My mum-spirations.

My mum-spirations.

df2acc48779e5e67e437654e1d93e13eI touched on this in one of my other posts but one of the positive aspects of the good old gram is the friendships I have built with other moms, the inspo and knowledge I’ve gained (and hopefully given!), and the mums who run small businesses making the cutest clothes/food/toys/home decor etc for us and our littles. It’s given me and so many others such a platform to form friendships and promote our own journeys whilst meeting others in the same boat as ourselves. I’ve gotten to know women through the gram that I’d never have met any other way and these women are some of the most influential characters I’ve met to date. I was going to keep this post about authors behind other blogs but when I gave it some thought I decided to expand a little as theres a few women I have met on Instagram that don’t have blogs as such but have had an impact on how I live by life from day to day whether that be how I handle living with anxiety, parenting, or shopping (I much prefer to shop small & handmade).

 

I’ve said before but the women I’m about to mention are the kinda women I’d love to live in a cute little cul-de-sac with so that we could pop round with a gin or 10 whenever one of us has a bad day, because that is exactly what these women give to me on a regular basis, no not gin, but reassurance, confidence, friendship, guidance and a shoulder. So here goes…

 

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Jax – insta: @jaxandjosephx@jaxbakes | blog: jaxandjoseph.co.uk

I bang on about this one sooooo much I can imagine her face palming every time she see’s my name pop up but I’d be going against the whole purpose of this post if I left her out, she’s my ultimate mumspiration. I’ll keep the soppiness over on my ‘out of darkness cometh light‘ post but for those who haven’t came across that little old post of mine it’s about coming off anti-depressants, how I got there in the first place, and how this one helped and supported me. She has the feed of dreams and family goals – there really are no happier faces on my gram than those of her and her two guys. She’s uber honest but she’s so gracious with it which I think takes major skill because I for one am not! That isn’t the only reason Jax is my mumspiration though, she’s recently put herself and her dreams first all whilst maintaining life as a mom and fiancee, she scrapped the 9-5 and made her dream of setting up her own business work – Betty Crocker move aside, her biccys are to die for, I may look up to you in many ways Jax but you’re gonna be to blame for me not getting in shape for my holiday 😉

 

Heidi – insta: @lifewiththerichrdsons | blog: lifewiththerichardsonsuk.blogspot.co.uk

Heidi Heidi Heidi. I’ve been blogging along side her since the birth of our girls three years ago, and she made Lils first ever bow and headwrap way back when. I was in complete limbo when I had Lil, I was still finding my feet because of her being premature so her blog back then really helped, and still does exactly that to this day, even more so she’s a mom of multiples. We also went to the same high school but sometimes you just don’t find common ground with people until you’re much older and that’s exactly what I’ve found with Heidi, we share the same passions for writing/blogging and just generally being a mom. Her advice has helped me no end from writing, to being a mom to vlogging on insta stories. Everyone needs someone in their life to cheer them on like Heidi does.

Kay – insta: @mrswills30 | blog:  themaskedmumma.wordpress.com

I bloody adore this absolute weapon. I stumbled across her page after a pizz up event (that’s when you see all the best mamas come out to play – credit to @mrshhayward!) and my god I’m so glad I did. Sometimes you just click with someone and the best friendships are those where you can take the mick out of each other to your hearts content but know there is so much love behind it. There’s an amazing personal trainer on insta who does 5 minute live workouts which help set me up for the day and are even more beneficial to me now that I’m medication free, I wouldn’t have found her page if it wasn’t for Kay’s journey with her which is bloody amazing. It’s all very light hearted and laughs with us, even when she’s whatsapping me videos that make me hysterical hahaha, and it wasn’t until very recently that I’d had a *serious* heart to heart with Kay and found even more common ground with her and ultimately, our friendship grew because of it. She’s the kinda woman I curse distance for.

 

Amy – insta: @amyplusbabies | shop: www.sybandteds.com

She just doesn’t give a monkeys this one and that’s ultimately what drawn me in to following her, since then she’s given me the best advice to care a little less what people think and it worked! She owns a traditional babywear company (that honestly makes me so broody every time I look through it) as well as being mom to her three beaut kiddies. Her honesty gives me life and I more often than not I crack up at her stories. Although she gets a crazy amount of messages she still makes sure I know I can always drop her a message if I ever needed too, the world needs more Amy’s.

 

Alice – insta: @alicecliftx  | shop: @labella_clothingx

My babe, I love Alice and Ayla. I’ve followed her for some time but gradually developed an obsession with her and therefore became an avid reader for her blog. She’s the female Martin Lewis/money saving expert, if it wasn’t for her knowledge then I wouldn’t have found out all that I have now, she’s saved/earned me so much money, I owe you one babs!! The content she posts on her blog is so productive and empowering. If you’re not already, I suggest you subscribe. She’s also a mama with a small business, so you may want to head over to check that out too!

