So, it’s that time of the year again. Kids are coming home with leaflets in their bags, events are being set up and shared on social media. What are they for? Summer holiday clubs.
Sports clubs, holiday clubs, holiday camps, fun activity clubs-you name it, there’s something for everyone.
So why won’t I be even debating on sending my children on one of these?
We were sent two Contactless Protection Cards from Myne Cards to review!
Who are myne-and just what are contactless protection cards?
This week I have drafted in my blogger friends to add their opinions and thoughts on subjects I’ve chosen to write about.
Today is day 5, and the subject today (as you can see from the title), is;
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?!!!!! Do you have dreams of one day owning something special, or would you go mad and buy everything in sight?
Personally, I would clear my debts (which as you’ll see is a common answer unfortunately), buy myself a house and our parents houses, and go on holiday. Further than that I have no idea!
Emma from emmareed.net would clear her debts and help her sister buy her first home. Depending on what was left she would also want to buy herself a beautiful house in the countryside with a huge garden- she has a tiny garden at the moment and it is one thing I she in need of especially because she has a very active 3 year old!
Jaymee from The Mum Diaries would buy a street of houses for her family. All the children are really close.
Naomi from Not a Perfect Parent would also clear her debts. She’d pay off the mortgage on her flat (she would still keep it but rent it out for income for her daughter for the future), then buy them a large house that would have to have an indoor swimming pool and a huge garden! She’d also like a decent holiday abroad, and, finally she would pay for her other half’s family to come over so they could see them and they could finally meet their granddaughter!
Kirsty from Life With Boys would finally get into property; it was always her dream to buy, renovate and sell (too many Property Ladder episodes when I was younger) – that, and a house abroad – constant sun!
Niki from Play & Learn Everyday would definitely travel more, show the kids the world and learn about different cultures. Maybe a trip around the world!
Josie from Business for Mums would found a charity which focused on preserving British horse breeds.
Rachel from Coffee, Cake, Kids would buy a house. Winning the lottery is about the only way she would ever achieve that dream anyway!
Idrina from Wave to Mummy would pay off her mortgage. Then she thinks she’d buy a holiday home in Finland (her native country) and maybe a couple of swish apartments in different cities across the world (maybe at least Paris and New York). She’d then put them up on Air B&B for all the time she wouldn’t need them and visit them occasionally. That would take off a few million so her winnings would possibly by then have been depleted, but she thinks she could probably live off the rental income and still travel the world on school holidays… (Idrina has really thought this through).
LOVE LOVE LOVE all these dreams ladies! I wish we could make them all a reality!!!
In all honesty-I don’t know enough about the subject from an alcoholics point of view to be profound, but I know how it is to be the victim of alcoholism.
I haven’t got it, I should add that, I barely actually drink. Maybe that’s because I’m so scared of being the person that is suffering from it right now.
That person is biologically, my Mother.
I have to say it like that now. I have to say biologically because she is-biologically my Mother. But that’s all she now is. We have no relationship anymore. We haven’t done for over three years. And even prior to that, the relationship was fraught.
All because she chose to make her decisions under the influence of alcohol.
My parents divorced when I was 13. My sister was 10. My brother was 8.
I woke one night to hear them rowing, I crept to the top of the stairs and as I did, my Dad came up, on his way to the bathroom, murmuring as he passed me to go back to bed-that everything was fine.
I’m unsure if she did it to spite him, but my Mum shouted up to me “he’s leaving me-your Dad is leaving us!”
Unable to process this, considering my Dad, my idol, had just told me everything was fine, I rushed back to my bedroom, and got back into bed.
Within minutes, the feeling of worry crept over me and I remember the panic taking over. My Dad came in and I didn’t give him chance to explain. I just kept asking him if it was true.
He confirmed it was, but he wasn’t leaving us, he was leaving my Mum. Nothing would change between him and his children, it was his wife he’d fallen out of love with, not us.
Shortly after he moved out, leaving us with someone grieving the loss of her marriage.
I get this, I really do. 20 years of marriage thrown away like that, you’re going to struggle.
