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Life with Endometriosis: What you need to know

Endometriosis, a condition not well known, but a condition that affects 1 in 10 women, most of which are unaware of the chaos that is happening in their own bodies. After almost 15 years of pain, I can finally say that I am an Endo sister. I have finally been diagnosed. I sit here now with 4 holes in my stomach after having keyhole surgery to remove a cyst the size of a grapefruit and to clean up the endometriosis that left my insides mangled together and my fertility in question. And I feel a sense of relief! Sore, but relieved that I have been taken seriously and that I am finally getting treatment for something that I have struggled with for most of my life. Relieved that my future as a mummy is still in tact.

But what is Endometriosis? It is when the lining of your womb which makes up your period, grows elsewhere in the body. When it is time for your period, this lining sheds blood like it would do in the womb except the blood gets trapped in your body which can then turn into a sticky glue that sticks your organs etc together causing pain and reducing fertility.

For me heavy periods was a normal part of life. I had started my first period at 8 years old and from then on they were a constant pain every month. As I got older, the heavier and more painful they became, until one day when I was 15 years old the pain had gotten the better of me.

I woke in the morning with a horrible cramp in my stomach. “Great”, I had thought, I have my period. But as the morning progressed the pain didn’t subside and I found myself doubled over unable to walk. My parents, not sure what to do, tried everything to ease my pain. They thought I had just contracted a stomach bug, but when I threw up everything they tried to give me and then passed out from the pain, they knew something was up. A trip to the ER and I was sent home and told that I had a low pain tolerance, told to suck it up, period pain is a normal part of being a woman.

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From then on, I would fear the time of month. It was always a lucky dip. Was it going to be a normal period this month or was I going to suffer? I never knew when it would come and what was worse was that no one would take me seriously. Countless times to the nurse at school or to the ER and each time told it is a normal part of being a woman. I came to the point where I used to hide it, try and sit in the corner until it passed because I was scared that people would think I was a drama queen, that I was an attention seeker. Trying to hide it was difficult, when you are in so much pain that you are throwing up and passing out it is hard for people not to notice.

I was on my way to the cinema with my mum and I could feel it coming.  I found myself drifting in and out of consciousness. As I walked in to the cinema room trying hard to keep up appearances, my body finally had had enough and I fell to the floor. I saw the panic on my mums face as she tried to lift me up and call the paramedics. Surely they would believe me this time? I am not faking it! I was at the movies, I was having a good time! But to my disappointment the paramedics scoffed and told me the same thing all the others had. It wasn’t until the manager of the cinema took my mum aside and said this isn’t normal. Get her checked for endometriosis.

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Endometriosis? I had never heard of it before but to my dismay my doctors didn’t seem to know much about it either. Their approach was to put me on the pill and hope for the best, if that didn’t work well then I just had to learn to accept it. At times, it was just plain embarrassing. When you pass out and throw up while you were in the toilet in the middle of a work day and are escorted out with your knickers in full view it is hard not to be embarrassed!

But with each episode, I found a new person who was struggling with something very similar and came to understand that it was a condition that was slowly getting recognised and that was a lot more common than I was lead to believe. Heavy periods, ovarian cysts, excruciating pain each month, symptoms of IBS and problems falling pregnant are all symptoms of endometriosis and if you suspect that you may have it I am here to give you hope and encourage you to get the treatment you deserve. Do not let anyone tell you that it is part of being a woman or to just suck it up!  It is NOT normal to pass out from pain every month! It is NOT just part of being a woman and NO you do NOT just have a low pain threshold!

It’s estimated that Endometriosis affects more than 2 million women in the UK and there are still a lot of women out there who are unaware of this condition. I feel like I am lucky, even though I suffered for a long time I am by far the worst. A lot of my fellow Endosisters suffer daily, with their quality of life greatly diminished and their chances of becoming mothers taken away from them. My heart and my respects goes out to all of them and I think it is our responsibility to create awareness of this common yet virtually unknown disease. Awareness of endometriosis has come a long way in the last 10 years but it still has a long way to go, if you would like to help or wish to learn more then take a look at   http://www.endomarch.org. Any little bit helps.

