One year of words

So today is my ‘bloggerversary’!! A year ago I decided to air my thoughts and experiences of motherhood with the big wide world, well anyone who wanted to read about them.

Whilst I started it as a way to capture my first few months as a mother two, plus the rare opportunity to spend an entire summer with my boys, whilst keeping my writing skills up to scratch, I’ve realised how much I enjoy it.

I understand why people keep journals and diaries. It’s so liberating to put your thoughts into words, even if nobody wants to read them. Plus, it’s fun to read back. 

But what I’ve really enjoyed most is the feedback. I didn’t really make a big deal about my blog when it started (I still don’t), but I’ve had comments, likes, messages, friendly taps on shoulders and thumbs in the playground. Not just from parents in my own circle but from other parts of the world. 

So, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to check out my tiny section of the big wide web. 

Now I must try to get some sleep. Another day of motherhood awaits and I seem to have a new bed guest. #Mumsomnia 

X

Fashion & Freedom

Last night I had a rare hour to kill by myself after work, before another event. So I treated myself. 

I popped over to Manchester Art Gallery to check out their Fashion&Freedom exhibition. 

It covers the relationship between women and fashion since the First World War, with pieces from students and up and coming designers. 


Some really intriguing pieces. Just a shame it wasn’t bigger, but given the little time I had, it was perfect. 


I loved it. The exhibition and the free time, no kids, no companion, just me. I got to stare and read without being dragged away or asked a million questions. Then I snuck off for a quiet coffee. Bliss…

It reminded me of the importance of having time to yourself, no matter how short or what you do with it. 

Sticking to the fashion theme, the gallery is also showing Vogue 100: a Century of Style. 

I’ll definitely be returning one lunchtime. 

Not a baby anymore…

Boy 2 is nearly 15 months. His hair has grown over that time into a wispy Afro in need of some serious love. So today we decided to cut it. 

OMG. He looked so different! His face seemed so much more mature, so boyish. It’s strange how certain milestones hit you more than others, with so many different emotions. 

The first smiles and laughter melted my heart. Crawling and walking brought excitement. Hearing him attempt to sing ‘wind the bobbin up’ made me feel proud. But the haircut, chopping off a few centimetres of fluffy baby hair, made me feel sad. 

I realised I’m another step further away from babyhood. As much as I’m enjoying toddlerhood, I really do miss having a baby around, knowing we won’t ever experience that again….

Signs you have a toddler in your house 

  1. You find random household items dotted around the place. Boy2 has developed a particular penchant for Tupperware. So pretty much every day I’ll find at least one rogue tub or lid in a non-Tupperware belonging room
  2. You automatically check what’s on Cebeebies/Disney Junior/BabyTV when you turn on the TV. What’s more worrying is you do it when your child isn’t even there!
  3. You find yourself regularly trapping your fingers in drawers or cupboards because you forgot about the bloody safety locks!
  4. The bottom of your handbag is now home to half eaten packs of raisins, confiscated toys, socks etc etc, meaning no matter how much you want to tip it upside down when you can’t find your keys, the potential horror on people’s faces is enough to stop you
  5. Your nursery rhyme game is strong (whoop whoop!!). The first few months were a bit shaky, you’d forgotten the tune or lyrics to a few classics. But now you’re on top form and can relive Rhyme Time’s greatest hits faster that you can say Humpty Dumpty. In fact it’s so strong, you can even interpret your toddler’s mumbling rendition
  6. You’ve learned the art of translating cries. So much so, your guests give you a worrying look as you ignore your child’s squeals. You know they are just moaning because you wouldn’t let them keep a fork in their bed, but your guests are wondering whether you’ve given up on parenting altogether.
  7. You constantly debate with yourself whether you should introduce a naughty step. Would a small being really understand it, or just think its a new game?
  8. Your once lovely House Beautiful-ready living room is now a multi-coloured, plastic ridden dumping ground, complete with toys that make random noises ten minutes after you think you’ve turned them off (clearly designed by childless people)!
  9. The piles of washing are no longer full of hideous green poop, but now stained with mud, paint, bolognese and whatever else the nursery/childminder have decided to ‘learn’ about today
  10. You are more confident than you were with a newborn and loving every minute of seeing your little one’s personality grow, along with enjoying the cuddles whilst you can still get them…

xx

Getting Crafty with ToucanBox

I’m not the ‘craftiest’ of mothers, I’ll be honest. I always liked the idea of spending rainy afternoons creating various pieces of art with my kids, with some music playing in the background, laughing and joking etc…

That rarely happens. I hate mess! We do have craft box and umpteen toilet role tubes, so every now and then we will get crafty, when Boy1 has some inspiration, because I can never think of anything.

So I got very excited when I heard about Toucan Box. It seems as though you can get everything through a regular subscription box these days, food, cosmetics, cocktails (yes, I know!!) and now crafts.

The blurb

ToucanBox is a flexible subscription service offering mini craft ‘projects’ for children aged 3-8 years. According to the site, the boxes mean parents ” can spend less time trawling through toy stores and more time making mini masterpieces with your budding masterminds.”

How it works

When you sign up, you are asked to privide your children’s names, ages etc and even answer a personality quiz, so that their boxes can be tailored. This is a great touch and gives you confidence they’ll like what arrives.

A fortnightly subscription costs from £3.95 + another £1 p&p. Bigger boxes cost more, of course.

The activity

The box arrived fairly quickly in a lovely turquoise box, addressed to Boy1, which instantly got him excited.

Eastern 100%
Inside our parcel

We opened it up to find our project was a dinosaur tail and mask. Lovely animated cards with clear instructions.

It came with enough tape and sticky bits. The only thing we needed was a pair of scissors. Thankfully, this particular activity needed very little adult supervision, which meant I could get on with the ironing.

Boy1 found the instructions fairly easy to follow and it took him about 20min to complete.

After a bit of peeling and sticking, followed by some cutting, we had our tail and mask.

 

The Verdict

I really do like the idea of ToucanBox. It provides the inspiration along with the materials. I believe in other boxes they even provide glue, so its very convenient. I like the fact my son was able to get on with it whilst I was ironing, rather than him being glued to a screen.

Boy 1 really enjoyed it. It’s not the kind of thing he would usually make (sword/marble-run/boardgame), so the surprise element was fun. Plus he felt a sense of achievement in completing it himself.

I’d say for £10 a month it is a bit pricey for me, because we aren’t that crafty. Part of me would rather spend £10 in B&M Bargains on lots of random craft items, which I know would last for ages. But it is a nice treat and for a child/family that struggles to come with ideas, this does provide some inspiration. I know Boy1 has already started to think of other things he could make.

Definitely worth giving it a try, so sign up for your free trial here: https://www.toucanbox.com/freesample

Remember summer holidays are just around the corner…

 

Rating: 4/5

My son is black, he needs to know 

I have a nearly 8 year old son. He’s handsome, funny, smart, caring. He makes us proud. But in recent months I’ve become increasingly aware of the difficult conversations I’m going to have to have with him. Aside from the puberty and girls chat (eeek! Think I’ll leave those to hubby!) there’s a somewhat more challenging topic. Race.

It wouldn’t be fair to avoid it altogether and keep him wrapped in cotton wool for the rest of his life, but I have to manage how honest I am with him.

You see, I’ve told him that there are small minded people out there who treat people badly just because of the colour of his skin. He knows that had we been living a few decades ago he wouldn’t have made many of the friends he has, because they would have been sent to different schools. He knows about racism. He knows that it’s wrong.

But what he doesn’t know yet is that as he gets older, as he gets bigger, this issue will stop being just a conversation he has with his parents, or sees on the news, but will very likely become a genuine battle he will have to face. And that is a difficult conversation.

I can’t tell him that just by being a black boy/man he will automatically be treated as a statistic by many members of the society in which he lives.

I can’t tell him that this society will expect him to achieve less than his peers.

I can’t tell him that as he gets older and bigger, people might cross the road or clutch their bags tighter, or follow him around a shop, because they feel intimidated by him or just don’t trust him. 

I can’t tell him that when he’s play fighting with his white friends, as boys often do, it’s his face that a passerby will most likely point out as the ‘aggressor’.

