A Lipstick Feminist.

So, being new to blogging, I have been spending a lot of time checking out other peoples blogs, trying to find inspiration, laughing at cats and craziness. It actually does inspire me how many intelligent and thoughtful people there are on the great web that connects us all! (We’ll ignore those irritating little trolls/flies that also happen to appear caught in the web every now & then!)

I was surprised to see so much stuff being written about feminism. This interests me. I have often pondered where exactly I am on this issue. I guess growing up in Britain in the 80’s 90’s  recently,(-ish) I pretty much have always taken it for granted that women have equality. Our household was female dominated and full of strong personalities, my brother was certainly never given any preferential treatment. We all did chores and we all climbed trees. But whilst my brother,and sister’s, would be scaling branches in their welly’s and jeans I was always trying to catch up, because the frilly tutu I had chosen to wear that day kept getting caught and snagged on a branch, or I would drop my dolly! But I always got there in the end… and it was my choice to wear a tutu!! 🙂

As I have grown older, I still take it for granted that women are equal. I love it that Britain has a history of female leaders (good and bad) Thatcher, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth (both of them-my namesakes!) Boudicca… It makes me proud! Yet, I love it that my husband opens doors for me and insists on walking on the outside of the pavement. (I swear I had a real “Oh My God, you’re just like Mr Darcy!” moment!) Does this make me less of a feminist… I’m not so sure? 

I prefer to think of myself as a ‘Lipstick Feminist’. According to wikipedia ‘Philosophically, Lipstick feminism proposes that a woman is empowered — psychologically, socially, politically – by the wearing of cosmetic make up, sexually suggestive clothes, and the practice of a sexual allure that appeals to men and to women.’ 

Yes!!! Oh Yes!! This is me… ! I would still climb that tree, it might take a little longer and pose a few more challenges along the way but Dammit I’ll get there… & I’d look good doing it!(I was 8 – I probably ripped my favourite party frock, hadn’t brushed my hair for days and lost a welly on the way up! I didn’t care what I looked like, I was just being me!) And this is what it should be about: feminism, Masculism all of it… We need to be OURSELVES. We need to be comfortable in our own skin and when we are – we can achieve ANYTHING! No tree or obstacle is insurmountable. It’s only when we deny ourselves the freedom of self that we start to doubt our abilities, question our talents or second guess ourselves.

Spiritually I try to celebrate the divine balance between female and male. Whilst women should be afforded equal rights and allowed to act like women. Men should be afforded the same courtesy. Do we allow men to be true men today? Have we emasculated modern man??? (seriously I want to hear your thoughts? Do we let guys have the freedom to be guys?? Or are they judged negatively for it?)


I think Marilyn Monroe (that famous feminist!!) said something along the lines of “I don’t mind if it’s a man’s world, as long as I can be woman in it” ❤

One of the (few) rules in our house was that we were not allowed to wear make up until we were 15! (But obviously there was still a secret stash of mascara for on the school bus!) Today you will rarely see me without make-up, even on days when I will not see another soul except my children, I still wear make up. It’s not for my husband, it’s not for my kids,it’s not because commercials tell me I need it (I have 2 under 5’s – I don’t get to read magazines or watch TV, and ‘The Gruffalo’ doesn’t exactly make me feel a burning need to reach for the “slap”) It is for ME. It makes me feel good  dressed, actually. And, well, like Me, not mum. And anything that helps save your identity with kids is a plus… That all important “me” time. There are also very few self-confidence flaws that can’t be fixed with Red lipstick, it makes you feel like the goddess and temptress that you are!!

Now wear is my wedding dress???? I have a burning desire to climb a tree…..

Big Red Kisses, Light & Love xxx





On this day 5 years ago, my husband lost a close friend in Battle. Every November I think we forget and then something jogs my memory and I shed a tear for him, although I never met him.

But he fought alongside my husband during a difficult tour, he had a 9 month old baby and we were expecting our first, so he became a mentor of sorts to my husband, filling him in on the interesting bits of parenting. I shed a tear for his ‘Mrs’ and his daughter. I shed a tear out of gratitude that my husband is still here to raise our children; and then I feel guilty. 


One day I want to write a novel about the trials of life and love within the military. Actually, one day I want to finish my novel and get it published. If ever I have the confidence and willpower and time to finish and polish and edit correctly!

