Sunshine Blogger Award Post.

I was nominated twice for the sunshine blogger award, (I say recently but it was quite a while ago now, been so busy with summer hols that I’ve not had a moment!), I keep stopping and starting with this post, we have been off camping a lot in the newest addition to our family, Wilma, the VW T5 campervan conversion that lovely Mr PB is in the middle of perfecting for us and signal is not always brilliant on our adventures. I am now exhausted so this seemed like a nice post that wouldn’t overtax my tired mind! (I started writing this a while ago and am only just getting a chance to finish it now!!)

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The lovely Mr Pear Bear hard at work making Wilma beautiful!

The first lovely blogger who nominated me is the fabulous Claire at Art and Soul. These are her questions for me.

If you can’t have both, do you go for a starter or dessert?

Ooooh this is so tough!! I think it would have to depend on what was on the menu, if there was nothing I really fancied for desert, I would probably go for starter.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to be myself no matter what anyone said about it. To have more confidence!

What celebrity would you like to meet and why?

Michael McIntyre. He makes me cry with laughter.

Tell us about a personal achievement you’re proud of.

Last September I completed a half marathon, I’d only been running for 10 months!

What was your favourite toy(s) when you were a child?

Spot! My stuffed toy dog. I loved him. Oh, and Gaby bear, you could put a cassette in him and he’d tell a story and his face would move. Until I took him in the sandpit and he got sand in his inner mechanisms and never worked again. Sob!

The other lovely blogger who nominated me is Miss Ky.

What is your middle name?

Pear 🙂

What is your favorite thing to do?

Sleep!! Only half joking 🙂 I also love to make things, sewing, painting etc.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, or maybe Ubud in Bali.

Would you rather live without Facebook or Instagram – why?

Instagram I think, as I’m pretty new to it and so haven’t really built up a following. (Since I wrote this, I have got massively into instagram, and now I would say facebook for sure!!)

What is your favorite memory?

I have so many that it is hard to pick but I think one of my most wonderous memories is our hotel lobby when we went to Disney World as it had real parrots flying around. It was just out of this world to a 9 year old!

Do you have any favorite makeup products?

I cannot live without mascara, glitter is a big must and I’ve just started getting into nail varnish again.

If you could re-name your blog, what would it be?

I don’t think I would rename it. I’m pretty new to it and so my name is all shiny and perfect. Ask me again in 5 years time!

What’s your favorite season?

This is so hard for me as there are things I love about all the seasons but if I had to pick, I’d say Autumn. New boots and colourful leaves and chunky knitwear. Bliss!!

What do you look for mostly in people? (ex: personality, smile, funny..)

Sounds really cheesy but kindness, it helps if they share my silly sense of humour too. Oh and I’m a sucker for a dog lover!

What’s a secret that you have kept? (can be either yours or someone else’s)

When I was at school, we regularly used to climb out of the window and escape over the roof. Plus my friend and I once had to run down the school corridor with lit cigarettes and ended up passing the headmaster! I was a bit naughty at school I think!

Your ideal date?

Hmmmm, pretty much anything child free is bliss at the moment, but one of our most fun dates was a hot air balloon flight. Sooo amazing.

The rules:

  • Thank the people/person who nominated you.
  • Write a post featuring the award button and answering the questions from your nominator(s). They will have nominated the same number of people as questions they answered.
  • Nominate the same number of bloggers the person who nominated you did and come up with the same number of new questions.
  • Let your nominees know you’ve nominated them.

Ok, so my questions.

  1. There is a national shortage of, erm, milk, and there can only be one for the rest of time, pick the ice-cream flavour that we will all have to live with forever.
  2. Which song do you absolutely have to dance to, no matter where you are (think the Full Monty post office queue scene!), even if you totally embarrass whoever you are with?
  3. You are about to be kidnapped, you’re at home, how do you escape?
  4. Who would you take on a really really long road trip?
  5. Zombies are coming, choose your weapon!!

I nominate the following bloggers, (if you would like to take part of course!), because I think you are all pretty fabulous and I really really want to hear your answers!

  1. Mudpie Fridays
  2. Silly Mummy
  3. Run, Jump, Scrap
  4. All the beautiful things
  5. Brummy mummy of 2
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A day of firsts.