 

Kerri – insta: @life_with_ivycoco & @cocoandindie_ | website: cocoandindie.com

Yet another reason why I need to up sticks and relocate to LDN town and/or get myself to a Pizz Up event real soon. Kerri was one of the first ‘small business’ shops that I ever followed on insta and it wasn’t until very recently that I’d spoken to her on a personal level, and again she shared some amazeee advice with me that’s helped better me as a person. She’s uber real with all that she posts and that’s been so important to me as I’ve been sucked in to the ‘insta perfect mom life’ on a few occassions at the peak of my anxiety. If you don’t already follow her (I’m sure you do!) then what are you doing? she will have you HOWLING and she makes some pretty cute clothes too – talented soul.

 

Mil – insta: @milliemolliemandy__ | blog: milliemolliemandyx.wordpress.com

To me, her and Heidi come as a pair and just like Heidi, Mil is more often than not one of the first to shout you out or message you to cheer you on and that is super reassuring coming from someone in the same boat. It’s so refreshing to be scrolling through my insta stories and hearing that little old accent of ours – I can relate so much to Mil because like me, she moved away from her (our) home town and begun to build a family there and it’s not always easy being so far away from your family and friends but you’ll see from her feed and her blog that she’s owned it and made her bubbas a contented little home. Check out her blog if you haven’t already.

 

Cole (coley pops) – insta: @cole.esme.xo & @wreaths.and.a.wildflower | blog: coleesmexo.wordpress.com

I probably don’t tell this one enough just how much of an inspiration she is, not just to other moms but to her daughter. I know she won’t mind me saying this but she’s a single mom who holds down a job role within the NHS ANDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD her own business making the cutest, most adorable wreaths, I mean, if that isn’t owning motherhood and being a mumspiration, what on earth is??? Anxiety is and always will be the bane of my life but I wouldn’t have grown closer to amazing women like Cole if it wasn’t for it’s existance in my life. We’re a dangerous combo once we get gassing on the phone, we have the most heart warming/wrenching/breaking/fulfilling chats and I wouldn’t change them for the world.

 

Mia – insta: @cigarettesandcalpol | blog: cigarettesandcalpol.com

I can’t think of a way to open up with why this woman inspires me other than the fact she’s an absolute powerhouse and it’s women like her who keep me on instagram when I get those wobbly ‘falling out of love with it’ moments. She’s another realist who provides us with the best most honest of captions below her photos, and her blog. I actually first contacted Mia on the morning of my first therapy session following being perscribed anti-depressants, I was freaking out and she’d posted something on instagram about her own battle with mental health and I so needed to read all that she put in that post that day, it was weirdly as if I’d came across it by fate or at least that’s how it felt at the time. I thanked Mia and she has since provided me with knowledge and advice. Pop over to her blog and you’ll see what I mean!

 

Amyinsta: @amy_and_myboys

I couldn’t leave Amy out because she’s been my biggest fan on countless occassions, making sure I’m okay, reassuring me and cheering me on, what more could you ask for from a fellow mama? Yet another mom who I wished I lived closer too because she’s just a genuine girls girl, womans woman, mamas mama, you get my jist. We’ve followed each other for sometime but as I started to become more open about my life I started to recieve some super kind messages from Amy and believe me, she’s made me teary on a couple of occasions, she’s got a way with words has this one. She’s got 3 gorgeous boys and I do just admire how she can still look better than me with over here with one bubba struggling to find time to brush my hair. She is goals and I’m thankful for her.

 

So there are just a handful of the amazing and influential women I have met through the ‘insta mom world’, I’m super blessed to have ‘met’ and gotten to know you all.

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Review | My Name Tags.

Review | My Name Tags.

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It’s only now that I understand the earache I used to get off my mom when I left my school logo embroidered cardigan behind at school because we’d put them down on the field for the boys to use as a goalpost or because we took them off to sunbathe on in the hot weather whilst wearing our gingham summer dresses – they’re bloody expensive aren’t they? and they don’t need just one, they need two or three in case of accidents or they just so happen to disappear in to thin air like mine often did. I mean, I may be a mother myself but I cannot sew to save my life, I should perhaps try but anything that needs a stitch or two is handed over to my mom, so I did wonder how I’d get past the having to sew name labels in to tons of school polo shirts, cardigans, dresses and all of the other bits and bobs that kiddies need for school. However, it wasn’t just that… I was looking for a way to get Lily’s name on to her hardback belongings such as her rucksack, her medication, suncream bottle, drinks bottle etc etc, bascially the things I can’t stitch or iron over.

 

I was at a loss until one of my favourite women I follow on the gram (@amyplusbabies) posted about My Name Tags so I decided to give them a try for Lils belongings. I went for the all round sticker labels the same as Amy, because as the site says, they’re the most popular and most versatile labels, and they promise to last years. Amy told me that the labels had gone through wash after wash on her childrens uniforms so with that I headed over to the website and begun to design our own labels. For the sticker labels they come in sheets of 56 colour stickers at £11.95 + £1 p&p which is just a fraction of the price you’d have to pay if any school uniform was to grow legs and toddle off, as it usually does with children. The customisation is completely down to you from the image besides the name, to the background, to the font – I chose a font that I knew Lil will learn to recognise and read with ease as she grows up and the image helps them recognise their belongings from the get go, Lil knows all her bits and bobs have an owl on which is super reassuring to know as she’s gathering her stuff together at the end of a school day.

 

The labels have been through several washes already and are still going strong which I’m uber impressed about, they’ve saved me so much time and made it easier for me to get organised whilst dealing with the emotion of sending your child to school for the first time. The list for what they can be used for is literally endless, I’ve put them in everything of Lily’s from her shoes, to her suncream, to her coat, medication and sun cap, and as she gets older they’ll be on all of her pencils, lunchboxes etc as we all know what children are like for swapping bits and pieces at school, don’t we?

 

There are lots of different product types that you can read about here.

Website: mynametags.com | instagram: @mynametags

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Out of darkness cometh light.

Out of darkness cometh light.

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Out of darkness cometh light, a quote that, unless you’re a Wolves fan you probably would never have resonated with before, but it means so much more to me now than just the motto that the football club I support play by. It describes my journey with anxiety perfectly and so simply – I’ve spent so many years in the darkness with the fugly black cloud of anxiety hanging over my head ready to open it’s heavens on me whenever I least expect it, but I’ve come out of the other side now and in to the light, and I cannot tell you how bloody refreshing, therapeutic and just all round soulful it feels.

 

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So lets start from the beginning – the first time I ever felt anxiety type symptoms I was actually in junior school, around the years 4/5/6 so of the age 7/8/9/10, obviously at that age you don’t know and understand the logic, signs and symptoms of mental health so I just thought it was part of the parcel of me being the victim of bullying throughout these school years, (the bullying started at this time but was actually on and off until I left school aged 16 but I’ll touch on that further on) I’d try to avoid school, I hated it and it was making me miserable, from very early on in my childhood I felt myself becoming a recluse and enjoying my own company more and more than I was ever enjoying anybody elses.

 

However, bullying wasn’t the only reason why I was so miserable around this age, and as if becoming an easy target to bullies wasn’t enough to deal with, I was sexually abused. Now, this is the hardest part of this post for me, it has been the hardest part of my healing process to date, I’ve had to accept it instead of run from it. It’s a topic that I will openly and comfortably talk about one to one with someone and I don’t feel the need to go in to lots of detail via a blog post because I know and understand how easily certain subjects can trigger people, but if you’re reading this and have/are experiencing something similar then please don’t hesitate to reach out – I cannot stress how important that is! Throughout all of the friends I’ve made over the years, I’ve barely told a soul, and if you knew about my experiences prior to reading this post  – you’re fucking special to me.

 

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So, I was just a child, just a child who was having to deal with bullying and sexual abuse at the same time, I can’t quite recall how or when the abuse stopped but I kept it quiet for some time, some years in fact – think back to your school years where you’re learning about relationships of all kinds, your own body, and just the stresses of life in general, we all think school years are stressful at the time but I had added stress and I was carrying hurt on my shoulders throughout it all. I gradually got worse in terms of being able to form relationships and friendships, and those I did form I was crazily scared of ruining. I’d go through phases of trying too hard to get people to like me, to phases of not giving a damn whether anyone liked me or didn’t, I’d appear to be super confident in front of some and I’d barely say a word around others for being worried I’d say something wrong – all the swings and roundabouts of the unhealthy kind. I felt this most whilst I was in high school/college and whilst I was 1 segement of a friendship circle who I’d spend my time with at Wolves games – looking back now I can honestly hand on heart say that I don’t think I was ever myself back then and that’s because of what the bullying and abuse did to me, it’s what suffering with anxiety (and perhaps depression but that’s never been medically diagnosed despite being on anti depressants) did to me, and that makes me sad because I met some absolutely bangin’ girls at this point in my life who I shared some amazing times with, memories I’ll legit take to the grave with me. Wolves have always been a distraction to me hence referring to them so much in this post – sometimes I think the happy times I had around this time saved me from de-railing, the Wolves away days, the giggles to and from college and on our trips, they were my distraction so I probably owe these bunch of girls a massive thank you, and perhaps an apology for not giving you the best side of me that I knew was in there somewhere. If you’re reading this you know who you are.

