Recently, I seem to have a lot of pregnant women in my life.

I am not a midwife, nor anything medical (although I DO work for a Medical company) but many of my friends are expecting their little buns at various stages in the year.

Because of this, a lot of the conversations I have with them tend to lead to their fluctuating hormones and subsequently how it affects the others in their lives.

This got me thinking.  As much as I am a little bt more in control of my hormones than I was when I was pregnant with my little bundles, there are certain things that do affect my mood.  Here I go:

This has to be top of my list as its the place where I spend the most time.

I can be in the best of moods when I awake, but all it can take is to open that first email on Monday morning to alter that in a click of a mouse.

Its not that I dislike my job.  Quite the opposite.  I am lucky that I am in profession which is both creative, administrative, managerial and responsible.  This keeps things pretty varied but I am also a control freak (my words, if anyone else says this I flip!) so if my carefully laid out plan for the day does change direction for whatever reason, this annoys me.  But this is also how it tends to work in Marketing.

I love my family.  They are what inspire me, drive me, love me and support me.  They also happen to drive me crazy sometimes.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, will often see my tweets of dispair when I get in from work and spend the ENTIRE time  (pre bedtime that is) disciplining the kids.  As with work, I can have a brilliant day, and look forward to sharing that with my children and hearing about their day.  Then I will walk through the door and see one sat on the naughty chair, and the other sobbing in the corner after yet another fight and I physically deflate.

This can work in the opposite way of course.  Skulking through the door after a day from hell, I am faced with two gorgeous little cherubs who excidedly fight for my attention to tell me about their day.  It moments like these that I know the reason why I go to work and this makes me happy.

I am lucky that on the whole, I love driving.  The huband and I often bicker before a long journey as to who will be the one to drive.  He often wins because he is a bad passenger and gets bored easily.  But this is fine as I can happily read, tweet and sing along with the kids to keep occupied.

But whilst in the car alone, I am in my element.  The radio is on (loud) and I am happy to drive wherever as long as I have a good radio show and good traffic.

Then it will happen.  The sea of brake lights ahead on the motorway.  A lollipop lady (oh thats a WHOLE new blog post..!).  A push bike too far out in the road or old ladies gossiping at a zebra crossing.  Thats my mood changed.

So aside from hormones, there are things that affect my mood on a daily basis.  What most affects yours?

Like most people in Britain, this weekend was spent enjoying the sun. 

The added bonus of course that I got to spend lots time with my husband and children.  This quality time is somethng that I treasure as I spent a lot of time out of the house (work, nothing too exciting) and therefore away from my family.

Whilst I was in the home, it made me think about how I would be if things were different. If I was able to spend my full time working hours, being a full time Mum and Housewife.

My current role of Mother is polar opposite to how those 1950's housewifey type Mums were portrayed.

I work full time for one.  So I do not have dinner on the table for my hard working husband when he returns from the office.  The reality is that I am walking in the front door whilst my husband and children are finishing their dinner.  I normally rustle up somethng quick and easy for me, and wolf it down before starting the evening chores.  1950's housewifey wouldn't have done that.  She would have been able to produce an amazing meal from rations, whilst looking everso glamourous (so not the smeared mascara and frown lines I seem to sport after a day at the office then?).

There are however, signs that I possibly COULD be that 1950's housewifey if circumstances were different, and actually (feminists be warned...) quite enjoy it.

Yes I am busy from the moment I step through the front door, but I still insist in making my husband's packed lunch up, and my kids lunches.  And as much as this could be seen as part of my controlling nature of knowing they are eating well, its still a nice "Mummy" thing to do.  I can stand with the other Mum's at the school gates knowing that I have contributed just a bit to the lifestyle they seem to lead so effortlessly.

I sort socks.  Yes I moan about this, and spending the best part of an hour recently sorting the socks and a weeks worth of washing certainly didn't inspire me with well being (or to do the rest of the housework, I grabbed a beer instead and watched Eastenders), but again I did feel that I was fulfilling my duty as wife and mother.

