Day 238 - Here we go again...

Quotes about LOCKDOWN | wEARE ARE NOT ALL IN THE SAME BOAT QUOTE

Here we go again…

I think we all hoped and prayed that we wouldn’t have to go into lockdown again, but deep down I think I always knew we would.  It feels different this time though.

This time we know what we are up against (as invisible as it is), we already have precautions in place, even more so than before.  But the difference is we are keeping Schools and Universities open.  So will it really work…

What’s Changed?

I haven’t written in so long, what with the kids going back to school and being back at work, the last few months have passed in a kind of blur.  It seems to take so much more effort to do just the simple things when they come with so many rules and/or restrictions.  Even just leaving the house has become a military operation, not seen since the boys were babies (I do not miss the days of bottles, wipes, nappies, nappy bags, baby milk, spare baby grow, bibs… the list is endless).  However with the prospect of our second lockdown looming it seemed appropriate to catch up with you all.

How are you?

How are you guys doing? How have you found the last few months coming out of lockdown and what are you feeling now we are right back in?  Have you been furloughed again, or are you working as normal?

I’m back at work and I have to say it has made all the difference to my mental health.  But I’ve noticed something inside me has changed, Something happened during lockdown.  I got brave!

I’m much more likely to say how I feel now, to be honest, even if its not always the popular choice.  That’s a bold move for me #peoplepleaser

I’ve also decided to push myself to do things outside my comfort zone.  It hasn’t been easy but I’m working on it.  My first major achievement (and you’ll understand why shortly) was to ‘do’ a podcast.

Whilst on lockdown, as you know, I began writing again and through my writing was introduced to an amazing man called Sid Madge.  Sid is the founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise Programme), using the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology they help people achieve extraordinary lives.

LISTEN NOW
Motivational Quote _ Vladimir Lenin Quotes _ Lockdown Quotes _ Inspirational Quotes _ Meee HQ

So here it is, my first podcast!  Gosh it’s weird listening to your own voice, I hope you like!  It took 7 attempts just to speak to Sid (anxiety at it’s best!)

Just Meee! Fay Stephenson aka Felicity Finds – From survivor to thriver and inspirer on mental health…

I hope you enjoy!  And if you need to talk, then I’m here.

“We are not all in the same boat.  We are all in the same storm.”

Unknown

#strongertogether

Fay x

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn

Please also check out Meee Resources for a whole range of topics, from mental health to help with decision-making.

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Podcast Edition_ Mental Health _ Lockdown Diaries _ Meee HQ

Books for Tweens

How To Change Your Parents Into Superstars - Book Review

Books for Tweens

Books for Tweens - Quotes about being famous _ Louis the Laugh _ Book Quotes _ Kids Books Quotes

I’m not sure about you but I haven’t found Lockdown the easiest?! The boys on the other hand seem to have taken to it without complaint (well bar homeschooling).  From X-Box to Nintendo Switch; Netflix to Disney Plus, there have been so many online ways for our kids to stay in touch and catch up on games, TV and films.  However, the worry is that reading has taken a back seat whilst they try to stay in touch with each other.

So with all the worries of Coronavirus and the social loneliness caused by lockdown then sometimes escaping into a book is exactly what our kids need.  Cue Louise the Laugh to the rescue.

Louis the Laugh

How to change your Parents into Superstars is the sixth book in the extremely popular Louis the Laugh series.  Written by child and teen author Pete Johnson and illustrated by James Cottell.  My boys were massive fans of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and ‘Tom Gates’, so when we were asked to review the book, I knew they would love.  As did I…

A side-splittingly laugh out loud story of Louis and his quest to become famous in today’s online world. The fickle world of girlfriends and annoying little brothers.  As well as the embarrassment of parents when they ‘discover’ themselves mid-life.  The book uses humour and mischievousness to deliver a coming-of-age story in today’s technological and social media obsessed world.

Books for Tweens - Quotes about Reading _ Mason Cooley Quotes _ Lockdown Quotes _ Motivational Quotes (2)

A study from the University of Sussex has shown reading for just 6 minutes a day reduces stress levels by 68%.  And when we know that smartphone usage before bed can lead to poor sleep quality, as well as reading fiction is linked to our ability to understand that peoples thoughts and beliefs are different from our own.

The great thing about the series is that you can read any of the books without having read the previous.  And with the next few months looking just as unsure as the last few, then a little escapism and laughter are just what our kids need.  So whatever the future holds and whether the kids make in back to school in September or not, I thoroughly recommend this series to keep them laughing throughout! We can’t wait to read the rest…

About the Author

Pete Johnson was originally a film critic for Radio One before becoming a Secondary School teacher.  He is author of over 50 books, including the ‘How to Train Your Parents’ series.  His books have won various awards including the Young Telegraph Award and the Brilliant Book Award, and have been translated into more than 20 languages worldwide.

Please note that the book was gifted to me for review.

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

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BOOKS FOR TWEENS _ HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS _ KIDS BOOK REVIEW

What is Dyslexia | How Felicity Finds

What is Dyslexia?

Quotes about Dyslexia_ Dyslexia Quotes _ Mental Health Quotes _ Motivational Quotes _ Albert Einstein Quotes

What is Dyslexia?

The NHS states Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty.  People with dyslexia will have issues with specific abilities used for learning. Specifically reading difficulty and written language, but possibly also with word reading maths.

Dyslexia does not affect intelligence.

It’s estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.

So what are some common dyslexia symptoms?

Dyslexia Symptoms

I wrote previously with some of the early signs of Dyslexia here, but below are some of the most common signs by age:

DYSLEXIA SYMPTOMS _ EARLY YEARS SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA _ SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA
DYSLEXIA SYMPTOMS _ SCHOOL YEARS SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA _ SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA (1)
DYSLEXIA SYMPTOMS _ TEENS & ADULTS SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA _ SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA

Getting Help

If you think that your child may have undiagnosed dyslexia then the first things to do is to speak to the school.  Your child’s teacher or the school’s SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) will address your concerns.  They may then offer additional support if necessary and appropriate.

If your child continues to have issues despite additional support then it may be that you look at a formal assessment.  These assessments are more in-depth and will be carried out by a specialist dyslexia teacher or educational psychologist. They can be arranged through the school, or you can arrange privately (Can cost anything from £450 – £800).

Samuel has just had his formal assessment and we are awaiting the results.  We found a local charity via the British Dyslexia Association (American Dyslexia Association in the U.S).

If, as an adult, you think you may be dyslexic and would like dyslexia screening, you should contact your local dyslexia association for advice.

Read more about how dyslexia is diagnosed.

Support with Dyslexia

If your child has dyslexia, then it is likely they will receive extra support from their school.

There is absolutely no reason why your child cannot go to a mainstream school.  However, depending on the severity of dyslexia, your child may benefit from attending a specialist school.

The extra support that your child may receive could be the following:

  • 1-to-1 teaching or lessons in a small group with a specialist teacher.
  • Phonics (multi-sensory & via computer apps such as Nessy)
  • Technology like computers, speech recognition software and electronic pens, that may make it easier to read and write for older children.
  • Universities & Colleges have specialist staff who can support young people in higher education.

What Causes Dyslexia?

As said earlier, dyslexia isn’t related to a person’s level of intelligence.  All levels of intellect in children and adults can be affected by dyslexia.

The exact cause of dyslexia isn’t known, but it does seem to run in families., so could be genetic.  There does also seem to be a link with early/premature birth and also low birth weight.

As soon as we have Samuel’s results we will be able to sit down with the school and look at how we can best support him in his learning.  This has been a hard year for him, homeschooling from mum and lockdown certainly haven’t helped.  So here’s to an awesome year ahead!  Do you have dyslexia or a dyslexic child?  When was it diagnosed?  Do you feel you/your child received appropriate support?  I love to hear your stories.

Fay x

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Day 132 - Is it Okay to be Anxious?

Anxious Times - Quotes about Anxiety _ Anxiety Quotes _ Mental Health Quotes _ Motivational Quotes

Figures

UK Deaths: 45,752

UK Cases: 299,426

Worldwide Deaths:  649,933

Worldwide Cases: 16,293,234

Developments this week…

So this week Face Masks, or should I say face coverings, became compulsory in all shops.  There are some exceptions, including age and health conditions, but we are now a mask-wearing nation.

Spain has now been added to the list of countries that have to quarantine for 2 weeks when they arrive in the UK.  Not such great news for those brave enough to have travelled in the last few days thinking they wouldn’t have to!

The New Norm…

It’s so weird to watch the world get back to some sort of normality.  Some countries are coping well and really seem to have a handle on the pandemic, whilst others are seeing second waves and really struggle to contain.

Spain (hence the addition to the travel list) and Australia and struggling with second waves.  Whilst Brazil, Mexico, The U.S and India are still struggling with the initial wave and numbers are just shocking.

Quotes about Anxiety _ Mental Health Quotes _ Mental Health Awareness _ Anxiety Disorder

I thought I was dealing with things a little better, that the anxiety was a lot better.  In a way it is, I’m no longer obsessively scratching my hands, but going out more means more anxiety attacks.  The introduction of more and more people outside again has been a real stumbling block for me.  And even just my general anxiety has stepped up a notch.  Sometimes I’m not quite sure how my OH puts up with me, as I lose my temper at the drop of a hat at times, and do take an awful lot of it out on him.

I’m overthinking everything and struggling to make even the easiest decisions or plans.  Struggling to figure out who to see and when to see just becomes too much, and it’s easier to just leave it.

My Little Monkey

Poor S is really starting to struggle too, his moods are so up and down.  He’s such a social little man and he’s missed contact with people.  I’m letting go slowly, but just so wary when we have Grandma in our bubble.  I also know fine well that my mood swings won’t help either.  I am trying so hard to work on that, but sometimes trying to control them just makes it worse.

He’s had his formal assessment for Dyslexia this week and I think that took a lot out of him.  3 hours of concentration is normally beyond him, and he was shattered for the rest of the day.  We are awaiting his results and he is being screened for other neurodiversity traits too.  I just hate to see him struggle, so much to deal with for this little man right now.

Self-Care

Anyway, I am trying to be easier on myself, trying to give myself a break.  I literally can only manage what I can manage and shouldn’t feel the need to do anymore.  I’m working on some mindfulness and family time after reading a fab book last week, read about it here.  It’s also been nice to have a few days of sun and warmth again.  Let’s see what the next few weeks bring…

As the government would say, Stay alert!  I’m so friggin alert, I can’t switch off! LOL

Fay x

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Is it okay to be anxious_ _ Anxiety Disorder_ PARENTHOOD _ MENTAL HEALTH _ Wellbeing

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Signs of a Panic Attack

Quotes about Panic Attacks _ Anxiety Quotes _ Mental Health Quotes (1)

Panic Attacks

I had had panic attacks before, but quite mild and actually initially I didn’t realise that was what they were.  I always assumed that a panic attack was severe, kinda like the ones you see on TV and in films.  It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with PTSD that I realised that I had in fact been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.  So what actually are the signs of a panic attack?

What is a Panic Attack

A panic attack is when you experience a rush of extreme physical and mental symptoms. It can come on very quickly, be triggered by our surroundings or specific events.  However, a panic attack can also happen for no apparent reason.

A panic attack can be very frightening and upsetting.

Signs of a Panic Attack

  • Racing Heartbeat
  • Feeling Faint
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Chest Pain / Shortness of Breath
  • Hot Flushes / Chills
  • Trembling / Shaky Limbs
  • Feeling of Dread
  • Dizziness
  • Churning Stomach

For a fuller list of symptoms and more information on panic disorder, anxiety and panic attacks, see NHS UK

Panic Disorder

Panic attacks are a symptom of Panic Disorder, which is an anxiety disorder.   

All of us experience feelings of anxiety and panic at times. In stressful or potentially dangerous situations, it is a completely natural response.

However those with panic disorder, find feelings of anxiety, stress and panic occur regularly.

10 Common Signs of a Panic Attack _ Panic Attack Symptoms _ Mental Health Awareness _ Anxiety Awareness

My Symptoms

For me I tend to find I suffer from shortness of breath, trembling, and I get extremely upset.  Obvious triggers for me are crowds and phone calls / video calls.  However Lockdown and COVID brought about a whole new set of triggers.  And I have to say like many others, my anxiety went through the roof, as did the amount of panic attacks I had.

Facts about Panic Attacks

  1. Panic attacks can occur while you’re asleep.
  2. Panic attacks don’t just occur with panic disorder.
  3. Diet and exercise can drastically reduce panic attacks.
  4. Panic attacks can occur expectedly or suddenly.
  5. Avoiding phobias can increase your fears.

Read more…

If you feel that you may be suffering from panic attacks or panic disorder then please seek professional help.

Websites to read

NHS UK

Mind.Org

Mental Health Foundation

Useful steps if you are having a panic attack are to focus on your breathing, focus on your senses and try some grounding techniques.

What are your triggers and what do you do to calm yourself during a panic attack?

Fay x

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Panic Attack Signs _ Panic Disorder _ Anxiety Attacks _ Mental Health Awareness

Family Support - Self Help Books on Table

60 Ways To Improve Family Life in 60 Secs

Meee in a Family Minute

Family Support - Sid Madge in action

Family Support

Sid Madge is the author of ‘Meee in a Family Minute’ and founder of The Meee Programme.  In 2009, Sid chose to relocate from London to a remote corner in North Wales, and build a new business.  Running a workshop at a local school, Sid was shocked by the self-esteem of the students.  Asked to describe themselves, 15% used terms such as ‘freak’, ‘weirdo’ and ‘misfit’.  He felt urged to take action and the Meee Programme was born.

His first book ‘Meee in a Minute – 60 ways to improve your life in 60 seconds’ has become a best-seller. It recognises and affirms the work of the Meee Programme, which encourages everyone to recognise and believe in their abilities.

More and more in these unprecedented times, we are looking to re-balance our family lives and relationships. Could ‘Meee in a Family Minute’ provide some family support and do just that?

Balancing Act

I was sent an email in June asking if I would like to improve my work-life-home balance.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about family life and about wellbeing.  So it immediately grabbed my attention.  ’60 Ways to Improve Your Family Life in 60 Seconds’ is the third in the series of ‘Meee in a Minute’ books from Sid Madge.

I was very lucky to be gifted a copy of the book and have to say as soon as I began reading, I knew this book was special.  I struggled to put down, but the fantastic thing is each chapter literally takes less than a minute to read.  Therefore you can make small changes with immediate effect.

Family Support - Mental Health Awareness _ Mental Health Quotes _ Meee in a Family Minute _ 60 ways to improve family life in 60 secs

As with everything rather than try to change lots at once, we need to walk before we run.  The book is full of useful tips and strategies to help with family support. To help engage with, enjoy and reconnect.  So as I read through, I marked the chapters I wanted to bring to our family life.  I then narrowed it down to my Top 5 which I am determined to work on over summer with us all.

Our Top 5 Actions To Take

  1. Cut down on screen time – From Home School to Lockdown, it has increased the whole families screen time exponentially.  The holidays and relaxation in lockdown gives us the chance to cut back down on our screen time as a family.
  2. Family Values – This is something really important to me and I want the boys to have something visual, to re-affirm those values daily.
  3. Read Aloud to your kids – Cutting down on screen time allows us time to start reading more too.  The older boys and I have a stack of books to get through this summer.  But for Samuel with his Dyslexia, it’s not so easy.  Reading aloud to him will hopefully give him that love of reading and encourage him with his reading.
  4. Play Together – We cracked on with this last night after ordering more shuttlecocks (Daisy keeps eating them).  The Badminton tournament is going strong.  Just seeing all the boys playing out in the garden happily together was lovely.  After tea, Monopoly came out, and a request for UNO to be played tonight! A great start,
  5. Be The Change – I think being stuck at home has made me more aware of how my personal behaviour affects the boys.  My anxiety about lockdown has poured over into angry outbursts and a feeling of loss of control.  In Samuel especially I can see some of those traits in him.  I need to be the change…

‘Little Bible of Goodness’

This Pocket-sized book is jam-packed full of actionable family support to enable you to use now, or simply to read through and realise that actually even in the madness of lockdown, you are doing a good job! But we should never stop learning, just as our children don’t.  This book is perfect for those times when you are a little unsure.  when you know you want to make a change or help, but aren’t quite sure how to do it best. Or one of your kids needs a little more support.  From chapters on ‘Family Time’ or ‘Don’t Take it Personally’ to ‘No Regrets’ or ‘Never Criticise’, it really does manage to cover everything.  I would thoroughly recommend and have just ordered the previous two books in the series.

If you are interested in learning more about the Programme and what it can do for you, your colleagues, or students, then please check it out.  Fascinating read…

I’ll keep you posted on how our small changes go over the next few weeks.  I’d love to hear if you read and what you think.  Or what you’d love to develop within your family this summer!  Comment below.

Fay x

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Top 10 Ways To Look After Your Mental Health

Updated 19 July 2020

Good Mental Health

I don’t know about you but more and more I’m keen to do what I can to keep my mental health as well as it can be.  So I was intrigued as to what exactly is good for my mental health, there are some pretty obvious, but maybe there are some not so.

These ten ways to maintain good mental health are a great start.

Top 10 Tips for Good Mental Health

1. Sleep

Sleep is really important for your physical and mental health. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can start to feel depressed or anxious.  This article from Slumber Smart provides some great tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.

2. Eat well

Eating well isn’t just important for your body, but it’s also important for your mind. Mineral deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, can give you a low mood.

3. Avoid Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs

When you’ve had a few drinks you can feel more depressed and anxious the next day, and it can be harder to concentrate. If you smoke, between cigarettes your body and brain go into withdrawal which makes you irritable and anxious. Other drugs can often cause very low moods and anxiety.

4. Sunlight

Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a really important vitamin for our bodies and our brains. It helps your brain to release chemicals which improves your mood, like endorphins.

10 Top Tips For Good Mental Health

5. Limit stress

Stress is often unavoidable, but knowing what triggers your stress and knowing how to cope is key in maintaining good mental health.

6. Exercise

Exercising can help eliminate low mood, anxiety, stress and feeling tired and lazy.

7. Do something that makes you happy

Try to make time for doing things you enjoy. If you don’t spend any time doing things you enjoy, you will very quickly become irritable and unhappy.

8. Be Social

Make an effort to maintain good relationships and talk to people whenever you get the chance.  It’s not always easy, but it does make such a difference.

9. Do things for others

Helping others isn’t just good for the people you’re helping; it’s good for you too. Feeling as though you’re part of a community is a really important part of your mental health.

10. Ask for help!

One of the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognise when you are beginning to struggle and to know when to ask for help. There’s no shame in asking someone for support if you’re feeling low or stressed.

Mental Health Awareness _ Mental Health Quotes _ Top 10 Tips for Good Mental Health

My personal plan…

So for now I intend to use my time wisely and work on a couple of the above points.  Sleeping and eating I tend to be okay with.  I don’t smoke or do drugs (licking the spoon of Calpol doesn’t count right?), although my downfall is bubbles.

Sunlight is something I can’t really do much about a lot of the time, we do live in Britain after all! I can’t even begin to limit stress at the moment LOL, but I do need to start running again.

Something that does make me happy baking and cooking with the boys.  Check out our latest recipes here.

Combining being social and doing things for others, then I’ve become a social media advocate for The Trussell Trust Foodbank.

So what do you guys do to help with good mental health?  I’d love to hear how you look after yourself in the comments below, what works for you?

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

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10 TIPS FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH _ MOTHERHOOD _ PARENTHOOD _ PTSD _ PND _ TRAUMA (1)

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When Healthy Behaviours Turn Dark - Guest Post

Behaviours - Mind & Body Intertwined

Lisa, of Mind and Body Intertwined, started her blog whilst studying for her Bachelors in Psychology.  She has now received her Masters degree. During her studies, she found that the body and the mind are often working together to secure our happiness.  Lisa started researching the connection between the mind and the body and how they can compliment each other in daily life.

Read more about Lisa here.

Behaviours

Hi! My name is Lisa from Mind and Body Intertwined. During my studies, I’ve found how easy it is to get confused between normal behaviour and problematic behaviours. For instance, watching what you eat is generally considered healthy behaviour. However, there is a disease called orthorexia. It’s a form of anorexia where people get so scared of being unhealthy that they start to avoid certain food groups, which eventually can lead to undernourishment or even worse. Trying to eat less sugar is quite healthy, but not if you start to think that one banana is going to kill you, due to the fruit sugars in it.

I’ve personally experienced this when talking about dealing with your feelings. You’ve always been told that talking about your feelings is healthier than keeping them in or avoiding them. Laughing things away can therefore being considered as an unhealthy behaviour.

However, in my experience, it can also be very helpful not to take your problems too serious sometimes. Sometimes talking a lot about certain things can make them feel bigger than they actually are.

Quotes about Behaviours _ Mental Health Quotes _ Mental Health Awareness _ Kids Mental Health

Most disorders are normal feelings or behaviours that escalated for some reason. Feeling sad isn’t bad, depression is. Anxiety isn’t bad, but it is if it happens often and it’s stronger than it should be. If you apply for a job you really want, some anxiety is fine. It only becomes problematic when it paralyzes you or when it impacts every other part of your life and you can’t eat or sleep because of it.

Is It Unhealthy?

