Category Archives: Parenting

My life, The Comedy Sketch Show -Two Weddings, A Missing Diamond, And What’s That Clicking Noise!

My life often feels like a comedy sketch show.

“Who wants to read about your life!” I hear you cry.

Well, you for starters otherwise how did you find yourself here eh (winks slyly whilst dodging a virtual slap). So I’ve always had a knack for making my seemingly normal and pretty average life seem a little more entertaining. I don’t know if it’s my ability to see the positive in everything that allows me to give my everyday situation a lighthearted edge. But nonetheless I often feel like if I was starring in my own episode of “Friends”, in that I may get a few titters if anyone was watching in.

These past couple of weeks have been hectic, crazy, fabulous, stressful madness. We have attended two wedding weekenders, got some amazing shots in the New Forest, a week in the Isle of Wight, One airshow, visited several family members,and the rest of life in between.

Our trip began to Southampton to watch one of hubs maternal cousins get married. It was a beautiful day and anyone that knows me, knows how much I love weddings. I have recently written about my own wedding here .

summer loving

We managed to sneak away in between the wedding breakfast and evening ceremony to get George to nap. Hubs took us on one of our favourite and awe-inspiring drives, The New Forest. We first discovered The New Forest last year on a staycation at Sandy Balls (yes that really is the resort name). This time around and with me looking a bit better than my standard mum life get up, we captured some beautiful shots with the horses. This is one of my faves.

summer loving

As we headed back for the evening reception hubs programmed his satnav and off we went. It felt like we had been driving forever when I knew we had only gone 20 minutes down the road getting there. Suddenly hubs stopped.

Hubs: “Oh shit, Mum asked me during breakfast how far away the ferry terminal was for tomorrow. I programmed it into the nav to show her”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Hubs “It means we are just coming into the ferry terminal! We’re half an hour away from the wedding venue now”

Well you can imagine my face. We were using my valuable vodka drinking time after all.

The first of our beautiful wedding weekenders over, we headed on with the in-laws, straight to catch the ferry for a week in the Isle of Wight. This shall be known as the holiday were many “fucks” were uttered.

After our first day at our holiday home, I called my Mum. I was speaking to her when I looked down and realised my engagement ring, which belonged to my Nan and is over 75 years old had lost the diamond! The only diamond! Gone! “Fuck” My Mum told me not to panic and whilst everything in me told me I should be distraught and crying…I wasn’t. I’m so precious of my ring. It’s not worth much monetary wise, but sentimentally it means the absolute world to me.

Cue me and hubs crawling round on our hands and knees in a 4 storey townhouse with thick beige carpets! It was a dead-end before we started. It was never found. I suspect it’s now floating through the sewers of the Isle of wight. My Mum has since paid for it to be replaced and reset. It’s such a good feeling to have it back on my finger, looking its beautiful self. I hope my Nan loves it as much as I do.

summer loving

Our lovely little holiday home may have had 4 floors but they packed in enough furniture that tripping over things was easy. On the first day, pre diamond disaster, I walked into a chair leg and spent the night sleeping with my little toe throbbing. Our room was in the loft and it was so hot and stuffy even with the windows wide open.

summer loving

That night I woke up to a weird noise. It was a loud horn. I wondered if it was some sort of thing only Islanders knew about. Did we have to evacuate. Hubs was still awake so I asked him. It was a fog horn. No need to evacuate. Where the fuck we would evacuate to I don’t know. I hadn’t thought that bit through. The fog horn continued most nights on and off for the duration of our stay and I soon realised why the houses are so cheap there!

But my beautiful town house woes did not end there. We were on a budget due to the wedding hotel blocking some of our money accidentally. Hubs was eager to try the nachos when we went out for lunch but decided it would be cheaper if I made some that evening. Mine is better anyways. I picked up a nacho kit (which I never use!) and set about making us an evening snack. I found a cheese grater and the cheese grater found me.

It turns out this was the mo-fo of cheese graters. I’m used to a flat grater and this was round…. it wasn’t long before I lost something else….one of my knuckles! Fuck!

summer loving

This pic is the day after. It really fucking hurt! My Nan in law was threatening to try and flap the skin back over whilst hubs was asking if I needed stitches. It was comedic stupidity at its finest. Vom!

Just to top it all off, hubs and I have been trying for another baby but to no avail. No violin needed. My body is in such a state at the moment. So we kind of had the choice to stop made for us as I’m under a consultant for severe hip pain. I’ve had it the last 2 years or more but the last few weeks it’s got really life limiting and it’s not improving. So adding baby weight to my body wouldn’t have been sensible.

The doctor gave me some strong anti-inflammatories to help me deal with the pain. I read the stupid leaflet, which you should never do, because someone has always reported something horrific. And there it was;

…may affect your chances of falling pregnant as ovulation can be affected. Should you fall pregnant whilst taking these tablets, please tell your doctor immediately as they can cause mutations to the unborn child…

All sounding fabulous so far! So I decided I’ll take them to get me through the next month of events and hope everything goes back to normal, I’d already ovulated that month as I was due on my period the day of the wedding (what joy!).

Cue mid holiday madness in the house of horrors as I realise my period is 7 days late! For Fudge sake! Not now! Off to the shop I go, standard pregnancy test I always get (I’ve done a lot of these things ya know). Nothing! No literally I mean nothing! It’s a bloody void test! What are the actual chances? I’ve never had a void test. Back to the shop, I pick up 2 this time just in case…negative. Thank God. Although its weird feeling when only a month ago I was using all my eyelash wishes for the opposite. Do people still wish on their eyelashes?

