Illusions Of A Parent And Car Safety

We all have dreams and ideas for our lives, our homes, our marriages,  our children. We dream of winning the Lotto or landing a big promotion. We dream of living in Mauritius with a Butler. We think big ideas regarding our future. We dream, we dream alot.

Then there’s the everyday type of dreaming; you promise yourself that tomorrow is the day you’ll have this parenting malarkey sussed and you map out your day, and even throw in a new creative activity you recently saw on Pinterest. Then real life shows up. It’s not even 9.30am and you need a double vodka, a big slice of chocolate fudge cake, and possibly a Strepsil to soothe your throat from all the yelling you’d promised yourself you weren’t going to do today, again.

Here are four dreams and romantic ideas of mine. They lull me into a false sense of dreaminess and make me think things are a good idea – when, in reality, if they don’t involve unwashed hair, pj’s, and not having to socialise with any other human beings, then it’s safe to say it’ll be a bad idea.

Lets go for a lovely drive

The dream – Let’s all hop into the family car and go for a lovely, autumnal drive. Let’s marvel at the scenery and sing along to our favourite songs. Let’s find a layby to stop and drink hot chocolate and enjoy each other’s company.

Reality – Nobody wants to go for a drive except momma. The kids karate chop each other across the seats. Momma thinks about car safety and quickly does a mental checklist; Are the coolant/water levels ok? Is the tyre pressure going to be ok and when did we last check it? Is the oil level ok? Do we have enough windscreen wash? Do all of our lights work? Is the boot free of unnecessary weight? Is everybody strapped into their seats properly without thick coats? Do we know where we are going? Right, all checked, meanwhile everybody argues over which music should be played. The car steams up and blocks everybody’s view of the scenery. The smell of the countryside makes the 5yo hurl. The hurl makes the 7yo cry. They both make momma cry. Daddy then cries after he feels a tyre blow! Forget the countryside we now need to find Kwikfit and something stronger than hot chocolate

Babycino dates with my handsome boys and my husband

The dream – We get dressed with minor fuss. Mummys hair looks great. Everyone is happy. We leave the house on time and remember everything. The journey is smooth and tearless. We order and take our seats. The boys eat the cake they chose without moaning or swapping. They sit lovely and use their manners. They drink their babycinos. We have a relaxing coffee with our lovely little boys.

Reality – The boys moan their way through waking up. Mummy is exhausted from being woken up every 45 minutes from midnight til 5am by a dehydrating three year old. The lounge floor is a Coco Pop assault course. Nobody likes milk this morning; it’s “poo poo!” Nobody wants a bath. Mummy has to karate chop pj’s off two flailing baby dragons. The bath is apparently boiling hot. Mummy slings two boys into the lava-temperature bath. Two boys get washed while doing a tantrum dance. Mummy is soaked. And mad. Nobody wants to get dressed but no choice is given. Have you tried dressing a wild coyote? Mummy gets ready in 10 minutes whilst playing referee. Daddy takes a bit longer. We leave the house 45 minutes later than planned. Mummys face sweats. Mummy forgets the changing bag. The journey is not moan free; it’s hot, the sun hurts, it’s cold, etc etc. We pull up at the coffee shop. Let’s start afresh. We order. We sit. D1 doesn’t like his chair. D2 will not swap. D1 now likes his chair. D2 now wants to swap. D1 wants Daddys cake. So does D2. No one sits still. Two dragons roar loud. D1 hits D2. A brawl occurs with a latte being piggy in the middle. People judge us. We quickly drink our coffee. We exit quick. The end.

The toystore visit

The dream – We promise our children a special treat from the big toy store for their good behaviour. We are all excited to visit the store, and feel a sense of magic. It will feel just like the Toys R Us advert. Our two children will be so excited and so grateful to us. They will hold our hand and dance down the aisle in amazement at all the wonderful toys on show.

