Contour & Confidence

Self-confidence is sexy but not always the easiest thing to have or put out there. I know when I became a Mum I lost my identity, sense of style & self and questioned what direction my life was taking. Our roles change so much when we become parents and my self-confidence took a real battering. Not to mention my change in body shape and all the other bits that come with having a new baby emotionally and physically.

Now as a make up artist I am still shocked how women talk negatively about themselves and how they hate this and that about their body, face or hair. I’m constantly having to build up their confidence and focus on their best features. It’s really sad how us as women (myself included) focus on the bits we think are our flaws rather than noticing the colour of our eyes, how good our brows are or even the definition of our cheekbones.

When I complain to my husband about my weight for example, he always says the same thing….. ‘it doesn’t matter what you look like because when you are happy and confident rather than putting yourself down, that is when you are the most sexiest and attractive.’ Again a work in progress for me.

blue dress
Me stepping out of my comfort zone and taking part in a ‘real women’ fashion show. Few lumps & bumps on show but felt confident and good as was surrounded by uplifting and supportive women.

I’ve learned that when I’ve taken some time out for myself to shave my legs (it’s the little things!), fake tan or paint my nails I automatically feel more confident, attractive and its helps my mental health. That might seem obvious but with looking after 2 children and running my own business its not always the easiest thing to do. Its also about making the most of what we have been born with and celebrating and enhancing our best features. That could be knowing the best colours of eyeshadow to use to bring out our eyes or using the correct shade of red lipstick against our skin tone; it’s about concentrating on what works for you.

highlighting Lucy
Here I’m using a shimmer eyeshadow to highlight the cheekbones. You don’t need loads of make up, its about making the products you own work hard for you

I believe make up can be a powerful tool when it comes to lifting the mood and increasing self confidence. There are tips and tricks you can learn to enhance your best features or subtly change what you are not so keen on and this is where contouring comes in. I’m not talking Kim K style as with this I’m an advocate for less is definitely more. Even subtle contouring can make a huge difference to your face shape and highlighting can bring the face to life.

me highlighting
Highlight under the eyes, down the cheekbones, cupids bow and T-zone

Contouring has been around since the 16th century when soot and chalk was used by Elizabethan stage actors to help the audience members read their facial expressions. It is now widely used to enhance and sculpt the structure of the face. Use a colour that is one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone to give a shadow and slimming effect. I usually apply this on the hollows of the cheeks (starting mid ear), side of nose, temples and jawline. The secret with this is to blend the products well. This is then complimented with a highlighter that is one or two shades lighter than your skin colour.

So contour and confidence ……. two things us women should work on to bring out the best in ourselves. Just remember we are all unique and have amazing qualities and features. Learning to love ourselves as we are isn’t always easy but can have a huge knock on effect on our mental health, relationships and overall quality of life.

How to improve your self-esteem

This is a guest blog written by Sarah at ‘My Possible Self’, a mental health app that can help with stress, anxiety and mild to moderate depression. The main module, Managing Fear and Anxiety is free, and comes with a private diary feature that helps you keep track of your daily thoughts and feelings. Find out more at

How to improve your self-esteem

Low self-esteem can affect us all at one time or another, but when it becomes a more long-term problem it can impact our mood, our relationships, our careers and our mental health as a whole.

We all have our own ways of ‘feeling better’. This might be learning a new skill, making time for pampering or surrounding ourselves with people who encourage and support us. There are also some techniques you can learn in order to tackle unhelpful thoughts and improve your self-esteem, which are outlined below.

Learn to spot thinking traps
‘Thinking traps’ are negative thought patterns that are easy to fall into but often keep us in a cycle of worry or self-criticism. They can be very distressing, but we can learn ways of keeping them at bay. The first step is to learn to identify what these thinking traps are. Below are the common types and some examples of the kind of thoughts that go along with them:

Mind reading
‘Mind reading’ occurs when we assume we know what another person is thinking, for example “My boss thinks I’m useless”, “My mother is disappointed in me” or “Everyone is judging me”.  When you catch yourself mind reading, think about what evidence you have for coming to this conclusion.

Black and white thinking
One way to identify ‘Black and white thinking’ is to look out for words like ‘always’ or ‘never’. For example, “I always fail”, or “No-one ever listen to me”. Also look out for extreme or blanket statements like “I’m worthless”.
Remember life is mostly shades of grey. We all experience failure in our lives, but sometimes we succeed. Sometimes we’re listened to, sometimes we’re not. Try and remember that this is an over-simplification and that life is very rarely black and white.

Filtering is also known as ‘selective’ thinking. This is where you focus on the negative aspects of a situation while filtering out the good aspects. For example “My holiday was ruined because the hotel room was too small”. It can be upsetting when things don’t go to plan, but try and focus on some of the positive aspects.

Once you’ve learned to identify these thinking traps, you will find you start to shift your perspective. As an exercise, keep a log of these thoughts and write down some statements that challenge them.

There are some other simple self-care strategies which might help boost your positivity. When you’re busy, it can be hard to find the time to look after yourself, and many of us view self-care as something of a ‘luxury’. But it’s not, it’s a necessary means of keeping going. Self-care can be different for everyone. It might be practising a sport you enjoy, pampering yourself, reading or socialising.

One important aspect of self-care is making time for pleasurable activities. These are activities which we enjoy, and which give us a sense of satisfaction. There are four main ‘categories’ of pleasurable activities and it’s good to try and get a balance of all of them, if you can. The categories are:

Social: activities which involve interacting with others.
Achievement or mastery: activities which give you a sense of accomplishment, such as making something or learning a new skill.
Physical: activities that make you get up and move around. This doesn’t have to be running a marathon, it could be going for a walk around the park.
Pleasant or fun: This simply means doing something you really love, whether it’s watching a movie, playing music or reading a book.
These activities may cross over into one another, and you don’t have to be regimented in making sure you do a certain amount of each one. It’s just a case of getting a bit of a balance and, more importantly, making the time to do it.

Know when to get a helping hand
It’s possible to break negative thinking patterns and improve your self esteem with some simple techniques. But if you need a bit of extra support, it’s OK to ask for help. If you’re feeling hopeless, or have thoughts of self-loathing or self-harm, help is at hand. Talk to your GP or seek advice from a professional.


Stress & spots. Anxiety & acne.

The focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is STRESS. Research has shown that of those people who experience a mental health problem each year, stress is a key factor in this.

Stress can affect almost every aspect of our lives such as personal relationships, work performance and sleep patterns. It can also manifest itself through the skin and may be responsible for common skin problems such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and even wrinkles. Who knew?!

spot pic
Spots caused by hormonal changes occur round the chin. This happens to me around my monthly cycle.

The skin is our largest organ containing sweat glands, blood vessels, cells and nerve endings controlled by our immune and nervous systems which in turn are easily triggered by our own mental health. If you think about blushing as an example – our skin can reflect our emotional state and the emotions we are feeling so will turn red or hot when embarrassed or feeling anxious.
I have first hand experience of this in the lead up to my wedding and when I had fairly recently been diagnosed with post natal depression. I got married in September 2013 and during the March of that year, what I thought was eczema started to flare up. It got worse and worse until I visited the Doctor who told me I had a condition called guttate psoriasis which usually happens after a throat infection, which for me happens when I am stressed and run down. When I say my body was covered from head to toe in a bright red rash I am not exaggerating. Luckily over the course of 6 months and various creams, UV treatment and counselling for my depression, it cleared up enough for me to feel confident wearing my wedding dress on our big day. I was so grateful for this but was shocked just how our skin can react so badly to stress.

After that I did a bit more research into this to find out just how these skin conditions are triggered by stress and was amazed to find that almost every one can be linked back to stress of some kind.

Acne – is caused by inflammation and can occur at any age, not just during adolescence. Stress and anxiety cause chronic inflammation which causes cortisol spikes and encourages sebaceous glands to produce more thick and sticky oils which dead skin can stick to and block the pores.

Rosacea, eczema and psoriasis – cortisol also hinders the skins ability to produce hyaluronic acid (body’s natural moisturiser) and along with inflammation can cause these conditions which manifest themselves with itchy, flaky skin.

As if those aren’t bad enough, stress can also bring on our wrinkles as when cortisol levels are high there is a drop in the production of the anti-ageing hormone known as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). Good news eh?!