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5 instagram accounts you should follow

Instagram has become one the the most popular social media networks after Facebook and there is reason for it. It is a chance for people to express themselves or their lifestyle through creative photography, and a chance for us to glimpse into the lives of others. I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan. Instagram is where I go to find inspiration and motivation whether it be for fitness, health or fashion, and just for a laugh. It has become a part of my wind down routine, where I love to sit down on the couch after a long day, in my pajamas and just scroll down my feed.

So I thought I would share some of my favourite accounts so you too can check them out.

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@lioninthewild

Beauty and fashion blogger Kiara King from my hometown in Perth, Australia has an amazing feed to follow. The photography is flawless and her style is casual and classy, making it hard to believe that it is just her and her boyfriend working behind the scenes. If you are looking for fashion and style tips then you definitely need to check out her account.

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@averageparentproblems

This account is for all parents who sometimes need a little reassurance that the struggle isn’t their own. Ilana Wiles AKA Mommyshorts pokes fun at the everyday challenges of being a parent and raising children. This account definitely gets me smiling after a long and challenging day and can give a good insight into the lives of little minds.

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@Sundaysoldiers

One of my close friends from Perth who has risen to fame on Instagram with her children’s clothing line Sunday Soldiers. Single mum Elise Doohan, creates affordable and stylish clothing for children and adults. If you are looking for beach vibes and surfy looks then this is for you. Her signature item is the ‘Superheroes Vaccinate’ Onesie which has been featured on many parenting and pro vaccination sites. Elise is a real super mum and inspiration to all mothers out there, showing that you can raise kids and have a successful career at the same time.

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@fashionedchicstyling

One of my all time favourite accounts that I keep going back too. Erica Hoida is a fashionista in all ways possible. Her wardrobe and shoe collection is to die for, and her style looks like it should be on the cover of Vogue. My go to account to get style tips from.

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@ameliafreer

A health instagrammer that is actually qualified! She is the nutritionist who helped Sam Smith lose over a stone in 2 weeks and completely transformed his relationship with food. Her account is inspirational and informative with some drool worthy recipes. She transformed her own health and digestion after becoming a nutritional therapist and learning the benefits of ditching processed foods for whole foods.

 

What accounts do you follow or recommend?  Leave a comment and let me know

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5 tips for new mums in those first few months of motherhood.

The day I had been waiting for (and dreading) had finally come. One week before my due date, I gave birth to my precious baby boy Gabriel Michael Moles on 16th February 2016 at 3:52am after a long 27 hours of labour! I have now officially been a mother for 2 months and boy have our lives changed

You get an inkling from other parents before you have a child of how your life will change, you always gets comments such as ‘Take advantage of the free time you have now’, or the all famous ‘ Sleep while you can’, but you don’t actually realise how serious those parents are with those comments until you have a newborn to look after so here are 5 lessons I have learnt during my 2 months of motherhood.

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I have always been one of those people who likes to be as natural as possible. I avoid taking medication unless I really need it, try to eat clean, organic and fresh and use organic beauty products as much as possible as to avoid any chemical nasties. So when it came to child birth I wanted to follow this same path. Reading up on the possible side effects of an epidural on me and my baby I had decided against it pretty early on in pregnancy. I wanted to have a natural birth and minimise any possible interference that could negatively impact my baby and our ability to bond effectively after birth. So I propped myself up on my high horse and decided to have a water birth with no drugs. It will be painful but I could handle it, right?? Pffftttttt

LESSON ONE: I am  freaking stupid! Why didn’t I take the damn drugs! If over 90% of women end up using an epidural during labour than there is definitely a reason for that. I have always thought that I had a good pain tolerance after surviving the pain of endometriosis since I was a teenager, and maybe I do but labour freaking hurts! Nothing can describe it. No it is not like period pains and no it is nothing like gas pains, it is a pain unlike all others. Don’t be fooled like I was. I thought ‘Oh it is like period pains, I have really bad period pains so I am sure I can handle it’. What a load of Sh**.  Don’t listen to anyone who says it is easy and can even be orgasmic. Unless you are a sadomachosist, I don’t think anyone could really find childbirth ‘ Orgasmic’! After 26 hours of drug free labour I finally gave in at the last hour and got a shot of morphine. I should have given in earlier as straight after I received the injection my son was on his way out!

