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02 March
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We’re home!

We’re hoooooooooome! Our Australian adventure has come to an end and we’re now back in our jumpers and coats debating whether to go out in the rain again… ah, it feels so good to be back in our own bed and have Buzz back in his room. Obviously it’s been amazing to be on the other side of the world altogether, but all being in the one room at night-time has been interesting… I’m just thrilled that Tom and I will no longer be having to watch films on the laptop with our headphone splitters… Although I loved watching Broadchurch and Better Call Saul with Tom while sharing a bar of chocolate and sipping on a little glass of wine – they were lovely.

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Having been away for three weeks, I thought I’d share with you the top five baby essentials that helped me through our trip:

1. Mountain Nano pushchair – this item absolutely made my trip a million times easier. Light, compact and perfect for travelling around, I really did come across a piece of magic when I was told about it from another parent who’d also been travelling around Oz with a baby.
2. Tote bags – lots of them. I’ve become a tote lady since becoming a mummy. There’s nothing better to keep all your bits organised. Seeing as Buzz and I shared one suitcase it was fab to sort our socks from our swimwear – or knickers from our nappies.
3. Aden and Anais Sleeping bags – Buzz sleeps in these at home, but the thicker version seeing as it’s winter. Having the thinner version gave Buzz some continuity and meant we didn’t have to worry about him suddenly having a blanket when he’s never had one before. Do any other parents worry about when to introduce blankets? With so many SIDS warnings I think I’ll keep Buzz in a bag for a little bit longer…

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4. Ear Defenders – seeing as Buzz was going to be in Stadiums with loud music playing and hoards of screaming girls, we clearly needed to take these along with us. Buzz last used these when he went to watch Tom and McBusted headline at Hyde Park. I’m thankful that they don’t bother him in the slightest and that he’s happy to sit with them on.
5. Peppa Pig books – Buzz loves Peppa (to the point where his first word was actually ‘Peppa’), his face literally lights up any time he sees her. He also loves books and can keep him entertained for a good amount of time – perfect for shorter flights.

Bonus item…

6. BabyBjorn Active Carrier – I used this a lot, especially when getting on flights with Buzz on my own. It’s just really great to have your hands free. It was also fab at the aquarium (Buzz’s favourite) as it meant he could really look around.

Tom leaves to start the McBusted UK tour next weekend – which means he’ll be in Scotland for Buzz’s first birthday. Understandably, we’d quite like the three of us to be together on that special day, so we’re tagging along again. However, this means our families won’t get to see the little dude and has meant we’ve had to throw an early first birthday party… Seeing as we’ve just got back from Oz and are still suffering with jet lag, we decided to keep things simple and low key by just inviting the Fletcher/Falcone gang. Plus, seeing as we’ve been away, they had a lot of Buzz time to catch up on.

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We filled the frames in the lounge with Buzz’s favourite fictional characters, puffed up some balloons (Tom couldn’t resist rubbing them on Buzz’s head and creating static to make it stand on end) and ate a Toystory inspired cake (kindly made by a distant relative). It was a wonderful day – completed with Buzz having his first taste of cake. He refused it at first, but once he had a nibble he was hunting out more crumbs. Bless him. We’re currently planning his Glasgow cake for when we celebrate up there.

Right, I better crack on with some work. Can you believe it’s March already? Scary stuff!

Big Love,

Gi. Xx

23 February
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The tour continues…

And so the tour continues – Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and then Sydney again before flying back to Melbourne for the last stop around Australia before heading home… It’s been an extremely fun three weeks, and a welcomed break from cold and wet London.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reminded (yet again) how important a good night’s sleep is. It’s something you really kiss goodbye to as soon as you become a parent, but somehow you get used to the disruptions and adapt. Bizarrely you even feel fully functional when waking up in the mornings having had little to no sleep. However, mix in a bit of jet lag and a change to your well-calculated nightly routine, thanks to being somewhere new, and it all goes to pot. Well, it has for us.

