Could I be a Vlogger?

It seems absurd for someone who can barely find time to wash their hair to even consider vlogging, doesn’t it? Surely vloggers have to be well put-together, genuinely happy and naturally beautiful people who just pretend their very busy lives of filming themselves gives them an anxiety that mums of newborns and teenagers want to empathise.

My first encounter with a vlogger was on YouTube about 5 years ago. I searched ‘smoky eye tutorial’ and a young but pretty makeup artist sat in front of her camera and blended, blended and blended some more. That girl was Tanya Burr. I was mesmerised by the eyeshadow blending technique she was demonstrating – I’d always wondered how it was done!

Then I got engaged, and of course she had by then moved on to wedding makeup tutorials and my obsession with vlogs started snowballing.

I’ve watched a lot of the big hitters: Tan (as she’s known by her mates – I’m her mate right?!), Hannah Maggs, Anna Sacone-Joly, Patricia Bright, Lydia Millen… and I’ve also studied back catalogues of lesser known mummy-vloggers such as Emily Norris.

Through each life milestone I’ve had in the last 5 years – getting engaged, choosing a wedding dress, getting married, getting pregnant, having a baby, buying / renovating / decorating a house, raising said baby – they have been there. They have been my lifeline. They have offered me advice, tips, tricks, hacks, laughs and an emotional connection to something at 11pm when I’ve been too busy that day to get in touch with actual human friends.

I’ve hit a cross roads. Life with a busy full time job, and a two year old has somehow morphed into ‘manageable’ and I’m finding myself craving some creativity back in my life. And I don’t mean finger painting and sticky pictures. I mean a new outlet, a way to express how I feel and find my old self in there SOMEWHERE! (I know she’s in there).

When I was on maternity leave, I discovered the Michalaks. Their videos are incredible, inspiring and absolute creative genius. Although I need low expectations of what I would be able to achieve given that my editing knowledge is currently at zero, and I don’t own a vlogging camera, I feel optimistic!

What sets them apart is that they have a clear agenda. They know why they are filming every day, they know how they want their videos to look and they know exactly what they like and what they don’t like about vlogging. They have a goal – to be film producers – and this pushes them forwards.

So what is my agenda? Do I want to help other mums find comfort when they just can’t work out how to fit all the hoovering into their daily routine? Not particularly. Do I want to showcase my cookery skills? No – I don’t like to talk whilst I cook! Do I just want to learn a new skill, see progression in something and capture some gorgeous moments with my son as he grows up? Yes.

Maybe vlogging isn’t for me. But blogging definitely feels good so why wouldn’t that be the natural extension? Perhaps I am better behind a keyboard. I have a face for radio and I don’t really like to talk all that much if I’m really honest! Does that rule me out of the game?


Perhaps, just perhaps, I could be one of the lucky ones who discovers a talent for making life look so much more amazing when you edit bits out…


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JJ’s Caribbean Cuisine


About 10 years ago, I was lucky enough to go to Notting Hill Carnival. It was bright, loud and grimy – I loved it! The beats were relentless and the smells from the different street food vendors was overwhelmingly good – smokey, tangy and rich food smells coming at us from all directions as you wondered through the crowded streets.

At 22, I was accustomed to trying all sorts of new foods (new to me that is) and wasn’t afraid to order them but the Leeds food scene back then was infantile and so such things as Caribbean Curry Goat wasn’t exactly on the menu unless you got invited to a family home in Chapel Town for tea. Of course this fantastic, diverse carnival in London would offer all kinds of delights but for me the goat curry was intriguing enough.

It was green, which I found strange, but it was delicious. Similar to lamb but gamier. A similar consistency to an Indian curry but with a more middle eastern flavour.  It was a completely new taste experience for me and made even more intoxicating by the surroundings of feathers, sequins and samba!

Until two weeks ago I’ve never been able to find anything similar. Until I went to my local town Carnival in Otley that is…

JJ’s Caribbean Cuisine, a Halal food van, greeted us as we entered the grassy carnival field, ready to peruse the festivities (colourful lorry floats, the annual dog show, stalls selling sheep herding gear – we do live in the country after all!). I must say it was a surprising choice of street food for the event given Otley’s general penchant for fish-and-chips-with-scraps, but we we’re straight over to JJ’s in a flash ordering our goat curry with rice and peas. Before I’d even eaten it I knew it was going to be delicious. I could tell from the vendors passion for the food and the smell of the steam cutting through the summer drizzle that it was going to be good.

