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Tag: children

Googly Eyes from University Games – GIVEAWAY!

Googly Eyes from University Games – GIVEAWAY!

We love a good family games here at The Tale of Mummyhoof HQ. That’s why, thanks to University Games, we’re giving away a Googly Eyes game!

Googly Eyes is drawing and guessing game with a twist! You have to put on vision-altering glasses to draw, whilst the other players have to guess what the picture is. It’s not as easy as it looks!

Aimed at ages 7 and up, you’re sure to have lots of family fun with Googly Eyes!

All you have to do to enter is complete the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

 

Win Googly Eyes from University Games

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The Day That A Ran Away – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

The Day That A Ran Away – Children’s Book Review & Giveaway

This week, our girls have been asked to review the children’s book The Day That A Ran away, written by B. C. R. Fegan. It’s not the first time we’ve worked with this author, earlier on this year we reviewed Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32. Our girls loved this book as did I, so we were excited to add another tale from B. C. R. Fegan to our library!

 

 

Similar to Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32, this book is based on rhyme. I love books like this and our girls really enjoy rhyming stories! I think its great how this book makes learning the alphabet fun too. Education is paramount in our house and anything that makes doing so enjoyable, is a complete winner!

 

 

The illustrations throughout the book are fun and colourful too. They’re eye-catching and really get out girls’ imaginations going. Each of the letters has an adventure of their own, which makes kids giggle each time we read it!

Overall, we are super impressed with this second book from B. C. R. Fegan. It’s enjoyable to read, very well written and offers a super fun way for our girls to learn. If you want to add more books to your library, I couldn’t recommend this tale enough!

 

There’s one copy of The Day That A Ran Away up for grabs for my readers! For your chance to win, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please don’t forget to check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

 

Win a Copy of The Day That A Ran Away Children’s Book

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Tiny Treasures Realistic Baby Dolls – Review & Giveaway

Tiny Treasures Realistic Baby Dolls – Review & Giveaway

This post was written in collaboration with Kid Kreations and Tiny Treasures.

 

This week our girls have been lucky enough to have had the chance to review the Tiny Treasures realistic baby doll, as well as a selection of accessories from the Tiny Treasures range. Our girls have loved looking after dolls for a while now, so when they found out how much Tiny Treasures are like real babies, they were so excited to take care of them! These dolls are so realistic, that they weigh and smell the same as a real baby. They have super soft hair and closing eyes for added effect too.

 

 

They were sent a package which included a Tiny Treasures doll, a unicorn rocker for the doll and a mermaid sleeping bag with a super cute, matching headband. Both girls were absolutely amazed with the selection they got and I thought the unicorn rocker was a fabulous addition to the Tiny Treasures set.

 

 

The box that our Tiny Treasures doll arrived in, also doubles up as a rocking seat for her. It even has a three-point strap to hold her in, just like the seat we used to use for our girls. I think it’s really great that this company have made use of all aspects of the set. Making the box a seat not only makes it more fun for the girls, it also reduces waste which is incredibly important.

 

 

The Verdict –

The Tiny Treasures collection has been a huge hit in our house. They’ve been so looked after by our girls and have even been out on car journeys with us! From an adult point of view, I’m very impressed with the quality of the doll and all of the accessories. They are well made and can stand the heavy use that is inevitable when you have two toddlers. I’m also a fan of the range of accessories available. They’re novel and fun for the girls which means hours more play time.

 

 

The other good thing about this product, is that it massively encourages our girls to learn through play. If you read my post on reaching EYFS goals, you’ll know how important this is for us as a family. These dolls have succeeded in bringing out the caring and nurturing side in both of our children. They are an excellent way for them to learn how to be around other people, in everyday life. The features of the doll, including the closing eyes are great to get the girls’ imaginations working too. Their doll goes to bed when they do and it’s helpful for her to appear asleep!

 

 

Our girls don’t have a bad word to say about their new doll set. They’ve already had hours of fun and I know they’ll have so much more, especially as the littlest gets older. The only thing that has posed a small issue is the weight of the doll, as our youngest finds it a little to heavy to carry. Having said that, our oldest at three years of age has no trouble at all, so I’m sure the baby of the family won’t find this a problem for long. Overall, we have been very impressed with out Tiny Treasures set. The girls love it and so do I!

