Monday, 21 November 2016

A Weekend of Nothing


Oh Hai, 

For as long as I've been a Mum, I've been a do-er. You have to be. Gone are the days of laying in bed till 11 and then not being dressed until 2. Afternoons draped over a sofa watching trash TV are impossible and the idea of being in complete silence for an hour before their blessed bedtime is unlikely. 


When I divorced, I thought I'd have a bit of nothingy time back when Darcy goes to her Dad's. Alas, I was wrong. In that time I cram in all the work things I didn't manage when I had her. Errands need to be run, people need getting back to and footage needs editing. On top of that I want to see friends, snog my boyfriend (a lot), make sure my family don't think I'm dead since I call so infrequently and keep things ticking over at home. 

I'm always on the go. I like being on the go. I like to-do lists and I like success. I've been that way for so long now that I'd forgotten what doing nothing feels like. 


Last week Darcy was poorly with a tummy bug and so all to-do lists and arrangements were off the cards. All we did was stay upstairs, watch Netflix, cuddle and play 'fairies'. And you know what, it was utter bliss. Not her being sicky of course, but not rushing us, not always aiming for the next event and not looking at my phone or watch every six seconds. 

The weekend just gone was a Me Weekend. Darcy was at her Dads and for once, I had nothing planned. So, I planned NOTHING. 


My boyfriend came and went (he wasn't having a Nothing weekend, he went to the gym and did some bits) and I just flopped about on sofas and my bed and finished series on Netflix, had a 90 minute bath (holy moly that was nice), ate chinese food, and generally felt really sedate. We did venture out to the shops for some Christmas shopping, to Jamie's for dinner and Cineworld to watch A Street Cat Named Bob, but none of it was forced and it was all easy breezy. 

Naturally, this kind of lifestyle isn't sustainable for most of us but if you get the chance this week, take some time for you, to just flop about. Plan 'Nothing' into your diary and do it. Don't feel guilty or wasteful, you're taking a moment to recharge and nurture. You are worth that moment, that afternoon or that entire weekend to down tools and r e l a x. 

I'm going to make sure I have a day like this at least once a month. It was bliss. 

Toodlepip!

xx

Thursday, 17 November 2016

An Open Letter to my Daughter about my Work

Dear Darcy,

Our life is a juggling act.



Today I am sat in the dressing room of a theatre in Brussels, Belgium, about to give a speech to a room full of policy makers from the European Union. As I write this, you will be packing up your things at school and waiting to be walked round to the after-school club by your teacher and then Tina, will come and collect you, take you home and put you to bed at her house. I want to be holding your hand, picking you up, putting you to bed.

I'll finish my speech, attend an evening talking to key people, go back to my hotel, check my phone for texts from Tina, fall asleep, get up, come home and think of you because tomorrow is Daddy's day.

Our life is a mission in logistics. We use every hour carefully and I plan our calendars as carefully as I can. I try to schedule my work commitments on your Daddy days so that when you're with me, I'm there. I value my time with you above my time with anyone or anything else in the world. YOU are my world.

Except, right now, it's just us, a team of two. There are bills to pay, school fees to cover, things to buy and for those, I have to work. I love to work. I feel such a thrill when a project succeeds or something great happens. I'm motivated and hard working and I hope as you grow, you'll see that and be it too.

---

Rather fittingly, I got called on stage for a rehearsal and had to close my laptop. It's now almost a month later and I'm finding a moment to write this post. My blog always comes last in the list of things in our life.

Today I'm in London working at the Gleam office whilst you're at your Daddy's again. I miss you. I think about how I'd like to be at home, near your warm little head which is currently perfect height for me to absent mindedly run my hand over your soft hair.

I feel torn every day. I want to work. I want to work hard. I have a long list of things I want to achieve and dreams I want to make reality. I want to make an incredible life for you. You're only 5 and I'm already putting things in place to financially secure your future. I'm proud that I can afford your school fees and I'm proud to give you the things you need.

As soon as I drop you at school, I drive home and start my emails. Then, at 2.55pm, I shut them down and come for you. Waiting at the school gates is my favourite part of the day. I go into full Mummy mode and stay there till you've gone to bed and I can start my laptop up again.

The problem is, sometimes I have to do a whole day, or come into London or work at an event at a weekend and it does eat into my time with you. It's not often but when it does happen, my heart hurts.  It aches to be at home with you, being cosy, having our chats in the car, playing fairies on the landing or running around at the 'secret park' we love. 

I miss a lot of work things too, which I feel bad about. I'm skipping my work Christmas Party so I can watch your school play. Obviously, I'd MUCH rather see you be the lead sheep in this year's nativity, but those Christmas parties are so freaking good and I'll be bombarded with everyone's photos the next day.

I'm getting there though I think. When I'm at work I say, 'I'm doing this for us, for our now and for our future' and when I'm missing work I say, 'work will still be there but 5 year old you won't'. Soon you'll be 6 and then 7 and then 8! Slow down baby girl!

Our life is a juggling act but look at us go! We are a team of two and somehow, we're managing! I'm proud of how far we've come together. I'm learning every day how better to juggle our commitments and you're learning every day the power of motivation and determination. I'm so proud of the person you are becoming. Your kind heart constantly impresses me. Your morals are high and so are your spirits- you're going to go so far, little girlie!

And, if you do decide to put your skills into running a business and juggling motherhood like your Mama, I'll be here. I'll help you with your child, do your admin, offer pep talks and remind you that being a hard working mummy is admirable. You won't be neglecting your baby or being selfish, you'll be filling a potential you feel compelled to explore and I will salute you, proudly.

I love you Darcy, whether we're curled up in bed reading 'The Giant Jam Sandwich', singing to Beauty and the Beast in the car or whether I'm sat in a sixth floor office on Charlotte Street, London, I love you. You are always my top, best and most.

Love Forever,

Mummy xxx




Wednesday, 16 November 2016

How To Survive A Sick Day


Oh Hai,

Long time no blog. Well, long time no publish I should say. I've been writing a lot of blog posts and then saving them to drafts, meaning to finish them later. But, with writing the novel, cracking on with more videos, enjoying a new relationship and Mumming, the blog has taken a back seat. Poor old blog, I do love you but you're always the first to drop off when things get too much. I promise to love you more. 

