Calling all grown ups!

Be honest, reading the title, did you immediately think I meant you or was there a slight hesitation, a modicum of doubt?

The reason I ask is that I’m still wondering when, if ever, I will feel like a grown up. When I was a teenager, I’d see woman of my age, and think that they were so sorted and that at some point, in your twenties maybe, something changed and you were magically transported into the world of the grown up where you felt totally different.

This is yet to happen! And I’m not alone. I have spoken to several friends and they feel the same, a sort of Peter Pan complex. Although outwardly, I’m responsible and can be pretty mature if needed, (people even trust me with their children!), inside, I still feel like a teenager most of the time. I’m quite happy getting down on the floor to play with my kids, I laugh at silly jokes, I snort when I laugh too much, which makes me laugh even harder and I still seem to repeat the same behaviour patterns of my teenage years, I stay up far too late and am tired and grumpy in the morning and don’t get me started on ‘just a few drinks’ on a night out!!! 😀

It leads me to wonder whether any of these women I used to believe were proper adults, felt the same. From what I’m starting to discover is that you always feel young inside, until something will shock you into realisation, like going on a night out and feeling ancient because everyone else is a child and the outfit you felt on fire hot in is, well, not fashionable in any way! Or looking too closely in the mirror and seeing how old your skin really looks, or get up from an evening watching tv and your hip hurts!

There are some women, however, who seem to have been given the magic key to this mysterious world. They just ooze adult-ness, you know they never loose the vital school letters, they’ve completed their christmas shopping in august, they know how to budget, and meal plan. They also run things. Voluntarily. In their spare time. Which they seem to have despite having lives busier then the prime minister.

It would be very easy to feel inadequete in comparison, I am generally regarded with slight amusement for my scattiness, my only form of meal planning is when I look in the fridge at four pm, I try my absolute hardest to avoid being in charge of anything, I’m not a big fan of organised things in general. I am however, quite a lot of fun. I may be permenantly late but I’m good fun when I do get there, especially if there is wine involved! And I suppose I am more ‘grown up’ then I realise in a lot of ways, I manage the accounts, run a business, I’ve kept two humans alive for five years and I even volunteer in school, and they trust me to run activities without any supervision!

So in conclusion, maybe I too give off the illusion of being a grown up to others, maybe every one of the woman I perceive to be ‘adultier’ then me, actually feels the same inside. I also wonder if I will ever pass over into this ‘land of the grown ups’ myself. As I currently have pink hair and wear tights like this…. IMG_6350

……I’m not sure it will be anytime soon!! 😀

I’d love to know what you think, does everyone feel young in their heads? How do you feel? And how do you think you are perceived by others?

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Did you see me?!

I was so excited when I spotted a plea for guest posts from the lovely Annie over at Mrs Crafty B. It meant an opportunity to get my Christmas craft on early & totally legitimately!!

I originally had the idea for a 5 crafts for 5 minutes sort of thing. It worked out slightly differently though! We completed 4 over a few days and abandoned 1 completely, not the project’s fault but more not having the right materials, and being abroad so not having the language skills to get exactly what I needed, we were so busy that we took the opportunity of a  half term trip to visit my parents in Italy to get lots of things done and the craft for this post was top of the list.

I was looking for inexpensive ideas for cards to give out to teachers & school friends, (now there are about a billion of them!!), & little homemade gifts she could give to friends………………….

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You can read on here and see how you too can make the sparkly, Christmas wonders you see below!! Come and say hi on Twitter (@pinkpearbear #CraftyChristmas) and Facebook too, plus you can find lots of my photos, (LOTS!), on Instagram my new favourite place! 😀

 

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Pretty pleased with my sparkly improvised snowflakes, can’t beat a bit of sparkle at Christmas!!
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Our Rudolfs. Would definitely look better with paint noses, we used coloured pencils.
I love the snowmen, as you may be able to guess, I added the embellishments to them!
I love the snowmen, as you may be able to guess, I added the embellishments to them!
More improvisation!  My finger print fairy lights!
More improvisation! My finger print fairy lights!

 

I’m a tantrum survivor. Sort of!

As I sat, white faced, close to tears, next to a pale, blotchy, hiccuping daughter, I tried to work out exactly why what just happened had happened. Believe it or not from that description, no major tragedy had befallen us, no near miss in the car, no death of a beloved pet, we still had all our limbs.

