Sunday, 30 September 2012

Thought-provoking sister Kate (1)

Egg whites - not just a great omelette but a fever cure too 

I wanted to share this useful info that my sister just sent me... Cheers Kate

I know the girls have temperatures fairly regularly and thought you might be interested in this link. We haven't had to use this before as Tom so rarely has a temperature but our friend, Sara has Lilianna who is just 3 and she had a temperature yesterday and was really miserable with it and so we suggested she have a go. Being rather desperate to bring the 103 temp down a bit, she did it and within 25 mins the heat had moved from her head and torso! 
Looks like lots of people have had success with this....
Hope it proves interesting!

Down to earth with a bump (3) - TEARS

I’m sure not every pregnant woman finds themselves in tears as much as I did, but as I was saying, I cried a lot in those first few weeks. Once I’d gotten over the intial shock of being pregnant, and gotten passed the ‘grieving our lives are over’ stage, the next thing was simply feeling sad. Quite stupidly sad.

One Saturday, Simon came in to find me balling my eyes out on the sofa because Harry Redknapp was staying as Portsmouth Football Club’s manager. (At the time he had been linked to moving away). But Harry said that he wouldn’t leave Pompey. He wouldn’t do that to the clubs’ fans. I explained the situation to Simon through stifled sobs.

‘Well darling it’s great then; he’s staying put. But sweetie, you don’t even like football.’
‘I know’, I wailed.

The good news is that no matter however real it seems at the time, your world isn’t really ending. Some of the most horrendous days can be looked back on and laughed at. For example:
I had a little accident. In a posh shop. Whilst trying on an expensive dress.

Having been invited to four weddings throughout the summer (we had had the funeral already), I wanted to find the perfect outfit that would do all four of them, for fortunately, they would be different sets of people at each, meaning one dress does all. (By the way, isn’t it funny that the first thing any woman asks when you say you have four weddings to attend is, ‘Can you wear the same outfit to all?).

My buy one get three free venture called for a simply gorgeous outfit. And one where I was not about to look like a frump with a bump.

Anyway, prior to my 21week scan appointment, Simon and I popped in to town to find me an outfit. In a very posh maternity shop. I had just got the first dress on, when the helpful assistant asked: ‘Would you like to try on a pair of heels with that to complete the look?’

The biggest mistake. As I went arse over tit I instinctively grabbed my bump on the way down. This just made things worse for I then totally lost all balance. I was just doing the splits when I somehow caught myself and instead stepped on to one of the now upturned stilettos. The full weight of my (massive already) frame landed on top of it. And as the arch of my foot sunk over the heel I fell in to Simon’s arms with a howl. Poor Simon. He took one look at my bloody wound and went for a sweet cup of tea. For me I think?

It was only at this point through tears I looked at the shop assistant (who stood rigid) and asked after the dress… ‘Is it alright?’

I peered through my blurred vision in to the full-length mirror. Alas. I could see the rip up the back. Must have happened as I did the splits. In a £130 dress. Great. Perhaps if it is a girl, the top name now ought NOT to be Grace?

We went on to the hospital for the scan, me in one shoe, where they proceeded to tell us that our baby has extremely long legs and is in the 95th percentile already. More tears.

I said bye to Simon as he went off to work, more tears. And then my mum who was up in Lancashire for the week, just happened to ring. Oh what timing. ‘Are you okay darling? Everything alright?’

I had to stop the car. I had to stop crying. But I could not stop crying. And then on and off all afternoon, yet more tears. I’m surprised I didn’t drown that day. I was utterly exhausted come the evening. With a big baby. And no dress.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Down to earth with a bump (2) HORMONES AT WORK (I)

It is fair to say that I blubbed a lot in those first few weeks. Well initially I grieved; upset for the fact that my life was over. That we two were going to become three. How selfish is that? But Simon and I had such fun. It was SOOO great just the two of us.

One of our chats, I’m now ashamed to admit, was where I beside myself, sobbed that actually I wasn’t sure I even wanted this baby. Hormones are a terrible thing. My husband is a wonderful man. He helped me see that actually, I also hadn’t been sure if I’d even wanted to get married – and it had ended up being the very best thing I’d ever done.

That and the realisation that thousands of women spent thousands of pounds on trying for a baby and still didn’t get the end result, made me pull myself together and start to see it from another angle.

Simon had a theory. His thoughts were that had we actually been trying for a baby, it would not have happened overnight. As usual he’s probably right.
But as it was happening and with renewed acceptance of the whole scenario, I suddenly found myself buying books galore. What to expect when you’re expecting, what to eat when you’re pregnant, Dr this and Nurse that. You name it. One had included a survey which asked you and your partner a series of questions. I was filling in my answers and calling through to Simon in the lounge.

‘Hospital or home birth?’ I wrote my answer in the allocated space: ‘Don’t know.’ Quick as a flash he shouted back, ‘home birth’.

Clearly he’d given it some thought as when I quizzed him on it, he said:
1)   You’re less likely to pick up an infection – both you and the baby.
2)   You’d have 100% midwife care
3)   You’ll be so much calmer.
Yes. It all made sense. After all, years ago there was no alternative and all babes were born at home.

My first visit to the midwife I was eight weeks pregnant. Although in fact I was only really six. It’s strange how they do that as it throws you completely at the start. According to ‘them’ at the time of conception (surely zero point something) you are already two weeks. Anyway, go with it. So there I am at the surgery asking the midwife about homebirths. She clearly loves me for this and is a massive advocate, because it is immediately written on my notes that I’m having a homebirth before I’ve even discussed complications with her.

And then the pregnancy continued and the baby developed and I began to grow. At rather a rate. I recall it was actually around the five-six month mark that I changed my mind; realising this whole birth thing was fundamentally flawed. I mean, how in God’s name is something so big supposed to fit through something so small? An obstetrician I’d once met on holiday had said to me: ‘Travelling from being in utero to the outside world is the most dangerous journey we ever make.’ And that was the clincher.

So there you have it. I was going the hospital route and pain relief was to be my birthing partner. The midwife changed my notes.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Down to earth with a bump (1) Tingling tits & peeing on sticks

It was 2007, when I first felt my tits tingle beneath my winter coat whilst walking up Regent Street on my lunch break. My OH Simon and I had been married for five months. Only five months.But the signs were all there. My boobs weren't sore as in prior to a period. They were just plain weird. Buzzing: it was both bizarre and alarming all at the same time. Oh and also rather nice.
And then there was a journey home one evening from my job on the mag. As I went underground at Piccadilly, a choir of school children angelically sang out Christmas carols to the hundreds of commuters passing each minute. I stood with the whirlwind of commotion rushing by. Oblivious to it all. Just aware of the beautiful sound these angels were creating. 5.45pm on a Tuesday night at the tube and I was transfixed with tears streaming down my face. I got home that night and said to Simon again: ‘I’m definitely pregnant.’

‘Do a test and we’ll see,’ he said still unconvinced.

It was one night. That was all it had been. One night without contraception. One drunken night where we were too lustful to even be remotely concerned about getting pregnant.

Anyway, when we did start to try for a baby, surely it would take at least a year to fall? With my track record of gynae problems I knew it wouldn’t happen instantly.

The test was negative. The cross in the window never materialised. Simon shrugged and I was baffled. ‘But I’m pregnant. I know I am. This is wrong.’

It had only been two weeks since my period. I must have been days – hours pregnant but instinctively I knew.

I repeated the test two weeks later – the day I was due on. It felt kind of weird. I didn’t know how I felt in all honesty.

A huge part of me was aware that my life was only just settled. My career prospects were great. Our home was wonderful and the two of us had so much fun. I wanted at least another year of what we had. On the other hand, perhaps a very tiny part of me would somehow be disappointed if the cross in the window did not materialise.

I woke early. It was a Saturday. I peed on the stick. Again. This time I left it on the side of the bath and went down to make a cup of tea. I couldn’t look. I asked Simon to. I stood at the foot of the stairs staring up at him at the top. ‘Well?’
He nodded and grinned. ‘Fliippin heck. You’re pregnant.’

We met somewhere on the stairs and hugged. I had to keep looking at the little cross that was actually there this time.

I kept that stick for weeks and continued to look at it to remind myself it was real. In the end for health reasons I had to throw it in the bin.

A little more detail (3) Journalism, marriage & pregnancy

got a job in media, a husband, a baby

About... 2004

Both the year I graduated and met a totally refreshing young man whom I later fell very much in love with. But for this year, he went off around the globe while I stayed in a friend’s compact and bijou Streatham residence, trying to break into the world of media. BTW, I love that friend!

About... 2005

Shared a Southfields house that soon became a hole. Yes, having found the perfect digs, the landlord a few weeks later said, ‘I’ve rented all the rooms, you can move in now. However, I’m not sure how you will feel about sharing with five boys?’ I thought to myself, how bad can that be? Surely it will be easier than living with five girls? 
No, definitely not, and to quote my extremely clever 4YO Esme Grace, BOYS ARE DISGUSTING!
I did land a job on a magazine though. Happy days. And what got me that job? Not my first class degree, no. The fact that I’d written I had sheared a sheep on my CV. Classic.

About... 2006

The refreshing man was back from his travels by now and still keen, so this year I moved out of town and in with him. He properly became my OH. It was all going so well until I collapsed with pneumonia. Was really sick for months and couldn’t blow out a candle for over a year. Cracked two ribs from coughing. Was not surprisingly left totally depressed by it all. In December went to Dublin where my darling OH asked me to marry him. I started smiling again in earnest. A lot.

