Our April…

As expected I have already fallen behind with this series and am writing up ‘our April’ at the end of May! At least it’s easier to catch up then last years series where I committed to a post a week.

Anyway it’s actually been really lovely looking back and here are a few of the things we got up to.

I kicked off the month at an event set in a tree house in the middle of Shoreditch…yes you heard that right; with Cetraben who have released a new oatmeal based cream that is set to rival their already brilliant creams that are perfect for problematic skin.

It was lovely to catch up with Nadia Sawalha who I had worked with on a campaign last year. She really is a lovely as she comes across on TV.

From here I went onto getting a new hairdo with the lovely Frankie from Blown Away London they I have written all about ‘here’.

It must have been a big boom in babies at this time of year as we have been inundated with kids parties from the teens right down to the little ones.

It was a special time for Frankie who took part in his first Thai Boxing tournament. I think the nerves were running higher in me than him and after he had competed and I took my heart back out of my mouth I realised how proud I was of his grit and determination. He is certainly walking in his Father’s footsteps.

A while ago now a meet a lovely lady called Charlotte who runs an agency called Blooming Mummas. Her love and passion for what she does shines through every time we speak and I have been lucky enough to attend a whole host of events through her.

During the Easter holidays she set up and event at Yo Sushi that brought together a whole range of different, inspiring and wonderful women and their little ones and it made for a fantastic afternoon.

The boys were as hyper as ever when we made our way to the London Transport Museum for a day with Greg Rutherford and the Lego City Hero Academy talking about how to encourage our little ones ‘hero gene’ and of course play with a whole heap of Lego!

It was a pretty event filled Easter holiday and one that really stood out for me was the Easter Egg Hunt. We were invited into the store before opening to take part in an egg hunt that ended in a supermarket sweet style run around the sweet emporium! It was certainly something dreams are made of!

We are still in the process of getting our house complete and as I’m sure everyone knows it can be a costly process so I try to save as much as I can and I find the bargain corner at IKEA brilliant for this. I picked up a beautiful lamp and gorgeous rug for under my dining table which I have since found out looks better on Pinterest as the practicalities of a rug, food and children isn’t really a good combination.

The last two events of the holiday involved a trip to Sony HQ to take a look at the new episodes of the Cookie Monster’s Food Truck that was a barrel of laughs and a trip to London Zoo for the launch of George at ASDA summer range which we all loved.

Just as we were ready to set off for a few days of fun in Chichester for the Bank Holiday weekend we ended up with an overnight stay courtesy of the NHS with a poorly Frankie. He had been suffering with terrible headaches and after a few tests we still didn’t get to the bottom of it but he was fit and well to get on with his holiday.

We certainly didn’t get the weather we were hoping for but we had a few days filled with beach trips and ice cream which is the perfect combination in my eyes.

Date nights are few and far between in our house and I was so happy to be able to get to spend a little adult time with Darren when we went along to see Hall and Oates at Wembley. A night of 80’s cheese is just what I needed.

I ended my month on a high with a treatment at the new Re Nu salon in Banstead which I will be telling you all about very soon.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Thirty Two

This week one ‘celebrating the small things’ I really am talking about very little things that bring me lots of joy.

Tea – I think growing up with a father as a builder who drank ‘builders’s tea’ by the gallon it was instilled in me to become a tea drinker. Whilst I was out the other day have a delicious cream tea it made me realise just how much I love a good strong cup of tea and how it really is a cure for everything!

Stationary – Since I was little I have had a love for pretty stationary and I certainly share this love with Izzy. We love nothing more than walking round stationary stores, selecting our favourite shinny new pens and fresh pages in new note books. The only problem is I tend to hord notepads in fear of messy them up with my terrible handwriting!

Why, Why, Why – I have a love hate relationship with the relentless ‘why’ questions I still get from the youngest two. It can be massively draining when they are in full swing but equally as indering that they have such a thirst for knowledge and what to know about absolutey everything that is going on around them.

Letting Your Children See You Cry

Parenting is a challenge on a daily basis, it comes with bundles of rewards but these are without a doubt entangled with countless hurdles that have to be navigated everyday. This coupled with challenges in your work, marital and personal life can be all consuming sometimes and things can just get to much.

As parents we are expected to be a rock to our children. Someone that is there for them wherever they need you and shoulder to cry on, a fount of knowledge to gain information from and and a fountain of love to pour over them whenever needed.

In reality though no one person can be a solid rock at all times and we all have cracks that appear that need to be delbt with from time to time.

I was earwigging in a coffee shop this week…a speciality of mine, and overheard a couple of mums chatting over what a hard time that were having with their terrible twos. They were recalling being brought to tears and how they had gone to hide away in the bedroom to shield their children from seeing them cry.

It made me stop to think about how I deal with these situations and for a moment I questioned how I showed my emotions in front of my own children. Over the years I have experienced plenty of situations that have brought me to tears and have cried in front of my children on many occasions. It made me think that should I have been letting my guard down in front of then, should I have let them see that I am not invisable or should I have keep these feeling to myself to save their own feelings.

Whilst feeling like I had been a terrible mother for allowing my children to see me like this. I then thought a little harder about it and acutally is it really such a bad thing?

As I have already said life throws us all kinds of curve balls that we have to deal with and sometimes things can all get a little to much and having a good cry about this releases all kinds of emotions and makes us feel better about the bad situation we are dealing with at the time and why shouldn’t I show my children that this is a good thing. Doesn’t it do them good to show them that it’s ok to express their emotions rather than keeping everything bottled up, doesn’t it show them that nobody is invincible and its ok to feel bad from time to time and dosen’t it give them a chance to be caring and compassionate towards someone that they love?

I don’t think that showing my vulnerable side has had a detrimental effect on my children and will continue to show them its ok to shed a tear from time to time and that I will always be there for them to hug it out and talk it over whenever they need me too and I hope that as they grow they will build a loving and compassionate side that will be used to comfort family and friends in the same situation when they are older.

Back To School Sleeping Woes

Well we are nearly back into the whole school routine thing and I am finally coming to terms with all my babies being in full time education! We have nailed the homework, have been leaving the house in the mornings with plenty of time to spare, there have been no phone calls for forgotten books and ‘touch wood’ everything seems to be running smoothy…well aside from bedtimes!

The summer holidays made way for long bright evenings and a much more relaxed routine when it came to bedtimes. This was perfect at the time and I loved those few extra hours it gave us all to be out and about or relaxing in the garden; but this has all backfired on me with a certain little boy now that the school term routine is here.

The problems start as soon as dinner is over and the realisation that bedtime isn’t to far away. The tummy aches and headaches appear, the bedtime drink takes an eternity to get finished and then once finally in bed the real issues start.

Frankie gets so worked up about going to bed that the minute I leave the room he got foots it out of bed and is right behind me, refusing to stay in his bed and pleading to come downstairs. At the moment we seem to have two options which is to continually lead him back to his bed until he his finally to worn out to fight it anymore or spent half the evening sitting in his room until he falls asleep.

Both of these options are time consuming and hugely stressful for all of us and its really something we need to get on top of as the lack of sleep is breaking us all.

Below are a few tips that I’m going to be trying out to see if we can finally crack this before I crack myself:

Routine, Routine, Routine – This is one of the things that was always a big priority but over the years and the more children I had the relaxed and calm bedtime routine I once inforced has stacked somewhat and it is all a little manic. A definite routine of bath, book and bed are certainly going to be put in place again.

Security – A know that a big problem from Frankie is the anxiety of being left on his own at bedtime so finding a toy or a blanket to snuggle up to may help to make him feel a little more secure.

Calming Environment – I know for me I get a much better nights sleep when my room is clean and tidy and free from the clutter of the day and I’m sure that for children this is the same. Making their room a calming and inviting place make for a good starting ground for a restful night. Making sure that all the toys are put away and there is a cosy and inviting bed for them to jump into is a must.

