I often think that playgroups get a bit of a rotten reputation really. I mean, we’ve all heard about the “judgey-pants mums” and how you are analysed and critiqued to within an inch of your latte sipping life. The truth is, I’ve been to a mixture of playgroups in my time – some nice, some not so nice, but all of them equally important.
Look, you don’t need me to tell you that motherhood is tough. And lonely sometimes, despite the fact that you are never alone – even when we’re talking about toilet breaks. Motherhood can be hard, almost impossibly so, so finding your “mum tribe” is a must. What the fuck is a mum tribe I hear you cry!? Well, a mum tribe is a group of mums who support each other, lift each other up and above all else never tear each other down. Ever. They are there to talk about the poonamis, the feeling that you are a permanent cast member of The Walking Dead, and the amazement that you can adore one little person so much when they bite your nipples, scream in your face and wake you up at 3am to watch sky planner re-runs of Sofia the First (not projecting.) A mum tribe is a mum’s support network and while you might not be guaranteed to find this at a playgroup, its as good a place as any to start.
So what else is essential about playgroups?
1.) You pay pennies or they are free
It’s like going and telling your children that they can free-for-all in toys r us for 2 hours while you watch them create mess and havoc that isn’t in your house! This is usually for the going rate of £1-3 per child. If it is a community run playgroup and there are organisers then you don’t actually have to tidy up either (though I always think it’s nice to help put away whatever the kids have pulled out).
2.) Social interactions for both of you
I was never really very good at meeting new people and putting myself out there for new social interactions, I just didn’t really have the confidence and then when the little ones came along I told myself I had to “get out there” for them… and my sanity. Yes, playgroups are great for socialising your little ones, especially if they don’t go to a preschool or nursery, but we can’t really underestimate how important it is to socialise ourselves too – you can’t be stuff with someone who comes up to your knee and whose main vocabulary is made up of ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhh’ sounds. So get out there, and if you join a group that you don’t think fits, don’t go back – it’s not a gym, you aren’t bound to go.
3.) Mini shopping wish lists?
How to find out what baby crap not to buy your baby and what to buy them… take them to a play group! I buy E all the stuff that I like, and I’ve noticed that she isn’t that inspired by some of it (she will be, I just tend to buy older because having older kids encourages the “longevity” thought process) but when we have been to playgroup there is one toy that she seeks out EVERY time and always spends most of the time playing with it. It’s bright, gaudy and makes A LOT of noise. Humph. If she were due a birthday or Christmas, this would give me a great idea of what to add to her wish list.
4.) Nap time guaranteed
Edie hates naps. Hates em. With the fiery passion of a Khaleesi. That being said, she is always willing to go to the land of nod after a session at playgroup, as is Toby. It’s not just physical energy they are expending, there is mental energy too – social engagement, finding the right route to charge about, which playgroup snack to refuse and whose beaker to steal – so much mental energy! It’s a great way to get the nap time rolling, and in turn you *might* get chance to have a quiet cuppa.
5.) Learning new things
So, you get together with a group of people who are in the same position as you and then you chat about said position – it’s not rocket science, you are going to learn something new aren’t you? In turn, mums are going to learn something from you, and I always think that is a beautiful thing about playgroup. If you can all learn from each other, be open minded and friendly with one another, then you are guaranteed to have a mountain of mum knowledge to share.
What has been your experience of playgroups?
Earlier this week I had to have a minor surgery – it wasn’t a big deal but it did require a general anaesthetic (my first time) and it was pretty nerve wracking. It was all over and done in half an hour but I have never felt so out of it in the after math, not since Reuben’s labour which was equally disastrous and dangerous. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to drive for 48 hours but I will be honest and say I thought I’d be ok the next day, and I seriously didn’t think that I would want to call in re-enforcements to get the kids off to bed and fed etc. The kids were in the capable hand of my mum whilst I dozed on the sofa (complete with attract drool line coming out of my mouth), and the day after I didn’t really feel much better either.
So all this disruption for minor surgery, what the hell would happen if I had something more serious, or one of us had an accident where we couldn’t work anymore, drive anymore or maybe function without 24/7 care. Am I the only parent who find that prospect slightly terrifying? I mean, we both drive, Adam works in a warehouse and there are every day hazards that you really just don’t think of, but maybe we should?
Ok, I realise I’ve gone from ‘I had a small surgery’ to life threatening or altering accidents in one fell swoop but the truth is the minor surgery I had caused disruption to our family, so I find the thought of a major incident suddenly overwhelming and something that I should plan for, just to be sure. Both myself and Adam are insured up to the hilt – with three small kids and a huge mortgage, we don’t really have much of an option but one thing that I know nothing about it what potential support groups or options there are out there if you are injured and suddenly find yourself in a traumatic, life altering situation.
Have you heard of the movie Me Before You that is out soon? It’s a typical boy meets girl love story, but in this boy is paralysed by a motorcycle accident (not a spoiler, it’s in the bio). Like all good movies I’m sure their love wins out, but in reality serious accidents have a huge impact on a relationship, not only with your spouse, but with your children. So what would the first steps be?
- Find a support group
It’s not admitting failure, it’s a tool to help you adapt to the new circumstances around you and it can be helpful for your family as well as yourself. Apparently this is one of the most commonly missed things for victims of serious injury or illness, despite being offered various support groups to join during medical treatment. It’s so important to do it. There are a variety of different levels of support groups, some of which you physically go to and some of which are just online. Personally, I feel like I would cope better online and would be able to feel less exposed.
2. Check insurance policies and find out if you are entitled to compensation
Compensation has become a bit of a dirty word of late – images of the ambulance chasers in the US spring to mind and people assume it is someone out for something that they haven’t earned, but the truth is, if you are suddenly unable to work because of an accident that wasn’t your fault then you need to think about the impact that will have on your family. If what happened wasn’t your fault then you may be entitled to compensation and shouldn’t be afraid to go down this route, companies like First4SeriousInjury specialize in these types of cases and can help you find the way through the process. Many insurance policies don’t cover all accidents or critical illnesses (In fact we were offered CIC (critical illness cover) but couldn’t afford it when we were younger, so it’s not something we were covered for until recently) so you may need to think about how you are going to support a family if you can’t work.
