning til about 2pm I'm fit as a fiddle and then come the afternoon it's game over. By evening I can't be in or near the kitchen because the smell of everything tips me over the edge and I can't remember the last time I fed the cats their stinky meat pouches! (Don't worry, Liam feeds them!). It's the least fun feeling sick. It sucks the joy out of everything and leaves you grumpy and sloth like. I've noticed it's eased off a bit this last week so touch wood that continues please. Ginger biscuits and regular little dry snacks have helped. I've also been drinking so, so, so much water which I think has helped too.

Hormonal. Sometimes I have felt so low for a few days in a row and googled pre-natal depression because it's so unlike me to feel so down. I think the nausea and tiredness held me back in day to day life and that sucked the joy out of things, making me feel super deflated. I couldn't seem to get any buzz or zizz and just felt quite lonely and grey. I don't think I realised how rubbish I felt until I didn't feel like that anymore because although now I still have moments of anger/sadness that feel much stronger than usual, I don't feel as grey. Liam has been a saint through my moods. God bless him.

As far as pregnancy symptoms go, that's pretty much where I'm at. I've had a few little things like bigger boobs or going to the loo a million times a day but they haven't seemed as news worthy as the ones above.

In all of these things, the things that have helped have been just taking it slow. Boring and tedious but I've found 'pushing through' leads to even more exhaustion, tears and set backs the next day. I'm really thankful to have such a supportive partner in Liam and have felt very much like I'm in a team and not doing it all alone which has been so, so appreciated.

I won't be doing weekly updates on my youtube channel but I might keep you updated a bit more over here if you are interested? I've really enjoyed blogging about pregnancy so I'm sure you'll see a lot more from me over here, do let me know what you'd like to read about!



Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Baby Pentland Is On The Way!

Oh Hai,

The most likely scenario here is that you've come over from my YouTube video and already know the news but in case you're new - I'm pregnant!! 

I wanted to write a blog post on it in case I forgot to talk about all the things in the video and to document this, it's quite the moment isn't it?

Seven years ago this Summer, in 2010, I found out I was pregnant with Darcy. She was a planned baby with my then-Husband and after a good pregnancy but traumatic delivery, in April 2011 my beautiful little girl was born. 

With the memories of a difficult birth and the breakdown of my marriage looming, I vowed not to have any more children. I was pretty set in that. 

Over the years lots changed. Business boomed, Darcy bloomed and I learnt how to run my life as a single Mum. I thought about having more children and thought it would be nice but didn't think I'd meet the right man or be in the right frame of mind to start a new chapter of life. 

Until Liam. 

Liam walked into my life last Summer, quite unexpectedly. For the first time in my single life, I wasn't excessively looking or dating with any intent. I'd decided I'd be alone forever but just enjoy drinks with hot men here and there and flirt mercilessly, haha. 

Turns out, Liam flipped that idea on his head and over the year, we've found we fit perfectly and have built a wonderful life together. My deep down hope was to find a man who would love me and accept and respect Darcy. What I've found in Liam is so, so, so much more. Hurrah for love and for good men!

From the off we talked about having a baby at some point in our future and had planned to start seriously thinking about it this Summer. At the end of April though, after feeling completely exhausted on a photoshoot and suddenly realising the dates (honestly it was like in a film where suddenly it hits you), I took a test and hey presto, that Summer baby was already cooking! An early blessing!

We. Are. Thrilled. 

We waited quite a while to tell Darcy (she's SO excited, more on that later) and clearly, have waited a little bit longer to tell the rest of the world but I'm getting to a point where I won't be able to hide it at events much longer and with the book tour coming up, I thought I should let the cat out the bag! Also, I'm desperate to make baby-related content! I want to do product reviews, share my tales, hear about yours, shop (me oh my I can't wait to shop for it) and just yanno, be open!!

Baby Pentland is set to be a much welcomed addition to the family, making his or her appearance January 2018!

I'm a Mother of TWO!!! 

I hope you will be happy for us all as we embark on this adventure of blending our family, giving Darcy a baby brother or sister and becoming parents together. If you have any Q's, pop them in the comment section below and I'll pick a few to A in a future blog post. 

Thank you always for all your support, I'm going to need it over the next few month- pregnancy is hard work haha!



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Glossybox features Wilde Like Me!!! Say whhhaatt???

Oh Hai,

Thank you for all your support on my last post - an update before an update, you guys are seriously the best. 