Anyway, soothing my blog as if it's a real person aside, I'm here today to give you my highly professional and expert (not) tips on how to survive a sick day. 



On Sunday, in the car Darcy got sick. Like projectile puke up the back of my passenger seat/ruined her car seat/drenched her clothes sick. Sick sick. The sick continued at home and my house now has a faint vom odour to welcome anyone who dares set foot in it. Yummy. Yesterday there was less sick but we still managed a good spray around the house and this morning my bed pillows took the brunt of it. She's keeping water down and a little bit of food but the poor mite isn't having a very nice time. 

Thankfully, spirits are high but energy is low. These are the things I've been doing to make my life easier. 

(This post isn't medical advice, you should do that yourselves, this is just the extra bits to make life easier)

How To Survive A Sick Day


Gather every bit of patience. Your little one can't help it but they're going to be on High Demand settings. Whiny, moany, needy. That's fine for a day or two but after a while it wears thin. Each hour I remind myself how much I hate being ill and how much difference a loving, warm, kind heart can have to your patient. 

Let go of yours and their schedule. Trust me, just wipe everything on your to-do list for a couple of days if you can. When you take away that pressure and your only job is to be Mummy, it's a lot easier to cope. Most things can wait. 

Make a base to keep life central. We've made camp upstairs. Darcy has been living in the guest room because the bed is closer to my bed, toys have been dragged out to the landing so I can see her from my room (I've been doing some editing and emails whilst she plays) and of course, the bathroom is on hand. Food is bought upstairs, blankets are everywhere, life is good up here. 

Find every towel in the house and put them EVERYWHERE. Towels are your friends during this time. I've learnt the hard way that little children don't aim into bowls. Oh no, they just let it all out. At least if you have towels down by the bed and over the covers of the bed, you can scoop them up and protect what's underneath. 

Have a bucket or bowl in every room. I almost broke my neck running for the bowl when I heard her coughing yesterday. New plan, multiple bowls, multiple rooms. 

Get everyone in PJ's. You're not going out so why are you confining yourself to a bra. F*ck that. Put little one in PJ's (and expect to go through a few pairs if they're sick) and put yourself in something comfortable too. 

Tie up everyone's hair. You'd think it's just the sicky person who needs this but alas, after carrying Darcy up the stairs and having a bit of an....incident...all down my back, I wished my hair had been tied up. 

Charge the iPad and load up Netflix. A TV day is FINE if they're ill. I know we all talk about less screen time and more active play but if they're not well, don't worry. You're not going to give them brain rot if they have a day of Mr Tumble. You on the other hand...

Don't be afraid to ring 111. If things get beyond what you're comfortable or familiar with, phone 111 NHS Direct. They're amazing with advice and offer real peace of mind that you're taking the best course of action. You can never be too careful so you don't need to feel silly or guilty about making that call. 

Keep yourself well. When you're caring for your tiny, it's easy to forget caring for yourself but it's important you stay fed, watered and healthy so you can continue being their nurse. I've had a hot bubble bath every night after a sick day. It helps. 

Keep on top of laundry if you can. I was tempted to knock that off my to-do list when I cleared the schedule but I soon ran low on towels and PJ's so if you can, keep throwing those loads in. I've never been more grateful for my washing machine than this week!! 

Treats, treats, treats! We have been finding that fairies leave dollies on the landing for poorly children. I think it's nice to give them something a bit extra when they're having a rough time. I think the fairy dollies were a much needed pick-me-up in Darcy's day and well worth Liam's late night trip to the supermarket to buy one. 



----

I'd love to hear what you do when your little is under the weather- for them and also for you. Parents of more than one child- I tip my cap to you! Single motherhood and one sick child was a challenge, I don't know how Mamas of multiples manage!!

Toodlepip!

xx

Monday, 17 October 2016

Can YOU Handle It?


Oh Hai,

Merry Monday my dear readers. Did you have good weekends? We did. It was a weekend of friends and a full house. On Saturday I had my ladies (that sounds weird. I mean, my chums who are women and we hang out a lot as a group because we all like each other. Yes, good. #LongWinded) and their kindereggs (children) round for the evening. 

We ate, watched Strictly Come Dancing, the kids went wild upstairs (how do they cause SO much destruction in such a small space? Where did they find the blue-tac?? How did they adhere all that glitter to their faces???) and we chatted in the cosiness. Nights like that are my favourite. They're the stuff of childhood memories- all the Mum's downstairs and children playing together in the dark evenings. Love love love. 

Anyway, Motivational Monday today. I'm typing this at 9am to get myself going for the day too and this week, it's a tough love post. 

(Image found on Pinterest)

Last week I spent some time with someone who was definitely a 'glass if half empty' kind of a gal. She found the bad in everything, moaned about her life and when we talked about a few things she wanted to achieve, she said she couldn't do it. 

When I left, I felt a bit flat. Life is hard, achieving the things we want to can take a long time, sometimes people along the way will be unkind, there will be set backs, things can be unfair. 

Do you know who can change that for you? You. Do you know who's job it is to get you what you want? You. Do you know who can do whatever they want in the whole word? YOU. 

If I've learnt anything over the last couple of years, it's that you can do a LOT more than you think you are capable of. The things you think are really scary really aren't that bad when you face them head on and when needed, you can muster up a lot more strength than people think you can. 

You are in charge of your life. Nobody owes you anything and nobody is going to do it for you. Just you. To some people that will sound really harsh and perhaps a bit upsetting. I've been that person. I've wanted to be rescued many a time. But, the minute you achieve a tiny thing you thought you couldn't, you are invigorated to try more, motivated to exceed. Taking a positive charge of your life is one of the most liberating things you can do. 

This week, think about ways in which you can do something you didn't think you could. I'm not talking climbing mountains (unless that's you're thing of course!) but maybe make that phone call you've been putting off, ask that guy on a date, tackle that pile of paper work that felt daunting and then see how amazing you feel afterwards. You've got this, you can handle it. 

