Friday, 26 April 2013


I love this cinemagraph made from Mile's Nokia phone....keeping one Mini Diva still and animating the other. If only it worked in real life occasionally! :)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Getting the paint out

IMG 1543

IMG 1545

IMG 1544

This last week the Minis and I have been enjoying some painting time.

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We had a go at doing some eggs for Easter ( I blew out the yolk and whites with a pin, then we decorated them), and we spent a Saturday morning with a load of paint and some paper going crazy for butterfly prints. We got the lego in the paint and did printing, we got little cars in the paint and did printing, we got hands, hair, everything in the paint.

Twins + paint + mess = bathtime, usually, so I tend to save these messy moments for the weekends, but it's a lot of fun. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Reasons my son is crying: Tumblr genius

This discovery MADE MY DAY and I had to share.
Reasons my son is crying will resonate with parents globally. It is utterly brilliant, and it speaks for itself. Enjoy...

Disclaimer: I do not advocate laughing at crying children under usual circumstances. Obvs.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Vine time: Starbucks

New Mums increase online use....

new mums online use

Apparently, according to the BabyCentre recent research, mothers spend "35% more time online than the general population".
No shit.
Apparently internet usage after becoming a mother increases by a whopping 45%, mobile usage by 28% and email by 31%.
Offline habits like magazine readership and good old 'telly watching apparently decline by as much as 55% in motherhood.
I am not surprised.
I started blogging and writing much more online after I became a mum. Although I have had a blog since 2006 (long since gone, thank goodness), I only really got back on the blog horse in 2009 after the Minis arrived and I am so pleased - I can't imagine life now without my Dexterous Diva persona and business.
Facebook and Twitter action definitely stepped up, and although I make a point of still reading "real" 3-D books to step away from the screen occasionally, my magazine and newspaper reading is all online now. Twitter and Facebook is the backbone of my social interactions, and I would have NO idea what goes on outside Charlie and Lola or the park without them.
The thing is, when small people arrive we are trapped in the house much more - no more happy hour elephantine glasses of merlot to chew the cud over, evenings are taken up with bedtime routines and battles, trying to stop the house from resembling a war zone, then collapsing onto the sofa with an iPad glued to my hands.
Being online connects us to friends and family when we are too baby brained to talk. We can stalk Facebook for gossip, find out how we "should be" doing things in a quick Google minute, and as we no longer have the energy or finances to go out and party we need something else to fill that part of our lives.
Thank you, t'internet.
I would say that chronic illness has also been a major factor in my online obsession, so it makes me feel happy to realise I am not alone in my behaviours.
However, there is a downside, of course, and I loved this article by Darcy Zalewski, on the social media age making us second guess our parenting. In the social space there is so much more scope for open criticism and unwelcome "guidance" - on the global platform we now have can it make us more paranoid as parents? 
Your turn:
Do you spend more time online in the post-kids mayhem? 
Have you started blogging as a result of motherhood? 
Have you found any detrimental cyber space side effects?
Which blogs and sites are you frequenting the most?

H&M Haul

Those Minis rocked H&M, so they did. They got the strawberry shades, the cherry t-shirts, the aztec leggins....Spring watch out, we are a-coming!

Bedtime: Don't let them see your fear

Bedtime. Ahhh, that lovely, dreamfilled space when slumber takes over and the dream angels catch you with their fluffy wings of snooze glitter....


The daily battle to go to bed with procrastinating twins, one who wakes up every night and won't sleep, and the broken tiredness that results from sleep deprivation resulting in meltdown for me, them, anyone in the close vicinity, and requiring Starbucks sponsorship to function.

Eeyore knows the score. Don't let them know you are SCARED of them not going to bed. They can smell fear and will have you over a barrel.

Tell them the routine - spell it out - teeth cleaning, jim jams on, cuddle mummy on sofa, read a book, massage with lavender oil, tuck in, kiss and sleep tight. ANY deviation from the routine shows weakness and they damned well know it.

Hesitate to take them upstairs and they know they have you. Change your mind for a nanosecond and they are in. It requires the game face, the battle armour, the steely determination and the will to not lose it before Eastenders time.

The Mini Divas. Creators of the bedtime battle.

Yours from a computer, in PJ's, in daytime, chronically fatigued.

Dex Diva

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sunday Spring post

Well hello everyone.
It has been quite a while since Mini Divas has been updated and here we are, back in the room.

Why the wait? Well, things have been busy for Mummy Diva, blogs to run, endo to live with, and small people to look after.

However, we think the Minis perspective of live is rather lovely, so here we are.

Today we spent time at Farm Club, planting seeds, digging, mulching and enjoying the sunshine.
We hope your Sunday has been fantastic too. Hurrah for Spring!


Saturday, 30 March 2013

Making a Cameo appearance

cameo apple
The humble apple.

Part of my staple diet since 1976. I juice these bad boys, eat them with cashew butter, crunch them, bake them, love them.

Mia reminded me yesterday to juice some apples, and I always sneak in some spinach and cucumber in there too, but wheatgrass the Minis draw the line at -  "it's bleugh mummy".

Fair play.

Anyway, I have been sent some Cameo apples to try, a new British variety from Kent which have made their first appearance this year in supermarkets and I luuurve. They are nicely crunchy and crisp, and perfect for small and big people snacks. Let me know if you try them. You can find Cameo's in Tescos, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Booths, Budgens and Co-op, online and on Twitter (Apples are great social communicators you know).






I was sent some Cameo apples to try and as such must disclose in the post. A-thank-you.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What really matters most

mia and eva

I saw a shocking infographic today about the effects of stress; as someone who lives with illnesses which are without doubt exaccerbated by the S-word, it shocks me to think how much stress we put on our systems.

Sweat and Snap with Sweaty Betty comp

sweat and snap

sweaty betty fit crowd

Last month I was super thrilled to announce that Sweaty Betty have asked me to be one of their Fit Crowd ladies. We are a team of 20 bloggers who will bring you the latest news from Sweaty Betty, and will hopefully inspire you with our workouts.

Now, as you all know I have chronic endometriosis and chronic fatigue syndrome, so what business do I have being a fitness ambassador? This is what I love about this campaign; The Fit Crowd is a mixture of athletic and honed babes along with those of us who aren't so active, either due to health, life, motherhood, or whatever. We are a mixed bunch of abilities and personalities so if you follow the hashtag #thefitcrowd on Twitter you can read about all that we get up to. Some of the ladies are from Team Bangs 2! the group of lovelies I ran my first ever half marathon with in 2011.

Currently I still run but also cycle more and yoga is my main meal of exercise as I manage my CFS and Endo symptoms. I pretty much live and die in my yoga gear, and I go to the wonderful Time for Health in St Ives which has a fabulous team and a gorgeous studio. Any downward dog fans will be pleased to know that these new Vinyasa Capri Pants have just hit the stores (and I have my beady eye on them!).

Now, if you love Sweaty Betty clothes as much as I do, here is your chance to win yourself some goodies! Sweat and Snap is a competition offering £150 worth of Sweat Betty clothes to splash out on.

Full details of the challenge are here and the rules are ever so easy peasy.

1. Take your take a photo of yourself wearing your favourite workout outfit.
2. Tweet the picture to @SweatyBetty_UK
3. Include the hashtag #TheFitCrowd

The deadline is the 31st March so get snapping!

Disclaimer: Sweaty Betty invited me to be a Fit Crowd member and as such I received sponsorship in the form of goods.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The things aren't what they seem meme


The other week, my good friend Bangs wrote on her blog a post about the difference between how things seem, and how they actually are in relation to our curated lives online.

I am having to dictate this post to you, because I am too exhausted to write. There is no make up, lomo lense or fictitious curation here.

Last week, I wrote a post about how Superwoman can do one, and it seemed to really resonate with many women out there; however, I failed to actually explain further, to portray how my life actually is living with chronic fatigue, illness and also trying to be a mother to my beautiful young twins Eva and Mia.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Wifi: breaking up is hard to do

[caption id="attachment_4583" align="aligncenter" width="540"]wifi - breaking up is hard to do free wheelin' with no WiFi[/caption]

I have just come back from a week in Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest with no WiFi access for a week in the villa. *cue drum roll*


Not only that, but I LIKED IT.

I loved being with the Minis for the week and just playing around -  we did swimming, bowling, water slides, bike trailers, Princess parties (them, not me but you never know...) and generally being-on-holiday-type-stuff.
Now, you remember last week I blogged about my quest to re-dress the balance in my life by dropping the Superwoman pressure? Well, I have progress to report.

On Monday before we left my body was so tired and my chronic fatigue so exacerbated that I only managed half of my Monday yoga class before leaving, shaking with sickness and exhaustion.

Easter Wishlists


Frankly, Spring can't come fast enough for me. 

It has been a looooong, hard winter and I am done, done, done of cold days and rain. Harumph.  I can't say I haven't been dreaming of moving to warmer climes. I hate being so cold. But, when Spring in England does come it is worth the wait. The blossom, the light, the country walks, the nights drawing out. But it has taken its sweet time to be fair.

Easter can invariably mean a house full of chocoate for the kids, which means:

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Superwoman can do one

For the last two weeks I have been struggling. Struggggggggling, I tell you - it turns out (how we laugh), that having endometriosis and associated chronic fatigue does NOT mix well with being super busy with work, attempting to have any kind of life, being with my Totally Awesome Twins and maybe uttering a sentence or two to Miles (drooling into the sofa doesn't count as conversation, I hear. Pah.)

I am so proud to have had a brilliantly profitable work pipeline recently, no mean feat as a self employed bod and a far cry from my early days of freelancing, known as the Staring at the Letterbox for the Cheque days.

BUT. Methinks some balance is required, so I am going to follow the advice of the lovely, sanguine and sage blogger and buddy of mine Katie over at Pouting in Heels. She says, (and I quote):

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Midweek Mashup 5.3.2013

Mocha haircutThis last week has been the usual whirlwind at Diva towers - a  lot of fun and interesting stuff , mixed with some tricky times. But let's not focus on those ;) ❤ For starters, we went indoor wind surfing near Bedford last weekend. Sadly I couldn't take part as my endo was playing up, but the girls and I loved watching Miles and their Uncle Jamie and Auntie Lauren giving it a go. I will definitely be re-booking, hopefully after my op I will be able to go and play :) It was a FREEZING cold day so it was just as well that British Gas sent us to try the indoor surfing as I could use my Remote Heating app to make the house all nice and toasty for the surfers on our return. ❤ We went for dinner at Chiquitos last week, a lovely grown up escape at lunchtime. I love Mexican food, and rather surprisingly have never been to a Chiquitos before!  I don't eat wheat, rice or gluten and the menu was absolutely brilliant for Paleo and high raw food fans. I had fajita chicken which a huge salad and skewered prawns. Brilliant. ❤ I paid a visit to the lovely Sancturary Spa in Cambridge for a long overdue redemption of a birthday gift from my family. The Sanctuary Spa Cambridge opened a few years ago and I have always wanted to go. I can honestly say it was heaven. I went along after my hospital visit so was feeling a little shaky, and the 55 minute Hot Lava Shell Massage was absoluuuuuutely perfect. The hot shells really help tense muscles to relax, and it all really helped my pain too. I felt truly pampered, relaxed and zen like, and I can't wait to find an excuse to go back! The e Relaxtion room is available to clients who book for treatments that are at least 55 minutes, and you get to go and get snuggly in a purple blanket on a chaise longue with herbal tea. Frankly I didn't want to leave....❤ It's Mothers Day on Sunday! Oh yesssssss....I am loving these cute little reusable bubble wands from LUSH, who kindly sent me some to try. The wands are flower shaped, and you swoosh around in bath water to release the lovely natural fragrance. When the wands are all used up, the labels are embedded with wild flower seeds so little ones can enjoy a bit of planting;  you can also use the stick to help the plants grow, or I like the idea of some guerilla street planting of wild flowers. Brilliant, on budget and green, good work LUSH! ❤ I had a new hairdo! I am trying to grow my locks again so had left them for 6 months....and my hair got to the stage where it felt all dry and in dire need of sorting out. So, a mocha colour with blonde slices and a cut later and I felt like a new woman.

What have you been up to? Are you enjoying the Spring sunshine? Are you sorted for Mother's Day?


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Big H - the post I didn't want to write

Last Thursday I decided, along with my partner and endo specialist Dr Mathur to have a full abdominal hysterectomy.

I have had enough.

17 years into this disease, I am opting to butcher my body, to have my womb, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, ovaries - the full kit and caboodle- out.

I felt sick last week. Terrified, anxious, emotional, and grieving for my inner bits, the organs which have caused me pain for so long but which also grew my beautiful babies. I had a meltdown in John Lewis and everything (classic moment). I am scared; scared of a massive open surgery operation with 2 months recovery, scared of instant menopause (castration, anyone?!) scared that I have not done enough to stop this. But, enough is enough. I have two wonderful miracle toddlers and want to play and be with them as much as I can.

So. The latest step in my Endometriosis journey is around the corner.

Why haven't I done this before? Because this is a big op, it may still not heal me and I may still be in pain. So, it's not the easy matter-of-fact choice many believe it to be.

I truly believe that in some circumstances the body can heal itself. I believe nutrition and lifestyle play a huge part in management of conditions, and I have seen massive improvements from the changes I have made . But, unless I am drinking raw juice and doing yoga daily on a beach I just don't feel I am going to get this thing nailed on my own. If, indeed, it is ever possible to do so. For me.

So, I am now awaiting the date to get the Big H..and I am working on getting myself in a place of acceptance for it.

I don't want to be writing this post for several reasons. Firstly, I dont want to be doing it and had hoped to not come to this point. Secondly, it's a very personal choice and I do not wish to be judged for it; my experience of the internet and it's corners of nastiness lately have left me rather timid with sharing personal journeys. However, I founded Project Endo to help other women and my story in it's entirety is part of that mission. I am aware that there are women out there who have not been so lucky as me with fertility, and I have two healthy girls. I am aware there are those who oppose any medical intervention in the treatment of disease. But, I say that everyone is their own boss. No one can really judge without living my life daily, and personal choices are exactly that. Personal.

If truth be told, if it were just me I would still hang on but I have been bessed with Eva and Mia and I am doing it for them. I want them to have a mum who can play most of the time, not half the time or less. I am fully aware that even this drastic butchery may not help my pain and may even throw me other curve balls, but I feel I need to do it for my girls.

I owe them a mother.

I really and truly believe in natural therapies, in holistic approaches and complementary medicine, and I am 100% sure I would be so much worse without all the measures I have put in place.
I am a champion of the patient as expert, and think that if you get to know your own body well, then you know your limits and how much you can take. I can't take much more.

I expect there to be an expectation for everything to be ok following the op, that I will be "back ot normal". Well, I haven't been normal for two decades in terms of health, so this is another step in my journey.

I am so grateful to have my girls. I am grateful for all that my organs have provided for me and I feel so sad to let them go. This is not an easy choice.

However, I used to grieved for the children I didn't think I would have, and I won't let myself grieve for anymore time lost when I have one last choice left to try.
My endo has given me education on health, nutrition, and looking after my body. It makes me appreciate the good days.

Also, there are wonderul women out there I know of who are bravely battling terminal illnesses; let's get some perspective, this is by far an easier thing to take.

So - there you have it. My Big H is on the way. Send DVD's, yoga pants and dark chocolate. And thanks for reading.



Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Mothers Day - classy me & a wishlist

If I tell you what we got up to last Mother's Day it may make you smile. Far from being the usual afternoon tea with daffodils and a feed-the-ducks-type day, after a family get together with my bro and his crew in St.Albans, Miles, the Mini Divas and I ended up at one of our local pubs in St.Ives where they have live music on a Sunday. It just so happened that an Irish folk band I used to play fiddle for (yes, I am a woman with many talents!) was playing; Eva and Mia LOVE seeing this band, and half of my partner's family are Irish, so cue a messy afternoon with a few glasses of Guinness. A highlight was changing the girl's nappies outside the pub on a bin, at which time we knew we had reached new levels  of class and style. We finished off the day with a curry, stayed over at the in-laws and I tottered the girls round to nursery the next day wearing yesterday's clothes and heels and sporting a hangover. Nice.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Flow and getting back to sketching

I have recently re-discovered sketching.

My iPad and Paper by 53, have re-enabled my love of sketching on the go and they are revolutionising my life. Well, just a little bit.

I have always loved to draw, and before I settled on a career in graphic design (which has now turned into a portfolio career with writing and blogging included), I always wanted to be an illustrator. Nothing actually beats making marks on paper or getting down and dirty with some paint, but there is something so easy and simple about taking out my iPad and my Bamboo Wacom stylus and  doing some sketching. I have set myself a task to make sure that I get out and about as often as I can, and just to sit even if they just half an hour, and do some mark making; I always really fill in my zone when I am drawing, or getting on with some crafting. It's also so much easier to sketch out ideas and thoughts sometimes before going all linear, and having it to hand is so nice.

Getting into a zone is one of the things where we know we are happiest; if you're in your staying you are in a flow you're being creative, and you are at one with yourself. Yet, strangely, being it is the kind of thing that we actively stop ourselves from doing with daily life. We can get so busy with everything else that needs to be done that taking that time out to be is really hard to do.

So, if I make an effort this week to sketch with my iPad, and find some time to be in my zone, could you set yourself a challenge to do the same? What floats your boat? It will be the different for everyone, be it cycling, running, painting -  even washing-up! Whatever it is, just try to take some time every day, or even one hour a week to find that creative drive and spend some time with your thoughts without all the noise of social media, work and daily tasks in the way.

Now I must go,  I have some sketching to do!

The above work of art was by Mia, who loves sketching too - apparently this is me. I look good!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Working mums - like Mumma like Minis

Meet Mia, tapping away at her Hello Kitty laptop and being "just like mummy" -  I so want on to these - and Eva getting serious on the iPants.

My girls, the lovely Mini Divas, love to play at being Mummy. I enjoy seeing see how they role play out their understanding of the world, as it acutely reflects on their understanding of me, my role as a mum, and how they view their role as a tiny, growing, female person.

More often that not I hear "I am mummy, I am blogging on the boom-cuter, then I am taking my baby to nursery , going to London and doing yoga". Oh right, that's me down pat then.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Joining #thefitcrowd

I am super excited to tell you that I have been chosen to work with one of my favourite brands, fitness wear gurus Sweaty Betty. A group of 20 bloggers, all with varied interests, ages, fitness levels and experiences are joining forces under #thefitcrowd moniker and I am thrilled to be part of the group. The aim is for us to be your connection with all things Sweaty Betty and to inspire other women to engage with fitness as part of their lives, something I believe strongly in as a chronic illness bod and mum of small people.
You may remember my Team Bangs on the Run half marathon journey, and some of my beloved Team Bangs ladies are also part of The Fit Crowd which is lovely for me to be joining forces with them again, and to meet other bloggers
on the way.
Watch this space!



Tuesday, 22 January 2013

#deskfest #5

My fifth and final Alpro UK #deskfest challenge is so simple and a lot of fun.

This morning, I warmed up some Alpro Hazelnut drink in my Keep Cup, got my snow trousers and gloves on and headed to the park with the Mini Divas.  I made snow angels, ran around like a lunatic, and enjoyed the white crunchy stuff like a big kid.

As a freelance working mum, anywhere I stick my cup is my desk!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

#deskfest day 4

Hi Diva Reader Deskfesters, are you still with me? On day 4 of the Alpro #deskfest challenge I have created something super, SUPER easy for you to try.

Porridge with cinnamon and pouring yoghurt....

Simply chuck some oats into a bowl or Keep Cup as I have used here, sprinkle with cinnamon and pop into your bag with some Alpro pouring yoghurt. When you get to work, pour some hot water over the oats, leave for a few minutes then stir and pour over the yoghurt. There you have it, a lovely, warming, healthy slow release breakfast that takes no time at all!


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

#deskfest day 3


It's day 3 of the Alpro UK #deskfest challenge, and today is a simple and speedy one.

My green smoothie has one apple, one pear, Alpro Almond Milk, spirulina, raw cacao powder and a banana.

Whizz it all up and pour into a jar to take to work with some roasted almonds and you have a super easy anti-oxidant brekky special!




Monday, 14 January 2013

#deskfest day 2

deskfest day 2


#deskfest day 2

Todays breakfast deskfest challenge is a super easy one to create. I popped some almonds into my tub, added some rye flakes and Alpro Vanilla pouring yoghurt, then chopped a banana into it.


What do you think?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

#deskfest day 1

deskfest day 1


So here it is, peeps, my Day 1 of #deskfest. 

Here is the deal:
Whizz up some Alpro Almond Milk in a smoothie maker with chia seeds, an apple, a pear and some maca powder.
Take in a cup to work.
Pop some granary toast in, smooth with peanut crunch ( I used Meridian's Peanut Crunch here), add a chopped sharon fruit, and enjoy!

You will have taken on 3 of your 5 a day, some nut butter protein and slow release wholegrain carbs.
Maca is also great for hormone balancing and  a natural energy boost, and chia seeds keep hunger locked up til lunch.

What do you think? Let me know, and don't forget you can tweet, pin or instagram your #deskfest pics to enter a competition by Alpro UK for breakfast in New York.

Follow Alpro on Twitter @Alpro_UK

Alpro Deskfest Challenge


I am thrilled to have been invited by the lovely people at Alpro UK to take part in their #deskfest challenge this month.
Now January has arrived so many of us are getting back onto a cleaner eating regime after a few cheeky festive treats, so Alpro has asked a few of us bloggers to share our ideas for a healthy breakfast at your desk.
As a working mum I often have to take brekky with me on the go, as I may be working in London, at my desk at home, or co working with my colleagues so planning a healthy, portable breakfast is really important to me in eating well and looking after myself. Many of you might have breakfast at work, as I used to when I worked for agencies in London, so I know how handy it is to have some healthy, portable ideas to keep your brain cells ticking and your energy going for a day ahead.
I will be sharing my #deskfest ideas this week using Alpro products and my personal take on some healthy brekkies, and I would love to know wat you think.
If you would like to hve a go at creating your own #deskfest breakfasts with Alpro, why not take some pics, and you can tweet them, pin them or instagram them using the hashtag #deskfest to be in with a chance to win breakfast in New York!
I would love to know what you think of my breakfasts - let me know if you try them.