I had an exciting day yesterday with two new firsts. We were invited to the book launch of a children’s author who was celebrating publishing her 150th book. She had become a little disillusioned with the whole publishing process and this felt like her revival. She has never had a book launch and so decided she wanted to do something special to mark the occasion and to give herself a bit of a boost I think.

The children were so excited, they absolutely love books and to go to an event with a live reading was something that really appealed to them. When they arrived, they were offered a bag to get a lucky dip for a teddy with a number on the label. We went in and settled down on the rug. The children were even more buoyant when they realised there were biscuits and bowls of crisps everywhere, and usually they wouldn’t be allowed snacks so close to dinner time, but because we were out in public, they knew they could wear me down quicker with some extra energetic pleading, and so they got to snack, (in their minds), illicitly, which made it all the more pleasurable.

After a short while, the author, Sally Grindley was introduced and she began a very lively and energetic reading of one of her books, ‘Knock knock. Who’s there?’ involving lots of masks and jumping around. The children were totally enthralled and really enjoyed the story.

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I think you can see how much they enjoyed it from their transfixed little faces! There were even a few scary bits and there was a lot of audience participation required, and provided!

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I think these pictures show the range of emotions the children were experiencing, even the much older children seemed to be held in suspense, especially at the scary bits.

After the readings and a few short talks, there was an extra special presentation. A beautiful cake with one of the book characters sitting proudly on the top, all handcrafted by the very talented Heather from Cherry on The Top in Gloucester. They drew a number and one very lucky little girl matched it to her teddy tag and got to take the wonderful dragon home.

After everyone had had a chance to marvel at the fabulous detailing of the little figure, especially the perfect little cover on the book he was reading, the cake was taken away to cut up and distribute. I’m happy to report that I tried it, (all in the name of blogger duty of course!), and it was absolutely delicious. As a bit of a cake connoisseur, (I eat a lot!), I was very impressed.

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After that fun filled afternoon, it was time for a quick dinner, and then I left our overtired, sugar hyped children to poor Mr PB to put to bed, (sorry again about that love!), and went to pick up my friend because we had very exciting plans. We were off to, wait for it, a WI meeting! Did you laugh? You did didn’t you?? Mr PB did a lot too. Imagining a group of very elderly ladies making jam, (which I actually would have really enjoyed too, truth be known), he teased me a fair bit beforehand, but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

I had heard rumour that the WI had had a sort of revamp, and was now a really energetic, vibrant group with a real mix of women and some wonderful, varied speakers, and it’s all true! The group we went to were chosing topics for next year, and a few that really caught my eye and surprised me were forensic psychology, the life of a spy and Tudor medicines, all of which I would really like to hear, I was pleased to see they were all getting lots of votes as ‘newbies’ weren’t allowed to vote. There was also tea, a lot of cake and so many other fun things planned outside the meetings. And not a Calendar Girls style crochted nipple tassel in sight!!

There was a talk, demonstration and taste test with recipe to make sloe gin, I must admit to not being a big fan of the end result but I don’t like gin, so that is probably not a very good start!!! 😀 It was a bit like cough medicine, but seemed to go down very well with all the gin aficionados there.

The evening was rounded off with a talk and demonstration by a raw food chef, vegan, vegetarian cafe owner and general all round super healthy person, Jay Halford, who owns The Core in Cheltenham. He made some courgette and cucumber ‘spaghetti’ with a spiralizer, (never thought I’d say this but I need one of these gadgets in my life!), and a sort of vegan pesto. It was seriously delicious and super healthy. Not two things that usually go together in my mind. It made me realise that I need to act on the random thoughts about getting healthy that flit through my mind about once a week. It’s going to be very hard for this die hard cake addict to change her ways, but I’m determined to give it a go. Baby steps though, today was a bad start with two chocolate biscuits for breakfast, baguette for lunch and vegeburger and chips for dinner. Oh well, with a diet this bad, it must be easy to make improvements right?!

All in all, I thought the whole night was really really good fun, and I’m so pleased to see a massive revival of what is, quite literally, an institution, and I can’t wait to sign up!

