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If you happened to watch the excellent Let Down on Netflix, you’ll know that motherhood is having a moment. I was inspired to write a piece about the reality of parenting because, as the Let Down so wonderfully celebrated, it is not always Instagram-perfect and is more often about putting the phone in the fridge and forgetting your own birthday.

These champion mums came forward to make my idea a reality and provided warm, witty, real anecdotes about life raising kids. Catch Rachel’s account of makeup on her walls and sick in her hair, and other motherhood greats, in Best this week!

I love friendship. Big fan. Adore my friends, love the very notion of what friendship is and how important it is for a fulfilled and happy life. Here, we celebrate lifelong friendships, born in childhood, raised in teenage years and matured in adulthood – through the trials and tribulations of life, these friendships stood firm and kept smiling.

Oh, and that’s my mum on the left! With my ‘aunt’ Kiki – they met at eight years old and are about to celebrate turning 70 together. Cuties!

Out in Best this week.

Isn’t this a gorgeous piece? After pop princess Kylie announced that she’s more likely to be a step-mother than a mother now, we asked Cath to share her step-situation with us. Cath is step-mum to four lovely children but doesn’t have any biological children of her own, so I like to tell her she’s basically Wales’s answer to Kylie.

The piece is a celebration of step-families, blended families, happy families – all the wonderful ways we make our families. Thank you to Cath for sharing! Out now in Bella.

You probably saw the video – it’s now had four million views! It’s a wonderfully uplifting idea, created by 50 mums in the Down’s syndrome community (and edited by one dad – Jamie!) which saw the world’s heart melt for their beautiful, gifted kids. In our never-ending ambition to educate the world on what Down’s syndrome really means, this video summed it all up to a beat. It means happy families. It means clever kids. It means sunshine and smiles and laughter and tears (happy tears!)

Here, three of the mums featured in the video share with Bella magazine what it was like to see their kids go ‘viral’ … and what a profound effect on people’s understanding of Down’s syndrome they hope the video will have.

Laura is an extraordinary woman. Handed a diagnosis that would give her every reason to say very bad things about life and the world we’re in, she’s nothing but lovely, beautiful, positive and determined. Her story is one of hope and love, not only Laura’s love for her daughter and her life, but of the love Laura’s friends and family have for her, raising an incredible amount of money to support her through her cancer battle.

Laura shared her story in Best magazine and you can help Laura out by clicking here

I’m really enjoying writing about sperm donation and single women seeking out this wonderful way of making their dreams come true. I’ve had a few articles published on this topic now and this latest one, in Reveal, is a fantastic celebration of women becoming mums despite not having found a man to parent with.

These aren’t necessarily career women who put off having children, but also women who never found the right man, or had health circumstances get in the way of something they always presumed would just happen the old fashioned way. When it didn’t, they stepped up. And now look at their gorgeous babies!

 

How beautiful are Michala’s kids?! Absolute stunners. This story in today’s Best celebrates a unique family. Michala created her children using a sperm donor and they are all full sibling. The idea of private AI (artificial insemination) has a bit of a shady reputation but Michala is testament to the fact that it can be done with professionalism and a mutual understanding of the rules. She’s lucky to have found a man like Martin who is altruistic, kind and considerate. All great traits for the man who has fathered three of her kids!

Out now in Best.

I worked with the wonderful charity Scope to bring this story to women’s magazines. Christie was so wonderfully determined to share the darkness she experienced following a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth, in the hopes that her story will help others experiencing similar difficulties to feel less alone. There’s way too much pressure on women to have instagram-ready pregnancies and births. Just look at Kate Middleton looking all blow-dried, high-heeled and gorgeous hours after her third birth, yesterday! But what happens if you don’t feel like posing for photos after your child is born? What if you feel like everything’s gone wrong? It can happen – Christie was diagnosed with PTSD after everything that happened to her.

After little Elise was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Christie has been supported by Scope. Please do contact them if you are affected by the details of this story. Out now in Best.

 

An empowering start to a Tuesday! Game changers Liz, Bethan and Kayleigh describe their careers in trades once thought of to be just for men. Liz is a fireman, a coal-stoker on Snowden’s steam railway. Bethan is a heavy-goods-vehicle mechanic and Kayleigh is a plumber, fending off spiders and dead rats in attics around London while she climbs towards forgotten boilers!

I have not stepped foot in my own attic in the five years I’ve lived in my house, for this very reason, so I take my hat off to Kayleigh for her ‘all in a day’s work’ attitude. I also love her description of a plumber as a doctor of a house. Pretty apt I’d say.

These inspiring women can be seen in Reveal, out now.

I have such a soft spot for writing about animals and the amazing humans who dedicate their lives to helping them – here we have Michelle, founder of DOTS – Dogs on the Streets – a charity set up to assist the homeless population in the care of their dogs. Michelle taught me so much I didn’t know about the homeless sector and it was so inspiring to listen to her and learn about her efforts to support homeless people and their dogs.

You can read her story online here and support Michelle here