Get Pampered at The Body Shop Leeds (64 Briggate) – #crueltyfreeleeds

the body shop leeds

There are many injustices in this world – that Idris Elba isn’t in love with me, that I wasn’t cast as Buffy the Vampire slayer and that I never came up with the idea of Just Eat. The latest one is that The Body Shop in Leeds has a private room that I am I didn’t know about and that I think not enough people know about. It’s a travesty!

The Body Shop is probably the first brand I was aware of when I was a young teenager for smelling better (hormones) and looking great. Oh the nostalgia when I think of the candy floss lip balms and the fruit shaped soaps, the apricot bubble baths and the cocoa butter body butter. We all pranced around town with the beige canvas bag thinking we were it!

Well I’m now 35 and dare I say it – I kind of moved on from The Body Shop. Then last week I was invited to the Leeds branch for a free facial and I jumped at the chance. This face needs all the help it can get.

The private room is at the back of the store and is really relaxing and cosy. I met the beautiful Jess – a skincare expert – had a herbal tea and a good old chin wag. I wasn’t drinking at the time – but they do offer a free glass of  Prosecco with their treatments – I missed a trick!

They do all sorts of facials from basic to advanced (I had the advanced). They also do Mother’s Day packages, small parties and make up classes. Apparently a party of young teenagers had been in a week or so before for a make up party which I just thought was so sweet – I would have loved that.

The most interesting part was the skin test Jess did on me first – I have never known what skin type I have – but I am informed I have quite a dry face – especially on my cheeks. There was a tiny bit of oil on my forehead but generally – dry.

“So what’s your skin care routine?”

“Umm… soap and water.” I replied.

Jess wasn’t judgemental – looked like she had heard that many, many times.

I was slathered in a load of fancy products and I felt so pampered.

My husband doesn’t compliment me – really ever. But that evening he couldn’t stop complimenting my skin.

Therefore – the next day I went back and I bought all the products. I’m going to really give The Body Shop another go because I think I forgot about it for too long.

I  now have a cleanser, a toner, a facial peel and a plumping moisturiser and I will definitely be going back for more. The Body shop has reclaimed its spot on my birthday and Christmas lists – it’s no longer about bubble bath sets for your Nan. It’s about serious skin care goals for knackered tired mums who fall asleep most evenings with their make up on and have no routine to speak of.

Check out Cruelty Free Leeds on Twitter and have a look at CRUELTY FREE LEEDS SERVICE MENU for treatments. We all deserve a pamper now and then.

 

Gather round children, let me tell you about my youth… 

We would go out

on a Friday and Saturday night

and on a Thursday because the local club had an 80s night.

And on a Wednesday because they put on a karaoke night.

And on a Monday to celebrate getting through the first day back at work.

And Kate would always invite us out on a Tuesday because she knew I wanted Nachos.

We would drink

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cheap, nasty wine. Bottles of the stuff. Because we thought we looked sophisticated.

Or we’d get jugs of cocktails from Wetherspoons that were 5:1:3 parts ‘ice water slop: alcohol: shit cola.’

We’d guzzle Smirnoff alco-pop from glass bottles that left a thick cement of sugar on our teeth.

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We would have bright blue tongues from the WKD, or green tongues from the apple sourz – and sugar highs from the ‘fruit’ in the Breezers.

We would down shots of Aftershock that burnt our retinas,

and sambuca that some idiot suggested lighting,

or just sip Baileys in a whisky glass with ice like we were some Russian Bond beauties in a Skii lodge –

not a posse of pillocks in Birmingham.

And we’d dance.

We’d “ooh! push it (push it real good)” on podiums and wear barely there skirts.

We’d discover the bruises the next day from falling off the podiums.

We would sing,

badly on Kareoke. Eurythmics or Shania Twain or Robert Palmer.

and we’d would flirt.

we would wear corsets with jeans or mini skirts with playgirl bunny t-shirts.

We’d wear concealer on our lips, Vaseline on our eyelids and white eye-liner.

We were thinner than any of us appreciated.

525867_112104832261059_831007570_nAnd we’d snog.

We’d snog for days.

And the next day we’d laugh about who we pulled and text them on our Nokias.

We had no idea what they looked like because we had no cameras.

No smart phones.

We hovered in the dark with no flash, no selfies, no tagging, no permanent reminders.

We traveled

to cheap holidays on the Tenerife strip, and Magaluf and across the world.

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and we loved 

boys who were never that important.

We stuck together.

We fought

We had tiny tiffs – fixed with a text and a bottle of wine.