My advice: Have an open mind. Even though I may have gone down another route if I had known how long and painful it was going to be, I cannot help but feel a tiny bit proud that I managed to hold on for 26 hours. See how it goes but tell your midwife that you are open to everything. Depending on how long your labour is you may be able to handle a natural birth but for me after 27 hours I was too tired to be able to handle it as well as I might have. Take it as it comes but let the midwife know as soon as it gets too painful. I was too stubborn and really wanted to hold on and by the time my contractions were at their peak it was too late for an epidural.

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Two weeks before my due date, I had packed my hospital bag in preparation for the big day. I had gone shopping and made sure I had comfortable yet stylish loungewear and agoing home outfit, had packed my make up and hair straightener and was feeling optimistic about starting my new life as a new mummy fresh.  HA! That was a waste of time, not only did I not wear my ‘Stylish’ going home outfit, my stylish loungewear made me look like a puffed up marshmallow!

LESSON TWO: You will not look as great as you think you will. I had read numerous articles and knew not to expect to look like a supermodel and that I would still have a bit of a belly pooch but I did not expect to hate my body as much as I did. Having a big firm pregnancy belly seemed to have hidden all the extra body fat I actually had. While I had thought I looked pretty slim despite my massive bump, I had the shock of my life after I gave birth to find a had bumps in other places. Seriously I had more rolls than a freaking bakery ! Great! not only was I recovering physically and mentally from the labour I now resembled a beanbag!.

MY TOP TIP –  Pack baggy tops such as a large sweatshirt and leggings to go home in, also take hair elastics for an easy ponytail and reassure yourself that a lot of the weight is water retention that will eventually go away.

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The first night I spent with my son was exhausting. Not only was I recovering from the physical strain of giving birth, but I had already been awake for almost 48 hours straight. When my husband to be left the hospital for the night I thought ‘ YES, I can sleep’. My baby was a newborn and all newborns do is eat and sleep right? Hmmmmmmmm. After feeding my baby and putting him back in his crib to sleep, he responded by crying loudly. I didn’t understand, he was clean, has been fed and was fast asleep just a minute ago. After frantically trying to calm him after an hour I realized what he really wanted.

LESSON THREE: Though I was prepared to be woken up every 2-3 hours to feed my son during the night, I had believed I would be able to get at least some sleep in between feeds however I was wrong. One thing I was not prepared for was not being able to put my baby down once he fell asleep. Nope, he would not sleep anywhere else but on me, no matter how deep in sleep he was, he would scream the moment I would try and put him in his crib. Goodbye my hope of having a good nights sleep. Try sleeping while in a small hospital bed with your newborn balanced on your chest. The sheer terror that he might fall off is enough to keep you awake all night! Twos month on and he still loves to sleep on either me or my partner though with a few tricks we have taught him to sleep mostly in his crib. The reason behind it is that they are so used to being with you 24/7 all snug and warm while they were in the womb, and now being out in the big wide world, all the sensations and open space is overwhelming for them and being close to you comforts them.

TIP: Swaddling! I would swaddle him before feeding him so that my warmth and smell would be on his blankets and once he fell asleep I would put him in his crib, works like a charm. if you are like me and not very gifted in the art of swaddle buy a swaddle pod, now as soon as we put it on him he knows it is time to sleep.
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Becoming a parent for the first time can be very daunting. I remember coming home from the hospital and thinking, what do we do now? It is scary to think that this little person is entirely your responsibility. You and your partner are responsible for how they are going to turn out as adults. Every time you see an annoying child, people blame the parents for not raising them right, so how do I make sure I raise a decent human being and not an twat? The thought is scary. There are a number of books and blogs on parenting, telling you what you should and should not do while caring for your child and to be honest, there are so many conflicting arguments that you could read everyone of those books and still not know what to do. For a lot of our friends and family who have small children, the cry it out method seemed to have worked wonders and seems to be the go to method when you want your child to sleep. ( For those you do not know, the cry it out method is when you let your child cry until they learn to self settle and fall asleep on their own with no fuss).  From day 1, I was told by family, friends even the midwife to let him cry and that if i didn’t I was making a rod for my own back. So after an exhausting first night with him on my chest my partner took over and decided to try this method. As we tried to get him to settle my instincts told me that this was not right despite what everyone had been advising me. I cried as I watched my 3 day old baby cry because he desperately wanted to be close to me. I couldn’t do it, he was too young and didn’t understand what was happening. He needed to be nurtured as being in this world was so new and scary for him. I vowed at that moment to do what I felt was right for me and not what everyone told me to do.

