Monday, October 30, 2017

Motherhood - A snapshot

9 weeks in...
I'm really struggling with being a mum. I am not sure if it's because I've always identified myself with what I do (work wise), or if it's the boredom. I always thought I would be the type of mother that revels in her children and I imagine I will once PB is more interactive but at this time with a baby that can't communicate on my level and when I heavily rely on oral communication, it is difficult. I thought starting the Amina Project would distract me and give me something to focus on, when there is some downtime, and I always knew it would be a slow starter, however at this time I've faltered at the first hurdle. Who knows, but for the first time I'm not fighting for it, I have no get up and go, no drive, no desire to get off my butt and be active and I know it's because I spent so much of my time alone being a milk machine / mattress. I know I need to be more proactive, but how?

16 weeks in...
I'm pleased to report that the above mist has lifted, various reasons but PB started smiling at 7 weeks and 6 days - Ro and I fell head over heels in love with her, even more than we were before; I joined a Post-natal NCT group with some lovely ladies, and a Mum & Baby Yoga. Plus I had some under lying health issues remaining from giving birth which have finally been resolved with my doctor; and am now returning to work prematurely as my Maternity cover has had to leave due to ill health in her family, which is terribly sad for her but positive for me, as the boredom was getting to much and SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay) is a shambles, how anyone is supposed to live off £140pw is beyond me, especially when paying private rent!

24 weeks in...
I've been back in work for nine weeks now, luckily I'm able to support them part time from home, popping into the office one morning a week. It's been a huge juggling act and has caused some rows between Ro and I, but all in all I feel it's working well and I hope I'm supplying work with the help they need, I've really enjoyed having stuff to keep me busy and being back in the driving seat. Additionally the Post-natal NCT group was great (highly recommend), and we've continued to meet up for brunch and other events since. PB and I have signed up to the second term of yoga, we don't always get to do much yoga, sometimes PB prefers to feed, but it's good fun and giving me much needed exercise and an excuse to get out.
All in all motherhood is shaping up to be ok. I did struggle and I think it's normal to do so in the beginning, it's definitely not what I thought it would be and the lack of "Pinterest" style filter and crops has made me feel at times feel like I was doing it wrong or missing a trick but we shall see. I'm lucky to have a smiley friendly baby who tolerates her father and my idiosyncrasies, and is a general joy to be around, we are very lucky!