Have shared an unedited extract from my notebook below if anyone is interested in reading, all criticism received with grace (& tears!)


“For those that have had to fight for it, freedom has a flavour the protected will never know” Unknown. 

Never forget the sacrifices made, and still being made, daily by our armed forces and their families.



The patrol was exhausting, as usual. Sweat trickled down his forehead and his breathing was heavy under the strain of his day sack and weapon. The heat was already intense, dust sticking to his perspiration, caking his face. 

They heard the bang, and as they ducked down, and scrambled for cover an RPG screamed over their heads and exploded harmlessly behind them. The RPG had kicked up a massive dust cloud in its back blast. The yelling cacophony of different accents,cursing and swearing, shouted orders, the snap of gunfire filled the air, another screech of an RPG and the smell of cordite surrounded them. Then the words that no one wanted to hear. The words that mean they have lost yet another brother in arms.

‘CAS EVAC.  CASUALTY. We need a MERT’ The snap of gunfire gave way to eerie silence as the enemy retreated and the soldiers administered what first aid they could to their fallen comrade. Eventually after what felt like too long, the welcome sound of the medical evacuation helicopter broke the silence.

To the lads on the ground it sounded like the beating of angel wings.

          Tears of rage stream down her face. The raindrops on the window pane echo her tears as she stares vacantly, watching a miserable November day become a miserable November evening, her laptop balanced on her lap. The tears fall onto the keyboard and she struggles with the email she is writing:

Hey Babe,

The scan went well, baby is growing and about the size of a melon now. (I FEEL HUGE!!)….

If only you could have been there…

If only you could call…

Beth stares at the sealed envelope in her hand and places it against the computer screen, half hoping the blueish light from the screen might reveal its secret. Her hands hover, poised over the keyboard but she has nothing else she can think of to say. She can’t beg him to come home, she doesn’t want to ask how it is going, she knows she will only be greeted with silence, evasions, or more bad news of injuries and worse. And today, it is just too hard to pretend that normality is… well normal, without him here.

She hits the refresh button on her email, saving the draft and checking her inbox: Nothing. Instead the headline ‘Marine killed in Afghanistan’ haunts her.

She can’t help but morbidly wonder what would she do without him in her life. How would she cope raising a child alone at 26? Would it be easier to raise a girl or a boy as a single mother she wonders, staring intently at the envelope that would reveal that information about her baby, for her. What would she tell them about their father? Would she be strong enough to tell them he is a hero that died fighting for his country? or would she be too bitter and sad – too angry that he left her alone to raise them? The anger is easier to feel than the sadness. Would they want to hear stories of your heroics and bravery, or would they want to know the romance of how he saved her from herself?

        Car headlights illuminate the room, and as it’s nearly 1 am she sneaks a peek behind the curtain and immediately wishes she hadn’t. A military police car pulls into the close, it slows down and in her mind she can see a stranger coming to her door to break her heart, their job made harder by the sight of her swollen tummy.

But it turns and slowly leaves – just a routine patrol. A kick from the baby inside her belly reminds her to breathe again.

The refresh button miraculously works – She has mail!

It’s not from him, its junk mail offering a cut price deal on something she doesn’t want. Her heart sinks lower than she thought possible. So she shuts down the computer and heads to bed in her rage. Angry at the lack of control she has over her own life. Angry at him. Angry at the military. Angry and frustrated.”

Breast IS Best …. But Formula isn’t poison!!!

When I fell pregnant at 25 I was ecstatic. My husband and I had been happily married for 3 years and we were both excited about being parents. The only tarnish to the excitement was that my husband deployed to Afghanistan when I was 15 weeks pregnant and wouldn’t return until just before the birth. Even this major hurdle couldn’t dampen our excitement as my husband has been in the forces for 8 years; we were used to the lifestyle. We just accepted it and condensed our baby shopping into a few short and early weeks, just after our 12 week scan. It was horrible saying goodbye but we just focused on the future. Most people will agree looking back a pregnancy of 37 weeks seems surprisingly short.

            I threw myself into getting prepared as a new mum and signed up for ante-natal classes (with the added incentive of more time off work!!) It was at these classes that I realised how ‘green’ and naïve I was. I have no shame in admitting that the thought of labour terrified me, and the class on breast feeding made me feel ‘icky’. The T.V show Little Britain and its ‘bitty’ sketch has a lot to answer for!! I was embarrassed -what if I had to feed him in public or worse in front of my dad or my in-laws!! I had an immature notion that my baby would be all sweet smelling nappies and suckle contentedly on a bottle. Luckily the children’s centre that held the classes were hugely encouraging when it came to breast feeding and gave me all the support I needed to give it a go, and overcome my embarrassment. Yet, in being pro-breast feeding they provided no information on bottle feeding. Which effectively left no choice-either get support with breast feeding or bottle feed in isolation!

My husband made it home safe and sound on the 19th March and our baby was due on the 31st. We crammed in as much quality time and relaxation as being 8 months pregnant would allow. After all, I never really expected to go into labour on my due date-but that’s what happened!! It was a slow start.I remember the car journey so vividly-the fear, the excitement, the pain! The labour was long and arduous (as they all are I hear!) But it was harder for our baby than it was for me as I opted for an epidural after 12 hours of him being painfully ‘back to back’. There were repeated fluctuations with his heart rate which meant in the end that I had to be given help with a forceps delivery.

Finally, our beautiful baby boy was born, weighing 6lb 12oz, with a full head of blonde hair and his daddy’s frown on his face!

After a lot of support in hospital we got him breast feeding well and were sent home after 2 days. My midwife was on holiday so I had a different nurse come round to do the post natal checks, and after initially dropping to 6lb 2oz, our baby stayed within his 10% parameters and quickly gained again, going up to 6lb 14oz at a week old. I was surprised to find I actually enjoyed breast feeding, it wasn’t painful to get him latched on correctly and feeding. It was also bonding time for us and I knew I was doing what was best for my baby.

This soon changed though. At 3 weeks old our health visitor came round to weigh him and broke the news that he was still only 6lb 14oz exactly. There had been no weight gain at all in 2 weeks! She watched me feed and told me I was doing everything right and it was a good sign that he hadn’t lost any in 2 weeks but she referred us to the GP. Matthew was a ‘sicky baby’ and we thought that could be the problem. Unfortunately that day went from bad to worse, as the Dr detected a heart murmur and sent us straight up the hospital. Two days later Matthew was diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect- a hole in the heart. Our world crashed! I remember desperately asking the nurse “Is his heart likely to just stop working?” I was terrified of losing him but it’s one of the most common defects with new born babies and often closes spontaneously within weeks or days of birth. However, more serious cases can cause further health problems and have to be surgically closed; which would leave our son with permanent heart disease, due to scar tissue. We were reassured that the best thing we could do for Matthew was continue to breast feed to boost his immunity, and the hospital would monitor him closely. The following week his weight had dropped to 6lb 12oz and he was constantly sleeping. (This might sound like bliss-but when it’s not normal-it’s not!) . Over the following weeks we were up and down to the hospital visiting specialists and his weight continued to plummet! I was desperate! I was waking him every hour to try and feed him-but he would often be too sleepy to feed. I was expressing constantly to try and keep my milk supply coming, but because he wasn’t demanding much my body started making less. On advice from the health visitor and a paediatric dietician we tried expressing milk before a feed, to get rid of the foremilk so he would latch on straight to the richer milk. Expressing after a feed to make sure I could give him some richer milk from a bottle. Expressing in between feeds to keep my supply up, but it quickly slowed down and it got to a point where it would take me all day of expressing, as well as feeding, and I could only express about 4oz of milk. I telephoned the dietician to explain I wasn’t making enough anymore and was told to express more – “It’s supply and demand” she said. I was beyond desperate at this point and wanted to give up breast feeding. I had no sleep, hardly got dressed and if I didn’t have my son attached to my breast, it was a breast pump! I was told a million different things by friends, family and health visitors- “just do 10 minutes on each side” , “try skin to skin” “let him feed for as long as he needs”…… I tried everything! I was exhausted and depressed. I remember one particularly hard day, Our little man was sleeping and my husband bought me dinner as I was too busy “expressing” to cook. I couldn’t eat it. I saw my tiny, fragile little baby asleep in his moses basket- How could I eat when the poor little man must have been starving??!! Luckily my husband was hugely supportive and we decided to give up breast feeding and try a bottle.