Today I wanted to show you something really freaking exciting (to me and hopefully you!) because it's a bit of a full circle moment. 

(Each box is filled with a selection of beauty and lifestyle samples. This edition included - Sanctuary Ultimate Salt Scrub Sachet, 111 Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel, Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo, Sleek Makeup Power Pump Lip Crayon and Batiste Stylist XXL Plumping Powder)

Back in 2011 (have any of you been around for that long??), I was invited to a blogger pr event for a brand called Glossybox. They were a beauty subscription service you could sign up to and each month a pastel pink (sometimes changes for seasons or special months) box pops through your door full of samples, vouchers and loveliness. They hosted an event one evening on the London Eye and Zoe and I travelled down for a night of fun and laughs and to celebrate the glory that was Glossybox. 

Six years later and I'm in one of those little pink boxes! Sort of! 

As you'll all know, my new book, Wilde Like Me, is out June 29th and thrillingly, I have collaborated with Glossybox to have a sample of my book (the first couple of chapters) in their parcel of goodies! How cool is that? 

(Oooeeee my book!!)

As well as my book there is a host of beauty bits that I'm sure you'll love. I've listed them above but I'll also talk about them here because who doesn't want to chat beauty more often??

Sanctuary Ultimate Salt Scrub Sachet - This is actually a product I'm going to use tonight because it's been a big week and we're seeing friends this weekend. You can either use it as a quick scrub in the shower or let the oils sink into your body as you soak in the bath (that's the one I'm going for!) and then you'll be left exfoliated and glowy!

111 Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel - As I get a bit older and continue wearing contact lens for longer than I probably should each day, I find myself constantly reaching for eye products to give me that fresh-awake look. Super excited to let this work it's wonders!!

Manna Kadar Cosmetics Sheer Glo - If you know me, you'll know I'm a huge fan of highlighted luminescant skin so this is absolutely something I'm glad to recieve in my box. It's summer too so you could use a dab of this down your skins when you're wearing skirts to give your legs an extra gorgeous sheen. 

Sleek Makeup Power Pump Lip Crayon - I'm a long time lover of Sleek and at one point collected ALL the palettes so I have high hopes for this little number and feel confident that I'll like it. 

Batiste Stylist XXL Plumping Powder - Big hair, don't care? This is one of those powders that you sprinkle onto the roots of your hair, massage in and it gives you amazing lift and volume. Personally I think the bigger the better with hair so this product certainly gets my vote!!

Lucky for us, Glossybox have offered readers of my blog a a voucher code to redeem 50% off their first box plus a free beauty gift. This offer is valid until the end of June 2017 with one per customer and UK only. Simply enter LOUISE50 at the checkout and the box of joy plus a big sneak peak of my book are yours!! 

Glossybox will also be hosting a Facebook Live broadcast on Wednesday the 14th of June and there will be an opportunity to win a signed copy of Wilde Like Me - there are 10 available so you're in with a good chance - hurrah! 

As the book hype revs up and more and more of my favourite people and brands get on board, I feel more and more buzzy with excitement. I've already had so many people tag me in their insta flat lays of the box which is lovely- you guys take some gorgeous instagrams, oooeee!

Do let me know you order or already have the box and do let me know what you think of Wilde Like Me!!



Saturday, 3 June 2017

An Update before An Update

Oh Hai, 

Guess who isn't going to be winning consistent blogger of the year any time soon? Hi, yes, it's me. *Takes a bow*. 

Sorry, so sorry. Things have been, well, that's what this post is all about. People say, 'I've been so busy' quite flippantly, myself definitely included, but honestly, things have been so bloody busy. 

That's not to say I never have a single free hour or so to dedicate to my blog but just that I have been busy re-distributing my time. This year and last I have been forcing myself to do something quite shocking every single day- shut. my. laptop. I know, this is f*cking crazy but let me tell you ladies (and 3% of men google analytics tells me that reads), it's wonderful. Actually using my eyes to look at things and be part of the world around me that isn't digital has been great. Great for me, great for those around me and great for my mind. 

As well as dancing about in real life using my eyes to look at non-screen things, I've been beavering away (hate that phrase, makes me think of oral sex- 'beaver') on a few other things so I thought I'd take the opportunity to tell you about them now. Next week there'll be another update on something else pretty wild, but that can wait.

