Tuesday, 17 October 2017

You're Still Here

So, you feel like the old you is gone? Or that she’s a distant memory? Perhaps you feel like you’re lost in the fog of sleepless nights, of nappy changes, sterilising and washing? Perhaps you’re struggling to remember what made you YOU; the woman you were before? Or that you’re losing the battle? Well, let me tell you why you’re not lost…

Yes, there will be days when you feel lost in domesticity or days when you feel as though you’ve done everything for everyone and nothing for yourself but let me tell you this;  you’re a warrior! Childbirth? You survived it! Sleepless nights? Pah, you’re still standing! You have utterly devoted yourself to this tiny little human; you care for her, protect her, nourish her and love her and you think you’re losing the battle? No chance! You’ve been presented with your greatest ever challenge and hey, you stepped up. And you will be victorious! So listen up, you’re not lost, you’re finding yourself! Think the old you is gone? Then make way for the new one because girl, you’re a goddess.

And you’ve got this. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

#itsok Challenge-2

Last month I introduced you all to the #itsok Challenge. This is a monthly series where I invite you to join me in my mission to spread the word that we are doing just fine! Those little things that we all probably do and perhaps feel guilty about are OK! There's so much pressure out there to be the 'perfect' parent but quite simply he or she doesn't exist. Ever hidden your head in a cupboard and eaten a Freddo because you don't want to share? You're not alone! Put Peppa Pig on to buy yourself two minutes of peace? It's not just you! 

This month I'm focusing on me-time! So my #itsok for this month is:
When it comes to me-time #itsok to want it, to crave it and to have it. After taking care of your little one, it's imperative you give yourself a bit of TLC too. 

This month I asked some other bloggers to join me in the #itsok challenge. Here is what they said! 

The Newly Weds #itsok to use CBeebies as a babysitter if it's the only way to get anything done!! 

Winnettes #itsok to eat the kids chocolate that their grandparents bought. You’ve totally done more to deserve it anyway.

Raising Fletcher and Eden #itsok to hide in the bathroom so you can eat your chocolate bar without having to share! Those 2 minutes are heavenly.

Gee Gardner #itsok if all you did today was keep your kids alive. Dishes and dust can wait. 

The Coastal Mummy #itsok to eat your child's chocolate while they're in bed & hope you can buy a replacement before they notice it's gone.

Autumn's Mummy #itsok to eat baby food because you've not had time to eat and your child has rejected it anyway.

Slimsights  #itsok to feed your children a microwave meal because you've had a hectic day at work and all you want to do is have 5 mins to unwind. Plus who said we all had to be Nigella 24/7?!

Glam & Geeky Mum #itsok to put talcum powder in your hair to disguise the fact that it's greasy and you just don't have the energy to wash and dry it. (Yes I know you could use dry shampoo but #itsok to be so disorganised that you've run out and forgotten to buy any!) 

Tales from Mamaville #itsok to sometimes feel bored while playing the SAME pretend games with your toddler/ pre-schooler. On that note, its also OK to skip a few lines or a page or two of a book you've read to your toddler 700 times already!

Living Life Our Way #itsok to have a mummy meltdown sometimes. We are human too!

MrsHible #itsok to stand behind the open kitchen cupboard door, stuff your face with chocolate while you make your kids eat veg. #itsok to say the kids are driving me mental today I need to take 5 mins out. 

Woman In Progress #itsok to feed the children Nutella sandwiches for breakfast (even when they meltdown at how you made it! 

Mighty Mama Bear  #itsok after hearing "but why" for the 100th time you answer with "because I said so" and realise you sound exactly like your own mother.

Motherhood Diaries  #itsok when the kids drop their chocolate on the floor by accident and I have a heart attack because I'm worried about germs, but I pretend not to see it because I'm too tired to hear their moans at the end of a school day.

A Suffolk Dad #itsok not to enjoy playing with your little one. Most parents feel like they have to really love getting involved at all times and be so hands on, but who really wants to be pretending to drink a cup of tea for the 20th time that day?

Mum of 2.5 #itsok to discipline your kids.

The Little Bargain Hunter#itsok to admit that parenting is tough. It's been the hardest but most rewarding thing I've ever done (even with a few tears and wobbles along the way!)

The #itsok challenge is hosted monthly on Facebook, Twitter and here on the Rice Cakes and Raisins page.

I would love to read your posts so please do tweet me @RiceCakeRaisin using the hashtag #itsok and I will be sure to read your post and retweet you. 

You may wish to comment below instead or to join the discussion on Facebook and if so I would love to read them!

What's your #itsok? 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Miscarriage- My Story

This is a subject I’ve always known I should and would write about eventually. I wanted to share my miscarriage story. As it’s Babyloss Awareness Week this week, it seemed like the right time to do my part to raise awareness; to let you know, if you’ve been through this, or are going through it, that you’re not alone. Miscarriage can feel like a very isolating and lonely time but hopefully if more people speak out then others will feel the strength of the community of people willing to talk and to help.  

I became pregnant in 2012. It hadn’t been the easiest road as I suffer from PCOS and so after a few rounds of Clomid (a medicine to induce ovulation) I finally saw those two lines. It was a wonderful feeling and I completely immersed myself in pregnancy and impending motherhood. I bought the magazines, I subscribed to online parenting clubs, I read (and reread) pregnancy books! I also told a fair few people earlier than the traditional 12-week marker and this is something I don’t regret as these were the people that helped me later on. It was a happy time but one day I spotted a tiny (and I mean tiny) bit of blood. Now before I go on, I want people to know that if you see blood, this doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong- get it checked- but certainly don’t panic. I did panic however and I was called in for a scan. And there was my teeny tiny baby with a tiny flickering heart. That image will be forever imprinted in my mind. I was ecstatic. My baby was ok! I was sent away and so I carried on enjoying the thought of the little person growing inside me day by day. But then at 11 and a half weeks there was more blood, only a bit more this time. Again, I panicked and again, I was referred for a scan. Only this time, instead of pointing out my little baby’s heart, there was just stillness. And quietness. I’ve heard a lot of people mention the quietness of the room prior to being told their pregnancy has ended and it’s true. And in that time, you desperately cling on to every single hope, you pray that this is one of the times they’ve made a mistake. But there was no mistake and eventually the words did come;

“I’m so sorry, I can’t find a heartbeat”.

I remember feeling utterly, utterly robbed in the days that followed. Which perhaps seems egotistical, I’m not owed anything of course, there are no guarantees in life but that was MY baby. That was MY time. With the loss of the pregnancy, came the loss of the future I'd envisioned in my head: the first steps, first birthday, holidays by the sea, school days etc. I’d not felt a sadness like it before.

Afterwards, I did talk about my miscarriage with anyone that would listen and I’d wondered since if perhaps I’d overshared but that was my way of saying ‘my baby was here, they existed, you need to hear about her’. I felt like I wanted to shout that from the rooftops. In the years following the miscarriage, that’s the thing that gets me every time; the thought that people don’t know that they existed. For a very small time they were here and in that time, that little soul made a massive impact on me.   

I’m not going to detail my experiences of the physical process of it all but if anyone does want to talk regarding this then I will be happy to share my experience with them.

Of course, I did later go on to fall pregnant again and in March 2013 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. 2 years and 9 months after this, I was again blessed with another beautiful boy. I think daily about the baby I never met but now the experience is very bitter sweet. Without that loss, my biggest boy would never have had a chance to exist as I would have still been pregnant at the time he was conceived. It’s hard to wrap my head around but it is what it is.

Day by day, week by week, more and more women approached me to quietly whisper that they too, had previously had a miscarriage. It soon became very clear that as a society, we don’t talk about it. But we should. Because the people that said, ‘hey, I’ve been through this, I’m still here, I got by and I’m OK’ well, they made me realise that I could be OK too.  And in time I was. And, if this is you, then you will be too.

For more help and support visit The Miscarriage Association

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Britmums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge

My four year old loves fruit.  And thank goodness because getting vegetables into him is a daily battle! Most days he will enjoy a banana, strawberries and raspberries and an apple and he’s quite particular about this so I’m always looking to increase the range of foods he will try. We were delighted to take part in the Britmums #ChileanEasyPeelers challenge and when we received a box of delicious mandarins I couldn’t wait to offer these to the boys.

What is wonderful about these mandarins is that, as the name suggests, they are easy to peel, meaning they are fantastic for lunchboxes or for a quick and handy snack. They are a great source of water and a great provider of essential nutrients and vitamins!

My little boy started school this year and as anyone with school-age children will know, the morning routine can be something of a challenge. My little boy often tends to ask for quite a lot at breakfast; once he’s had cereal he will then ask for toast, a yogurt, a banana, rice cakes and raisins… the list goes on! So I was more than happy to be able to offer him one of the healthy and nutritious #ChileanEasyPeelers and because he was able to peel it himself this meant I was able to carry on with the many daily tasks, making the morning chaos a bit more manageable! They are also perfect for his  after school snack, and sweet enough to satisfy his sweet-tooth. I love them!

This post is an entry for the BritMums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge, sponsored by Chilean Citrus Committee.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Interview with my four-year old

Do you ever wish you could step in the mind of a child for the day? What a truly wonderful place that must be. I was tagged by the lovely Nadia from Scandi Mummy to interview my little boy and oh, he didn’t disappoint! Here are the wonderful answers he gave for my questions...

Interview with my little boy, aged 4 

1) If you were in charge of the country, what rules would you make?
Nobody can go near crocodiles.
No Climbing Fences.
Don’t draw on houses.
Don’t leave your door open for three days. Leaves might blow in.
Don’t wear your glasses in bed. They might break.

      2) What does the Queen do?
Slays dragons.

3) Who is the President of the United States of America?
President Trunk.

      4) Who is the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom?
      The Prime Minister is the Prime Minister.
      5) What do you think would make the world a nicer place? 
      Putting more animals and flowers in it.
      6) What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

      7) What makes you happy?
       Having a cuddle.
      8) If you were a grown up for the day, what would you do?
       Draw on my face.
      So there you have it! A small snippet into the mind of a four year old. Why not interview your own little one and see what wonderful answers they provide?

     Now... I’m off to find some Warthogs.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

#Ecover Laundry Challenge

We were invited to take part with the #EcoverLaundry challenge and were gifted Ecover’s new Non-Bio Concentrated Laundry Detergent to trial. 

Now, we do SO MUCH WASHING in our house. Seriously, who knows how two tiny people make so much washing but somehow they do! We seem to do at least one wash a day and often more so it’s really important that I use a reliable, effective and gentle laundry detergent to provide both beautifully clean washing and to be kind to the boys’ skin.

The thing that has really stood out for me after using this product is the beautiful scent it left on the clothes. In fact the scent seems to stay on the clothes throughout the day which is something I don’t usually notice with the brand I usually use.

The detergent does a wonderful job of keeping the boys' clothes clean and removing stains. My little boy’s school shirts have remained stain free and a brilliant white which was one thing I was worried about when he started school this year. Usually I find that if they drop anything down their clothes I tend to be able to see the stain after the wash and it may take several washes to remove it or to at least assist it to fade. Anything white we use also tends to go a little grey coloured too eventually. So far his school shirts are stain-free and still as white as when we bought them which I really credit to this detergent as he comes home grubby every day! 

This product is also really gentle which is perfect if your little one has sensitive skin. We have to be quite careful with the boys as they both tend to react if a product is too abrasive but with this their skin has been fine. 

This product is a little more expensive than our usual brand but what I did notice is that I only had to use a small amount per wash which means the bottle will last a lot longer than our usual one so I will definitely consider buying this again.

This post is an entry for BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge, sponsored by Ecover 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

WaterWipes: Our Review

We were really delighted to be given the opportunity to test WaterWipes. When I first heard about this product I was really intrigued; they claim to be the world’s purest baby wipe, free from chemicals and consisting of 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract. I remember all too well the early newborn days of cotton wool and water which I found quite difficult; the cotton wool balls were too small, the rolls of cotton wool too stringy and I always seemed to spill the little pot of water I’d filled. In short, for me, cotton wool and water was a bit of a faff. So to be able to be able to use a wipe right from the very start is wonderful and makes nappy changes a whole lot easier. Now, I’m as fussy with wipes as I am with nappies. I like a wipe to be really soft; if not then I find it drags at their delicate skin. I like the wipe to be wet, which sounds obvious, but I’m amazed at how often wipes can feel quite dry to the touch, and I like the wipes to retain that wetness throughout the pack. I can honestly say these wipes ticked all the boxes. They were soft and sufficiently wet. In fact because they were so wet, I felt that you needed to use less wipes meaning the pack lasts a lot longer. The wipes are approved by Allergy UK which gives you a real peace of mind when using on your precious bundle and are perfect to use if they have sensitive skin. 

The wipes retail at £2.70 in Boots which may seem a little on the pricier side but remember, because of how wet they are, the pack will last you a lot longer. I’ve often seen them on offer in the shops too. So, if you’re looking for a gentle, soft and natural wipe then I can’t recommend these enough. Not only can you be reassured that the wipes are pure enough for your precious baby but you will also find that these are so much more convenient than cotton wool and water. 

 *I was sent this product to review, all opinions are my own

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

To My School Bully- Thank You

Yesterday a friend asked me if I’d considered doing vlogging (for those unfamiliar with the term, this is a video blog) and my response? Well, yes, I’d just love to start this but there’s always been something that’s stopped me; the thought of a high school bully discovering it and somehow making her presence known again.  This is the reason I’ve kept a relative anonymity on the blog. I’ve always believed that she is also the reason I became more introverted as I got older and the reason I hate returning to my home town and as an adult, decided to live elsewhere. My friend quite rightly pointed out that what has happened is history and that this person from my past shouldn’t control what I do in my future. It seems so simple but it’s so true. It’s time for me to stand up, dust myself off and to stop blaming her. Yes she massively impacted my teenage years but I’ll be damned if she impacts the rest of my life. So this is what I would like to say to her…

Thank you. You may have felt like you won the war when we were teenagers but you’ve made me stronger than you ever can have anticipated. Whilst you were the reason I decided to stay away from my home town, you pushed me directly into the path of some wonderful friends I’d have not met otherwise. You steered me in the direction of my business partner, and together we started our company and I was able to fulfil a creative dream. You’re the reason I am my own boss and the reason that I can spot a bully a mile off. And because of how you made me feel, I’ll make damn sure that my boys never tolerate anyone treating them with such utter contempt and that they always treat everyone with kindness. My boys will no longer see me cowering from decisions, giving into self-doubt and the fear of judgement; I’m going to teach them to how to shine.
So thank you. I’m quite sure that’s not the impact you were hoping for but you see, you never know how strong you can be until someone tries to knock you down.

Now excuse me, you’re in my way. 


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

How to prolong bedtime when you are 4.

Let’s get one thing straight. There’s a reason why Mum and Dad are so keen to get you to bed; they are clearly going to be having all manner of fun without you and this is also when the good snacks come out (the ones Mum hides in the kitchen and eats during the day, then tells you it’s a grape when you spot her chewing) so if you want my opinion, you’d be daft to miss out. So here are a few pointers to make sure you stay awake as long as humanly possible to prevent missing out.
  • Firstly, if you were planning to have a poo during the day then DON’T. Save it for bedtime. 
  • Drink more between the hours of 5pm and 6pm than you’ve drank all day. This ensures you can get out of bed for a wee a further 17 times.
  • You know those burning questions you have? You know the ones… Do seahorses have willies? Can the sun get sunburnt? NOW, and I can't stress this strongly enough, is the time to ask them.
  • Remember that toy from a magazine you had when you were 2? Well this is the time to find it.
  • Climb inside your duvet cover and get stuck. Mum and Dad love that.
  • That papercut you had last month? Well, it’s starting to hurt a bit. Make sure everyone in the house knows about it.
  • And finally, if you really can’t ward off sleep any longer, make sure you’ve put all the soft toys you own on your bed as well as some plastic fruit, 3 books, a spatula and a stick so that they have to clear it all once you’re asleep. If you can’t have fun then at least have the foresight to delay theirs a bit.

Sweet dreams.

bedtime sleep

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

I'm not ready!

I‘m not going to lie, there have been times over the past few years, if we’ve had a tough day or if he’s bouncing off the walls, where I’ve thought, bloody hell, roll on September: he’s ready for it, he needs the structure. But now that it’s very nearly here, I have to be honest, I’m really, really struggling with the idea.

He has been my little shadow now for over four years and to think, during the daytime, he’s not going to be pottering around after me, nagging me for snacks, declaring his theories on life (today’s was that once heaven is full, the deceased will have to reside in jails) and just generally chatting away, well that just fills me with dread.

I think it’s the fact that there’s no choice involved; my little boy is going to be there Monday to Friday, rain or shine and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

Come September, there will be no more impromptu weekday trips to the library or park to fill the hours, which until now had at times, seemed endless and impossible to fill.

There will be no leisurely mornings where we stay in our pyjamas and where he has about three types of breakfasts, one after the other.

Suddenly time is slipping away, and where I once felt we had nothing but days and hours, weeks and months, now it’s leaping away from me and I can’t for the life of me hold on to it.

I know, I really KNOW that he will be fine, that he will flourish, that he’s not really going anywhere, that this will be the making of him and that he’s ready (even if I’m not) but come September, I imagine I will be that mum, the one trying not to cry at the gates as I wave him off to start his new journey, one that I can’t entirely share with him x

son boy

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