31 January 2017

Huge welcome to...

Hi everyone, I have a guest post from Louise from lulubonbon2 on Instagram, all about finding her toyboy and becoming a Mother later in life. 

Take it away! 

On being a"vintage mum"

I was 40 when I had my daughter. I've never really been broody, in fact prior to becoming a mum I wasn't even sure if I wanted children .. or even liked them. I think if I'm honest, I didn't allow myself to think about babies because for a long time I was single it wasn't looking like an option for me.. so I carried on with life, and a pretty good life it was too. It was good because I had rebuilt it, at 35 I came out of a long term relationship, moved back to my mums.. and things were not going according to my life plan.. far from it.

At 37, I had my own home, a good job in London and a big smile on my face, I was back...and  I decided to look into the options of having a baby alone.. again I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but I was getting older and I just didn't want my choices taken away from me. I'd met a guy at this point, he was 13 years younger than me and no way was he going to be ready for a family... or so I thought.

Thankfully I was very wrong, probably the only time being wrong has felt ok, and we had a baby together, and we loved being parents so much, I was pregnant again 7 months later.

I wasn't one of these career orientated women who put their jobs first.. I was just a "me" orientated woman who simply put me first and I just hadn't met someone I wanted to settle down with.

So at 42, I have two daughters and I'm loving every single second of being a mum. If I had a choice I would have done it earlier, just by a few years, mainly so that I could have had another baby, so my body doesn't ache as much, and so that I could be around a lot longer for them.. but on the plus side , I have lived  a very full life, and experienced many many many things, good and bad which makes me feel that I am armed with enough stories to be able to guide them with some sound advice should they need and I'm really bloody content in my own skin which maybe I wouldn't have been had I had my babies when I was younger.

And.. I get to marry my toy boy later this year.... it's taken me a while but I think I might finally be a grown up.


30 January 2017

Huge Welcome to...

Hi lovelies, today I have a guest post from Georga from Part Time Parent all about how being a single Mum can work and work out for the best! Love this lady! 

Over to you. 

Single Mum/Part Time Parent:
I may be called ‘Part Time Parent’ but I am a Mummy 100% of the time. The only thing is, I do not have my daughter, Molly, 100% of the time.

Molly’s Father and I make much better friends than we did as man and wife, so when our relationship broke down we decided to split our parental responsibilities equally. After all, who is to say what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when a child is loved immensly by both parents? Having a child is a blessing, one I do not take for granted, and our circumstances mean that I am able to devote my undivided attention to Molly when I do have her.
Molly’s Father and I are lucky enough to have a good friendship, so we can always FaceTime, go out together for Pizza, or even spend the odd day together having a Disney marathon if our little girl is poorly. The aim of this blog is to try to banish the stigma surrounding a split family. There always seems to be so much negativity surrounding a single parent, with an automatic presumption of struggle and/or loneliness. More importantly, children are presumed to suffer as a result. Having studied Childhood Studies, and having come from a family who’s parent’s ‘stayed together for the kids’, I want to try to encourage people to have a more positive view on Co Parenting, which may seem a little unorthodox in the traditional sense, but is increasingly common in modern society. Surely the dated view of scandal and shame needs to be adapted to the fact that divorce rate is now 50%? The most important thing is Molly’s happiness. And she is a very happy little girl (although as soon as you ask her to smile for a photo she gives you her grumpiest face possible!)
When we first decided on this arrangement, it was hard to get used to not having her around all of the time. I wanted to try to turn a negative into a positive and I found myself with a lot of ‘free time’ to chase ambitions that were somewhat unobtainable whilst being a ‘full time parent’. To distract myself from her temporary absence, I created a mini ‘Bucket List’ of things that I wanted to do with my life. I travelled on my own, I travelled with Molly, I learnt how to DJ, and discovered a new sense of worth whilst embracing a ‘You Only Live Once’ attitude.
I now love our world more than ever, and want to help make it a better place, I just need to figure out how. In the meantime, I shall continue exploring because I have always found travel to be liberating, inspiring, and educational. This time, in my new found ‘separated’ status, I shall be a mother, and I can’t wait to take Molly on my little adventures, and to show her parts of the world too. We will be like Thelma and Louise, but with less crime, and without Brad Pitt (unfortunately).
Regardless of whether my adventures are solo or with Molly, I know I am a good mummy and I love my daughter with all of my heart. We look forward to bringing you stories about our journey…


27 January 2017

Get it off your chest!

Hi everyone! Today I have another anonymous piece for the 'Get it off your chest' section. 

Please send this person love, advice and support like you know best. 

Anxiety - Mother Nature's Way of Making Me Feel Like a Sh*t Mum

When I was a child, I remember being acutely aware that my parents were perfect. Literally, they were the kindest, most generous (seriously, they bought me a pony…) and funny people in the world. They provided everything I needed, wanted, and extra on top of that. I couldn’t imagine them being anything other than the parents that other parents aspire to be. Then one day, when I was about 13, I found out that my Mum smoked cigarettes. Not long after, my Dad was banned from driving for being over the drink drive limit. My world as I knew it came crashing down around me in a hysterically over-exaggerated and teenager-like fashion, and I shut down emotionally for about a month before I realised that life was carrying on around me and actually…no one had died.

This situation taught me 2 significant things….1) Nobody is absolutely perfect, and 2) I have anxiety issues which make me see things as so much worse than they are.

Fast forward 20 years and here I am, the proud owner of a loyal and brilliant husband, a nice house, nice car, good career and an 18 month old tearaway. But I have a secret, a horrible gnawing secret that I have to try and keep under wraps. Every. Single. Day. Having had something of an ‘anxious tendency’ for as long as I can remember, having my baby has lit a rocket underneath this and it’s become a beast that I’m struggling to control. When my son was days and weeks old, I sat in the obligatory baby groups, and while I joined in heartily with discussions about sleepless nights and poo, I quietly wondered whether anyone else was dealing with scenes running through their heads of every possible scenario in which my precious baby could get hurt, then trying and trying until I gave myself a headache to come up with plans and methods to keep him safe. I wondered if I was the only one who would feel so guilty after a glass of wine that I would lie awake and cry and wonder whether he’d be better off adopted by another couple. Was I the only one who was obsessing over every mistake or bad judgement made in my pre-baby days, like there was some kind of criteria I was ticking off which made me unqualified to be a parent?

Materialistically and emotionally I was providing everything he needed and he was smothered with love, but I was struggling inside my own head and that was enough to make me feel like a terrible mother. Normal guilt-inducing triggers like going back to work bounced off me like water off a ducks back…but an awkward silence from a conversation months ago with an NCT friend would plague me and make me doubt if I was popular enough to be a good mum. Sounds crazy right?

A visit to the doctor confirmed what I already knew, I was doing a great job and my son is a happy and healthy little boy. But in the mind of someone with anxiety this does nothing to dampen the worry and guilt. A work trip away recently resulted in me getting outrageously drunk and not remembering a large portion of my night. Cue the panic and fear the next morning, and even after confirming with colleagues that I hadn’t made a complete fool of myself, my dominant thought for almost a week afterwards was that my son deserved so much better than me as a Mum. I was praying the days away so I could put him to bed and not have to look at how perfect he was and feel the stab of irrational guilt run through me.
So back to the doctor I went, and this time I broke down. I told her everything I had felt since my son was born, and comfortingly her response was to give me anti-anxiety meds, which I now firmly believe I need to be on. I’m yet to see the full effect these will have but knowing that I ‘qualify’ for them means my levels of anxiety aren’t normal. 

Mental health issues after a baby is something that I’ve learned so many people are struggling with, and it’s something I want to raise awareness about….even if I’m not ready to be the face of it just yet!

If you would like to send me an anonymous piece please email me or DM me on Instagram. 

26 January 2017

Mothers Meeting

Hi, today I have Jenny from Mothers Meeting featuring on Bad Mum! Jenny kindly agreed to let me feature the website and book. Again, unless you've been living underneath an Instagram rock then you will certainly know who this lady is...bit like Mother Pukka...legends!

I have read this book and it is so easy to keep going back to time and time again. 

Thank you lovely lady! 

About Jenny
Author Jenny Scott is Founder, Leader, Facilitator and the Mothership Captain. She is an all round inspiring down to earth influencer with the aim of rallying mothers from all over the globe to never quit on themselves.  Being part of the mothership means living your life with full force and never without the friendship and fun of Mothers Meeting.
Since the launch of Jenny’s 2014 book “How to be a Hip Mama Without Losing Your Cool”, a parenting survival guide for a new breed of mums, the Mothers Meeting network has grown from big to huge.  Leading regular MM events with her cool and crisp energy, Jenny vows to maintain a non-fluff space for mums, making MM the antithesis of a yummy-mummy-club or stiff networking event.
Like its’ Founder, MM is a breath of fresh air offering an infectious welcoming approach for the hundreds/thousands of women who depend on its’ powerful events and workshops held consistently throughout the year.  As Jenny so aptly says, “just quit the guilt and join the gang at Mothers Meeting”.
Jenny Scott has spent the past 12 years working as an art director and designer for many global, high-profile brands, such as fashion designer Gareth Pugh, Nike, and Coca Cola. Three years ago she started the parents and events communications agency Mothers Meeting, to connect with other creative, interesting mums. She lives in London with her son and daughter.

How to embrace motherhood and still be you
By Jenny Scott
Published by Hardie Grant on 13th October, £12.99 Hardback
When successful creative director and graphic designer, Jenny Scott, had her first child she found her busy work and social life replaced with daytime TV and websites on nappy and nipple creams. After searching for a support group where she could meet women intent on embracing motherhood, whilst sharing similar interests and hobbies, Jenny decided to create her own social network that focused on the mother as her own person and not just a ‘mum.’ Mothers Meeting was born and, for over three years, has created a stimulating, engaging and supportive environment that help mothers of all ages meet like-minded women intent on keeping their cool.
How to be a Hip Mama without Losing your Cool brings together Jenny’s network of amazing women from all backgrounds, shapes and sizes, and shares their advice on embracing motherhood whilst still keeping their own identity. From finding out your pregnant to post-pregnancy exercises, beauty advice to birth planning, Jenny and a whole host of mama friends reveal the key ways to motivate, encourage and support those facing or going through the challenges of motherhood. From personal ‘labours’ of love to what motherhood means, How to be a Hip Mama without Losing your Cool answers the challenging subjects of breast-feeding, maternity leave and baby blues and offers help on starting your own business, staying healthy, working out during pregnancy and much, much more.
No-one said motherhood is easy and this mama’s manual is the ultimate support system that unites and empowers women with babies as well as those without! Be inspired by the huge number of unique women who understand that being a mother isn’t just about raising a child, it’s about staying true to who you are whilst dealing with the demands of everyday modern life.


25 January 2017

Huge welcome to...

Hi lovelies, today I have one of my girls Lorna (@mrshhayward) on today with her brilliantly brave post, The White Flag. 

I am so pleased Lorna is sharing this because it is still a taboo subject, mental health and we all need to start speaking and sharing so other's will indeed follow. 

If like Lorna you need a large drink and write with one hand while hiding behind a cushion then you go for it girl! Hay, even write it pissed if it helps - just write it and press send (to me) then breath. 

Then let the love pour in and you will feel a million times better, I promise. 

Over to Lorna! 

The White Flag

First things first – picture me writing this hiding behind a cushion. Large vino in hand. Perspiring.
Let me explain. This post isn’t something I’ve been looking forward to writing down for all to see. It feels more than a little awkward. I know that some people (who I really rather wouldn’t) will potentially read this and I am more than aware (less so prepared) for some silent judgement coming my way. Equally, I could just keep this to myself. But it feels a bit ridiculous to have started a blog as a cathartic way of helping me process my thoughts and emotions, if I don’t do just that.
A wise lady once said, “Anxiety. She’s a funny ol’ gal…” and she was right. Another told me “OCD is a bitch” and she was pretty much spot-on too.
Both anxiety and OCD have been present in my life for a very long, unwelcome time. In fact, it had got to a point where anxiety was such a familiar foe of mine, that who I was, and how I felt and acted on a daily basis, had become the norm.
The tricky thing is, when you believe that something is normal, and ‘just the way you are’, it’s hard to identify it. And if you can’t identify it, you cannot diagnose it – and so, you just tell yourself to crack the fuck on, pull your socks up and cope better.
And that’s dandy for a while. You can leave anxiety and OCD simmering softly in the background, but ultimately, at some point they’re likely to boil over. And boil over they did.
Three days after returning to work from my second maternity leave I had what you might like to call, a modest breakdown. I refer to it as a modest breakdown because very few people knew about it. I was fairly discreet. I wasn’t housebound, shouting and weeping for all to see. I was up after very little sleep, getting the girls ready, leaving for work with Elsie sobbing at the door, commuting, doing my job – but inside, everything felt more than a little bit broken.
My return to work, coinciding with settling my eldest into a new preschool & my youngest with a new childminder had all intensified symptoms of my existing OCD and anxiety. I was on edge, paranoid, frightened, angry and exhausted.
I felt shitty. Properly shitty. I am still unsure as to where my white flag juncture arose from, but I decided I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, and so, I asked for help.
Due to the stigma that still surrounds mental health, asking for help (namely from my GP) still doesn’t sit comfortably with me. That might sound ridiculous, however for me, and for so many who I have spoken to since, I was not alone in thinking I was a bit of failure for seeking support.
Mental health is awkward to talk about. But I’ve had to talk about it, process it and indulge myself in the cracks of it to assist me in my voyage to feeling better. I’m a raconteur (can you tell?) I like to chew the fat, have a good chin wag – but to suddenly be complacent with discussing some seriously dark shit, and having to say aloud ‘Um, I’m not coping. I think I need some help’ has been excruciatingly painful for me. Mainly because I like to think of myself as being fairly robust. Yeah, I’ve had a few challenges thrown my way during my short stint on this earth – some small, some great and more recently the births of my daughters which I believe may have potentially fuelled my existing anxiety and triggered some PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). Nevertheless, I like to think I’ve pasted on my brave face (and that bloody Rimmel lippy again) and cracked on with it. I believe so many of us do that; succumb to what we believe to be the norm and trot along our merry way with the bulk of so many awful worries on our shoulders.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a crier. I’m a moaner. I’m not discreet in my emotions – happy to howl, cry and shout in public me – and I certainly don’t handle stress and anxiety with elegance and grace. But I do cover up a lot.
You would think anxiety is quite difficult to conceal, it’s not – least not in my experience. My anxiety does not manifest itself in nervousness, isolation or fear of leaving the house. My OCD does an awesome job of shrouding itself behind the impression that I like to live in a perfect show home, so – to those around me I’m just the same old Lorn! Historically I’ve found it’s easier to make light of my mental health worries; I’m all for a bit of banter so appending a little farce into how I was feeling somewhat took away the sting. I mean who doesn’t like to laugh at mental health? It’s hilarious right? No. It’s not really. It’s actually pretty bloody unfunny.
What is mildly amusing though is that after I sought help and made a plan (there always has to be a plan my friends, that’d be the OCD creeping in) I felt such a strange sense of empowerment. Despite originally feeling pretty disappointed in myself for having to surrender to the shitters that are anxiety & OCD, I also felt a sense of relief – that I could say to my friends and family whom I had confided in ‘I haven’t got my shit together. I’m struggling’.

“You keep it on the inside, because that’s the safest place to hide.”

In the UK, anxiety effects 4.7 in 100 people and women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed in comparison to men; and yet, there is still so much notoriety surrounding mental health, and in turn taking medication. Why oh why my friends? I’m a little reluctant to admit that years ago I might have envisioned an individual requiring medical support, to be sitting rocking back and forth, imprisoned in white washed walls. How wrong I was. Opening up the forum of discussion around mental health, I have discovered a surprisingly large amount of people who see that accepting the help of a little pill is no bigger deal than popping a vitamin C every morning. And why should you? The proven chemical imbalance that comes hand-in-hand with anxiety and depression are just that – a chemical imbalance. Medication simply serves to correct that imbalance. So why all the shame?
For some, I know the process is so much harder – a lengthy road to recovery – but if you do decide that medication is right for you, why would you not snatch the prescription out of the GPs hand, leg it to the nearest pharmacy and cash that bad boy in? I think it’s shame. Stigma and shame. Anyone would think it was on a par with shooting up of a morning before sitting down to your latte. I have lost count the amount of times I have heard “But if you had diabetes you would take tablets for that, it’s the same thing” – and in the midst of my epically low days, I would want to scream back “NO NO IT’S NOT – because diabetes is an actual illness and it can KILL you, so you HAVE to take medication”. And yet, if I was talking to a close friend or relative of mine, I would be battling against every single word I think and mutter. I would stand forthright and offer words of encouragement to them and say how proud I was of them for seeking help. Why is it that a lot of the time we are incapable of doing this for ourselves?
I also know that for many, medication isn’t the answer and that’s ok too. There are many avenues to finding inner contentment again; CBT, counselling, exercise, mindfulness; whatever YOU choose on your journey to feeling brighter and happier and ultimately less like a massive bag of SHIT is up to you.
A crucial synopsis to this post (I’m still hiding, and sweating behind the cushion by the way) is that you’re not alone. Although I was lucky enough to have wonderful support from a network of friends and family, I still felt isolated. I don’t anymore.
And finally (if you’re still with me), I believe it has to be your journey. Own that shit.
This has been and still is mine, and it’s certainly a process – but another wise lady once said (And I know a few) – “Forward is forward” and I’ll take that.

24 January 2017

Huge welcome to...

Hello! Today I have a guest post from Stephanie (seppicino on Instagram) about the modern face of parenting, take it away!

The Modern Face Of Parenting

They say it takes a village to raise a child.  My own upbringing is testament to this; I grew up in a small town where most of my extended family also lived.  We shared all of the major landmark occasions together; birthdays, Christmases etc. but having parents who both worked full-time, the wider family network was relied upon on a day to day basis, too.  For years, Granny came to ours in the mornings to get me ready for school, aunts and uncles could often be called upon last minute to pick me up from dancing, and of course I’d spend many an afternoon round at a cousin’s house kicking about the garden, end up staying for dinner and getting dropped off home just before bedtime.  That was my ‘village;’ those were the significant people in my life who helped raise me, who’ve shaped who I am and who loved me just like I was their own. 

Fast forward a couple of decades and I’m now a mum myself to two young boys, grappling with the day to day of family logistics and have found myself distinctly without so-called ‘village.’  Not in theory of course, all of those people who were there for me growing up are still there, but like many others of my generation, I reached the university stage of life and skipped town - or in my case; the country.  I grew up in Northern Ireland but have lived in England (previously Liverpool, now London) for almost 14 years.  My Australian husband has been in the U.K. for over 11 years now, so unlike my parents before me, I have no family round the corner, no siblings to call if I’m late for the nursery pick-up, no cousin to ask to take the boys for an unscheduled afternoon – so who do we have?