One trip home from the Isle of Why Me! And another beautifully glorious wedding, whereby hubs tested the theory of whether you can sing church hymns whilst impersonating Johnny Cash…you can. And we are back home.

Whilst I love a staycation, I feel I’m ready to venture further into the big wide world for our future holidays. I feel I owe it to George. I’ve found some fab tips on How To Plan The Perfect Family Holiday .

summer loving

But wait… listen closely…yep that’s me. Everytime I stop my engine there is a weird clicking noise. Now it’s not the typical engine cooling down clicking noise, and we have actually discovered the clicking noise happens even if you just turn the key to ignite the battery and not the engine so who the hell knows.

What I do know is, I took it to the garage and approached them with the query;

“At the risk of sounding like a complete woman…there is a strange clicking noise coming from my engine”

I absolutely hate it when garages treat me like a “silly” woman. Like we can be fobbed of and spoken to like an idiot because it’s a car and cars are for men or some such shit like that. Ooh I wonder if I’ve just noticed a gap in the market for all female mechanics? You can get women only gyms and taxis so why not.

summer loving
Image courtesy of www.pexels.com

So the guy is none the wiser. Guesses at the throttle flap and says they will call me with a quote. They don’t. I also inform him that I’ve recently made a discovery via the wonders of Youtube that if your electronic car window is stuck you can close it with this snazzy trick.

Slam the door hard, whilst holding your finger on the window up button. It works! Something about jolting the connection.

So one week and no phone call later, hubs and I, ok hubs gets the credit for this. He discovers that the clicking happens without actually starting the engine. He takes it back to the garage and tells me they’ve booked it in for next Tuesday and will charge me £35 to “take a look”!

“Huh! They looked at it for nothing when I took it!” I say “what the heck did you do!”

The next morning I called the garage, and explained. The receptionist repeatedly asked me if I realised where they were and if had the right place. I was getting rather exasperated because I knew exactly who and where they were. They didn’t have any record of my husband booking the car in.

It’s now we find out the REAL reason my car was looked at for free! Whilst relaying the story to hubs when he got home from work, he pipes up that he had actually taken the car to a different garage. The garage that I shouted out “…and don’t take it to xxx garage because we had a bad experience!” That explains the fee! My garage doesn’t charge! Doh! The next morning I returned to MY garage with my tail between my legs to offer an apology for my idiot husband.

My car is now fixed, thankfully, and the clicking noise has stopped. Halejuah!

It’s all fun and games eh! I’d totally love to read about some of your recent crazy life tales in the comments below.

Review – In The Night Garden Live Show

** Disclosure- In return for this review, I myself have been provided with tickets to the In The Night Garden showdome tour. All opinions are still honest and my own**

Wow, what can I say! We have just been to see the In The Night Garden Live on their magical showdome tour. Originally we were booked to see the Ninky
Nonk show at 12pm in the special Showdome.

However, the traffic was worse travelling from Essex to Richmond than we had anticipated. We arrived 25 minutes after the 45 minute show had started. Stress!

Luckily I had called the customer service number whilst en route, The automated help line advised that should we be running late, to continue our journey. The help line stated that a member of the team would transfer our tickets to a later show on arrival.

I think for parents this is such a forgiving and helpful service. We all know how unpredictable children can be. A lady in front of me was even rescheduling her tickets for another day as her little one was unwell. It was no trouble for the staff and no extra fee.

showdome
On arrival, a member of staff greeted us at the entrance and gave us several options. We chose to attend the next available show, The Pinky Ponk show. Both shows have all your little ones favourite characters but they just tell a different story.

The show that we saw was ‘Makka Pakka Washes Faces’. This is of course until his sponge gets stuck in Upsy Daisy’s Megaphone (ahhh so many innuendos I’m struggling to contain myself).

showdome

The price of the show ticket also included a show guide worth £7. Inside the guide you will find lyrics to all the In The Night Garden favourites. As well as a story and puzzles for your little one to enjoy. The doors to the Showdome open half an hour prior to the show beginning so this guide is great for entertaining your little one whilst you wait for the show to begin.
showdome
Once inside, the narrator voice from the show gives you a regular countdown of 15 minutes, 3 minutes etcetera until the show starts. This builds the excitement levels even further for little ones as he parents all simultaneously say “ooooh”.
showdome
The show itself is a mix of life-size characters and puppets. As the show starts, it isn’t long before Makka Pakka appears on stage. He was full size and I was wondering how big Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy would be when they appeared as obviously they are much larger than Makka Pakka in the television show.

My perfectionist ponderings were soon answered when Makka Pakka left the stage and Iggle Piggle appeared. Makka Pakka then reappeared as a smaller puppet controlled by 3 people using sticks. It was all very clever.

The rest of the show proceeded to follow Makka Pakka wandering round the Night Garden, ensuring he had washed every characters face with his “dirty sponge” as I like to call it. The crew cleverly incorporated bubbles into the washing routine too which got the little ones excited.
showdome
The Showdome itself adds to the wonderment of the show. With projections around the ceiling above the stage. These include falling flowers, stars and a moving Pinky Ponk. Sadly this is the last year the showdome will be touring. Whilst the show is fab and it will be greatly received in a traditional theatre setting, the showdome made it for me.
showdome
The Showdome contains staggered bench style seating so that everyone has a clear view. We have visited other shows such as Paw Patrol live, where the seating was all on one level on the ground and it was very hard if not impossible to see the stage once a tall Dad came along. I love the show dome set up. It feels like you are entering a magical grotto and a doorway to the night garden itself.