So if you’ve tried every skincare under the sun, changed your diet and upped your water intake to help your skin then it might be time to look at your inner health and see what’s going on with that. The right skincare is obviously vital, however if you are stressed or anxious then an expensive moisturiser isn’t going to fix that. I’m obviously a firm believer in investing in your skin with the right products too but only after the root cause has also been put right so a combination of both is key.


RE9 skincare
My personal anti-ageing skincare range



I’ve introduced a couple of things into my life to help me de-stress so thought I’d share these with you. 1) Meditation. Something I never imagined I would do but since me and my hubby have started meditating together before bed (how times have changed!) we are both much better rested, can get to sleep quicker and our minds are switched off and no longer buzzing with to-do-lists when we’re trying to get to sleep. I think it’s a lot to do with having time before bed without screens too. I would highly recommend it.

2) Mindfulness. This is probably something I wouldn’t have tried a few months ago either as I thought it was all ‘airy fairy’ stuff and not really a thing. I was wrong and would highly recommend it. This could simply be becoming more aware of your own body and taking time to breathe away from the bustle of everyday life such as children, TV screens, excessive noise or mobile phones. I know when I’m feeling stressed or my head is ‘full’ then external noises can seem amplified and make me feel more on edge so I need to take some time out on my own where its quiet and do some breathing exercises. I am able to recognise when this is happening now so can do something about it before it gets unbearable. On the bad days though it can take something tiny like my husband breathing too loudly to tip me over the edge and after talking to people about this I know I’m not the only one that feels this way!!

So, as with all my blogs I’m going to finish with some beauty advice. This time it’s my tips for tip top skin:
1) Take some measures to de-stress throughout the day – it may take a while to work out what that looks like for you but I’d highly recommend taking the time to do this.
2) Download a meditation app and try some guided meditation before bed. If this doesn’t appeal to you then switch your phone on to night mode so its not the last thing you look at before you go to sleep and the first thing you pick up in the morning.
3) Invest in a good face mask to use at least once a week.
4) Do your research as to what ingredients the products you are using have in them. For example, if you are prone to spots or blemishes then your skincare should contain salicylic acid which is a potent exfoliant known for its antibacterial properties. If your skin is dry or flaky then you need to be looking for the ingredient hyaluronic acid for repair. The addition of Vitamin C in your skincare is key for anti-ageing as it boosts collagen which results in an improved appearance of fine lines.

face mask
My weekly rejuvenating face mask


Make up & break downs

Hi my name is Lisa. Welcome to my new blog where I am going to be sharing my personal mental health journey – the highs and the lows – as well as my love of all things make up and beauty.

I was diagnosed with post natal depression and puerperal psychosis in 2013, two years after having my first child Finlay and although I am waaay better now than then, I remain on antidepressants and am still dealing with my illness, taking each day at a time.

I am also a (cruelty free) make up artist based in Leeds and so LOVE make up and how it can make others look and feel when they wear it. It is such an amazing feeling being able to help a bride on her wedding morning or a Mum on a rare night out look and feel their absolute best and see the confidence this can bring to them. I have also experienced this personally hence why make up has been and still is a powerful tool in my mental health journey.

I don’t want this to seem superficial and I’m not in any way saying this is the answer to everything as that certainly isn’t the case. It’s been a long road to recovery and so for me there is something really healing and comforting in having a beauty regime. I guess it’s down to self care and taking the time out to do something for me and feeling worthy of having this time, but also to do with having a simple routine. Routines can be really helpful when suffering with depression. It’s a small step or achievement which believe me doesn’t have to be much on a bad day but what a difference doing something little can make.

Most of us have that one thing that makes us feel more put together. For me, its filling in my eyebrows everyday to disguise the serious overplucking they were subjected to when I was in my teens! For others it may be a lick of mascara, a red lip or a bit of bronzer. Just something that makes us feel more ready to face the day.

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Eyebrow on left been filled. One on the right not. What a difference it makes to lift the face (& my mood!)

I believe that self-care should be more than a Sunday night bath or facemask as taking care of our appearance and body or applying that little bit of make up each day could do wonders for mental health, self-esteem and productiveness. I certainly have better, more fulfilling days when I get dressed and put a bit of make up on.  It’s not always the easiest decision as my relationship with my beauty regime changes as my mood does. On some days it can be an effort getting out of bed to tackle the school run and deciding what to wear whereas other days I take comfort and feel confident and happy wearing make up and making an effort with my clothes.