3. Ask about help
What are you entitled to? Benefits, carers, support workers… what? It’s a midfield but there are organisations that can help you and you will often find that the hospital will put you in touch with them, but if not you can find tonnes of advice online. Again it is another thing we often forget, but you have paid your rather over priced taxes as an insurance policy for this kind of thing, and you need help now. So ask.
What else would you add to this? Do you or someone close to you have experience with serious accident or injury? It’s something that I really feel we don’t discuss enough with our families or next of kin and we need to!
A couple of weeks ago I went to BlogOn blogging conference which was absolutely fabulous and the legendary goody bags did not disappoint at all!
Everyone had mentioned the fab goody bags to me, saying that they were amazing – the perfect end to a super relaxed, friendly and informative conference. Which was totes true! In the bag this time around was a peanut butter drink, which I initially pushed aside with a grimace as I pictured a peanut butter favoured Horlicks type drink. Just not my thing at all.
Then, as I was putting all the goodies away a few days after (yep, I left it all out cluttering the counter tops for days because, YOLO) I picked it up and and had a little read of the back. On there is a suggestion for a peanut butter hot drink and a peanut butter milkshake… I have no idea why but the word milkshake gave me a eureka moment and I came up with this:
Peanut butter cup milkshakes.
Uh-huh, those peanut butter cup treats that taste sooooo good and are insanely moreish can be made into a drink. Easily. Can I get a boom up in here?!
Here’s how I did it and what you need to make it too: (makes 2 glasses)
- 1 pint of milk
- 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup – any kind will do.
- 1 tablespoons of peanut butter drink mix
- 2 X Reece’s peanut butter cups
Add everything to a blender and blend. Leave to chill for 30mins if the milk wasn’t already chilled.
Nomm!! The best peanut butter cup milkshake recipe ever!
If you follow me on social media you will probably know that we had to have one of our dogs put to sleep last week. I had a feeling it was coming and he was far more my mum’s dog than my own, but I still found the whole thing really hard. 14 years is a long time to have a pooch, and it now leaves our 10 year old chihuahua without her friend.
Our older westie was very much the old man and was never good at doing his business in the right place, he would frequently pee in the kitchen, which just didn’t fly once I had the kids, so we bought the dogs a kennel and for the last 5 years they have lived outside, coming in and out during the day. Of course this worked fine and we had two happy dogs (especially with both of them wondering why there was an ever increasing invasion of small people who wanted to give them “big loves) but you can’t leave one small dog outside on her own. So in comes the dog! She has a new bed, a new collar and is enjoying the life of a pampered pooch, but I still get the feeling that she isn’t entirely happy. She has never been a singular dog, and she spends a lot of time looking for Domino, who is nowhere to be seen.
This has got us thinking: do we get a puppy?
There are so many things to consider when buying a new puppy. Which one is right for you? Which one will settle well with your older dog? What are the costs? At the moment, we’re going away in September and this raises further questions; do we buy a pup soon so she won’t be alone in the kennels, or do we wait until we come home and start afresh?
There are a lot of unanswered questions for us, but one of the biggest things I’m struggling with is narrowing down breed of dog for a family. There is more to consider than size and temperament when your trying to please kids. Here are a few thoughts:
1.) What size?
Well, according to Kennel Club, a medium to large breed of dog is better than a small. I guess you have to factor in how you would feel if someone was SO much bigger than you, and constantly interested in petting you, cuddling you and just generally being in your face. I’m not saying a small dog isn’t a good idea at all, ours is a chihuahua and wonderful with the kids, but you can see she is nervous when Toby wants to sit with her. Its also a training curve for the kids too.
Each breed has it’s merits, but by and large I’ve found that the recommendations are for energetic and intelligent dogs. Dalmatians and Labradors come under this category, both are full of boundless energy and are easy to train. On the flip side, Mastiffs or Saint Bernards are often considered good family dogs because they are gentle giants, who will ensure hours upon hours of play, without ever really tiring. The question to ask yourself again with one of those suggestions is; do you have the time required to burn their energy of the kids don’t? It’s always advised that you avoid dogs that are known to be highly strung – Akitas, hounds and poodles are supposedly in this category BUT I often think the way a dog is reared is more important than breed temperament. NEVER buy a dog advertised as a guard dog. Ever. If they are being bred for that purpose they are NOT a family pet.
3.) Life span
This is one that really frustrated me as it isn’t mentioned anywhere is “what dog?” Guides. I added a Dogue du Bordeau to our list of potential breeds because they are beautiful, gentle and will need lots of exercise which sounds great to me for long weekend walks out in the forest. Unfortunately the more I researched the breed, the more I discovered about their shockingly short life span. On average this breed will live for 6 years, and it is almost unheard of for them to live to 10 years. I can’t see how anyone could say that is a “good” dog for a child – I want a dog that will last a good portion, if not all of my child’s childhood. We had two border X labs when I was a child, one lived to 15 the other 19. They were a staple part of my childhood and I have some wonderful memories with them – I can’t imagine my kids becoming so attached to a dog, for it to die after only 6 years. Incidentally small breeds like chihuahuas have really “long” lives of around 15 years.
What time can you dedicate to training, walking and being with this dog? If you work 9-5, 5 days a week and have no time at all to walk the dog, then you really shouldn’t be getting one, especially not a lone dog. I do think that different breeds react differently to being alone, some will become very destructive which isn’t helpful to anyone, others won’t be bothered by being left with another dog for long periods – our chihuahua wouldn’t be bothered by being left for a short time with a doggie companion, but alone sucks. She also isn’t a fan of going for walks, unless they are short. A big dog will need lots of walks and attention, something that you have to factor in to your schedule OR get a dog walker.