Thursday, June 08, 2017


39 weeks & 2 days
7.30am: This morning I woke feeling a little wet down there. Popped to the lavatory and didn't seem to have anything to show for it, so decided to clean my teeth and return to bed, however as I stood up a little trickle down my legs led me to believe that my waters had broken, even though I'm having painless contractions.
8am: A quick call to the midwife and a visit was imminent to confirm. 
10am:  The midwife shoes up, does the usual checks, confirms that it looks as though my waters have broken, but I'm not in active labour. Advises me to keep active, that she'll check on me later and that we'll need to head to the hospital if labour doesn't start on it's own.
 3pm: We went for a little walk.
5pm: My contractions are starting to have a small ache to them and Prudie is still kicking away merrily. Waiting is so boring!!! 
7pm: Still not much going on. My midwife called and advised that unless I am having three HUGE contractions every ten minutes by 7am, to call the Birthing Centre - so much for our home birth plan. I doubt my gorgeous one is particularly bothered to get anywhere quickly.
11pm: Still not much happening. I've sent Ro to get some sleep and am having mild contractions every 7 minutes. Yawn!
39 weeks & 3 days 
 1am: My waters have now officially broken...I'm going to try and get a couple hours sleep before heading in to St Tommy's.
3am: My waters are still flowing out of my body at regular intervals. They don't explain that once the brook starts flowing, it will continue at various intervals over several hours - gush!
6am: Still gushing water everywhere and little sleep. I'm a mess - emotionally exhausted and crying for no reason.
8.30am: We've arrived at ADU, St Tommy's, and I am now under observation having passed all of the checks: Abdomen pain? Are all fluids clear? Headaches? Flashing lights? Blah blah blah...
11am: We have met the Doctor and he's booked us in for the next available bed within the Ward; apparently everyone and their dogs are requiring Induction today, so we're in great company, and Tommy's is rammed full! We are officially part of 20% of births that start with the waters breaking and the contractions never showing up - which is nice.
Spoke to the Mothership and discussed how waters breaking are disgusting as you feel like you are constantly pissing yourself and you require a sodden adult nappy between your legs at all times, to which she replied "I've no idea, they were always broken for me", well isn't that nice for her, some people have all the luck.
12.30pm: Our Home Care Midwife has arrived and arranged for us to be moved to the 'Home from Home' unit and will now look after us for the next six hours. Hopefully the induction will speed everything up and Prudie will get her butt in gear, fingers crossed.
2pm: I've had the induction pessary, Prudie enjoyed having her scalp played with by the midwife. midwife. We have until 6.30pm to see if anything gets going, however at 2cm dilated, I doubt it.
6pm: Our midwife has headed off to enjoy her evening and we are waiting to be transferred to the Birth Centre for our Drip Induction, depending on our dilated I am upon arrival. I'm currently experiencing contractions every four minutes and they are pretty uncomfortable.  Roll on the drugs!
8pm: There is a shortage of Midwives, so we need to wait for Home Care team members to be called in.  I thought having a bath while I wait, might help with the pain. The bath is tiny and badly designed, I struggle to get my belly and knees past the handles and find it very hard to get out; it's comfortable and relaxing but did slow down my contractions, so I opt to get out again - with Ro's help, like a large Welsh crane.
(From this point, it was written post the event, I'm good but not THAT good)
10pm: It appears our room isn't available anymore, I'm guessing an emergency came in. Plus, the pain is getting mighty. The midwives bring me 'Gas & Air' and I ask if it's possible to get our antibiotics while we they are supposed to be administered four hours before birth climaxes.
11pm: Ro and I have found nice way to relax, listening to "Creedance Clearwater Revival," while lounged on the bed sucking the gas and air...however I keep on dosing off then being rudely awoken by a fresh contraction, not pain free. This sends me flying across the room trying to walk them off. But the rest of the vibe was blissful!
39 weeks & 4 days
12.30am: A new part of the contraction has started and I have a feeling it's the joyous birth canal moment...I fear I'm too late for any additional pain relief and I've no idea how I'll cope.
1am: We are finally being moved to the Birth Centre and not a moment too soon. I hobble around to the delivery room and am greeted by a lovely lady called Isatu, born and raised in Hereford by parents from Gambia - she's an angel. We also have a trainee called Jess from Cambridge, who is just so nice.  My crack pipe and I are hooked back up and I'm in bliss again. I ask Isatu for loads of pain relief, however upon inspection I am 9cm dilated and advised that additional pain relief could slow down the rate of my contractions. I guess we are getting this show on the road, as it is. 
1.30am: I have a crazy, crazy need to push (in line with a Thunder storm) and discover that I have no idea about which muscles do what and how to push a baby from my lady parts. After lots of dramatics and coaching from Isatu, I've got it, I hope.
The pushing starts and is exhausting, I've not slept in two days and now I need to use my bum muscles to extract a few kilos from my body, through a stretchy hole, and not just that, but I've got to engage my diaphragm and other big internal muscles to do so.
3am: Ro ponders why women in films are always so sweaty when giving birth,  which must mean I look serene right now...
4am: The sun has started to rise and London looks beautiful. ..I on the other hand have requested ice for my back and cold flannels for my forehead and back of neck; I think Ro just discovered why ladies are sweaty in films and on TV.
4.45: I've done it, I've no idea final contraction was dying and I heard someone say 'one more push and she'd be out, so I did it, I mustered up some energy and did it and out she popped like a greased up seal...literal - head out the rest will follow. She has a raise lump (around 2inches, in diameter on the top of her head), I assume it led the charge down the birth canal and she's all squished but she's perfect! Fucking perfect, I'm in shock and awe!
Post Birth: 
I had four tears, mainly internal: three 'firsts', one 'second', Isatu was a master seamstress and I advised her to go on 'Project Runway'. I also got pretty high on gas and air, as the anaesthetic didn't realty work and every time she removed the gauze it felt like someone shaking a tambourine in my lady parts. It took about an hour and a half to stitch me back together and I lost a litre of blood.
I'd say that the grossest thing was seeing Jess check that my placenta was present and correct, it looked like one of the crappest jigsaw puzzles in the world.
The constant stream of people to our room after we were transferred back to the 'Home from Home...' was frustrating, bearing in mind we hadn't slept in 48 hours and there was a 'Do Not Disturb' on my door, however I guess they have to do their job.
All in all, it was a roller coaster and something that as soon as it was over, I wanted to start all over again - I guess that would be the endorphins talking...I'm so in love but also amazed that I created something so utterly in tact and perfect! It is almost beyond my comprehension