No, all that had happened was that we had just survived a tantrum, not just any tantrum though, not a bit of foot stamping or the lying on the floor wailing business that small boy is so fond of. No, this was a full on screaming, punching, kicking, flailing, sobbing, ‘you’ve ruined my life’ kind of a tantrum. (Yes she really said that, she is five, I have no idea where she got it from!!)

I’m aware that I’m sounding dramatic, and maybe we both have a flair for it, she certainly picked her stage well, a packed square in the centre of a popular Italian town on market day. (We had a crowd around us at one point!) However, I did feel completely drained, emotionally battered and physically shaken up in the aftermath, as if we had both weathered the sort of storm that you see on the news.

We have only had a few of these thank goodness, but each time I feel as though my soul has been slightly pummeled. I end up wondering if it was my fault, if I could have done anything differently, whether I am a bad mother.

There are certain things that I think trigger these monumental melt downs, tiredness being the main offender. I also think that sugar is a contributor, and if there has been a change in routine it doesn’t help and over indulgence and spoiling when on holiday or around birthday time is pretty fatal.

But it is impossible to work out which combination of these will result in the tantrum, if at all, because sometimes she is whacked out on sugar after an exhausting party and is the sweetest little girl.

I wish I had the answers as to how to deal with it. I have tried lots of tactics, the most recent being offering a no-strings-attached cuddle, and then sorting things out and getting the requisite apology when it has all calmed down.

Sometimes it is impossible to get through to her though, when she is so far into it, reaching out to her is just not an option, especially if she is angry and lashing out. This is fairly rare thank goodness, and getting much less frequent as she gets older and I learn how to read the warning signs.

During this last one, I kept calm, remarkably calm, I stayed firm and didn’t back down, I’d told her we were leaving the market due to her behaviour, after having given her several chances to turn it round and her continuing down the same line, and I was determined to follow through with it, even when she started screaming as if she were being kidnapped and the crowd gathered!

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I resorted to threatening to cancel her birthday party and even pretended to write a text to the bouncy castle man to tell him it wasn’t needed! (I know I know but it was a desperate measures situation and I was feeling totally out of my depth and at a bit of a loss.)

I got her away eventually, and managed to find a less public place to sit, she raged on for a bit more, until eventually the rage burned out and we were both left sitting there like tornado survivors.

After it had passed, she was the sweetest little girl again. It was hard to imagine her ever being like that. She is not coping fantastically well with the whole idea of school. She misses me when she is there and feels frustrated that she has to go and we do fun things without her. Which I can completely understand.

She is also exhausted, everything new, so much to do, so much to learn, and I am relieved to say that this was at half term and we haven’t had any incidents anywhere near this scale since, but I know that friends are struggling as well, and now I realise how many of us are experiencing this, it does make me feel better to know that I’m not alone, not that I would wish it on anyone else but it’s nice to know there are others out there who know what it’s like to cling to that emotional life raft in a sea of screaming!

Especially as all the mums I know that are also going through it are wonderful, kind, caring people, and it helps me to see that if we are all in the same boat, maybe it is just that some children are more sensitive to big life changes then others, can’t cope with tiredness as easily, find their emotions harder to understand and manage, and it isn’t the reflection on my parenting that I have been beating myself up about in the aftermath of these tantrum tornados. She is a lovely girl usually, she isn’t badly behaved as a rule, we are nowhere near applying for a spot on a ‘send in a nanny and film us all melting down’ type of tv program, generally she is sweet, polite, funny, helpful, just ever so occasionally, something overtakes her that she has no control over.

So if you are a mama and any of this rings a bell with you you, give yourself a hug from me because it’s hideous and horrible but these days will pass and I’m sure that one day we will be sipping wine and laughing uproariously about how embarrassing it all was.

Just not yet!!

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Thankfully things are more like this between us…otherwise I wouldn’t want to get up in the morning! 😀

 

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My brand new, super exciting story venture!

I won’t say much, as it’s very late, but I was too excited not to share straight away!

I’ve been working on a little story book idea for small people, with accompanying videos. Designed to keep little ones engaged for 5 minutes while you can send an email, phone someone important, or just drink a cup of tea before it goes cold!

Klara and fred title page

I do hope you enjoy.

(Well, mainly your children actually!!!) 🙂

If they like this, please do head over to our website to subscribe to our mailing list and I can tell you first when the new one is out! (There are lots more in the pipeline, this picture might give you a hint to what is coming next!)

