Category Archives: Parenting

Last Day Of School Holidays – Welcoming The Return With Open Arms.

💃 It’s the last day of the school holidays and I can’t say I’m not doing a little victory dance 💃

This time last year I was preparing for George’s first ever day of preschool, and let’s just say I wasn’t in a great place. Read all about it here. He cried, I cried, I pretty much cried my way through September. But it got easier. We both made friends, fab friends who we now have the most fun with. The little shits weren’t that bad and in this past year George has more than learnt to handle himself or deal with tricky situations. For all the anxious Mama’s packing their children off to their first day, I promise you, it gets better.

I’ll always remember pre motherhood seeing mums saying “is it time for the kids to go back to school yet…hurry the fuck up”

And my innocent little mind was thinking “oh why do you mothers detest your children so much?!”

“You asked for those little buggers, why aren’t you cherishing every gorgeous hair on their head every moment of your blessed day!” (Laughs deliriously)

And then I became a Mama. I put my kid in nursery and school holidays were still life as normal for me. Then due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to take him out of nursery. He got a place at the local government preschool system last September.

I never forget the realisation that every school holiday I would have to look after my OWN child 24/7 for a week or more! Now in all honesty the first half term in October was a blesséd relief. I think we both cried our way through September and we needed to get ‘our’ time back.

Cut to today when we are on the last day of our first experience of SIX WHOLE WEEKS of the schools being closed. I’m not going to lie. It’s flown by in a funny kind of way. All these plans we had and we didn’t get around to half of them. Seeing all these posts of “you only get 18 summers with your child” aren’t helpful.

On the one hand you are thinking “Fuck” I’ve got to make this summer all singing, all dancing, cherish every minuscule moment of every day. On the other you are thinking this was totally written by someone that doesn’t have kids! What teenager spends every day of the summer with their Mum! I’m thinking we’ve got 10 summers together max!

Anyway, that’s neither here or there. Facing facts, me and George are bored of one another. My creative enthusiasm for playing and inventing new activities is at its lowest. Owing mostly to the fact I spend ages setting something up, he looks at it and just wants to watch television or do something else. I don’t think he even knows what he wants anymore.

school

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that….

George has pretty much refused to be looked after by any family or friends this summer so it’s been full on. As a result he has tested our parenting boundaries something chronic.

He so badly needs to go back to preschool and gain some discipline and control over his behaviour. Listening to people in charge that aren’t his parents. I have huge respect to the preschool workers who take care of our little darlings each session.

We have resorted to a behaviour chart but that’s another story for another day.

school

So all the mamas I silently judged pre motherhood, this is my apology to you. Looking after your own kid for 6 full weeks is bloody intensive. And don’t read this in a “she’s a cold hearted bitch” kinda way. Most mamas know I’m being facetious. Us mamas are only human and we have to have time off being in charge of mini humans.

I literally feel like tomorrow when I drop him off will be the biggest relief. Not least because I’m still not sure if he will get upset and make drop offs difficult as he did for the majority of last year. He loved it once he’s there. I’ve seen the pictures and videos as proof. Often I can see or hear he’s stopped crying before I’m out of the playground.

And what will I be doing? Well I have a few more things to prepare before my big revelation about why I’ve been so optimistic and positive of late. (Although this post really isn’t indicative of this ) .

school

And when I go to pick George up I’m hoping I find a child that’s refreshed and ready to adore my company again and me him. He literally said to me, can you go out and not come back please so me and Daddy can just watch Knightrider. Thanks kid. Love you too. I’m totally ready for him to be someone else’s problem for three hours.

How do you feel about the school holidays. Baring in mind we are still going through the toddler tantrum stage. My stance may change as the years progress. Are the long summer holidays  even necessary? Couldn’t we just break up the other terms?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

My Life, The Comedy Sketch Show – No Use Crying Over Spiders And Spilt Paint

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.

So it’s been a few crazy weeks. Ain’t it always!

The other day something which at first seemed initially terrifying, soon became absolutely hilarious. I was in hysterics. After the shock subsided and my heart rate went down of course.