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

NCT Class

We had our very first NCT class yesterday. Going in I had two hopes, with an optional third:
·         Ro and I would feel more confident and have a better understanding of what we were getting ourselves into and what to expect with parenthood.
·         Ro might find a mate or two to speak with, who were going through the same thing at a similar time, who he could possibly escape to the pub with.
·         And, if I find a new mum friend, that would be a bonus, but it isn’t imperative.
The first class was ok: we learnt a few new things regarding birthing options, and the cultural viewpoints on pregnancy and child raising differs between we Brits and others nationalities. We also learnt about the Birthing Centre vs the Labour Ward, and the other options open to us through the NHS and privately.
Our class leader is positively lovely, knowledgeable and very approachable, so that’s promising. However my main reservation at this time is that the other attendees are very “nice”. I am hoping that with time they will relax and come out of their shells. Ro nailed it when he said “most ‘Londoners*’ aren’t overly keen to befriend new people and it normally takes them time to come out of their shells and truly relax. Other than us, who go in guns blazing trying to befriend everyone’. And he is right, we are very personable and friendly with very low boundaries, so maybe I am expecting too much too soon.
The one thing I found interesting was that most of the couples will be having their babies during mid-May - end of June, and yet none of them were particularly prepared and hadn't discussed issues like: 'the man's role within feeding', 'what type of nappies they would use?', 'how long they wanted the child in the bedroom'. They'd discussed where they wanted the baby to be born and the type of pain relief, but that was about it. I thought I had held off getting involved as I spent the first trimester convinced that the pregnancy wouldn't work out, spent the second trimester thinking that there might still be problems and being surrounded by baby stuff would destroy me. And it was only around the start of the third trimester that I finally relaxed and started considering what we needed and finally wanted to acquire it all. We did want the wedding out of the way also but that was a welcome distraction for me, as otherwise I would have been a lot more stressed.
The other realisation I made after last night's class was that Ro and I are very relaxed going into parenthood, we have discussed at length our ideals and preferred methods, we both want to take everything at face value and assess, manage and execute within the moment, and we aren't stressed about the worst happenings, as that is completely outside of our control anyway. Therefore the one thing I will walk away from the first class with, is that we are a lot more confident than I had previously thought.
I guess if this doesn’t work out, maybe the NHS day drop in might be better for us; or the post-natal NCT class may have a better selection of people for us to befriend; I guess time will tell…

*by Londoners, I mean those of us who moved into London from outside and are not proper, proper Londoners.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Warheads vs People