We dreamed

about what we’d be when we grew up, when we were successful, when we had big money,

when we could bring anyone home

we could do whatever we wanted because we were out of mum and dad’s.

When we found ‘The One’ who would make our lives complete.

We would be free.

 

THEN5

Now

we go out

one or two nights a year

or we go on little self labeled dates (day release) with the other half while the grandparents watch our son.

But we don’t tend to.

We would rather stay in.

Going out is exhausting; expensive.

Getting dressed up. Wearing heels. We can’t take it.

And we drink.

Shots of Gaviscon.

G&Ts trying to lose the self labeled ‘baby weight’.

posh wine from Waitrose to try and tell ourselves we’re middle class – not people who should drink a lot less.

Or we are growing a baby so we drink milk or orange squash (like the children we’ve sprung).

And we dance.

like pillocks at ‘Mini movers’ to out dated nursery ryhmes

to the ‘Makka Pakka’ and ‘Tombliboo’ dance on ‘In The Night Garden‘ half way through a conversation about life insurance like it’s perfectly routine.

And we sing 

the wheels on the bus, or wind the bobbin up (what the fuck is a bobbin?) or the alphabet song, over and over and over and over.

And we flirt

with the bin men so they’ll take our extra bags of nappies and milk cartons and empty wine bottles.

with people in the queue so they’ll let you pay for his chocolate buttons real quick – so you can shut him up.

we don’t snog

and we travel

to child friendly caravan parks and detached cottages and mum meet-ups.

We love

our children.

THEN6

We love our children.

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We love our children

1078622_283945295077011_1397594399_oWe love our children

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We love the partner we chose – if we are having a good day.

We love our parents more.

We love our families.

We love kind strangers.

We fight

with our partners, daily It’s your turn you bastard”

with our children “Go to bed, for the love of Christ”

and with our old friends:

we grow apart, we drift away, we make mistakes, we can’t fix our differences with a text and a bottle of wine.

We aren’t the same.

We wear clothes with more stretch and functionality.

And we dream

of a full night’s sleep

of a night off

of a holiday

of being slimmer

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So we go to bed at 7pm on a Saturday night because sleep is sleep and we don’t care what the clock says.

And the neighbours are having a party again.

Probably swigging alcopops and doing shots and singing Kareoke and snogging.

And you pop another Rennie in your gob and roll over and hate them.

And the baby kicks.

And you smile.

And you think about making pancakes for breakfast tomorrow and pushing your child on the swings in the park.

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Maybe the sun will come out.

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The ‘New Mum Land’ that time forgot

Being a new mum is daunting – but I knew the second time must be much easier – after all, this is not my first time at the rodeo. Two and a half years ago I had been a new new mum and there wasn’t anything that could surprise me about it now.

And as usual, I was wrong. It would seem some new mum agency in fancy black suits (or perhaps just massive pants and maternity pyjamas) had zapped me with a memory erasing device (presumably made up of a Gin based compound) and I had absolutely no recollection of some of the elements of being a new mum – that are all coming back to me now.

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1. How tiny they are

Yes – of course I know they are small. We all know they are small. But quite how small I had completely erased. How light they are to hold. They weigh the same as a pickled onion and the ickle-ness of their limbs is mesmerising.

The first time you see your toddler after spending a few hours with your new born he will look like a twenty eight year old competitor in the World’s Strongest Man competition – the one where they pull a Land Rover along by their neck muscles. You try and pick up your toddler and realise he weighs the same as a Grand piano – and when you go back to pick up the new born you misjudge the weight so much you hit yourself full in the face with the baby.

2. How difficult it is to get them dressed 

The first time my first midwife asked me to get the baby undressed so she could examine him will remain in my memory forever – the shame of it. My fumbling fingers and nervous twitches, the length of time it took to get his vest off and things over his tiny head – all the while your eyes wide with terror that you may accidentally snap off his arms or dislocate his joints. I thought if this was how long it took to get him dressed we were both better off naked!

And I’m here to tell you it doesn’t change the second time around – trying to get the tiny nappy around him and trying to put his legs down the holes of his massive baby grow – it’s like trying to put an unshelled soft boiled egg in a sleeping bag.

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3. The noises they make

You’re used to the hollers, shouts and Earth shaking screams of your toddler – you forget the sound of a new born. They sound like baby Raptors emerging from their shells. The sound comes from deep within them and is like a cute baby piglet screaming from three houses down. The sound of yours is quite sweet – but the harmony of six new borns on the labour ward, at 2am, for an hour – loses any novelty pretty sharpish.