I can’t tell him that once he learns to drive, he will get stopped by the authorities at least once, regardless of the speed he is driving or the car he’s in. 

I can’t tell him that he might not get that job or role he wants because his ‘face doesn’t fit’.

I can’t tell him that the confidence to debate and share opinions that we try to encourage in him will one day be seen by someone as having an attitude, being arrogant or even aggressive.

I can’t tell him that no matter how articulate and polite we raise him to be, some people will be shocked to hear him pronounce his t’s when he opens his mouth.

I can’t tell him that when people crack a joke with him in a generic ‘African american accent’, that there might be a hint of inappropriate unconscious bias, that the deliverer might not even be aware of.

I can’t tell him that he will experience negative relationships, sometimes without even knowing, where people will discreetly put him down and subtly treat him differently.

I can’t be the one to ruin his view of the world. Not yet. That time will inevitably come. 

But what I can tell him as that he must continue to be a positive influence and think of the people who have and still fight for equality. 

He must work harder than every one else to prove to any doubters just what he is capable of.

I can tell him the importance of building positive relationships, regardless of race, gender or background, where he and his friends feel free to discuss concerns, encourage each other and more importantly, look out for each other.

I can tell him that he shouldn’t be afraid to challenge and debate issues he feels strongly about, in a well rounded, articulate manner.

I can tell him that by putting his God-given talents to use, that he can make a difference.

Because by doing this – by continuing to be the smart, caring, honest, funny person he already is and I know will continue to be – he could be that person. He could be the one to spark a light in someone’s mind. He could make someone question their opinions and behaviours. He could be the one to change someone’s small-minded views for the better.

Now, isn’t that a more positive conversation to have?

xx

PS. This post first appeared on the fabulous Selfish Mother 

 

#NoFilter yeah right!

This is my 14month old son quietly feeding himself an organic fruit yogurt. No mess, just wholesome yogurty goodness.

Lies!!

1. It was a Petit Filous creeping scarily close to the used by date. 2. I have no desire to let him feed himself on a Sunday evening. I had to feed him. He hated me for it but I had to. Once it was finished, he wanted more then had a massive tantrum. My response, give him the spoon and the pot to realise for himself.

And there we have it. He happily ‘ate’ from the pot for a good 15min whilst I tidied up.

I didn’t need to tell you this. I could have left this photo with the original description, nobody would know. This is very common in the social media world. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. People like you and me, posting perfectly positioned images, using the right lighting, all to give off this idea of a naturally perfect life. Don’t be fooled, the photo you see is probably the 8th take!

Be warned people. #NoFilter isn’t always completely true.

Friday feeling?? 

If you are a fan of Twitter and Facebook, like me you’ll be used to seeing the weekly posts and memes referring to “that Friday feeling”. 

Examples include”walking out of the office like…(cue sassy image of Beyoncé doing the Crazy in Love walk)” or “can’t wait for drinks with <insert numerous names here>, a crazy night awaits.” 

This was the Friday feeling of days gone by. That feeling of freedom, the sense of impending self-indulgence. Do I get that feeling now? 

I. Wish. Like most mothers of young children, my Friday feeling is more tiredness than excitement. 

I’m still woken up at 630am, getting kids ready and try to sort various chores whilst entertaining the Energizer bunny, sorry, Boy2, inbetween school runs and swimming lessons. I actually get home around the same time as a normal working day. 

Gone are the days when Friday would mean a drink after work with colleagues. Then home to get glammed up, while listening to music and enjoying a few more drinks. Then out until who knows when! Saturday would mean a lie in, full English, strong coffee, newspapers and shopping for clothes for my next night out. 

Nowadays the most excitement I get is  when the buzzer goes on the oven, signalling the fish fingers are ready. 

My Friday feeling arrives when my children are in bed, I’ve gotten through at least two loads of washing, consumed way too much Chinese take away and cracked open a bottle of red. Only to be woken at 630 am on Saturday, to start over again with football, tennis, birthday parties etc. Not quite the same.

Times have changed and so have I. As much as I might miss those free spirited , self indulgent days, I must embrace my new Friday feeling, which I actually quite like. Well until 1130. That’s my bed time! 

Xx