Yesterday we were sitting on the bus, Olympia tucked against my body and Embla playing a complicated game involving touching Kirsty’s face.  Our sons were sat beside her, chattering nineteen to the dozen into the silence, their conversation not aimed at anybody so much as all-inclusive, about buses and trains and the cars whizzing past, and about cats and cake and the swings at the park.  An older lady, sat all alone, caught my eye and smiled.

And in that moment I felt so grateful to be Amber Wilde, London-born in this day and age when it is so easy to love the person whom I love more than anything in the world, and to raise children together, acknowledged as our own.  We took them to the park and shared strawberries in the sunlight, and nobody blinked when I told my children to go and find their mummy, and when they ran back to me, shouting proudly that Mummy, they had conquered the slide.  I will write a blog post, or film a video talking about what it is like to be same-sex parents soon, but honestly, the good outweighs the difficult every time and sometimes I feel so lucky, so tremendously privileged to be raising my children here and by the love and acceptance that we are shown that it takes my breath away.

Eating her strawberries in Mini Rodini!  Gasp.  What was I thinking?!

On Thursday, a reminder popped up on Facebook that it had been three years since I started blogging.  And then on Friday, my friends hauled me over the 1k point on YouTube – sharing me with their audiences, shouting out to me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It was one of those occasions that seem a little unbelievable; gorgeous Charlotte Taylor, who is every bit as nice as she seems in her channel and her blog, noticed that I was fewer than a hundred subscribers away from a thousand and kindly mentioned me on her insta, and then kept on doing it and some other friends joined in too and before I knew it, my Channel Mum friends were congratulating me and I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing.  It wasn’t so much the number but the tremendous amount of kindness; all of those people who cared so much about helping us.

People who value us, who see the importance in families like ours having an online presence.  People who see our family as nothing out of the ordinary, and people who have never met a same-sex family ‘in real life’ before but who are interested in us and supportive of us, who want to know more.

The messages that I most value are from those young people who are not ‘out’ yet, but who read my posts about coming out or who have seen my video and who message me to say that my writing, or my YouTube, gives them hope.  Hope.  Can you imagine?  I feel immensely privileged to be in a position where my words can influence anybody, can comfort a young person who needs it so badly.  If you are reading this and you are afraid for your future, please, please don’t be.  A family like ours can be the most wonderful thing, and society will embrace you and love you even if the people around you right now are unable.

So, we thought we’d host a little competition to say ‘Thank you’!

We’re hosting a competition to win a £30 Amazon gift card.  The competition will run for two weeks, ending conveniently just after pay day, and we’ll draw the winner and contact them about their prize on the 4th September.  Very best of luck!

WIN £30 AMAZON GIFT CARD

Finally, thank you all so much for always being here.  It means the world.

I have a little sister called Paige, who was the most gullible of children you might ever hope to meet. She’s wised up considerably over the course of the last few years and now twenty-five, she is a perfectly functioning adult with a job and a lovely boyfriend whom whom she might soon be buying a house, but my goodness – when she was small, she would believe anything. And as I was two years her senior, I frequently took advantage.

Like the time she sat her GCSE English Literature exam believing that George and Lenny were a pair of fieldmice. To be fair, she should probably have made an effort to read the book. I mean, what did she think it was, Disney?! She failed that exam.

Or the time that, as a teenager, she told my mother that she couldn’t tell her what to do because she was not her real mother. It transpired that about eight years previously, I had told her that our parents had adopted her as a great act of altruism after poor Cousin Sarah found herself unexpectedly knocked up. And she had believed it. I had forgotten all about this conversation by the time that the truth came out and was horrified that she had believed such a horrible thing for so many years. She does look an awful lot like Cousin Sarah, though…

It wasn’t just me either. My absolute favourite Paige story was the time that, again during her GCSE year, she came home outraged because her Head of Science had poked fun at her. She had asked very earnestly how scientists knew the dinosaurs’ names, and just as earnestly, Mr Martin told her about the Day that Made Scientific History, when the scientists discovered the tape recording of the dinosaurs talking to each other in the forest.

