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

bedtime sleep funny

3 Little Buttons

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

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs
Pink Pear Bear
3 Little Buttons
Hot Pink Wellingtons
DIY Daddy

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Our Adventures with Tsum Tsum #Tsumtsumtravels

We were delighted to receive some cute and cuddly Tsum Tsum characters to assist us on our travels this summer! We had a fabulous day out in beautiful Stratford-Upon Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare! 

stratford daytrip
Add caption

Here are our little friends meeting the Bard himself! 

shakespeare daytrip

And here they are lounging in the sun in Bancroft Gardens!

swans ducks

They just loved meeting a Swan...

And even enjoyed a relaxing boat-ride! 

boat water

They can't wait to join us for some more adventures soon! 

The Tsum Tsum Vacation pack is available exclusively at Clintons! Why not pick up a pack and see what magical adventures you have? x 

Friday, 12 May 2017

Turning #TearsIntoSmiles with Elastoplast

One of my favourite activities to do with the boys is to spend time outdoors. The fresh air works wonders for them meaning  they are noticeably calmer throughout the day and even seem to sleep better at night! My boys are mini whirlwinds and while being outside has it's obvious benefits, with all the running around. they can also be prone to bumps and falls. Elastoplast is celebrating outdoor play encouraging us to help turn tears into smiles with their #TearsintoSmiles challenge! Check out this beautiful little video... 

Outdoor play is essential to a child's development and that's why its so important that they are not discouraged when they do fall. We were sent some wonderful character plasters which my boy absolutely loved. His favourite was an Olaf one which he wore with pride after a little fall and showed it to everyone that would look! 

play brothers garden

Here are a few little tips and tricks I use to soothe my boys after a fall...
Distraction! My boys are obsessed with bubbles and have a little bubble machine which blows so many bubbles that they quickly forget any tears and carry on having fun! 
Cuddles! There's nothing better than a cuddle to turn those frowns upside down!
Plasters! Using a plaster with a fun design on helps to bring a bit of fun to the situation and if your little one is anything like mine, it will be worn with pride! 

This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast. http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Ten Truths of Parenting

1) You will at some point find yourself trying to work out which Cbeebies presenter you fancy the most. Even if you don’t particularly fancy one, you will make yourself pick one.
2) You’d rather stick a pen in your eye than have to peel off and pass your child stickers for the best part of an hour.
3) Bing can do one.
4) And Flop.
5) At some point, while being car-bound due to a sleeping baby or because the thought of putting up the pram and unloading the kids again fills you with dread, you will have invented (in your head) the drive-through convenience store and been pretty chuffed with yourself.
6) Whenever your children eat Cheerios for breakfast you will, without doubt, later find yourself peeling one off your sock.
socks cheerios
7) You’ll find yourself frequently wondering why they don’t just bloody attach the phone to the Vtech Walker.
8) You will instantly regret pointing out an interesting thing to your child whilst travelling in a car as they will invariably miss it and then you will spend the rest of the journey explaining that they’ve now missed it, that the cute bunny rabbit is now 8 miles away and will have surely hopped away by now and that no, you can’t turn back so that they can see it.
9) Whenever you read The Tiger that Came to Tea you’ll decide that should a tiger ever come to tea at your house and subsequently rob you of all your provisions, like hell will you buy it a vat of tiger food in preparation for it’s next visit. Shotgun anyone? 
10) You can buy baby socks until they come out of your ears, but the vast majority of them will live out their days as odd socks. True dat.
socks washing

