Sunday, 29 December 2013

A Very Belated Merry Christmas!

As it is quite obvious to see, the blog has been quiet this month. Actually the past few months in general have seen me slip ever so slowly away from the blogging world and back in to the open arms of my real world.

Christmas this year has been a very happy yet very sad one.

The excitement of having our first Christmas where Princess truly understands the magic of it all, helping her put out the milk and cookies for Santa and the continous "has Santa been yet!?" every morning for the whole of December, only makes us remember more those that aren't around to enjoy the magic with us.

In November, we lost a truly wonderful woman. Ross's Mum. My Mother in Law and Princess's Nana. This Christmas has been full of firsts and not all of them happy ones. The first Christmas where Princess can open her presents all by herself, and the first Christmas that Ross has spent without his Mum.

We have tried to make this Christmas as special as possible for Princess because we know that is what Jayne would have wanted. She would have wanted her to be spoilt, cuddled, kissed, sugar-frenzied and happy. So that's exactly what we did.

Overall, it was a lovely day that we all enjoyed as much as we could. We spent the morning with Princess's Grandad who came to watch her open presents. After the crazy aftermath of opening presents, Ross cooked a mouth watering Christmas Dinner that was devoured by all - including the dogs and cat. A chilled evening full of Christmas films, wine and chocolate was the perfect ending to the day.

As much as I am excited for 2014, I know it will be a sad a year. A year that will be filled with sadness as we experience those first moments that are created by losing someone you love. Her first Birthday without her here, first Mothers Day, the first time she won't get to see her newest Grandchild being born.

Despite this, I plan on making 2014 our year. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do it yet, but I know I can. I plan on showering my family with love and appreciation. I want them to know how special they are to me, because you never know when they won't be around any more. I plan on believing in myself more. The things I want to do, I will do, and I will enjoy them. I will achieve the goals I set myself throughout the year, and if I don't.. well I won't hate myself for it. I plan on building the confidence of myself and others around me.

I suppose the sadness we feel just reminds us of how much we cared. How much we miss and love someone.

Now that Christmas is over, I'm going to face 2014 head on. I don't have anything spectacular planned, but I will take each day as it comes and enjoy it as much as I possibly can.

I hope all of you had a fantastic Christmas and are all still carrying safely guarded food babies that you all plan on shedding in January. That's what Christmas is all about right? Eating yourself in to oblivion and promising come next year that you WILL be slim? Yeah, me too.

I won't promise to blog more, because we all know that won't happen. But for now, I am enjoying my blog as and when I want to. I never want to see it as a chore or a job because that's when I stop loving it. Let's just see what the New Year brings!


Saturday, 7 December 2013

Wheelchair VS Pushchair

If you are a follower of Pushchair Trader on Facebook then you may have seen their recent status about the wheelchair VS pushchair on public transport debate.

Apparently, their have been cases in court regarding this argument, one in favour of the pushchair and one in favour of the wheelchair - who gets priority?

This argument is basically about buses. As of right now, the general consensus is 'first come, first served'. This means that if a pushchair/pram/stroller is on the bus, a person in a wheelchair cannot get on. If a person in a wheelchair is on the bus, a parent with a pushchair cannot get on.

Apparently, right now, a supreme court is trying to work out who has more rights on buses public transport.

I posted on this status. Something that was true to me, and probably a lot of other parents. This is what I said:

"I had to ask a complete stranger to hold my barely 6 week old child whilst I folded my pushchair down so a lady in a wheelchair could get on the bus. I had to move my shopping bags to a seat, remove the rain cover as it was raining that day, fold the pushchair down and place it in the shopping hold and then retrieve my baby from the stranger. By the time I had done all of this, the lady in the wheelchair was in place. Next to her, there were 2 spare places where my pushchair could have fit. I had to hold my newborn baby, shopping bags and changing bag for the whole 30 minute journey. It is not about 'first come first served' or even who has more priority.. it is about the bus companies changing their policies."

What I didn't state was this - I was on the way to a midwife appointment so she could remove the staples in my stomach after an emergency c-section. The shopping in my bags was formula and nappies. I was then late for my appointment.

I can argue this case from both sides quite easily.

As a parent, it is my natural instinct to protect my child. As a newborn baby, I don't want her coming out of the pushchair in freezing cold conditions. I don't want to hand her over to a complete stranger to hold whilst I dismantle a pushchair. I don't want to have to hold her uncomfortably because I woke her up, she's now starving and I can't quite get hold of the bottle, milk powder and mix it together with one hand. None of that is fair.

 If you are sat on the bus with your child, newborn, 6 months, 1 year.. it is entirely unfair to either a) be forced to leave the bus altogether or b) struggle entirely trying to juggle basically your entire life in 2 hands. If your child can walk.. then there is no argument. You should fold the pushchair up before you even get on the bus.. there isn't a need for you to take up those seats. However, if your child cannot walk, then why should you then in turn be forced to give up that seat for someone else who cannot walk.. but is just older?

As a disabled person, it is not fair for them to have to sit out in the cold/wind/rain/heat waiting for a bus.. over and over again.. just because a pushchair is already on the bus. How many buses do they have to wait for? 2? 5? In my whole 18 months of using a pushchair on public transport, I have only ever come across maybe 15 incidents where I could not catch a bus because of a wheelchair user. Considering I used to catch the bus several times a week, that's actually a very small amount. Most wheelchair users are inable to vacate their wheelchair and fold it down to sit somewhere else.. One of my close friends is in a permanant mobility scooter and cannot get out of it. Is it fair for her to wait for 3 buses before she can get to her Doctors appointment? No it's not..

..so surely one has to give?


During this debate, there were many different opinions and comments:

"I was on the bus first, so why should I give up my space"
"Wheelchair users can't use their legs, but you can!"
"I was forced to get off a bus because someone in a wheelchair wanted to get on"
"I only have 2 arms, how can I hold a baby, carry my shopping and fold down a pushchair?"
"Disabled people ask for equal rights, except when it benefits them!"

Those are just a few. Basically, I agree with them all. After posting my comment above I was called ignorant, disgusting, a pig, bitch, discriminative.. and so forth. The rest are too insulting to post.

However, I spoke the truth.

I don't think it is acceptable to expect a parent to hand their newborn child over to a stranger so they can fold their pushchair down. I don't think it is acceptable to ask someone in a wheelchair to "wait for the next one".

Although it is apparently acceptable to tell a parent with a pushchair to "wait for the next one.."

Who is right?

In my eyes, wheelchair users already have priority. If they are on the bus already, a parent is told to wait. If they want to get on the bus, a parent is told to fold the pushchair down.

On my local bus Nottingham City Transport (NCT) there is a bay specifically for wheelchair and pushchair users. It is specifically stated wheelchair users have priority. However, they have now introduced a larger pushchair bay - basically, 8 strollers could fit in these gaps. On majority of buses, the policy is 1 x wheelchair OR 2 x pushchair. If all buses adopted these same policies, then the problem would be resolved.



A wheelchair has brakes. So does a pushchair. I see no hazard in allowing both contraptions on the bus together.

What needs to change is the policy.

Instead of batting parents against the disabled.. create a bus which accomodates both.

Most buses already can, their policy just doesn't allow them to. Drivers are unwilling to risk their jobs to bend the rules, and parents are bullied into giving their space up.

If buses created space for both - because lets face it, those of us who can walk freely without children are quite able to stand - what do we need those extra seats for? One side could be for pushchairs and the other for wheelchairs. Only 3 seats per side could accomodate 2 pushchairs and 1 wheelchair.. then surely everyone is happy?