With regards to my new lifestyle change ideas, I promise not to become a diet bore. Mainly because I’m not convinced there will be a diet, but also because I have just got involved with a very awesome cause, the Bake and Brew in support of The Children’s Society, so I will need to get my cake bake on, in the name of charity of course. Maybe I can combine the two somehow, and make some healthy versions of the different monthly themes. Hopefully I can better my first raw ‘brownies’ effort when I didn’t de-stone the dates and almost broke Mr PB’s tooth!! 😀

Watch this space for more details, oh and any healthy but sweet treat recipes would be very much appreciated! This month’s theme is traybakes!

This is me doing my very best, 'serious WI member, I'm a grown up too' face!! :D
This is me doing my very best, ‘serious WI member, I’m a grown up too, trying not to laugh’ face!! 😀

Things I have learnt about school so far.

1.The morning that you have everything laid out ready and perfectly prepared your children will wake up ridiculously early so you have far too many hours to fill whilst keeping the uniform spotless because changing routine to not get washed and into uniform the minute you get up will result in a total anarchy and confusion and resistance.

Then there will be tears.

Yours.

And you will be very nearly late.

2.The morning that you don’t set your alarm because your children are always up so early will be the morning they enjoy a lovely long lie in. This will also be the morning you discover that school child has taken her song book out to sing to her teddies, put her spelling book down ‘somewhere’ and has a whole list of places she thinks the bag itself may be, each place in a completely different part of the house to the one you are in.

You will end up very hot.

Will be near to tears.

And very nearly late.

3.If you are being ‘phased in’ as we are, you will suddenly find yourself with whole mornings to fill with a not too tiring activity that they will get really really into right before it’s nearly time to go and the then the ‘battle of the bottle greens’ commences. (Getting them into their uniform.)

You will end up being very stressed.

Probably near to tears

Oh, and very nearly late.

4.When you sit down, all peaceful and relaxed, maybe with a cup of tea for you and a snack for them to ask them what they did that day, they will have nothing to tell you. When you are on the phone to the tax man, whilst cooking dinner, with cbeebies blaring in the background, they will suddenly have lots and lots of information to volunteer. The other time they will want to talk in depth about what they have been up to is when you are trying to get them into their shoes and coat on the way out of the door.

You will end up very flustered.

Close to tears and…..

You guessed it, very nearly late!!

5.You will realise with a somewhat sinking feeling that this whole palaver is something you will have to repeat every single day. Oh, and discover that the old adage you’ve always heard really is true, the ones who live closest to the school really do end up being the latest!!

In conclusion, it has been a few weeks of tears, indoor and outdoor shouty mummy and some serious rushes through the school gates!

What I imagine we look like every single morning!

All (semi)-joking aside, it seems to be going very well once I get her there and she has learnt so much already. She looks so grown up rushing out of the doors when I pick her up.

That is hands down my favourite bit. When she is scanning the sea of parents anxiously and then the moment she spots me, the massive smile that lights her face up like sunshine and the way she runs into my arms, ponytail and book bag swinging totally melts my heart!

Here’s to many more sunshine smiles and hopefully a lot less tears in the coming weeks. I’m not sure I can bear to hear myself parrot repeat ‘You have to have your hair brushed’ one more time. It feels a bit like deja vu!! 😀

How is everyone else getting on with school? New starters settling in ok? School returners dealing with the routine again? I’d love to hear how much better it gets. (Crossing all my fingers and toes that it does!)

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Fab free day out at The Wilson in Cheltenham.

A couple of weeks ago, on a free morning, big girl and I had the pleasure of discovering The Wilson, an art gallery and museum in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

How have we never found this awesomeness before?! We’ve been to the cafe and a few craft sessions there which have been great, but there is so so much more there.

To start with, there is an ‘Art Cart’ with lots of different pictures to colour, clipboards, colouring pencils and various different gallery trails for you to spot things in all the different galleries. We were given a map of the gallery and lots of advise on which way round to go from one of the very friendly staff members. We have met a few now and everyone has been lovely, and genuinely knowledgeable, trying to ensure that we have the best experience which is so nice.

  

Big girl had fun choosing a colour pencil, picture and trail. We set off, the clipboard gripped firmly in her hand, me laden down with all the other things that she had promised faithfully to carry herself.

