birth, general, health, humour, lifestyle, parenting, post natal depression, pregnancy

The truth about pregnancy

We’ve all read stories and watched documentaries where mums-to-be talk about feeling so maternal and womanly and fulfilled now that their body is doing all the things it’s made to do, and how they are fully embracing their expanding bodies.

But maybe we should talk more honestly and openly about pregnany and realise it’s perfectly ok to admit you’re finding it tough and wishing the 9 months over without feeling inadequate or ungreatful.

So I thought I’d share an insight into what to really expect during pregnancy, based on my own experiences

‘Morning’ sickness

How naive was I when I thought it would just automatically stop at I around 12 weeks, like it’s on a timer. It lasted all day, every day, with all three babies. I’m not talking just little bouts of nausea as you go about your day. But a full on hangover. I spent the majority of 9 months with my head in the toilet. Any toilet.

Baby brain

The pregnancy-induced fog which many women experience and scientist ‘claim’ may exist. It does exist and we don’t need a dude in a white coat in a lab to confirm it.

You’ll forget everything where the ability to remember even your own name becomes difficult. I was asked the DOBs of my two children whilst pregnant with my third, along with my due date at a doctors appointment. All I could offer was a blank stare which just screamed ‘are you freaking serious’?

I ended up skint for four days when I incorrectly entered my pin number in the cash point three times and said goodbye to my card.

It’s not just a pregnancy thing either. You’ll still be going to Boots for nappies but leaving with toothpaste and finding your keys in the fridge well after the birth

The sonographer isn’t always correct

From my 20 week scan with my first, we eagerly awaited the birth of ‘Chloe’  and I built up a collection of pretty little frilly dresses and dinky pink shoes.

Some went back to the shop once Callum arrived into the world at 42 weeks, and some my sister dressed him in anyway for a giggle and photos which we will get blown up for his 18th

Obviously technology has progressed over the last 18 years, and they were bang on the money with my other two. But I’d hold out on decorating the nursery pink or blue until little one arrives, and have a back up name of the opposite gender.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t just leave the sex as a surprise, but there is no bigger surprise than expecting a girl but giving birth to a beautiful baby boy.

It’s not just 9 months,

The first 20 weeks are the longest, although probably not as long as the last two weeks, or the two weeks after your due date

And if you have pregnant friends or know anyone who is due round the same times as you, they’ll give birth before you. Guaranteed

My hubby made the mistake of telling me one of his work mates had just gone on paternity leave as he walked through the door one night. My eyes widened as he realised he shouldn’t his error. I was due before his wife. I was due before pretty much anyone I knew who dropped before me

Everything makes you cry

News articles, songs, films, pregnancy books, adverts, Call the Midwife, the price of prams, everything. Especially the price of prams

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum when you get ‘the rage’. I’m not a jealous partner. And that’s not because I’m all confident in myself, I’m not. I just don’t seem to feel jealousy as an emotion.

Except whilst with child.

My hubby went to an open day at a gym with his friend. I was fine with it as first, why wouldn’t I be? Till I started to envisage hot girls in gym gear, with a tiny little waist whist mine was that of a baby hippo, and the texts went from ‘are you having a good day’?, to ‘SO ARE THERE ANY WOMEN THERE’. Yeah I felt a slight niggle of jealousy that day

The ‘glow’

Spots, dry skin, bloodshot eyes from sickness – absolute radiance

Food aversions

I remember smuggly discussing diet with my midwife right at the start of my last pregnancy. I had just lost around 50lbs so obviously wanted to gain as least weight as possible,  so sat and confidently told her how disciplined I now was and would 100% be sticking to a healthy nutritious diet of fruit and veg

I could literally only stomach bread, chicken and mash for around the first 5 months as I found myself unintentionally on some king of beige coloured food diet as anything with any colour made me want to barf.

I gained around 60lbs and only just under 9lb of that was baby, lets attribute about 20lbs to fluid, placenta, boobs and uterus, and you do the maths.



Heightened sense of smell

We’re talking that of  a blood hound. It drives you crazy and it makes you nauseous.