The creators of Tiny Treasures are giving my readers the chance to win their very own set which includes the doll, the unicorn rocker and mermaid sleeping bag. For your chance to win, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

Win a Tiny Treasures Realistic Doll Set

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A Day Out with Kiddylicious – LEGOLAND Windsor

A Day Out with Kiddylicious – LEGOLAND Windsor

*We were provided with two Kiddylicious snack boxes and entry to LEGOLAND Windsor Resort for the purpose of this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

 

Ever since our girls were born, Kiddylicious meals and snacks have been a staple in our house. They make tasty, healthy and nutritious snacks that both of our kids still absolutely love. So when we were invited to LEGOLAND Windsor Resort for a day out with Kiddylicious, I knew they’d have an absolute blast with lots of yummy foods to keep fuelled up along the way!

 

 

I’ve heard such good reports about LEGOLAND, but until this trip we’d never had the chance to visit. Our girls have been into LEGO for some time now, so they knew straight away what the park is centred around. One of the attractions we were most looking forward to, was the digital LEGO Reef that’s been added new to the park for the 2018 season. It’s a floor to ceiling interactive reef, that allows the kids to create their own personalised virtual fish, which they can they see projected onto the big screen! Not only that, there are ‘feed me‘ buttons dotted around so they can feed their pet fish too! We were also looking forward to visiting Miniland, as there are new landmarks to see including; the USA, India, Russia, Australia and China.

 

 

Getting to LEGOLAND Windsor –

As we are Midlands based, LEGOLAND is a couple of hours drive away from us. Our girls usually travel quite well and thanks to Kiddylicious, they had a bowl of Little Bistro Oaty Porridge before we set of to keep them going on the journey. The porridge went down a storm! It’s full of flavour and really filling, as well as being suitable for children with or without a dairy allergy. Once they’d eaten up, they were mega excited to jump in the car and get going!

 

 

En route to LEGOLAND, I decided to download the official park app as I’d heard such great things about it. I like to plan our days out so that we can make the most of them and the LEGOLAND app is ideal to help you find your way around the park. It has a resort map as well as ride information and live queue times, so you know what rides are suitable for the kids to go on. The queue times were really accurate and super helpful when we planned where we were going next. We found it useful to join the longer lines when the kids were getting ready for a snack. That way they didn’t realise they were waiting, as they were so occupied with what Kiddylicious had sent them to munch on. Their favourite queue snacks were by far the Coconut Rolls, they’re dairy, gluten and nut free. They’re portion controlled and an easy ‘grab’ snack!

 

 

Picnic time –

LEGOLAND has many designated picnic areas where you can take time to rest and enjoy your lunch. As we went on one of the hottest days of the year, we found a nice shady spot and the girls delved into their Kiddylicious lunch boxes! They really enjoyed the Cheesy Stars and hubs and I were impressed when we read that 6 pence from every pack sold is donated to Make-A-Wish-UK. A charity that supports children and young people living with life threatening conditions. They were taken with the Biscotti too, in fact we’ve had to stock up on these since we arrived home!

 

 

After we’d enjoyed out picnic, the girls decided they wanted to go on the Fairy Tale Brook ride. They were completely in awe as the boats took us om a journey around all of their favourite fairy tale scenes. Fairy Tale Brook was a huge hit and I would highly recommend it if you have smaller children in tow!

 

 

Home time –

After a very tiring but very enjoyable day, it was time to head back to the car and drive home. As you can imagine, both girls were asleep withing 5 minutes of leaving the park, all of that fun had completed worn them out! Hubs and I were super tired too, so we were glad that Kiddylicious had sent some of their Little Bistro meals for the kids to have for their dinner. They really enjoyed them and it meant we didn’t have to start cooking when we got back. The Little Bistro meals are handy to have in the house for days like this. They’re microwave friendly, they have no added salt or sugar and they’re a great source of protein. They make super quick, guilt free meals!

 

 

We had such a great day out at LEGOLAND Windsor, thanks to Kiddylicous. There really is something for everyone to enjoy and it’s definitely somewhere we’ll be going back to in the future. We’ll remember to take out Kiddylicious snacks along too, they made the whole day so much easier with two toddlers in tow!