I definitely lost my sense of self when I became a Mum and make up helped me feel back to my old self again. Not only does it help my mental health but for me it is a big part of my life and routine and by taking a sense of pride in my appearance helps me cope better.

So here is the first of many beauty tips I’ll be sharing on this blog for you fellow Mums. Actually these will relate to anyone that likes a simple, no fuss look and want to feel a bit more put together in the morning.

DRY SHAMPOO is a life saver. I know this is not a revelation to most people but I can honestly say it is one of my must have beauty products. I usually try to avoid washing my hair for as long as possible so by day 3 this is my go to style….

1. Tip head upside down and spray dry shampoo on to roots.
Lift hair up and spray into the roots. Work through using your fingers & brush to get rid of any product build up that can create those powdery grey areas!

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2. Twist hair into a top knot and sleep with it in.

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3. Don’t panic if you look like this in the morning! I live by the motto that you’re hair can never be too big (my friends all know this well!) Tease hair with fingers to smooth down

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4  For extra lift twist hair in small sections and grab on to a couple of hairs at bottom of each twist and pull upwards (think like when using a scissor blade on ribbon to make it curl) – this will create more volume and section the curls                                                                                                                                                                twist hair

5 minute beach wave hair. Set with hairspray and you’re good to go x

finished curl

PS No idea what’s going on with my eyebrow in this pic!

PPS Asked my 7 year old son to take these pictures so here are a few that didn’t make the cut ……





Maternal Mental Health week 2018. Real Mums honest stories of motherhood.

The statistics are clear. 1 in 5 mums will suffer, often silently with maternal mental health at some point during their lives.

During maternal mental health week I launched a campaign with the hashtag #itcantjustbeme to encourage real mums to share the reality of motherhood – the good, the bad & the ugly. I’m passionate about raising awareness of mental health, in particular post natal depression so thought this would be the ideal opportunity to start conversations around this important subject.

I asked mums to send photos and stories of their parenting journeys to highlight that we are not alone when it comes to having bad days, feeling overwhelmed or tired or just the general ‘mishaps’ that we all experience as parents. Just to know that no one is perfect and that’s ok.

Below are stories written by some amazing Mums who have shared their motherhood moments and I can honestly say I can relate to each and every one of them! I hope some of these will make you smile or some may resonate with you and how you’re feeling. And when you’re having a particularly difficult day just know you are not alone and remember the phrase #itcantjustbeme.

Angie’s story (sleep deprived Mummy)

Sleep thief Ruben! Starts off in his cot then wakes in the middle of the night and generally ends up in my bed taking over the whole thing which leaves me awake from 4.30am! #itcantjustbeme

Sallie’s story (suffered with PND/anxiety following birth of son James)


After having my son James I started to obsess over the security of my house and check my doors and windows constantly. This behaviour then escalated and I would then barricade my bedroom door and sleep with a hammer at night convinced that someone was going to come in and take my son.

Donna’s story (traumatic birth)

Donna baby Donna & her son, Oliver
After a very traumatic birth, my son Oliver was unable to feed so was rushed to a special baby care unit where he stayed for 4 days. This then resulted in over 50 hours of no sleep for me which was torture. Despite all of the classes I attended in the lead up to giving birth, the one thing I couldn’t predict or control was how my birth experience would go. Most classes concentrate on the ‘natural’ and non-complicated births despite more than 1 in 4 women requiring an emergency C-section.

Ruth’s story (Mum of 3 including twin girls)

Ruth pregnant with son Jude                               Twins Emmy & Lena
Even after our battles to conceive, our testing journey through failed rounds of fertility treatment and ultimately having our three miracle babies; you’d think we’d have been ready. BUT there’s absolutely nothing that compares to or prepares you for the emotional roller coaster ride that is motherhood. I’m supporting one of my awesome mum mates @_lisa_hammond_ with her campaign#itcantjustbeme. Here’s some helpful hints that I’d give to the pregnant me back in 2011 & 2013 and for all the mums to be –
1) Keep your mum circle close, these are your people. Our WhatsApp group saves my bacon
2) Say YES to help, of any kind. Outsource if you can. I get A LOT of help
3) Buy a mini cordless vacuum @dyson is my best mate and prevents me crawling on my hands and knees to collect Cheerios 4)Pick your battles. Life is too short
5) There is no right way or wrong way, just your way. Trust your gut 6) Find a soft play that serves incredible coffee, never leave 7) ME time is vital. Plan it in without the guilt 8) Start each day & end each day with cuddles 9) Buy washable pens. ALWAYS 10) It’s ok not to be ok

Debbie’s story (Mum of 3 girls)

Millie, Ruby & Anya
This is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done even though they shout and scream at each other most days. At the end of the day they have each others back and love each other unconditionally just as I do them.