I wasn’t living with my now hubby till about 7 months into the pregnancy, and he knew to remove all the plug-ins before going to his. My new sofa got doused in olbas oil (hubs idea) making the smell even more unbareable than that of leather which was knocking me sick in the first place, and all plastic bags went in the bin. Yes, plastic bags have a smell

I got the bus home from work during my first pregnancy and some fool got on with a pizza. I suffered for 30 minutes with the overpowering meat feasty smell wafting around in front of me.  Ran (or wobbled quickly) home down the never ending street (I lived at number 208), opened the front door and thank god there was a downstairs toilet as I just made it in time

Luckily, it doesn’t last the whole nine months, I’d say 8.

I’m gonna be a good blogger and make this more balanced. The best, most special things about pregnancy, which you think about for years and years after giving birth, probably forever, is the tiny little flutters you feel at around 16 weeks, which turn into little patters then tight squeezed wiggles and kicks which wake you up in the night and keep you awake for hours as you lie and watch growing bump knockout some rather impressive shapes.

It’s without a doubt, the best, most precious feeling in the world.


So maybe like almost everything else in your life, the best, most wonderful, most amazing things come from the hardest, darkest and most difficult of times.


birth, general, health, humour, lifestyle, pregnancy

The truth about labour

Between Hollywood and old wives’ tales, there’s a lot of misleading information about childbirth out there. But until you’ve been through it, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.

I’ve had three children, all natural deliveries. Two induced, one spontaneous labour, each experience different. So thought I’d clear up a few myths and expectations and tell it like it is based on my experiences

It’s nothing like One Born Every Minute

First off, I can’t speak for other mums and dads, but there was no playful chatty excited banter in the delivery room with my other half. None.

Mainly because soon after my  first dose of induction gel with my second child, my hubby was given a bed, snuggled down and went to sleep. Which worked out fine anyway, as I wasn’t able to think of anything other to say other than repeat ‘I am SHITTING myself’.

I then labored very quietly an hour later, for around three hours, before waking him. Then once again repeatedly told him I was shitting myself.

How do I know I’m in labour

If it’s your first time you may be expecting your waters breaking will be your first sign of labour. This was the case with my first two children, but with my third, contractions started soon after my second sweep.

They actually started as we went to do our weekly shop in Morrisons. Intensified throughthe night, so off to hospital we went at 5am, via McDonalds drive through, for carbs.

I was checked over. Confirmed  I was in active labour, but sent home. They got stronger as soon as my waters broke whilst bouncing on my yoga ball watching ‘Thismoring’. So straight back to hospital we went. Me sat in the passenger seat on a pampers changing mat to protect the seats. Seriously.

I was convinced I wasn’t going to make it from the car park to the delivery room. Rushed through the hospital recption area pulling my overnight hospital bag replying ‘NOW’ as someone asked when I was due, and stood in the lift insisting ‘it’s coming out’ whilst thinking ‘phew, we’ve made it just in time’ and ‘go me’ for doing it all drug free.

I went another 5 hours

Your birth plan goes right out the window

Nobody can predict how a birth will go. With my first I stated I’d rather not have any students present, yet I had 3 or 4 stood at the end of the bed, watching intensely and taking notes as I was stitched up after labour.

I hoped for a water birth with my third. I had a vision of this completely calm, earth mother, serene drug free experience. Just me, the midwife, and the hubby

My daughter opened her bowls, ruling out a water birth. I panicked every single time the midwife left the room and continuously sent my hubby out to look for her, snapped up her offer of ‘pethidine’ without hesitation, and again welcomed a few male student doctors in the room. Pretty sure I kept asking them random questions, although I have no idea what – I was off my face.

They congratulated me and left as soon as I’d given birth, turning down the opportunity to watch the needlework.

The birth plan goes right out the window, along with your dignity

The truth about the poo

Yes, you might have one, no you will not realise this, yes your partner will find great joy and hilarity in telling you, and no you will not care

The tea and toast

I think I was more focused on the tea and toast I knew I’d be getting after labour than the hugs with my baby whilst laboring with my third. I knew the drill at this point, baby, placenta, repair, toast.

I swear my hubby even spurned me on with ‘Think of the tea and toast, Lou’ as I pushed through the final contractions with my third

Post birth tea and toast is the best tea and toast you will ever have in your life

Your hospital bag

Pack underwear, plenty of it or like me you’ll be texting your mate asking her to pop to Peacocks on their way to hospital to visit, to pick up a few packs of big black size 18s

This is also the one occasion it’s perfectly acceptable to rock a nighty and pair of fluffy socks. But trust me, it’s gonna get messy so make sure they’re cheap ones.