“How are you, Brontosaurus?”
“Feeling a bit extinct today, Diplodocus. Bit worried about our dwindling numbers and – ooh, hello Pterodactyl! How are you?”

She believed every word until she noticed the shaking hysteria of her peers.

Bless.

(She didn’t pass that exam either.)

Still, she had the last laugh when it came to finances. Even though when we were very small, I had convinced her that all coins were valued equally and therefore two 1p coins were greater than £1, she soon wised up to that trick and before long, she had me convinced to give her a personal allowance of half of my pocket money in addition to her own. And I dread to think how many times the little con artist convinced me to ‘lend’ her some cash that I never had returned. Not to mention the extortionate interest she charged if I ever needed a loan myself.  These days, she’s a glamorous and successful Personal Assistant who brings my children beautiful gifts from her travels, so perhaps it was worth investing in her future.

I don’t know if the moral of this story is that my sister was adorable or that I was a really mean big sister, actually.  I meant well.  And I’m still really sorry, Paige, about the Cousin Sarah adoption palaver.  You do look an awful lot like her, though…

Was anybody else really quite mean to their little siblings?
*Collaborative Post.

My sons will be turning three in just a few short months and suddenly, the way that we’ve dressed them in the past has started to seem a little babyish. So, as any good instamama would, I turned to instagram for some boy fashion inspiration and what I discovered was simply too good not to share!

@haus_of_boys

Self-described as ‘city style in the countryside’ this Australian insta documents up to four boys at a time wearing an impressive mix of some of our favourite Scandi and non-Scandi brands. Handily for me, Fiona always tags the images with the retailers in question so it’s super easy to shop her insta. Goodbye, money…

@cool_dudes_nz

This is a new-to-me account featuring Hudson, Harper and Harley, an outrageously cool trio with enviable hairstyles and a wardrobe that brings tears to my eyes. As with @haus_of_boys, she tags all of her brands. I am especially fond of the series of photos featuring oversized animal masks!

@wishesandwellies

Let’s not all zoom over to Rebecca’s account, because I actually rather enjoy treating her insta like an online boutique and simply calling dibs on most of her son’s togs when he outgrows them – I’d hate to face competition! But I couldn’t not mention one of my main boy fashion inspirations; I simply adore Mini Viking’s playful clothing style, with always looks comfortable and fun.

@babynumber3andme

Oh, Henry. His style is basically how I wish that I had dressed my boys as younger toddlers – and truth be told, I’d absolutely still put them in Henry’s outfits now! The understated style and neutral tones really put the focus on the boy rather than the outfit – which works especially well with Henry as it draws the eye to his incredible hair! Swoon.

@nesterwanders

Bold and oh, so bright, this account showcases the wardrobes of Basil, Thelonius and Finnian. I simply adore the colours, textures and patterns in this insta account, and mama Lexi’s fearlessness when it comes to putting together their outfits – be that twinning (tripletting?!) or combining clashy prints to really grab the attention! Her own sense of style isn’t bad either.

@helloarchie.co

Kaye and I have an almost identical taste in boy clothing, meaning that I not-infrequently stumble across her boys styled exactly the same as my boys (though we haven’t managed to dress them identically on the same day yet!).  She’s my go-to girl when it comes to swooning over brands and styles on insta and swapping ideas for dressing young boys.

Who are you following on instagram these days?  Any recommendations for me?  And please don’t forget to check out my insta for billions of twins, fashion inspiration and daily life updates.

We need to talk about Channel Mum.

Channel Mum, for the uninitiated, is a digital marketing, content production, social media and PR agency with a difference; it’s mama-run and with real mothers on its books, from the enormous (in following only) Ingham Family, Charlotte Taylor and Mummy Daddy Me to – ahem – tiny little me, actually. Focusing primarily on video, it’s the agency behind Iceland’s recent success, with the Channel Mum community of sponsored vloggers boasting a combined social reach of 5.65 million and delivering on average 20 – 35 million views per month.

