Best Christmas present.

Seven products I swear by

Hello! Now that I have an (almost) 18-month-old I thought I’d write a quick post about the everyday products that help me to stop feeling as though I need to claw my face off at the end of a day dealing with work, a breastfed toddler, getting about without a car, and housework.

[NB: This isn’t a sponsored post – although *seductive eyes* if you are a big brand and would like to throw some money my way, I’m not going to say no – I AM DOING THIS OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF MY HEART and definitely not because this blog is shortlisted in the MADS awards for best preschool blog oh god I should have written a blog post about that I probably don’t deserve to win. Although PLEASE VOTE!]

Herbie didn’t have teeth for ages, and now he has about eight coming through all at once. To misquote the Stone Roses, he is a waterfall. These wonderful handcrafted dribble bibs, in addition to being amazingly funky, are backed with towelling made from bamboo, which stops the bib from leaking (Herbie gets eczema from dribble rashes…), and gets softer with each wash. I cannot recommend them enough – also, Gem, the lady who makes them, has also branched out into some amazing-looking leggings and dungarees. Check them out!


I house my iPhone in a Griffin Survivor Case because Herbie is obsessed with stealing it, saying “Wello? Wabboo wabboo wabboo” into it, and chucking it as hard as he can at things that are made of wood and concrete. But this chunky piece of crap makes sure that my phone sustains no damage whatsoever. I have it in fluoro pink, because I am obnoxious.

Are you kidding me? I have an ageing iPhone 5S that has been bashed to buggery (before I bought the phone case, I should add), a serious podcast habit, no car, absolutely no sense of direction, and the attention span of a flea, which I have apparently passed on to my son. With the Teletubbies on iPlayer, podcasts and audiobooks to while away the long strolls alongside dual carriageways which make up 70% of my life, and constant checking of Google Maps, my demands from my iPhone outweigh my battery life. A portable charger is essential.

Literally a sort of bumbag you strap to the top of your pushchair. I fill it with drinks and snacks for Herb and me, plus my charger (obviously), my wallet, lip balm, tissues, etc. I also stick my iPhone in there for long walks in case Herb goes to sleep and I want to listen to an audiobook or podcast. Perfectly placed for earphones. And so reasonably priced! (You can get them for even less on Amazon if you’re not addicted to chevrons like me)

Herbie is short on patience and loves to twiddle things (ask my boobs) and I’ve been looking for ways to occupy his curious little fingers. I saw a woman pushing a buggy with one of these in Canterbury the other day, and I HUNTED HER DOWN until she told me where she got it. Mothercare, it turns out. The batteries don’t keep the lights or sounds on for more than a week but the buttons still depress and the wheel still goes round, which is all Herbie cares about, really.


At 17 months, Herbie and I are still breastfeeding like the clappers; however, my main source of fluids is the endless stream of coffees I drink throughout the day until 7pm, when I switch to wine. Cue the HydtrateM8 bottle – a litre bottle with your allotted ration of water marked off for every hour between 8am and 12pm, then 1pm (when you refill it) till 6pm. It looks good, takes the sting out of staying hydrated, and if you have child’s tastebuds like me you can just dump a shitload of squash in there so it tastes nice. Or gin. Or pills. I don’t care. This is strictly a no-judgement mummyblog.

Even though I, in a moment of extreme sleepiness, set it down on the countertop in our rented kitchen, and it burned a hole in the lino, voiding our deposit. Even though, nine times out of 10, I will make myself an instant coffee because it’s quicker. Even though I have let the bottom burn until the paint is all blistered and brown on the base, I still love it. Because it was a present, and because it’s so pretty, and because it’s a shrine to, like, the third most important thing in my life (coffee). I love you, pantone coffee pot. Never leave me.


Adventures in Japanese Nappies


Hello! Herbie and I have spent the last few weeks trialling some Japanese nappies, which are things that exist. In case you have an attention span like mine, here’s the TL;DR: Excellent nappies – better than anything we’ve bought in a supermarket – comfortable and leak-free, but twice the price of regular nappies: 5/10.

Here’s the longer version. Japanese nappies, ho!

