Best Oscar Outfits 2017

Glossing over the almighty cock-up with the best film announcement and making this a yearly tradition, here’s my collection of favourite outfits from this year’s Oscars.

  • Chrissy Teigen the queen of Twitter, took command of the red carpet in this gorgeous number.

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  • Viola Davis always gets it right at award ceremonies and picked up her best supporting female actor Oscar in this stunning red dress.

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  • Isabelle Huppert was up for best female actor in a leading role and defined ageless elegance in this sparkling outfit.

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  • Tara P. Henson starred in Hidden Figures, but there was no hiding her amazing figure in this va-va-voom velvet dress.

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  • Karlie Kloss is a supermodel and looks amazing in this all in white Stella McCartney number.

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  • Ruth Negga the Irish actress and Loving star was up for best female leading role and carried this red outfit off perfectly. She along with other red carpet stars teamed their outfits with a blue ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) ribbon. More information on the ACLU can be found here.

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  • Auli’i Carvalho played the lead role in the excellent Disney film Moana and she looks beautiful in this white, gold lined dress

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  • Dev Patel and his Mum Could DP get any cuter and dashing? Well yes, when he takes his Mum to the Oscars with him, he certainly can. Both of them looked joyfully fabulous.

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  • Sunny Pawar the super cute 8 year old Indian actor and star of Lion gets my award for best dressed male.

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Valentine’s Day Playlist

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After last week’s post, I wanted to do something lighthearted, so just for you I’ve created a bumper playlist of all my favourite love songs to celebrate the most unnecessary annual celebration. There’s 75 of them, so it should keep you going whilst you smooch and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears. Or if you’re like me, ignore your partner whilst you watch TV/play on your phone and stuff your face full of chocolates that you texted him to remind him to buy on his weary journey home from work. Aah who said romance is dead?

It’s an eclectic mix. As I’m a super sophisticated soul, there’s plenty of trash, some not-so-trash and some definitely-not-trash. There’s no Bryan Adams or Meatloaf, but I can’t promise that it’s Mariah-free. The strongest is moment is when it goes from Ella Fitzgerald into the Muppets.

Enjoy and remember love lifts you up where you belong and love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love. Or something.19-dog-cat-hug-w529-h529-2x

(Gratuitous photo of a dog hugging a cat).

 

Dear Stephen

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Dear Stephen,

Do you remember when we went to see Trainspotting when it first came out in 1996? We were a mere 20 years old and we went to see it at the Trocadero at the end of one of the best weekends of my life. I was living in Oxford at the time and I came to stay with you for the weekend in London. We spent the whole day drinking on Saturday with our friend Dan. The night ended with you & Dan bursting into the room I was sleeping in, singing and dancing to the Macarena and collapsing on my bed. Most people would’ve found this hugely irritating and would’ve barked at you both to piss off and leave them to sleep. But no, I just found this hugely amusing, hugged you both, waved you off as you exited (still mid-Macarena) and I fell back to sleep with a smile on my face. Then on Sunday we spent the day at Notting Hill Carnival. I know traditionally people are meant to scoff at the carnival, but I genuinely had one of the best days of my life roaming the streets of Notting Hill, fast becoming friends with people we’d never met before whilst dancing to jungle and drum ‘n’ bass with them. I remember the three of us hugging and drinking on the ground late in the evening and me thinking that I couldn’t possibly be happier. The next day, on the bank holiday before I got the bus home, we spontaneously decided to go to the cinema and watch Trainspotting. This film that so many people had been raving about. At the end of the film, I remember the two of us being in some kind of stunned silence. I remember my heart beating so hard. At the time, I don’t think I could’ve loved a film more. We left the cinema gabbling over the top of each with excitement. Trainspotting had a huge impact on us. Then, I remember very sadly saying goodbye to you and to our weekend.