  Image courtesy of the internet
Image courtesy of the internet
Rowan and I were discussing the air strike on Syria this morning, whether it was good or bad, and what it would achieve.
My theory is ‘if you don’t take any refugees in and make a conscience effort to refuse to do so, you’ve no right to get involved in war or the bombing of the countries who are expelling their people’. You are either in or out. Therefore we (UK) and the US have no right to get involved. Germany and Norway have every right, however.
Then Ro said something to me that got my mind going ‘the amount of money it costs to create and send 56-60 tomahawk missiles could have resettled and housed a lot of refugees for various years’.
I’ve done some maths based on dodgy information, as always there is no actual cost of anything, just lots of hypothesis and depending on the papers stance on refugees it inflates or deflates. Plus I’m going to use Britain as the basis and all sums are approximate (I’m not an accountant or Mathematician, please bear with me).
Let’s start simply: One tomahawk missile costs £1 million.
The Guardian reported that the local authorities who resettle refugees will receive £20,520 for the first five years per refugee adult. The Telegraph cited that each refugee will cost Tax payers £24k per year. And the BBC said it could cost up to £23k for the first year.
All very confusing. So let’s use an average, £23k for the first year and add the following four year payments the government would make to local authority over the next four years (yes I’m aware that this may not cover the actual cost, but we are just looking for an average cost), this totals: £35k
Now reports on the air strike cannot quite make up their minds how many missiles were despatched, so we will say 58. Most reports sit between 56-60. That totals £58m.
We will work this out on adults only…I guess we could estimate that two children cost the same as one adult, if you like, but that would just add a level of confusion to my brain.
So based on £58m, divided by £35k, we Brits would have resettled 1657 adult refugees. That doesn’t sound like that many, bearing in mind that we said we would accept 20k, and were advised to take 50k.
You have to remember that once settled, it is estimated that they will boost the annual output by 0.1% for the EU as a whole, according to The EconomistThe Guardian pins it to between 0.2 – 0.5% growth.
The BBC says that our annual GDP is £1.8 trillion, and our exports to the EU are 13%, therefore 13% of the EU’s GDP’s 1% is 0.0013%, equals £23,400,000. £23,400,000, divided by the £35k, totals 668 people, which means the UK could resettle and look after 2325 refugees for five years, all for the same price as 58 warheads.
Therefore, Ro was right and this doesn’t even acknowledge how much it cost to get the warships out to the Middle East. But it does involve someone who doesn’t understand economics, maths or war, has no idea what 1.3846154e+17 means on a calculator. Which means I did my maths wrong and in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s my total times ten, of who can be resettled for the same price as 58 missiles.
Or even, that I didn’t take in to account that some of those being resettled won’t be of working age or have the opportunities to contribute to the economy, but we will pretend that I’m Einstein and that I’ve nailed my point well.
Thanks for your time and please, please, please do correct my terrible attempt at maths.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

iFind, St Thomas' Hospital

St Thomas' are currently participating in lots of different pregnancy related projects at this time, so they asked if I would consider taking part and of course I said yes. Especially after helping with the progesterone trial.
Here is a video of the MRI of little Prudie chilling in the womb. They said that most foetus' once in the flow of the MRIs don't move much for the cine, however we were lucky and she did a little wiggle.
I did feel very sorry for her though, as the machine is incredibly loud and I imagine it must have been rather startling for her little ears.

The next day at work, after this experience, I noticed that the umbilical cord is up around her neck and got rather freaked out. I called the hospital, who were wonderful and had a Doctor call me back within ten minutes. They explained to me that unless it is coiled twice, they generally do not worry. I calmed a little but also noticed that she wasn't moving much - she was probably breathing in my stress and anxiety and keeping chilled in response, which didn't help.
By Saturday morning I was totally freaked, we were two days into Prudie only responding if I poked her, played music or requested her to react...unlike her normal three doses of hiccups a day and constantly kicking. I spoke to one of my midwives who directed me to St Thomas's. I felt bad as I didn't want to bother people without cause but knew for my state of mind, I should go. So off we trotted to see the Daily Antenatal Centre. All positively lovely, like always. Once again, the NHS are wonderful and so understanding. After 20 minutes observation, they were happy and sent us on our way, of course hearing the professionals telling me that all seemed fine calmed me down, and come Sunday morning she was back to her active self.
The midwives at St Thomas' did tell me that it is quite common for women to pop in between 28 - 31 weeks, as the foetus' have lots of space still but seem to calm down for some reason. I wondered if it is because kicking is so new initially and you become comfortable with it; I guess you lose track of how much they kick and as soon as you start focusing, you wonder "is it more or less than before", or maybe they do just chill out and ease off for a short while. Who knows?
Since Sunday, Prudie has been back to her old hiccuping and kicking self, thankfully, and now we only have ten weeks to go until her arrival date.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Wedding Planning Pt.10

