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NEVER KNOWINGLY CONCISE // THIS IS ME

THIS IS ME

Where do I even begin with this?

Right, DEEP BREATH. Here we go!

I have always been small, in height, the smallest at school… the smallest in every single friendship group since then. The smallest in the family. When I was working at Eli’s school last year, there were even children almost my height, and they were pushing age 8 (!!), if that. I was often mocked as a child because of my height, “short arse” and “little legs” are the nicer of the names I was referred to. It made me feel ‘picked on’, and singled out to be referred to because of my height. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I know I shouldn’t, but I actually really DO care what other people think – to my own detriment.

I had the familiar pang of sadness, that I’d had so many times as a child, when Eli came along. He’s on the shorter side of “the chart” for his age – he’s always followed the same line on the chart. He was born with several conditions too (Talipes, Torticollis, Hypermobility) which in turn could have some kind of effect on his growth. He’s actually only just below average height for his age. Most kids are ABOVE AVERAGE in height; making him look smaller. I became/become hyper-sensitive when we get adults proclaim  “Oh isn’t he small!” “Eli is so tiny for his age isn’t he!” “My son is 3 years younger than him and already his height!”. Why are you even referring to his height? Why is it such a BIG THING for you to point out? I’m totally digressing from my own issues here because I’m being defensive and protective of him; but just wanted to point out that your throwaway comments about something like height (and I’ll get onto this now, but also, weight) can actually hit someone in such a bad way, especially when they’re already mega conscious of what you’re pointing out. Instead of referring to my son’s height, how about you refer to how agile and strong and clever and cheeky and funny and how unbelievably caring and creative he is?

ANYWAY…

Back to it.

My height I cannot do anything about and I wholly accept that. So why oh why have I found body-acceptance so damn difficult?

I’m a complete little bit ginger (which again, I was cruelly bullied for as a child), I have a gazillion freckles, I have a rather large nose (which I do now accept and got pierced later in life because I was learning to embrace it… not embraced enough for me to tell my parents I’d had it pierced however!). I didn’t grow up with a good self image. At all. I’ve always struggled to look in the mirror.

I’m ‘petite’ – I’m quite literally 5 foot nothing. I have big old Mothering hips and a bust. I had a big arse well before it was in fash-un. I distinctly remember being told I had a ‘duck bum’ (that protruded as I walked), as a child. Putting on the odd pound here or there makes me look massive because of my height and stature.  My body shape is TOTALLY different to how it was when I was 8, when I was 15, when I was 21, heck, when I was pregnant with Eli at 26 and it’s even different to the months and years following the birth of Eli.

When I became a parent, I KNEW, I had to let go of the self-conscious me. I KNEW I had to let go of the cringing in the mirror. I KNEW I had to let go of the posing at my best angle and just live in the now and be the natural me in photographs.

I knew all this and still continued through life with the same mindset – just now being extra careful not to project any of my feelings onto Eli directly. I’m ALWAYS the one behind the camera. Never in front – unless my body is cropped – or unless I take a mirror selfie (the one I post is usually out of around 2000 that I take and cry over before eventually posting). It makes me so bloody sad going through our photos from our recent holiday to Florida; I’m barely in any of them. There’s probably 3 that I let James take of me and I would never ever post them. (He would be the first to admit that he is just awful at taking candid photos – so theres no point wasting phone memory on taking any of me at all). The confidence issue doesn’t stop with the photo-taking though.  I also walked around in 40c heat in Florida with my arms covered every single day. I was sweating like I never even imagined I could sweat, but still, I refused to take of the kimono or the jacket or the long sleeved dress. WHY? Because all of these strangers would see my bare arms?! GOD FORBID LASS. It’s nuts isn’t it? It’s actually nuts. I am my own worst enemy.

Since having Eli 6 years ago, my body has changed drastically. I put on 4 stone whilst pregnant with him. It came off quite slowly. I did every diet possible – but in the end I stuck to slim fast and the 5:2. Within a few months, I had gone down to a size 8-10. And I was still miserable. I was still unhappy with my body. The scars, the stretch marks, the wobbly bits. My dumpy little legs and my zero torso cos Petite. I still didn’t want to have my photograph taken. I still didn’t want to look in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m now 32 and I’m only truly learning what it means to have ‘self-love’. I had a tough time following my miscarriage last year – not just because of the obvious. But because I was blaming this sack of a body I had to get around in. I blamed by body for failing to protect that baby that was so wanted. But my body wasn’t to blame at all. My body did what it needed to. When I realised that, I realised and understood how strong my body really is. How amazing my body actually is. But still, I couldn’t get that emotional response to project onto the outside and transfer into true body confidence.

