Meal Times

Who loves meal times? Not me, well I do, and I don’t. They are a lot easier now my boys are 5 and 7 though, the years before that mixed in with sensory issues, well, they were interesting lets just say. I have two children who are extreme opposites in the majority of things. I have one who is obsessively clean and likes things in order and I have another one who thrives in chaos and mess. Both have been a fun journey, and when I say fun I mean stressful. The last 7 years have been an interesting meal-time journey as I’m sure everybody else’s with kids has been too. My floor and walls have suffered immensely, as well as my sanity. I don’t think I actually miss the days of old though in regards to meal times, is that terrible of me? Well, I don’t. I don’t miss the mess, the pleading, the throwing, the tears, or the stressful cooking whilst looking after a baby and a toddler, nope I don’t miss any of that!

In our house one thing we like to do is eat our meals as a family at the table, which is much easier now to do consistently because the children eat the same times as us these days. It’s lovely all sitting together (most of the time, ok half of the time, maybe) and sharing a meal together. It’s even better when they eat it without moaning about it smelling gross or that this week they don’t like chicken any more etc etc.

I do love family meal times though, they’re quite special really aren’t they, despite how stressful they are in the build up to it. I must admit though I tend to use my slow cooker for most of our meals, throwing ingredients in and hoping for the best usually. It’s made meal preparation so much easier for us, and I wouldn’t be without it, I literally cook everything in it; spag bol, pasta bake, beef, whole chickens, stews, Mexican food, and even chocolate cake!

We also love making meal times special, and my boys love nothing more than a spontaneous tea party, or themed dinner with table decorations, but their most favourite meal is when we invite people over for tea, they get all excited and love helping with the prep. I love hosting people, and my boys do to. We love a good party here. I hope they grow up feeling the same too, and enjoy making meal times special, and being kind to others by inviting them to share a meal too.

Unfortunately though there are so many people in the world today who don’t get to eat a meal regularly, let alone share a meal with somebody, or some people eat all of the meals alone, and not out of choice.That makes me feel so sad. We really shouldn’t take forgranted that we have a house to enjoy a meal in, whether it’s at a table, on a sofa, on a floor, on the garden, or in a bedroom. And I know a lot of people, myself included, don’t have the budget to stretch to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves with hundreds of pounds etc, so here’s an idea in the video below for a way that we can help, and every little really does help.

Why not host a get together at your house, share a meal with a few friends and all chip in what you can to donate to Christian Aid? You can sign up here if you are interested.

If you choose not to sign up that’s ok, we are all free to do as we please, but please don’t take your meal times forgranted, one day those children will be too cool to be home for dinner with you, and you’ll miss them. You’ll miss the squabbles, the sly elbow nudging, the kicking under table, and the attitude problems.

Go share a meal with someone this week.

Happy meal times folks!

Dear (Additional Needs) Parent

I know as a parent we all cry at one time or another over our child, each of us for very different reasons, but all of us because we love them so very much. Sometimes we cry happy tears, then sometimes tears of frustration stain our faces, and other times it’s because our heart breaks for them.

Every family suffers it’s own hardships and circumstances, some are temporary, some are long lasting, some of them are the cards life dealt you, and others are devastatingly permanent, but one thing remains to get us all through these hard times; love. Above anything else, just love.

Love can change your perspective on almost anything, and does the world of good for your soul, and sometimes it’s the only thing you have to offer.

One of my boys suffers with severe anxiety as well as Sensory Processing Disorder and is currently under assessment to see where he is on the autistic spectrum, and it often breaks my heart watching him struggle knowing that I cannot change things for him. All I can do is support him, guide him, and show him unconditional love. I cannot change the way his brain functions, but I’ve had a huge role to play in the way his heart functions. I fill it with love, encouragement, praise, solutions, confidence, and I try my hardest to ensure he has a healthy self-esteem.

Some days I can conquer the world with him, and we navigate our way through the problems, and the thoughts, and the behaviours, but other days I cry for him after hours of meltdowns and aggression. I peek at him whilst he is drifting off to sleep and I hear him sob. I ask him what’s wrong. Sometimes he doesn’t even know. Other times he has dreams that were so nice he didn’t want to wake from them, or dreams that were so scary he thinks they are real. Sometimes he dreams of another boy just like him who understands him and hugs him tight. This is the one that gets me in the gut and upsets me to the core, he must feel lonely, in his own world, and like he isn’t understood. I hate this feeling he has so much but all I can do is reassure him, validate his feelings and reaffirm his worth.

Some days I watch him play Lego, his familiar territory. He sets up scenes and recreates movie scenes. His eye for detail and accuracy astounds me, but sometimes it scares me. His little brain is so full and he is so hard on himself if any detail is wrong. I wish he would be easier on himself, but all I can do is love him, reassure him that it’s ok to think how he does, and try and extend his play to help him be more spontaneous. It’s hard teaching him that perfection is not always possible, his brain craves perfection at all costs.

School holidays are another time that often renders my heart broken, the dreaded night before the new term begins especially. The anxiety grips his tummy and he lashes out at everything and everyone. He goes into full flight or fight mode and nothing can soothe him, we have to ride the wave and hope it ends sooner rather than later. All we can do is reassure him, cuddle him, talk things through. It hurts my heart that I cannot help further.

There are so any routines and habits that have to happen in order for his world to feel at peace, some of them are cute little quirks that we all have, but some are a matter of urgency and must be done, and done correctly. I wish I could switch his little mind off and give him a rest. He must be so tired sometimes of the constant battles and urges.

As a parent it is heartbreaking not being able to help your child, and sometimes it gets too much. But that’s ok, we are not robots and we have feelings, strong feelings.

But, we have to be warriors for our children, and not worriers! Worrying drains the life from you, and your child needs that life, they need your hope and your reassurance. They need to share your courage when they cannot understand their own world.

I worry so often that I’m failing my boys, but when push comes to shove I’d give my last breath if it meant they’d get one more. I’d fight to my death for them. And that is what counts.

Sometimes I don’t have a solution or an answer, but I always have a cuddle, I always have a kind word, and I always have love. Love has seen us through many tough times, and I know it will continue to because it’s the only thing that never grows tired. My hope dwindles, my soul gets weary, my heart gets broken, but my love remains strong, and always will.

Additional needs parents you do an amazing job, and it’s a big learning curve too, keep going, keep loving, keep being their warrior! Never worry about being ‘normal’. Normal doesn’t exist! What’s normal for the spider is chaos for the fly!

Memory Making & Blah Blah Blah

Memory making. A major phrase used on social media, and in hashtags. Have you seen it? Of course you have!

If you’ve followed my site for any length of time you know I am all about the memory making, most likely OTT some of the time, but I am desperate to ensure my boys have a childhood full of happy memories, not full of money, full of memories; picnics, crazy desserts, snuggles, books read by flashlight, spontaneous parties, forts and mud pies.

But do you know what? Some days I don’t want to make memories! Am I alone in this?

The park? Ew, no, it’s cold, we have to pack four hundred snacks to avoid hanger, it’s muddy and I cba cleaning wellies after.

The cinema? Ugh, no, it costs the same amount as my weekly grocery shopping and everybody needs a billion pees!

A theme park? My worst nightmare, convincing my kids to get into a queue, and wait to go on a ride that they keep convincing themselves not to go on, the hook a ducks there that cost half my mortgage, and the high probability they will fall asleep on the journey home and not go to sleep ever that night.

The beach? Suncream, towels, changes of clothes, moaning, fighting, wasps, etc etc, hmm, no, not today.

A family board game? Oh Lord, no. The tears over losing, the arguing, the cheating. Shall I go on?

A picnic? Momma doesn’t feel like slaving away over a picnic ensuring everybody’s tastes are catered for, and the wasps that always plague us? Nope, can’t be dealing with those today either! And the dogs that always manage to run through our picnic and terrify the kids, nope can’t be dealing with you today either. The damp butt from the soaked-through picnic blanket, the four year old eating ALL of the cakes and traumatising his brother. A picnic? No, thanks.

