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Month: February 2018

Taking Time Out for Mother’s Day with Debenhams

Taking Time Out for Mother’s Day with Debenhams

Recently over on my Instagram feed, I spoke about how I still find it hard to believe that Mother’s Day is all about me. Even though I’ve been a mother for nearly three years, I still feel like a bit of an imposter when it comes to identifying as ‘mum’. Life is so hectic a lot of the time, I just don’t get time to sit down and think about life as a parent. It’s just something we crack on with, along with everything else we have to squeeze into the day.

Even if I do say so myself, I keep everything together over here. I keep the kids fed, watered and entertained. I make sure that the house is clean and tidy. As well as all of this, I run my business in the background, often into the small hours so that I have something that’s just for me. As Mother’s Day 2018 approaches and with a lot of thanks to Debenhams, I’ve been forced to sit back and think about the role I play in our house.

I’ve realised that actually, Mother’s Day should be about me. I should take some time out and enjoy being spoilt for a day, because for the rest of the year I work damn hard to keep my brood happy. With this in mind, the guys over at Debenhams were kind enough to send me for a Mother’s Day afternoon tea at Patisserie Valerie. It was time just for me, so that I could sit back and relax with lots of delicious cake. I absolutely loved every minute!

Taking Time for Yourself –

As a mother, I’m the first to admit that taking time out for myself is often at the bottom of my priority list. Like most mothers out there, I’m in the ‘as long as the kids are happy, I’m happy’ camp and for the most part this is true. There comes a time though when it’s not possible to keep the kids happy, if you’re not looking after yourself properly. That’s why I highly recommend spending some time all to yourself every now and again. Just like my hour spent with a cuppa and an afternoon tea. I left feeling super refreshed and after a particularly busy week, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Treating others this Mother’s Day –

As well as afternoon tea, Hubs and I took full advantage of a child free afternoon and decided on a little retail therapy too. Seeing as the day was all about being a mum, I thought it’d be a good idea to treat the other mother’s in our lives too.

We headed into Debenhams as they always have so much to choose from, it’s impossible not to find gifts to suit all tastes. With three mums to buy for it was the perfect place. For my mum we decided on a pretty Radley purse, it’s a very girly pink and I know she’ll absolutely love it!

The other two mums in our lives are my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. I wanted to treat them to something that I knew they would enjoy. As we’d just enjoyed our afternoon tea, I knew I had to get them the same gift experience. It’s something that they will find really yummy and something they can do together too!

So with Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s time for you to start thinking about how to spend your special day. Do something different, fun or completely relaxing. As long as you’re taking the time just for you! 

*This post is in collaboration with Debenhams as part of their Mother’s day campaign. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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The Power of Women – Am I being Drawn in by Feminism?

The Power of Women – Am I being Drawn in by Feminism?

Up until recently, I would never have identified as a feminist. In fact, I would have said I sat right at the other end of the scale. It wasn’t until I made it my mission to learn more throughout 2018, that I came across a book with the potential to instigate a significant shift in my views and beliefs. It forced my brain to think in a way that has never been that natural to me. I began to see my life from an entirely different perspective and I liked it.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray opened up a whole new world for me. One that I’m completely unfamiliar with, but also one that I was eager to explore. As much as I’m not going to be burning my bra any time soon, I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated what we as women are capable of achieving. As well as what the women before us dedicated their lives to, in order to secure a better future for the generations to come.

 

 

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Hypocrisy –

 

Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’m able commit to feminism entirely. You see, I really love it when my husband holds a door open for me. I also like it when he does what we call the ‘blue jobs’ around the house. Surely this makes me a hypocrite? I’m sure a determined feminist would revolt at the use of such terminology.  

I want to be a strong woman, who is successful in motherhood, housekeeping and business. Yes, in that order. We have very traditional roles over here, my husband is the ‘bread’ winner and I am ‘mother and maid’. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I want my strengths and qualities as the female of the species to be recognised, but I also want to be treated like a lady once in a while.

