Good morning and a very happy Monday!
Did you have a good weekend? I did something very out of character for me, I spent a whole 24 hours without the kids! My husband turns a big number this week – it begins with 4 and ends with 0 – and we headed to Belfast for the night (the days of long weekends away are long gone for this family!). We had a lovely time zoning out from our busy lives and actually found things to chat about other than kids, what’s for dinner, bills and routine! It was perfectly blissful and something we really should do more often.
Today we have the lovely Davina Gordon in our Real Mama series. Davina is a first time mum, writer and blogger and has shared great advice for new parents as well as given us a little insight into her life with Sonny. Enjoy and here’s to a fab (drier, please!) week.
Can you introduce yourself…
I’m Davina Gordon. I’m a first-time mum, blogger and writer from Belfast.
Love it or Loathe it?
A little bit of both. I love that it’s a place you can be creative and you can connect with like-minded people. I hate that it sucks up so much of your time. It’s so addictive and it’s also not a good place to be if you’re feeling insecure or depleted.
What is your family set up?
I live with my husband Andrew, 43, my son Sonny, who is almost one and a rescue called Rex.
Where you live?
In a modest red brick semi-detached house in east Belfast, opposite a lovely park.
What do you do for work?
I’ve been recently laid off so I’m looking after my son, freelancing and blogging.
Three words that describe your household?
Homely, hectic, happy.
Do you think you have a good work/life balance?
No. I am the most well-meaning person there is. I have big ideas of starting my day with meditation, doing yoga in the afternoon and eating healthily. In reality, most of my good intentions go out the window as I go about my busy, daily routine. Eventually, I’d like to become self-employed and work around Sonny. I don’t like the idea of being in an office any more. I think everything happens for a reason, and this is my time to flourish in my career – and be the best mum I can be.
How do you manage to work/run a creative business around your kids?
It’s difficult to do anything other than be a mum and keep up with household chores. However, whenever I can, maybe when Sonny is napping or playing, I’ll spend an hour or so at my laptop blogging, writing articles and on social media. I took Sonny out of nursery when I lost my job, but once I have a steady income, I’d like him to return to childcare a couple of days a week. It’s good for his development and it’s also good for me to get a little break. It’s not easy to work with a little person trying to press keys on your laptop while you’re working!
Any hard rules you stick to both in work & family life?
Family is everything so it’s important to have quality time together outdoors with no phones. I see my close family regularly too and I have a great relationship with my mum, which is so important. It’s our first year of parenting so my husband and I haven’t had any proper ‘us ‘ time and it’s important to remind yourself of the reasons you are together. Andrew is my best friend and partner all in one. I’m very lucky. Work life, it’s vital that you love what you do. Why invest all your time in something that you don’t? It doesn’t make sense. I’ve done the office job for too long as as I approach my 40th, I want to begin doing what I want – which is writing full-time.
How do you relax?
Before Sonny came along, Andrew and I would go to the cinema, out for dinner and gigs to let off steam and relax. Now, my idea of relaxation is when Sonny is in bed and I can curl up on the sofa with hubby, have a glass of wine and binge watch Netflix. I also love walking on the beach, hanging out with friends and I do enjoy getting my nails done or a spa treatment from time to time. A bath with candles and a red wine is amazing too.
Best book you’ve read recently?
I’m more of an audio book girl but I devoured The Girl On The Train. I love inspirational books too and my hubby bought me The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C Cutler, which I love and drew strength from.
Any other books you need to share?
I’m reading Mumboss by professional blogger Vicki Psarias-Broadbent, it’s a brilliant read. I met Vicki in person and she’s such an inspiration.
I’d say pretty eclectic. I love ’80’s on a night out. I also love reliving my misspent youth by listening to house classics (ah the nights at Kelly’s in Portrush). Chart music is so over produced these days but I love Beyonce, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande is a guilty pleasure.
I’ve never got into podcasts but there are a few parenting ones I’m going to try like The Parenting Roundabout Podcast and The Longest Shortest Time.
How do you and your husband stay connected?
By getting a few hours to ourselves, and having a ‘date’. Romance goes out the window pretty quickly when a baby comes along, so it’s important to keep the fire burning.
Style – do you feel you have a signature style?
I like what I like, whether that’s a pussy bow blouse and high waisted trousers or a body-con dress and heels. I do like to dress feminine and for my body shape. I love leggings, sweater and trainers but I do love getting dressed up either in skinny jeans, pretty top and heels or a fitted dress and heels. I love accessories too and adore headscarves, floppy hats and cross body bags.
Shops you love?
Too many to mention but Mango, Topshop and La Redoute are up there. I also love ASOS and New Look is great for basics. F&F have a great range too.
Did your style change since becoming a mum?
I’d say my style has certainly slipped as you don’t have the same social life or opportunities to dress up. But, when I get the chance, I love to get my glad rags on.
Beauty products you love?
I love Elemis, especially Pro-Collagen Marine Cream. At the moment I’m using SVR Densitium Rose Eclat moisturiser which gives you a lovely glow and Algenenist Genius Sleeping Collogen at night. I use No7 Line Correcting Booster Serum too. I also love the Guinot Anti-Ageing range. I love make-up and IT Cosmetics do a fantastic foundation and I’m a big fan of Charlotte Tilbury and Stila. I love eyelash curlers, thickening mascara and can’t be without black liquid eyeliner and my Bobbi Brown red lipstick.
What family meal is guaranteed to be eaten by everyone?
My hubby and I love curries and eat at least two a week. Sonny is a little too young for curry and he’s already showing a penchant for fruit and sweet things (the latter weakness he definitely gets from me!) He has tried risotto and bolognese though and seemed to enjoy it.
Rainy day survival tactic?
I sometimes like when it rains as it’s a good excuse to stay indoors and get cosy. On a sunny day, you feel like you’re wasting it if you don’t go out. I don’t mind being out on a rainy day as long as I have my beloved Herschel yellow raincoat on and my DM’s – just as long as there’s no wind.
Any mum hacks you couldn’t live without?
I’m not sure if this is a hack but I’d advise new mums not to spend lots of money on cute clothes for the first six months – instead ask family and friends for clothing for 9-12 and 12-18 months. Your baby will live in onesies in the early days. Sonny loves his soother so I can’t be without the PaciGrip from Baby & More as he also loves pulling it out and flinging it away as hard as he can. Don’t introduce sweet things too soon or your baby will develop a taste for them (I’ve made a rod for my own back). If your nursery is small, don’t worry about a changing table, you can change baby on a changing mat on the ground or on a table. Also, I let Sonny sleep whenever he wants, I’ve figured out that if he needs it, he needs it. One final thing, reduce your time on social media if you can, so you’re not playing the comparison game. Finally, stock up up Calpol and ice lollies are great for teething.
What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
So much. I’d tell myself to save money, look after my heart, believe in myself, don’t be a people pleaser and never stop chasing your dreams.
Thanks Davina! You can check out her blog at www.mumofsonny.blog.