In all honesty, she wasn’t too interested in the trail itself, her attention was wavering at best! She is only four though, and was pretty tired after a busy summer holiday and the excitement if school starting. It didn’t matter though we had fun just exploring, along the way are lots of hands on interactive displays for children to get involved. We had a lot of fun doing this beautiful wooden puzzle. Which was actually fiendishly difficult, as you can probably tell from the triumphant finishers’ grin on big girl’s face!

    The best bit for her, the stay and play area, is absolutely brilliant and full of dressing up clothes, masks, story books, a beautiful big doll’s house and lots of other toys.
    There was some hilarious dressing up.
  Big girl was determined to squeeze herself into the jester’s outfit which was about four sizes too small!  Being ever so mature, I couldn’t resist the dress up box either! 😀
  
    I was having far too much fun with this!
  
    Surely this is mother abuse?!
  A donkey riding a horse. Bizarre!  She spent a lot of time setting up a silver service tea party for the teddies there. Very Downton!
  A very odd bunch! I’d put the wrong plates out here apparently. Not classy enough!  Now she was happy.
  This photo I think, is the absolute height of grown up and adult behaviour. It sums me up perfectly.
She had so much fun there that she wanted to go back with small boy this week. We are still in phasing in with school so are getting lots of days of just a few hours and so this is a perfect activity to fill a morning or afternoon. They have a lovely drumming statue that plays when you put coins in and so I also managed to empty my purse of lots of coins while they had a lot of fun dancing along!

Little loony tunes! 😀
  They have a great selection of story books and the whole area is themed to the season and changes regularly. Looking forward to see what they will replace the summer stories and buckets and spades with.   Such a goon!
  My little cowboy.  The court jester had lots of fun pretending to build a sandcastle.
  They have lots of lovely sensory activities there, like the rainbow bags filled with different coloured objects that the children can sort.
  I love their wall art, designed to fire up the children’s imaginations. The whole area is so well thought out, small but beautifully designed to make optimum use of the space, with different areas to make sure there is something for all ages.
  
  I can’t rate it highly enough, as well as the wonderful children’s area, there are creation stations dotted around with pictures to colour in and pots of colouring pencils, lots of interactive displays all around the galleries and so much for me to look at too. Because we are usually passing through at a less then leisurely pace, I see new things every time we go. Look at this absolutely stunning tiara I discovered. One of many in a gorgeous display case. They also have fun cabinets with bonnets that rotate and lots of different drawers that the children can pull out to look at different clothing items. Including some beautiful silk stockings that were promptly labelled ‘stinky socks’ by my two horrors! 😀 

Best of all, it is totally free, (apart from the contents of the change section in your purse! 😉 ), and also very quiet. Both times we have been there it has only been us. For somewhere so child friendly, very close to the centre of town and cost free, that is very welcome! 😀

So, school, every day then!!

We’ve been doing pretty well so far. Had a week of afternoons. Fine, easy.

This week is mornings. Bearing in mind we are just two days in to the week, as I was getting her uniform all ready for tomorrow morning, I just thought; ‘Oh flipping heck, this is every day now!!!!!’. and had to sit down for a minute to let the shock subside!

I felt pretty smug at my amazing planning yesterday morning, she went off looking the model pupil, and then today we couldn’t find her tie so she went without it, god only knows what disaster will befall us tomorrow!!!

Pleeeeaaaase can someone tell me I’m not the only Mum struggling with this realisation, the horrifying, crushing, worrying realisation that I now have to be organised every single day, apart from the weekend. When we are not supposed to do too much.

I now remember why I hated school so much when I was younger!! 😉

I can’t believe the novelty has worn off already. (For me anyway, big girl is loving it!!)

The other option is homeschooling, which involves far more organisation so I will just have to suck it up and find that tie before the morning!!

In other, less whingy news, we have blackberries and apples in the garden and today we had a great bake off! Blackberry and apple crumble, apple and cinnamon crumble cupcakes and biscuits. The kids love baking and we all love eating. Win win!

Really regretting leaving the bag of flour with them!!!!
Our delicious haul! This is NOT good for my waistline.

*Edited to add that this is why we don’t bake every day!!! Look at my kitchen!! :O The Great British Bake Off tent never seems to look this bad, I think I need a team of clearer uppers in the back ground at all times, instead of the two professional mess makers I seem to have living with me! 😉

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Dear Mum-expecting-baby-number-two.

To my beautiful best friend,

There are a few things I really wanted you to know before your gorgeous new bundle arrives. Just in case it’s 2 in the morning, and you’re feeling those night time lonely blues, you have something written down to refer to, to know that I love you, I understand what you’re going going through and I’m here for you. Although possibly not at this very moment, it has taken almost 3 years to get both of mine to sleep all night and I’m making the most of it! 😉

1. You will feel constantly guilty. The Mother’s guilt will not just double but morph into something bigger then the pile of washing that will accumulate by the machine.

2. Your first born will probably eat far too many ready meals. This is ok though, it just means that if they refuse to eat something, you will feel less rage in comparison to if it’s a meal that you gave up a nap to make for them.

3. You will endure far more bad latching during night feeds then first time round, this is because, in a desperate attempt to stop the baby waking your bigger baby, you will just want to stop the screaming. This is partly out of concern for your biggie’s welfare and also because you sure as hell don’t want to deal with them both at 3am!

4. There will be more instances of your baby having up-the-back poo-plosions as you are walking out the door. How you deal with it depends on how urgently you need to be somewhere. You may change them in the door way, you may have to hose them off in the shower and stick them in the sling in just a nappy & snowsuit. One thing is for sure, you will not be doing anything that takes too long in case your first born gets bored & takes all their outdoor clothes off again.

5. Your baby will spend far more time in a sleepsuit. Not a fresh going out sleepsuit but the suit they actually slept in. On a good day you will sponge off the sick marks.

6. You will never know what to buy your second for birthdays or Christmas. It doesn’t matter though, your house will already look like a cross between hamleys and the crappy toy carousel in your local shop, ( thanks for all the plastic tat magazine companies!!), plus the youngest will only ever want to play with whatever your eldest is, especially fun if this contains unsuitable small parts.

7. Your baby will get part of their nutrition from things they find on the floor. First time round, you made sure the floors were always clean. Second time you consider it immune system building and only intervene if they are about to eat the dog or cat food. There are limits!

8. You will be amazed at all the stuff you really really don’t need. Your baby will spend far less time at any milestone then you remember with your first. Rather then a case of documenting every facial expression on camera, it will more of a, ‘when did they learn to roll over?!’ parenting experience. This may be after they fell off the bed. 😱

9. That one toy that used to buy you 10 minutes for a shower first time round and you’ve raved about to every new mother ever since? Your new baby will hate it.

10. You will forget your identity. When you finally emerge, blinking out of the new baby fog, (and you will!!), you will have no idea what music you like, what clothes are fashionable, which books you like, (anyway, you probably won’t have the concentration to read more then a paragraph before a vital, urgent job pops into your mind), or what it is like to leave the house alone/with just your other half/in the evening.

11. You will most likely eat way too many pringles, fish fingers and cake in the first months. (Ok years!) After the effort of purchasing and heating up your first born’s ready meal, all you will have the energy for is a snack from the cupboard, after polishing off the ready meal leftovers of course.

12. You will doubt yourself a lot. You will quickly realise you do actually clear space in your brain to retain important new things like the children’s tv channel numbers and where you hid your cake, and so you have forgotten most of the basic baby care essentials. Like ALWAYS packing several spare outfits and nappies. Even if you are just popping out for two minutes. If you forget, the severe puking incident on the shop counter with no muslins   handy will soon jog your memory.

13. Your new baby will have a huge percentage more second hand then your first. Especially clothing. For a start, you will now know far more people with children who are dying to have a clear out see their first born’s beautiful expensive baby clothes get some more wear. 😉  You will also not change their clothing half as much and so have no need for as much. See point 5.

After all, you don’t really go anywhere now. Forget about dinners out with everyone admiring your cute well behaved baby, now you will have rushed meals at generic family restaurants. It will be stressful and you will leave slightly unsure whether anyone actually enjoyed it. You will feel happy that you don’t have to cook tonight though! (Heating up a ready meal is technically cooking ok!)