It’s obvious from those revelations, that I’m never going to be recognised as hardcore feminist. I’m always going to pass the ‘male’ jobs over to my husband without a seconds thought. I’m also going to continue being the one that keeps our household ticking over nicely. I’ve no intention of changing.

Having said that, I’m definitely going to continue to work towards achieve my goals in business. I know that with hard work and determination I’m capable of reaching them, alongside being the best mother and wife that I can be. I’m also going to spend my life empowering our girls, teaching them to believe that anything is possible whatever their gender. They need to know that they are capable of making their wildest dreams come true – woman or not.

 

Unity –

 

Most of all, I’m going to teach our girls that great things can happen when people work together. By pooling resources, brains and hard graft, men and women can work alongside each other to achieve the unachievable. I don’t believe that men don’t need women, or that women don’t need men to make something of themselves. I believe that there is a mutual need, that’s requires nurture if we want to flourish as human beings.  Team work definitely makes the dream work.  Maybe I’m not being drawn in by feminism after all.

 

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#Blogstravaganza #58

#Blogstravaganza #58

Hello and welcome to #Blogstravaganza!

Happy Friday one and all, I hope you’ve all had a great week! Thankyou to all you lovely linkers, it’s absolutely fabulous to have you join in each week!

#Blogstravaganza news! I’m on the look out for weekly guest co-hosts for #Blogstravaganza, if you fancy joining in drop me a line! 

This week we’re joined by Jo from Pickle and Poppet! Don’t forget to tag @PickleandPoppet in your tweets when you link and comment on her wonderful post! Thankyou for taking the reins this week!

Featured Blogger

My favourite post from last week was this yummy recipe from Craft with Cartwright ! Grab your badge here:

It would be great to continue to spread some love over on Instagram, please do remember to use the #Blogstravaganza tag on your images! Here are a couple of my favourites from this week!

 

Paddling in the New Forest ❤️

A post shared by Sarah °• Digital Motherhood •° (@digitalmotherhood) on

Hmmmm. Never, ever, ever leave the chocolate within reach of a child in the car.

A post shared by Briony S (@anywaytostayathome) on

Don’t forget the join the #Blogstravaganza – Opportunities, Blog Share & Support group on Facebook.  If you want to share your posts, get some advice from fellow bloggers or simply have a chat, do head over and check it out!

 

If you’d like to be added to the #Blogstravaganza mailing list, for a weekly reminder of us going live, please do drop me a message and I’ll add you! 

 

 


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Knowledge is Power – Learning to Inspire the Next Generation

Knowledge is Power – Learning to Inspire the Next Generation

I’ve always found it difficult to switch my brain off. As far back as I can remember I have loved to read and learn about the world around us. We’ve always been an outdoorsy family too, learning about nature and wildlife is still one of my favourite things to do. In my early twenties, prior to having children, I went from one course to another, as my interests changed and grew. My thirst for knowledge always being the driving force behind my endeavours.

I fell rapidly out of learning when I got pregnant with our eldest daughter. As is the case with many mothers, pregnancy takes its toll and everything else in our lives often gets put on the back-burner. I had hyperemesis, so getting through each minute was a task, never mind each day. Picking up a book was just impossible. Especially the second time around when I had a two month old baby to take care of too.

Fast forward two years and two children later, life seems to be back on an even keel. We have two children that sleep at night and we have a good routine during the day. Now I’m finding that my thirst for knowledge has never been stronger. I struggle to watch naff television or read books that aren’t teaching me something. Mostly because I feel that I should be filling my free time with as much work as possible. I feel that if I am going to do something other than looking after the children or work, it has to be something that I’m going to benefit and learn from.

 

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Getting back on track –

One thing that really bothered me is that until recently, I hadn’t picked up a book for over two years. Not only did I feel like my brain needed a workout, but I find that reading is a great way to escape from everyday life. With two toddlers in the house, it’s often a welcome distraction. So, although I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions, this year I vowed to read more. To nourish my mind and get back into the swing of learning.

I kick started the year with A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray. When I first picked up this book there were two things that struck me. One was that I only knew about 4 of the women who were included in this book. Secondly I’m bringing up two future strong women, how am I supposed to do this if I’m not able to teach them about the strong women of our past. I need to be able to educate them on the women that paved the way to the opportunities that are available to them today.

This book marked the beginning of my mission to educate myself further, so that I’m able to inspire the next generation. Hopefully instigating a thirst for knowledge in them too. I think it’s so important for the next generation to appreciate that there’s so much that can be achieved, even when it may appear that the odds aren’t in their favour. I’m not saying I’m going to push our girls too far, that would only saturate their minds beyond their years. There’s an amazing world out there though, with so much experience to gain down whichever path they choose to take. I just want to be able to enrich their lives. To give them the privilege of an education and ultimately, to give them the power of knowledge.

 

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A final word –

Not only do I want to empower my girls, I also want to empower myself. Having children makes you see the world in a whole new light. I’m only too aware that nothing is set in stone. There are no certainties in this life and I don’t want to waste a minute of it. I want a wealth of knowledge that I can can draw on at any point. When I look back over my life I want it to have been enriched with history and culture. I want to look back on an education to be proud of. 

 

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#Blogstravaganza #57

#Blogstravaganza #57

Hello and welcome to #Blogstravaganza!

Happy Friday one and all, I hope you’ve all had a great week! Thankyou to all you lovely linkers, it’s absolutely fabulous to have you join in each week!

#Blogstravaganza news! I’m on the look out for weekly guest co-hosts for #Blogstravaganza, if you fancy joining in drop me a line! 

This week we’re joined by Sarah from Digital Motherhood! Don’t forget to tag @sarahjcronshaw in your tweets when you link and comment on her wonderful post! Thankyou for taking the reins this week!

Featured Blogger

My favourite post from last week was this super informative post from Old House in the Shires! ! Grab your badge here:

It would be great to continue to spread some love over on Instagram, please do remember to use the #Blogstravaganza tag on your images! Here are a couple of my favourites from this week!

 

Asleep at 5pm. NOT GOOD. Will I ever learn? #babyboy #sleepyhead

A post shared by Nicola (@mummy_wales1) on

Don’t forget the join the #Blogstravaganza – Opportunities, Blog Share & Support group on Facebook.  If you want to share your posts, get some advice from fellow bloggers or simply have a chat, do head over and check it out!

 

If you’d like to be added to the #Blogstravaganza mailing list, for a weekly reminder of us going live, please do drop me a message and I’ll add you! 

 

 

 


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Preparing your Child for Nursery – Including Tips on Working Towards EYFS Goals

Preparing your Child for Nursery – Including Tips on Working Towards EYFS Goals

Education has always been a priority in our house. We love to learn, just about as much as we love to have fun, it’s even better if we manage to combine the two. My husband is a perpetual learner and I’ve always been keen on keeping my brain in shape wherever I can. Educating ourselves is one thing, but with two little people under our belts education has become even more important. With nursery just around the corner I find myself drawn to enriching our children’s lives as much as I can.

Ever since our children were born, I’ve had a clear idea of the level of education they would receive at home. First and foremost, I recognise that it’s essential to make our children’s world as fun as it can possibly be. They are happy, healthy and loved which is paramount. Within the realms of fun though, I knew I wanted to teach them as much as I could along the way. I took some time out to educate myself on the Early Years Foundation Stage goals (EYFS), so that I’m aware of what goals our girls should be achieving and when.

Now that our eldest daughter is close to three years of age and therefore about to begin her school career, at an educational, state nursery. I’m keen to get her as nursery ready as can be.

 

The key thing to remember with EYFS goals, is that ultimately they’re just guidelines. I personally believe that it’s necessary to have an idea of where your child is on the scale, without getting hung up on, or upset about them not hitting every goal by a certain age. 

 

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How do we work on reaching EYFS goals, age 2-3 years?

 

Communication and language –

  • Reading together, recognising characters, discussing the story.
  • Role play.
  • Listening to fun and educational nursery rhymes.
  • Involvement in everyday activities, discussion, fun and giving them responsibility.

Physical development –

  • Visiting soft play centres.
  • Toddler play groups.
  • Outdoor exploration.
  • Messy play.
  • Use of different equipment and teaching how to use them e.g) sieves, pouring from jugs, holding and using scissors.
  • Practicing climbing stairs using the hand rail.

Personal, social and emotional development –

  • Making conservation.
  • Toddler groups – interaction with peers.
  • Organised classes – taking instruction and interaction with peers.

Literacy –

  • Arts and crafts – painting and drawing lines, patterns and shapes.
  • Flash cards – first words, recognising items.
  • Use of favourite characters to engage them in story telling.
  • Rhyme and verse to instigate learning phonics in a fun environment.

Mathematics –

  • Arts and crafts – painting and drawing numbers.
  • Flash cards – recognising numbers and putting them in order.
  • Rhyme and verse to instigate learning numbers in a fun environment.

Understanding the world –

  • Toddler groups – interaction and exploration of different situations with different people.
  • Allowing children to develop meaningful relationships with their peers.
  • Teaching them about themselves – how to recognise themselves and introduce themselves to others.

Expressive arts and design –

  • Organised classes e.g) dance.
  • Exposure to music, learning to enjoy rhythm using fun and educational songs.
  • Free play.
  • Messy play.
  • Role play.
  • Arts and crafts.

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Not everyone chooses to prepare their children for nursery in the same way. Here are few words from my fellow bloggers, giving an insight into how they got their children nursery ready;

 

 

Becka from Mummy Est. 2014: ‘I’ve always believed that the ‘Prime Areas’ are the most important part of the EYFS. I think that supporting skills such as having experience around other children (such as toddler groups), knowing their own name and identity, being able to communicate (signing, speaking or symbols) and having basic self care such as getting shoes on and off, washing own hands etc. These sort of basics I believe help children have a starting point to grow from.’

Beth from Twinderelmo: ‘We let ours choose their own water bottle and lunchbag so they were excited to go and use them. In terms of EYFS, we just practised their name. Jolly phonics is a great place to start and they used to watch on YouTube.’ 

Suzy from Our Bucket List Lives: ‘I let nursery prepare my little one. Because they are linked to the school they prepare the children by teaching them the basics for reaching those goals. I did no ‘learning’ with him at home at that age as I wanted him to enjoy the time he had with mein a non learning sense. I did no letters or phonics and he is doing really well because he has been taught by one person and not more than one. We did some maths such as counting to 20 and down from 20. If you aren’t sending your child to a nursery linked with a primary school then I’d concentrate on lots of play based activities that strengthen there grip and movement. I’d do a lot of counting songs with them and other similar rhymes. Again if there’s no chance for nusery then toddler groups, especially at centres, are great for children. They tried to get Jamie to get himself changed too early in his life and it made him scared of jumpers. I’m all for when they’re ready with regards to getting himself dressed.’

Jessica from Beauties and the Bibs:  ‘I wouldn’t worry about if they are ready academically that’s what nursery is there for. I would say make sure they are ready emotionally so if your offered settling in sessions take them and talk about nursery at home so they know what will happen.’

Jenni from The Bear and the Fox: ‘We found that reading books together about nursery beforehand really helped. I shared some of our favourites here…http://www.thebearandthefox.com/2017/09/books-starting-nursery-pre-school/’

Michelle from Seeing Rainbows: ‘All I did was encourage to draw, colour and know/write their name. I also took them to playgroup from very young to encourage socialisation and attempt to avoid shyness. But of course none of this is necessary, every child is different and nursery will encourage all these things anyway!’

Emma from Bubba Blue and Me: ‘I didnt prepare him because he’s been in day nursery from a year old. So socially and psychologically it was just another step for him the same as going to school. At home we just did normal things through play. Lots of communication, singing and activities that helped with motor control. He wasn’t interested in phonics or writing even though they did it at nursery. I just made sure there were plenty of books and drawing things available for when he wanted to use them.’

Sinead from Sinead Latham: ‘We spoke a lot about exploring a new school (nursery), making new friends and having a teacher just for them. They had a good 2 weeks settling in period so when they went full time all the kids were ready. 
As for EYFS at home. We focus on play, imagination and encouraging his love of books. He’s too little for extra ‘teaching’ at home, he’s got enough of that ahead of him.’

Pete from Household Money Saving: ‘We took are daughter out to quite a few groups. One was a music group near to us that was run by the local library. A lot of the time, they would need to sit quietly in a circle and listen to the lady explain. We thought this was great leading up to nursery, and something she would never have learned at home.’

Jade from Thrifty Yorkshire Mum: ‘Our local nursery used to run ‘stay and play’ sessions, essentially a playgroup where we stayed with him. This got my son used to the environment, and members of staff. I also spent a lot of time explaining what he’d be doing etc. He’s a sensitive little boy but thankfully settled in very quickly.’

 

Thankyou to everyone who took the time to contribute to this post!

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#Blogstravaganza #56

#Blogstravaganza #56

Hello and welcome to #Blogstravaganza!

Happy Friday one and all, I hope you’ve all had a great week! Thankyou to all you lovely linkers, it’s absolutely fabulous to have you join in each week!

#Blogstravaganza news! I’m on the look out for weekly guest co-hosts for #Blogstravaganza, if you fancy joining in drop me a line! 

This week we’re joined by Nicola from Clarke Life! Don’t forget to tag @Clarke_Life in your tweets when you link and comment on her wonderful post! Thankyou for taking the reins this week!

Featured Blogger

My favourite post from last week was You won’t Believe me Now, but You’ll miss Peppa when She’s Gone from Daydreams of a Mum! I’m in the midst of the Peppa years now and I can see myself looking back and thinking the same! Grab your badge here:

It would be great to continue to spread some love over on Instagram, please do remember to use the #Blogstravaganza tag on your images! Here are a couple of my favourites from this week!

 

 

 

Don’t forget the join the #Blogstravaganza – Opportunities, Blog Share & Support group on Facebook.  If you want to share your posts, get some advice from fellow bloggers or simply have a chat, do head over and check it out!

 

*Permissions* By linking up you are agreeing to me sending you an email and/or Tweet reminder each week for #Blogstravaganza.


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Cookhouse & Pub – Three Course Meal Review

Cookhouse & Pub – Three Course Meal Review

Over the last couple of weeks, Hubs and I have been lucky enough to be invited to try out our local Cookhouse & Pub. As parents, it’s inevitable that we don’t get out nearly as much as we used to. A combination of being far too tired and keeping the girls in their routines has meant that meals out have had to drop in our list of priorities. We really miss heading out and catching up with each other though, so we were so excited to have an evening to ourselves and to enjoy some good food!

There are currently four Cookhouse & Pub restaurants in the UK; Oldbury, Holystone, Ripley and Kilmarnock. They offer a full menu including breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also have lighter bites and grazing options to suit every appetite. I can vouch for the fact that have some amazing desserts on offer too!

 

Good food & good company –

Over the space of a few weeks we were kindly invited to try out Cookhouse & Pub on two occasions. On both, Hubs and I were super impressed with the food and the service. All of the staff were polite and attentive, whilst giving us the space to enjoy our meals and to relax on our first evenings off in a long time.

There’s so much to choose from on the menu and both Hubs and I can honestly say that everything we had, tasted so good. The drinks menu looked really inviting too. Neither of us drink alcohol, but if you like a tipple once in a while they had a fabulous list of wines, beers and cocktails among so much more.

We’ll definitely be heading back to Cookhouse & Pub, hopefully sooner rather than later!

 

Check out some of the amazing dishes we enjoyed;

King prawn & garlic grazer.

 

Honey & mustard chipolatas.

 

Steak, cheese & suet pie.

 

Chicken & lime skewers. Lamb & humous kofta.

 

 

Sausage & mash with a giant Yorkshire pudding.

 

Half baked cookie dough with vanilla ice cream.

 

Warm chocolate fudge cake & custard.

 

 

*We were invited to sample the menu at Cookhouse & Pub for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Let’s Talk about Money – Multiple Income Streams

Let’s Talk about Money – Multiple Income Streams

*This is a collaborative post.

 

As a full-time blogger, I firmly believe that making a living from blogging is possible.  It takes a lot of time and effort to build up an audience as well as numerous social media platforms, so it’s never going to happen overnight. It’s also not a job for those among us that aren’t able to burn the midnight oil regularly, or those that aren’t able to immerse themselves into social media. The positives far outweigh the negatives though! The best thing about being a full-time blogger and working from home, is that it opens up many doors that allow me to earn from multiple income streams.

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The idea of multiple income streams –

 

Multiple income streams do what they say on the tin. It’s the concept of making money in numerous different ways, so that you aren’t relying on one wage packet alone. That way if one income stream happens to dry up, you will have others to fall back on. Creating multiple income streams is an excellent way to secure financial freedom, thus reducing the stress that comes with worrying about money.

Multiple income streams are important for bloggers, as work is never guaranteed. As with many self-employed roles, you have to take the rough with the smooth and sometimes that means not getting a wage at all. Having other ways of making money can bridge the gap, to keep you ticking over. If you’re interested in learning more about making money from home, I’ve written all about it HERE! 

I’m always looking into adding to our current income streams, as I believe it’s important to have a broad skill set and to keep my options well and truly open.

Money you didn’t know you had –

 

As well as creating multiple income streams, it’s a good idea to do a little research into cash that you may be entitled to receive, but aren’t yet benefiting from.  First of all, you should look into making a PPI claim. There could be a pot of money with your name on it. This can also be classed as another income stream, as it’s money you can fall back on, should your other means of making money fail. The time to look into your PPI claim is now, as the deadline to do so is only a year and a half away. It can take up to six months to complete a claim too, so it’s best to act now so you don’t miss out.

It’s also a good idea to look into marriage tax allowance, to check if you are eligible to receive it. It’s possible to claim hundreds of pounds back if your situation hasn’t been accounted for accurately in the past. Again if you’re able to claim, this is another pot of cash to fall back on if your circumstances happen to change.

If you have a legitimate claim, both of these options give you the chance to get your hands on money that’s yours, so don’t miss out!  

 

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#Blogstravaganza #55

#Blogstravaganza #55

Hello and welcome to #Blogstravaganza!

Happy Friday one and all, I hope you’ve all had a great week! Thankyou to all you lovely linkers, it’s absolutely fabulous to have you join in each week!

#Blogstravaganza news! I’m on the look out for weekly guest co-hosts for #Blogstravaganza, if you fancy joining in drop me a line! 

This week we’re joined by Jo from Cup of Toast! Don’t forget to tag @cupoftaostblog in your tweets when you link and comment on her wonderful post! Thankyou for taking the reins this week!

Featured Blogger

My favourite post from last week was A Chilled Out View on New Year’s Resolutions from Me, Being Mummy! Grab your badge here:

It would be great to continue to spread some love over on Instagram, please do remember to use the #Blogstravaganza tag on your images! Here are a couple of my favourites from this week!

 

 

Don’t forget the join the #Blogstravaganza – Opportunities, Blog Share & Support group on Facebook.  If you want to share your posts, get some advice from fellow bloggers or simply have a chat, do head over and check it out!

 

*Permissions* By linking up you are agreeing to me sending you an email and/or Tweet reminder each week for #Blogstravaganza.

 


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