Considering they’re so tiny and so sweet – the sound of their wind and pooping action is remarkable. One fart from a new born is enough to wake up the toddler and see him sprinting to the window to check out the cool motorbike that must be speeding past (true story) and one movement will make you think he’s been sneaking baked bean toasties into his diet. Their whole bodies shuddering with whiplash when they indulge in a bowel movement is heart breaking.

4. The smells they make

You have got used to your toddler’s full on adult shits that make your eyes water and put you off that tuna sarnie you were eying up for lunch – you misremember new borns being stinky too. But they don’t smell – at all. Their nappies are a delight (smell wise) and there it is – that beautiful new born baby smell that is indescribable but brings back exactly how you felt that first time.

5. How difficult it is to clean their bums:

using only tiny cotton wool balls and a bowl of water as you carefully hold up their minuscule frog legs and ‘gently’ wipe off what can only be described as black treacle quick drying cement from the depths of Hell.

6. What it feels like to “get no sleep”

This is something we must block out, as a human race, to ensure we have another baby. You mentally prepare yourself for your new born. You know you’re lucky that the toddler is a dream boat who has been vigorously trained for two years with the modes of CBeebies cut off time and triple layered black out blinds. You thought you were having a tough day if he awoke before six. Ha. Ha. You didn’t know you were born!

You now have not slept for around 36 hours. You studied an experiment like this once in GSCE Psychology and you’re pretty sure everyone died. The only sleep you have is tiny bouts of micro sleep where you momentarily doze off before your heavy head jerks you awake once more and your eyes dart to the new born to check all is well. And just one hour of sleep turns you into Julie Andrews!

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7. How fucking hard breast feeding is

You forgot this. You got a bit smug – you know what it looks like and feels for the baby to latch this time – and he’s done is straight away. Oh this will be easy. I’m so good at this shit.

Thirty six hours later, your body and mind utterly drained, your nipples sore and chapped, Lansinoh all over the shop, your arse numb – Holy Crap this is hard. It’s fucking hard.

8. How many pictures you will take

You knew there would be some snaps – but it’s day two and you need to upgrade your phone as it doesnt have enough storage capacity. And you’ve made a short film and award winning documentary.

9. What your body feels like

You have a long list of what you will do when you’re no longer weighed down by being pregnant. Most of your list involves carafes of wine, exotic spicy food and marathon running. You imagine shedding the baby like removing a cushion from up your jumper and leaping down the street singing ‘Everybody’s Free’. It doesn’t quite work like that.

Your body looks the same as it did at nine months pregnant – just with less tone. You won’t be running any marathons just yet. After a Cesarean agony is: breaking wind (purposefully), sneezing, coughing and God forbid – laughing. You walk around like Mr Burns and dread the day when you’ll need to defecate.

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10. How much love you will feel 

That one gets you every time.

 

In case you haven’t guessed – we had our baby boy. 7lbs, 15oz.

Sssh… some days… being a stay at home mum is a piece of piss

I am all about the moaning! I love a whinge! I am the first to complain (well..I’m very good at tutting). And it is generally very accepted (in life, as well as blogging) to have a right old grump about parenting: How hard it is, how draining it is, how much sleep you don’t get, the list of negatives just roll off your tongue. No one ever has a pop at you for complaining about being a mum (so far).

A couple of Tuesdays ago; the day usually reserved for doom, gloom, laundry and self loathing (which I have just decided will be the title of my autobiography), I woke up in a good mood. Maybe it’s the change in the weather. I put on my new maternity clothes (getting out of my pyjamas is a major milestone). I got the toddler ready and we went out.

But just before I left the house I read a tweet from that woman. You know the woman. I won’t name drop her. The woman who likes to upset people – it’s her career now. I followed her after she swayed me briefly on Celebrity Big Brother. It read something like

Stay at home mum? This just means you’re unemployed.”

I read it a couple of times, unfollowed her and heaved the three of us out of the door.

We went to the park just next to us. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. The flowers were in bloom. I watched my two year old stampede through the park, pushed him on the swings, lifted him up onto the slide. I then walked with him to our local collection of shops. I bought him two little cars. We walked to a local bar and he had the children’s fish and chips.

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I walked him half way home before he decided walking wasn’t for him anymore so I carried him the remaining half a mile. Once through the door he napped and I cleaned and caught up on TOWIE (don’t judge me!) I thought about the tweet again.

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The toddler woke up and we played together until Dad came home. Dinner time, bath time, story time, bed time. I sat down with my partner and he asked the usual:

“How was your day?” I shrugged ‘alright’. Not wanting to admit to him the truth:

that that Tuesday, that day – being a stay at home mum had been a piece of piss.

