I haven’t written a blog for a while, and the last couple of blog posts I have written have been promoting some other fabulous mummies and some family-friendly business. I feel however, I need to get back into the swing of things and let go, that and we had a minor scare the other day!!!
I am going to talk about health anxiety. WHAT THE EFF. Now, I know that a few of you will have experienced this and not actually realized that it is a thing… but, trust me…it is a bloody awful thing.
From being young, I had a mild form of health anxiety – although it is only in the last 8 months that I have realized that is what it was and is an actual type of anxiety.
I remember when I was around 18 years old, just after my grandmother died, I used to get headaches all the bloody time. My head would throb and I convinced myself that I had a tumor and that I was going to die. I understand that even writing that may seem a bit OTT, but at that time it was very real. Id tells my friends that I was dying of a tumor and they would look at me at me sopping into my wine, drunk, and smoking (yes I am an ex-smoker), days, weeks, months went passed where all i could think about was this fictitious tumor and the ‘what if’.
And of course, I was too scared to go to the doctors, because they would confirm the doom! When in actual fact, when I grew some common sense (my mum dragged me to the doctor) it turned out it was due to the estrogen in the contraceptive pill that I was on. #AWKWARD. Then I came off the pill and everything was fine.
After that, the OCD about death and illness continued, but not just with my health, if my family got poorly, I thought that they had a deadly disease and i would be bidding fine farewells. If they didn’t answer the phone a few times in calling, I would think they had been in a car crash, or they had died – this was made even worse after reading the book called “The Secret” where what you think about you bring about…. Fak. Even writing this, I am careful in what I’m writing in case i attract the above (I am healthy, my family is healthy and we are all going to live to be over 100, just putting positive vibes out to the universe).
Even though this has always been an ON/OFF issue, which was triggered by a death or an illness. I have still managed to go about day to day life, it only really seems to come on when something distressing or emotional happens and over the past few months it came on again. Just before I found out I was pregnant with my miscarriage, and shortly after my ex-partner had passed away.
I started to get really bad cramps, bleeding and ovary pain and I was adamant that I had cervical cancer – again, reading that I know that sounds crazy. I had missed two smear tests and the pain matched symptoms (Which of course Google had diagnosed me with), I remember driving back from acting class and bursting into tears, uncontrollably emotional thinking that my children were going to be left without any parents and cursing myself how i could be so stupid and not go an get my smear test done.
The thought of going for a smear test scared me as, again, I was sure they would tell me something that they couldn’t take back, but I booked it and waited.
My vagina results came back healthy and happy and so was I. But then a couple of days later my sister started to get headaches, nausea and with blackouts. I started really freaking out thinking she had a brain tumor as my sister is never ill and she couldn’t get out of bed or work – it was a severe case of a migraine.
It was at that point I realized that there was something wrong with my mental state and not my physical health, the bizarre thing is, I am never actually poorly, this was when I started to do some research and I saw articles upon articles about health anxiety and everything that I read about fit perfectly to my mindset and my feelings.
Symptoms of health anxiety
It would consume my thoughts, then I would pick up on every little minor detail or pain on my body. After reading articles I soon started to feel mentally better and realized that I AM NOT ALONE! So so many people that I have talked to about this have had it, or know someone who seems to have the same crazy thoughts that i have had, and these are people who I would not hae thought suffered with any form of anxiety.
Today, I know that I am fit and healthy and my children and family are fit and healthy, but even still if any of them are poorly, i automatically think the worst. So, I step out of the panic, look at everything surrounding the situation, breath and not overthink.
I am a great believer in the power of positive thinking, mind over matter tactics and techniquies and what i have found have really helped is to practice a technique called ‘EFT’ which is tapping on certain points of your body and that helps reduce, if not elimate anxiety and worry, then i look at the logic of why I am/was feeling that way, then look at the logic of the sitaution and if i still feel like there is something serriously wrong with me (which 9/10 times i dont and the symptoms go) i then go to the doctor.
These are a few links that can help you understand about health anxiety
And then a link to an EFT video to help you understand about tapping for health anxiety.
Anyway, I hope this has helped in some shape or form and if you do know of anyone who ios suffering with heakth anxiety, it is very real for them, there are many reasons why health anxiety happens, it generally happens when you are forced to subconsciously question your own mortality. The best thing you can do is listen, support and help!
Right, today’s mum for Monday is celebrity makeup artist, an old school friend and now bump buddy – Erika Swinn!
If you, like me, are prisoned by the school run, doomed to pack lunches, consumed in endless piles of washing and busy working on your dreams then you will also more than likely be able to resonate with this statement whilst looking in a mirror:
“who the eff is that staring back at me?”
