Katie

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We’re all settled in our new home now, as in, we know where everything is (and it’s not all in the loft anymore) so now we’re getting round to really putting our stamp on the place.  Nothing ground breaking, just a bit of our personality into the rooms, which everyone always comments on so I think it’s a good thing!  We’re a good team, Tom and I. Between us we have the design and brawn covered. You can guess which is which.  The room I…

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A Little Story About My Ovaries // PCOS

Catchy ‘lil title for you there huh? Hands up if you want to know all about PCOS and the little fellas who take up residency in my fallopian tubes? You do?! Amazing, keep reading….! 

Never one to shy away from talking about the body, or more specifically, the reproduction system, (I did want to be a midwife after all) when I was asked by Nature’s Best to share my PCOS story in order to increase awareness and create conversation about it, I was straight in there. 

It was quite ‘late in the day’ when I first found out I had PCOS. I’d been on the pill for YEARS because of god awful periods – and I’m talking about spending 2 days a week being physically sick with the pain, not being able to get out of bed, the works – from the age of about 10. Nothing had helped ease them and so, the only option left for a very young teenager, was going on the contraceptive pill. 

So, until I was married, I had no interest in coming off that bad boy, my periods were under (some kind) of control, my skin was clear & I could even skip a few months periods at a time if the mood took me. What’s not to love huh? 

Marriage and baby number one came along, all hunkydory, thanks for asking, and back on that pill I did go. 

Two years later however, that’s when, like Will Smith says, “my life got flipped turned upside down”. 

We decided to make baby number 2. Have them (fairly) close in age, cram time in for a third later one, blah blah. Oh how mother nature laughed. 

To cut a REALLY long story short, it took us 6 years, 2 miscarriages and 2.5 failed IVF’s (I cancelled the last one halfway through, I couldn’t take the stress and upset of it for another second) to have our son. 

It was during those 6 years that (aside from everyone else around me falling pregnant just by looking at their partners) I found out my ovaries were not playing ball. Basically, they were covered in cysts and not working their hardest. Being on the pill for so many years had masked the syndrome and the symptoms and it was only pure luck that I fell pregnant so easily first time around. 

What followed, was almost like a body tsunami. It’s almost as if now the title PCOS was out there, my body decided to show every single symptom it could. My skin became awful, the term “cystic acne” followed me like a bad smell. My periods went a bit crazy, I couldn’t get pregnant (obviously) and I put on weight. 

Luckily for me, my hair was fine and I didn’t suffer from any body hair issues. How to kick a girl when she’s down and all that. 

After the birth from hell (I did fall pregnant naturally again, which was a major shocker) I tried to go back on the pill (I figured we may as well go back to masking those issues as life was much better then) but my body had other ideas.

I became absolutely unable to handle synthetic hormones. 

The pill didn’t work, not only did it not control my periods or my skin, but it made me depressed, angry, irritable or completely numb to life (we tried so many variations) the coil couldn’t stop my periods, the medication AND the coil couldn’t stop them.

At one point, they suggested I took the pill, a tablet to stop periods completely AND the coil at the same time, because they had no idea what was going on. 

I obviously threw a major tantrum at this point and stopped everything. My skin was worse than ever, so they wanted to put me on long term antibiotics for that, I was a walking pill bottle, I literally rattled. 

Of course, in doing that, I suffered, but it was kind of better than the medicated version of suffering I’d been dealing with. 

Last year however, I decided enough was enough. I was 36, I didn’t want anymore kids, and I’d had roughly 25 years of periods from hell. The doctors were STILL banging on about the pill or the coil being my best options, despite me telling them in no uncertain terms otherwise. So, the only other option (bar a hysterectomy which would only remove the periods, not the hormones!) was an ablation, which I booked in for. 

Finally, after almost three quarters of my life, my periods were manageable. Once they settled down, my skin settled. My hormones settled. My weight settled. Everything just calmed down.

This year I found out I have IBS, which is hormone related for me, so I’ve made a few dietary changes which have probably also helped with the skin and bloating. But I’m finally hormone free (apart from my own ones of course) and able to manage the PCOS, IBS and any other S’s that come my way. 

My PCOS story is a bit different to others, but it still affected me.

Had I not been on the pill from such a young age, I think I would have been aware of it much earlier on, and who knows what struggle I would have had trying for baby no.1 – so I’ve been quite lucky.

My symptoms, while annoying and debilitating at some points, were nowhere near as bad as they could have been, and I’ll always be grateful to my hair for being so bloody thick and fast growing, having awful skin is bad enough, but losing my hair in places would have been the icing on the cake. 