It would be such a shame to miss this experience if your little ones are fans of In The Night Garden. I can 100% recommend it. I literally can’t fault it. The show offered snacks and drinks for sale and these were also a lot more reasonable than other shows we attended. A bottle of Coca Cola was £1.50.

You can also get involved in a “Meet the Character” experience for an added cost. There is merchandise and balloons available to purchase. Whilst you wait for the character experience after the show, there are tables with colouring for the children. And a television showing episodes of In The Night Garden. There’s also buggy parking and a microwave to heat up milk or baby food.

For anyone whose child is feeling overwhelmed during the show, you can step away from the seating area. Just behind the seating area,down the steps you and little one can watch the live show on a TV screen until such time they feel settled enough to return.

To be honest though the live show was as chilled as the television show and George took his shoes off and made himself comfy. We usually watch the TV show as part of our bedtime routine and he definitely felt the relaxing vibes despite it being live.
showdome
Last little mention which is probably totally random but I’ve always been a toilet connoisseur. The toilets are unisex which felt strange but it was lovely. Lovely because every cubicle had a little portable loo seat available as well as steps for hand-washing at every sink.

It’s little touches like this that make you feel valued. It feels like the In The Night Garden Live team understand the struggles parents have each day.

There’s plenty of cubicles and no one has to queue because everyone can go in. Often you find the ladies full with a long queue whilst the men’s is not child friendly and empty. There are also adequate baby changing facilities from what I saw at a quick glance. Baby change is in a separate trailer.

George’s verdict: He won’t actually comment but I know he absolutely loved it. Previous shows we’ve attended he’s been reserved, quiet and a little dubious. The In The Night Garden Live show he was constantly smiling, excited, singing! I think in this case, actions speak louder than words.

My verdict:- I felt like the show was made with parents and children in mind. They understand that sometimes we don’t run on time with kids. It’s not a problem. They understand that sometimes there isn’t always a Mummy and a Daddy around for toilet visits. It’s not a problem.

The organisers seem to understand that younger children potentially get overwhelmed easily. This was reflected in the volume of the show not being too loud. The show was well thought out and evolved quickly to ensure the children didn’t get bored. Yes there was some fidgeting but that’s to be expected of any child that’s asked to sit still for 45 minutes. The showdome set up meant it wasn’t a problem. There was room to have a little wander. I literally cannot fault it.

Go see it. The Showdome is touring and currently in Richmond, London until July 1st 2018. It will then be moving onto Birmingham, before ending the tour in Manchester on 19th August 2018.

Book your tickets via the website In The Night Garden Live

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Parenthood epitomised with epic song lyrics

I think I’ve spent way too long living with hubs in that I now randomly walk around at home singing. Sometimes it’s songs that have already been made, other times the poet in me makes up little rhymes to summarise whatever emotions or activities I’m going through. I’d actually love to be a songwriter, but not a singer, save that role for someone who can actually hold a tune.

This is a side of me that no one except hubs and George see as I manage to stifle it if we go away with family. People often laugh when I say I am shy but in certain areas that I lack confidence, my shyness prevails.

Since I became a Mama to George and quit my career in pharmacy, I spend ever-increasing amounts of time at home. Often not seeing many other adults in person for more than a few minutes. The joys, stresses and tribulations of parenting go unnoticed by the world and so I need an outlet for dealing with the variety of emotions a parent at home with a child goes through in a day.

This outlet is song. As I warble my way around the house I find myself singing songs to express how I’m feeling. It is by doing this that I’ve discovered some artists are unknowingly epitomising parent life…for me anyway. See if you agree. Sing along if you know it.

Sam’s Town – The Killers

“Now, why do you waste my time?
Is the answer to the question on your mind
And I’m sick of all my judges
So scared of what they’ll find
But I know that I can make it
As long as somebody takes me home
Every now and then
You know I see London; I see Sam’s Town
Pulls my hand, and let’s my hair down
Rolls that world right off my shoulder”

Kids are forever wasting our time with their indecisive whining..just my house? It’s always the wrong cup, the bread is sliced in the wrong shape, the list goes on… We have all been judged by at least one person in our role as a parent right? This song represents for me everyone who’s had their parenting skills judged. But also for everyone that just wants to have a day off of parenting, have someone grab them by the hand and take them to London or their nearest fun town so they can let their proverbial hair down. Just me?

Somebody to love – Queen and George Michael

“Ooh, each morning I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
Take a look in the mirror and cry
Lord what you’re doing to me
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief, Lord!”

This opening verse completely epitomises how I feel when I get woken up at 6am or earlier each morning. Par for the course, and whilst I’m not religious I totally imagine every parent getting up and wearily singing this into the bathroom mirror whilst one or several children hang from their legs demanding milk and CBeebies. Just me?

The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars

“Today I don’t feel like doing anything
I just wanna lay in my bed
Don’t feel like picking up my phone
So leave a message at the tone
‘Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything”

I sing this song and reminisce, for just a moment, about when days like this were possible. I love and loathe the responsibility of parenting. Of course it has so many rewards but from the moment that little dot is conceived, they will forever be in your thoughts. Doing nothing at your own pace is a distant memory once you become a parent. AHHHH the days of playing GTA on the Playstation are but a distant memory lol. Still love this video though.

Cbeebies Bedtime song – Goodbye Sun, Hello Moon

“Goodbye sun
Now that the day is done
Its gonna be
Night time soon
Good bye sun
We’ll have more fun tomorrow
Now its time to say
Hello moon
Goodbye sun hello moon”

Oh come one! What self respecting doesn’t have a CBeebies tune as their current soundtrack for life! I know as soon as I start singing this song, that the daily parenting grind is nearly over as we approach the bedtime hour. George quite enjoys me singing this as he dozes off. My 13 hour slot as children’s entertainer, laundry women, caregiver, maker of food, wiper of arse is nearly over. Thus approaches my evening chill time.