Jolly Winnie the Pooh characters adorn the nappies themselves, but the real design pull is the illustrated bright blue packages they come in. They are pink and sparkly and beautiful. Even the instructional diagrams are cute. Then there’s this guy – not sure what he’s supposed to be. A tooth? A little bit of human fat? A really solid wee? Either way, I’m all for him:

I don't mean to be all foregone-conclusion, but all nappies should be marketed by this guy. #moonydiapers

A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

EASE OF USE: 10/10
Herbie is up and running these days, and during nappy changes he likes to throw himself around like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance, so I opted for pull-up pants, as using regular nappies is like trying to origami traditional nappies onto a violent octopus. Luckily, Moony pants work in the same ways as Pampers etc. You just pull them up to put them on, and rip them down the side seams to get them off. (Apologies for image quality; once you remove Herbie’s clothes he basically WILL NOT STAY STILL.)


COMFORT: 10/10
Presumably because of willy placement and wee diffusion, there are different Moony pants for girls and boys (incidentally, the sizes aren’t the UK numbered standard, but listed by weight). These nappies work in the same way as any other, but they seem more… architecturally padded. The concertina pleats at the waistline are dense, and there are more folds at the hip than your standard pant, allowing for all sorts of movement. They’re quite clever, really.

These pants have been with us to Finland and back.

Don't Look Now.

A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

They have seen us through several delayed train sojourns across the country, and have even accompanied us through Herbie’s brief stint of weeing non-stop through the night, and a very bad-parent-day when I left him unchanged for about 10 hours.

They have only leaked once, overnight, and I suspect it was because I didn’t put them on properly (it’s okay, I washed the tea towel afterwards):

Also, nappy waistlines can aggravate Herbie’s eczema on his abdomen and lumbar region, but so far the Moony pants have been the least harmful out of all the ones we’ve tried (mainly Pampers and Tesco’s own).


UNFORTCH at the moment they’re only available through Amazon, or the Best Baby website (with a £2 discount). Which you will need, because they are…

COST: 3/10
£22.50 for 38 nappies, which is pretty ridiculous, even with a discount. That said, each nappy can last an entire day without leakage or discomfort. Hopefully if they start importing the nappies into the UK wholesale the cost will come down. I genuinely love them and am very sad to have to go back to stupid regular nappies now.

Hold onto your hats, THEY MAKE MOOMIN NAPPIES NOW.


A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

I picked some up in a Finnish supermarket, and they worked equally as well as the Japanese nappies, which is now one of the major reasons I want to move to Finland. Hopefully they’ll start importing to the UK. In the meantime, Japanese nappies get my thumbs-up, but only on payday.

I mean, just look at how happy Herbie looks after a Japanese-nappy-nap:


A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on


if you vote for me all your wildest dreams will come true*

Someone(s) has nominated this blog as ‘blog of the year’ in Tots 100’s Mad Blog Awards!

Despite this clear lapse of judgement, I am right chuffed, for the following reasons:

1. I was nominated in the ‘lifestyle writer’ category for a Words by Women award, and not did I not win, I was too poorly to go to the awards ceremony and show off my losing face:


2. I’ve heard the Mad Blog Awards events are basically piss-ups of bacchanalian proportion, rammed full of raging mums on the lash, and I think it’d be an interesting social experiment to see, now that my alcohol tolerance has dropped to half a glass of prosecco, how I’d fare in that environment.

So, please, vote for me in the ‘blog of the year’ category, and all your wildest dreams will come true. Specifically, those dreams featuring me in an ill-fitting dress tripping over my ill-advised shoes on the way to the podium, then blurting out the worst possible expletives during my speech because I’ve exceeded my half-a-glass-of-prosecco limit.

So don’t delay – vote now! (When you get to the page, it’ll ask you to nominate a blog for ‘blog of the year’; nominating is voting in this case – if I get enough nominations I become a finalist. Please and thank you)

Tots 100 Awards

*Sorry, typo. MILDEST. Your MILDEST dreams will come true.


12 unexpected joys of new motherhood

1. Pyjamas
I have lived in pyjamas since Herbie was born, and I love it. To the point where I feel overdressed in leggings. To the point where I am considering having “day pyjamas” and “night pyjamas”. To the point where, when Herbie eventually goes to nursery and I have to wear human clothes again, I’ll probably need therapy. Because pyjamas are comfortable, forgiving on a biscuit-filled belly, and SO easy to breastfeed in. Sitting in the bay window. Which juts out onto the street. Hey, I wonder why those Mormons never came back.

2. I feel more at home in Starbucks
No longer am I the lone weirdo with a soy latte and a laptop. Now I am the neglectful parent with a soy latte and a laptop.

3. Watching Herbie change
Every day, he wakes up a new and slightly different person. He has Stu’s colouring and my face, and he shouts “OLLY GOLLY GOCK!” at anything that moves. His eyes are perfect in ways I can’t describe. His mouth makes me want to cry, for reasons I don’t understand. His feet are tiny and fat and edible. I see my husband’s grin ripple across his features when he’s happy, while in the evening, my own grandmother’s crumpled sleepy smile emerges. When he is older he will ask me why I stare at him so much, and I won’t know what to say.

4. Naps
“Don’t let your baby sleep in your bed,” they told me. “You’ll never get a full night’s sleep,” they told me. Well, HA! In your face, THEM. Now that I’m an (almost) full-time mother I get to spend the odd afternoon curled up around Herbie, making up my sleep deficit. It’s basically like cuddling a hot water bottle that squeaks and giggles in its dreams.

5. Netflix

The comfiest way to watch Making a Murderer.

A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

6. No one expects me to go anywhere
When I was young, my favourite part of staying out all night and doing dubious things was the 6am retreat, when we’d all pile into someone’s house, pupils the size of saucers, to get comfy and drink tea. Similarly, when I used to go out to pubs and parties and drink so much that my stomach burned, my favourite part was the next day’s hangover, when I’d spend the day under a duvet with my flatmate watching movies, eating carbs and gently snoozing. Now, that’s how I spend most of my non-work, non-active parenting time, because I live 90 minutes away from all my friends. And, although I miss them awfully, notice how I’m not complaining.

7. I get extra potassium in my diet
Because Herbie gets bored after a half a banana.

8. Dressing my son up like a tiny haberdashery
Right now Herbie is wearing grey leggings with Dia de los Muertos skulls on them, a raglan T-shirt, a stripy cardigan with Fairisle-patterned pockets, and a bib covered in Russian dolls. And a trapper hat. And fur-lined hi-tops. Meanwhile, I’ve spent precisely three seconds on my own appearance, and look like a homeless man. But it’s okay, because my toddler looks like a Gaga album cover. And yes, that was the look I was going for.

9. I have something to put my shopping in
Hooray for prams! And hooray for accidentally shoplifting from M&S. Oh, don’t look at me like you haven’t done it.

10. I get to relive my own childhood
I mean, not literally my childhood. I went to a country primary school where we had to curtsey to the headmistress every morning, and brambling was a legitimate classroom activity, and I wasn’t entirely sure what century was. And when Herbie was about two weeks old (this is completely true) I tried reading him my childhood staple, The Children of Green Knowe, and got a bit confused when he showed no interest. BUT I get to crawl around on the floor all day, growling and building Mega Blok towers for Herbie to rampage through like Godzilla. I also have a legitimate reason to watch Despicable Me 2 now, because he was recently mesmerised by the Minions. Meanwhile, Antichrist is available on Netflix now. No, thanks. We’re going to watch Inside Out again.

11. Oxytocin
Jesus, have you ever had a hit of this stuff? It’s amazing. Boobfeeding half-asleep, grabbing Herbie for a 0.00005-second cuddle as he zooms through the house, just looking at photos of him – it all makes this stuff thrum powerfully through me. It feels like The Force, but for mums. I wish I could bottle it.

12. Everything is an adventure now
No matter where I go or what I do – whether it’s shopping for toilet paper, picking up my antidepressants prescription, or bundling Herbie up and heading off somewhere on the train – I always feel like a superhero, because I have a sidekick, and it’s this guy:



10 steps to the perfect first birthday party

1. Reflect on the past year
As your baby’s first birthday approaches, look back on how far you’ve come, how utterly, utterly changed you are, and how you know instinctively that there will never be a time when your baby doesn’t come first.

2. Be flexible with your plans
Accidentally arrange to go shopping with the delightful Susie Verrill on what turns out to be your baby’s actual birthday, because lack of sleep has stopped you from understanding calendars, or the basic concept of time. Still actually go shopping, though, because his birthday’s on a weekday when no one’s free for full-on baby stuff, and besides, babies love shopping, right? Erm.

