Friday, August 28, 2015

Home Decor On A Budget

Ever since we moved into our new house nearly three years ago,  have been on a mission to transfer it from bland box to a home styled to our tastes. Once we'd spent all our money on carpets, landscaping and wardrobes, though, the coppers were pretty empty and we've had to do everything bit by bit with money being set aside on the odd occasion we haven't spent it over the month. Because of this I've become used to budgeting when it comes to home decor and not going overboard on my spending - a pretty home is not worth being in debt for!

Our Ravensburger Party

Last week we took part in the Ravensburger puzzles twitter party, and it was so much fun! unfortunately none of our friends could make it (their party bags have been given out though) so we had a quiet party to ourselves. The children both love puzzles, though, so it was great to have some new ones to try, although out puzzle box is now overflowing!

We were sent a great selection of puzzles ranging from age 2 to 6 which was perfect for my three and four-year olds.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An Unperfect Parent

Lately, I have been seen 'perfect' parenting splashed all over social media. Pictures of kids dressed in beautiful outfits, posing with huge smiles, tweets about how amazing their children are, how much parents have sobbed over the thought of them going to school, all the fun things they do together on a daily basis.

It seems like it's just me, sat here, crying my eyes out in frustration almost daily. Pleading with my children for just one minute of peace, a moment where they aren't screaming at each other or me, slapping, fighting, shoving. Traipsing up and down the stairs several times a night, arguing over which car seat they're going to sit in, forcing them to put clothes or shoes on and keep them on. Picking up sweetcorn happily thrown across the carpet, mopping up spilt diffuser oil from my newly cleaned sofa or cleaning up daddy's hair gel they've smeared all over their heads. And the list goes on. And on.

Sometimes, quite often, even regularly, it is just all too damn much. I just want a time out, a pause button. Not to pause those beautiful memories with my precious offspring, to freeze their antics so I can finish a brew. Or that TV show. Or get dressed.

Things were supposed to get easier, they said. After six months, no make that one year, no wait two years. But three years on and that eighteen months age gap is proving challenge after challenge, most of which I seem to fail.

Yes the kids are flourishing, yes they are happy, well fed and of course loved. But damn it if I don't feel like a failure so often. I'll pose those perfect photos, instagramming the hell out of them. I'll blog those sickly sweet letters to my babies who I adore so much. I'll shed a little tear as my big girl starts school. But I know in the back of my head there's the big looming of question of, have I got it all wrong? Am I really cut out to be a parent? Will I make it through the other side?

By god, I hope so. But on days like these, I just don't know.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Would Rose Gold By Any Other Name...?

A couple of weeks ago Mr H and I had the chance for a short break away in Manchester for the night, and it gave me a fantastic excuse to dress up. As it was my birthday Mr H suggested I treat myself, so I took his words to heart and went on a shopping trip with my sister as my stylist. We ended up in Coast, not somewhere I've ever thought to shop before, but what a lovely place it is. Amazing dresses (at, I'll admit, amazingly high prices), beautiful fittings and luxurious fitting rooms with helpful staff on hand just outside.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Travel In Our City: Blackpool

Last week I posted about visiting our local city of Manchester and getting to know more about the history and culture of the area. This week we have spent some time in the seaside resort of Blackpool so today I want to share our day in the UK's favourite seaside resort, which is only fifty miles from me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Starting School With Matalan

Following on from last week's starting school post, today I'm talking about the British fashion and homeware retailer, Matalan. Earlier this year I attended a press day at their local HQ and immediately knew Matalan was the top brand on my consideration list for uniform. The fabrics are really great quality and the skirts and trousers are stain resistant, which is a big plus for me.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Starting School With Trutex

With Miss H starting school in September, it has been on my mind for a while what she will need and how much of it. When you have never had a child attend school before you're not quite sure how many skirts or shirts to buy and even where from to make sure you are not bankrupting yourself on uniform, but that what you do buy will last at least until the next growth spurt.

When Trutex offered to send H some of their school uniform to try I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a feel for quality and style of uniform and maybe give me a bit of a push to finally make those first steps into the next chapter: schooldays.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Travel in Our City: Manchester

Over the next couple of months I have decided to explore a few of our local cities to discover more about my area and introduce the children to where they are from. I always enjoyed history myself and it is something I'd like to pass on to the children. It is important to know where you come from and what has happened in the past to make our lives now what they are and really appreciate them. So today I am starting with our closest city - Manchester.

It's funny how we travel the width and breadth of the country to find new things to see and do and places to stay. And yet when we think about it, there is so much to do right on our doorstep. Last weekend Mr H and I spent the night away in our local city of Manchester and on the Sunday I decided I would actually like to see what is in my home city, as I've never actually walked around it before.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Picking The Right Tool For The Job

Are you wanting to get a bit more hands on in your home and maybe save yourself some money whilst you are at it? DIY isn't just for big burly men anymore, by starting with some small repair projects and working your way up to the big creative stuff at your own pace, you can become your own handyperson, saving money in the process.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Are You Ditching Jeans?

Well summer is supposedly here, I don't know about where everyone else is but here it's pretty dire. So it's back to jeans and hoodies for me and the kids, in fact this morning they went to nursery in wellies and waded through a huge puddle outside the doors!

A lot of people seem to be ditching the jeans for harem pants, capris and palazzo pants, they're still a staple in my wardrobe. If, like me, you refuse to get rid of your wardrobe staple, House of Fraser has put together a fantastic graphic that can help you choose the right style for your shape.

Friday, July 24, 2015

How I Made It Into Tots100's Top 50

So this week I found out I made into in the top 50 of Tots100. For anyone who isn't sure what this is, it's the chart for parent bloggers which has over 8000 blogs in it, so top 50 is pretty darn good. So today I thought I'd share how I did it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Experience of Mark Warner Holidays' Childcare

I have now been fortunate to visit two Mark Warner resorts, once on an adult only trip and once with my family. During both trips I became aware of the incredible childcare Mark Warner offer and on our most recent week in Corsica my children had the chance to give their facilities a thorough test. Today I wanted to let you know how we found the Mark Warner childcare and what we made of the activities on offer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: Mastering The Globber Scooter

For the last few weeks we have been trying out the new Free 2C Globber Scooter. The idea behind these innovative scooters is to help develop balance and aid young children to master a scooter using several features.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Your Youtube #32

Welcome back to my video link up, Your Youtube! Last week was a quiet one for those who linked up, but with it being summer everyone is nice and busy, including myself! The video of the week is from Jules at The Giggle Blog who really honestly shares a bit about her difficult journey to Baby G and thoughts on a second child.

Over to the linky - - please link up no more than two videos and try to watch at least the host video and the one previous to your own. Please like and comment on the videos you watch, I try my best to watch and comment on everyone's each week.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A CFS Update

Today I've been reading back on some old blog posts and remembering my journey over the last couple of years with depression and chronic fatigue. It's so strange to read back and remember the days I wrote each post and the feelings. And it's interesting to see what a roller coaster it has been and how my mood went up and down.

Today has been a crap one. The children are in nursery and I have the day to myself, and if I am completely honest it's my favourite day of the week as I can do nothing without feeling guilty that the children are suffering from it. 

The last two weeks have seen me sleeping an incredible amount of hours in a day, though, and I'm really feeling low about it. And the housework is suffering and my husband is struggling. Today I dropped the children at nursery, wen back to bed and didn't get up until two. Two!! So I basically slept the day away, and probably could have stayed in bed longer too.

It's so tough to see the light at the end of such a long and dark tunnel and I'm fed up of feeling better and having hope, only for it to be dashed. It's day like this I wonder if things can ever change. I couldn't even be bothered to put a bra on for crying out loud!

My headaches are worse than ever at the moment, quite often I feel like my head is in a vice. I'm finding myself tripping over words and stammering and another pleasant side effect of it all is my left eye has started twitching. So I'm bra-less, makeup-less with a twitching eye. Goodness knows what the workers at nursery think when I drop the kids off on a morning!

It's all part and parcel of the joy that is chronic fatigue. I just wish it would let up a little and let me get back to enjoying my time with my children. Miss H starts school in September and I feel like all I've done is wish her young days away. Sometimes life just feels so bloody unfair.


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