July? No I’m always honest

A bit later than usual (sorry, life) here are my top favourites from the joyful month of July.

TV This is Us

I am a Kate and I want a Toby. I won’t lie, I was utterly devastated when I discovered that he wears a FAT SUIT to play the role (honestly, from his insta I just thought he was a yo-yo-er) but looking past the obvious WRONGNESS… I’m just in love with him. Like me, my name-twin has serious confidence and body issues and Toby is by her side, always, with a song to dance to or a heartfelt expression of unconditional love. HE HAS A HAPPY SONG. HE IS THE DREAM! This show fills my heart and empties my eyes. I relate so damn much to Kate that sometimes it stings just a little. There’s a whole load more storyline strands which are all brilliant, but it’s Kate & Toby that keep me hooked. Series 2 is on Channel 4 now.

Live event – Party at the Park, Newport

Such a hilarious night with my sis to celebrate her birthday. We walked for MILES because it definitely wasn’t in the place it was advertised but when we did finally arrive we were greeted with the sounds of Scouting for Girls yelling “She’s So Lovely” just as we walked in. Couldn’t have timed it better, we loves an entrance.

We ate a tonne of delicious food, danced our pants off to Craig Charles, got passively relaxed (!!) to Aswad, sung our hearts out to Soul II Soul and got accosted by two security men when I tried to take a photo of the lights on top of the bar (long story….but Showsec staff are BAD MEN who don’t understand the importance of a good Instagram post)

Top night. Jazzie B is still the coolest man on planet Earth. Hands down.

Food – Onion Rings at the Glee Club

So big they look like doughnuts. Hell, you could wear these suckers like a BANGLE. Get some.

PodcastWobble

Jules Von Hep and Sarah Powell are my new podcast bffs. They talk about happiness, body positivity and how we all “wobble”. Great mix of interesting guests, really lovely interviews and their obviously close relationship makes you feel like part of the gang. Super-duper-lush.

Make-up – Max & More Travel Palette

I have three main places I squirrel make-up; at home, in my handbag and in my desk drawers at work. (Scratch that, Four – in my dash) It’s everywhere. I can’t help it. I am OBSESSED with finding my holy grail travel palette with everything I need to carry around with me, but in miniature. Truth bomb: I really want the Tilbury one. But it costs eighty million pounds, so until my ship full of money comes in, I found this little contender for LESS THAN ONE POUND. It comes with a teeny mini sponge and a lickle slanted brush, powder foundation, eyeshadows, brow powder, blush & highlight. It’s insane. Pretty sure some VERY shady sh*t will have gone down to bring this product to our stores for this price point and there’s a very real possibility it might cause a nasty rash, however……I look purdy and this is the harsh but dazzling reality of the disposable society we live in. Go on, judge.

App – Done: Simple Habit Tracker

After losing my mind last year, I’ve been trying hard to do everything I can to hold on to it this year. Looking after myself and protecting my energy has had to become more of a priority for me, as I now really do realise that I’m useless to anyone if I don’t.

I read about consistency over intensity (doing little things all the time instead of giant big stuff every so often) and it totally resonated with me. This app lets you track three goals per day (any ones you like, you get to decide)

So I had a think about what 3 little things help me take care of myself every day, small steps that will top up my happiness. I chose…

1. Butt Exercises (this junk is my fortune I tell you. It’s my duty to protect it)

2. Take my Vitamins (I did an online quiz to see which ones would be best for me)

3. Read a Chapter (books have always been my escape, they help me so much. I know when I’m struggling I find it hard to concentrate for long enough to read, so one chapter a day before I go to sleep is realistic)

Your goals may be very different to mine, in fact I almost guarantee it! However, the principle is the same – small steps add up to a big difference and this app helps me track that. Eleven days in, it’s working for me so far.

And my butt looks INCREDIBLE. (Side note: If you’re made of money, an app upgrade of £4.99 gets you UNLIMITED goals…knock yourselves out champs)

BookNot Working by Lisa Owens

Was a bit concerned that my boss left this on my desk and so I spent a whole day worried that it was a hint to bin me. I mean, you would, wouldn’t you?

However, after diving in I discovered that it was simply a brilliant book recommendation. Proof that taking a leap can be a very good thing, sweet and funny. Recommended read!

Random Joy – Finding a steamroller with my name on!