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You can also follow me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for fun, chatter, photos and the latest Klara and Fred news, hot off the press…..or the sketchbook!!

 

 

 

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10 parent-y things I do, even when I’ve left the kids at home! 

This week I got two whole days away from the children, amazingly exciting!

Out! At the theatre. Drinking champagne. Wearing high heels. And a posh frock! So exciting. 😄

Though I quickly realised there are some ‘Mum things’ that are so ingrained in me as a parent that I do them even when the kids are not with me.

Here’s a quick round up;

Travel

1. Packing an activity pack.

2. And snacks.

3. Taking a water bottle. (Such a mum, pay for water?! Pah!)

4. Point out interesting things from the train/car window. Oooh look a tractor! Then feel like an absolute plank. This is 100% worse if you are travelling on your own.

Getting around

5. Wait for someone else to press the button at the traffic lights.

6. Then only cross when the green man tells me I can. Even if the road is completely clear. And everyone else is surging across.

Shopping

7. Spend most of my efforts looking for presents for my children.

8. And saying stuff like; ‘oooh they would love that Lego soldier!’ (Who goes to Hamleys without kids btw?! Me, that’s who!!)

Eating

9. Eating fast. Especially if there is cake. My mentally is firmly stuck on, eat fast and leave or eat fast so I get more then one bite and it is nigh on impossible to shake me out of that. Resulting in me almost always being finished first and waiting impatiently for the people leisurely enjoying their food! Anyone would have thought that meals were to savour and enjoy or something, not purely functional re-fuellings!

Lie ins 

10. Wake up before 7.30am. Like awake awake. Then get up because there is no point in wasting a day.

‘Wasting a day’?!?! I have become a mum cliche!

What would you add to the list?

(Just so you can see how ‘Mum’ I am, here are a selection of my photos from London!)


  

  

  

I did take a couple that were not totally child based too!


  
  
  
  

We just found The Best Place Ever. Officially!

**Scroll down to the bottom for our updated view after a few months of visiting!**

I’m so excited, my friend invited small boy and I to try out a brand new play group in….wait for it….a trampoline park in Gloucester. Oh yes, it really is as amazing as it sounds. On the website they describe ’90 trampolines in 10,000 square feet of bouncing fun’ but we weren’t totally sure what to expect. They have so many different events for all ages, (including a fitness session!), and it is only £5.00 for an hour in there for the toddler session.

When we arrived, we were slightly daunted by the unfinished exterior, there wasn’t that much signage on the building itself to let you know they were open and the board outside still states it’s ‘coming soon’ as it is only two weeks old, but then we saw people inside, lucky really as we’d hyped the boys up so much about it that I can’t think of anything else that would have been an acceptable alternative!!

The unfinished feel does continue inside, with lots of un-plastered walls around the reception area, it feels as if they opened rather in a rush to catch half term, however, look past all that, because once you go through, it’s obvious that the priority went into making the trampoline area absolutely amazing, which they certainly managed!

When we signed in, we were asked some further questions to complete the waiver form that you begin online, then you buy some special ‘grippy’ socks, which are £1.50 a pair, but yours to keep and use for future sessions. We were a bit early, but there is a large spacious area to wait, (and a cafe upstairs), and just before the session starts there is a safety briefing to make sure you know all the rules for keeping safe.

Then you are allowed in and it is so exciting! I’ve never been anywhere like it, there are bouncy surfaces everywhere, it’s hard to describe but there are trampolines set into every surface, including around the walls and every section that isn’t bouncy is padded, which is a relief if you have a fearless small boy like I do, who will quite cheerfully launch himself off anything. There is also a massive foam pit at the end of three long trampolines which is perfect for long running jumps.

Small boy spent quite a while just running around everywhere and collecting up all the balls scattered about, and then graduated to giant jumps into the foam pit, including some ‘walk the planks’ which involved me pushing him in, (or vice versa!), after chanting walk the plank for a bit first.

Then, as he tired, he moved on to playing with the staff are all lovely, I mean really lovely, they were genuinely enjoying playing with the children and a couple of them sat and played with my friends’ baby so she could bounce with her older boy. Then a bit later on, the girls on the reception desk offered to look after him so she could go back in.

It’s really rare to find places where all the staff are so happy to play with the children and seem to genuinely enjoy it and were coming up with games for the children. Normally at places like soft play, it is a bored looking person in the corner doing there best to ignore all the noise!