1. I moved house! I'm sure if you follow my vlogs you'll know this but I now inhabit a different building each day. The building itself is an upgrade on the previous in terms of size and location but in terms of love, I'm not there with it yet. My old house still has a piece of my soul. I made so many memories there and most of them amazing. I started this blog there, I bought my baby home from hospital to it, I had a million parties, guests to stay, cosy nights, christmas trees, paint jobs (lets never discuss the time I painted the door blue, hated it and painted it back to white again) and laughs. It was a happy home, the happiest home I've ever had actually. 

The time came though to spread out, I wanted more space, I wanted something solid to invest in and the time was right for a change. In the new house, I'm about 80% unpacked but the final 20% is all the sentimental crap you carry with you through your life (I have my late Mother's wedding dress, as well as mine from my now divorced marriage- where on earth do you put things like that?!) and finding homes for all of it and putting your stamp on the place. I think because I haven't built a lot of memories there or put my stamp on it yet that I'm struggling to bond with it. Does that make sense or do I sound like I'm losing the plot? It's a time thing I think. You can't rush the accumulation of knick-knacks and junk. You can't just buy it all either because that's not the same. You need to pick it up bit by bit on days out or delirious 3am online shopping binges with memories and love attached. It's a luxurious 'problem' to have, so I'll move on.

2. I've travelled. Since we last spoke here (aside from my tour update) I've been to Malaga with Liam's friends and family for his 40th birthday, New York with Liam again for his 40th birthday (you're only 40 once right??), Disneyland Paris with Darcy and about 45 little day trips for various things. When I compare this to last year where every other week I was dashing off meeting the Pope or partying at Cannes Film Festival (yes I know, I'm exceptionally cool), it's not that crazy but it's felt rather full on. Life this year is so much more homey than last. 2016 was a game of juggling motherhood and dating, it was like I was leading 2 separate lives. This year it's very family, cosy, homey. It's nice. Perhaps soon I'll buy a frilly apron so I can bake organic wholewheat protein cookies whilst managing my mini empire- how very modern. 

3. Book, book, book. I've only mentioned this about six hundred and forty five times but I WROTE A SODDING BOOK. The book itself isn't sodding but I say this so often I think I might tattoo it to my forehead haha. Before embarking on this task, I thought I knew everything I need to. How wrong I was!! I wrote a non-fiction on 2015 and so felt I knew the score and everything that came with it. Fiction though is a whole different ball game and I knew from the off I wanted to have full ownership and control so that meant buckling down and working. It's been a steep learning curve (and there were times I certainly wished I hadn't started) but the sense of joy and pride from finishing and knowing I've given it my all is immense. This week we (Liam, myself and my publishing team) drove to Diss on the east coast to see it being printed into an actual book. I've mentioned on instagram but I'll repeat it here- it's absolutely fascinating how they put a book together, so much skill and craft and finesse goes into each book. Next time I'm in Waterstones, I'll take a moment to think about how much goes into it all. Wilde Like Me (my book) is officially out on June 29th so this month will be full of work towards promoting it and making sure it sells well. Fingers crossed!! You can pre-order yours HERE

As I mentioned above, there's a bit more to tell but I thought I'd leave it with these three first and then commit a whole blog post to the other project next week- I'm sure you'll like it! 

Feels nice to write over here. If there's anything you think I should focus on in the blog world, let me know because I'm a little lost and in need of a push in the right direction. 

See you next week, 



Thursday, 25 May 2017

I'm Touring The UK for Wilde Like Me!!

Oh Hai, 

Long time no see! The last few months of my life have been big. Good big but BIG. I finished the book, Wilde Like Me, I'd been writing for what felt like an eternity, I moved house and my boyfriend Liam moved in with me. Big things eh?

The house move went smoothly although two months later I still have boxes dotted in every room, the boyfriend move went even smoother (he's pretty easy to live with and cooks a lot so there's nothing not to enjoy there!) and finishing the book in April was a big achievement. 

Between April and June 29th the book becomes and actual book. My A4 transcript pages get turned into book pages at a printer, early copies are sent out to select people, I go to a million events to promote it, we plan a book tour to meet as many readers as possible and essentially I spend my day hoping and praying it's well received. So far we've had some ah-mazing quotes from people like Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Giovanna Fletcher. As you can imagine, that was such a boost. 