Whilst queuing, I asked them if they’d considered Trinity Kitchen in Leeds, thinking they’d go down a storm there. They said they are applying for the next round of food van changes – so here is a message to say GOOD LUCK JJ’s, I will definitely look out for you at future events and visit for more scrummy goat curry when you get your spot in Trinity Kitchen!


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This Valentine’s Day we got an opportunity. My in-laws agreed to take our little sproglet for a niiiiiiice long Sunday lunchtime walk so we could sneak off and grab a bite together. As they live ‘over that way’ we thought we’d take the opportunity to try out Prashad!

You may think it was an odd choice for a Sunday lunch time, not to mention a broad daylight Valentine’s venue…and I suppose it was, but those of you with munchkins will know you have to snatch these chances when you get them, and I’ve been desperate to try out their infamous Thali for years now.

To understand what Thali is, simply think ‘medley’. It’s essentially a full meal on one plate. Made up of a couple of nibbly starters to whet your appetite, one or two mains to sample, some sides, sundries and even a dessert, this gives you a platter of spice sensations you will enjoy so much that you won’t even notice the absence of meat!

When our Thali’s arrived I was excited by how many different elements I had to work my way through, and this was doubled when Dom and I realised we’d been given different dishes! Clever Bobby! (That’s Kaushy, the original owner’s son who now runs the restaurant). He clearly knows how we Brits love to dine when it comes to Indian food – variety and sharing.

I wish I’d had the foresight to get the waiter to write down everything which was on our Thali plates, but truth be told I was too busy trying to discreetly take photos with my new fancy camera without looking like ‘a blogger’.

I really enjoyed the service and the decor of Prashad, the team there have really brought the Indian dining experience up to date, but would like to return perhaps in the evening when there is a bit more intimacy in the atmosphere. Ironically for Valentines Day, and despite the corner table upstairs where they’d say us (where all the other white people were!), I felt quite exposed; even a little observed.

Overall it was a great meal – a little break from parenthood for us and some beautiful food. We’ll definitely go back…one evening!

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My Pregnancy – In Pictures


At the beginning of my pregnancy I felt good. I knew this probably wouldn’t last, although I was hopeful that I would continue to feel positive and optimistic about the huge changes to my life. For me one of the biggest changes would be my body. Never one to flaunt what little I had, I can’t say I paid too much attention to the way I looked, but I did work out and I did exfoliate and I did relish in being naturally slim… So I decided to document the changes – my tummy, my boobs and my bum, in all their growing glory, got a weekly photo shoot with the intention of one day posting this blog.

6 weeks 7 weeks 8 weeks 9 weeks 10 weeks 11 weeks 12 weeks 16 weeks 17 weeks 20 weeks 21 weeks 22 weeks 23 weeks 24 weeks 25 weeks 26 weeks 27 weeks 28 weeks 29 weeks 30 weeks 31 weeks 32 weeks 33 weeks 34 weeks 35 weeks 36 weeks 37 weeks 38 weeks 39 weeks 40+ weeks


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Early Pregnancy Advice


Since my pregnancy, a few more of my unsuspecting friends have also fallen pregnant. I say unsuspecting because it really is a whirlwind of change – your body, your hormones, the tiredness, the heartburn, the LOVE!

While every woman must navigate her very unique pregnancy path, each will come out the other side with their own top tips. These are just a few of mine which I have recently shared with said unsuspecting friends!


I used YouTube for EVERYTHING. Search for 10, 11, 12 etc week ultrasounds so you can see how your munchkin is progressing, people post their scan videos so you can get an idea of growth & movement. Here are some pregnancy vlogs I followed:

Hannah Maggs: This is the first video I watched of hers and I love her!!!! She’s vlogged her whole pregnancy and motherhood ever since.

Brittany and Baby: This girl is pretty annoying but I found her videos really useful:

Basically search whichever week you’re at i.e. ’12 weeks pregnant…’ and you’ll find loads of videos & vlogs. They will help, comfort and inform you.

And for the boys:

You can also use YouTube for tutorials such as how to bath / change / wind your baby. The Mothercare website is also good for this.