For years I have watched and admired the confidence of so many amazing women across the media. (REAL women, like you and I). People like @StyleMeSunday and her Body Confidence campaigns – instantly jump to mind. For years I have wished I had just an ounce of that confidence. To be able to dress to my size, to not hide behind the floaty dresses (I will still love my floaty dresses, but not for playing hide & seek in!) , at jaunty angles and to actually feel comfortable within my own skin. To allow photographs to be taken of me… photos of me and my boy.  After all, when we’re gone, the only thing that will remain are these photographs of precious times and now all I can think about is the lack of any photographic evidence of us all together. It’s really just so sad, isn’t it? It’s terrible.

So? What’s your point? Well, stranger on the internet, I have began to finally feel better about my body.  More recently, folk like @mollyjforbes, @Inpolife, @life_with_Ivycoco, and of course, @CharliHoward@Erica_Davies & @HannahfGale – have all posted such amazing content with such honesty, how can I not take just a little bit of it on board? How can I not think better of my own body and bones?

About a month ago I went to a gathering organised by @MidsizeCollective – I almost didn’t go. I felt massive. I was beyond nervous. I was going on my own (I did meet up with long-time IG pal @i0wen in the end!). It all felt too much. I didn’t want anxiety to get the better of me.

I’m so bloody glad I went. It was exceptionally inspiring to be in a room with other women who understood me and my body shape. To be able to chat and share in our shopping woes of being ‘middle sized’ women. Because, you know what, we are the forgotten women. Not skinny… but not plus size. We’re NORMAL sized women. But why does it feel like we’re invisible? Why is it so difficult to find clothing that fits us? Why, oh, why, do we find body confidence so damn hard to work with?! Why are we not represented within the Fashion industry… within shops and their marketing? WHY OH WHY OH WHY?

I just want to feel comfortable in the skin that I have. To be comfortable with the skin that I’m in; whatever my size. To have appreciation for my body; and confidence in where my body takes me. We ALL have a body, whatever shape or size or height or colour(s) it may well be. So that’s our NORMAL. No more, definitely, no less. We’re all NORMAL.

And you know what? I heard that THICK THIGHS, SAVE LIVES. So it must be ok!

I also just wanted to give  a shout out to @annacarsarina, who has also set up her new account all about Mid-Size and Mid-Age style – she has carefully curated such a beautiful feed full of body happiness and inspiration. So thank you Anna – and thank you to all the other women mentioned above (and to those beyond this blog post) who have shown true and honest versions of themselves in a bid to normalise body confidence. THANK YOU. You are wonderful women and it’s also kind of ridiculous that we’re even having to write about this in 2018, isn’t it? Anyway, again, thank you for being YOU. I wouldn’t be sat here typing this out, without you.

So from this day forward, I swear I’m going to be happier in my own skin – I’m going to ALLOW photographs to be taken of me, candid or otherwise. I’m not about to jump into a bikini and show off all my bits… but I promise that I’m going to beat these bloody body confidence blues and get on with my life. Because you know what? Life is too hard and too tiring and it’s just too damn short to be fussing over what you look like in a pair of skinny jeans or with your arms out… or ON THE DAMN BEACH. Yes I could do with loosing a few more pounds (I cycle every day for almost 2 hours, but I also love crisps and chips and gravy), but importantly, I’m giving up on feeling body-shame and I’m going to embrace what I have, in the now and at the minute. And I would urge you to do the very same.

I cannot imagine what life must be like for those who are bringing up daughters. The pressure must just be so immense surrounding body positivity. I find it difficult enough bringing up a son in this world and talk endlessly to Eli about how we’re all different shapes and sizes and colours and that’s what makes us all so cool! The fact we’re all different and truly unique and diverse. The more we educate and understand and share the honesty, then the more NORMAL this whole movement will become. Hopefully, it won’t even BE a movement any longer – because, we’re all just out there living our best lives.

Additionally, I’m going to be using my social media platforms as a place to shout about Petite styles and fashion and inspiration because no, there isn’t enough of it out there. I’ve always tried to be inclusive of my styling tips/recommendations, but the industry definitely isn’t inclusive of people like me and my size. So sod the industry, and PETITE WOMEN, LET’S UNITE! #PetiteWomenUnite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there we have it.  My body confidence post, DONE.

Peace & Love

C
✖✖✖

 

 

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Recipes | Harissa Chicken and Bulgar Wheat Salad.

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We’d tried this lovely Harissa Chicken and Bulgar Wheat salad a few times, from the Hairy Bikers ‘Hairy Dieters’ cookbook before we even knew about the 5:2 diet! It really is a delicious, well rounded meal – very tasty! And better still, it’s very filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! This cookbook is perfect if you’re also undergoing the 5:2 diet. A lot of the recipes are under 300 calories! So perfect for Fast Day’s.

So here is the recipe!
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HARISSA CHICKEN AND BULGAR WHEAT SALAD*.
SERVES 4 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
270 Calories, per portion.

Bulgur wheat salad:
100g Waitrose bulgur wheat
150g  cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1/4 cucumber, diced
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley (about 10g), plus extra to garnish
Small bunch of fresh mint (about 10g)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Harissa chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp Harissa paste (preferably Tose Harissa, I used Waitrose Ruby Rose Harissa).
Lemon wedges, to serve

1) To make the salad, rinse the bulgur wheat in a fine sieve and tip it into a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then cook for about 10 minutes until just tender, or follow the packet instructions. Rinse the bulgur in a sieve under running water until cold and leave to drain.

2) Tip the cooked bulgur wheat into a large serving bowl and add the tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, garlic, parsley, mint, lemon zest and juice. You’ll need about 3 heaped tablespoons of each herb once chopped. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper, toss everything together well and leave to stand while you cook the chicken.

3) Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until about 1.5cm thick. You need to make the chicken breasts about the same thickness so they cook evenly.

4) Brush a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat until hot. Griddle or pan-fry the chicken breasts for 2 minutes, then turn them over with tongs and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.

5) Brush the chicken breasts with half of the harissa on 1 side only and turn over. Cook for a minute while brushing the reverse side with the remaining harissa. Flip over and cook for a further minute or until cooked through. Check that there is no pinkness remaining.

6) Transfer the chicken to a board and leave to rest for 3–4 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra parsley and the lemon wedges and serve hot with the bulgur salad.

ENJOY!

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Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

 

MM.

 

*Extracted from THE HAIRY DIETERS by Si King and Dave Myers published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson priced £14.99.  Copyright (c) Byte Brook Limited and Sharp Letter Limited, 2012. 

 

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #6.

Today is the final instalment of Mr Eli’s Mini Boden Adventure! Today is Outfit #6.

It is absolutely FREEZING today. I can’t believe how chilly it is, even in the house! So Mr Eli got snuggled up in this incredible Winter jumper and cosy cords. We’ve already decided that this just has to be Eli’s Christmas Day outfit – how cool is this for a Christmas Day jumper?

So what is Eli wearing today?

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper (Snowflake), Red, £24-26; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Cord Trousers, Cadet Blue, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk

As I mentioned, this jumper is just awesome. It’s the perfect Christmas Day jumper. But with a twist… this is a COOL Christmas Day jumper! Like the other Winter jumper from my previous post, this one is also cashmere blend so is super cosy and warm. The bright red is a great colour and the snow flake pattern gives it the true festive feel. Mr Eli particularly enjoyed eating the rolled up cuffs for some reason… but the rolled up cuff does mean you can make this style shorter if your little one still has space to grow into it. Unlike traditional knitted jumpers, this one is not itchy against your little ones soft skin, so you can be safe in the knowledge they’ll be having an excellent time wearing it! As opposed to when we were kids and HATED wearing knitted jumpers for that reason alone! This style is a definite must-purchase for the festive season, your child will be so warm and look beyond adorable in it; plus it will make for a conversation piece, as you all reminisce over festive jumpers from years gone by.

I would suggest you get your order in soon mind; because I just know that this jumper will be flying out!

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper (Snowflake), Red, £24-26; from Boden.co.uk

MM.

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #5.