Reality – There was no good behaviour yet we are still going to the toystore. The boys are excited. We arrive. D2 makes a getaway on the car park and runs fast. Good start. We go into the store. D1 wants the Lego aisle. D2 wants the dollies aisle. D2 lays on the floor and refuses to walk. We drag him to another aisle. We walk down the music aisle. D2 plays the keyboard. D1 pushes D2 off the stool for his turn. D2 bites D1. Timeout in a toystore is always a joyous time. Apologies are made. Fresh start. The bike aisle. D1 tests out a bike. D2 has climbed the shelf and is head first in a tractor. He screams when he is pulled out. Cue lying on the floor. After 45 minutes of pure stress we decide to leave. But not empty handed because we’re crazy like that! Anyone else? The end.

Let’s eat out for dinner

The dream – You want to spend some quality time with your family so decide to go out for dinner. You choose a child friendly restaurant and imagine the four of you enjoying a lovely meal as a family. The kids eat well and wait patiently for their pudding. You leave feeling full and proud.

Reality – You end up at Pizza hut because you know the icecream factory will be the perfect bribe for your children to behave well and eat their meal. It all starts well. D2 eats a crayon but that’s nothing abnormal. They choose their food. It takes 365 days to arrive. They get hangry. Crayons are thrown. Legs are jerked. Snarls are exchanged. The pizza arrives. Cue a break down because I won’t let my children eat molten lava pizza. It cools. They eat. They eat well. Mummy and daddys food arrives. Mid pizza the icecream tantrum begins. Everyone stares. We cave. The boys have dessert. Pizza hut call in Environmental Health to de-toddler the sprinkles and syrups counter. They have a second helping. We use four hundred baby wipes, 20 napkins, and we leave. The end.

But would we have it any other way? Yes! Yes we would 🤣

Seen On The Screen

The UK and Northern Ireland have so many wonderful places, rich in character and wonder, so much so that many films and tv series use it as their scene setters. From wonderful castles to cloud laden mountains, the views are stunning. And in particular Northern Ireland which has become such a popular location with film producers in recent years. It has stunning, varied landscapes and surroundings, some of which may look very familiar if you are a fan of certain movies and series.

If you’re interested in looking into where your hometown has been featured in films and on TV shows then you can find out here as part of the PCA Predict #SeenOnTheScreen campaign. You’ll be surprised at the results! I was!

Game of Thrones has used Northern Ireland for various scenes, some of which may surprise you. Locations range from River Quoile, County Down which is Old Valyria Canal, Essos, Pollnagollum Cave, County Fermanagh which features as the Brotherhood Without Banners’ Hideout, Ballintoy Harbour stars as The Iron Islands and Murlough Bay, County Antrim features as the Coast of Essos. Also, Belfast’s Titanic Studios is the scene setting of some of the interior shoots including The Eyrie and Throne Room.

I absolutely love GOT, and even more so that alot of it is filmed within the beautiful setting of Northern Ireland.

The fabulous Line of Duty Series 3 is also set in Northern Ireland, with series 2 having been filmed in Belfast.

The Fall is currently having it’s third series filmed within Northern Ireland too.

Aswell as tv series scene setters, Northern Ireland has featured in a lot of movies both big screen and local; Cupcake, Keith Lemon The Movie, Killing Bono, Highrise.

It’s easy to see why Northern Ireland is used for so many feature productions, it’s so beautiful.

 

 

Healthy Living Corner: Quitting Smoking

  1. This is another one of our Healthy Living Corner pieces we are taking part in. This one is aimed at tips to help people who are thinking about quitting smoking. I doubt it will be as easy as some of you may expect, so these tips may come in very handy.

Ask yourself why  you want to stop smoking? Write down a list of reasons and keep them with you at all times. If you’re tempted to light up a cigarette, you need to refer to your list before you allow yourself to light up.

Set a date when to stop completely. Although most people prefer quitting gradually by smoking fewer cigarettes each day you might end up getting the same level of nicotine since you’re smoking more of each cigarette. The best idea to quit smoking is by setting a date and stopping altogether.

Tell everyone around you that you’re quitting. Family and friends will give you the support you need. Of course, if you’re living with other people who still smoke, quitting might be harder. Therefore, try to get other people in your circle who smoke to give it up as well. That way, you can make it a team effort and quit together rather than failing at doing it alone.

Prepare yourself for some withdrawal symptoms. Once you quit smoking, you will probably experience some withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, cravings, headaches, nausea or a general ill feeling. These symptoms present themselves because of the lack of nicotine in your body, especially in the levels that it’s used to. Be prepared for these. They may last up to 4 weeks but will definitely subside.

Avoid getting in situations that may tempt you as an individual to smoke such as drinking alcohol. In the first few weeks after you quit smoking, you should stay away from alcohol and change your normal routine as well. If you’re tempted to smoke after drinking tea or coffee, you should consider switching to water or fruit juice instead.

Don’t rush the whole process, rather you should take it one day at a time. Every day you have gone without smoking, mark it off on a calendar and look back when you feel tempted and get the motivation you need to stop smoking altogether.

Always try and maintain a positive attitude throughout the whole process. Start telling people that you don’t smoke and you will feel better about it. Even better, you will start smelling better, cough less and taste your food more. Don’t forget about the amount of money you will save once you stop buying cigarettes.

You should watch your diet once you quit smoking because your appetite is bound to increase. Stay away from fatty or sugary foods and maintain your weight.

Don’t become disheartened if you can’t stop smoking. Most people can’t quite after the first attempt. However, don’t give up completely but examine the reasons why you failed in the first place and find ways to correct the mistakes. You should know that people who have actually quite have tried doing it a few times.

If you can’t stop smoking on your own, you can always visit any Stop Smoking Clinics available on NHS since they have proven successful at helping people quit smoking. Find the nearest one and join any program that allows you to stop smoking as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you can always try a Vape AYR , a new brand of modern vaporiser. It lets you see the levels remaining and also recharges and refills itself.

There’s are 10 flavours to choose from including Apple strudel.

Whatever your method of quitting I wish you good luck in your journey of self-care.

Broadband And Me

Can you even remember life before the internet?

I remember my first ever PC with internet access, good old dial-up. I used to love that dial tone. The house phone line would be off the whole time you were connected and you literally paid by the minute. I remember my mother moaning at me because she wanted to call somebody but couldn’t!

The internet has opened up a whole new world to us, both good and bad, but we’ll focus on the good here.

It’s given us access to family and friends, it’s given us business opportunities  it’s given us advice, it’s given people friends. It has literally saved people’s lives.

I can’t imagine going back to dial-up now, can you? Or the landline being busy whilst the internet was on?

We have several devices hooked up to our broadband, 10 in total! And although not the most important thing in life, a good broadband is something that’s important for a lot of us, and for so many different reasons. It may have heightened your social life, or enabled you to build up a client base for your business.

I think the modern internet has totally revolutionised today’s business world. We have access to people, information, and even sales figures right at the end of our fingertips. It helps businesses to grow and branch into a worldwide domain. It connects people and companies.

I think having a good broadband provider is so important. Take a look here if your business needs some more help with yours www.talktalk.co.uk/business.

 

A Video For The Mothers With A Different Story

What is a mother? A mother is a million things, all different, but all just as important!

Take a look…

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Whatever your story, you matter!

Share with somebody who you think needs reminding.

Sentimental Songs

I absolutely love music, always have, and I guess I always will. My taste is VERY broad, but it does always tend to lean towards the cheesy side, or so my husband likes to tell me. I am a sucker for a great love song, or a song written from the heart. I love lyrics that I can relate to. Over the years i’ve listened to music that expressed emotions that I felt unable to, a kind of therapy I guess. I have so many old mix playlists from the last 20 years, I could listen to them all day still.