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Yes… night times have been an adventure. Buzz’s even done the unthinkable and (shock, shock, horror) slept in our bed a few times. The murderous cries that he has spilt every time we’ve put him down in his cot meant we had no other option – the boy’s got a talent for detecting you’ve lulled him to sleep and tricked him in there against his will. As soon as his head touches the mattress it whips back up again and he gives you THE look. You know the one. The one that says you’re the meanest person who ever lived – even though you’ve spent twenty minutes lovingly cradling him to sleep in a way you used to do when he was a newborn (your simple placing him in his cot awake method unusable thanks to you being in one hotel room and him being able to see everything you do – like write this blog post).

One night, alone in Sydney, it all got a little too much and I had my own mini meltdown. I do, after all, have work to be getting on with – which I can’t do if he’s resisting sleep and screaming in my face. So yeah… that thing called parenting is blooming hard and getting anything else done around that is a total juggling act. I just love the fact that none of us parents know what we’re doing (I bet a few do) and an ability to laugh at the new manic ways of life is a necessity. It keeps me sane.

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I hope others reading this in similar positions feel comforted to know there’s another set of frazzled parents out there deliriously singing ‘Life’s A Happy Song’ on repeat at three in the morning… never have I sang a song and lost all sense of tune or melody… No wonder Buzz protested so heavily and continued to fight off sleep.

Jokes (and sleep deprivation) aside, we’ve been having a wonderful time over here. I’d not really heard much about Adelaide before heading there, but something about the spacious city caused me to fall in love with it pretty quickly. I’ve never been to Texas, but Adelaide is what I imagine it to be like… It’s like an imaginary Australian Texas. On top of that, Tom and I stumbled across Goodies and Grains – a health shop that was featured in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2… we totally fan-girled as we headed in for a juice. Ha!

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Only a few days left until we close our suitcases and head back home. I must admit – I’m quite looking forward to it now. Bring on the rain!

Big Love,

Gi. Xx

16 February
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Touring Australia with a baby

In my last post we’d just arrived in Sydney… I love Sydney. Having visited the city several years ago I knew certain areas and felt very comfortable there. However, visiting anywhere with a baby is a whole new experience – especially as for a few of those days, while Tom went on to Brisbane, I was there alone with the little dude. I had all these visions of visiting beaches and walking around museums and parks – but I’m certain they’d have been boring for Buzz who’s unable to go anywhere on foot seeing as he can’t walk yet.

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On the beach I’d fear he’s just a little too young for the sun and heat, so would be a paranoid mum keeping him in the shade and fully sun-creamed up, and if we were to go for walks anywhere he’d be kept in his stroller or his carrier… like any little bubba, he just wants to be free exploring the world and bumbling around – it doesn’t really matter where we are for that… Buzz would be happier spending an hour in the hotel room learning how to flip open a suitcase than sitting in his stroller as we walked through the Botanical Gardens. So I’ve learnt to chill out a bit and realised it’s fine if we’re not going out on big adventures all day long. Although we have had some brilliant times nonetheless, including two (yes two) trips to Sealife and a trip to Toronga Zoo. Buzz loved, loved, loved the aquarium, and was particularly taken by the shark tunnel… It was amazing watching him watching them. That’s the funny thing about being a parent. Not only do you start seeing the world through their innocent eyes, you start ignoring what is around you entirely, and just look at the way they look in wonderment at the sight in front of them as they marvel over the funny shape swimming around, or the way their mouths gawp in amazement, head tilts in confusion, or lips curl in disgust… Yes, I’m forever looking at Buzz for a reaction.

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The reason we’re over here (in case you’ve missed this bit of info) is because Tom and the McBusted boys have been opening for the One Direction lads for the Oz part of their world tour. Armed with his ear defenders, it was time for Buzz to watch his daddy on stage once more. Being a little older this time made for a very different reaction. So far we’ve had frowning, waving, gawping and…sleeping. I think that might’ve been my fault though – with Buzz suspended from my front in his BabyBjorn carrier, my dancing must’ve felt like his bedtime ‘rocking to sleep action’… oops. It’s been so adorable to see him around the McFamily – and for them to really get to know him. He’s been so well behaved with the different settings and surroundings – he’s made touring with a baby look easy.