Well Stephen, Trainspotting 2 or T2 is out now in the cinema. I am filled with so much excitement about it and cannot wait to go and see it. I know sitting there and watching it,  I will be thinking of you. I’ve heard people say that watching T2 made them feel very nostalgic. So, when I go to see T2 and considering the nostalgia that it will unearth, made me think of you again. It made me wonder how  we could have lost contact. How could I lose contact with my friend that had such a huge influence on my life and who I am today. My friend that I shared so many ridiculously fun times with.

I can never truly fathom how two such close friends can lose contact, but every year we would both move house or in my case seemingly to a different city. The internet didn’t really exist then and not many people had mobile phones, so I guess it was much easier to lose contact with friends that you didn’t live near to. When we first stopped living near each other, I would always make my yearly phone call to your lovely Mum and we’d always have a friendly chat and she would give me your new number. However, I suppose over time, I was embarrassed to keep bothering her. I of course wish more than anything that I had. Every year since we lost contact, I would search the internet hoping to find you or some reference to you. How could someone who was so sociable and had so many friends not exist anywhere on the internet? I know it happens, some people just have no desire for social media, but for some reason it just didn’t sit easily with me that you were one of them.

Finally, this year coinciding with the release of T2 and my memories of you and us, I decided to do one final search for you. I was determined to make contact with you again. Out of all my friends that I have lost contact with over the years, you are the one I always regretted losing contact with the most. I searched for your Mum on Facebook, not with the idea of contacting her, but with the hope  there would be some mention of you on her page. And there was.

My growing fear had been realised. I found out that you’re no longer here Stephen and your journey here had ended abruptly and cruelly.

I felt sick when I first read about you and what had happened. I went cold all over and then I was filled with so much sadness. An almost surprising, overwhelming sadness that someone could feel so much for someone that they hadn’t seen in so many years. I found out you died 7 years after I last saw you. It was almost too much.

I remember the last time I saw you. I was living in London then. In a flat in Shepherd’s Bush where my bedroom had no window, where the washing machine was in the bathroom and the fridge in the hallway. It was above the Central Line, so every time an underground train rumbled underneath the building, our whole flat would shake. Amazingly, I stopped noticing this after about a month of living there. You were working at the BBC, which at the time was round the corner on Wood Lane. After work, one day you came over for dinner. My connoisseur cooking skills were not all together extensive at the time and I made you the grand meal of pasta & pesto. As always, we washed it down with red wine and then you were promptly sick. You were so embarrassed and couldn’t stop apologising. Our evening ended earlier than what it normally would have done and after we said goodbye, I was left with a weird, unsettling feeling. I cannot tell you why. Maybe I was just concerned that you were so easily ill after a bit of wine and pasta. Maybe I  was disappointed our evening didn’t carry the usual fun and excitement or maybe, just somehow, I knew it was to be the last time I’d see you.

But Stephen, all of my other memories of you are filled with nothing, but laughter, warmth and endless chatter. Do you remember when we spent New Years Eve at your uncle’s office just off of Regent Street? We drank all of the bottles of wine that were in the staff kitchen and we heroically left our loose change thinking it would cover the costs. Your uncle was not best pleased and we were stumped with a massive bill to pay between all of us. It was worth it though. We spent most of the evening on the rooftop, putting the world to rights, shouting at passersby and somehow not freezing. It must’ve been all of that expensive wine.