But also? It’s kind of my home.

Behind the scenes at Channel Mum is community of women (and a handful of men) with an interest in video in common. The sponsored vloggers have an intimate facebook group in which we share with and support each other, cheering on Rebecca Meldrum through her difficult recent pregnancy and birth, holding Holly Matthews’ hands – virtually – through the death of her husband, laughing together about silly things, like Channel Mum founder Siobhan Freegard’s crazy motivational analogies. Occasionally we have the chance to come together, partying in private member’s clubs in Soho (I’ve never knocked back so many shots so quickly in my entire adult life) or listening intently at the Channel Mum Vidcon. But mostly we are online friends who have each other’s backs no matter what. Even when we don’t quite understand.  I love that so much diversity is represented within Channel Mum, from skin colour to income to sexuality.  There is always somebody to relate.

Oh a personal level, Channel Mum were with me every step of the way last year when I collapsed on a pregnancy fitness shoot with Michelle Heaton. Their own Cathy Ranson took me to hospital and sat with me for hours into the evening after I was admitted, liaising with the medical team on my behalf when I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t imagine a better agent to work with as an influencer than Channel Mum.

Earlier this year, I was offered the opportunity to become a part of the administrative team as one of five moderators on the Channel Mum Group facebook page. I have long thought that I could enjoy a wildly successful career as a professional chatterbox so I leapt at the opportunity to help Channel Mum to grow the group. Channel Mum Group – CMG, as we call it behind the scenes – has grown to a thriving community of six-and-a-half THOUSAND mums, we call it the ‘mum village’ but I think that at this point it’s probably more like a town and working its way up to city status! I do think that the world would be a better place if only Channel Mum were running it, with the help of the mums – and dads – at the Channel Mum Group. If you’d like to join our mum village please sign up, and I’d love for you to leave a note in the joining questions to say that you came over from here.

You will be well looked-after by Lisa, Rhian, Lorraine, Jen and me!


At the moment, Channel Mum are running a ‘treat yourself’ competition to win win a £50 Boots voucher, £50 Primark voucher AND a £50 Lush voucher every week from now until 1st September. If you’d like to win, subscribe to Channel Mum and then use this link to fill out the entry form. Or if you’re already subscribed, just fill in the form! I’d love to see one of my followers have the chance to treat themselves, and Channel Mum track where the competition entries come from as well so if you use my link, I’ll get influencer-points with them too! Channel Mum has hosted some life-changing campaigns such as the YANA challenge and Embracing Your Post-Baby Body (I’m dancing in this one in my undies!), and I really believe that it is such a valuable resource for the modern mum.

Are you a Channel Mum vlogger?  Do you watch ‘mummy vlogs’ on YouTube?

See you over there?  Don’t forget to enter the competition.

P.S. These pictures are of a typical Sunday morning at mine, where I’m trying to do my CMG adminning and the boys want to drown my iPhone, Olympia won’t get IN the bath because she’s my velcro baby at the weekends, and Embla is determinedly enjoying her splash-about and pretending that the other three don’t exist.

I started this blog, three years ago, because I wanted to document everything; to commit everything to writing and to memory. It was a way to hold them when I wasn’t able to hold them, when I felt utterly disconnected from my babies and from motherhood. I wrote, because in the sleep-deprivation and the darkness there was also beauty and I wanted to take it and to own it. And even though everything is so much brighter these days, so light and so easy, I have continued to write the story of our unconventional family, our modern-day fairy tale where two women fell in love and it didn’t matter a bit.

I love to document our family adventures – from the big ones, such as the birth of our daughters and our first holiday as a family of six, to the smaller ones, our trips to the sea side and picnics out in the woods close to our home. All of those magical firsts, and those little moments that don’t stop being special just because you’ve seen them a thousand times over. The things that Kirsty and I talk about, in hushed tones in bed at night, because we are so amazed by these small people and can’t quite believe that they’re ours.

Our sons are changing so quickly right now. At almost three years old, I feel as though they are shaking off the last of their toddlerhood and, in front of our eyes, becoming real little boys. I find myself holding them that bit tighter these days, kissing them more fiercely as they fight me off and run, laughing, to climb up the big slide and whoosh back down it, mischief in their eyes. They speak so clearly these days, full sentences, they articulate their perspective so well and debate their points like tiny lawyers.  We share the same joy in adventuring out of the house; they love to come with me to the shops, to walk the dog, or further afield.

This weekend the funfair was in town, in the form of Grove Park Carnival.  Chinbrook Meadows, where the carnival was located, is a mere twenty minutes’ walk from us or fewer than ten minutes on the bus, so it was easy to persuade Kirsty with the promise of candy floss to discard her Saturday afternoon plans in favour of a few hours at the funfair.

And what a few hours it was.

Oh golly – these children of mine.  It’s the thing that they don’t tell you about children – they grow.  Right in front of your eyes.

Last month we took toddlers to Butlins.  They were content with the baby rides; the spinning teacups and the cars, gripping the steering wheel poe-faced, ‘driving’ as though their ability to stay on the roundabout rested upon the steadiness of their hand.  This month?  At Grove Park Carnival this month my little boys wanted the ghost train, and they were unafraid of the dark, the leaping witches, the sheer drop from the top floor to the ground, as I gripped around their shoulders and, with a hissed intake of breath, squeezed shut my eyes.

They ‘yuvved dat ghost twain’.  

We rode it thrice.  At a cost of £18 and a good couple of months of my life, as we hurtled down the tracks and I remembered every horror story of fairground rides gone wrong, and we all laughed maniacally at the bottom, me from relief and my little boys from sheer euphoria, before they wobbled from the little car and raced around to the front, to do it all again.

“But why didn’t you TELL me that I had lipstick on my chin?”

“Ams, you ALWAYS have lipstick on your chin.  And your teeth.  It’s authentic.”

“… I had lipstick on my teeth?!”

Candy floss.  Lysander didn’t know what to do with it, and rubbed it through his hair.  Oh, my silly boy.  And my little Olympia snatched a handful and sat, so pleased with herself, cramming pink fluff in her face.  I want these moments to last forever.  I never thought that I could be so happy and yet here we are – two mothers with a tribe of little ones, lights flashing and music reverberating through our being and my heart beating noisily in my ears because this is it, this is what I always needed and never even knew.

My heart.  They are my heart.

Of all of my hopes and dreams, these four are the brightest and most beautiful, these beating human hearts that grew in my body and startling human minds that we nurture and shape.  And it seems, these days, that I live for the weekends that I can round up my tiny tribe and be a family together, my hands holding their hands, clutching small warm bodies close to mine, running my fingers through the softness of their hair.

And this is what I thought about at the funfair, riding the ghost train and waving to my sons as they passed us on the teacups, exchanging little smiles with Kirsty that said, wordlessly, that I can’t quite believe it, I still can’t believe that they are mine.

If you are wondering about their outfits, the jumpers are vintage Tootsa – three out of four were bought at a sample sale in Chelsea when I was expecting the boys.  The leggings were handmade over at Lottie & Lysh, who chose the prints themselves based on what they thought would suit our family, and sent to us for a feature on the blog.  We have been big fans of Lottie & Lysh for some time now – the children already own quite a few products, such as this bunny coat of dreams – and we were so excited to receive this parcel and to style this ‘shoot.  Lottie & Lysh products are sewn to last, and we adore the detail on the prints that Lottie chose for us.  I have a weakness for animals so I think that the llamas and the upside-down sloths were probably my favourites but really, they are all utterly lovely.  No wonder that Lottie & Lysh are so popular, with a whopping 25k followers on insta to date.

Oh, Grove Park Carnival, take me back.  I want to be at the funfair with my babies again.