The worst part of the argument here, is that you cannot fight against the disabled. A disabled person will always have priority over a baby, child, teenager or adult and there is nothing anyone can do to fight this, it's common decency. As soon as I voiced my opinion, I was slandered for not being respectful enough towards the disabled. I understand the meaning of disability, probably more than other people, and I am not ignorant to the difficulties they may face. However, as a parent, I am not ready for my child to be deemed "less important" than anyone else.

I could write this post for days, and as I'm not against or for either, I can't even be controversial.

What are your opinions on this topic? Should wheelchairs have priority over children?

Friday, 6 December 2013

I'll Brush And Brush And Brush My Hair..

In your lifetime, how many people will complain about the way they look? Their face, their body, their hair, their skin, their clothes.

One.. hundred? Maybe one thousand?

I am no stranger to self-criticism. I am too fat, too short, too fair and too hairy.

This stems from short parents, a chubby family, pale ancestors and what I'm lead to believe, a fairly masculine father.

This had lead to a 5ft, fair skinned, chubby, dark haired child. I have been chubby since I can remember.. Hell, look at pictures of me as a toddler and you automatically know where the Michelin Man came from.

But despite the chubbiness and the disastrous monobrow, the one thing that I just cannot forgive..?

My hair.

My hair is naturally dark brown. It is thick. It is wavy. Not curly... wavy.

I cannot create natural curls.. it is too thick.

I cannot creathe natural waves.. it is too thick.

I cannot create straightness.. it is too thick.

I KID you not.

This is my hair at 14...

 

My hair is the absolute worst nightmare of any person ever. I thought I was exaggerating. But then I observed people. I observed their hair and the way it changed. The way it reacted to products (that I always got the name of by the way). I watched my frizzy haired friends turn in to sleek, seductive creatures. I watched fellow curly haired friends turn into tamed, tidy curls.

Oh no. Not me.


Don't get me wrong, I have had compliments on my natural hair. I am also pretty sure they are taking the piss. I don't even bother having to blow dry my hair to attain ridiculous amounts of volume.

And that's where the envy lies I assume. My hair has volume. Layer upon layer of volume, no matter what spritz, lacquer, mask or spray I apply to it. It will never shrink and it will never lie flat.

 

This post is ridiculously impossible, because I do not have an answer. After countless and endless ordeals with my hair, spending fortune and fortune trying to get it the way I would like, maybe just a little less crazy.. I have come up empty handed.

To everyone else.. just be thankful. If you have flat, sleek, shiny, straight hair.. you can create my mess. But I will forever be stuck with mine.
 
So I'll brush and brush and brush and brush my hair, stuck in the same place I've always been. And I'll keep wandering, and wandering and wandering, when will my hair be tame? 


This is the straightest and shiniest my hair has ever been. As you can see.. it is not straight. This style took an hour. And lasted all of five minutes...




Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Brightest Star In The Sky

Dear Jayne,

It was nearly 5 years ago that I met you. It was a warm Summers day and you were having a barbecue in the back garden. I walked up to you reproachfully, not sure what to expect.. I was only 19 years old. You scared the absolute life out of me.

You were my boyfriends Mother. Ross's Mum. You were the soul most important being in his livelihoood, and he wanted me to meet you. That thought terrified me. Despite only looking 15 and most of my friends parents believing me to be the bad influence on them, I was worried at what you might make of me. Ross and I had been friends from the age of 13.. so already 6 years I had known him. I cared so much for him yet I was so scared to meet you and Gary.

I needn't have been scared. You welcomed me with open arms. We shared love of random Facebook games and would message each other quite regularly. I will never, ever, remember the moment Ross told me that you approved of me. He had said that you liked me so much and it was a refreshing change. I was someone he could build a future with.

Over the years, we grew much closer. We would visit you on weekends, you would come down to our house and visit us. I'd even catch the bus over to the other side of Nottingham to visit you with Princess when Ross was working. I'd sit and watch you iron whilst we would chat.

You worked so hard for everything you had. Look at all that weight you lost! I will always remember our weekly trips to Zumba and aerobics. Laughing at ourselves and the other seriously unfortunate. I can remember you saying you wanted to lose weight so you could live your life to the fullest. You wanted to get down on the floor and play with the Grandkids. You wanted to be able to pick them up and cuddle them and be involved in all that they do. And do you know what? You achieved it. A million times over. 

It absolutely kills me to write on my blog, that sadly you have passed away.

Actually, sadly doesn't even cover it.

When you were diagnosed with cancer on the 2nd September of this year - my Birthday to be exact - I don't think any of us really recognised how serious things were. I knew that your results were on my Birthday, I kept asking Ross if he had heard anything. You told everyone not to tell me, so my Birthday wouldn't be ruined. That's the kind of person you were. You cared more about me enjoying my Birthday than your own health. Even promising me a present as soon as you came out, as if that's what I was bothered about.

I remember being sat on the bed with you, crying, that we would do anything. We would support you through all of your decisions and that ultimately, your life was your own. I remember encouraging you to start chemotherapy - because if you didn't, you'd always wonder. Would it have worked?

Boy, did you suffer. I still feel guilty at being part of the reason you considered it. But do you know what Jayne? You broke UK history. Only one other person in the entire UK had suffered the way you did, slipped in to a coma.. but you came out of it. The only person, EVER. You fought it with all you had. You had a reason to live. Your Mum, Gary, Steven, Marie, your children and all of your Grandchildren. We all waited for you to come back fighting and you proved you could. It was an actual miracle.

Jayne, you are an inspiration. Just 10 short weeks after you were diagnosed.. cancer took your life. None of us will ever forget, or ever forgive this awful disease. But you have set the mark. You have proved that sometimes maybe you can be that 1%. Sometimes, when you think that all hope is lost.. maybe it isn't.

In my head, I have so many words to say to you. I want to sit across a table from you and tell you all the words I've been meaning to say but never had the chance to. I want to express to you exactly what you mean to me and how you've helped me become the woman I am today.

I want to say thank you for everything. Thank you for raising an amazing son. A son that I can share my life with and build a family of my own. Thank you for all of your words of encouragement, confidentiality and support, they will always mean more than you will ever, ever know.

I don't want to say goodbye Jayne. Not ever.

You wlll forver be a part of my life. A part of Scarlett's life. And most importantly, Ross's life.

He misses you so much.  Words can't even express the pain he is going through right now, along with Charlotte and Adam.

I know you're watching over us.

The brightest star in the sky, there is no doubt.

Love and miss you always, Jayne.

Your loving Daughter-In-Law,

Misty xxx




Thursday, 28 November 2013

Merry Christmas! Or Not..

I'm sorry.. does the title of this blog post offend you?

If so, stop reading right now. Because I will not now, and not ever, say "Happy Holidays!"

Whilst scrolling through Facebook the other day, having a good nosy as you do, I came across a status that intrigued me. Someone was asking why their local Christmas lights were being taken down.

I read through the responses with interest. Why would the council be taking Christmas lights down in November? It turns out they weren't Christmas lights at all, but in fact lights that had been put up to celebrate Eid.

That's fine. In fact it's nice to see that in a religiously diverse country, our councils are happy to help each individual celebrate their own beliefs.

The comments after that however shocked me.

The poster of the status asked when the Christmas lights were going to be put up as she would like to take her family down to the light switch on. She was met with the response that there would be no Christmas lights being put up.

Because they offend people of a different religion.

I was outraged.

The area this woman lives in is an ethically diverse community as are many other parts of Nottingham. This is no secret to anybody.

What I don't understand is how we can celebrate one religion and not the other? Especially when said religion is the belief of majority of the country.

I in no way intend this post to be racist. I am not a racist and nor will I ever be. I have respect for religion, and respect for the beliefs of others. In fact, I'm not even religious myself in the slightest, I am not Christian, Catholic, Muslim nor Hindu. But I accept and applaud the fact that others are.

I celebrate Christmas as a part of British culture. I am aware of the origin of Christmas, and am not ignorant to the fact it is a religious holiday.. but I celebrate it none the less. I could quite happily celebrate Eid or Diwali if I had more knowledge about it, but I don't.

But what I don't understand is why Christmas is offensive. Just because it doesn't follow the beliefs of others, does not mean it is offensive. If Christians can happily accommodate people of a different religion, support them in their beliefs and let them enjoy their holidays in peace.. then why can't others do the same?

"Mery Christmas!" is not offensive. A Christmas Tree decorated in lights, tinsel and baubles, is not offensive. The giving and receiving of gifts, is not offensive. And neither is a community coming together to celebrate something they believe in.

Having the right taken away to celebrate Christmas in a peaceful, merry way, is offensive.

I will not be told that I can not say "Merry Christmas". I will not remove the flashing lights from outside my house and I will most definitely not have Christmas day taken away from me and my family.

If I offend you, walk away. If you don't like my decorations, don't look at them. And if you don't want to hear "Merry Christmas!" then I suggest you go back to the country where you don't have to hear it.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Game Night!

These days, we are all fueled by technology. Whether we're sat on the bus, sat on the sofa ignoring the TV, or even sat in bed with our other halves.. the likelihood is, one of us will be using our phone.

Smart phones, tablets and even TV's seem to be the main focus in any household. I don't remember the last time I walked in to a room and at least one person wasn't using their phone.

I love my iPhone, I really do. I very much doubt I could live without it. But there is no denying that my phone sometimes takes my attention away from other more important things (damn Candy Crush!)

Recently, Ross and I decided to ditch the technology, clear the table, and play a good old fashioned board game. We're both big fans of Monopoly, but it was already 11pm and Monopoly can last for hours. Instead, we broke out Cluedo. I haven't played it since I was a young girl so had to reread the instructions seven a couple of times to refresh my memory.


Turns out it was pretty easy - after the first game I had it nailed. We both enjoyed a couple of games, coming to a draw eventually but being too tired to find the real winner.


Minus my over driven need to Instagram the event (c'mon.. it's ME playing a board game!) we remained technology free throughout all of the games. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun which surprised me. I have a short attention span so tend to get bored of games quite easily, but it was just so nice to be doing something together and actually having fun doing so. Even something as simple as Cluedo!


In fact, we enjoyed our impromptu game of Cluedo so much, we have even set a date to play it again. This time hopefully with a few more players!

It's very easy to forget how much technology rules our life. We don't need to physically be talking to someone on the phone or via text message or Twitter for it to be distracting us from the family that are right there in front of us. We're all guilty of it. 

From now on, I think Game Night might be a permanant fixture in our house. We probably need to invest in a few more games apart from Cluedo and Monopoly, but for now, they will entertain us.


Disclaimer: I was sent the game free of charge for the purpose of this post, but all comments and opinions are my own.


How NOT To Piss Off A Toddler

I'm not even sure if at the age of 3, Princess even counts as a toddler any more. She's so independent and sometimes she talks as if she's 53 instead of 3. Either way, during my time as a parent to this seemingly little angel, I have picked up some ticks, trips and handy hints as to how not to piss her off. It's hard.. but it works.

ONE - When they ask you for something, whether that be a biscuit or to be picked up, you need to do it right that second. If you wait any longer than 5 seconds, they will have changed their mind and be disgusted that you are even offering them what they originally asked for and demand something else. If you fail to comply right away, make sure you ask them again what they want otherwise it'll most probably end in a fit of rage.

TWO - Under no circumstances, pierce their carton of juice/milk for them. They like to do it themselves. If you pierce the straw in to their drink and offer it them, you may as well have just slapped them round the face. The drink is rendered un-drinkable and you will have just wasted your time and money.

THREE - Do not change the TV channel over when you think they're not watching. Even if they're in the next room, upstairs or outside, they WILL notice and they WILL make you regret it. Adult TV time is strictly for when toddlers are in bed. Asleep. For at least 2 hours.

FOUR - There is absolutely no point in trying to mix medicine in to juice. They can sniff it out like a police dog and will ultimately refuse to drink it.. or pour it all over the furniture. The trust is gone.

FIVE - Do not tidy their toys away whilst they are on the floor. They will scream and be adamant they were playing with every single item that was thrown about. Tidying it away will only result in a toddler style tornado hitting your house causing destruction beyond your wildest imagination.

SIX - If they say they've finished their food. They've finished. Calmly take it away and leave it on the side in case they change their mind again 5 seconds later. If you try and force them to eat you will more than likely end with spaghetti in your face, potato up your walls and a nice tomato sauce stain in your carpet. It's just not worth it.

SEVEN - Never argue with a toddler. They are always right. Even when they're not right.. they are. There is no point trying to reason, justify or explain to a toddler - they just don't care. Any sort of comment trying to explain why your darling toddler was wrong for throwing the cat down the stairs, will only make them angry.


So there you have it.

If you ever face these situations with your angelic little one, don't forget the rules. They'll save your life. Maybe.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Sing, Sing, Sing..

I now have the Travis song stuck in my head.. great.

Princess doesn't like it when I sing. I'll admit, I don't have the most softest of voices and I can't sing in key, but I do love singing. Whether that be along to the radio, the TV, a song that's stuck in my head, or just a general song whilst I'm tidying up, I'm always at it.

Ross moans that I sing over songs and he can't hear them. I'm not quite that loud, but I can see why it's annoying. I hate it when people sing over a song I'm trying to listen to.

I digress. Basically, because of Princess's lack of appreciation for my singing, she doesn't know many songs.

Until recently, the only song she knew was "Rain, rain, go away" and she only knew a few lines. She's never been interested in nursery rhymes or the colourful music videos she see's on the kids channels. She'll shout blue murder whenever we put music channels on - unless she wants to dance that is - but she just has no interest at all.

A few weeks ago, we bought her a Sofia The First doll from the Disney Store with her Birthday money. She adores Sofia and is absolutely in love with the doll.

The doll sings a song from the TV show "Sofia The First" and if I remember rightly, it's the episode where Sofia decides she wants to join the royal horse riding team. Something about being able to "do anything that you try".

Imagine my amazement, and my utter heart-melt when I heard her singing along to it.

She doesn't quite know all of the words, and she'll miss quite a few out in order to get to her favourite parts, but she loves singing along with the doll. I've tried to get a video recording so many times, but once she realises what I'm doing she stops singing and throws a strop.

It's so nice to hear her singing. She's still not interested in nursery rhymes, but she's started to sing along to some of the songs on TV. I'm sure once she starts nursery and there is someone else there to sing the rhymes instead of 'boring old Mum' she'll love those too.

She's still not a fan of my singing though. If I try and sing along with her she'll tell me to "shut up, Mum!" (Side note - since when was she old enough to call me MUM?)

If anyone elses little ones aren't a big fan of singing, or you're struggling to get them to remember songs - a doll like this is fantastic. Since she's learned this song, she's so eager to learn more. She sings the songs from The Aristocats, Rapunzel and even Peter Pan. It's absolutely adorable!

Does any one elses little one not enjoy singing, or is it just Princess? How did you get them to enjoy songs and music?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Parenting Myth Busting with CANparent

When you find out you're pregnant, it's supposed to be a happy and joyous time. Most of the time it is. But if you are one of the last in your group of friends to have a baby, you often find various tips, myths and problems thrown at you with absolutely no clue as to what is the truth or not.