I never want to admit this to him – and it is an extremely rare occurrence – don’t get me wrong. But the day had been sublime. I felt organised, sun kissed, happy, stress free, a good mum, relaxed and accomplished. This doesn’t happen all the time. But it does, sometimes happen.

It reminded me of the summer when my son was only a few months old. I sat in the garden one day because we were experiencing a heat wave. My baby fell into a slumber in the shade. I poured myself a Gin and Tonic (just one) and I felt utterly at peace. My working partner returned home (sweating) and eyed me suspiciously, slightly angrily – I knew he was thinking

“I knew this stay at home mum gig was a piece of piss!”

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I threw the Gin in the paddling pool and started folding some washing off the line.

But – really, some days, being a stay at home mum is a piece of piss. And I’m admitting it. There.

Most days involve me pulling the covers over my head at least once and weeping silently or shutting myself in the bathroom for longer than it takes to do a wee and just shaking with frustration.

I honestly never felt worked up enough to respond to the tweet about me being “unemployed” – I could have written a post about how hard it is, how my Further Education Teacher’s pay doesn’t equal nursery fees plus travel, that I don’t receive any benefits (as I would if I was unemployed) but I don’t feel strongly enough about it. About her.

What I do feel is content – pleased, grateful and lucky that I am able to have these years at home with my son and also blessed that some days (at least 1 out of 34) are a piece of piss.

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ps. Post July I will have two children – and if you ever, ever insinuate that it is a ‘piece of piss’ or that I am ‘unemployed’ I will kill thee.

 

Boil in the bag baby – why being pregnant and a heat wave don’t mix

There are certain things that go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong- wine and cheese, shoes and socks, olives and wine, buckets and spades, most things with wine actually – being heavily pregnant and a heatwave… oh no, Wait. Not that one. Come to think of it.

While you are all posting your sodding selfies on Instagram of you soaking up the sun with various summer alcoholic treats – mojitos, cool beers, cider bubbling between ice cubes – I am sitting,  nay squatting, near an open window with an industrial sized fan next to me in an overly stretched maternity vest and marquee like pants, sipping milk in the delicate time zone between dairy delight and curdled turd water. I sweat all the time anyway – but now I just leak, like a rusty Buddha garden water feature.

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Am I summer ready? Ha. I put the ‘beach’ into beached whale. If I wore a bikini I would be arrested. They don’t make a suncream lotion bottle big enough to smother over the hideous gargantuan mass I have become. I can’t reach my toe nails to paint and I will need a team to help me shave my legs. I am only hot in the literal sense!

Could I just go in a paddling pool? Well, first that would require me pumping it up – that would surely make me pass out from exertion. If I managed to pump it up and sit in it I would never be able to get up again and more pressingly, the neighbours will wake up and wonder how they have been transported to the Serengeti.

“Barbara! Come quick, there is an actual Hippopotamus over t’fence in some sort of watering hole! Grab the polaroid.”

And what am I supposed to eat? I crave carbs but I can only just about manage ice cream, milk and prescribed antacid tablets. I may as well crush the tablets up and use them as a sort of hundreds and thousands alternative.

I also have a toddler to look after – but I don’t want your sympathy.

I remember when heat waves would be fun – but those days disappeared as soon as we had a baby and realised it’s basically our job to keep baby cool, out of the sun and in no way exposed to this death star! This continues into toddler-hood where we spend our days trying to force feed them juice, sorbets and squash (despite them having no interest), covering every cm of them with cream or protective clothing and wafting things at them in case they over heat. All the while making sure they aren’t vitamin D deficient for Christ’s sake!

(one year we put him in the fridge! We had no choice)

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Last time I was heavily pregnant in the peak of winter. There was heavy snow and ice on the ground and we were house bound – I thought that was bad! HA. If only I had known the alternative.

Being, as I am, full term pregnant in this heat is beyond worse. Especially as all I can do, as I sit by my fan, is imagine (and see if I go on social media) how much fun everyone else is having while I watch the sun from behind my shaded shield feeling sorry for myself – missing out on the three days a year mother nature gives us a sunny day in the UK.

I have to crawl up and down my stairs about 76 times a day to empty my squashed bladder – this sort of cardio at this stage makes me want to vomit. I also have to put up with constant fanny daggers from my soon to be born son.

The only pro I can see so far is that if you are constantly by an industrial sized fan and you pass any wind – it is immediately dispersed through the air and keeps your cover! #winning

Bring on the winter!

Bring on the birth!

I’ll do it right now, no drugs – get that paddling pool pumped up!