 

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Soooo, have you gathered that I go off on a tangent yet? haha – I did pre warn you all that this post would be full of ups and downs, twists and turns, there really is no simple way of explaining life with anxiety, it’s uber messy. So, as I mentioned, I’d kept the abuse to myself for some years, and at the age of 14 that changed, I remember the very day and that very day changed me as a person, it’s as if that one day kick started my anxiety. I was referred to CAMHS but being the rebellious teen I was, I went to one session (which I was reluctant too) and didn’t go back again, I didn’t feel I needed therapy back then, I had the simple mindset of….. I’m not the one in the wrong, so why am I being punished with a counselling referal? little did I actually understand about mental health back then. I’d only been with A around a year at this point but I told him everything and he was my safe haven back then, and the only person I wanted to spend my time around other than myself. I was still attending school although it was difficult to get me there, my poor mom, I gave her hell.

 

It was almost like a domino effect because I was experiencing hell in high school, I was giving those who cared about me most hell too. I was bullied by one girl in particular in high school around the same time I was going through the abuse being made common knowledge too – I wont say much about her apart from the fact I hope her children never grow up to experience anything remotely close to the scale of stress, embarrassment, and upset she put me through.

 

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I walked away from that one CAMHS session and didn’t look back, I settled with the mindset that this was now my life, living in sadness and isolating myself in so many different ways, and it was only until very recently that, that has changed. Last year (2017) I’d say I’d hit the rock bottom of anxiety’s pit, I didn’t want to do anything, I lacked energy, self love, motivation and I genuinely had nothing about me that I thought was worth shouting about… apart from Lily, yet you’d never have guessed unless you were either A or my mom. I got through notepad after notepad of quotes that I resonated with from Pinterest and I was desperate for someone to message me and tell me it was ok, they knew how I felt. Baring in mind I was at a place with my confidence at it’s lowest, I found it within me somehow to reach out to a blogger who I followed on the gram who was at the time talking about her own life with anxiety, not holding much hope that I’d feel any better afterwards because I’d done it several times before and not felt any different. However, Jax was different – she was so empathetic and quite simply told me to go and see my GP, something that I hadn’t yet done since moving surgeries. Through speaking to Jax I didn’t feel the stigma attached to not only mental health but anti depressants, I felt as though I could give medication a try and not be letting myself down by doing so, something I’d always been concerned about. Sometimes it just takes a certain person to explain things in a certain way and that’s how I felt with Jax, I needed someone who was so similar to myself to help me, and that’s what she did.

 

Sooooo, Jax… I know I’ve told you this before but you are my ultimate mumspiration and I stand by the fact that your knowledge, opinions, love and support we’re equally as important to me as the medication itself and the guidance from my GP. I’d probably still be stuck in the same rut I was back when I first reached out to you if it wasn’t for you being such a wonderful confidant, life coach, counsellor & friend all rolled in to one. I’ll never ever be able to thank you enough for helping change not only my life but Lils life too, for the better. You get to know people for a reason and I thank my lucky stars that I got blessed with getting to know you, you’re so so special. 

 

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So that’s that, I was prescribed the anti-depressant called ‘sertraline’ in the November of 2017 and stopped taking them in the April of 2018 (always seek help from your GP before weaning yourself off of any medication). I walked home from the doctors sobbing after I had been given them, I think it was a mixture of relief that I’d taken THAT step and that I had something new to try and control my anxiety and a bit of sadness that I’d allowed it to get this far. I can’t talk much about the anti-depressant itself as I’m not medically trained to do so but once the chemincal imbalance had settled itself in my brain, throughout the whole period of me taking the medication I feel as though I was able to think more clearly, more organised, and more productively. I once explained anxiety to someone as a balloon – I’d been trapped inside of this balloon for years and years feeling claustrophobic and trapped, but since taking the medication I now carry the balloon (anxiety) around with me instead of being trapped and taken over by it, because the truth is, anxiety will always be a part of me but I am no longer consumed and ruled by it.