Some food for thought on things you need to consider before buying the right puppy. At the moment we are currently hooked on the idea of getting a Shar Pei, though we have a A LOT more research to do before we make our decision.
I’ve written before about the beautiful fashion for kids that comes from Doodle Do and I’ve featured the kiddos showing off the brand on my instagram many times. I have to say that as far as organic, high quality boutique brands go, Doodle Do is one of my faves. It’s not just the fact that the designs are fun (which they seriously are) but it’s also the fact that this is a brand that is well made and well sized.
I mentioned last week (in my post about Cuna Vlnami, another one of my new fave brands) that the biggest boy is in serious need of new clothes – it ISN’T cool to make him wear his red school polo tees on a weekend, and my washing machine isn’t a fan of the idea either – so when I ordered a new t-shirt for him from Doodle Doo, he was delighted… well, he was ambivalent, but I was delighted!
If you are looking for summer fashion for kids that is fun, easy to wear, extremely well washing (hello, two boys and a baby that thinks she’s a mountain goat) and very stylish – enough so to get into Vogue – then you need to invest in Doodle Do.
So what are my kids wearing:
Reuben: Racing Tortoise Tee
Toby: Monster Tee
The ever grumpy Edith Rose: Hippie Time Romper.
So, if you are as captivated as I am, I have a real treat for you! You can order anything from Doodle Do (excluding sale and knitwear) until 30/5 with a whopping 25% off using the code: Tobynroo007
What are you waiting for!?
I haven’t been going to playgroups with Edie and Toby much, in fact we now go to two on a regular basis because I forgot just how enjoyable they can be for everyone – forget the judgemental mums (which – fortunately – don’t see to have made it to our playgroups) and get to a playgroup with your little ones, you really won’t regret it… unless..
That. One. Child.
Last week you might have seen that I wrote a post on social media about Edie’s little morning at playgroup and an couple of incidents that occurred with an older child. If you did, I apologise for the re-run, but for those that didn’t this is what happened. While merrily playing and minding her own business Edith became the subject of interest for one particular little boy who seemed to be about the same age as Toby. Not in a good way. In a “I want to beat the shit out of that baby for no reason way”. Well, I suspect there was a reason for his disdain as his mother had a baby, much younger than Edie, with her and was all about the baby, with literally NO attention for the older child whatsoever. It started with a few pushes and smacks, and culminated in him shoving her, kicking her openly and HARD in front of everyone and then hurting her on the slide when my back was turned. Not cool.
Anyway, my mama bear came out and I have to say it’s the first time for a long time that I have shouted across a room at someone else’s child… but since she didn’t seem to want to do it herself and he was fixing to kick Edie after pushing her over, I figured it was merited.
So why am I telling you about this on saturday siblings? Well, if you think my mama bear was fierce, it was NOTHING compared to Reuben’s attitude when we were talking about it later. This was the conversation on the way home from school in the car:
Reuben: Did you got to playgroup with Toby and Edie today Mummy?
Me: Yes darling, but we had a bit of a rough time a little boy didn’t like Edith and was quite mean to her, and mummy was very cross because his mummy just didn’t stop him!
Reuben: Was she hurt? Was he sorry
Me: Unfortunately yes, but nothing bad. Maybe he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong because he wasn’t sorry at all…
Reuben: Well was he a big boy?
Reuben: He knew then and was horrible. Next time you go mummy, you just find that boy and tell the teachers what he has done.
Me: Oh sweet pea, that would be the right thing to do but it’s mummies at playgroup, not teachers, and we all have to stick together. Mummy did tell him off but he still kept going. Hopefully he won’t next time he’s there.
Reuben: Well I’m sorry Mummy, but if he does, you just have to do it back to him and then when he cries, Edie can have a little chuckle….
Me: Erm, no Roo, that is NOT what we do, that makes us as bad as him doesn’t it.
Reuben: Well, no one hurts my sis.
Now, before you wonder if I’m encouraging this “kick ass” approach to protecting his sister, I’m not. We did have a little chat about how what he said first was right, and using words etc is the way to go (which we all know as adults is often a load of bollocks – but unless we want to raise a bunch of heathens we try to retain some civilised attitudes don’t we?). It struck me though just how protective this 5 year old is of his baby sister. As soon as we were out of the car, Toby got a grilling to find out how he had looked after her (he hadn’t at all, in fact he made best buds with the child in question…) and then spent a good amount go time mothering Edith and checking she wasn’t too scarred by her ordeal. The drama was strong.
As much as I jest, I sense that in the future we are going to have three kids who are very close knit, and bicker though they might, they will become each other’s firmest defenders should the need arise. Despite the slightly sociopathic turn of the conversation, it really warms my cockles to know that they won’t alway need the mama bear if they have each other.
Are your little siblings like this?
Last week the weather really improved and that means shorts for the kiddos!! Hooray for shorts!
Unfortunately that is also the point at which you discover that your eldest child is no longer able to fit into ANY of the summer clothes you bought him last year and, thanks to being at school now, literally has 3 jumpers, and 2 pairs of trousers!
Que a shopping spree… well, ish. Now that Roo is at school I don’t think he needs quite as many clothes as he did before, but he did need something for weather appropriate and that is how I came across Cuna Vlnami!
Cuna Vlnami is a beautiful brand, with the most delightful fashion for kids from Prague, Czech Republic, designed to be playful, fun and easy for kids to wear. The designer is called Madla Zimova, an actress and mother to 3 children who always dreamt of designing a clothing range and realised her dreams after baby number 3 arrived. I am absolutely smitten with the brand, and as it is designed by a mum I feel a natural urge to trust it – after all, we are know what we want right? Comfort and longevity, as well as style… and in a lot of cases one or more of those things gets compromised, which is a huge turn off for me when it comes to dressing the kids. The clothes are so soft, really well designed and (importantly for our tribe of the large posterior) well sized. I noticed that both of the boys were comfortable in their usual sizes with a bit of growing room!