 

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Smoking in Public Places and Why it Makes me so Mad

Smoking in Public Places and Why it Makes me so Mad

As you can probably tell by the title of this post, I’m a non-smoker, as are all of my immediate family. I do think smoking is a dirty habit and I do get annoyed when people think it’s OK to smoke around myself and my children. I do understand that smoking is an addiction. I’m aware that once you’ve started, it must be terribly hard to stop. However, I also think that just because you have an issue that you can label as an ‘addiction’, it doesn’t automatically give you the right to make other people suffer along with you. Especially when they don’t consent.

My inspiration for this post came from a recent visit to a children’s play area with both of my girls. On one the hottest days of the year, we donned our hats and sun cream and headed to the park. The perfect Sunday morning jaunt. After we’d been there a little while, we were joined by a toddler and her grandmother. The issue was though, that the grandmother thought it was entirely acceptable to smoke on the playground. She showed absolutely no concern for the health of anyone else’s children, never mind that of her own granddaughter.

Smoking and health –

This blatant act, of what I believe to be anti-social behaviour, made me so angry. If she really couldn’t wait until she was in the privacy of her own home to smoke, the least she could have done was taken herself away from the children’s play area. I will never think it’s acceptable to smoke around other people and their children, public area or not.

It’s a well know fact that smoking is a contributing factor to many serious health concerns. According to the NHS, smoking is responsible for a whopping 90% of lung cancers, as well cancers of the mouth and oesophagus. Smoking can also cause significant damage to the heart and blood circulation, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Not to mention an array of respiratory diseases.

What about our children though? What are the effects of passive smoking? Well, children that are exposed to cigarette smoke are at far greater risk of developing health problems than those that don’t. Illnesses such as meningitis, persistent coughs and an increased risk of cot death are all associated with second-hand cigarette smoke. Asthma can also become worse if sufferers are exposed to smoke.

No excuses –

The thing is, in this day and age we have been so well-educated on the risks of smoking. Steps have been taken to protect the public to a certain extent, there really are no excuses for smoking. There are NO benefits to such a destructive habit. I’m absolutely sure that some people will disagree with my opinion, I’m sure there are people who believe that they can do as they please. To me this just shows ignorance, a lack of education and a lack of empathy.

 

How do you feel about smoking in public areas? 

 

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Nutrigen Vitamixin Sprinkles Review

Nutrigen Vitamixin Sprinkles Review

*This post was written in collaboration with Nutrigen. 

 

As a parent, I find it so hard to get my girls to take vitamins. The ones we’ve tried in the past have always been syrup based, or have been in sweet form. I struggle with this as they are often laden with sugars, colourants and artificial sweeteners. My girls struggle with them as the sweets option are usually really hard to chew and they just can’t stomach the syrups. They make them instantly sick, which is no fun for anyone.

I’m pretty sure other parents will have experienced the same thing and for that reason, I’m so excited to share my experience with Nutrigen Vitamixin Sprinkles with you! As with all products that I am approached to review, I spent some time doing my research on these children’s vitamins. The quality that stood out most to me, was that they don’t alter the taste, smell or colour of the food you serve them with. I really wanted this to be true, after all a product like that could be the saviour of all parents!

 

 

The daily dose of vitamins and minerals –

According to the NHS, there are certain amounts of vitamins that should be given to children on a daily basis. This especially applies if your children don’t eat a wide range of foods and let’s face it, toddlers and food don’t always go hand in hand!

 

What do I love about Nutrigen Vitamixin Sprinkles?

The short answer is everything! First of all, one sachet contains the daily dosage as recommended by the World Health Organisation for children aged 6 – 48 months. So one sprinkle per day over one of your child’s meals, will mean you’re helping to give them the best start in life that you possibly can. One sachet also contains a lot of the daily recommended intake for children up to 12 years old.

The thing I love most about this product is that it doesn’t promise you results, without being able to deliver. As I touched on earlier, my girls can’t stomach the syrup based vitamins and the sweets are just too difficult for them to chew. I sprinkle one sachet over my girls’ yogurt at breakfast time and they genuinely don’t know that it’s there. We don’t have any tantrums when it’s time to take their vitamins, that’s something that makes our mornings run much smoother than before.