All f the above we do, regularly, but sometimes, just sometimes I just don’t want to, and why? Because I simply cannot be bothered with all it involves! Am I a bad mum? Ha ha, please tell me sometimes you just cba to make life magical!

Here’s to the low maintenance activities we can throw our kids way that still score us brownie points; duvet nights with a movie and popcorn, chalks on the garden floor, water-painting the garden, drawing competitions etc etc blah blah blah.

Some days CBA is more than ok to be your motto, none of us are Mary Poppins, none of us! But it’s ok, you’re doing great just as you are, even with all of the cba’s! Sometimes those cba’s are memory making at it’s finest!

A Sound Sleep

Do you want to hear a joke? Yeah? Ok. Sleep. You don’t get it? No, me either!

I love my sleep, a sound sleep, but unfortunately since becoming a parent sleep does not love me. We are almost seven years into being parents and the exhaustion continues. Nobody could have prepared me for the little amount of sleep we have to survive on. Don’t get me wrong, it has got easier, some days, and then others I’m living on the edge of exhaustion because it took four hundred hours to get through a bedtime story, or I was up all night with a flustered six year old or some flipping virus of some sort has attacked us, again.

I’m such a light sleeper, but parenting has made it even lighter, and sometimes non-existent! Although, I do snore and never seem to hear that. I think I possibly hold some kind of record maybe for the decibels I reach? Maybe I’ll ask my husband his opinion, or maybe not!

I could possibly sleep on a washing line though, I’m a light sleeper but I can also fall asleep anywhere and at anytime depending how exhausted I am. Other times I can lie awake for hours whilst sleep evades me. Hmm, maybe my sleep is quite irregular reading this.

What time do you go to sleep? I am such an early bird since having children. I used to be able to go on until about 3am, now it’s more like 9pm is a very late night for me, it’s terrible, ha ha. My husband is more of a night owl than me, but needs complete darkness to get a good sleep, and silence. Our kids, however, like a light on in the distance and classical music, this has always been the way for them.

This infographic below has some really interesting facts about sleep from Mattress Next Day. I think I’d give the grandma and her snoring a run for her money though!

How do you like to sleep? With music? With the light on? I think it’s fascinating how we are all so different and need different things to function.

Sweet dreaming folks!

Kazoops On Cbeebies

We are huge fans of Cbeebies here, and have been for a very long time, even at aged 4 and 6 my boys still love the shows on there. I think the catchy music always helps! My boys love the show Kazoops, and I’m guessing yours do to if they’ve seen it? Today the first episode in a new series airs, and we’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak preview before it airs later today.

If you’ve not heard of Kazoops before here’s a little background info; Monty Kazoops is a little kid with a huge imagination and has a sidekick (pet pig) called Jimmy Jones. They use their imagination to try and solve problems, which in itself is one of the reasons I love this programme so much. Cultivating imagination is a massive plus side with any show in my opinion.

I think it is great to see a show that is so relatable and isn’t all about magic, but has some element of real life applicable skills in there. This episode in particular is about solving a problem with daydreaming, and I thought it was great, and very encouraging for young minds. I won’t spoil it for you though, so make sure you go watch it today at 16.20 or on BBC iPlayer if you’re unable to. We have set ours to record each episode just incase we aren’t in to watch it, to avoid tears!

Happy Kazoops watching!

 

This is Motherhood

Recently I saw a post on a social media site about motherhood and its reality, and it really struck a nerve with me. When you think of motherhood you picture children running merrily over hills flying kites whilst proud parents look on and smile, you think of wonderful picnics next to a lake with homemade cakes, you think of going on adventures,  peaceful visits to the toy store for a treat with happy and grateful children, you picture immaculate houses with children sitting and playing nicely, you think of craft activities and homemade collages, you think of family trips to the beach and building sand castles together, you picture homebaking with children who are eager to learn, you picture visits to the swings on hot summer days, you picture everything with rose-tinted-perfection glasses. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things can happen, but they’re missing a few details.