I’ve very fortunate that at 3 and half, George now more or less sleeps through the night. Trust me this is only something he started in recent months and he still has his moments. I’m totally grateful for a bit of evening time to myself and hubs. I know so many friends and family, who for one reason or another don’t get this. Back when George was newborn, nighttime was most definitely not something I looked forward to.

I’m completely aware that these tunes all focus on the stresses and strains of parenting. But for every moment of difficulty, there are hundreds of moments that give your heart that warm glowy feeling.

Being a mum is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it’s also one of the most rewarding. You don’t always feel like you are getting it right, but you know you try your hardest to make these little humans the most incredible versions of themselves they can be. And so I end with this song, which I planned on having on my birth playlist. Something I pointlessly made, thinking I would give two shites about listening to music whilst I was in labour. It a song that’s forever stuck in my mind when I realise how incredibly lucky I am to be a mama to a happy, healthy little angel.

Special Angel – Malcolm Vaughan

“You are my special angel
Sent from up above
The Lord smiled down on me
And sent an angel to love (to love)
You are my special angel
Right from paradise
I know you’re an angel
Heaven is in your eyes
The smile from your lips brings the summer sunshine
Tears from your eyes bring the rain
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again”

I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to some of my favourite songs that, for me,epitomise parenthood. What are yours?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

**Closed** Review & Giveaway: Cry Babies doll

**Disclosure – We were provided with a Cry Babies doll in return for this review. All opinions are honest and our own**

I’m still new to this giveaway malarkey but I’m really excited to offer you the chance to win two fabulous toys. The second of which being this fab Cry Babies doll. Read on to find out more.

We were recently contacted by IMC Toys and offered two fab toys to review. The first is a review of the bath time dolls, Bloopies which I have written about here. The second being one of the Cry Babies dolls.

Now there’s a funny story to this. If you have been following the series of My Life: The Comedy Sketch show then this is most definitely worthy of a place.

A while back, I received an email form a representative for IMC Toys asking if we would like to review a Cry Babies doll. George sometimes watches the TV channel Tiny Pop, and the advert for these dolls pops up frequently. George has always expressed an interest in these dolls and did the usual ” I want that” chorus every time the advert comes on.

Once I had confirmed the review, I told George we would be getting a baby, a Cry Baby. He looked at my tummy and I explained that “No”, in fact the Cry Babies doll would not be coming from my tummy but via a delivery from the postman.

A few days later when I arrived to collect George from preschool, his key person called me over for a chat. She said she didn’t like to ask but she had to satisfy her curiosity. George had apparently spent the morning telling all the staff that “Mummy has a baby in her tummy and that he will be getting a brother or sister!”

I thought it was hilarious and had to tell all the ladies that actually no, we were going to be receiving a Cry Babies doll not an actual baby. They may be the “cutest baby, is so real” but I’m not ready to birth one!

Back to the Cry Babies and our baby is called Dotty. She is one of three dolls new to the Cry Babies collection as of April 2018. The recommended retail price is £29.99 available from retailers Argos, Amazon, Asda, B&M and Smyths as well as some independent retailers. Again I would be happier if they were around £25.

When we unpacked Dotty, both myself and George were impressed that the packaging was in the form of a car seat. Dotty is dressed in a spotty dog onesie. Her pink hair and eyebrows confused George slightly but he quickly sussed out how to make her cry and make her happy again.

doll

By removing the Cry Babies hood, you will find a screw cap to remove. This allows you to fill the tear compartment in her head with water. Then replace the cap, and the hood if you so wish. The Cry Babies have a switch inside the back of their babygro that allows you to switch them on, off or on try me mode. Once switched on, you squeeze the button on the back of Cry Babies head.

Following this, whenever her dummy is removed, she cries tears and makes a crying and gurgling noise. The noise wasn’t particularly annoying to myself as another mum had suggested to me. I’m very tolerant of noise and it’s not particularly loud. It’s a bonus that she can be switched off if it does become too intense. Our three cats were not as amused, thinking we were way past the wailing baby phase.

The tears are a bit of a tricky one. With tears coming thick and fast it wasn’t long before our Cry Baby Dotty was sitting in a puddle. Be careful where you allow little one to play with this if you don’t want things getting soaked through. We sat her on a tea towel.

doll

Our verdict:

Mummy’s verdict: The crying noise these dolls make is fairly realistic but other than that I don’t feel a doll who soaks through her clothes with tears whilst sporting pink hair and eyebrows can be described as “the cutest baby, is so real”. That said, I think George was adorable with her. He loved to look after her and put her in a pushchair he has.

George’s verdict: George loved that she cried and taking her dummy out and putting it back in again. Although there was a knack to this and as he is only 3 himself. He struggled at times to push the dummy fully in, which is required to stop her crying. He was so proud of his Cry Baby, he took her in to school for show and tell.

doll

George wasn’t too protective of the idea that she is a baby to be cared for. However and was quick to switch her off if he couldn’t get her dummy in. A lot of this stems from his feelings towards saving batteries though. He was in awe when he saw me rock her and pat her back, noticing that it soothes her without her needing her dummy.

I can imagine these dolls being a helpful tool for any children due to become siblings.

Would we recommend Cry Babies? Most definitely!

