Why I do what I do.

Give or take flat batteries, not wanting to live life through a lens (so to speak) and mis-placed cameras I’ve really enjoyed documenting my life in vlog form over the past few weeks.

That said, every time I ‘promote’ my footage I get a little unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. Twitter promo isn’t so bad, neither is Instagram, but on Facebook where I’m laying not only my everyday life, but also my (sometimes shoddy) creativity for my peers to see – close friends, new friends, people from school who I haven’t spoken to for years, work colleagues. What must they think of me posting this? I think. I often, stall, and wonder whether I should promote, but I do, and here’s why. In fact, here’s why I do what I do blog, vlog and all…

I blog because I need an outlet to write. I’ve always adored writing. As a child every summer holiday would see me dust off my mother’s old typewriter and start thumping away as I attempted a new story. They were mostly rubbish and generally about other children going on their jolly holidays to the sea-side (how twee), but I didn’t care. I enjoyed the whole process, my fingers hitting the keys, the creativity, being able to have something to read afterwards which gave such hints of what was going through my mind at the time I wrote it. As I got older I continued to write in journals, but as I got older still and time came at more of a premium, I found that writing was an indulgence I couldn’t always justify. Blogging allows me to write guilt-free, almost and keeps me accountable to putting something in words at least every few days. That, in turn, is good for my mental health and the well-being of those around me who benefit from me being a happy, smiley being.

In a similar vein I vlog because I love the creativity of it. The recording is part of it, but sometimes that can be awkward and I’m certainly no cinematographer. The part I really enjoy is sitting down with a hot cup of tea, opening iMovie and piecing clips together, overlaying music and playing with speed and credits and all other fancy things which I don’t fully understand. Some people knit, I edit.

I do both because it’s a lasting reminder. I really wanted to blog and vlog as soon as Elliott appeared in this world. I honestly, and naively, didn’t realise how demanding a new born could be and so, with the exception of a few blog posts (and a few unedited video clips still languishing on my hard drive) it didn’t happen. Now I look back and, regret, isn’t the right word, but I wish I had more to document that first year. Photographs are great, but words and, especially videos are better. Nothing can prepare you for how quickly time goes when you have a little one and these two creative outlets are my ways of hanging onto those precious moments.

Vlogging also allows me to talk to myself in a way that feels sane. I realist that makes me sound insane. Elliott’s vocabulary is picking up. We think he can say ‘Yeah’ and he can imitate the noises that a cow and a sheep make. He likes shouting ‘Ma ma ma ma ma!’ at the top of his voice when something is to his dis-satisfaction and ‘Da da da da da!’ when he wants to play. But short of that if I’m on my own with him at home the conversation can be a little one sided. Sometimes, having an outlet to talk to, albeit a camera, helps me get through the day. It can also act as a confidence boost as I think ‘Oh, I did well to do that’ or ‘Oh, I came across well there’, although that can also have the opposite effect when I have a ‘Oh sh*t I look like cr*p’ moment.

But why promote it? Why not just leave it there sitting on my hard drive to be discovered in a few years, or forgotten about like an old photo album? Well… I first discovered the YouTube world when looking for a tutorial on how to curl my poker straight hair, my hairdresser had managed to do it on my wedding day, so it was possible. Why couldn’t I do it myself? I first stumbled across Fleur de Force and Anna Saccone-Joly. I’ve stuck with Anna, but rarely watch Fleur now. As I clicked through more and more recommended videos I stumbled across Estee Lalonde, Zoe Sugg, Tanya Burr, A Model Recommends, Caroline Hirons. Throughout my pregnancy I devoured Anna Saccone’s weekly pregnancy updates shouting ‘me too’ as I watched and washed up at the same time. I tried to find other mummy vloggers and, I did, but they were all so blooming young and so blooming perfect and just generally blooming that I felt a bit out of sorts. And, well, that’s one reason I put myself out there online, not to brag, but simply to give you a real account of the older imperfect mother. Is there a market for that, who knows? But if I do make a little money from it then that’s fine and dandy also. And if I don’t and I just make someone smile, or give someone an idea for a day out, or a chance to say ‘me too’ then that’s fine too – us mummies have to stick together online or not.

Why do you do what you do?