About... 2007

A breakdown, shit happened, my OH saved me. 
Married in June. Pregnant by November.

I've decided to record the details of my first pregnancy as a weblog. Surprised? Of course you are! Actually, it's like the rest of the GraceFaith blog, it's really so that I have it for me, always. And of course, my two delicious children. One Grace one Faith... But also, that as a writer, other women in the same boat (or otherwise), can share it. It will be called Down to earth with a bump


The engagement ring incident

So Sofia Faith, (1YO) decides today it would be fun to scare mummy senseless.

She pads in to the bathroom looking like she may have something in her mouth (not unusual, we have already been to A&E regards a choking incident. Note to self, must write entry for that hideous happening.

I take the time to look down, thinking it is only her coming teeth bothering her again and that she is girning and chewing her cheek all at the same time. But I actually catch something sparkle.

She grins and as she does so, my ££££!!!! diamond ring pops out. Just like that.

Moral - always take the time.

Laced around my ankles (1)


I suppose it all comes down to the seductive shoes I was wearing that night. They were Italian and very red. I’d bought them about a week before in an equally seductive side street, in a Chianti town, whilst nannying.

That particular July day had been hot, repressive. I had awoken myself with a jolt to the neck. The kind that makes a loud cracking sound and results in spending the next fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to lift your head off the pillow. The children had been difficult all morning. Their Dad was on hand to relieve me, as was ibuprofen, but neither were being too clever.

After lunch it became apparent that I was going to need something stronger. Tears welled as I attempted to explain my symptoms in broken English to the dark eyed pharmacist. Luckily the fact that both of us were limited in one another’s language, did not hinder the situation – anyone looking at my lop-sided yet erect stance could immediately tell I had well and truly fucked my neck.

Turning my whole body to look his way, he approached with a strip of large capsules. Oh God no, I thought. Not suppositories for this surely? Thankfully, these were to be taken orally: one every eight hours. He was intent on making it clear to me that they were strong. But still I looked at him and asked rather pathetically, “Two?”
“No, only one,” came the fatherly reply. 
“Oh but two, please,” said I, a tear breaking over the lower lid.

This obviously had tremendous effect and appealed to the pharmacist’s emotional side. His anima didn’t need to hear anymore and he gently motioned, “Ok, two, but after that one, every eight hours.” 
“Fine,” said I. With thanks I took the medicine, paid and left; of course I didn’t look back, instead I went to a bar in the square, sat in the sunshine and proceeded to take two potent painkillers with a carafe of wine.

A little more detail (2)

nannied again to pay off some of that debt, got fired

(The bosses)   

He had a sense of humour and said, ‘Yey, the nanny finally got laid!’

She did not and said, ‘This is the last time the nanny gets paid.’
Was I upset? Yes, for sure. I loved that kid.
Was I philosophical? You bet, I wanted to change direction.
So I did. 
Working in a pub, I moved in with a mate and started a degree.

Nothing much to report through the uni years except I totally fell for a bloke. 

An officer (and not a gentleman) in the Canadian navy, it's a long story... a book. 

Here's chapter one...

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A little more detail (1)

I loved travelling, and indeed it was those wilderness years that led me to write. 

Writing those first ever emails home, and even then prefering to lick a stamp and send a scrawl across the miles.

And then of course, there were the diaries I kept. Lots of them over the years. Whether I was abroad and nannying, or backpacking or city breaking... there was usually a written report about it all. 

It's really no surprise that I found my LIFE AS IT IS to be centred around writing and ended up doing a Media writing degree, followed by a job in journalism.

PS How's this for wanderlust nostlagia? Remember when you used to collect your precious poste restante letters from every planned city stop, and pore over them, hungry for news? Long gone... sort of sad huh?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A brief history (A little detail)

From there to here.

I grew up in Baffins, Portsmouth. 
I loved school, always. 
I loved my extra curriculum activities of dance and piano. 

At 16 I had a Saturday job in a chemist and began training as a nursery nurse. 

At 18 I qualified, learned to drive and moved to London, where my nannying career began. 

I got to know London well.

I fell in love with life.

At 20, I went abroad. 

I never looked back. 

Eventually I gave up other people's children for a sarong and fishing rod. (That may sound like I became a lonesome nerd. Twas NOT so!)

And there you have it, I can sum up my 20's with a backpack and a book. 

And I can sum up my 30's as having nothing but stories to tell and debt to pay off. For I finally disembarked from a plane, nannied again to pay off some of that debt, got fired, did a writing/journalism degree. Got a job in media, a husband, a baby, another baby and before I knew it, found my

FOOTNOTE added 2018.