IMC Toys Cry Babies and Bloopies Giveaway
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How I got my name – and other inspiring stories

I’ve always considered my name to be a little unique and I wanted to share with you how it came about. I also asked some fellow bloggers the happy stories of where their names or their children’s names derived from. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

My proper name is Cassandra but I have many abbreviations and nicknames. The most common being Cassie. I’ve met a few other Cassie’s in my 34 years on this Earth and I always get embarrassingly excited. I’ve always wondered how people with quite commonly heard of names feel. To me it feels like you are a instantly connected to the person who has the same name as you. It totally amazes me, as weird as I am for admitting that.
So how did my name come about? Being an 80’s child, most people assume I was named after Cassandra from the classic show “Only Fools and Horses”. In fact for the first 3 days of my life I was nameless. Deliberating over calling me Daisy (I’m soooo not a Daisy), my maternal Nan suggested to my parents they call me Cassandra. She had been watching a lesser heard television programme at the time Bouquet of Barbed Wire. Cassie was one of the featured characters.

I love my name and the meanings and stories behind other people’s names.

Cassandra was actually a Greek Goddess who was given the gift of prophecy but also the curse that nobody would ever believe her.

I often joke this is a pretty accurate story of my life. I’ve always come out with silly things and lacked a certain degree of common sense, despite being quite intelligent. Usually any knowledge I tend to share with people they don’t believe me and I have to go to great lengths to prove I know what I’m talking about.

  • Sally from The Happy Home With 3 Boys named her son Beau, meaning beautiful boy. Inspired by the John Lennon song, and after a 7 year infertility and IVF struggle it seemed beautifully apt. She also has a son named Rudy, owing to his Grandad (whom he resembled at birth) being a ska fan. Her third son Sonny whose theme song for life is the classic Sunny by Bobby Hebb.
  • Lianne from Ankles Biters Adventures owes the spelling of her name to dad Ian. See what they did there.
  • Jade from Raising The Rings is grateful to her Auntie for her name. Her Dad is still regretful that he didn’t get his way in calling her Mercedes.
  • Clare from Freddies Mummy UK has her partners love of cricket to thanks for their son Freddie’s name. Ironic considering Freddie Flintoff is actually called Andrew in real life.
  • Suzanne from And Another Ten Things also has a son called Fred but rather amusingly due to her daughters love of Scooby Doo. She quickly abandoned her preferred name of James after the realisation hit that her daughter would forever call him Freddie regardless. Her daughter was named after a local pub covered in Ivy.
  • Victoria from Lylia Rose incorporated her husbands name Ben into their son Reuben’s name.

Baby Names

  • Kate from Five Little Stars has such a beautiful story. She has a son called Albion after her and her husband were married in Scotland which is Alba in Gaelic. A little known fact, Albion is also the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. They have since moved to France and named their daughter Elyse. This derives from the Elysian Fields, meaning paradise. She was born in Paris and so the spelling is also a nod to the magnificent Champs Elysee (so named after the Elysian Fields as well). So perfect.
  • Nadia from Scandi Mummy didn’t understand her husbands suggestion to use the name Aidan for their sons middle name. He then explained the tribute as he arrived on her birthday and it is her own named spelled backwards.
  • Sarah at Mummy Cat Notes spent hours searching for a girls name, having only decided on a boys name. She then read about  the famous female pilot Amelia Earhart. The first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean. And thus Amelia was decided.
  •  Katy from KatyKicker.com used the middle name Blue, after reading a wonderful poem from the book “A Field Guide to Getting lost” by Rebecca Solnit.

The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue.

The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.

  • Gemma from Mummy In The Madhouse wishes her mum had the final say in her name. Her Dad believed the name Gemma to be pretty rare whilst she much prefers her Mum’s choice of Zanthia. Desired after they met a little girl in Brazil called that.
  • Hannah from Little Rainbow Dreams was herself named after the late Hannah Hauxwell who passed away at the age of 91. If you haven’t heard of  the life of Hannah Hauxwell you must google her. She was an inspiring female farmer in the Pennines who was absolutely full of determination and fire. Hannah’s parents named her after this wonderful lady hoping she would follow in her amazing footsteps.
  • Rebecca writes a lifestyle and parenting blog at I Always Believed In Futures . Her son Jack is named after Jack Reacher in the Lee Child novels. Their daughter Olivia was really adorably named by her older brother. He was given the final say from the shortlist. I love this notion to get older siblings involved.
  • If there was ever a methodical approach to naming a child then Becka from Mummy Est.2014 is the master. She and her partner found it really challenging to find a boys name to agreed on. They bought a baby name book and had a different colour highlighter each. They highlighted names they liked and any that had been highlighted by them both were written on paper and stuck on the fridge.

As the last few weeks went by they scribbled off the names they fell out of love with and it came down to 2 names. Becka was  induced early and when bubba was born her and her partner decided that their new son looked like the second name on the list…Jared.

  • Finally Laura, whose sounds like an incredibly strong lady. Her blog Five Little Doves will tell your more about her incredible journey. After 15 miscarriages and a stillbirth, she was absolutely terrified when she was pregnant with her daughter. She named her Eva, as it means “Life” and she was the first little one to make it into their arms.

Baby Names

I hope you have enjoyed reading these inspiring and often incredible tales of how myself and others got their names. If you are struggling to come up with a name for your child, these stories may offer you some guidance.
If you have an interesting story of how you or your child got their name I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Thanks for reading.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

“We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”, a book review

** Disclosure – I was sent an electronic copy of the fabulous compilation of parenting stories in return for my honest review. This does not detract from the fact that this book is fucking hilarious and I can’t lie about it!**

I was recently fortunate to be sent a digital copy of the wonderful, “We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”. This compilation of rib tickling parenting stories was sent to me by the fabulous Susie.