Vlogged: Toddler Boat Trip

On Monday (also known as Funday, as it’s a mummy and Elliott day) we went on a boat ride, especially for toddlers. I will blog about it in a little more detail in the coming weeks, but it was fantastic – especially considering it only cost 50-pence! Wowsers, take a look here:

Or for those who prefer a linkeroo, here you go: https://youtu.be/ifZdIGx5QAM

 

No cameras please

I’ve only picked up my camera once today, and that was to format the memory card.

I’m not sure if it’s because a day has been a busy, but wonderful, whirlwind; or because we went swimming this morning and their ban on cameras set me up for the day, but it’s been quite enjoyable to spend a day sans lens.

Elliott allowed us a staggered lay-in this morning. Staggered in that he initially woke at 6am but when hubby bought him into bed with us he fell asleep again and didn’t wake until 7:15am. My first words were: “Thanks for the lay-in Elliott”, meant in ernest sincerity. Then a thought pinged into my mind – ‘since when was 7:15am considered a lay-in?’ #parentlife.

We breakfasted on porridge and strawberries before getting ready to go swimming to our local council-run pool. I actually can’t technically swim – something which I am hoping to address in the coming months – but that ability isn’t really required at this leisure pool full of brightly coloured plastic toys, wave machines, rapids and whatever else seemed like a good idea in the early nineties.

As a non-swimmer it took me a while to understand what I needed to wear/take and there was also that moment of worry that my swimming costume would no longer fit. Fortunately I remembered everything except moisturiser and not only did my cossie fit, I forgot that it had a secret control panel to keep my mum tum looking a little less like a makeshift floatation device.

The pool was packed and the changing rooms chaotic. Gone were the family changing rooms of my childhood, instead replaced with the most badly designed ‘locker park’ I have ever seen and some seriously dated changing rooms. Fortunately Elliott loved the pool. We knew he would. As it’s the summer holidays they’re on a break, but he usually goes swimming every Sunday to his Puddleducks class. As hubby normally goes in the water with Elliott it was nice for me to be in with him and join in some of the games and rhymes they play and sing. I even made up my own actions to the Grand Old Duke of York – swishing Elliott up in the air and then splashing him back down in the water as appropriate (hey, I never said it was original). Soon our arms ached from all the swishing and Elliott was looking tired too, so we attempted to retreat to the changing rooms which were still utter chaos.

A quick dash to Tesco before our time ran out on the car park and then back home to make lunch. Elliott fell asleep, a long, deep slumber worn out from the physicality of swimming and the sensory bombardment of thunder claps, Hawaii 5-0 theme tunes and brightly coloured plastic. We were starving but wanted to wait for Elliott to wake before we ate. I decided to commence with batch cooking whilst he slumbered away. A chicken casserole went into the oven. No signs of waking. I sorted most of my admin (told you I’m queen of admin). Still snoring away. At 2pm, with our stomachs growling we decided to wake him and lunched on hummus wraps with roasted mediterranean vegetables.

Then, play time. Elliott has been in a super-cute and very playful mood today and whilst there would have been some great footage to capture on camera, I guess I just wanted to enjoy it in real life, not through a digital screen. I also carried on with the batch cooking theme, preparing some salmon fish fingers for later in the week. The plan was to make a lamb tagine also, but we’re out of dried apricots. First world problems, eh?

Car seats were swapped between cars. More playtime was had and dinner was cooked and eaten (chicken drumstick traybake) followed by the most delicious pudding (Sticky Thai Rice Pudding with Mango). I observed hubby and Elliott playing together whilst I prepared food in the kitchen and it made my heart glow with happiness. I find now that there are certain moments that make me feel that way. Like when Elliott randomly decides to come over and give me a (sloppy) kiss and a cuddle, or tries to put my flip flops on, or attempts to put his socks on but only manages to get it on his big toe. My heart literally glows. It’s the most amazing feeling. I get it less so when he tries to eat my fluffy slippers or flings food from his highchair, but y’know – swings and roundabouts!

And, now here I am, Elliott is in bed. Hubby is washing-up after my earlier cooking extravaganza and I am trying to tick things off my never-ending to do list. I did vlog yesterday (Saturday) so I will edit that and get it uploaded ready for tomorrow. Question is, do I go for an alcoholic drink or a cup of tea? No contest. Cup of tea wins every time!

Vlogged: Bidding Farewell to our Perfect Prep

Elliott is fully on cow’s milk now so the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep has been packed away. I know I keep saying it, but WHERE’S MY BABY GONE????

Here’s the linkeroo: https://youtu.be/i8qNa0KifJQ