There were times before when we both sill lived in Oxfordshire, where we used to go clubbing with Dan. We’d go to United Kingdom and Trade in London. Trade didn’t open until 3am, so we would have to find ways to cheaply fill the time before going. We’d hop from gay bar to gay bar in Soho until our money would almost run out. We would then trawl the streets of Clerkenwell desperately trying to come up with ideas. Then we heard the sound of loud music. We followed it to a courtyard area that resembled Fagin’s haunt in Oliver Twist, we had to balance walking across planks of wood and found this house where the loud music was coming out of, that had its front doors missing . Naturally, we went inside. The downstairs was completely empty, so we climbed up the precarious looking stairs. Upstairs in full swing was a large house party with DJs, a free bar and free food. I remember, you and I helping ourselves to cake and wine and giggling like school children (we practically almost were still) as we danced to the music. Do you remember that guy who came up to us and asked if we wanted a piece of “Miles’s Birthday cake”, to which you not-so-cleverly replied “who the fuck is Miles?”. This guy looked at us sternly and said “you’ve gate-crashed this party, haven’t you?”. “No” I said “ok yeah, but can I go to the loo before you kick us out?”. To which he shrugged and said it made no difference to him and walked off. We ended up staying at the party until after it ended, chatting to Miles and his friends. They were all lawyers and some of them had clubbed together to buy the house and were in the middle of renovating it. Somehow, between the two of us, we managed to persuade the straightest people in London to come to Trade with us. Trade stayed opened until about 10am, but by 7am I started to flag. I remember going to the toilet and the next thing I know, you and some other random guy were climbing over the toilet cubicle wall that I was in. You started shaking and shouting at me. God, I’m so sorry. I must’ve given you a fright. You clearly thought I’d collapsed when in fact, I had just popped into the toilet for a quick power nap. This is it, though, Stephen. We always looked after each other.

One of my most ridiculous memories of us was when one day we couldn’t be bothered to go to college where we were doing our A-levels, so of course we quite reasonably decided to hitch hike into London for the day instead. We had about 50p between us and we bought a loaf of bread as some kind of pathetic lunch, sat in Soho square and ate it (and fed what we couldn’t manage to the pigeons), quickly ran around Hamleys like a couple of manic 8 year olds high on E numbers and promptly hitch hiked back home to Oxfordshire.

There wasn’t just the silly memories of us as hedonistic teenagers though. There were the more profound and poignant memories. Memories that shaped us and in particular shaped you.

I remember feeling honoured that I was one of the first people you came out to.

I remember on that roof top in London on New Year’s Eve you telling me that your Father was seriously ill.

I remember finding out the news he had passed and nervously phoning you in tears to console you. In your typical fashion Stephen, you were more concerned with making me feel at ease and as always you were full of that trademark positive attitude of yours.

You taught me so much. You don’t know this, but you did. You taught me to think positively, you taught me not to judge others, you made me reach a little deeper with my thoughts, but most of all you made me grab life by the horns. If you were to have a catch phrase, it would have been “Fuck it”. Your humour, your intelligence, your warmth- I will never forget. The impact you had on my life is immeasurable.

I also remember our plans to travel around America together. We worked the whole route out and we both started saving, but like so many things life got in the way and we never made it. Except, some years later I did. I travelled the routes we wanted to take with my now husband. I’m so sad you never met him. I got together with him a year after we last saw each other. I have no doubt the two of you would have got along. I’m almost certain you would have been the best of friends.

I now wonder what happened to you that your life ended the way it did. I feel sad not just for the fact that you are no longer here, but also for the way you left. Your final time here must have been unthinkable. Was your illness short-lived or had you been suffering for years? Even when I knew you? I’m so, so sorry, Stephen.

As I write this, I am somehow filled simultaneously with both an immense amount of sadness, but equally with happiness. The happiness is there because every memory I have of you is so wonderful. We had so much fun. Too much fun maybe. Every memory of you is filled with so much laughter. I was so lucky to have you as my friend.

I hope you realise just how much you were loved and not just by me. My heart goes out to your Mum, your brother and Dan who you were so close to. It has been so painful finding out what happened to you. Maybe it would have been best off, if I hadn’t. Finding this out has reminded me of everything you gave me though, which was so much. I am richer because of you. Until we meet again my beautiful friend.


As an end note, I am sadly only too aware how this article may effect some people. With a heavy heart I list the following statistics. Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. That’s 76% of all suicides that are male. The biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK is suicide. That said, the suicide rate for women is currently at it’s highest since 2005. Reach out to someone, anyone if you are effected by this or reach out and talk to someone who you think might be.