Like many authors do, I've decided to do a book tour around the UK to celebrate my new (book) baby and meet some of the readers who'll be enjoying it. In previous years I've done the traditional sit-at-table-and-sign thing but this year I wanted to do something a bit more. At each venue I'll be either giving a reading, answering any questions, signing your copies, enjoying cocktails (yes, a Wilde Like Me cocktail has been created and will be served at some venues!!) and just being a bit more casual about everything. The event is ticketed and spaces are much more limited because, perhaps selfishly, I want to actually experience the meeting of each person and have a proper author-reader evening, rather than a rushed, fleeting experience. Although that means not as many people can come, I think it means the events are FAR better. Quality over quantity and all that. 

With all that in mind, if you would like to come along and having an evening with me (lucky you haha), ask anything at all about the story, the characters, the process, have your copy signed and just have a really fun evening, THIS link will take you over to the Waterstones site to book a ticket. 

If you can't make it to an event but want to keep up with all the happenings ('all the happenings'?? Am I suddenly very middle aged and trying to talk 'cool to the youths'?? Good god), you can sign up to my official newsletter which goes out once a fortnight (so as not to clog your inbox). It's always full of exclusive info and is the place to see/read things first before I post them on any other social medias. You can be part of that, HERE

If NONE of that floats your boat and you just want a copy of the book to land on your doorstep at the crack of dawn on June 29th, HERE is the link to pre-order your copy. It's currently on sale too- yay!

I'm so looking forward to practically living in the book for the summer and hearing what you all think of it as you read. See you there!



PS- Don't forget to follow the #WildeLikeMe hashtag on twitter for competitions and fun stuffs too! So much going on!! 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Flying Long Haul With Children! TIPS

Oh Hai, 

If you follow me on instagram (if you don't, what? why?), you'll know that I recently took Darcy out to Disney World in Orlando and that obviously, it involved a long haul flight. 

I've had a few messages and comments asking how I find this or if I have any special tricks for getting through it all so I thought a blog post might be apt. 

We're really lucky and have had to opportunity to travel long haul quite a few times. In fact, in her five years, Darcy has been on ten foreign adventures, so that's twenty flights, eighteen of which have been long haul across the Atlantic to either Orlando or Seattle (both over 8 hours away). 

I've picked up a few little tips and techniques but what I will say is that every child is different and you know best how to care for your own. Just because something works for one mother, doesn't necessarily mean it will work well for another. 

We first started flying when Darcy was 2 years old. My whole family flew out to Orlando on a virgin flight sat in economy. It was really cool to have three rows of people I knew and loved and also meant that Darcy had plenty of people to play with and cuddle, so that definitely helped. I took a lot of small toys on that trip, a really really lot. I think I had about three sandwich bags full of little toys for her to play with. I bought them all new so that she'd be super interested in them and spend a bit longer with each one- that's your goal here- occupy as long as possible! 

On subsequent flights I've taken the toys and added things in like stickers (children live for stickers, any stickers, all the stickers), crayons (although I've found she's bored of these now and would rather feel a bit more superior and use a biro) and, at the grand old age of five, her all time love, the iPad. I know we're all for lowering screen time and letting littles have golden experiences like milking cows and running freely through meadows of blooms but let's face it, a bit of screen time on a flight isn't going to give them brain rot but it is going to give you your sanity. We have a Leap Frog tablet with loads of non wifi needing games loaded onto it but you could always download a few apps to your iPad or phone before you fly. 

(Did you know one woman can drag three cases, wear a backpack and keep a child in check all by herself- women are crazy strong!)

Most long haul planes will have little TV screens in the seats- take advantage of these! It's Darcy's dream day when I say, 'you know what, sit down with a blanket and just stare at a film for a few hours, I don't mind' and on the flight, I'm fine with it. Once we flew out to Seattle with Delta and the screens didn't work, at all. That's 9 hours in small chairs with a four year old who wants to know if we're nearly there yet. I hadn't bought the iPad thinking, 'she won't want that if there are tv's available' and I regretted it all the way across the ocean. 

Snacks are your friends. Most planes serve food, drinks and snacks throughout the flight and most of the time it's really quite nice. Sometimes though, you're little cherub decides they hate everything, even peas which they liked a lot the day before but now, no, they detest them. They also now detest chicken and pasta and bread and salad and perhaps even orange juice. Cool. Hopefully this won't happen to you but on the off chance it does, wouldn't you be glad that you bought a plain cheese sandwich and a banana from Pret before you boarded the flight? You might even be glad you bought those four kit kat chunkys that you can eat feverishly in the toilet every hour so that you can cope. Buy some snacks. If you don't eat them, you've wasted a tenner. If you do, you're both happy people and that's a risk worth taking. 

