SASS: My mug. In new shots.


Well, well, well my lovers. It’s been a while!

You may have been wondering what I’ve been up to in my absence and the truth is a hell of a lot. As many of you will understand, presently there are just not enough hours in the day.

But beyond the madness of work, motherhood and celebrating many a birthday over the last month (more of that later) I did find the time to take part in a photo shoot with a dear friend of mine and an incredibly talented photographer, the lovely Jane Hewitt.

Frankly, I got sick and tired of dusting off the same old pics for interviews and the like and decided that action was needed. There’s only so many selfies you can use to promote your blog and so I called in a professional.

Below are a small selection of my favourite images from the shoot  that Jane took of me and Elsie a couple of weeks ago on a lovely Thursday morning. You’ll see them popping up on my social media channels soon and of course, you can expect to see them all over the blog in the future.


As always working with Jane was a pleasure. Jane has taken many, many pictures of me before (sorry Jane, no doubt you are sick of this ol’ mug of mine!) including my wedding and bump photographs and as always, we laughed our way through the shoot, giving some crazy ideas a whirl and ditching ones that well…didn’t quite work.

These shots sum up my life pretty perfectly. A busy mum to a busier toddler. A freelancer. A blogger. A juggler of many plates who has a devout fondness for heels (irregardless of their impracticality) and a love of pretty things.

What can I say, suddenly, the pout has just got a whole lot more sophisticated ;-)



Big thank you to Jane and to my lovely Mother In Law Janine (pictured below with Elsie and I) for babysitting as I puckered up, pouted and posed.



It’s good to be back folks. It’s good to be back! See you Friday.






P.S Please do check out some of Jane’s amazing photographs for sale, here. x

FRIDAY FIVE: Wise words to live by from one of the wisest women I’ve ever known

IWD 2014 Gran letters.jpeg

AS it’s International Women’s Day tomorrow, I wanted to do a special post to honour the occasion.

Last year I wrote about how to be a better ‘sister‘ but this year, I was a little bit stuck for ideas. Finally, after wracking my brains over what to write, I had a brain wave.

What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to celebrate one remarkable woman by sharing some of her very wise words with you all.

The ‘remarkable woman’ I’m going to tell you a little about isn’t famous. Nor are her words well known. But she was remarkable. A woman born way ahead of her time. A woman who lived her life unapologetically, the way she wanted to. A woman who knew her own mind and was never afraid to share it.

Her name was Peggy Eileen Foster (nee Burt). And she was my Gran.

My Gran was – and continues to be – without doubt, one of the most influential female figures in my life. And although, she passed away over 10 years ago now,  believe me when I say there is not one single day when I do not think about her or miss her so very much. In fact, I would give anything for her to walk in the room right this very second. Or to be able to thank her for being such an inspiration to me.

She was not – as some of you might be imagining – a cuddly, maternal kind of Grandma who baked cakes and smothered me with love and affection.  Not at all. If anything she was the opposite in many ways.

My Gran was feisty, often fierce, always opinionated and could tear a strip off me (or indeed anyone else) within a blink of an eye. But in every sense, she was rather wonderful. She was clever, determined, knowledgable, outspoken, brave, ambitious, inspiring and most of all wise. SO very wise.

The words I’m about to share with you come from her letters which are some of my most prized possessions. Throughout my life we would always exchange letters and cards, mainly because she lived so far away. I lived in Rochdale, she lived in Somerset.

Our letter exchange was a habit that continued right through from my school years to university and now as I go through and read them from time to time, I’m just so incredibly grateful to have her words with me still. To see her handwriting. To feel her presence. This is the magic of handwritten letters.

My Gran was an incredibly private person so I am a little apprehensive about sharing her words with you all. But I like to think that because she was such a proud feminist, she would appreciate and accept why I’m doing it and give me her blessing.

I hope you find her words as inspiring as I do.

Gran…from one ‘Eileen’ to another, it’s over to you ;-) X


Gran letters.jpeg


Use your brains

Use your brains

“Guess you are up to your neck in homework. Still it keeps you out of mischief and makes you a very clever young lady. Well you can’t help having brains can you? – it’s in your genes so they say and as long as you use them they work for you. If you don’t use them you’re as daft as anyone else if you know what I mean.”