So, where is the line? When can you classify something as unhealthy? The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) has some common things to say about the differences between a disorder and a problem. In most disorders, common ways to actually identify things as problematic is when:

– The behaviour leads to suffering of the self or others
– The behaviour lasts for a certain amount of time (depends on the problem)
– How intensely are the behaviours/feelings?
– It doesn’t have another explanation (like sadness when someone close has died or medication)

Now, this doesn’t mean that the behaviour doesn’t pose a problem if this is not the case, but it is not necessarily a disorder. I do use these criteria for myself as a guideline as well. For instance, I know that if I drank too much or ate very unhealthy for a few days, I have depressive symptoms. However, they always subside in a few days and I know the cause, so I don’t have to worry my actual depression is coming back. However, it does mean that I might want to watch out for drinking too much or eating unhealthy in the upcoming weeks.

Finding a Balance

To conclude, I think doing something unhealthy doesn’t need to classify as a problem.  However, if the behaviours are done often, they are not common or explainable and it hurts you or others, you might want to do something about it. Everyone has ‘bad’ days, where we feel down or we are a little irresponsible, but they shouldn’t turn in to bad months. It’s all about some balance.

I hope you’ve enjoined this post. If you did, you can subscribe or follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest for more!

Lots of love,

Lisa

Mind and Body Intertwined

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Healthy Behaviours vs Unhealthy Behaviours _ Behavioural Psychology _ Mind and Body Intertwined (1)

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Super Simple Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Yorkshire Pudding Recipes

When I was wondering what recipe(s) to share this week, I suddenly realised that I had never shared the go to, all year round, awesome recipe that is my hubby’s Yorkshire Pudding Recipe.  I can’t believe I’ve never shared before!

Back in the early ‘noughties’ when I met my OH, I have to hold my hands up and admit that

1. I never really had Yorkshire Puddings with my Sunday dinner per say.

and

2. Apart from those giant ones at the pub occasionally, I’d only ever had Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire Puddings (other branded versions available… I think).

Home-made Yorkshire’s were a revelation to me, especially when I saw how easy they were to make.  The OH even perfected a Gluten Free version for me now I’m gluten intolerant (thank you to my friend Vikki for the original recipe).

So here are both, they really are the BEST Yorkshire Pudding Recipes out there!

YORKSHIRE PUDDING RECIPE _ GLUTEN FREE YORKSHIRE PUDDING RECIPE _ COOKING WITH KIDS

Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Most recipes call for half the amount of eggs to the flour, but the secret is to always add that extra egg!  Depending on the size of the eggs, maybe even add two.

Ingredients

  • 8oz Flour
  • 5 Eggs
  • Milk (to mix – approx. 1 pint)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Dripping, Goose Fat or Sunflower Oil (if preferred)

Method

Add flour, salt and eggs to your bowl and mix well with whisk till a thick paste.  Gradually add milk whisking briskly to eliminate any lumps (although lumps are not a big deal, so please don’t panic!).  You should end up with a light batter, with lots of air bubbles.  This needs to then sit for AT LEAST 30 mins (can be left overnight in the fridge).  Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 220c.  Add dripping/oil to pudding tray and put in oven to heat.  Add mixture almost to the top of each mould whilst dripping still hot and put straight back into oven and cook for 30 mins.  Leave in oven, do not be tempted to open the door, otherwise they will drop.  After 30 mins, quickly open door to allow steam to clear, turn temp down to 200c and cook for further 5-10 mins depending on colour.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Yorkshires

We initially tried to make with Gluten Free Flour, but they just didn’t quite cut it, so this recipe made using Corn flour has been a real revelation.  You really can’t tell the difference…

Ingredients

  • 500g Corn flour
  • 5 Eggs
  • Milk (to mix – approx. 1 pint)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Dripping, Goose Fat or Sunflower Oil (if preferred)

Method

As per original method above.

Facts about Yorkshire Puddings _ Yorkshire Pudding Recipe _ Family Friendly Recipes

Fillings

  • Gravy – Now in Yorkshire it is traditional to have the puddings as a starter with gravy, and who am I to complain.  It does mean you have to make double the amount I find, as of course you may want another one with your main course…
  • Roast Beef/Chicken/Lamb
  • Roast Veggies
  • Toad in the Hole – Sausages
  • Golden Syrup – another reason why you always have to make extra.  These beauties are amazing with golden syrup poured over for a desert!

You just have to google ‘Fillings for Yorkshire Puddings’ to find some amazing and some very weird ideas to fill them with!

The great thing about these Yorkshire Pudding Recipes are they are perfect for getting the kids into cooking.  A really simple ingredient list and quick ‘make’, then such a dramatic result when they are brought out of the oven.  Our kids love!

Fay x

If you liked this recipe then please check out all my other family friendly recipes:

Family Recipes

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Featured Image: Gluten Free Recipe


Anxiety Attack finn-nJupV3AOP-U-unsplash

Day 119 - Another Anxiety Attack...

Anxiety Attack - Quotes about Hope _ Desmond Tutu Quotes

Figures

UK Deaths: 44,830

UK Cases: 290,133

Worldwide Deaths: 573,304

Worldwide Cases: 13,135,134

Another Anxiety Attack passes…

I’m a day late in posting so my apologies.  After losing a filling back at the beginning of lockdown and having no issues, it decided to become infected and so I’ve been battling an abscess.  Even with the relax of lockdown this means I could not visit a dentist (though that was causing an anxiety attack in itself).  So antibiotics have been prescribed.  I have to say the weekend was a complete write-off, just totally washed out.  However this morning I’m a lot brighter, which is lucky as it’s the last week of homeschooling for H & F! Whoop Whoop!

Assessment Time

So school has finished for S but he has a very important assessment next week.  He is to be formally assessed for his Dyslexia to further support his learning.  One thing that lockdown and homeschooling have given me is a fantastic insight into Dyslexia.  It’s given me the time to find out much more about it and I’m determined to support S as much as I can, by learning as much as I can.

Somebody commented to me this week ‘You know that thing you think he has, well he’s as bright as a button, he’s not stupid?!’ Actually what I said was ‘he is dyslexic’, that’s all.  I never said he was stupid and funnily enough, I know he is a bright lad.

S, as ever, is not phased by the assessment and is actually quite excited, as am I.  We’ve always viewed and seen things like this as just even more ways to help figure out how S learns best.

Anxiety Attacks - Quotes about learning _ Quotes about life _ Brian Herbert Quote _ The capacity to learn is a gift

Second Wave

So as the lockdown relaxation has continued we are starting to see second waves in various countries (Australia & Spain), as well as the U.S.A, South America and India still struggling to control their initial outbreaks.  The UK hasn’t seen a second wave as of yet, and we still have only had the local lockdown in Leicester.  However, the no. of deaths does not seem to be reducing as quickly as I think the scientists hoped.

The debate on face coverings still rumbles on with each devolved nation having different rules (not confusing at all).  In England, we have to wear on public transport, but it is not mandatory anywhere else.  Personally I wear anywhere when I’m inside publically, and I have noticed as the weeks go on that they are becoming more and more commonplace.

Out and About

So now that Grandma Bling is able to come out from ‘shielding’ it has been nice to have a reason to get out.  Most of the time it’s literally a walk from one house to the other, but today I thought it good for us all to go for a walk with Daisy.  It was all going so well, but living in a village it’s hard not to meet lots of people.  Grandma Bling was absolutely fine, but I didn’t cope so well and could feel an anxiety attack coming on.  The good thing is I can recognise the sign earlier now and so can just make my way home and take myself out of the situation.  Luckily we could choose a much quieter route home, so get home quickly and I was able to settle myself.

Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure out everything all at once. Breathe. You’re strong. You got this. Take it day by day.

Karen Salmansohn

 

Sometimes fighting anxiety can feel like a losing battle, but you’re not alone, for more information visit Anxiety.Org

How has your week been, have you returned to work, are you anxious about anything?  Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences of the last week below in the comments.

Stay safe,

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

The Lockdown Diaries

Wellbeing

Or follow my Pinterest board, for even more motivation in lockdown:

Motivation Quotes | Positive Quotes | Inspiration

 

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ANXIETY ATTACKS _ ANXIOUS TIMES _ LOCKDOWN DIARIES _ HOW ARE YOU

savory-pie-recipes-edgar-castrejon-zVNCNzQg30s-unsplash

Keep Calm and Bake Pie - 3 Perfect Pie Recipes

3 Savoury Pie Recipes

When I first realised I was gluten intolerant, pies quickly went off the menu, but I missed them a lot.  A bit like pasta, gluten-free pastry has come on leaps and bounds in the past 5-10 years.  Therefore pies are no longer relegated to special occasions only.   Below are 3 of our most favourite savoury pie recipes which we as a family love.  Simple and easy to make, and perfect for cooking with kids.

Savoury Pie Recipes - Jamie Oliver Chicken Pot Pie

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Pot Pie

We love Jamie Oliver’s ‘5 Ingredients – Quick and Easy Food’ Cookbook.  And this one-pot chicken pie recipe is a perfect weeknight supper recipe, for all the family.

  • 2 onions
  • 600 g free-range chicken thighs, skin off, bone out.
  • 350 g mixed mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme (30g)
  • 375g block of all-butter (gluten-free if needed) puff pastry, cold.

Instructions
savoury pie recipes - cheesy leek and potato pie

Cheesy Leek and Potato Pie

There are lots of veggie pie recipes out there, but I must admit finding one that all the kids like isn’t easy.  This supersized Cheesy Leek and Potato ‘pasty’ has just the right balance to keep everyone happy, and is super easy to make.

  • 3 leeks, cut into chunks
  • small knob butter
  • pinch dried rosemary or thyme
  • 450g potato (1 very large baking potato is perfect), chopped into thick slices
  • 140g melting cheese, such as cheddar, cut into small chunks
  • 500g pack shortcrust pastry (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions
Savoury-pie-recipes-Beef-and-Guinness-pie

Traditional Beef and Ale Pie

Being Scottish, Steak Pie is part of my heritage.  Hogmanay isn’t Hogmanay without Steak Pie.  This recipe is really simple and again another great one to get your kids cooking.

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 750g stewing beef steak, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 x 440ml can Guinness or other stout
  • 1 beef stock cube (gluten-free if needed)
  • sprig thyme leaves
  • 1 x 375g pack ready-rolled shortcrust pastry (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Instructions

So there are our 3 favourite savoury pie recipes, what’s your favourite filling?  And do you prefer sweet to savoury, I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Fay x

If you liked this post then check out all my other family recipe ideas, perfect for trying the kids:

Family Recipes & Bakes

Or follow my Pinterest board, for even more inspiration:

Family Recipes | Kids Recipes | Baking with Kids

 

Featured Image Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

SAVOURY PIE RECIPES _ FAMILY RECIPES _ EASY PIE RECIPES _ COOKING WITH KIDS

Mental Health Facts

Day 111 - A Mental Health Emergency

Mental Health Facts

Mental Health Facts _ Mental Health Quotes _ Glenn Close Quote about Mental Health

Figures

UK Deaths: 44,220

UK Cases: 285,416

Worldwide Deaths: 534,861

Worldwide Cases: 11,448,554

 

Source: worldometers.info

This Week

So this week has seen lockdown relax even more in the UK. Although Leicester is the first place to come under ‘local lockdown’.  So, unfortunately, they were not able to relax restrictions after an outbreak there.  The U.S., Mexico and Brazil seem to be struggling with high numbers too.  Pubs and hairdressers opened yesterday. I don’t even want to look at the news for images from the pubs.  Sorry Boris, but don’t tell people to be sensible and then open pubs at 6 am…

But what are the wellbeing implications of being in lockdown for so long, I wanted to look at some mental health facts so far.

What We Know

Suffering from depression and anxiety, I know first hand the impact that COVID-19 and lockdown have had on my mental health.  So I’m interested to know some of the mental health facts surrounding lockdown.  Mental health disorders account for almost a quarter of the total burden of ill health in the UK.  It is felt that the pandemic and our response to it could have direct implications on the nations mental health.  Furthermore, the reduction or lack of access to mental health services will only serve to aggravate the situation even further,

Facts

Charity Mind has said that ‘The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic will leave a deep and lasting scar on the mental health of millions in this country. The devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown and loneliness, and the inevitable recession that lies ahead will affect all of us.’

  • More than 50% of adults and over 33% of young people said that their mental health has gotten worse during the period of lockdown restrictions.
  • Loneliness and boredom have been a major issue for young people. With 18–24-year-olds the most likely to see loneliness affect their mental health.
  • People with experience of mental health problems are more likely to see their mental health worsen as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
  • People with eating disorders, OCD, PTSD and personality disorders are affected more than those with other diagnoses.
  • 65% of those whose employment status had changed (furlough, redundancy) said their mental health had gotten worse during the pandemic.
  • More than 1 in 4 young people were self-harming, which made them twice as likely as adults to cope in this way.
  • 32% of adults and 28% of young people did not access support because they did not think that their issue was serious enough.

Source (and to read the full report): Mind.org

Mental Health Facts _ A Mental Health Emergency _ Mental Health Infographic

 A Mental Health Emergency?

These are just a fraction of the facts that have come out of the survey since the start of lockdown. To read the complete report, just click above.  There is clearly going to be a lot of treatment and self-care required after this.  Mind’s research has already made an impact though, by highlighting how coronavirus has affected mental health.   The more that we talk about the effects and how we are feeling throughout this period, the more we raise awareness.  Let’s ensure that our wellbeing is the top priority as we begin to emerge from isolation.

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

The Lockdown Diaries

Wellbeing

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MENTAL HEALTH FACTS _ THE MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY _ KIDS MENTAL HEALTH _ MENTAL HEALTH IN LOCKDOWN

dyslexia and maths annie-spratt-ORDz1m1-q0I-unsplash

5 Ways to Help - Dyslexia and Maths

Dyslexia and Maths _ Dyslexia Quotes _ Dyslexia Facts _ Facts about Dyslexia

Dyslexia and Maths

A common misconception about Dyslexia is that it just affects reading & writing, but it can also affect Maths too. Dyscalculia is a learning difference that means a child has a difficulty understanding numbers.  It should not be assumed that all children with dyslexia suffer from dyscalculia (although a high percentage do) or that all children with dyscalculia will suffer from dyslexia.

Dyslexia in itself poses problems with maths and algebra.  Children with dyslexia have difficulty using and understanding symbols and words.  They can also have difficulty with understanding concepts of time, sequence and order.

Make a Difference

The BBC series of films featuring KS2 and KS3 pupils who have dyslexia are a great watch.  Designed to support teachers, these are a must-watch for parents too! The films offer practical suggestions on how best to support dyslexic children, as well as honest and raw accounts of their experiences.

The film on dyslexia and maths gives great insight into how dyslexia can affect maths.  So refreshing to hear from the kids themselves as to what struggles they face, as well as what helps.

Tips to Help with Dyslexia and Maths

  • Number reversal – This is one of the earliest signs of dyslexia.  Wall displays, magnetic numbers, or placing numbers in front of children to refer to are a great way to help.
  • Times Tables – Children with dyslexia can struggle with memory, so times tables prove difficult.  Using games and memory aids are a brilliant way to help.  Such as using your fingers to remember the 9 times table (I only learnt this when training as a TA a couple of years ago – Thanks Mr M!).
  • Word Based Maths – Words just add to the confusion and can distract from the actual task.  Learning to scan and highlight only the important text is a great skill to learn.  Prompt cards can also be useful.
  • Telling Time – Like a lot of children, children with dyslexia can struggle with telling the time.  It might be an idea to use a digital clock first before attempting an analogue, and visual guides/tricks can be used to help remind children of minutes, hours, past and to.
  • Visualisation – Many dyslexic children can visualise maths problems, so giving visual props (Numicon, building blocks, lego etc.) and number lines are a great way to help children make the theory real.

5 WAYS TO HELP WITH DYSLEXIA AND MATHS _ LEARNING SUPPORT _ DYSLEXIC ACTIVITIES _ DYSLEXIA

Parents

The best thing you can do as a parent is to educate yourself and then use that to help your child/children.  If you can understand their learning difference then it will make a huge difference in their development.  For more hints and tips see the resources below.

Dyslexia and Maths _ Quotes about Dyslexia _ Dyscalculia (1)

I hope this helps any of you in the same position as me!  And if you need to offload, then I’m here. I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt over these last few months. #bethechange

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like more posts in:

Dyslexia

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5 WAYS TO HELP DYSLEXIA AND MATHS _ DYSLEXIA SUPPORT _ LEARNING SUPPORT

Improve Your Mood

Day 103 - 5 Tips To Improve Your Mood Everyday

Toba Beta Quote _ Mental Wellbeing Quote _ Quotes about mood _ Improve your mood

Figures

UK Deaths: 43,514

UK Cases: 310,250

Worldwide Deaths: 498,284

Worldwide Cases: 9,965,869

Improve Your Mood Everyday

Some days life is easy, life is good and everything seems bright.  But during ‘lockdown’ and/or suffering from a mental disorder then a lot of days aren’t easy, aren’t good and really don’t seem bright at all.

It is estimated that around 1 in 5 of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental disorder*. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability, affecting 264 million people*.  And almost a quarter of adults living under lockdown in the UK have felt loneliness, raising concern about the long-term risk to mental health**.

*Source: WHO

** Source: MentalHealth.Org

The significance of mental wellbeing and knowing how to improve your mood daily has never been more important, for ourselves and for our kids…

5 Tips To Improve Your Mood Everyday

1. Connect with People

Good relationships are a great way to improve your mood and help your mental wellbeing. There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships.  Call a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while.  Sit down with the family for dinner.  Volunteer in your local community, a great way to help and connect with new people at the same time.

2. Mindfulness

There has been a lot of talk about mindfulness over the last few years.  Basically it’s all about appreciating the present. This includes your thoughts and feelings as well as the world around you.  Practising mindfulness can improve your mood every day and is a great coping strategy for anxiety, depression and stress.

From keeping a journal to meditation, read more about mindfulness and how to practise every day.

3. Get Active

Exercise is not only great for your physical wellbeing, but it is a great way to improve your mood too.  Whatever takes your fancy.  So if going to the gym and pumping iron for several hours is your thing then do that.  If cycling or swimming or tennis is your thing, then do that.  There is so much available online nowadays, you don’t even have to leave the house to stay active.  However even something as simple as taking a daily walk for 10/15 mins a day.

For some simple free ideas to get active, click here.

4. Learn a New Skill

Studies show that learning a new skill can also improve your mood.  Giving you a sense of purpose and boosting your self-confidence.  This doesn’t need to be a whole new hobby, there are lots of different ways to learn a new skill.

It can be as simple as learning to cook a new dish, or re-decorating a room at home.  Maybe you have always fancied learning a musical instrument.  Or maybe go back to college and take a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

5. Give To Others

One of the easiest and most rewarding ways to improve your mood daily is to give to others.  This can be the simplest act of kindness, like a smile or paying a compliment to someone on the street.  Or maybe check on an elderly neighbour and check if they need anything.

If you’d like to do more then why not look for ways to volunteer in your local community.  Maybe work some hours in a local charity shop, donate food or time to your local food bank.

Improve your mood - Buddha Quotes _ Quotes about mindfulness _ Mental Health Quotes _ Life Quotes _ Motivational Quotes

It really isn’t easy to improve your mood sometimes, especially when you are stuck in a rut or at a low point.  But by making that effort to do even the littlest of things once a day, it can make all the difference.  We can do this, together.

Fay x

The mental health charity Mind also offers information about the 5 ways to wellbeing.

If you are worried about yourself or someone you love, then please check out this NHS list of helpline and support groups.

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5 Things…

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lotus biscoff bakes

Top 5 Lotus Biscoff Bakes

Lotus Biscoff Bakes

I’m not sure about you but bar going to the hairdressers (what’s that again?) up until a couple of years ago, Lotus Biscoff was not on my radar.  However, these gorgeous biscuits are now widely available and have become a huge favourite in this household.

Not only that but you can also buy in a spread, and the options for baking with it and the biscuits, have exploded.  So here are 5 of my absolute favourites…

lotus biscoff bakes

Lotus Biscoff Brownies

These super chocolatey brownies are swirled with Biscoff Cookie Butter Spread making THE BEST brownies EVER!

  • 200 g Dark Chocolate
  • 200 g Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Medium Eggs (or 3 large)
  • 275 g Caster Sugar (white or golden)
  • 90 g Plain Flour
  • 35 g Cocoa Powder
  • 200 g Chocolate Chips
  • 150 g Lotus Biscoff Biscuits (chopped)
  • 1/2-3/4 jar Biscoff Spread

Instructions
Lotus Biscoff Bakes

Biscoff Cheesecake

Rich and full of caramel flavour, this cheesecake is perfect for a weekend treat and those Biscoff loving kids at home.

  • 250 g Lotus Biscoff biscuits
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease
  • 500 g cream cheese
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 150 g smooth Lotus Biscoff spread
  • 50 g Biscoff biscuits

Instructions
Lotus Biscoff Bakes

Biscoff Explosion Cookies

With a dough made from Biscoff cookie crumbs and stuffed with a scoop of creamy Biscoff spread …these soft and chewy cookies explode with yumminess!

  • 14 Biscoff/Lotus cookies, ground into fine crumbs
  • 5 1/4oz all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4oz unsalted butter
  • 2oz creamy Biscoff cookie butter
  • 3 1/2oz packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2oz granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 14 tablespoons Biscoff cookie butter

Instructions
Lotus Biscoff Cupcakes

Lotus Biscoff Cupcakes

Awesome, super simple Biscoff cupcakes with a Brown Sugar Sponge, Biscoff Buttercream and Biscoff Biscuits!