Dress your bambino is comfortable clothes. That Baby K trouser one piece is adorable but it's not going to be so fun when you have to wrangle them out of it to almost nudity for them to have a wee in the very small loo on board. Leggings, tee shirt, jumper and trainers are my usual go to and can be de-layed if you're arriving somewhere hot and you've packed a pair of shorts. Always take a spare set of clothes incase there's an accident (from them, from someone else or turbulence) and if it's a night flight, consider jimjams- nobody will judge you, I've done it quite a few times and it's great because they're automatically dressed for sleep and it helps them nod off- yay, wine and film time for you!!

(This was just before we discovered that the tv's on the plane didn't work on our flight.)

This is very luxurious and I'm aware not for everyone but we have flown in a variety of different 'classes'. I don't really like the term classes because it sounds a bit elitist but that's what airlines call them. We've flown business with British Airways (very nice but make sure you book a child's meal otherwise your little one is going to be eating a herb encrusted stick of asparagus and a perfectly marinated piece of salmon), and premium economy with Virgin. We've also travelled economy with Delta, British Airways and Virgin. I have to say, I don't think the seating arrangements makes any difference to a child's behaviour. All they give a monkeys about is the TV, snacks and toys. However, I'll be blunt, that level of comfort made a big difference to me. A lot of our trips have been just me and the child and to be able to skip lines, sit in a spacious, enclosed (business has little walls and windows), environment with everything easily on hand makes life lovely. If you're travelling solo with a child and you can upgrade (I know, it's extortionate), just consider it. 

(Do you know how fun it is to lug your giant car seat across the world? Zero fun, that's how much, zero). 

One of the biggest things I have done for each and every flight (even a 2 hour squeezeyjet flight to Spain) is talk, talk, talk about it before hand. The more you talk about it, the more familiar they are with the concept and the less of a shock everything is going to be when the board or when you ask them to do something. When she was very little, we practised sitting nicely with legs out and hands on knees (sounds tedious but she was game for it during the flight so I was glad of all the, 'shall we play aeroplanes?') and we now talk about the plan for the flight. So, 'This flight is going to be so fun! We're going to watch a film, have some lunch, have a nap and then when you wake up, you can watch another film or play with the toys'. I find that if Darcy has a brief outline of how things are going to play out, she's much more able to behave. I get it, I like to know where I am with things too. 

I hope some of these tips have been useful to you. Ultimately, all you can do is do your best. Give them something to sip or suck for taking off and landing (ears and pressure don't always mix) and cut yourself some slack- it's hard work parenting in such a squished environment, nobody is going to judge you if your child isn't a perfect angel all the time and you don't need to feel fretful about it. 

Sit back, put their headphones on and enjoy your flight!



PS- Leave your tips below- I'm sure they'll be helpful to everyone else as well as me! 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Feel Alive | Motivational Monday | 2017 #6

Oh Hai,

I'm writing this post on a Saturday, sat by a pool in the sunshine, waiting for my transfer to the airport. I thought I'd get ahead of the game since Monday is set to be busy- school run starts again (sob), I have a video to film and edit and no doubt I'll be battling with the joys of jet lag. 

So, in advance, merry Monday to you! A new week, a new slate, so many possibilities. 

This trip has been wonderful. Ten full days with my boy and my babe. I've been to Disney World a number of times, my family holidayed here when I was younger and every time I'm in Orlando for work I try to make a day of it so I'm no stranger to the magic of it all and I love it. I don't think I'll ever be bored or ever not fancy a trip here. 

When I'm here, I feel good. I feel the sun on my legs, I wear my brightest lipstick, I skip a bit when I walk. I started saying things like, 'I wish I could feel like this every day', but the reality is, I can. 

No I can't have Mickey Mouse and churros every day but I can wear my bright lipstick and I can put on music and dance about with Darcy in the mornings. I can eat dinner round the table with my favourites and I can take time away from my laptop/general life duties to just listen to my Daughter tell me all the bibbits and bobbits whirring round her head. 

This week, take a few moments to think about what makes you feel good. Work out a way to incorporate it into your life and just do it. I plan on having a dance party with Darcy round the house or watching a film with her (actually watching it, not scrolling through instagram whilst she watches). 

I think going to those places, doing those things, taking that time, makes all the difference to our wellbeing and should be celebrated!