Motherhood is amazing. Motherhood is by far my most favourite journey i’ve ever embarked upon. Motherhood is the biggest privilege I have ever been given. But motherhood is hard, very hard. motherhood is picturesque. Motherhood is perfectly imperfect.

We are so hard on ourselves as mothers, we have so many unrealistic expectations of ourselves and failure of these is inevitable, but we don’t give ourselves a break. We think we are doing everything wrong, and worry that we are not creating enough good memories for our children, but if you’re loving them and are there for them then that is enough, more than enough.

Motherhood is not just the good times, not just the holidays, the treats, the games, the visits to the park, the fairground rides, the beach trips, motherhood is so much more than all of this.

Putting the fourth load of laundry that day into the washer and getting it out to dry, this is motherhood.

Wiping the spilt milk your 4yo spilt despite you reminding him to be careful three billion times, this is motherhood.

Sweeping up the stamped upon cereal for the third time that morning, this is motherhood.

Lying awake crying, worrying if you are really up to the job of being a mother, this is motherhood.

Filling out paperwork for nursery, and pre-school, and junior school, and senior school, this is motherhood.

Crying on the bathroom floor because you’ve not slept in what seems like forty years because your baby just will not sleep, this is motherhood.

Searching the house for a pacifier or a manky blanky for thirty minutes whilst your baby screams, this is motherhood.

Using baby wipes to clean everything in your house, this is motherhood.

Wearing the same pair of leggings and top most days of the week because you now spend all of your money on your children, this is motherhood.

Deciding to home-school because this is best for your children, this is motherhood.

Listening to your child talk about their favourite thing for what seems like 36 hours straight because that’s how long their stories take, yet you listen intently because you know listening now will mean they’ll know they can always talk to you, even when they have flown the nest, this is motherhood.

Lying on the floor all night next to your child’s bed when they have a fever, this motherhood.

Peeling soaking covers from your child’s bed when they have an accident, and reassuring them it’s ok, this is motherhood.

Kissing grazed knees and healing them with your kisses, this is motherhood.

Giving the last piece of dessert to your children when you so desperately needed that chocolate fix yourself when they’d already eaten their piece the day before, this is motherhood.

Placing a towel on top of a soggy sheet that your baby wet just so you can get some desperately needed sleep, this is motherhood.

Sniffing the brown, suspicious stain on the sofa, and licking it when smell alone fails, despite the possibility of it being poop, this is motherhood.

Using your scarf as a napkin when you forget to bring the baby wipes out again, this is motherhood.

Karate chopping the back of the knees of a flailing child so that you can get them into their car seat to get them home, this is motherhood.

Grocery shopping and children, need I say more? This is motherhood.

Looking your child in the eye and apologising when you yell, this is motherhood.

Kissing your child goodnight, and again, and again and again because they need ‘just one more’, this is motherhood.

Staying awake all night to take their temperature because they have a high fever, this is motherhood.

Working every hour God sends to provide a roof over your children’s heads and clothes on their back, this is motherhood.

Reminding them to wear their hat at school when the sun is out, this is motherhood.

Teaching them about safety, and strangers, and roads, this is motherhood.

Reading them stories at bedtime, at any time, this is motherhood.

Telling them you love them, hugging them, nuzzling them, sniffing them, this is motherhood.

Spending hours persuading them to take their medicine when they’re ill, despite wanting to give up trying, this is motherhood.

Cleaning mud off wellies, and washing waterproofs, this is motherhood.

Letting them play in sand, in water, in mud, on grass, outside, letting them explore, this is motherhood.

Holding their hand at the hospital and igniting their courage, this is motherhood.

The seen, the unseen, the heard, and the unheard, it’s all motherhood, whether daytime or early hours of the morning, everything you do for those children of yours is worth it, and they will remember. Their hearts will know. They will remember the mother who kissed the scraped knees, who made the world brighter with a snuggle, who said yes as often as was possible, who held them when they were scared, who never left their side when  germs took over, who listened to their stories and the things that were important to them, and the mother who loved them regardless of spillages and bad decisions.