I literally try my damnedest to make sure George doesn’t develop arachnophobia., or any phobia for that matter! I had it myself up until a few years ago when we accidentally cured it with hypnotherapy. It was bad.

Every Time I was in an enclosed space with one I would scream or cry or both. Enclosed being a room in my own house! I love gardening but hubs would often find me doing some weird strip dance in the garden where I convinced myself one had crawled in my clothes. I used to even get colleagues to catch them in the corridor at work. Just in case it made its way into our department.

So arachnophobia majorly tamed, I’m pretty brave and even catch the buggers now! So this is how a pretty ordinary Friday went down.

I was washing up in the kitchen, seriously I feel like I live at the kitchen sink! We were due to go out and I knew my mum would be turning up whilst we was out. She always walks straight in and does the washing up if I haven’t. So in an effort to show her at 34 I’m a responsible adult and I have actually washed up the breakfast stuff by mid afternoon here I was.

George was merrily eating a kinder egg and watching Zootropolis of all things in the lounge next door. Suddenly he started screaming. The I’m-being-kidnapped-by -a-maniac-that’s-climbed-In-The-Window kind of scream. I ran in and as my eyes scanned the area, I saw a daddy long legs climbing up his bare thigh!

I’m usually all like “oh hi mr skinny legs, how can we help you today” when we see a spider. But the poor kid was just sitting there clutching his kinder egg and screaming, tears rolling down his cheeks. I smacked the spider with a nearby cushion then grabbed George and whisked him off the settee to the floor. As I gave him a hug to calm him, I showed him the defeated spider laying stunned on the settee.

He had a kinder egg so to be fair the situation calmed pretty quick. I told him I wasn’t scared I was just shocked by his screaming. As I wiped his tears and removed the spider I began laughing hysterically (although I also do this when I’m nervous). George smirked as I explained why it was actually quite funny. So fingers crossed that’s turned that into a happy memory and not a future phobia.

crying

I don’t know about you but I’m a huge advocate for women being self sufficient. Despite having been in a long term relationship for 20 years, I don’t believe in man jobs and woman’s jobs. You may often see me use the hashtag jokingly embracing my inner pussycat doll with #Idontneedamantomakeithappen. I grew up watching my mum take her hand to everything and was encouraged to do the same. Not always successfully. Read all about the time I used an aerosol to hammer in a nail here.

So in our house I’m Jackie of all trades. Cooking, cleaning, DIY, decorating, gardening, changing a car battery, you name it, I can do it, or I’ll give it a go. So here I was painting our bedroom. We stupidly painted 3 of the walls brown when we moved in ten years ago. A vision of chocolate and duck egg blue was achieved but it was time to neutralise it as we are looking to sell up.

So here’s me on day two of white washing the walls with a magnolia emulsion. Day one went great. I painted the whole room in the last hour before preschool pick up. Then gave it a second coat after picking George up. Don’t ever let it be said that you can’t get shit done with a toddler around. All you need is an iPad and a pack of Haribos.

So day two and it needs a final coat. I’ve just about enough of my lush satin paint to finish the three walls. Let me set you a scene. The furniture is all pushed to the middle of the room. The tele is covered with a dust sheet in case there’s any splash back. I pick up the tub of paint, place it on the windowsill (yeah you see where this is going) proceed to prise the lid off. It’s a little stuff after using it the day before.

It pops off quite forcefully, the tub flips….the end of the divan, the bed sheets, the laminate flooring covered! Thick oozing paint. Thankfully hubs was due to go out in ten minutes but was still around because at that moment I really did need a man to make it happen! I needed him to lift the bed whilst I got the paint off the leg and stopped it being smeared across the floor. Lots of kitchen roll and wet wipes later (yet another use for wet wipes) and everything was clean. We lost the bed sheets but they were looking tired anyways.

crying
Image Courtesy of Pexels.com

The bastard paint was now over half gone, Luckily I managed to mix some other paint in to make it go further and the bedroom is now looking lush, it virtually glows in the dark! Moral of the story? Open paint on the bloody floor with the dust sheet down already you twat!

I literally couldn’t wait to tell my mum and sisters as it took us all right back to our childhood. My step dad John was up a ladder, paint on the top of her ladder, carpet down…you guessed it. The poor watering can got kicked all the way down the garden as me and step sis were sent to McDonalds to get a large milkshake to cheer him up.

I’d like to point out that no watering cans were harmed in the writing of this post, none made after the year 1995 anyway 😜

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Predicting The Future – What Will My Child Become?

We all want our child to become something amazing…don’t we? An astronaut, the next intellectual mastermind, a doctor, olympic gold medalist. We enrol them in piano lessons, footie trials, phonics classes, making them count every step so they can be ahead of their peers.

When he was still in my womb, I was adamant George was going to be a genius. He wasn’t going to get it from me, even his Dad isn’t of genius status. But was Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking’s parents of a high IQ level? I honestly don’t know, but I really thought it was something I could nurture George to be. It’s becoming evident that he wasn’t born a genius. Some of his peers are already ahead of him and amaze me so much with their knowledge and abilities. I’m pretty sure if you have a genius on your hands you would know by the time they are 2 years old.

So genius status out of the window I’m thinking rock legend, footie player, olympic snowboarder or maybe an architect? I’m totally not one of these pushy parents. Whilst we try to include learning in our everyday play, I’m all for enjoying the world around us. I totally believe in the notion that children learn best through play. With George I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Right now, in his three long years, I can’t pinpoint any one particular skill that he has. Anything that seems extraordinary for a child of his age. Except one thing.

Health and safety.

Since he was a dot he has been meticulous about health and safety. Constantly risk assessing everything. Whilst he learnt to walk at 11 months, it wasn’t without some blatant risk assessing going on. He was too scared to sit himself back down again when he learned to stand by himself. He would stand himself up then cry until someone helped him sit back on the ground again. Bumping on to his bottom was not an option. And so it’s continued.

He once spent 20 full minutes at the top of a baby slide at the soft play, assessing whether it was safe to go down. I was directing the other children to go round him until eventually he decided to climb back down the steps and abandon all notion of it. You can’t force him to do things he deems risky either or he will cry for a lot longer than just the task in hand.

As time as gone on though I have noticed that this behaviour isn’t fear. He isn’t scared of climbing or jumping or running. He’s more than content to lean over the edge when we are at the top of a really high castle wall. He loves going fast on his bike and scooter and whizzing them up ramps.

It appears he is actually scared of anything which makes him feel out of control. Swings, slides,roundabouts, fair rides…if he can’t be in complete control of what happens he won’t enter into it.

So that’s his niche. His forté. He likes to be in charge, in control, getting his own way. I often liken him to a mini communist dictator. What three-year old doesn’t like getting their own way though! Only we have noticed a pattern lately when hubs pointed out this is very much Mummy’s forté.

I am master of getting my own way and not in a diva dance but just skilfully and tactfully willing people round to my idea. Failing that I’m so laid back sometimes I often go with the flow, I do like a surprise.

So what of my control freak child. What future will this trait lead him to? I’m so excited to find out. Of course there’s absolutely no pressure on him to be anything fabulous. Someone at George’s school recently shared a quote on the group page which really struck with me;

‘Don’t become preoccupied with your child’s academic ability. Instead, teach them to sit with those sitting alone. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to offer their help. Teach them to be a friend of the lonely. Teach them to encourage others. This is how they’ll change the world.'”

Author unknown. 

I think this says it all.

George is amazing. You can literally see him analysing and processing tasks during play. He is master of building and creating things. His imagination is much like my own and he loves nothing more than to watch the world go by.

He has a passion for living creatures and making sure they are safe. We once spent 10 minutes in the street, waiting to ensure a snail had safely crossed the pavement. I offered to assist, I wasn’t allowed. Maybe he will become the future David Attenborough?

In all honesty as long as he is happy and enjoys what he does and it sustains his way of life then I’m happy for my future son, whatever he may become.

What hopes and dreams do you have for your child(ren)?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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.

  • 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

  • But the master of name inspiration totally goes to fellow blogger Mandi. Her seven children all have not only unusual names, but they each have a story. Both detailing how they got their names and what their names mean. Read all about her wonderful family at Big Family Organised Chaos .

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…..