As time passed, our life as it is watched babies grow into little girls. The blog here documented the ups and downs, the ups have been plenty. And the downs, well they've certainly given me much to write about, including allergies and screaming, hospital visits, postnatal depression and more latterly chats regarding the Autistic Spectrum and my personal battle getting a Lyme Disease diagnosis. Throughout it all, our little family has remained steadfast and secure. Living and loving our life as it is.

And we are off...

The story so far...

I'm Emma, I've a darling OH (Simon), and a big girl Esme (just 4) and a baby, Sofia (just 1).

Together, we muddle through and find our LIFE AS IT IS. 

But before I can really start this blogging malarkey about life as it is, I feel I ought to return to life as it was, once upon a time...


Tut Tut! Red tape!

Before I blog, I'm required to get the legal bit out of the way:


Within this blog, I will review products and places. 

Often, this will be as a result of trying something out and wanting to give it a recommendation on social media.

Other times, it will be because I've been gifted products on the condition that I write a review on the GraceFaith blog LIFE AS IT IS. 

In this instance, I will:

1) State this is the case within the review. 

2) Always write honestly, forming my own opinions. 

Therefore not be influenced by the fact that I've received a product for free.


Occasionally on the GraceFaith blog LIFE AS IT IS, I refer to health matters and give advice. 

I do not practise as a medical professional, and am no expert. 

I am however, a trained Nursery Nurse. I have a Diploma in Child Psychology, and a Media Writing/Journalism degree. 

I also have first hand experience of living with Lyme disease and other tick-borne infection.

I am also, first and foremost, a mum. A mum who has lived a life prior to having children. Thank goodness! 

Do take some of what I say, with a big pinch of salt. Or, consider what I say, and take note of it... Whichever, please don't think that because something may have helped me or my children, it may automatically help you and yours too. It may not!


Unauthorised use and/or duplication of material without express permission from me, Emma Oliver (the author of LIFE AS IT IS, aka the GraceFaith blog, @Em_Oliver_), is strictly prohibited.

Excerpts and links may however be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Emma Oliver, her LIFE AS IT IS, and Em_Oliver_, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thank you for reading this page - now onto the next.

And you're off...

Dear Visitors

I started LIFE AS IT IS in 2012 before Fia was one, below is the introduction I wrote back then. The updated version, should say that I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in Jan 2018 and that since then, posts have mainly been documenting living with lyme. How writing some days has been too difficult because the brain doesn't always behave, but how writing will forever remain my passion. How the children's book is now complete - just waiting the publishing deal(!) - and how my gorgeous girlies that are all too quickly growing up, complete me, to the point of saying these days motherhood is utterly delightful!

Hello there, thanks for stopping by! I'm Emma; writer, producer and blogger, and this is LIFE AS IT IS, aka the GraceFaith blog (reasons for which are mentioned below). A lifestyle and parenting weblog with a warm and honest approach to motherhood and journalism, and well, my Life As It Is. 

I am a full-time Surrey mum of two little ones, who luckily likes typing. You see, I'm used to writing; I meet lots of deadlines for a living... As well as this collection of posts. For the blog realisation dawned, and with it an opportunity to write whatever I wanted to write. Oh and God, how that is something else altogether. More than writing, it's therapy. A lovely, fuzzy therapy. Look, you can read what it's all about by having a nose now that you're here, but just quickly, here's the gist:


In other words, my blog represents LIFE - never ending, ever changing, sometimes fading, sometimes blooming. Here you will find stories. Tales old and new, funny and sad. Travel articles, nanny notes, product reviews. The odd rant and tip, dare I go so far as to say, even advice too. Not to mention my frank views of motherhood. By which I mean, if you are looking to read refreshing posts about how life with two small children can be utterly crap, you've come to the right place. At times, motherhood is not all it is cracked up to be - I only wish that more mothers admitted to having a tough time. For if more women were honest about how they struggled with motherhood, the pressures on mums everywhere, wouldn't be so great. You will be pleased to know that I finally settled into it. I would actually go as far as to say I absolutely love it NOW! I wrote about that HERE

Our eldest Esme Grace was saved after being very sick at birth, and our youngest, Sofia Faith, well, we had to fight to keep her, so this is why my blog has over time, also become affectionately termed the GraceFaith blog. 

Esme's story, DOWN TO EARTH WITH A BUMP, are a collection of posts regards my pregnancy with her. Sofia's story follows with EVEN MORE DOWN TO EARTH WITH A BUMP, mainly a record of her pregnancy for my keeping.

Read, and you will soon learn my blog is my little outlet of all things dream. My remembrance spot for things gone by. A place to be creative. A place to rant. A place for my girls when they are grown up. A place for me.


Thank you for visiting.

PS If you have a story, do get in touch: 
Twitter: @Em_Oliver_
Instagram: @PicturingLifeAsItIs