Everything you do is important. It is not all about the fun Instagram-perfect memories, it’s everything you do behind the scenes that matters. Motherhood is the fun, but is also the mundane. Motherhood is the highs, but also the lows.  Motherhood is the picnics, and also the all-nighters.  All the things, big, small, happy, sad, challenging, they all weave into this beautiful journey of motherhood, all of them.

Motherhood is a little bit of everything,  so give yourself a break, you’re doing just fine in this gig called motherhood!

Becci Signature

 

Everyday Style (One For the Men For Once!)

I don’t really tend to write a lot about fashion despite being a huge fan of it, maybe because I have my own everyday style and don’t tend to follow whims. I mean, I love Barbie, and unicorns, and diamonds, and cardigans, and boots, and flip flops, and scrunchy socks, and long line tees, and scarves. Scarves are my one true love, I wear them 99% of the time rain or shine, I have so many; thick ones, woollen ones, long ones, snoods, bright colours, dull ones, cotton ones, silk ones, you name it and I have no doubt got it in my scarf box. I think they’re my signature, and also my comforter, I feel secure when I have a scarf! I love jewellery too, my jewellery drawer is the width of my huge wardrobe, and is full. I love statement earrings and rings, and unique, statement necklaces, I just love jewellery. I think I’m a tad obsessed with accessories if I’m totally honest and I’m sure my husband would agree!

My husband on the other hand, is not really into accessories despite me trying to change him! Ha ha, he’ll be shaking his head right about now when he is reading this! He is a jeans, hoodie, tee, smart-casual kinda guy, and I love him for that. I also love him for letting me, often choose his clothes, usually with 100% success rate, except for the one time I purchased him a silver-glittery shirt called ‘Party Boy’ on the label, and he downright refused to even try it on, I am still adamant it would have looked good though!

There are so many books, and sites, and articles and apps for womens fashion but the mens market is somewhat quieter I think. I’m not sure why? Maybe women are programmed to be more bothered about fashion? Or more vocal? Or maybe it makes better readership? Maybe the male market is smaller? I’m not sure, but whatever the reason I think mens fashion needs to be shouted a little louder, in fact a lot louder, so here is my voice shouting about mens fashion, well, kind of!

Even if you’re not a big fashion follower, there are always a few staple items that will see you looking effortlessly on trend, I love timeless items. I think jeans are one of these timeless items, often the cut will be a particular style that given season, but I think a pair of dark denim trousers will always be a good staple item to invest in for a man. Chums is a great site for mens trouser wear, and this denim pair in particular are a great staple buy from £30.

Chums Jeans Jeans 2 Jeans 3 Jeans 4

I love chinos too, I’m not sure why, but I do, especially for those warmer days. Chinos and a nice fitted tee with some on trend plimsolls do wonders for my soul! Love these shoes from Chum and a great price too at £25:

shoe

I think a few staple tee’s should be in a mans wardrobe too, plain colours, and nice fitting. These tees from H&M are a good buy, and look fab layered up too, they have so many colours to choose from and they start at £3.99, which is a great price!

t shirt h and m

I am a huge fan of belts too, particularly brown ones, I think brown really breaks up an outfit and adds a real personal touch. This belt from River Island is a fabulous buy that can be paired with any outfit.

belt RI

I think gilets are a great investment for men too, and luckily my husband loves them! This is a particular favourite of mine, I love grey and yellow at the moment, and think the colour combo is fabulous.

Gillet

Style does not have to be in-keeping with the latest fads and whims, I think style is personal to yourself, and a few staple items can make style timeless. It’s about finding what suits you best an buying a few key pieces to pair with other things. Everyday style is about finding the right staple pieces for your wardrobes.

Go an treat yourself today to a few staple items, happy shopping folks! (Or treat your other half maybe?)