Why Why Why

My husband has been having a tough time lately. What with working away a lot, so getting up early and getting to bed late due to travelling; coming home and been thrown two small creatures to deal with; added to this his wife going slightly crazy on him, weeping if she drops a spoon on the floor and generally breaking down in front of his eyes, it's easy to see why.

So after my usually laid back man biting my head off for no apparent reason on several occasions, we sat down and had a chat and decided he needed some time to himself. Just a couple of days and nights where he could reclaim his sanity, have time to think, drink and play GTA.

Yesterday was the first of those days and as it happened I was down in London and his mum looked after the children, so all was fine. However today was another story. I didn't get home until midnight last night due to train problems so today's plan to be out at a training course was blown in the water. Although it may only seem a minor stress to most, my poorly brain couldn't handle six hours sleep then thinking all day. This was demonstrated by the fact I slept for four hours when I got home this morning.

Anyway, once I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs I found my husband, slightly hungover, playing GTA, as he had planned. I think he may have grunted a hello, but I got little other contact from him. Fine, it was his day, I told myself. I grabbed some food and went to the front room to watch Downton, then planning on some housework and blog work. However as the minutes passed with him in one room, me in another and no interaction, I could feel myself getting anxious. I just wanted to talk to him, to be with him. I don't know, I can't explain it, but the ignorance was making me anxious. I asked him if he could take a break so we could have a chat - and by this I genuinely just meant a catch up. However, as it always does, it turned into me.

Me being upset. Him getting mad because he had done nothing wrong yet felt I was having a go. Me getting more upset. Me hating myself for being upset and for ruining his time to himself. Me then worrying that by ruining his time to himself, he would still be stressed out. Me worrying further that because he was stressed he would be snappy and short and not able to be there for me. More worry how I could manage with my loving and supporting husband. Me hating more myself for all this. Me trying not to smash my head into the wall.

Me wondering why. Why. Why. Why.

It seems this monster is holding on tight.

Some Exciting News!

I have worked very hard on my blog for the last few months in particular and always try and make it stand out as much as I can. After applying for many an opportunity and being unsuccessful I am thrilled to announce two fantastic opportunities.

As my regular readers will know I have worked with The Essential One for some time now. They recently launched their own Ambassador Program and although Baby J can no longer fit into their beautiful clothes *huge sniff*, they have thoughtfully chosen me as an honorary ambassador! Alongside me are Emma from Mrs Shilts, Pippa from Red Rose Mummy, Vikki from Love From Mummy, Emma from Me The Man and Baby, Kate from Family Fever, Mags from My Mummy's Space, Charlie from Preston Precious, Sarah from I Am Mumalicious. Give them all some love!

My second announcement is that are a Toyologist!!! For the last few years Toys R Us have recruited bloggers as part of their Toyologist program and those bloggers are given the chance to review several of their toys in the run up to Christmas. I remember the programme from last year so decided to give it a try when the opportunity came around again a month or so again. I could not believe it when last week I got the phone call to say we were chosen! Our first toy is winging its way as we speak, so look out for that and other fab toys appearing on Hollybobbs!

Making Memories Giveaway - The Winners Are...

We had a huge amount of entries for our Making Memories giveaway, it was so fantastic to see so many lovely photos and memories being shared via blogs, facebook and twitter. If you entered, thank you so much for taking the time to do so.

So, after much deliberation myself and the Truprint team have chosen our winners.

Five runners up who win an 11x8" wall calendar each are:

A very brave Hannah from Cupcake Mumma!

Angelic Debbie Scott

A poignant moment from Gemma at Heart Mammie

Lucy L Richards (fantastic envelope!)

Old school by maddalenamad

Our second place winners who will receive an 11x8 Custom Cover Book with 20 pages are:

Just look at the love in those eyes, Lisa

A happy family moment from Nat

Stunning capture from Mummys Knee
And our winner, who will receive a fantastic 20x24 canvas print with the photo of their choice is.....

A beautiful moment caught from Jessica
Congratulations to all our winners! Please email me at hollybobbs@yahoo.com for your prize!

Keeping My Children Safe

Just over a year ago I had a long hard think about how much information I shared on my blog about the children. As a primarily parenting blogger, my posts mostly revolve around them, they are discussed via facebook and twitter and many a photo is shared. However after a discussion with a few friends online I became more aware of how this may affect the children, now and in the future.

Internet security is an important issue for all parents to consider. With the rise of social media, parents often don't think twice before posting everything about their little ones, from what they had for breakfast, their likes and dislikes to their toilet habits! However I don't think any of us often stop and think that by doing this we are putting our children at risk. It is a scary concept and with so many frightening things in the outside world to worry about, we don't want to then have to think about our online lives.

No longer are the dangers just outside our homes
What I realised myself during this time was that whilst I was happy to share information about my children and photos and felt it would take away from my blog if I didn't, that by the same token I didn't necessarily have to broadcast their names. This is why I now refer to them as Little H and Baby J, or often H and J. Particularly when they are older it means their friends or maybe even teachers won't be able to find them so easily online and discover all about their childhood and probably topics they wouldn't want discussing! Further to this, if a person decided to do the unthinkable they would know my children's names, things about them and quite possibly the right place to find them.

There are so many menacing threats to sharing very personal information online. Often I will share my upcoming holiday plans and whilst I may not reveal the date, I make it obvious the trip away will be soon and my house will be empty. If someone was determined enough they can also find a picture of my house on the blog. Frightening, yet according to an article on Norton's website 1/3 of us do this! Last year I posted a photo on Instagram of my children's pile of Christmas presents - an open invitation to someone maybe?

As frightening an issue as it may be, I think the time is coming where we all need to stand back and realise the world we are in, and maybe readdress how much we should share of our lives. The dangers of our modern world are not only outside our front door, but sitting in our living rooms.

*This post is brought to you in association with Norton.

Don't Say Poop!

This year Splash Direct are launching a blogging competition to celebrate World Toilet Day and raise awareness for global sanitisation. They have asked us to share our worst toilet stories so here is mine - beware, it's not pleasant!

Not so long ago H was in the throws of toilet training. It was a long and painful experience for us all and we went through many an accident. This day in particular involved quite a traumatic one. 

H announced she needed a code brown, however unfortunately announced it a little too late and within seconds told me she'd done the nugget her knickers. I panicked - we were in the front room on beige carpet and she was trying to pull the soiled underwear off! I managed to catch the odourfull underpants as they dropped to the floor, the fudge brownie delightfully nestled within. I rushed to the toilet, trying to contain said log, however could feel it gradually slipping. I managed to get to the bathroom just as the steamer dropped - onto the Lino and bathmat. At least both could easily be cleaned. 

However what I didn't mention is that Baby J loves the bathroom and was happily trotting behind me. Before I could scream he had paddled the doodie all the way around my bathroom, thinking it was hilarious. I just stood there aghast not knowing where to clean first, the baby happily trotting caca footprints around my heels! Whilst I pondered the dilemma the dog then nipped in, ate a rogue loaf and nipped back out again. I gagged, nearly adding to the mess myself.

Next ensued a scene that would have easily fit into a carry-on film. Whilst I placed H firmly on the porcelain throne, I set to chasing Baby J around the room, trying to avoid the trail of doodoo left in his wake. Once I had him in a rugby grip, his dirty feet plastering my back in the chocolate delight, I grabbed a packet of bathroom wipes and attempted to clean the mess up. To add insult to serious injury my finger went through the toilet roll, resulting in a fingernail full of dookie.

After much hollering, gagging and reams of toilet roll I managed to clear up the crime scene, bath the baby and burn my top! Needless to say poop is not my favourite word!

I am part of the #Blog4Sanitation movement setup by Splashdirect to raise awareness of the importance of global sanitation. Learn more about World Toilet Day.

Bugaboo Launch The Buffalo

The ultimate buggy brand, Bugaboo, have recently launched their latest product - the Buffalo. A few of us were invited along to Adorable Tots in the House of Fraser, Manchester, for a demonstration along with every event requirement - cake!

Easybelts Review

When the lovely people at Easybelts messaged me if i wanted to try their innovative belts I thought it was a great idea. H has quite a slim waist so she has several trousers and skirts that she's owned over a year and still hasn't grown into (Primark seem to be the worst for this!).

Ordering was easy - choose a colour/design, send in the child's waist measurement and within a few days your belt is on your doorstep. I ordered a simple black belt as I felt it would go with most things then.

The Easybelts come with a Velcro fastening to enable children to easily take it off and put it on themselves, which is great for little hands that would struggle with a belt buckle. It means that H can go to the toilet and undo it herself, meaning more independence for her.

The belt fit H really well, you can see on these photos what a difference it made to a skirt she had yet to have been able to wear before! the skirt stayed up all day despite H running around playing, and I was pleased that she can finally get some wear out of these clothes! The only thing I would mention is be careful what tops you wear with the belt. H had a top that had a sheer layer to it and the fine fabric kept getting stuck to the Velcro and pulling. Other than that, though, we had no problems.

The belts retail at £6-7 depending on the design, which I am more than happy to pay. The company offers belts from toddlers up to adults if necessary and there are several styles to choose from, so you will certainly be able to find the right one for you.

*we were sent an Easybelt in return for this review, all opinions are my own

Pin It To Win It Competition with Sports Direct

Hollybobbs and Sports Direct have teamed up to bring you a competition with a difference! With the winter weather fast approaching we are getting our jumpers on ready to keep out the chill! To be in with a chance to win some winter woollies for yourself we've put together our first 'Pin It To Win It' competition.

To enter is simple:

- Follow Sports Direct on Pinterest.

- Repin your favourite item from their 'We Love Autumn' board

- Come back here and enter the rafflecopter below to let me know you've entered! (For an extra entry you can follow Hollybobbs too).

One lucky pinner will win up to £20 of knitwear from Sports Direct! The competition runs from Saturday 19th October 2013 until Saturday 1st November 2013 and the winner will be selected at random - so get pinning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com Free to enter competitions and giveaways in the UK. Win great prizes and freebies.

Little Grippers Review

We have recently been sent some Little Grippers socks for J to try out. Like most children his age, his socks are either constantly hanging off his toes or yanked off by the little man himself and discarded throughout the house. I lose track of the mount I find under the sofa, in the bin or in the dog bed! With the older months coming in, though, I am conscious of letting him wander around barefoot.

Nursery Trader Bump To Toddler Competition

Nursery Trader are an online site where you can buy and sell used baby items, enabling you to turn old unused products into cash. Not only do they enable the seller to list items for free, they also then aid the buyer to easily locate a product and contact the person selling it. On top of this they have product reviews, news on latest items and competitions. I came across the site via its sister site, Pushchair trader, and I think it is a great place to sell on the things you no longer use and in turn find products at a great price.


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Out of Control

Today I am feeling lost. This morning I had my eleventh counselling session and although it went OK and I came out of it taking a bit more away than I went in with, I still feel heavy.

About ten days ago I dropped my Citalopram from 40mg to 20mg in the hope it would ease the extreme tiredness I have been struggling with. The grogginess seems to have eased somewhat but the tiredness is still there, and today I can feel it. My head is so slow and heavy it is all I can do to turn it without feeling completely drained.

Today we spoke out several things - my need for control, even down to a minute thing such as the children not playing together properly. I've realised this is why I freak out so much at home and although I don't actually lose control physically, I obviously take it all inside and that is why my head is so full and messy. We also discussed my tendency to blame myself for everything and feel I should be better - in how I manage the children, what we do together at home, the housework, cooking tea, my relationship with my husband, my blog. I am always looking to improve, nothing is ever good enough.

Towards the end of the session my counsellor discussed the main topic we have worked on throughout my treatment, which is my history with lack of self-confidence, what has caused it and why I am the way I am. By talking through the things that happened in the past and coming to accept the outcomes and my own reactions to them I feel I have, for the most part, dealt with it. So she suggested using the same method for my present problems. This just seems like such a daunting and overwhelming task, though, it makes me just want to go to bed! Seriously!

So next week we will be drawing a timeline of my past, the problems and what we have discussed about them. Maybe that will give me a chance to step back and look at the whole picture, and hopefully help me to see how to deal with the now.

I hope so as I'm not sure how much longer I can go on feeling so drained, heavy and lost. I feel like my head is in limbo right now, waiting for change but not sure how to go about it.

Nappykind Giveaway

I was recently given a chance to review two pairs of leg warmers from new online baby boutique, Nappykind. Whilst I had a problem with one pair, the second were fantastic and Nappykind have assured their customers that they are putting the problem I discussed right. So, on the back of this they have kindly offered one Hollybobbs reader the chance to win a pair of unisex leg warmers of their choice.

With over 200 different styles there are so many products to choose from - it took me ages to choose my own! The cute and unique leg warmers are made for babies to preschool age and Sabrina and Junior, the minds behind Nappykind, are aiming to inform parents of the benefits of leg warmers and how they can help prevent nappy rash, are brilliant while toddlers are potty training and protect babys' legs. The company have found and tested the best quality leg warmers, understanding how easily clothes for babies and young children need to be replaced due to their active lives. They ensure that their leg warmers will last for years.

To enter to win a pair of these gorgeous leg warmers, simply follow the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com
Free to enter competitions and giveaways in the UK. Win great prizes and freebies.

Getting Out N About

Back in July I had a fantastic surprise when I heard I had won an Out N About Nipper 360! When it arrived last month I was thrilled, with a bright purple seat and three hefty wheels, it looked pretty good to me!

Nappykind Review

I recently came across a new product and decided to give them a try. Nappykind specialise in providing leg warmers for babies to pre-school children. After much time browsing the store, I chose the multi-star leg warmers for J and the brown leopard print ones for H, both were £4.99.

Chester Zoo - Then & Now

On Sunday we were invited to visit Chester Zoo by the very generous people at Matalan. After a spell of rain and central heating we were graced with a lovely, sunny day! Unfortunately due to said rain, we were completely unprepared for the heat and I ended up sweating my *ahem* toes off in my winter boots! But I digress...

The Ultimate Daddy Gadget?

Yesterday I got to see the new 4Moms Origami in action for the first time. I have to say when you first watch that buggy curl and uncurl itself all on its own, it's pretty impressive. There were gasps of delight. "Power Folding, Self Charging, Running Lights, LCD Dashboard, Phone Charger" states the website - this pushchair really has all the gadgets.

I had a quick push of the buggy and it was a smooth ride, the seat looked relatively comfortable and it was very sleek. However the downside for me was that it was very heavy and there is no way I could lift it into the car - that's where Mr H comes in!

Here is the Origami in action - what do you think?

*I was not asked to write this post, I am just interested in the product.


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