Laundry Day

Out of all the household tasks that need to be done the laundry is the one I like the least. It’s a never ending circle of stains, of needing to remember to get the PE kit washed on certain days, and of trying to find the room to hang the clothes to dry in our tiny flat. And then of course once you’ve got a mountain of clean, dry, lovely scented clothes that mountain needs to be ironed and folded and put away. Ironing is just about the bane of my life!


Between the three of us I seem to spend a huge chunk of my time washing, ironing, folding clothes and endlessly attempting to pair up socks. There are days when I take one look at the overflowing baskets of clothes and wish I could toss the whole lot over the balcony. Alas it’s not socially acceptable to go around in the nude, not to mention the fact that it can be pretty chilly at this time of year and I doubt our neighbours would appreciate a pile up of abandoned clothes in the communal gardens…

And so of course it’s a task that has to be completed regardless of my feelings on the matter so I’ve been thinking of ways in which I could make it a more enjoyable experience. Aside from paying someone lovely to do it (alas not affordable ££!) I racked my brains to come up with ways to improve the laundry situation in our home. My first plan is to set up a rota for washing so that I’m not rushing to get particular items ready on a Sunday evening for school the next day or so that I don’t end up accidentally putting every towel we own into the same wash. I think that will work well for me as i’m a sucker for being able to tick something off of my to-do list too!

My other idea is to make the laundry routine as pretty as I possibly can. And so I turned to the haven of all things pretty but practical – The Garden Trading Company – to see what they had that would make laundry days look a little better.


I was certainly not left disappointed by what they had in their online range. I love the simplicity and clean but pretty look of their product designs – they have a lovely combined feel of Scandi chic and country cottage style which is really to my taste. If I had the budget these are what I would buy for our home; the wooden clothes horse, beech ironing board, the ‘Hung Out to Dry’ glass storage jar with wooden pegs, the large Cadgwith rattan clothes basket, and the pretty glass fresh linen mister. I would still, of course, prefer to have a cleaner who could tackle it all whilst I lay around being a lady of leisure but as that’s not likely to ever happen, I would happily do it myself armed with these gorgeous pieces.

What makes your household chores a little more bearable?





I remember the first time I saw this quote – it really struck a chord with me; we were a week into the 7 week long summer holidays and I’d been let down on a couple of days childcare for Lily. I had ended up keeping her at home with me whilst I worked and had just got off a conference call with some senior management guys that she’d interrupted by calling out for juice. I laughed it off on the call – made a joke about her being the one who had primed me for dealing with all of their demands and made frantic gestures at Lily to be quiet. I felt so hugely guilty when I put the phone down – guilt at being unprofessional but also guilt at being annoyed with Lily for simply asking for a drink. Later on during the holidays she would turn to me on a day when I was trying to submit a project deadline and had again been let down on childcare, tears in her eyes, and ask why it was that I wasn’t able to take her to the park or play barbie; “All of my friends have their mummies at home looking after them”. Another perfectly timed stab of guilt right in the gut…

I feel guilty constantly for not being there for her in the ways I wish that I could. I wish that I could drop her off and pick her up from school every day. I wish it was me she ran to at the end of the school day, excited to see me and share her stories with me. I feel guilty that at the weekends there’s always so much housework and other things to do that deduct from the time we can spend together. I feel guilty when I mess up and forget homework, or her PE kit or an own clothes day or her gloves when the walk to school is chilly. I feel guilty when she tells me that I was the only parent not at their class assembly. I felt like the worst mum in the World when her sports day fell on a day when I had a work meeting halfway across the country, the look of pure disappointment on her face when I told her that neither me nor Scott would be there cheering her on made me feel sick to the stomach.

At the moment I’m feeling guilty because since being back at School in September she has hated every minute of it. She doesn’t like her new teacher, she feels as though the work is harder and un-achievable, she feels as though she’s constantly getting into trouble or doing things wrong. And I have no idea how to help. I tell her everyday that she is smart, that they only set her work at a level that they think she can achieve, that I am proud of her, and that schoolwork isn’t everything. But I can’t take away the sadness that she’s feeling and the guilt about that is driving me crazy.

I’m not stupid – I know that nobody is perfect, I know (thanks to my friends and @prawnspringroll) that i’m not the only one who has an alter-ego called ‘Shouty Mummy’, I know that I shouldn’t compare myself to other parents and particularly not by what they post online (after all I’m a master at shoving mess out of the frame for instagram pictures *anyone else think that ought to be a transferable skill on my CV?* ). But despite knowing all this there is still a little (sometimes big) voice inside that lays on the guilt trip as thick as I like my nutella on toast…


I don’t know how to silence it but I’ve definitely realised something – all this guilt, well it means that I care, because if I didn’t care then it wouldn’t eat me up inside; it means that I am a good mum because I want my daughter to be happy and I care about her life being a happy one. And she might not realise it now, but when I work I am working to provide us with a better life – and to set an example to her that women can be successful.



Ivesons on Tour – Prague – Part One

This summer we were lucky enough to get the opportunity to spend a week in Prague. Our kind and generous friends Martin, Katerina and their daughter Noemi invited us to stay with them in their lovely home so that we could explore their city.

Prague is a  beautiful city with a fascinating history and culture aplenty. It’s also one of the greenest and freshest feeling cities I have ever visited – it really does feel as though there is a park or garden on every street and the Vltava River  lazily winding through the centre of the city lends to the feeling of space and the crispness of the air. That’s not to say it isn’t busy – the Old Town and Charles Bridge in particular are busy 24/7, the cobbled streets seeming to groan under the footfall of thousands of tourists however there are always little hidden oasis’ just waiting to be found and relished.

We flew from Gatwick to Vaclav Havel Airport where Martin and Noemi collected us – from the airport it was a short drive to Malá Strana, the district of Prague where we would be spending our week (and definitely the area I would recommend to any traveller to base themselves out of).


View of the road on which we were staying


A wonderful welcome sign by Noemi

Martin and Katerina’s beautiful home was a real haven from the busy city streets – with a cobbled courtyard and the perfect window seat from which to perch and sip your morning coffee. We were so grateful to them for welcoming us into their home.

We arrived quite late in the evening, not helped by delays, and so our first few hours were spent covering the essential such as the tiny bar around the corner where they would fill any jug you took down with what is definitely one of the best beers in the World. Our hostess Katerina is a cordon bleu chef so after a delicious meal the girls went off to play and we took a moonlit walk up a seemingly verticle stone staircase to Prague Castle (where I wheezed for a few minutes feeling incredibly unfit whilst taking in the incredible view!) and back down towards the apartment through Nerudova Street where you can see some of the finest examples of Prague’s famous house signs such as ‘Two Suns’ and the ‘Three Little Fiddles’ and get a beer at a great little place on the corner called U Kocoura which was always full of locals when we popped in. There’s also a pharmacy on this street (just incase you need to find one!).


That tiny sign on the right was the pub where you could get your jugs filled and that archway led to a set of stairs up to the Castle

 Our first full day in Prague the weather was a little wet and miserable – Lily basically decided that she didn’t want to leave the apartment and so spent her day with Noemi whilst Scott and I went out to explore.


Lily getting creative.

There’s something very eclectic and enigmatic about Prague. It’s a city of juxtapositions – a place where history and Bohemian culture sit alongside Starbucks and McDonalds, a place where you look up at golden spires and down at broken cobblestones and pathways circled by weeds, and where incredible palaces and monstrous cement casinos jostle for space.


Some broken cobblestones at the corner of St Nicholas Church 

Prague is often called ‘The city of a thousand spires’ and whilst I wouldn’t suggest trying to count them all it’s clear why the city has this particular nickname – the architecture of Prague is completely out of this World – beautiful gothic, renaissance and baroque churches, grand palaces with private gardens, beautiful monasteries and tightly packed alleys where the colourful buildings make even dreary weather days seem brighter.


We avoided crossing the Charles Bridge – it was ram packed with people and I had no desire to battle our way across when a few minutes up the river was another empty bridge that we could cross without difficulty. In fact we basically avoided using the Charles Bridge all week and only crossed it on our last day in the city for the sake of experience!


The sky cleared up for a little while as we made our way through the Old Town Square to see the famous Astronomical Clock. The base of the clock gets particularly clogged up with people waiting to see the hourly chime which, I’ve got to admit, I found anti-climatic. It’s a really beautiful clock and the history of the building in which it is displayed is fascinating but I don’t think it’s as exciting as the hype makes out. The Tourist information office is just to the right of the clock tower and has lots of information on tours, leaflets to pick up etc – we grabbed a handful of leaflets to take a look at and the lady at the front desk was very helpful.

Scott and I sat and had lunch at an overpriced cafe on the square and enjoyed people watching and listening to some of the musicians busking for an hour or so until the waiter clearly wanted us to move on – honestly the restaurants and cafes etc around the old town square are complete tourist traps, expensive and westernised and not worth the visit.


This is one of my favourite shots that I captured that day – it’s not a great focus as it was just taken on my phone but I love the bubbles across the frame.


Scott admiring the beautiful buildings around Old Town 


The blue skies came out for this shot of the Church of Our Lady before Týn

Thankfully our second day the good weather came out to play and so after coffee and breakfast on the terrace we took the girls to Prague Zoo for the day – it was just a hop, skip and a jump from Malá Strana on the tram (a fun experience in itself!). The tram network is super efficient, very cheap compared to London travel prices, and helpfully when you are on board there is a sign that lists the next stop location and a map to help guide you.


Rooftops of Prague – the perfect spot for a coffee in the morning


The distinctive design of the City trams


The girls at the entrance to Prague Zoo

Prague Zoo completely blew me away! I’ll do another post on our top attractions for kids in Prague but this will definitely be listed as number one🙂



This big guy wandered inside to have a snooze, and to give us a high-5! Despite having lots of room in the enclosure he snuggled up in this little corner and watched the kids (hopefully not because he was peckish!)


On Daddy’s shoulders for a better view of the Elephants – it was amazing to see them up close  and watch them interacting with the elephant calf


Just look how close we were! It’s now on my Bucket list to meet an elephant.


Pure amazement at seeing the elephants so close

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Thanks to our hosts knowing the zoologists here we were so wonderfully privileged to get to meet Eberhard the Galapagos tortoise up close – he was super friendly and this was a real highlight of our trip. 


Braving the chair lift to get to the very top of the Zoo


The view was worth it!




Noemi teaching Lily about the Buddhist Prayer Wheels


My very own Indiana Jones

I  took about a million photos of the Zoo as I just loved every bit of it but I won’t share any more here. It was hands down the best and biggest zoo I have ever visited, by the end of the day there our legs were exhausted and our hands were sticky from the ice cream but we had huge smiles on our faces.

Look out for my next post all about the rest of our stay in Prague and in the meantime checkout the #ivesonsontour tag on Instagram to see more…



The Bucket (or F*CK it) List


When I was 15 I sat down and wrote a list that I titled ‘The Plan’; it was, essentially, a list of all of the things I wanted to do before I was 30. It was a pretty long list with 62 items in total. A couple of weeks ago I found it tucked down behind my bed in my old room at my parents house. It was funny to read it but it also made me think a lot about what I had expected from my life and what I’ve achieved in the 12 years since I wrote it. In all honesty – I’ve not done much of it, just 6.5 out of the 62 items which made me feel a little sad. But instead of moping around about the lack of things I’d ticked off I decided to take it as an opportunity to rewrite my Bucket List, or as I’ve taken to calling it the F*CK it list – as in ‘Oh F*CK it lets just jump on a plane and go drink mojitos and salsa dance in Cuba’🙂

The list will be a work in progress and I’ve no doubt that it will change as time goes on, just like it’s changed since I first wrote it at 15. I’ve deleted a lot from my original list as many were things that just don’t appeal anymore, and the list is a real mix of big and small things that I’d like to do. To make it easier to find things as I work my way through I’ve split them into categories – Skills, Experiences, Travel and Misc. At the top you will see that I’ve added the 6.5 I’ve ticked off of my original plan as I love that feeling of satisfaction you get when you cross things off ha!

Get engaged and married

Have kids

See a meteor shower

Go to Cyprus with Gulasiye

Go on the London Eye

Get a bikini wax – no matter how painful (well I was 15 ha!)

Buy and move into my own place  (that’s the .5)




Learn to dance – the jive, salsa, foxtrot, waltz, cha cha cha, quickstep, rumba, tango, paso doble, samba, american smooth, charelston, rock n’ roll, lindybop, and swing.

Learn basic conversational Swedish, French, German, Italian, Icelandic and Chinese

Revise and practice Spanish to improve

Learn how to skate

Learn how to kayak and go kayaking in Sweden

Learn how to scuba dive

Learn to drive

Study history again

Yoga – learn 10 poses

Knit a jumper or cardigan

Sew a dress from pattern

Sew a dress without a pattern

Take a photography course

Take a cookery lesson

Be able to use chopsticks

Take a self defence course




Peru – climb Machu Picchu

See the Northern Lights

Costa Rica



Scotland – stay overnight in a castle, see Loch Lomond, visit the Wallace monument, Culloden Moor, Hogmanay, a trip on the Flying Scotsman, Eilean Donan Castle, the standing stones, Orkney Islands, Outer Hebrides, Skye, Loch Ness

Ireland and N Ireland – Giant’s Causeway, Dublin, Cliffs of Moher, Belfast


Iceland – Whale watching, swim in the Blue Lagoon

The Caribbean – Barbados, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, St.Kitts-Nevis, Puerto Rico, Jamaica


The Balkan states – Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria



Sri Lanka

North Pole







South Africa





China – the great wall of China, Hong Kong



Greece – Athens, The Acropolis, Crete, Santorini, Delphi




The great pyramid of Giza



Bagan, Myanmar



Visit Haworth and the Bronte house in Yorkshire



Jordan – Visit Petra and the Dead Sea

New Zealand


Spain – Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, Ronda, The Alhambra

See New England in the autumn

Cambodia – Angkor Wat

Road trip the USA

Take Lily to Walt Disney World Florida


Czech Republic – Prague

Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower

Italy – Put my hand in the ‘Mouth of Truth’ in Rome, Venice, Florence, Sicily, The Colosseum, Pisa, Vesuvius, Pompeii

Go Christmas shopping in New York

Germany – christmas market, Neuaschwanstein Castle, Berlin, Oktoberfest, the Black Forest

Russia – Moscow, St Petersburg, The Kremlin, Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, The Winter Palace, The Trans-Siberian railway

Cuba – drink mojitos and salsa dance

Notting Hill carnival

Malaysia – Kuala Lampur





Experiences and Misc

Live in a different country

Go Skiing

Go Horseriding

Go Paragliding or abseiling or skydiving (even though you are terrified of heights)

Do Karaoke (even though you can’t sing!)

See Dita Von Teese perform

Go Ice-Skating

Spend St Patrick’s Day in Dublin

Stay in an overwater bungalow


Write a book

Learn to surf

Go zorbing

Play Bingo

Watch a film at the drive in

Run a 10k

Go for a Spa Day

Roller Disco

Go to a comedy club

Go to a brewery

Pay it forward

Go to comicon (in costume)

Get another tattoo

Get a piercing

Watch a performance at The Globe

TEFL or volunteer abroad

Sit in a hot tub


Go to a literary festival

Swim outdoors (not in a pool)

Have an article I’ve written be published

Get 500 subscribers on my blog

Cut negative people out of my life

Mulberry handbag


Own a motor home or campervan

Roll Top Bath

Neon Light

Swim with dolphins

Renovate a house

Wear a bikini

Feed Penguins

Feed Giraffes

Meet an elephant

Read 40 books in 2017

Raise £500 for charity


I’ve not set myself a time in which to get all of this done – after all i’m only a couple of years off of 30 and so definitely wouldn’t have the time to do all of this stuff between now and then and they aren’t in a specific order. These are just some ideas and goals for me to work towards – some might never happen and that’s ok but i’d like to tick off as many things on my F*CK it list as possible🙂

What would you put on yours? Oh and PS if you fancy helping me tick any of them off let me know!


Trying to Conceive – I’m not the only one…

Yesterday I realised something. I was sat in a room of family and friends and an elderly relative looked over at my cousin and asked him when he and his wife would be having a baby as they’ve been married for ages. My instant reaction was to think ‘phew they didn’t ask me’, but then my second was a complete understanding. It was the first time I saw the pain of being asked that question in someone else’s eyes and it hit me like a lightening bolt.

I know that most people don’t ask out of spite, in most cases people don’t even know that a couple are or have been trying, but that doesn’t change the fact that every time someone asks those kind of questions it cuts through you like a knife – a rubbing of salt in the wound you’ve already got from going through so much trying to get pregnant or grow a baby to full term.

So what I realised was this; and it probably sounds ridiculous but, I’m not the only one.

I’m not the only one who has a spreadsheet tracking their periods and symptoms.

I’m not the only one with pregnancy and ovulation tests stuffed into a heaving drawer, or tucked behind the toilet for impromptu tests.

I’m not the only one who has had so many blood tests it’s a wonder there’s anything left there to take.

I’m not the only one who has sat on the toilet in the middle of the night and cried, face in a towel so as not to wake up the rest of the family.

I’m not the only one who is so happy when my friends or family announce their pregnancies, but also completely heartbroken – smiling and congratulating them whilst tears threaten to spill and my heart aches.

I’m not the only one who tortures themselves looking at the baby aisles in the supermarket, or pinning ‘baby things’ to a secret board on Pinterest.

I’m not the only one who has to answer the questions or, indeed criticisms of others who just don’t know or understand.

I’m not the only one who reassures themselves constantly that it will happen.

I’m not the only one going through all of this.

I’m not the only one.

I know you’ll probably say “You shouldn’t be complaining, you’re lucky, you’ve already got one child”. And you are right – I am lucky that we have our beautiful six year old daughter. But that doesn’t stop the ache in my heart for a second baby. It doesn’t change the pain I feel or the heartbreak when another month or year goes past and Lily is still an only child.

I talk to myself constantly- a constant stream of reassurance that it’s all going to be ok and I tell myself so many things, over and over again like a mantra;

“You don’t need another baby.”

“Being an only child is not a problem for Lily”

“Lily says she wants a baby brother or sister but she wouldn’t if she had one”

“You’re still young – you could get pregnant ten years from now”

“You won’t remember what to do with a newborn anyway”

“You hate sleepless nights so a baby would be a silly idea”

“The timing isn’t right”

“Lily was such a good baby and is such a good kid that you’d have a nightmare child if you had another”

“You’re being selfish for wanting to have another baby”

“Your body isn’t working properly because another baby just isn’t meant to be”

“IVF won’t work so there’s no point saving up for it”

“You’ve got loads of nieces and nephews and your friends will have babies in a few years – it’s better to be able to give them back”

“You don’t REALLY want another baby”

Since we started TTC there have been 14 babies born to friends or family. FOURTEEN. That doesn’t include the colleagues who have gone off on maternity leave, or the people I follow on Instagram, or the random acquaintances or old school friends that I bump into whilst out and about.

Meanwhile my period keeps on coming, my ovaries decide on a whim whether or not they feel like working properly each month, I’ve learnt more about cervical fluid than any person should need to know, I read books on natural and chemical induced methods of conception, I drink green juice that looks even worse than it tastes, I embrace new hobbies constantly to take my mind off of things, I knit and crochet baby things for other people’s bundles of joy, I write and rewrite lists of baby names, I do at least one pregnancy test a week regardless of what stage I’m at in my cycle, I make bargains with myself and with every god you can think of, I chart my temperature, I tell myself that I’m absolutely fine, I try and bring myself to sort through Lily’s baby things and give them to others, I laugh a little louder, I work harder, and I hurt. A Lot.

But I am not alone, and that helps a bit – knowing I’m not the only one going through this and that i’m not the only one hoping for a miracle.



Things that I would tell my teenage self…

OK so I’m hardly ‘Old’ but there are definitely a lot of things that I would go back and tell my teenage self. Here is a long list (and I’ve probably missed a few that will come to me later after a few G&Ts!)

You are your own worst critic (ok this still hasn’t changed) and one day you’ll look back at the smokin’ hot bod you had at 16 and realise what a fool you were for thinking you were fat or ugly.

Exfoliate. Cleanse. Tone. Moisturise.

Don’t think you are fat or ugly just because you don’t have a boyfriend.

Wear a bikini… and hot pants…

When you get a boyfriend don’t let him treat you like crap – he should be grateful to have you, not the other way around. Oh and dump his ass when he says he didn’t realise it was Valentine’s Day, actually dump his ass when he says he won’t wait for sex… on second thoughts don’t date that idiot at all. You’re going to meet an amazing guy when you’re 17 anyway!


Oh and treat him well – he really is the love of your life.

It doesn’t matter that you aren’t ‘Popular’ at school – just as long as you are being yourself you will find people who like you and love you regardless of what you think about yourself. Oh and some of those girls who are popular now are only popular for one thing *ahem*

Be nice to people – no people aren’t always nice to you but that doesn’t mean you can pass that negativity along. Stay away from the girls who gossip and bitch – you don’t need them to like you and it doesn’t matter what they say.


It’s more important to be happy than anything else.

Write as much as you can.

Netball is rubbish and you’ll never learn to PIVOT.

It’s OK to be a virgin – in fact it’s great. One day you’ll look back and be grateful that you didn’t lose it to some loser just because your friends already have. Also 99.9% of those boys you crush on will grow up to be complete tossers.

Dance when you go to parties – who cares if you think the other girls are skinnier/prettier/hotter/better at dancing than you? I promise you – you’ll enjoy them more if you relax.


Be proud of your geeky side and embrace your inner bookworm – if people choose to dislike you because of your interests then they are the ones with the issues.

Never ever apologise for being ambitious, for having an opinion or for being ‘bossy’ – one day women will be encouraged to lean in and bossiness will be called ‘leadership skills’ – practice sitting at the table and letting your voice be heard.

The best outfit is the one you wear with a smile – although even a smile couldn’t improve that awful green hoody so please bin it!

Save money whilst you have no outgoings!

Don’t wait for opportunities – go out and get them! Intern, experience new things, go work at a magazine during the summer holidays instead of wasting them sleeping in til noon.


Learn as much as you can – take advantage of the fact that you have to be at school and get to spend time with people who are there to teach you. Talk to your teachers. Practice your Spanish verbs.

Talk to people of different ages, experience, lifestyles. One day your closest friends won’t all be the same age as you. Learn as much as you can from other people.


You will disappoint people – your mum will be disappointed that you aren’t as skinny and popular as she was at school, your dad will be disappointed that you aren’t an A grade student and you will disappoint so many others in so many other ways. The important thing is not to disappoint yourself too much. Likewise many of your family and friends will disappoint you too – but it’s ok because you are strong and the ones who truly matter will stick.

If it’s for you it won’t go past you. Remember this.

The easy choice is rarely the right choice – in the words of Dumbledore (see also: embrace your geeky side)”We must choose between what is right and what is easy”. This little snippet of HP wisdom can be applied to so many situations in your life and certainly applies to studying at school. It doesn’t come easy to you but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Download Instagram.


What would you tell your teenage self?

Alex xxx