Home Education – Project Ocean & Flotsam

We love using themes in our home education and The Ocean was no exception! I have seen Flotsam the book recommended a lot. It’s a visual book, no words. I wasn’t sure my kids would be interested but they loved it!

Flotsam is basically a story of a boy who finds an old box camera washed up on a beach, he gets the film developed and makes lots of discoveries before taking his own photo and throwing it back into the sea for someone else to discover.

When the book arrived I sourced an old family heirloom box camera to give the book some authenticity and really capture my boys imaginations.

The box camera was a hit and they spent a long time investigating it before we delved into the book.

There were so many untold stories and questions within the book that it really got their minds thinking and wondering. We told each other what we thought about each photograph within the book: location, age, profession, name. They thoroughly enjoyed this part.

I made up a few Flotsam Discovery boxes for the boys which included a photograph and a few clues as to what the person liked and/or their profession etc. I printed off a few factfiles for them to fill in about the person they had discovered.

One of our Flotsam discoveries was an engineer so we did some research on famous engineers and chose our favourite one to write a short bio on.

We then moved on to discussing the ocean and how important it is to take care of it. We watched the Blue Planet and researched ocean pollution. The boys decided to make their own posters promoting the welfare of the ocean.

We made a jelly fish out of a storage bag and an elastic band using blue coloured water in a glass jar. This was really effective.

We explored the layers of the ocean and then made our own with the corresponding sea creatures.

We explored the coral reef and the dangers it faces today due to water pollution. We discussed coral bleaching. The boys then used watercolours and charcoal to show the effects of coral bleaching.

Bioluminescence was really interesting topic the boys were keen to understand, once we had the basics we then decided to do a few little projects using neon paint and a black light. We created a puffer fish and neon jars.

One of my boys was really keen to make a felt sea creature so that’s exactly what we did, but first we had to practice a few stitches. Then we designed our felt creatures and made a template. We cut them, sewed them, stuffed them.

We even took our theme into our cooking and we made sea creature shaped bread!

We really enjoy art here so I couldn’t let the topic go by without a little art history! Silhouette art was our topic. We researched and wrote a few bios, then had a go at creating a sea creature silhouette.

This ocean themed learning went really well and we all enjoyed it so much!

I really recommend the Flotsam book!

Home Education – Project Dragon

We have home educated now for 17 months and we are loving every minute. It was the best decision we have ever made. It took a while to find our feet and de-school but it’s safe to say we know what works now and what doesn’t.

Our home learning is usually based around a theme or two, and I plan a couple weeks in advance which really helps us. I follow a lot of teachers and home educators for inspiration, but my favourite to follow is Teacher Glitter over on Twitter. Her ideas are amazing and this is where Project Dragon came from! She inspired us immensely!

Project Dragon was so well received by my boys despite them being ten and eight! You’re never too old for a bit of magic!

We’ve learnt how to paint in watercolours, draw in pastels, we’ve modelled with clay, researched artists & places, we’ve used our imagination, we have written poetry & stories, we have invented, we have experimented and read books, and we have had fun!

Having Dragons as a theme has really given us purpose in every area of our learning.

After looking at different types of dragons and dragon eggs on the internet we discovered Andy and The Dragons of Wales. His illustrations are incredible created!

I created a paper mache dragon egg to getvis into our project…they weren’t sure what to believe, but believe they did!

Paper Mache Dragon Egg

We researched the anatomy of a chicken egg and labelled all of the parts from memory. We used our exercise books to record the 4 stages of a dragons egg with labelled drawings . We designed our own dragon eggs and started a display board.

We then discussed the myth of dragons eggs exploding if they get too hot. This led us into our experiment testing out the effects of hot and cold on playdough. Twinkl had a great printable for this we used!

Hot & Cold Science Experiment with Playdoh

I then challenged them to invent a machine that would keep a dragon egg cool so that it wouldn’t explode. They got to work straight away thinking about the materials they would need and how their machines would work.

Dragon Egg Cooling Invention

I created a little box for our dragon egg ready for him to hatch…and hatch he did!

Pet Dragon

He became our new pet for a few days to take care of. He came with a new book about dragons by the wonderful Andy Shepherd, a letter and some hot chocolate sachets. The kids couldn’t decide on a name so they wrote a few and we pulled the name out of a hat; Rhaegal! The book, The Boy Who Grew Dragons, was to read each night as a family.

We took part in a dragon drawing tutorial online and then practised our watercolour skills again.

Dragon Art with Watercolours

Dragons are often found in Wales (didn’t you know!) so we decided to explore Wales, a country we love and visit often!

We decided to explore eyes as part of Project Dragon. We researched eye anatomy and labelled diagrams. We then decided to research artists who involved eyes as an integral part of their work. We came across Margaret Keane and we wrote a short bio on her through independent research.

We drew our own dragon eyes and used watercour on them. The boys knew the anatomy of a human eye so they incorporated the parts they wanted to. Then we progressed to clay dragon eyes.

Clay Dragon Eye Sculpting

With our whole theme being magical I challenged the boys to create a magic jar. Once they had created them they used them as a story creator. Their imaginations ran wild!

Magic Jars
Magic Jar Story Writing

This theme has worked so well and the possibilities are endless! I really recommend trying out themes!

One of our next big themes is The Ocean! We cannot wait to share it with you!

Should I Home Educate My Children?

Home Education is a taboo subject. Frowned upon, misunderstood. People envision home educated children to be feral, with no social skills outside their own home and no understanding of the world. But in all honesty that’s a load of rubbish.

Home education isn’t for everyone and that’s ok, but it’s definitely for us. We are only a year into it and the only regret I have is not doing it sooner!

The UK education system is a one-size-fits-all suffocating institution with more and more pressure added onto teachers daily. Teachers who once loved their roles are now leaving the education platform defeated and stressed. Paperwork and grades are deemed more important than mental health and a love for learning is no longer the goal. Where will it end?

Schools are full of standardised tests but yet there are no standardised children. You can’t teach a fish to walk!

This pandemic has forced so many people into educating at home but it’s not been real home education. Even we have struggled. The added mental and emotional pressure has been harsh. Our groups have been cancelled and our outdoor freedom banished. We love exploring but that’s been on hold. Enthusiasm has dwindled. But it will return along with normality.

I’m a big advocate of promoting mental health awareness, and it starts with the young. If we can teach our children to take care of their mental health then as adults they will have the tools to recognise when they need a rest or intervention from their doctor. It’s as important as literacy and numeracy. Even more so infact.

My boys love exploring, being free to jump in mud and climb trees. They enjoy playing in streams and trying to catch fish. They love collecting rocks and sticks. They enjoy being creative and using their imagination. They can turn a simple stick into a game that lasts hours. They love rope swings and slides. They love the beach. They love swimming. They love painting and chalking. They love cooking. They love story writing. They love junk modelling and clay modelling. They love reading. They love Lego and building cities. They love castles and historic facts. They love sensory trays and treasure hunts. They love running free. They love papercrafting and sewing. None of which they did at school other than rare occasions, but was never their choosing or ideas. But they were losing their love for their life. They were always tired, exhausted, anxious. Anxiety is crippling. My one child suffers immensely and the school environment was the majority of his anxiety. It was painful watching. I was handing over my two babies for the majority of their day to an institution I knew stifled everything about them.

In school they are a number, a statistic. They are above expected, expected, or below expected. But only in the things school taught. Things that didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of living a happy life. And in the end that’s all that matters: happiness. These grades test your memory and your memory alone. They don’t measure kindness, respect, manners, emotional regulation, befriending the lonely, how helpful you are, your creativity. They simply test your memory.