The following numbers may be of help to some people:

Samaritans: 116 123 0r email jo@samaritans.org

Calm: 0800 58 58 58 or their annonymous web chat service: http://www.thecalmzone.net/get-help

Mind: 0300 123 3393

 

 

 

 

 

Bonfire Night Playlist

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Well, look what I’ve just thrown together, an actual playlist with all things bonfire nighty on it. I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t put Gina G’s Ooh Aah Just a Little Bit on it, but it does have the obvious ones in it (The Prodigy, The Doors, Katy Perry). Also, I’m quite pleased I managed to squeeze The Teardrop Explodes in there too. Enjoy while you “ooh” and “aah” at the pretty sky that celebrates the time when some bloke and his mates almost blew up the Houses of Parliament with the King inside and the little rascals were then tortured and burnt to death. Yay!

 

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Top 12 Beatles Songs

 

Last night I popped to the cinema by myself and plonked myself down with a glass of wine the size of my head to watch the new Ron Howard film The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, about the band’s touring years. Those years where girls screamed so loudly whilst they were playing that not only could nobody in the audience hear the band, but the Beatles couldn’t hear themselves play. Ringo used to have to watch John’s body movements closely, so he knew whereabouts they were in the song. The film was fascinating and was an excellent reminder of the band’s genius.

So as my feet couldn’t actually, physically stop tapping throughout the film, I thought now was as good a time as any to talk about my love for the Beatles and list my personal favourites.

My love for the Beatles was set in stone from the very beginning. I had no choice as like many people my age, my Mother was a superfan during the 60s (Paul was her favourite. Of course). I remember poring over my Mum’s vinyl collection of the Beatles and discussing with her our favourite Beatles songs (when I was a child it was Ticket to Ride). I also remember the horror I felt, when my Mum told me that in the late 70s she decided it would be a good idea to burn all of her copies of the Beatles magazines from the 60s that she owned (and of which she had every single copy) as they had no room for them in the new house. I sense this is something she quite regrets these days.

Then my love for Whitney, Madonna and all things Stock, Aiken & Waterman took over from my interest in the Beatles. Never fear, When I was 14 years old, my love for them was reignited when me and my group of friends became obsessed with them and their music. We all had a favourite. Paul was the most popular, but I myself carried a flame for Ringo. Yes that’s right. I was a 14 year old with a crush on Ringo Starr. So much so, I used to faithfully, regularly watch Thomas the Tank Engine and even went to see him play live at the Hammersmith Apollo (Ringo that is. Not Thomas). Also, our choice to go to Henley College to do our A-levels may have some how been influenced by the fact that the college was situated right next door to George Harrison’s mansion. If we were lucky we could catch a glimpse of him driving through the large gates of Friar Park in his limousine. During these dodgy-crush years, I did develop a serious love for their music that I still carry with me now. So sit back and have a listen to my top 12 (sorry I couldn’t narrow it down to ten) Beatles songs, in order.

12. I’ve Just Seen a Face (from the Help! album)

11. Dear Prudence (from the White album)

10. Penny Lane (from the Magical Mystery Tour album)

9. Lady Madonna (non-album single)

8. We Can Work it Out (non-album single)

7. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (from the Help! album)

6. Come Together (from the Abbey Road album)

5. Here Comes the Sun (from the Abbey Road album)

4. A Day in the Life (from the Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album)

3. Norwegian Wood (this bird has flown) (from the Rubber Soul album)

2. Help! (from the Help! album)

1. Blackbird (from the White album)

 

 

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Good News! Cheery News! Non-depressing News!

I won’t dwell on it too much, but 2016 has thus far been a right bastard of a year. It has been an annus horribilis for everyone. From the multitude of unthinkable terrorism, plethora of celebrity deaths and now the fall out post-EU referendum, 2016 can well and truly suck my dick. If I had one. I find myself firing up the BBC News website with one eye closed in fear of what horrific news I will come upon. It seems to be a free fall of bad news after even more bad news. So, in some kind of pathetic attempt to try and vaguely cheer us all up, I welcome you to a news page of a different kind. One that will only deliver good news. News that doesn’t make you want to give up on humanity. News that may even bring a smile to your face. Now make yourself a cup of tea, take a deep breath and be assured that it’s not all bad shit going down right now.

Love is in the Air!

