Thursday, September 30, 2010

just texturally

Me: "do you want to feel my nipple?"

N: "Always!........Oooh. It feels weird, like a rhinoceros' buttock."

Me: "Excuse me?"

N: "Just texturally"

Well I'm glad we cleared that up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

four years minus nine months, cont

{I'm still writing about the last four years. I finished the post I started to write in June twice and I deleted it twice. I started again and decided that if I ever was going to post it I should do it now, in pieces, as they materialise. I plan to finish my story before the babies are born. That gives me anywhere between a day and 5 weeks. It's anyone's guess.}

It's 1997 and I'm 12. I'm standing at a traffic crossing in Kings Cross, London, dressed head to toe in red velvet. It's the Easter holiday and I am visiting the capital with my grandparents. We are standing waiting for the light to change when for the first time I feel it, an evil clench of pain in my stomach, burning claws digging into my flesh. For one insane moment think I have been been shot (it's London, anything's possible). I gasp and double over but the traffic is too loud and the pedestrians too intent on getting where they're going for anyone to notice. Within seconds the pain is gone, the lights have changed and I am on the other side of the road.

At 14 I start passing out with regularity, every fourth Monday finding myself in the middle of the night with my cheek pressed to the bathroom floor and every fourth Tuesday missing the morning's classes as I am allowed an extra hour in bed. Over the next few years the imprints of many bathrooms, some kitchens and a few hallways gather on my face. My Gran's downstairs bathroom is the best, wool shag pile being more forgiving than cold linoleum.

In 2000, aged 15, I visit the doctor for the first time. She suggests a hot water bottle and tells me that my pain is normal. My mum starts buying the strongest painkiller she can in boxes of 100 whenever she visits the mainland, it not being available on the island without a visit to the doctor. Who thinks a hot water bottle is what's needed.

It's 2004 and I'm 19. The pains are worse and I have taken to passing out more frequently. I now live with a boy who has wooden floorboards that are pleasantly springy. He's a worrier though and once again I head off to the doctor. It is around this time that I begin to suspect that I have endometriosis and ask to be referred to a gynaecologist. The doctor, a stand in whom I've never met before frowns at me looking puzzled and prescribes a medication for heavy periods. I don't have heavy periods, I have cripplingly painful periods. As I leave the surgery I crumple up the prescription and throw it in the bin, wiping tears of frustration from my face with the rough sleeve of my coat.

In 2000 I turn 20. I now spend two days every month completely immobile, curled into a ball. When I stand up I fall down. I need help getting to the bathroom where the pain does nothing to reassure me that I'm not having my womb ripped out. When those two days are over I spend the next three in an exhausted stupor, the previous days having rendered me completely and utterly useless. Pissed off and having had enough I decide to bypass my GP completely and make an appointment with an independent women's clinic. They take one look at me and refer me to a gynaecologist.

Six months later I'm sitting in the waiting room of the hospital, watching the heavily pregnant women in pyjamas and winter coats huddle under the doorway trying to keep warm while they smoke between contractions. I meet said gynaecologist who laughs at me and assures me that I don't have endometriosis but she will willingly perform an operation just to prove that I don't have endometriosis. Two months later I'm back in the waiting room, three small wounds in my stomach and desperately wanting to go home. I've just come round from the operation and have been diagnosed with endometriosis, stage III (aka: severe). My brain still addled with morphine and general anaesthetic, I am told that if I ever want to have children I should probably do it now.

* image by Pat Pat

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dining Nook vs. Rabbit

The rabbit is well on his way to meeting his destiny as a pair of ear muffs.

The bastard.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life cont.

some more snippets from (the more relaxed side of) our life of late.

(bump is circa mid-August, when we went to the zoo to celebrate our second anniversary. Because I know some of you like to know these things)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

doubts over breakfast

P: "I read that we should practise 'being the babies' and asking ourselves all sorts of questions about our lives in utero. I tried it but it freaked me out."

N: looks up from his breakfast and raises one eyebrow

P: "One of the questions was 'are all of my movements greeted with joy?' ....
Sometimes I swear at them when they kick me. I'm failing already."

N: with mouth full of breakfast "no you're not."

P: "but what if I don't love them enough?"

N: not even bothering to look up from the toast he's buttering "Rubbish. Look how much you love the rabbit and he doesn't even like you."

P: ".....true."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We photographed our last wedding until March this weekend and I can't tell you how relieved I am. I'm 32 weeks pregnant with twins, and since the first day twins were mentioned almost everyone has delighted in telling me how often they arrive before 32 weeks. The people who haven't been revelling in telling me that they often come before 28 weeks that is. And if it hasn't been tales of early delivery it's been assurances that most women with twins are prescribed bed rest at 28 weeks. At 28 weeks we still had four weddings to go. Needles to say, I've been shitting myself.