It’s not just me that noticed how beautiful this brand is either – when I took Toby swimming last week we were asked to write down the brand name because his shorts (which are totally unisex – winner!) were so stylish and cute.
I can’t recommend the brand enough and because I am such a fan, I’ve teamed up with Cuna Vlnami to offer you guys a whopping 25% discount across the range! Just enter the code TOBY25 at the checkout 🙂
Reuben is wearing:
Waves t-shirt £27.99
Azure Trousers £34.99
Toby is sporting:
Wings shirt £39.99
Field shorts £35.99
We’ve been having a few issues lately with nightmares. I always seem to have this problem with Roo especially, and he has been having a few ups and downs at school lately, and then after a weekend away with Grandparents he always wants to be in our bed from about 3am onwards.
I’m not entirely sure why this happens, but from time to time we have had the odd nightmare wake him up and then a tirade about monsters in his room. I can clearly remember as a child that I was terrified of my bedroom in the night because there was a banging and scraping noise on my window, but I couldn’t tell my mum properly as I was so little… It was only when she came in one night to try and soothe me that she realised I wasn’t making it up but the tree next to our house could *just* reach the bedroom window and the leaves were tapping on it in the wind.
Once this little predicament was solved, I still had a lingering fear of monsters in my room (fun fact: I literally SHIT myself (well, not literally obvs) watching paranormal activity because I am STILL frightened of ghosts, monsters and the unseen). So, when I came across this clever little trick, I decided that I was going to make anti-monster spray to help the boys and eventually Edie get away from the fear of monsters!
Here is how to make anti-monster spray to help get rid of nightmares:
- 1 spray bottle (you can buy these at most supermarkets in the mini product isle or make up isle as they are considered travel bottles or you could use an old, well washed febreeze bottle if you want to go maxi-monster busting.)
- 2 drops of an essential oil of your choice per 100ml of water. I recommend any or a mix of the ones that help you sleep such as:
- Roman Chamomile.
- Ylang Ylang.
- Monster stickers, goggly eyes or anything your kids might like to decorate the bottle with.
So, fill up your chosen bottle, add the right amount of essential oils and then let the kids decorate! Spray onto their bed and around the zones that they say are scary – read them a story, grab a glass of wine and enjoy crappy TV or a book safe in the knowledge that you won’t get woken up hourly for nightmares!
Just lately I’ve been looking at the window in my living room (actually, truth be told I’ve been looking at all of the windows in my house and wondering if I should update them all as they are getting old, FYI if you are in this predicament too, Quickslide have been my favourite for selection so far!) and wondering how I can spruce it up a bit. As bloggers we hear A LOT about natural light, so we tend to gravitate towards windows or outside, which means I have started to take note of how my window looks more and more.
I’ve always loved big bay windows with window seats, and though this isn’t a bay window in the traditional sense, it certainly is deep enough for a little reading bench… The only problem is the kids also think it’s deep enough for a decent train track. Maybe we’ll just leave it as it is for now, but as I spent copious amounts of time procrastinating on Pinterest last week looking for ideas, I thought I would share my favourite ways to decorate a window space for the sunshine months!
Bay (or seat) windows:
These are just gorgeous, and so easy to redecorate (potentially another reason this super lazy mama is all up in the bay window love). Check out these amazing designs:
Simply and easy to imitate, this is a way of bringing the garden into the house by using greens and floral/leaf patterns.
There is something so beautiful to me about white on white. I just can’t do it with my children! This is a Moroccan hotel and could be perfect inspiration for a minimal room.
Perfect for rooms with little space, this is a wonderful booth style bay window idea.
I love this dog bed version of a window seat – perfect for pet lovers.
Standard double Windows
I have these in every room of the house apart from the living room. They are equally the best and worst type of windows to decorate because they are limited to a small ledge and you want to maximise, not minimise, your light. I am loving these suggestions, if you’re really going for it and changing the whole look, blinds are absolutely lush and less likely to be swung on by miscreant kids.
Statement vases, with fresh or faux flowers is ideal for totally transforming a very simple and stander window space.
I would never have thought to add shelving across a standard window to help utilise the space and provide you with extra storage. I love this idea!
Shutters are a really glamorous way to change a very basic window.
Circular or porthole Windows
I always wanted one of these when I was younger too!! They don’t need much but they can be so pretty with a bit of tweaking. Why not try these ideas:
Now if you are lucky enough to have this kind of amazing window then this is the only way to decorate it. If yours is still a funny shape but smaller, why not totally transform the whole room wit a bookcase to enclose it?
Another beautiful way to accentuate a window of this style is to use tiling like they have done in this kitchen!
Full length French doors or windows
Seen twilight? With the full length, practically all glass walling? Love!! In reality though, there isn’t a great deal you need to do to make this type of window sparkle, other than these fabulous plants and blinds.
Literally nothing has been done to this window, other than the beautiful tall plants at either side, which really help to bring the outside inside, something that works well with floor to ceiling windows.
Full length curtains are officially the most glamorous way to accentuate a floor to ceiling window, especially one like this with the gothic detailing.
Do you have any other type of window space?
If you are anything like me you will probably spend. Good amount of your time in supermarkets grabbing own brand products so that you can cut your bill by a few measly pounds… Then spend it on a chocolate bar and coffee to get over the trauma of the supermarket run with children in tow.
I shop at Aldi, so almost allllll my stuff is own brand, and it’s *just* as good! There are certain things that you can’t buy as own brands but guess what? You CAN make them! And while we’re on the topic of cutting down costs, it is SO much cheaper to just make them yourself and they taste epic!!
Here is a around up of my favourite homemade sweet recipes to make yourself:
2. Kinder Eggs
3. Mars Bars
6. Twix bars
What are your favourite treats? Will you be giving this a go?
Welcome back to #SaturdaySiblings hosted by myself and Danielle from Someone’s Mum.
Siblings bonding and interacting with one another is a joy for any parent to watch. At #SaturdaySiblings, we are interested in all sorts of sibling moments – from perfect pictures with angelic smiles, to those slightly blurred shots when you shout “I’ve got to try to get a picture of that!” through tears of laughter – we want to see them all! The linky is open to new and old posts so feel free to share anything to do with sibling love (or not so much love as the case might be ha!)…
If you link up here, either Danielle or I will comment on your posts. We will try to comment on as many as we can on Instagram too. We will also be picking our favourite images to share and regram on social media on Monday – so make sure you’re following us to get a chance to be featured.
So grab a badge, link up, gram and hashtag and we hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as we know we will.
The linky opens at 9pm.
A Few Rules
If you link up here:
- Please comment on both the host posts and another of your choosing, more if you can.
- Please grab the badge above and add it to your post.
- If you would like us to retweet your posts, please do follow and tweet us on Twitter (@tobyandroo and @MumSomeone) and we will oblige!
If you join us on Instagram:
- Please tag your post #SaturdaySiblings
- Have a look around the hashtag and like and follow some posts and people you enjoy (We are tobyandroo and someone_s_mum )
- Generally share the love, however you join us.
And that’s it! Happy linking. We can’t wait to see your photos!
So our new linky and IG community opened up last week and we were so excited to have some of you link up with us over on Danielle’s blog Someone’s Mum! This week it’s my turn to host and I am super excited to see some more beautiful captures of your siblings sharing the love.
Before I show you my favourite sibling capture of the week, I thought it would be nice to share a round up of my favourite images on instagram from last weeks hashtag! We had so many people join in it was a lovely surprise!
The pictures are (left to right, top first) from A Moment with Franca, Our Little Escapades, The Parenting Trials and MareBareMom. Please head over and show them some instagram love if you would like to!
This week we haven’t had many sibling ups and downs. The boys have been really playing together nicely and Toby and Edith have been enjoying their time together, with the odd “I don’t want to sit next to madam” chucked in there for good measure. Ha!
Reuben has been at school all week, which means Toby has had ample time to miss him. In the picture I’ve chosen this week (which you can see at the top of the post) Reuben had just come in from school, I was in the midst of trying to put the dinner on and using good ole babysitter TV (sorry, not sorry) to try and get something of it done before Edie had a meltdown and realised she wasn’t being carried around! I’ve mentioned before about how sweet Reuben is as an older brother, especially with Edith but in this instance his affections were totally on Toby.
I came through to ask them something and found the pair of them sat like this, Toby on Reuben’s lap – far too close to that TV – watching Sofia whilst their sister stood at the side of them. It’s just really heartwarming to see them getting on in such a way, especially as they do come to blows from time to time, what with sharing a bedroom and being so close in age.
Reuben adores being a “big” brother. He wants to nurture his siblings, is always hugging and kissing them – especially at the school gates – and is forever telling everyone how proud he is to have a little sister and parades Toby around at school like a puppy!
So, what have your little ones been up to together this week? Share with me and Danielle on our linky!
This is a topic that I felt totally unprepared to write. You can read hundreds of posts about little boys and their obsessions with their dingly dangly bits, but there is nothing, literally nothing, about when your little girl discovers her… hoo-ha.
So, here I am feeling like the only mum to a little girl would has discovered that she has a very interesting part of her body… I can’t be right?
Here is this morning’s experience:
I desperately needed to have a shower, I’m not saying I was beginning to smell or anything but I’m pretty confident that my hair could fry chips. So, I bundled everyone upstairs (much to the delight of Daddy who was trying to snooze) and let the boys play in their room whilst me and Miss Climb-on-everything got into the shower so I could keep her safe and wash my chip pan hair. As I was washing aforementioned hair I looked down to find Edith having what can only be described as an inspection of her genitals, and in great detail! Every time I looked down after that, a little hand was exactly there, having a good feel – just like the boys would do!
What?! I was told girls were more delicate than boys! Boys were only interested because of a dangly piece of skin, and the fascination grew because, well, men.
No one warned me that this was going to become Edith’s favourite spot (rapidly replacing her belly button, which was previously numero uno probing zone).
So why is it that we don’t talk about this? Every time her nappy is off, in the bath, running around nude, in a paddling pool… Everywhere, this has become a go to zone for her hands. Since I’ve asked other mums I’ve been told, it’s the same with their girls, but they are in no way as quick to discuss it or laugh about their daughter’s inhibition at this sweet, curious, innocent age, as they are their sons.
We seem to be able to have a good chuckle at boys obsessions with their genitals, “Haha, typical boy!”, “Boys will be boys”, “Just like his dad, nudge nudge” etc but we don’t have anything to say about little girls and their fascination for their own bodies.
Just to clarify, I in no way think that any child investigating their genitals is doing so in a sexual way – God knows if they are then there is something incredibly wrong – but rather that they have found a part of their body (much like those adorable squishy babies that find their feet) and they are interested in every crease, nook and – dare I say – cranny (*note: I have genuinely sniggered over the rhyming fanny and cranny… It’s been a long day). It is hilarious, their total lack of inhibition… The fact that this week alone I have shouted “Get your hand off your todger” in the supermarket, in a public bathroom and in the car – are all indicative of how it isn’t a big deal and we all have to remind our little gents to leave “Percy” alone. Yet we never hear the same said to girls, but I am currently experiencing proof that girls are 100% no different.
I can only imagine it’s a part of us, as a society, keeping females in the chaste ideal; innocent and uninterested in their bodies, whereas males are the sexual go getters… But that makes me sad because it goes back to the sexualisation of children and belief that their bodily discoveries are sexual.
So, this past week, Edith discovered her hoo-ha, foof, vagina – whatever you want to call it – and she will not leave herself alone. Can we all just have a good giggle and then warn future mothers that girls do, in fact, behave EXACTLY the same as boys when they discover the world beneath the nappy?
