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Ideas for End of Year Teacher’s Gifts

We can all admit that this academic year hasn’t been anywhere near normal! The teachers have worked so hard for our children and deserve that little treat at the end of the year, so I have compiled a list of small companies that are doing some brilliant gifts for the teachers of our littles (and bigs!)

Your Personal Touch

Carly is based in Barnsley and does the most beautiful, personalised gifts. Working in a school she knows exactly what the teachers and TA’s want at the end of the year!

She has 5 ranges that you can choose from, that can be personalised with your teacher’s name:

  • Wine Glasses
  • Glass Mugs
  • Key Rings
  • Pencil Case
  • Tote Bags

The prices range from £7.99 to £9.99. If you want to have a peek at her range or even order, her Instagram is @your_personaltouch and her Facebook is www.facebook.com/YourPersonalTouchx/

Victoria Mae Designs*

Victoria does the cutest little tea gift sets! As a Yorkshire Mama, tea is a massive part of my diet, so this gift is right up my street!

The Teacher tea gift set comes with either 9 or 16 designs and in an assortment of flavours. Each tea bag is invidually wrapped in little paper pouches and they have little quotes and affirmations on them!

They are priced between £7.50 to £16.00 depending on the size of the set you order.

If you are interested in this unique gift idea, or just want to browse the other ranges Victoria does, this is the link https://www.victoriamaedesigns.com/shop/product/teacher-tea-gift-set/?ambassadors=8

Scent My Love

Scent My Love is a Wales based wax melt company run by the lovely Heddwen, and she produces some gorgeous scents and candle ranges

Her Teacher Gift sets include:

  • A porcelain burner
  • 2 snap bars (you can choose from a wide range of well known and SML exclusive scents)
  • 2 tealights
  • A Thankyou note (available in English or Welsh)

All sets come gift packaged and ready for you to present to your child’s favourite teacher!

To see Scent My Love’s range, check out their Instagram page at @_scentmylove

Happy Shopping!

Kayleigh xx

*I am an ambassador for Victoria Mae Designs, so any order that are placed through the link given, will award me a small commission.

All other views are my personal views and are not an ad or affiliate

Catch Seafood, Headingley

I was kindly invited along to Catch Seafood restaurant in Headingley to check them out. They only opened their Headingley site in August and were opening another on Street Lane in October.

I am a massive lover of seafood and jumped at the chance to go along, i took the perfect person along with me, my sister, who loves seafood just as much as me!

Finding the restaurant was really straight forward and there is actually free parking across the road from the restaurant (we didn’t realise this and so parked in the pub car park next door which only cost us £3 for a couple of hours so it wasn’t too much of a fail!) All you need to do is input your car reg and voila!

Upon arrival we had our masks on and were greeted at the door by the lovely waiter (i didn’t get his name but he was absolutely brilliant all night!) who was also wearing a mask. We were asked to check in using the NHS app and then shown to our seats.

The decor of the interior was just beautiful. It wasn’t what you would expect from a seafood restaurant, there was alot of green, pallets and candles. Very rustic, boujie and most of all relaxing!

We had already looked at the menu before we got there (because who doesn’t???) But after the waiter recommended the Haddock Chowder, I completely abandoned my original choice and decided to give it a try! My sister decided to get some Oysters, which i had to try!

I had never tried chowder before so i was eager to see what it was like and I was blown away! It looks like its going to be really rich and heavy but it was so light! It was served with a slice of sourdough bread for mopping up the remnants. The perfect starter as it didn’t fill you up, just wet your appetite for your main.

The presentation and attention to detail on the starters was amazing, especially on the oysters. I thought the tray full of ice that they were served on was a perfect touch.

When it came to choosing our mains there was so much choice – i decided to try a little bit of everything! Their Catch Signature Seafood Grill was a brilliant showcase of the different types of fish that they served – definitely nothing you could get at your local chippy! My sister stuck with what she knew and loved and went for the Moules Mariniere (which is mussels served in white wine, garlic and cream)

The fish that came on the platter was Swordfish, Tuna, Halibut, Salmon and Seabass served with some proper fish and chip shop chips!! It was also accompanied with a few mussels and king prawns – hands down the biggest and juiciest prawns i’ve ever had!

