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Behind the ‘gram with @Disastersofa30something

This week we spoke to the gorge @DisastersOfAThirtySomething.

By Bekki Ramsay

As well as being an absolute delight online, Sarah is also a freelance writer and speaker, mama of twins and, of course, the creator of #thepeakandpitcollective – a hashtag she uses to share both the highs and lows of daily life to her 32,500 followers, whilst encouraging you to do the same.

So, with all of this in mind, we wanted to ask her about the story and inspiration behind such an honest and refreshing hashtag, as well as her top tips for balancing twin mamahood with work.

Read on to see what she had to say and fall in love with her personality as much as us…

You’re the creator of the incredibly humbling #thepeakandpitcollective hashtag on Instagram, which currently features over 3,600 posts. Do you want to tell the High Life North readers what this is, and when you started it?

I’ll start by saying probably over 1000 of those are my own post, haha! I’ve been sharing a peak and pit almost every day for the last three years. The day it all started was at the beginning of a travel year with my husband Jonny. We’d saved and schemed, from our London flat throughout 2016, to do a travel year in 2017. This particular day was our first sleeping in a van we’d done up to drive around the north and south islands of New Zealand. We arrived at the first coastal campsite to discover it was…a nudist beach. When in Rome? Yeah, we stripped off and splashed around without a care, truly feeling we were on the other side of the world.

Late that night, waking up on our first night sleeping in the little van, I felt claustrophobic and had a panic attack, wondering if we’d made a huge mistake. Basically, a day of two halves. Documenting life on Instagram, I was really keen to show that travelling isn’t all cocktails and sunsets, nor is it all mayhem and exhaustion. I’d seen travel accounts that seemed to either be in the “everything is, like, amaaaazing!” camp or the “everything is bloody awful” camp, so I decided to do a ‘peak and pit’ to show the two extremes of that day. A fun, naked day. A scary, cramped night. Truth be told I nicked ‘peak and pit’ from a reality TV episode I saw. People sometimes ask if I made it up and I have to admit, no it was the Kardashians.

Anyway, I had some really encouraging feedback and decided to carry on doing a daily peak and pit every day of our travels. My mum-life is almost unrecognisable to those travelling days, but I still love writing them now. 

Why is #thepeakandpitcollective important to you?

I think it’s important for us all to celebrate and announce our disasters alongside our triumphs. I truly think it’s the things that go wrong that unite us more often than the things that go right. Life whizzes by and taking a moment each evening to reflect on the highest and lowest points of my day helps me to take stock. Reflect. Plus, by writing it all down in captions, capture written memories I’d otherwise forget.

I also love that #thepeakandpitcollective means I can share highlights and exciting, joyful moments online without feeling too hashtag smug…because there’s always a pit. It helps me to see that in every good day there’s always a little embarrassing moment to keep me grounded. On the flip side, I can share darker times and difficulties without feeling like I’m being too pessimistic – searching for the ‘peak’ means I’ve discovered that there’s always a flash of sunshine, even in the toughest day. My hope is that when people take part in #thepeakandpitcollective it gives them a chance to find those things themselves. To see that EVERY day has highs alongside the lows, and vice versa. I’d encourage you, if you’re not on Instagram or not keen on oversharing on the internet, to do a peak and pit in a journal or with your partner or friend at the end of each day. You’ll be amazed at the seemingly small or routine things that end up being your highlight. Those mini moments of magic.

As a freelance writer, speaker as well as a mama to two gorgeous toddler twins, what does your daily routine look like?

Well as any parent of young children will know, you get into a routine (finally feel like you’re semi-nailing it), and suddenly your children will grow into a new age/stage and things have to change again. Nap times, mealtimes, activities…. whether they adore being in the buggy or COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY HATE BEING IN THE BUGGY. It feels like things can switch overnight.

For a good long time, it was baby groups and mum dates and soft play, but for a few reasons, that’s all stopped for now. Now, fully-fledged toddlers, my twins have outgrown many of the groups we used to go to, plus we’ve recently moved to a new house this month.

Obviously, there’s also that little thing of a global pandemic going on. Our daily routine at the moment is more of a lockdown one, where we mainly stay put…they play…and I try to work around them. Although, as we’re lucky enough to now live on the Northumbrian coast (having just moved from Jesmond), many of our days do involve the beach. Though we’ve yet to discover a nudist one.

What’s the best part of having twin toddlers, and the hardest? Do you have any tips for any new parents, or soon to be parents out there?

The best part is watching them grow up in parallel; for me, as their mum, it’s fascinating to witness how different they are to each other. For them, it’s the fact they have a constant playmate. Or, more often, nemesis. 

The best tip I ever heard – and I’ve shared this before – is how to treat day and night as a first-time parent. My younger sister Ruth (@bright__mama on Instagram) is irritatingly wise and told me something that really helped in those first hazy, hormonal couple of weeks. She said to imagine day and night don’t exist – for example, if you’re awake at 4 am feeding your new-born and fancy a microwave lasagne, have one. If you get the chance to go to bed at 2 pm, go. If you fancy putting a film on at 1 am to keep you company as you comfort a sicky baby, do it. It really helped me to roll with whatever was happening – especially as it was happening in double – and not feel cheated out of a ‘proper’ night’s sleep.

Obviously, this doesn’t work if you’ve got a new-born and other children, for obvious reasons. You can’t exactly sit in front of First Wives Club with a pizza at 5 am if you’ve got to be up at 7 am for the school run.

As an honorary Geordie, why did you move here and what you favourite things about living here?

It’s to my shame that I didn’t know Newcastle well at all and had never been to Northumberland before I met my husband (raised in Craster). I was blown away when I first came up here. You can’t swing your proverbial cat without hitting a castle, deserted beach or cosy, country pub.

Truth be told, moving here was more about house prices than anything else – my family are in Brighton and London (both, obviously, ludicrously expensive) and Jonny’s are in Northumberland.

We weren’t sure where we’d settle on getting back from our travel year but once I found out I was having twins we knew we needed a family home – somewhere we could afford and preferably close to one side of the family.

Now that I’ve lived in the North East for a couple of years I’ve fallen completely in love with the place. It’s a strange shifting sense of identity to go from a born-and-bred Londoner to an honorary Geordie but, if anything, I feel lucky to know this area’s hidden secrets. When friends come from down south to visit, I’m always dying to show off everywhere from Tynemouth beach to Cragside, from Dunstanburgh castle to the Baltic. There’s so much history and culture up here. It’s proper mint, pet.

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