So a couple of weeks ago Adam and I wanted to go away for the night, but I was super nervous about leaving Edie with my mum along with both boys who needed to be up and dressed for school the following morning. It’s not that she isn’t capable – this woman is probably better at organising the morning run than I am. No, it’s rather that Edith hadn’t been away from me for that length of time and I was worrying that she would be up and down in the night in need of milk, cuddles and teething remedies!
Anyway, she wasn’t. She was an absolute angel and, in true baby fashion, slept the night through. As well as the night after because mum had already put her to bed so she didn’t know I was there.
Naturally I was super relieved and rather determined to do something nice for my mum to say thank you for her efforts in looking after the kids to allow us some much needed couple time. That was when I received a super exciting tweet from Baker Days asking me if I would like to review their cake by delivery, and naturally I said hell yes, after all, it’s cake! Initially I drooled over what would be the perfect cakes for me and then I saw that they offer a fruit cake option… my mum loves a goo fruit cake with some cheese and her cuppa.
Que my eureka moment! This was the perfect thank you for her and the ideal opportunity to offer you guys the chance to do the same for a loved one (or yourself… no judgements up in here!)
I chose my design and cake base (there are vanilla, chocolate, vanilla AND chocolate and fruit sponges… I know – drool inspiring stuff!) even personalising it for my lovely mum and then awaited arrival. Which was the very next morning! Yes, the cakes can be ordered and delivered to your chosen address the following day, perfect if you forgot that special occasion!
I was lucky enough to be given a little sliver of cake and it was the BEST! I am not as much of a fruit cake person as I am a sponge cake but this was truly lovely. The cake was so pretty and then under the beautiful icing was a delectable fruit cake that was packed with fruit, soft and moist with a delicious apricot jam coating! Yum!!
So, big question? Would you like to win one of these gorgeous straight to the door cakes? Of course you would!
You can enter below via rafflecopter:
The competition will run until the end of May and then one lucky winner will be chosen at random! Good luck and may your cake be plentiful!
I am all about easy during summer when it comes to dinner – the kids are almost constantly howling for a picnic in the garden and it can get a bit tedious to have the same old sausage rolls or BBQ food all the time. I have a few things up my sleeve but they generally involve marinading and faffing about for a certain amount of time to get things right, though I will say they are worth it once they are done like this pagnotta ripena … it’s just not what you want every night is it?
This flan, however, is so easy it is done in 20 minutes with around 3 minutes prep time. Give it a go – and just to let you know, you really don’t have to use the same ingredients as me – mix it up and add in your favourite cheese, veg, meat etc.
How to make this badass, super quick and tasty flan:
- 1 packet of ready to use puff pastry (any brand will do – I use Aldi’s own)
- 1/2 packet of cream cheese
- 1 -2 red onions
- 1 tsp sugar
- 100g finely sliced ham
Pre heat the oven to GM7
Right, lay out the ready to use pastry – if you buy the roll if is approximately the right pre-rolled size for the flan, but if you go for the block roll out to be the full size of a large baking tray and 1cm thick.
Slice the onions finely and bung them in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and the teaspoon of sugar, and fry for around 2 minutes.
Whilst that is frying, scour the pastry leaving about 3cm around the sides so you have another rectangle shape within a border. Scour across the inside, this will stop the pastry from rising and puffing up then spread the cream cheese across, being careful not to go over the edges. Once the onions are cooked sprinkle them over the cheese. Take the ham and slice into thin strips (ribbons) then sprinkle over the top too.
Bung in the oven, pour a glass of whatever you fancy and return in 20 minutes when the whole thing should have puffed up nicely around the edges.
Serve hot, cold, warm – just serve. The is one of those easy going summer recipes that I like best with salad (which makes my husband want to cry as he views salad as rabbit food) but you could have it with wedges or french fries.
Last week Roo had a reception weight and height thing at school. They are offered out to everyone, but you do have the option to refuse if you wish. I have to be honest and say I was rather surprised that people would want to refuse – why? It’s only a weight and height thing right? WRONG.
Picture me blissfully unaware as I sat at my desk fighting off Edith who was like a breastmilk velociraptor, as the post came through the door. An ideal opportunity to tell madam to get away from my boobs and jump up to give her whichever pointless bill had soared through the door to rip up… But it wasn’t just spam mail and bills this time. Nope, there was a letter to say my child was overweight.
At 5 years old. Overweight.
Not only was there a letter to inform me of my drastic parenting failure but it was accompanied by a startlingly bright guide on how not to make your child a fatty and how to parent and monitor food. I have to admit at first I felt a bit surprised. Roo is undeniably the tallest child in his class, he’s also one of the stockiest, strongest and broadest. According to the letter the tests done were build on weight, height and sex. Which means only one thing: fucking BMI.
Here I was reading away in my how to guide wondering if it was specifically written to make you feel like an errant child (especially with all that fun bright writing that made you wonder if Word Art was making a comeback) when it suddenly occurred to me that this was utter bullshit. The implication was that Reuben must be fed on a diet of fizzy pop, chocolate bars and neglect. I’ll happily cop to the last one from time to time, but our diet is actually really good. We believe in moderation and yes, on a Friday, we have an ice cream. We eat sweets occasionally and we will drink juice if it suits us. Just not constantly.
Then I flick to the next page and we’re all about adult size potions versus child size portions. Did you know that a child’s stomach is smaller than yours? I had no idea – I just presumed that the other vital body organs were held within the arms and gradually migrated inwards as the child grew (which is why I guess I always have had chubby arms – I’m short, it’s my burden). What in the fuckery is this? Whilst I would never claim to be a mensa member, I feel pretty confident that I have acquired a rather basic understand of anatomy. Further to this, what are they suggesting that you do? “I’m so sorry darling, but according to your BMI – which is largely regarded as bullshit by the majority of health professionals and is NOT an indication of your health – you are a touch on the porky side, so no more than three peas and half a slice of chicken with your small cube of potato tonight, I’m sorry but you’ll simply have to be hungry”. It’s absolutely insane.