Doesn’t happen every day, does it?

Enough said, really.

As always I’d love to hear what you’ve been enjoying this month? Let me know.

Big cwtches

Kate xx

Marvellous May

Make-up – George Brow Tamer Cream (Medium)

With two breakdowns (my dodgy car, not my mental health…this time) it’s been a tight budget month which coincided perfectly with me running out of my favourite Wunderbrow. I cannot leave the house without my brows on, so a cheap interim remedy was needed. I grabbed this for £3 in Asda when picking up bread & milk and I absolutely love it. The medium shade is perfect for me, dramatic but not too sharpie, the consistency is creamy and blends easily. Love the idea of having a teeny brush in the lid, even though the bristles are a bit too soft for my liking I guess it’s ok for an on-the-go touch-up. It’s not long-lasting like my fave, but it’s still so good I’m stockpiling it like a squirrel.

TV – Evil Genius, Netflix

A departure from my usual go-to genre, I’m not entirely sure how I ended up hooked on this true crime documentary series but I’m really glad I came across it. It’s a fascinating look at a complex and unique bank robbery and I’m always amazed at how some of these high profile cases never seem to make it across the pond into UK news (or I’m just completely oblivious and miss them) I really enjoyed seeing how all the threads of investigation come together. There are a couple of truly *gasp* moments but I won’t spoil them for you. Worth a binge, just probably don’t order a pizza to go with it… #justsayin

Food – Ham & Mustard crisps

I am so obsessed with these crisps, I went to FOUR supermarket chains in one night just to find them and came away EMPTY HANDED. Britain is broken my friends. SOMEONE knows where they are and they are hiding them from me. If you know a shop that stocks them near you, hook a girl up? (Please, I mean it. These are rarer than a mooing steak and I NEED THEM.)

Podcast – Oh No Ross and Carrie

Everyone knows I love a good podcast recommendation and this month my luscious Ash said I should have a listen to this. Boy oh boy was it a good shout! A skeptical podcast, Ross and Carrie go undercover to investigate pseudoscience, the paranormal and generally anything on the weird fringes of society. They are thorough, detailed and hugely entertaining. The extra joy of discovering something brilliant that’s actually been around for ages is that there’s a huge back catalogue of amazing content to catch up on. Perfect for a greedy binger like me! I recommend starting with the Scientology episodes, awesome stuff.

Home – Metal wall art, B & M

I zipped in for Zoflora and came out with this sweet metal wall art which now graces my bathroom. Forgot the Zoflora but meh….this looks so NICE and cost less than £2.

Book – This is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay

Adam Kay is absolutely hilarious and this painfully honest diary of life as a junior doctor in today’s struggling NHS is simultaneously a hoot and a heartbreaker. The book is a real eye-opener to the pressures and stress we put our youngest and most inexperienced doctors under, the immense responsibility they carry and the impact this has on their personal and professional lives. (Side note: Adam has a very expressive left eyebrow and we all know how I feel about that.) We were lucky enough to catch him at Hay Festival this week and he’s every bit as passionate and impressive as you’d expect. It left me feeling incredibly proud to work for the NHS; in some ways we have it so very right but also saddened because in other ways we have it very very wrong indeed. We need to hear more voices like Adam’s. Out now in paperback.

Thoughts – Mad passionate extraordinary love

Mediocre is so over. I’m all about mad passion. All in or all out. This says it much nicer than I can in a pinterest font that looks like I wrote it when I didn’t.

Accessories – K bag, Next

This was a thoughtful gift I received this month and I absolutely love it. I don’t even care that the label says 7 years+ because I definitely am 7 years+ (even if mentally I usually feel much closer to the lower end of that bracket) Perfect for taking my lunch to work with just enough room for a cheeky paperback too. It’s bedazzled therefore it wins.

As always I’d love to hear what you’ve been enjoying this month? Let me know.

Big cwtches

Kate xx

Awesome April

Live events – My Dad Wrote a Porno Live

I got front row tickets for me & my Lisa on the very day they went on sale. I mean, if you’re going to be in a large room full of erotica-loving perverts you want to be at the front, right? If you haven’t already joined the #PornoMonday masses (who even ARE you?) The basic premise is that Jamie’s Dad has taken to writing appalling erotic fiction. His mates Alice & James join him to gag (both comically and literally) chapter by excruciating chapter.