I must admit, I had to get some help finishing off my platter as I was so stuffed! Some of the fish was really rich and a little heavy but tasty non the less! (As you can see, my sister had no trouble finishing her mussels!)

We HAD to make room for dessert once we saw the menu! My sister when for Chocolate Brownie and I opted for the Lemon Posset. I’m not a massive fan of chocolate puddings (don’t hate me!) so I didnt try the brownie but I thoroughly enjoyed the lemon Posset – it was so light and the perfect end to my meal

We both really enjoyed our evening, the restaurant was clean and inviting, the decor was beautiful, the staff friendly and attentive and most importantly the food was amazing! We will definitely be making a return visit as soon as we can!

Thanks for reading,

Love Kayleigh xxx

*Although this meal was gifted, all reviews and opinions are my own*

Chalk Ola Review

I was sent a set of 30 coloured chalk pens and a chalkboard to try out bu the lovely people over at Chalk Ola and they are amazing! They are so easy to use and the colours are really bold and stand out beautifully against the black background. I have previously purchased some of the white pens and found them really easy to use so I was excited to be able to add some colour to my creations!

The Only Limit is Your Imagination

One of the best things I found about the chalk pens were that they have no bad smell, usually with pens and markers you get that really strong chemical smell, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that these were odourless. The markers are also completely safe for children to use, which as a mom, is something that is incredibly important for me when it comes to choosing products. They are non-toxic and acid free, so Elliott was able to join in the fun with me

Wide range of colours

Now I’ve got the ‘boring stuff’ out of the way, lets look at what you can do with the pens!

I was sent a chalkboard by Chalk Ola but they can be used on any non-porous chalkboard (they can also be used on glass, metal and porcelain, so you’ll never run out of things to do with these pens)

Before use, make sure you give the pen a good shake and then get a piece of cardboard or paper and pump the pen until you see the colour seep into the nib. Unlike some markers I have used, the colour doesn’t flood out, so you don’t get any messes ruining your artwork. Make sure you put the lid back off after use, so as to not dry out the pens.

 I have been messing about with calligraphy and different writing styles and these pens were so easy to use, they didn’t run into each other and they really stand out. Elliott also loved the fact that i could draw him some dinosaurs and Pokemon and they wouldn’t rub out!

Elliott’s Dinosaur

The markers are really easy to erase, just take a damp cloth and wipe it away! It doesn’t stain the board so you have a blank canvas each time

My Bulbsaur

I’m looking forward to see what other things I can create with these pens!

I would definitely recommend these to any one with young ones who like getting creative – or even as a treat for yourself, click here and use code LEIGH10 for 10% off your order

Don’t forget to follow them on instagram here!

*items sent for review but all opinions are my own

Thanks for reading

Kayleigh xxx

My favourite ‘what if’

Before you read on, I must warn you. The following was written whilst in the full throes of grief. I haven’t edited it, added or taken anything away. I have left it as it is, as I feel it is a true representation of what was going through my mind as I tried to process what was happening.

I apologise if you find any of this post upsetting, that wasn’t my intention, it is, as all my posts are, from the heart.

Today I became 1 in 4.

Today I joined a club that no woman ever wants to become part of, but I’ve got a lifetime membership

Today I lost my baby.

Today did not start how I thought it would and it ended in a nightmare. I had been walking around in the blissful early pregnancy bubble, my last pregnancy went without a hitch per se, so why would this one be any different? But it was. This pregnancy ended before it had a chance to start, before I had the chance to see my baby on that black and white screen, feel their movements , but my baby existed nonetheless. However short it was, my baby lived. We created a whole life for them, would they look like Elliott? Would we have another boy? Was this one a little girl? How brilliant a big brother Elliott would be and how much we loved this little baby already. And now this life will never come to be. And my life will never be the same. I am touched by a grief and a sadness that is unparallel to any other. It goes deeper than anything I’ve ever felt.

It is not just the emotional pain, it’s the physical. With every twinge and every cramp, every time I go to the toilet and I see blood I am reminded once again that my baby is gone. It’s not a sudden thing that happens and then that’s that, it’s over. It lingers, and it torments. It is raw.

I did not want to speak out loud that my baby was gone, because then it would become too real. I wanted my husband to still be living in a world where our baby was alive and we had a wonderful future to look forward to, just for that little while longer. I wanted to spare him the pain that I was going through, because that world had ended for me. The world I was living in was one where my baby died, my body couldn’t do the one thing that it was created to do, to sustain life. Now we are both in a world where no one knows my baby was even here, let alone that they are gone. To tell everyone my baby existed is to also tell them that they died. I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with that yet. Announcing a pregnancy should be a joyous occasion – it was when I announced we were expecting Elliott but this one will be plunged into darkness and shrouded in sadness

But I will make the announcement, because I wont deny that, even though it was only for a few short weeks, our baby lived. To hide my miscarriage is to hide the existence of our child and I cannot do that. I am still their mother, I still loved them and I will grieve for them

My Top 5 Lockdown Activities with Children

Hello Everyone! I haven’t written a post in a good while, I haven’t found the time! With going back to work almost full time, Elliott being ill all the time and keeping the house in some sort of livable condition, blogging has taken a back seat!

But, I thought while we are on lockdown and I find myself with (slightly) more time on my hands, I’d get back into it – so here goes!

I was struggling finding a topic to write about, so I put a little poll up on my Instagram stories for some tips from my followers (if you don’t follow me already – why not!) and one of the suggestions was Lockdown Activities with your Kids. Now, im not saying that I am that super organised mum who has everything all sorted for daily activities, keeping them interesting and educational – I have had days where I have just let him veg with the iPad! But hopefully some of the ideas I have done give you some inspiration! And if you have got any of your own to share, pop them in the comments – I’d love to try them!

These are my top 5 activities that we have done during Lockdown

  1. Crafts

Easter was the perfect excuse to get crafting, one of the ideas that I loved doing with Elliott was our Easter cards – but you can do these anytime. I bought a pack of blank cards in the shape of a rabbit from Tesco and ordered some acrylic paints and brushes from Amazon. We got out the CraftyPod that we had previously been gifted and has been an absolute god send during this lockdown. I will put a link at the bottom of this post if you want to check them out. We painted them all different colours, and I got Elliott to write his name in each of the cards. He has been struggling with his writing, so this was good practice! I popped them in envelopes, and we had a walk up to the post box and posted them to his grandparents and aunties and uncles.

  • Dinosaur Hunting

Now this activity is super easy and adaptable to each child! It doesn’t have to be dinosaur hunting, but as Elliott is practically obsessed – dino’s are the way to go for us. I hadn’t realised how much being stuck inside the house was affecting Elliott until we started going on little walks every other day. He has started getting excited to go ‘looking for dino footprints and nests’ and it has become something I look forward to as well. Not only does this give him (and me) some much needed fresh air and exercise, it also gets his imagination going. I let him choose the path that we went on, and just followed his lead! We found so many ‘footprints’ and even spotted a few dinosaur nests!

  • Playdoh

Playdoh is a fun favourite for children, but it can also be really educational! Again, we got the craftypod out so that all the mess that comes with Playdoh was contained (I didn’t want it anywhere near my carpet or sofa!) I used the Playdoh to learn colours. We learnt that by mixing certain colours together, we could make whole new ones! And because it didn’t really feel like learning – he loved it! He facetimed my mom and told him all about what colours mixed together to make what. Naturally by the end of it we were left with a big brown blob of playdoh but that’s all part of the fun, right?

  • Baking

I love baking but I struggle to find the time to do it normally, so this was the perfect excuse! I have struggled to find any flour, so I went down to the Asda and picked up one of those ready mixed boxes, where you just add butter etc. I already had some Dinosaur (naturally!) cookie cutters from Lakeland that we could use. The cookie mix was really easy to mix together and Elliott enjoyed cutting them out. I picked up some glitter writing icing and we had a go at decorating our cookies! This was a really fun and tasty activity to do and didn’t break the bank either!

  • Orbeez

These are the coolest things ever invented for kids! Its not only good for sensory play, but can be used to work on their fine motor skills and they are super fun! We bought 2 boxes of pre-hydrated Orbeez (they were refills for some sort of foot spa, but they can be used for play) I emptied one of the boxes into a bowl and let Elliott do what he wanted with them. I think they had been in his possession 30 seconds before he had tipped them all out of the bowl – thankfully we were in the craftypod! I think a box of these cost me £5.49 and you got 1000 Orbeez in them. When we had finished playing, I covered the bowl with cling film and popped it in the cupboard for another day. I got these at end of March and they are still good to play with at the end of April, so they are brilliant value!