When I got to school I had a chat with the other mums and out of the four that said they had received a letter from the nurse visit, three had children that were overweight. All of which look like perfectly healthy, normal weight range children and none of which had a concerned GP. This begs the question, is our country suffering from rising obesity rates and an issue with overweight children, or are we misplacing funding and allowing our children to become subject to the dreaded BMI checks that are often wrong? o tot mention how much those oh-so-helpful guides must have cost to print… all the primary and secondary colours!
The truth is, I’m not going to change a thing with Reuben’s diet. His snacks are fruit and veg based, and he is given a treat every so often of sweets, crisps, ice cream etc. His meals are home cooked and his favourite food is pasta, rice with green Thai curry and (given the chance) a sausage roll. His drinks are water and milk. His cereals are weetabix or Cheerios. Like a lot of children, his diet is perfectly healthy and well balanced – a good mix of treats and nutrition. In addition to the fact that they are basing these stats off an unreliable chart, there is a huge undying implication here that for someone to be outside of the “normal box” means that they are automatically unhealthy. They aren’t – there are plenty of overweight people who are very healthy.
After chatting to the other mums they feel the same, yet some parents wouldn’t.
This could really be such a devastating blow to someone, who would put their five year old on a diet and slam them with a complex for life. Yet ironically whilst the government seem to have funding to send nurses out to schools to perform these simple and ineffective tests, I would love to see how they would fair if every parent of every child who is supposedly overweight were to ask for the advice of a paediatric nutritionalist. I’m banking not well.
I have always loved taking pictures of the children, there is something about capturing our day to day that just makes me smile. I literally am that annoying mum who is holding everything up to demand that her long suffering children take a picture together, and I have to say when I’m not that woman I’m the one holding things up to try and take a sly snap while they aren’t looking.
When Danielle from Someone’s Mum suggested to me that we could set up a linky and IG community together to celebrate our little siblings I was beyond excited!
For those of you that aren’t bloggers and don’t know, a linky is essentially a group of bloggers joining together through links on their websites to share about one particular topic or to share their blog posts. Our linky is obviously based all around siblings – sharing a picture or as many as you want, a post about them and their interactions etc. I love the idea because it’s celebrating one of my favourite parts of having a big family and something that, as an only child, I really longed for as a kid. Our linky will open in a Friday at 9pm and close on a Saturday at midnight!
For the IG (instagram) community ANYONE can get involved – you don’t have to be a blogger, you just have to have a public instagram account and share a picture of your little one with the hashtag #saturdaysiblings it’s that simple. The picture can be professional or fun, playful, insightful, heartwarming or hilarious… Whatever you captured your siblings doing this week, we want to see it! Be sure to follow @tobyandroo and @someone_s_mum on instagram to get regrammed!
This are my favourite picture of the kids together this week, I know Edie isn’t present but I just love the way this shows the bond between my boys:
Come and join us please, we’d love to have you!
It’s coming up to wedding season again now and I’m beginning to feel a little bit nostalgic for last year when I was a bridesmaid at my best friend’s wedding. It was such a special day and little things are starting to remind me of it – seeing the wedding fair signs all around, hearing about upcoming celeb weddings and friends who are tying the knot this Summer.
When I look back at the wedding, one of my favourite parts of Kate & Mike’s special day was their wedding favours because they were totally unique and something that I would never have thought of before, but is becoming more and more of a trend. They chose to gift their guests with sterling silver ribbon pins with a small gem stone imbedded, sky blue for the boys (representing pancreatic cancer) and pink for the girls (representing breast cancer).
You see, cancer has touched the lives of both of these dear friends, as it has most of us, and being the uber thoughtful dudes that they are, they went outside of the box and chose to use their wedding favours, something that most people take for granted or even throw away, to give to their guests. In total I think they donated over £250 to buy their pins, a donation that otherwise would never be given because few of us have that kind of spare cash to chuck at a charity, no matter how much we would love to.
So, why am I telling you this – other than for the pure nostalgia of remembering the day?
Well, as I mentioned before this is becoming more and more of a trend among couples. Gone are the days of the sugar coated almond that no one likes and is a nut allergy hazard (my friend Kate is also allergic to nuts) and gone are the days of giving a cute packet of plant seeds to people who are struggling to find the daily will to feed their kids, never mind a plant they never wanted. So what has stepped into place?
Charitable wedding favours.
What is a wedding is not an opportunity to spread a bit of love and blinding awesomeness? That is just what we can do with charity wedding favours and if you are getting married this year I would strongly urge you to consider them. I’ve put together a little list of my favourite charity wedding favours for you to have a look at, from the small and individual (like Kate and Mike’s favours) to the big group gift, that will make a real difference to the chosen cause.
Small and Individual.
So you like the idea of something small and individual for each guest to take away with them? Try these:
Oxfam gift of Soap £5
Oxfam’s gift of soap sends a bar of of soap to a family for £5. You get a token card to give to your guests and the knowledge that you could have given someone who could only dream of the amount of money your wedding has cost, a life saving gift.
Cancer Research Pins £2 – £2.50
£2 to £2.50 per guest and there are a range of pins that will mean more to the majority of people sat at your tables than you could possibly know, not to mention the thousands of people whose lives are saved by Cancer Research.
You can order camomile seeds from Rethink, who support those with mental illness. There is also an option for collection tins and they have a specialised team to help tailor something to your wedding that will benefit both sides.
Not only are the Alzheimer pins beautiful but the charity also offers stunning jewellery for women and cufflinks for men, that makes an ideal gift for your wedding party.
Bigger is better? Group donations.
If you are wanting to make a big splash and ditch the tradition of a single favour for each gift, why not try doing one of these are a big donation gift, OR as a table by table donation?
Oxfam’s Goat Couple £50
Especially beautiful if you are animal lovers. With your donation, Oxfam gifts a pair of mating goats and helps a family learn business skills to build a livelihood from the goats. The family can breed and pass on a goat, eventually helping more and more people. This is a wonderful table by table gift, depending on the size of your wedding – if you are having a larger wedding it could be the ideal opportunity to spend less and impact more.
Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Make-A-Trip gift £100
Make-A-Wish Foundation helps make a dream a reality for children with life-threatening diseases. I can guarantee that some of the guests at your wedding will be parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents. This gift is far more special than almonds or chocolates, and can make a dream come true for a child that may never get the chance to have the white wedding dream themselves.
In Nepal healthcare is often inaccessible for many pregnant women. This money, donated through Gifts in Action (who also have a tonne of other charitable gifts like this), could help save countless lives, not to mention provide a livelihood for one woman, who can pass on her skills. A beautiful gift, especially from an expectant couple.
I’d love to know what you did for your wedding favours! Would you go for something charitable now?
If you are a long term reader of the blog then you will know that I am very dedicated to women’s rights and gender equality, so it will probably come as no surprise when I say I want to talk about a rather controversial topic that has been in the news a lot lately and really divides people: Abortion.
Firstly, let me tell you what sparked this post off. Viral blogger and Queen of general awesomeness Constance Hall posted on her Facebook page about the right to have an abortion after comments made by Donald Trump over being Pro-life, and his determination to make abortion illegal under certain terms. In her usual style it was hilarious, poignant and down right fab. In the usual style of the internet it sparked off a host of sancitmummies and anti-abortion hatred, with the pro-birthers hopping on to it within minutes. It also inspired a lot of people to stand up and say, “You know what, back off my rights”. That is what an abortion is at the end of the day; a woman’s right.
Echoing the sentiment from Constance, I feel that it’s so important to shout from the roof tops about how this is a WOMANS right and until you can carry a baby in your body, your opinion is about as relevant as a fart in the wind. The old saying “it takes two to make a baby” started to fly around the comment section while I was making like Michael Jackson with his popcorn in my slippers watching Game of Thrones. We all know that is true, but hold up, how many people does it take to be pregnant? How about labour? How about die during childbirth or due to unforeseen complications? One. Now how many of them are sporting a pair of balls? None.
Abortion is, and will always be, a woman’s issue, it isn’t about gender inequality it is rather to say that until the time a man can carry a pregnancy, be affected physically by a pregnancy and at potential risk from a pregnancy, he will never have a valid opinion or right to tell a woman whether or not she can have an abortion. He can’t. And yet, here we stand in a world where abortion is illegal in so many countries because the MEN who run that country have passed a law that says they feel a foetus has more of a right than the woman whose body it is inhabiting. And yes, I say foetus because, like it or not, that is what it is, it has no rights until it lives independently of it’s mother’s body, otherwise you strip the mother of HER rights, in place of something that, without her, wouldn’t exist.
I posted this image on instagram earlier in the week and it (as expected) received a mixed bag of comments but the general consensus from “pro-lifers” was that you could always just “not get pregnant”, “use contraception” etc. Abortion is not exclusive as a form of contraception by miscreant teens who had a quickie without a condom, but frequently it is a decision made by women with families already because their contraception has failed, because they have been raped, because their health may be jeopardised if they continue with the pregnancy. No one has the right to tell a woman what comes out of her body, in the same way that no one can tell a woman what should go INTO her body. Life isn’t as neat as we may wish it to be, and while in an ideal world people would simply “not get pregnant” it doesn’t work that way. What’s more, it’s generally launched around that a woman should use contraception instead of abort, but what about the man? Ever wondered why no one has ever invented the male pill or or an injection that neutralises sperm? Yeah, me too.
There is such a misconception spread about abortion / terminations because of pro-life propaganda, something that I find I really struggle with. It is one thing to feel in your heart that you would never be able to have an abortion, a thought process that I believe to be valid and respect as someone’s opinion, but to then project those feelings on to another person’s body is a way of making them something less than human. Aren’t you tired of being less, ladies? Aren’t you tired of a patriarchal society that actively encourages women vs women attitudes and makes women LESS? I am.
“I love you infinity X infinity”. That’s what he’s always said to me, something we’ve always shared and laughed about in our kooky way. It’s not that we’re not as close as we used to be, not by any means, but it’s just that lately we haven’t had much time for each other as adults. He has become Daddy, I have become mummy. In between that is that annoying man who wastes our much needed moola on fuckball and that woman who nags him about spending his hard earned cash but goes out to lunch and buys clothes the kids don’t need.
A couple of weeks ago we went away for the night to watch WWE RAW, it’s something that Adam has loved since he was a child and of course, as he’s never truly grown up he still loves it dearly… And I can see why. It is the only thing that we really have in common (entertainment wise) that we can both say we really enjoy. I find it indulges my inner geek and I genuinely get a kick out of watching him come alive when there is an especially awesome move or when one of his favourites comes on the mic. So, off we tootled to our little “romantic” night away, and I have to say it felt a touch odd at first, like the kids are sometimes the lynch-pin that holds us together. Then we got talking. And laughing. And then howling with laughter.
The thing is, everyone knows that children are a blessing, it’s no secret that they are a wonderful gift from the universe that can change you totally. There in lies the problem.
You fall head over heels in love with someone and then you have kids and they change. They change into parents, and you have to learn to love each other in a different way. Make no mistake about it, I’ve never bought into the whole “having kids brings you closer” malarkey, I don’t think it does. I don’t think it tears you apart either, rather I believe it changes you irrevocably and you have to learn to love a new person who still has elements of the person you once knew, but who is fundamentally different, which in turn brings you closer and pulls you apart all at once.
Spending the night away with Adam was like a breath of fresh air. This man who I fell so in love with is still in there, the woman that he fell in love with is in here too, and we got the chance to bring those sides of us out again.
In a way it made us appreciate the people that we have become, purely because we knew each other so well already, a glimpse of our carefree and child-free sides has renewed our affections and appreciations of one another so much, which has done wonders for our relationship. We’ve decided that even if it is just a night out for a meal with a few drinks, we’re going to try and get away at least once every couple of months. Just us.
Just me and him, without our mummy and daddy personas.