That is where CANparent comes in.

CANparent is a Classes and Advice Network that does exactly what it says on the tin. It is directed at anyone who feels they may benefit from taking parenting classes or asking advice on any niggles, doubts or worries that they may have about this brand new world of parenting that you find yourself thrown head first in to.

I myself worried about everything. I worried about how warm should I wrap up my baby. How many blankets was enough? What if I didn't understand that my babies cry meant she had tummy ache and not ear ache?
And now that she's older, those worries just get worse. How do I know that she's on track to where she needs to be? Is there anything that we as parents can do to ensure that she's a confident and happy child?

All of these worries pile up to one huge panic and sometimes you feel like you just can't breathe. CANparent is there to offer advice and help you in those times of need.

There are always so many antenatal classes that you are encouraged by your midwife to attend, but once your baby is finally here.. there's not much help beyond that. A lot of people seem to have issues with Health Visitors and their textbook ways, many don't want to bother their GP's every time their child sneezes funny, and most just don't know where to turn to for advice. Well, all of that can change.

I think the biggest myth of parenting - and probably the most worrying - is that children who sit up, walk and talk earliest are the smartest.

When it's your first child and you're surrounded by friends with babies of a similar age, it's very difficult not to compare. It's even harder not to become worried when you notice that their children can do a lot of things that yours can't. You begin to worry that they're behind, they're going to struggle, all of the other children and babies must be smarter and more advanced.

I recently received a letter in the post from my local GP practice about what Princess should be able to do now that she's 3. One of the things on the list was that she should be able to dress herself. To be honest, I received this letter 2 days after her Birthday and I wasn't aware of any other 2 year olds who could actually dress themselves - but I turned to my online community to ask for advice. It turns out that no - it's not something that children should be doing BY the time they turn 3, but something they should be learning. Panic over. Some of the children could dress themselves, but according to the studies - this doesn't make them any more advanced or smarter than those of us with kids who couldn't.

I was glad that I didn't need to worry, but without my online community of friends, it would have been quite easy for me to panic and ring my Health Visitor asking why my child was behind.

CANparent aims to help aid these sorts of questions, whether they be from parents, grandparents or even step parents. Anyone involved with raising a child. There are also classes available for same-sex parents, fathers and step-parents where they can gain advice specifically designed for them. This advice can be accessed in a variety of ways. You can choose to attend a class in your local area where you can meet other parents and make new friends. There are classes available online or even one to one classes if you're not ready to share your concerns with a group.

CANparent have come up with an amusing video to highlight some of the myths we face as parents - some are quite hilarious, but we've all heard them!



CANparent is a brilliant campaign set up to help parents just like yourselves and they need our support to raise awareness of the fantastic services they offer.

If you could pop on over and give their Facebook page a like that would be amazing. You can find out tips, find out about classes in your area and share your own stories - something I think we could all use!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Kicked Whilst You're Down

It's no secret that I like to complain. I love a good moan. It can be about anything too, I'm not too fussy.

Right now, I am at whinging central. I am like a misunderstood toddler who has just had their favourite toy taken away.

To put it plain and simple.. I'm poorly.

After days of agony I was rushed off to the walk in centre and was quite quickly diagnosed with tonsillitis.

My first thought was: "Is that it!?"

I've had tonsillitis before. I had a sore, swollen throat, a gross mouth and a bit of a cough. This is nothing like that.

I am aching, all over. Literally from my head to my toes. My head feels like it is splitting open, I can barely swallow, my shoulders and back are in absolute agony and I have shooting pains in my stomach and it's a battle just to get out of bed. All of this is caused by tonsillitis.

I went back to the Doctors today as I'm not feeling any better despite the antibiotics. She reckons I actually have glandular fever. Great. They can't do the blood test to diagnose until I have finished my antibiotics which is 10 days away. I have been signed off work again as I am just so exhausted and ill.

I feel like an absolute and utter failure. This really couldn't have come at a worse time.

Last week one of the worst things ever happened to our family and we are all still struggling to come to grips with it. There is no time for being ill. I feel like I am letting everyone down and that I am actually stupid for being this ill. Considering the circumstances right now, I feel down right foolish.

But I can't help it. Everything is a struggle. I only just about made it to the Doctors without collapsing.

I'm hoping that this clears up quickly. On top of everything else, Princess also has a cold and a nasty virus cough just to make things even more enjoyable for all of us. She's suffering so much at the moment but as it's viral there is nothing to help her except paracetamol.

I'm at the end of my tether to say the least. I am fed up of wallowing and self pitying when there are people who need me to be strong. I am sick of feeling like a victim but mind over matter just isn't working. Usually I can pick myself up and soldier on, but not this time. I am too run down and it has taken over. I've barely eaten in the last few days due to the sheer pain of it so my energy levels are zero. 

In basic terms - fuck tonsillitis. I am sick of you. Piss off and let me look after my family.

Sincerely,

Misty.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Nocturnal

I have blogged many times before about the fact that my 3 year old toddler does not sleep. I must write about it at least once a year, complaining about how little sleep she has and how tired myself and Ross are.

Then she gets in to a fantastic routine, I start to think we've cracked it.. and then it all goes tits up.

I am genuinely starting to believe there is something wrong.

It's as if the part of her brain that needs sleep needs rewiring. She can get by on as little as 3 hours sleep, leaving me and her Dad braindead wrecks.

She got in to such a good routine of dinner, bath and bed. She won't have a story at night, she just won't entertain it. She'll tell us to shut up, or rip the book from our hands. It's best just to leave her to it. A quick kiss on the forehead, tuck her in tight and say "na nights." And it works for a bit. For a few weeks, everything is wonderful. Ross and I can get our 7 hours sleep a night - BOTH of us - and we wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed.

But then it all seems to go wrong. One day, she won't want to go to sleep. She'll ask to go to bed.. but then she'll sit up there for hours screaming that she's not tired. We never relent. She doesn't come back downstairs, no matter how hard she cries. As soon as she's back down, there's not a chance of getting her back to bed for hours. However, leaving her up there to cry doesn't work either.

She will cry and scream to the point we think she's hurt herself. I know she does it to get a reaction from us, just to get us to go upstairs, but it is never worth risking not checking. Just in case. She's done it before where she's been shouting and crying for 2 hours straight, I finally gave in to go and check on her and she'd somehow given herself a bloody lip. Imagine my guilt.

I've started to keep a sleep diary. What time she goes to bed, how many times she wakes up, what she's waking up for and when she wakes up in the morning. Most nights we're lucky if she gets 6 or 7 hours. Every time these phases hit, she seems to be sleeping less and less. When she was 1, we had to cut her naps out completely. She wouldn't go to bed until 10pm (without a nap all day) wake up at least 15 times a night, but then sleep in until 9am. Now, she's not going to sleep until 2-3am and up and at 'em at 8am before I leave for work.

Nothing seems to tire her out. I can't even call her nocturnal because she doesn't sleep in the day either. In fact, if I let her nap in the day I can kiss goodbye to any sleep. We'd be pulling an all nighter.

I'm not totally sure how much more any of us can take. It's one thing to survive on 8 hours broken sleep a night when you don't have to be up in the morning, but when I have to get up for work at 7am and I've been up with her until 2am, it starts to become a bit hard to handle.

It's come to the point where Ross and I are having to sleep in separate beds. I'm climbing in to Princess's bed early hours of the morning so he can stay up with her in our bed so she doesn't disturb me. I don't remember the last time we spent the whole night in bed together without her in there too.