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Oooh, also this week I conquered my first ever solo flight with Buzz. I’ve always had relatives or friends with me before, but this time I flew from Sydney to Melbourne without anyone else… To be honest, after the long-haul flight from London I felt ready for anything. And Buzz was brilliant. As soon as we sat down I said to the man next to us, ‘Oh no, you’ve pulled the short straw I’m afraid – you’re sat with me and a baby.’ He laughed and thankfully this broke the ice. Turns out he also has a little boy and wasn’t fazed in the slightest. I was so relieved. Buzz wouldn’t stop tapping him and playing with his watch – something he didn’t seem to mind. What was REALLY great was that I managed to pass the kind man Buzz when I needed to sort out our luggage to get off the plane. So I guess I ended up having an extra pair of hands in the end.

So, as I’ve said, I’ve not taken Buzz to the beach YET – but there’s still two weeks to go on this little trip of ours, so I imagine we’ll go to the beach when we get back to Sydney. It’s been boiling in Melbourne, and Adelaide (we fly there tomorrow) looks as though it’ll be even hotter.

Right, I better go pack… again!

Big Love,

Gi. Xx

09 February
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Long Haul Flight With a Bubba…

I’ve always loved flying, especially on long haul flights. I love getting on a plane and seeing how many films I can get through on the journey whilst sat in my PJs with a glass of bubbly, or shamelessly sleeping whenever I fancy as I cross over the different time zones. Yes, flying was something I used to savour… Well, that used to be my experience with flying. Obviously Buzz has turned it into something else entirely, as I discovered this week when flying with him to Australia.

Before we left home I gave Buzz his dinner and bath and popped him in his PJs so that he’d be nice and relaxed on the journey. He was very confused when he was strapped into his carseat and put into the taxi instead of his cot. I don’t think he was very impressed.

On getting to Heathrow, I was told my suitcase was overweight…hardly surprising when I was carrying three weeks worth of clothes for the both of us – and enough Ella’s Kitchen smoothie pouches to sustain Buzz’s 11o’clock daily intake. Ha! Even though I’d read online that I was allowed to take 40 kilos, I was actually only allowed 32 in one suitcase because the conveyor belts can’t move anymore than that. Thankfully I was travelling with Georgia and Izzy and managed to pop a few items in with Georgia’s to balance things out… nothing like a drama before getting on the plane though.

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Sitting at the gate, waiting to board our Qantas flight to Australia with 22hours and 35minutes stretching out ahead of us, it’s safe to say I was a little worried about boarding the vessel with a teething baby – Buzz had had a rotten few days leading up to our trip. I already felt sorry for the other passengers and what they were possibly about to witness.

We were really lucky to be flying Business, so I had a big chair that reclined into a flat bed, and Buzz has a bassinet at my feet – I was a bit concerned that he wasn’t going to fit in it at first, but the air stewardesses said they’d seen bigger babies than Buzz in there, so I went for it. He looked incredibly snug in there. The scary part for me was the seatbelt/net type contraption that clipped over him to keep him in place if we went through any turbulence. This meant I wouldn’t have to wake him up and put him on my lap if the journey got bumpy. If Buzz was younger I probably would’ve left this off until the ‘fasten your seatbelts’ signs came on – but he’s such a little wriggler now that I knew he’d be climbing up and out of it if given half the chance.

The first part of the flight was from London to Dubai, leaving at 21:15. Meaning Buzz was shattered by the time we’d gotten onto the plane – in fact, he was already asleep on my lap before take off. This flight flew by – even though I’d jump from my seat anytime Buzz stirred and cried. This actually happened quite a lot as I was worried he’d wake up all the other passengers – but he was actually pretty good and slept lots. I didn’t, however. I was so worried about him waking up in a panic and me not hearing him that I closed my eyes and just listened. Although, I’m sure every mum knows their bubba’s cry – it awakens a natural instinct of panic as you jump to your child’s aid… well, that’s what it felt like on that flight, and so I couldn’t rest too easily.