Nurtigen Vitamixin Sprinkles don’t contain sugars, artificial sweeteners or colourants. They don’t alter the way our kids food looks or tastes and they are so convenient for a busy household. I’m so impressed with this product from Nutrigen and it’s genuinely something that we will continue to use.

 

 

The Nutrigen Vitamixin Sprinkles Taste Test –

We decided to put the Nurtigen Vitamixin Sprinkles to the test. I gave my two harshest critics their breakfast with Vitamixin sprinkled on top, the results are just what we’d hoped for!

 

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Three Ways to Make a Small Garden Work for the Whole Family

Three Ways to Make a Small Garden Work for the Whole Family

*This is a collaborative post.

 

Spring is my favourite season of the year. I love the light nights, the pretty flowers and the warmth! Spring always hold so much hope and it always feels so good to have a long summer ahead of us. Each year I spend the early spring sprucing up our garden, making sure that it’s clean and tidy and ready for spending our days outdoors. As we have quite a small garden, organising our space doesn’t take up too much time. What we do have to think about though, is how we can make the small space that we do have, work for each of us individually and as a family together.

Now that our girls are both on their feet, we just can’t get away without having outdoor toys for them to play with. From trampolines to slides, you name it we have it! Long gone are the baby days when a blanket and a few toys would suffice. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the girls having toys out there, I want them to enjoy our garden too. Having said that, it’s nice to make sure we have an adult space outdoors. So that we can sit out in the evening and relax, or work which is much more likely! We also have two rabbits who love to spend time outdoors when the weather is fine, so we really do have a lot to squeeze in to a small space.

 

Here are three ways we make our small garden work for the whole family;

 

Have designated areas for each member of the family –

Even though our garden is small, we have designated areas for each of us. Granted the kids have most of the space and we do have a lot of brightly coloured plastic around the garden, but we make sure that each item has its own space. We have an area with patio furniture, which we use to relax in. You can find some great patio furniture deals from Groupon, there are pieces to suit every taste and garden size. This area also has a small BBQ in it too, so that Hubs and I can enjoy our evening meals outside on summer nights!

I love to see pretty flowers and I think it’s good to get the kids involved in a little gardening. So, we have a very small but neat garden area that we grow a few seasonal flowers in. This area benefits the whole family and when the flowers are in bloom, it draws your attention to them instead of the kids toys. Our bunnies have their own little space too, so when we’re all outside together everyone is happy!

 

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Be selective with what you keep in your garden, don’t over power your space with too much stuff –

I’ve already mentioned that we have a lot of kids toys in our garden and to be honest, we are on the brink of over powering it. These days, we have to stop and think about the things that we buy, so that we don’t add too many bits and bobs to an already small and crowded area. We make sure that the toys that we buy can be stored in the garden shed and when we recently bought a new table, we went for the smaller option to make sure it fit nicely in the space we have. It’s important to step back and look at what you have. If it feels like things are getting on top of you, then it’s probably time to have a clear out and get some garden back!

 

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Keep your outdoor space tidy –

This is by far the easiest way to make sure that your garden works for everyone that uses it. They say that an untidy house makes for an untidy mind and I’m sure this works when you head outdoors too! I always make sure that things are put back in their place at the end of the day, that way each area doesn’t encroach on another.

 

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Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

I’m often the person handing out tips on how to squeeze some sort of work into every waking minute. I’ve never been shy about telling others how it’s possible to work and look after kids at the same time. A lot of my posts have been written to help mothers in my situation, to make scheduling their days easier and to allow for maximum productivity. This post is going to be a little different though. It’s not going to encourage you to fill every second, of everyday with work. It’s also not going to encourage no work at all. The aim of this post is to highlight that the key to success is to know your limits.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think working hard is unnecessary. Some days it’s essential that we cram the hours in, in order to progress. It’s that slowly but surely, I’m beginning to realise that burning the candle at both ends will only lead to a decline in achievement. My husband is always telling me that I’m working full-time hours on my blog, as well as looking after our children full-time. Both of these positions are what I chose and are still what I want to do. There comes a time though when something has to give. As my children are always my first priority, it would seem that I need to manage my workload to fit around me. I need to be mindful of how much I’m fitting family life around my work.