Susie is one of my favourite bloggers over at So Happy In Town . Mrs S.H.I.T as she is known under her blog persona, is a part of this fabulous book along with many other fantastic bloggers from across the U.K, USA and Australia.

parenting stories

With a glass of some yummy cloudy lemonade in hand (it was the middle of the day!), I set about reading some of the most truthfully hilarious 186 pages of my parenting life! When I became pregnant and as the pregnancy progressed, I became rather angry with the world.

Despite researching my heart out over what to expect, this pregnancy malarkey was total BS! Don’t get me wrong, it had its magical and wondrous moments, but my word was it tough! In ways I never thought were possible, my body punished me hourly for making it endure the supposed magic of growing a child.

Cut to once the Georgeous was born and that wondrous magicalness again returned until reality hit. As hubs returned to work after his 2 weeks paternity leave, the shit storm that was now my life hit me. And yes I loved it BUT it wasn’t as other mums had led me to believe.

It was tougher than my spinal surgery which I endured as a teen and spent a year recovering from. Tougher than climbing one of the more difficult paths of Mount Snowdon in Wales as I had done in previous years. Often relentless, overwhelming,intense and sometimes depressing.

I so wish I had a book like this brought to my attention prior to becoming a mama. Now mama to a 3 year old George, it’s easy to relate to. Whilst non parenting types reading it may think you can’t possibly live like this, trust me…you can’t make this stuff up!

This collection of hilarious parenting stories has been compiled by the amazing Michelle Tan.

“Michelle is the absurdist comic writer behind the Facebook persona, Ms. Awesome, Mother Extraordinaire, where she dispenses unsolicited funny advice about surviving parenthood.”

It’ll make you feel human, restore your confidence that you aren’t actually insane and this is in fact life for many parents across the globe even! Most of all it will leave a big, fat smile calorie free on your face. Better than any glass of wine or bar of chocolate.

Get your copy here We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment…and other funny parenting stories.

Press release :- 

The book will be launched at a public event on Saturday 21st April 2018 at XSCAPE, Yorkshire. There will be activities for children and many of the writers. Families will find solidarity and humour on offer throughout the day. People will be invited to share their experiences of the absurd, surreal and downright funny things about parenting.   We want to spread the message that eating their chocolate in hiding is perfectly normal because some things in life should not be shared.

Things to do when it snows.

SNOWDAY!!! Are you bored of the word snow yet? I’m not. The beast from the east (as they say) has arrived and we have a full on snow day here in Essex. Let me tell you there’s more to snow than simply getting cold and building a snowman. Here are some ideas I’ve seen throughout the internet or gathered from friends.

  • You simply can’t have a snow day without building a snowman! It’s standard snow protocol! I’m yet to master a decent Snowman. True to my crazy cat lady form, I do make a pretty mean snow cat (checkout the featured image) but my snowmen always end up looking like giant smiling dildo’s!?snowday
  •  Sledding! A snow day pastime which I’ve never actually done! I’ve never committed to the purchase of a sledge as we can go some years and have no snow. Plus I’ve always been at work when it snows. Now I have a child I really need to invest in one as we have a town famous hill near us, perfect for sledding that just looks epic!

    snowday
    Image courtesy of Pixabay
  • Even the best snow day can get tiring and cold. If you don’t want to waste all that precious, rare white stuff then bring the snow indoors! Taking messy play to a whole new level, this activity can surprisingly entertain your child for a decent amount of time. Simply fill a bowl, bucket, tuff spot, whatever your container of choice with lush snow and place inside. Add a selection of toys suitable for playing in the snow eh voila. When the snow melts (which takes longer than you would imagine) just get some more. My little George chose octonauts, go jetters and dinosaurs to use in his snow bowl. I suggested digging with a spoon. snowday
  • Snow days seem to be very creative driven, (when you aren’t just lobbing snowballs at each other). So why not extend this further with some snow painting. Fill some squirty bottles with food colouring and water and let the children have great fun making coloured patterns in the snow. Or as my friend once did, get the paint and brushes out and paint the snowman. Checkout her fab page for more ideas on activities to do with toddlers and preschoolers; Entertaining Ava – Ideas for Toddler and Preschooler Play

    snow day
    Image courtesy of the facebook group Entertaining Ava – Ideas for Toddler and Preschooler Play. Permission given.
  • Snow day taffy. Now this is one of those things I just happened to see pop up on twitter in amongst the trending snow posts. I have to admit that this seemed as bizarre to me as the idea that most Americans don’t own an electric kettle. But apparently this is standard behaviour in Canada. I found this fab how to here; How to make Maple Syrup Snow Taffy .
  • Send a special message to someone. It just so happened to be hubs birthday one year when it snowed. I used the shingle we had in our garden to create a message but you could use the squirty bottle idea previously mentioned. Your message doens’t have to be for a birthday, it could be a marriage proposal, disney announcement, baby announcement or just to brighten someone’s day.snow day
  • Snowball fights don’t have to be the only thing to use snowballs for. Grab a bucket or draw a line or circle in the snow and see who can get their snowballs in the circle/bucket. That way no one ends up sad because they have snow down their back or in their eye.
  • If you have a willing cat or dog, let them out in the snow and just sit back and enjoy. Cats and Dogs can be so funny in the snow and if you film them and send them into You’ve been Framed you might get £250 for your efforts.

    snow day
    My beloved cat Missy who we lost 10 years ago.