3. Knives
Meet the delightful Susie Verrill and her wonderful son Milo in town while the universe throws Storm Jonas at you for being so selfish. Spend most of your trip hiding out in Prezzo, wringing out your wet hair while the staff frown at you for letting your children play with knives.

4. Choose your venue wisely
Decide to throw a birthday party at the weekend, but to keep it small by only inviting family. When the RSVPs come in, realise your family’s too big to fit in your house. Eventually settle on hiring a back room up some rickety stairs in your local pub. Ask the publican about accessible entrances and baby-changing facilities, only for him to look at you like this:

giphy5. Keep the theme consistent
As the party approaches, walk around with a vague party shopping list in your head containing items like “goody bags” and “party hats”. Then look at Pinterest and have a heart attack. Rush into Wilkinson’s and panic-buy bunting, balloons, face-paints, and piñatas until you have a party theme, and that theme is pirate-Frozen-Mexican wrestler-murderous clown.

7. Cater for all diets
Leave the baking to your husband, who creates three cakes – one gluten-free option, one “cake for the adults”, and one magnificent M&M-filled rainbow cake that’s covered in e-numbers; delicious e-numbers that you absolutely cannot eat because you’re super-allergic to them. Eat some, obviously, because you have no willpower, then run around town trying to find industrial-strength antihistamines as your face gently swells like an inflating balloon.

The inside of Herbie's birthday cake, and also the reason why I can currently see through time

A photo posted by Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) on

8. Be on top of the party prep
On the morning of the party, head to the venue with your list, decorations, and triple-checked party goods. Arrive and immediately realise that you’ve forgotten the changing bag. Come home to fetch it. Return to the venue and discover there is no music in the room. Return home to fetch a BlueTooth speaker. Fail to find a BlueTooth speaker. Return to venue resolving to play Musical Chairs by beatboxing your-fucking-self. Grimly put up bunting and pick at the catering.

9. Be on top of party games
After a single glass of wine, get distracted by guests, and completely forget how to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Do your best, but then find your shirt being tugged by one of the younger party guests. “Robyn, will there be any good games at any point?” He asks you. Your baby then falls asleep for the duration of the party. Give up, scatter face-paints among the children, and drink more wine.


10. Keep a note of who gave which gift
Come home after the party, at which point your baby wakes up and wants to play. Pour yourself a) more wine, and b) the contents of your handbag, which happens to contain the considerable leftover catering. Eat curly fries and allergy-cake while your baby rampages through his birthday presents and you swear never to throw another birthday party again.

Herbie vs presents

A photo posted by Robyn Wilder Heritage (@orbyn) on

Happy first birthday, Herbie. Sorry your mum’s an idiot.



Postnatal Retreat, Manoir la Croix de la Jugie

At the end of summer 2015, when Herbie was seven months old, I was struggling with sleep deprivation, depression, and an expanding Bourbon biscuit-based waistline, and Stu was lamenting what little time he got to spend with Herbie every day. So when we were invited to a (disclaimer: free) week-long postnatal retreat in France, we jumped at the chance.

Although the notion of being stranded in the countryside with a bunch of strange families sounded at first like an ITV2 reality show, the retreat blurb said it focused on rebuilding post-natal fitness and wellbeing, with exercise classes for the mums, quality dad-time for the dads, and hearty living for everyone. Plus we live right by a Eurostar station, so it almost seemed rude not to go.

Here’s our first ever family Eurostar selfie:


The Manoir
La Jugie is an ivy-strewn 18th Century farmhouse with its own bergerie (converted sheep shed), pool, and apple orchard. It sits deep in the green hills of Limousin, a 30-minute drive from Limoges (you can fly there or get the train from Paris). Inside it’s all exposed beams and graphic rugs thrown over stone floors, with delicious cooking smells coming from the cosy kitchen.

It turns out hosts Clio Wood and Bryn Snelson redecorated the manoir in their unique style when they bought it; it was only after having her own baby in 2014 that Clio founded &Breathe Postnatal, when she couldn’t find a retreat that suited her.