And just when you think you’re done

You have to endure the not so rewarding third stage of labour, which nobody tells you about. The delivery of the placenta. I think it just pretty much slipped out with my first two, but with my third I was convinced it was twins and powered through it with gas and air. There was a moment of panic as I heard the words’surgery’, but out it popped just in time

The hospital exit

Boy is it emotional. Not only are you  met with ‘congratulations’ off hospital staff as you pass them, you also feel a slight pang of ‘we’re on our own now’ anxiety

I’ll always remember filling up with tears as I heard my other half say ‘welcome to the world, little one’ as we exited through the doors with Emily.

It’s a special moment, take it all in


You’ll probably vow ‘never again’ 

Whilst in the final stages of labour, then whisper ‘I’d do it again in a heartbeat’ the second you hold your long awaited perfect tiny little bundle.


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general, humour, lifestyle

I’m a ‘hot mess mum’ and that’s ok

So today I’ve had yet another morning of dragging my reluctant 5-year-old through the school gates. She’s still going through a particularly clingy phase, and tells me frequently between 7 – 8.50 each morning ‘Mummy, you are my best friend’ in hope they’re the magic words to bag her a day off school.

My response is the same each morning. I give her a hug, tell her I love her, then hand her over to staff and give her a wave as she looks back and throws me evils across the yard as she’s led into school by her teacher.


Part of me feels I should go home feeling incredibly guilty, and ring in half an hour to check she’s settled ok. But the other part, like 90% of me part knows that this is life, she’ll be fine and I have nothing to gain in sitting around worrying. Then I feel incredible guilt for not feeling any guilt and wonder if this makes me a bad parent.

Infact I often find myself doing, or not doing things which make me question if I’m a bad parent.

As I type this, my house is slightly messy. Nothing serious, but I’m aware one of the kids left a half eaten lollipop stuck to the sofa as we were about to leave thismoring. Possibly Emily. She’ll have had it for breakfast along with the chocolate eyeballs and jelly fingers from Trick or Treating last night. Jessica had a slice or the godawful Halloween cake I made, with Angel delight, and I did too. You see some mornings I’ll get up extra early to make them berry topped ‘Brain Booster Pancakes’ for breakfast (oats, flaxseed, banana, coconut oil. That sort of Pinteresty shiz), others I’ll take the extra 20 minutes in bed and serve up a packet of chocolate digestives.


Sometimes I’ll spend an hour or two preping and peeling veg, another hour cooking and dish up a particularly healthy and colourful tea. Others I keep it real and know most of it will end up in the bin so processed food it is. Like chips. Fishfingers and chips. They always go down well with about half a bottle of ketchup for the youngest.

Sometimes we’ll take them to McDonalds. Sometimes once a week (dead cert on a Saturday), sometimes even twice a week. But definitely 4 times a month, at least.

Sometimes when it’s a rainy day, we’ll do arts and crafts, or I’ll try and suppress my inner ‘would you like mummy to mix in the crispies/cut the cookies and you just eat them. Please’?  control freak, and let them do some baking

Okay, not necessarily rainy, but the ones where I just can not be bothered with the drama that is putting on coats and shoes. But the times we do go to the park, I’m often the parent sat on the bench Facebooking. Telling them to go on the slide as mummy is too tired to push a swing for half an hour. Yes, I sometimes use it as ‘me time’.

And others I’ll give them the Ipad and let them watch Dora the Explorer. It’s educational. They’ve both picked up some Spanish


Sometimes we’re super prepared in the morning and we take a stroll to school stretching the one minute walk down the road to 5. We’ll go the more ‘scenic’ route looking in neighboring gardens and Emily likes to point at and name the flowers each time we do.

Others I’m running around looking for something. Usually my phone, or my sanity if it’s a Friday. Then I’ll realise as we’re about to leave the house my daughter hasn’t yet washed her beautiful little face. And I’ll take her to school anyway.

Sometimes I’ll hear one of them complain ‘I can’t find any clean socks’, and I’ll offer the solution of ‘wear yesterdays’.

Sometimes we’ll go out to eat and I’ll give them a little behavioral prep talk and that ‘pleeeeease just. behave’ glare when I can see they haven’t quite listened. Others I’ll think sod it, get it out of your system and lie on the floor under the table if you must.

Sometimes when we tackle the dreaded task of food shopping, I’ll quietly hurry behind them every time they run off in opposite directions, then get down to their level and explain why it’s not acceptable behavior. Others I’ll lose my shit and shout both there names followed by ‘get back here. NOW’!!