Oh yes it is indeed. Not one, but two policemen got down on one knee and proposed to their boyfriends at last weekend’s Pride celebrations in London. Luckily they both said yes. Here’s a heartwarming clip of one of the proposals. All together now. aaaaahhhhhhh.

Christmas is Finally Here!

Well it is for the folk of Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire anyway. Do you remember the devastating floods that happened over Christmas 2015? And do you remember that in particular, the town Hebden Bridge was affected by these floods in ways that were unimaginable? This meant that nobody in Hebden Bridge got to celebrate Christmas last year as their homes and businesses were completely flooded and inhabitable. Well, I’m pleased to tell you that the folk of Hebden Bridge have finally had their Christmas. On the 25th June, they had an “alternative Christmas” where residents had a sit down Christmas meal, drank mulled wine and partied to Christmas tunes on the street that had been turned into a river 6 months previously. Many businesses that have been shut since Christmas, officially reopened too letting everyone know that Hebden Bridge is indeed back up and running. Hooray!

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English Sport CAN be Celebrated.

Ok, so we didn’t exactly ‘dominate’ the UEFA European Championship (to put it mildly) this year, BUT did you know that whilst we shook our heads at missed goals, actual passion etc our England rugby team were OWNING it during the Australian test series, by winning it 3-0. If anything, it should give the optimist in us, some hope for English football (bear with me). As you may recall the English rugby team gave a shameful performance at last year’s World Cup, not even making it past the group stages, but this year and with the help of new coach Eddie Jones they have completely turned it around and won both the 6 Nations and now the test series in Australia. Congratulations to the England rugby team.

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This Otter Eating Food

This adorable, squealing otter eating cat food with his little paws makes me desperately want to have a one as a pet. He’ll be fine hanging out in my bath, won’t he? Everything that’s right with the world is in this clip. I LOVE HIM.

Coldplay Perform Moving Tribute to Viola Beach

So, musically I’m not your biggest Coldplay fan, but I was moved by their tribute to British band Viola Beach during their headlining performance at Glastonbury festival last Sunday. Viola Beach were the British band who, along with their manager all tragically lost their lives when their car plunged 80ft off of a bridge into a canal in Sweden. Coldplay allowed Viola Beach to headline Glastonbury for one song, playing their music video on the big screens and playing along with the track. It was nothing short of beautiful and must have been an emotional, but wonderful moment for Viola Beach’s families.

Beautiful Children Being Beautiful

Many kids dread their sports days, especially if like me, you always came last in the races (look I’m more of long distance runner than a sprinter, OKAY!). One boy in particular dreaded his sports day this year. Daniel has cerebral palsy and told his Mum he didn’t want to join in sports day this year as he was worried that people would laugh at him for coming last again. Unbeknown to him and his Mum, all the boys in his race slowed down at Daniel’s pace and ran along side him and allowed him to cross the line first. According to his Mum, he was so happy he’d won, he burst into tears and ran for a hug with her and has been full of joy ever since. If that doesn’t go some way in restoring your faith in humanity, I’m not sure what will. Children are our future and all that.

And Lastly, Idiotic Goats

Oh we love a good goat video, don’t we? Watch these goats talking back and having a proper go at someone. This should get you smiling again.

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Why Women’s Procreation Choices are None of Your Business

Why is it that when it comes to women and their reproductivity, all sensitivity seems to get thrown out of the window. People want answers and the ability to ‘mind one’s own business’ is completely forgotten or seen as not necessary to apply in this situation.

Hands up, how many of you have been probed at some point in your life about what your reproductive intentions are? How many of the following questions sound all too familiar:

“When will we hear the patter of tiny feet?”

“Don’t you want children?”

“Are you going to have any more children?”

“Why didn’t you have any more children?”

Or who’s heard shockingly brazen statements uttered such as “You better hurry up, you’re not getting any younger you know”.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, quite a few of you. Even though she’s worth millions and is gorgeous, I can’t help, but feel sorry for Jennifer Aniston and the constant interrogation she has had to endure surrounding when/if she is going to get pregnant. She is now 47 years old and she still has to put up with speculation regarding whether she has finally got knocked up or not.