I've sought advice from many different people. Most people blame her lack of sleep on routine. I can categorically state that routine is not the issue. We can all keep to a routine until it comes out of our arses, but if she doesn't want to sleep, she's not sleeping. It has been the same way for 3 years now and I'm tired. We all are. There is no 'locking her in the bedroom until she falls to sleep' or 'letting her cry it out'. 3 years worth of trial and error has taught me that there does not seem to be an answer.

She just doesn't like sleep.


Friday, 1 November 2013

This is Halloween!

I absolutely love Halloween.

I love the costumes, the stories, the movies and the atmosphere.

I didn't really go trick or treating as a child, not until my friends and I were old enough to take ourselves, but that was only once or twice.

I love the scary movies that come on TV, and the classics like Hocus Pocus and Casper.

It's all good fun.

My most favourite memory of Halloween, is spending it in San Francisco when I was 8. The Americans go all-out for Halloween, the same way they do Christmas and it is amazing. Everyone joins in. I remember visiting the house of Robin Williams (yes, THE Robin Williams) and even his house was decorated with cobwebs and skulls. My sister and I carved pumpkins, dressed like witches with green facepaint and broomsticks and got to experience Halloween in a way most of us can't even dream about. 

I'm probably on my own here, but I don't really see why people have an issue with it?

This year was the first year that Princess was old enough to understand. When the costumes came out in stores, I explained to her about Halloween. I told her that people dress up in scary and funny costumes and go to parties. Then I told her about trick or treating. I explained that trick or treat was a game where children dressed up in spooky costumes, knocked on peoples doors and said "Trick or Treat" in the hopes they would get some sweeties.

I'm pretty sure she didn't fully understand and didn't really hear anything I said apart from the word 'sweets', but either way, we planned on taking her anyway. It's Ross's nephews 4th Birthday today and the tradition is to have a small get together of family and then take the kids trick or treating. It's a lot of fun! I was so looking forward to this year because it would be Princess's first time in joining in, she could experience it for herself.

And she was so excited! My manager had given her a witches costume to wear. We bought her a witches hat and wand to go with it. She'd dressed up every day this week and asked if it was Halloween yet! She was so excited and she didn't even understand it properly.

 

We headed out around 6.30pm and knocked on a few peoples doors. We only knock on the doors of those who have decorations in the window or a pumpkin outside.

And do you know what? The kids loved it. Neither of them could stop giggling every time they found a new house with spooky decorations, they would shout "trick or treat!" when someone opened the door and would laugh when the people inside pretended to be scared.
Princess shoved all of her treats straight in to her bag without looking. For her, it wasn't even about what she was receiving from these houses, but just the fun of it had her excited.

I don't see it as her "begging" for sweets. She's not knocking on someones door in the middle of the day asking for a biscuit. She is a little girl who has dressed up as a 'scary' witch in the hopes of getting a treat in return. In fact, I'm not even sure it's that, she just liked knocking on the doors and talking to people. It was new to her and it was exciting.

Why is that a problem?

I can see many issues with Halloween and I won't deny them. Anyone who is in secondary school (so over the age of 11 really) probably shouldn't be joining in, unless they are joined by younger family. Then you really are just begging. There were quite a few groups of older kids out tonight, obviously in their teens, dressed up and knocking on doors. I don't agree with that. I'm not saying older kids shouldn't have fun on Halloween, but they're really not doing it for sweets now are they?

Quite a few people on my Facebook have been arguing over Halloween and how they don't agree with it and how it frightens them. The answer is simple. Many newspapers, police stations and Post Office's will give you a sign to pop on your door or window that says trick or treaters are not welcome. I can promise you, no one will be knocking on your door if they know you're not going to be answering it. The problem is then solved.

Most parents will only let their children knock on the doors of houses that are decorated. If your house doesn't have a pumpkin outside or a lantern in the window, then it's probably just teenagers trying their luck and you're right not to answer your door. Adults are smarter than that.

I also don't want to hear the argument that the elderly are vulnerable. Out of all the houses we visited tonight, I'd say 85% of them were old couples who were sweet, charming and utterly smitten with the children. They don't see an issue with it, so why should anyone else? They are smart enough to check the windows before they answer.

There are so many arguments against Halloween and trick or treating, but there are so many ways that I can argue against it.

My little girl, who has just turned 3, is not begging you for sweets. She wanted to dress up as a witch, the same way she does as a Princess, and yell "trick or treat" to strangers. The sweets were an added bonus (so was the satsuma which was her most favourite of all!). I think you could give most kids a stick and they'd be quite happy with that. It's the experience that matters the most to them.

So next year when you want to post statuses and messages ago how you don't agree with Halloween, just remember that it is all in good fun. And you don't have to join in if you don't want to. At the end of the day, it's all about the children, and that's what really matters

 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Silence.

I want to apologise for my silence.

On here and on Twitter and Facebook. I realise not many people will have noticed or many that will care, but for those of you who have noticed and who have asked, I'm sorry.

So much has been going on here lately, it's hard to keep up. Sometimes I struggle to catch my next breath, never mind worry about what I can blog about.

Not much has happened in terms of things I can write about. I respect my families privacy and will continue to do so until someone tells me it's okay to write about what's been happening. Until then, it's not my place and I will keep quiet.

My time has been split quite haphazardly. I have had 1 day off work in 9 days, bearing in mind I am actually meant to be part time. I have been spending my time visiting family, keeping my home and spending it with Princess and Ross. There hasn't been time for anything else and blogging, along with many other things has taken a very drastic back seat.

I probably could have blogged, I'll admit. But when I finally had time to sit down and rest and take the day in.. the last thing on my mind was the internet. I'll admit to playing a lot of Candy Crush, but who isn't?

The only thing I have done for myself recently, is go on my works night out. October marks the end of the financial year and we had a huge regional party at Bistro Live. I will admit to being rather drunk. Necking 5 glasses of wine beforehand and then consuming 2 jugs of Cheeky Vimto between myself and Hayley wasn't the best plan considering I had work the next day, but it was so much fun. It was nice to let my hair down and forget about things for a while.



I probably won't be dancing on any more tables or stages in a while, but I enjoyed it whilst it lasted.

Assistant manager & me dancing on stage.. as you do.

Princess is doing fine. She always is, she's a little trooper. Since her birthday she has successfully mastered toilet training and we have received her acceptance letter in to our chosen nursery. Talk about everything slapping us in the face at once! I'd only just come to the terms with the fact she was turning 3! She's very excited to start nursery though and is so proud of herself for now being in big girl pants. We're proud of her too. It was starting to become easy to imagine her in nappies forever, but she cracked it within a day. I suppose we were all probably a bit lazy with it.

And on that note, I will end this very random and brief post. I will also leave you with a very drunken picture of myself in neon pink lipstick in the toilets of Bistro Live. Why not!? Don't even ask me what the lighting was about.. #theycallmemellowyellow

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Mummy Super Hero!

I will admit it out loud and proud: I am a spider killer.

I absolutely hate those little black, sometimes brown, disgusting little creatures. What is their purpose? What favour are they doing for me? Yes, maybe they keep flies away, but I would rather have a hundred flies bopping around than one single spider leg to touch my skin.

(Especially with the news of this new killer 'false widow' spider.. *shudder*)

Anyway, ever since I can remember, I have had night vision when it comes to spiders. The room could be pitch black but I can spot that crawling beast from miles away.

This was proven this week when I was tucking Princess in to bed.

I'd just kissed her goodnight and pulled the duvet up when I saw it out of the corner of my eye. Scuttling along the skirting board at 100mph. The thing was HUGE. Easily the size of my palm. Nevermind the fact I have small hands, this thing was massive.