The first few hours of that second journey was something else… Buzz was clearly over tired and needed to nap. But would he fall asleep without wailing? Nope. Luckily Qantas have a little lounge area at the front of the plane that no one was occupying. So I took us off down there and rocked him to sleep whilst singing to him. It took me half an hour. However, as soon as I lowered him into his cot he woke up incredibly angry at me for putting him down. Up he came and off to the lounge we went for more singing. I didn’t want to keep all the other passengers up – who were all asleep again. A further fifteen minutes rocking/singing/crying and he was asleep once more. Popped him into his cot and the screaming ensued again. Waaaaaaah! Up and out he came. Thankfully Izzy took him off me at this point and walked off to the gallery with him while I had a little cry with Georgia. I was so shattered. Not only had I not been asleep since the previous morning, but I’d also had a few nights of shocking sleep thanks to Buzz’s teething.

Once I regained my composure (it was good to have a little release of frustration and helplessness) I set a plan – if Buzz wouldn’t sleep in the cot, he’d have to sleep on me instead. He just needed to sleep. As soon as I’d changed my mindset, the rest of the flight went swimmingly. We slept together, and ate and played for a couple of hours each time he woke up before going back to sleep. Buzz actually managed to get some good sleep in. Hurrah! I was so pleased. I guess the thing I’ve learnt is to just roll with the punches and adapt to the situation. I’m certainly glad I had my big bag of tricks, though – spare clothes, sleeping bag, new and old toys, rice cakes, fruit pouches, teething rings, calpol, teething granules, bonjela, ipad, baby carrier… it was all in there and it was all needed!

You’re probably wanting to know how the other passengers coped with us on board… well, I was ready for the death stares, for the annoyed glances at the inconvenience of me being on their flight with a baby, but that never came. In fact, I’d go as far as to say people actually avoided eye contact with us for the first leg of the journey. It was the strangest thing. And not one of them made a fuss over Buzz – which I know is a weird thing to say, but I expected something. On the first flight no one even mustered a smile for him as he giddily waved in their direction. It was only after his distress at being put in the cot and my meltdown that things really changed. Not only did they look at me – but their expressions were ones of compassion. Perhaps it’s because I’d done my hardest to keep Buzz fulfilled and calm – rather than just letting him run/scream wildly. Who knows. Either way, I’m glad they all saw me cry and gained a bit of sympathy. So, top tip to parents out there who are about to tackle flights with their young ones – have a little weep to show you’re really trying, and then you’ll gain some respect from your fellow passengers. Haaaaa! I’m only joking, of course.

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I can’t tell you how happy I was when we eventually met Tom at the airport. I was so relieved to have made it through the journey and to hand Buzz over. There are a few internal flights we’re doing on this trip (two on my own, two with Tom), but I’m sure they’ll seem easy in comparison to that long-haul one. I’m so glad Tom is doing the return flight with me.

And now we’re in Sydney! Like real tourists – we headed straight to see the beauty of the Opera house and of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Buzz even had pizza as he sat gazing at the view. What a grown up little boy!

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I love Australia and can’t wait to explore with our bubba.

Big love,

Gi. Xx

02 February
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The Thirties Club

Firstly, seeing as I’ve talked about it for the last two weeks, I should probably let you know that I’m now in the thirties club… I was totally fine about it in the lead up and was really looking forward to cracking on with a new decade of my life, but the night before I started to feel nervous for some unknown reason and actually went to sleep with butterflies whizzing around in my tummy – very bizarre. I don’t feel thirty at all. It’s going to take me a while to say it’s my age – simply because I’ll keep forgetting!