Amy’s story (Mum of 2)

amy collage

I have shared some of my motherhood moments in this collage. Being a Mum is both wonderfully amazing and incredibly tough. But how lucky we are ……. even with the eternal guilt when you don’t quite get it right! I try to smile through it all .. the good, the bad and the ugly.

Natasha’s story (Mum of 3 girls under 5. Diagnosed with PND after having 2nd daughter)


It’s Maternal Mental health week. My friend Lisa has inspired me to write this post. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken publicly about this – only to family and a few friends. But I hope my story can help others. This picture was taken about a week after I had my second daughter Hannah. Behind the smile I was a wreck. I assumed I would feel the same as I did the first time I had a baby, but something was different. I loved her with all my heart, but it was the GUILT which took over all those happy feelings I was expecting to have. The guilt of having another baby, the guilt of not being able to give Bella my undivided attention, the guilt of not being able to cuddle Bella because I constantly had to breastfeed her sister. With the help of the local health visiting team and my wiser older sister, I was diagnosed with post natal depression. The doctors tried to give me antidepressants but I was reluctant to take them and wanted to see if I could get better without them. My lovely sister used to come and look after my baby, who was only 5 weeks old at the time so that I could go to the gym or go for a run. After a month I felt so much better as my endorphins were kicking in and I felt like I could conquer anything. This is why I am so addicted to exercise now. It’s my remedy for everything! Hoping this story will help others to ask for help. I am always hear to listen and I will never judge you. We are in this together.

Lorraine’s story (Mum of 3)

Sophia, Jude & Luke
I have many stories from the ones that would make you laugh out loud ‘Sophia projectile vomiting on Jude whilst he was fast asleep’ to the constant fighting between the 3 of them that drives you crazy. The littlest one Luke also seems to enjoy biting, scratching, hitting and pulling the hair of the older two all with a big smile on his face #itcantjustbeme

Anisa’s story (parenting expert and mum of 1)


I have had so many moments where I’ve smiled, laughed, cried, sat in disbelief, been super proud (potty training was a particular highlight!). I am her biggest cheerleader and my own worst critic. I distinctly remember crying when she gave up her pushchair because I would have to carry my own bags! Motherhood for me has been and will continue to be a journey of highs and lows but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m posting this in support of Maternal Mental Health week. As many as 1 in 3 mothers suffer in silence. For all parents out there I salute you. No judgement, you are all amazing even if you don’t believe it.

Anna’s story (Mum of 2 boys)

I’ve included some pictures that make me smile. Being a Mum is amazing, knackering and so many other emotions every day. The first one is of James enjoying his first taste of food and the other is Leo (3) refusing to go to bed so hides and gets stuck in between the loo!

Becca’s story (Mum of 1)

Leo Bex.png Baby Leo, aged 5 months
Here’s my ‘It can just be me’ post… Throwing it way back to early 2012 when Leo was just 5 months old. Travelling on my own with my baby!
Being an ex air hostess, I was fully prepared for the short journey from Leeds to Toulouse….or so I thought!! How wrong I was…I waved goodbye to my mum and dad at check in, I ventured through security with Leo in the buggy and my changing bag as hand luggage – prepped with all the essentials a 5 month old baby needs!
Here’s what I was faced with – Having to collapse a buggy, whilst holding my baby (yes nobody offered to hold my baby, who couldn’t even sit up) taste all the water I had prepped for Leo’s bottles during the flight, still whilst holding my baby, having my entire changing bag searched, then on the other side of the scanners putting everything back together!
Phew I can relax – so I thought! First tip for flying solo with a small baby is to have a small dose of calpol before boarding, thinking I am onto a winner – we board and I have a whole row to myself! I couldn’t be happier!!! Second tip is to save the milk/water for take off and landing, as we take off I give Leo his bottle – he falls asleep for the majority of the flight! Yes!! can he stay asleep till it’s time to leave the aircraft! Nope!!!
As the seatbelt sign comes on and we start to make our descent into Toulouse – Leo wakes up and begins to cry so loud! Frantically I try and force feed him his milk and water but he rejects it. Unable to settle my distressed baby I start to cry. The tears are rolling down my face, I can feel the entire planes passengers eyes on me and can just imagine all the angry faces, thoughts are shooting through my head “they all think I’m a crap mum, can’t even settle my own baby” this is when the air hostess in charge, takes a seat next to me and calms me down and tells me this is normal. I am so thankful to this lady for helping me calm down.

Claire’s story (felt overwhelmed as a new Mum)

Jonah.pngBaby Jonah
Motherhood hit me like a tonne of bricks and to say I was overwhelmed was an understatement! This picture was taken around the time my husband was returning from paternity leave. I can honestly hand on heart if he had a pair of boobs I’d have swapped places in a heartbeat. I was scared to death of this little bundle. I lost both parents 4 years prior to this so had very little advice or help on what on earth I was doing or should be doing. Those early weeks were harsh! I think I feel a bit guilty looking back at how overwhelmed I felt mainly because there’s an expectation that as a new Mum you should feel a certain way.

Hazel’s story (mum of 2 (Daddys) boys)

James & Liam then……………..                               and now (with Mum Hazel)
These are my beautiful boys then and now. I think as a Mum the challenges change with time, some things get easier (sleepless nights) and some things get more difficult (a huge dose of attitude anyone?!) but there are also new feelings that take a while to get used to. For me the new thing is feeling side lined …. my boys are 9 and 7 and have always been Daddy’s boys and I have always loved that. Its so nice to observe their mutual adoration however recently I’ve started feeling that they don’t want me, only Daddy and I’ve wallowed for a bit. BUT I’ve decided to have a different attitude recently. The boys DO want me…….. always if they’re poorly, always in the middle of the night, to help cook (I let them use sharp knives!!). So the moral of the (long) story is children are hard work and as they grow, things change but that means I need to adapt to it and not sit there feeling sorry for myself.

Jane’s story (single Mum of 1)

Jane baby
This photo was taken after a particularly bad day. I was over tired, stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and struggling. Struggling to do it all. A newly single Mum launching her own business. In between homes. Living at my folks and in the middle of a full house renovation. Juggling it all and just about coping. I had just had a mini meltdown and then we had bath time and I captured a glimpse of us both in the mirror as I walked past. This is real life. Not the photos we all post pretending our lives are perfect. I had not washed my hair for 4 days. I have no make up on. I felt old and tired but those snuggles just made it all ok.

Beth’s story (Mum of 3 boys & a stepson)


Frankie, the youngest of the 4 boys!
To support the #itcantjustbeme campaign for maternal mental health week, I have put together a few pics of my boys that make me laugh and feel pretty proud that I have such amazing children….. extremely hard work at times especially the youngest Frankie who is sooooo independent from having 3 big bros around and thinking he is a big boy. He basically does what he wants! Bringing up humans is an intense job and no one can get it right all the time, we do the best we can.

Anna’s story (Mummy & Mumbler boss)

Anna mumbler
They say a picture says a 1,000 words, well a big smile can hide a 1,000 feelings! This picture was taken 12 weeks into my first journey through motherhood and looking back now I was struggling on all levels!
I was not prepared at all, this little person turned my world upside down and I felt out of control. We got off to a rocky start as feeding did not go to plan and we ended up back in hospital with dehydration at 5 days old. Little miss soon picked up when she got some fluids but my mental health was a mess. I blamed myself, thought I was a failure, became a very anxious mum, pushed those closest to me away, isolated myself from others and hated the early months of motherhood.
I wish I had known then what I do now – 1. Look after yourself, you are just as important, 2. Nobody is perfect and everyone has their own struggles, 3. Don’t set yourself such high expectations in the early months, getting a shower is an achievement! 4.ASK FOR HELP, looking back those closest to me saw the cracks but I didn’t want to. I did what mums do best and put my head down and ploughed on. I should have looked up and reflected and realised #itcantjustbeme

Sharon’s story (mum of 2)

Sharon kids Libby & Harrison
I have a little quote in my kitchen that makes me chuckle- “If being a Mum was easy, a man could do it!” No disrespect to men but come on…us Mummies are the DADDIES aren’t we?
Parents are special to support us in being parents ourselves so to not have them and my children not have grand parents is tough too!
I lost my Mum suddenly whilst 6 months pregnant and don’t think I ever truly had chance to grieve fully before being thrust into being a new Mummy. I still feel like there has been a void for my children. Roughly 2 years later my Dad had several small strokes leading to him living with us. By this time my second baby was born into the mix!

As a Mum you just carry on cause you have to don’t you?
There were times I have drove my car to a quiet spot just for a 5 minute break and to allow my head to stop spinning. I believe I have been the best I can for my 2 by giving them nearly everything they asked for and teaching them right from wrong. I am very proud to say both my children like myself have always been vegetarians and now they choose to continue this healthy lifestyle.
To throw a spanner in the works I was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago and to sit your children down and break this news is not easy. We had many tears and to be honest through my journey at times felt disappointed by their behaviour towards me. Looking back I was selfish as I didn’t realise what effect this was having on their lives too.
Moving on … I feel very honoured to be a Mum as it is a 24/7 Full Time Job but wouldn’t have it any other way and love my 2 to the moon and back!

Lyndsay’s story (Mum of 2)

The #itcantjustbeme campaign got me thinking about how my own mental health has been over the rocky road of parenthood. I love this photo, she was so new and her big brother loved her instantly. I distinctly remember on this occasion someone saying ‘you make it look so easy.’ Not sure that was true as in reality I was struggling. Sophia had colic, my son was having a nightmare starting pre school and tears from all parties were a daily occurrence. For some reason though I really didn’t want others to see that. Pretty sure a few folks close to me did witness a few cracks but those first few months with two mini-me’s were tough no doubt. Should I have talked to more people about it…………probably, but us mummys are great at just ‘ploughing on.’ The whirlwind of parenthood doesn’t often allow us time to sit and reflect on our own wellbeing, but maybe its time we did just that.

Claire’s story (Mum of 2 boys)

claire +boys
I’ve always been bad when it comes to asking for help, I blame the neat/control freak in me, and with motherhood I found that only intensified. I think because I chose to be a stay at home mum, I felt like I didn’t warrant the childcare nor the help, if I was at home. But I did, and I don’t know why I couldn’t see that. I look back at me in those early years and want to hug her, shake her, tell her it’s not a one man show just because she chose to stay at home.
Recently, I have been asking for help more and it’s been eagerly given. You see when you ask for help, you’re not a burden, you’re not selfish, and the world isn’t going to end if it’s NOT you that does everything. It’s taken me six years of motherhood to get my head around that.
Catherine’s story (Psychotherapist & Mum of 4)

Catherine pic
Getting real about motherhood is healthy for everyone, especially the 1 in 5 women who will suffer from a maternal mental health (MMH) disorder like postpartum depression or anxiety. For many women, there are unspoken and spoken ideals of motherhood, unrealistic myths, that crowd the mind and keep women judging themselves through an unrealistic lens. It is especially hard for women who are suffering from an MMH disorder who may choose to suffer silently because they feel there must be something terribly wrong with them for feeling something so different than those expectations.

I see so many women in the Bringing Sparkle Back clinic who have such high expectations of being the perfect mum, it cripples them. They constantly feel ‘not good enough’. Every day they feel like they feel like a complete failure.

Getting real about motherhood is healthy for everyone. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect mum’. This pic of me was taken on our first holiday with baby Kristina last year. She was 5 months old in this pic, and it’s a pic that makes me smile. I was clearly sleep deprived because I totally forgot to pack nappies and her swimming costume for this holiday. I only realised when we arrived at the airport and hadn’t even packed spare ones in the changing bag and boots had NO NAPPIES!!! We spent our first day trawling the shops in Lanzarote for a swimming costume and only found one that fit a 2 year old. But you know what, the story behind this pic was that I’d just launched a new business @girltribegang and I was spinning lots of plates. I’ve learned now that lists help when I’m packing. I’ve also learned to ask for help more. I’m a sucker for not asking for help and letting people in.

A few more shared on Insta stories ……..