Sometimes I have a run of taking the kids to every single party they’re invited to. But sometimes I forget one, or we arrive late. By a week. That’s happened before.

Sometimes I’m on a roll with the kids homework and ‘Weekend Diaries’. But others I’ll spend 15 minutes on a monday morning  searching through the kitchen drawers for a pen, then I’ll scribble away and knock up a story making their weekends sound so much more adventurous than they actually were.

And after I’ve finished typing this I’m off on a hunt for twigs, leaves and conkers to put into Emilys ‘Half-Term Autum Treasure bag’ I found inside her book bag. Thismorning

Sometimes I’ll yell at my kids. Sometimes I’ll laugh at them. But I always laugh with them

There’s some parents who appear to have it all together. Then there are the rest of us. We aren’t lazy. We aren’t incompetent. We aren’t bad parents. We’re still kick-ass awesome, loving caring mums.

We’re just, for lack of a better term, a hot mess.


dating, general, humour, lifestyle

Dating Disasters

BY LOUISE SHARP | November 16, 2015

A first date is a nerve-wracking experience for anyone. Some easily lead onto a second, third, forth date, and sometimes even true love. But, unfortunately, some leave nothing but a sour taste in your mouth, and make for a hilarious, albeit cringeworthy, story.

To find out more about the wonderfully weird world of dating, CultNoise spoke exclusively to real people willing to share their own ‘dating disasters’:

The One with the Secret Fiance

I’d been dating a guy and then one night I was out and bumped into him with his mates visiting from home. He was really off with me and I couldn’t work out why. Later on, one of his mates came up to me and I said I had no chance, as he has a girlfriend. I said: ‘I know, but we’ve not made it official yet.’ He looked gobsmacked and said: ‘No, he has a fiance back home.

Two weeks later I came home to my flat and my flatmate was doing a study session with mates off her course. Who should be there, but him. He left very swiftly.

– Anonymous

The One with the Awkward Dinner

I went on a date with a guy to a restaurant. All was going well but it felt like someone was staring at me. When I looked up, a woman and an older couple were glaring at me. I pointed this out to him discreetly as we were eating our starters, and when he looked, he swore. I asked him what was up and he said: ‘It’s my ex-wife and her parents.’

– Anonymous

The One with the Sister

I met a guy back home who was lovely, but six years older. We went out on a few dates and then we both went back to university. Over the course of a year, we would meet up, but as we both knew it wasn’t a serious relationship, we never introduced each other to our families. One night back home, we were out together where we bumped into my sister. She instantly looked furious and he looked very sheepish. Turns out they had dated a few years previously. I haven’t seen him since.

– Anonymous

The One with the Impromptu Alcoholism

I got set up on a blind date with a friend of a friend. He really wasn’t my type and he looked like Kyle from Road Trip, but I couldn’t ditch him instantly. I went to the toilet to call a mate to get her to ring me to get me out of it, but we were in the black hole of phone signal with nothing in the whole building. I then had to sit through a meal with him. He gave me the excuse to walk out though. Feeling so bored I ordered some shots, to which he branded me an alcoholic for drinking hard spirits at 3 in the afternoon. After I necked them, I walked out.

– Anonymous

The One with the Ditchers

Me and my mate got stood up for a double date once. So, we stayed out having a few drinks. We weren’t actually bothered until we went to student night at the local nightclub, where they were there with two other girls. They tried saying that they looked everywhere, but couldn’t find us in the bar. The other girls they were with overheard this and ditched them. They then tried crawling back to us.

– Anonymous

The One with the Drool

I got taken on a date to see the first Lord of the Rings movie. I hate films like that. But he was fit so I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. I fell asleep on his shoulder, and drooled on him. Apparently I snored, too. I never heard from him again.

– Anonymous

The One with the PVC Skirt

I met a guy online, a PE teacher. He seemed nice, so we agreed to a date. As he was a teacher, which I had checked out, I thought it would be okay to let him pick me up. He arrived at my house with a ‘gift’. Upon opening the box, I saw a God awful maroon PVC skirt, which he then asked me to wear for the date. Of course, I refused to wear it, and he was not happy, but we went out anyway. I got a bit tipsy so agreed to a second date afterwards. He arrives again a few days later, but was in a bit of a strop about the fact that I still wouldn’t wear the skirt. We went for an Italian meal, and he barely said a word to me. The date was painful, and I was glad when it was over.