Below are the fascinators I made for my bridesmaids and myself to wear on the big day. I had hoped to commission them from a professional but it didn't work out. They ended up costing me financially a quarter of the commissioned pieces, however a lot of time, love and care was invested. I hate to blow my own trumpet but I think they look smashing; and I even managed to make a second one for myself.

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios

 Image courtesy of CR2 Studios
Images all courtesy of Rowan Morgan

Wedding Planning Pt.9

I can't sleep...I had the strangest wedding anxiety dream and was visited by Ro's dad. His mum saw and spoke with him also, it was calming. But that's not what has woken me. Mainly, it is the loading of the car that is weighing on my mind, we have so much to take with us:
36 bottles of fizz, 48 bottles of wine, 120 stubby cans, Two dresses and a suit, a huge box of decorations and fascinators, 160 rashers of bacon accompanied by 80 sausages, 52 eggs, 14 garlic breads, and camera equipment. Pretty exciting stuff all round. I know it is all trivial stuff but what if we forget something? Or can't fit it in...
 The difference between Ro and I is that he got nervous for the first time today and he was panicking about people not enjoying themselves and him letting them down, which I thought was really sweet. This doesn't bother me, if people don't enjoy themselves that is their own issue, we've put enough in place for them to do so, it's up to them to get involved.
My concerns are superficial in turn, it's more about trivial silly things...and these concerns have woken me five hours in to sleep and won't cease or desist.
My work have been amazing and given us a gift voucher and Fortnum & Mason hamper; I told my Grandma and her first question was about what biscuits it included. She's convinced that F&M cheese biscuits are the holy grail of cheese biscuits. The irony being that if she knew how much they cost, she'd refuse to go near them.
I wish I could empty my brain, just for 2 more hours sleep...

Friday, February 17, 2017

Wedding Planning Pt.8

Wedding guests continued…
I have found that certain guests are rather uninterested in what we have going on at this time, most of them I’ve waved a nonchalant hand at, however some have really pissed me off.
I have one friend who has discounted some of our decisions as it isn’t how they would do it – whatever, that’s their opinion, this is our wedding.
Ro has one mate who is so ‘fair weather’ that he ignored four emails from me and wouldn’t commit to attending our wedding, let alone staying on site, until I contacted his girlfriend, who was rather embarrassed. This particular friend also said he couldn’t even phathom attending Ro’s stag do, as he had far more important things to do. Once again, whatever.
However, there has been one mate of Ro’s, a mate who is supposed to be a groomsmen who has just taken the fucking piss. This guy said that he wouldn’t attend the stag do due to money issues – understandable; he then invited Ro to go to Rome a fortnight before to watch the rugby. He hasn't once asked Ro how everything is going and whether we need any help, in fact he told Ro that he'd rather camp in February instead of pay £75 for two nights stay, all food (two evening meals and two breakfasts) and most booze consumed (except on the wedding evening), and could only afford to drive there and back, or stay in the dorm, but not both. When Ro suggested he share with one of the other Welshies, she suggested that Ro arrange it for him.
Additionally to this, the groomsmen have one thing which is required of them: to wear a collared shirt. Two weeks later, Ro receives a text of the collarless shirt he intends to wear to the wedding on the same thread as the original request. It has at times felt like we have a petulant teenager to consider and manage.
When he finally paid the money, reluctantly, he paid £10 short and I really can not be arsed to ask him for the rest, if it is that important to him, he can keep it. 
At the start of this week, Ro got a call from him assuming he would ask about the stag do, instead he asks whether I've got any contacts from my old job, when Ro reminds him that I left that role ten years ago and that I'm out, he asks if I'm "on the piss", Ro then reminds him that I'm six months pregnant. 
No, I know these aren't the worst things to do or ways to behave but he seems to have no idea how stressful wedding planning can be, no concept of the energy, time or money it takes; and no interest in whether being more flexible and easier going would have helped us.
The last thing he asked was how much money he should bring, when Ro said he'd only need money for the bar, he then wanted the price list of every drink so he could gauge his spending... 
It has been beggars belief, I only hope he relaxes and enjoys himself at the wedding. In the past he has been an incredible friend to Ro and I only hope that he is this again, I really don't want his attitude to sour their friendship. I guess time will tell. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Wedding Planning Pt.7