I’ve thought about home education since my boys were born but school is the ‘norm’ here in the UK so we carried on with the rest of society. Until this year. I finally had enough of my boys going with the flow and being drowned in the process. I researched home education and a light bulb switched on. It wasn’t about replicating the classroom at home, it was about a life of learning. And in July I de-registered my children after a few fiascos regarding school policies that were detrimental to their well being. We took the plunge. And freedom reigned. It was a breath of fresh air. Anxiety went away within weeks. The kids were relieved.

Our plan is to take our first year slow and find our feet. We are going to loosely follow a curriculum for english, maths and science but with a hands on approach. Children learn most when they are the ones doing. The world is our oyster and our home is not a prison (unless there’sa pandemic lol) .

People always ask about socialisation. The way I see it is my boys are no longer confined to the same classroom with the same 30 people every day. They are not hermits. They are not locked in a cupboard. They are free. Free to be themselves and nurture their interests and taLents. We’ve made so many friends in the last year it’s been refreshing! There’s a whole community of people.

It has been the most nerve wracking decision to make but it has been the best decision I’ve ever made. We love our new life. It was the right decision for us as a family.

So, if anybody is considering home schooling the only advice I’ll give you is go for it! You will not regret it!

What a Child Should Know By Age Seven

There are so many lists of child expectations by ages: the age they should be potty trained by, the age they should settle on their own, the age they should know how to write their name, the age they should know their times tables, the age they should be able to read, the age they should be able to dress themselves. The lists are endless. Endless in their expectations. What these lists don’t allow for is individuality. Which is quite heartbreaking in reality.

From day one they’re compared. Compared to books, to standards of learning, to Barbara’s little Brian down the street. But the only standard a child should have to live up to is the standard of being themselves.

I have two boys. Two very different boys. Very close in age. It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, even with siblings but it’s so important not to. They are different because they’re different! And that’s ok. More than ok.

At age seven alot of the milestones are academic in nature: reading, punctuation, timetables, fractions, division etc. But our milestones in this house are different.

By age seven I believe a child should;

…know that’s it’s ok to feel sad and have a adult who will sit through and hug through the sadness. Emotional regulation is one of the most valuable lessons to learn. We cannot feel happy all of the time and that’s ok.

…understand that kindness is a necessity and can change the world. Teach them to sit with the lonely, to befriend the friendless.

…always look for the helpers in tragic events. It will restore their faith in people.

…look for the magic and wonder in everyday life. Rocks are treasure. Sticks are magic wands. Imagination can last a lifetime if nurtured.

…learn to look uncomfortable situations head on and not walk away. When they see a homeless person let their first thought be “where can I go buy some food and a drink?” and not walk on by.

…learn it is ok to have an opinion that is not of the majority and that respect is a two way thing.

…know where to go for a cuddle any time of day or night. A safe place will provide a steady heart and mind.

…know that manners are not optional.

…look forward to their bedtime story with the people they love.

…know how to relax and take care of their mental health. It’s ok to slow down with them.

…understand that everybody is different and that is ok. Inside and out.

…have time to be bored. Being bored lets their imaginations flourish. It’s ok for your child to be bored. In fact, it’s good for them.

…have a lot of free play. Even at age seven play is a necessity. It’s still when they learn the most!

It’s ok for your child to need help in areas you think they should have mastered by society’s standards. You don’t need to compare them. Just nurture them as people. Don’t pressure them. Praise them. In the big and the small. Your voice becomes their inner voice. Make it a good one!

Memory Making & 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 of 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!

Or maybe finances stop you? Or illness? Maybe you’re a single parent finding funding days out hard? In a world where all the family deals seem to be marketed at households with two adults and two children, single parenthood can be that bit harder. PayPlan conducted a study to find out just how much extra it costs for a single parent to do family activities and trips. The results actually surprised me!

PayPlan put together this great infographic below:

Their results found that in every instance, being a single parent guarantees you’ll pay more.

If a single family were to do all these things over the course of a few years they would find themselves paying an extra £2,904.95 compared to a two-parent family. That is madness!