 

I made a conscious effort to keep on top of being organised when I was on my medication, and it was never a long term plan to be on anti depressants. I bought the Fearne Cotton Happy book and journal and I cannot big them up enough – Fearne Cotton talks about her own struggles with depression and she too is a mother so yet again I felt as though I was receiving guidance and ideas from someone in a similar boat to myself, and that sometimes is all we need to get us on to the way to healing. So for anyone reading this that does have, has had, or may have anxiety or depression on any level…. get this book (and journal) and see how you feel after reading it. I am such a book worm, writing geek, blogging and Pinterest nerd, that is my productivity and stimulation, it helps keep my brain healthy and organised – my reading books, my note pads, my blog and my Pinterest are the platforms that I express myself on in order to save my brain from burning out as it did back in 2017. Sometimes we just need to go back to basics and fathom what makes us happy from the get go.

 

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Please please please, if you’ve read this post and can relate to any of it in anyway then please don’t hesitate to contact me, as I’ve stated I found it easier to reach out to a fellow woman/mother than I did to a health professional to begin with, but I got there in the end and that is ultimately all that matters. I’ll pop some useful/related links in below should anyone need them!

MIND Charity – A fabulous mental health charity.

CAMHS services – The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services explained (the service I was referred to aged 14)

Anxiety UK – Giving support to those diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

No Panic – Offering support for panic attack sufferers and OCD.

Mens Health Forum – 24/7 stress support for men via text, chat or e-mail.

Samaritans – Confidential support for those experiencing distress or despair.

 

Thanks for reading guys – big loves.

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Review | Peppa Pig’s Adventure! Live.

Review | Peppa Pig’s Adventure! Live.

peppa-pig-live-logoI mean, we totaaaaallyyyyy booked this with the intention of it being a treat for Lily but I couldn’t deny my excitement to see Ash join in with a whole theatre singing ‘The Bing Bong Song’, I really should have gotten that on video. I love the theatre, there’s just something about it that gets me so excited – we’ve always been to the theatre around christmas time growing up to watch a pantomime and although Lil has been with us the past twice her attention span didn’t last as long as the show did, and although Peppa Pig is the worlds biggest distraction for us, it did still cross my mind whether or not she’d sit through the whole show without wanting to get up and wonder.I hadn’t looked much in to the show before we got there so I didn’t know what to expect but I was so pleasantly surprised.

 

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Obviously, as parents to littles we’ve all watched Peppa Pig, all got invested in her life a little more than we perhaps realise and even sit there watching it after the children have gone to bed, right? That came in handy though when it was sing along time, or when a different character came on because we were able to talk to Lil throughout and understood why she was getting so excited over Madame Gazelle and Suzy Sheep. I actually think we’d be a little bit lost without Peppa Pig in our lives, she saves my sanity when I most need five minutes peace and quiet and most importantly she keeps my three year old happy.

 

The characters are controlled by a cast which you are able to see on the stage, once I gathered this I was a little bit sceptical and wondered how it would work but honestly – it was fab how the cast were just as involved as the Peppa Pig characters and it worked really well to create a nice atmosphere for the children (and adults alike!). You can read about the cast here.

 

I was wondering how they’d think of enough content to make it worth while as the episodes of Peppa Pig aren’t usually very long, but also how they’d not allow it to stretch out too much so the children would potentially get fidgety – it was so cleverly written so that it was just one Peppa Pig story but narrated by Peppa’s best friend, Daisy (Bronte Tadman) along with sing alongs and water pistol fun spirting in to the audience when the characters go jumping in those good old muddy puddles (that was a personal favourite of Lily’s!)

 

 

There was a gift stall beforehand with lots of the spinny/flashy light up wands that the kiddies love, Peppa, George & George’s Dinosaur cuddly toys, t-shirts, and programmes amongst other bits and bobs, and there was also someone selling balloons after the show too – Lily opted for a George’s Dinosaur balloon. If you ever get the opportunity to take your kiddies to Peppa Pig’s Adventure! Live then I’d definitely recommend it, it was such a nice time out for us as a family and I loved seeing Lils face light up, quote of the day was definitely “Mom, mom, George just looked at me”, I had one starstruck three year old.

 

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Find out more info here.

 

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What really makes me happy.

What really makes me happy.

IMG_2050[1]So, I’ve touched here and there with my anxiety and made it no secret that I’m a sufferer but I’ve always planned on doing one ‘big’ post surrounding my own journey with it, because believe me, it’s a bloody big one full of ups, downs, twists and turns and although this isn’t THAT post it feels like the right time to tell you all about how I’ve found peace. It took one conversation re: anxiety with one of my favourite mbloggers at the time for me to completely change my mindset and I’d go as far as saying THAT conversation with my now friend…. changed my life. Since then I have viewed my life from a totally different perspective, and through completely stripping my life back to basics I have come to realise that happiness and contentment is completely and utterly home made. So, the reason behind this post? The mom boss I’m talking about is Jax over at Jax & Joseph and I read her latest blog post ‘What really makes you happy?!’ and she’s asked her readers to write their own list of what makes them happy – so here I am!