Today we played in the garden and displayed some signs of ‘post Halloween blues’. Today is also Mini Boden Outfit #5 Day*

Eli enjoyed his pumpkins so much yesterday that we took them into the garden today 🙂 It’s a pretty chilly start to November, good job Mr Eli was suitably dressed!

So what is Eli wearing today?

Click here to purchase>>  Jersey Duffle Jacket, Navy, £22-£24; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper (Snowflake), Red, £24-26; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Simple Trousers, Blue Ticking Stripe, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk

I’m going to focus on the amazing Jersey Duffle Jacket for this post! I’ve always wanted my little boy to have a cute navy duffle coat and this one from Mini Boden is just perfect. While this jacket is made of jersey, it is quite a nice thickness, great for layering up on chilly days. Eli is wearing another Mini Boden Winter jumper underneath his jacket here; it’s cashmere blend so it kept him so cosy whilst we played outside! Mini Boden keeps this style traditional with a hood, wooden toggle fastening to the front, as well as front pockets and cuff detailing. Again, Mini Boden make sure that childrens’ clothing is kept interesting by adding the stripey lining, which can be seen when the jacket is left unfastened and of course from the inside of the hood too.

 

MM.

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #4.

Today is Mini Boden Outfit #4 Day* and today we have a poorly boy 🙁 Boo 🙁

Mr Eli had his 12-week immunisations this afternoon, so is enjoying a well deserved nap. I’m pretty jealous that Mr Rex is getting all the cuddles mind!

So what is Eli wearing today?
Click here to purchase>> Cosy Romper, Grey, £18; from Boden.co.uk

This has got to be the cosiest romper ever! So ‘Cosy Romper’ is definitely a very fitting product name. First of all, I liked this style because it’s nice and bright… but not *too* bright. It’s a trendy and grown up romper that is great for casual days out and about. I love the cute kangaroo pouch at the front, which is finished off with a contrast navy top-stitch. The poppers on the leg inseams make for easy nappy-changing access, while the cuffs all extend which means your little one will get quite a lot of wear out of it, before they’re too big. Best of all, this romper is fleece lined so I know that Mr Eli will be all cosy and warm when we’re off out for walks on those chilly days!

 

MM.

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #3.

Today is Mini Boden Outfit #3 Day* – and Mr Eli is dressed for Bowling!

I had ‘craved’ going bowling right throughout my pregnancy. Obviously, there is some danger attached to bowling, so this was off the cards for the duration. We had a free afternoon today so we decided to go to Hollywood Bowl! Beyond ecstatic, we arrived but soon realised how absolutely loud a bowling alley is…. not to mention the booming music from the speakers at each lane… the pins being hit sounded somewhat supersonic! We stood in the queue and debated whether this place really was *too* loud for a 12 week old baby. Then noticed that nap time was approaching! Eli was falling asleep, we couldn’t believe it. He slept the entire afternoon in there!

So what is Eli wearing today?
Click here to purchase>> Breton T-Shirt, Green, £12-£14; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Chunky Cord Dungarees, Red, £24-£26; from Boden.co.uk

How cool are these cord dungarees? The answer is TOO COOL! I absolutely love them. When we found out we were having a baby boy we said we’d just love him to wear red dungarees and stripey tops and Converse trainers! We had that entire ‘dream’ nailed in one outfit here! The dunagrees are made using a chunky cord and are lined with an awesome jersey star fabric; again, perfect for the colder days we have yet to come! The dunagree’s are easy to take off with the traditional workwear straps, but  Mini Boden have gone one further and added poppers for easy access when nappy changing too! These dungaree’s are definitely durable and great for anyone who likes a bright colour! Better still, I know these dunagrees will last Eli a while, thanks to the adjustable straps too!

MM.

 

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #2.

Today is my OH’s birthday 🙂 His first birthday as a Daddy and this is also Outfit number 2 of a week with Mr Eli and Mini Boden*!

As you can see, Mr Eli is holding up his birthday card, which he obviously wrote out himself, for his Daddy.