Aniston told People magazine in 2014 “I just find it to be energy that is unnecessary and not really fair for those who may or may not [have children]. Who knows what the reason is, why people aren’t having kids. There’s a lot of reasons that could be, and maybe it’s something that no one wants to discuss”.

Yet so many people don’t seem to get this.

I’m going to talk about my own personal experiences of this now, just to offer a background and an explanation as to why probing women about their procreative intentions might not be a good idea.

My family is a single child family. Once at a toddler group, a stranger who I had just met asked if I “just had the one child?”. When I informed her that I did indeed just have the one child, the response was met with giggles. She then immediately asked if I intended to have any more at some point. Having been asked this question on numerous occasions before where I have felt the need to justify or explain my response, I decided just to simply reply with “Nah”. Again, my response was met with even more mirth and further probing as to whether one child was enough for me and a statement that I clearly couldn’t cope with another child. All of this was said with much amusement regarding my situation of having just the one child. I didn’t correct her nor did I laugh along with her, I just changed the subject.

Except, as you may have guessed the truth wasn’t that one was enough for me and that I couldn’t bear to have another child. It was just easier to let her think this than explain myself. It also would have upset me to try to explain. This woman was a stranger and I was in a public building surrounded by many other strangers and associates and didn’t fancy bawling my eyes out for all to see, but mainly (in the most British way possible), I didn’t want this woman to feel awkward. I was more concerned with upsetting her than my own inner turmoil I had to cope with every time my child’s lack of siblings was discussed.

The truth is, my partner and now husband after many years of discussing, crying, sweeping it under the carpet, discussing some more and crying a lot more, came to the heart breaking decision not to have any more children and to stop at one. It was not an easy decision and it was made with a heavy heart. We wanted more than one child. We wanted our child to have a sibling. We wanted to be parents to children, not a child, but having more would not have been a wise decision for us.

Whilst I was pregnant with my quite frankly wonderful daughter (yes I am slightly biased, but what of it?), I suffered unbearable pelvic girdle pain that left me unable to walk and I had to be signed off from work for the majority of my pregnancy. After I gave birth, I seemed to be relatively pain free for the first two weeks, but then the pain came back. For the first year of my child’s life I was constantly in pain and could rarely leave the house, I was in fear every time I took a step that I wouldn’t be able to withstand the pain that it produced or that my leg would give way all together. Slowly, things got slightly better, but I still suffer a lot of pain and have developed arthritis in my ankles and knees and still have days where I am unable to leave the house. Getting my daughter to school and back is a daily battle and I am terrified at 40 years old, of what my life will be like in years to come and how immobile I might potentially be.

On top of this, pregnancy caused me to lose my hearing (a rare, but not altogether uncommon condition called Otosclerosis). I am very deaf in both ears and rely on hearing aids to get by. If I was to have another child, it is guaranteed that I would lose even more hearing. I don’t have much left as it is.

My mobility problems, the pain I’m constantly in and my hearing loss led us to come to the decision that having a second child would be extremely detrimental to my health and would greatly impair my abilities as a Mother. We made the decision not just for me, but for our existing child. My husband works away a lot and as southerners living up north, our families are over 200 miles away. I have to be able to look after my child as there is no one else that we can rely on to help us out. Even if we did move closer to family, the prospect of both my mobility and hearing further deteriorating is quite frankly depressing.

I don’t feel like the person I once was before my pregnancy. My hearing, leaves me struggling to join in with group conversations and I move slowly and as little as possible. I used to dance, sing, go running and for long walks, but these activities have been greatly hindered by my conditions. In fact, they’ve been made near impossible.  I can’t enjoy the things I once enjoyed.

So, when people laugh (whilst I understand, quite innocently) at the fact I only have one child, when people probe for reasons behind this decision, they have no idea of the heartbreak going on inside me.