I hope you enjoyed my ideas and have fun trying them out with your little ones! I’d love to see and hear if you do!

All items were purchased by myself apart from the CraftyPod which was gifted.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool has always been a massive part of my childhood growing up, we used to go as a family at least once a year, stay in a B&B and spend our days either on the beach, in the arcades or at their amusement park; the Pleasure Beach

We were gratefully given passes for the Pleasure Beach in May which we used for Elliott’s 3rd birthday. We have been for his birthday every year – its becoming a bit of a tradition!

Mum, Elliott and Chris walking through NickleodeonLand

When we first arrived at the park, we were taken to the Customer Service desk to collect our wristbands and passes, so we didn’t go to the main desks. The queues there do vary depending on the time of year and the weather but they do go down quickly. The prices for a day pass are very reasonable considering the size of the park and what there is to do there, and there are always deals online for you to take advantage of. I’d definately recommend taking a look before you visit. Also at the moment, if you visit on a Saturday and it rains, you can return the next day for FREE! How many parks do you know that do that?

When we went this time the weather wasn’t amazing, but it didn’t rain either! But it did mean that Elliott couldn’t enjoy the water fountains by the main entrance. The Dancing Water Fountains have more than 30 jets of water that shoot up at different heights and when the weather is warm – brilliant to cool down in. Once an hour these fountains become synchronised with lights and music in a fantastic water show!

Elliott by the water fountains (the weather wasn’t good enough this visit, so I’ve used last years!)

Elliott’s favourite part of the park was NickleodeonLand. This part of the park is tailored towards to younger visitors and has lots of rides for them to go on. There are 12 rides in NickleodeonLand based around Nickleodeon characters including SpongeBob, Fairly Odd Parents, Rugrats, Dora the Explorer and more! Elliott went on his first proper rollercoaster, the Blue Flyer! He wasn’t overly impressed but he had his daddy to hold on to! I remember going on the Blue Flyer when I was little – only it was called the Zipper Dipper then!

You can also meet the characters at NickleodeonLand which Elliott was very excited about! The ones that we were most excited to see were PawPatrol! The best part is not only do they come out and say hello but they do a little dance number! Elliott was amazed that he got to see Skye, Chase and Marshall up close! You can also have your photo taken with them, either on the green screen or on the stage.

One of my favourite things about Blackpool Pleasure Beach is that it not only has awesome new roller-coasters such as InFusion, Pepsi Max (which is the tallest roller-coaster in Europe!) the brand new Icon (definitely recommend going on this one – its a must for all thrill seekers!) but it also has authentic wooden roller-coasters. These include The Grand National and The Big Dipper, with the latter earning Grade II listed status in 2017!

There are plenty of places to eat and drink within the park, its easy to spend a whole day there! There are plenty of kiosks dotted around the park offering Fish & Chips, Burgers, HotDogs, seafood, Donuts and Waffles – so you are really spoilt for choice! There are also sit down restaurants if you don’t want to eat on the go – unfortunately having a toddler (and a husband!) who didn’t want to stay still we stuck to the kiosks and didn’t have the opportunity to try out the restaurant!

There are All You Can Eat and All You Can Drink passes that you can purchase for your visit, which comes in very handy if you have young ones!

There is so much to do in the Pleasure Beach, it’s one of my favourite places to visit. The people that work there are so friendly and happy to help, the atmosphere is amazing and its impossible to get bored! They also have late night ridings over several weekends during the year – its awesome going through the park, seeing all the coasters lit up and its adds a whole new dimension when you are riding on them. I will definitely be returning to the Pleasure Beach with my family

https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/

Thank you to Blackpool Pleasure Beach for giving us the opportunity to review their amusement park and I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it! Please give us a like a follow so you don’t miss out on our posts.

Thanks Kayleigh xx

All views are my own.

C-Section Awareness Month

April is C-Section Awareness month so I thought I would write a little something

There is a lot of stigma still surrounding C Section’s and if you’ve read my birth story you’ll know that I had Elliott via section (and if you haven’t, this is the perfect excuse to give it a read!) This wasn’t a decision that was reached lightly which I imagine is the same for pretty much every woman who has been through the procedure.

In my case my baby was breech, I was given the opportunity to try and have Elliott manually turned but I decided against it. There was a chance that my baby could get into distress and there was no guarantee that he wouldn’t flip back to the position he was in before! In my mind, he was in that position for a reason.

I had a lot to come to terms with by decided to go for an elective c section. Firstly there was the intense feeling that I was a failure, that the one thing a woman was made to do – deliver a child – and I couldn’t do it. I imagine that this is what most women feel and it is so wrong that we feel like this. We haven’t failed, we are doing whatever is necessary to ensure that our child is brought into the world as safely as possible and that’s pretty cool! I know that when I come to have my second child I will most likely have to have another caesarean, and I’m ok with that. Elliott is perfectly healthy, he doesn’t have any negative after effects of being born ‘through the sunroof’ and I believe that he would have probably turned out exactly the same if he’d have been a natural birth. For months after when talking about birth stories with my fella mama friends, they would say when they gave birth and I didn’t feel like I was worthy of using that sentence. Yes I had had a child, but had I given birth? Yes I had! Just because he was surgically removed rather than pushed out through the birth canal, doesn’t mean that I didn’t give birth – he was born wasn’t he? Sometimes the hardest people on us are ourselves. No one told me I didn’t give birth, I told myself this and I imagine plenty of women have done this too. I say this to all those women – you are amazing! How you brought your child into this world is irrelevant – you loved that child enough to put yourself through major abdominal surgery, the inability to move for at least 12 hours, at least 6 weeks of recovery – more if you were like me and contracted an infection and that is something to be immensely proud of.

Then there’s the ignorance that surrounds them. The ‘too posh to push’ or the idea that having a section is ‘taking the easy way out’ Now, I haven’t experienced natural birth, so I can’t comment on the ins and outs of that but I can tell you what it’s like to go through a caesarean. It. Is. Hard. You are going through major abdominal surgery, cutting through several layers of skin, fat, muscle to get to your baby and then being stitched back up again! You are completely numb from the waist down for at least 12 hours, have a catheter fitted and have to ask others to pass you your baby. You have to be washed – all dignity goes out of the window! There isn’t the normal recovery process when having a section, no ‘take it easy and rest’ it’s straight into the fray. You have a baby to look after now, you’ve got to get on with it! There are obviously things you cannot do for a certain amount of time due to the fact you’ve had surgery like drive and hoover (I definitely didn’t complain about the last one!) I had 7 days of home injections to prevent clots. Why anyone would go through all that willingly, with no medical reasoning is beyond me – those people are crazy!  

I think all mamas are strong and brave, we carry a child for 9 months, go through great pain to bring them into the world and then are fully responsible for this little life but there is a different kind of bravery, a different kind of strength that C-Section mamas experience. We often don’t envision that we will have to have surgery, that our birth plans that we have carefully thought out will be thrown out the window. We didn’t imagine that we would have to walk into a sterile, unwelcoming theatre by ourselves (my husband wasn’t allowed into the theatre until I was fully prepped – I had to do that on my own) sit on a cold operating table and be poked, prodded and lose complete feeling in the lower half of our bodies. But we do it, we walk tall and we sit bravely, knowing what is about to happen is the absolute best for our babies. I am immensely proud of all mamas who go through a caesarean, we wear our scars with pride

I wouldn’t change my birth experience, I’ve actually had a few tears while writing this remembering what it was like, the fear of the unknown and the amazing moment when I heard my baby cry, so for me it turned into a very positive experience (minus the shock and not being able to hold my baby for over an hour – having him in my husbands arms and not mine was torture)

So this April I will be wearing my burgundy ribbon tshirt courtesy of www.instagram.com/TwobyTwo.store with pride and showing that there is no shame in having a C-Section – I got my baby here safely and that’s all that matters

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, please leave all comments in the box below and subscribe to hear more from me!

Potty Training – Week 1!

So we’ve started the dreaded ‘Potty Training’! Honestly, I have been stressing about this since before Elliott was born! But, he’s 3 in May and due to start nursery school in September so I really needed to get a wriggle on and get him out of nappies!

Ideally, I would have liked to have had him out of nappies sometime after he was 2 but he was a late talker. I thought teaching a little boy how to pee in a pot after 2 years in a nappy was hard enough without making it even harder by him not being able to actually tell me that he needed to go. I had originally intended on starting training over the Christmas break but due to several illnesses (of the D&V variety) I thought it best to wait a while.

So now it is time. I have ran out of excuses to postpone it, hes perfectly healthy, his vocab is growing nicely and he is now aware of what is going on his nappy – let’s do this!

Day One: I started giving his nappy free time, luckily we’ve had the potty in the living room for a while now so he knows that he needs to sit on it. I kept on reminding him that if he needed a wee wee he had to tell mama or sit on his potty. He was naked from the waist down, running around as usual and I was constantly on edge (not helpful, I know) I kept asking him if he needed a wee, he would sit on the potty and…..nothing. This carried on for an hour and a half. In this time he had had 2 big cups of milk and I was hopeful that any time now he would have to go! He sat on the potty and then started to freak out, as if the thought of going to the toilet on the potty was scaring him. As it had been over and hour and a half, and him having drank so much I was afraid of him getting an infection or something from holding it in so I put him in a nappy. And you guessed it – almost as soon as I had put the nappy on he had a wee. Then he asked for his nappy off and wanted to sit on the potty again! Needless to say, I was so frustrated!

Day Two: Started with nappy free time again and also bought a new potty (Paw Patrol because he’s in love with them at the moment and I thought in my motherly wisdom it may make the potty seem more invited and he wouldn’t freak out again – OK, I was grasping) We had 4 accidents on Day Two. One on Daddy’s computer chair – which I found absolutely hilarious, one in his pants (which was both one and two – those just went straight in the bin) one by the window and the last one i managed to catch in his potty!! I was honestly like a woman possessed, I was jumping up and down, cheering, singing – you name it, I was doing it. I was going to make him feel like he’d just done the best thing ever! I was really hoping we were on our way to cracking this thing

Day Three – Five: I’ve grouped these days together because I was at work so Elliott was at his usual childcare of my parents, my in-laws and grand in-laws. I wasn’t expecting him to carry on with the potty while he was there due to the change in environment but he did really really well, a few accidents and a few successes!! I bought him some pull-up nappies for when we were out and about as he hadn’t quite grasped letting us know when he needed the toilet, if he was wearing pants he thought he was in a nappy so he’d just go as if he was so I thought if i got him these and called them pants he’d start to let us know but also without the added mess if we were out and about.

Day Six: We are getting it! He still required prompting to sit on his potty but we have had no accidents and all on the potty! Still have yet to have another number 2 on there (he had one at my mother-in-laws but that could have been a fluke!) Carrying on with the no pants as i think it’s just confusing him, going to try and get him to crack using it without prompting first before we introduce big boy pants into the equation – baby steps as they say

Day Seven: By Jove I think we’ve got it!!!!!! We woke up and went into the bathroom where I had put the potty the night before and pulled Elliott’s pants down and asked him if he wanted a wee wee – and he had a wee! And then the best thing happened, honestly I am without a doubt the proudest parent in the world right now! Elliott was playing over the other end of the room on his trampoline, no nappy on as usual and i heard ‘Oh no’ my heart sank, I thought he’d got so wrapped up in playing that he’d had an accident. No sooner had I had that thought , he came running across the room, sat on his potty and did a wee! He actually realised that he needed to go and went to the potty!! I really think we may be on our way to success!!

So that was our first week of potty training! I am so happy with the progress we have both made, I am no longer constantly hovering over him, anxious that he’s going to have an accident and he is realising when he needs a wee and going to the potty all by himself. I realise that my anxiety probably wasn’t helping the situation and was almost definitely making it harder for him to relax and get this at his own pace. I am so ready for the next week, hopefully we can introduce pants and teach him to tell us when he needs to go so we can help him.

I’m going to look into some portable potty’s that we can take out with us so I can get him used to going other places than the house – if anyone has any recommendations, please pop it in the comments

2019 – Reflections and Resolutions

Happy New Year!!!! It’s that time where the everyone seems to look back on the past year, and tell the whole world what they are going to change about themselves, for all of 5 minutes.

So, this year, I’m going against the grain and I’m not going to make any resolutions on things I want to change about myself. Instead, I’m going to make resolutions about things i WON’T change.

Firstly, I’m going to look back at 2018 and reflect on the 365 days that have passed in what seems like a blur. The year started with a huge amount of excitement – this was the year we were FINALLY getting married!! It had been 3 years in the planning and we were officially in the bubble. I went shopping for my dress and found THE dress – my God was it perfect, I felt like a princess! We had the Big Freeze, which Elliott absolutely adored! It meant that mama and daddy were home from work and we suddenly had this massive white wonderland full of new experiences ready to explore, and boy did we explore them. I’m pretty sure that Elliott had us running up and down every inch of the fields across from our house. He was almost a little ice cube when we’d finished but he loved every second. I’m secretly hoping we have one again!

After the Big Freeze came the Big Heatwave! a welcome change from the brief 3 day summers we are used to! This brought loads of fun family days out to parks, beaches and lots of picnics. Elliott got lots and lots of time outside, exercise and we got some well needed family time. During this, our baby boy turned 2!! We had a brilliant weekend of celebrations at the wildlife park and Blackpool. It was the perfect way to spend his birthday.

The joy of the weather was dampened by troubles at my work. Seriously, you could not write the month and a half from the end of June to the middle of August at my company. Without going into too much detail, my company was bought out, a week later the entire executive team and other key members of staff walked out to work at another company, a week later my company was sold AGAIN to the company that the staff had gone to and a day later, I was made redundant. Seriously, it was the most stressful time of my working life, ever. My anxiety took and understandable spike into the stratosphere. Here I was, out of a job in 4 weeks, a 2 year old, a house and a wedding in less than 3 months. I had 4 weeks to find myself a job, and not just any job, the unicorn of all jobs – a part time Accounts Assistant position. Now, you might think that there are loads of those types of jobs out there, wrong. I was panicking. My husband was assuring me that if i was put of a job for a while, my redundancy package would keep us a float for a few months but I didn’t want that. I wanted to leave my job on Friday and walk into another the following Wednesday. So I threw myself into the job market. I updated my CV and sent it to pretty much every company within a 20 mile radius. Someone must’ve been looking down on me because within a week of getting the call that i was out of a job i had an interview, and a week after that I got the job!

Then it was party season!!! First I had a mini hen that my friend Danielle organised for me, the absolute gem that she is. I had a really good laugh, a good taste of my Hen a few weeks later. Then Chris had his Stag party in Benidorm. The photos and videos that i was sent from that weekend were the funniest I had been sent in a long while!! I was also a little jealous that my future husband looked THAT good in a cheerleader uniform!! How they survived those 4 days, I will never know. A week later it was my turn! I had an amazing day and night in Liverpool with my nearest and dearest, filled with memories I will never forget!

Finally, the big day was here. 3 years of planning, saving, deliberating, worrying, dieting, and more planning and this was it, we were getting married. The day went off without a hitch – aside from the fact I almost knocked over a lamp walking down the aisle – oops!! It was perfect. We went on our familymoon to Portugal and it was amazing! We’d never been to Portugal before and after the catastrophe that was our last holiday, we were dubious. But it was perfect. The hotel, the people, the weather, everything. We will definitely be returning.

This Christmas was even more magical than the previous two we had with Elliott, as he has started to have an idea about what was going off. He was getting involved in the hype leading up to the man in red’s appearance and it was amazing to see. He calls Santa, Christmas and was truly enamoured by him when we met him. I was worried that he’d be put off by a man dressed in a beard but he loved him. Christmas Day was a little bit of a wash out. A few days before, Elliott was hit with the vomiting bug, and of course a few days later came the diarrhea. Luckily he got over by Christmas Day, but it hit Chris hard Christmas Eve, and aside from getting up to watch Elliott open his presents (which took over an hour by the way, as he wanted to play with each toy as he opened it which was the cutest thing ever!) he spent the whole day in bed, as did my dad.

If you are still with me, thank you! I didn’t realise when i started this that it was going to be this long!! Anyway, that was my year! I think you’ll agree it has been pretty awesome, 2019 has got some big shoes to fill!!!

Now for the resolutions. As I said at the beginning (if you can remember that far back!) I said I wasn’t going to make any plans to change anything, but to keep them the same. So here they are

  • Being a Mama. Obviously, I’m not going to stop being a mama, I’m not going to change how i’m being a mama. Elliott is thriving, his speech is coming on leaps and bounds, he is attentive, compassionate and loving. I know that its a whole nature/nurture thing but I like to think that I have a small part to play here. So, I’m thinking that what I’m doing and the approach I’m taking seems to be working. It’s about looking at your strengths as well as weaknesses. Do I lose my temper? Yes – I’m human! I’m not saying that I’m perfect, I’m far from it but at the moment the good outweighs the bad significantly
  • Caring too much. I do, I care too much what people think, what they do and it can drive me crazy. But, it also makes me look at myself and think. Do I need to change or is it my perception? 9 times out of 10 it’s my perception and this is a good thing (I think)

It may not seem like its groundbreaking stuff, but to me it is. In a world that thinks , I need to stop and think that I am good enough. I don’t need to change. And I think more people need to think this way.

I’m going to leave you with a little challenge, you can leave the answers in the comments if you want to share or keep them to yourself, its up to you – but I want you to write down at least ONE thing about yourself, your life, your circumstances that you DON’T want to change. One thing that you think, you know what, I’m pretty damn good at this thing, or this part of me is amazing and I need to keep doing that.

Maybe, just maybe it will shift our thinking about ourselves from negative to positive.

Here’s to 2019 – a year of more positivity.

 

 

A new decade approaches….

In less than 24 hours I will be leaving my 20’s behind and entering my 30’s. While this may seem trivial, the idea of leaving an entire decade behind and embracing a new one is a rather daunting prospect.

I will be 30.

I remember thinking that 30 was old. Once you left the comfort of having being in your 20’s that was it. Game over. But as it approached, all that dread that was there in my mid twenties of hitting the big 3 0 was gone. Instead there was excitement and anticipation of what will lie ahead. 30 was no longer the end, but the beginning of a whole new adventure

My twenties were brilliant. I had some brilliant times, with brilliant people, sme who are no longer a part of my life for one reason or another. I look back on some memories fondly and some still make me shudder (mostly my fashion choices – what was I thinking, and more to the point, why did no one stop me?!?!?!?) I met my husband, built a life together, we welcomed our son and made some fantastic friends – ones who were worth my time and effort and left those who weren’t behind.

I’ve been doing some real hard musings over turning 30, so here are my thoughts on hitting the next milestone

Turning 30 isn’t the end of the world. If anything, its the start! I’ve achieved everything I wanted to by the time I reached 30. I moved into my own house, had my first child and got married (all with the same guy too which is a bonus) so i’m not entering my thirties with any regrets. I can’t wait to see what experiences I will have, both personally and with my family and where the next 10 years will take me – and if i’m this optimistic and jovial approaching 40!!

30 is NOT old. I am sticking by this one! I don’t feel ‘old enough’ to be turning 30! I don’t imagine that in the morning when i wake up I will have a new found love of knitting, suddenly have pockets full of Werthers Originals and begin complaining about how things weren’t like this in my day, but I don’t feel like it’s real. 30 to a child is ancient, and I think we carry this idea with us as we get older. But as we near actually becoming this age, we realise that, actually, it’s not as ‘old’ as we once imagined or as bad.

 Getting older does mean getting wiser. As clichéd as it sounds, as we get older we do get wiser. If i could redo my late teens/early twenties knowing what I know now, my life would have turned out very differently! But it’s our experiences that allow us this wisdom, without them we’d be useless! I’m glad of everything that I went through as a teenager and young adult, although some things were painful and I wished at the time I wasn’t experiencing them, they have made me who I am today. So i embrace the choices and even the mistakes I made, because without them I wouldn’t be me. That’s not saying that I will never make a mistake again, i’ll be 30, not perfect, but hopefully they won’t be as monumentally stupid as they were back then (only time will tell on that one)

So, i’m going to wake up in the morning and welcome my 30’s with open arms.

20’s you’ve been a real blast, but come at me 30 – I’m ready for you!!