There are several staff in there at all times, playing with all the children and making sure that everyone is following the guidelines. It all felt very safe and secure, even with small boy demonstrating some flips and giant jumps off some of the platforms. I would actually really like to watch one of the teenage groups because it looks like you can do some seriously amazing stunts in there.

After the session, (an hour flew by but it was definitely enough, small was so sweaty by the end and exhausted!), we went up to the cafe, unfortunately the lift is currently out of order, but one of the ‘green daddies’, (as they have been christened by small thanks to their green t-shirts and easy way with the kids!), offered to carry my friend’s buggy up and we went for a cuppa and a drink for the boys. Pretty basic, a sea of green and purple tables, but with a great view over the whole trampoline park, they serve hot drinks, slushies, a selection of toasties and paninis and cakes. I’m not sure if they did hot food as I wasn’t looking, (rubbish sorry!), but I’m sure there are further details on their website.

All in all, I can easily say that we LOVED it here, and will definitely be back next week! There is nowhere like this that I know of, and for me, the staff made it even better, having a super active little boy, it can be such a relief when you find somewhere where other people are really happy to pretend to fall over dramatically 50 times after small has hit them with a ball! 😀

This is a really photo-less post I’m afraid, we were far too busy to even think about photos, plus all that bouncing wasn’t conductive to keeping a phone on you, but I got just a couple, look at his beaming face after!

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**Update! We have been going almost every week since this post was written and I’m really pleased to be able to say that they have been working really hard  to make real improvements to the look of the place.

The downstairs is totally finished with new coin operated lockers, (bring a £1 coin), the painting has all been done and it all looks fresh and bright.

The toilets, (the womens’ anyway, I can’t speak for the mens’!), are finished now.

The cafe has extended their range of drinks to include joosed fruit juices, capri sun, lots of different cakes, paninis and sandwiches and all the coffees you could ask for, (except decaff-maybe next week! 😉 ) and the party area looks great with screens up to separate it from the main body of the cafe.

The staff have lost none of their enthusiasm for the job and have just as much fun playing with the children as the first time we went, the trampoline area has more soft play pieces and balls and the foam pit has had a major refill, much to the kid’s delight today.

There are lots of plans for new sessions and classes which all sound very exciting, weekend toddler sessions are coming soon and there is talk of classes for the little ones in trampolining and as they get a little bit older, free running. Which I would so love to do but think I’m going to have to live through my son on this one!! 😀

Our experience is only of the toddler sessions so far but there are loads of other sessions on offer, including Fit-tastic which I would so love to try but has been fully booked unsurprisingly! I would also really love to watch some of the free running sessions as I imagine there are some super talented people out there who would be a lot of fun to watch. I’m just scared about small boy getting too many ideas!! 😀

Check out their facebook page for all the up to date news about session times etc and some amazing videos of what you can do if you’re a lot braver then me!!

Go and try it, I’m almost certain you won’t be disappointed! 😀

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Always desperate for the session to start!!

Oh mi gosh, I forgot Dinovember!!!!

Holy macaroni! In the aftermath of ‘The Craziest Weekend We Have Ever Had’ (official title, more to follow in a future post), I completely forgot about something that is possibly my favourite thing ever ever……Dinovember! This is the month where all the dinosaurs in the house come to life in the night and get up to all sorts of mischief. A bit like elf on the shelf….but way cooler!

This will be our third year doing it and as the time went on, family and friends got really involved and started donating dinosaurs to the cause, we even had a few posted to us!

It is so much fun, except when you remember at 11pm and have to come up with something on the spot!

I will be posting them all on my facebooktwitter and instagram and I would love ideas and comments for those moments when my mind goes blank! Come and follow me and join in the fun, I’d love to see piccies if you decide to have a go too! 🙂

Here are a few of last years’ efforts:

  • Escaping the dinosaur box.
  • Dino wacky races.
  • Preparing breakfast..badly.
  • Polishing off the last of the birthday cake.
  • A Dutch boat trip.
  • Welcoming the new Dutch dinosaurs, (we went to Holland for Sinterklaas).
  • Dino disco.
  • Movie night.
  • Going upstairs to visit the kids.
  • Bath time.
  • Fridge raid.
  • Doll’s house takeover.
  • Some new dinos arrive.
  • Dino kitchen utensils band.

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So much fun!!

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