 Image courtesy of the internet
Image courtesy of the internet

Wedding Guests, wedding guests are a strange breed. When Ro and I originally wrote our guest list, about eight months ago, we double checked it and felt that other than a couple of mates who live abroad, travel extensively for work, etc., that we wouldn't have many cancellations. How foolish we were!
Due to the nature of the wedding (two nights away) we had to invite people in two tiers, it was a small nightmare trying to get people to commit, but it pretty much worked out, with 90% agreeing to stay on site. We have since filled the remaining 10%, just about, however...we had two friends who were unsure financially and unable to say whether they would definitely stay. At times we both got a little fraught about the matter, but we were adamant that we hold out. Just before Christmas they said they hoped to pay in the New Year, we understood and were grateful for the update.
Come the New Year and I had to push for money from six sets of guests. Ro and I texted accordingly and the aforementioned guests confirmed that they couldn't make it due to a job loss...very sad. Ro and I considered whether they could drive down for the day, however it really isn't for us to decide how they spend their time and money, and it is fair enough if they can not justify attending. It's a huge shame as they are good friends but needs must and we've all been that person who has had to make difficult decisions. My only wish is that we were in a better financial situation and able to offer help.
After we received this cancellation Ro text one mate asking if he wanted to stay on site. I was terribly sexist and assumed that because he was a bloke, he probably wouldn't have arranged anything yet. I was right, to a point. Ro also text another mate asking for him to come to our wedding, we had previously been restricted by numbers.
The latter confirmed that he'd love to attend. However, the first guy came back explaining that he was skint and wouldn't be attending the stag or wedding and had meant to let Ro know... Ro accepted this fate but with a small sting in the tail, as this particular friend had spoken about never attending a wedding or stag do before, and being excited about it all. Once again, we understood and started to laugh, it was becoming a little ridiculous!
The following day, Ro received another text stating that a friend's partner couldn't make the meal but would attend the evening. This was met with a chuckle and appreciative reply.
"Fine" we thought, that is the final list of those not attending and we can now settle our numbers and pay the caterers the final bill...FOOLS!
During my hen, Ro's sister told me that one of their cousins would most likely pull out as she had confessed to not arranging travel or accommodation. A week later, during the Stag, Ro receives a text saying that she was unable to get leave arranged at work, once again we laughed...what is it with some people?
Additionally, we are yet to have final confirmation from another cousin, who said they'd probably come just for the ceremony (we kept a bed and meal for him, just in case) but at this time, it is all just stupid and we have given up caring.
The first cancellation was really sad, we'll miss not having them present; the second one was rather 'ce le vie'; the third can at least come to the evening and allowed us to save some cash...and as for the cousins - oh my days, some people you just can't help, no matter what you do.
My advise about this part of wedding planning is:
  • 'don't assume', just accept that some people can not commit or make things work and they some times have more important things at hand; and
  • make sure you enjoy the company of those who do attend, and don't you dare pine over the ones who can't.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Less badges & more love