 

It’s so so easy to get caught up in the lives of others this day in age whether it be via social media, or noticing the mom who appears to have her shit together in the school playground whilst it’s taken you every ounce of energy you have just to make sure your child doesn’t arrive at school looking like nobody owns them – we’ve all been there, we’ve all at some point second guessed ourselves. I love insta – it’s provided me with friendships I never had growing up, it’s provided me with such a network that I am so appreciative of, but at the same time it’s so easy to get suffocated by it all which is why I understand the importance of going back to basics with happiness and contentment because if you’re in touch with those and are able to remind yourselves of them when it’s most needed then there really is no going wrong is there.

 

Family Time.

 

A works long hours 5 (sometims 6) days a week meaning he misses a large chunk of quality time with Lil. The 3 weeks paternity leave he had when she was born was by far the most precious and cherished time we had together, and I get so so excited when he books holiday and try my hardest to make it as memorable for both A and Lil. Although I’m moaning at him to hurry up and get back to work towards the end of his annual leave I do miss him and Lil loves having him there to do the memorable things. I’m all about ‘capturing the moment’ so I literally live with a camera in my hand, it’s super important to me that Lil grows up to realise even though you work hard you can still make time for family and making memories.

 

Capturing the moment.

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As I mentioned just then ^ I live with a camera in my hand, even if it’s just my iPhone camera. Capturing those special moments make me feel so content inside, there’s always a visual to look at when thinking about/talking about a certain memory and that’s super important to me. I’ve got several memory sticks and hardrives with photos and videos of Lily right from when she was born, I’m one of those who will take 20-30 different photos of one particular moment and not be able to choose just one or two to keep. I’m a proper scrapbooking geek so Lil will have lots to look back on when she’s old enough to appreciate it.

 

Forestry.

 

Give me a tent & a camp fire and I’d live in the woodland….. for real. Nothing makes me happier than walking, running, playing games in the forest with Lil. Is it possible for anything to cleanse the soul as much as breathing in the fresh air amongst nothing but pure nature? Lils favourite thing to do is to collect pine cones and jump in muddy puddles – duh! We’re so so lucky to live near to Cannock Chase which is such a beautiful forestry commission with so many different walking/running/biking routes, as well as the Gruffalo Trail and a couple of really nice play areas. I have childhood memories of going there to buy my parents real Christmas tree’s, Lil saw Santa there on her first Christmas and it’s gorgeous in the spring and summer time to just chill out, so naturally it holds a lot of happy memories for me. Lil calls Cannock Chase ‘The big tree’s’ and enjoys walking my parents dog over there.

 

Cooking.

If I’d have written this post last year cooking wouldn’t be on this list but as I said, I’ve gone back to basics and asked myself, what do I love about my day to day life that I’d be lost without? cooking for my family. Three meals a day, sometimes three seperate meals of a night time as we all fancy different things, but I feel so at home standing over the hob cooking up something or other. I cooked my first ever Christmas dinner last Christmas and whilst I felt the pressure of ‘if something goes wrong the shops aren’t open to run too!!!’, it went perfectly and I nailed it if I may say so myself. I’m a big lover of my nans recipes and I’m keen to perfect them as much as possible, obviously they’ll never be the real thing from nanny Jean but I try my best and I want Lil to love them as much as I do in order for her to pass them on. She loves to help me prep and cook tea now, she likes to stir the Spag Bol, and she’s a pro at pinching the chicken whilst I’m not looking when we have a roast! Having a hearty home made meal on the go for my family is something that makes my heart happy.

 

The sea.

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This may be a strange, slightly geeky one to some people but throughout my really difficult times when I struggled badly with my anxiety I found so much comfort in the sea, a weekend in Blackpool or a week in Ibiza, I’d warm to the sea and find so much peace within myself whilst by it. Weird considering you’d never actually catch me swimming in the sea haha! I love beach walks, the sound of the sea, boat trips – that makes me feel happy.

 

The Molineux.

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I say The Molineux and not actually Wolves themselves because it hasn’t always been happy times following Wolves, but no matter how god awful we may have played in the past I’ve always felt at home here. It’s my happy place and up until I became a parent it was my only happy place and place of contentment. My anxiety would almost disappear for 90 minutes a week whilst being here.

 

My garden.

 

Again, I think it’s just being outside that makes my soul feel so refreshed and content. I’m all about growth and flourishing in all aspects of life. Even in plants. Ha.