When we left and got to the car, he was so moody and distracted that he reversed into a tree in the car park. I was trying not to laugh by this stage. When I got home, I sent him a message and told him it wasn’t going to work out, and wished him well. A few days passed and he got back in touch. I told him again I wasn’t interested, but he messaged me persistently saying he wanted to meet. I flat-out said no and asked him to leave me alone. Then the truth came out. He wanted the skirt back, which I’d forgot I even had. On questioning why it was so important, he admitted he used it to ‘get off’. Incidentally, I did give it back, but put it behind the bin and told him to collect it and not to knock on my door. He knocked anyway so I dived behind the sofa and my friend answered. The look on his face was a picture as she started laughing at him, holding the bag containing the skirt. He looked a right plonker.

– Anonymous

The One with the Future Mrs Anderson

I was once on a second date with a girl when we decided to have a seat by the sea and started to chat. Because we had met online and only had one date, I didn’t know her last name. So, she told me her name, which is important to add, is not the same as mine (Anderson), and then I asked her if she knew mine. She said she did. Then we went quiet for a minute until she said out loud and in a ponderous tone: ‘Sarah Anderson… Hmmm.’

– Anonymous

The One with the Guy Under the Influence of…Something

I was 19 years old, and not long out of a two-year relationship. So, the concept of dating was completely new to me. I met someone whilst out with friends one night. I gave him my number, he rang the next day and we arranged to meet up that evening. I turned up at the agreed time, and waited outside the cinema. After waiting an hour, I concluded that I’d been stood up. As I was about to leave, a car pulled up and someone stumbled out of the passenger side.  It was my date. We’d missed the film, so the best suggestion he could come up with was to sit in the local school field with a few bottles of  beer, which he then selected in the shop, fished around in his pocket, produced £2 leaving me to jump in and pay the rest. Now, I wasn’t exactly enthralled with the whole sitting in a field idea, but went along with it anyway. He was acting pretty weird. He kept shrieking with excitement that he loved blondes and couldn’t believe he was on a date with one. He also whistle and shouted: ‘Sexaaaaay’ at two passing women. I kind of figured out that he had either been dabbling with illegal substances, or was drunk.

We sat down, in the middle of the field, on a main road surrounded with houses. Not particularly remote thankfully, and home was a 10 minute walk away. The conversation was gibberish, and I wanted desperately to leave. After about 15 minutes of listening to his one-sided conversation, he put his head on my lap, and fell asleep. I waited a few minutes, and as he started to snore, I moved him. Thinking back, I should maybe have put him in the recovery position, but I just kind of pushed his head from my lap and ran. I ran to the nearest phone box, rang my dad and asked him to quickly come pick me up – this was before mobiles became the norm. I saw my date stand up, look around, then stagger towards where I was hiding. Just as he was getting closer to the phone box, my dad pulled up in the car. I flung the door open, heard him shouting random insults, jumped in the car and we drove away me flicking him the Vs. The phone rang the next morning and I heard my mum tell the person on the other end of the phone to never ring again, so I assume it was him.

– Anonymous

The One with the Cheapstake

I agreed to go on a date with someone I’d met on a night out. He picked me up and we went to Pizza Hut. He ordered a starter and main and I did the same. He then ordered desert and told me to pick one too, so I did. He also ordered several soft drinks for him, and alcoholic beverages for me. Sounds like I was out with a very generous date? Wrong. The very costly bill came and he said: ‘I’ll let you get this’.

– Anonymous

The One with the Fake Conversation

I went on a date to town one night with someone I’d been chatting to online. He didn’t look much like he described (this was before mobiles had cameras), but I’m not shallow and I liked what I knew of him. He seemed keen, very keen. It became evident he liked me more that I did him, but still being quite young and naive, I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. So, I decided to get drunk and just enjoy the night the best I could. We went to a nightclub and at this point, I was quite happily having a boogie on my own, and wanted rid of him. He kept grabbing my hands and flinging me around, clearly unaware that there was just no chemistry at all between us. So, out of sheer desperation, I noticed a group of male students, ran across to one of them, threw my arms around him excitedly, whispered: ‘Please just go along with this’. I exclaimed how I was so happy to see him as I hadn’t seen him in years and started up a completely fake ‘catch-up’ conversation. My date eventually got bored and left.

– Anonymous

(Originally written for Cultnoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction.