Ok so we are into the final furlong with this one. Listen to me now when I say this was a bad idea and I probably won’t do it again! Here we go…..
What is your favourite fashion brand and why?
Truth be told I don’t have one! There are shops I go into (always) and some I wouldn’t shop in; usually because I know the fit of some brands are just far better on me. Also being tall (5′ 11″) some places just don’t make clothes long enough in the body, let alone the leg. Lately I have been buying more clothes from Seasalt and Boden, but I also love The White Company and FatFace. Basically, I just love a bit of variety!
How do you style your hair?
Get ready for the biggest disappointment……I don’t. Well not really; I basically just blast it with a hairdryer. My hair is really, really thick, so I don’t need to do much (by much I mean anything) to it t make it look like it’s been properly blow dried. Now I have had it cut much shorter it’s so much easier to look after. I usually just put some Kerastase Elixir in it when it’s damp, then blast it. If I am going out then I’ll make a very amateur attempt at “waves” using my GHD’s, but that’s as wild as it gets I am afraid. I’m sorry.
What’s your favourite perfume/ scent?
I have worn Jo Malone “Pomegranate Noir” since I received it as a gift for my 21st Birthday; that’s eleven years next month. I would probably use this as substantial evidence that it’s my scent? Don’t get me wrong, Chanel Coco Madamoiselle is often waiting in the wings as another option, but Pom’ Noir and I just “get” each other, you know?
What are your favourite skincare products/ your regime?
Decleor. That’s basically the crux of it. I use cleanser, Neroli Aromessence (oil) and moisturiser. I always use a night balm before bed; and I never skip taking my make up off. I first trained as a beauty therapist nearly 16 years ago, so good skincare is a huge part of my life. I don’t believe in cutting corners or trying to save money when it comes to my skin; after all, I only have one shot at looking after it!
What make-up do you wear?
If you crashed through the Bobbi Brown counter at high speed, you’d probably come out with my “look”. I use BB cream, their corrector and concealer under my eyes, Illuminating Powder (Nude) and Brightening Brick (Pastel Peach), and always Pot Rouge in “Fresh Melon”. Lately I have been experimenting with brighter colours on my lips; I love the Bobbi Brown Art Sticks, especially “Electric Pink”. For my eyes I use Lancôme art liner in black, and Lancome Hypnose mascara in black. That’s it really? Not a contouring kit in sight (let’s face it, I’m a bit old for all that?)!
Where did you and your husband go on honeymoon?
California. We started in San Francisco where we spent a few days exploring, including Alcatraz and cycling across the Golden Gate bridge. We hired a convertible Mustang and drove down the coast stopping along the way in Carmel, Santa Barbara, and ending up in Santa Monica and LA. We had a blast, and thought of it very much as our last action packed holiday before house renovation and children took priority. That was three years ago next month, and we haven’t been out of the country for a holiday since. My husband has to travel fairly frequently to New York for work, but that’s just not the same is it?
Where is your favourite holiday destination (other than Cornwall!)?
We have been on some lovely holidays together; Las Vegas, Portugal, Turkey, South Africa, then California for our honeymoon. Without my husband I had also travelled to a few places; Mexico, Egypt, the East coast of America (where I have lots of family), France, Spain, a couple of wild ones in Ibiza. When I was growing up my Aunties lived in California, so we used to holiday there. I think Cali has a special place in my heart for that reason, I have the most wonderful childhood memories there, and now memories of a fabulous honeymoon too. We haven’t been abroad for a holiday since our honeymoon as all of our funds have been poured into the house since we moved in. I guess I come from an upbringing where you work hard for what you earn and you spend it on the things that are most important to you. For us, holidays have taken a back seat while we focus on the house. I think we are hoping that will change in the not too distant future!
Are you naturally slim or do you work at it?
I wouldn’t say I was slim at all at the moment! I still have about a stone to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I guess I eat everything in moderation really? We don’t eat “ready meals” or sauces and things out of jars in our house. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, it’s just not how I was brought up. Generally speaking I cook everything from fresh each day; I love cooking and enjoy eating healthily. I walk every day with Boris for an hour or so. I go to a yoga class once a week and generally practice yoga at home another 2-3 times a week. Since losing Teddy yoga has become a huge part of my life and wellbeing, and I really think it has helped me to regain some of my muscle tone. I have a way to go, but I think I am getting there.
What kind of yoga do you practice and how many times a week?
My instructor teaches flow yoga, which I believe is a combination of different yoga practices. It’s flowing sequences with longer poses and always includes pranayama and relaxation. I go to a class each week and practice 2-3 times a week at home.
What is your favourite momento to feel close to Teddy?
I don’t have a specific item. After he died I took his muslin to bed with me for a week or so as it still smelt of him; once the smell wore off I put it in his memory box. I love his footprints that we have framed, both of his grandparents have a set too. I like to sit in his nursery to feel closest to him.
Was Teddy’s name always going to be his name during pregnancy?
His actual name on his birth and death certificates is Edward. We had a few names “shortlisted” and we didn’t decide exactly on his name until just before we went to sleep the evening he was born. I felt like we needed to meet him first to make up our mind on a name. We also didn’t know if he would be a boy or a girl, so we had names shortlisted for both! Edward is my brother’s name, and also my husband’s late Grandfather’s; he had always been called Ted. So we decided Teddy would be a lovely tribute and a good name for a little boy.
Where did Constantine come from as a middle name?
Constantine Bay in Cornwall, our favourite beach. It is the most beautiful spot, just like our beautiful boy. I often think that if we were to be blessed with another boy, that I would use it again, I just love it so much.
What was your pregnancy and labour like with Teddy?
As I have written before, my pregnancy with Teddy was completely healthy and trouble free. I enjoyed being pregnant all in all. I put on four stone, mainly because I just ate everything in sight (which I never normally do!), so it has taken me some time to lose that. I was induced at 39 +3 days as my waters were leaking. I was in active labour for 6 hours and had gas and air. I gave birth to Teddy on all fours on the floor of the delivery room (all of the glamour I know!); and as they passed him around to me I got to tell my husband if he was a “pink” or a “blue”. If you read my previous blogs and Teddy’s story on our Just Giving page then you can read more detail if you want to!
What was your favourite thing about Teddy?
That he was here. That he lived, he existed. He never opened his eyes and we never heard him cry; but we did feel his soft skin and breathe in his beautiful scent. Those memories will stay with me forever.
Do you ever think about giving Teddy a brother or sister?
Every hour of every day. Much like Teddy, it’s never further than a thought away from my mind. Unfortunately I don’t have a magic wand, and sometimes as much as we want things to happen and as much as we might try or wish for them, they just don’t. I did fall pregnant again in October 2016, and lost the baby at 14 weeks pregnant in January. So for now, my body is recovering from two pregnancies and I am just trying to get myself back to my healthiest. I have learned that asking someone if they have children, want children or why they don’t have any children is a very emotive subject; you never know what wounds you might be opening up. I have been guilty of asking this myself whilst making “chit chat” in the past, but after Teddy died it made me realise that pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood isn’t always the fairy tale that we make it out to be. I certainly never imagined I would be a mother to a little boy who never got to come home.
Where in the world would you like to see Teddy’s name written?
On the bracelet worn on the wrist of his little brother or sister.
Are you a full time blogger or do you have a job?
As I wrote recently in my blog post “Health Before Wealth”, after Teddy died I took my maternity leave and this month decided that I couldn’t return to my full time job. For now I am taking some time out to heal and focus on family and friends. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a proper “blogger”, I mean I have written a blog for two months?!
What was your job when you were at work?
As I explained in my blog post “Health before Wealth”, I have spent my entire career for 16 years in the beauty and spa industry. The job I have just left was in sales for a global cosmetics company. I looked after two skin brands, selling into and managing accounts for salons and spas in London.
How did you get into social media?
I only started writing this blog in January. I wanted to reach out to mothers who had also lost babies or children. I wanted to speak for us all and burst the bubble of child loss being a taboo subject, and I wanted to tell people how my home had healed me after Teddy died. I had always shared pictures of my house on my Instagram account, but had never used it for “a purpose”. Now Teddy is my purpose; it is him I write for and it is him who is spurring me on to continue to do so.
What is your favourite thing?
I am not sure how to perceive this question? Favourite “thing” I own, or favourite thing to do? If it is the first, then I would say my wedding and engagement rings. They were designed by my very talented friend and came from her family jewellers. My engagement ring was obviously a total surprise that she and my husband had designed together, and my wedding band we did together. I smile each time I look at them. If it is the latter question, then I would say to wake up in my own bed on a sunny Sunday morning, with no plans, knowing that I get to spend the entire day with my husband and Boris, and just see where the days takes us!
What are your favourite blogs/ Instagram accounts to follow?
My Warrior women. These are the ladies who have helped me through my darkest times, my toughest days. They know my pain of losing Teddy because they have lived it too. I couldn’t do this without them….
@legacyofleo Jess writes fearlessly about her loss of Leo Phoenix, stillborn on 17th January 2016, and her journey of pregnancy after loss.
@dear_orla Michelle, mama to Orla and Clinical Psychologist. Her posts and blog make me understand so much more about my emotions after losing Teddy.
@princesspanda_sammie Sam writes “Storms and Rainbows” blog. Mummy to Guy, fundraising legend and all-round lovely lady.
How did you meet your husband and when did you get engaged?
I first met my husband in 2008, he was working in the same office as a friend of mine. I was living in Christchurch (basically Bournemouth for those of you who don’t know the South!) and working as a Spa Manager in a beautiful hotel (Captain’s Club Hotel, there you go….shameless plug!). One of our clients became a good friend (and still is to this day!) of mine, and she worked in the same office as my husband. I would often see him either at the office or at social occasions, just to say “hello” to or maybe chat. I had a boyfriend and he had a girlfriend/s, so he was just a guy who worked in an office. Fast forward a couple of years to a prosecco-fuelled Thursday in August 2010 and I was enjoying a wonderful evening on Sandbanks beach in Poole with some girlfriends watching the Summer fireworks. He came to save the day with some more prosecco (I’ll be honest, at this point this was the last thing I needed!); and we chatted (from what I can remember) and watched the conveniently-timed meteor shower that the universe had laid on for us that night. Miraculously, drunk me managed not to make an utter tit of myself (well actually I think maybe I did, but he’s a forgiving kind of guy!) and the following day he text me (no WhatsApp then kids!) and asked me to dinner. A week or so later on 19th August 2010 we had our first date at one of my favourite restaurants and the rest, as they say, is history!
We moved in together the following May (after two tester holidays!), and the following year at the end of 2012 we moved to London to live and work. It was after living in London for six months that we got engaged. On Friday 5th June 2013 we headed back down to Bournemouth for a weekend “at home” with friends. He left work early (miracle in itself, I should have known something was up?) and we were in Bournemouth in time to pick up fish and chips and head down to Sandbanks beach for the sunset. Just as we got up to leave, it was there on that very same stretch of beach that drunken me had almost ruined this one before it got off the ground, that he got down on one knee and presented me with a beautiful sparkler while asking me to be his wife. We got married ten months later on 19th April 2014 (if you need more details on that, then you’re in luck as I have already written a blog post about it!).
Did you seek professional help after Teddy died? If not why? How has your loss affected your relationship with your husband?
In a word, no. That’s not to say it wasn’t on offer, it just wasn’t for me. The bereavement midwife who came to the house a few days after Teddy died just didn’t seem to click with me. I found her socially awkward, too many forced silences where I was expected to grieve and/or reflect. It was too textbook, too unnatural. I am incredibly lucky to have an amazingly supportive family, as does my husband. Our friends rallied around us and were there if and when we needed them. Put quite simply there is nothing I would say to a “professional” that I wouldn’t say to my Mum or my best friends. My husband felt the same; we decided never to rule out speaking to someone if we began to think we needed it, but for the time being we were coping. If you want to read more of how I have coped and things I have used to help me heal (other than my home); then I wrote a blogpost not long ago “Pugs not Drugs”. Losing Teddy has made my husband and I stronger and closer than ever in our marriage. I am fortunate in that I have married someone who genuinely is my best friend and the most supportive person I could have wished to have married. I can only hope that he thinks the same of me and that we continue to grow from strength to strength in our marriage. We are incredibly lucky to have been set wonderful examples of marriage by both sets of parents; both have been married for over 40 years. I can only hope that we are able to emulate even a fraction of what they have achieved. Once again I can only thank Teddy, he has bought us closer as a family, closer as husband and wife and makes us better people each and every day.
(Right, I am off for a lie down!)