So there are just a few ideas to keep you going for a snow day. I shall be investing in a pair of waterproof gloves in prep for the next snow.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any ideas to share? I love new ideas. I am becoming a bit of a pinterestaholic.

Until next time…..

The dictatorship – life with a two year old toddler.

**This post has sat in my drafts for a while, forgotten and lonely.  My toddler model is now over three years old and still thriving. But before I tell you all about how “the model” has evolved, let me take you back to a year ago when I was living with a two year old. Continuing on from one of my more popular posts Life with a toddler – the 2014 model .Enjoy!**

As the parent of a toddler, I’m finding myself under the dictatorship of a two year old. In a similar fashion to a communist regime, I’m regularly told where to sit, who to talk to, how to play certain “games”. To be honest it doesn’t feel like playing when I’m being ordered what car I can and can’t play with, and exactly where to drive it. 

Mainstream music is limited to anything on the CBeebies or nursery rhyme playlist. Disney films and CBeebies get the seal of approval but otherwise the only other programme to frequent our screens are Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Our day begins at a semi reasonable hour but orders to “go downstairs” ring out on on the toddler tannoy before I have time to even open my eyes. His lordship dictates specific rules such as;

  • The bath must be completely empty of water before exiting.
  • Face washing will only commence once there are at least three toys in the sink of water.
  • Drinks will only be drunk if provided in a container to Sir’s satisfaction.

You may be familiar with the term “terrible twos”. It’s a widely used phrase that many people now know and use. Closely followed by the supposéd “threenager” phase.  As my parenting journey began as a follower of the gentle parenting regime, I was led to believe these were not ideal terms to label a your toddler with.

However, being a good few years into this parenting shizzle I can confirm that these are inevitable stages that your mini dictator will go through. At two years old you will have days that you will swear this model truly can be terrible to be in the company of. My own experiences are teaching me that patience and calmness help.

When your mini dictator goes into terrible mode whilst in a public setting, a huge dose of trying to ignore what’s happening  goes a long way. People may stare because they either don’t have this model or they haven’t for a long time and they have forgotten what it’s like to take it out. Remain calm, composed and patient and this will help settle your mini dictator back to it’s usual lovely self whilst showing the world that “you’ve got this shit”.

So if you’ve recently installed a future mini dictator into your fine self and you are reading this, never fear, we’ve all pretty much dealt with this in year two. For anyone going through year two with their model I hope my tips help. I’m learning that the cuteness mode is ever increasing and the fun mode has now been upgraded. This upgrade allows you to enjoy their marvel at everything and days out feel a lot more worthwhile. Gone are the days where you take your early model out, waving it at fish tanks in an aquarium hoping for a reaction.

If you have read all of this and have no idea what I am going on about, please rest assured that this is a tongue in cheek account of living with a two year old. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Can you relate?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Mud and Bloom children’s gardening and nature box review

** Disclosure – In return for writing this honest review I was provided with 2 months subscription boxes to Mud & Bloom**

Throughout January and February we have been exploring and enjoying the  Mud & Bloom children’s gardening and nature subscription boxes. Read more to find out how you can get 50% off a Mud & Bloom subscription box.

For more about what Mud & Bloom boxes are, read this taken from the Mud & Bloom website;

“The boxes are for 3-8 year old’s and will be delivered through your letterbox at the beginning of each month.

Each box includes everything you need for two seasonal activities: one gardening and one nature craft – along with instructions, quizzes and games aimed at teaching children about the seasons, plants, insects, birds, soil and rainfall.

Activities have been created by qualified teachers and they support the national curriculum with influence from Forest School, Steiner and Montessori education.”

The founder of Mud & Bloom, Anja, is a mother herself and totally in tune with the kind of crafting activities 3-8 year olds would enjoy. What I love initially about the boxes is that they fit through the letterbox so no hassle.

Like what you hear so far? If you would like 50% off a Mud & Bloom subscription box, enter the code below at the checkout. This code expires 15th March 2018! So hurry!

GORGEOUSGEORGE

gardening

When our boxes arrived, George loved collecting them from the doormat and then excitedly unpacking them whilst I explained the activities we would be doing and what the supplies provided would be used for. Having read other reviews, I know some people like to crack on and do all the activities in the box within a short space of time.

But for us we like to have varied and busy days with a mixture of planned and free play activities. I loved having the Mud & Bloom box as a go to . To fill some quiet time when George (who is 3 years old) seemed restless and in need of some guidance in his play.

gardening

Over the last two months we’ve grown edible sprouting seeds and learnt how they contain different nutrients in their varying states. George was able to use a sieve and muslin to rinse the seeds, before filling a jar with water using a jug. I helped seal it with an elastic band and change the water daily. He didn’t want to taste any of the seeds in the end but we still had fun watching them grow.

gardening

We also made a twig raft which was perfect for my stick hoarding child. This child gets so excited when he sees sticks and twigs and we have quite a selection at home. I set about turning them into a raft using string included in our box. Whilst this was a task that involved more participation from me than G but I actually never realised how simple it was to create a raft so I’m eager to try it on a larger scale now.

It was this particular fact sheet that prompted me to feedback to Anja that I believe the factsheets could be improved with more illustrations and fewer words as secretly I’m still a child at heart and I’m all about the pictures. I understand instructions a lot more in visual rather than written form. These boxes are a work in progress and she is ever improving them.

But by far our favourite crafty task was the pebble painting. This is so on trend right now and little dude loved it (as did I…massively). Checkout our insta to see my fab likeness of our cat Sockies painted onto a pebble.

gardening

The Mud & Bloom subscription boxes get you outside bird watching, hunting for freshly blooming flowers of the season, and make use of all those collections from mother nature that kids seem to be unable to resist bringing home. Stones, twigs, you now have a productive use for them all.

Finally I’d like to share with you a poem I wrote to summarise how we felt about Mud & Bloom subscription boxes. We are most definitely signing up for more. At £7.95 a month, inclusive of postage and packing, these more than prove their worth. And remember, you can cancel or skip your subscription at any time.

Mud and bloom’s box of tricks

Will keep your child’s attention fixed

Full of things to make and grow

Crafting, learning as they go

It’s time to go and hunt supplies

Pebbles, twigs and more to find

Whilst you’re out, take your list

To check off flowers and birds in your midst

For budding green fingers,

Mud and bloom has  you need

Inside their boxes

Guides, peat and seeds

Subscribe to get your treat

Then through your letterbox you will greet

Your monthly box of things to do

Lots of fun for your child and you.

Remember…If you would like 50% off a Mud & Bloom subscription box, visit Mud and Bloom enter the code below at the checkout. This code expires 15th March 2018! So hurry!

GORGEOUSGEORGE

For more inspiration on how to give your kids a passion for gardening, have a read of these great tips Start Gardening With Children .

Thanks for reading. Until next time…..

Do we push our own fears onto our children?

I’ve been pondering, as I do most things, whether as a nation of Brits, whether we are pushing our own fears onto our children?

George is now three and we’ve attended many a baby and toddler class, read many a children’s book and watched many a program aimed at children his age. He’s a child who is learning all about his surroundings, feelings and emotions and how the world works.

The most recent thing we watched that actually sparked this post was a program on a well known British children’s channel. In the show, the children were practicing their nativity play. Two of the girls got up on a stage and acted out the role of Mary and the Angel. After the girls had said their lines, the teacher asked the girls if acting on a stage had made them nervous. They both said no. “Did it make you excited?” she asked. A weak yes response came from both. Fair do’s for asking if it incited varying emotions but what the teacher said next irritated me.

The teacher then turned to the rest of the class and said;

“It’s very hard to get up on stage in front of everyone. “Girl A” usually has a lot of confidence in class but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to get up here, she did really well”.

I get what she’s attempting to do. Praise and credit the girls achievements, but can you see the point I am trying to highlight here?

She has just told a class full of impressionable children that it is a difficult thing to stand up and talk in front of others. And so (to my mind) a potential class of nervous and shy children have been created. You tell a child something, they believe it (typically) For many you have just planted a seed of negativity right there.

And before you think I’m one of those 2017, gets offended by everything types, I so couldn;t be further from it. What I am is someone who says things as I see. We all know that if I tell you long enough the sky is green that eventually, if you are impressionable (as children are) you will start to believe it.

I’ve also on countless times heard the mention of “scary spiders”. Yes, agreed, arachnophobia is a big thing in the world but we are never going to stop it by teaching children that spiders are scary. It’s a never ending cycle of fear being programmed into one generation after the next. Children don’t come out being scared of spiders. We teach it to them. I know the end moral of stories like the one I’ve seen on Peppa pig is that you needn’t be scared of spiders like Mr Skinny Legs but by then it’s too late. You’ve planted the seed. Where are the programs about scary sheep, scary balls or scary paintbrushes? There aren’t many you can name are there!

Then there’s rain. Think about it. As a British nation, specifically in England, the majority of us believe that rain is a negative thing. Admittedly this mentality is changing but there are countless posts about what to do on a rainy day at home. But why does a rainy day have to mean you stay home? And so I draw your attention to a well known nursery rhyme.

“Rain, rain go away, come again another day”

Don’t even get me started on;

“It’s raining, it pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning”

I’m sure you are thinking that children don’t over analyse these things.  But you have to admit that we could be planting seeds in our children’s minds that suggest rain is negative. You can’t go out in the rain, it needs to go away, no one likes it. Why!?

It’s hard for me as a mother who grew up scared of almost everything. The dark, spiders, going fast, swimming, the wind, loud noise, heights, going upstairs by myself, ghosts, dead people, being shy. I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault I was that way. I can almost pinpoint a life event that caused each of those fears but I bet I’ve forgotten about the episode of a programme that first instilled that idea into me, or a lady saying something to me on the bus, or a book that was read to me at the library.

As an adult I now try my hardest to not be fearful of anything. Using willpower, hypnotherapy and just a basic “couldn’t give a shit” attitude I’ve managed to conquer most of those fears. Post natal depression will do that for you as well I found. Once you’ve seen the lowest parts of yourself you aren’t scared of much else your daily life has to offer. But for George I’ve always wanted different. If I can avoid him gaining a fear of things I will.

He has already developed several fears that affect him in fits and starts and to be honest I can only think they are things he has seen on television as he certainly hasn’t witnessed them from me or his dad. We greet spiders like they are long lost friends, we poo poo suggestions we hear on tele of people saying they are scared of the dark etc. We encourage him to discover, explore and push himself, safe in the knowledge that we will be there if he feels he needs us to support him.

Once he starts full time school I know this will become harder. Perhaps we all need a little fear to make us rounded individuals. I personally feel fear holds you back and you miss out on areas of life because of it. Shyness for example. Would I have taken part in so much more, been part of so many groups had I not been shy. I wouldn’t have taken so much bullshit and I may, possibly, have been happier for it instead of feeling bitter about a lot of my school years.

What do you think? Do you think this is a British thing? I can’t help wondering if children raised in other countries/cultures/environments have different fears because of different exposures. For example in countries where they don’t a lot of television, if any, do children have these fears? Or as Brits are we creating the next anxious and fearful generation?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday