Time Gone By

Four years, eight months ago our lives changed. At the time we were living in a foreign country, just the two of us, in our little bubble taking on the world together. We planned and we prepared and we dreamt of what to expect, of course we couldn't comprehend without experience how different things would be.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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