What does feminism mean to a SAHM? 

This week I went out for a meal with 2 friends, one works full time and has 2 children and the other does not work and has 2 children, she is a stay at home mum (SAHM). We had a lovely meal and talked about our plans for the summer and our children.

Then the non-working friend began to complain about her husband, that he does nothing to help at home and leaves all the care and feeding of the children to her. When she went to the toilet my working mummy friend and I both thought she had no right to complain and declared “she doesn’t work! What a cheek, her husband earns all the money, the least she can do is see to the house and cooking”. 

It wasn’t until a few days later that I started to reflect on this attitude; that earning a decent amount of money and working, means I expect my husband to do his share of tasks in our home. Do women who earn no money forego the right to a helpful husband? Clearly they do not. 

Whilst on maternity leave  (a total of three years people, I took every day they would give me) I had a look into this world and found that there are two types of SAHM. There are those who don’t work because it is not sound financially: 3 kids in child care (at a conservative estimate this costs £15000 pa per child) when you only earn £17000 is insane, and those who don’t work because they choose not to either because they are so wealthy (the lunch out, gym member, holiday in Dubai, Range Rover brigade)  or they have chosen to be a full time mum and are spending less money accordingly (home made bread, road running, holiday in a tent, beaten up Mercedes estate brigade). 

Neither of these types of women are any less entitled to their feminism than me. I feel terrible that I wasn’t an understanding and sympathetic ear to my friend when she wanted to discuss her husband’s failings. 

She is in the Range Rover brigade and used to have a fabulous job and gave it up because he told her he would provide for them all. She is no less a feminist than me and yet I was so prejudiced by my own misogynistic views that I have confirmed what she was hoping I wouldn’t; that washing and ironing are her responsibility. 

Also this week a male colleague was disparaging a very senior person that we work with, highly intelligent and successful but allegedly, the recent recipient of new breast implants. “She’s an idiot. She’s got breast implants”. I asked him if he was serious, he said he was.

Being a feminist is a stay at home mum with huge fake tits as much as it is anyone and I’ll stand up for their right to be taken as seriously as I expect to be. 

 Probably a feminist. 

In praise of women

In praise of women

Whilst comforting a friend recently, one who feels her husband doesn’t understand, love or support her I was struck by how often I have heard the same thing from so many of my girlfriends. My response to this scenario is always the same “he is doing his best, he can’t show that he loves you the way you do.”

Men are great, but they aren’t women. Women notice you have lost 5lbs, bought a new scarf, that you are wearing a different eyeshadow. They text you to tell you that you are in their thoughts in good times and bad, they remember birthdays and buy thoughtful and personal gifts.

We cook and bake for each other, send each other little gifts via Amazon, buy and send funny and cute cards, we tell each other how loved we are and never judge or criticize. I love seeing my friends and will make an effort when we go out, choosing an outfit and making an effort with getting ready. It is exactly the way you behave when you are dating.

Since I have stopped expecting my husband to behave like a woman, my life has improved significantly. Yesterday I came home having bought an expensive jacket, he was watching tv, the tennis was on. Previously I would have become annoyed that he was not interested in the new jacket, put off the tv and started an argument. This time I asked “is this an important match?” Apparently it was desperately important, so I waited and showed him it later. He doesn’t like the neckline, but otherwise thinks it is fine.

Four hours previously my friend and I were at the shops, we had spent an hour or more discussing jackets, her holiday wardrobe and the difficult question of “is a white jacket insanity with 3 kids?”. Then we spent an hour looking for a top for her, traipsing round the shops together and chatting and having fun. We went back to the white jacket shop three times in total before I bought it. Afterwards she texted to say how much fun it had been, that she loved her top, and that her husband had said “it’s nice”. Men aren’t women, a top is a top, it has sleeves or not, a collar or not, buttons or not.

If we stopped expecting men to behave like women (or like men do when they are trying to get in your pants) the world would be a happier place. Be thankful that someone noticed your new lipstick, that someone wrote you a poem for your birthday, that someone sent you a text after they saw you looking tired to say “hope all ok, anything I can do?”, don’t be cross that it wasn’t your husband.
Anyway, the purpose of this is not to berate men, it is to praise the general fabulousness of women. I am grateful for the women who make my life a better place, they make me feel normal and understood, they do this whilst juggling work, kids, husbands, hobbies, families and homes. 

Lesson Of the Day

Lesson Of the Day

I have added one new rule to my surgical pearl necklace. If you try and be helpful and take a case from someone else’s theatre, be prepared for trouble

Today we took two cases from other theatre lists as our list had, in Bighospital terminology, fallen apart. This was partly thanks to me, who feeling cocky and egged on by the anaesthetist, took the decision to cancel a case yesterday. 

Today in Bighospitalburgh the sun was shining, it was warm and the theatre staff were moaning that we were looking for extra work. Every single sign and person was pointing to “get out of here and enjoy an early finish for once.”

Reader, you know that I did not do that. The Daily Mail can relax that a theatre list did not go under-utilised whilst I watered my courgettes.

Fast forward to midday and we have identified no less than 2 patients who we could operate on, taken from other  overbooked lists. 

We went to see both patients and introduced ourselves as the new team, checked the notes and confirmed the consent. 

The first patient woke up after her small procedure complaining loudly that the wrong surgeon had done her operation and that is why she was so sore. She caused a huge fuss in recovery and had to be talked down: lesson number 1 of the day, re-consent everyone yourself to ensure they are adequately prepared. 

The second case was not as advertised. A simple operation (a gallbladder became a nightmare. Lesson number 2: don’t take gallbladders as favours. 

This is not the first time i have been burned by a hot gallbladder parcelled up like a biliary colic when you are trying to be helpful. The last time, my name became linked to someone who was in ICU for months, but that’s a story for another day, the moral being always check an amylase. 

So after a fight with a massive beast of a gallbladder with abnormal anatomy that involved 6 surgeons.

Closest I’ll ever get to a Ted talk:

I got into the car finally at 7pm and raced home to relieve the nanny of my children (arriving late) and did not stop to buy milk, fruit and post a letter as I had planned. Being helpful does not pay! 

Continuing adventures of being a silly cow 

Continuing adventures of being a silly cow 

This week, as I have said, I am on a very stupid diet. You could say I am on a whole sort of self improvement mission and last night I decided to embark on some extreme teeth whitening. 

I have the stuff from the dentist (not for me the purchased online crap) and custom made trays or whatever you call them. This isn’t the first time I have done it, but it’s the first time I have done it over night. Other attempts have seen me manage an hour or two and then I remove them. 

I slept from midnight to 6am, with the trays in. My teeth are in agony today, I was out running this evening and the wind hurt them.  Six hours of bleaching has left me with very white teeth that are aching. 

What an idiot, on the plus side I can’t eat anything. 

Fat girl thin 

Fat girl thin 

Whilst I am a doctor, have several degrees and postgraduate qualifications and generally am a woman of sound scientific mind, there is one area (well two areas if you count my belief in psychics) where I suspend all rational and scientific thought and turn into an idiot. 

I am on a mission, I have had months of not looking after myself properly and whilst I have still been exercising it is nothing like previous levels of training. I’ve gone from over 10 hours a week to 3 hours, but I have kept eating like I was doing 10. 

This week I want desperately  to lose 7lbs, I will weigh myself several times a day, eat only vegetables, limited fruit and lean protein (eggs, chicken, venison) until the scales say what I want them to. 

I have binned the remaining Easter eggs and have bought in huge quantities of healthy things. The backbone of this plan is my nutribullet blender. The nutribullet is a way of turning vegetables into drinks, it liquidises everything you give it.  


This is my breakfast today, spinach, a bashed up banana and some frozen berries, add water and whizz it up. Lunch is more of the same, kale, grapes and apples. 

I have cleverly picked a week when this madness will have a minimal impact on my family, the children will not be aware of my stupid and faddish diet and I can indulge in my eating disordered behavior without fear of giving my children weird ideas. 

Repetitive daily weighing for me is crucial to the success of my diet, as is the horrible phrase “you don’t deserve to eat X when you weigh Ykg”. Kate Moss said that “nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels” which is total rubbish of course and she obviously has never tried Brie de Meaux on a freshly baked bit of baguette or had sticky toffee pudding. I have to make sure that nothing in my fridge tastes better than the thought of dieting success. This bunny has been in there for a few days and each time I am in the fridge I eat a bit of its ears. So the bunny has just been turned into home baking for my sons rugby team. 


Incidentally, my mother believes she is the inventor of Kate Moss’s saying, she is also the inventor of the extreme “grapefruit and tomato diet” and likes to tell me exactly what she eats every single day. Hence why I am keen for my children not to pick up any of this crazy shit from me. My daughter has never seen me weigh myself or talk about my weight and nor will she. 

Back to the mad world that I am about to inhabit; if I manage to weigh myself about five times a day, I then don’t fall off the wagon and somehow find myself in the supermarket holding a warm croissant and biting into the end as soon as I walk out. Or eating the crusts of my children’s toast, or standing at the open door of my fridge eating slices of Parma ham. 

In 6 weeks time I will be able to exercise like normal again (if all goes well) and can get back to eating like a 100kg bricklayer because I’m using that many calories. Until then, I am going to have to control what goes in my mouth as I can’t cycle and swim and run it all off. 

So, the good stuff has been hidden away, I’ve bought loads of vegetables and fruit, I have put batteries in the scales and am weighing myself every time I go to the toilet, I’ve selected a pair of trousers to try on every night and morning until they fit, I have no social obligations this week where I have to eat anything and I am ready to go. 

The trouble with the plan is that is 11am and I am hungry, it must be time to weigh myself again. 

I do not recommend any of my dieting techniques from a medical point of view, obviously. Obsessively weighing yourself is bad, excluding food groups is bad, living on eggs, kale and grapes is clearly bad. This is something I will do for a week or two and then stop. 

What sort of leave is Sam Cam on? 

There is annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, in my job I even get study leave to attend courses and exams. As a working woman I can’t help but wonder what sort of leave Samantha Cameron is on, special husband supporting leave of some sort? No sign of Nicola Sturgeon’s other half, presumably he is at work. 

They’d be more likely to grab the female vote if their wives stayed at work like all the other normal working women. The double standards are appalling. 

Nick Clegg’s missus, quite rightly, is too busy to join her husband on the campaign trail. 

Addendum: last night’s news saw Miriam Gonzalez (Mrs Clegg) gurning it up for the cameras in a park on the campaign trail. Get back to work! 

fingers in too many pies sam cam


Desert island essential..

Desert island essential..

You know how beauty editors are always writing or commissioning articles about the 5 things you shouldn’t leave home without and then go on to name 5 obscure products that clearly you could manage fine without, like Chanel anti-shine papers or an eyebrow brush. This is not like that.

I often struggled with those tricky quizzes in magazines for teenaged girls (which now don’t exist anymore as they all just tweet and follow people) about which single make up item I would take on a desert island.

Just Seventeen magazine assured me that my choice of lipstick meant I was “organised and didn’t like kissing” or some other shite. I read this rubbish for a few years and then moved onto “more” magazine which featured a ridiculous feature called position of the fortnight and was mostly read by 14 year olds who thought using tampons meant you weren’t a virgin anymore. Kids nowadays don’t know what they are missing!

I have now discovered which item I cannot live without. We have been away on holiday for half term and I brought all the usual stuff with me, but I failed to bring my tweezers. No amount of touché éclat and bronzer can compete with the humble tweezer.

I have discovered that no woman the wrong side of 35 should be without her tweezers for 7 days. Last night at 11pm I stood, starkly illuminated plucking out the weird and stray eyebrow and chin hairs (chin hairs-what the fuck???!!) that had sprung up like bloody toadstools all over my face. Never again, I am going nowhere without them.