So 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!

Things I Will & Will Not Do As A Parent

I absolutely love new parents and their naivety. They have all these fabulous plans and ideals for their future life as parents. They bring home their bundle of joy and have all sorts of plans and dreams going through their little post-pregnancy minds. Let me just stop you right there. NONE OF IT WILL HAPPEN! Well, it might, but rarely as you have planned it to.

Before I became a parent I thought I had what it takes to be a SAHM, I mean how hard could being at home all day looking after a child be? I’d have plenty of time to keep my house spotless and produce home baked goods a few times a week. How wrong I was!!!!!! I can’t even wash my hair a few times a week, let alone bake!! Most of the things we bake are pre-packaged child cupcakes with the crappy icing that always ends up too watery, and the sugar paper decorations that are printed so blurry you need glasses to see them properly!

There were so many things I promised I would never do with my children, and so many things I swore they would never eat, do, or say! Wrong again! Very, very wrong!

Here are my 7 Things I Will Never Do As A Parent (until I actually became a parent):

My children will never sleep in bed with me and my husband! HA! A big fat HA!! When you become a momma you have to face facts that sleep is sleep no matter how you get it. You will sleep standing up if you have to! I quickly realised that co-sleeping wasn’t just a good thing for your child but also for you as a mum! My eldest slept in my bed from his third day at home. I could not hack the screaming. I think sitting on my bathroom floor sobbing was a turning point for me in this decision! Sleep deprivation is one of the worst feelings ever, and it doesn’t go away, ever! My kids are now 3yo and 4yo and I am still exhausted. If your kid doesn’t sleep in their cot or moses basket but will sleep if they are in with you then PUT THEM IN YOUR BED! Sleep is sleep!

My child will never have a dummy/pacifier! Really? Did I really even think for one moment I could survive without one?! I love dummies! They are a God-send! Crying? Shove in a dummy! Tired? Shove in a dummy! Out shopping and need a few minutes peace? Shove in a dummy! I love dummies. I am a dummy advocate! Dummies are mummy-sanity-preservers!

My children will never have a tantrum in public! Stupid, stupid, stupid! My children do nothing but tantrum in public. The busier it is, the longer and louder they are! Public tantrums are horrific. Everybody stares, especially new parents. There’s nothing quite like dragging a screaming child through a mall and he shouts “Help me!” to passers by who are already giving you a death stare! Tantrums WILL happen, a lot, and they will be VERY public.

I will never bribe my children with candy, they will do as they are told! I’m actually laughing out loud at this one!! Just you wait! You will bribe them with food, you most definitely will! “Please behave during the shopping trip and you can have some sweeties, please!” Sound familiar? Vaccinations, doctors trips, meetings, and generally any time you need harmony!!

I will never shout at my children! Well, this lasted a while, not! I yell, I yell a lot, I hate that I yell, and I am consciously trying to stop yelling. I grew up with yelling, so it’s a hard habit to break. I feel guilt ridden about yelling so often, but I then remind myself I am working on it, and my children are very loved, I just show them a little louder than I’d like! Don’t feel guilty mommas, you will yell. Maybe a little or maybe a lot, but you will yell, and it’s ok, these kiddos know how to drive you to the edge and keep on prodding. It’s normal. You’re normal!

My children will not walk around with messy faces and snotty noses! Well unless they sit still all day with no food or drink then this is very unlikely to happen. My youngest child would make a mess with his own shadow!! There is not a second goes by when there is not some kind of mess to clean off hands or faces, or both! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t let them walk around like scruffbags with breakfast in their hair or milk moustaches left, right, and centre, but I also don’t clean them every second of the day. They are kids, and mess is ok, I just didn’t realise this pre-children.

My house will always be clean, tidy, and ready for unexpected visitors! My house isn’t even ready for expected visitors, let alone unannounced ones! There is hardly any time for housework and chores, and making sure everything is in it’s proper place. If I spend my days worrying about the house I’ll miss my kids childhood, and there is not a speck of dust on earth worth that! Dust can wait, my babies cannot! So, if you visit me, be sure to visit us and not the house!