Well, actually, we’re not as alone as we might at first seem.  We have around us a different sort of ‘village’ who we can depend on for just about as much as we would our own family.  This village is made up of our various circles of friends – some who have their own children, some who don’t.  Some we met pre-baby, some we’ve met because of our babies.  But the one thing they have in common is that they’re there for us, willing to offer advice, a shoulder to lean on or a bottle of wine (medicinal, of course) whenever we need it.

During my first maternity leave, the incredible women I met through my NCT classes were a lifeline.  We got together most days and chatted all things baby and as time went on, all things un-baby too.  We got into a routine of swapping babysitting favours so we could have some me-time or an evening out with our respective partners, and during my second pregnancy, I even came to rely on some of them to give me a bit of respite during the sickly first trimester.  Without them, it’s safe to say, I’d have been pretty miserable.  As well as this network of parent pals, we’re lucky enough to have a few of my closest school friends and their partners living nearby; they too babysit for us, or are happy to come round to ours for a take-away now that our life isn’t exactly pub friendly and every time, they come with hugs, kisses and chocolate in abundance.  They love our sons and the beauty of old friends I suppose is that - much like family - when they say they want to help, you know they mean it.

When I became a parent, I had anticipated some of where I’d seek support; that I’d turn to my own mother during the stressful days as much as the good, that the friends with children older than my own know more or less everything.  But what I didn’t quite expect is that almost unwittingly, I’d become part of an enormous, world-wide club, where membership - irrespective of colour, class or creed – is lifelong, where everyone is welcome and everyone is celebrated.  Club Parenthood.  And our clubhouse?  Instagram.  Obviously.  Initially a distraction during the middle-of-the-night newborn feeds, it’s come to be much more than just a way of killing time.  It’s an incredible source of information and inspiration.  Who I follow very much reflects my life and whilst I do I follow some dads, it’s the women, especially fellow mums, whose feeds I most enjoy.  These women are numerous and varied and all in their own way, brilliant.  Some of them are far-flung, real-life friends or family members whose posts are a way of keeping up to date with what they’re up to, what they’re lives consist of and more importantly, how their little ones are doing.  I see milestones and favourite toys and holiday snaps – none of which I’d be able to enjoy without the Instagram window into their world.  Contrary to this, lots (and lots and lots) of them are in effect complete strangers, in many cases I don’t even know their real names yet they are a part of my life, my online community.  Some, I follow because they offer up incredible mum-wisdom, others present amazing recipe ideas, (I have a fussy eater on my hands) some delight in sentimental reflections of motherhood and others, if I’m honest, are gorgeous, have gorgeous children who wear gorgeous clothes and lead gorgeous lives and well, being a voyeur to that is a lot of fun - as long as you don’t start comparing your teeny tiny two-bed terrace to their apparently palatial home.

Unlike many of the accounts I enjoy, mine doesn’t have a lot of followers, but out of those who do follow me, most are also women - often mothers - and most I don’t know ‘IRL.’  I’m not sure why they follow me – what it is about my haphazard attempt at raising two boys that appeals to them.  My feed isn’t exactly pretty, I don’t have a particular aesthetic I’m going for, the majority of my posts are humorously (I hope) ranty, sarcastic and peppered with swear words.  The only thing I ever try to be is honest - I’d hate for anyone to think I was filtering out the bad bits in order to get more likes;I never want to pretend my reality is something it isn’t.  Plus, I’m really terrible at taking photos.  Without the patience to mess around with lighting or composition, the reality is there to be seen whether I like it or not.  So the only reason I can think of to explain their following me is as an act of solidarity.  In my honesty, I write about teething woes, weaning woes, sleepless nights as well as immense feelings of gratitude, awe, frustration.  In short, I write about motherhood.  Recently I’ve noticed that whilst people mostly double tap the pictures of my lovely sons, it is the posts where I write about how tough I’m finding it all that encourages people to actively make a connection.  Often my real-life friends will send a text, ‘I saw your Insta, you alright?’ while the not-quite-real-life friends will comment below the posts offering words of encouragement.  In fact, on this very day I posted about my uncooperative baby who loves an all-night party (‘party’ being used loosely here – the reality is nothing at all like any party I’d actually choose to attend) and a woman I’ve never met before messaged me to remind me it’ll pass and to stay strong.  I replied with some lame attempt at wit (my go-to response to most things) but really, I was bowled over and grateful that she’d taken the time to write to me, a complete stranger to tell me I’m doing ok.  Like this lovely, lovely Insta-mum, I too have messaged people I’ve never met before to offer advice where they’ve asked for it or just to reach out when I could relate to something they’ve said or done.  Some have replied, some haven’t but all I hope know that those words were sent with sincerity and kindness at their core.

In a world where more war-crimes against women are being committed than ever before, where victims of domestic violence are being publicly told they deserved it, (remember Rhianna and Chris Brown?) where political leaders are apparently so terrified of women that they openly molest them into submission, I am proud and thankful to be part of this club where parents celebrate parents, women celebrate women and mothers celebrate mothers. 