I felt like an utter failure, but my instinct was telling me it was the right thing to do. We went to our routine hospital appointment the next day, and they again insisted we keep breast feeding. We were given a supplement of fat and sugar to mix with boiled water and give to him in a sterilized syringe for 2 weeks. The dietician callously told us that “sometimes with ‘cardiac babies’ the weight gain can be such an issue, they have to be tube fed.” I looked at my tiny baby, who seemed to be shrinking before my eyes and thankfully my husband was brave enough to ask “Why don’t we try a bottle first?” but were again told not to and to keep breast feeding “he’s getting everything he needs from you.” The Dr told us, and I thought for one horrible minute my husband was going to punch him when he grumbled “Well it doesn’t seem like it to me!”

 At this point he weighed just less than 7lb at nearly 7 weeks old! He was still wearing early baby clothes! If the supplement didn’t work he would have to be admitted to hospital and tube fed until he got his strength up; But that would have confirmed the Dr’s decision that his heart was causing further health complications, and they would need to operate. We were preparing for the worst scenario – open heart surgery.

 In the car home, my husband broke the silence by suggesting “We could still try to bottle feed, it’s up to you.” I told him “We can’t! We have to do what the Dr’s say.” I was convinced that formula must be some kind of poison and dangerous, or cause cancer, as I couldn’t understand why anybody, let alone health professionals, would suggest tube feeding a baby over giving him a bottle.

Another exhausting week went by with the constant breast pumping, and added job of mixing a sticky glue like paste that stuck to everything to syringe into our son before a feed. My husband had been lucky enough to have extended leave after his tour in Afghanistan and had been with me at every hospital appointment, but the time had come for him to return to work and as he was based in Scotland I had the daunting reality of doing this all on my own with no one else to support and reassure me. We live 200 miles away from any family so I was understandably nervous, but my little one kept me strong. I dutifully expressed before a feed, after a feed, in between feeds; woke him every hour to feed and ate myself to keep my strength up, for 6 exhausting days before the time came to have him weighed again. I was praying with every cell of my being that the sticky supplement would be the answer and he had put on the required 4oz. He hadn’t! – He had put on just 2oz. When the health visitor looked at me and said “It’s not really enough is it?” I cried. I couldn’t help myself and blubbed that I was going to try a bottle before they tube feed him. I asked her for advice on how to do it as I’d only ever been given information on breast feeding, and she explained that she would prefer I discuss it with his dietician as he may need special care formula. The dietician dutifully sent a prescription for a high calorie formula, but no information on how to make up a bottle or sterilise- I had to rely on the packet instructions. I walked out of the baby clinic feeling so isolated and alone, my legs were like jelly and tears streamed down my face as I pushed the pram home.

I felt like a failure. I’d failed in my most important role to provide nourishment for my child. It was a rare occasion when my little man was awake because his heart condition made him so sleepy. He looked at me with his clear blue eyes and gave me a ‘toothless’ smile. It brightened my day and I was sure I was doing the right thing by giving him a bottle. But I had no idea where to start. How much do I give him? How often? I didn’t know how to sterilise equipment or wind a bottle fed baby.

            I fumbled my way through and followed the detailed instructions on the packets and within a week he had gained 10 oz. He weighed 7lb 12oz, at 8 weeks old he had finally gained a whole lb above his birth weight and he went from strength to strength. His weight gain meant the hospital were happy to monitor the hole in his heart for longer before they made the decision to operate.

            A week or so later as I sat giving him his morning bottle the issue of breast feeding was raised on a morning T.V show. It showed a pro breast feeding ‘earth mother’ in a debate with a pro bottle feeding, glamorous mum, who had comments like “my boobs are just for my pleasure….I didn’t like the idea of breast feeding”. I was mortified! It portrayed anti-breast feeding mums as selfish and vain. It was so biased. I had to keep reassuring myself that I had tried my best. I wasn’t being selfish. I questioned myself constantly. It was only when I went to collect a prescription for the specialized formula milk and bumped into my original midwife that I found any kind of reassurance. She made a point of telling me that she was so sorry to hear about my little man’s heart and she could not believe that the hospital had insisted I breast feed for so long. She was convinced that if his heart condition had been detected at birth he “would have been whipped to special care babies and they wouldn’t hesitate to give him a bottle”. The relief was immense. To hear one medical professional support my choice to bottle feed was all I needed.

