Kylie & 42nd Street

Kylie & 42nd Street

Well this week has been a pretty busy week but the definite highlight was Wednesday and my day in London with a dear family friend.

This day was a looong time in the planning. As big Kylie Minogue fans, we jumped at the chance to book tickets for her latest “Golden” tour. And, to make the most of the trip to London, Robin decided to book us matinee tickets to see 42nd Street!

I have to admit that I didn’t really know the story of 42nd Street before going in as I deliberately wanted to be a blank canvas but it blew me away. The plot basically centres around a cast putting on a performance of a show called ‘Pretty Lady’ directed by the infamous Julian Marsh. Peggy Sawyer arrives, late for auditions, but manages to secure a role in the chorus with her great dancing talents and famous actress Dorothy Brock takes the lead, although less talented. The plot basically follows the trials and tribulations of planning the performance as well as the ins and outs of the casts love lives. The performances of all the cast were outstanding, especially that of Bonnie Langford as Dorothy Brock who surprised me with her exceptional singing voice as well as her comedic timing. The dance numbers were spectacular and if you love some catchy, sparkle-filled, musical numbers then this show is definitely worth checking out!

Soon the evening arrived and it was time for the main event….Kylie! We arrived around half 6 and, as I’d signed up beforehand, we got to use the Sky Backstage bar and this was a great experience. We queued up to get our free glitter make up and then headed to the bar. I, of course, had to sample the “all the lovers” cocktail especially designed for the occasion. It was very yummy, like a strawberry daiquiri.

All glittered up!
It didn’t feel like we’d been relaxing long in the Sky Backstage area before it was time to take our seats. There was no support act, just three guys DJing away with enthusiasm, dancing away. The cheers when Kylie finally emerged were immense. The concert was half an hour late starting but all was quickly forgiven. She was awesome as per usual. The country theme of Golden was great fun, Kylie looked stunning in her outfit choices and there was a great mix of new and old song choices. All in all an incredible night was had. Though I ached afterwards from all the dancing! I also don’t think I’ve ever seen so much glitter in all my life! And I loved it!

The stadium filling up

Now we’re already thinking ahead to when Kylie tours again. Somehow I think we will definitely be there!

Reasons my toddler has tantrums…

Reasons my toddler has tantrums…

1) I won’t let him play with the bin.

2) I dared to eat my own breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack without sharing.

3) I put the wrong shoes on him. He wanted his trainers NOT the boots.

4) I tried to brush his teeth.

5) I asked him if he’d finished his food.

6) I wouldn’t let him rearrange my friend’s furniture.

7) He couldn’t climb on the toilet with me whilst I was using it.

8) I tried to get him to eat vegetables.

9) I changed his nappy.

10) I wouldn’t let him play with said dirty nappy.

11) He pulled the plug out of the bath and all the water drained out.

12) I wouldn’t let him play with the washing powder or other cleaning products.

13) He wasn’t allowed to touch the hot oven.

14) I wiped his nose.

15) I picked him up from nursery.

16) I tidied up his toys.

17) I took away his empty dinner plate.

18) I gave him a hug.

19) I gave his Daddy a kiss and a hug.

20) I wouldn’t let him have the whole 3 seater sofa to himself.

Feel free to add your own below!

Infertility when you already have a child

Infertility when you already have a child

When we were trying to conceive our first baby, I used to dream of the day when we would finally have our child in our arms. I used to tell myself that it didn’t matter if we never had another, that I would just be grateful that we could be parents at all. And of course I am, unbelievably so. After 4 years of trying on and off and one round of IVF, Noah is our little miracle. The dream that finally came true.

However, lately, I have become incredibly broody for a second child. I have to confess that we never bothered with contraception after Noah was born because, with our infertility issues (male factor) there didn’t seem to be much point. Plus I always hated how the hormonal contraception made me feel anyway. We knew we were risking an unplanned pregnancy and a shorter age gap than planned but we did so happily. If it was meant to be it would be and we would cope. We would be incredibly lucky.