Honestly wasn’t sure how the podcast would translate into a live show and it was a bit awks knowing that their “live” reactions to the lost chapter definitely weren’t for the first time. However, the local references, audience participation and anatomy powerpoint were so hilarious, I ached with laughter. All three are even more gorgeous irl and I definitely want to be in their gang. Well worth catching if you’re a fan of the show. (Spoiler: There wasn’t a Non-Stick Tin Wok under my seat….disappointing)

Song – Lost in Japan Shawn Mendes

The strongest contender for my song of the summer (is it too early for that yet?) cutie Shawn has delivered a sunshine sprinkled jazzy that I’ve been OBSESSED with. It’s permanently on repeat in my life. Do you got plans tonight?

Podcast – Why Won’t You Date Me?

Nicole Byer is absolutely filthy, completely hilarious and I’m totally in love with her. I binge-listened to most of this series on the train and more than once I had to check my headphones were connected (it’s not really the kind of thing you want to play out loud in polite company) If you’re single too, you’ll cry with laughter and feel better about all those awful dating horrors. You are not alone! (And for the record Nicole, I would 100% date you)

Make-up – Novo Play Color Eyes

Cheap make-up is still a guilty pleasure, despite an allergic reaction once that made me look like a Bo Selecta character (take a Piriton and move on hon, this eye look I’m serving is FIERCE) This month I picked up this warm palette with change from a fiver and I love it! Great pigmentation, totally within my shade range of choice and absolutely no swelling. I’ll be picking up some more of these when I’m convinced that I mustn’t wear autumn shades all year round. The ice cream shades look STUNNING.

Clothes – Boohoo Rainbow Jumper

Why dress like a grown woman when you can be a human Care Bear with Boohoo? Anything with a rainbow on it gives me joy and this pastel blue colour isn’t something I’d usually go for, but I love it. I’ll be getting loads of wear from this, slinging over spring dresses when it’s a little cooler and on the days when I need to bring my own sunshine. And of course when I get called upon to fill in for a kids TV presenter.

(Can’t find the link to the actual jumper, but this tee is pretty close and lovely)

Book – Those Other Women

I was on the blog tour for this brilliant book this month. A really clever look at motherhood and frenemies gets an easy five cwtches from me, my full review is here.

YouTube Channel – Rhea Rants

I can’t tell you how much I have SCREAMED with laughter at this channel this month. Rhea is stunning, sassy and so funny! I just can’t. Sometimes YouTube recommendations take you down some scary avenues, but this click was the best I ever made. I was compelled to go back and watch all of her previous vids and I fell completely in love with her. (This one is my absolute favourite) Relatable and enviably beautiful, Rhea is well worth a sub.

Food – Cosy Club Cardiff

I’m a pain in the arse with a menu. I want it all and can’t make a decision. Tapas is often my go-to because it’s a socially acceptable way of being greedy without appearing so. The Cosy Club usually has a great tapas selection & this time I went for scotch egg (the tomato chutney was so good) squid with smoky chorizo (really lovely flavour combination) and a superfood salad (because balance) In the interests of total honesty, everything came with a hella amount of rocket which wasn’t always the best buddy to the dish but overall it was delicious.

As always I’d love to hear what you’ve been enjoying this month? Let me know.

Big cwtches

Kate xx

Feb Faves

I know, I know…we’re halfway through March. But then I thought it’s never too late to chat about the stuff I’ve been loving.

TV – The Sinner

My gorgeous friend Ash recommended this one to me and as with every TV series, I have to check “Will I be scared?” She confirmed I would and I watched it all anyway (fearless badass over here) It has quite possibly the most graphic first episode I can recall, but there’s no doubt you are absolutely hooked from the outset. For me figuring out the why is always way more fascinating than figuring out the who and I’m really glad Netflix is pioneering the modern Whydunnit. Also, Jessica Biel is STUNNING and will make you want a fringe. PUT THE SCISSORS DOWN KATE THIS HAS NEVER ENDED WELL.

Live events – KSI vs Joe Weller Boxing

This feels like FOREVER ago now but it was a bit of a moment for YouTube so it’s still worth a mention. The hype and build-up was phenomenal. I’m a grown-ass anti-violence woman and even I couldn’t wait to see the outcome of two young hot internet guys rough each other up in the Copper Box. (Not.A.Euphemism.)