 

Apart from all I’ve mentioned above, reading and writing are huge passions of mine that don’t just keep me happy and content, they help organise my brain and keep me sane some days. I’m a huge list writer and don’t think I’d be able to get through the day sometimes without writing lists. I love getting lost in a good book and it’s such a lovely way to unwind after a hectic day of being mom. It’s super easy to get lost in being ‘mom’ and remembering that you do in fact have an individual identity too – our own souls need to be kept refreshed and content in order for us to stay happy, self love isn’t selfish.

 

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Saying Goodbye To The Dummy | Our Journey

Saying Goodbye To The Dummy | Our Journey

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At 3 years and 2 months old Lil has given up the much loved diddy.

I was surprised at how quickly Lil warmed to potty training and I knew not everything was going to be as plain sailing as that was throughout raising Lil  – much like my pregnancy and labour, I had an awful pregnancy and Lils birth was a breeze (despite her being prem) so I’ve always thought that the labour made up for a terrible pregnancy, I’ve figured potty training and ditching the diddy would be the same, one would be a struggle and one would be a doddle. However, I wasn’t expecting it to hit me as hard as it did – I actually got quite emotional over it and I’m not entirely sure why, whether it’s because the diddy has seen us through the tough times like sickness bugs keeping us both up all night and the fact it’s always been a quick fix to stop Lava Lil from errupting mid food shop or whether it’s because it’s the last tiny thing of my newborn disappearing – I mean, Lils first diddy was almost as big as her head…. for real, and theres one photo that always springs to my mind when I think of the first time I put a diddy in Lils mouth and that photo alone is enough to make any mommy emosh.

 

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I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the dummy, it’s been a life saver and nothing short of an inconvenience when I’ve wanted to capture a cute picture and Lil refuses to take it out of her mouth. I was always made aware before becoming a mom that I should try to manage without putting one in Lils mouth, but I sort of wanted too, as well.

 

So, the best way to ditch the diddy? I wanted to nip it in the bud in one go, I didn’t want to wean Lil off it, and I wanted to do something that would make Lil feel as though she was doing some good for someone or something, something that she’d remember and maybe something she can pass on throughout future generations – I’m such a sucker for setting traditions which you’ll probably find out throughout following mine and Lils life. I have thought about just chucking it in the bin on several occassions when she refuses to take it out for photos hahaha – my mom said I chucked mine over next doors fence and she told me the birds had got it (sorry neighbours) but we decided on giving Lils to the baby Piglets at a farm near by, it was a choice between that or taking it to the fairies dummy washing line over Cannock Chase, we chose the Piglet option because she could see them up close and personal for herself and we were able to explain that the Piglets needed her diddy’s now because they’re tiny babies and Lil’s not (sob sob).

 

Talking of sobbing A LOT was done by Lil and I can’t lie, I had a little lump in my throat. We took Lil to a farm not to far away called Ash End House Childrens Farm and it was set out so lovely for families making the most out of what can be a really rubbish/stressful situation for both parents and the bubbas. Where the pigs live there are rows and rows of dummies hung up on the wall that were no longer needed by children, and a little bag down by the side of the piglets with yet more dummies in, with a letter to the children, which I read to Lil and she took absolutely no notice because she was so in awe of the baby piglets that had been more just two weeks prior to our visit. Lil reluctantly put ONE diddy in to the bag before getting it back out again, she then realised she wasn’t too keen on the idea of giving her diddy’s away and had to be carried out kicking and screaming – but that was that – they were gone.

 

 

 

We took Lil to the gift shop straight after so she could choose a prezzie for ‘sharing’  – honestly I have never bigged my child up so much just to minimize the chance of a tantrum, you really don’t realise how much you rely on a dummy until it’s not there to pop in to your childs mouth when they’re on the verge of starting WW3, whenever she mentions the diddy (it’s becoming less and less!) I’m giving it the ‘you’re such a big girl now though!‘ and the ‘you’re so kind for sharing your old diddy’s with the pigs Lil, they’ll be so happy with you!‘ kinda encouragement and touch wood, fingers crossed, it is working so far. She chose a cuddly rabbit off me & her daddy but my mom bought her the cutest little fluffy piglet to signify the occassion, so this little cuddly piglet will always remind us of Lil giving up the diddy.

 

Lil asked for it a couple of times after whilst still at the farm, when she was getting tired and on the way back home, but she fell asleep in the car without it. Despite feeling a bit emosh I felt headstrong and we were going to get through this the other side.