There are so many options for PCOS out there, it’s just a case of working out what’s best for you. Keeping your weight down is the most helpful, but also the hardest because PCOS means it’s harder to lose weight. Thanks for that. Being on the pill eases symptoms, but ain’t so handy if you want to have a baby.

It’s all about balance, you have to be on that seesaw for a while to work out where you should be sitting. 

Disclosure: Post written by me in association with Nature’s Best for a campaign to help raise awareness of PCOS.

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Putting The Garden To Bed

Every summer, we get to enjoy the beauty of our colourful, bright and well maintained gardens. It’s what many of us have worked all year to achieve! BBQs amongst the gorgeous scents of lavender and rosemary, sunbathing amongst the striking hydrangeas and even enjoying fresh home grown tomatoes and ever so sweet strawberries. But, just because the good weather is a distant memory already, doesn’t mean the hard work is over!

Autumn is here, and it brings with it the threat of hash, cold weathers, high winds, even torrential rain and blizzards; all ready to obliterate your garden. Your garden has worked hard over the summer, so now is the time to put it to bed. Unsure of where to start? This process starts in Autumn and goes on until the first frost of the year. So read on to get a head start.

Revitalise your lawn

Your lawn has worked hard all summer, so when the weather is dry, aim to get out there once more with the lawnmower. Even though your lawn won’t grow as quickly in the colder months, you can still treat it with some feed products to keep it healthy and strong – check out The Grass People for more information.

Don’t forget to clear your lawn of all the dead leaves, the debris and old grass that will have gathered over time. Keeping your lawn clear of debris gives it more chance of growing back stronger next year.

If you’re worried about the drainage in your lawn when the rain starts to pour, then don’t worry – head online for some tutorials on how to aerate your lawn like a pro.

Cut back & clean up

Now you need to cut back your perennials, ready for new growth in the Spring time. Remove any dead heads you see on plants and clean up any overgrown bushes and plants that might go on to cause issues later in the year.
Clean up all the overgrown areas in your garden. Most of us have outdoor areas that we have every intention of “getting to” but rarely do…clearing up those overgrown parts of the garden means you won’t get any residents moving in and you’ll stop any weeds and unwanted plants taking hold.

If you’ve been growing vegetables, or you have an apple tree that’s rather keen to shed it’s fruit, then you need to collect, harvest or dispose of whatever is left on the ground. If you don’t, you’ll be inviting vermin and pests closer to your home.

Tools, and things

It’s a pain and a job that no one wants to do but complete this now and your future self will be thanking you next year! Collect up all your gardening tools and all those pots and containers. They’ll need cleaning and disinfecting before you tuck them away safely until next year. Remember, you can always store the soil elsewhere if you intend to use it again.

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Sixteen Lessons In Sixteen Years

12th October 2002. The day I became a mummy. 

I often can’t remember why I went into a room, or what I was going to say to someone as I’m about to say it, but the second H was born and placed in my arms, I can remember every part of it. From her tiny bum fitting into the palm of my hand, to her huge, wide eyes staring around the room, like she’d been here before and was just checking us all out. 

The little triangle birthmark she had on the base of her neck, her jet black hair, every part of her was a huge surprise but like I’d always known her. 

She’s 16 today. They say the days are long but the years are short. Never have I heard a truer statement. 

Sixteen Lessons In Sixteen Years

I am beyond proud of the woman she’s becoming. The person she is and the absolute joy she has bought to our lives since the day she arrived. 

There are a million things you learn once you’ve become a parent, some are a shock, others are kind of a given. I couldn’t list them all (nor could I remember them on the spot!) but here’s my 16 at 16. 

Holly Boo, this one is for you. 

1:  If you have kids, never cuddle your baby to sleep. She will rely on this until she is at least 5 and you will lose hours of evening while a grown adult lays on floor next to her, also falling asleep. Uh huh. 

2: The funny words* you used will never, ever, be forgotten. Radigator? Milter? Argie Bargie? Yup, we still use them today. We always will, even at your wedding. In fact, I’ll make sure your own kids use them too! 

3: You don’t seem to grow out of clumsiness. Actually, as a teenager, I’m amazed at what you can now trip over. Or walk into. And after the childhood accidents you had, that’s no mean feat! 

4: The 4am wake ups have stopped. Finally. And they’ve now been replaced by a person who seems incapable of leaving their bed at all. I’m not sure which is worse. 

5: Teaching you to be kind and confident has been more important than any school lesson. Knowing you are proud of yourself, and that you’re one of the kindest people I know, regardless of whether you ‘fit in’ or not, make me realise we’ve done a good job. Phew!

6: Even thought you’re the same size as me, you need cuddles. Maybe even more so. Don’t try and fool me that you don’t. 