I’ll probably never live just around the corner from my mum, I may never be able to pop over unannounced to my sister’s for a cup of tea but my little family is not without support.  We have it in abundance, from old friends who cancel Friday night pub plans so we can go round to their place with the babies, have half a glass of wine and fall asleep on the sofa, to the new who look after my boys while I go for a run in exchange for allowing them a date night, to the online friends on a smart-phone somewhere sending heart emojis.  It’s easy to feel alone when your nearest and dearest are far away but there’s love and support aplenty if you know where to look.  Often just a coffee shop, a text message or an Instagram post away.  This not-so-secret, not-at-all exclusive club for mums and dads alike, offers us a glimpse at the real face(s) of parenting.  Whether they know it or not, these friends, parent-pals and Insta-mums keep me going, keep me sane, make me laugh.  They are my champions and my cheerleaders.  They are my village.  

23 January 2017

Feature: Down At The River

Today I have a feature from my girly Stacey from Down At The River. This is where my brilliant Bad Mum bracelet comes from! 

Please enjoy! 

Hey loves,

My name is Stacey I'm 32 and a Mumma to two young babes. My first born, Ryver is the inspiration behind my brand Down At The River. 

We live just outside of Cardiff, South Wales and purchased our first home whilst I was on maternity leave. 

As my journey in to motherhood began, there I found myself. Sat in a new property (which needed a shit load of work doing), love drunk, overwhelmed, sleep deprived and covered in breastmilk! 

I was riding that crazy wave of emotion. You know, that huge 'ain't nothing the same round here honey' wave of emotion. The one that hits you when you’re figuring out life with a tiny, new, life dependant human in it. I knew I felt different.

It took a while to figure out, at first I put it down to my hormones. Of course I was going to feel different, right? 

Until, eventually it dawned upon me. 

Now, I've always considered myself a bit of a creative person; I love to write, styling & design are right up my street, I'm a home maker, a bit of a cook and generally (as mild as it might have been) have always channelled my inner exhibitionist but, this…….. this was different?

What I was feeling was desire.

A new passion, and not just for myself. A feeling stronger than I'd ever experienced. A longing desire. 

A desire to make Ryver’s life & environment as loving, positive, supported & free as possible. Motherhood had changed me. I felt ignited!

From there, Down At The River was born. I consider it a lifestyle brand. Everything I offer I design myself. 

My idea is; to promote a more positive way of living. Not only through offering products centred on positive affirmations but through sharing experiences, talking taboo, being real about life & parenting. Whilst reassuring, encouraging, supporting & inspiring others.

For me, Instagram was a great place to start. Granted, it’s not all emoji hearts & kisses but there are a truck load of supportive, like minded Mumma’s out there. 

Of course, building a brand can be hard going. There are days when I wonder if it's worth the effort. It can be tiring & thought consuming (and that's before you throw the babes, the husband, the house & part time job in to the mix) but it can be thrilling, satisfying and wonderfully rewarding.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this. If you have a desire, a longing, a feeling, a creativity (surely we all do?) run with it! 

Head towards what you strive for; set goals, take it a step at a time, talk (!!), keep talking, ask questions & congratulate yourself on the little things.

As you pick up memento, it gets easier, you let go a bit more & you're motives grow stronger.  

Since setting out, my tiny tribe has grown and with baby Forrest sat along side baby Ryver my quest to inspire through design couldn't be stronger. Your desire will too, grow stronger!

Stop worrying about the what if's and sure as hell don't give a second though to what others might think. Focus on your inspirations. I worried for too long and it held me back.

Stop worrying it's wasted energy. Who cares? Life is short. This is your passion, your time. Your journey. Start today. Do it! 

Big Love,

S x

If you would like to visit Stacey at Down At The River please visit here.

If you would like to feature on Bad Mum magazine please email me. 


20 January 2017

Get it off your chest!

Hi lovelies, today I have something a little different. Someone asked me if they could write a post anonymously so they can get something off their chest and out there in black and white. Of course I agreed as I too have done something similar and it works wonders. 

If you would like to get something off your chest, tell us a problem, a worry or concern, a family member or friend has hurt you or you even suspect your husband or wife is up to no good then just tell us! We won't know you and we won't judge; we will simply offer you friendly advice and a virtual hug.

I promise you, hand on heart, your secret will always be safe with me and I will NEVER reveal anyone's story or who you are to ANYONE

That's my Bad Mum Code and Girl Code (Boys you are welcome and are safe too!) 

Now show this person some love please. 

Life is made up of many choices.  Daily we make choices about what to eat, what to wear, where to take the kids.  In this modern day of 2017 there are new and different choices to what our parents had.  Blogging is one of those choices.  Now just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you need to blog about your family, that is again your choice.  This is a choice I made.  I made it a long time ago and it was not something I went into lightly.  I dipped my toe in for a while whilst I found my confidence and once I did it was the best decision I ever made.  I know this over sharing isn’t for everyone.  Not everyone will understand why I am comfortable putting pictures and stories of my children online but what those same people don’t understand is I have a strict ‘rule book’ I follow. 

  1. I never share pictures of the girls in the bath or without clothes on.  I don’t mind other parents that do; I actually love a cute little botty pic.  I just don’t want that to be a picture of my children.  
  2. I don’t share any intimate details of them.  For example, I would never say if they had a UTI or a rash caused by anything other than a virus or Chicken Pox. 
  3. If I would be embarrassed about a picture as an adult I don’t post it.
  4. I never share pictures of friends or my family’s children unless they know about it in advance.
I have deleted many a caption in the past which I felt was hormonal fuelled and perhaps not a true reflection of the events and more an over exaggeration of my feelings in that moment.  I hope that most people now know that Instagram isn’t always the most ‘real’ place.  With so many filters and editing options how can it be?  I try not to be fake, but just because I don’t post picture of my children being the arseholes we all know they can be doesn’t mean I don’t think it and that they don’t do it!

I kept my blog and my Instagram use a secret from my family for a long time.  Not because I was ashamed, actually I was very proud, but because it is a little out of character for me and them.  I didn’t want to have to try and justify my decision because it would have put a seed of doubt in my head.  So it came as a surprise to me to find out that my sister-in-law had found it and felt it appropriate to copy everything I did.  If I write a post chances are within days or even hours she has written the same post. 

Now just to be clear I have only very recently found out how bad the situation has become.  And I didn’t go looking for it! My partner came across something on twitter that raised alarm bells and he found it all! I knew something was wrong months ago after a few nasty messages were exchanged but quite frankly I thought we were all adults, not school children.  Our relationship has always been one of distaste and indifference.  We simply don’t get on and I simply don’t like her.

In the interest of balance I know I could have tried harder to get on with her in the past, I am far from perfect.  I know where I went wrong but I also know she honestly thinks she has done nothing to piss me off over the years! Well I have a list as long as my arm of things she has done to piss me off over the years.  My family know many of them and only one of them directly relates to me, the rest of my issues have been ways she has ignorantly upset other people in my family.  Of course I am not allowed to say anything to her in case I upset her.  Poor delicate soul!

Back to the point.  I am not original, I am not unique.  There are many other bloggers doing the same thing as me out there.  And yes, she is absolutely more than entitled to join the clan.  I don’t believe she is deliberately malicious, I actually suspect she is relatively likable.  The big issue I have is since her and her family have made me feel utterly shit about my rules, utterly shit about the polite way I try and conduct myself, utterly shit about trying to put the past behind us and move on and utterly shit about trying to keep myself out of their way and their happiness I would simply like her to fuck off! I want her to leave me alone.  I want her to stop copying my blog posts (word for word in some cases) I also know she has tried to directly compete with my Instagram pictures in the past.  I want her to stop following everything I do and find her own way.  It feels most days that I can’t go anywhere on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter without her rearing her ugly head (turn of phrase I promise).   Some days I am unbothered by it but most days it really knocks my confidence.  Everyone tells me she is just jealous and to ignore it, but it isn’t as easy as that.  The seed of doubt has been sowed.

Part of me feels sorry for her, that she feels like she lives in my shadow, but I didn’t put her there.  She has positioned herself like that.

Yes I understand I chose to live my life like this.  I did expect some negative people to show their faces at some point.  I figured the day that happened was the day I had ‘made it’ as they say.  I never expected it to be someone I knew.  I never expected it to be family and I never expected to be ousted because of it all.  So why don’t I stop?  Mostly because it won’t solve the problem. This is just being used as an excuse, and besides which I am loving what I am doing.  It brings me a lot of joy and has helped build my confidence.  I have virtually met some amazing people who really lift my spirits on a daily basis.  Perhaps if it wasn’t for the community I have found myself embraced in I may well have simply stopped.  I certainly thought about it.  I refuse to be bullied for the choices I have made.  I will not back down.  I am causing no harm.  I am just trying to find a little bit of ‘me’ in the depths of motherhood.

So next time you compare yourself to someone else’s Instagram feed, question why your life can’t be so white and beautiful, wonder why you can’t be that happy; remember it is only a square.  It is not the whole truth.  Some people post pretty things to make themselves feel better.  Some people post raw things to make themselves feel better.  Some people just like to showcase some of their photography.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter; NEVER compare yourself to someone else because you should always be your own person.  

Live and let live.  


19 January 2017

Huge welcome to...

Hi all, today I have a guest post from Amie (mommaaday at Instagram) about the realities of having a big family! 

Over to you lovely! 

Life With Four

My mom always said the more children you have, the easier it gets.. ha if only I knew now what I didn't know then! I suppose in a teeny tiny way she is right, the more you have they just have to fit in with the already hectic life you lead!!!