 

Wednesday bedtime:

Lil found a diddy under the bed which I’m convinced she’d hid because we made it no secret in the build up to the farm that she was going to be giving her diddy’s to the Piglets, and then she found another… it was going well, or not. I got rid of them and tried to settle her, she lay still for about half hour which was my signal to get up and leave, but as soon as I made the slightest movement she was up and full of life again, she EVENTUALLY dropped off to sleep at about 11pm and woke once in the night asking for her diddy but did settle back off without it. Has getting rid of the diddy meant that she won’t settle in bed at a respectable time anymore?

 

Thursday bedtime:

She found yet another diddy today downstairs, Ash only had to hold his hand out and she gave it to him and ever so proudly said “you need to give it to the baby pigs dad because I’m a big girl now” – finally, are we getting somewhere? She dropped off at around 8pm without her diddy and although she stirred a little in the night she didn’t ask for it.

 

Friday bedtime:

No asking of the diddy throughout the day or during winding down time – no stirring in the night either!

 

Saturday bedtime:

We got back quite late from the football so Lil had drifted off in the car, I managed to transfer her from the car to bed without asking for a diddy or any tears. Slight stirring in the night but didn’t wake, cry or ask for the diddy.

 

Sunday bedtime:

Lil’s spoken about her dummy a little bit but fully understands now that the baby Piglets have them.

 

Monday & Tuesday bedtime:

No mention of the diddy at all and falls asleep without it although she’s started to try and suck her own tongue, if that makes sense???? haha.

 

A week on:

A week on and we haven’t caved, it’s not so bad once you get through the inital shock of them crying for it for the first day or two. I’d say the hardest part was definitely walking away from the diddy’s at the farm because I too were feeling the loss of the last bit of my baby who definitely isn’t a baby anymore. Do I regret not taking it away sooner? nope. Would I give my future children a diddy? yes. Am I proud of us? hell yes. I’m already noticing such a difference in Lils speech, she’s constructing sentences better and her vocaularly is becoming wider and wider by the day. I’ve warmed to the dummy a lot more than I thought I would, I only ever seemed to hear the bad stories and negative opinions on them, but our story isn’t one of those at all. Some children give theirs up easily without an uproar, but if you’re wanting to make the milestone that little bit more memorable or need a little help in convincing your children to do a good thing then here are a couple of ideas:

  • This one, giving it to the piglets at a local farm
  • Santa or Easter Bunny taking it away in exchange for presents, Easter Eggs or pocket money
  • The dummy fairy – There’s a cute little fairy retreat at our local forestry commisson with a washing line to peg the dummies on to
  • Following the above, you can make a fairy garden in your own garden and leave the dummies there, take the child back the next day to see if they have gone (chuck the dummy away and exchange it for pocket money)
  • A good old bit of bribery – “if you get rid of your dummies like a big boy/girl you can choose a present”

This may or may not be an unpopular opinion but I do think a child should be rewarded for giving up a diddy, afterall, it was inflicted on them by us as parents to give us a bit of peace and quiet when we needed it most and they’re giving up something which they obviously find a comfort to them. From a childs point of view I think that’s a pretty brave thing to do.

 

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Memory Making | Ash End Farm.

Memory Making | Ash End Farm.

I wasn’t going to post personal memories on my blog so scroll along if this one isn’t for you but it’s not very often we get to do memorable things with daddy there too so I feel it needs documenting, plus I’m still living for the look on Lils face on some of the photos, they’re adorable. She loved being able to get up close and personal with some of her favourite animals, although now she keeps asking us for chickens, a pony and some pigs!!! haha. It’s no secret that I love the camera, I love being behind it but I also love being captured in super cute memories with Lil and Ash.

 

If you’re local to Birmingham/West Midlands then Ash End Farm is absolutely fab and I couldn’t recommend it enough, all activities such as lamb feeding, handling the chicks and choosing an egg, sitting on the pony & tractor ride are all within the admission price and there is a combined admission for the playbarn to which was a big hit with Lil and worked wonders for tiring her out. We had a lovely day out and as you’ll see in a post very soon, it’s where we got rid of Lily’s dummies.

The first thing we did was feed the baby labs and goat kids, Lil loved seeing them run round her legs and get all excited over a feed but she wasn’t too keen on holding the bottle!

 

The chicks were one of Lils favourite, I think it’s because they’re smaller than she is haha. She’s now grasped the concept that eggs come from chickens and keeps singing ‘Happy Hatch Day’ to the baby chicks. Each child gets to go and choose their own egg to take home.

 

Another one of Lil’s favourites was the cutest little donkey!!!! Her face was a picture sitting on him and she loved giving him a fuss.

 

This is where we ditched the diddy, Lil left them for the little piglets who had been born just 2 weeks prior to our visit. It’s such a lovely idea to make the children believe they’re doing something good with their dummies.

 

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