But 21 months on and, of course, there has been nothing. Not even a hint of a second line on a pregnancy test. We have been trying again “properly” for a couple of months but, if we’re honest, I don’t think either of us holds out much hope for a natural conception. We’ve just come to accept it as the way things are for us. Jamie, I think, has more acceptance of it than me. He’s readily admitted that he’d be quite content if Noah was our only child, but I have this burning desire for one more. To feel more…..complete, somehow.

Even though I’ve accepted that more treatment is the most probable route for us and I’m excited to one day use one of our frozen embryos, it doesn’t make the pain any easier. I didn’t bank on feeling the pain of infertility quite so harshly the second time around. I thought it would be easier because, as everyone likes to remind me, “at least you have Noah.”. However, every time I watch him engrossed in play, I imagine what it would be like to watch him play with a sibling. Every time I see him display affection towards another child or an animal, I imagine how it would make my heart melt to see him be so tender and caring towards a baby brother or sister. Of course I’m aware that it may not all be roses and rainbows and there may well be some good old sibling rivalry along the way, but I so badly want him to experience that. I don’t want him to grow up alone.

I was an only child for 12 years before my two sisters and brother came along. And whilst they were still happy years, I was elated when my sister Maddie made her appearance. I was in love. The pride I felt as a big sister was second to none. Then two years later Molly arrived followed by Ben and I saw them experience their childhood together in a way I never experienced and it was magical. I just hope that Noah gets to experience the same.

Every time I see another pregnancy announcement on Facebook or hear of a baby being born, it breaks my heart a little. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy for the couples involved but, yes, there’s always that tinge of sadness. It takes me right back to those gut wrenching feelings we experienced when trying originally. I feel so selfish. Why can’t I just learn to be happy with what we have? But infertility doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t discriminate. See, whether you have no children, 1 child, 2 children or more, the pain of being unable to conceive a much wanted baby is very real. You grieve the life you’ve been unable to create. You hope and pray that one day your dreams will come true.

It seems unbelievable to me that we could one day be so lucky again. Things went so smoothly with our IVF cycle for Noah that my head keeps convincing me that there’s no way we could be that fortunate again. That that would be unfair on other couples who’ve had way harder journeys than ours. But, of course, I hope I’m wrong. As we save up for a frozen embryo transfer (hopefully next year), I try not to think of all the things that could go wrong. Will the embryos thaw ok? Will my lining be ok for transfer? Will the transfer be successful? I just hope that amongst our two frozen embryos is Noah’s future brother or sister.

Our second miracle.

Playgrounds & Playdates

Playgrounds & Playdates

Last week was a pretty fun week in the Martin household. Tuesday was a fairly quiet day with a trip to our regular favourite, the playground. I’ve noticed Noah is getting more adventurous with the equipment he’ll try and making new friends. It’s like he’s growing up right in front of my eyes!

Thursday we had friends round. This is quite a big deal for me, if I’m honest, because, when I was struggling the most with feeling low, I hardly had any friends over. So it was really nice to have Jess come over and to see Noah, at first reluctantly, sharing his toys with her 8 month old. Noah wasn’t sure how to react to another baby sharing his turf at first but then, after a little while, he warmed to baby L and it was so sweet to see. He even tried to give him a hug at one point! This is massive progress considering, at one point, he seemed to have a massive dislike for any babies but, luckily, he seems to be growing out of that! Think it was a jealousy thing…

Friday I had a half day at work, yay, so after I picked Noah up from nursery we came home and got some one on one Mummy & son time which was nice. We cosied up under blankets, watched a movie and had a nice relaxing afternoon.

That evening, as a treat, I served up cheese and tomato pizza, garlic bread and sweet corn for dinner. But, to my amusement, Noah refused to touch the pizza and just honed in on the sweet corn. He must have eaten a plateful of the stuff! I can tell you that his nappies were interesting the next day!

Saturday we had another play date whilst Jamie was working, out this time. It was really nice catching up with Kate & Ruby whilst Noah caused chaos with the other children and he had a really good time. He also got to know Kate’s dog, Alfie, and it was really sweet to see him learn how to stroke him and how caring he was.