So what is Eli wearing today?
Click here to purchase>> Breton T-Shirt, Green, £12-£14; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Cord Trousers, Cadet Blue, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk


I love this casual outfit. The Breton Stripe t-shirt will go with everything I have for Autumn and Winter; it’s perfect for layering. It’s a nice cotton style, which would also work for Summer too. The chunky cord trousers are so lovely, as a trouser, they’re a heavier and thicker fabric – which I just know will be brilliant on those colder Winter days that we have to come. As you saw yesterday, I do enjoy a turn up! This style is so cool with it’s bright red contrasting lining.

Keep checking back to see what Mr Eli wore next!

MM.

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #1.

So let’s kick off a week with Mr Eli and Mini Boden*; today we start with Tuesday 23rd October.

I take Eli to be weighed at a local centre every fortnight. The past few times Eli has gained weight, but not as much as we’d ideally like. This week Eli had gained 11 ounces, which is spot on! I was both relieved and over the moon. Eli was both a little bit too excited and very cosy in his first Mini Boden outfit!

So what is Eli wearing today?

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper, Grey, £24-£26; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Simple Trousers, Blue Ticking Stripe, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk

The Winter Jumper is absolutely beautiful. It is made using a super soft cashmere blend; which also means it’s beautifully cosy. I love the cable knit and button detail to the shoulder. The simple trousers are just great, an absolute wardrobe staple. These trousers can definitely be styled for a casual outfit or for somewhere smart. You can also turn these trousers up to reveal the contrast green lining – this is how I styled them on Eli.

Keep checking back to see what Mr Eli wore next!

MM.

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Guest Post for Wriggly Rascals: Ligament pain during pregnancy.

 

When the lovely ladies from Wriggly Rascals approached me about doing this guest post I knew that it was something I could definitely discuss at length… I’d had ligament pain since the very early weeks of my pregnancy…

To read my full blog post, head over to www.wrigglyrascals.com and straight to Ligament Pain During Pregnancy ! Please do tell us all about your experiences with Ligament Pain during Pregnancy. What helped you out the most? How was your birth and recovery? Did you encounter the pain in subsequent pregnancies?

And don’t forget to sign up to the website to join the conversation!

MM.

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If you need any #pregnancy reassurance, ask @wrigglyrascals for help. www.wrigglyrascals.com

@wrigglyrascals is a new community to help #newmums, join in. www.wrigglyrascals.com
About Wriggly Rascals
Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at www.wrigglyrascals.com

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Hospital Update: Meeting the Consultant and measuring 34 weeks at 28 weeks.

My favourite image of our Baby Boy so far! Taken at 20 weeks, UCLH. 20th March 2012.

Yesterday morning we drove up to Broomfield Hospital for another appointment with our Consultant; to discuss the findings from our last scan –The Bilateral Talipes. But our actual consultant was stuck on the M25 (of course), so we saw someone else and had to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining everything that’s happened in this rollercoaster of a pregnancy!

Fast forward half an hour and I’m on the couch being measured up with a tape measure again. At my Midwife appointment, less than a week ago, my bump was measuring up at 30cm, so 30 weeks – Weekly Update: 28 weeks. So had expected it to be about the same.The two Doctors measured me again… I was measuring 34cm, so one would assume, 34 weeks! UH OH.

I was referred for an emergency scan to check out baby boy’s measurements properly, along with an index of my amniotic fluid. Had to sit around the hospital for 3 hours until the scan. MASSIVE YAWN.

Had the scan and everything was FINE. He’s measuring up at 29 weeks (of which I am 29 weeks tomorrow). He weighs about 2 and a half pounds. He couldn’t be more spot on measurements wise, he’s spot on all the ‘average measurement’ lines on the scan graph. Which is great!

Also, my amniotic fluid is showing up at 6cm at the deepest point, which again, is absolutely normal! So everything is great. I just have a lot of my own water retention and bloating..possibly because I drink far too much water. What can I say? I’m a thirsty girl!

Additionally, the Sonographer also said that we no longer need to go back to have a scan at 32 weeks. She’s more than happy with the progress of everything and doesn’t see why we should have to go back to the hospital to review baby boy’s Talipes. Which is also fine by us! We’re over the moon! But at the same time, I’m also a little bit sad that we won’t be seeing our baby boy for a little while… in fact, the next time we see him will be when he’s ARRIVED! Which to be honest, is also a little bit scary! It’s all very very very REAL now. EXCITED.

So the moral of this story is, don’t believe the measurements! It was never going to be an exact science, measuring your bump – who thought it would be?!

MM.