So, more birthday celebrations… On the actual day I met my lovely Emma for breakfast, then spent the afternoon with my mum and Mario, before Tom and I had a scrummy meal for two in Lomito with a gorgeous glass of red. Nice and chilled after the busy weekend. Plus, I took the whole day off from writing and just hung out with Buzz… Which was certainly a highlight!

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Birthday celebrations aside, I sparkled a little bit of controversy this week (which isn’t like me) when I asked about iPad apps for babies. Actually, there were only four or five disgruntled tweets in return, the rest were as supportive as ever – but even a minority casting negativity my way a rarity for me. Eek! I was looking for ways to keep Buzz happy and entertained on the flight to Oz and have seen other babies playing on some cool light ones – so I reasoned that things like that would actually be good for a section of the journey seeing as he’ll be sat on my lap for twenty-four hours. Most replies were wonderful, then I got the ‘give him a book instead’, ‘babies don’t need ipads’ comments… Oooooooh! I read lots and lots of books with Buzz and I spend a lot of time talking and interacting with him (our singing in unison is fricking amazing), so I’m not about to bonk him in front of an iPad and ignore him for twenty-four hours. It just really got my goat that a few people would be so judgmental on the topic. But also, it got me thinking about how the way in which we bring up our children is always evolving thanks to intellectual and technological advances. I bet years ago people thought books were utterly ridiculous when words could be spoken instead of written down and then read… Well nowadays reading is viewed as essential and we strive to ensure everyone has access to learn that skill.

I too used to gasp in horror when I saw toddlers unlocking iPhones with the swipe of a thumb, but if they’ve seen their parents do it every day is it really that surprising? A huge party of our development in the early years is based on imitation of those around us – and seeing as we all love our gadgets it’s not ridiculous to think they’d want a piece of the fun. Perhaps that’s why babies always search out any adult contraption in the room – remotes controls, iPads, phones or laptops. They want them all.

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But above all of that, I think we underestimate the things children can learn from interacting with these gadgets. Especially on apps designed for them – almost always they focus on developing different skills… They’re actually blooming clever!

I’m not suggesting that all children should have their own iPads and that all life should be technology based – I love the sight of children running around freely in the great outdoors, but I do believe a little bit of everything is a good way to strike a balance. It’s certainly not going to interfere with the time we spend actually interacting with Buzz – they’re the special moments, and no little black square can make us neglect those!

As ever, I think it’s unnecessary to judge others – especially when their decisions don’t make a direct impact on your life. So live freely in the best way you possibly can.

So, wish me luck on my twenty-four hour flight with a TEETHING baby (yes, great timing for the next little gnashers to make an appearance). If all else fails, I have The Muppets to fall back on. It never fails to make Buzz laugh – that and me making ridiculously silly noises, but I don’t want to annoy the other passengers too much.

See you next week from sunny Sydney!

Big love!

Gi. Xx

26 January
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Celebrations and Getting Organised for a Big Adventure

As I said last week – I turn thirty this Thursday. So to celebrate me joining a new decade of my life, Tom gathered our families and some of our friends for a gorgeous Sunday afternoon roast at Bumpkin in Notting Hill. Usually we both have our birthdays at home – meaning we have to organise it all and then clear up afterwards, but this time we decided to go out for it and leave all of that in someone else’s hands. I chose the location (I’d been there before with some girlfriends) and Tom added all the finishing touches to make it extra magical… and it really was. As well as dozens of photos of myself decorating the walls, there were also mini personalised Nutella jars at each place setting (complete with a photo of me on the top) AND a giant cake in the shape of a jar of Nutella (made by Fancy Nancy – the same team who made our wedding cake). For those of you who aren’t aware (where have you been?), I’m pretty obsessed with Nutella and therefore it couldn’t have been anymore perfect. Spending time with wonderful folk was simply brilliant – I’m lucky to have such fantastic and giving people in my life.

