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Then and now... all mixed together

At 21, and desperate for excitement, I moved to the big smoke of London to commence my nurse training. Three years later, fuelled by parties, unsuitable boyfriends and more beer than you could shake a stick at, I qualified as a staff nurse and rather than apply for jobs, I ditched the uniform and took off on an Asian adventure with yet another boyfriend. (This one would become a fiance but not the man I actually married.. I just like collecting engagement rings) After a romp through the islands and highlands of Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal, we settled into a kind of dullness which inevitabley ended a few years later.

A few boyfriends later (some worse than others) and a lot of parties and bottles of wine later, I finally found myself in a new flat in Brighton nursing a broken heart,. (Another boyfriend had bitten the dust) I had always wanted children but I couldn't seem to find my Mr Right, someone who 'got' me and who also wanted to have children with me.

One particular night, I was at a night club in Brighton where I got chatting to a drunken buffoon. The buffoon and I ended up in a hotel linen cupboard that night. A long story but it's not what you think(!) Our strange experience ensured a repeat date was on the cards, despite him living in a different county about 150 miles away, That was 10 years ago and, since then, we have travelled some more, Europe, New Zealand, China and Lyme Regis :) Never one to rush into anything he finally (10 months after the twinnies were born), dropped down on one knee in a field in Somerset and popped the question. We were married last year on an idyllic Greek island with our two beautiful pumpkins as bridesmaids...

Of course our journey was not easy. 'TTC' or 'trying to conceive' took me over as a person for many years.. Hours and hours were spent on the internet searching for the answers. I was one of the lucky ones in that I did find a few answers and it seems like what I was putting into my body contributed heavily in my inability to conceive (I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and now follow a strict Gluten-free diet).

I was lucky to be able to take the first year off with the girls and now I am back at work, just two days a week but I love it. I work in a Genito-urinary medicine clinic, or to the layman, the 'Clap' clinic. This has been terrific for me to "keep my hand in" (sometimes literally!) and the girls have really benefited from spending a couple of days a week at nursery. When I get the chance (rarely) I ponder '"what on earth did I do with my time before I had children?" and hand on heart, I have no idea. I guess I sat around and thought a lot, perhaps read books and painted my toenails, drank whole cups of tea and used the toilet in peace, had lazy lie-ins, recovered from hangovers and flicked through trashy mags, long dog walks and Jenga in the pub...... ah! I remember now! Would I go back to those days? Not on your life! I love being a mum. It's hard work and stressful, it's the relentless work of a headless chicken. I find my belongings stuffed down the toilet and pushed through the letterbox, but the rewards are immeasurable. The innocent wonder that lights up their faces when they are discovering the big wide world, the kisses and cuddles, the singing and giggles.... I feel like the luckiest woman alive. simples.