Loyalties split the House of Hamm, with F very much on Team KSI and me cheering louder for cheeky Joe Weller. I was absolutely gutted with the result but delighted F got to meet a few of his favourites and we ended the night with commiseration / celebratory chicken wings. Still don’t think boxing is for me, but I had fun.

Food – The Reuben, Deli a GoGo

The best sandwich in Cardiff and it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from my office. A bloody classic done beautifully. Pop along on a sunny day and enjoy the delicious deli treats and friendly atmosphere. If you can leave without buying a jar of something you never knew you needed, you’re stronger than me.

Podcast – She’s All Fat

A podcast for body positivity, radical self-love and chill vibes only. I just love April and Sophie! They are intelligent, hilarious and kind and best of all they completely understand the world for fat women. Not a single episode has gone by without either making me laugh or cry and I’m proud to be a Patreon supporter for this super-important work. (Please be my friends)

Make-up – Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour

Not personally a fan of Rita Ora but man can she select a lip colour. The formula is the least-drying matte liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried (and I’ve tried a few) it’s super-long lasting and comes in a great shade range. I went for a classic siren red, the deepest burgundy and a cool toned taupey-nude (which I absolutely love but worry it makes me look unwell and then I wear it anyway) And when it’s 3 for 2 it’d be rude not to, right?

Clothes – Next Yellow Jumper

Sunshiney joyful knitwear rocks my world. I’ve already worn this to death. It’s cosy, bright and at £22 it’s a tidy bargain.

Book – Present Over Perfect

Another literary find via Oprah (thanks hon) this book is honestly changing me. I’m a bit of a sucker for a self-help tome but something in this particular one speaks to my soul. I listened to the Oprah episode at about 3am one night when I couldn’t sleep and sobbed with recognition. I bought it in paperback because I just knew this would be something I’d need to carry with me, make notes and mark pages. If religious faith talk isn’t for you, you might want to swerve this one, but if you’re obsessed with being seen as capable, are forever hectic and a pro at fake relaxing YOU NEED THIS. A simpler life awaits.

YouTube Channel – Matthew Hussey

This guy needs a knighthood or something. Changing women’s lives all over the world, dating-dream Matthew gives the best advice from a devilishly handsome man’s perspective. HE KNOWS WHAT THEY THINK AND HE TELLS US. He’s genuinely sweet and kind and has a hot transatlantic accent thing going on (remember when Paul McKenna went to America? THAT. Only he’s not hypnotising you to think of a spittoon every time you want chocolate.) His channel is like a secret portal into men’s minds and he’s not too awful to look at. It’s well worth checking out his Love Life podcast too. I had to pull over the other day when he was advising a caller named Crystal on sexual tension. It all got too much for me.

Watch this space for a crowdfunding page to send me on one of Matthew’s retreats coming VERY SOON…c’mon, you’d love to see that, yes?! I WANT TO SPEND FIVE DAYS IN PARADISE TRANSFORMING MY LIFE DAMMIT.

As always I’d love to hear what you’ve been enjoying this month? Let me know.

Big cwtches

Kate xx

Lucy Letter 


She’s known me my whole life. She used to sleep 3 feet above me. She’s my best mate and she’s also my sister. 

This year my sister Lucy has committed to writing and sending #LettersOfGratitude to some special people in her life. I very gratefully received mine a few weeks ago. At the time I wasn’t in a great place emotionally. I was raw, very tearful and had a really sad heart. So much difficult stuff was going on and as much as I knew her words might lift me up, I just couldn’t open her letter. 

I popped it away and it sat unopened. Until today. 

It’s a beautiful letter that I will treasure. 

It just so happens that my sis currently needs a little bit of cheering up and as luck would have it, it’s also National Letter Writing Month. What better way to mark the occasion & hopefully bring a smile than to reply to her brilliant letter right here? Sorry you don’t get to decide to read this when you’re ready sis…

Look at me breaking ALL the celebration rules (it’s meant to be a handwritten letter…I’m SUCH a rebel) 

Dear Lucy

I read your letter today & I cried. 

By the time I had finished I was almost deee-hyyyyy-drated. 

It feels like we’ve cried together so much recently and I know that sadly there will be a few more tears & challenges to come. But equally, we share just as many laughs and adventures and this is probably what I love the most about having a sister like you. 