Happy living!!



Monday, 6 February 2017

Wonderful Things | Motivational Monday | 2017 #5

Oh Hai, 

As I write this I'm making lists and packing for an adventure this week. So, merry Monday! A brand new week to do something amazing! I'm excited for this one. On Wednesday we fly to Orlando, Florida for a trip to Disney World, my favourite place on earth. 

I saw this quote on Pinterest and knew it was perfect for this week. Here's why-

Exactly one year ago my life was very, very different. I was just starting a new relationship that wasn't going to last very long, I was trudging through with a horrible divorce, I felt burnt out professionally and I worried constantly about my Daughter. I was so highly strung that every little thing concerned me and I would lay awake fretting for the future. I never felt safe. 

Today life is much changed. My legal business is done and dusted, my heart is healed, I'm buzzing with creative ideas, I feel confident and calm about my Daughter and I'm in a happy, healthy, stable relationship with a good man. 

I didn't do anything profound or make any huge changes in 2016, I just let time and God do it's thing and wonderful things unfolded. I know this sounds severe but truly, a few years ago I didn't think I would ever find this sort of joy and yet, here I am, sitting on my candy pink sofa in a house I feel safe in, blogging about my beautiful life. 

If you are in a place where you feel like things are grim or you can't see a way it could ever be happy, have faith. I didn't think it would happen and it has. It will happen to you. You just have to wait and be open and then one day, it will be there. 

Sending anyone that needs them great big giant hugs!

Things are going to get very Disney on the blog for the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes pealed for that and I'll see you soon!



Monday, 30 January 2017

No Rain, No Flowers | Motivational Monday | 2017 #4

Oh Hai,

This past week I've been feeling like I'm pushing water uphill. I'm glad for it to be Monday and to start afresh with renewed vigour and resolve. 

Right now I'm working every day and not really having a whole lot of play. Like everyone, if I could have an eternal summer of fun and frolics I would but, like everyone, that's not a sustainable life for me. 

I saw today's quote and thought it was apt. There are rewards for hard work and I'm looking forward to the flowers at the end of this. 

If you are working your arse off for something at the moment, whether is educational, professional or personal, stick at it! We'll enjoy picking our flowers all the more for it!!



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Glitter Weekly #3

Oh Hai, 

I was thinking about what I would write on my blog this week and mulling a few ideas round in my head. A lot of the topics I wanted to discuss kept being mentally crossed of the in-my-head list because I felt like they weren't very original. 

I wanted to talk about how easy it is to have your confidence knocked, I wanted to talk about how important it is to surround yourself with inspiring people, I wanted to talk about how you should make time for yourself and thought about talking about some of the things that happened last week. 

All of those things were in my weekly vlog that goes up each Sunday at 9am GMT. I'm going to start popping my videos here again (providing the embedding coding works, I've had tech issues with it before) and then those of you who don't subscribe to my channels will have something to catch up on over here! If the embedded video doesn't work on your device, you can click HERE to be taken directly to it. Why not subscribe whilst you're there? 

I hope you're all having amazing weeks! I've been pretty ill so far but hopefully on the mend and will still have a weekly video going up on Sunday morning for you over on Sprinkle of Chatter (my secondary YouTube Channel) - woo!!



Monday, 23 January 2017

Better An Oops | Motivational Monday | 2017 #3

Oh Hai!

Merry Monday to you! The best day of the week is Monday because it's a brand new chance to achieve everything you want and a fresh slate. 

Last week I did a few new and brave things. I went for an appointment to see if I'm eligible for laser eye surgery (I am! Yay! I'll be having it done in March!), I had afternoon tea with Sophie Kinsella to talk books, babies and more AND this weekend I went to Spain for a night (more on this later)!

I'm trying out bravery. I'm trying out meeting amazing authors and having LASERS beamed into my eyeballs and jetting off with Darcy even though travel unsettles me because I've wasted so, so, so much time not letting myself go for things. My life is pretty amazing but I hold back a lot. Imagine what I could do if I didn't?

Imagine what you might do this week if you just said, 'better and oops than a what if?'. Think of the fun you'd have or things you'd accomplish!

This week I urge, when faced with a choice, say our Motivational Monday quote to yourself, give it a go and see what happens! I'd be interested to hear in the comments how you got on!

I hope last week gave you the inspiration to keep going with those resolutions you made nearly 4 weeks ago- I'm so far sticking to mine but it's not always that easy!!

Let me know in the comments and I'll see you soon!



Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Getting Away from it All | Hotel Escape

Oh Hi,

'A mini break means true love' - Bridget Jones. 

Louise Pentland_The Grove

This weekend Liam and I threw our essentials in a bag, jumped in the mini and headed to a country spa hotel for twenty four hours of peace. It. Was. Glorious. 

We arrived at about 3pm Saturday and were back on the motorway by 1pm the next day but honestly, those few hours felt so long and I felt so refreshed. 

Darcy was on a Daddy Weekend, Liam had no work and I felt like I could take mine with me (yes, I work on 'holidays' but only because I love what I do and it's a form of pleasure for me) so we decided to book a night at The Grove. I've stayed there a few times before for work events but never just for fun and since I like things that are familiar, this seemed like a good fit. 

Louise Pentland_The Grove
(I loved the luxury feel to the rooms, particularly all the soft lighting, so perfect for unwinding.)

We booked one of the mansion rooms (they have those, which are a little more pricey but more unique and special, OR you can stay in the Wing rooms which are also nice but don't have that boutique feel to them) and decided to just do all the things we love, with no agenda or expectations. How perfect. 

Louise Pentland_The Grove
(Dinner -almost- in bed with a movie. Also, the best onion rings I've had in a while)

I had a bath in the giant tub with the most gorgeous complimentary toiletries (I think we actually took a couple home and I'm never that person), we ordered such delicious room service food (try the Raspberrettos!), watched a film (I never sit through a whole film because life gets in the way but I was so relaxed from my bath, I did), lounged about reading our books, talked til the small hours and fully, fully relaxed. 

Louise Pentland_The Grove
(Fun fact - This was the second bath I had on Saturday, I also had one at home before we left. I'm obsessed with good baths. I might give up everything and travel the world in search of the most beautiful tubs I can find.)

At home, even when Darcy's in bed and the day is done, I never completely set everything down and unwind, but here, maybe because none of my lifey distractions were around, I did. I don't think I realised how much I needed to do that until I did. 

The next morning we stuffed ourselves with maybe the best breakfast ever and then went back up to the room to lay on the bed and carry on reading our books- we're so old before our time haha!

Louise Pentland_The Grove
(There's something special about just being surrounded by perfect interiors are lovely little touches like fluffy folded flannels and a gently lit mirror.)

After checkout we'd planned to have a walk round the grounds or perhaps stay for afternoon tea but rain was pouring and we felt happy we'd enjoyed enough so decided to head home so I could crack on with my #RobinWilde writing deadlines. I'm quite glad that we only touched the surface of things to offer (there's a spa, multiple restaurants, outdoor pool, beach and beautiful grounds etc) because it means we'll have to go back soon!

Louise Pentland_The Grove

I realise a hotel like this is quite a luxury and not doable for everyone but if you do have the chance, treat yourself. Even if this venue isn't for you, take a night out to step away from the world, close all the doors and r e l a x, I promise you, it's worth it. 

Please feel free to recommend any nice places in the UK that you think I'd like, I plan to make a regular thing of zipping off for a night. #SelfLove and all that!



Monday, 16 January 2017

You Got This! | Motivational Monday | 2017 #2

Oh Hai,

Merry Monday to you! The third week of January is often a sticky one for me, one where I give up my resolutions, ditch the healthy eating, slack on my schedule and succumb to the gloomy weather. With that in mind, I thought we'd take today's Motivational Monday opportunity to gee ourselves up and  k e e p  g o i n g. 

(Sourced from Pinterest and traced to HERE)

January is rough and long and a lot of us are feeling the pinch with December's payday seeming a long old time a go but you've got this! You can totally get through it and push into February still on track with all your goals and resolutions. 

Save this blog post on your phone or laptop and every time you feel a bit bleaugh, read this - 


Pass this on to anyone you know that is trying. That lady in the office, your friend at college, your Mummy friend who's had a lot of sleepless night. Remind them that like you, they can handle it! 

How have you been getting on with last week's homework of waking up a little bit earlier? I did it about 3 days of the week and really felt great for it!

Let me know how you're getting on in the comments below OR leave a positive comment for someone else who has reached out. Let's keep the comments section a really supportive space for those who need it. 

Good luck! Keep Going! Love you!



Friday, 13 January 2017

Mummy Dates Project 2017 | Rugby!