Recognising I need to adjust the balance –

As with most things, recognising that things aren’t as they should be is the first step to making a positive change. It doesn’t always mean that we act on it immediately, but it plants the seed. I’ve known for a while that I don’t quite have the balance right. The trouble with me is I get a little addicted to progression and for that reason I find it hard to slow down. If I achieve something good, it just spurs me on further and in consequence down time becomes less and less.

Less down time means less time with the littles and less time with Hubs. Not that either of them mind particularly. The only person it really bothers is me, because I didn’t quit work in the first place, for nothing. I did it because I wanted to be there all of the time. The job that I do now means that I am always at home with them, but it’s amazing how much you miss when you’re sat behind a screen.

Getting it right –

I don’t suppose there’s an easy way to get the balance right. Whether I’m being wife, mother or trying to progress in my work life. One has to give, to make way for the other. The trouble is, all of these roles are so important to me, I want to be able to give each one my full attention at all times. I want the perfectly clean house, the thriving business, to be super mum and the doting wife. It’s time to accept that I can’t do everything. I need to get to know my limits and more importantly, to live by them.

When the girls go to school, I’m sure things will get easier. I’ll have the hours in the day to get on top of everything I have to do. Then once they come home, they’ll have my attention until bedtime. Until that time comes though, I need to make sure that my work is confined to their bedtime hours as much as possible. I’m only too aware that they won’t be this young forever and if I’m not careful, I’ll only remember their younger years as the snaps I caught through a lens.

 

 

 

 

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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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Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Thus far in my blogging career, I’ve been able to complete a sizeable chunk of the hefty workload whilst my children slumbered. I would put them down for their afternoon nap and sit down to a couple of hours work in the afternoon. Then when they went to bed in the evening, I’d grab a few more hours for good measure. It was a good balance and one that will be sorely missed.

The last few months have seen my eldest daughter drop her naps altogether. My youngest does still nap, but not for long during daytime hours. This has thrown a huge spanner in the works where my business is concerned, as I’ve lost a whopping 14 hours of dedicated blogging time each week. At first I found myself in a spin of overwhelm and disorganisation. With even less time in the day to get on top of things, I felt like I was drowning in my work load.

Something had to change. Firstly I had to accept that nap time is no more. I’ve had a good run of 2.5 years of mid-afternoon bliss, but it was time to re-asses our daily routine to keep each of us as happy as can be. After much trial and error, we now have a good little routine going!

 

So, here’s how to meet deadlines when your children refuse to nap:

 

Split your days into activity blocks –

The key to keeping everyone in your house happy, is to allocate of time to meet everyone’s needs. In our house, the littlest still needs a short nap around lunchtime, so our day is divided into three blocks; ‘morning’, ‘downtime’ and ‘the rest of the day’. Our morning and the rest of the day is dedicated to our girls, we take them out, educate them and do everything else that comes with being a parent. Downtime however, is time for me to settle the girls down for an hour in order to get through some of my workload. I often enlist the help of Peppa Pig here, but it’s a good rest for the girls and time for them to recharge for the rest of the day.

Create a dedicated work space –

Having an area that’s just for you is a great way to make sure you meet your deadlines. My husband recently built me a desk area and it means that I can leave unfinished work to come back to later. I’m able to jump back into my chair and continue my project without having to wast time reorganising myself. It also means there are no little people using my documents as scrap paper!

Work into the night, but know when to stop –

I’ve accepted that If I’m to continue working at the level I’ve gotten used to, then burning the midnight oil is a given. As it’s the only real quiet time I have, I leave all of the more complicated projects until after the children have settled for the night. Working too late, too often can quickly lead to burn out though. So it’s important to recognise your limits and to hit the hay early once in a while. Burning the candle at both ends won’t be a benefit to anyone.

Use downtime to catch up on easy tasks –

If the kids are up and you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, tackling tasks that are simple will make you feel like you’ve been productive. It’s still work that has to be done and once you have time to yourself you can concentrate on the more complex projects.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help –

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and getting things done becomes impossible. That’s when you need to admit defeat and ask for a little help. Whether that’s getting someone to watch the kids whilst you spend some time catching up, or outsourcing work that you just isn’t at the top of your priority list. Don’t try to be superhuman!

 

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