 Image courtesy of the internet
Image courtesy of the internet

I do not wear a ‘baby on board’ badge, I find them patronising. When I wasn’t pregnant, I would look up at every stop to see if anyone needed a seat more than I do, in fact I still do this. Don’t tell Ro.
A few weeks ago, a man ‘mansplained’ to me (first time ever in London, just for your info) that I shouldn’t walk with my headphones in on winter evenings as people on mopeds were stealing phones and bags from isolated women on dark streets (a lot of assumptions already in this conversation I didn’t ask for), then he said ‘oh your pregnant, well you should wear a badge, as pregnancy can make you awfully tired’. No fucking way, really? I didn’t react to this gentleman, he thought he was doing me a favour, he thought he was helping. I understood this and thank him for his advice.
My cousin said that she wore a badge while pregnant as she felt it helped her be identified and that people would avoid walking too closely, etc. This I do understand, however this has not been what I’ve witnessed and all I’ve ever seen is people be rather ignorant to others, regardless of pregnancy, disability or age.

 Image courtesy of the internet
Image courtesy of the internet

The fact that TFL have brought out a new badge, sums up the public’s attitude to seats and who qualifies for them.
I’ve noticed on the Victoria line and the southern part of the Northern line, that there is a demographic who are the most ignorant and this upsets me. I’m not sure if there is a higher percentage of this particular demographic on these lines, and I do think it is more an individual thing, some people are more conscience of other’s needs. But, the young white professionals, especially women, do not look up. I am a young white women and this upsets me dearly.
Maybe the particular demographic have experienced issues when they have previously offered their seats to people who weren’t pregnant and they’ve received shitty comments in return, which is ridiculous and I’ve never understood this attitude. I was offered seats while not pregnant (normally post a few beers and a large pasta dinner) and I always thanked the person for the kind offer; in fact sometimes when I’ve been offered seats while pregnant I’ve thanked them and not taken them up, either because I feel full of energy or because I’m quite happy standing. What is the problem? People being kind to strangers, embrace it!!
Yet, this isn’t a race or age thing, that is just an observation based on my experience. This is actually about the fact that everywhere else in Britain (most of the time), people will look up and offer seats to those indeed, yet in London unless you wear a badge identifying yourself as someone who should be offered a seat…you can be happily ignored. And this frustrates me greatly.
A friend of mine told me about a time when she was pregnant, on the Jubilee line, and another pregnant woman stood over a man in the ‘priority seat’ and tapped her badge without saying a word. This made me livid, the badge does not entitle you to a seat, it gives people a cue to offer you a seat if they see you. But surely, the cue should be that you look in need, the cue should be that people look up regardless of what seat they are in and offer seats to those who need them. It shouldn’t be an us and them thing, it should be an everyone thing.

 Image courtesy of the internet
Image courtesy of the internet
I would personally offer those hungover a seat, if they wore a badge. Traveling while hungover has to be one of the worse things EVER!!! And having a seat can assist this….I know this for a fact, I have done it many, many times. Now, you cannot cry ‘but they made themselves that way’, as so did the majority of pregnant women. And let’s be fair, the times when you really want a seat, the first trimester, you are not supposed to talk about pregnancy, in case something goes wrong (fucking ridiculous); or during the third trimester, when you are traditionally the size of a freaking house and even those who are hard of sight could see that a seat offer might be nice.
I feel that this situation goes hand in hand with the fact that being in a wheelchair, appears to not demand people a space on a bus, yet it should. I feel very strongly about this matter. If you have a pushchair, you can fold it up, regardless of whether your baby or child is asleep. It is a mild inconvenience, however being in a wheelchair can be a HUGE inconvenience to life generally, regardless of trying to get around London in a timely manner. Most of the underground is not designed for wheels, so buses are a life line to those bound by them. GENERALISATION WARNING: most of the people who refuse to move their prams for those in wheelchairs, are also the kind of people who would tap their badge at someone on the tube and demand a seat…completely hypocritical. You demand a seat but won’t consider making space for others when it isn’t practical to yourself – disgusting!
It all makes me so sad. Why can’t we all be a little more open minded and kind to each other, constantly putting ourselves in the place of others. Being in a wheelchair can make living a “normal life” very difficult, just look around you when you are out next, consider how many places have a step to get into them or have floors which are only accessible by stairs…a good 80+% of London is this way. Having a pram should highlight the plight that these people go through daily, we should be more aware and ready to fight their corner, as we have experienced it, temporarily, but still we’ve seen and felt the plight they struggle with every day, however we still have people refusing to move or try and accommodate those who might need a little extra thought.
I don’t know how to resolve this issue. The courts have now ruled that wheelchair users have the right of space on the buses and yet people still refuse to be considerate. TFL now have two badges and within the next ten years will probably have a host of multi-coloured badges highlighting people of varying ailments who should be offered a seat…there seems no end in sight, other than maybe, just maybe we all go back to being a little kinder and nicer to each other and try to consider other people’s life experiences a little more.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wedding Planning Pt.6

