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An Open Letter To My Son

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Today is my first day back at work after a full two weeks off with my kids. I have had the best time. You see, they have been on top form (for a change!) and such great fun. We haven’t had any problems or night terrors from my son and it is making me wonder just how much me working crazy hours is really affecting him. So this is an open letter to him. The week before he starts pre-school. And the very first day I have questioned my choice to be a working mum.

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Yesterday saw you having to go through your last set of immunistaions – it feels like you’ve had a million! You were so brave and I felt like the worst person in the world holding you tight while the nurse gave you the shots. You looked at me with such horror that I had to hold back the tears and smile as I told you it would all be over soon. I cuddled you and told you what a brave boy you were, as you shook and huddled into me. It felt great being able to put you to bed last night but a huge hole in my heart opened up when I realised that tomorrow I’d be back at work again and someone else would be the first person to see your cheeky smile when you woke up.
For the last two weeks we have had a lot of fun. Seeing your face when we took you to Diggerland will be forever ingrained in my brain! I honestly didn’t think it was possible for anyone to be that excited. You were shaking so hard as we walked through the car park and I thought you were going to pee yourself when we went inside. Moments like this are precious. But do you know what? All the fun stuff we got up to on our holidays were great, but we still get to experience fun stuff on my days off when I’m back at work. What I really loved about our holidays was the knowledge that I got to be there everyday. When you would wake up and say ‘no nursery today mum?’ With a look of anticipation, then pure joy when I told you that I was there all day. My heart hurt so much to realise just what that means to you. I know you get on great at nursery and love the days you spend with your dad and nana but I also know how much you just want to spend every day with me. And I can tell you my little lover that the feeling is mutual.

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Yes some days you are an areshole. There. I said it! Offering me a bogey and telling me they taste delicious, jumping off the toilet seat and spraying my nice new pumps with pee, being a grumpy bugger when you need a nap but refuse to have one. Many instances where I would happily trade you for a glass of wine! But you are a remarkable little dude. You are funny – like really funny! You have great comic timing and make me and your dad crease with laughter every day. Your smile and little dimple make everyone you meet fall in love with you. Your knowledge and smart arse tendancies are amazing and make me proud when I see that spark of determination and grit in your personality.

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But the look of sadness and resignation I get when I tell you that I’m back to work soon makes me break. Knowing that there are days when I only see you for ten minutes in the whole day and sometimes not at all, make me my jaw tighten and my head hurt from holding it all in.
I will always love the weekends I get to go away with your dad or to see my friends. For I am still me. One day you will find this too. A person inside the parent costume. And I need time for me as well. But it feels different. Getting away to recharge myself and going away everyday to work. I am constantly in turmoil. I need to work but at what cost? Does extra money in the bank make up for me not being there? Would I be a happy mum if I was at home full time? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. Your mum who always has all the answers can’t answer you that. Sometimes I am so sure of myself. So confident in ny decisions. Ther times I question everything. I hope that you will grow up knowing you are loved. Loved more than I can ever tell you or show you – although the kisses and cuddles you get won’t stop for a while I can promise you that. One day I will tell you that there were days like today where I cried so hard about not being there that I had to pretend to have hayfever to not look like an idiot! That it took a lot of soul searching not to jump in the car and just come back home. So I write this to you, my gorgeous boy. On a day when mummy is having doubts about doing the right thing. On a day where time seems to be moving at warp speed and you my baby boy are disappearing, being replaced by a growing boy whos need are changing. Whatever happens in the future know that I tried. I did what I thought was best for us all. And that’s all any of us can do.

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Mum xx

Bridie By The Sea
Naptime Natter

Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall

5 Star Show!

20170804_104107Where do I start…
Edinburgh Fringe – Check
Family friendly – Check
Kids will love it – Check
Adults will enjoy it just as much – Double Check!

Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall is the brainchild of Monica Corduff-Gonzalez. After having her very own boogie baby in 2010 she came up with the idea of having a baby disco where parents can really let loose with their little ones.
We arrived at the Assembly George Square about half an hour before the show was due to start. As a long time lover of the Fringe it was my first foray into the world of Childrens Shows! We took our own snacks as the kids are not at the age where the street food and takeaway food available was suitable! There are loads of picnic benches set up in a brilliant courtyard that is super child friendly.

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You can’t take buggies into the theatre so had to leave them outside – I wish I had known that in advance. The guys at the door were great though and had them all covered in a tarpaulin against the rain and when we came out they were brilliant at helping get the buggies back out!
The music was in full swing as we entered the ‘tent’ and Monski Mouse and her crew gave us the warmest welcome. There followed an hour of pumping tunes, shiny disco balls and funky dance moves! I encountered grans, grandads, nannies, aunties, dads and mums along with their kids and the age ranged from crawling up to around 5 years of age. Monski Mouse had them doing the jive, rocking around the clock, breaking down to outcast and finishing off with some conga and dirty dancing!

Our host has years of experience as a dj and it really showed. I was suprised how much fun it was and Monski Mouse kept the energy levels up but also had a little interlude of sleeping bunnies which helped chill the little ones out.

Take snacks, plenty of juice and a memory of your going out days!

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The atmosphere was really fun, I expected a lot of uncomfortable shuffling but in the darkened glow of the disco lights everyone let loose!
My kids are 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 and both loved it equally – my younger daughter maybe enjoyed it a bit more as she was mesmerised by the disco ball, I am totally buying her one now!
I would highly recommend this show if you are thinkimg about travelling to the Fringe with your family it is brilliant fun.

 

I would rate this 5 Stars!

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Venue: Assembly Festival George Square – Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete
Dates: 4,5,6,10,11,12,13,17,18,19,20,25,26,27 August
Time: 11:00
https://www.assemblyfestival.com

Ticket Prices: £7.50, children under 6 months old enter free

20170804_104241https://www.assemblyfestival.com

 

www.monskimouse.com
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @MonskiMouse

I was given free tickets for the show in exchange for a full and frank review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Please let me know if you go along!

Pam xxx

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Stack of double choc chip cookies!

These cookies taste just like the ones you can get from the shops but cost next to nothing to whip up and can be made and baked in under half an hour! Once the cookie dough is made it can be tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Can be baked straight from the fridge and only take about 2 hours to defrost from the freezer.

P.s they are definitely not one for the diet concious! Should be part of a balanced diet and if making for kids you could make them smaller and omit the salt.

 

Oven 170°c

Ingredients

• 250g unsalted butter

• 1 1/2 cups caster sugar

• 2 eggs

• 2 cups Plain Flour

• 3/4 cup cocoa powder

• 1tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

• 100g chocolate chips or buttons

 

Method

• Cream butter and sugar (make sure butter is soft and beat it together with the sugar for about 5 min until lighter in colour)

• Add in eggs and mix well (will probably look a bit lumpy and weird this is fine don’t worry!)

• Add flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda and chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. (Some recipes ponce about adding stuff in a certain way, I have made these a million times trying every method and have found that sticking it all in together makes no odds! So to make it as easy as possible that’s what I do!) Dough shoud be stiff enough that you can pick up some without it sticking to your hands too much. If it’s too wet then add another tablespoon of flour until the right consistancy. If too dry add a tiny splash of milk.

• Take handfulls of the dough about the size of a large egg and roll into a ball, place on baking tray and squash down to resemble a burger (food references make it easier for me to picture what it should look like!)

• Place quite far apart on the bakimg tray, I usually only get about 5 to a tray as they can spread a bit.

• Bake for 12 min and take out, they will still be very soft, have a look and you should see that the outside are well cooked – if they look too soft put back in for another 3min. When you take them out leave them on the tray for 10 min to firm up before removing and putting on a cooling rack.

They taste bloomin amazing warm! (And the kids will REALLY enjoy helping out! 😂)

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Should make about 14 good size cookies. I used orange chocolate buttons I had leftover from cake decorating and I would buy them again for these cookies as they tasted great. They are also great with whie choc chips or any choc chips really!!

Enjoy! Send me pics of you and your cookies!!

 

Pam xxx

 

Building Confidence

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When I was a teenager I had the usual anxieties about my appearance and abilities. But now in my thirties I’m starting to feel more settled in my skin. That’s not to say I don’t often get hangups about myself. I spend hours questioning my parenting abilities. Wether I’m a good wife and struggle a lot with my weight and horrible skin!  But latelt I can generally get my head back to a better place a bit quicker.

We all have our insecurities. Some stem from childhood, some are relatively new based on experiences. You may have always been told you weren’t the brightest spark, you might have been a spotty teen, you may look in the mirror and get anxious about your ability to do your job or feel down about your changing appearance (grey hairs, wrinkles or mum tum anyone?).

I hear everyone talking about being ‘stressed’. I say it myself sometimes. And I never mean to take away from people who are suffering from any form of mental illness when I use that word, but I do understand there are different levels of stress. I don’t believe anyone should be belittled for feeling like they are struggling and just because what you are feeling hasn’t been defined or even perhaps diagnosed, makes it no less real for the person suffering.

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One of the best things I have come across lately is Mindfulness. A word that kind of makes my eyes roll unintentionally but infact has all the basics of what my mums always taught me. In essence it’s all about paying attention to the present and your own ability to gain more happiness. Now as a disclaimer I have no training in anything, everything I say comes from my own research, perception and experiences and should be taken as guidance and with a generous pinch of salt!

I start by picking a regular time during the day or week where I can take a little time out. For me it’s usually a Sunday afternoon or early evening. I go for a shower and thats my time for me.

I close my eyes and think about what is happening all around.

I think about things happening in my life and try and work out what I have no control over. I try and let these things slide away and give myself a pass on the guilt or stress. Every week I can have the same things crop up and they won’t go away. But just thinking it through, bringing it up and not ignoring it can make me feel better.

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I like making lists, so I try and work through a mental to do list. (If it becomes too much or I have so much on my list that I am becoming stressed then I stop and bin it!  It’s just good thinking through things that need done and   other things that would be nice to manage. Working out what would happen if I don’t achieve my list helps me realise that it’s ok to not always get there.

I look in the mirror and judge everything. This obviously won’t be for everyone! But for me I enjoy a good nitpicking session. I work out if there’s anything I can work on – Fat arms…yes. Wrinkly eyes..no!  I try and find something positive and find things I can accentuate.

Meditation is supposed to be incredibly good for you and there are loads of websites out there showing you how to start. For me it’s a no go, I can’t sit still! That’s just me and its not going to change. But I do practice the deep breathing excercises I’ve practiced and it does calm me. Breathing in for a count of 8 then out for a count of 8.

Finally I do a thankful and hopeful shoutout. I look at what and who I have in my life and what I have or could have ahead of me. It’s so easy to get caught up day to day in the worst things and by looking at the best bits it can give you the boost you need.

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I hope you enjoyed reading and if you are at all interested then you should definitely check out Mindfulness. There are a lot of really great websites out there offering tips on stress management and for a busy working mum I know I need all the help I can get sometimes!

There’s is no shame in admitting you need help – we are not superheroes. And you don’t have to wait until you are at breaking point before starting to help yourself.

As always I love hearing from you so please let me know what you think and any stategies you use!

Pam xxx

stayclassymama-badge

Lucy At Home

 

DreamTeam-1

Go with the Flow

8IMG_20170605_131802We all get it. Every goddam month. Theres no relief.  We have to buy the products. Pretend we aren’t living proof of the ‘hormonal’ stereotype – when some months we literally want to lounge in our pants, crying over donkey sanctuary adverts (or else getting overtly aggressive for no reason), eating our body weight in chocolate…not just me surely?!

I’ve been a lover of subscription boxes before, I’ve tried out Birchbox and My Little Box. Both beauty subscriptions that have been fun but ultimately I’m left with a drawer full of cosmetic samples I’ll never use.

Period boxes. Sound grim don’t they? There are a lot on the market at the moment but I chose to give Ms Flow a go. You select what products you use, brands and everything. Then tell them how heavy your flow is and how long it generally lasts, also what date you want to receive your box. They make up tailored boxes to suit you.

Every box comes with your sanitary supplies in lovely paper bags. Things that have been on my boxes include: scented candles, heat packs, a cream that soothes pain (which I’ve gone on to google to order as it was amazing for cramping), chocolate, bath salts, face cream, tea bags, popcorn and loads more.

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My subscription costs £12.99 a month and you can choose to pay for a three month bundle , it automatically renews but can be cancelled at any time. The cost varied depending on the products you select and the quantity required. There is a discount of 15% at the moment for new customers.

I love getting gifts so for me this is the main attraction. It comes in the post in plain packaging. Inside however is a beautiful box filled with tissue paper and an array of goodies. I love getting mine. It has taken the hassle out of remembering to buy tampax and of course never running out as the boxes come well stocked. The selection of products that have been included have been really different each month keeping it fresh. I love that you get edibles and a full size beauty product in each box. The scented candle is a lovely touch – I just wish the label on it didnt say Ms Flow! Doesn’t look the nicest on the mantlepiece. That’s probably the only thing I could pick at as I genuinely like the product.

Is it something I will continue with?

Yes. For the moment I will continue my subscription, but like other boxes it may become something that I get fed up of – or find better ways to spend the money on!

Is it something I recommend?

Yes. Getting a lovely parcel filled with goodies is a great boost some days and you will find every item useful. And the fact you can cancel anytime means you aren’t tied in to expensive contracts.

Let me know what you think.

I was not paid for this post. All thoughts and opinions exressed are my own .

Find out more here

Pam xx

Naptime Natter

Life Hacks!

So after asking what everyone wanted to read about this was the topic that appealed the most – Life Hacks! I sat and pondered and wrote quite a few pages on things to make life as a working mum easier, tips for dealing with a newborn and a toddler and helpful advice for round the house. But it all just sounds so bloody patronising!! We all know the little tricks that can make our lives easier – it just so happens that life gets in the way and our brain farts and we dont actually apply any of them! So I want you to take all of the following with a pinch of salt. No one actually puts everything into practice, those ‘instagram/pinterest perfect mums’ are a figment of your imagination and someone who appears to be really put together is most likely kicking like fuck underneath it all to stay afloat! Hopefully some of this advice will get filtered away and come in useful at some point.

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For the busy mummas.

•Instead of having the kids clothes seperated into tops, trousers ect in their drawers; start putting together outfits and fold them together. Makes getting clothes ready for nursery, childcare much easier and saves your husband dressing them like tramps (appologies to all the amazing dads out there! My hubby just seems to be a fashion retard and thinks nothing of matching a red skirt with a green vest and orange cardi for baby girl!)

•Menu plan! Cant stress enough how much simpler this will make your life! Also saves heaps of cash. Set out time to write out a weeks worth of lunches and dinners then plan your shopping around this. Stick a copy up in the fridge so you remember what needs defrosting and whoevers home first knows whats to be made. Saves food waste and arguments come 7pm when nothing is ready for dinner and you end up having pasta and a jar of sauce for the fifth night in a row!

•Clean the bathroom when you go for a shower. Keep those flash bathroom wipes in the bathroom cabinet (or at a push use baby wipes that will always be kicking about) and once you’re out the shower after work or really quickly in the morning, give the place a going over. Saves it getting to the point where it resembles a public toilet – especially if you have boys!

•Get rid of the laundry basket! Best thing we ever did. Start just putting dirty washing in the washing machine-when you can’t fit any more in you know its piling up so sort it out and get a load on! I can’t tell you how much this has saved my sanity. Now I never have piles of washing only ever two loads at most. (My tumble drier and ironing basket are another matter entirely and I’m sometimes quite delusional about whas going to happen to it, I hate ironing.)

•Invest in a handheld hoover and attach the holder to somewhere you can see it. We have a Dyson Animal and seriously have no idea what we did before it! So easy to whip it round to get crumbs and mess and keep the place looking respectable. Like the bathroom it still needs a proper going over every week but for keeping it clean during the week it’s so handy.2017-04-27 09.01.59

 

Tips for juggling two kids!

•Invest in stair gates and child locks! Stick a stair gate across the living room doorway then you can get on with stuff. Oherwise you will have the baby crawling all over the place and the toddler getting into everything.

•Include the eldest in everything. My son gets me wipes and nappies for changing time. Helped feed his baby sister when she moved to solids and all when he was only 2. (Im a slave driver) I think it helped them get on.

•Use people. Get friends and relative on side to take one kids for an hour so you can have some one -on-one time with the other. Don’t hesitate to do this it’s not ‘picking’ between them but giving them both some quality time to have attention purely on them.

•Sink baths are perfectly acceptable! There are a few nights where I will fill the kitchen sink after dinner and dunk the kids in one after the other for a scrub down rather than spend ages filling the bath. They get a reasonable clean and find it really fun-make sure all dinner stuff is well out of reach first! And towels at the ready. Makes life a bit easier.20170608_165017

•Make sure your other half is on board. Don’t fall into the trap of doing everything – I’m a complete control freak so I’m still working on this! I complain when husbter doesn’t do anything but then shout at him when he does something and it’s not how I do it, no winning. I know I need to relax about things a lot more and accept the fact that others are perfectly capable and my way isn’t the only way (I’ll believe that one day Im sure!)

 

General Life hacks

•Glue a hook behind the highchair and hang bibs on it, means you’ll always have some handy.

•Stick a cupcake case over the end of an ice lolly stick to stop sticky fingers.20170619_115659

•Buy spinkles. Seriously kids will eat almost anything if you put sprinkes on. Fruit salad for pudding!

•Invest in a shoes rack or basket for the front door and teach the kids to put their shoes in it when you get home. I was suprised how quickly my toddler adapted to this and its saves heaps of time no more searching for missing trainers-well except mine!20170701_151137

•Put your dressing gown back on once you’re dressed in the morning-no more sticky handprints on your work trousers or snot smeared up your jumper! Just remember to whip it off before you leave! Best hack ever!

•Have a box in the garage(or loft) where you chuck toys that are past their best or not being played with. Once a month you can go through it and see if they’ve been missed, if not they can be binned, sold or donated.

•Write out all contact numbers and emergency numbers and keep it on a pinboard on the kichen. Means that when you have someone looking after the kids you don’t have to re write it all you can just show them where all the numbers are.

•Have a car bag. Fill it with changes of clothes for the kids, nappies and wipes, a towel (especially if you have a travel sick tot!) Bottles of juice and some snacks with a long shelf life. Keep some jackets in the car and some of those hand warmers too. Saved my life when i broke down on the motorway on a snowy day with a 1 year old!

•Synch calanders with your other half. I run on my mobile planner, I have to with my shift pattern. So we have collated our work, childcare and social engagements so we know when we have free time and who is doing what. Saves for any arguments or a clash.

•Make doctors/dentists  appointments for first thing in the morning as it tends to mean you have less chance of waiting due to them overrunning. And when you are waiting with kids every minute helps!

•Buy birthday cards in bulk. Hide away any bags of sweets the kids are given that they don’t need along with unwanted presents-they always get given duplicate stuff. Then you can look like the most ‘on top of it mum’ when  someones birthday comes around! No more mad dash to the corner shop hoping they have a card suitable for a 3 year old boy or having to give a 2 year old a box of milk tray cos thats all the shop had!

•Buy a pad of thank you notes. Come in really handy as you always need to thank people for helping out or for gifts.

And the best hack of all? Stop feeling guilty and just say no! Don’t say you can make an event that will stress you out. Don’t agree to bake for a group when you hate baking and don’t have time. No one actually minds if you are just honest. None of us are Wonder Woman.

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Well I hope you manage to take something from all this! Let me know if you found anything uselful and share with me your top life hacks!

 

Pam xxxx

Lucy At Home

Top tips for travelling with small children!

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Since we became a family of four; a year ago, we have been away a lot for weekend breaks and a couple of week long UK holidays. We haven’t travelled abroad yet because (Im not brave enough!)I don’t fancy paying lots until the kids are old enough to remember it. I do love a getaway though so we have got it down to a fine art. Don’t be scared to travel with the kids they are suprisingly adaptable! The packing, the travelling, the sleeping arrangements I have it covered so here is my easy guide!

• Sleeping arrangements. Most hotels and even some holiday parks offer travel cots in the rooms. We try to take our own travel cot and the babys matress from her own cot with us if we have the space as they always sleep so mucb better. If this isn’t an option then take as many of the babys blankets as you can to pad out the travel cot and make it as comfy for baby as possible. If you have a toddler then check if they can provide a bed guard. If not we push the beds together, we have all slept together on occassion or push a bed up against the wall and layer the floor next to it with pillows incase they roll out! Most obstacles in terms of sleeping arrangements can be overcome. Take all the kids comforters and their own pillow.

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•  Take a travel blackout blind they are lifesavers especially in caravans and lodges that have flimsy curtains.

• Take a nightlight if your wee one is used to having one, and don’t forget the baby monitor it is handy in lodges/caravans.

•Don’t worry about sticking ridgidly to your usual routine! It won’t cause a catastrophe and upset their sleeping forever. Stick to the basics as much as you can and try to either arrange to have them back at your accommodation, in the car or else somewhere they can be in the buggy for their nap times. No point having cranky babies!  Try and get them to nap later in the afternoon if you want to go out for dinner then they aren’t as grumpy. We always give a later afternoon snack if we are going to go out for dinner at half five. Can also put the baby in a sleepsuit before you go out so if they fall asleep they can be trasferred to their cot.

• If you are staying in a hotel, check you will have a kettle and mini fridge in your room. These are essential when travelling with a baby.  If it’s not going to be possible then invest in a travel kettle. You can buy travel steriliser bags that you fill with water and can add the bottles and hang up on a door peg overnight so you dont have to take a steriliser if travelling with small babies. (Obviously only applicable for bottle feeding).

•If staying in a lodge/caravan then check if you have an enclosed veranda. These can be heaven if you can sit outside and know the kids are safe. Also means you can put your feet up!

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• In a lodge/caravan then you have a kitchen so you can take all your regular food to prepare. In a hotel we always take plenty of snacks and also some porridge pots that can be made up with boiling water especially if your little ones like ours and are hungry when they get up!  We are always up much earlier than the hotels start serving beeakfast so we take things to have as a pre-breakfast! Those individual choc chip brioche are a godsend too.

•Check the place you are staying provides towels-saves on space whe packing!

•Invest in a roofbox for the car it gives so much space when the kids are little and you have a buggy in the boot!

•If self catering then as soon as you arrive move anything dangerous or breakable out of the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen that the kids can get in. I always put all the knives, graters and glass bowls in high cupboards then you don’t have to worry about them getting anything.

•Check travel times and try and leave about half an hour before the kids would be due a nap. This means you can usually travel a bit further before they get fed up or need to stop for a pee. Try to leave it an hour after they have eaten incase they are travel sick. If you know your little one is travel sick then pack a towel, bin liner,wipes and changes of clothes somewhere easy to pull out. You can also buy liners for the carseats. Check your route and make sure you have  places to stop at 2 hourly intervals if needed.

The first time we stayed in a hotel with the kids we thought it was going to be a nightmare but both kids slept great-I think because when you are away you have busy days which knacker them out. I definitely prefer lodges and caravans where you can have seperate rooms though it’s much nicer at night not to have to sit in the dark and whisper like we have been known to do in a hotel room with both kids! But it’s all an adventure and what you make of it .

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Essentials

-nappy sacks – handy for stinky nappies and also for wet clothes and rubbish, always have some in my handbag and the car.

-first aid kit (calpol, thermometer, plasters, antiseptic cream, small scissors, nail clippers)

-bin liners

-toiletries

-a small bag of books and toys for the kids

-portable highchair, we have a great one that can be slipped over any chair to make it easy for feeding anywhere – especially good if you stop in a small cafe or for in a hotel room.

-decant some washing powder and take it in a sealed container so you can do a little washing in the bath if theres a nasty nappy explosion!

-dvds of kids film/tv shows theres usually always a dvd player and this will be a godsend to get a little peace!

-phone chargers

-nappies/wipes

-more changes of clothes than number of days you are going, same for pjs.

-pack little rucksacks for each kid to keep in the car with a change of clothes, wipes, juice, snack and a toy.

-picnic blanket always comes in handy if you go somwhere and want to put the baby down.

-all in one rain suits for the kids, means that even if it’s a bit damp you can get out and explore

-big umbrella in the boot. Handy to keep everyone dry or as a sun shade at the beach.

-gaffa tape and hair bobbles, tape over plug sockets and use bobbles as temporary child locks for cupboards.

To be honest unless you are travelling to the moon there’s nothing that you wouldn’t be able to run out and pick up at a push. So don’t get too bogged down with remembering every single thing. The most inportant thing is to thet out there and make memories!

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What are your top travel tips?  Where’s the best place you’ve ventured? Any other handy tips?

Pam.xx

The Helpful Hiker

Lucy At Home

One Messy Mama

Dear friends…

  • Do you feel like you are constantly cancelling plans?
  • Do you feel guilty for not seeing your friends so much?
  • Or do you feel guilty when you do go out as you could be spending time with the kids or your other half?
  • Do you maybe feel like you’ve moved on from some friends?

Well you’re not alone!! It happens to us all.

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First ‘best friends’

My friendships have all changed since I became a mother. My priorities have changed, my energy levels have changed and my freedom has most definitely changed. My son has lately declared he has his first ‘best friend’ and this has set me thinking. The boys have known each other since they were six months old. They fight like cat and dog but love each other like brothers and it makes me smile to see them together. It also makes me a little sad at how I have let some of my own friendships slide a bit (ok a lot!).

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She will kill me for this but it’s my fave pic!

I have been friends with my best friend since we were 6 years old. We moved into the house next door and her parents invited me to join in their barbeque. We were inseperable from then on. But we had a complicated relationship. We didn’t agree on a lot of things. We had other friends who didn’t all hang out and we liked different things. How did we survive? I have no idea! It just worked. And now 26 years later we are the same. She is my constant. I met my other best friends when I was 17, I lived with them at university for 9 months and even when I dropped out we stayed close. We couldn’t be more different but yet here we are still in each others lives. But the challenges we face now are testing us.

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We drive each other crazy but couldn’t live without them

Before kids I was a party girl. If I wasn’t working I was out. If I had a free weekend the party was at our place. We did group weekends away, couples nights out, girls holidays. Inside of me still beats the heart of that girl but she’s just so goddam tired. Sure we’ve all got older so that definitely factors in to. But have I just been neglecting my friends? Because my life changed did I just opt out of their lives? How do you go about getting back on track?

With my best friend we can go for a long time without talking, infact we have never chatted on the phone. We will message each other and see each other at least once a month though. I wish we lived closer so it was easier to spend time with her. As it is it’s a 3 hour round trip to catch up so it’s tough. I think with us both working too it can seem like a massive struggle to fit visits in which is the problem we face at the moment. Once the kids are grown a bit I’m hoping it will get a little easier to grab more time together but for now it is what it is. We have survived other obstacles so this period is just another part of our lives we are manouvering together.

I have an assortment of other friends. I guess I am lucky in that respect. I have different groups and different ‘types’ of friends. ‘Mummy’ friends who I onlu got to know through the kids, yet some days these ladies pull me through and I can be so open with them without risk of embarassment and even the offer of gin!  I have work/social friends who have little to do with my family life and are sometimes the perfect antidote when you want away from it all. I have old shool friends who I can reminise with and have a proper laugh. I also class a massive bunch of women on a facebook baby forum as friends as I feel like I know them as intimately as anyone else even though we’ve never met.

So you have a free day, you’ve made plans to catch up with your mates…you just can’t be bothered! If these are your close mates they will understand, but not if it keeps happening. You have to have the kind of honesty to let them know why you aren’t around. If they have kids themselves chances are they will get it. And the ones without kids just need you to let them know – they aren’t mindreaders. A couple of friends of mine literally seem to have dream lives. They have their own places, steady jobs and lots of friends and good social lives. Yet they are constantly there for me. They drive bloody hours just to come see me and my terrors when they could be getting their nails done instead. It is this kind of sacrifice that has earned them my undying love. They might not have a clue how I’m feeling sometimes, but are there and that means everything. I know these are relationships that I am definitely failing at though. It doesn’t worry me too much as I know I will regain ground in the future when life settles for me and then I can be the one to do the running more for them. But have to remind myself sometimes to take a minute out and just be there for them. Ask them how their week is going, remember when they have big events coming up. We are close enough that they know me and know how much they means to me. Sometimes the key is just telling people what they mean to you and his is what most of us forget to do. Maybe right now you don’t have time for the kind of relationship you once shared but if it’ s something you want to keep hold of you have to put in a little effort.

When things start breaking down it’s generally because neither of you are that interested in keeping it going – much like any relationship! I have lost a few friends over the years, we would probably still stop and pass the time of day with one another, comment on a facebook post and send a card if they had a baby or got married. But we just don’t have space for them in our lives anymore. And that’s ok. With a husband, two kids, my family, a full time job, a blog, baking and some charity work…somethings got to give.
It can be hard to juggle everything and ultimately the sacrifice is always going to be social – you can’t jack in your job or hand a baby back when things get too much! But you can slowly start removing yourself from friendships. As long as this is not a sacrifce that makes you sad. If going out makes you pine for home then don’t go. You won’t enjoy yourself and your friends will notice and feel like you aren’t giving them your all. If you aren’t getting anything in return from a friendship then remove yourself from it and see how you feel after a few months. If staying in has become the norm and you need a change then get back out there. If you can’t physically get back out there can you call a friend who could come to you for takeaway and wine?! This solution is particularly useful for other mums who can’t always get babysitters or don’t want to get out their jammies! Ultimately we need to take a deep look at our relationships and decide for ourself how we feel.

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Lots of my friends

My friends will all know who they are from reading this and I’m sure I’ll be hearing from them later! (Least it’ll show me who’s reading this damn thing! 😂)

Do you think you have a good balance? Look forward to hearing from you all as always!

Pam xxxx

Lucy At Home

JakiJellz

Banana Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze

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Banana Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze

This cake is amazing on it’s own as it’s really moist if you prefer yours without a topping. Alternatively you could add 75g chocolate chips to the batter before cooking and top with a chocolate glaze!

 

For cake

120ml vegetable oil

2 eggs

50ml milk

320g self raising flour

2tspn baking soda

250g caster sugar

4 over ripe bananas mashed

 

For glaze

1/2 cup icing sugar

2tbsp peanut butter melted

Splash milk

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Method

Put everything for cake in a bowl and mix well – the beauty in this recipe is that there is no faff of creaming or adding in a certain order! Pour into a greased bundt tin or into two loaf tins if you want. Bake at 170°c for 50min (loaves will take a bit less) Check it’s ready by inserting a wooden skewer – it sould come out clean if cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10min before removing from the tin. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

 

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For the glaze, combine the icing sugar, melted peanut butter and milk and mix with electric mixer until smooth. Drizzle over the cake and serve!

 

Pam.xxx

Softplay…a beginners guide.

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Loving the softplay

So it’s another rainy day or you just need to get out the house before some sort of cabin fever grips you and the kids are driving you insane. You decide to go to the local softplay centre….bad call my friend…or is it?

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Don’t be fooled it’s a warzone

Entering these establishments is what I presume its like to enter enemy territory with a troop of men. You have to be constantly on the lookout for enemy insurgents whilst keeping your troops close by. Making sure they know the drills and being prepared for grenades (generally empty fruit shoot bottles lobbed by sugar high kids on their way back to the slide).

The lights are artificially bright-kind of like a casino where they need everyone to be awake. Softplay areas are neon rich with colour to kick start the senses of the sleep deprived mother. It makes you squint and also makes you realise that yet again you have left the house with the pair of jeans covered in stains – Oh, while I’m on clothing you will obviously have a pair of jeans on that ride way too low, causing you to spend the whole time hitching them up to avoid showing everyone your builders bum! Remind yourself for the millionth time to remember to wear better ones next time, you wont!

You will turn into the most judgemental parent upon entering – don’t feel bad you are being judged too!  ‘Why is that mum sitting on her phone while her bruiser of a toddler commandeers the ball pool like a rugby prop forward?’ ‘Why is that mum letting her tiny baby play unaided when all they are doing is causing you to freak out that your own children are going to trample said baby?’ ‘ Why is that dad shovelling quavers and smarties into those two toddlers with no regard to the fact that it is 10am?’ All these thoughts swim in your head as you search for a place to leave your stuff and try and locate your own children who have flung their shoes to all corners and ran wildly into the fray!

There are certain categories of parents that you will recognise.

The resident‘ the mum you see every time you go who sits in the same place and looks worn out.

The social butterfly‘ mostly in groups they use the softplay for catch ups (most likely so they can send the older children off while the mums get a chance to play top trumps about whos kid is doing better).

The goal‘ this is the mum who is sitting drinking a hot cappucino with a magazine in front of her  her hair is actually sitting nicely and her child come and goes at intervals and appears to play nicely. You can’t bring yourself to say hello as you are so in awe of her parenting abilities but want to ask her what her secret is – you yourself will never have had more than a few stolen swigs of a hot drink in such places!

The adventurer‘ This is the parent who has more fun that the kids going on all the slides and even playing with other kids – other people kids will want to chat to you,  yes I found it weird too the first few times now I just roll with it, they will see you playing with your kid and will want you to play with them too. It’s all about smiling and deperately searching for their own person and trying to make eye contact to let them know they need to get off their ass and come play with their child!

The OTT parent‘ who isn’t sure young Mickey should go all the way up there by himself. They are the parent who will come and tell you that your little one might need a hand or has just pushed little Micky. Just breathe and remember to smile.

On the whole I think most of us fit into a few categories – some days I definitely enjoy the slides more than toddler boy! Some days I want to interupt the mum talking to her mates to let her know her toddler is an absolute demon who needs a talking to. It can certainly bring out the worst in the best of humans!

The place smells like the changing rooms used to when I did P.E at school (boak), the foods crap, expensive and the tables are never clean.

Have you ever looked at some of the softplat surfaces? I not sure how many times anyone goes in there with a wet wipe. So I have to approach it with the same sense I approach the swimming pool, try not to think what be floating about in there and grab the antibac gel on the way back to the car – and make sure you take a long hot shower when you get home!

Your child will faff about wanting to go on anything that costs money, want sweets and moan a bit. They will then kick off when its time to leave making the journey back to the car an effort and leave you feeling worn out.

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Winning!

The benefit of all this my friend is the car journey home. They are so tired they always nap!! Plan this correctly and you can get yourself a lovely hour in the afternoon ( ok so you spend it sitting on your phone in the drive because you dont want to risk waking them by lifting them into the house but it’s worth it and you are a step closer to bed time – and you totally deserve that glass of wine tonight!

Cheers!

Pam.xxx

Mummuddlingthrough