I’ve been calling it my Thirties Eve. Birthdays don’t tend to hit me hard. Sixteen was interesting; my headteacher at the time gave me a card that said a more diplomatic version of ‘golly, we thought you might have snuffed it by now’. Twenty-one surprised me, even I suspected that I might have pegged it by then. But ever since that time, the passing of years has been a joy. My twenties have brought me so much happiness; a reunion with the love of my life, children that make my heart beat a little faster whenever I look at them. My twenties brought stability and financial security, my twenties brought wonder. Twenty-nine feels like the beginning of the end of something beautiful.  And whilst I have such high hopes for what thirty will bring, I feel nervous. I guess it’s a good thing that I have a year to prepare. Tell me what your thirties have been like for you..?

On Christmas night, we walked the mile between your Grandy’s home and ours.  It was brilliantly cold; the ice made the town look sugar-glazed and we puffed our breath into the air like dragons.  I had worried about how you would cope with walking a mile after bedtime at the end of an exhausting day, whether it would try your enormous hearts and you would end up puddled and crying on the pavement whilst we stood helpless, your baby sisters strapped to our bodies.  But you navigated the mile’s walk by fairylight, running from house to house, exclaiming over the beauty of the decorations.  You stopped at the roadsides and gripped our hands; yours felt so cold and small in mine.  I wish that I had the words to describe how much you mean to me, how I didn’t know that love could start in my chest but encompass my whole body, that I could feel love in my fingertips, until I became your mother.  I looked down at your shining little faces, little white moons in the darkness of night, and I felt so happy and proud that you were mine. You have been calling the festive period ‘my Christmas’.  You have taken possession of this stressful, emotionally overwhelming season and you have turned it into something wonderful.  I think that my favourite thing about being a mother is in discovering all of the beauty in the world through your eyes; the way that you can take something as ordinary as a walk… View Post

Twenty-eighteen. There is so much that I hope for this year; the year that will close with my thirtieth birthday. I have so many beautiful, wild dreams. Some of them are quite big – I want quite desperately to take my waterbabies overseas this year, to watch them play on gentle sands – and some are smaller, little hopes that sit plumply within grasping distance if I just find the courage to reach out for them. A most important one for me is that I want to learn to mother better; I love these babies of mine so fiercely that sometimes I am afraid that it will crack me, that one day I will be sat in the office and I will feel myself snap and shatter, pieces of myself strewn across the desk that is never quite tidy. Sometimes I don’t know where to direct it, the waves of emotion, the sudden overwhelming longing to hold them when they are at home or nursery and I am so far away that it could be a different world. I place so much meaning on our weekends together that when it doesn’t go to plan, as it sometimes goes with two three-year-olds, I feel so angry – which isn’t fair on them because three years old is such a baby, really, and I want them to believe that the world in which they are growing is a just world and to believe, for now at least, that their parents always hold… View Post

I want to love Christmas. I do. Mulled wine and Mama kissing Santa Claus, decorated trees and tinsel, and tinsel, and tinsel. Every year I promise myself that I will immerse myself in it, face-first, that I will breathe Father Christmas in so deeply that if you cut my wrists I’ll bleed in candy cane stripes. And every year, by the end of the first week of December I am ready to take three Vallium and politely request that somebody wake me up on the first of January. The only part of the traditional Christmas that I’ve ever managed to get fully behind is mulled wine. I thought that this year would be my turning point; this year is the first year that it is more about them than it is about me, the first year in which my little boys know the songs, address every fat, elderly man as Father Christmas, love our little tree with a Druid-like passion and are so excited for presents that sometimes their throats catch and their eyes brim with tears.  This year, they reminded me whenever they saw me that ‘my Christmas is coming soon’ and I hugged them to me and thought yes, it is your Christmas. A few months ago, the Alex and Alexa team invited me to their Mayfair office for a coffee.  We have collaborated previously on content for their blog and for mine, and separately for an instagram feature or two, and over the course of our cup of coffee the subject of Christmas arose… View Post

She is sixteen months old. She loves her rabbit snuggie – Bunny Wiggles – strawberries, row-row-row-your-boat, throwing toys out of the bath, telephones and shoes. She is the firstborn daughter and the oldest of the girl-twins but the smallest of the four; she wields her tiny stature like a weapon.  She is her mama’s girl, her sister’s best friend, the boys’ most precious sibling.  Embla is the height of a nine-month-old, weighs the same as the average twelve-month-old, she is tiny and loud and the child is so, so loved. It started with a wound in her mouth.  I was in the office when Kirsty sent me the photo; it was black and cavernous, like nothing I had seen before.  The doctor’s surgery offered us a 5pm appointment that evening, and my boss kindly allowed me to leave early to take the baby to her appointment.  She laughed and chattered nonsense on the bus, held my hand around the supermarket, we bought strawberries to snack on in the waiting room.  And I remember feeling sheepish because my baby with a facial injury could eat, was laughing, it surely wasn’t so serious as to waste the doctor’s time. But there was the bruising.  By the time that I had made it home from the office, the bruises were coming out on her face.  We rationalised that she had fallen and hit her head, bruising her face and biting the inside of her cheek.  I remember that the GP was visibly shocked… View Post