London Bus Red Wooden Kids Theme Bunk Bed Frame - 3ft Single £364.99.jpg

Turn Off Electrics – I definitly fall down when it come to limiting electronics before bedtime and it is actually advised that anything stimulating such as TV, computers and tablets should be turned off an hour before bed.

Choose The Right Foods – Try not to give children any sugary or caffeinated foods before bedtime. They work as a stimulant and can be a good reason as to why they are still bouncing off the walls when you are trying to get them to sleep.

I am really hoping that some of these tips are going to work for us and we all finally get some much needed rest. I would love to know if you have any other top tips to help me out.

*collaborated post

Teaching Children To Give A Little This Christmas

With the media whirlwind that surrounds Christmas it can be very easy for children to get wrapped up in the commercialisation of it all and loose the true meaning.

It is very easy to get swept up in all the splender that surrounds Christmas and loose sight of the fact that this time of year is not a happy one for all of us.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach children the gift of giving and set them up with skills to show understanding and compassion for those less fortunate.

Something small such a helping out an elderly neighbour with odd jobs or simply a gift of their time is a simple way to give something back.

There are many ways to get the children involved and below I have listed a few charities local to me that offer a great way to do this:

  • Loveworks Christmas Appel Loveworks are a Reigate based charity that’s aim is to help the most vulnerable groups of people in the local area. Over Christmas they run a campaign where you can collect non perishable goods during November and drop off to your local Loveworks food bank in the first week of December.
  • Stripey Stork, Help Santa StorkStripey Stork is a charity created by a group of mums who wanted to make use of their unwanted baby and children’s items by giving them to people in need in the local community. Over the Christmas period they run a campaign called Help Santa’s Stork that allows you to either pick a brand new gift for a child either directly from Amazon or chosen by purchasing and dropping off at local collection points.
  • Give A Christmas Gift – Give A Christmas Gift campaign allows you but a gift from the list they have compiled and then drop your special gift off to several collection points that will then be distribute the collections amongst several local charities.

I hope this post has given you some food for thought and I would love to hear any ideas of charitable acts that you carry out with your little ones at this time of year.

Getting Messy At NSPCC Messathon

Through the course of the year I always like to try and find ways a way give a little back.

Be it a cake sale at school, a sponsored silence or a jumble sale there is always a way to raise funds and I feel it is especially important to include children in this.

We can all get caught up in our own lives and forget about those in a much harder situation than ourselves and this awareness should be bought to the attention of our children in the hope that is will help them to become thoughtful and compassionate adults.

A great way to do this is to find something fun that the whole family can take part in and this is where the NSPCC Messathon is the perfect event for family fundraising.

The clever people at the NSPCC a charity who’s aim is to help neglected and abused children launched their first Messathon and we were lucky enough to be asked along to take part.

The event is aimed at families with competitors as young as four allowed to compete.

We were up early on Saturday morning with Frankie absolutely champing at the bit to get started.

Tshirts and headbands at the ready we made our way to the starting line at Frimley Park  in Surrey for the warm up that got everyone going and eager to get started.

The claxon sounded and each team set off one at a time to make their way around the 2.5km obstacle course.

My super competitive family raced ahead to get going with the fun and I have to admit I was really excited to see what the course had in store for us.

We were faced with hay bales to scale, bubbles to slide through, a water slide to plumit down, a squelchey pool of mud to wade through and so much more.

It was a welcome break from the technological world that seems to take over our life so much and brilliant to have some good messy fun.

It had us in fits of giggles and really bought is together as a family by cheering each other on and helping each other to overcome each of the obstacles.


We bounced out way across the finish line on space hoppers to collect our medals of honour for taking part.

Sufficiently covered in mud and soaking wet we stopped and grabbed a well earned bite to eat from one of the many stalls offering great refreshments.