Lucy & Kate’s Top 5 Adventures

1. New York, New York. When we thought EVERYONE on the Staten Island ferry would be wearing Statue of Liberty dress-up tat (literally no-one else was) We looked so ridiculous that other tourists asked to pose for photos with us. My bra had also just set off the security alarms. We were lucky to be given clearance to board. Our bagel-filled bellies ached from laughing so hard. 
2. Vegas baby Vegas. Existing entirely on vodka, Celine Dion, red bull, wings & ‘slaw. Partying with an American Idol winner. Momentarily falling asleep in the midnight Penn & Teller magic show (and waking up to gunshots) “We’ll sleep when we’re dead!”
3. Dublin. Sliding down the bannister at the Guinness factory after a few pints of the black stuff, then heading straight to the Jameson’s whiskey tasting. 
4. Paris. Our picnic & photoshoot at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Singing Daft Punk. Wearing stripey tops. Buying berets. (Fair play, we always commit to embracing local culture) 
5. Not all of our adventures are far from home….Remember accidentally making our way into a VIP drinks reception behind Ronan Keating and his wife? “Act natural. Drink the champagne.”

We have so many happy memories to look back on & I know in the years to come we’ll make so many more too. I absolutely love spending time with you and no matter where we are, we’ll always have something to talk about, laugh at and some mischief to make. 

You might have wanted a telephone instead of a little sister. You might have resented having me tag along to all of your dates (1984-1990) You might have threatened to cut all of my fingernails off whilst I was sleeping. But I hope that by now I’ve redeemed myself and we’re all good? 

I’ve learned so much from looking up to you. You taught me dance routines to the Fame album in the front room. You told me all about periods in Cardiff Bus Station. You made me reluctantly play schools with you for HOURS. (I deserve career credit for this) You stuck glitter stars on my face & introduced me to eyebrow plucking & Lipcote. You made me sing the other man parts in Stay (when we both know I was the better Barry Manilow) You let me pop your bubblegum when I wasn’t allowed to have it. You let me hold your thumb when I couldn’t get to sleep. You got us backstage at my first ever gig (Chesney Hawkes, Newport Centre, 1991. I’d shouted out in a quiet ballad part like I’d seen on the Karen Carpenter TV movie because I thought that’s what people did at concerts….and you didn’t disown me) 

You were the first person I called when I found out I was going to be a Mum. 

And when my living room flooded. 

You have always stuck by me, cheered for me, supported me, counselled me and motivated me. And I hope you know that I’m always here to do all of that for you in return. I am so lucky to have you. We all are. 

I will always laugh when I’m wearing no make-up and people think you’re my Mum. Even more so when it means I get a free Under 15s breakfast at the Premier Inn and you book an urgent appointment for Botox. 

I admire the way you always knew what you were going to be when you grew up (I’m still figuring it out for myself) I admire the way you have brought up your two gorgeous boys single-handedly and given them the very best of everything. I admire how sassy, kind, generous, caring and loving you are. I admire your dedication to our strong little family. I admire your loyalty, commitment & passion for inspiring children to be the very best they can be. I admire the huge impact you’ve had – and continue to have – on thousands of little people whose futures are significantly better because of you and who will never forget you. I admire your expert cartwheels and am secretly jealous that I’ve never been able to pull off gym-elastics in the same way you effortlessly do. 

Thank you for my letter. Sorry it’s not a handwritten reply. Hope you can forgive that. Your wish for me is everything I wish for you too. Happiness, health and love in abundance. Someone to adore you, appreciate every bit of joy you share with the world & always have your back. (Plus do the bins & pick up milk on the way home….and at 50% of this you’re even easier to please than I am!) 

Here’s to all our future adventures, to laughing, dancing & growing old together; to always having a shoulder to cry on & to never ever forgetting the words to Starmaker or the routine to One Step Further. 

Love you always

Kate x 

Mother’s Day 

When you become a Mum not only do you get this little reliant human, you also pick up a party bag of endless and interchangeable worry, guilt and happiness. 

When you are a single Mum and you know that absolutely everything depends entirely on you, you can supersize that goody bag and ramp up the worry, guilt and happiness accordingly. 

I’ve talked about it a bit before (here) and being a lifelong worrier I probably fret more than most but I’m trying really hard to get better. Each parenting stage comes with its own challenges. I realise the one you’re currently living in is always the toughest, but this teenage bit is quite a minefield. I fear I might be heading off the fretful chart. 