Oh Hai,

Thank you so much to everyone who read the start up post to this project and decided to join in! Don't forget, you can join in at any time and all the details are in that linked blog post. If you're new, my Mummy Dates Project is a way to encourage us all to spend more quality, present time with our littles, doing something fun. 

(Everything snapped on my phone. Didn't want to take my big camera, just wanted to be in the moment)

This weekend my friend Clare (who's Husband, Mark, was once my Fusband- remember him?) offered Darcy and I great tickets to go and watch the rugby. With Mark coaching there, she goes regularly but I'd never taken Darcy so decided it might be a fun afternoon for us to go out as a duo. We do so many playdates or trips with Liam that I want to ensure I continue to protect our Mummy/Darcy time in 2017. 

I've never been big into sports but Liam's enthusiasm for the rugby (he used to play and now lurves to watch), I've sort of been sucked in and to my surprise, really enjoy it! Honestly, I never ever thought I'd say that.

We hopped in a cab on Saturday afternoon (parking there is hard work) and picked up our tickets from a really friendly lady on the front desk. What I will say about the Northampton Saints ground is just how friendly all the staff were, really great service at every opportunity. 

As ever, I bumped into my Dad and Tina. You'd be amazed how many times I bump into my Dad (once I bumped into him in an American airport when we were both on separate business trips, once I realised I was behind his car on the M1) and he kindly took our Mummy Date snap for us. 

For the game we sat in one of the boxes which was perfect for Darcy. A lot of the players families use these as a little hub to socialise, they have food & drinks facilities and toys for children etc so Darcy really enjoyed getting stuck into those.

The game was exciting. Darcy didn't fully grasp the rules but cheered for her team and enjoyed the atmosphere. I loved that Clare was there with her little girl too so it was like a double Mummy Daughter Date. 

On the way home (thanks Dad for the lift a million miles across town!!) Darcy looked through the programme and chattered about the experience. 

It was so nice just to get out and do something a bit different for the sole purpose of just enjoying it. The only downside was how envious Liam was of us doing his favourite thing without him haha! Sadly, he had to work, we weren't just meanies leaving him out!


I would love to hear about what Mummy Dates you've been getting up to. Lucky for us, some people have already gotten involved in the project and posted their adventures too. I'll link them below for you to go and enjoy. 


Ashely Jay - "Here you will find I cover a variety of topics from day to day life to beauty and fashion. So grab a cuppa, get ready to read and feel free to leave a comment."

If you would like to share your Mummy Dates, please do. Simply head to the original blog post, read the 'rule's (lol, v flexible) and leave your link below on that blog post (not this one). Next time I have a Mummy Date I'll share your post and a little bit about you (most likely taken from your bio or you can write something in the comment you leave me) and we can have a bit of community love and support going on. 

Please do head over and give the very gorgeous Hayley some TLC- it looks like she had a great day after a pretty rough year. Big loves. 



Monday, 9 January 2017

It's On! | Motivational Monday | 2017 #1

Oh Hai,

Merry Monday to you! I hadn't planned to write this blog post today because I thought I'd be short on time but here we are at 6.15am- amazing! Darcy is still asleep (I'll wake her at 7), Rocket and Zula are on my bed purring and the house is still. 

(image originally from Pinterest but traced to this lovely blog. Not sure if it is there original or not)

I never get up this early but let me tell you, it's so good! 

Normally, I wake up to my alarm at 6.50am and feel groggy for a good 20 minutes. In that 20 minutes however I do my bathroom things (loo, brush teeth, contacts, wash face etc), wake up Darcy, give her her clothes, get myself dressed and help her bathroom time. All that in 20 minutes and feeling like utter bin juice. Frankly, it's horrible. 

Waking up 50 minutes earlier today though has allowed me some time to 'come round'. The slow start to being fully awake has been much more palatable when all I've had to do was snuggle the cats and put some warm socks on. I feel happy and relaxed and actually, really excited for my day and week. I'm feeling productive (hello, I'm writing this at 6.19am) and motivated and my spirits are high. 

This week, I know this sounds hideous but trust me, why don't you try getting up 30 minutes earlier each day and allow yourself that little bit of extra time to come into the world and see if it makes a difference? Take that extra 30 minutes for you. Do very few things and relish them. You are important. You are worth your time. 

I'm really looking forward to my week ahead and I hope you are too! Let me know in the comments what time you get up and how long it takes you to get ready- could you add more time in there? 

You can follow all of my week over on Instagram.


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