14. Before the baby arrives you will probably have 2 main thoughts. What will happen with my eldest when I go into labour and will I have enough love for another when I love my big baby soooo much. Firstly, have a good plan in place to deal with labour, don’t forget you will have a fair bit of time huffing and puffing usually, it’s pretty rare to have those ten minute tv labours, although it does happen, and if it does to you, at least it will be over very quickly and your first won’t have time to really register what is going on.

As for the love, it is so true that your heart just expands to make room. It can take a while to adjust though, you may find yourself resentful of your first when you want some newborn staring time and they do not! A good friend told me this and it made me feel much less guilty when it happened with us. Swings and roundabouts though as you will soon find yourself irritated by a stroppy toddler when you are trying to do an activity with your precious big baby.

15. Time will fly. I mean seriously fast. It will whizz by like you wouldn’t believe. Soon you will have two children out of nappies, out of buggies, no more naps, and you will wonder where those years went.

This is where the real fun starts though. Life gets an awful lot easier. Unless you go for number 3 of course!! 😆

I will be here for you every step of the way. Despite everything, I wouldn’t for a minute change things, and I have two gorgeous children who I love to bits and who love each other. When they are not fighting like cat and dog of course! 😉 It has been the hardest job of my life but the reward is greater then any cash bonus, (not saying that it wouldn’t be nice though!), I’m so impatient to meet your new little darling, I am almost as excited as if it were my baby!

I can’t wait for newborn cuddles. I get all the fun bits now!!

All my love,

xxxxxxxxx

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babybrain

Doing something.

I am trying to do something to make a change. I have written about the refugee situation, and how it broke my heart, but I didn’t want to just leave it at that. I joined a local facebook group that is gathering donations and arranging trips to take them out to Calais. I also offered to do a run out myself. It makes me feel nervous, I don’t know what to expect, but I have read some wonderful stories written by people that have been out to do the very same thing, and I feel that if I can make even a fraction of a difference, to help just one family, I will have done something.

My heart still hurts when I think of all those children, senseless young lives cut short, but so many more are out there, tired, cold and hungry. I have had a massive clear out too, it was actually easy to give things up. My friend gave me a badge once, it said ‘All these things, of which we have no need.’, and in my case, I feel that that is more then true. I have a hoarding gene and am loathe to throw anything away, ‘just in case’ or if it holds a sentimental memory. Trouble is, everything can hold a sentimental memory! I keep clothes, birthdays cards, shoes, coats, toys, books, nothing gets thrown away. Now however, I have filled bags and bags of things. Things I know for sure I won’t really wear again, a cropped shirt may hold many fun memories of nights of but come on, I’m a 32 year old mum of two, the way my diet is going, by the time I get my body in a fit state for anything shorter then mid thigh length, my daughter will be at an age where I will be a crippling embarrassment to her, in a neck to ankle covering outfit, never mind a flesh flashing top! 😀

This is just my stuff, I've not even started on the rest of the family's things yet!
This is just my stuff, I’ve not even started on the rest of the family’s things yet!

I am splitting our things in two. Half will go to the refugees and half to another charity who collect through the pre-school my daughter attended. After all, there are people suffering everywhere, including in our own towns and not everything is suitable, not sure there is any need for pretty high heels in the jungle!!

I will keep you updated with how the trip goes, I’m not sure when it will be exactly, but I know there will be people in desperate need for a long time to come, and so help will still be needed when the initial drive has eased.

I had one negative comment on my previous post, and while the woman’s attitude really shocked me, her words made me think. She believes that it is a ploy to get terrorists into the country, she fully blames the father for the deaths of his family. If she truly believes that, surely even blinded by hatred she could see that by offering gestures of kindness, warm clothes, a kind voice, a smile, we can try and mend relations? These children are going to grow up. They will remember kindnesses shown to them now, and maybe we can make things more peaceful for future generations.

I’m not naive, I know that not everyone will be in genuine need, I realise that we can’t support everyone, but surely by donating some old clothing, showing some compassion, giving up some time, we can try and spread some love and care rather then fear and hate.

Don’t tell the kids though, I’m going to have to tackle their things when they are both out! 😀

The 5 simple signs that your child is overtired.