Before you become a parent you have so many ideals, and then when you actually become a parent you fail every single one of those ideals, but you know what? It’s ok! All of the things you thought would matter actually don’t. Becoming a parent gives you a new outlook, and the only ideal you need to live up to is one called SURVIVAL! Do whatever it takes to get through the days.

Life is short so take everyday as an opportunity to create memories with your kids. Don’t let guilt consume your mummy journey, we all fall short, we are only human, but you right there reading this, YOU are needed just as you are! Dust doesn’t matter, dummies don’t matter, sleep doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is your family, whether you’re a family of 2 or 22 it’s the only thing that actually matters.

Your journey is yours, and nobody can write it for you.

Don’t dwell on all that you are not, focus on all that you are!

Focus on all the things you will do!

I will;

Give them candy.

Find the best toy deals around.

Be spontaneous!

Ignore the mess.

Make wonderful memories.

Remember childhood goes so quickly.

Let them embrace technology! And find the best broadband deals around! Which at the moment one of these is The Post Office!

The Post Office has the best price but there are other great deals out there too. Virgin currently has the fastest broadband at 362mb and currently comes in at £43 including unlimited monthly downloads! Or if you’re looking to go with the flow then Now Broadband is one of the most popular companies to go with starting from £18 per month. There’s a package to suit everyone! We all know mommas need their Netflix access to chill out and regain their sanity!

And most importantly I will give myself a break and not aim for perfection. Your kids don’t need a perfect mum, they need a happy one!

In-A-Minute Parenting

Life is busy, add children into the equation and it is crazy busy. Careers, house keeping, families, health issues, errands, chores, appointments, school, courses; there is just SO much going on! As a momma I know there is always something that needs doing, always.

There is always a grazed knee that needs kissing, a spillage that needs mopping, a letter that needs opening, a bill that needs paying, a snack that needs preparing, a call that needs making, a coffee that needs drinking, a pee that needs taking, a diaper that needs changing, clothes that need ironing, a lawn that needs mowing, hair that needs washing, a floor that needs sweeping, a car that needs cleaning, a meal that needs preparing, a job that needs attending, a list that needs completing, shopping that needs fetching, laundry that needs washing, laundry that needs drying, a fight that needs refereeing, and a poop that needs scooping (out the bath)!

Life as a parent is a whirlwind of fleeing from one thing to the next. Our time becomes so consumed with ‘doing’ that we rarely just ‘do’. I am a nightmare for this. I will start one job, and then see something else that needs doing so will start that job, and then will see something else that needs doing so will start that job too. This then leaves a trail of half-started jobs, and leaves me feeling more unaccomplished than when I started the very first job. It’s a viscous circle I visit hourly! Anybody else?

Often during the day I will try and catchup on a few chores whilst the children play, they’ll often say “Mummy I want you to play with me!”, and I will say “In a minute, I’m just cleaning first”. They often go away with a sad glint in their eye and I feel like a bad momma. Obviously sometimes there are certain things that I have to do, but there are a lot of other times when my kids matter more.

If I counted how many times I said ‘In a minute’ during one day I think I would be ashamed of myself.

Today my 3yo fetched an interactive puzzle from his toy shelf and asked if I would help him. I had literally just sat down with a cup of tea, so naturally I said “I will do it with you in a minute!”. He didn’t even question me, he just looked sad and went to put the puzzle back on his shelf. An instant wave of guilt and regret surged through my momma bear heart, and I thought ‘Hell no have I just hurt my babies feelings just so I can drink a cup of tea, the tea will be there tomorrow, this moment with my baby boy will not!’ I called my 3yo back and said “Actually no, we will do the puzzle now like you wanted!”. His face lit up. He felt worthwhile. I added another drop of self-esteem to his confidence bucket. I would give up all the tea in the world, infact I’d give up anything in the world to spend time with my boys.