Motherhood and work, can sometimes take over, to the point where i stop fully making the effort to feel and look good. And may i add, there is nothing wrong in wantinng to look good, as anyone who has had a day where they felt like “yes i look nice today” will also know that you are more confident when you feel you look less like death!
So, I was invited to model at Erika’s master class yesterday where she teaches women the basics of make-up and some simply amazing beauty hacks. Basically, I have learned its all about the base to get that glowing look back that seemed so effortless in your 20’s”
BUT FIRST…. a little bit about Erika!
Erika, tell my readers about you
I’m in a position where nearly the last 8 years I adore going to work. I never dread a Monday and I can honestly say I have a great time when I’m working.
I’m also incredibly lucky that I get to spend so much time with my hubby and my two young children as I don’t work full-time hours. I am now pregnant with my third child, and at the start of this pregnancy I started thinking about what makes me the happiest work-wise, and how can I continue with it when I will have 3 children under 4!
I knew that I loved the industry side of being a makeup artist, but that often includes travel, short notice, often fast pace and it can feel unachievable when you have a new baby. Then it dawned on me, I adore the women that I’ve worked with, especially women on their wedding mornings and I love the fact that I pretty much always keep in touch with them.
That’s when I decided to run Masterclasses/ workshops for normal women wanting to make the most of their natural beauty. I like the variety in my job, so I can do this alongside everything else.
My personal style and work style is natural, I’m not a fan of the current heavy makeup trend and often brides tell me that’s why they’ve booked me. Anyone can watch youtube videos and learn a style, but what I think what is key is that has to be learnt on their own face.
Women come along to my masterclass where I set up makeup stations, so each woman has a mirror, mini kit and a set of brushes so they can follow my demonstrations and practice on their own faces!
I only take up to 10 women, as I want them to get the best out of the day. The day is a constant circle of me doing a demo on a model, and then each women trying it out on themselves. I’m there at those practical stages to help out, it’s one thing watching it, but actually doing it makes them remember each stage,m such as primer, highlighter and the brushes to use.
I take all of my products for the ladies to try, as I have triedsoooo many and from so many different brands that I encourage everyone to try! Rarely would you get chance to try these products out or fully understand what each product is for!
I have had so many women telling me that they often feel insecure about chatting to the staff at cosmetics counters, so that is the main reason I take them, I make no money from this, I just want to give my years of experience as that is part of why women come to me!
The first course is a Basic Beauty course which covers:
How to get a perfect base
Simple eyes and lips
How to naturally enhance and contour
My main aim is to make women feel confident in their own skin and I feel from the feedback I have, that is what I do.
Back to me now – Jess (Mother of Maniacs)
I went on the course on Sunday, and I took my mum with me to learn how to basically not look like shit. It is safe to say, it worked!
How to not look like shit
Prime, prime, and PRIME
If you get the base of your skin right sand primed, everything else becomes that much easier. I must admit, prior to going on the master class, I would just wack on a bot of moisturizer and hope for the best. Since Sunday, I have taken an extra minute (yes, it really does only take 1 extra minute) and primed my skin. Which has made my complexion glow and made me look actually AWAKE!!!
I used the products below for my base and concealer. Top tip, If you are using an under eye highlighter, put it in a V shape, as that doesn’t give you a white eyes panda look.
How to not look like shit
Now, I had my base on it was time to get my brows done, there are a basic structure and measurement in how to make your brows look rather snazzy, if t=you follow the below measurements and line everything up, you won’t go far wrong. I get my eyebrows microbladed so it is a lot easier to follow!
How to not look like shit
High lighter, Contour, and Blusher
This is one thing I didn’t quite realize and the way Erika taught how to apply is a lot easier than what I have been doing for the last few years! Always put your highlighter in a C shape (the right eye will be a C shape back to front) from the underneath of your brow to just underneath your eye socket bone. Keep your highlighter high, as this will make you look more youthful.
Contouring for many seems soooooo daunting, but actually, all it is is applying bronzer in the right places. Again, Erika taught this in a none scary way., it even got Joy my 60-year-old mother on to the contour trend. Erika said to do another C shape around the C shape of the high lighter, with the bottom of the C coming in just under your cheekbone (if you suck your cheeks in, you will see where I am talking about).
Again, with blusher, I had been slapping it on, in a strip, bright pink…WRONG!!! With your blusher, Erika said, keep it just on the Apples of your cheeks, and keep it high to make you appear more youthful. Which, actually,. it worked!