Sunday the weather was horrible so, after doing the weekly food shop, we had a day indoors. Noah enjoyed some colouring and I, for the first time ever (I know I’m ashamed) cooked a roast chicken dinner. And it turned out pretty well! Noah and Jamie loved it. Noah made me laugh because, when he had polished off his roast potatoes, he pointed over to my plate and said “ta?”. He wanted mine the cheeky beggar! Of course I couldn’t resist his cheeky grin so handed over a potato, though I probably shouldn’t have.

In general I’m really noticing how fast Noah is coming along now. It frightens me just how quickly he is growing. He is learning more and more words. He has a “first words” pack of flash cards that we regularly go through with him and he can now name most of those and this morning he randomly counted to 3. I am so proud of him. We were also trying to figure out whether he’s going to be right or left-handed (like his Dad). Yesterday, when colouring, he was mostly favouring his left hand but then, at other times, he’ll go for the right. It’s probably too early to tell yet. I’m just learning to savour all these growing moments because, it sounds corny, they really are so precious.

To be OK or not to be OK?

To be OK or not to be OK?

So often I find I get asked “How are you?” or “Are you ok?” and I’ll mostly just automatically respond with “I’m fine” or “I’m OK.”. And today I found myself asking….why? Why am I so afraid just to answer honestly? Is it a fear of being judged? That that person won’t want to talk to me anymore? That they won’t understand? Or maybe it’s all 3.

When you’re struggling with depression this way of thinking can easily become a vicious circle. You need your friends and family around you and people to talk to but your natural impulse is just to shut out those who care. It becomes easier to respond to an inquisitive text with “I’m OK, how are you?” rather than “Actually I’m really struggling today and could use a friend to talk to.”. Because if you answer honestly then you have to explain your feelings and why you have them. And, if you’re anything like me, you often won’t know why. You could literally tie yourself into knots trying to explain it and yet the recipient of your explanation would still be none the wiser.

So you stay schtum. Then you end up feeling lonely because you feel like you have no one you can talk to, no one who understands. You end up isolated, avoiding friends and you get consumed by the black hole that is Depression. This is what happened to me. Except I tried to bury my feelings and convince myself that I was ok. And this went on for a long time until it became plainly obvious to me, and those close to me, that I wasn’t ok. Which was when I sought help.

But maybe if I’d felt able to say something other than “I’m OK” when people had asked me how I was then, who knows, maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so bad? Maybe I’d have gotten help sooner? Maybe if more people felt able to answer honestly there’s be lower suicide rates as people would be getting the support they need? I think it comes down to a huge need to break the stigma that surrounds all mental health. Sufferers should feel able to talk without fear of getting labelled negatively, judged or discriminated against.

That was my little bit of food for thought for today. So next time you talk to a friend who’s willing to open up about their mental health, just listen and be supportive, because, that day, you could just save their life. Not always literally but even figuratively as, just having someone caring to talk to, really can make all the difference.

Hard Days

Hard Days

Today has been a hard day. We all have them although we feel like we shouldn’t. We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect and have perfectly happy days but, nope, we all have hard days.

Today I woke up feeling like a black cloud had descended over me. I felt so sad though I couldn’t pinpoint why. Everything just felt an effort. Like I was trudging through mud, fighting for every step.

I did my best to soldier on. To “snap out of it” but it’s never easy. To be honest I could have quite easily just headed on back to bed for the day but, with a toddler to look after, that’s just not possible.

So instead I did the best I know how. I got my cleaning done, tried to play with Noah (though he likes to be Mr Independent and do his own thing), and we headed to the playground in the afternoon, even though it was grey and grizzly, just so Noah could blow off some steam. And, in the end, we had fun. I revelled in watching Noah exploring the playground, laughing as he slid down the slide and chatting baby talk as he befriended an older boy.

Now I’m sat here at 9:50pm writing this. Jamie’s gone out to table tennis, Noah’s fast asleep, and I feel exhausted like someone’s come along, inserted an IV and used it to drain all my energy. But I feel like I’ve taken a hard day and made it just a bit better. It’s still been a hard day but I made it through.