If lots of eye rubbing isn’t present to help you work it out, here are my five handy signs that your child is suffering from overtiredness. Or maybe that should say that you are suffering from your child’s overtiredness!!

1. Severe Unreasonableness.

An overtired child will disagree with you about everything. This can include the colour of the sky above you, whether they ate shreddies or weetabix for breakfast and even what their name is. (This stems from a genuine full day argument I had with my daughter when she changed her name to Hello Kitty and refused to answer to anything else. I am equally stubborn and refused point blank to call her anything but the lovely name I had given her. This was mainly because she had been exhibiting signs 1 – 5 for days and I had really had enough!)

2. An inability to walk.

This will be especially irritating if you are in a hurry. There will be feet dragging, exaggerated sighing and much eye rolling and huffing.

Pointing out that the energy they are wasting on their silly behaviour could be better put to use just walking quietly, will just make you feel extra annoyance because you will realise that at some point you have actually morphed into your stereotypical idea of a nagging mother and fun pinterest mum, the one you aspire to be, is in a corner of your subconscious, making sandwiches look like picnicking teddy bears and making under-the-sea mobiles out of toilet roll cores whilst shaking her head and tutting at you.

It will also have naff all effect on the walking ability of your child, which will only serve to add to your irritation and chiding, they will delight in watching you get more and more wound up.

3. Mutinous glares.

These will be frequent and if you’re anything like me at the end if a long week, come from both child and mother.

4. Tantrums.

As in the terrible two style melt downs but in a child who is much past that somewhat forgivable young age. A child who now has an acute awareness of what really embarrasses you and has hit on the winning formula of screaming at full, shrill volume over and over and shouting, ‘Stop Hurting Me Mummy!’, when you go anywhere near her, following up with sly glances around at disgusted looking passers by and triumphant, ‘whatcha gonna do?!’ stares at you when no-one is looking.

This just results in making you think that a smacked bottom would be very much in order right now, but having to make do with wild threats made through gritted teeth, things like throwing away every toy they have ever owned and banning tv FOREVER. They will remain totally un-phased, knowing that a) there is no way that you could cope without the back up of c-beebies when you are cooking and b) that their birthdays will replenish the toy stocks, either that or a plaintive call to a sympathetic grandparent.

5. Excessive crying.

About everything and anything. Including dragging up past events that were genuinely upsetting, like grazed knees or times when they lost privileges for being naughty and how mean and unreasonable their parents are.

I suppose it’s like the adult equivalent to watching a tear jerking film when you’re going through a bad break up. Only FAR. MORE. ANNOYING!!

It doesn’t need a number but the obvious sign that beats all of these hands down is when you find yourself in the fridge.

Reaching for the wine.

At 3pm.

On a Monday. 😀

2d204-bestandworstlinky

For whom the (school) bell tolls.

I am in such a maelstrom of thought and emotion, the weeks seem to be galloping past, the start of school for my big girl is looming so quickly. The summer stretched ahead of us like a long, blissful haze of joy but then it started speeding by and now we are mere days away from the start of the new chapter. Neither of us know what to expect. Emotions are high in us both. I know she is nervous. She is showing so many signs of trying to dictate things and I’m sure it’s because she feels that the whole school thing is out of her control, she told me recently that she wasn’t going to go to school as she ‘just didn’t fancy it’. I tried to explain that she will have a wonderful time and all her friends are going to be there and that she would settle in slowly. Over 6 weeks in fact! She wasn’t to be convinced. She doesn’t like the colour of her uniform, wants to stay at her preschool. wants to stay with her brother, lots of things that were quite the opposite just a few weeks ago. So I am a bit stuck, trying to make this the best summer ever, without spoiling them, because I’m worried they are turning into wanting whingers. Mainly because all I hear is ‘I want’!! In a whinge! Damn Lelli Kellis with their carriage make up set and hair colour wand! If you have escaped this so far, you have definitely not been resorting to milkshake pre 8 am as I have. (Well done by the way, please could you wing some tips my way! 😉 ) Things have improved slightly since I told them that they can buy whatever they like when they have their own money. Now they just list everything they will buy when they are older. Which is a lot!

So we are having this conflict, I’m trying to make it nice, and she is behaving horrendously. It is stressful. For both of us I’m sure. The fighting between the siblings is off the scale. We are having marginal success with the Castle reward chart but more often then not I am being shouty mum. Home shouty. When we are out as well. Which is making me look a little terrible and deranged.

Then I’m sad again. And so it continues. Mood swings and roundabouts. Literally!!

So today we had a mummy daughter day. Small boy was at nursery and I took big girl into town after we dropped him off. I decided that there would be no cakes and buying things though. It was a treat free treat day, if that makes any sense! Behaviour of late didn’t warrant any treats but I wanted to do something special and spend some quality time together, we were meeting her friends for a swim later so had the morning free.

They have been running free craft sessions in our local shopping centre, it is so lovely. Today was bracelet making, and we had so much fun!

Excited face Soexcited Startbracelet

It was absolutely brilliant and we had a such a wonderful time, things were so much better just the two of us and I think we both benefited from some peaceful time without any arguing. Plus she has got a beautiful bracelet now, aaaand we went in to the shop that was running all the crafts and bought Wilma our new camper van a beautiful present.

Finished bracelet     Bunting

Please tell me I’m not alone in this! All I want is for it to be special and I feel like it is anything but!! I’m scared that I’ll look back and regret that this time hasn’t been totally magic and sparkle and joy. I suppose it’s just been real life really!

Today I made my children a dungeon.

Yes really, a dungeon with bars on the window and a giant padlock on the door. Before you phone the NSPCC, let me reassure you that it is in paper form! The summer holidays have really taken their toll and behaviour has slid down into the realms of horrendous, so I came up with the idea of a castle reward chart. There would be paths up and when, (if!!!), they reached the castle, they could have a treat.

Even with a scary dragon!
Even with a scary dragon!

I decided to make it with big girl, so she would really feel invested in the project and hopefully take it more seriously. We drew it together and I printed out photos of both children and we dressed them up in costumes, princess for big girl and small boy is a gallant knight. (May be a stereotype but that is what they wanted, I would have happily let them switch if they wished.) He has less steps on his path as he is almost two years younger and she has more opportunities to step forward up her path, with things like having her hair brushed without protest on the list.

Sophiecastle                                                                       Sophiecastle2

When we had finished, it was pretty late and we just put it straight on the wall, but it was looking a little bit bland.

It was looking a bit bland apart from big girl's beautifully decorated windows!
It was looking a bit bland apart from big girl’s beautifully decorated windows!

Sophieprincess Ozzyknight

Luckily, the princess and the knight were looking pretty fabulous! Especially with the sequins little miss filched out of my sewing box! 🙂 I’m not convinced about the princess’s lipstick if I’m honest, but she did ask for it. Then complained I’d coloured in her mouth!

Colours  HappydragonJester

So we got the colours out and had a little fun creating some extra characters and adding in some bright splashes. Oh, and a dungeon….behaviour today was that bad! It is hopefully going to be a good incentive, especially with the (slightly!), scary dragon standing guard!!

All finished!
All finished!

We sat down at the table and worked out a list of behaviours that would take them down the path, we have 3 main categories in each, and expanded on them a little bit underneath. When I was writing it out, it was a little jumbled as I had an awful lot of suggestions coming at me that were pretty noisy and interesting so my tenses are all over the shop, but luckily they can’t read yet! You get the general idea though!

NegativePositive

They seemed to get the general idea so I’m hoping that they start to improve on things soon! I don’t feel like we’re asking the world from them, just a bit of mutual respect and tidying up after themselves, I don’t think you can ever be too young to learn to behave well.

They are just seeming very spoilt at the moment and I know a lot of that is our fault always doling out the treats! They are going to need to earn them from now on! I think it’s a great act of love to teach them these things as well as to shower them with hugs and kisses and lessen the flow of material goods.

Or that’s the plan anyway!! Anything to stop the cacophony of ‘I wants’ that I seem to be hearing. They get a small treat when they reach the jester and something bigger when they get to the castle drawbridge.

In this case, a trip to a big farm park that I handily already had tickets to. 🙂

Close up dragon Close up jester Scary dragon close