How to not look like shit
Eyes and Lips
I am going to do top tips for eyes and lips as a big long paragraph would not make sense
Work with a mascara with a small brush, so you can get right into the lash line
Use an eyeliner along the lash line
Blend the eyeliner with a brush
Use a nude colour eyeliner (Wonder brow NYX) on the corners of your eye, top of the top lash line and on the water lines of your eye. This brightens your eye. (You can also use the wonder brow under your eyebrow and on the bow of your lip)
Use a soft lip liner, to stop that stuck on dried look which makes your lips look older
Only draw on the lip line and not above or around the lip line – you don’t want clown features
Choose a lip liner that is the same colour as your lipstick
Blot your lips with a tissue
Add a tad bit of bronzer under the middle of your bottom lip to make them look bigger and a bit of lip liner in the middle of your lips to make them look fuller
Use concealer on the sides of the underneath of your lips to define and blend
And that is it! Voila!
All the products that Erika used on me are below!
You should definitely get in touch with Erika if you want to learn the basics of makeup and gain that little bit of confidence in using make-up.
You can follow her on Instagram or email her for course details
Chicken, broccoli and carrot soup with a parmesan toast
For a few weeks after we found out that Anni was pregnant, nothing changed. I mean, of course, everything was different, but everything was also the same. And because life just went on I couldn’t get my head round the fact that by autumn I’d become a father.
I kept looking up how big the life growing inside her was, continually surprised at how this microscopic collection of cells was set to take charge and change everything.
In terms of food nothing also changed for a few weeks. Anni carried on in her usual calm way whilst I began to freak out and inspect the sell-by dates of every bit of food we had, turn our steaks into pieces of rubber and boil our eggs for 7 hours minimum.
After doing a bit of research into what women can and can’t eat during pregnancy we both discovered that pretty much all advice was contradictory, and the vast majority of foods recommended to avoid were based on guesswork, not fact. Just don’t eat raw food, don’t have too much mercury-rich fish and don’t give yourself salmonella.
Anni and I had a combined age of 68 and a combined salmonella contraction rate of zero, so I thought that we were going to be ok.
Instead, I chose to focus on all of the great food she could eat, and how each ingredient can be of benefit not only to her but to our unborn child. I’ll admit, now that my principal role in child creation was sadly over (and boy was it over) I was feeling pretty redundant. At least by taking charge of what we would eat over the coming year, I could feel like I was involved, and it was one less thing for Anni to worry about.
However, a few weeks into pregnancy, everything changed.
Anni began to find the thought of vegetables pretty unappealing and if I didn’t make food for her that was
basically beige in appearance, she would have none of it. She also began to crave salt so I had to act fast before she started eying up the salt pot at 11am each day.
My challenge, therefore, was to make appetizing dishes that I knew she would eat in those first few weeks, but also provide enough of the good stuff for our growing baby.
So I started to hide vegetables in food. I started to do this a lot. Soup was my number one way of hiding vegetables for Anni in her first trimester. It was the middle of winter, nights were cold and dark and so a warming bowl of goodness and some cheese on toast went down really well.
I made a lot of soup in those first few weeks, they are so easy to make, require minimal preparation, are a great way of using up lots of vegetables and also freeze really well. This particular dish is packed with broccoli which due to its high folate, fibre and vitamin content, is a fantastic pregnancy superfood. The parmesan toast also satisfied her salt cravings.
2 chicken breasts
one head of broccoli
handfuls of thyme, sage and rosemary
400ml chicken stock
two slices of brioche bread
60g grated parmesan
salt and pepper
Boil the stock in a pan and then reduce to a simmer. Peel and finely slice the carrots and place in the pan.
Roughly tear up the rosemary, sage and thyme and add.
Finely slice the chicken and add to the pan before roughly chopping the broccoli and also adding in.
Bring the liquid back to the boil and cook for at least five minutes (you want to ensure that the chicken is completely cooked through.
Meanwhile place 2 slices of brioche bread under the grill, toast slightly then remove.
Using a stick blender, mix the soup thoroughly. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the brioche and place back under the grill for 1-2 minutes until the parmesan has melted.
Pour the soup into bowls and place the toast on top of the mixture.
Why is this good for mum and baby?
Chicken – Protein, vitamin B, zinc
Brioche – Fibre, protein
Parmesan – Protein, calcium, vitamin A
Carrots – Vitamin A, C, potassium, fibre, calcium
Broccoli– Vitamins A, B, C, E, K, folate, potassium, fibre
OMG – Just before I start blogging, I just want to make you all aware THIS IS NOT A PAID POST!