Good luck!!

Toodlepip!

xx


Thursday, 6 October 2016

Tour Announcement!


Oh Hai, 

This week I released the official trailer for my LouiseLIVE show DVD (watch it here) and you guys went gaga! THANK YOU!

So many of you pre-ordered it in fact that it shot to the number one spot in the Amazon Movers & Shakers charts so that felt really freakin' cool! I'm glad you are all so on board!

Since so many of you are excited for this DVD, now seemed like the perfect time to release the signing tour dates so that you can get your tickets and pencil your diaries. Yay!




In case you're confused, a DVD Signing is just like a book signing but with a DVD instead- easy! I'd absolutely love to see you and thank you for being part of this community and supporting this amazing, fun project, so do come along and say hello! 

Those crazy kids at the BBC (they're the gang that made the DVD, yasss), wrote a little bit to explain how you can attend. Thanks Beeb!

You can obtain a wristband for this event by pre-ordering the LouiseLIVE DVD in person from the store now. Strictly one wristband per person. 300 wristbands are available, while stocks last. Customers who pre-order their DVD will receive their wristband on collection of the DVD from day of release on 24th October. 

Essentially, if you'd like to come, pop into any of the stores below, pick up the DVD/pre-order it and ask for a wristband. If you have further qu's, leave them below this blog post and I'll add edits of answers in if needed. 

Can't wait to see you there!!

Toodlepip!

xx



Monday, 3 October 2016

Gimme Some Credit Yo.


Oh Hai, 

Merry Monday to you. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I bloomin' love a Monday. Contrary to most people, I think Monday's are dreamy. They're a fresh start to set new goals, wipe last week's slate clean and start afresh. You can re-organise your mind and go forward with pep in your step. Failing that, you can at least moon about thinking how great your weekend was. Was it great? I hope so. 


A few days ago I was driving in my car and feeling really relaxed and happy. My music was playing, I was changing lanes comfortable on the dual carriage way and thinking about what direction I want to take Sprinkle of Chatter (my second channel) in between now and Christmas. Everything felt good. 

And then I realised, only a year ago I was a nervous driver. A year before that I was a terrified driver that made my (then) Husband do all the driving. And now look!

It snuck up on me- driving confidently. Doing something I used to be petrified of and now, I actually enjoy it. I love the sense of freedom my car gives me and I love how easily I can tailor my day, without waiting for lifts or planning routes I know don't have 'scary' junctions. 

It got me to thinking about all the other things I've achieved without noticing. The things nobody gives you a certificate or 'hooray' for. The non-tangible, abstract bits of life that you either nail or flop at. You have to really think about it, but you'll find them.

In the last 12 months I've done a lot of things I'm proud of that I didn't notice. I have a really great routine that works beautifully for my tiny family, I feel confident with Motherhood, I know my self worth and stand up for myself, my house stays quite tidy, I have a wonderful social group and, I am travelling a lot better. 

Good for me. I've done well. 

It doesn't have to be big to deserve recognition, it just needs to be a bit of progress. And in the car the other day, that was progress.

Say that to yourself today. Think of a thing that you've completely bossed this last 12 months and praise yourself. It's OK to do that. You can be your own cheerleader, you deserve it. 

Happy Monday!

Toodlepip!

xx



Friday, 30 September 2016

Grab Your Party Dresses - Exclusive Event Invite!


Oh Hai,

I wanted to let you know about an event I'll be hosting on Sunday that I'd love for you to come to.

As you may know, Stand Up To Cancer have launched a HUGE campaign this year to raise money to help fight an awful wicked disease. Stopping cancer is a cause very close to my heart so I was so happy to help and be involved.

This Sunday I will be hosting an exclusive Tea Dance for the readers and viewers of my blog and channels.



"Um, Louise, I've heard the words 'tea dance', but I'm not sure I know what that means!", you say? Don't worry, I'll explain.

It's glorious. It's vintage loveliness at it's best. A gorgeous dancing room at the Waldorf in central London, tea (or other drinks if you're like me and think tea tastes like tepid puddles), cakes, sandwiches and then, dancing. Like proper old school dancing. Can you dance? No? Me either. Stand Up To Cancer are providing a fabulous choreographer to teach us some steps and have a great time.

It's very limited number so I'll be able to have a proper chat and dance with you (if you want to, you might see my dance skillz and want to sit it out haha), as well as all the usual meet and greet things (selfies and signings galore!).

I should say, it's a very chill relaxed event. So, if you just want to come along for the fun and atmosphere but don't want to dance, that's totally cool. The main thing is just to have fun and raise money for a brilliant cause.

Links to tickets and info is HERE and I really hope to see you there!! Let's fight cancer, together.

Toodlepip!

xx

Monday, 26 September 2016

"Bottle Feeding or Shit Tits"


Oh Hai, 

A story about breasts for you today. 

Saturday night was great. It was one of those nights that's supposed to be a glass of wine at your local that turns into an evening of laughs and memories and 'omg's remember when..'s'. So good. Except for one guy. I won't name and shame him because that'd be a low blow so let's just call him, 'Richard'. Shorten that to whatever you like. 

My friend Hazel came up from London and her and I were going to have a girlie drink and a natter. Nice. Then, I invited my guy friend and he had a couple of friends there already, one of them being 'Richard'. So, a group of 5. Me, Hazel, Guy Friend, his Matey and 'Richard'. Got it? Ok. 


(A really old snap of me holding a drink - I think Zoe took this at Fleur's house a million years ago! - because I didn't take any pictures whilst we were out. Also, my 'shit tits' are in this which I thought was appropriate.)

Wine flowed (room temperature rose Echo Falls for us classy ladies thank you) and spirits were high. Chit chat, 'bants' (I hate that word) and story telling. Lovely. Richard seemed friendly. Took an interest in Hazel's love of script writing, asked about Darcy because he too has a little girl from a relationship he is no longer in, joined in with general socialising. Fine. 