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This week the McBusted boys announced that they’re heading over to Japan and Australia next week… well, me and Buzz are going to be joining Tom in Oz! Hurrah! Unsurprisingly I’ve been scouring the internet for summer clothes for Buzz, figuring out how much I’ll need for three weeks (something I’m still not sure about) and planning how I’m going to keep Buzz happy on a twenty-four hour flight… It’s certainly going to be interesting, but I’ve read (what feels like) every mummy/daddy blog out there on the subject and am now compiling a bag full of tricks. I’ve just got to keep him fed, napped and entertained… how hard can that be?! Aaaaaah! If anyone out there has any words of wisdom on travelling with a baby on a long haul flight, I’d love to hear from you!

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Also this week… Buzz has been trying out some cruisers to help with his walking. Funnily enough, when we were last at the physio with him we were advised to get him a pair to tempt him to lower his heels (he loves being on his tiptoes) – then I got home to an email from Bobux to ask if I wanted to test out their new Xplorers. They stayed on his feet longer than anything else has to date, plus they’re light and don’t get in the way when he’s crawling and moving around. Fair to say I’m pretty impressed.

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That’s all from me at 29… I’ll see you next week when I hit 30. Eek!

Big love,

Gi. Xx

19 January
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Looking back…

At the end of this month I turn thirty, a fact I’m totally fine about – unlike when I was about to turn twenty-six and had a serious meltdown. I wasn’t ready to be in my mid-to-late twenties… but now? Now I’m ready to join the thirty club – I’m even looking forward to it.

Inevitably when big milestones pop up, I’ve been thinking back over the last three decades in quite a reflective mood – so I thought I’d share those musings with you in this week’s blog…

Growing up I always loved to be the centre of attention. If there was a camera out – I would be in front of it, if there was a school production – I’d want to be the lead… I loved making people laugh, smile – or even cry. I loved moving them through storytelling. I loved being the entertainer. I’d say that the times that ping out to me in my childhood are the moments in which I was on stage performing – they played a big role in the person I am today.

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However, after leaving drama school (and being flung out into the harsh reality of life as a jobbing actor) my self-confidence began to wane. I must point out that I’ve been lucky to have some amazing acting roles in the past, but the time in between roles used to be tough and affect me hugely. It’s surprising how not having an answer to the question ‘So what are you doing now?’ can really affect a person. For a long time I felt ashamed that I’d maybe failed in the area that I loved so much. I wanted to be on stage performing. So why wasn’t I getting anywhere with it? Why wasn’t I bagging every role I auditioned for? Why wasn’t I even getting auditioned? What was wrong with me?

There were many great moments during this time – lots. In fact, I’d say most of my personal and relationship highs occurred in my twenties. However, my career hopes led me to feel increasingly rubbish and unfulfilled. I took on various jobs while hoping for my dreams to flourish – with chaperoning for child actors and becoming a nursery assistant taking up the majority of my time. I’d openly say that in my mid twenties I lost myself. I always knew I was miles from where I wanted to be… and that sucked!

And then I started writing…

And then Penguin offered me a book deal…

And then life totally changed…

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Since 2012 life has altered dramatically – I’m a published author, I’ve started this here blog, I’ve started vlogging on YouTube, I’m married to my best friend and we have an adorable little son.

Through my writing and vlogging I’ve found the voice I thought I’d lost and, likewise, my confidence. I now realise that life isn’t about achieving every one of your goals in that single moment – it’s about retaining your passion and love through all weathers, and finding other things that move your life forward as you continue to dream. I guess that’s the reason why I’m welcoming getting older – because this time round I bring with me a massive sense of achievement and future ambitions, rather than a long list of things I’ve failed to master. I’ve had a slight mind-set-overhaul.

My aim for my thirties?

To keep dreaming big, to allow myself to just be and to enjoy whatever life throws my way without overthinking or worrying about other’s perceptions.

Oh… and to have lots more babies and eat lots more cake. Happy times!

12 January
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Writing my novel, a trip to the theatre and Celebrity Big Brother!

This week I’ve been lost in the world of my third novel Dream A Little Dream, as I will be for the next few months. I’ve established who my characters are and the world in which they live – so now comes the fun bit where they run free and explore the scenarios I’ve put them into. I’m really been enjoying getting my teeth stuck into writing after the Christmas break. What’s been even lovelier is that Tom’s been off and looking after Buzz at home – meaning anytime I’ve come out of my office for a pee (TMI?) or coffee, I’ve been able to see his little smile. I’ve not found it a distraction at all, honest. It’s been brilliant. A very productive week!

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Like many things work related, it’s good to take yourself away from it each night and have some down time. So last Tuesday Tom and I went on a little double date to the theatre, with our wonderful friend Sav and her fiancé Nate, to see Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It was an extremely interesting performance as Tamsin Grieg and Willemijn Verkaik were both off sick, meaning their understudies were on instead. Sav and I both know what it’s like to understudy in the West End as Sav went on as Scarlett O’Hara in Trevor Nunn’s Gone With the Wind the day after press night, and I went on as Sasha in Michael Grandage’s Ivanov mid-show, with just three minutes warning. The theatre is a thrilling place – Tuesday night reminded me of that fact. The cast at Verge did an amazing job at keeping the show together (the director came out beforehand and informed the audience of the terror going on backstage). I’d love to go back again at some point and see the full cast.

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I’ve also found another way to unwind this week – and that’s with the return of Celebrity Big Brother. What a corker it’s been already. I’ve always been a huge fan of the show because of the way it was first created and aired as a social experiment. For me, that’s still a huge part of the show’s appeal, even if people are entering the house with more of an understanding of the challenges they’re about to embark. No one ever acts how YOU think they will, they don’t even act how THEY imagine they will… it’s flipping great TV!

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Oh, and I’ve started incorporating a little workout while I watch it. It’s actually inspired by Katie Hopkins’ program about being fat, funnily enough… My days are pretty manic, so I figured running on the spot and working up a sweat while watching one of my favourite shows is probably the best way to squeeze in a bit of fat burning… it totally takes my mind off what I’m doing. Especially when there’s so much drama to goggle at!

Right, I best get back to my book!

Big love to you all!

Gi. Xx

05 January
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Hello 2015!

Hello 2015!
Last week the time came to say goodbye to 2014 and sail into the adventures of 2015, so I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on what has been a life-changing year in the Fletcher household.The main reason for that change is, of course, the arrival of my son Buzz – who we welcomed over two weeks early (much to our surprise) on 13th March. And so started my journey into motherhood with a screaming little being who couldn’t communicate his needs and desires. There were many sleepless nights, lots of tears and mini meltdowns (from all of us) as we worked out what we were all doing. Almost ten months on and I’m thrilled to say that life is not only easier, but it’s unbelievably enjoyable. Walking into Buzz’s room in the morning and seeing his big toothy grin as he waves to Tom’s paintings of Mickey and Minnie melts my heart every time. As he discovers the world around him and takes in every new adventure with a profound wisdom in his eyes, I wonder what he makes of us all. I have so many wishes for our little man and his future – but my main desire is that he leads a happy life chasing his dreams.

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I’d say becoming a mum has taken over the majority of the year, but things have been happening career-wise too. I’ve had two further books published – one novel (You’re the One that I Want) and one novella (Christmas With Billy and Me), and signed a deal for my third and fourth novels with Penguin’s Michael Joseph. It’s been tricky learning to write with a baby in the house and, if I’m honest, I’m still learning the best way to deal with being a working mum when all I want to do is sit and play with the little dude every day. I’ve spoken about mummy guilt before – I know it’ll rear its ugly head forevermore now that I’ve joined the motherhood. Hopefully I’ll get better at coping with it. I’m in a very fortunate position that I can call something I love doing a job – and that I can do that job from the comfort of our home while Buzz is here.

 

Tom and I celebrated our second year of marriage in May – hurrah to us. I never realised that having a child was such a massive test on a relationship -  thanks to the sleep deprivation and walking into the unknown… blindfolded. It’s hardly surprising that it can all feel a little overwhelming at times. Even though there have been moments where I’ve taken my frustration out on Tom and wanted to throttle him (said in jest – no physical outlet has ever been used), being parents has definitely brought us closer. We created this little being and it’s now our joint mission to bring him up in the best way possible. I couldn’t have asked for a better wingman.

 

Giovanna1-z

 

So, what do I wish for 2015?

To be more productive with the time spent in my office away from Buzz. I’m not writing all the time, but I need to make sure when I am at my desk I’m making the most of that time and not allowing myself to get distracted by the internet (I really must stop Googling mummy questions).

To have more date nights with Tom. We’ve actually just started making a point of dressing up for dinner once a week and having date nights at home. It’s much nicer to sit down for a candlelit dinner feeling glam in a dress, rather than frumpy and ugly in my well-worn pjs.

To make the most of my off time with Tom and Buzz. In the same way that I want to make the most of my work time, I want to make the most of my family time, too. I’ve realised how quickly time can slip away – before we know it 2016 will be getting ready to greet us and another year will have passed us by. I don’t want to look back in a few years and wished we’d done more as a family. The time is now.

I didn’t bother cutting out all the bad food in my life this year because I think I’ll save that one for lent – when I only have to stick with it for 40days and 40nights, rather than just until I totally lose all willpower and cave into the nutella jar calling to me from the cupboard. I am due to spend some time in my bikini in February though, so many I should start thinking about that… actually, I’ve got a book to write – now is not the time to concentrate on my wobbly bits!

On that note… check out my GORGEOUS new cover for my next novel DREAM A LITTLE DREAM – published 18th June. I flipping love it.

 

Giovanna3-z

 

Hope the first few days of 2015 have treated you well. I’ve had a wonderful time with family and friends, but now it’s time to get back to work!

Big love to you all!

Gi. Xx

22 December
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Getting ready for Christmas…

I can’t believe Christmas is upon us already. In many ways it feels like last Christmas was minutes ago, but in others it feels like it was years ago. Last year I was stroking my tummy and stuffing my face with chocolate while Tom ran around the kitchen cooking the Christmas dinner. But this year I have no excuse not to pull my weight in the proceedings – and we have our little Buzz to add into the mix too. I know he’s too young to understand that it’s a special time of year, however I’m sure he’s going to enjoy having me and Tom at home for a couple of weeks doing nothing but playing with him and showering him with love and attention. I can’t wait. It feels like Tom and I have been so busy in the past few months – it’ll be lovely to just regroup as a family again and shut the world of writing and band-life out for a little bit. Next year is set to be a crazy one – so it’ll do us good to get some chill time in before that!

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In preparation for having fourteen over at our house on Christmas day, we’ve had a practice run with the dinner. The Judds and Willis’ came over at the weekend to try out our new brussels, parsnips, carrots and nut roast recipes. Judging by the fact that everyone was suitably stuffed at the end of it (having gone back for seconds AND thirds) I’d say the meal was a huge success. Hurrah. Roll on the big day…

Buzz update… It seems he’s only been crawling a short while, but this week that has progressed to him pulling himself up into standing with the aid of the sofa, my leg, or anything he can get his hands on. He’s having so much fun exploring his surroundings and seeing what he can do – it’s utterly gorgeous to watch. I think we’re finally saying goodbye to his cold – I’m so thrilled. Seeing him poorly was so horrible – and irritating! And the best thing about him being well again is that he’s started sleeping through the night again! Hurrah! This week he has slept 7 until 7ish. Fingers crossed it continues.

And that’s all from my days this week… the only other exciting thing to have happened was that I got chased by some swans and geese while having a little walk with Buzz. Petrifying and funny all at once.

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I wish you all the merriest of Christmases – whether you’re surrounded by family and friends, or having a quiet one.

Big festive love flying your way!

Gi. Xx

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