Being the super brave woman that I am, I grabbed a Ross's massive trainer slipper and steadily headed my way over. Princess watched me with eyes of admiration as I scooched on ever closer to the scuttling monstrosity.

I help up the shoe and whacked that beast as hard as I could. It didn't die. In fact, I think I just made it angry. It charged at me, I squealed and then whacked the bastard again. Six times. Needless to say, this time it died.

I stood up, feeling as proud as punch. I turned to Princess and said "It's fine, it's gone now."

To which she replied "Wow Mummy, thak you. You just saved my life!"

She has now been telling the story to anyone who will listen of how Mummy killed the massive spider all week.

That's right. I'm Super Mum!

Disclaimer: I am not sorry I killed that spider, or of the hundreds I have killed before it. And sorry Grandma, but I just don't believe it brings me bad luck. They should know better than to step in to my house.

Linking up with this week's Wot So Funee?


Wot So Funee?



Neals Yard Remedies - Aromatherapy Room Spray Review

I was recently contacted and asked "How do you sleep at night..?"

Not in an "because you're an awful person" kind of way, but in a way that wonders if I sleep well or not. Obvs.

Now it's no secret that I love my sleep, but I'm not actually a brilliant sleeper. Anxieties and palpitations tend to make it difficult for me to drop off, and then when I eventually do drift into a deep sleep, I usually have a little person poking me to move up. I also snore.. quite badly. So bad in fact, it's been loud enough to wake me up! Anyway, moving o.. It's been years since I have had an uninterrupted nights sleep. So when I was offered to be sent a product that is supposed to help you sleep, I snapped it up.



I was sent a bottle of Energising Aromatherapy Room Spray to try out and record my thoughts on the difference, if any, it made to my sleeping habits.



The bottle comes in lovely packaging - not that it matters, and was beautifully wrapped up in tissue paper. Straight away opening the box you can smell the orange and garden mint wafting through. This is what Neals Yard have to say about their spray:

"Instantly transform your space, and your mood, with a burst of energising aroma. We use natural essental oils to create our pure aromtherapy blends, never synthetic fragrance - when nature creates aromas this amazing, we can't think why anyone would want to use anything else."

And it's true. Why use synthetically enhanced chemicals in perfumed spray, when there natural substances out there that do just as good a job? And who doesn't prefer natural remedies these days? It is also alcohol free so is kind to the skin should you get any on you.

This spray comes from the folks at Neals Yard Remedies and has an uplifting aroma of orange, grapefruit and garden mint. I will admit to not being completely sold at first, I don't particularly like the smell of mint and it is quite strong within the spray.

Pretty much straight away I started spritzing our bedroom. Princess sleeps in there sometimes too so it was interesting to see the effects it had on her. Minus the "Mummy, what's that smell?" that she would ask me every night, she seemed to like it.

I wasn't keen on the smell at first, but after a few days, it started to smell normal. Like.. it's hard to describe but it's a bedroom smell. When I catch a whiff of it heading up the stairs, I almost want to jump straight in to bed because that's what I associate it with now.

The fragrance isn't too strong that you feel like you're eating it like I know some aromatherapy spritzes can seem, once it has settled it's actually really pleasant. It also reminded me of my Grandma who was big on aromatherapy so that was actually quite comforting.

After about 9 days, I didn't notice much difference in it helping me to relax and drift off at night - let's face it, aromatherapy spray isn't going to cure palpitations. But I did notice that in the morning, I'd felt as if I'd had a really good nights sleep. It was almost as if I was in a deeper slumber during the night meaning I was more refreshed in the morning. Even when a little madam poked me awake in the night, I managed to fall back to sleep easier.

We spray the room once in a morning and then once again a couple of hours before bed. The spritz is actually for energising your spaces, rather than to help you sleep, but it has an essence about it that makes you want to climb into bed. Especially with the essence of mint, which I know is meant to be a refreshing scent, I find it calming. I'm still not sure on it when it's strong, but mixed with hints of orange and grapefruit, the smells compliment each other.

I asked Ross what he thought of the room spray too and he has noticed feeling visibly more relaxed once he gets in bed. If anything, Ross is a worse sleeper than I am, so for him to notice some sort of difference is pretty awesome.

I am going to be passing this spray along to a friend who is having trouble sleeping so they too can enjoy the effects. The aromatherapy spray is by no means a sleeping tablet, but it definitely helps to have a beautiful scent and aroma around you whilst you are in bed. I would recommend this product to a friend.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for the purpose of this review.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Sorry, You Are Too Fat To Sit Here..

Today, something about my job suddenly occurred to me, which is actually quite worrying considering I've nearly been there a year.. but it made me think.

As most of you know - on Twitter anyway - I am a Travel Advisor. I won't pretend to be the best because if I'm honest, I'm absolute shit at sales. Somehow I always manage to hit target but I'm not sure how.. anyway, enough of that.

On our airline, we offer "Extra Leg Room Seats"
To book an Extra Leg Room Seat on our flight.. you must not be disabled. You must not be old. And you MUST NOT be obese.

Is this, or is this not, discrimination central?

And it suddenly occurred to me today.. If I have an obese couple sat in front of me and they ask for these Extra Leg Room Seats.. Am I supposed to say "Sorry, you can't have those because you're fat?"

The reason for this is because these seats are located directly next to the emergency exits. You know the ones, right? Loooooads of leg room because there's like two meters worth of space in front of you. Sometimes you get a flight attendant sat across from you too if you're lucky. But these seats need to be occupied by the fit, young and active, because if the plane were to make an emergency landing, these are the types of people who would be able to open an aircraft door and guide everyone to safety (I must add, I don't think most of these people realise when they buy these seats..)

I recently had to make a call to a customer who had booked these seats, and then applied for Medical Assistance during his flight, and tell him that because he had recently had a new hip, which he needed to exercise so the Extra Leg Room Seats would be perfect for him - he couldn't have them.

This also leads to children. Children are also not allowed to occupy these seats - which actually isn't a problem because what child under 12 needs Extra Leg Room?

It is very easy to justify these reasonings to parents or the elderly.. but what about the obese? I am by far from a skinny-minnie, but I would be mortified if I went in to book a holiday and was told I was too fat for my seats. Why is this situation left to us on the front line in the Travel Agents? We don't make the rules, yet we are expected to take the brunt of things.

I recently had a customer who walked in to my shop, sit at my desk and asked me about wheelchair accessibility abroad. I asked her if she had filled in a welfare form, where she was going and what she intended on doing. She answered that she was wanting to take a boat ride over the bay to the other side of the town, so I nodded. I asked her what her disability and limitations were - uncomfortable, but I needed to know. Her answer was that she could not walk long distances due to her weight and that she was worried she could not get her wheelchair on board the boat.

I'm sorry.. did you not just WALK in to the shop, WALK to my desk, sit down, and then WALK out? I was all ready to fire up my systems when I simply suggested: Could you not be wheeled up the boat dock and then step down on to the boat? It appeared this thought hadn't occurred to her and she thanked me profusely. I love that I get paid for common sense.

I do agree that those who are large enough to take up two seats should pay for them - why on earth not? You are using up the seat which another paying passenger could not. Maybe a group of 5 passengers could not travel because an obese person would take up both of the seats? I can recall my flight to Ibiza in which I was seperated from my friends and forced to sit next to a very LARGE couple. I sat on the aisle seat - so I could walk about if needed - only to be basically shoved out of my seat by this ladies obtuse arse. In theory, this couple needed the whole 3 seats. Their excuse of "Oh look, she's only tiny!" did not suffice. I endured 2.5 hours of continuous elbow knocking and really bad side pain from being so twisted as to get myself comfortable.