I'd always planned on having lots of children as I'm from a large family myself and nothing is more satisfying than a noisy, busy house full of children's laughter. Now back to reality! It may not be laughter that fills my house all day everyday but my ever bellowing voice that gradually gets louder and  louder every time I shout! I try not to post perfect pictures of my life on Instagram as it's just not real! There may be a tiny corner of a room that's not covered in toys, crap or crayon on the wall but my home is lived's not a show home! 

We have days where everyone gets along and we do lots of baking and crafts and everything is lovely and then other days come along and we can barely have 5 minutes where one of the kids isn't  crying, screaming or bickering! My elder two girls are 6 and 7 and can pretty much sort themselves out if they can take their eyes of these silly You Tube channels they have just discovered. And my younger two are 1 and 2 and are constantly fighting over my affection! After having 3 girls , we finally produced a son and I'm not sure if its a boy thing or a fourth child problem but he is literally stuck to me like glue. Trying to get anything done whilst he is awake is near enough impossible! My Ergo baby carrier has been the best money in my 4th pregnancy I have ever spent! It's used on a daily basis just to make the tea sometimes!

As hectic as my life is with four little people to mother, I wouldn't be without them. They all keep me on my toes and have made me who I am today...a raving lunatic!!

I have suggested a 5th to my husband but I think the colour draining from his face said it all!!

Amie x


18 January 2017

Huge Welcome to...

Hi lovelies, today I have a guest post from the lovely Jenna at The Minimalist Doula (on Instagram.) This is exactly what Bad Mum is all about and what I believe in! 



I am a recent mega fan of instagram.  As a Mum, it's a lovely virtual
world of escapism for five minutes (or fifty, whoops!) here and there
when I want some adult time amidst the constant demands of motherhood.
I think it has a real community feel to it and who doesn't love
scrolling through cool photos of complete randomness? As a doula it is
also a great space for me to hang out in the virtual sense and connect
with other like minded awesome people and learn from them too.

Before Christmas I noticed that everyone was doing a twelve days of
Christmas themed giveaway.  Lots of people were slashing their prices
or giving away free products through competitions and I liked the idea
of theming my posts leading up to Crimbo.  Some even cooler people
were giving away advice instead of gifts which as a recent minimalist
I especially loved and this got me thinking...I have no products to
offer as such, I always think of it as I offer feelings in my doula
work.  I give my Mamas non judgemental, unconditional loving support
which in turn creates positive and confident feelings of self belief.
So how could I turn this into a giveaway?  How could I turn love into
something tangible?

I decided that being real and unfiltered was the way to do this.
Those that see the perfectly styled and filtered pics and feel shitty
about themselves may feel a little better seeing something completely
unedited and may feel less alone.  A study conducted by psychologist
Dr Paula Durlofsky demonstrated a correlation between social media and
depression ( and around holidays like Christmas it
can get worse. So that's what I did.  For twelve days everything I
posted wasn't posed, cropped or filtered and I tried to show the
grittier side to motherhood rather than just the cutesie baby pics.

What did I discover from this process?  Well, as scary as it was
posting myself with no make up at 5am, it was well received.  People
seemed to like and appreciate this realer version of me.  I got a good
few likes and a few new followers. Naturally as a Mum, it was easy to
find funny/silly/crazy moments throughout the day because, well there
are lots of them!  I found out that it was ok to just be me, in all my
glory.  I didn't think before I posted my caption and try and rewrite
it, I just sent it out there into the virtual universe.  If I
questionned a post, I definitely hit send, because that was the point
right, to be real, no editing.  Funnily enough, they were always the
ones that got the best response.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good filter, I love the artistic
expression it adds to a picture, it can change the feeling of a photo
and it can change your feeling about that situation.  I personally
don't think there's anything wrong with improving yourself.  Why not
add a bit of 'amaro' to your life, in my eyes, it's just a way of
creating a positive vibe.  Choosing to see the good that day instead
of the bad.  But for those seeing the heavily filtered, styled images
and feeling inferior in some way, I don't think this is the intention
at all, it's just that instagrammer adding a bit of shine to their

It's funny though since this, I have rarely filtered my images and it
has become a bit of a New Year's goal to filter less.  I have in fact
noticed that life is pretty awesome just as it is.  When I look back,
I don't want to remember the chaos, the crazy, the shouting or the
sleeplessness.  I want to look back at my photos and see the love, the
happiness and the wonder, because it's there.  As hard as it is to be
a Mum, there are beautiful moments each and every day, but you have to
actively choose to see them.  You have to stop the daily grind of
chores and meals and school runs and you have to look at your sweet
babes and take some time to play.  So thank you instagram for these
little squares of love.   

Let's not judge each other, but #loveeachother and on the days when 
you can't choose love, choose prosecco.

Peace out & Doula love.
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