An Interview with Surface Designer Vicky Webb AKA Crumpets and Crabsticks

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My sister and I haven’t always been that close. I wasn’t the best of sisters as a kid. It has taken a lot of growing up (and hundreds of miles) for us to be the way we are with each other today. Motherhood can and will change your relationship with your family members and it certainly has changed ours. For the better of course. Our relationship is stronger now than it has ever been and to be honest, I am a very proud big sister. I mean, I don’t wanna be all soppy and stuff, that’s not our jam, but I am proud of the things she has been able to achieve and the lessons she has learnt from my mistakes. She has worked hard to be where she is now.

It’s not everyday that you get to interview your little sister. Sounds strange saying it out loud but here I am. So let’s find out who the woman behind Crumpets and Crabsticks really is.

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Brighton Fun. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

About Vicky

Vicky AKA Crumpets and Crabsticks (30) was born in Kent but now lives in the Isle of Man with her husband, daughter and cat. Her interests lie in British culture, general anthropology and watching people, the environment, mathematics and pattern. She largely uses water colour, acrylic, and computer based image making software. She is also a maker of ethical and recycled products.

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What is the meaning behind your name?

Back at uni, we had a day of working on branding and self promotion, and one of the suggestions for coming up with a name was thinking about your favourite things. Crumpets and crabsticks are two of my favourite foods from my childhood. It kind of rolled off the tongue. It just stuck.

Why did you become a designer?

I didn’t see any other possible outcome in my life. I would not be happy doing anything else, so there was never really any other option.

What exactly is a Surface Designer?

The brain gets a rush when you notice a pattern and successfully predict what is coming next, whether this is aurally or visually. I always remember as a kid looking for the repeats in fabrics and I still do it today, almost as a little test. I designed my first repeat pattern in my last year of uni for a screen printed tote bag fundraiser and since then I’ve been hooked.

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Goats- Copyright of Crumpets and Crabsticks

Since graduating I have tried my hand at many different creative avenues, but pattern was always the most rewarding for me. I now apply my repeats to any surface that can take them. I’ve found PoD (print on demand) websites to be the best outlet for this as I can cater to the largest of audience with the largest product selection.

How would you describe yourself/your style?

Chameleon-esque? I don’t limit myself to one style. I’ll draw inspiration from anywhere and try to put my own spin on it.

Which of your own designs is your favourite?

Surprisingly, none of my best sellers. Probably the ones where I’ve surprised myself, either due to a particularly difficult technique or repeat, rather than an appealing aesthetic.

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What skill would you like to master and why?

Networking. I find the whole thing rather embarrassing (I blame being English) and things like social media get a bit neglected, but it’s a necessity in any industry these days.

If money was no object, what hobby would you like to start up?

It’s a toss up between pottery and jewellery making, as they both definitely have a paywall – but I couldn’t be happy making things that their only purpose is ornamental. Therefore pottery would win.

What are you looking forward to in the next 10 years?

Watching my Daughter grow up and seeing how she influences my designs.

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Nursery Prints – Copyright of Crumpet and Crabsticks

What does a typical day in your life look like?

A year a go it would have been – Coffee, staying in PJs, firing up the PC. If the zone can be found – I stay there until the end of the day. Now things have changed, we have a daughter now, during the day baby duties have replaced design ones. ‘The zone’ has not adapted, it still requires commitment – so I work in the evenings where I can set aside a few uninterrupted hours.

If you could live in any fictional world, which one would you choose?

Probably Discworld, because even though bad things will undoubtedly happen to you, at least they will happen with a sense of irony, and maybe a bad pun or two.

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Pressed Flower Pin Badges – Copyright of Crumpets and Crabsticks

If you could only have 2 pizza toppings for the rest of your life, what would you have?

Pineapple. Yes I know. Mushroom. – You didn’t say I had to have them together though right?

Any words of wisdom for inspiring designers?

  • Don’t give up. Your work will be terrible at first. That’s to be expected.
  • Don’t worry too much about what others think – there are so many people out there now seeing your work (thanks internet) that there is bound to be some people out there that will like your work. Be patient.
  • Design for yourself – don’t concern yourself too much about what will sell, you’ll beat the fun out of it, and you’ll have sold out before you’ve even made a sale.
  • Diversify – if you’re taking the route of PoD sites to fund your art habit make a store in all of them, they all have good days and bad days, and they all attract different types of customers. Just because Society6 worked well for someone – doesn’t mean it’ll work well for you. Don’t be too proud, Zazzle might make you more money than the top end fashionable sites if you play your cards right.

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If I am honest, it’s pretty cool and inspiring to have such a talented and creative little sister. Naturally, she challenges me to get creative, even if it is just for typical sibling rivalry. Let’s just say she helps to bring my best creative side out of me.

You can find more from Vicky on the following links:

Instagram

Facebook

Blog

Shops

Hope you’ve enjoyed the read. Let us know what you think. Do you have somebody who helps you to be more creative? Drop a comment below.

Thanks.

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

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I’m taking part in the #MummyMonday linky with Becca from Becca Blogs It Out

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2017 – a review

First of all, let me start by wishing you all a very happy new year. I hope that, regardless of how 2017 has treated you, 2018 will be amazing.

For us, 2017 was an amazing year. In February I gave birth to the most beautiful little thing. She has guided our life in a new direction and although some days it feels like we’re holding on for dear life, other days we’re thoroughly enjoying the ride. Every day with her is a gift. She is growing up so fast and I’m sure she learns something new every day! She keeps us in our toes now that she can crawl. She’s quite speedy too when she gets going. Her turning 10 months on Boxing Day means that we are about to begin the frantic process of baby proofing the whole house. She can now wave and can even say ‘bye’. That takes her word count up to four (Mumma, Dadda, Bubba and bye). If you make a gesture to kiss, she’ll lean in so you can kiss her forehead. She laughs at everything! She has 7/8 teeth. She walks when you hold her hands and easily climbs up furniture and toys so that she’s standing. She talks to her toys/herself a lot. She can recognise herself in a mirror or camera and laughs when we play back videos of herself. She’s beginning to throw tantrums too. Little strops if you take something off her or won’t let her roam freely. Soon she will be walking and we expect all hell to break loose. In a few months she will be one and that’s a very scary thought. It’s such a cute stage in her development though. Time is just going by too quickly and if I blink I fear I may miss it all!

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2017 also brought about a change of direction in my career. Unfortunately, many employers won’t make space for mums who are returning to work after maternity leave and who are in need of more flexibility. If I have one regret for last year. It would only be that I didn’t take more time off, even if it meant less or no money. In May I made the hard decision to leave my full-time job because as many will know, full time work (especially as a teacher) and motherhood do not bond well together. Whilst I fully appreciate family’s that can make it work for them, I think I’ve always known that I couldn’t commit to full time work. The decision was made with a tear in my eye. I had made friends, worked with some great people, made it through my NQT with grit, determination and a lot of bloody hard work. As well as all that I think it’s fair to say that I owe my teaching career to a couple of amazing teachers/HLTA’s who, without their support and guidance I would have easily given up in that first year. Naturally I was sad to go but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t lose contact with these ladies. I also promised that I wouldn’t allow myself to be over worked and under paid anymore so in November (after having finished late October) I became a supply teacher. The money is good, the hours are massively better, I can choose when and for how many days I want to work. The positives far outweigh the negatives in that sense. Yes, there are some really hard days and some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but being able to leave at a reasonable time and get home to my family before dark is a real bonus. Knowing that I don’t have to continue work when I get home is good. It’s such a relief to enjoy teaching again.

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in October. We went to Greenwich Park as it was somewhere we used to visit a lot when we first started our relationship. I’ve always loved Greenwich so it seemed only right that we took Zosia out for her first adventure there too. She celebrated her eighth month a few days later so we made it a double celebration. We wanted to go back to a restaurant we often went to but it had been closed down. It was sad to see it gone but it was going down hill in our last visit. Instead we went to Jamie’s Italian a little down the road. Zosia joined us at the dinner table in her own high chair for her first proper restaurant experience. She was so cute holding her dads hand across the table. It will always be a fond memory.

Being married has been the easy part. Trying to change my name has been the difficult bit. You forget how many loyalty cards you’ve got until you try to change your name on them all! Now don’t get me wrong, my husband is as much a pain in the arse as he was before we were married but he is now, as he always has been, my biggest support. He is by my side through every tough decision, when I hit the 24hr+ marker of labour and the Doctors we’re trying to make me take some form of pain relief, he stayed true to my prior decision and reminded them that it was my body and thus my decision if I took their offer or not. He held my hand through every contraction, every push, every moment of my exhaustion and my sheer jubilation at having finally, 51 hours later, given birth to our beautiful little girl! We stood together by her incubator, hand in hand. He dried my tears as I blamed myself. He held me up just as I felt the initial weight of motherhood pushing me down and helped me push back. He is and will always be my pillar of strength.

We have also just celebrated our first Christmas together as a family and it was just so magical. Zosia made a trip to another of our old haunts (Bluewater) to visit Santa and his elves. Although she didn’t seem too fussed about the whole thing, we will treasure the memories. We took her Christmas shopping and to have her first lunch at Ed’s Dinner. She only had a salad of course!

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Our Christmas Elf. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

We had our first Christmas Day to ourselves in a very long time. We got dressed before presents – something I’ve never done before. I wanted to make sure the photos were good for the future rather than a messy Mum. I know that sounds daft but when I also love to share pictures with our families so I was not going to share barless, unwashed and undressed pictures of me with anyone! Zosia was spoilt over the two days of celebrations. Families were visited on Boxing Day. She now has a mountain of toys and books. My house is awash with toys. My living room is an obstacle course. Luckily I got some nice storage boxes from the MiL so we can at least store some away. She enjoyed her Christmas dinner with us too. There was lots of love and laughter all day. It was perfect.

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First Christmas. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

It’s been difficult to keep up with the blog. Trying to find time between working and being a Mum and a wife is hard work. I’m trying to remain creative too, using my bullet journal more again and trying to make some prints to sell. I guess we’ll just have to see how the year will pan out as it goes. I’ve got plans in mind to help keep up the posts. Keep your eyes posted for a post about goals for the new year both personal and blog.

Thanks for listening

Peace and love

Monsterful Mama

Midwife and Life

 

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An Apology

So, let’s start off with a small apology.  Since returning to work earlier this month, the blog has taken a massive hit.  Being a mum and working full time is as difficult as you’d imagine.  Despite not having the full range of teacher duties (marking, planning, data and assessment etc.) I still find that I have very little time left, and the little time I do have is spent with Baby and Daddy. The house is getting untidy, it is driving me mad but Daddy is also a full time worker so as you can imagine, it’s a struggle.  Of course it is about prioritising and unfortunately, a tidy house is not high up on the list.  That’s not to say that I live in a pig sty, this is purely my inability to deal with my interpretation of untidiness. We’ve barely got time for each other but our relationship is as strong as ever so we’ll manage as we always do.  We will soon be celebrating our first wedding anniversary, so that is something to look forward to.

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Anyway, like I said, sorry for not being so active at the moment.  I am hoping to be able to pick up the pace again after the October half term as I’ll be looking for a new job or, fingers crossed, already in a new part time job.  Life will always find a way over the bumps.  Perseverance is key.

Now, what should you look forward to between now and Christmas? Well, I have a few sponsored posts coming up, my first ever bloggers event, plenty of autumn, winter, Halloween and Christmas themed posts as well as a couple more in my ‘Mummy Rants’ series. I will also be looking at writing about our first year of marriage. I am planning on doing another spotlight post featuring my sister.  She is an awesome freelance illustrator.  I’ll also be doing a few other posts based around mindfulness, bullet journals etc. So keep an eye out for the next few months.

Again, thanks for sticking with me during this slight down time.  I will be back with a vengeance soon enough.  It means a lot to me that you’re all still here.

 

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

 

 

 

An Interview with Chloe Lee – Wedding Photographer

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If you know me personally, you’ll know that I don’t make friends easily. So, about a year ago I joined a little group in my borough. Most of the people in the group were older, by quite a bit. There was a few people nearer my age but admittedly I do tend to judge a book by its cover (I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t but it is an easy way to spot people who may have common interests). So when I first saw Chloe, with her big glasses, tattoos and quirky attire, I knew I wanted to get to know her.

Long story short, were now very good friends. We have a lot in common so get on really well. I knew I wanted her to do our photography the moment I saw her website. It’s full of great images that are bright and colourful. So after doing a bit of on-line stalking, we finally asked her to be our photographer. But, Chloe wasn’t just our photographer, she also had a place at our wedding as a friend and was involved in a lot in the build up to the big day and even helped with my hen do and the morning of the wedding. We’ve spent many hours together sorting the creative aspect of it all, hand making a lot of the decorations. My hubby and I consider ourselves very lucky to be able to call Chloe a friend.

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Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography

‘I prefer to document the day as it happens. I’ll still capture all the little details that you’ve planned and made, the family photographs for your nan’s mantelpiece and of course awesome portraits of you having fun and being super loved up.’

Whilst sipping coffee and having a catch up, I decided to do a little interview with Chloe. Having the chance to interview a friend is a strange thing, but it’s a great experience. I took the chance to ask her some questions about her work and life, so I’ll stop gushing about our friendship so you guys can get to know Chloe for yourselves.

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Chloe and I. Copyright of Monsterful Mama and Chloe Lee.

About Chloe

Chloe Lee (26), born and bred in Essex, is a Harry Potter obsessed wedding photographer. She studied photography at college and went on to do it at degree level in Bristol. Having dabbled in fashion photography for a while, she then found her calling as a wedding photographer and has been for two years. Her image style is alternative, fun and quirky, and is pretty relaxed and informal. Chloe becomes apart of your day with her insane ability to mingle yet be invisible so that she can catch those candid photos of your big day. You can find out more about her here.

What hobby would you do if money was no object?

If I had all of the money, I would love to get into property developing. I love up-cycling furniture but renovating a house would take that hobby to a whole new level!

What skill would you like to master?

I would love to play the piano, especially classical piano. I think when played right it is so beautiful and such a hard thing to master. Although I maybe would say it’s much like art in that I do think it’s a lot about having musical talent than simply learning a skill.

What are some small things that make life better?

Chocolate, tea, cheese, Netflix…

When did you first know that you wanted to be a wedding photographer?

After I photographed my first wedding! I helped a friend on a wedding as uni term was nearly over and I wanted to get out with my camera and it was like I’d stepped into another universe and literally was that cliché light bulb moment of “Wow! This is so much more than I thought it would be,” and from then on, I spent a few years doing the occasional wedding or assisting job to build up my portfolio.

What are you most looking forward to in the next ten years?

Hopefully buying a house, travelling and meeting lots of awesome couples!

What habit would you like to unlearn if you could?

Nail biting… it’s my worst habit.

What has been your favourite experience?

Ah there’s been so many! Going to France to shoot a wedding was pretty awesome though!

List five things you always carry with you.

Phone, pen, notepad, lipstick and business cards.

Who would you have photograph your wedding?

I’m super lucky to have lots of talented photographer friends but from the moment I discovered Camera Hannah’s work a few years ago, followed her journey and then met her earlier this year so, it would definitely be her without a doubt!

How would you describe your photography style?

Alternative, Fun, quirky, informal, creative, and colourful!

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So, if you’re getting married, Chloe is available and doesn’t mind travelling the extra mile.  I would definitely recommend her to you all. You can check out her gallery here.

Chloe on Facebook

Chloe on Instagram

Thanks for reading.

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

10 Things That Make Me Happy

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Copyright Monsterful Mama

I know that I have recently done a post about happiness, and those being the three main things so let’s make this one a bit of fun.  Call it a ‘getting to know you’ kinda blog post!