I really don’t want to tell you that I drove around like a lunatic looking for him when he was late home the other night. But I’m going to, because it’s true. 

It was dark and he was out on his bike (Did he remember his lights?) not answering his phone (Is he dead in a ditch?) and not with his group of friends who had passed me earlier (Was he now hanging around with a new bunch of murderous drug dealing bad kids?

I’m pretty stressy anyway but on this particular evening I went from zero to requiring light sedation fairly swiftly. Add another half an hour, he’s still not home and I’m in total IMM (Irrational Mum Mode) 

In an alternate world where I have a loving, supportive co-parent I might have offloaded some of these IMM worries and been gently reassured. “He’s probably cycling home right now and that’s why he can’t answer your calls…..Perhaps his phone battery died…..Give him another five minutes you beautiful crazy woman…..Shall I take over making dinner?” is how I would imagine the conversation might go, followed by a soft kiss on the forehead and a cheeky bum tweak (shut up, it’s my alternate world) 

In the real world however I’m switching off the oven (safety first) and grabbing my car keys. 

Enter WORRY. 

I’m not sure what I was looking for other than trouble or blue lights but in just under ten minutes of driving around his usual hangouts a “Where are you Mum?” text hits my inbox and I hit the roof. 

WHERE AM I?! WHERE AM I?! 

Where are YOU?!!! 

Of course he’s back at home, bike put back in the garage, like NOTHING is wrong in the world and I’m a banshee frantically searching for an imaginary disaster. 

Where am I? Great question. I think it’s most commonly referred to as The Edge. 

And when I got home from disaster-hunting and eventually found out the reason for his lateness, the shame nearly tipped me right over it. 

One of his best mates has a broken foot and is on crutches. Instead of leaving him behind – like the others – my boy got off his bike and walked home with him. It took ages which made him late but he made sure his mate got home ok. 

Enter GUILT. 

I’d gone bananas and he’d been the kindest and loveliest friend to broken foot boy. 

Enter HAPPINESS. 

Relieved that he was safe, happy that his kindness hasn’t diminished in teenagerhood and proud that my boy is a really good mate. 

BUT YOU STILL SHOULD HAVE ANSWERED YOUR PHONE. 

C’mon he was still late, whatever the lovely reason. I’m not going to let that go. With the cool slab of Apple’s finest technology in his skinny jeans pocket he should have let me know what was happening. (He got his confiscated phone back from me 24 hours later) 

Staring at the ceiling in bed later that night, I had to question my actions and be really honest with myself. Did I massively over-react? Yup. Am I nuts or just a worried Mum? Both. Do I need help or is this just life? I’m honestly not sure and 3am internet searching didn’t provide a definitive conclusion either. 

When he asked me “Why are you so afraid of everything?” I didn’t have an answer but I know I didn’t want to be. 

I don’t want to be afraid but I guess that worry is just part of this job you accept on the day you bring another person into the world. I must’ve overlooked that bit in the Terms and Conditions and skipped straight to “beaming with pride on Parents Evening” before signing. 

I hope my son knows that I never want to stop him having fun. I hope he knows I trust him to make good choices and be the brilliant human he is. I hope he knows that a big bit of my fear is because I love him so much. I hope he knows that he is the most precious thing in my whole world and I can’t help wanting to keep him safe. 

Also, I hope he knows that the mobile phone I pay an extortionate amount for each month also functions as a communication device and when it rings YOU ANSWER IT. 

I hope he knows that I want him to live the most fulfilling, joyous and fear-free life he possibly can. I realise I have to set the example. Fear, worry and anxiety are so debilitating. 

Is this mental illness or motherhood? Both? I honestly don’t know. All I know is that if you do it alone it’s bloody hard sometimes. 

But it’s bloody worth it too. 

Happy Mother’s Day x 

February Love


My February was filled with love and not just the red foil-covered, cellophane-wrapped, chocolate-smothered commercial stuff. This month has been sprinkled with all sorts of amour and when you’re not in a romantic relationship it’s particularly important to remember that there are far more types of love than just the gooey, heart-stopping, vom-inducing kind. When you’re surrounded by gushy “we” couples it can be hard not to feel alone, bereft and lacking. It’s good to be reminded that, just like Wet Wet Wet said, love is all around me and so the feeling grow-oos.