 Image courtesy of the internet
Image courtesy of the internet

Suppliers are interesting creatures: planning the wedding has highlighted how interesting they are and how some of them spout about ‘supporting small businesses’ and yet reject your money as and when they feel like it.
In September, I commissioned some accessories for my bridesmaids and myself, for an amount of money which I wasn’t overly comfortable with but felt would reflect the artist’s work and my appreciation to my bridesmaids for their friendship over the years. The artist accepted and started talking to me about the commissions, we sent various emails over time discussing it. Then in November I received an email explaining that they hadn’t felt particularly well but wouldn’t let me down and would focus on my commissions once they had gotten their Christmas orders out of the way.
Understanding this, I sent some clarifying emails for each bridesmaid: inclusive of a photo of them, the dresses and colours they were wearing, any and all social media (so the artist could gauge their personalities) and how adventurous they were when it came to accessorising: this was accepted.
Just after Christmas, I received another email explaining that they would rather focus on their special offers range, instead of my commission and that I could have first refusal of those, which would be ready at the end of January. I understood this, however wasn’t overly happy with it; I started looking through their website to see if there were some items I could buy and adjust accordingly for the girls. Upon speaking to Ro about it, he said ‘if they don’t want your money, don’t give it to them. You are extremely talented and creative and can make them yourself. You are already making the jewellery, just make this gift too’. I was hesitant but he (the real creative in our duo) said he’d help me if I got stuck, so I set about finding the pieces I needed and cancelled my commission.
This is just an unfortunate situation, and thankfully not all of our suppliers have been like this…
Our jeweller, Johnny Rocket, has been incredible, going above and beyond, creating our wedding rings within 10 days, even getting them hallmarked, and making us feel welcome by just being the fucking legend that he is.
Our caterers once again: wonderful, wonderful people. Ever so accommodating – answering every question, regardless of how stupid. Having time to talk to me whenever. Being very relaxed and willing to readjust the invoice a week before the wedding, due to people dropping out. They’ve helped when we considered the need to get a marquee to fit everyone in, luckily we haven’t had to do this. And they do not have a corkage fee, and have no problems with us having a local craft beeron the tables. If I could marry them, I might do so.
However, as with above, not all have been this great:
I ordered the fizz and red wine from Majestic Wines and they cancelled my order without notifying me of the matter. I chased them and received a terribly written response (bad grammar and spellings) telling me that “due to stick issues, they’d cancelled it”. I responded with a larger complaint explaining that I wouldn’t be purchasing from them again, and they ignored this, responding with another terribly written email and a 10% off code. I have since donated this code to my colleague’s school board to use.
And then again, on the other end of the scale, I commissioned a cartoon from a friend of mine,Ginger Rainbow, and she had created it and posted it to me within 48 hours. I guess the rule of thumb is trial and error. Some suppliers are professional and courteous and others don’t want your business, no matter what.