I'm sidetracking here, I realise. But since when has it been my job, the tiny, chubby lady, to tell someone they are too fat to ride on a plane?

Thank fuck it hasn't happened so far, but it would be just my luck that tomorrow, my first day back, this will be my first customer.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston


 Not every death is a tragedy. Not every silver lining is intact.

Annie's Father is dead. She isn't sorry. A rich and domineering man, he was always passionate about money than the happiness of his wife and child. And when his lovely, fragile wife Jude died in mysterious circumstances when Annie was still very young, her Father sent her to school in England, and tried to ensure that Jude was never mentioned again.
Now, at last, his days of tyranny are over. And so Annie leaves London and goes back to Dublin, to the house in which he lived and her mother died, where she makes the first of several startling discoveries: he has left her the house she hated. Now, just when she thought she was free of him, she is expeected to make a new life in Ireland, and live as he would have wished. Does she dare to defy him one more time? And who will be able to tell her the truth about her mother's life, and death, before she has to decide?


Jennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize, the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award, the Yorkshire Post Award and the Best Book of the Year Award.

This is going to sound amazingly harsh, but judging by the book I have just read, A Sixpenny Song, written by her.. I sincerely hope her others were much better.

I'll be honest - I'm not much of a heavy reader. I like my chick-lit, Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Crime and some Fantasy. I'm not even sure which category this book falls in to.

The story starts with the lead character Annie learning that her Father has died. You get the feeling he was a strict man, not someone she cared for - which you soon learn she hasn't seen for over 10 years. He has left her their very large home, which she apparently hated but is never explained as to why (apart from her Mother died there) so she returns to Ireland where she grew up, to sell the house.

Annie's Mother died when she was around 10 or 11 and she has never really known how she died. <-- a="" about="" actually="" annie="" away.="" bit="" but="" caused="" come="" concern="" confusing.="" died="" first="" for="" has="" hear="" here="" in="" me="" mother="" nbsp="" never="" out="" p="" place.="" right="" s="" she="" that="" the="" this="" thought="" truth="" truths="" was="" way="" what="" which="" you="">
My second concern was that Annie's Father is made out to be this nasty, controlling, horrid man.. when in fact I didn't seem to feel that at all. The only thing he did that was controlling was send her to boarding school and then try and get her to start in his own business. Boarding school is a bit harsh for anyone, I can imagine. But he wanted her to have a well paid, secure and friendly job.. where is the harm in that? Annie may not have wanted it, and she didn't take it. End of story, right?

Through the story, Annie flashes back to her childhood where she recalls memories of her Mother, Father and their house servants. In every flashback she has, her Father comes across as a loving and caring man. Yes, he has a controlling streak - but not in a malicious intent. It seemed odd that this was the character we were meant to dislike, yet I found myself feeling sorry for him, almost as if he were misunderstood. We always want what is best for our children, yet the choices he made for his daughter, he was forever hated for. We get to see glimpses of him being loving towards Annie, caring and sometimes regretful. But never hateful.

Even when Annie finds his diaries after his death, where he explains his love for her and speaks of her even after she has cut all ties with him - she still hates him. Why? If someone could help me understand, I would love to hear your feedback with this.

Amongst the story, you learn of Annie's Mother, Jude, and her the secret life she lead through character Kevin. In my eyes, it is Jude who is the character who should be disliked. 

**Spoiler alert - do not read if you don't want to know**

 She married too young, got pregnant, realised she didn't love her husband, started an affair with Kevin, became more and more unhappy in marriage so started drinking, became pregnant and then killed herself. I fail to see where I am supposed to feel sad for this woman? Apart from the fact she felt sad enough to take her own life, obviously.. but it all seemed self inflicted. While I know a sad life is not the only reason for suicide, there is no inkling of a mental condition at all.

Her husband was not violent. He was caring, attentive, financially stable. It was Jude who decided they should sleep in seperate bedrooms and Jude who had the affair. Am I missing something?

I was very unsatisfied with the ending. I don't know what I was supposed to feel. We find out that Jude killed herself - which after reading the beginning is pretty obvious, and that she had an affair. And then the book ends with Annie walking out on the man who tells her.

What!?

I realise that this is usually not my type of book which is why I probably didn't get on with it. But, I just didn't see the point of it. When the book ended, I felt like the story should have just been beginning.

The one positive thing I will mention though is that the book is very easy to read. There is no confusion and as always, I love the descriptions of Ireland.




It is neither a light read, nor a heavy novel. It merely just is.

Disclosure: I was sent this book free of charge for the purpose of this review. Of course all opinions are my own.


A Birthday Girl and Some Cake

This may not be the best thing in the world to admit, but I usually dread Princess's Birthdays just a little bit. I go to bed the night before, full of anticipation for the upcoming 'perfect' day.. but it never quite goes to plan.

You see, Princess becomes quite overwhelmed very early on. This can lead to tantrums, shouting and hitting - lovely I know. She takes the phrase "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" rather literally it would seem. However this year, I felt different. It just felt like this was the year that she was finally old enough to understand and appreciate what the day meant.

It was different this year. We didn't have a party per se, if we did, there isn't may children of her age that we could invite so hiring out a hall or a bouncy castle seems pretty pointless for her and her 3 cousins. But instead every one came round to visit her throughout the day bringing cards and presents in their wake. It was nice to have it slightly spread out so it wasn't so full on and too hard for her to take in. It worked perfectly.

What also worked perfectly, was her cake.

Now I'm no cook and I'm definitely no baker, so usually we just buy one from ASDA. I know right? I can hear you all gasping at your screens. Lets just say, if I baked the birthday cake, everyone would be feeling it the next day.

So this year, my Mum offered to have one made for her. She told me of a girl she knew who had made cakes for my sisters birthday and graduation and they were fab. I checked out her page and agreed - they looked brilliant.

We decided on a Doc McStuffins cake as that seemed to be the main theme of presents and also Princess's favourite character at the moment. She's a bit fickle is our girl so phases don't last long, but it looks like good old Doc is here to stay.

I didn't have much to do with the cake making apart from deciding chocolate cake to feed about 16. I gave her complete reign on everything.

I have to say, the results were brilliant.


We were so chuffed with the cake we began taking pictures and Facetiming family straight away so they could see.

The cake itself as you can see has the character Doc McStuffins front and forward. There was also a 3D stethoscope and doctors bag (which I'm really sorry to say I didn't get a picture of because the attention to detail was amazing!) The words "Happy Birthday Scarlett-Faith" were also in 3D lettering along with the number 3 - because obviously that's how old she was!

The filling of the cake was chocolate sponge with chocolate butter cream and chocolate chips throughout.

I must say towards the end of my slice it did become quite sickly - but I will admit to my piece being rather large *cough*



The cake quite easily fed all 12 of us with all large slices and some left over. Everyone enjoyed the cake as much as I did - minus the Birthday Girl who isn't actually much of a cake person anyway. There was a fight over who would get what part of the picture too - who wanted the eyes, the stethoscope, most icing etc, but everyone was happy with their slices in the end.

I have to say thank you to my Mum who suggested the cake maker, Sabrina to me. I will definitely be ordering from her again when I next have an occassion. Sabrina is the proud owner of Sabrina's Cupcake Emporium - which can be found over on Facebook. If you are in the Nottingham area and are thinking about having a personalised cake make then please head on over and check out her impressive portfolio and for prices.

Overall, the day was a huge success. Princess behaved rather well and was grateful for all of her gifts. I'm still coming to terms with the fact I have a 3 year old, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.. probably by her next birthday! 


I must add my apologies for absolutely awful photographs of this cake - I totally forgot to take some proper pictures!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday Princess

I have so many words that I want to say to you.