(I read this brilliant piece on the joys of non-romantic love which explains some of these really interesting thoughts far more eloquently than I can.) 


Meet Me in Paris

This month I had an amazing weekend trip to the beautiful city of Paris. It was my first visit there and completely impossible not to fall in love. The architecture, the art, the food, the wine, the accent (*swoon*), the fashion, the EVERYTHING. It was a jam-packed few days as we tried to squeeze every drop of tourist joy out of each moment and see as much as we possibly could. 

My top five personal highlights were… 

  1. Palais Garnier (the ACTUAL opera house featured in the Phantom of the Opera, see more on why the timing of this was perfect) The building itself is just incredible, its history and personal importance to me even more so.
  1. Mona Lisa (when I was pregnant with F I started a cross stitch version of this painting and quickly discovered just how many shades of brown and black there are in the world. I also bought the kit online from Hong Kong so was never quite sure if I was doing it right. The project remains unfinished.) It was fascinating to see the crowds gathered around her, taking selfies and queuing with their backs to the most beautiful giant canvas I have ever seen on the opposite side of the gallery room. It was a weird and wonderful insight into the oddness of our modern world clashing with the historical significance of one of the world’s most famous paintings.
  1. The Eiffel Tower – it was quite a gloomy morning so it wasn’t until later on in the day when the clouds lifted that we got to see its full glory. F’s deadpan “Looks like a pylon” (along with his Arc de Triomphe “Looks like a big staple”) will be remembered in family history, together with the fact that F and my nephews climbed the steps of the tower twice because they got in the wrong lift to the very top (and ended up back at the bottom again)
  1. Remembering some GCSE French – F’s face when I came out with some dust-covered phrases from the depths of my teenage memory was just brilliant. The shocking realisation that I might know some stuff and can still surprise/impress him gave me all the Mum joy. Getting to spend time with my boy will always be the best thing I can ever do.
  1. Paris actually IS full of love – I know it’s a cliché, but it’s TRUE. The wedding couple taking photos with the Eiffel Tower backdrop; the proposal on a park bench (she said YES! The upper-deck of the sightseeing bus cheered); it could all make you dry heave but alternatively it could also warm your heart and remind you that love is possible. I chose the latter.

Massive thanks to my sis for organising the trip & the best Christmas present – making more marvellous memories.

My Funny Valentine

Valentine’s Day when you’re single can be a lonely version of hell like no other. (Likewise if you’re in a rubbish relationship). Instead of wailing into a bucket of power ballads, this year I went for the most entertaining dinner with a bunch of hilarious folks and had the best night out. We had delicious food & wine, laughed our socks off, got serenaded by a sexy saxophonist and went home with giant bunches of red heart balloons. Hands down, one of the best Valentines I’ve ever had. (Second only to snowy New York where me & my sis fell asleep at our midnight dinner after several Manhattans in a near pitch-dark jazz club….why have I spent more V-Days with my sister than anyone else? True love that is)

Unconditional Love

Our little puppy Pamela turned one this month. In her drama-filled first year she has brought so much love and happiness to our little family. She’s had so many health ups and downs for such a young pooch but she fights so hard to get better, just like a proper Hammond. Unconditional love is like no other and even on my saddest days her tiny face & giant googly eyes always make me smile. Having a birthday celebration for a dog seems a bit bonkers – and it is – but she’s my bestest little girl and I plan to make her little life the loveliest it can be.

Love Actually

It’s been a month full of LOVE. That’s not to say I don’t get sad and have a big old sob about loves lost now and then. Social media (and especially those who work in this field and are utterly INESCAPABLE despite unfollows…) has a lot to answer for here. (No YOU sat & watched his keynote in angry tears like a massive loser)

But you suck it up, you share with the group chat, you wail, you laugh, you low-key reference a rubbish relationship in a throwaway line in a blog post, you remember all the love in your life in all its forms and you get the hell on with it.

Love is all around. You’ve just got to feel it in your fingers (and feel it in your toe-ooos)

Bring on the Spring flings…

(Edit note: The month ends at probably one of the most personally challenging times of my life. I promised I wouldn’t miss a monthly post, hence the fluff on love & stuff. Perhaps something more meaningful next time, we’ll see)