But we made it. And now all I've got to do is sit in front of the computer editing photos until Widdle and Puke decide to arrive. (Please to the God of unforgiving desk jobs, let it be long enough to edit 7 weddings, please please please). Because although Lillian and Leonard is a joint business and in theory N and I share the work evenly, in recent months our household has had a dramatic shift in labour division. Business-wise, I have been doing everything except photographing weddings and bookkeeping by myself while N battles a ticking clock to make our house habitable for our expanding family. I edit photos and answer emails and design albums while he climbs ladders and plasters walls and hangs wallpaper. Other stuff like cooking and cleaning is dealt with by whoever is still standing at the end of the day. It works for us. For now.

Once the babies are here we still have to keep the business ticking over, answering emails and designing wedding albums for this year's couples but no more actual weddings until March. MARCH! That's six months from now. SIX MONTHS! By March I'm pretty sure we'll be missing it (we do actually kind of love our job) but in the meantime we're so looking forward to six months off, six glorious months to prepare for and then spend time with W&P, trying to figure out what the hell we're doing and how to look after TWO BABIES.

Every day I am grateful that we are able to do this, that we are able to take this time together to readjust to our new family, because I know that most people can't. That even if you're lucky enough to be able to take time off your work, you're likely going to be doing it alone. Alone and unpaid, if you're lucky enough to live in The Land of Opportunity. And my heart aches for you.

While we won't exactly be paid (I might be eligible for a tiny amount of maternity 'allowance' from the government, there's no such thing as paternity allowance) and we've had to live a frugal existence over the last year so that we can save enough money to keep living a frugal existence through winter this year, I know that we're damn lucky to be in a position to do this. Damn lucky and damn determined. Because it's what we've been working for, since we started the business. In fact it's why we started the business - a life where we can make our family our priority. Our family that started with four, shrunk to three and now becomes five.

*photos by Rummey Bears

Saturday, September 18, 2010

yellow bunny

I found a yellow print and I kind of love it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things no one tells you about pregnancy, 4

Hair growth.

Luscious, lustrous, healthy hair growth.

On your boobs.

And stomach.

Which combined with boob pimples (oh yes!) gives your d├ęcolletage a distinct air of prepubescent chin.


*image courtesy of Lafayette

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Things no one tells you about pregnancy, 3

That if anyone is going to give up their seat on the train for you that person is going to be male.

*picture by Skinnyimages.

Monday, September 06, 2010

She *really* hearts flowers

You might remember a while back when I started pimping my girl Sophie? She was starting her business, I Heart Flowers, and was looking for guys and girlies who were getting married to help her build her portfolio. Well that portfolio is BUILT, and it's shit hot.

Now my lady is looking for guys and girlies who are getting married next year and as she has really loved working with the ones that have come to her through lil old Peonies and Polaroids I thought maybe it was time to ask y'all again: are you getting married in the UK and looking for a sweet, sweet florist lady? Yes? I know just the girl....

Confession: when I wrote about Soph way back in February I had no idea whether she could do weddings or not. I knew she could do bouquets of roses and teddy bears made from carnations and all that other day-to-day-when-you-work-for-another-florist stuff but a whole wedding? All by herself? I was just guessing that she would be pretty good at it when I told you to hire her (I know, my bad).

Well it turns out that she's amazing. An awe-inspiring, flower dynamo. Every time N and I leave a wedding where we've just photographed her flowers we turn to each other in wonderment and say 'WOW, she is good.' Not that we ever thought she wouldn't be, just that knowing someone with that much skill is kind of dazzling.

And it's not just us, there are brides and grooms all over the place saying the exact same thing. And other things too, things like "I don't know how you knew exactly what we wanted when we didn't even know" and "you turned a bunch of crappy emailed ideas into the perfect flowers for our wedding" and "thank you! You're amazing!" and and and...

These are just a handful of the wedding flowers that Sophie has done this summer, just the ones that we were lucky enough to photograph. Every wedding that she's done that I haven't been able to get all cosy with the flowers has been like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick and I get a mean sort of jealous about the photographer who does get to photograph them. Really. It's a little weird and possessive but what can I say? I like being Soph's photographer and I kind of like playing Bride with the bouquet when I get the chance.

So really. If you're getting married in the UK (or if you're getting married somewhere else but you really really love my girlie and you want to pay for her to come to your wedding and create flowery magic) this time I can seriously recommend her. She is AMAZING.
Find her here and email her at

* And can I make this more about me for a moment? Just a moment? Thanks. Those three pictures of the pink rose and lavendar bouquets? They were taken in OUR HOUSE! That's right, we painted some walls and hung up a picture and took some furniture out of storage and went and finished a room, right here in this building site of ours. And it feels so. damn. good.