Everything has been though of at this event to made it fun and stress free to take part as a family.

There were plenty of toilets and changing facilities to get out of your soggy clothes or capes to save your car from the mess if you are unorganised like us!

Plenty of places to keep you entertained before and after the race with face paints and tattoos and an area to educate you a little more on the good work the NSPCC do.

Or simply spend a few hours in the beautiful surroundings the event is held in.

There are still two more Messathons for you to take part in this year with the first one being in Bristol on 29th July and the second in Herts on 19th of August.

If this takes your fancy then I have the discount code BLOGM25 that will save you 25% on your entrance fee if you add it at the checkout. 

We are now champing at the bit to take part again and I would love to know of any of you decide to have a go yourselves!

Making The Most Of Those Early Years

Making The Most Of Those Early Years

The other day I make the announcement that in a few months time I’m going to be a Nanny!

As you can imagine this revelation has caused me to have a million and one thoughts flooding through my mind and one of the things that has become even more apparent is the fact the time passes way to quickly.

That age old saying of ‘this time will go so fast’ is so true and I feel as though I have blinked and my eldest has turned into a young woman with her own family on its way.

With Oscar growing at a rapid rate I’m going to make the most of the precious time I have left with my youngest before I lose him to school.

We still have a while yet and I have decided that with Wednesday being the only day we have completely to ourselves it is going to be used to have as much fun as we can.

It’s going to be a day to forget about the housework and the millions of other boring jobs that need doing and just having quality time that I will never get back again.

Those early years are so precious and short that I’m going to make the most of these moments.

The dirty dishes and grubby carpets will still be there but those precious little moments with your babies won’t.

We started this off last week with a trip to Worthing where we threw stones into the sea, chased waves and ate scrumptious fish and chips and ice cream.

You can’t get much more perfect than that!

Should I Have Stepped In Or Was I Right To Turn A Blind Eye

A trip into town yesterday and what should have been an enjoyable lunch with two of my children will now always be etched on my mind as something completly different.

We had settled down to a lovely meal after attending an event yesterday. It was actually the best meal out that we have had in a long time as both the children had sat perfectly which is a rarity!

Sadly though just as we were finishing up our deserts a huge cloud came over the afternoon after what I witnessed at the table in front of us.

The table had infact caught my eye earlier on as I had seen a young couple with a baby of about a year old sitting enjoying their meal and I was astounded at how well behaved he was. Sitting quietly on a bench not making a murmur which is a far cry from what any of mine would have been like at that age!

Then all of a sudden there was a huge commotion, the baby had grabbed a glass that had hit the floor! The parents were screaming and staff came running over.

The manger quickly tried to calm the situation, but the father was furrious and was shouting at the mother.

Then the father proceeded to shout and hit the baby! I looked in astonished at first and couldn’t believe that he clearly found it acceptable to lay his hands on a child, let alone a baby who was barely a year old and had accidentally knocked a glass to the floor.

All went quiet but I couldn’t take my eyes off of their table. He then proceeded to strike him twice again whilst paying for his meal, all the tables that were a lot closer to me and the waiter who was taking his money were all witnessing this and nothing was being said.

By this point the mother was collecting together their belonging and my blood was boiling. 

He then picked the child up, shook him twice and grabbed at his face.

At this point I rose from my chair and made my way over to confront him. I then looked back at the worry on my own children’s faces and stopped myself.

In the past I have felt the need to put myself in other people’s situations that have made me feel uncomfortable and my husband had warned me that one day I would come unstuck.

This thought stopped me for the sake of my own children as I could have been putting them in danger by confronting a man like this.

A man that happily struck, shook and grab his tiny, precious baby in a packed restaurant without looking round once. Clearly so happy that his actions were justified and this is what worried me even more. 

Through this whole ordeal the baby didn’t make a noise, not one wimper and not one tear was shed and it is now killing me inside to think what this poor child must suffer at home if this monster thinks they kind of violence is acceptable in such a public place.

I will forever regret not going with my gut and confronting this man, but then if I had in reality what would have been done?

The police probably wouldn’t have deemed it as an offence and it happened in such a short frame of time I dont think this would have been an option anyway.

Would I have just caused unnecessary upset for my own children and put us in a dangerous situation?

All I do know is that my gut is now churning from what I saw and if a situation ever arises like this again I won’t be taking the British approach and turning a blind eye as my heart and conscience couldn’t take it! 

School Starts:More Emotional For The Children Or You 

I wasn’t going to write a ‘back to school’ post as the Internet has been flooded with them and really and truly I should be a dab hand at all this by now.

Today was the first day I had left number four in the classroom for a whole three hours and I didn’t handle it how I thought I would.

This should be a breeze as let’s face it he has been at nursery for eighteen months and left for that same length of time; and I should be reeling in the fact that I had a whole childfree morning.  Something that I spend my entire life longing for. 

Instead I felt that it was another door closing and another milestone finished in the rapidly moving life of a child.

The old cliche of ‘oh doesn’t it go fast’ was rushing through my mind and although I find it such an irritating phrase it really is so true.

I hankered around for a few minutes and he asked if I could sit and stay.  I simply said no adults were staying today and he took it in his stride and carried on with his drawing.

I longed for that little bit of separation anxiety to kick in but there wasn’t even a glimmer.  That little boy that had hung on my every word was now going to have another important figure in his life who’s  words will be gospel and I can’t help but feel a little bit redundant.

I thought that the more children I had the easier moments like this would be but it seems to be having the opposite affect. 

I know what is coming and I know those moments in time are now gone and can’t be replaced.  

I now need to pick myself up and look forward to the adventures he is going to have during his school years.  The friends he is going to make, the things he is going to learn and the experiences he is going to share to mould him into the little person he is going to grow into.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the years of preschoolers is to pack as much in and capture as much as you can in those first few years so they can be looked back on and relished as they simply are the most precious years.

Count To Ten And Hang In There Until Bedtime

A family with five children is always going to be hectic.  I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for and I live for everything it brings me, yet today was one of those days!

I woke up late getting everything off on the wrong foot.  Rushed breakfasts and missing clothes always create stress for all of us.

After finally getting out of the house and dropping the older ones off to school I pull up at home realising number two still had my house key meaning I was locked out with number five screaming for juice.

Bundled back in the car I collect a spare from my Mother taking the telling off for needing to be more organised!

Handbag collected and food shop surprisingly easily done we set off to get number four.  He happily skipped out of nursery until the reality of swimming lessons kicked it and he turned into the child from hell!  Screaming, refusing to move until finally launching a huge pot of yogurt at my back covering me and the entire hallway.

  
He had won as we now had no time to get out and make it to the class in time.

Housework was then the plan for the rest of the afternoon which took twice as long due to number four creating a path of distrution in every room he went into.

Peppa pig flying out the window and a whole load of batteries thrown down the toilet were just two of the things I had to contend with.

   

 
With a vaguely clean house I get started on the dinner.  An unnerving silence filled the house so I went to investigate and found the boys trying to devour an entire multipack of crisps I had just bought.

Crisps removed they managed to get into number three’s room and cover their faces with her favourite Zoella lip gloss.

 
 
Lip gloss smoothed over to try and prevent a melt down from number three I made my way to the gym for a few minutes of peace.

 

My stress relief was short lived as I returned to a nappy less two year old that had pooed his way up the entire staircase just in the perfect position for number four to the walk it through the entire house!

After this horrendous day I’m sitting her now reflecting on everything that has gone on and I have come to this conclusion.

Raising children is a little like childbirth-you go through this massively, stressful and painful time that is forgotten within minutes when you are handed your beatiful bundle of joy.

Parenting is similar as you spend many hours slogging away and dealing with massively stressful situations and then the little angels do something so wonderful and heart wrenching that everything they have put you through is forgotten, well most things!