There’s no date on this letter but the mention of ‘homework’ highly suggests that I received this whilst at school. My Gran was a huge believer in the power of knowledge and education and always encouraged me to better myself. And as a woman, she always valued brains more than beauty.

Lesson? Use your brains ladies. Don’t ever just rely on your feminine charms. Knowledge is power!

Do so

Do so if you get the chance

“Went to visit parliament with local MP – absolutely wonderful. Do so if you get the chance, but get a good guide – ours was wonderful. Watched goings on in the House Of Lords, all gold leafed, painted for opening of Parliament next week! Looked wonderful. Tell you all about it one day. Bore you to tears! Love you, take care!!…”

My Gran loved politics and was always getting involved with local goings on. If something needed to be done, you can bet your bottom dollar she’d make sure it’d happen. Her ‘do so if you get the chance’ phrase reminds me of her natural enthusiasm for life and her willingness to do stuff AND get stuff done.

Lesson? Be bold and take every opportunity that comes your way. DO so if you get the chance.

Have a go at everything.

Have a go at everything

“Thank you very much for the beautiful card. I have not tried anything like that…However will keep my eyes open for a class / instruction for doing some. Have to have a go at everything. Am hoping the school will do computer lessons – not that I’ve got – or will have a computer but I’d like to learn the basic jargon. Must keep up with the times. On the other hand I can’t think why?…”

Even just a few years before her death, in her early 80s, my Gran was still passionate about learning and trying new things. She loved to be creative and never really did ‘old’.

Lesson? Try everything. Keep interested. Stay young. Age is no barrier to learning something new or experiencing something different.

All good things

 All things come to an end

“Look forward to seeing your snaps. Must be a come down to earth in Bolton?! But all good things come to an end – guess the bad things do as well. Seems as if you really mean to get going this last year – all power to your elbow. Tis a very hard time for you but you have the right approach. Did you opt for Lady Macbeth or Cleopatra?…”

I’d just come back from travelling around Australia for the summer and was about to start my final year at university when I received this letter. Her phrase ‘all good things come to an end – guess the bad things do as well’ is typical of her outlook on life and stoic approach to accepting circumstances and just getting on with things.

Lesson? Don’t take everything good that you have for granted. And when times get tough, remember things will get better. Life is all about appreciating the good and rolling with the bad.

Tough but worth it

It will be tough but worth it

“Anyway can only give a big prayer for you every day and hope that Grandad etc looks down on you and gives his blessing! He would have been so proud of you. As we all are. It’s a dream we all had for ourselves I guess but now we can live it through you. It will be tough but worth it that’s for sure. No Prime Minister would say otherwise…”

I read this letter at a bus stop on my first morning as a university student. And I sobbed. In front of everyone. I cried because I knew how much value both my Gran and Grandad had placed on education and how unfortunate they had been to be born in an era when working class people just didn’t get to go to university and study.

They were both very clever people and yet because of their background, they were denied the opportunity which had come so easily to me, just a few generations on. I was the first member of my family to go to university and my biggest sadness is that my Gran didn’t get to see me graduate as she passed away just a few months earlier.

Lesson? Anything worth having will never be easy. Be that, a job, an incredible opportunity, the love of your life or children.

Tough things can be hard to deal with, but the outcome is worth it. (Oh and also, value education. The opportunities we have nowadays, are ones my grandparents would have dreamed of.)


I love you Gran. Now, always and forever. X

Happy International Women’s Day everyone! Please make it count.



YOUR SECRETS: Laura’s story, ‘How I’ve made myself a success in the music industry’

LW-OB digital 15

THIS month’s ‘Your Secrets’ story is an absolute belter.

So good in fact, that I’ve been excited about sharing this with you for weeks.

Many of you will probably recognise Laura White from her time on the X Factor a few years ago and the subsequent mass media attention she gained when she was shockingly voted out. And if you’ve ever wondered what you’ve been up to since the show, well you are in for a treat.

I’ve become friends with Laura over the past year or so and have been really touched by her dedication to her music.