LESSON FOUR: Trust your instincts. You will be inundated with advice from others wanted or not and as daunting as being a new parent is, do what feels right for you. I found that the days I was able to respond quickly to his needs were the days he tended to be more settled and happy to sit by himself for a while, whereas the days I would be a bit busy and didn’t take time with him were the days he became more fussy and clingy. Now that he is older I am more comfortable to let him cry a little bit especially since I can now differenciate between his serious cry and his ‘fake’ cry, but I only do it know because I feel it is now ok to do it even then I only let him cry for a minute or two.

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After 2 months of tending to my baby 24 hours a day there is one thing that I still need to work on and that is to take time for myself.

LESSON FIVE: Look after yourself! The days go by so quickly and before you know it you realise you have not seen your girlfriends for over a month or that you and your partner have not had any alone time since becoming a family. You are wearing clothes that no longer fit you and you have not had your eyebrows waxed for months and they are starting to resemble caterpillars! Its true that newborns will take up most of your time and that your priorities in life change once you have a child but it is important to nurture yourself and the other parts of your life, if not to maintain your relationships but also for your sanity. As I am exclusively breastfeeding it has been difficult for me to leave my baby in fear that he would go hungry, but there have been times where as much as I love him, I have needed to get away! I don’t want to wake up one day and realise my friends have moved on and the only thing I am capable of talking about is my baby and day time TV!

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Advice to myself: Go and get those freaking eyebrows waxed!

What other tips would you give to new parents?

xxx

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Stop Slut Shaming: Empower women instead of slut shaming!

During a catch up with old friends and family, I noticed a mentality that disturbed me somewhat. A way of thinking that I had not seen since my teenage years, and that in my opinion has no place in this day and age amongst adults.

While casually chatting with some of the girls about life, the topic of conversation turned to relationships. Asking one of my single friends if she was seeing anyone, she went on to say that she had just split from someone. She then proceeds to tell me how many men she has slept with, and how difficult it is to find a nice guy with the amount of ‘sluts’ around. Taken aback a bit, I carried on with my night slightly disturbed at her comments as I watched her commenting and judging other women based on their make up and dress sense throughout the night.

“I watched her commenting and judging other women”

As the night went on, I could see there was hostility from the group towards one girl in particular who to me, seemed like a generally nice girl. During dinner the next night a male friend of mine turned to me and said ‘I cannot stand that girl. I don’t like her hanging out with my girlfriend because she is a hoe!’.

When I tried to get an explanation as to why she was a ‘hoe’, What I got disturbed me. Apparently the only reason this girl was not welcome into their group of friends was because she had, on occasion, intimate relations with men she was not in a serious relationship with.

Now my friend is far from innocent when it comes to the opposite sex. He is known for being a player. He is one of those men that would sleep with any girl who would allow it and then turn around and call them all sluts for being too easy. What disturbed me the most is that during this conversation another one of the girls at the table instantly agrees with my friends view on this poor girl. Then proceeds to tell us that she has only slept with 2 men her whole life! By which, she is praised by the others at the table for having such a ‘low’number!. I could not believe my ears! Were we still in high school? Was this really a conversation I was having with adults??

“Were we still in high school? Was this really a conversation I was having with adults?”

As I thought about the events that had taken place that night, I was infuriated. What did those girls think they achieved by telling everyone how many men they had slept with? Did they think that that made them better than anyone else? That by having a low number meant they were more worthy, more deserving of love? More girlfriend material?

Was it was ok for that girl, who chose to enjoy her sexuality, to be immediately branded a slut and treated as instant trash because of it. And the men? Most of them notorious for being players themselves. Constantly ogling anything in a skirt, flashing their double standards in front of everyone as if it were completely normal! They can ogle, cheat and sleep around all they want but if a women is comfortable with her sexuality then she is an instant slut and is thrown to the wolves as soon as they’re done!

