Category Archives: Parenting

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

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

Life with a toddler – the 2014 model 

Does anyone else have a toddler, the male, 2014 model? Mine came with the early speech development add on already installed. The only reason I enquire is that I’m not sure if mine has a glitch?

Let me explain in more detail. So this model was behaving fairly normally for two years and three months. In the past month though it’s suddenly developed a possible malfunction. The requests for certain things come flying from it hourly, only  when I produce these items the model then proceeds to go into meltdown. It makes a high pitched whining noise and can often just collapse to the floor demanding the opposite to the thing it just requested? Exasperating much!

Toddler
The early speech development add on is useful in these situations in that it helps to determine more quickly, the error which has occurred. But it doesn’t always seem satisfied with my efforts to rectify the error. It can often produce statements which are very contradictory.

For instance the original demand may have been;

“I want dip dip”, however, after have responded to the demand by supplying said “dip dip” it then declares rather loudly that it “didn’t want dip dip!” It’s very difficult to get the settings right!

Providing hours of entertainment for me  and my Facebook friends, I can’t fault it! The extra cute add on was definitely a wise investment, as was the “heart melting smile” option. It’s very helpful with everyday tasks and responds pretty well to suggestions and commands.

A pretty fuel efficient model in that most of what I try to get it to consume it is rejected and instead it prefers to run on empty.  Relatively good at recharging itself through the day and night although sometimes I do have to help it during this process. I’m not sure if it was accidentally installed with the “extra reassurance” add on but it doesn’t seem to want to be left alone when recharging, preferring to have it’s hand held at all times.

Overall I love my male, toddler 2014 model. I am thinking of getting another but maybe hold out for the 2020 toddler model. I’ve heard that it may sync with my 2014 model better.

If you can offer any tips to helps with these glitches then please do. I’m sure they are only temporary though. I shall continue to monitor and document the behaviour for the time being.

Until next time……

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday