stylist PMS piece - Annie Ridout

‘It starts with a headache. An unbearable, dull throbbing that affects my vision and makes it hard to speak. My stomach bloats until only leggings fit, my lower back aches and my breasts feel like punch bags that have been pounded repeatedly. I’ll have one big, painful spot on my chin.

This is my experience of the monthly premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that I experience in the lead-up to my periods. And I share the experience with 90 per cent of all menstruating women. So when I read psychologist Robyn Stein DeLuca’s provocative claims that PMS is a “get-out-of-jail-free card” for women when they need a break, I felt somewhat peeved.’

I write a piece for Stylist Magazine about PMS… you can read it here.

dr jessamy hibberd

The brilliant Jessamy Hibberd- a clinical psychologist with a really inspiring Instagram account – interviewed me about where I find inspiration, advice for my 16-year-old self, the things I feel grateful for, and more.

Here’s her intro –

For my next Q&A I’m delighted to have Annie Ridout on the blog. I’m yet to meet Annie IRL, but she very kindly gave me a guest blog spot on her brilliant online lifestyle and parenting magazine The Early Hour, last November. I remember my excitement when she said yes to my blog on the early days of motherhood and it was so nice to have such a warm and lovely response to my request!

Annie is founder and editor-in-chief of The Early Hour, as well as a freelance journalist (The Guardian, Red Magazine), a regular blogger for BabyCentre and a copywriter (she’s currently creating the copy for a new app, aimed at women). She regularly speaks about parenting and feminist issues on radio and TV and is speaking at Stylist Live next month.

I love reading The Early Hour. The range of topics is excellent, I love finding out about other families and businesses and it’s not afraid to cover all subjects from funny to serious, shocking to sad.

I found myself nodding along at lots of Annie’s answers and am very excited about the possibility of an early hour book and podcast!

Thank you Annie for all your brilliant answers and being part of my blog!

You can read Dr Jessamy Hibberd’s Q&A with me here.

New motherhood, once again

New Motherhood, Once Again
A document of gratitude and love

The hood goes up; I’m a mother, again.
And it’s not just me whose role changes:
My mother’s a new grandma,
My daughter is now a sister,
My sister is an auntie anew.
My brother – an uncle,
My father a grandpa,
My husband’s a new father, too.

Life shifts and twists; I’m a mother, again.
And it reminds me of all that I have:
A mother who nurtures,
A daughter with such tenderness,
A sister who’s like my backbone.
A brother enamoured,
A father who dotes,
A husband who puts my needs before his own.

As I sit and reflect on being a mother, again.
I’m so grateful for all that I have:
A mother who is generous,
A daughter full of laughter,
A sister who will always give me time.
A brother cracking jokes,
A father eager and willing,
A husband whose ideals reflect mine.

Because becoming a mother; a mother, again –
Makes me feel somewhat vulnerable and in need:
Of my mother’s love,
Of my daughter’s forgiveness,
Of my sister protecting me.
Of my brother’s companionship,
Of my father’s rational thoughts,
Of my husband – with whom I’m safe and yet free.

by Annie Ridout ©

Zetteler interview with Annie Ridout - about The Early Hour

I was interviewed by Zetteler about setting up The Early Hour

The result of an intense and increasing online “content” saturation, there’s a perpetual discussion among brilliantly vocal communities of writers and editors that questions the rapidly-changing relevance and role of online output. In a world where anyone with an internet connection can publish an uninhibited stream of consciousness and effortlessly access a global audience, the pressure to justify your narrative is higher than ever.

Annie Ridout had been working as a freelance copywriter before she fell pregnant, and suddenly found herself with an automatically-terminated contract 40 weeks into her pregnancy. Overcoming any sense of fear, Annie embraced the sudden liberation. Founding The Early Hour – a digital culture and lifestyle magazine for nocturnal parents – shortly after the birth of her child, she immediately recognised the potential of strategically-timed online content being used to connect the vast network of sleep-deprived mums and dads up at silly hours of the night tending to their children.

Having read about Annie’s journey in an article for The Guardian’s Women in Leadership, we wanted to ask the inspiring journalist, editor and mother a few questions of our own…

You can read it here.

up-at-5am-not-for-everyone

In her latest book, author Samantha Ettus recommends that parents get up at hour before the kids to get started on work. While I’m an eager early riser – and feel most productive first thing – I’m under no illusion that this is for everyone. Some parents have kids who wake at 5am; some parents look after their offspring full time so need the extra sleep.

But where Ettus has really dug herself a hole is by suggesting that mums and dads who look after the kids full time are leading “woefully imbalanced” lives, and will wind up “bored and unfulfilled”. So I wrote my response for the Guardian – you can read it here or by clicking on the image above. And share your thoughts in the comment section below, or under the original article. Interested to hear what others think…

A TUC report (produced in collaboration with the Everyday Sexism Project) was released earlier this week. According to the research, over 50% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace.

I was asked to talk on BBC Radio 5 Live and the Victoria Derbyshire show about an experience I had while working in an art gallery. It was when I was in my early 20s, and one of the (male) trustees wanted to photograph me for a listings guide. The other (male) trustee said that it could be a “glamour shoot” (a topless photoshoot, rather than a glamorous one).

I was challenged on air (by men – only men) about whether this was actually harassment, or if I should have been lighthearted about it. My response is that while sexual inequality prevails, it’s of paramount importance that women are respected, and not made to feel small, insignificant or scared at work. And everywhere, for that matter. When we’re all equal, perhaps there will be more scope for jokes and ‘banter’.

Interested to hear other people’s thoughts?