I can't comprehend in to words how much I love you. How amazing you are or how much of an inspiration you are to me. Sure, sometimes you are hard work, but I love you none the less.

Last night I was reminiscing about our time in hospital together. It's crazy to think it was 3 years ago you were welcomed into the world out of the sunroof (I always tell you, you don't do things by halves!). The first night was spent in complete agony. Me, pulling myself up and inching my way towards your plastic cot to haul you out, despite the pain, just so a nurse didn't have to hold you first.


The second night however was much better. They wheeled me in to my own private room so we could both recover. That night, after everyone had left, including Daddy, a song came on the radio.

You were crying so loudly and I didn't know what to do. You are my first baby. I was terrified.

So I sang. I sang this song to you and you stopped crying.

This song reminds me of pregnancy. Of labour. Of you.

It reached Number 1 the week you were born. It could not be more perfect. Instead of writing a post about how amazing you are and how much I love you, please listen to these words and try to understand. Ignore the video, ignore the pretty lady, and please ignore Bruno Mars (He may look attractive here, but trust me, he's not!)

Even the sexy lady bit. You may only be 3, but one of your favourite phrases is "Hey, sexy laydeeeeee!"


"Her eyes, her eyes, make the stars look like they're not shining,
Her hair, her hair, falls perfectly without her trying,
She's so beautiful, 
And I tell her every day.."

"When I see your face,
There's not a thing that I would change, 
Cause you're amazing,
Just the way you are.
And when you smile, 
The whole world stops and stares for a while.
Cause you're amazing, 
Just the way you are."

"You know, you know, you know, 
I'd never ask you to change,
If perfect's what you're searching for,
Then just stay the same."










Monday, 7 October 2013

Goose Fair - A Nottingham Tradition

Unless you are from Nottingham or the surrounding areas, you've probably never heard of Goose Fair. Whenever I mention it to people from other parts of the country, they look at me all confused like "Why is this crazy lady talking about a fair for geese?"

This goose stands pride of place on the roundabout next to the grounds for the whole weekend.

Well, fortunately for us, Goose Fair is not a place for farmers to sell their geese, nor is it a place for a jolly goose to get their kicks from a Big Wheel.. but it is a place where every year, a fair ground is built and enjoyed by everyone.



And when I say everyone.. I mean everyone. It's not often that you find someone who hasn't been. And I bet you that everyone in Nottingham has been to Goose Fair at least once in their lives. And who remembers the year the famous goose was kidnapped and held to ransom? I still want to know how they managed to move it..

I didn't go much as a child because it was quite far away from where we lived, but now I'm just a short bus ride away. And even if I was far away, I couldn't resist taking my little Princess and spoiling her rotten!

We visited the fair on Saturday night with Ross's sister and kids. There wasn't much walking going on, mainly feet shuffling as it was so busy and not much floor space. Once you managed to get past the entrance though and into the middle, it was much easier to walk around. Of course Princess wanted to go on everything. Twice. But luckily when she was told no, she was quite well behaved. I like spoiling her but there was no way I was going to watch her go round in the same Barbie car 6 times. Definitely not at £2 a go!

 

That night we indulged ourselves in hot dogs, doughnuts, candy floss and treated the kids to the rides. There was the infamous Barbie car, teacups, pony ride, hook-a-duck and of course the carousel!

Princess and Daddy with her hook-a-duck prize

Carousels have always sort of freaked me out.. they always seem to feature in horror movies. And let's not forget the eery tune they always play. But I put my feelings to one side and rode that bad boy with my little girl! She absolutely loved it, she always does.

 

It was a fantastic night and despite the odd tantrum here and there from all of the kids, it was nice to be able to spend time as a family and spoil the little ones. No doubt we will do it all again next year.

Swell Aquarium PLUS Special Offer!

It's been a couple of weeks since SwellUK sent me an aquarium for us to set up so I thought I would update you all with how it's getting on, and also offer you lovely readers a special offer!

In my last post, I told you all how we had decided to put our guppies in the new, smaller tank so their baby fry could survive. I am proud to tell you the mission was accomplished. They have grown rapidly since my last post and it's lovely to watch them grow.

 

So far, they don't have much colour. We're not even sure which female they came from yet as they're mainly a really light blue colour. One of them has specks of red in the tail, another has flecks of yellow. In total 5 survived which isn't bad going by any account. Usually they don't survive at all or are eaten straight away so to see them swimming around with the rest of the guppies now is quite satisfying. Once they're big enough we'll transfer them into the bigger aquarium downstairs.

 

The tank is fairly low maintenance. We've only had to clean it out twice since we set it up and it's only a 10 minute job. Although on cleaning in the first time, I accidentally sucked a tiny baby up the siphon. It was so small I didn't even see it!

 

The plec is doing well too. He's growing but he's nowhere near as big as the other 2 in the bigger tank, but that's not surprising considering the size difference.

Hi preggo!
I am also happy to report that we now have even more tinier babies growing! They're really hard to spot and only really ever come out of hiding when we feed them. I did manage to get a snap of one though.

 

This small tank is a fantastic addition to our bedroom and I'm so glad SwellUK sent it to us. It gives our guppies a new chance of life and let's not forget that it looks brilliant. I would urge anyone who is thinking of setting up an aquarium for their children, or even just for a first time tank to use one of these.

Swell UK are offering the readers of this blog a wonderful 10% discount on their online website. Whether you want to start building your own aquarium, or even purchase something to add to the one you already own, it's a fab offer not to be missed! The code is valid on any item on the website and has a minimum £5 spend. Just enter the code SWELL10 at the checkout and claim your 10% discount!

Disclaimer: Minimum £5 spend. I received no compensation for this post. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

My Very First Blogging Event!

Last week saw me attend my very first blogging event.. ever! Okay, it wasn't so much an event as it was a small focus group hosted by Kiddicare for local East Midlands bloggers, but it was an eye opener for me, that's for sure.

We were invited to the very lovely Hilton Hotel in Nottingham, luckily just a short bus ride away for me,  to have a discussion group about our different ideas on purchasing.

I had walked down to meet Jess from Catch A Single Thought and she was absolutely lovely. We chatted on the way up and gave each other confidence when arriving. I'm an outgoing person usually, but meeting a group of brand new people was slightly intimidating. I was glad I had someone there to hold my hand so to speak.

We were met by the lovely Sophie and Ed who were leading the discussion. They explained that we would be photographed and audio recorded which everyone was fine with. Before we started, a lovely buffet was served so we could all fill our faces before starting. Jess and I were the only ones to order wine.. why not? It was free, yay!

Once the discussion started, it was lovely to notice how easy it was to speak with each other. The conversation and debates flowed easily and brilliant ideas were put together. It was nice how everyone seemed to bounce off each other.

Jess and I, listening intently!

God knows what I was saying, but I'm not an attractive speaker am I!?
 It ended up being a lot of fun. I didn't know anyone else there apart from Jess and Jamie from Olivers Mad House but it was lovely to meet some new bloggers. Some I'd heard of and others not, but from this I have also been introduced to some wonderful writers.

I stayed behind afterwards for a drink with Ed, Sophie and the rest of the bloggers and we spoke about our everyday lives and children, blogs and PR's.

In my eyes, the whole evening was a success. I met some lovely people, had a glass or two of wine, tasty food and felt like I was a part of something. For the first time, I felt like part of the blogging community. It was also good to feel my opinions were valued and taken into account.

Hopefully more opportunities like this will arrive in the future. I'm also feeling more positive about attending much bigger events such as BritMums. Who knows eh? Maybe I'll see you all there!