Onto the second bottle and the subject of religion crops up. I'm a Christian and happy to talk about that. I'm not happy to try and persuade or force anyone to feel that same way as me though. I'm also not going to 'prove God exists'. I can certainly talk about Him and debate it all but, crazily enough, my powers don't extend to summoning the Good Lord into the village pub on a Saturday night. Hazel, Guy Friend and Matey don't have a faith and were happy to go with the, 'You believe what you like and we'll believe what we like and we're all cool', vibe. Lovely. Richard though, no. He wasn't letting it go easily, not til we all knew he was a, in his words, 'militant Atheist'. A lot of placating from me, 'Look it's fine, I won't change my mind and I'm not trying to change yours' and then eventually a firm topic change from the others and we were back on track with light convo. Phewf. 

The night carried on in good fashion, all sat on stools around a high table and the general hub-bub of pub life carrying on around us. Later in the evening, Matey's wife joined us (loveliest lady ever, Hazel and I decided) and the subject of having babies came up (they aren't there yet). Wife said, 'as long as you help me through the night with bottle feeds!', in a jovial tone. Matey said, 'Nahhh, you'll be breastfeeding!', in a matching tone. 

All of this felt fine. It was their thing. Frankly, I don't care either way how that lady feeds her future babies, she can do whatever feels best to her. I know 'breast is best' and that there is a lot of evidence to support that, but if a lady chooses to bottle feed her baby, I think that's up to her. Basically, I support both. Darcy was breast fed for a week before we had some serious health issues and had a stay in hospital. After that, it was bottles for us. I think I would have liked to have breast fed for longer but nature had other ideas and I was actually quite relieved to now be able to share the load. 

So, back to last night. Wifey and Matey are having a quippy little chat and we're all sort of chuckling along. Then Richard, good old Richard, steps in with an absolute beauty, 'It's bottle feeding or shit tits!!!'. 

I think in his mind, he was doing Wifey a favour and trying to sway Matey to bottles so that he would have to help more in the night. I think he thought he was saying something good or useful. 

Rage bubbled inside me. I erupted. 'DID YOU JUST SAY 'BOTTLE FEEDING OR SHIT TITS'?? ARE MY TITS SHIT RICHARD???', I said that as I grabbed both my boobs and kind of aggressively shook them at him (#WineRegrets). He looked instantly awkward. 'What's wrong with you? Tits aren't there for your personal sexual pleasure! They're for babies!!! NO WONDER YOU'RE SINGLE!', bit (too) harsh past-tipsy-me, bit (too) harsh. Sorry Richard. 

The situation was placated by my guy friend and everyone calmed down and moved on. I apologised to Richard for being so shouty and tried to explain that I'm just really passionate about women's bodies. I'm sure if he had a blog, he'd be writing about me too haha. 

I've thought about it this morning. Should I have semi-yelled at a man I'd only met that night in a pub? Probably not. Do I still feel the same in the cold sobriety of the morning? Yes. Yes I actually bloody do. 

'It's bottle feeding or shit tits'. No. It's bottle feeding or breast feeding. It's feeding. It's loving your baby with all your heart and making choices that are best. If you can, breast feeding is so worth it. It's bonding and nourishing and doing what your body was beautifully and wonderfully designed for. Your body has just grown and delivered an infant and your breasts are (hopefully) full of milk to sustain it. 

(Found this on my FB from 2011. Darcy after a feed, note the bottles and my enormous drink and cereal since feeding meant you were basically trapped for 30 minutes at a time ha. I wish I'd had actual pictures of me breast and bottle feeding.)

If you are unable, for whatever reason, bottle feeding is available. When I bottle fed my tiny Darcy, I felt that bonding sensation. I cradled her in my arms, held the bottle to her lips and watched her drink. I was keeping her alive, watching her grow, cuddling her warm body, it was lovely. I'm sure her Dad felt the same when he fed her, a task we were able and happy to share. 

Feeding, however you do it, is lovely. We're clear on that. 

You know what's not lovely though? Having a man put his sexual preferences ahead of your maternal instinct, your dignity or your self worth and spouting off about it. 

Child birth and everything after is beautiful and worthwhile but also, for many women, quite distressing, upsetting and esteem knocking. Your tummy is wibbly, your vagina/stomach may well be in stitches, you've just gone through crazy pregnancy changes (more hair/less hair, stretch marks, swollen feet, varicose veins, weight gain, spotty skin, the list goes on) and all in all, physically, you're feeling exhausted. 

You need love and reassurance. You want to be told that you're incredible for bringing new life into the world, that you're glowing (yeah it's sweat and grease but a lie here and there doesn't hurt), that your partner has never loved you more, watching you care for that baby. 

You know what, your 'tits' might change. They might be bigger or smaller, they might hang lower, they might not feel as sensitive sexually. They might actually stay the exact same. Ultimately, whatever you do to them, they will still just be your breasts. A part of your body to be loved and cherished. 

They will not be, 'shit'. They just kept a human alive for goodness sake! 

My breasts are not meaty toys for a man to play with. Of course I like a sexual partner to enjoy them in the appropriate moments, but they don't exist for his soul pleasure. They exist for me, for my children. 

I'm disgusted that Richard felt that breast feeding equals 'shit tits' and I'm disgusted that he voiced his opinion so brashly. When I questioned him on it I said, 'Does the Mother of your little girl have shit tits??'. 'She bottle fed', was the reply. Lucky her I guess, lucky the man she once married didn't have the opportunity to make her feel like crap. 

If you are a lady reading who has breast fed or ever does, I salute you. It's hard!! It takes determination and strength and love. I also salute your tits, whatever shape or size or, lolz, 'shitness' they are, I think they're bloody fantastic. 

And, 'Richard', if you're reading this, my tits, despite their brief stint of supplying my baby with milk, are fucking fabulous

Toodlepip!

xx

Edit - 12 hours after original post.
Richard has messaged. He, like a lot of us in our lives, made a flippant remark after a few drinks. He fully supports whatever way a woman wants to feed her baby and fully supported his wife in her choices with their child. He's glad this post has sparked support and love for women and their bodies and has apologised for any offence caused.

Personally, I of course still stand by the sentiment and message of this post. However, there are now no bad feelings towards Richard and I'm glad he is with us in our love of bodies, babies and self worth. Richard, apology accepted, you're alright! x

This post is dedicated to my good friend Clare who exclusively breast fed her baby girl, Hope,  for 5 months, with just one breast (the other wasn't playing ball). It was rough but she did it, happily and lovingly. I hope she never meets a 'Richard'. 

If you would like to pre-order my book, click HERE

Thursday, 22 September 2016

You're chill, I'm chill, We're all chill.


Oh Hai,

Yesterday I did the school run, came home, threw caution to the wind and made a video without so much as brushing my hair. HOW GLORIOUS. 



I'd half filmed it already with a vloggy trip to Homesense but I needed to complete the haul section. I'd put it off for over a week, waiting for the perfect moment to be fully made up or my house to be gleaming and then I realised- that's never going to happen. Never ever. 

'Sod it', I thought. I'll just film it now, as I am, just like this. 

So I did. And everyone was fine. In 1979, no-one died. If you know where that last line is from, we are soul mates. 

Anyway, less on my new feeling of school run-filming liberation and on to the video. 



Thanks for being chill about my new chill- long may it continue!

Have a great Thursday!

Toodlepip!

xx

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Happy 7th Blogday!


Oh Hai, 

I'm writing this on a grey and rainy Monday afternoon- perfect weather for cosying up with your laptop if you ask me. 

I looked at the date and suddenly remembered that tomorrow is a special day for me and I need to mark it. September 20th marks 7 years since I started this blog. That feels CRAZY. I can't imagine my life 7 years into the future, it feels miles away, so 7 is back feels a long time ago too. 


(www.gemmalouise.co.uk) 

Every year I write a special blog post and this will be no different. Last year I wrote THIS beast and as I read through it just now, I felt so sad for the person I was then. I felt so feeble. I was a bit broken really. I wrote a lot about how my professional life was soaring but my personal life was crumbling. 

Let's talk about this with a new year in mind. Sept-Sept. Honestly, 2015 got worse. Not in Glitter World, that was incredible, but behind the scenes I wasn't coping. A particularly unpleasant incident in October triggered a huge hideous heap of memories from my sadly, very abusive, childhood and I found myself in this awful swirling tunnel of thoughts I couldn't get out of. I would shut my eyes and remember all the things that happened to me (I won't delve into this now, in a nutshell, I was severely physically and mentally abused by a step mother and had never fully dealt with it) and panic that either they would happen to me again, or worse, happen to Darcy. 

(@charlotte_jonees)

Relationships with other people broke down, the man who had strung me along for 6 months showed his true colours and really, it was all rather shit. 

After a giant cry in my car one day (glamorous), I researched help and booked myself in to see a counsellor. 

She. Was. Great.


(@chummysketches)

Suddenly I was able to voice all my worries and concerns without spiralling out of control and could arrange them in a way that I could manage them. I could rationalise my present without dragging my past into it and could begin to enjoy my day to days again. I began to deal with the things that had happened to me and put myself back together again. I'd thoroughly recommend taking the time and expense to do this if you need to.

I did vlogmas (which was also very healing- the creative focus, the motivation to do something fun each day etc) and jetted off to Seattle for 2 weeks over the new year to visit my friend Marie and her family. With all of their love and Christmas spirit, I came back reinvigorated and felt like glimmers of my old happy self were reappearing. Yay.

(Instagram: ebunton.art)

2016 has been so kind to me. Whilst I have been productive in Glitter World (another clothing collection, the beautiful 2017 Diary, another ah-mazing tour of LouiseLIVE), I haven't felt frantic. It's been almost serene. My focus has been on Darcy and home and my heart feels warm again. I no longer cry in the car or feel panicked at night. I feel so able to handle whatever life has on offer. A stark difference to this time last year and long may it continue!

I feel strong. I am strong. 

(@flyawayels)

I cannot be bullied or broken. I will not be made to feel less than I am by the things that have happened to me or people who don't have my best interests at heart. I'm a good egg. I try my best. I love fully. That's all you can ask I think. 

This year has been so healing. It's been like a hug. Warm and gentle and just what I needed. As always, you have been amazing. Unfailingly supportive in everything you do. I know it's cringey to say but truly, you're a blessing.

Last month I took a leap and completely changed the direction of this space. I told you all that I wanted to take a more honest approach, not always sugar-coat and talk about topics that are more interesting to someone of my age. It was risky because the tried and tested safe and soft method worked. It was successful. I worried for weeks that I could be tearing down everything I'd worked for nearly 7 years to build but, one month in and it seems like it was a good idea! I've noticed a lot of women (and a few men even!) in their late twenties, thirties and forties are speaking up in the comments (of youtube or facebook or whatever platform we're on at the time) and it's like I'm making new friends. I've noticed the comments are transitioning from 'ily Louise!!' (from the younger viewers/readers, of course very lovely and welcome, don't stop them!) to short stories about your lives, your opinions, the things that matter to you. I value these a lot because you are sharing parts of yourself and really growing roots here. I love it too when I see you answering each other or starting discussions amongst yourselves. Rather rarely for the internet, our comments sections are a good place to be! So, our family is growing in size and diversity and this will only lead to great things for us all. More opportunities to learn and grow and experience. I have seen what a strong community we are. I am proud of us.

(screenshotsofyouth.tumblr.com)

In a couple of days I'll be announcing the next big thing I'm working on but if the past 7 years have taught me anything, each year holds a lot and I'm excited to see what year 8 will hold for us. 

Every year I look back on the sentence I wrote the year before. Last year I said -

Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community and sixth year, sadly, a broken heart. What do you think will come next?

As is tradition, I'll add to it - 

Happy Birthday little blog! What a journey we've been on. First year a wedding, second year a baby, third year a business, fourth year friends, fifth year a community, sixth year, sadly, a broken heart and seventh year, strength. What do you think will come next?

Strength feels like the perfect word for 2015/16.  Personally I am standing tall again, wonderful professional opportunties are in the air and you as a community are growing and showing such integrity and positivity. I'm ready to step forward into our 8th year and I hope you will come with me. 

Thank you very much to all the creative community members who have provided art work for this post, they are credited below each piece. If you submitted something and it wasn't selected, I'm ever so sorry. I received hundreds (you guyyzzzz), so narrowing it down was really hard! I saw each one and loved them all. My heart had allll the warm fuzzies!

In the comments today, please take this opportunity to introduce yourself. Tell me who you are, what you like to do, what matters to you, how you found me and how long you've been here. Let's get to know each other!

Toodlepip!

xx


Monday, 12 September 2016

Merry Monday To You!


Oh Hai, 

Merry Monday to you my little pipsqueaks! Oh wow, that was way too enthused for this time of day (8.35am). 

I'm feeling a lot of love for my blog at the moment so felt like spending a few minutes writing a blog post but suddenly realised- oh, I have nothing specific to write about. Lucky for you, 'inane chatter' is my middle name (it's not, my parents didn't hate me...I hope) so I thought I'd just use this post as a place to say a few bits about everything and nothing, in a list. Man oh man I love lists. You know this right? 

(Photo from my insta)

I haven't pre-thought this, so as I think it, I'll write it. 

1. Ew, my keyboard is really dirty. I wonder how many germs I'm smashing into my skin and letting osmose into my flesh. Yummy. Note to self- research how to clean it as soon as you've finished writing this list. 



2. I heard it's going to be a hot week and I'm thrilled. Autumn is my favourite season (it was  my favourite season before everyone else ok? I liked Autumn back when people were still buzzing for Spring being the best ok?) but I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to just walking outside in tee's and flipflops or wearing sunglasses every moment of every day. 

3. I had a meeting last week in a restaurant called Villandry on Great Portland Street and several days on, I'm still thinking about their mash potato with parsley jus. If I wasn't playing it cool and being Mrs Badass Business Woman (ie. imagining in my head I'm Carrie Bradshaw at in a meeting in Vogue), I would have licked the plate and ordered another portion to doggy bag home. I snapchatted the food (add- LouisePentland) but sadly didn't save a photo for you to drool over).



4. This weekend was amazing. One of those that meanders perfectly, everything fits into place but you don't feel rushed at all. I went for a few civilised drinks at my local with my friends on Friday night (I met my postman. He said, 'You're the one who opens the door in her bra'. Yep, that's me! *cringe*), Saturday was a sofa morning, housework and a flamingo party in the evening ('flamingo' party is as great as it sounds btw). Sunday I went to Foxton Locks for some pokehunting (excuse me I caught over 100 magikarps!!!), and then in the evening used some free codes I had to go and see Suicide Squad at cineworld. What a weekend! Tonight I'm picking Darcy up from school and #MummyLife resumes. 

(A Jessive Cave illustration- linked below, check her out pls)

5. I've really been enjoying Jessie Cave's illustrations. She posts a new one almost every day on twitter and they make me chuckle. I'm not sure if it's cool or worrying that I relate to so many of them. 



6. I plan to finally finish the Seattle Vlogs this week and then Chatter channel will be moving onto some more homey bits. I've got a lot coming up in my work and personal life so I'm pretty pumped for that. I'm in the mood for a tonne of craft projects for my house now the nights are drawing in and I cant wander round parks taking in the view and getting some fresh air catching pokemon.


(hopefully this works and doesn't look like coding to you!! It's meant to be my video!)

7. Today is a day for doing. I have some meaty emails to work through, a sweet Seattle vlog to edit, some admin & banking to handle (the actual bain of my life) and the cleaner is coming later so I need to fully tidy everywhere before her arrival because I'm that person. I'm thinking about making something Jamie Oliver-esque for dinner tonight. Go me. 

Righty-o, that felt good, a nice way to start the week. Hope you're feeling motivated to have a great one too! Let's do this!!

Toodlepip!

xx

Thursday, 8 September 2016

It's Been Quite The Week!



Oh Hi, 

Well, what a week eh? I feel like the last few days have been huge and special and exhausting and exhilarating and so it feels fitting to round it all up here, like a digital scrapbook or memory box. 

First and foremost, I wanted to say. 'thank you'. In 7 years, I have never felt let down by you as readers and viewers. I've thrown some pretty big sh*t at you and yet, always, you've been amazing. I also want to say, for those that have even a crumb of confusion, I'm NOT leaving!!! Argh that would be terrible!! I'm still me, I still love glitter and girliness, but yanno, I'm an adult. I'm evolving, I'm growing up. 


Last week I announced that I was closing a chapter of life and beginning a new one. Gone is the 100% sickly sweet perfect princess vibe, and welcomed is a more honest version of my life, still glittery but also peppered with the occasional swear and some real life humour. 

I'll let you in on a secret- I've been doing it for a while. I've been making slightly older videos and getting into my new groove all summer (you might have noticed I've been a bit more 'me' in my Chatter channel videos) and the new artwork was always gonna happen (that's still coming btw). I almost didn't make a video. I was going to just slowly transcend into a more 'me' vibe, but I felt a chatty video was a good idea- I like to keep you in the loop. 

Please don't take it too literally. This is not a sad time, this is a brilliant time! The future looks bright. 



Turns out, that kind of announcement causes quite a stir with a lorra lorra news outlets picking it up and for the most part, being super supporting. The BBC wrote a lovely piece and even The Sun got involved (although I prefer not to link them as my heart belongs to Liverpool). A couple of media sites really went to town with the 'Louise Pentland Vows to Make Adult Videos' which made me chuckle. Don't worry, I won't be making those kinds of adult videos any time soon. Honestly, you'd have to gouge your eyes out with rusty spoons if you were subjected to that kind of visual. 




A few of you have asked if there will be any more 'Sprinkle of Glitter' merch or projects (like the books, clothing lines, posters etc). The answer is YES. Deep down I will always 'Sprinkle of Glitter' and I'm happy to still be called it and have it beautifully emblazoned on things, I'm just being a more honest version and it feels more natural to start using my name, Louise Pentland, a bit more. 

My 2017 Diary is available to buy and you guys have been going gaga for it. Hooray!

I've loved seeing all your pictures and hearing how much you like it. Keep them coming! You can pick up your copy from all major supermarkets, bookshops or Amazon. Click HERE to get yours. I'm planning on talking about this a fair bit more in the future too so keep your eyes pealed for that! 


Less than a day after all the hub-bub about me not being the new youtube porn star (please get that, re the above para, don't be confused. I should stop this joke asap), I was back on the road (again, not in the 'adult' street worker sense, theatre darling, theatre) for my basically amazing theatre show, Louise LIVE. 


We toured 5 UK cities, I meet so many of you, I laughed a lot at my own jokes and, in one of the shoes, my shoes hurt so badly that my left big toe bled into my shoe- huzzah!!! One lovely lady called Lucy, wrote THIS review.



In all seriousness, aside from the blood-toe-shoe-fiasco, I bloody (no pun intended) LOVED this tour. We raised the age limit for the tickets (something I want to do again next year but even higher) and I felt so free. The content was aimed at women my age and the humour was a little more racey than I'd normally allow. I definitely want to develop this. If you didn't make it to the show but would like to watch it, the DVD (made by the BBC no less!) is available to pre-order on Amazon, HERE. 

Such a huge thank you to all the theatres that hosted me, the wonderful staff at each one, my amazing team who sold merch/handled tech/made everything run so beautifully and of course, huge thank you to all of you who came along and made the shows so full of buzz and zizz. Roll on 2017 for the next one!!


After such an intense few days (and actually, a pretty whirlwind summer), I was craving homey normality. I'm big on routine. It makes me feel safe and so having spent almost 2 months with little to no structure, Sunday was bliss. We went to church (where I snapped this adorable shot below of my Dad and Darcy), had a mini photoshoot outside (the first photo in this post was taken by Darcy!) and then, quite spontaneously hopped over to MuMu's for pizzas and giant milkshakes. I sent a text round to the gang (my local mummy friends) to ask them to lunch and in a wonderful stroke of luck, they were all free and up for it- this NEVER happens! Once you pass a certain age and/or push a human out your fanny, you can never ever get all your friends together at once without some sort of military style planning weeks in advance. 

And so, me, Darcy, my friends, their small humans and menfolk, sat and ate and laughed and sometimes a little bit shouted, 'Sit down! No you cannot have my phone! MIND YOUR DRINK', and it was brilliant. I felt so relaxed and like my roots are so deep where I am. 

If ever you're in Northampton, head to St Giles street and order a 'pimped milkshake'. You can thank me afterwards.



Monday was back to work normality and so I went to the world wide premiere of Bridget Jones Baby. Hahaha. I know, I sound like a real dick. Let me have my moment. <3 p="">


I've been Bridget's biggest fan since I first read my Auntie Jackie's battered old copy of the first book when I was 16. I felt like finally I was reading something that I related to. Bridget is charming and clumsy and compassionate and basically, my hero. So, the premiere was not something I was going to pass up. 

The film was fun, I laughed til I cried and cheered with joy at the end. I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it but really, go and watch it whilst it's in cinemas. I want to buy the soundtrack to it too. 


My dress to the premiere was from ASOS and felt amazing. What didn't feel amazing though was the beige fortress of control underwear I was wearing underneath. Honestly, you've not felt 'support' until you're wearing what is essentially a swimming costume of turgid beige fabric that sort of acts as a damn against all your fat. Taking it off in the toilets afterwards felt greater than I care to describe. 

Next day was the inevitable yearly panic of, 'oh my f*ck I haven't bought Darcy's plimsoles' and 'When did you grow 8 sizes out of your ballet kit?'. A day of shlepping round spending hundreds of pounds ensuring that everything on the list was ticked. Going to school these days is quite the feat. No more rocking up in your polo shirt and grey skirt with some shorts and tee-shirt in a bag for PE. Oh no. Get your judo kits ironed kids, it's September!!


Actually, aside from a little part of my soul dying as I spent £90 on smart shoes, plimpsoles and trainers, I loved the day so much. We mooched round Milton Keynes shopping centre and enjoyed everything it had to offer. I like to try and make shopping days as much fun as possible for Darcy so that she doesn't feel like she's being forced to walk round doing errands (which she is). We watched pennies whir round the charity thing that makes pennies look cool (descriptives on point), had lunch at Wagamama's (I have the regular katsu curry and she has the children's version and we like that we match), she coloured worksheets in kiddie corner, got all her wiggles out running in the open spaces and, my favourite bit, experimented with bath bombs in Lush. I was so impressed with the customer service and how much they made her feel like she was special and gave her that little experience. Also, I had a little shop so perhaps a haul soon would be good? 

A big week. I've loved it. 

Autumn feels like it's upon us and I'm glad. I'm finding my feet with routine again and throwing myself into work and motherhood after our summer of whimsy. 

Feel free to write an essay in the comments about your week, it's cathartic lemme tell you!!

Toodlepip!

xx


Thursday, 1 September 2016

Why I'm 'Quitting' My YouTube Channel


Oh Hi, 

This is the kind of blog post I feel like I need to take a deep breath before writing. The kind that I need to sit in a quiet room and type fast sentences with long pauses for thought. I've been doing this for almost 7 years but still, there are posts where I feel nervous, like it's my first, and I am tentative yet buzzy with energy for. 

If you're reading this, you have most likely hopped over from my video. I've not filmed that video at the time of writing this. I decided I'd put all my thoughts down here, succinctly and carefully and then in the video I can freely chatter about it and if something is missed, I won't feel that pang of panic when you forget something, because it'll be securely noted here. This blog post is my safety net I guess.

(A very real picture. This is what I look like as I type this post. My necklace is wonky, my hair's a bit frizzy and those roots need some help, I don't have any concealer on and if I'm honest, some of that is yesterday's mascara. For a long time I've tried to be perfect. It's exhausting.)

Here goes. 

Sprinkle of Glitter (the blog) began one late Autumn night on Sept 20th 2009. Two months prior I'd bought a tiny fixer-upper house with my then fiance and I wanted somewhere to document the DIY we did in it. It was set to be a 3 month Autumn project to keep me busy when boredom set in. I'd had a lot of projects before that (my stint volunteering at the cattery, my obsession with Japanese seed beads, a failed attempt at daily baking etc etc) and so this felt no different. I wasn't one to stick at things. 

As the months rolled by, my love for the community around blogging deepened and once the house was finished, I didn't feel like the blog was. I transitioned it from DIY to beauty and in January 2010, set up a YouTube channel, also called Sprinkle of Glitter. 

When Sprinkle of Glitter started, I was a 24 year old PA in a corporate (aka so, so dull) office. I was engaged, planning a wedding, making new friends in a town I hadn't lived in for 6 years, doing up a house and basically, just finding my footing with adulthood. Life was sweet and so was I. 

Seven years later and a lot has happened. If you've been following all these years, some of this will be familiar. If not, let me fill you in. 

I had a big white wedding and we fixed up our house. We planned for and were blessed with a beautiful baby girl (Darcy) and lived happily and lovingly as a family of three (four if you count the grouchy old cat called Mindy that we adopted). Then, as many couples do, we drifted apart, couldn't fix our differences and parted ways to start new chapters separately. A big life thing. 

Over the past two years I've adjusted to single parenthood and acutely felt all the ups and downs that come with it. It still feels like I'm getting to grips with it and new things are still being experienced. As I write this, Darcy is on a holiday with her Dad and his partner. It's the longest I've ever been away from her and whilst I'm pleased for her having this experience and glad she is so loved by them, a part of my heart aches for her to be home with me. It's a hard mix of emotions. Each time something new happens in the shared parenting/single mother arena, the next time feels easier. There are lows but of course, lots of highs too. I'm learning how to navigate and 2 years in, I feel OK. I'll probably touch on this more in the future. 

I've tried my hand at dating, or 'disaster dating' as I've referred to it over copious glasses of fizz with my friends and hope that one day soon I'll fully love and allow myself to be fully loved in return. Although my heart is squishy and open to the idea, it's also fiercely protective of Darcy and any repercussions my love life could have on her. Tricky tricky. 

In the last few years, I've learnt a lot more about what friendship is, what it means to me and the type of friend I am to other people. I've had moments where I've felt so thankful to the people in my life that I could burst. Friends that will pick you up off the floor, shivvy you along even when you're crying, laugh with you over nothing, chatter for hours, embark on tiny adventures (Emma- the time we ran breathlessly from the pub cackling all the way down the road, I'm thinking about this right now!), cheer for you in your success and fill your heart, those are friends. 

I've had some big years. I've had amazing highs and frankly, some pretty awful lows. I've had some 'dig deep' moments and have enjoyed the feeling of always plodding on, always finding the best in each day and always enjoying whatever I have. 

Personal life, you have been a big ass roller coaster. 

Professional life, so have you!! 

I no longer work in the stuffy office of dullness. Instead, quite unexpectedly, social media has become my full time gig and it's all because of you. Your reading, your watching, your support, your kind comments, your love, has turned this late night Autumn project into a blossoming business. Thank you. A million times, thank you.

I was going to do a round up of everything Sprinkle of Glitter has offered in the last 7 years but it's way too much. It has just been incredible. I'm going to have to write an entire post of it's own on it next month because I think it deserves to be documented. I've made life long friends, experienced things I never thought possible, met unbelievable people, travelled, created, published, designed and lived fully. It's hard to express in a paragraph how much has happened- it's been life changing. 

And so to my point. When I began all this, my life was so different, I was different. I was sweet and sugary and untarnished I guess. In almost a decade (woah), I've had knocks and scrapes and growth and life. I'm different. I'm still me, but I'm an older (maybe wiser?) me. I still see life through positive eyes and I still laugh at the ridiculous but I'm an adult. Life isn't all blessings and giggles. Life is loud and vibrant and amazing and gentle and rough and everything in between. I am those things too sometimes. 

As I've grown in my real life, I haven't allowed myself to grow in my online one. I've kept everything rosey and sweet and although I've shared vulnerable moments and been very honest, I've always sugar coated, held back and tried very hard not to offend. 

As an audience grows in size as mine has done (woohoo), so do the amount of opinions you have thrown at you. You're not honest enough, you're sharing too much, you're boring, you're immature, you're using this for views, you're not showing enough of that, you're saying things you shouldn't, you should come out of your shell more. You simply cannot win. 

In a bid to try to though, I've held back. A lot. I've kept things sweet and nice and plodded along reasonably unscathed by the dreaded trolls and haters. I've played it safe. I've stayed inside my box. 

I'm so, so bored. 

My sense of humour is dirty and my life is adult. I like to do shots with my Mummy friends (not with our littles around obviously!), I like to say, 'fuck' and I sometimes, heaven forfend, take Darcy on adventure days that go on past her bedtime. I'm not perfect. I'm don't live a princessy life in a house made of candycanes (although that does sound cool), I just do normal things. I'm 31, I work, I play. I'm so bored of making things I know will just coast by, not upsetting the apple cart. I want to run free and enjoy it. 

I still do want to make videos about the usuals (hauls, motherhood, collabs) but I want to just let myself go more. I need to shed this sugary sweet sparkles and unicorns thing and just say, 'hey, my name is Louise Pentland. I'm a nice gal, doing my best, dating, mumming, enjoying myself, let's share and talk and enjoy'. 

I want to make videos about the hideous dates I've been on, heck, I'd like to make videos talking brazenly about some of the sex I've had. I'd like to make videos talking about Motherhood not just in a light way like I do now but I'd like to tell you what I find hard without you thinking I'm a shit mother or what I find easy without you thinking I'm being smug. I want to make videos about my journey with religion and faith. I want to talk openly about my relationship with the church and what it means to me. I'd like to be able to openly admit that I don't like choker necklaces or those little circle framed sunglasses with blue mirrored lenses! I'd like to run free with my sense of humour, I'd like to be able to have adult conversations, aimed at adults, even though I know some (although not the main proportion) of my audience are young. 

What I really want for the next seven years, and hopefully with your blessing, is to step forward and just be the person I am. More raw, more real, more me. 

What do you think? Are you chill with that? 

Toodlepip

xx

PS- I'm dropping, 'Aloha Sprinklerinos'. New greetings ideas needed!

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