In that moment, seeing my little boy walk away and not even attempt the puzzle alone because he wanted to do something with his momma, I had a big fat slap in the face. How many times did my children hear ‘in a minute’? Too many was the answer. The puzzle took ten minutes, and after we had finished it he happily played with his cooking set alone for thirty minutes, win-win situation there. My tea can be reheated, his little spirit is not so easily fixed, that’s why I had to change my mind.

When my 4yo asks me to read him a story when I am half way through an important email I will no longer say ‘in a minute’. The email recipient will not remember the hour I sent them an email reply, but my 4yo will remember the moment momma was too busy to read him a story. I am busy being a momma, not too busy to be a momma.

From now on I vow to be present, and vow to play.

Dishes can wait, emails can wait, social media can wait, everything can wait, everything but time. Time is precious, and I intend to make our time count. I will be the ever-ready momma, the ever-present momma. No more in-a-minute parenting! (Maybe except for those 5 minutes peace browsing the net for the latest deals! ?)

Anybody with me?

Father’s Day; Happiness & Sadness

Father’s day is a happy/sad day for me, as I’m sure it is for countless people. I thought I’d share my Father’s day feelings with you, even if to just reassure other people that they are not alone if their weekend will be tinged some form of sadness.

The role of a father is so important,  yet so overlooked by many of them; they make or break their children. I’m guessing there are thousands of broken hearts feeling extra tender this weekend in the UK, all for very individual reasons; your dad may have been taken away too soon, you may never have known your father, you may wish you’d never known him, it may conjure up painful memories, there may be bitterness, resentment,  and maybe even regret.  Whatever the reason for your heartache, know you’re not alone, and know there is always hope.

Father’s day for me was pretty average for my first sixteen years; a once a year celebration of someone who was my dad by blood, and it usually revolved around alcohol,  pretty normal to an abnormal me.

Once my parents parted ways it became a different story, a much harder occasion to get through. Up until 16 my mother had sorted the plans, the presents, the cards, but now it was up to me. How do you celebrate someone who has caused you so much unacknowledged hurt and brokenness? Not very easily is the answer.

By the time I was 21 the tiny fragments of a father-daughter relationship had been completely lost, and Father’s Day became a constant reminder of what I lacked and my constant feeling of not being good enough reigned. Memories would erupt into full volcanic swing, and the only solution was to act as though I had no heart,  noway could I deal with the emotions, I didn’t know how to, not in a healthy manner anyway. This went on year in, year out, and I thought it was a day destined to bring me sadness for the rest of my life,  but I was wrong.

In 2010 my little bundle of loveable rogueness entered our world, and my healing process was in full swing. Little did I know that Father’s Day would never be the same for me again, thankfully. My husband becoming a father was like watching a duck take to water; I may be biased but he is an amazing daddy. He totally revolutionised my concept of a father, he showed me how a father loves, protects, and sets an example to his children. He is patient, kind, never aggressive, creates beautiful memories, and sacrifices everything for his family. His children are not scared of him, they enjoy him being around, they do not tremble at the sound of his key in the door, they jump up and down with excitement.

My children have never seen their daddy hurt their momma, they see their daddy love and cherish their momma. My children don’t lock their bedroom doors before they sleep, they know they are safe. The darkness doesn’t scare my children, they know no harm will come to them. When they have bad dreams they run to their daddy, he isn’t their worst nightmare.

My husbands selfless fathering has taught me that I am not the reason for all I lacked growing up, and that I am enough. My mindset of what a dad is has forever been changed, and I now know I’m not the problem. This makes Father’s Day a happy day for me, obviously you cannot eradicate your past, but it no longer holds me bound in misery and self loathing. However, I cannot lie, it still has a tinge of sadness, I’m not sure if it’s for the father I lost along the way, or the father I would have loved to have, time will tell.