This post first appeared on www.meetothermums.com 

Monday, 17 April 2017

I'm Sorry, Little One

To my littlest boy, 

You know Mummy always feels guilty about everything, right? Well, this one keeps me awake sometimes. I want to explain something to you. When your big brother was born, Mummy and Daddy’s focus shifted. He became the centre of our entire world. Everything in the world revolved around him. This tiny precious, scrawny, beautiful little thing was suddenly the brightest, loudest, most glorious soul in the world. My days were spent properly indulging in him. I watched his every movement, I knew him inside out. I could distinguish between a bored cry, a hungry cry, a pained cry. I got to know all the little things about him like the glint he got (and still gets) in his eye when he was up to no good, the cute little squeaks he made when he was concentrating and the exact position he had to be held in to be rocked to sleep. When you arrived my sweet, he was still in the centre of my world but now so were you. And he was, at this point, a busy three year-old boy who wanted me to look after him and entertain him. He didn’t get knocked from this prime position, nor did he suddenly take second place; you both had to share it. So I hope you’ll forgive me but I never got to indulge in you in quite the same way. When pregnant with you, I wasn’t able to lie on the sofa for hours, watching TV, feeling every wiggle and kick. Nor when you arrived could I spend ages staring at you, trying to make you smile. It’s true, you’ve had to share the limelight but I want you to know that you shine just as brightly as your brother. It may have taken me longer to get to know you, I may still be learning, but I promise you, you’ll always be and always have been just as glorious as your brother.

Mummy x 

3 Little Buttons
Hot Pink Wellingtons

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Dolmio #ThankGoodness challenge

We were challenged by Dolmio to take part in the #ThankGoodness Challenge and to create a mid-week meal using Dolmio Bolognese Sauce. We were sent a fabulous delivery of veggie food and I decided to cook veggie Spaghetti bolognese for us all!

food vegetarian

During the week, by the time my partner is home from work and we have finally got the boys down to bed the hour is usually getting on a bit so I love creating quick, easy meals! Now, my boys are really fussy so I was near certain they wouldn’t eat it but they not only tried it, but both actually enjoyed it! In fact, the eldest asked for it again a few days later so this was a huge success as far as I’m concerned! 

spaghetti dinner food

I was pleasantly surprised at just how tasty it was as I’ve never bought it before and the icing on the top is the fact that Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural. A jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and there are absolutely no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners!

pasta food sauce

If you want a quick, easy meal made with fine ingredients than I really recommend Dolmio. We will certainly be using it again! 

We used:
1 jar of 500g Dolmio Bolognese sauce
Vegetarian mince
Organic Wholewheat Spaghetti

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Why Mum Guilt Can Just Do One

I vowed to always be honest on this blog so with the risk of perhaps exposing a bit too much of myself, I wanted to share with you the things I’ve felt guilty about today. The things I can remember at least. There’s a point to all this so bear with me. 

Things I’ve felt guilty about today 
  • Not getting washed and dressed prior to the boys being awake
  • Having my shower before getting the boy sorted even though he was awake 
  • Giving the boy a breakfast cereal that I know contains sugar 
  • Giving the baby toast again 
  • Being late for playgroup
  • Deciding to brush the baby’s teeth when we get home because we were running so late for playgroup 
  • Not having the right money for playgroup so now owe it for next week. 
  • Not having more money full stop. 
  • Not working more hours to earn this money 
  • Working at all when I could be at home with the boys
  • Catching up with a friend for a few minutes while at playgroup and therefore not sitting and engaging with the boy 
  • Making him wait for his squash at snack time because I hadn’t managed to get it while sorting out the food and now there is a queue
  • Telling him off for whining in the car
  • Giving them both cheese sandwiches for lunch
  • Giving the boy some cheesy puffs with his lunch
  • Not having any cucumber in the fridge 
  • Not eating a healthier lunch as I’m still breastfeeding and never quite sure if I need to be eating better 
  • Not playing with the baby after his nap (boy at preschool) because I was doing some work on the computer and then some blog stuff
  • Giving the boy a little bag of Haribo when he arrives home
  • Putting the TV on for them both 
  • Not tending to the garden so now it’s all overgrown and the boys shoes are all wet from the grass
  • Not buying a cover for the trampoline for the winter and now it’s all grimy
  • Not taking the boy out on his bike more 
  • Not cleaning up the outdoor toys I bought from Gumtree
  • Not playing Playdoh with the boy as I wanted to get dinner sorted instead
  • Going on Twitter on my phone
  • Getting dinner sorted later than I planned because of going on Twitter
  • Not being better at getting vegetables into the boy
  • Letting the boy have an unhealthy pudding before his banana
  • Nagging him to tidy up his toys 
  • Spending too much time looking at phone
  • Making him giggle at bedtime even though I know I need to wind him down so he goes to sleep quicker and doesn’t wake the baby
  • Having a glass of wine with dinner

Right, I’m going to stop there. I feel quite exhausted writing all that down but it’s all true. I know I’m not the only one that feels constant mum guilt and I know it’s not healthy. And while I’m not sure if there will ever be a day I don’t torture myself this way, I guess the trick to lessening it is to try and change our thought processes. So for example, using the first four points in the list, here is how I could have viewed them: 

  • Not getting up, washed and dressed prior to the boys being awake…. I was allowing myself some time to relax in bed before the chaos 
  • Having my shower before getting the boy sorted even though he was awake… Getting myself sorted first so that I can concentrate on geting on with the day and supporting the boys fully 
  • Giving the boy a cereal that I know contains sugar… He’s getting some food which also contains vitamins and there is calcium in the milk 
  • Giving the baby toast again… he’s getting fed and he’s enjoying his breakfast

breakfast cheerios bowl food

So although I can’t claim to have a hold on mum guilt, I do know that in the grand scheme of things the boys are OK and I’m doing OK. If our children are happy, loved and nourished then putting this level of pressure on ourselves is just not on is it? We owe ourselves a bit more than this, surely?

Monday, 27 March 2017

Surviving Parenting as an Introvert

I read something this week that said something along the lines of ‘if socialising energises you then you’re an extrovert, if it drains you you’re an introvert’. This was like a bloomin’ revelation to me, I’d been trying to put into words for some time how I feel when I’m out the house, interacting with people or socialising. Just to be clear, it’s not that I don’t like seeing people, I do like to talk to people and I love my friends fiercely, it’s just that when I do spend time interacting, engaging, creating conversation etc, I’m always a little bit worn out after. I realise how bad this sounds and if you’re one of my friends reading this, please still come visit me(!!)- it’s a good sort of worn out. I think this comes from a place of shyness and from past anxieties about what people thought of me. I do genuinely love to be around people for example, if the boys and their dad are out I feel a bit lonely but when they are back I’m more than happy to have a bit of quiet time reading a book (which coincidentally is about as likely as pigs flying with my two!) knowing that the hustle and bustle is going on around me. I think my natural state is a quiet one. I got told time and time again when I was employed that I was too quiet or that I didn’t appear confident and that was always used as a criticism, as something that I should be working on. It took me a long time to realise that being a quieter person isn’t a negative, you can have a quiet confidence and an inner strength without being the loudest person in the room and this is always in the back of my mind now that I’m self-employed. One of the reasons I started the business was to get away from this kind of negativity, it was just so draining and those past criticisms are the fuel that drives me to keep going, to try and make it a success and if it is, it’ll be two fingers up to those very people that dragged me down.

As a parent, I’ll be honest, some days I can feel completely and utterly drained at being climbed on, or pulled about, or just having the constant chatter around me whereas conversely, there’s really nowhere I’d rather be. I can sometimes feel like I’m all touched out. How I’ve managed this over the last four years is to allow myself time in the day where I do get a bit of space. So for example, I’ll encourage them to play by themselves for a little while, I might pop Cbeebies on, or I’ll nip them in the car and just let them enjoy the ride, leaving me to my own thoughts. Most of the time, once I’ve had a cup of tea and a chance to breathe I’m energised and ready for round two. The point of this is to encourage you to be true to yourselves. If parenting and socialising energises you then that’s fab and if it doesn’t then that’s ok too, you don’t need to change, you just need to allow yourself to do whatever you need to do in order to keep going. I spent years trying to change, to adapt to an environment that made no allowances for me – for my inner quietness, but I’m at an age now where I’m not going to change without a fight and I think I owe it to myself to stay true to myself.  

woodland outdoors trees

Pink Pear Bear
My Petit Canard