The house sleeps 16, so we basically had a floor to ourselves, which was great for shushing Herbie to sleep, relaxing after an exercise class, or just to bury your nose in a book when communal life got a bit too communal – there was even a delightful book-filled reading nook for this very purpose.

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This is the bit I wasn’t looking forward to. In adult life I have basically been super-thin but horribly unfit (thanks, cigarettes!), or sort-of fit but kind of chubby (thanks pizza/running!). I took up competitive biscuit-eating during pregnancy, though, and hadn’t stopped, so the notion of sausaging my post-C-section bulk into lycra didn’t really fill me with joy. However, La Jugie’s own buoyant trainer Caroline Bragg allayed my fears.

Our ensemble twice-daily sessions took place in the bergerie or the covered terrace, and incorporated circuits, pilates, cardio, and even resistance training with our babies in carriers – but all carefully modified for postnatal bodies (did you know you shouldn’t do crunches after a C-section? Nor did I), and at our own pace. Despite myself, I enjoyed my sessions, and have kept up (sort of) with the bespoke training plan Caroline gives you at the end (although I do it too sporadically at the moment, and mainly for Herbie’s amusement. MUST DO BETTER).

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Honestly, when I heard I was going on a ‘fitness’ retreat I expected to be on a diet of celery, and said a tearful farewell to ‘real food’ before I left. But I hadn’t reckoned on Clio’s amazing hearty fare and love of long, boozy dinners. Breakfasts were a smorgasbord of fruits, oats, cheese and bread, lunches were chunky soups (my favourite was the curried apple) with huge hunks of bread, and dinners were giant pots of cassoulet and pots au feu with salads (and pudding!). Everything tasted fresh and fabulous. Plus, the fact that all the families came together every evening, chatting and eating with our babies on our laps, added to the sense of bonhomie, and made dinners all the more delicious.

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Part-and-parcel with the week came an hour-long in-house professional massage for everyone. Mine was so good I passed out within minutes and shelled out for an extra session later in the week. Hot showers, late mornings, fresh air, good food, and getting your heart rate up all contributed to an overall sense of wellbeing, and on good days Bryn even ferried us out for trips to the village, shops and even the zoo. It was a bit rainy for the pool, but we explored the grounds and even scrumped a few apples (don’t tell Clio). And, as we all know, theft is very relaxing.

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Was it worth it?
Oh my god yes. The entire week was a much-needed series of deep breaths after the panic of early parenthood, and left me brimming with a sense of wellbeing I hadn’t realised I’d lost. Meeting other new parents was a bonus to this; we all put a brave face on to begin with (I was horribly intimidated by everyone) but slowly we came together and realised that we were going through very similar struggles. I honestly credit Clio, Bryn and Caroline with saving my sanity, a bit. The retreats are a wonderful idea generally, but I think few people could run such events with the warmth, welcoming and sense of fun that they possess. I’ve made some friends for life here. Thanks so much, you three.

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If you’re a new mum and you’re dithering over your summer holiday, take a look at the 2016 retreats – they might be just what you need. If you can’t commit to a week, keep an eye out for the day retreats that are coming soon to London.

Oh, and if this review sounds overly enthusiastic, it’s because I am. In fact, to paraphrase Victor Kiam, I liked it so much I joined the company! I now help with &Breathe Postnatal‘s social media and content, because I found my retreat so valuable in terms of recovering my equilibrium after the drama of becoming a mother.

If that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.

Oh, and here’s a final note from Herbie:


Sorry about all the spit.


Happy First Birthday, you tiny weirdo.

Some thoughts you may have when your baby turns one

  • ????
  • ??!?!?!
  • ??!?!??!?!?!!!?!???!?!!!!?!?!?!?!?!???!?!??!?!?!!!?!???!?!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!?!?!?!
  • One? He’s not one. I just had him.
  • *Counts on fingers* Oh god, he’s one.
  • He’s got a full head of hair and he can talk. He’s definitely one.
  • (I mean, he only shouts “Google Doodle” at the furniture and calls me “Len”, but that’s talking, right?)
  • That means I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in a whole year.
  • Which would explain why I look so much younger and more charismatic in these birth photos.
  • Remember when he was born, and they handed him to you, and you stupidly said “Oh, it’s a baby,” as though you’d been expecting a washing machine delivery instead?
  • Remember how you couldn’t understand that there had been a person living inside you for nine months?
  • Remember how much like a removed internal organ he looked when he first came out?
  • And also my grandmother?
  • Remember how small and fragile he was, like some intricate artwork made of rice paper and air?
  • Remember his snuffling, and his long, elegant fingers, and the tiny grunting noises he made?
  • *Inarticulate, maternal, hormonal oh-god-my-baby-waaah emotions*
  • *Brief pause while your one-year-old charges at you and bashes you about the face with a spittle-soaked Sophie the Giraffe*
  • Am I a terrible mother for missing the newborn version of this?
  • We shouldn’t have a party. He won’t remember it.
  • We should have a party. I want some booze.
  • We should have a party featuring all the things he likes.
  • Wait, he only likes cardboard boxes, remote controls, heights, cords, cutlery, my phone and my boobs.
  • We should have a party with big foil balloons, instead.
  • Big foil balloons that say “001”, because “1” on its own is too lame.
  • Jesus Christ. A year.
  • That’s a year of nappies, a year of rocking him to sleep, a year of breastfeeding, a year of only showering every other day.
  • A year of waking up to a slightly changed baby. Smiling, laughing, crawling, standing, walking. A year of firsts.
  • Pretty soon he’ll stop breastfeeding. And he’ll have to go into his own bed.
  • It won’t be long before he’s too big to cradle.
  • He’s already a toddler and shedding his baby habits.
  • He’s already crawling away from me to explore the world.
  • I’m already missing my baby.
  • *Tears*
  • But what will the next year bring?
  • Reading together?
  • Hearing him say my name?
  • Splashing in puddles?
  • Having conversations about dinosaurs?
  • Pushing him on the swings?
  • Being told that he loves me?
  • And potty training?
  • Oh man, I’m feeling too many emotions.
  • I think I understand why people have first birthday parties.
  • Bring on the booze!
This is the most chipper anyone's ever looked on their way to a #postnataldepression support group. I'll blog about it when I get time to myself (haven't had much lately; hence no blog posts). #parentinghonestly #pnd #maroonhoodiesareeverywhere

Sad Ladies’ Club

I haven’t updated this blog for almost two months – I had some ideas for blog posts, but very little time to write them. More importantly, I didn’t have time to make them perfect.

And perfection is really what I was aiming for. In all things – parenting, work, being a human, wifery. Over the last few months it’s become imperative that I do everything perfectly, and the irony is I have fallen further and further short of perfection every day.

Suddenly freelance commissions were taking three all-nighters in a row and a crying fit to perfect, rather than a couple of days. Piles of unwashed dishes would reduce me to tears, because I didn’t know where to start, and everyone else seemed to manage housework. Every time Herbie played happily with someone else, even his father, my stomach would curdle with bitter self-loathing. 

I’d try (and fail) for hours at the dressing table, attempting to look less beaten-up by motherhood. Some days I wouldn’t leave the house. Some days I’d avoid contact with my friends, and repeatedly ask Stu if he was angry with me, because I couldn’t understand how he, how anyone, couldn’t be. Some days I only made it out of bed to change the baby.

It didn’t even occur to me that I was depressed.

I’ve lived with anxiety my entire life – in my very early twenties I was housebound with panic disorder and agoraphobia – but waking up with this deadened feeling then progressively losing hope as the day went on was something new. Luckily I was quite open about it (and the disturbing flashbacks to the birth I’d been getting) with my GP and health visitor, and they diagnosed me with PTSD and postnatal depression.

Briefly I tried intensive CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), but after every session I was sent home with multiple pieces of homework, none of which I could complete with a needy baby hanging off my boob (and not being able to do my homework perfectly sent me into a negativity spiral). So instead I went with antidepressants and a weekly visit to a place I like to call ‘Sad Ladies’ Club’.

Sad Ladies’ Club is actually a crafts group for women with postnatal depression. It sounds awful, but isn’t. At first I wasn’t on board with such a wacky scheme (crafts? For depression? That’s like ponies for asthma), but I’ve since grown to love it.

We get together once a week, put our babies in creche, and go mad with the glitter glue for two hours. People make us tea and gesture generously towards the tin of Celebrations in the middle of the table. Nobody talks about depression. We talk about Christmas jumpers and whose baby is the shoutiest and who’s got the staple gun, please.

When I first heard about the crafts aspect, of course, I pictured orange-jumpsuited basket weaving, but it’s better than that. We make memo boards. We do decoupage. We make Christmas cards and paint giant acrylic letters for our homes. And I am so far from perfect at any of it. In fact, I am horrifically shit at it all. My Christmas cards are wonky, my giant letters are smeared with glitter glue. Don’t even talk to me about decoupage. Don’tcoupage, more like.

Sad Ladies’ Club hasn’t cured me of my perfectionism, but it’s helped. It’s legitimised my depression, and shown me that other, normal people have it. It’s given me a couple of hours a week out of my head, and out of constant mothering, and it’s got me out of the house (watching three days of The Killing in my pyjamas with an increasingly restless baby was doing no one any good).

The antidepressants have kicked in, therapy is on the horizon, I’ve risen above that negative mental feedback loop a bit, and I can see that I need help. Now I’ve sorted a part-time nanny and a fortnightly cleaner, and I’m trying not to judge myself for not being able to do it all myself.

Plus, Herbie has been nicely socialised in creche and, as shit as I am at it, I may have caught the crafts bug. I may take up crocheting, because the world needs more wonky woolly cobwebs. This week was my penultimate Sad Ladies’ Club. A very nice woman came and showed us how to make Christmas wreaths out of bits of hedgerow.

My effort is imperfect. I love it:


My baby and me, different colours

“Mummy having a bad day?”

I am on a bus with my son beside me in his pram. An old lady is tapping me on the shoulder: “Is Mummy having a bad day?”

“Oh no,” I tell her. “I’m fine, thanks.”

She shakes her head, jerking her thumb towards my blue-eyed, blond baby. “No, love. His mummy. Hard in the beginning, isn’t it? It’s good of you to take him out for her.”

“He’s actually my son,” I say, but she’s already cooing at the baby and doesn’t notice. He’s cooing back. I feel slightly conspired against.

“He’s my son,” I repeat to the bus at large, in case someone thinks I’ve stolen him. “Hahaha.”

“He’s like a Stu-coloured you,” my friends tell me. “He looks just like you facially.”

“He really doesn’t look like you at all! Are you sure he’s yours?” laugh the women at my local playgroup. “Shall we check the hospital records?”

When we’re out as a family and Stu’s carrying the baby, people get inbetween the two of us on escalators and squeeze between us on trains.

When Herbie is a couple of months old, we’re in Waterstones, and a woman asks if I’m working for families in the area: “You’re an au pair, right? Your English is very good. How long have you been in the country?”

I explain that Herbie is my son, expecting her to be embarrassed and leave, but she continues to ask questions: “Your natural son? Was it IVF?” It doesn’t occur to me to tell her it’s none of her business. “Was he from your actual egg?

Then she says my favourite thing: “He doesn’t look black at all.” It’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever heard, but I still go home and have a little cry.

Whenever he sees a dark-haired woman, Herbie tilts his head and smiles up at her from underneath his eyelashes.

And when Herbie sleeps and his face relaxes, I see my mother all over his face. My black-haired mother with olive skin and dark, flashing eyes. My son’s grandmother, who’s too sick to be in our lives right now. At night, Herbie looks just like her.

And it’s enough.

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I’m a guest on the amazing Scummy Mummies podcast!

If the wonderful Scummy Mummies ever invite you on a podcast, I highly recommend that you accept this invitation, because they will ply you with wine and cheese, give you other babies to play with, and make you laugh until your pelvic floor explodes (and if that’s not a good time, I don’t know what is).

Here I am with Stu (and, if you listen closely, Herbie and Ellie’s baby, Joe) talking to the Scummy Mummies Ellie and Helen about living in Kent, working at BuzzFeed, and making up lyrics to TV show theme tunes. Oh, and getting audibly drunker as time goes on:

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I can also highly recommend their live show – it’s a giddy whirl of gold lamé catsuits, swearing, and bawdy jokes about Mr Tumble that I don’t quite get yet. I mean, just look at this poster. Have you ever seen anything so life affirming?


If you’re around on 19 September, do go and see them in New Cross. You won’t regret it. Also, there’s wine. Thanks, Scummy Mummies! You’re brilliant.