I loved R Kelly, Eternal, Spice Girls, Pink, Christina Aguilera, Britney, Westlife, Damage, Boyzone, Kylie, Jason Donovan, Nsync, Kirk Franklin, Bobby Brown, Kci & Jojo, Boys II men, Mariah, and Celine Dion. The list is endless, but some songs mean a lot more to me than others.

Do you have special songs like that from over the years? Lyrics attached to memories and emotions?

Here’s 8 of my most sentimental songs;

Kirk Franklin – Lean on me

Pink – Family Portrait

Beyonce – Best thing I never had

TLC – Dear Lie

Westlife – Flying without wings

Kelly Clarkson – A moment like this

Kci & Jojo – All my life

Whitney Houston – Greatest love of all

All of these bring back some great memories or helped me sing what I was feeling, and there are so many more. I love nothing better than playing a cheesy mix playlist whilst having a nice relaxing bubble bath. Music is good for the soul, and it does wonders for mine. I love having a sing-song, usually via my tab though as I can’t hear the laptop or TV in the bathroom. I really need to invest in some speakers. I’ve heard such great things about the Panasonic Multi Room speakers so I’ll definitely be choosing from their range. I need something wireless and with bluetooth capabilities and this Panasonic range caters for both of those needs. They look fab!

I’d love to know some of your fave throw back songs too…

Will You Hang On To Hygge In 2017

In 2016 we didn’t just say “Hi!” to Hygge, we embraced it in our hoards. So much so that The New Yorker crowned 2016 the Year of Hygge. Inspired by what is apparently the happiest of nations, by the end of last year many of us found ourselves cosying up in corners in an effort to unearth our inner Hygge. We strived to spend more time with our heads in good books or slurping our time away with large mugs of hot chocolate or Glögg . Some of us spent our Sunday mornings with a stack of pancakes or snuggled up with a colouring book. However,as we emerge from what must be the most Hygge of all the seasons, will you be hanging on to Hygge in 2017? Once winter has waned and the weather warms up – will you put out your open fire, clear away your scented candles and let your Hygge hibernate? Or will you commit to pursuing the comfort and contentedness of Hygge in the months to come?

Share the love
Pleasure and presence are the values that lie at the heart of a Hygge lifestyle and for the most part they are goals you can aspire to, whatever the weather. While you may struggle to indulge a love of sledging when spring arrives, there are plenty of hobbies and interests that you could potentially make time for all year round, and in keeping with all things Hygge, they needn’t be expensive either.

Why not make it your priority to share more feasts with friends this year? Take it in turns to host a cheap and cheerful dinner party and you’ll find a one pot recipe and a bottle of vino goes a long way when it comes to putting a smile on your face. Or, channel a Scandi spa with an at home pampering session with your girls. Facemasks, a good film and homemade smoothies combined with gossip are all you need to get your session started and can make you feel like you’ve had a Hygge hug.

Other at home Hygge friendly activities include potting plants indoors and out, spending lazy days with a pot of tea and a stack of magazines and re-reading your favourite books for guaranteed warm fuzzy feelings. If you’re a dog owner, you already have a Hygge edge. Cuddling up with your canine or taking your pooch for a spot of people watching in the park are cost free ways to regularly enjoy the simple things in life and being a dog owner has been proven to be good for your mental health too.

Hygge design hints
When it comes to interiors, Hygge has been embraced as the ultimate comfort trend thanks to its association with candle light, roaring fires and soothingly soft blankets. But who wants to sit in front of an open fire in summer?

Firstly, you can still do these things in the warmer months – just take your Hygge on the move! Huddling around a campfire or in a beach hut during a rain shower are just some of the Hygge-esque activities that the British spring and summer readily offers up.

Secondly, The Hygge aesthetic is far more than a few rugs and blankets. It’s about surrounding yourself with things that make you smile and take you to a happy place. In fact, you may want to create an at home happy space to help you on your mission. If you’re not lucky enough to have a conservatory, hobby or study room where you can explore your interests and have a little me time, why not section off a little snug for yourself? You’ll find lots of inspiration for homemade room separators on Pinterest or you could opt for a more permanent solution such as fitting floor to ceiling bi-folds you can use to cosy behind or open to allow light through depending on your mood and activity. If there’s a particular time, place or person that makes you smile, remind yourself of them by decorating your Hygge nook with well placed photographs that in turn will inspire you to go on to create more magic memories.