This is simply one post from an excited mum for other mums to get excited over! If you, like me, bloody love baby and children gadgets then Kids Happy House is going to be like that minute at the school drop of when you realise you are child-free for 6 hours – BLISS!
All their gadgets are hand-picked from independent retailers in AMERICA and are picked to be innovative and bloody helpful for parents #winninginlife !!!!!!! Which in short means, they are the only people in the UK who stock such cool, amazing little products!!! It is a run by a lovely couple who have two children aged 7 and 5 and yet they still managed to look like catalogue models! You can read their story here
Ok, so now onto the products that did a little dance of joy over were:
This is a perfect gadget for fussy eaters, my kid’s aren’t fussy eaters but i do have this weird obsession with making sandwiches and food look cute and fun. Although my kids deffo do not appreciate the caterpillar sandwich with tomatoes for eyes that I get great enjoyment out of making, they do appreciate being given the job of pushing the Funbites down to make little sandwiches. This is also good for toddlers when they are starting to each little sandwiches.
I have the red love heart one – I also have an obsession with love hearts and so does Pops.
These could be THE cutest little invention in the world. It is a little finger toothbrush that you put on your finger and use to brush the babies teeth! When I saw this, I wanted to fast forward 12 months so i had my baby here ready to brush its teeth. You can use the brushiefrom as young as four weeks and as old as 4 years. Although I wouldn’t trust Hatti who is nearly 4 not to bite my finger off. She is the wild beast of the clan.
This is the product where my eyes lit up and i sang my praises to the lord. My three didn’t get their teeth through until they were over 12moinths! Yet they seemed to teeth from coming straight out of the womb!!!! All that dribble, crying and not being able to knaw on anything because guaranteed, they would throw their teething ring on the floor of a cafe, out of the pram or in my face….! This little mit slips on baby’s hand and voila! They chew! Yes, it really is that simple! Thank me later, and it is machine washable!!!
I have started star charts weekly and either, the kids have stuck their own stickers on, it’s got food on it, ripped or just forgotten about. Yet my children respond very well to bribery and treats. So Kudo Banz works like a sticker chart, but it goes on your child’s wrist so it is always there when you need it. HALLELUJAH! It teaches kids to listen without yelling (I am a yeller) so families can spend time more positively. Kudo Banz has got my girls excited about getting a new charm for their band and has made them better listening and the easy-to-use app makes it magically come to life.
Finally, something that works and encourages them to tidy their rooms!!!
The App (Search ‘Kudo Banz’ in apps)
The reward bracelets (there are different options for older children too)
And there you have it, these are my FAVOURITE choices!!!
My mum for Monday (even though its Wednesday and I am two days late #Pregnantmotherofthree) has to go to the simply fabulous Mrs. Leanne Brown from RHOC. The reason I am dedicating a post to Leanne is that you all need to check her out and in this world of celebrity and glamour, very rarely do we meet genuinely lovely people who are using their celeb status for the better.
The first time I met Leanne was at The Protein Bakery launch, she had a warm and welcoming smile and was so easy to talk to. We got chatting and she told me about her passion, which is being a patron for a charity called ‘One Women at a time’
The aim of this small local charity is to identify and assist women of any age to achieve a helping hand in gaining education, training, and employment to change theirs and their families future.
One Woman At A Time is working in Ortum Kenya and Nigeria to sponsor girls to fulfill their dreams of getting an education, to gain financial independence and to have choices about their lives. Having three girls myself, like Leanne It dawned on me how I take our education and equality for granted and how my children don’t truly understand the importance of it.
Some of these young girls ONLY want to go to school to learn to better their lives. Children as young as my children, who are already so grown up know the importance of having an education. Then when I look at my three who are still so little and don’t really understand the importance of school it dawned on me how lucky we really are.
Leanne continued to tell me about her clothing collaboration with OBD Clothing where 30% of all their sales go directly to One Woman At A Time Now most celebrities that do collaborations with brands get 30% of profit so when she told me that I was happily surprised. Here is one of the few celebrities that is doing something for the greater good of others less fortunate.
So, not only woudl I like to recommend you give Mrs. Leanne Brown a follow I also suggest you check out her collection at OBD! As, if you, like me love a slogan t-shirt and jumpers, but also think the ones that other fashion brands do aren’t really suitable… For me especially, a 31-ear-old pregnant mother of three children with comments like “dick sand”, “Brains, Beauty, Booty” or “Girl Gang” just don’t seem to cut it!
If you would like to be one of my Mums for Monday, then please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org