“If a women is comfortable with her sexuality then she is an instant slut”

The sad thing is that I used to be one of those girls. Growing up in a family with an asian background and strong religious beliefs, the subject of sex is a huge taboo. Sex is a sin and is an act carried out between man and wife. A wife’s duty to her husband. Sexual desires or urges as a woman were never discussed and was usually frowned upon. This was taught down from the older generations, from our grandparents day and age.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that morals and self respect are very important and that children should be taught this from a young age. However I also believe that they should be taught to respect and empower each other. For young minded individuals it is important to be cautious. It is important to understand and practise self respect when it comes to the opposite sex, especially for young girls. But there is a fine line between teaching self respect and teaching girls that it is shameful to be confident in their bodies.

“Why is it that we have such a slut shaming culture?”

Why is it that we have such a slut shaming culture? How do we live in a so called ‘modern’ society, yet still have views about women that belong in the middle ages? I think  religion has a lot to do with this attitude. In the days of ancient civilisations and paganism, women were rejoiced, seen as goddesses. If she chose you, then it was a damn honour to be chosen. Roll on a couple of centuries and women were seen as inferior, temptresses. If a man was overcome with lust it was the woman’s fault not the mans.

Even though we have come along way from those times. This general attitude still seems prevalent. What strikes me the most is that this attitude is not only enforced by men but by women too.

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“What strikes me the most is that this attitude is not only enforced by men but by women too”

This needs to stop! We need to empower one another. The reason I have this blog is to help empower and inspire people to be happy with themselves. I am NOT a feminist, I am a humanist. I believe EVERYBODY no matter what gender, religion, ethnic background or whatever, deserves to be happy and live a fulfilled life.

So lets stop these negative attitudes! Sex is a natural act that when performed amongst consenting adults can be a beautiful act of love. Monkeys, apes and dolphins are known to enjoy sex with one another for reasons other than reproducing and I honestly do not see them slut shaming their females for it afterwards!!! Being comfortable and confident in one’s body should be praised not ridiculed!

“Let Stop Slut Shaming”

So if you see a girl who is wearing a tight, short dress, admire her confidence instead of shaming or judging her. Let her confidence inspire you. And if you are lucky enough to meet a woman that lets you close to her in anyway then you should be GOD DAMN proud that SHE chose YOU instead of putting her down for it!

Shaming her after such an honour reflects more your issues than hers. And that goes for men too, men and women deserve to be respected and not judged based on their past choices, how they dress or what they choose to do in the privacy of their own homes. As long as they are not harming anyone else then it is none of your business.

So lets empower each other instead of putting each other down. The world is a better place when it is full of happy people!

xxx

 

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Preparing For Parenthood : The Fear of The First Time Mum

As my due date approaches, it has suddenly dawned on me that I am completely unprepared for the drastic turn my life is about to take. Not only have I not packed my hospital bag, I have not bought any baby clothes, nursing bras or any other baby / mum to be essentials that I will desperately need in the coming future and the nursery is far from ready.

In an attempt to get organised, I set out to buy all these ‘essentials’ and ended up scaring my self more than anything. Buying little boots, hats and rattles was somewhat weird and fun at the same time, but stepping into boots to see the array of mum to be hospital toiletries made my blood curdle. Seeing a vast selection of vaginal massage oils for rips and tears is enough to make anyone run screaming, which was exactly what I did. Knowing I will eventually have to buy all of these things, I sit here and realise that even though I am fully aware that I am pregnant, that my belly has become a huge beach ball which feels like it is going to explode at any moment; it has not completely sunk in that in 5 weeks I will have a baby.

Preparing For Parenthood

I am 29 years old but feel exactly the same as I did when I was 16. I still laugh at fart jokes for goodness sake! As a kid I believed that once you became an adult it was this major shift in perspective and outlook; that you just miraculously grew up and understood everything. Little did I know is that you are exactly the same, may have experienced more things and become a bit more mature but you are the same nonetheless, just in a body that is older, doing things that adults do.

Bringing someone else into this world is exciting and scary at the same time. To know that you are making a mini you with the person you love is extraordinary, but knowing that you need to bring the person up to be a good, respectful human being without actually knowing what you are doing is terrifying. All I can hope it is that I will grow and learn along the way and to be the best mum and wife I can be, to take my life experiences and teachings from my past and peers and continue to be the type of person I want to be….a confident mum.

xxx

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