This applies to every woman who only has one child or has no children. Nobody knows what is going on behind closed doors, so why possibly rock the boat? Different women will have different reasons. For many they have just not been able to conceive or they have suffered miscarriages. I cannot imagine the heartache this brings and then for someone to insensitively point out to them that they’re not getting any younger and need to hurry up is beyond inconsiderate and tactless. Some women have chosen not to have children/have more children because of their family situation, for health reasons, childcare issues, career situation or for financial reasons. Some women don’t have children because it’s just not for them or they have one child because they are just happy with that and have no desire to have more. This reason is the one people seem to be able to handle the least. However, as with all the previous reasons it is no one’s business, but the woman’s and her partner’s.  There seems to be a desire for society to know what is happening with women’s bodies and whether they’re putting a baby in it or not. It is nothing short of nosey.

I have had some interesting phrases thrown at me. Regularly my family is referred to as “your little family “. Whilst this may seem inoffensive to some, it can come across as belittling and a tad patronising. My family maybe smaller than yours, but is no less of a family.

At the end of yet another awkward conversation I had with someone demanding if I was to have any more children, she actually said the following sentence to me:

“Aaah, well at least you’ve had the experience of being a Mother”

It was as if having one child is just an experience, but having more is the real deal. Trust me, Motherhood feels very real to me when I’m up in the middle of the night soothing my child who is vomiting up blackberries and dying her bed covers and carpet a rather fetching gothic purple colour. It also feels real, when she comes home from school and for the umpteenth time tells me about how someone has upset her at school and I just want to run upstairs and cry for my beautiful child and instead, I have to keep it together and listen and advice and comfort. It also feels real when in a single month I have to pay her ballet fees, pay for a new pair of shoes and buy Birthday presents for the 4th Birthday party she’s been invited to in a month- FFS (this is when I’m very grateful I just have the one child to be fair). I am not merely “experiencing” being a Mother just because I have one child, I am very much living it. Whilst, I understand I won’t be experiencing dealing with squabbling siblings or two children being ill at the same time, I will be dealing with different aspects of Motherhood that you don’t have to deal with. For example, as my child doesn’t have a sibling to play with, I am the only person she has to play with at home. Sometimes being a parent to a single child feels like you have to be part-parent/part-sibling.

It’s comforting to know I’m not alone though. Interestingly, single child families are on the increase. The reasons are plenty as I mentioned above. It does seem to be becoming the norm. The average number of children per family is now 1.7[1] compared to the 2.4 that traditionally was the number of dependent children per household many years ago. Within my daughter’s class at school 7 of the 30 children are from single child families. This is almost a quarter of the children in her class, but that is considerably lower than the national percentage that is 47%. Almost half of families with dependent children in this country are single child families. As I reel off these statistics I think of friends who insist the number of children they have is the best number of children everyone should have. That’s great for them, but it is not for everyone.

When someone feels the need to probe a woman (or man, though I would argue women have to deal with this question more than men do) as to why they have only had one child or indeed if they are planning to have any, they should instead resist. Nobody knows what turmoil people are going through. Nobody knows the upset your innocent question will cause and to be honest, you really don’t need to know the answer. Your life will go on quite happily without knowing the answer. Whereas your question can upset someone for the rest of the day or becomes just another reminder that will stay with them forever of their difficult situation and that they’re not living up to society’s expectations (tsk). Women don’t want sympathy; they just want a bit of sensitivity.

Despite originally wanting more than one child, I am so happy with my family. I will always feel a bit sad and a little guilty that I didn’t provide my daughter with a sibling to bully –I mean- enjoy and that I didn’t provide my husband with any more children. That aside, we are a happy family. The three of us are a jolly team that make each other laugh and bestow each other with “family cuddles”. It is paramount that I am happy with what I have and I refuse to let myself be eaten up with the loss of the second child that I never had. If I was sad that I only had my daughter, that would be extremely unfair to her and would send out the wrong message to her.  The right and truthful message is that I am beyond happy with her and of course I realise that despite everything- I am lucky. I have more than what some people have. In the words of De La Soul circa 1989, three (for us) is indeed the magic number.

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[1] Office of National Statistics “Family Size” publication, published in 2012.