The Ten Things That Make Me Happy are…

  1. Family: So of course this is a given. My little family are my world. You can read about them in more detail here.
  2. Pens: Lots and lots of pens. Brush pens, fine liners, fountain pens, highlighters, bright ones, pastel ones, black and white ones. You name it I will happily buy it for the right price, which leads me on to number three.
  3. Bullet Journal: I love getting creative in my bullet journal but it is also a fantastic way to get organised. My motto before was that I was an organised mess. My style was organised chaos but now with my bullet journal I can manage appointments without forgetting them, track progression of my blog in my blog bujo and get to keep on being creative with the many challenges in hand lettering etc.
  4. Food: I have a love hate relationship with food. I LOVE to eat it … all… but it does not agree with my waistline. I love cheesy pizza, stringy, gooey pizza, salted caramel flavoured thing, peanut butter on toast, a good old fashion roast dinner, cake of many varieties, coffee flavoured things too, chocolate of course… the list goes on. It actually surprises me that I am not bigger than I am! I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. If we go out for dinner, I will often chose a vegetarian option because my husband is a vege-phobe!
  5. Washi Tape: There are sooooo many different varieties of tape out there in the world, and like in Pokemon, I want to catch them all! I use them quite sparingly in my bullet journal but I just love to collect them. They are just so pretty!
  6. Video games: I don’t mind which platform but would prefer the PS4 and PC over Xbox. I used to love Nintendo but they have made their consoles big and clunky and unnecessarily so. They had great consoles with the N64 and the GameCube so I dont know why they had to mess about with it all. I love to play games such as; Skyrim, Terraria, Minecraft, The Sims, Stardew Valley, Starbound, Anno, Don’t Starve, Legend of Zelda, Fallout 4, WoW, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Civilization, Life is Strange etc. I love a bargain on Steam or on the PlayStation Store especially if it is an indie game.
  7. Taking Pictures: I love taking pictures. I’ve been referred to as the happy snapper before. I won’t go so far as to claim I am any good at taking pictures, but I do okay. My degree is in Photography but again, there are no guarantees that, that means I am good. I mostly take pictures of my little girl now but the degree has helped with setting up a few flat lays for the blog. I am currently in love with using black and white film in my Instax Mini. I’m now very jealous of my best buds skills in photography, so much so I got her to do our wedding! Chloe is awesome at capturing the natural quirkiness at weddings. I have enlisted her help many times when it comes to my own photography.
  8. Travel: I haven’t seen much of the world but I have loved seeing the bits that I have seen. Japan has got to be the best place we’ve been. We love going somewhere with lots of history or culture. There are sooo many more places on our list but, what with having a baby, we know it will be a while before we can tick the big ones off. Meanwhile, seeing a bit more of the UK will keep us occupied until Zosia is old enough to fly comfortably.
  9. Self Care Time: Because I have spent so many years living alone, I do enjoy a bit of me time, alone time. It is great to get to grips with thoughts and feelings and sometimes just to clear some of the cobwebs away. I will often take a coffee break on my own (mostly with Zosia though) in a café in town. I will mill around town with no real intent to buy things, although that doesn’t mean I won’t buy anything! It’s not really about buying anything, it is about being by myself.
  10. Creativity: I have always been a bit creative but never really known how to channel it. I’ve tried performing arts, photography, painting etc. I still don’t really know what my creative ‘niche’ is but I am loving the process of trying to figure it out. My sister is an illustrator so I’ve always been jealous of her mad skills for drawing and using watercolours. At the moment I am trying to learn new digital creative skills with my hubby teaching me tricks on PhotoShop, Illustrator and CSS/HTML etc.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little more. Here are my tags for bloggers that you should get to know!

  1. itsallzara.co.uk
  2. http://thismamacan.com/

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

Three Things That Make Me Truly Happy!

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Created by and copyright of Monsterful Mama.

So as life goes on, the things that makes us happy evolves.  Ten years ago I would have said something along the lines of; alcohol, sex, music, reading, video games, friends etc. Now things are so very different.  Firstly, I’m ten years older, the greys are beginning to show, I’m sure I am fatter than I was back then and I now drink coffee like it’s going out of fashion and smother most foods in garlic.  My life now is so far removed from what it used to be.  I was a confused girl back then.  I had no sense of purpose or direction.  I didn’t even know who I was let alone what truly made me happy.  You see those six things listed above are a lie.  Alcohol was damaging my relationships.  It skewed my understanding of what love was.  It replaced the need to be loved with this sickness for desire.  I yearned for someone to want me, need me, for them to not be able to function without me as I so often felt about someone else.  This sickness for desire corrupted a relationship I was in as I felt he didn’t want me enough.  You see it in the films.  A love and desire that’s so fierce that a person would do anything for you, including give up a dream job, because that’s just how much you mean to them.  I was becoming the kind of person I had hated so much as a teenager and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.  A few years later thing only seemed to be getting worse.  I was a mess and things were getting scarily out of my control.  I had lost myself in this other person.  I was no longer the bubbly, slightly in your face girl.

Now, ten years on, I finally have someone that gets that, that can provide all of that for me and has helped me grow into the woman I am not and that’s where number one comes in.

1. My soul mate:

We met eight years ago through a mutual friend.  We (my mate and I) went to the local pub for a drink as a foursome.  I remember the first moment I saw him as he walked past the floor to ceiling windows.  He looked kinda goofy.  All arms and legs with a mop of hair on his head.  I even remember the t-shirt he was wearing because it looked like a piece of paper with lines on it.  I spent the night getting a little tipsy on a drink that could’ve killed him (although I didn’t know that at the time) or at least caused a bit of swelling to the face. That evening I went home to stay at my friends house.  When we woke up the next morning, make-up round my eyes, hair askew, breathe a little stinky, I messaged him on her MSN.

‘Hello sweet cheeks!’ I wrote.

My friend and I giggled as I sent it.  We chatted with him for a while and then we went on with our day.  I didn’t speak to him much after that but I saw him again and my friends birthday party.  I spent the evening flirting with him and a week later we went on our first date.  I guess the rest is history as they say.  Eight years on this goofy, lanky, mop headed fool is my husband.  He has allowed me to be the best version of me.  He has given me the most beautiful and funniest little girl who is currently ‘singing’ to herself. He makes me laugh so hard I cant breathe and my laugh becomes a series of squeaks so high pitched that only dogs can hear it.  Yes, there are times where I could kill him but they are minimal compared to the good times, the fun times we’ve had together.  France, Belgium, Italy, JAPAN! The countless comic cons we’ve been to.  The endless hours of movie nights and the all nighter games nights.  Through all of the tears and tantrums, he has been my lobster.  Without him, the happiness I experience now, would not exist.

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Happiest Day of my Life pt 1.  Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography and Monsterful Mama.

2. My daughter:

I think it is safe to say that she is most definitely the apple of my eye.  My whole world revolves around her and her needs.  She is such a beautiful baby, inside and out.  She is only five months old but is already such a little character.  I could spend hours watching her sleep or play, listening to her test her voice with the sweetest coo’s or when she lets out a little giggle.  I love to see her reach little development milestones and I love being her mummy.  She makes me so happy that I swear I have ovaries growing on my ovaries and a heart the size of the moon.  This is a new kind of happiness though.  One I’ve never experienced before and I love every moment of it.  I cannot wait to see her become a more and more animated as she learns new things.  I am so excited for our first proper conversation and to start teaching her the ways of the world.  I look forward to seeing the woman she will become too.  It is all so new and exciting.

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Big Girls Lunch.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

3. Friendships:

Many times I’ve read that becoming a mummy means your social life will suffer.  Friends will disappear and family will only want to come round to see the baby, not you.  Yet, this is not true for me.  Since Zosia was born my friendships have strengthened.  The lads love to come round to see Zosia (they pretend they want to play cards but I know its cos they love our cheeky little monkey!).  I meet up with the girls regularly and it’s helped to rebuild bridges with a few old friends.  I am sure I will lose a friend or two on the way, I think that will be inevitable but I also look forward to making new friends, mummy friends, super nerdy, awesome friends!  Since I left my home town, I found it really hard to make new friends.  Sure, the lads are my friends too, but they were his friends first.  I was missing female companionship.  At university I made few acquaintances but nobody that would stick around for long.  So it makes me very happy that I now have a few gal pals to hang out and scoff ice-cream with every now and then.

What is happiness to you?  What makes you truly happy?  Leave me a comment and let me know.
Thanks
Peace and Love,

Monsterful Mama