Your Hospital Bag

At around 34 weeks, packing your hospital bag will become a really big deal. There are plenty of videos on this too, but here is my ESSENTIALS packing list:

Lip balm
Jelly pots
Tracker bars (or other cereal bars)
Soft face cloth
Large black knickers – the more granny like, the better
Maternity pads – lots of
Dark coloured nighties & pj’s
Dark coloured long dressing gown

One Born Every Minute

Download the app, it’s really good. Also, every episode is on 4od. I liked watching them to prepare me for every eventuality….


Sign up to the Aptaclub for pregnancy diet advice, tailored to your stage or pregnancy and the babies development. They even send you a free teddy!!


Mothercare hold ‘Expectant Parent Event’ evenings. You will do all your research on your big ticket items around weeks 25-30 and then you can attend this event to take advantage of loads of offers and discounts. We saved about £150 on our pram & crib by doing this.


You will have various options for anti-natal courses. NCT is privately run and costs about £190. I opted to do the free government run classes ‘Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond’ and really regretted it. I wish I’d paid for the proper NCT as everyone I know who’s done it has made loads of friends and I hated my class – it was literally like a pregnant Star Wars bar!!! So I would recommend stumping up the cash. Check the NCT website at around 20-25 weeks to see when your next local course is and get enrolled.

Pregnancy pilates

It’s a good idea to keep doing something to keep your pelvis strong. I did yoga, pilates and swimming throughout and don’t think I could have managed my labour if I hadnt!! There are many specialist pregnancy pilates, yoga and swimming classes available, just have a look online for your local ones.

Gym ball & support pillow

Your gym ball will become a permanent piece of furniture in your living room from 30 weeks onwards. You will use it to ease your back and towards the end you’ll be space-hoppering the shit out of it to try and bounce that baby out!!! A support pillow for bed is an absolute must – this will replace your other half in bed from around 25 weeks when your back starts aching and you need to support your bump. You shouldn’t lie on your back from about 15 weeks so you’ll need to get as comfy as possible on your side.

There are so many nuggets of advice I can offer, but ultimately each woman will find what works for her and her pregnancy as each is as unique as the babies we are creating.

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Otta’s Leah



These days I feel pretty out of touch with ‘the city’ (that’s Leeds for me!). I so rarely get to go, and when my trendy mates keep telling me about new places they’ve eaten or plaster their Prosecco photos on Facebook I must admit I go a little bit green…

Obviously having a small person in my life is overwhelmingly satisfying and I wouldn’t swap it for all the new bars and restaurants in the world, but it does make me nostalgic for the days I could spend 2 hours getting ready, throw on a pair of heels and trot off to town without a care.

Such an opportunity arose this weekend, when my mum asked if she could look after Jackson. The bright lights of Leeds were calling to me – Headrow House? Zaap Thai? The Homage2fromage Café?

But then I remembered Otta’s Leah. Our little town of Otley has just welcomed a new restaurant and so far I had heard nothing but great reports.

So the bright city lights, this time, got pushed aside for a quick taxi ride down the road and an urge to support local new business. And it didn’t disappoint! We were welcomed with a friendly face (actually the old front of house manager from Bistro Saigon in Ilkley who is great), and a ready table.

I looked around to see tables full of happy customers, very middle class and very middle aged. I worried we had made a mistake by using one of our precious date nights to mingle with the Otley oldies, but actually the subdued atmosphere and shortage of glitterati was pretty refreshing! No-one peering at your table nosying at ‘who’s who?’ and no fashion parade.

A couple of Hendricks gin and Fenitman’s tonics later we had perused the menu and ordered our starters, mains and wine. The menu is small, with 4 starter choices and 4 mains, and when you see the size of the kitchen which houses their 3 chefs you understand why! But what they do, they do extremely well…

I sipped a cold glass of their Rioja Blanco which accompanied my pan fried mackerel fillet with mackerel tartare wrapped in cucumber, followed by hake fillet on squid ink risotto and calamari. All of which was absolutely delicious – beautifully cooked and really well seasoned. We greedily rounded off with a somewhat stingy cheese, biscuits and a glass of port. Perhaps if we hadn’t been sharing it would have been the perfect amount.

The restaurant currently runs on two floors. Upstairs was empty for us and I’ve heard the same from other diners, so I hope that they consider extending the bar area on the ground floor and start utilising the first floor restaurant space. Otley needs more good bars and surely this would attract potential diners too.

Overall, I was very impressed with Otta’s Leah. The staff were friendly and attentive, the menu was small but perfectly formed and the atmosphere and décor gave off the perfect low key Friday night vibe.

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