Unfortunately, my understanding didn’t last as long as I hoped it would, because, although I understood she was sad, my 13 year old self assumed we, her children, would remain her driving force to stay strong and keep going because she had us.
It didn’t happen like that at all.
Within a week, she was out every night. She was spending all of her money on drinking in her local pub. I was left at home, at 13, cooking for me and my siblings, getting them into bed on time when she would go out prior to their bedtimes, and making sure all was ready for our school days.
On occasions, she wouldn’t come home until the early hours, on other occasions she’d bring random men back with her and I’d have to try and sleep through loud music, while she continued her party downstairs.
I was effectively a Mum. At the age of 13.
I did this for 5 years. We saw my Dad on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday one week, then a Wednesday Thursday and Friday the next. When he met his now, wife, he would holiday with her,, so, in August he’d be away for 3 weeks. I’d dread it.
Not only was it the Summer holidays, so we’d have no school to break up our day, she’d have spent all her money on alcohol so there’d be no days out, no treats.
We’d just count down until he got home.
When I was 18, I got with my husband. For a few months we’d stay at my house every night, because I had the children to look after. Within a year we were engaged, and he made the decision we would get a flat.
If he hadn’t done this, I don’t know where I’d be today.
She was upset when I left, I can never be sure whether it was because I was leaving and her daughter was growing up, or she’d lost her babysitter.
She married again, I didn’t go to her wedding-I wasn’t invited, and I didn’t want to go. Her husband is also alcohol dependent, and openly told her he wished she hadn’t had kids, something he repeated to me during a drunken rant down the phone one night.
During my wedding, which her and her husband attended with my late Grandad, she spent the day with a face like thunder. I can’t watch my wedding video because she taints it in the background constantly. An hour into my reception, following the food and the first dance, she left, to go to her local pub.
During my sons christening, which I also invited her to, she didn’t speak to me or my husband. She sat in the pew in front of us and didn’t even acknowledge my son. At the drinks afterwards, she made her excuses to my Dad and left without speaking to me.
When I lost my three babies after having my son, she wasn’t there-she doesn’t even know she could’ve had three other grandchildren.
The day my daughter was born, I messaged her to tell her the name and weight of her new Granddaughter. She didn’t reply. I messaged again and she responded asking why I’d chosen the name. She was angry my daughter was named after mine and my husbands grandmothers-there was no congratulatory message, no plans to visit and meet my daughter.
She refused to be part of her life unless I allowed both of my children to call her Nanny-something I’d made very clear during many previous arguments, fuelled by her decisions made during drunken phone calls, that she’d not earned that right-that her constant flippant relationship with me and my son, didn’t warrant her to have that title-that it had to be earned. At the time of those conversations she’d agreed.
But suddenly that agreement wasn’t accepted anymore.
She’s never met my daughter. My son doesn’t remember her.
Around 18 months ago, I messaged her during a clear-out of my old photos, to tell her I had pictures of her with her late parents, and I’d give them to my brother to give her if she would like them. She responded telling me to f*** off out of her life.
So I did.
Honestly, I’ve never found a decision so easy but hard, so upsetting but elating, and so final.
There’s a certain element of grief in it. I’m grieving for the Mum I had as a young child. The one who spent time with us, as a family.
But I’m also grieving for the life I never had. For the love I never felt from her. For the cuddles I never had. For the relationship I’ll never have again.
Yes, alcohol did this, but her choice to drink that alcohol, to get through a divorce, caused her to end up addicted to it. She not only make her decisions under that influence, but showed no remorse the following days upon realising her mistakes.
And I’ll never forgive her for that.
Ultimately throughout all of this, I’m left with peace. I have a doting Mother-in-Law, Step-Mum and Auntie (who ironically is my Mother’s sister-another family member alienated by poor life decisions) who play the role of a Mum better than I have ever known.
I have two children who are shielded from a relationship they could have had, with an unhinged adult I couldn’t have allowed to influence their lives.
I am proud of what I do, decisions I make and relationships I have, and I’ve made those decisions based on a need to never act how she has.
As it’s Friday the 13th I thought it a perfect opportunity to post a blog about superstitions.
Personally, I don’t think I have any major ones, especially not ones I do, so I don’t have bad luck (I have enough of that without adding superstitions into the mix).
I don’t walk under ladders. Not because of getting bad luck, but because I already have such bad luck I would probably end up with something (or someone) falling on me!
One thing I have always done-not because of superstition, more routine, is making a wish when I blow an eyelash off of my finger! I’ve done it for as long as I can remember!
Because I don’t have any proper superstitions of my own, I once again called on my lovely fellow bloggers to hear about theirs!
It turns out, saluting magpies is actually a really common one!
Nikki from Yorkshire Wonders, Becky from The Family Beehive, Nicola from All Things Spliced, Siobhan from The Baby Boat Diaries, Elaine from Entertaining Elliott, Kristine from Max and Kai and Deborah from Country Heart and Home, all salute magpies!
Additionally to their magpie saluting, Siobhan from The Baby Boat Diaries and Carly from
Mummy and the Chunks, won’t walk across three drains in a row-and Siobhan won’t walk under ladders.
Smashing mirrors is another superstition-Carly from Mummy and the Chunks also has this one, and crossing on the stairs seems to be a common one, shared by Deborah from Country Heart and Home and Tracey from Kidz Cruises.
Deborah also won’t cross knives-not one I’ve heard of before, or open umbrellas indoors.
Laura from Five Little Doves never puts new shoes on the table!! She said she’s so super panicky about it, especially because her children always plonk things down wherever they want to. She’s not even sure where her superstition came from but she just won’t risk it!
Alex from Better Together Home is actually really superstitious! If she gives someone a purse or wallet she always puts money in. She never sweeps towards the door, if she spills salt, she throws a pinch over her shoulder and she’d never have dried flowers in the house!
Laura from The DRM Project has a bit more of an odd one! She was always told never buy or drive a green car because they’re bad luck!
Talya from Motherhood The Real Deal, has a bit of an odd one that came from her family, that when you sneeze three times in a row you then have to pull your earlobes!
On another note, Rochelle from Twinkins, stopped having superstitions, because she realised they were making her go crazy. One that has stuck with her though, is not putting her handbag on the floor, because that meant you’d never have money!
To conclude, a little clip from The Office (US Version), sent to me while crowd sourcing for this blog, from the very “un-superstitious” Adam over at AT Tech Reviews!
Thanking everyone that helped and took part in this blog-it was once again very enlightening!
I do love a quiz, as most of my friends and family will know, so one about my blog and personal life, is right up my street.
As mentioned in 365 Days of Mayflower Blogs, 2016 for me (and a lot of others), was up and down to say the least!
Blog wise, it was really successful. I met a lot of lovely people, and have had (and am still having) a lot of amazing opportunities come my way!
Personally, it was a mixed bag. Money issues, a family death, and attempts to manage my mental health issues, often made the year feel pretty rubbish. But the things I managed to achieve professionally, therefore affecting me personally, made the year actually pretty good!
So, here goes with this “Not big, not fat-quiz of the year 2016/2017”, complete with highlights from last year, and goals for this year!
What was your highlight of 2016?
Professionally-it has to be the nomination from Tommy’s for their Mums Voice Award. It just brought together, everything I’ve ever done, for the reason I do it. I blog to make a difference, and to help people feel less alone in what they’re going through, that I’ve already been through-so to be recognised in even just a nomination for those reasons was (and still is) amazing.
Personally-my husband’s 30th celebrations, and my 30th celebrations. I put so much effort into making his so special, and thankfully he did the same for mine. Alongside friends and family, we had such a special time (6 months apart), and I’ll never forget that.
Name one thing you are likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?
London. Not just in general, but accomplishing what I thought was the impossible. Battling through an anxiety attack on the train to the city. Trying to curb the rising panic building in me when I arrived at my first London press event, into a room with tons of people I didn’t know, attempting to ignore the social anxiety issues, that usually plague me on a regular basis.
2016 was the year, my mental illnesses didn’t beat me on one of the most important days of my life.
Sum up 2016 in one word
Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry through 2017
We all have to start from somewhere! Granted, this was a pearl of wisdom I realised myself at the latter part of 2016. After a couple of meetings and events, I realised all of the people I was meeting, all started from the same place-the start.
When I’m asking those who have more years than me of writing, advice on how to do something for my beginners blog, I would hope they would remember, they were a beginner once, and they didn’t learn it all themselves!
Goals are a different thing, as are dreams. I aim for those rather than keeping resolutions.
My Panda Life, sent me a memory foam pillow to review!*
Now, for anyone that knows me personally, you’ll know; a) that I don’t sleep well, and b) that I love sleep (when I actually manage to get some that is!)
So, because of this, quite obviously I jumped at the chance to review a pillow!
The pillow I was sent was the Panda Luxury Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow.
This pillow has a triple layer moulded memory foam, and considering I’ve only ever had one layer of memory foam on my pillows, I had a feeling it was going to be pretty nice. Nice was probably an understatement, because the second I got it out of the box, I could feel just how amazing it was. Memory foam layers aside, the case in which the pillow itself is in, is just so soft and cooling, the first thing you want to do is lay on it (unless you’re a blogger of course, then the first thing you want to do is take photos of it for your upcoming blog review-then you can lay on it!)
The cover itself is has an antibacterial removable bamboo cover, which is easily removed for washing, and so silky to touch.
The pillow comes with temperature regulating technology which keeps the pillow cool in the summer and warm in the winter because of the breathable material of the cover.
I received the parcel containing my pillow in the morning, just as I was getting up, which made the temptation to go back to sleep, with said pillow, rather hard to ignore. I managed to last until bedtime, when I decided to use just the pillow alone, without any others I usually use.
This turned out to be slightly detrimental to the reviewing process, because, I usually sleep with two pillows, and, because I chose to use just the one, I had an AWFUL nights sleep!
Thankfully, this wasn’t down to the pillow itself, and the following night I realised my mistake, added one of my own pillows underneath the new one, and tested it properly.
I would be the first to hold my hands up and say if it wasn’t working for me-I see no point in dishonesty, and people wasting their money on something that I didn’t truly recommend. However, this pillow is SO worth the money and much more. I’ve slept marginally better since I got it, but, the main improvement has been in my neck and back. I used to have such a bad night, I’d wake up aching and sore the next morning, but since using the pillow I’ve not had one morning of waking up in pain.
Something I know that’s really important to people, especially when buying something used so much, is product material and where it’s sourced. So, another reason I recommend this pillow, is because it’s made from 100% bamboo fibre, which My Panda Life sourced from Southeast Asia. Aside from the positive ecological aspects, the fibre was also chosen because of its sustainability and environmental benefits. Panda products are designed to last, they’re easy to look after, and every item is finished to a really high detail.**
I mentioned the money side of this pillow a moment ago, and I can guarantee you’re all thinking about how extortionate this pillow must be!
The pillow is currently priced at £34.99 which in my opinion is so affordable, especially when the pillow is this good! Additionally though, I currently have a coupon code allowing you to get another 10% off of it, or anything from the online store!
Just us this code at the checkout to take advantage of this discount!!!!!
The pillow also comes with 10 years manufacturer guarantee and 30 night home trial too-so really, what are you waiting for-head over to My Panda Life and buy one now!!!!
**All Panda products are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified. This global testing and certification system is the strictest in term of cleanliness and purity of products, ensuring they comply with health standards and are safe even for babies.
*Thank you to My Panda Life for the pillow to review!
These 26 words, are pretty much all you need to grow tiny humans and keep yourself
from rocking in a corner sane. Memorise them, use them as your mantra, and you will be fine!
Booze. It’s needed, not all the time, but always in the house “just in case”. Being everything to everyone can get stressful sometimes!
Chocolate. Also needed, ALL the time, ALWAYS in the house, sometimes if ‘E’ is happening, chocolate can work instead of meals.
Dirt. For some reason, kids are somehow, always dirty! I don’t know where they get it, or how, but there’s always some somewhere!!!!
Eating. It’s done fast, or not at all. You need to make sure you’re available for helping others eat, serving drinks, extra sauces, clearing up mess, and basically not having time to eat your own-and if you do-its cold!
Fun. Whether you wake up feeling like crap, absolutely shattered, with tons to do throughout the day, you MUST still be fun! Kids seem to get bored around about 10 minutes after waking up, and throughout the day when they’re not eating or tantruming. You must entertain constantly if you’re going to get through a day!
Growing. You go out, spend an entire months worth of spare money on the kids clothes and shoes, and within that next month, they grow out of most of it. The worrying thing is, you don’t notice it day to day, but it just happens!
Housework. Just don’t even go there with this one. Its constant, you get little/no help and its just never tidy or clean enough unless you’re home alone for a substantial amount of time. As you clean up, they go around after you, undoing all your hard work.
Judgement. You’re going to be judged. No matter what you do, when you do it, how you do it, and why you do it, you’ll always be judged by someone somewhere. Don’t let this phase you! You know what is right for your kids. Go with that instead of listening to others.
Know-it-all. You must know everything-every answer to every question asked, whether its absolute nonsense or not. Most of those answers you give, will end up being responded with “why?” by the child in question, and you’ll need to give an adequate answer to that too!
Laughter. This is a must. Its pretty basic, but its the best noise, the best entertainment and it keeps you battling through the day!
Mummy. This is now your name. You will hear it from the moment the little ones wake, to the moment they go to bed-and maybe even during the night when they should be sleeping!
Nights out. These are a thing of the past. Its hard enough finding the spare money to get out of the house, let alone to find a sitter that you trust with your precious little ones, or who doesn’t cost the earth.
Octopus. You have to be one. You need to find a way to grow around 6 more arms, so you can carry out all requests without taking too long and ending up with tantrums!
Pets. The little darlings decide at some point in their tiny lives, that they’re going to need some kind of pet. You may be like me, and unable to have cats/dogs etc in your rented home, but that doesn’t stop them. You could end up with a fish, or a hamster, or a tortoise! They sound like fun dont they? NO! They are as much mess/effort/money/time as the kids-maybe even more. For as long as you can, put them off!
Quickness. Another must, you must always be quick. If you don’t get to the kitchen for juice or a snack, within roughly 90 seconds after being asked, all hell is going to break loose! Be quick. All the time.
Right. Kids are always right, even when they’re wrong. If you remember that you’ll have a much easier life!
School Runs. Think back to walking yourself to school, how much effort it was to get there, how reluctant you sometimes were, and the playground issues you’d have. Now add in, having to take someone else there, who’s sometimes just as reluctant, and this time, you have to deal with playground issues from fellow school mums instead!
Toilet training. One of the biggest learning curves you’ll go through as a parent. Patience, patience, patience. That is my only advice on this one!
Unintelligent. If you thought you were clever before you had kids, you wont think that anymore. Well, unless you count your vast knowledge of nursery rhymes, kids tv theme tunes and the names of ALL the characters they watch! In that case-you’re a genius!
Vegetables. They are the devils food. According to the little ones that is! They wont eat them, and if they do, their faces will contort, they will moan and whine and sometimes even force a gag out for maximum effect!
Washing. It never ends. Thats about it. IT just doesn’t end.
X-ray. This one might seem an odd one, but think of how many times, prior to having children, you spent in the hospital, then double it and double it again! There will be lots of lovely trips to the paeds a&e department, which can sometimes end up in xray! Doesn’t that sound fun!
Yes! This is what they want to hear, always. You must never say no, because that word is also known as the “tantrum button”. That button should be avoided at all times.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. This is how tired you are. All the time. Not just physically, but mentally too. All the time.
Sometimes, we could use alternative words for the “Parenting Alphabet”.
In exactly one week, I turn 30!
As a child, I used to imagine what it would be like to be 30. I was like Jenna Rink in ’13 Going on 30′ (if you haven’t seen that film-you’ve missed out!) I willed time to go faster, so I could experience life as an adult, and all the grown up things I thought I’d do.
Of course, as we all know now we are adults, it’s not all fun and games and really, we wish we’d been smaller for longer.
My son, currently aged 6, is constantly telling me how he “can’t wait to be a grown up”. He wants to be able to play on the Xbox all the time and not be told what to do-I don’t have the heart to tell him its pretty much nothing like that!
The subject of turning 30 is a puzzling one. On first thought its a daunting prospect, with so many deep, life relating questions you seem to ask yourself. The main one, in my case, is whether I’ve achieved all I wanted to by the time I turned 30…..
- Children. I wanted kids. One girl, one boy. When I was a teenager, dreaming of my perfect, grown up life, I wanted one boy called Danny, and a girl called Leticia (yes really). In actual “grown up life”, I have one boy (who’s not called Danny) and one girl (who funnily enough is not called Leticia!)
- Husband. I wanted the man of my dreams. He didn’t have a face, not a definitive one anyway-but I have a feeling he looked something like the men on the posters on my wall-a mismatched version of celebrities and professional football players combined together to make THE perfect man. (Please note, at no point did I dream of the word LOVE). In actual “grown up life”, I have the man I LOVE. He looks nothing like any of those men on my childhood bedroom wall, but he was my schoolgirl crush, my childhood sweetheart (who admittedly dated the majority of my friends before getting to me-but the course of true love, never did run smoothly, did it!) He is the love of my life, my absolute best friend, and I cannot imagine life without him.
- A house. I wanted my own home, a house, with a garden and rooms for both my children (remember my one girl and one boy dream). In actual “grown up life”, I have a house. Its not mine, we rent it, but its our home. We’ve been here a year, the children have their own bedrooms, we have a garden (and a drive-get us!). I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in any of the homes I’ve lived in and right now, its perfect for our little family.
- To be Successful. I wanted a good career, savings, pennies in the bank, the ability to afford holidays for “my perfect” family and all the happiness money brings. In actual “grown up life”, I am now a SAHM (stay at home mum). I have very little in the way of savings, we’ve never had a family holiday (since before children anyway), and in the way of a career, I’ve so far not begun the “perfect job”. I am, however, pretty happy. Money is nice, savings would be lovely, and spare money to spoil the children with would be brilliant. But we’re a happy family. We pay the bills, we eat well, we enjoy our life, so what more can you ask for!
- To make my family proud. I wanted to do things with my life that never brought shame or unhappiness to my family. I wanted them to be proud of me, happy with my life choices. My father, especially, I wanted to make proud the most. He shaped me and made me the person I am today-I never wanted to make him sad, angry, ashamed or disappointed in me. In actual “grown up life”, I can’t answer that can I?! I can’t tell you if I’ve made them proud, only that I tried my very hardest to do so. My dad, remains the driving force behind me trying to make something of my life. I constantly think about what he’d say when I make decisions or life choices. I’m no angel, I know I made some weird decisions as a child and teenager, and sometimes he would’ve been a little disappointed in how I dealt with things or paths I took, but I don’t think there was anything that would’ve made him ashamed of me.
- To be happy. I wanted to be happy. That’s that really! In actual “grown up life”, I am mostly happy. I touched on happiness in the “having money” part of this blog. But that’s not all I need to make me happy. I have two absolutely amazing children, who don’t stop making me proud and trying their hardest, day in, day out. I have an amazing husband, who, for all his faults, remains my constant, my bestest friend in the entire world, who I share everything with, and laugh with (most of the time). I have an amazing family, who I love and adore for their constant love and support. I’m happy with decisions I’ve made, and paths I’ve taken.
All these things, all these mad dreams and ideas I had about being a grown up and the perfect life I was going to have, were pretty delusional when I look back as an almost 30 year old. You cant look ahead 20+ years and map out who you’re going to be and what you’re going to be doing. At that age, you don’t envisage, the
crap challenges you’re going to face along the way. You don’t know the people you’ll meet, the choices you’ll make, or most importantly, the person you’ll become.
What’s important, as we have these milestone birthdays, is that we’re content. Content with where we came from, how we’ve lived so far, and how we plan for our future.
Turning 30 doesn’t scare me, upset me, or make me sad for what was. It makes me excited about what’s to come.