When we go away, I will be the one to pack the picnic to ensure we are all fed.  When on holiday, I start the day for my family with a large brunch to fill them up until we (hopefully) eat out.

Its not just the household chores and food. My husband and I seem to have fallen into certain roles wth our family life.

This weekend I was thinking just that whilst watching my two boys trail behind their father walking across the cricket field.  When we sat down to watch I was happily laying back in the sun watching the boys play a game of cricket with their Daddy.

As the kids get older, its clear now that they gravitate to wanting to spend more time with their Dad.  This doesn't upset me.  Their Dad is their hero, this is a good thing.  Im boring.  I sort socks and make the packed lunches up.  But for now this suits us.  For once, I am ready to conform, and embrace the 1950's concept of motherhood and being a wife, with a little modern twist.

i would be interested to know how many of you, given the choice would happily conform the the housewife role?

This morning I had a feelng of liberation.

I stepped into my office, switched on my computer, and then put my mobile phone in my hand bag.

Not an unsual routine surely? I hear you ask.  Well for me, and my recent lifestyle this is.

You see since obtaining my Android Smart phone almost a year ago, my life has been slowly governed by Apps,  Those perfect little squares of information that distract me every minute of every day. And today, enough was enough.

My normal routine is this:

I get up and switch my phone on.  Whilst its loading up I get myself, and the kids ready.  I proceed downstairs where the kettle goes on and I get the kids their breakfast.  I then hear a familiar cluster of beeps and buzzes from my phone.  I recognise each and every one.

Whilst drinking my first cup of tea of the day I scroll through my notifications.  Its normally Twitter first, then onto Facebook, a quick flick to Instragram. I then tap onto LinkedIn to see whats been happening in the 8 hours that I have slept, and then off I drive to work.  I set my phone down on my desk, get my first cup of coffee (I drink coffee at work, I think its a neccessity to get through the day, tea is for pleasure and to relax at home!) and I repeat the same routine.  Because now I have missed at least 50 minutes of the action.

At my fingers tips, right next to me on my desk at work I have the following:

- Facebook
- Twitter
- Instragram
- Words with Friends
- Google +
- Linked In
- Mail Online
- Word of the Day
- Whatsapp
- Dictionary

These are just the ones on my first home page, because they are Apps that I use regularly.  And it needs to stop.

So today I made a stand. I went cold turkey and worked to rule.  My husband was under strict instructions not to text unless it was important, and if that was the case, to ring me.

Every 20 minutes or so I could hear a buzz, a beep or a dingdong with my notifications coming through, but I continued on with my day. Frantically wishing the hours away til lunch when I was "allowed" to check my phone.  Which I did, and spent the ENTIRE lunch hour returning tweets (ok, I was harsh on myself today, it was #FF after all!), "liking" Facebook statuses and using my dictionary in the desperate attempt to win a match of Words with Friends.

I did all this whilst on my lunchtme walk, where I normally read my kindle, which I didnt open once.

So what did I learn today?  That I was a slave to my phone? That I am a socal media and App "whore?"  Well yes.  I am by my own admittance both of those.  But I was also reminded of the good old days (ah yes, here come the rose tinted glasses...) where the only distraction at work was the odd personal email or colleague popping to your desk for a tea break natter.  Both of which happened today and they were a welcome break.

I actually enjoyed my phone free work day.  Are you brave enough to try it?

Last night whilst rummaging through my eldest son’s school book bag, I found a letter which made me smile:

“Dear Parent/Carer

We would like to invite you to attend this months PSA (Parent Staff Association) meeting in the hope that you will continue to join us as your child’s class representative at future meetings.”

I stopped reading at this point, shoved it straight in the junk draw and continued on with the other 101 jobs that I had to complete before bedtime.

The reason this kind invitation made me smile, wasn’t because I was happy to be given the opportunity to take part in these meetings, nor was I content in the knowledge that I would be able to consider it.  No the reason I had to stop myself from stuffing it into my mouth to conceal the laughter was because I have NO TIME!

Of COURSE I would love to be part of this.  In the same way that when they ask us to contribute towards the cake sale, that I would love to spend all afternoon with my children lovingly stirring cake mixture in a bowl, whilst they happily lick their fingers and glance up at my flour dusted face in awe of my amazing cooking abilities (this doesn’t happen by the way).

I would also love to volunteer for their school tip next week.  I could think of nothing better than to hold my son’s hand walking around a wildlife park, smug in the knowledge that I am spending this quality time with him whilst also impressing the teachers with my super mum abilities.  But again, this won’t be happening.

So yet again, last nights school letter made me feel like a bad Mum.

I SHOULD be doing all these things but I can’t.  I physically have not got the time or the brain capacity (being blonde of course…!) to do this stuff. I do my best, but there really are only so many hours in the day and when you work full time, the productive hours are taken up working,

So to lessen the guilt, (I blame the Catholic upbringing, the guilt NEVER leaves you!) I spent an extra 15 minutes with the boys at bedtime reading to them, discussing their day and encouraging them to read to settle themselves down for the evening.

I then continued to job number 84 on the list of things to do before bedtime….

Does anyone else suffer from the same “no time to be a proper Mum” guilt?

I attended a 5th brthday party recently (nothing unusual in that - Its widely known that my children have a better social life than me!).  This party was the classic kind, you know with pass the parcel, musical statues and musical bumps.  The kind of party we have all had the pleasure of attending as children ourselves and now drag our own little darlings along to.

What stood out to me at this party was just how much my eldest son has inherited my competitive streak. (chip of the old block).  Having nearly given himself severe cramp all over from standing as still as he could, he made it to the final two of musical statues.  If it wasnt for another eagled-eyed Mum spotting his flickering eye lid (Hayden, WHY did you have to blink!?!) he'd have won.

So as he skulked off leaving the other child basking in his victory I said all the things I was supposed to:

"Never mind darling, you did really well" I enthused.
"I wanted to win Mum" he barked.
"I know angel, but you were very good and it was only because he didnt blink", I encouraged.

Content that I had done enough of the "encouraging Mum" bit, I let him trot off.

However, I was seething.

He SHOULD have won.  He was the BEST!  And whilst I was sat there with a silly proud grin on my face throughout the game, the grin was actually a grimace.  Willing it end so that I could see my son, yes MY son the best musical statue player in world win a bag of sweets.

Yes I am aware I have a problem......I am fiercely competitive.  This is perhaps not a bad thing.  My competitive streak has seen me through many (and subsequently successful) job interviews.  I have exceeded sales targets and improved on many a race time when running.  I have also lost sleep over getting the best report for college, got stressed over the quality of my work, and literally thrown up whilst crossing the finishing line at one particular 5k race whilst having to get past a runner from the rival running club.

This streak has lessened over the years because it has had to.  Becomng a parent has calmed me because being the control freak I am, I cannot control my children's personalities.  I can no longer flit from one job to another to achieve more, because my family life requires some stablity (and locality).

I can however adapt my competiveness to suit my current lifestyle.  I recently took part in the London Moonwalk and managed to get a personal best on my time (without throwing up or causing any injury).  I am able to get the most hits on my website at work because I can control the content, and I can also work on my running speed at the gym rather than competing in 100's of road races.

The kids sports days are coming up soon.  Most parents are excited, maybe a little nervous for their children.  I on the other hand am staying focused and have only one race in mind.  The Mum's race that I WILL win. 

God help my boys....!

Mile 24.  I am pretty much at the wall.  My legs are not even aware they are carrying me, they are just working on memory from the past 24 miles of the walk. 

I see a pedestrian-crossing up front and nearly burst into tears.  The light is green.  If I can just walk that bit quicker, run even...I may just make it in time. 

I quicken my pace and the look of pure sympathy appears on the marshalls face as she glances at the lights.  Her hand goes up in front of her to stop me from crossing.  "Sorry", she says.  And I cry.

Not big heartbreaking sobs.  That would be embarassing.  But the silent tears that appear when you least expect them.  The ones that are normally had when you are alone.  Not walking through the streets of London at dawn, along with 15,000 other walkers.

"I'm sorry", she projects again, this time wth her arm softly round my shoulders "I know it must hurt". 

"Yes", I whisper, frantically marching on the spot desperately trying to keep my legs from giving up on me.

"I envy you". She whispers back, dropping her hand down to her side.

"Envy me?" I question

"Yes", she continues.  "I am physically unable to do what you do, so I am doing this, in the hope that doing so I can contribute in my own way".

My tears stop. My legs march that little bit faster and before I know it the little green man is flashing at me prompting me to cross. 

I feel a gentle hand on my back.

"Go", she commands.  "You are on a really good time, get there and be proud".

I continue to walk and the tears falls again.  This time tears of determination, of courage, of strength.  The strength to get through this.  To get to the end. 

At the weekend I completed a night time 26.2 mile walk around London. 

For those of you who have not heard of London Moonwalk, this is an event which in its 15 years, has raised over £75 million for breast cancer charities.  I wont go into details, they have a fantastic website www.walkthewalk.org which will tell you all about the event and the charity.  This is to tell you of my experience of the event.

I first took part in this event 8 years ago.  Having failed to secure a London Marathon place I was looking for an alternative challenge.  I was told about this event by a work colleague who had done it the previous year.  I was sold by the stories of the Moonwalks' humble beginnngs, the concept that you do this event in your bra, to celebrate our womanly bodies and to make a point that this is for breast cancer research.  So why not?  Its a challenge, and ok its not a run like I had hoped, and certainly did not have the same credability of the London Marathon, but it sounded fun.  And it was.  That first 26.2 mile walk was exhausting, humbling yet gratifying.  I was hooked.

I was unable to compete in the years that followed.  I moved house and had two children in quick succession.  I was running competively and had no time to train for the event.

It wasnt until last year when I was telling a friend about the event that I had the urge to do it again.  Which I did. The experience was unchanged.  Only that it was bigger, colder and I was able to share this wtih a good friend who could also be proud of herself for taking part.

So you can imagine how gutted I was to have missed the online application spot last year as I was out of the country (residing in a villa in Spain, which quite rightly had no wifi!).  So, when the oppurtunity came up to take a friends place and take part in this years event, I nearly bit her hand off (well actually no, it was by email.  So I had to fight the urge to kiss the screen!).

But wth this elation was the feeling of panic.  I had two weeks notice and that was no way near enough time to train. 

I spent the follwing few weeks clocking as many miles as I could on foot.  Mostly in my lunch hour and given the state of the British weather recently this was also spent with a large umbrella in hand, dodging high winds and heavy rains.  But i did all I can.

But I had a new purpose in mind.  This was the first Moonwalk I was doing alone and I had a competitive head on my  shoulders this time round.  Gone was the usual "lets have fun" aspect and in its place was my "I need to get my best time EVER!" mentality.  This was my one chance to get the best time I could - really make the difference and make it as hard as I could for myself.  I wanted every mile to be as painful as every chemotherapy treatment.  I wanted every step to be as painful as the first time someone was told of their cancer, and I wanted every short breath to be as shallow as those who had lost the fight to this terrible disease.  I also wanted my jubilation as I crossed the finishing line to be as close to the feeling a survivor got when they received the "all clear" from cancer.  This had to count.

So off I set alone on the train with my focused mindset.

I admit, I was a little lonely. Everyone seemed to be in a team, or with at least one other.  And when Nina Brough (the founder) got on stage and asked us to give the person to the leff a massive hug I had an awful "alone" moment until this wonderful lady grabbed my hand and gave me the biggest hug.  I was ready.

Half way through the warm up, I left the tent to approach the start line.  There were quite a few others with the same idea so despite my best efforts, I was still at the back of the first group.  And I didnt actually cross the start line until 11:04pm.

But I was there.  And I was powering my arms up above my chest (which was beautifully presented in a bra made by a wonderful lady I met through twitter - that's another story).  By mile 5 I had lost count of the number of walkers I had overtaken, and as I made my way out of Hyde Park I was confident to have made a good start.

I shall digress slightly at this point, because i think it is an important point.

I get VERY annoyed at people who discredit the walk because it is just that.  A walk.  Because most of us put one leg in front of the other, it is assumed that we are able to do this over a large distance.  I am sure most of you have either said, or heard someone say somethng like this "Oh I couldnt run to the end of the road but I could walk for miles".  Could you?  Could you really walk 26.2 miles over night comfortably?  Because I am fit, and I struggled. 

When you run a marathon, there is this credablity that comes with it.  As running a marathon is hard.  But remember this.  The only difference in running a marathon over walking it, is that your feet hit the ground that little bit harder.  And you move that little bit faster (again this theory can be questioned, as my finishing time walking the marathon was very close to that of at least two people I know to have run the recent London Marathon).  You still use the same muscles and your body still requires the same nutrition. 

Don't get me wrong.  I am no way discrediting marathon runners,  I hope to be one next year and intend in training very hard for it, I just wanted to make the point that walking the same distance is equally as hard.  I have the blisters and the John Wayne walking stance to prove it!

By mile 14 I could honestly say that I hit that "wall".  I could feel the beginnings of a blister on my ankle, my bra straps were feeling very tight and I was beginning to get shin splints and fat-finger syndrome.  I had already been groped by a very drunk and disgusting clubber and to make it worse, someone with a limp had over taken me.  I was not feeling too good at all.

So I started to make a deal wth myself.  At mile 15 I will have my energy bar.  At mile 16 I will check my phone.  At mile 17 I will have some jelly babies.  If I make it that far I will then concentrate on counting my steps.  Once I get to a thousand steps I will have my second energy bar.  All these little goals helped, but the real encouragers were the volunteers.  These wonderful human beings were there for us all at every corner, every pedestrain crossing, every zebra crossing, every water station and every toilet stop.  No matter how cold it got, they still clapped and cheered as we walked on (and at one point they were offering free hugs - don't mind if I do!).  The poor souls must have been perishing and everso tired but they kept on.  And then I reached the mile 24 marker and my inspiring marshall who kept me going til the end.

So as I turned the corner back into Hyde Park I was on a mission.  I figured that I really couldnt hurt much more than I did already so I put the pain to the back of my head and marched on.

It was at this point that I was beginning to notice that the sun had had only just come up. Now on previous Moonwalks the sun was already up and rising rapidly in the sky when I was passing the mile 20 marker.  So I knew that my time was good.

My phone battery had run very low at this point so I had turned it off some miles before to save it for when I finished.  When i passed the 26 mile maker and very much on the home straight, I reached for my phone and switched it on.

I had to look twice at the time.  And then I looked again. 

It was just past 5am.  Surely I could not have done this in 6 hours?  Honestly that could not be possible.  I'm not a power walker, I am a recreational walker.  Yes I was determned but my goal was to finish by 7am.  And it was 5am.  Really?  I shook any pride out of my head, it must me wrong.

But I was here, the end was in sight.  As I glanced up at the official clock I could see that it read 5:17am.  Mmm, may be that was the hours and not the time then?  But then thats not right either!!  I was confused.

I crossed the finishing line desperate to ask someone the time.  I didnt need to.  The lady who gently placed the medal over my head confirmed it:

"Well done my darling, just over 6 hours is an amazing time, you should be very proud of yourself".

And I was.  Very.

That evening I bored everyone senseless on my achievemnt.  Tellng story after story until my celebratory glasse(s) of wine tired my buzzing head.  I lterally (seriously, LITERALLY!) climbed the stairs to bed.

I woke up this morning and I could barely move.  But I had a smile on my face. 

I did it.

I dedicate this blog post to everyone who has been touched by cancer