She’s beautiful, she’s obscenely talented and she’s one of the most genuine, down to earth people I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across. She’s also a proud Northern girl like me and has great taste in furry hats, so I guess it was inevitable that we’d always get on.

Laura is a woman proudly and defiantly carving her own way in the world and in the music industry. She’s a dreamer of the very best sort and the toughest of all battlers.

Because of this, I’m truly delighted that she has chosen to share her story with us all on Pouting In Heels today. It’s a little longer than usual, as Laura has got so much to share about her journey, but I really hope you enjoy it, as much as I have.

If nothing else, hopefully it will inspire more of you to reach for those stars. No matter how far they may seem out of reach.

Without further adieu, I pass you over to Laura. Please don’t forget to show her your love and support, which I know you will, as always.

You can leave Laura a comment below, follow all her news on  Facebook or connect on Twitter. You can also watch her in action on YouTube and buy Laura’s incredible EP ‘What My Mother Taught Me’ on iTunes right here!

Enjoy x



This is Laura White’s Story…

LW-OB digital 15

My name is Laura White and I am a UK Artist /Writer/Musician living in London. A girl that has fought in so many ways, that I have ending up becoming my own hero. There are many things in my life that I am proud of but mostly I am proud of the fight that I took on and won, with my music.

When I was 8, I started to learn classical piano and realised that music was deep in my heart. I have always been different. Not just with my crazy big hair or funny ways, but because in my mind I have always thought that anything is possible.

I was told off repeatedly for living ‘in Disneyworld’ when I was a child, but all my life I have dreamed and believed. One day, at High School, I was in Music class and got asked to perform a song for my GCSEs. The second I performed at school everything went crazy.

I started gigging, playing festivals, jazz bars and tiny venues with just a handful of people in but eventually I built a big following in all the places I played. More importantly I learnt that my fans, the public and myself were all that I needed to take me where I wanted to be.

I started a profile on Myspace, and soon began uploading my own songs, just me and my piano, and I became the 5th most viewed artist unsigned in the world. Crazy! Soon I was picked up by prestigious music manager Matt Aitken and later a TV Show, the ‘E4 School of Performing Arts’.

After this, I took my demos everywhere. I stood at every show, searching every day, emailing every person in the world trying to be heard. I had a few successful auditions and meetings but things kept falling through. It was tough but it was making me more resilient.  


Soon the X Factor came along. 182,000 people auditioning and I kept getting through. My most memorable moment was bootcamp. I sang and just looked at my knees shaking. When I opened my eyes I got a standing ovation at bootcamp never seen before. I remember Cheryl Cole (my mentor) saying “How do you do that thing?? that scatting?” I said I play Aretha and Ella Fitzgerald every day, that I wasn’t trained but I feel what they feel so I sing like they do and she loved me. She always saw what I was and the artist I would be today.  

On the show I was the favourite to win every week but eventually when voted out by a controversial judge vote, I had 150,000 people petitioning. I am also the only X Factor artist discussed in parliament to date. 

I had a tough time on the show. I was the girl who was at the piano everyday, a girl who didn’t go after the fame and the lights. After the show things were difficult. I was touring and gigging which was amazing but the help I needed was from songwriters, labels, managers, who could take my talent and propel me to the next level.

But after the show I quickly discovered that the ‘help’ around me wasn’t going to offer that sadly. I really was told I would make a lot of money and that I should be happy with being viewed by 19 million people, to be a ‘celebrity’ alone. But this wasn’t why I went on the show.

The people around me soon realised this as I turned down many reality events and parties and gigs with extortionate amounts of pay as well as many TV/ acting offers. I went on the show to show that I was an artist to the world. To get my music out there. To change people’s lives with my songs. To inspire people.

And so I began to write, every single day, asking people for sessions, contacting every writer I had heard of, every single producer in the US and the UK, playing gigs that I arranged all myself despite being a girl who couldn’t walk down a street without being recognised. I met my fans and put every single penny I made back into my music. I pushed my voice to be the absolute best, for if I had to fight the world to be heard, then I better be the best at it. I even went to Denmark knocking at Cutfathers door, a huge producer, because he told me that if I flew to him he’d give me a chance.

I was told a songwriter gave the artist their ‘hits’ but I never had that so I decided I would make myself good enough so one day I’d write my own hits. I never allowed anything I couldn’t do to hold me back, I just got up and made myself do it.

I now write every single song I release. I listen to ‘To be Loved’ a song off my most recent EP, which was the number one singer songwriter EP on UK Itunes in November 2013 and think wow. I wrote that about a best friend of mine and I’m so proud of my lyric and melody ability that God gave me as a writer.

I wrote a number one hit (in three countries) for artist Gin Lee and have written for many, many other artists. I’ve been writing recently for a huge UK Artist and a blockbuster movie which will be announced very soon. I honestly can’t tell you how proud it makes me.

None of this wouldn’t have happened though, if I had just sat crying about the fact that people weren’t helping me. I got up, I fought back, I got myself looking the best I could to feel good in myself, taught myself to write hits and became the artist I am today. I’ve been offered many publishing and record deals but still I am an independent artist.

I have sold out the Lowry Theatre in Manchester and continue to sell out every single venue I play. I have been on so many amazing journeys with my music. I’ve been around the world, on TV shows, won TV Awards and have even sang personally for the Prime minister!

As I sit in my house in London, it is my fans that I am so grateful to. When anyone ever told me, I wasn’t good enough, when anyone ever knocked me down, when anyone ever gave up on me and left me feeling empty, my fans believed. Just as I did.

I’m a big hearted soul and I would cry if things hurt me, but I have always brushed myself off and become stronger. I will never be beaten and I write this to inspire every single woman out there to think the same.

You can be and do anything you want to do. Just be who you are and be strong minded. You need no one in the world but yourself I promise you.


Gosh that was good wasn’t it?! That last line of hers is so brilliant, I’m going to get it framed.

HUGE thanks again to the very lovely Laura for sharing her story. If ever there was a woman who knows about motivation and determination, it is this wonder woman. Please don’t forget to check out Laura’s wonderful music. Her Facebook Page is also well worth a like, if nothing else, so you can her keep up to date with all of her brilliant tracks and latest videos.

I warn you though, you will most probably become a huge fan ;-)

From one Northern lass to another, thank you Laura! Mwah x

(If you’ve got a story to share, why not be brave and tell your secret?! Drop me a line at

Make today magical folks! See you on Friday!



SASS: Daring to go bare (faced)

Butterfly I am beautiful

IT’S not like me to say no to a challenge.

So when my blogger friend Mama and More challenged me to take part in the ‘I AM BEAUTIFUL’ link up hosted by Vodka Infused Lemonade and publish an image of myself , bare faced and make up free,  for the whole wide world to see, I couldn’t really refuse. (Damn it!)

In all honesty, between you and I, I’d much rather be seen with my make up on than without. That’s just who I am. I’m a make up gal, always have been, always will be.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t leave the house without make up on or that I even wear a lot of it every day (some days I wear more than others, depending how I feel) but yes, on the whole, I will happily hold my hand up and say I prefer my enhanced face to the natural one.

I like the way my favourite smokey grey eyeshadow makes my hazel eyes pop, I adore the way I can look more alive by adding a touch of blush to my pale, tired cheeks and I will always love (especially at the minute), the way a concealer can help to cover my dark under eye circles. Most days, thanks to a busy ol’ life juggling freelancing and motherhood, I feel absolutely knackered and so, wearing a little make up not only makes me look prettier, it makes me feel a damn sight prettier too.

But I do love what this link up is all about. And I totally get it. As women we’re constantly bombarded with images of fake perfection and unreal ideals that we are expected to and / or feel obliged to live up to. At best it’s a little annoying, at worst – if we’re struggling with self esteem issues – it can be soul destroying.

We’re so used to seeing enhanced images of beauty that we’ve forgotten what real beauty looks like. Especially natural, first thing in the morning, end of the day, kind of beauty. And I don’t want that to happen. I also don’t want the person I love more than anyone in the world – my daughter – thinking that she has to wear make up when she’s older. Because she doesn’t. Wearing make up – like going bare faced – should be a choice not an expectation. Something fun and creative to enjoy, not a daily procedure to endure.

And so, even though I’d much rather publish an image of myself with at least a little mascara on, I’m more than happy to take part and do my bit for the cause. After all, I’m always harping on about loving ourselves and being honest with each other, so it’s time to put my money where my mouth is!

And here I am. This is me, yesterday morning, in all my bare faced glory. Admittedly my hair is styled, but there is absolutely nothing on my face bar some moisturiser. Oh and a demented kind of forced smile. (My face is obviously thinking what on earth is she doing agreeing to this?!?!)



I’ve gotta tell you, it was very strange taking a selfie of myself ‘au natural’ and even weirder not adding a filter to it to make it look better! But I actually don’t mind it so much.

Do I like it enough to stop wearing make up? Well no. I don’t. But that’s just my preference.

I don’t think I look my most ‘beautiful’ in this picture but that’s ok, because inside, I still feel it. And at the end of the day, as trite as it may sound, that is the only thing that matters.

Funnily enough out of all the hundreds of pictures of me that I have in my possession, my most favourite of all, is one in which I have no make up on whatsoever. In it, my hair is an absolute mess. I haven’t slept for over 24 hours. I am almost completely naked. I have a drip in my hand. I’d been through a long, tough, exhausting labour. I look as far from groomed and made up as you can imagine.


I am holding my much-longed for daughter on my chest, when she is just minutes old. And my eyes are shining with the absolute joy and love that you experience when you become a mother for the first time. Out of all of the pictures that I have, nothing captures my inner beauty better than this one. Which is why even though I look a million miles away from perfection in it, this image is perfect to me.

So, whether you’re a woman who prefers make up (like me) or a lady who prefers to go fresh faced, it’s totally true that we should all take a moment to celebrate our own unique beauty from time to time.

And hey, if you need a little bit of lipstick or mascara to help you to do it, then so be it. Just don’t forget that you still look rather lovely without the warpaint too.


What do you think? Would you dare to publish an image of yourself wearing no make up online? Do you hate wearing make up? Or do you love it? What makes you feel your most beautiful? As always I’d love to hear your thoughts!

See you on Wednesday when I’ll be sharing another AMAZING ‘Your Secrets’ story! Have a wonderful week!




FRIDAY FIVE: How to cope when motherhood feels tough

How to cope when motherhood gets too much.jpeg

THE other night was one of those tough parenting nights.

I was poorly, my little girl was poorly and so both of us got very little sleep. As I lay there in the early hours trying to settle Elsie and encourage her back to the land of nod, I had a lightbulb moment.

For I realised that whilst many people will happily provide parenting advice (which is often unwanted) on everything from breast feeding to weening, toddler tantrums to sleep habits, no one really tells you how to cope with those days and nights when everything is going wrong.

When you feel at the end of your tether. When you feel so exhausted, that you just don’t know how you’re going to make it through the next hour, never mind the next day.

It’s rare for anyone to offer words of comfort for those moments. Possibly because we don’t often share our bleak times with those closest to us and also, I guess, because motherhood is meant to be a totally joyous and loving experience.

It is of course. No doubt about that. But it’s also bloody hard, exhausting and frustrating at times too. There I said it.

So for those of you battling with toddlers, struggling with newborns, dreaming of sleep or feeling totally cheesed off with motherhood right now (regardless of what some people tell you this is ok and perfectly normal) this Friday Five is especially for you.

Here’s how to cope with those tough motherhood times. From one loving, knackered mum to another.



Cry if and when you need to

The other night as I lay in the darkness trying to get Elsie to sleep, I cried. Just a little. And ever so quietly.

I was ill, exhausted, totally worn out and feeling incredibly sorry for myself. All I wanted to do was rest and sleep but the little lady had other ideas. And so as I battled for two hours to settle her back into dream land, I let myself have a little cry.

On most other occasions, I wouldn’t have been so upset. But I was feeling sorry for myself and so I had a little weep. Not because I was unhappy. Not because I can’t cope. Not because I don’t love my daughter. But because I was feeling fed up and I knew that a little cry would make me feel better.

I let the big, fat, salty tears run down my face for a good few minutes until I no longer needed them. And do you know what, in a weird way, it felt really good.

It’s ok to cry folks. Really it is. So take my advice and do so, whenever you feel the need to. You’re a mummy yes. But you’re also a human. So let those tears fall if need be and know that you’ll soon be ready to face the world again. Sometimes, we all just need a little weep.



Know that tomorrow will most probably be better

Such a blasé statement I know, but I say this from experience. Nineteen months of motherhood experience. Not much granted, but enough to know that…

Whenever I have one of those dark, dreadful parenting days, what often gets me through and stops me wanting to run for the hills, is the knowledge that ‘tomorrow will most probably be better’.

Admittedly, tomorrow might be in a few days time (especially if your little one is ill or going through a tricky phase) but all you need to remember, is that it will come. Even though it might not feel like it. You must keep telling yourself that things will get better. Because they will. I promise you. Perhaps not right this second. But they will.

Light always comes after the dark. So when the going gets tough, don’t get going. Just hang on in there as best you can and wait for a better day. For it will come my friends. It will come.


Elsie teddy attention

Don’t be so hard on yourself

This is a lesson that applies to so many of us. But really ladies, please, let’s try not to be so hard on ourselves shall we? I am, in all honesty, the world’s worst at this. Mainly because I’m a bit of a perfectionist and have very high expectations of myself.

It’s ridiculous really. If I heard any of my friends be so hard on themselves – like I am on myself – I would go crazy! But when it comes to those little voices in my head (I’m not the only one to hear them am I?!) I can’t help it.

So even though I know the house will not be spotlessly tidy for the foreseeable future because Elsie is an inquisitive, destructive toddler, I still feel like I’ve failed when it’s a mess.

Even though I know it’s normal for little ones to have temper tantrums, I still feel like I’ve somehow failed, whenever Elsie plays up. And even though I know there are only so many hours in the day, I still feel like a total and utter failure when I haven’t done all the many, many things I wanted to do!

Who’s with me?

When parenting feels tough, often it’s because we feel we are not meeting the expectations we demand of ourselves. Certainly, in my experience, this is the truth.

So please, I beg of you, be gentle to yourself and lower those expectations a little. Sometimes – as I said to a lovely Twitter friend last weekend – motherhood is just about survival.

So when things are tough, just concentrate on getting through the day and don’t let that ‘to do’ list worry your pretty little head.


Elsie and poppy.jpeg

Ask for help

Go on. I dare you.

It’s not easy to ask for help, especially if you’re an independent, proud, perfectionist like me. But it does get easier. Honestly, the more you reach out and ask, the easier it becomes! Take that from a woman who knows.

Sometimes we all need someone to give us a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on or a leg up. And that’s more than ok. That’s life. So whatever you need, ask for it.

If you need just an hour to yourself, ask your husband, best friend or Mum to babysit. If you’re struggling to keep on top of the housework (and let’s face it, who doesn’t) ask your partner to get acquainted with the duster. If you are feeling lonely, depressed and emotional, then ask for help. From anyone. Chew their ears off if you have to but make them hear you. Ask for whatever help you may need and don’t ever be ashamed of it.

It’s good to reach out and it’s good to talk. But it’s even better to admit that you need a little help.



Know that tough times make us better AND stronger

When you’re surviving and coping as best you can but still feel bleak, know that – in the words of Kanye West -”NN-n-now that that don’t kill me, can only make me stronger.” Hey, even sing them to yourself, if you need to. I won’t tell anyone.

We become better versions of ourselves, by experiencing the tough times. By rolling with the punches. By finding answers to parenting challenges. And, we become better mothers.

Parenthood is not easy. I don’t care what anyone says. It may be easier for some. But it is never easy.

No one has all the answers, even if they pretend to. We’re all just figuring out what to do, what works for us and how to keep our children alive and happy, from day to day. It’s an endless learning curve with every stage and every age bringing fresh challenges and obstacles to overcome.

Tough times are tough. And sometimes bloody awful. But they are tough for a reason. For without them, we wouldn’t be able to grow or develop.

Don’t ever forget, that without a little rain, there would be no beautiful rainbows in that sky.


To all you awesome mums and dads facing your parenthood battles head on, know that even if you don’t think it, you ARE doing one hell of a good job x

Have an incredible weekend! See you all next week. Mwah!



Brilliant blog posts on