Whatever your reason for a heavy heart concerning your dad, please know you’re not alone, let’s support each other. Your story may be of terrible loss for a loving father, very different to my story, yet our hearts hurt all the same. Keep going, hope is very much alive.

How To Survive Grocery Shopping With Kids

Do you find grocery shopping with your children stressful? Are you looking for some top tips on ways to make it less stressful? Well you’ve come to the right place! For a complete stress-free grocery shop make sure you go ALONE, and if that’s not possible then do it all online!

I’m pretty sure I suffer from some type of memory loss regarding doing a grocery shop with my kids.

Often my husband or I will stay in the car,armed with plenty of sweets, with my 5yo & 6yo whilst the other one of us grabs the few items we need. Kids and grocery shopping are just never a good combination in my experience and why I didn’t remember this today I will never know.

We’d spent a few hours at the park the other morning, had lunch out, and even had icecream. Before heading home to play in the garden we needed to stop at the supermarket for a few things. Both children wanted to come in with me. I said yes. I said yes?! Had I forgotten the monsters they transform into once we enter supermarkets? Apparently so! Off we went, all four of us!

One didn’t want to walk, he didn’t want to sit in a trolley, he wanted Daddy to carry him. We got a trolley (a double seated trolley). We karate chopped one into the trolley, the other refused to sit in there, he wanted a separate trolley. I said no. I know, I know, bad momma, but this was meant to be a QUICK shopping trip. He now wanted to sit in the trolley with his brother. The seat had a mark on it. Meltdown approaching. Meltdown avoided. Mummy used her scarf as a seat cover, of course.

We entered the supermarket.

One no longer wants to be in the trolley, it’s uncomfortable and hurting his “winkle”. He walks, and is told to hold my hand. The other wants to walk, he is not allowed out. His ‘runner’ reputation goes before him and he cannot be trusted. I put my scarf back on because it was longer needed to be used as a somebody-elses-crap-coverer. The trolley sitter looks at the mark on the empty seat next to him and starts dramatically gagging. Mommas scarf returns to the seat. He then asks to be carried, as opposed to sitting in a trolley being pushed around like royalty.

The walker picks up a butternut squash and shouts “What’s this mummy?” I see a lady give me the once over. I feel paranoid that she now thinks  I don’t feed my children vegetables so I say “It’s a butternut squash, you’ve tried it before!” I lied. I outright lied for the benefit of a nosey stranger. Idiot. I am an idiot. He now wants the butternut squash.

The trolley sitter asks to be carried.

The other asks if we are finished yet.

My husband and I have a conversation about dinner, my youngest takes this as an open invite to shout his preference; pizza. “Pizza pizza pizza!” he bellows over and over again. I told him he wasn’t having pizza for tea this evening because he had it four days ago for dinner. He continues. My blood pressure rises. We walk by the pizza without stopping.

The walker now wants to sit in the trolley, the actual trolley, not the seat part, but it’s full of shopping. He was not impressed. He decides he now wants to stand by the hot chicken counter because “It’s warm!” The counter is empty, we feel awkward but he appears in his element.

Bread, bread, bread. Never choose bread when your children are there. Such a simple item to get, yet my brain had decided to malfunction. “Pizza pizza pizza!” yelled the 5yo as the 6yo took a big birthday cake off the shelf and sat with it cross-legged on the floor to inspect it. I asked him to put it back, instead he heard me ask him to tip it up onto it’s side for a closer look. I put it back on the shelf for him. I didn’t put it back where he got it from. He had to put it in it’s rightful place.

Bread, back to the bread.

The trolley asks to be carried.

We’ve now been in the shop for 15 minutes. Our 5 minute trip had tripled in time. Right, momma on a mission.

The 6yo wants to buy a pack of icing because it has pretty cookies on the front, he won’t believe me that the cookies are not in the packet too. We compromise on sweets instead. He wants jaw-breaking type sweets, I make a few (sensible) suggestions, he suggests 3 more jaw-breaking types before settling for mommas suggestions.