Did you get into Hygge in 2016 or are you planning on turning over a Hygge leaf in 2017? What are your favourite things to do to release your inner chill? Do you like to get outdoors and closer to nature or plan get togethers with your bezzies? I’d love to know!

Children’s Party Planning

I love throwing my children birthday parties. We usually go all out with a certain theme; costumes, decorations, favours, cupcakes, cakes, even the invites. They get so excited choosing a theme and so do I, would you believe I’m 32?! February is always a party planning month ready for my youngest childs birthday in April. He will be 5 this year and I cannot even believe it! Where have those five years gone? It has literally flown by.

I came across a really great website to help me out with my party planning and I thought I’d share it with you. It’s called Bidvine, and it literally has every type of service provider you could think of; venues, balloon artistry, party planners, entertainers, caterers, printers for invitations, you name it they have a company who can do it! It’s even tailored to the age of children you will be inviting and the amount of guests you’ll have. You basically fill in all of your requirements, and then the service providers email you and essentially bid for your custom. It cuts out all of the faffing and searching for hours, they come to you instead. It makes party planning totally stress-free, all they require is your name, email address, and mobile number.

This year we have gone for a super hero theme, my for year old is obsessed with the Avengers. He wants facepaints, and Avenger favours, Avengers balloons and tableware, and a big Avengers cake. I’m also trying to source him an Avengers mascot, which I know Bidvine will help me with. He wants all of his friends to dress up as their favourite Avenger too, so I’m guessing I need to look for some adult costumes too, wish me luck with that one!

Then after April it will be planning time for my 6 years old birthday in October, he hasn’t chosen his theme yet, but no doubt it will be Lego based!

Do you plan parties for your little ones (and big ones)? I’d love to hear about yours, and how you go about preparing for them.

 

Christmas Party Venues

Can you believe Christmas is literally just around the corner? 2016 has whizzed by in the blink of an eye. Some of us have had a great year, and some of us not so much, but one thing we all have in common is that we hope that 2017 will be our best year yet.

I love seeing out the year and welcoming in the new year, do you? There’s something quite satisfying about the year ending and a new one beginning, it’s like somebody hands you a blank slate and all the sadness, mistakes, and unpleasantness of the year disappears and you get another chance at life. Fad diets, new relationships, better self care, more fun, less worrying, we have so many goals for the new year, and rightly so. I rarely make new years resolutions though do you? I can never keep them, so it’s easier not to make them, this is my reckoning anyway!

I love the build up to Christmas then the lead into new year. I love the party planning the outfit organising, the gift buying, the kids nativity plays, the Christmas jumpers, the tree decorating, the Christmas scented Yankee candles, the dark nights, the smell of gingerbread, the carols, and the sound of a big family get together.

What are your Christmas plans this year? We spend our Christmas with my husband’s family, it’s a big family occasion, and we all sleep over, laugh, stuff our faces with delicious food, and generally enjoy relaxing. New years eve is pretty much the same kind of thing, although it usually involves fewer people and a quiet night in, under fives are not very NYE friendly, although hosting our own party to bring in the new year during January has tempted us. A party in January would be an amazing way to begin 2017, to boost everybody’s spirits. Venue Finder is a great site to help find the perfect Christmas party venue and new year venues. Their site offers lots of locations and different options, you can exclusively hire a venue or join in a shared party night, they accommodate everybody. This would be such a  fab start to the new year, and there is something to suit everyone whether you’re a family, a small business, a big business, a church, a football team, an office party, anybody.

I’m really looking forward to seeing in the new year well, and hope it’s sets a precedent for the rest of my year, and yours too!

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

The Works Christmas Shop