Sixteen Lessons In Sixteen Years

7: I will be an embarrassment no matter what I do. So sometimes I’m really going to go for it. You’re gonna have to deal with it! 

8: The mum guilt will last forever and a day. Even if you’ve been an absolute a*sehole to me, the second you go to bed, I will blame myself. I think it’s a parental law. I also think you are completely aware of this fact….!

9: I wish I had kept all of the ‘drawings’ you did for me at nursery/school. (Any parent who says they did is a liar!) 

10: It really doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or when you decide, as long as you are happy. 

11: The thought of someone upsetting you will make me angrier than I ever thought possible. 

12: I thought I’d enjoy the extra freedom I have now you’re older and you don’t “need” me as much. I don’t. And you will always need me, just as much as I need you. 

13: The worry gets worse. Before, it was packing enough clean clothes and nappies, now it’s keeping you safe and not letting social media control your life. Is bubble wrap allowed yet? Maybe a convent is a good idea… 

Sixteen Lessons In Sixteen Years

14: Being open about sex and relationships might seem cringeworthy, but making everything seem normal is more important than being embarrassed. Anything and everything can be spoken about. I will never, ever judge you. Tell me whatever you need to tell me. I might get angry, but I’ll get over it and we will work out a solution together. 

15: I’ll always know when you’re fibbing to me. You have always been, and will always be, a terrible liar. Never change that. 

16: No matter how old you are, how big you get, how far away you are from us, we will always, always have your back. If you need to be picked up, we are there. If you need reassurance, we are there. Whatever you need, we are always there.

You, baby girl, are one in a million. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Happy 16th Birthday x

*  Radigator = Radiator // Milter = Water // Argie Bargie = Onion Bhagie!!! 

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You Do You Hun The Style Rut

This weekend the bloke and I had 24(ish) hours to ourselves. Both kids were at sleepovers so we had a whole Saturday afternoon to do whatever the hell we wanted. 

The plan was to head into town, get a clipper boat from Greenwich to Embankment and just wander round the streets//shops, ending in dinner at Flat Iron where we could eat dinner and have an adult conversation. We’re fancy. 

Of course, it was absolutely tipping it down. It would be! The first child free evening since December 2017 and it’s raining. 

Never mind! A bit of rain never hurt anyone. (How often we’ve said that this year, every single day on holiday to start with!) but, of course, the planned outfit had to go out the window (me), which then led to a bit of a meltdown (again, me) because obviously, I had NOTHING TO WEAR. 

In hindsight, that magical, magical thing, of course I had things to wear. But I’d built this date up in my head – that kind of happens when you never get a single day together without one of your offspring for almost a year – and I wanted to wear my new skirt. F&F leopard print, naturally. 

I was going to pair it with a black top, denim jacket and trainers. Standard outfit, nothing exciting. But different for me, because I live in skinny jeans, every damn day of my life. 

The rain (and freezing temperature!) put paid to the trainers, so I tried tights and boots. Then I noticed the wind and kind of convinced myself I’d end up doing a (less glamorous) Marilyn Monroe routine. 

At this point I still had wet hair, no make up, two nine year playing fortnite & a husband trying to tell me I looked good. 

What followed was a good five, maybe six outfit changes, all being lobbed onto the bed in increasing levels of anger. We’ve all been there right? 

We finally got out of the door and onto the train, where I calmed my tits and realised, jeans is who I am. 

I know, deep right? 

But, go with me here. How often do we try to do something different, because it’s a special occasion, because we’ve seen everyone else a few other people do it, because we always wear/do the same thing and surely we should switch it up a bit? 

Why do we do that? 

If you’re bored of the thing you’re doing and you’re desperate for a change, knock yourself out by all means. But if it works for you, and you’re happy in whatever that situation (or outfit!) is, then for the love of God, just do you. 

For me, skinny jeans, a well cut, v-neck top, trainers or boots is my A/W uniform. I feel comfortable, stylish and most importantly, I feel like me. 

This is who I am, and I’m OK with that! I don’t want to spend the evening with my husband worrying about what I’m wearing or feeling self-conscious and tetchy. I don’t want to spend any time like that at all if I’m honest! 

So, from now on. I’m going to be the woman in jeans and a nice top. That’ll be me, and I’m good with that. I might throw on a blazer or a jumper, ya know, when I’m feeling fancy, and I’ll always be a lover of good shoes.

But I’m just not the kind of person who copes well with a million different styles in their wardrobe. I might finally have stumbled upon my capsule wardrobe. And it only took me 37 years, copious meltdowns and a rainy date night to get there. 

You do you hun. OK? 

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