The 5yo asks to be carried. Again. I say asked but really I mean squawks like a bird that’s been hit by a very large truck!

My shopping list in my brain has disintegrated. My husband couldn’t think straight either.

The 6yo decides to spin round in circles instead of walking. I felt like my brain was doing the same.

Cheese next. Oh and milk. Oh crap, we forgot the bread.

We pass the lotto stand. Both scream for the pen on a chain. I internally scream and dream of winning said lotto. I’d hire a nanny for sure ?. The eldest gives off a high pitched scream and I decide I’m gonna do the lotto online when I’m alone or maybe I’ll go the whole hog and play roulette. Wow, imagine that? Me, a share bag of doritos, a wine and me looking through reviews of betting and gaming sites to increase my chances of never having to shop with kids again!

The 5yo squawks. And squawks. And squawks some more.

The 6yo can’t walk anymore.

Let’s go. Screw the rest of the food. Who needs groceries anyway? Not us! Not ever again! Quick dash to the cashier, and lets get out. Out, out out!

Annnnnnnnnnnd we’re home.

I think going grocery shopping with children can be likened to some kind of traumatic life event. My husband and I walk into a supermarket with two children, and we leave with two gremlins and high blood pressure.

I love my kids, but not enough to take them grocery shopping with me in the near future! (Joke)

Oh, and the 5yo had pizza for dinner! 😉


Getting Rid Of Crap People In Your Life

No matter what walk of life we’ve come from we all have one thing in common and that’s people. We all have people in our lives; colleagues, kids, partners, husbands, wives, family members, acquaintances, friends. The list is endless. But some of these relationships are relentless in the impact they have on our lives. And let’s face it some people are just crappy human beings. So why do we put up with it? I literally have no idea!

I’v spent more of my life wanting to please others and begging people to love me than I have not. I look back now and think NEVER AGAIN! But in the midst of all these relationships and encounters I was blinded by their deafening roars. I believed I was not worth loving. I believed I was not good enough. I believed the world would be better without me.

In the last few years I’ve realised a lot of this was because of my untreated depression and anxiety BUT these shitty people, who by the law of DNA should have treated me better, much better, should have stepped up their game. But you can’t change people. As agonising as that is. It’s taken me a good thirty plus years to understand this.

Life is far too precious to waste it by letting toxic people ruin it and take away your happiness. Don’t let them. I know it’s not that simple but it really is that simple.

I had one major toxicity in my life. He hurt me over and over and over. Sometimes he had verbal remorse once or twice over 21 years. But nothing says sorry like changed actions, and nothing ever changed. He almost ruined my life. Almost. But he didn’t. He hasn’t. And now he’s a distant memory. A memory that will no doubt always come to haunt me but it’s something I have to bear. Because he will NOT ever ruin anything else for me. After 21 years I cut him from my life. It was an horrific time. It was hard. He made it harder. I let go of him and snatched back my worth. I realised it was not me who was the problem. I made a promise to myself that from now on I was in charge of my life.

It was THE BEST decision I’ve ever made. It was the start of freedom.

I lost a lot of people when I cut loose from this burden BUT it was still worth all I lost. The whatifs nearly stopped me but I couldn’t live in the toxic cloud of darkness anymore.

The last 34 years has taught me to accept all or accept nothing. There’s no fence for me. This had led other people to leave our lives too, but it’s been a mighty good riddance. I will never let people make me question my worth. Never. They have no right. And I most certainly will never let my children wonder about their worth. They are loved outloud. I’m fiercely passionate about that. I don’t want them to spend their adult life recovering from their childhood like I’ve had to.

I’m a big believer in second chances, but not third chances. My door will shut. Yours should too. Your happiness and peace should be your priority. You matter! You’re worthwhile. Don’t settle for a life of pleasing others or keeping the peace only for your own peace to be destroyed.

It’s never too late to change the direction of your life.