            I now realise how the health authority and the government legislation being so pro-breast feeding let me and my son down. I have a whole stack of photographs of my baby which are hidden away in a drawer as I cannot bare to look at them because he was so skinny and emaciated. The guilt I feel when I look at those photographs is overwhelming, not because he was born with a heart defect but because I made the wrong choice and listened to the blinkered and biased Dr’s instead of following my maternal instincts. I desperately wanted to breast feed and give him the best start in life, but because of a congenital defect, breast feeding wasn’t the best start in life for him. It was too much hard work for his tiny body. Thankfully we realised before it was too late.

The health authorities have a responsibility and duty of care to give people balanced, correct advice. I was a new mum, I was naïve and I followed Dr’s advice, which was to my sons’ detriment. They took the chance that my baby may have to face open heart surgery in an emaciated state. A choice that wasn’t theirs to make and they should have provided me with enough information to make that choice in an informed way. Having spoken to our local Children’s Centre and other mums I was informed that they are not allowed to give information on bottle feeding as they HAVE to promote breast feeding.  I cannot be alone in thinking this is ridiculous. Not offering new mums information on bottle feeding is like not giving teenagers sex education; it won’t stop them doing it, but it just means they just won’t do it safely or properly. I remember a hospital nurse saying to me that if they can breast feed in the 3rd world, all mums should give it a go here. That is SO WRONG. If our little man had been born in the 3rd world he probably would have died from a relatively common birth defect. We have the facilities to sterilise and boil our water correctly in this country and thousands of babies not only survive but thrive on formula milk.

I am not anti-breast feeding. In fact, I’m pro-breast feeding and cannot wait to try it with my next child. There should definitely be a lot of support to encourage new mums to breast feed. There are numerous health benefits to breast feeding BUT remember there are no health warnings with formula. Mums who choose to bottle feed shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed, selfish, or as if they have failed. There should be more support for mums who decide to bottle feed. As new mums we should be guided and supported in our new role, not dictated to that breast feeding is the only way. The health authority needs to recognise the INDIVIDUAL health needs of each child and parent.

  I feel robbed of that early joy you should have from your 1st child, but instead I am left with guilt and photographs of my new baby that I cannot look at. I can never get that time back, but I HAVE learnt a valuable parenting lesson. There is no such thing as “by-the-book” when it comes to parenting. What is right for one child is NOT always right for another. Parenting is all about guilt and responsibility as we struggle to make life choices our little ones are too young to make for themselves, and we all (including health authorities) need to adapt to the individual needs of our unique child.



Post script: I wrote this article before I had my second child. My second child was such a joy to breast feed. She fed every 45 minutes for about 45 minutes!! It worked! She gained weight and was a happy and healthy baby. But after a few months of breast feeding I found it difficult to be sat on the sofa feeding, with my now, two year old son to look after and no family and friends to help (my husband had re-deployed!)   So I gave my daughter a bottle…. And guess what!! – She CONTINUED to thrive and gain weight! I thought having this success with my second child would have somehow healed me of the pain and shame I felt from failing to breastfeed my son successfully, but sadly it hasn’t. It is something I just have to learn to live with, a part of my parenting journey. I had to watch a friend recently go through a similar struggle recently- She is an ‘attachment parent’ (I will blog on this at a later date!) and prides herself and breast feeding but her baby was lactose intolerant and had numerous food allergies. She spend 15 weeks, amending her diet, watching his weight see-saw and struggling so much to breast feed before she finally decided to give him a bottle and I feel her pain. I understand her sense of failure, but can only reassure her that as long as we try our best, and learn from our mistakes that is all our children can ask of us; the same as we ask of them- to TRY OUR BEST! xx


More Sex Please????

So I have been reading more and more lately about the censorship of pornography on the internet and debates about whether or not, in this day and age it is acceptable to have page 3 girls, or whether the legal age of consent should be lowered (it shouldn’t!!)!

This is absolutely my own opinion.

Firstly, yes the internet needs some kind of censorship. I am a mother and ultimately we need to protect our children from violence and abuse. But on the other hand… did the politicians learn nothing from their forefathers in America with Prohibition??? Did prohibition stop a nation from partaking of alcohol? NO!! It did something far worse and that was to drive it underground and create a million dollar industry for gangsters and the unscrupulous to profit from! Would banning pornography not create something similar?? It is already an industry on the fringe, pushing it underground is just going to create more cloak and dagger, more rules to be broken, more lines to get blurred and more girls or guys to be victimised and abused and exploited! It will perpetuate the problem not solve it! 

What we NEED is more openness to sex, more femininity in sex, more emotions and a WHOLE NEW attitude. I’m talking not just about the pornography industry but also in our education of our children. Sex should not be taught by embarrassed teachers clinically and scientifically to children too young to understand the nature of it. In my opinion it should be introduced into the education system from 11/12 years and no younger. I personally think the parents should take responsibility for their children’s understanding of sex, but that doesn’t always happen (my parents never did!) But 11/12 is old enough… let kids be kids for at least 10 years of their life!! When the hormones and questions start then that, is the time to start teaching them; and as this would be different for all kids I think 11/12 is a fair guide.

I am not saying that everyone who is involved in the sex industry should be ‘in love’ with their partner. The very act of selling images of them having sex is not particularly romantic…but surely we should have an ideal to aim for!?

We won’t be able to teach our children about all the emotions involved with sex, they may think they are in love with their boyfriend/girlfriend and later find they weren’t but if we give them a goal, an ideal, an image of perfect union between man and woman then at least they will (hopefully) aim higher than losing their virginity in a car park, hurriedly before curfew with a boy/girl they hardly know, while their mate keeps look out!

Sex can be such a beautiful union between two people, a joining of souls, a sharing of desires, intimacy can create such a bond. If we can swallow our embarrassment and teach our children to appreciate this, we can help them on their path to healthy relationships. If we can be open and celebrate our daughters virginity as a source of feminine power, perhaps they wont be so eager to throw off the badge of ‘virgin’ when the opportunity 1st presents itself, perhaps we can encourage them to wait and value themselves and their sexuality. (Full disclosure: I am a heterosexual female, so whilst I refer to heterosexual relationships I think Homosexual relationships should also be revered and treasured and cultivated) I wish everyone could learn to value and treasure themselves and then in turn, find a lover who is worthy of their time and share and partake in a loving and intimate relationship.

Sex in the porn industry is male orientated. The women are seen as objects and treated as such, or the men are treated in an appalling and submissive way in dominatrix porn. WHERE IS THE ART OF SEDUCTION…. The Glimpse of subtle flesh… the whispered promises?? This is what we should see in the media! E.L James got it right with 50 shades, it’s a LOVE story that INVOLVES sex!! Not a Sex Story that INCLUDES love as an aside to the sex. 

Love & sex are interchangeable (in my limited experience), but it has got so out of balance now that LOVE is almost seen as the ‘dirty’ word. Women are being manipulated into thinking we should want it doggy style over the kitchen sink cos that’s what the guys want to see. (There is a time and a place for this guys! We aren’t prudes all of the time ;)!!) But we also want love, seduction, perfume, aromas, beauty, silk, lace, caresses, kisses from our heads to our toes (honestly love us in this way and you will release a GODDESS!!)………. AND THAT IS OK!!!!!

It is O.K to want to be loved and cherished and you shouldn’t accept any less. You deserve that! That is what we should be passing on to our children, the idea that they are deserving of that kind of love and beauty. 

Sex is shown in mainstream media as some cheap plot enhancement to a second rate series. The romantic stuff shows a guy (usually) with flowers and a girl in sexy undies (I know I’m using shameless stereotypes!) They kiss, they go the bedroom, fade to black, end of scene, cut to something else as though no one wants to see the romantic sex, But if its a couple having a cheap affair or a guy (or girl) manipulating the object of their affection often you get to see this with papers being pushed onto the floor and skirts hitched up over the desk, even getting to watch a full minute or so of sex. Do we want to see more sex if its cheap and nasty? or is it just that this is what we expect now?

We need to teach our children to expect more, and we will only do this by being more open and honest about sex, not brushing it under the carpet even more!! Acting ashamed of sex is just going to make them feel ashamed!

C’mon let’s see some more sex. Give us a romantic movie that shows love and desire and sex… E.L James has made a great start (but its still fetish and Christian’s desires are still seen as somehow ‘dirty’ or ‘wrong’)