  • 150 g Unsalted Butter
  • 150 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 3 medium Eggs
  • 150 g Self Raising Flour
  • 150 g Unsalted Butter
  • 300 g Icing Sugar
  • 200 g Biscoff Spread
  • 1-2 tbsp Boiling Water
  • Biscoff Spread
  • Biscoff Biscuits

Instructions
easy-lotus-biscoff-cake-thebeautytype

Easy Biscoff Cake

A super easy recipe, but it also has that ‘showstopper’ appeal when you decorate it.

  • 300 g Butter Unsalted
  • 300 g Sugar Light Brown
  • 300 g Flour Self Raising
  • 6 Eggs Large
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder Heaped
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    Icing
  • 160 g Butter Unsalted
  • 330 g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Jar Biscoff Spread Smooth or Crunchy
  • 1 Packet Biscoff Biscuits

Instructions

So there we go, 5 super delicious Lotus Biscoff Bakes for you to try at home, remember to tag #howfelicityfinds when you share.

Fay x

For more family-friendly recipes and bakes, please click below:

Family Recipes & Bakes

Or for even more inspiration follow my Pinterest board:

Family Recipes | Kids Recipes | Baking with Kids

 

Featured Image Photo by Jasmine Waheed on Unsplash


Fathers Day - sasha-freemind-nXo2ZsKHTHg-unsplash

Day 97 - Not An Easy Day

Father’s Day

Fathers Day - Its okay to not be okay quote!

Figures

UK Deaths: 42,632

UK Cases: 304,331

Worldwide Deaths: 467,555

Worldwide Cases: 8,958,945

This Week

It’s Father’s Day today, and the weather is so changeable, so no golf today.  This week has seen Dominic Raab make an absolute fool of himself over the ‘Take a Knee’ tribute, likening it to something out of Game of Thrones and completely missing the point.  We are starting to see localised outbreaks across the country, but the threat level has been reduced from 4 to 3?  Our ‘world-beating’ track and trace app has been thrown out in favour of the Google and Apple app. And unbeknownst to us, the app has been downloaded to our phones.  Not quite sure how I feel about that.

Father’s Day

Nearly 15 years ago to the day we lost our father.  Diagnosed with MND the previous year, his decline was so quick.  I hoped that he would live long enough to see his second grandchild born, but instead I attended his funeral just over 3 months pregnant.  However, what we did have was time.  Time to spend with him, time to try and get our head around what was happening, time to create more memories.

Fathers Day

The Pandemic

Today is always a hard day, I have to stay positive and happy for the boys and for my OH, it’s his day after all.  In a way, it provides some distraction from the constant reminder that my dad isn’t here anymore.  But this year brings new sadness, a pang of deep sadness for all those who this year will be without their fathers because of Coronavirus.  Robbed of the time to come to terms with, the time to create any more memories, even just the time to say goodbye.

No time to say goodbye

I think that’s the thing that is the hardest about right now.  People all across the world are losing loved ones without the chance to say goodbye.  So let’s take a moment to think of all those who have lost someone during the pandemic  Those who have a loved one in the hospital now, fighting to live. Who have spent Father’s Day without their father for the first time…

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

The Lockdown Diaries

Wellbeing

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Lockdown Diaries | Life in Lockdown

FATHERS DAY _ LOCKDOWN DIARIES _ LIFE IN LOCKDOWN _ BEREAVEMENT

Reluctant Readers - Image Credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

Reluctant Readers - Dyslexia Resources

Reluctant Readers - Its so comfortable _ Reluctant Writers _ Dyslexia Strategies

Reluctant Readers

Another week has passed, another struggle with Samuel and his learning.  As I said I’m determined to educate myself so I can fully understand his struggles, figure out his learning style and aid his development as much as possible.

His ergonomic pencil arrived on Tuesday.  When I handed it to him, his face lit up and he said: “It’s so comfortable”.

Make a Difference

The BBC series of films featuring KS2 and KS3 pupils who have dyslexia are a great watch.  Designed to support teachers, these are a must-watch for parents too! The films offer practical suggestions on how best to support dyslexic children, as well as honest and raw accounts of their experiences.

The film on reading gives great insight into how dyslexia can affect reading.  So refreshing to hear from the kids themselves as to what struggles they face, as well as what helps.

Tips to Help Reluctant Readers

  • Coloured Overlays – bright white paper can add to the visual stress that often occurs with dyslexia.  Coloured overlays can help accuracy and comfort, as well as reducing headaches.  Schools should have, or they can be purchase from the BDA, as well as places like Amazon.
  • Reading Ruler – letters, words even sentences can be missed when children with dyslexia read.  Using either a finger or reading ruler can help with tracking whilst reading. Again available widely including Amazon
  • Dyslexia Friendly Fonts – Printing text off on coloured paper and in a larger and dyslexia-friendly font can also aid reading.
  • Dyslexia Friendly Books – Books published with friendly fonts and on tinted paper can aid reluctant readers. Companies such as Barrington Stoke specialise in such books.
  • Reading Aloud – Do not insist on reading out loud in front of the class/others unless the child wants to.  Or give them the text in advance so they can prepare.

RELUCTANT READERS _ LEARNING SUPPORT _ DYSLEXIC ACTIVITIES _ DYSLEXIA

Homeschooling with Dyslexia

I have personally found this really tough.  I think it is hard enough to homeschool your own children when it is ‘thrust’ upon you in a pandemic.  However, to try and homeschool a child with additional learning needs or support required is a whole different kettle of fish.  You know when they say dogs can smell your fear, I think kids are the same with homeschooling…

Reluctant Readers

I hope this helps any of you in the same position as me!  And if you need to offload, then I’m here.  It really isn’t easy but we are all in the same boat #strongertogether

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like more posts in:

Dyslexia

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Dyslexia | Activities | Learning Support

5 TOP TIPS _ RELUCTANT READERS _ DYSLEXIA SUPPORT _ LEARNING SUPPORT

Summer Chicken Breast Recipes

5 Super Simple Summer Chicken Breast Recipes

Summer Chicken Breast Recipes

The weather is working up to summer now, and I for one can’t wait.  There are so many benefits to the sun being out.  It makes everyone smile, we can spend as much time as we can outdoors and BBQ’s (OH’s favourite).  The good weather also makes me start to think about summer meals, light and fresh and easy to make.  We all love Chicken in our house, but I always seem to serve it up the same way.  So I thought I’d check out some new recipes for inspiration.  Here are 5 ‘Super Simple’ Summer Chicken Breast Recipes to try, I know I will be…

Recipe Info

All summer chicken breast recipes are based on serving 2 people, so just double up for 4. Or for a more economical and quicker cook then why not slice the breast in half, right to left.  And all are super easy too.

Salsa Fresca Chicken

Not only does this look super easy, but also super tasty!  Beautifully fresh and zingy, perfect for a BBQ or a picnic in the garden.

Summer Chicken Breast Recipes How-to-Make-Salsa-Fresca-Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of Salt & Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups fresh Pico de Gallo / Salsa
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • Fresh Corriander, chopped to garnish (optional)

Instructions

Stuffed Hasselback Chicken

This super simple recipe is just chicken stuffed with mozzarella, tomato and basil.  It’s a delicious recipe to enjoy for dinner any night. You could even swap out the basil for spinach and the mozzarella for ricotta, whatever you fancy.

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Mozzarella cheese; sliced
  • Grape/Plum tomatoes; sliced in half
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Italian seasoning – or your favourite seasonings! Garlic powder, fresh garlic or even oregano are also good.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil

Instructions

Nutty Chicken Satay Strips

These strips are great served hot or cold.  A great dish for a BBQ, but also perfect for keeping in the fridge for when the kids are peckish (when are they not!)

nutty-chicken-satay-strips

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
  • 2 tbsp chunky peanut butter (no palm oil)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Few shakes of soy sauce
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • cucumber fingers to serve (optional)
  • sweet chilli sauce to dip (optional)

Instructions

Creamy Garlic Chicken Breast

This one-pot recipe is the ultimate weeknight dinner, ready in just 30 minutes! This versatile meal will be a family favourite, just choose your favourite accompaniment.

Summer Chicken Breast Recipes

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced in half
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • all-purpose flour for dusting
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, finely minced (or 1 small onion)
  • 2 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 300ml chicken broth or stock
  • 250-300ml heavy cream
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts

This simple 5-step method by ‘Gimme Some Oven‘ is easy to make and customize with your favourite seasonings.

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • Butter or Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper

Instructions

So there we go, 5 super simple summer chicken breast recipes!  There is no excuse for pale and boring chicken anymore with these recipes, one for every night of the week.  If you do try, remember to tag #howfelicityfinds if you share on social media.  Or comment below, I’d love to know how you got on.

Fay x

For more recipes then go to:

Family Recipes & Bakes

Or follow my Pinterest board, for even more recipes and ideas:

Family Recipes | Kids Recipes | Baking with Kids

SUMMER CHICKEN BREAST RECIPES

Reluctant Writers

5 Top Tips to Encourage Writing in Dyslexic Children

Reluctant Writers

Unfortunately writing for dyslexics doesn’t always come easily.  The ideas are all there, it’s just the ability to get them down on paper which seems daunting. With Sam being at home with me, it has become really apparent that he is definitely one of those reluctant writers (well for me anyway).

Recently I discovered these great short films by the BBC featuring KS2 & KS3 students discussing some of their difficulties and what helped them.

There are a lot of ways to aid reluctant writers, some of which Sam is already familiar with.  However, there are a few tips here that I will definitely be introducing at home to see if the will help.

5 Top Tips for Reluctant Writers

1. Ergonomic Pen/Pencil

A dyslexic child may grip the pen differently, and this can make writing hard and even painful at times.  Ergonomic pens can help to ensure that the pen is held correctly at all times.  We’ve just ordered the Stabilo EASYvergo to see if this helps.

2. Reduce handwriting required

Allow the child to use a computer if that helps, rather than insist on handwriting.  Sam isn’t that keen on typing either yet, so things like tick boxes and multiple-choice can help.  One of our favourites is to use a ‘fill in the gaps’ way of working to reduce the amount of handwriting needed.

3. Use mnemonics

Encouraging the use of mnemonics can help with spellings, reducing the worry.  For example, Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants to remember how to spell BECAUSE. Or one that I always used to get wrong was stationery/stationary.  I remember it as a cAr is stationAry and pEns are stationEry.

4.  Visual Prompts

Similar to mnemonics, children can use visual prompts to remind them of spellings.  There, Their, They’re is a perfect example.  Check out the video to see exactly how it works.

5. Examples of work

I have noticed that if Sam is presented with a sheet of work and/or instructions then he can almost immediately talk himself out of being able to do.  Whereas if he is presented with the same sheet, with an example of what is required, like a starter sentence, story mountain etc. then he is much more open to working, and understanding what is required.

Self-Confidence

Dyslexic children need a boost to their self-confidence before they can learn to overcome their difficulties. Quite often, especially in the early days of diagnosis, they have already experienced ‘failure’.  Also deep down they often don’t believe they are capable of learning.  Consequently, to restore their self-confidence they need to be provided with the chance to succeed. And praise should be given for all achievements (even if small).

I struggled with this initially as I was never quite sure what Sam should have been achieving.  Therefore I quite often didn’t praise small achievements as I was expecting too much.

If you liked this post then please click on the category below to see more posts:

Dyslexia

And why not follow my Pinterest board, for even more awesome learning support, information and activities

Learning Support | Dyslexia Activities | Dyslexia


lighthearted relationship advice

Day 90 - Together in Lockdown

Figures

UK Deaths: 41,662

UK Cases: 294,375

Worldwide Deaths: 429,713

Worldwide Cases: 7,795,965

This week

The weather has been atrocious this week and what a difference that makes.  Just when people are told they can meet up in groups of 6/8/10 outdoors (socially distanced and dependent what devolved nation you live in #confusing), the heavens open.  The government then panicked in case everyone decided to meet up and move indoors.  So again we were told to stay alert.  Stay home where possible, but go to shops; meet up outdoors, but stay home if you can; socially distance, but if you can’t, wear a face-covering…

Not confusing or open to interpretation at all!  Luckily the weather is picking up this weekend so that helps.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E

A leading divorce lawyer, Baroness Shackleton has said that it is very likely that lockdown will lead to a rise in divorce rates. In fact, it has been reported that divorces proceedings in China have surged in March as husbands and wives began emerging from weeks of government-mandated lockdowns.

Not so much absence makes the heart grow fonder, more too much time together makes the mind grow weary? Very, very weary LOL

lighthearted relationship advice

Life at home

I do find it really interesting that in our household my OH can disappear off into his office (he was always based from home anyway), close the door and work as he normally would without much interruption. Whereas when I work from home (currently furloughed) it is very much in the kitchen/living room open to continual interruption for countless drinks, snacks, lunch etc,  And with a puppy at home who is still not fully house trained (don’t ask) somewhere in all of that I have to remember to keep taking her out just in case she needs the toilet.

Not alone?!

Now I’m pretty sure from all the social media posts recently that I’m not the only person who’s finding things a little more heightened at the moment.  Who else has resorted to counting how many times you empty the bin compared to how many times they put a wash on…

So if like us you are not a couple who are meant to be together 24/7, then here are some lighthearted top tips to survive lockdown!

5 Top Tips

  • Communicate with each other.  Pretty sure that us two sitting in the kitchen glued to our phones and the TV isn’t correct? (although to be fair what is there to talk about, the ‘R’ rate?!)
  • Listen to each other.  Eh, refer to the above point…
  • Don’t make ‘winning’ the goal.  Eh, refer to the previous paragraph LOL.  Yeah, I’m not so good at this one right now.
  • Don’t be afraid of conflict. Pretty sure that means argue about the smallest thing, like who empties the dishwasher?  Or as our kids call it ‘adult discussions’.
  • Cheers.  If all else fails drink Gin, drink Cider, drink Beer, drink whatever LOL. (NB: this can sometimes make things worse too)

How are you?

So how are you finding lockdown?  I know by the end of the day just seeing the OH sleeping soundly (or not so soundly), can bug me.  Just like I’m pretty sure me watching telly till all hours at night, while he tries to sleep, bugs the crap out of him too.  What are your bugbears, or are you really enjoying the time with your OH?  I’d love to hear and know I’m not alone, or what your secret is!

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

The Lockdown Diaries

Wellbeing

Or follow my Pinterest board, for some motivation in lockdown, I know I need it:

Motivation Quotes | Positive Quotes | Inspiration

lighthearted relationship advice

Early Signs of Dyslexia

Don't Call Me Stupid! - Early Signs of Dyslexia

Early Signs of Dyslexia

Early Signs of Dyslexia

Don’t call me stupid!

I remember the day I told S that he was Dyslexic.  I know that some will argue we shouldn’t label, but for S, it gave him an identity, it gave him strength.  Till then he had been frustrated, unable to vocalise how he felt.  Not able to ‘keep up’, those early signs of dyslexia found him on the end of innocent but cutting comments made by peers.  Now he could tell his peers, explain why his brain worked differently, and that he was definitely not stupid.

Dyslexia in Kids

I had had my suspicions for a good year or so before he was diagnosed, so it was also really reaffirming for me to realise my gut was correct. To be fair I had no idea of what to look for, no idea of the signs, I just knew something wasn’t right.

So if you have ever wondered, or have some concerns, below are the main signs for dyslexia in school-aged children:

School Children

  • Read and write very slowly
  • Confuse the order of letters in words
    put letters the wrong way round (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
  • Have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • Understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
  • Find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • Struggle with planning and organisation

Early Signs of Dyslexia

The above signs are for school-aged children, and it is usual that children are not officially tested till the end pf Year 2/beginning of Year 3.  However, if your child is younger and you have concerns then click here to see the early sign of dyslexia in pre-school children.

Whatever age your child is, if you have any concerns then please speak to your child’s teacher about your concerns.  The earlier dyslexia is diagnosed and support is put in place, the better the outcome.

Early Signs of Dyslexia

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a really common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.  But it does not affect intelligence.  It’s estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.  I for one definitely recognised some of those signs not only in myself but also in both the older boys too.

These five films by the BBC offer practical suggestions on how best to support older children.

Moving forward

So with the distinct prospect that even in September school will still have to socially distance, then this means a mix of virtual/home learning and face to face at school.  I have already spoken about my struggle to home school S, even with the fantastic resources, guidance and online SEN lessons that school are giving me.  My own struggles with my mental health, as well as trying to motivate and teach an 8-year-old dyslexic who fights against everything ‘academic’, hasn’t been easy, to say the least.  I need to figure out a way to do this, I cannot let him down.

So I am making it my mission to figure out his learning style, what sparks his excitement (den building for one, cooking & baking for another!) and then work with him.  I’d love to hear what your experiences have been in the comments below, what worked for you and what didn’t!  All tips gratefully received.

Fay x

For more information on dyslexia please go to:

Made By Dyslexia

British Dyslexia Association

Or check out this fab blog post from Nessy with 10 Teaching Tips for Dyslexics

And follow my Pinterest board, for even more great activities, quotes and information:

Dyslexia | Activities | Learning Support

EARLY SIGNS OF DYSLEXIA_ LEARNING SUPPORT _ DYSLEXIA ACTIVITIES (1)

Motivation in Lockdown

Day 85 - Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Figures

UK Deaths: 40,597

UK Cases: 287,399

Worldwide Deaths: 407,353

Worldwide Cases: 7,144,072

Where did it all go wrong?

This week certain non-keyworker kids went back to school, and some businesses were allowed to open. Lockdown has relaxed across the country and is set to relax even more over the next few weeks.  Scientists are concerned that our death rate has not come down quickly enough, that the R rate is increasing again. I think that the vast majority of the UK has lost total confidence in Boris and his ability to handle this pandemic.  Especially when he can’t even ‘handle’ his own advisors.

America seems to be falling apart in front of our eyes.  Coronavirus has crippled the economy as well as the population.  Then they had to witness the shocking death of George Floyd.  Choked to death by a policeman’s knee on his neck whilst he shouted he couldn’t breathe.  All filmed for all to see over 9 soul-destroying minutes.  Protests have broken out all across America and the UK.  Something needs to change, something is changing!

Brazil has not yet hit its peak but is already opening back up for business.  They are now just behind the UK in terms of total deaths, so third in the world.  However, sadly they are expected to overtake us quickly this week.

Business as usual?

I am struggling this week, lacking any real motivation in lockdown.  Watching everything that is happening across the world just now, feeling so helpless.  Trying to homeschool three very unmotivated boys, whilst also trying not to worry about being furloughed right now.  Quite a few panic attacks this weekend, but I’m home so I can calm myself a lot easier.

Every day is the same, and I cannot help but question absolutely everything.  So, for now, I’m going to share some of my favourite quotes in the hope that if you are feeling a little like me, then these may help.

Wellbeing & Motivation in Lockdown

Carry a heart that never hates.  Carry a smile that never fades. Carry a touch that never hurts.

Remember why you started.

Little by little, day by day, what is meant for you will find its way.

Be the change you want to see.

You don’t need anyone else’s approval to be yourself.

 

How are you?

Life isn’t easy for anyone at the moment, even the kids are feeling it.  Let’s all be a little easier on others and a big bit easier on ourselves.  How are you coping at the moment?

Fay x 

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

The Lockdown Diaries

Wellbeing

Or follow my Pinterest board, for even more motivation in lockdown:

Motivation Quotes | Positive Quotes | Inspiration


explain race and racism to kids

Day 80 - Explaining Race & Racism To Kids

Explain race and racism to kids

Figures

UK Deaths: 39,728

UK Cases: 279,856

Worldwide Deaths: 383,994

Worldwide Cases: 6,500,866

News

This week saw the shocking death of George Floyd at the ‘hands’ of a police officer, which has prompted the #BLM movement to take action not only in the U.S but also in the UK.  The government had the audacity to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ when announcing the disproportionate rate of deaths to Asian, Caribbean and black ethnicities.  Yet they have known about this for months and only now announce #toolittletoolate #BLM

Conversations on Race and Racism

  • As early as 3-6 months of age, babies begin to notice and express preference by race (Bar-Haim, 2006).
  • Furthermore, between the ages of 3-5, children begin to apply stereotypes, categorize people by race, and express racial bias (Winkler, 2009).
  • And by just 6 years of age, children show a pro-white/anti-Black bias (Baron, 2006)

So clearly the earlier we can have the conversations with our kids the better, but how do you start that conversation…

Tips to explain race & racism to children:

1. Educate yourself first

“Parents can often feel reluctant to talk about race with children because they worry that they don’t know enough or will make a mistake,” says Dr Pragya Agarwal. “It is our responsibility to educate ourselves and to be aware of our own implicit biases that can affect our words and actions around our children. Children can pick up these implicit cues.”

Please consider following the below on Instagram to begin to understand.

2. Talk about diversity & use diverse books

As you can see from above, it is never too early to start talking about diversity, to explain race and racism to kids.  We should never tell children to be quiet or that talking about someone’s colour is awkward or embarrassing.  It should be encouraged but ensuring it is always done with respect and youthful curiosity.  A great way to aid this is to bring diverse books into children’s lives.

The below links have a wide range of books for children celebrating diversity and equality.

Or for unlimited resources then please consider following and becoming a patron of The Conscious Kid.  They are creating and compiling fantastic parenting and education resources through a critical race lens.

The Conscious Kid

3. Avoid using skin colour as an identifier, but don’t claim not to see colour

Try and not use skin colour as a way to identify someone, such as “the brown kid”, but instead focus on character.  However, we should not deny that we see colour.  Just as we can see the colour of clothes someone may be wearing, we can see skin colour.  “The problem is not about seeing colours, the problem is about hierarchies that we put among the colour, that’s the issue.” Freddie Harrel.

4. Showcase diverse role models, rituals & history

Introducing role models and stories from ALL cultures can help children take pride in their history and their own cultural heritage, as well as understanding others.  “This will help them develop a strong sense of identity and belonging, which is so crucial for their mental as well as physical health,” says Pragya.

Listen to Freddie Harrel and Dr Pragya Agarwal discuss how to talk to children about race and racism on the Woman’s Hour Parenting podcast.

What next?

It is no longer enough to just say we disagree.  We now need to stand up and show that we do!  It is vitally important that everyone feels the need to explain race and racism to kids.  We ALL need to have these conversations with our children.  Just as we talk to our children about sexuality, about puberty, about world events, race and diversity should be included too.

That is how we will teach our children that we are all equal, we all feel the same, that we need to ALL be the change!

Fay x

Have you discussed race and/or racism with your children already? Maybe they have asked you some questions you were unsure of how to answer?  I love to hear below of your experiences.

HOW TO EXPLAIN RACE AND RACISM TO KIDS

5 best bobs

Day 74 - 5 Best Bobs

Figures

UK Deaths: 37,460

UK Cases: 267,240

Worldwide Deaths: 354,762

Worldwide Cases: 5,741,807

Positive Quote _ This Too Shall Pass

Lockdown Luck?

I decided a little before the pandemic broke that I wanted to grow my hair.  I do this, I constantly change my hair; whether it’s my actual hairstyle/length, the colour, or the age-old quandary ‘fringe or no fringe’?  One thing the lockdown has allowed me to do is to get through that awkward ‘mid-stage’ without any actually seeing!  So I can move on to my favourite part (almost more than actually having the hairstyle) looking at what I’d like to do with it next…  So here are my 5 Best Bobs, for that perfect mid-length style.

5 Best Bobs | Mid Length Hairstyles

5 Best Bobs

I love a bob. I think it is one of the most flattering styles, and that there is a bob for every face shape.   Below is my choice of what I feel are the 5 best bobs out there and why.

Bob with ‘Bangs’

Suits an oblong-shaped face.

Short Bob

Suits a pear-shaped face.

5 best bobs | Short Bob

Long Bob

Perfect for pear-shaped and square-shaped faces.

Graduated Bob

Suits square-shaped and round-shaped faces.

5 Best Bobs | Graduated Bob

Messy/Wavy Bob

Suits heart-shaped, square-shaped, pear-shaped and oval-shaped faces (varying lengths).

5 Best Bobs | Messy Bob

For even more inspiration why not follow my Pinterest board.

What now…

The thing I love about bobs as I said is that they suit all face shapes.  Furthermore, not only that but especially longer styles are so easily pulled back for a daytime look and then worn down for an evening look.  Also, a messy bob is a great look for a more casual look, with a sleek bob making a stunning impact anywhere.

For me, I’m just past the short bob phase, especially as I decided on day one into lockdown to cut my fringe back in and immediately hated. I’d love the stunning centre-parted lob, but with my expansive forehead and oblong face shape, it just won’t happen.  So it’s between a side-parted graduated lob or a classic bob ‘with bangs’.

What’s your favourite style?

Fay x


5 things to be thankful for

Day 71 - 5 Things To Be Thankful For

Figures

UK Deaths: 36,793

UK Cases: 259,559

Worldwide Deaths: 345,009

Worldwide Cases: 5,451,584

This Week

It is the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, and to mark the end I thought I’d do a little positive post about the 5 things I’m thankful for in lockdown, after my honest and open letter to the boys last week.

Lockdown has been relaxed this week and it seems for the most part that people are adhering to the guidelines.  Of course, there are groups of people not sticking to them, but I think there’s a couple of reasons for this.

  1. Some people still just don’t get it and won’t adhere no matter what.
  2. The relaxed guidelines weren’t quite so clear and I think quite a few people are unsure, especially about one person, meeting one other person outside of their household.
  3. Oh and then there are government ministers and advisors who can stand and tell us what to do, but when it comes to them, they can do what the hell they like!

Other countries that have relaxed lockdown have started to see rises in cases again, but no ‘second peak’ so far.  The schools opening on June 1st in the UK to certain years is probably the biggest controversy of them all.  The government are now covering their bottoms by saying they now cannot guarantee children to social-distance, but they will make the return to school ‘as safe as possible.’

5 Things I’m Thankful For

Family

Even though we are separated by garden fences, by streets, by county and by country, my family have been absolutely amazing.  Text messages, socially distanced chats in the garden, the offer of zoom calls (still haven’t worked up to that) and just constant contact from everyone checking in has made such a distance. Love you all ♥

Friends

Again similar to family, separated by streets, counties and countries, even continents, my friends have been invaluable.  Listening to me when I was at my lowest, laughing at all the hilarious memes and TikTok videos we have sent each other.  I heard someone say the other day how a simple message from someone unexpected can make such a difference.  I can totally concur as a simple LinkedIn message from a friend in India just to ‘check-in’ meant all the more as it was not expected at all. Love you guys too ♥

Daisy

She may still have accidents on the kitchen floor (any advice gratefully received) and she may bark at the slightest movement or when we eat, but boy do I love her.  When it’s been a hard day or a crap day I can always count on Daisy to run at me with utter devotion, and sometimes a little wee.  Her cuddles are just the best, and it’s kinda nice having another bitch in the house!

Daisy Duke the Dachshund

The Weather

The nice weather really does make a difference.  Can you imagine if we’d had to be in lockdown in mid-winter, I really think we’d have been looking at an even worse mental health crisis if we had?  It is not great as it is, but the ability to be able to go outside to enjoy the sun, even if it’s as little as sitting on your doorstep or opening a window wide.  I don’t think we can deny the effect that has on our mental health during this pandemic.

A Garden

I am so lucky to have a beautiful garden.  Whilst, funnily enough, the roof over my head has felt too big, too expansive due to my ever-growing feeling of agoraphobia (I find myself limiting my movement in the house to specific rooms), the garden has been my savour.  It is so hard to explain how despite wanting to be contained whilst at home, I find my garden just the most comforting area.  It’s all about, as I said, containment.  The garden is containing me from the outside, an outside that has changed, that I no longer know.  The longer I stay in, the harder it is to go out, and the more outside has changed.  Having the garden has been a life-saver.

Tomorrow is the last bank holiday for a few months and the weather should be nice, so let’s see what it brings.

How is everyone coping in the lockdown, what is the thing you are most thankful for right now?

Fay x


OPEN LETTER TO MY BOYS

Day 64 - Letter To My Boys

A Letter To My Boys

AN OPEN LETTER TO MY BOYS _ MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS

Figures

UK Deaths: 34,636

UK Cases: 243,303

Worldwide Deaths: 314,683

Worldwide Cases: 4,771,676

This week

So lockdown restrictions were relaxed slightly in England and the ‘message’ changed to ‘Stay Alert’ rather than ‘Stay at Home’.  Scotland and Wales have stuck with the original message, at least someone is being sensible.  We can now go out and exercise as much as we want, with one other personal from another household (social distancing of course) and travel as far as we want to do it, as long as it doesn’t include an overnight stay.  Oh, and schools are to open to certain years groups on June 1st.

This, of course, caused confusion and delight in equal measure (for some).  We have seen anti lockdown protests in London, the massive uproar over schools opening and people still flouting the guidelines because they don’t fully understand what the government have decided are the new rules…

Time to Think

As I’ve talked about previously lockdown has given us all a huge amount of time to think.  This week I’ve found particularly difficult, I think because of the relaxation of the lockdown and still quite high levels of death in the UK.  I’ve noticed especially with ‘The Monkey’ a much more militant view towards schoolwork and why it needs to be done.  My boys are questioning much more and I want to discuss that with them, to listen to their concerns and not just say the old ‘just get on with it!’.  So I thought I’d write a letter to my boys.

Letter to my boys…

Dear H, F and S,

I know that things are a little strange at the moment.  I know that as the weeks go on, it gets harder and you have more questions.  We are going through something unprecedented, something that your kids and grandkids may well read about in their history lessons.  Maybe that will help when you next sit down to do a history lesson,  remember that real people lived through what you are learning about, real people just like you and me.

This week has been our most difficult yet hasn’t it.  With all the uncertainty around changes to the lockdown, with knowing that you still can’t really see your friends, that none of you will be returning to school before summer. No wonder you are questioning and pushing against why you have to do the schoolwork.

You are so brave, you see me crumble quite often and you rally round.  Part of me tries to stay strong infront of you, but another feels that you should see the reality of mental health issues, so we can discuss openly.  When you see me struggling the most, you give hugs and get on with your work quietly, without question.  When you do question the work we discuss and talk about why you should still do.  However we also decide sometimes that it maybe isn’t the most important thing that day.  That family time movies, or chatting with friends online is more important.  That watching the news headlines and talking about the changes worldwide is just as good for your education and development.

More than all I want for us to come out of lockdown, happy and ready to take on the world again.  I don’t want to risk anyone’s lives unnecessarily, so for now we stay home.  Missing a few lessons here or there seems less of a regret to me than the regret if one of us gets ill and we haven’t spent as much time together as we could.  It’s all about balance, and everyone’s balancing act is different.

I hope I haven’t let you down and taught you with honesty that humility, health and kindness are all you should wish for in life as everything else is a bonus.  You all make me so proud and it might not be easy at times, but spending time with you is the best thing I can ask for in such strange times.

Mum x

How are you?

How are you all dealing with lockdown?  I think everyone is learning things about themselves, about others…  Are you enjoying, or are you hating every minute?  How are your children holding up, it’s not easy for them either!

Fay x


Foodbanks in the UK

Day 60 - 5 things you need to know about Foodbanks

Foodbanks in the UK

Foodbanks in the UK

Figures

UK Deaths: 33,186

UK Cases: 229,705

Worldwide Deaths: 295,072

Worldwide Cases: 4,386,821

Foodbanks in Lockdown

As the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds, foodbanks in the UK are working hard to ensure that no-one should be without food.  In the first two weeks of the pandemic, food banks in the Trussell Trust network saw an increase in demand of 81%.

In the past few months, a lot has changed. As the pandemic unfolds, everyone is adjusting to new ways of working and living, and unfortunately, a lot of us are dealing with difficult and tragic situations.  We are slowly adjusting to these changes and beginning to learn a new normal.

Here are 5 things you need to know about foodbanks in the UK.

1. The Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks. Side by side they provide emergency food and support to people in poverty.   They are also campaigning for the government to end the need for foodbanks in the UK.

Unfortunately, it takes more than just food to end hunger. The Trussell Trust use their experiences of food banks to challenge the economic issues that find people stuck in poverty.

Learn More

2. Facts & Figures

In the UK:

  • more than 14 million people are living in poverty
  • 4.5 million children are living in poverty
  • there are 2000 food banks in the UK
  • over 1.6 million food parcels given out last year

For the latest stats, see more here

3. Raising Awareness

Companies, celebrities and the community are working hard to raise awareness of the growing issue of poverty in the UK.

Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco, The Entertainer, Palletforce, XPO Logistics and British Gas have worked closely with The Trussell Trust and charity group Fare Share to increase distribution and deliveries across the nation as the pandemic takes control.

Comedian Michael McIntyre raised funds by offering the chance to win a personal video chat, to help raise awareness during the #COVID19 outbreak.  Meanwhile, Singer Liam Payne has joined forces with the trust to support food banks as they see an increased need due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Local communities have pulled together during this crisis to support each other. Whether it’s checking in on elderly neighbours or delivering shopping to someone self-isolating or shielding.  The local community is at the very heart of The Trussell Trust.

4. How to help

What can you do? There are several ways you can help:

  • Volunteer – From helping at a local food bank to raising awareness in your local community and across social media.  Find out more here
  • Fundraise – During the lockdown, it requires a little more imagination, but there are still lots of ways to raise money.  Find out more here
  • Donate – Make a one-off donation, a regular donation or donate food to your local Foodbank via the supermarket.  Find out more here

5. End hunger and poverty in the UK

The Trussell Trust want to reach a future where no one needs a food bank. Even before the pandemic, they were seeing more and more people being pushed to food banks than ever before, that needs to change.

You can email or write to your local MP and tell them why they need to take action.  Ask them, as a priority, to:

  • End the five-week wait for Universal Credit
  • Ensure benefit payments cover the cost of living
  • Invest in local emergency support for people in crisis

It isn’t right that anyone should have to use a food bank in the UK.  We can make the difference by calling for change #ThisCanChange

Please help where you can and let’s end this together.

Fay x

For more posts in the lockdown diaries, click below:

Lockdown Diaries


The Lockdown Diaries

Day 57 - Losing My Identity

Figures

UK Deaths: 31,855

UK Cases: 219,183

Worldwide Deaths: 281,454

Worldwide Cases: 4,139,732

It’s Maternal Mental Health Week this week and seeing all the posts have reminded me exactly what I’ve come through and what others are still going through right now, every day.  Made even more difficult this year by us currently being in Lockdown.

Facts

  • Approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents.
  • The most common mental health problems experienced during pregnancy and after birth are anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Women experiencing maternal mental health problems:
    • Postpartum psychosis: 2 per 1,000
    • Serious mental ill-health: 2 per 1,000
    • Severe depressive illness: 30 per 1,000
    • Mild-moderate depressive illness and anxiety states: 100-150 per 1,000
    • PTSD: 30 per 1,000
    • Adjustment disorders and distress: 150-300 per 1,000.

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics

My Story

I’ve written about my maternal mental health story previously.  However, seeing posts this week has brought so much of it back.  Did you know that suicide is still THE leading cause of death of mums with an under one-year-old in the UK (source: 2019 MBRRACE study).  Almost 12 years ago to the day, I nearly became one of those statistics.  It saddens me that this is still a statistic, that we are still having to raise awareness. However, it gives me great hope that people are now talking about this openly.  That we have organisations like the PMHP UK and advocates like Jo Love to help raise that awareness even more.

Reflection

These last two days of Maternal Mental Health Week are all about reflection.  I can look back and see just how far I’ve come, and that recovery is possible.  However, with the current lockdown, I can also see a return of some of those feelings I had, the isolation, the stress and anxiety, the feeling of failing as a mother.  At least this time I can recognise them and I know that things will get better.

For now, I take each day as it comes, and cannot imagine what it must be like to be a new mum/parent suffering in these times.  Here are some practical tips from Jo (Did I mention she is an awesome doodler too!) about some simple things we can do for new mums (and dads) during lockdown to help support them.

#supportingmumsduringdifficulttimes

So lets’ be supportive where we can, let’s think about what others may be going through at this time.  For sufferers, take time to read and realise that you are not alone, and things do get better.  For others, take time to listen and offer support where you can.  Life is so difficult right now that we need to ensure we don’t make it worse, take it easy where possible.  If making it through the day means literally that, then do it.  Everything else can wait.  If you feel lost, reach out.  And if you need a hug then I’m sending one right now.

Fay x

Helplines

Samaritans  116 123

MAMA 0845 120 3746

Charities

Family Action

Maternal Mental Health Alliance

Mind


top 5 online buys

Day 53 - 5 Awesome Things I've bought in Lockdown

Figures

UK Deaths: 30,076

UK Cases: 201,101

Worldwide Deaths: 261,205

Worldwide Cases: 3,777,569

So a lot of my posts recently have been quite heavy, or to do with my struggle during the lockdown.  Now I’m not saying that I’m no longer struggling (still on that COVID coaster as I heard it referred to #lovethat).  However, the more I write the more I realise that it would be good for us all if I shared a few more lighthearted pieces along the way too.  So, what better way to be lighthearted than to share my top 5 online buys during these last few months.

Slippers

Okay so my OH actually bought me these (we have matching pairs LOL), but I’d been looking at Mahabis now for a couple of years, and just couldn’t warrant that much on a slipper.  The OH in the meantime found and bought these beauties from Comfortfusse.  He bought at Sports Pursuit, but they only have limited stock.

Perfect lockdown comfort.

Comfortfusse

£33.00

top 5 online buys

Hair Colour

In someways lockdown was a blessing in disguise as I had decided to grow my hair.  Anyone who has grown from short to long will understand my thought process here, as that ‘mid’ stage is always so awkward.  Hopefully, this means I won’t need to share this stage with most people.

In the meantime, I’m trying to be good and just use semi-permanent dye to not damage my hair too much.  Maria Nila is perfect, great colour smells fab and keeps my hair soft.

Maria Nila Colour Refresh

£22.00

Mom Jeans

For the past few years, I have lived in my skinny ripped jeans. And for the past few months, I’ve been living in the lockdown uniform of joggers, tees and sweatshirts.  But last week I felt FANCY and decided to order myself some Mom jeans.

These Jeans from TopShop (via Next) are such a comfy fit, high waisted is not only on-trend but also covers that mum / COVID tum area #winwin.

Top Shop Jeans

£42.00

clap for carers

T-Shirt

I love a good Tee, especially a statement tee!  So what better during lockdown than this gorgeous specimen from Kindred.  I might have also bought the rainbow version for the ‘third child’.

Perfect for a Thursday evening at 8 pm and looks awesome with my FANCY mom jeans LOL.

Kindred

£20 (£15 for kids)

Steve Madden Trainers

Trainers

Most of you will already know that I have a thing for trainers (seriously who doesn’t?!) and a thing for animal print, so trainers with animal print are definitely going to be a winner.

I already have a pair of Steve Madden’s (via John Lewis) and they have become one of my most worn pair of shoes full stop.  So I decided that as a treat to me (I know, get me being all selfish and s**t) then every six months I would buy myself a new pair of trainers.

Steve Madden

£100.00

Some of the other things I seem to have purchased during lockdown are:

  • Masks
  • Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • iPad / iPhone Charger Cables
  • Lego
  • Batteries
  • Books
  • Shoe Laces
  • Binoculars
  • Masking Tape
  • Jigsaw

Is it just me or has anyone else gone a little online shopping crazy?

Must stop…

Next month…

Maybe…

Fay x


Get in touch

Day 50 - 5 Things I've learned in Lockdown

Figures

UK Deaths: 28,446

UK Cases: 186,599

Worldwide Deaths: 246,943

Worldwide Cases: 3,533,921

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5 Things I’ve Learned in Lockdown

There is a lot of time to think during lockdown, a lot! So as the week’s pass there are things I’ve learned…

1. I quite like lockdown

I know it won’t be a popular view, but I actually don’t mind the lockdown so much.  I do miss seeing friends and being able to ‘pop’ out, but actually, when it comes down to it, I am pretty happy at home, to be honest.  In fact, it’s 7 weeks since I have managed to actually get further than the top of the lane.

It’s so bizarre to know that right now we are part of something that will be written about in History, that will change the world.  It’s fantastic that we are all recording and writing about it, as we have so much time on our hands. What a legacy.

Also, it has to be said, it is nice to know that by staying at home I am doing my bit!

2. The littles things mean so much more…

Saying ‘I love you’ to the boys every night, and hearing them say it back.

A hot cup of coffee first thing on a morning, whilst being able to take it back to bed for a bit.

Hearing the birds sing and seeing the sun shining as I wake up.

Cuddles with Daisy on an evening.

Receiving the post or a delivery.

Getting a food delivery slot LOL

3. Funny videos/memes always cheer me up.

I love receiving the latest satirical video, or silly cartoon. No matter how bad a day I’m having, when these ping through they always cheer me up.  Particular favourites are:

@forest_fr1ends (Childhood toys with adult humour)

@JaneyGodley (Scottish banter and she has a sausage dog)

@justmaiko (Cause in my head I totally dance like that!)

Oh, and if it features Trump then it’s a dead cert!

Any suggestions for me?

4. There are some really stupid/selfish people out there.

I’m not quite sure how many times it needs saying, but still, some insist on flouting the law, on risking their lives and that of others.  Road traffic is up, people still feel that house parties are acceptable, when will it end.

No wonder British people in the majority are fearful of a lifting of the lockdown too soon.  If we are already struggling with the rules, then relaxing them surely will give those already flouting the rules, even more reason to keep flouting.  Furthermore, the general public will start to ease down too, maybe get a little giddy with freedom.  Many countries have already seen a rise in the death rate since relaxing lockdown measures…

My mum is shielding, I’ve lost family and friends, I have friends going through more than any of us could imagine.  Stay home, save lives!

5. I have a real dislike of opinionated people.

Now before everyone gets excited and starts having a go.  I am all for everyone having an opinion, it’d be a pretty boring place if we didn’t.  However, my issue is with opinionated people who refuse to accept others’ viewpoints, or not give a second thought to others’ situations.

We live in a world where judgment is freely thrown around.  Where some people feel it is okay to ‘say it like it is’.  Yes, we should all feel empowered to say how we feel, but we should also take into account others’ feeling, others’ situations and others’ beliefs.

For sure if you are asked for your opinion then offer it up, but leave it there.  Do not go on to push that opinion down others’ throats, like it’s the only thing that matters.  Think about the opinion of others and why they may feel or act the way they do.  If you still don’t agree then fine, but at least you have taken the time to consider others.

Also, as a rule, if you are not asked, then leave it there. Uh, uh, don’t even say it, you haven’t been asked, so keep a lid on it.  Be a good listener, be a good friend, don’t be judgemental, and don’t force your opinion, that’s why it’s yours and no-one else’s!

What have you guys learnt from the weeks in lockdown?  How are you finding it?

Would love to hear I’m not alone,

Fay x


life goes on

Day 45 - Life goes on...

Figures

UK Deaths: 26,097

UK Cases: 165,221

Worldwide Deaths: 225,138

Worldwide Cases: 3,183,992

Life goes on…

So 10 days have passed since I last wrote.  My anxiety seems to have calmed quite a bit, the hand scratching has pretty much stopped.  I still watch the news but do switch it off to do lessons with the kids.  Homeschooling hasn’t really got much easier, except we’ve all kind of resigned ourselves to get on with it, and if it isn’t working one morning/afternoon then we call it a day and try again the next day.  But we always catch up…

…in a fashion.

In the news

Since I last wrote we, as a nation, hit over the 20,000 mark in deaths.  Only the fifth nation to do so, and we are second in the ‘rate’ of deaths, only surpassed by the U.S (which isn’t really much to brag about).

Donald Trump announced at a press conference that there could be the possibility of using bleach internally to ‘clean out’ the lungs, as a cure for COVID-19.  Yes seriously!  Worryingly calls to emergency services about bleach spiked in the U.S shortly afterwards.

This morning we got the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds welcomed a baby boy into the world.  Believed to be approx. 4-6 weeks early, both mum and baby are doing well.

Test, Test, Test

Tomorrow is the date set for us to reach 100,000 tests a day as promised by the government.  Funnily enough last week, testing availability was suddenly ramped up in terms of test centres, home testing, and mobile testing.  Then availability drastically relaxed this week, call me sceptical but do we think that was a desperate attempt to try and get somewhere near?!  They always covered themselves anyway as it was based on the ‘5 pillars’ of testing, one of which was antibody testing, which of course hasn’t been developed yet, so let’s wait and see what they say tomorrow.

Figures

England has finally announced that they will now include deaths in care homes and the community in our official daily figures.  It has taken some time and some pressure for this to happen, Scotland and Wales have been including for some time.  It is now thought that deaths in care homes amount for 1/3 of all coronavirus deaths (1/2 in Scotland).

My step mum died on Saturday 28 March, in a care home.  She had severe underlying conditions, and whilst there was no mention of Coronavirus, she would certainly not have survived if she had caught it.  She was so very ill, and this really was a blessing, but it didn’t make her death any easier.  We still couldn’t go and visit, couldn’t say goodbye, and couldn’t go to her funeral.

I worry care homes have been ‘forgotten’ about, left behind, unimportant in the grand scheme of things.  The staff and patients there laid open to infection with a lack of PPE, whilst going above and beyond in terms of care as the nation is in lockdown.  A story across the board within the NHS, but I do feel care homes and community medical care have been let down even more so.

Faith

I sit and watch a world repair itself, whilst it seems that mankind is being destroyed.  Faith would suggest that we need to witness how we have been destroying the world.  That we need to relook at how we treat each other and ourselves.  Perhaps then, COVID-19 has given us an opportunity to do this.

For all the parents told that flexible working wasn’t possible.  People with disabilities told that home working was not feasible.  A reduction by as much as 40% in carbon dioxide in some countries.  Even a glimpse of the Himalayas in India for the first time in decades.  How we decide as a nation, as a world, to come out of this pandemic is as essential, if not more, than the decisions made during the pandemic.

History in the making.

Fay x


is it just me

Day 35 - Is It Just Me?

Figures

Deaths UK: 16,060

Cases UK: 120,067

Worldwide Deaths: 161,904

Worldwide Cases: 2,358,351

Is it just me?

It’s been a difficult week for many reasons, but I do feel like 4 weeks in and I am losing touch with reality.  The more time I spend indoors, the more I forget that actually we are all just trying to get by each day.  That we are all stuck at home doing the best we can.  I think we become so insular, that all we think about is our own situation. Is it just me?

self-absorbed

adjective • usually disapproving

only interested in yourself and your own activities

Me, me, me

I was reminded by a good friend this week of just how self-absorbed I’d actually become (not intentional but needed).  I am on furlough at the moment and therefore sitting at home whilst seeing and knowing that colleagues are still working away has been hard.  Likewise, because I have been at home the whole time, it is hard to remember that actually life is not going on as normal whilst I’m at home.  I forget that it is not everyone at work as normal.  In meetings, sharing coffee breaks etc.  My anxiety takes over and I struggle not to take it personally, even though my logical brain knows fine well it was the obvious thing to do (I even offered myself for the scheme).

I do think that for the future we can learn a lot from this whole situation, we can learn the impact that it has on our workforces.  From key workers still battling away to keep us fed, safe and well, who aren’t paid enough.  To staff trying to work from home with limited IT and digital processes in place.  To furlough staff and ensuring they don’t feel forgotten about during the whole process.

However, that is exactly what it is, a learning curve, from a position that no-one saw coming, that no-one had planned for. We are all in the same boat…

“In the rush to return back to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

beautyqueenuk.co.uk

So for me, it’s all about remembering that everyone is just trying to do the best they can, to get through each day, That we are all in this together, taking one day at a time.

Fay x

#stayhomesavelives


Easter Holidays

Day 30 - Easter in Lockdown

Figures

UK Deaths: 12,107

UK Cases: 93,873

Worldwide Deaths: 125,018

Worldwide Cases: 1,980,856

Easter

It’s been a strange week.  The Easter holidays mean that structure has gone out of the window.  On one hand, it has been nice having a break, but as each day passes, it becomes harder and harder to stay motivated.

Easter Sunday was particularly hard.  Traditionally, we spend Easter Sunday together as a family.  Enjoy a BBQ in the sun, or a roast around the table.  I found it hard to even get out of bed.  I miss my mum, my family, my in-laws and my friends.

Day to Day

Our days are now filled with the basic.  Taking time to make breakfast and a cup of tea.  Washing, Ironing (well okay, maybe not so much ironing), cleaning, all those things we hate, are now becoming things we look forward to, just because they are ‘something’.  In ways it is lovely to take the time again when so often we are always rushing.  However, it is also difficult because we know what we are missing.  It’s a hard balancing act and I hope this maybe teaches us all something about our work/life balance.

Online shopping, news bulletins, F5 to try and get an online delivery/click & collect slot.  The excitement if you do actually get a slot, it’s literally like winning the lottery!

I still haven’t managed to venture further than the top of the lane, thank god for the OH is all I can say.  He’s had to put up with a lot these past few weeks.  Not only is he still having to work (from home) in these strange times, but he’s also having to shop for us and vulnerable neighbours, as well as put up with my ever-decreasing mental state.

Each day is different and I’d guess he feels like he is walking on eggshells at the moment.  Yet still, he manages to make me laugh (most of the time) and gets on with everyday life to keep us all going.

The week ahead…

Thursday is the Monkey’s first day ‘back’.  The Geek and the Jock go back on the following Monday.  It’ll be a whole new way of learning for them and for me, for the whole country.  Not least for us because we only have two laptops between three of them (thank god I’m not working!).  The Geek bought his own so it’s not really fair to ask him to share, but there may be times.  So the Jock and the Monkey will have to share mine, this could be fun LOL.

Anyone else fearing the technological age of homeschooling????  Really wish I worked out how to log onto the school portal before now #panic

Fay x

#stayhomesavelives


The norm

Day 22 - The Norm

Figures

UK Deaths: 5,373

UK Cases: 51,608

Worldwide Deaths: 73,759

Worldwide Cases: 1,328,437

The Norm?

So it’s over 3 weeks since we as a family started isolating and 2 weeks since lockdown became the norm.  We are slowly getting used to the restrictions.  Meanwhile, around the world, the situation develops.  Some countries are seeing everything slow down after their ‘peak’.  Whilst others are just seeing the beginning of the pandemic hit.

Here it’s been another pivotable weekend.  Professor Chris Whitty (England’s CMO) hasn’t been heard from since he went into self-isolation last week.  It is past his 7 days, but still, we have heard nothing*.  Scotland’s CMO broke her own restrictions by travelling to her holiday home, twice!  She resigned this morning.  The Queen addressed the nation – only her fifth time since becoming Queen.  Last but by no means least, the Prime Minister was taken to hospital last night as a precautionary measure, his symptoms from the virus not improved in 10 days.

Easter Holidays

Typically as we have seen these last few years, the weather is abnormally pleasant.  However, unlike previous years we cannot flock to the coast, we cannot rush to the park, and we cannot crowd beauty spots.  It is indeed a lot to ask, and police forces across the country are worried it will be too much for some.  This weekend saw some London parks closed after people seemed not to understand social distancing and ‘necessary’ time out of the house.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to be in lockdown and not have some green space, to be stuck in a flat or apartment without even a balcony.  The prospect of several months must seem at times impossible, especially with young children.

I really do worry that the behaviour of the selfish or misguided minority, will lead to the sensible majority being ‘punished’ for even longer.

The New Normal

I must admit as concerning as each developing day is, most of this weekend has been a little easier.  The school holidays may be playing a large part to this…

Life as we know it will never be the same again.  But how soon we can get back to seeing our friends and families again, how soon before we begin to flatten the curve, is entirely up to us!

Stay Home, Stay Safe,

Fay x

*Chris Whitty appeared for the first time at the government briefing this evening.


silent killer

Day 16 - Silent Killer

Silent Killer _ Anxiety Quotes _ Theodore Roosevelt Quotes

Figures

UK Deaths: 1,789

UK Cases: 25,150

Worldwide Deaths: 40,633

Worldwide Cases: 823,200

Silent Killer

We’ve officially finished ‘Household Isolation’! However, the ‘geek’ and I have still not left the house as we are vulnerable.  I did manage to walk up the lane to fetch the bin this afternoon, that was an achievement. More and more I find myself staring out of the window, looking at the silent killer.  Windows seem more like a shield from the outside these days.  Instead of the beautiful frame for nature that they used to be.

I worry about my mental health if I’m honest.  I’m not sure it can make it through this.  However, one thing I have noticed is my ability to voice my concerns now.  Furthermore, I am able to own my feelings and adjust each day to them.

What

So one thing I do find useful for me is to write down the things that are making me anxious and upset.

  • Coronavirus
  • Death
  • Home Schooling
  • Video Conferencing

Coronavirus & Death

Two things I have absolutely no control over!  Therefore essentially I cannot do anything about them.  It does not stop me feeling anxious about the silent killer though.  And don’t get me wrong, the ‘death’ part is not selfishly about me dying.  It’s about friends and family that I love, losing their lives, or losing their loved ones.  It’s about tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of people losing their lives across the world.

Now I know that for most anxiety sufferers, staying away from social media, TV etc. is usually the best advice.  However, that’s kinda my thing.  I need facts, I need to know how things work, I need truths.  So BBC News is my friend and social media, my in house comedian.

Home Schooling

Good god almightly this is already doing my pip in.  I know that teachers had little or no notice to set work, but we are two weeks in (actually this was happening way before lockdown) and some teachers still can’t seem to attach the right answers to the questions.  Or set out a pdf/ppt that actually configures right for printing and therefore half of is missing.  However that aside, I have managed to be much more realistic this week.  My kids start their school day when they wake, with mine that is anytime from 8 am to about 3 pm LOL.  I set them the work that has been set by the school, sometimes they finish much quicker, sometimes they take longer.  It’s a ‘hard push’ at times, but no longer a battle.  If I figure they aren’t going to be productive then I don’t push, there is no point.  I leave for a day when they are in a better frame of mind.

Silent Killer - Funny Lockdown Quotes _ Workplace Quotes _ Zoom Call Quotes

Video Conferencing

This is a gift from the devil!!!  Seriously whoever invented Zoom, Skype, House Party etc. all need putting in a room and isolating for a very long time!  One of my biggest anxiety triggers is the phone, I struggle to answer it, I used to even struggle picking it up to phone others.  You know that sketch where someone is phoning a date and picks up, dials and hangs up; picks up, dials and hangs up…  Well, that was me for every single call I would ever have to make.  Deep-seated back to the days when I was bullied, I have an uncontrollable (and unfounded) fear of people making fun of me when I’m on the phone.

Face your Fears!

Now you’d think that because video conferencing meant I could see the people I’m talking to then it would be easier, but no.  Several fears come in here.  Yes, I can see you, but you can see me, and I can see me, and depending on numbers, loads of bloody people can see me!  Also what if I press the wrong button, what if the microphone is on when it shouldn’t be, or the camera isn’t on when it should be.  The possibilities are endless…

So anyway, whilst everyone else is embracing video conferencing, washing their hair for their work Zoom meeting, or playing Pictionary on House Party with a gin in hand.  Personally, I will be working my way up to just taking part.

I tried a Zoom meeting earlier this week and pretty much froze.  Lasted about 10 mins and then all my effort had been used and I could do no more but sit silently blaming my WiFi.  I downloaded House Party, we won’t even go into what happened there, suffice to say that 30 secs affected the rest of my day!

In my head, my grandchildren will read these diaries and re-live history through family members eyes.  Helping them get an A in History as they write about the ‘Silent Killer’.

In reality, it’s the ramblings of their mad mother who can’t spell, so somehow I doubt it!

Stay safe,

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

The Lockdown Diaries

Wellbeing

Or follow my Pinterest board, for even more motivation in lockdown:

Motivation Quotes | Positive Quotes | Inspiration

SILENT KILLER

Clap for Carers

Day 11 - Clap for Carers

Figures

UK Deaths: 578

UK Cases: 11,658

Worldwide Deaths: 23,670

Worldwide Cases: 524,007

It’s been a funny 48 hours – bad choice of words really. I have now officially finished ‘work’ for Easter, which takes some of the pressure off.  Likewise, the ‘monkey’ is now on Easter hols.  The older two still have a couple of weeks left yet, but homeschooling is a lot easier with these two, so we are finally getting somewhere.  And tonight sees our first Clap for Carers.

The weather has been glorious, meaning lots of families in their gardens.  Such a juxtaposition, the beautiful sound of families enjoying their gardens, whilst we all ensure that we practice #socialdistancing.  The sounds of the birds singing, whilst all the time knowing there is a silent killer out there.

Worrying Times

Death rates in Spain, the US and the UK continue to rise, even Italy has started to rise again after the South saw a sharp rise in cases.  People still aren’t quite getting the seriousness of this virus.  Yesterday saw the reported death of Chloe Middleton, 21, with no apparent underlying health conditions.  This virus does not discriminate.  The virus is not spreading, we are spreading the virus!

Clap for Carers

Tonight was the start of the UK showing their appreciation for all Key Workers. At 8pm everyone took to their windows or the street (at least 2m apart of course) and clapped and cheered their appreciation for all our NHS & Key Workers.  It was so moving to hear everyone out in force tonight.

#clapforcarers #clapforNHS

Fay x

Clap for Carers

Online Resources

Day 9 - Help

Figures

UK Deaths: 422

UK Cases: 8,077

Worldwide Deaths: 18,262

Worldwide Cases: 409,054

Help

Oh my god seriously, how the heck am I actually meant to homeschool 3 kids (14, 13 & 8 – who’s severly dsylexic) as well as work from home; deal with a dog who is barking all the time as not used to all being at home in her space; and a constant stream of online deliveries being left on the step.  Actually considering self-isolating in the garage with all the gin, my laptop, in my onesie!

But seriously, I need to figure something out as otherwise, my anxiety will be something else that needs help!  I swing from day to day. One day feeling invinsible and knowing that I can only do what I can do.  To the next feeling like I am the worst parent in the world who’s children will literally revert back to pre-school and lose the ability to read and write if I don’t ensure they are on a full timetable.

Online Resources

To be fair, with the older two, it is a fairly easy (well once I’d spent the best part of the day setting up their online access). Furthermore, it gives me something solid to keep them from spending the entire day in their room on the Xbox.

However I’ve spent the last few days being tagged into amazing free online classes of very talented friends, as well as being sent lots of great resources to share for my day job, and I wanted to share them all with you!

Free Classes / Resources

Archaeology – York University Online

Art – Hannah Ostapjuk

Dance – Oti Mabuse Kids Dance Class

Drama – York Stage School

English – Audio Books – David Walliams

Food Technology – Keep Cooking and Carry On

History – Lesson from WW2 Bunker

Maths – The Maths Factor – Carol Vorderman

PE – The Body Coach – Joe Wicks

Science – Sciencetots

Zoology – Edinburgh Zoo WebCams

 

Home Schooling – Twinkl

Today

On a day when the UK deaths reached an all-time high.  When it was announced that we would be turning a London conference centre into a temporary hospital.  When the call went out for the requirement of 250,000 volunteer NHS workers.  And when the whole country received an emergency ‘text’ from the government…

Well, most of us did as was asked.  There were still the ignorant, not social distancing.  The selfish, bulk buying.  The key workers, putting their lives on the line.  Life goes on, just not as we know it!

#stayathome

Fay x


Lockdown

Day 8 - Lockdown?

Figures

UK Deaths: 335

UK Cases: 6,650

Worldwide Deaths: 16,313

Worldwide Cases: 372,592

Lockdown

Boris Johnson is to address the nation at 8:30 pm, I guess we might be going on lockdown, or at the very least much tougher measures and closing our borders.  Definitely some stronger measures need to be taken after images of the tube in London still being busy.  People flocking to their ‘second’ homes for self-isolation breaks, as well as ignoring social distancing rules in parks and gardens all across the UK.

Yesterday was a difficult day.  A non-existent Mother’s Day as such.  The card bought in haste is still sitting in its wrapper next to my laptop, not seeming at all important in the grand scheme of things.

We are on Day 8 of our 14 day household isolation.  The ‘jock’ child has now passed his isolation period, so is allowed out from his room.  Thank god to be honest as I’m bored of being a glorified slave LOL.  We are all in good health (well unless you count my mental health which is in bits) and as they are not testing unless you are hospitalised then we will probably never know if he had or not.  Therefore still have to work on the assumption that we haven’t had and stay at home.

Homeschooling

Today was our first attempt at home school.  After initially really stressing about this concept, I have managed to tell myself that I can only do what I can do whilst also working from home; and it doesn’t matter what others are doing.

The ‘geek’ child was good and did as much work as he could remotely without much fuss.  The ‘monkey’ child was bored within about an hour.  Fort building, Joe Wicks PE lesson and football outside was the order of the day, along with an awful lot of lego building.  The ‘jock’ slept most of the day TBH, but he’s going to be my hardest to ‘school’.

Below is the timetable I’ve decided to go with, love it!

Addressing the Nation…

So we are on lockdown.  We are only allowed to leave for the following reasons:

  • To shop for basic necessities, as little as possible.
  • For one for of exercise a day
  • For medical need
  • To travel to and from work, when ‘absolutely necessary’

We have been warned not to meet friends or family members we don’t live with.. Gatherings of more than two are now banned.  All non essential business must shut.  All social events, including weddings and baptisms (bar funerals) are now banned.

These restrictions are under constant review and will be relaxed if the evidence shows they are able to.


Mothers Day

Day 7 - Mother's Day

Figures

UK Deaths: 281

UK Cases: 5,683

Worldwide Deaths: 14,456

Worldwide Cases: 338,092

Mother’s Day

Possibly the strangest Mother’s Day ever, where the best gift we can give is to not visit our Mothers.  Where Danish flower growers have asked their government to help, as with an unprecidented drop in sales, they will surely be ruined.  Where youngesters across the world flout the guidelines, high on youthful optimism and the incorrect assumption that they can’t get Coronavirus, and the ignorance of just how many people they are putting in danger.

Lockdown

Rumours are that we will be on lockdown before the week is out.  The message simply isn’t getting through.  Yorkshire police tweeted last night to warn parents who are allowing their children out to ‘play’ / hang out, that arrests may have to happen, unless they start to observe proper social distancing guidelines.

12 Weeks

It seems like such a long time to some people, but it’s nothing to others.  It’s nothing to cancer patients, to transplant patients, to NHS workers, to all those vulnerable people out there.

We need to act responsibly, we need to act selflessly, we need to act with thought and care for others.  It’s our duty!

Fay x


Day 5 - Schools Out!

Figures

UK Deaths: 184

UK Cases: 3983

Worldwide Deaths: 11,194

Worldwide Cases: 267,871

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

In news today, the virus is killing 1 person every 10 minutes in Iran.  The Olympic torch arrived in Japan, who are still insisting the Olympics will go ahead.  65,000 retired NHS workers are being urged to return to work.  627 Italians died from the virus in the last 24 hours.

Schools Out

As all schools in the UK shut today for the foreseeable future, a huge amount of children went to school for the very last time today, no prom, no exams, no proper goodbye!

Younger children have been inconsolable at the thought of not seeing their friends for what to them seems like forever.

The social and long-lasting mental implications of this are just unthinkable.

Context

I think what shocks me the most is the lack of responsibility around this virus.  The lack of regard for simple rules put in place regarding social distancing and self-isolation.  So many people (of ALL ages) are not taking this seriously and therefore we are now at the stage where all pubs, clubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, gyms etc. are now being officially closed.

We were given the chance to act ourselves, but we couldn’t.  We were given the chance to shop responsibly, but we couldn’t.

Take the time to think of those who have no choice but to socially distance or self isolate because of low immune systems, chemotherapy etc.  Think of those who have no choice when to shop, or cannot afford to bulk buy.  We have the choice, but we should take that choice seriously for those who have no choice!

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.

Jim Rohn

Please do what is right.

Fay x


Social Distancing

Day 4 - Stark Reality

Figures

UK Deaths: 144

UK Confirmed Cases: 3,269

Worldwide Deaths: 9,844

Worldwide Confirmed Cases: 237,912

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

We woke this morning to the news that 40 stations on the London Underground will close. 20,000 military staff are on standby to help Police and NHS.  Italy recorded it’s highest numbers of deaths in a day (higher than any country has recorded since the virus broke out) despite the restrictions put in place.

However in good news, China reported no new domestic cases for the very first time.

Daily Reality

Today has been about a lot of realities hitting home.

  • The reality that some people don’t quite get the self isolation / social distancing thing.  As a very good friend said “Avoiding unnecessary social contact in these COVID 19 times is NOT a sacrifice!  It is a gift to the most vulnerable who may not survive being infected…”
  • The reality that school life as we know it will change for the next few months.  The impact this will have on our children in such uncertain times.  Much respect to the teachers for trying to make this change as easy as possible.
  • The reality that many more will die over the coming months.  That our Health Service will be stretched to it’s very limit.  That we need to show respect for all our Keyworkers and the vulnerable and behave with kindness not selfishness!

Goodbye

I think the hardest thing today was having to say ‘goodbye’ to mum.  She is over 70 with several underlying health conditions.  She is being sensible and self-isolating for the next 12 weeks.  With us being under household isolation this had to be done 2 metres apart from the door.  We both held our nerve, but I broke down when she was out of sight, and am doing so again now writing this.  Pretty sure she will have done the same.  I hope that none of us will take for granted the time we get to spend together.

“The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.”

Joseph B. Wirthlin

Tonight’s Job

Type up the boys’ timetables and print out on A3 paper.  Confiscate iPads, phones, XBoxes, Wii U’s, and Nintendo Switch’s…

Schools in for Easter!

Fay x


Household Isolation Credit: http://theconversation.com/surprising-ways-to-beat-anxiety-and-become-mentally-strong-according-to-science-77978

Household Isolation

Day 3

So with everything as it is at the moment and the world changing literally in front of our eyes, I kinda thought it might be time to start writing again.

Current situation…

We are currently on 14 day household isolation after our middle son (The Jock) woke on Monday morning with mild symptoms; continuous cough and temperature.  Bearing in mind on Monday morning this just meant a 7 day isolation for him alone, it didn’t seem so bad.  So despite thinking it was probably nothing, it was a small sacrifice to ensure we limited the possible spread.  Fast forward to that evening and suddenly household isolation was announced.  There was no going back!  Suddenly the food I had been buying gradually over the past few weeks that we laughed about, became an absolute necessity.  My decision for none of us to visit my very vulnerable mother for the past week didn’t seem so extreme.  Suddenly it all seemed a little real.

A reason to be thankful

We are extrmely lucky as we have the space to fully isolate ‘the Jock’, including a bathroom he doesn’t have to share with anyone. The OH and I are able to work from home meaning we can be here for theg, but still work to ensure we are bringing wages in.  So we are truly thankful.

Fear Factor

It’s interesting but for the last few months I’ve been focusing on a move away from social media. Taking time to just concentrate on me, my family and everyday life.  However the Coronavirus has really ramped up my anxiety again (and I know that a lot of people in the same boat).  It’s something I realised I suffered from only in the last few years and actually it’s been pretty much under control the last few months.  But it now explains exactly why I started stocking up (not panic buying, or emptying shelves I may add, and not toilet roll either!) earlier than most.  Feeling the worry about my family to the point where people thought I was perhaps being too over-sensitive.  Even taking steps to social distance much earlier than others.

But I think the biggest thing for me was the lack of direction or instruction of what to do in the early days.  The lack of knowledge, yet the constant stream of information.  Having to believe in the leaders of our government and institutions, whilst also listening to my gut; especially whilst the rest of the world took very different measures initially.

5pm update

Okay so as we will all now be aware, schools are now officially closing in the UK.  I knew this would happen, I had been thinking about it for a couple of weeks.  Alas the reality of these last few days have really brought it home.

As said the OH and I are very fortunate to be able to work from home.  However suddenly this is a disadvantage.  Now not only do we need to put a full working day in, but like millions of others we are expected to ‘teach’ our children too.  God help us if we actually get sick!

Fair enough I’ll just be shouting at the ‘Geek’ and the ‘Jock’ to do what work has been set for them, before they are remotely allowed near their phones or XBoxes, but it ain’t so simple for the littlies.  The ‘Monkey’ is severlely dyslexic and has made amazing progress at Bootham over the last year and a half, but now it’s down to me…

The anxiety is kicking in, am I going to fail him.  How do I have the time to teach him as well as work.

Goal

I hope that this blog will allow me to vent some of my anxiety, as well as offer some solace to others to in the same boat.  A place to realise you are not alone and just share your worries.  I have some amazing friends who have already sent some great resources to use educationally which I’ll share.  As well as some ways to ease your anxiety over the next few months.  But more than all, I kinda want this to be a diary for my grandkids, to see what it was like to live through, because this is definitely going to change our world as we know it!

Anyway enough ramblings for now, till tomorrow.

Fay x


Summer Holidays

Summer Summer Summer Time

Summer Holiday!

  • No of times I wanted to kill my husband: 7 (the exact number of nights we were on holiday!)
  • No of accidents by Daisy: lost count!
  • No of times Daisy escaped the garden: 0 (the chicken wire has done the trick)
  • No of times Samuel escaped the garden: lost count! (shame the chicken wire doesn’t keep him in)
  • No of times I burst into tears: 2 (a day?!)
  • No of gin bottles in the recycling: lost count (took some to bottle bank so as not to look too alcoholic obvs)

The Summer holidays bring all sorts of new and exciting expensive adventures.  But can I just ask, who the frig decided that children need to ‘do’ something every day?!  What happened to just chilling at home and making s**t out of cardboard boxes, or spending hours in the garden and fields ‘playing’, or in the case of my 13 year old, sleeping!

Social holiday!

You will notice that I go a little quiet on social media over the holidays, there are various reasons for this.

  1. I’m too busy staving off fights over the last of the milk or the best packet of crisps.  Dealing with melt downs over not being able to go to Energi (other trampoline parks are available) every single day of the holidays.  Coping with 3 boys who are continually hungry and thirsty as if they have been starved for weeks.
  2. I actually can’t deal with all the ‘perfect’ photos of everyone else doing stuff in the holidays.  Stunning photos of kids enjoying the outdoors, playing gleefully with their mates, on glorious holidays where everyone is happy and smiling.

There is nothing more guilt inducing than looking at these photos and affirming what a s**t mother you must be because you allow your kids to sleep past lunchtime, stay on their Xbox for half the day or watch their iPad for more than 30 minutes a day.

And how come everyone else seems to go on amazing holidays every year and to go on trips every other day to kids attractions and historical outings.  Maybe there is some secret club that mum’s all join – like a closed Facebook Group – that I missed out on cause I was too busy cleaning up dog poo from the kitchen floor and secretly pouring gin into a mug so I could drink at 1pm without anyone knowing?!

Here is my summer holidays…

Day 1

Lie in, remember we have a dog, get up and take Daisy out for a wee, give her breakfast.  Take breakfast up to the small child who is attached to his iPad in his ‘den’ (this is basically his covers and every pillow he can find on the floor under the bloody captains bed I bought for him, sleep on the actual bed man!!!!!!).  Realise you have given the dog the porridge and Samuel the dog food, quickly swap.  Make first cup of tea.  Feel excited for the holidays and everything I am going to achieve.  Think about blog to write to show these achievements.  Start the clear out of the spare room, manage an hour before realising it looks worse than it did and This Morning is on.  Fall asleep on sofa and wake up an hour later, meanwhile little man is still on his iPad and the bigger two are still fast asleep.  Well it is Day 1 after all, i’ll get them up earlier tomorrow.  Think about blog to write.  Look at the spare room for an hour or so, moving piles from one side of the room to the other.  Realise that the small one has actually got himself dressed and sneaked out the back door to ‘garden’.  Remove large shears from said small person and turn off the outside tap before he fully floods the garden.  Look at clock and realise that it’s 4pm, that’s definitely an okay time for gin on holiday.  Think about a blog to write.  Cook three different teas (brunch for the bigger two).  Take Daisy for a walk.  Cook tea for me and the OH.  Pour another gin.  Think about a blog to write.  Put small one to bed with his iPad (yes, yes I did!) and check the bigger two are still alive/awake in their rooms.  Think about blog to write. Pour another gin.  Sit on sofa for ‘just 5 mins’ with Daisy to have cuddles.  3 hours later realise that it’s time for bed…

Day 2

Lie in, remember we have a dog, get up and take Daisy out for a wee, give her breakfast.  Take breakfast up to the small child who is yet again attached to his iPad in his den.  Make first cup of tea.  Feel less excited for the holidays and everything I am going to achieve.  Think about blog to write.  Continue the clear out of the spare room, manage an hour before realising it looks worse than it did yet again and This Morning is on.  Fall asleep on sofa and wake up an hour later, meanwhile little man is still on his iPad and the bigger two are still fast asleep.  Well it is Day 2 after all, I’ll get them up earlier tomorrow.  Think about blog to write.  Look at the spare room for another hour or so.  Realise that the small one has got himself dressed again and sneaked out the back door.  Fetch him from adjoining field before he cajoles a lift on the Combine Harvester, never to be seen again.  Look at clock and realise that it’s 3pm, that’s definitely an okay time for gin on holiday.  Think about a blog to write.  Fall asleep for an hour on sofa with Daisy.  Cook three different teas (brunch for the bigger two).  Take Daisy for a walk.  Cook tea for me and the OH.  Pour another gin.  Think about a blog to write.  Put small one to bed with his iPad (yes I did it again!) and check the bigger two are still alive/awake in their rooms.  Think about blog to write. Pour another gin.  Sit on sofa for ‘just 5 mins’ with Daisy to have cuddles.  4 hours later realise that it’s time for bed…

Day 3-35

I think you get the idea…. Somewhere in there I finished the spare room, but gave up at the hall as it all got too much.  Technology won (I was a gamer myself so maybe i’m a little soft), Daisy won, Gin won.

Day 36

HOLIDAY!!!!!!! We’re driving to Northern France this year.  The OH and middle bigger one are already in Vienna whilst the OH competes in a Squash Tournament.  He did want this to be our ‘family’ holiday, I politely declined.  So on the Saturday after sitting for 5 hours in the hairdressers chair (I had the appointment booked for over 2 months, I wasn’t cancelling and yes that is the average length of time I spend there, it’s my only luxury!) I had to rush back, shove the eldest bigger one and the smaller one in the car (the car had been packed since Wednesday, i’m a tad anal/anxious about packing) and drive down to Stanstead to pick them up.  3 hours later we arrive at Stanstead and marvel at my amazing driving ability, like a proper grown up, with amazing hair too!  Pick them up, head through the Dartford tunnel and stop off for a McD’s before collapsing in a Premier Inn for the night.

Day 37

Up at 7am! Luckily boys excited so waking them isn’t too bad, more Famous Five go Camping, than Kevin and Perry.  Journey pretty uneventful until we arrive at our destination and discover a town parade means every and I mean every road to our AirB&B for the week is closed.  Thank f**k for SatNav, so after being exactly 2 mins from our destination, a quick 30 mins later #seriously and we finally arrive and unpack. Where’s the Champagne… well it is France!

Day 38-43

Little man and me get up late morning and chill for a while downstairs.   He plays in the walled garden (and relax) and I have a good book and a cup of tea.  OH gets up late morning and heads off to the Patisserie for Baguette, Pan Aux Chocolate and Croissants.  Sometimes we all go, sometimes just OH and the little one, and we always have a wander along the promenade.  Breakfast is eaten (hard for me gluten free and all, sometimes you just have to give in), and then we try and persuade the bigger two to get up and do something.  Most of the time we go to the beach and enjoy, sometimes we don’t bother.  But every night after tea we all sit down to play UNO, Monopoly and Draughts and I bask in my achievement as a wonderful mother where her whole family can sit down socially together and converse, laugh and enjoy family time #goodtimes  Well before the arguments start over cheating and official rules!

Day 44

Little man and me get up early morning.   Yes he is on his iPad and I begin stressing about packing the car and have a cup of tea.  OH gets up still heads off to the Patisserie for Baguette, Pan Aux Chocolate and Croissants.  Breakfast is eaten whilst I persuade the bigger two to get up before lunchtime.  OH starts packing the car.  I get anxious as he isn’t packing ‘properly’.  Re-pack what is already in the car.  Remove what is packed as I’ve forgotten and packed little ones clean pants.  Re-pack car.  Remove what is packed again as bigger one has managed to get chocolate on top, and needs clean one.  Re-pack car.  Set off for Ferry. Get given short straw in lane choice at terminal.  Get on Ferry LAST!!!!! Eventually find 5 seats together, smell vomit from previous crossing #suchfun  #4hourstogo  Get back in car.  Due to being last on, you’d think we’d be first off…  No No No, LAST OFF THE F**KING FERRY AGAIN! 1 whole hour later!  Cue a 5 hour journey with full car, 3 boys in the back “the booster seat isn’t in the middle mum”, “he’s putting his arm near me”, “he looked at me”, “he breathed”. Definitely more Kevin and Perry this time, the Famous Five have been murdered and slaughtered and packed in the boot! Kill me now…

Ten thirty pm we arrive home, luckily the eldest two just take themselves off to bed, but the youngest is beyond tired and takes some convincing to go to bed.  By eleven thirty i’m in bed.  I have work in the morning, have no idea what to wear, or really care, my hair needs washing and I need a shower.  Is it all over yet?

Day 45

BACK TO SCHOOL!   For me anyway.

Day 46

BACK TO SCHOOL for the boys… okay so it turned out it was only for the smaller one, but I’m pretty sure the bigger two weren’t that annoyed at me for getting them up at 7am and sending them to the bus stop at 8am only to realise they didn’t start back till tomorrow (I did have an inkling, but never acted on that LOL).

Day 47

BACK TO SCHOOL FOR ALL!

Who said these were the best years of our lives…  Pass the gin!


My Depressing Life

My Depressing Life

Tuesday 14 August 2019

Times that…

  • I went to the toilet alone: 2 (woohoo!)
  • Daisy had an accident: 3
  • Daisy escaped the garden: 0 (hence the 3 accidents!)
  • Samuel escaped the garden: 1
  • I burst into tears: 2
  • I wanted to run away: 1 (miracle)

So today wasn’t too bad in normal terms.  OH left early for an overnight trip to Head Office, so the morning should have been chilled…  Bar the recycling team coming at about 8 am and therefore Samuel arrived in outfit one, ready to ‘help’, it was a pretty chilled day.

A flurry of work emails contributed to Daisy’s ‘accident’ record, as well as the sad affair of dead pigeon chicks that we had ‘rescued’ from the ground the night before.  This also contributed to Samuel’s outfit no. 2 (builders outfit), not sure of the relevance but anyway.

To resume happy holiday affairs Henry (yes he emerged from his room, yes he was still in his pants, yes he did wash his hands!) suggested the baking of cheese straws, who doesn’t love cheese straws.  Outfit no. 3 for Samuel (full Chef’s whites)  and shall I just suggest following the recipe precisely…. extra cheese is not always such a good idea!

my depressing life

A visit to Grandma Bling (best name ever!) with Samuel prompted outfit no. 4 (no idea or care by this point, bar the amount of bloody washing this becomes), #suchfun.  After several hours and much fun, a temper tantrum took the better of a small person and after strong resistance (we are literally like the KGB) he cried himself out and fell asleep where he lay.

Sleepover at Grandma’s!!!!!!!!!!!!

This shit ain’t easy folks and don’t let anyone make you feel like it is (she says skipping home and pouring a large gin!)

How are you all coping?

Fay x


social anxiety triggers - luca-iaconelli-D5kamMnPoKk-unsplash (1)

Social Anxiety Triggers & Coping Mechanisms

Social Anxiety Triggers

I watched the BBC documentary by Nadiya Hussain with anticipation. Despite recently realising that my insecurity was actually a little more than just insecurity and actually social anxiety, I hadn’t actually spoken to anyone. Neither had I read/watched much about personal experiences with social anxiety or thought about my social anxiety triggers.

SOCIAL ANXIETY TRIGGERS _ SOCIAL ANXIETY _ ANXIETY QUOTES

Nadiya :  Anxiety and Me

As Nadiya began explaining how she felt, how her mind worked, it was literally like listening to myself.  As I sat watching her talk to the doctor about the bullying she went through as a child, I was literally screaming at the telly.  It hit such a nerve, in a macabre way it was just so nice to know that someone else had gone through exactly what I went through.

The really interesting part for me was listening to Nadiya talk about her social anxiety, the triggers and her coping mechanisms.  I realised that there were so many things that I did that were clearly coping mechanisms.

So I began to really think about my triggers and my coping strategies, in the hope that I can identify and work on.

Triggers

Large Social Situations

Large social situations are a pretty obvious one and I think a lot of people will understand this.  I can’t tell you the number of parties and conferences I haven’t gone to because I built them up so much in my head.  So many people in one room that I either have never met or hardly know. So many people to dislike me.

One to One Social Situations

One to one situations are a little different. Generally the first time we meet it’s more nerves, but then I begin to build the pressure on myself.  I become anxious about not being good enough, it overwhelms me until the point that it is easier to not meet again.

Phone calls are a huge anxiety trigger for me.  Just dialling a number or answering a call is hugely difficult for me.  All family and friends of mine will have called me at some point and I won’t have answered.  It wasn’t because I missed the call, but much more likely that I was frozen to the spot unable to have the courage to answer.

Travel

Travel is a huge trigger for me as so much could go wrong, so much is out of my hands. And having three kids just added to my anxiety, I start packing at least two weeks before we go anywhere.  And I can literally feel the anxiety leave my body as we go through passport control, or the train leaves the station.

For so long these triggers have affected my life, in fact controlled my life.  And I’ve built coping mechanisms just to ensure that either I can reduce the anxiety as much as possible, or at the very least cover it so that others don’t see  And clearly I am not alone.

Coping Mechanisms

Avoidance

This is probably one of my most common tactics, as it’s the easiest to do.  However the older I get the more I realise just how much I’ve missed out on.  So it may seem easy, but I realise now I’ve pissed off friends, lost out on opportunities and missed some great parties.

Organisation

This is one strategy that I hadn’t necessarily realised was a coping strategy.  I just thought I was a little anal in regards to organising things.  However, actually it’s more about organising what I can be in control of so that my mind has less to stress about.  So my clothes being in colour order. My shoes being in style and colour order. The humongous whiteboard planner at home. Even my desk at work is in order.  All done to bring a little more calm to the madness.

Mask

Probably my most obvious (to me) but also my subtlest (to others) strategy.  I wear a mask every day.  Most people will assume that my ever-changing hairstyles and colours are born out of confidence.  That my make up is always done because I ‘have it together’.  That my style is a passion (it kinda is). But it’s actually the complete opposite.  All these things are done to mask the anxiety.  I give people things to comment on so that I can deflect from them actually talking about/to me.

Alcohol

I think everyone will recognise this coping mechanism, which I’m pretty sure we’ve all done at times.  A couple of drinks before going out to give you ‘dutch courage’.  However, when I look back to my 20’s I realise just how much I fell back on this.  Take attending a boyfriends’ friends wedding. I had several drinks on the way to the hotel.  When I arrived my stress levels grew and grew as I worried about needing to talk to other people, but literally feeling paralysed to do so.  Assuming rightly or wrongly that they would all hate me.  So I drank. I drank so much I passed out in the toilet, waking hours later when everyone had left.

Moving on

I’ve never ever done anything like that again but I definitely used alcohol throughout my life to cope.  Thankfully it’s less and less now the older I get.  However, am I’m merely replacing one coping technique with another?

I spoke to a good friend the other day and admitted my fear of phone calls.  But I did this ON A PHONE CALL! Yep, I picked up the phone and I called them, and I don’t think they hate me either LOL.

Small steps and all that…

And if you’ve got this far, thanks for listening!

Fay x

Disclaimer:  So I just wanna say that I am not writing for sympathy.  I’m writing because it helps me to put things down on paper.  Because I want others to realise they are not alone.  But mainly I think if we all just keep writing then eventually the stigma will be gone…

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

The Lockdown Diaries

Wellbeing

 

Featured Image Photo by 🐣 Luca Iaconelli 🦊 on Unsplash


Household Isolation Credit: http://theconversation.com/surprising-ways-to-beat-anxiety-and-become-mentally-strong-according-to-science-77978

Social Anxiety - The Hidden Curse

Since my PTSD diagnosis and subsequent recovery via EMDR therapy, I have been more and more aware of just how it affected my life.  However, what has also interested me is just how much anxiety affects us and isn’t spoken about.  And also how much of my own behaviour has and is affected by anxiety.  It’s become very clear that as well as PTSD that I suffer from social anxiety too.

Types of Anxiety

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Anxiety

To read more on each please click here

anxiety-girl-able-to-jump-to-the-worst-conclusion-in-a-single-bound

For so long I assumed that my ‘worries’ were down to insecurity, it never occurred to me that it was actually anxiety.  And half of this is because it is rarely talked about.  However more and more of us are willing to talk openly, to break down the barriers. A new BBC series lifts the lid on some of our most well-known celebrities and their struggles with mental health.

How does it manifest?

So I’ve noticed in just the last week, three specific incidences where my anxiety has been triggered:

Singing lesson – Anticipatory Anxiety (Panic Disorder)

Some of my followers will know that I decided to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and take singing lessons.  I love to sing.  My second lesson was last Friday and the negative ninny voices were working a treat.  I let them win and I didn’t go to my lesson.  I convinced myself I was rubbish, that I wasn’t really worthy of the lessons.  However for once, I was honest about why and my lovely friend Jo was so understanding, and that makes all the difference.  So I’m resolute that next time, even if I only manage to go for a cup of tea and a natter, I need to go! I will go!

Conference – Post-event Processing (Social Anxiety)

I had a conference in London this time last week.  It was such a great time with friends (new and old).  However, by the time I’d got home, and as the days passed, I’d convinced myself that I’d made a fool of myself, that my friends would think I was just stupid.  It was all completely unfounded, but it weighed so heavily on my mind.

Party – Anticipatory Anxiety (Panic Disorder)

We were invited to a friends party on Sunday evening and I was really looking forward to.  However, after some comments made to me the night before that were pretty hurtful and unsolicited, my emotional state was not at it’s best.  I spent the day literally just trying to contain myself.  A trip to the cinema with the boys (as promised days earlier) was hoped to help, but actually nearly broke me. I realised quickly that I was in far to fragile a state to be at such a large social occasion.  Again unlike previously, I decided to be honest with a friend as to why I couldn’t attend, and it was refreshing to be met with understanding and acceptance.

Let’s be honest

Okay, so some people may react with dismissal, with scorn.  But I can honestly say that starting to be honest now about why I fail to make social appointments; or why I go quiet after a great night, has been really refreshing.

We all suffer from ‘anxiety’ at times, just like people say their child has OCD because they line their cars up.  It’s not as simple as that, I really wish it was.  Anxiety disorders affect peoples ability to live a normal life, see the effects here.  It means we cannot function with the balanced reason that most of society does.  It’s bloody hard, and it’s bloody draining…

Being honest helps!

Fay x


Working Mothers - Can we really have it all?

Yesterday’s article in the Daily Mail showing that two thirds of mothers struggling with the to-do list really hit home.  With it being the Easter holidays I felt like I was invisible.  I had three weeks off and lots of chores/tasks to do.  Working five days a week, I must admit it does feel like a never ending to-do list.  The house for me has definitely taken a back step.

Working Mothers

Our generation (Generation X) were brought up to believe that we could have it all.  We could have the career, we could have the beautiful family, and we could have the perfect home.  But I have to say I don’t believe it, I honestly don’t believe that we can ‘have it all’ in the traditional sense.  And I think that research and the younger generation are showing that.

What gives...

And it’s not just working parents, but parents in general.  So what ‘gives’ for us to try and attain it all.  The Mail states that 84% of mothers have battled on with their routine whilst unwell.  We don’t feel like we have time to be ill!

So what needs to change?

Leading Millennial’s career expert Sarah Landrum wrote for Forbes stating:

‘From the period when Gen X babies were small, grew up and raised their own children, the total rate of working mothers nearly doubled. It’s estimated that nearly a million millennial women become mothers annually.

Technology’s evolution allows modern women the empowerment of joining tradition with innovation. Millennial women can raise their babies and work at home.  Proving that women’s purpose does not lie in one or the other. SAHMs are breadwinners, too.’

#FlexAppeal

So maybe we can have it all, but we just need to look at it a little differently.  Anna Whitehouse (aka Mother Pukka) has spent the last four years raising awareness of flexible working conditions for parents.  Her goal is to try and ensure the workplace realises that unless they change then they will lose out.  It has gained her just short of 200k IG followers, TEDX Official talker status,  meetings with parliament and some of the biggest global employers.

It’s up to us!

However like our kids taking control and backing Greta Thunberg with regards to climate change.  Then we need to be the ones backing people like Anna and making all our voices heard.  Just go to her IG feed and click her #flexappeal story highlight to see how many parents have requested flexible working deals.  If we don’t ask from our employers, demand from our government and take the opportunities ourselves, then how will things change.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

― Albert Einstein

So let’s change our thinking, let’s look at things a little differently.  Do what works for you and your family.  Ask your employer if what you have doesn’t work.  Sit down with your partner and look at ways of working together, if it isn’t working right now.  It’s not always about the next big promotion or chasing the dream.

After all, if you and your family are happy with your lot, then you really do ‘have it all’.

Fay x


Self Harm & Self Love

When I initially looked at writing this blog, it was because I had self harmed during my PND/PTSD.  Having listened to Sally from @Mumsback, I realised I wasn’t alone.   However it was something very rarely talked about and I wonder how many more of us there are.  This was only brought home by the struggle to find out any actual facts and figures on self harm in PND.

Self Harm

Types of Self Harm

Before I self harmed I must admit my ignorance felt that it was pretty much people who cut themselves.  However the below list gives an example of just some of the ways that people can self harm:

  • cutting yourself
  • poisoning yourself
  • over-eating or under-eating
  • biting yourself
  • picking or scratching at your skin
  • burning your skin
  • inserting objects into your body
  • hitting yourself or walls
  • overdosing
  • exercising excessively
  • pulling your hair
  • getting into fights where you know you will get hurt.

NB: If you self-harm, it is important that you know how to look after your injuries and that you have access to the first aid equipment you need. Please check out Lifesigns for information that will help.  However I’d also urge you to go seek help if you are self harming and/or feeling the need to self harm.

I was a scratcher…

It started off quite gradually, I guess it does for most.  If I was really down or had got myself particularly stressed or upset then I would scratch at my forehead.  A lot of the time there wouldn’t be any marks or just a bit of a scratch.  However as time went on, as I got worse, so did the scratching…

At it’s worst I had huge scabs on my forehead from where I’d spent hours clawing at my forehead.  Luckily I had a fringe so was able to cover up the evidence.  I’m still not sure if family or friends knew how bad it was.

Self Harm in PND

As I say apart from hearing other mum’s stories, it’s hard to find any specific figures for the exact amount of PND sufferers who self harm.  However studies show that mothers reporting thoughts of self-harm in the postpartum period are at a greater risk of ‘somatic and psychiatric morbidity during a follow-up of 7 years after delivery, and this increased risk may not be fully attributed to depressive symptoms. Results underline the importance of screening for self-harm symptoms postpartum and point to a need for individualized follow-up.’

To read the full report please click here

Let’s be open

So we need to keep pushing the boundaries, we need to keep breaking taboos, we need to keep talking.  For some inspirational and candidly honest stories please visit Mind.org or share your story just like we have.

None of us are perfect, life is tough, parenthood is really frigging tough.  The sooner we are honest, the sooner we go a little easier on ourselves, the better!

Fay x


High Street Fashion

Right up my street!

As you will no doubt know from my feeds, I love nothing more than a little bit of high street fashion.   Now this comes partly from ease (literally my social life practically revolves around the weekly shop at Sainburys and checking out the Next app on my phone in my lunch ‘1/2’ hour) and partly from a cost perspective (with 3 growing boys, a mahoosive mortgage and a basic ‘after extended maternity leave’ pay packet #rollseyes).  However over the years the main reason I shop high street is because it’s so damn good!

Lipsmackingly Fresh

Blouse – Sainsburys TU

Jeans – New Look (very old, very worn and very comfy!)

Trainers – Adidas

Bracelets – Pandora & Wanderer Bracelets

It’s all about the blouse! So fun, so fresh, can be dressed up or down and always raises a smile.

Animal Attraction

Dress – Next

Jacket – New Look (again very old and very worn!)

Pins – Mek Ah Step, Three Little Pandas, StupidCats

Trainers – Sainsburys 

Earrings – Next

This dress was a must have as soon as I saw.  I was actually looking for a denim jumpsuit (more on that in another post) but got a tad distracted.  I love anything animal print and colour, so the combo of both is just like honey to a bee LOL.

High Street Fashion

Almond Dreams

Drink – Baileys Almande

Brogues – Sainsburys

Skirt – Sainsburys

Earrings – Next

I’ve always been a sucker for camel (Autumn is my very favourite season for that specific reason) so spotting this ‘New In’ knitted pencil skirt and these wedge brogues I’d had my eye on for a while was a no-brainer.  And is it wrong that I bought this Baileys just for the bottle???? I mean seriously it’s just too pretty.  Looking forward to trying, but part of me doesn’t want to open. Dare I?

So that’s my latest buys, hope you like.  What’s your favourite purchase recently?

Fay x


Who me? Imposter Syndrome...

An invitation

On Sunday morning I was very kindly invited by Kate @Avocado Events to attend the Bump and Baby Expo at York Racecourse. Now before you all call me out, yes I have not got a bump or a baby (and it ain’t gonna happen so don’t be getting excited, I’m 44 you know!). However you all know how much I appreciate supporting small and local businesses.  And in addition to that there were two really quite special ladies, who I really wanted to meet and listen to.

Now I am not denying that listening to Sally (@Mumsback) and Vicki (@Honestmum) was amazing and inspirational.  In fact I’m still buzzing from chatting to them afterwards, and will share more during the week.  But actually something hit me before I’d even got to the event, before I’d even left the drive…

That nagging doubt, the tightening of chest.  Wondering what the hell I’m doing what I’m doing, but something changed that morning.  Something made me get ready, made me get in the car and drive to the racecourse.  Even though my head was screaming at me not to…

So...

I spent the next two hours at the expo.  Talking to local and small businesses, taking pics, meeting other bloggers and listening to Sally & Vicki.  I didn’t self combust, I wasn’t approached by security and asked to leave.  I was there in my own right and I deserved to be there.

Not alone

I remember being secretly so proud of myself for actually attending.  Not making an excuse, not using my kids as an excuse, not using my husband as excuse, anything really…  and then I listened to Sally and Vicki talk about exactly the same feelings!  We are not alone ladies, not matter how successful we are.  No matter what we do, woman generally have this innate default to apologise for getting to where they have in life, or panicking about being there.   When we introduce ourselves as ‘just a blogger’ or ‘just a cleaner’, ‘just a mum’;  just an anything is so wrong!!! We are stronger than we know, look at everything we have overcome and achieved as women, we should be proud not apologetic!

Frauds

Even the famous feel as we do:

‘When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, “Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.”‘  Jodie Foster

And even they think their peers are more warranted…

‘You think, “Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”‘  Meryl Streep

It’s believed that 70% of people experience imposter syndrome in their working life.  So how do we deal with it, this article from Charlotte Brown and Glug HQ gives some great tips to deal with the day to day.  And Honest Mum Vicki, explains the feelings perfectly here.

Battle of the sexes

Impostor syndrome is not a uniquely female phenomenon.  Research suggests that there is a male/female element in how people are affected it.

This article by Curiosity.com suggests:

…”harsh feedback seemed to especially affect male students with high impostor feelings — they reported higher anxiety, made less effort, and showed a trend towards poorer performance, as compared to others given positive feedback,” reports the British Psychological Society Research Digest blog. “In contrast, female students with high imposter feelings responded to harsh feedback by increasing their effort and showing superior performance.”

Strength

This shows us just how strong we are ladies! We are stronger than we realise.  Let’s start believing in ourselves and not apologising for what we do and what we have achieved.

So basically what I am saying is if I can overcome that crippling anxiety, if I can fight it and not let it win, then you can too! I’m not saying it’ll be easy, it’s one day at a time, but let’s take each day together.

Fay x


Easter Holidays

Communication

Okay so I’ve been trying to write this blog since Friday and actually i’d been trying to write a previous attempt since the week before.

Honestly it’s been a mare of a week and i’m so glad last week is over, but interestingly the weekend brought to a head something that has been bugging me for quite some time…

Communication!

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

Now when I talk about communication I am talking specifically between partners, like seriously how do adults with kids communicate nowadays so that all their busy schedules work seemlessly?! Surely it is not just my partner and I that seem to fail miserably?!

I have many friends where both partners work shift work, or travel for work regularly and it all just seems to work, is that because they have to communicate because they work shifts/travel?! Or is it because they communicate better?

We both work 9-5, Mon-Fri.  Okay we have 3 boys, who are all very different and do different things, but surely it shouldn’t be that difficult?

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

Tony Robbins

So tell me how do you and your partner communicate, how do you organise your diaries between work, social and kids?  Do you sync your calendars on your iPhones? Or maybe you go back to basics and simply write on a calendar that hangs in the kitchen?!

Ever the creative I quite liked the idea of a full blackboard wall in the hall that we could update easily; but unless vast then I guess it would be limited to how many months you could show in advance.  Maybe there is something i haven’t thought of?

So go on hit me, how do you guys communicate?

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How Felicity Finds About Me

What is PTSD

Battling, hard, fighting, struggling, alone… just some of the words that I’ve heard over the last week since my last post.  The reaction has been quite overwhelming to be fair.  Not only with the support from you all about my battle with depression and PTSD, but also with how many of you have reached out to talk to me about your battle with mental health issues.  It’s so good to talk!

One recurring question from you all was about PTSD and how it affects you.  I have to be honest and say that before I was diagnosed I would not have thought that PTSD was something I would suffer from.  Now that may sound quite judgmental, but actually what I mean by that statement is that for me PTSD is something that people who have gone through severe trauma would suffer from.  I guess I never allowed myself to see what I went through as severe enough.

However going to therapy has made me allow myself to admit that what I have been through is traumatic.  Some of those trauma’s are easier to talk about than others.  There are things I’ve been through that I didn’t truly comprehend how much they had affected my life.  But also some events which weren’t as traumatic as i’d built them up to be over the years, having been so young when I experienced them.  Therapy has allowed me to view each event, process it individually and deal with it accordingly.  Half way through therapy and I can’t tell you the difference it’s made.

Symptoms

So what are the symptoms of PTSD:

  • Re-experiencing
  • Avoidance and emotional numbing
  • Hyperarousal (feeling ‘on edge’ / fight or flight)
  • Depression, anxiety, phobias
  • Self harm, drug misuse, alcohol misuse
  • Headaches, stomach pains, dizziness, chest pains

When I read these symptoms for the first time it just made sense.

Treatment

About 1 in 3 people who have experienced severe trauma will develop PTSD.

It isn’t fully understood why some people develop the condition while others don’t.

Treatment will firstly be focused around physiological therapies (CBT, EMDR, Group therapy), with medication usually only introduced with severe or persistent PTSD.  Children and young people will usually be advised to have trauma focused CBT, medication is not usually recommended.

How you can help

Try not to judge

If you’ve not experienced PTSD yourself, it can be hard to understand why your friend or family member can’t seem to ‘move on’.

Learn their triggers

Each person will have a different experience of PTSD, so it might help to talk about what sorts of situations or conversations might trigger flashbacks or difficult feelings.

Respect their personal space

People who experience PTSD may often feel jumpy or on edge. It can help if you:

  • avoid crowding the person
  • don’t touch or hug them without permission
  • try not to startle or surprise them.

Look out for warning signs

You might see a change in the behaviour of the person you want to support.

Help them to find support

If they want you to, you could help your friend or family member to find further support.

Mind.org explains this perfectly and with more detail, along with personal accounts from survivors and their families.

Fay x


Bullying | Kids Mental Health | Mental Health Awareness

It's good to talk

Updated May 2020

Bullying

In 2018, after years of mental health struggles from bullying, I was finally diagnosed with PTSD and underwent EMDR therapy.

As you know I care passionately about mental health awareness. Furthermore, I love the fact that more and more of us are now starting to talk openly about our struggles. So I wanted to share a little more of my story.

I was bullied all through Junior School from age 7-10.  I moved from a small village to a new town when I was 7, changing schools.  Being the new girl, I was quiet, I was an easy target.  I can’t actually tell you a lot about those 4 years of school as I have blocked most of it out.  I’ve very, very few memories of those years.  But what I do know is bullying affected my whole life and changed me as a person. 

Therapy anyone?

My depression wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my late teens and found myself in an abusive marriage since then I have suffered from 3 major episodes.  Similar to a lot of sufferers I didn’t realise how ill I was a lot of the time, I ‘self-medicated’.   

I used:

Alcohol, it didn’t help! 

Drugs, they didn’t help! 

Self-harm, it didn’t help! 

Anti-depressants, they did help! Kinda… 

However, the one thing that did and does help is talking, therapy, in my opinion, is the one thing that can really help.  Understanding yourself and why you feel how you do and how you can change that, is one of the greatest tools you can have.  And just knowing that you are not alone, that someone cares can make a huge difference. 

Now there are lots of therapies out there. But ‘therapy’ doesn’t have to be seeing a ‘therapist’, just speaking to someone you trust can be therapy enough, seeking help from a counsellor can be just what you need. What I’m trying to say is the sooner you can talk to someone, whoever that is, the better.

“A problem shared, is a problem halved.”

Time to get real!

We need to be open and honest, we need to be there for ourselves and each other.  Bullying is not acceptable, we need to be kinder.

I don’t want anyone to ever get to the stage I did 10 years ago. I don’t want anyone to feel their friends, their family, their kids are better off without them.  To write that note that says goodbye.  To swallow as many tablets as they can and lie down in bed, close their eyes and wish to never wake up.

So, let’s be open.  Let’s admit when we aren’t okay, let’s admit we sometimes need help. 

‘It’s okay to not be okay’ 

It’s good to talk, in fact, you need to talk!  Therefore the sooner we talk, the sooner we realise we are not alone, the sooner we can start on the road to recovery.  Talk to a friend, talk to a family member, talk to a teacher, talk to the Samaritans, just talk to someone! And if you hear ‘snap out of it’, ‘you’ll be fine, don’t worry’, ‘stop being silly’ then walk away and find someone else to talk to.  Because there is always someone out there willing to listen, willing to care and willing to take that journey with you, by your side. 

It’s okay to talk!  

The strongest people were once the broken ones, they learned how to fix themselves with or without help from anyone.

Are you a parent of a child aged 9-16 who has experienced bullying?  Kidscape UK offers ZAP workshops (run via video conferencing during the pandemic) for parents and children affected.

REGISTER HERE

The community workshops are run by Kidscape specialist trainers, running two separate sessions: one for young people and a supporting session for parents and carers.  For more details, click here.

I really wish they’d had something like this when I was young!

Fay x

If you liked this post then you may like the following categories:

Kids Mental Health

Wellbeing

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Bullying _ Mental Health Awareness

Easy No Bake Recipes

5 Easy No Bake Recipes

The weather has become so changeable this weekend.  And the boys, so used to being able to go outside and play have become quite irritable shall we say (okay okay I mean down right argumentative and annoying LOL).  So what to do on a rainy day…  What better than baking (it’s messy, it’s fun and the kids have something to eat at the end of it!), so here are 5 easy no bake recipes to try out over the holidays.

Chocolate Fridge Cake

This is a firm favourite in our household and quite a regular no-bake for us.  We take it in turns to suggest and change up the fillings.

  • 8oz digestive biscuits
  • 5oz milk chocolate
  • 5oz dark chocolate
  • 3½oz unsalted butter
  • 5oz golden syrup
  • 3½oz dried apricots, chopped
  • 2½oz raisins
  • 2oz pecans, chopped (optional)

Instructions
No bake cookies and cream bars

Cookies & Cream Bars

Who doesn’t love Cookies & Cream?  It’s a firm favourite in this household and these went down an absolute treat.  They look great at parties!

  • ¼ cup salted butter, melted
  • 2½ cups finely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 25 cookies)
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 7 oz marshmallow creme (such as Fluff or Jet-Puffed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 7 cookies), plus more for garnish

Instructions

White Chocolate & Raspberry Cookies

These healthy no-bake white chocolate and raspberry cookies refined sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan (optional) and high in protein! The perfect snack between meals and only requires one bowl and five minutes!

  • 3 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sweetener of choice (Optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp nut butter of choice
  • 3/4 cup brown rice syrup (can sub for honey if not strict vegan)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • White chocolate chunks (vegan recipe available, click below)
  • Dried raspberries and cranberries

Instructions
Easy No Bake Recipes

Classic No-Bake Cookies

These Classic No-Bake Cookies only require a few simple ingredients and are incredibly easy to make. Loaded with peanut butter, oats, and cocoa powder, these cookies are perfect for an easy dessert!

  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats

Instructions

Gooey Chewies

Originally a Northern Irish speciality called fifteens, but Blue Peter aptly name them Gooey Chewies! They’re delicious, they’re easy to make, and the best part is there’s no baking required.

  • 30 Digestive Biscuits
  • 15 Glace Cherries
  • Large handful of mini marshmallows
  • A handful of desiccated coconut
  • 2 tins condensed milk

Instructions

So there we go, 5 easy no-bake recipes for you to try with the kids, can’t wait to see your bakes (or should I say ‘no-bakes’) remember to tag #howfelicityfinds when you share.

Fay x


OPEN LETTER TO MY BOYS

The truth about kids' mental health

According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly one in 10 children and young people aged five to 16 are affected by a kids mental health problem.

I think we all agree that the emotional well-being of kids is just as important as their physical health.  However, despite the knowledge and awareness of mental health being on the rise, 70% of young people who experience a mental health problem do not receive the appropriate support.   

And did you know that half of all adult mental health problems start by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 18.

Some of the most common mental health problems affecting children and young people include:

  • depression
  • self-harm
  • generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • eating disorders

As a parent who is open and very vocal about my own struggles with mental health, I am acutely aware that my children are more likely to be affected with their own issues, for to that very reason.  And with all the pressures that comes with being a kid in this digital age, then how do we ensure that we are there for our kids and help them get the help they need as soon as possible…

How can we help?

  1. Talk about it – Research has shown that talking openly and honestly about mental health ensures that issues can be identified earlier on.  If we ensure that our kids realise it is not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about then hopefully they will seek help when (and if) they need it.  Unsure what to say, we use the Mind Tools For Kids Coaching Cards which give us some great starting points.
  2. Create a safe place – Kids do better when they feel safe.  So try where possible to ensure they feel listened to and heard when at home.  It’s not always easy and especially when you have more than one, kids can end up feeling left out.  Try as much as possible to take the time to talk to them individually each day, even if it is just for 5 mins at bedtime each night.
  3. Encourage social activities – this has been shown to help have a positive impact on kids, by providing a space for them to work on their emotions and develop ways of coping with the challenges they face.  But do keep a check on this and play it by ear, as sometimes these kind of situations can have the opposite effect on a child.  You know your child best…
  4. Ensure they get enough sleep – If you are anything like me then I get really irritable with only a few hours’ sleep!  Well it’s just the same for kids.  A lack of sleep can cause us to experience higher levels of stress, so making sure they get to bed on time will pay off and help reduce stress.
  5. Teach them to relax – It’s all about balance, so as much as social/physical activities help, so does the ability for them to be able to switch off, especially in such a digital age.  Encourage them to have some quiet time each day; reading a book, listening to (appropriate) music or drawing for example.  A great way to wind down at the end of day, or on an afternoon.

Create strength!

We need to break down the stigma, ensure our kids don’t have to deal with that as well as their own mental health.  We need to help them become strong enough in themselves that not only will they be able to open up about their own mental health, and seek the support they require; but be able to support their peers with any challenges they may face also.

 

In a world where you can be anything, be kind – Unknown

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Teacher Gift Ideas

Top Teacher Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year again, as the end of term draws near and the summer holidays are fast approaching, the question of ‘what do we buy your teacher this year?’ arises.  It’s an age old question and one that I think gets harder and harder every year.  Gone are the days when an apple would suffice LOL.  So if you are struggling and want to buy them something that little bit different, then here are a few teacher gift ideas…

Teacher Gift Ideas

pastel monogram mug

Time for Tea?

A perfect idea for your teacher, making sure no-one ever steals their mug again at break time! Just pick one of the six colour choices available (5 x pastel tones and 1 x grey monochrome) and choose the first name initial.

Monogram Mug

 

£9.95

BUY NOW

Because Teachers are Superheroes!

For all those lessons plans, what better for a teacher to write their notes in than these awesome notebooks!  Available in monochrome or bright pastels and in A5 or A6, these will always be popular.

Notebooks

 

from £4.95

BUY NOW
pocket notebook
Superhero Canvas Bag

'Totes' brilliant!

Make sure they have the perfect bag to carry all your homework to and from school.  These tote bags are super cool and eco friendly, available in monochrome and bright pastels.

Cotton Tote Bag

 

£19.95

BUY NOW

Hope that gives you a few ideas, happy end of term folks!

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Superhero Crafts for Kids

5 Awesome Superhero Crafts for Kids

Superhero Crafts for Kids

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I love Superheroes, in fact as a family we all do.  I’m also pretty crafty, and my youngest Samuel loves making anything, so check out these 5 Superhero crafts for kids.

DC Superhero Craft Peg Dolls

Based on the hit DC Entertainment programme DC Super Hero Girls, these peg dolls are super easy and fun to make.  Of course, you could make them any superheroes you wanted.  Perfect for some action-packed role play!

HOW TO MAKE
Mason Jar Superhero Bank

Superhero Mason Jar Banks

If your kids have a Superhero bedroom, then these mason jar banks are the perfect accessory!  Not only do they look fab, but they can learn about saving money at the same time.

HOW TO MAKE
Comic Book Magnets

Comic Book Superhero Magnets

I love Mod Podge, so when I discovered the Mod Podge Acrylic shapes in this project I knew I wanted to try it out.  These magnets are super cute and a great craft project for older kids to try.

HOW TO MAKE
Superhero crafts for kids

Superhero Wine Cork Characters

The wine cork superhero characters are so fun and straightforward.  Another craft that is perfect for older children, and if you are anything like me then there are always some used wine corks ready to be painted… #ilikecava #pleasedontjudge #LOL

HOW TO MAKE
LEGO-Super-Heroes

Superhero Word Bubbles

Another brilliant Superhero crafts for kids with big imaginations, and would also make the perfect decor in a Superhero room.  Perfectly sized, these speech bubbles bring to life their superhero characters for hours of imaginary play!

HOW TO MAKE

So there we have it I Hope you like and have fun making, I’d love to see your makes…

Fay x


Bedroom ideas for Twins

Time for Twins

Bedroom ideas for Twins – where do you start?

When they are little it’s easy isn’t it, they don’t have an opinion, their beds are only small, it’s fairly simple…

But what happens when they get that little bigger, they are in big boy/big girl beds, they have favourite colours – not always the same, or even coordinating…  They have opinions!

So here’s some bedroom ideas for twins:

So what do you do, how do you try and please not only both of them, but also you!  A friend recently asked this very question as she has B/G twins who are starting school in Sept and they have different views on what they want.  I promised to come up with some inspiration to help.

Bed placement

Obviously it’s lovely to be able to fit two junior/single beds comfortably into a bedroom, but not everyone has that luxury.  Or maybe you want something a little different, a little quirky…

twin kids bedroom
beds in twins room
loft beds

For me if you have the room then I love the 2nd image of 2 beds along adjoining walls.  However if you haven’t got the space or fancy something a little different then I really like 2nd bunk bed layout.  This would work just as well with two single beds and could be created using a single loft bed and separate single bed, giving plenty of options for future re-design.

Colour scheme

And so what do you do if they choose opposing colours?  Go with it…  One thing you do need to do is keep the design simple.  Either stick with one pattern, or stick with a very simple style.  This ensures the colour/decor doesn’t become overpowering and too busy.

monochrome guest room

Stick to a fairly neutral base colour scheme (grey monochrome is a perfect example) and introduce colours in soft furnishings.  With this decor an introduction of two separate colours schemes for each bed would work just as well.

Bedroom ideas for Twins

Here is a fantastic example of using colours to it’s full impact.  Keeping all furniture simple with clean lines, walls kept white and not a flourish in sight means despite the bold colours used, this room looks clean and fresh.

Navy twins room

Navy is also a perfect neutral base on which to design a room.  Keeping the majority of the decor & bedding in the same Navy/White colour scheme means even the introduction of bold stripes doesn’t distract. Here the introduction of bedding/soft furnishings along with personalised artwork means that the room remains cohesive whilst each bed has it’s own individual feel.

Or why not go all out multi colour.  This gorgeous dotty room would work just as well in a bigger boy/girl room.  Ensure the colours wanted by each child are in the ‘multi’ and it will ensure that even if both beds are different colours they will blend perfectly with the room!

Inspired?

So there we have it, I hoped that this has inspired a couple of ideas for you all, and I would love to see your twin rooms.  Feel free to tag me in your posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Kids trends 2018

5 Top Trends in Kids Interiors

As you know I love kids interiors and 2018 seems not to disappoint, with some exciting trends that have been emerging over the last few months.  Check out Kids Interiors for all the latest trends and to find out about new emerging products and brands.  But for now here are my top 5 kids trends 2018.

Rich colours

Rich colours have been sneaking up in children’s rooms for a while now.  You only have to look at Instagram to see some gorgeous examples.  This trend is expected to grow over the coming year.

With muted warm, earthy tones becoming quite the norm for a nursery, and colours such as mustard yellow, muted blues and greens becoming more popular.

rich colours
http://www.bloesemdesign.com/2016/09/rich-colours.html

Boho

Boho is incredibly huge at the moment and long may it continue. We have seen a move towards a little more glamorous boho chic.  With the introduction of metallics and clean lines, ensuring that boho evolves into a slightly more sophisticated look.

modern boho kids interiors
https://www.instagram.com/fourcheekymonkeys/

Velvet dreams

A romantic look is very much en vogue, and what better to create this glamorous and sophisticated look than fabrics such as velvet. Subdued tones, florals, metallics and sumptuous fabrics are the key to this look.

velvet
https://www.decorpad.com/search/green-velvet-tufted-kids-bed

Modern Art

One of my favourite trends at the moment is modern/contemporary art (I do love a gallery wall).  No longer is art just for the grown ups in the house.  There are so many amazing companies out there offering fun and cool prints, canvases and more for kids walls now…

modern art

Geometric Shapes

Like the triangles of the last few seasons, circles are set to become THE geometric shape of kids interiors this year.

circles

Wanna know more about the trends that are here for 2018, then check out kids interiors and read their feature on nursery trends for 2018.

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Is Mummy going mad?

Is Mummy going mad?  I'm not quite sure when I realised my depression had returned, the exact moment that I knew I wasn't coping.  It's a sneaky one depression, no matter how many times you've had before it creeps up on you and before you realise it's too late.  Yes you might recognise the signs of depression a little quicker each time.  But you also think that you can deal with it a little better each time, get a handle on it before having to seek help.  It never really works like that unfortunately.

PND

Postnatal Depression is a depressive illness which affects between 10 to 15 in every 100 women having a baby. The symptoms are similar to those in depression at other times. These include low mood and other symptoms lasting at least two weeks. Depending on the severity, you may struggle to look after yourself and your baby. You may find simple tasks difficult to manage.

PND often starts within one or two months of giving birth. It can start several months after having a baby. About a third of women with PND have symptoms which started in pregnancy and continue after birth.

Is Mummy going mad?

My PND kicked in after having Fred.  Two babies under two, being at home alone a lot of the time, it all just became too much.  I think PND is especially hard to notice in yourself, even after two previous bouts of depression.  People expect you to be low after giving birth.  Everything is put down to the 'Baby Blues' and often (definitely in my case) new mum's are almost too far down the line before they realise that it is more than that.

I definitely didn't want to admit I wasn't coping.  Which is silly considering I already knew that depression was not something to be ashamed of, not something that I could have seen coming.  However I do think there is the added pressure with PND that it's not just about you anymore, there is a baby/babies involved.  To have to own up and say your are not only coping with your own life, but also that you can't cope with your own child's life either, is a real hard thing to admit.  Especially when a lot of the time it is the addition of this little person(s) in your life that seems to have caused the depression.

Breaking point

So 10 years ago this month I reached my limit, I reached breaking point.  I'd clawed my forehead to shreds (my coping mechanism the more depressed/stressed I got) easily covered up by a fringe! My weight was all over the place, I wasn't eating, I was drinking too much, I'd 'failed' at breast feeding yet again, and couldn't even manage to have my kids 'naturally'.  Too far down the line to think sensibly.

As well as being away from family, I was away from friends in the village (we'd moved to a larger house, it was only 5 mins away from the village but I didn't drive at this point), I felt isolated, I felt alone and I felt utterly useless.  In my eyes I wasn't a good mum or a good wife, and that broke me.  It was the final straw (a story for another time), I finally got the help I needed...

The doctors were amazing, taking the time to listen, to figure out the best treatment for me.  After a successful spell of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I was finally able to enjoy my boys, to realise that I was a good mum and how I felt was normal and wasn't something to be ashamed of.  CBT also showed up some flaws in my character that definitely add to my predisposition to depression and have allowed me to work on these.

#depressionwearslippy

But throughout all of this, how many knew exactly how I was feeling, how many realised how ill I was, even those closest didn't!  Jo @lobellaloves_jo raises this point perfectly with the #depressionwearslippy campaign.  It is not an obvious illness!  So during #maternalmentalhealthawarenessweek lets get this discussion going, share your stories if you would like to, or think it will help you and others.  Or simply read ours to help you realise you are not alone.  Motherhood isn't easy, it doesn't always come naturally, you don't get a handbook, but you are not alone!

Hope this helps...


be the nice kid

In a world where you can be anything, be kind!

Be the nice kid

As the sun goes down on another week, I’m reminded of just how tough life can be, of just how horrible the human race can be, how cruel and how pathetic….

As many of you will know I was bullied quite severely during Junior School.  Four years of my life between the ages of 7-11 that have changed me forever.  Years that I blocked out and only really have a few funny/happy memories from that whole time.   Four years that mean I now struggle to pick up a phone to call someone.  That means I struggle to socialise, that means I have crippling insecurity and sometimes struggle just to leave the house.  That means I can hardly look in the mirror without squirming.

No escape

Now I know how messed up I am from school, but imagine being a kid now.  At least I knew that once I was home, I was safe.  Imagine knowing that even when you leave school, you can’t leave the bullying behind.  That no matter what they can always get to you, there literally is no escape! The digital age has done just that.

Not only that but dare to put yourself out there, and you open up to the possibility of being bullied (or trolled as it’s known) by complete strangers.  People who have never met you but feel the need to judge, to comment, to bully…

reuben de maid

Deliberately different

Take Reuben De Maid, an amazing boy of 12 who has a huge talent for singing and also for makeup!  Having built up a huge following on social media, Reuben admits to being trolled online, read his full story here www.thesun.co.uk/reuben-de-maid-12-year-old-welsh-singer-and-make-up-expert-bullied/

I’ve said for a long time that much as we show our horror for such leaders as Hitler and Mussolini, we as a race are slowly descending into just as much hatred for others creeds, proclivities, in fact, anything that makes us stand out.  The divide is growing, two sides; one becoming more narrow-minded, more bigoted, more fearful; one championing acceptance and the want to champion the individual.

And this is exactly what it boils down to… fear!  Fear of the unknown, ignorance, fear of being different, of standing out, of being yourself.

How do we stop this, how do we ensure our kids can be who they want to be?  And how do we ensure that we equip our kids to not only have the confidence to be who they want to be but that they also support and encourage their peers to be who they want to be.

We as a generation need to be strong, we need to be the parents that our kids so desperately need.  We are facing issues that our parents never faced, complexities that never used to be an issue.  But actually it all boils down to the same, we need to show our children how to…

Be the nice kid!

Fay x


National Tea Day

Time for Tea

National Tea Day

I don’t know about you, but I love a cup of tea. It’s the first thing I think about on a morning.  For me it has to be Yorkshire Tea with skimmed milk (not too much, not too little). Today is National Tea Day is observed in the UK every year on the 21st April to celebrate the drinking of tea.  It is celebrated across the country including a tea ‘Fes-Tea-Val’ at Chiswick House & Gardens in London.

gifts for mum

Brits drink 165 million cups of tea every day!

The number of recommended cups of tea to drink each day is 4, this gives you optimal benefit.

Fancy enjoying an afternoon tea wherever you are, whether it is traditional, themed or with a twist?  National Tea Day have partnered with some of the most esteemed, most historical, most scenic and best value afternoon tea providers in the country so you can do just that!

Just enter your post code at https://www.teanearme.co.uk/ and a selection of tea houses near you will be shown. Whether you just want a cheap and cheerful tea and scones or a full gourmet afternoon tea there is something for everyone.

Enjoy!

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small business

Where Does Time Go...

So I got up at nine this morning – yes I know a lie in for a lot of us now, when did that happen! I had all intentions of getting a good bit of work done on the website, a blog post and my social media posts done for the day by lunchtime.  Leaving me the afternoon to go grab the car after it passed it’s MOT (Woohoo!) and do something with the kids before spending the evening with friends.

10:43

It’s now 10:43 and what have I managed… 1 paragraph of a blog post and an hour and a half of scrolling through Insta #faceplant.  It cant just be me that this happens to can it? It’s like Easter hols, you lull yourself into taking it easy the first week as ‘we have two whole weeks’. Then all of a sudden it’s Friday of the second week and we’ve achieved not a lot!

Anyway back to the moan in hand LOL. So yes I’ve still not managed to post on social media and now I’ve pretty much missed the sweet spot for Insta, so will have to wait till this evening on them.  I did manage a couple of retweets, but need to get on this today.  Also now having to deal with an eldest child ‘Kevin’ moment as he cannot find his textiles homework due Monday (another #faceplant).  Panic over, homework found, questionnaire compiled… If you fancy completing I will share on my stories today!

12:00

Get distracted by making pancakes for the boys, as promised by me if Henry finished all his homework and packed his bag ready for Monday!

13:00

Finish making pancakes, go to pick up car from mechanic.

13:25

Sit down for take two of blog, still no more social media posts! Although whilst I was out I got another order for a Toy Storage bag going to India! Always love orders that go far afield. Get distracted by Insta Stories! If you haven’t seen @tobyandroo stories today you must check out, hi-la-rious….

13:40

This is just getting ridiculous and am actually having to re-read blog to remind myself what I was writing about in the first place. Oh to be young again, with good short term memory and boobs that don’t sit on your stomach when you sit down LOL. Okay so my boobs aren’t quite that bad but you get the drift.  Maybe I need to write down a to do list:

What I need to achieve...

  • Write blog
  • Post on Insta/Facebook
  • Post on Twitter
  • Print off orders for next week
  • Take pictures for next weeks social media
  • List new A6 notebooks on website

What I will actually achieve...

  • Stop eldest boys fighting over XBox – several times
  • Shout at everyone to go away as I’m trying to work – several times
  • Make a cup of juice for the smallest person – several times
  • Download as many episodes of Scooby Doo as possible to keep the small person amused, when lego has failed
  • Get distracted by Insta stories again
  • Realise I haven’t eaten since breakfast
  • Get distracted by The Commonwealth Games
  • Realise it’s nearly teatime
  • Give up
  • Pour wine…

Is it just me, or do you guys manage to achieve pretty much half of what you set out to do each day?

One thing I did come across whilst I was being distracted by social media, was this useful screen time form.  I always start the holidays with great intentions, but when I have so much on myself and 3 boys to deal with, I easily lose momentum.  So this form by Natural Beach Living is absolutely brilliant and I will definitely be adapting and using for my eldest two!

15:38

Well at least I’ve completed the blog post! I’ve tweeted once and messaged a possible new supplier in the meantime. Let’s see what else I can achieve before it’s wine o’clock.  Have a fab rest of weekend folks.

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16:03

Spend 10 mins deciding on focus keyword for SEO purposes and then rewrite half of blog to ensure SEO all good #aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh


Easy Easter Recipes

5 Easy Easter Recipes

It’s Easter so what better excuse to share some fab baking recipes!  These easy Easter recipes are perfect for getting the kids involved over the holidays.  Here are my top 5 for this Easter, let’s get baking.

Easter Chocolate Millionaire’s Shortbread

Prep Time: 30 mins

Bake Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1hr

Buttery Chocolate Shortbread, Homemade Caramel, Milk Chocolate, and Micro Mini Eggs make the most delicious Easter Chocolate Millionaires Shortbread!

Go to recipe

Simply Perfect Vanilla Shortbread Bunnies

Prep Time: 15 mins

Bake Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

If you’re like me and look for quick and easy recipes, then these cookies are for you! They don’t require any chilling time, are easy to roll out, and bake in 15 minutes.

Go to recipe

Mini Creme Egg Cheesecake

Prep Time: 25 mins

Bake Time: No Bake

Total Time: 25 mins

No Bake Mini Creme Egg Cheesecake Recipe – delicious light and creamy no bake Easter dessert. The perfect cake for your Easter celebration!

Go to recipe

Mini Egg Cookies

Prep Time: 20 mins

Bake Time: 10 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Mini Eggs are my weakness and cookies a close second, so to find this mini egg cookie recipe is my idea of heaven!

Go to recipe

Easter Nests

Prep Time: 25 mins

Bake Time: No Bake

Total Time: 25 mins

These cornflake cakes are a favourite of Henry’s, simply decorate with mini eggs and you have the perfect Easter Nests.

Go to recipe

Hope you all have fun baking these this week.  Would love to see your photo’s, just tag me over on Instagram with #howfelicityfinds and happy baking!

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gifts for mum

Fancy a nice hot cuppa?

So excited to share some of the new products that I’ve launched over the last few weeks and give you a little sneak peek at some of the products that are coming soon… So sit back with a nice hot cuppa and enjoy.

Mumma, I love you!

gifts for mum

'MUMMA' Mugs

£9.95
  • Enjoy a hot cuppa, you deserve!
MUMMA TOTE BAG MONO

'MUMMA' Tote Bags

£19.95
  • Carry your stuff in style...
mumma boom phone case

'MUMMA' Phone Case

£14.95
  • Because every mum is a superhero!

Too cool for school!

However it’s not just for the mummas, it’s for the kids too…  Great gift ideas in a choice of bright pastels or cool monochrome, that won’t break the bank.  Choose from awesome designs of POW!, BOOM!, SPLAT! or ZAP! or personalise with a name for something really special.

Just so much to choose from…

superhero phone cases

But what next?! More awesomeness in the form of notebooks, somewhere super to jot down your amazing ideas or doodles, or just a simple to do list! I cannot wait to share with you guys as soon as the samples arrive.  But here’s a little sneak peek of the artwork, would love to hear your thoughts…

A5 Notebook Outside Cover Pow Pastel
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Spring Clean

Spring Clean for Easter

Since the end of November last year I now work 4 days a week at my new day job.  Boy does that extra day make all the difference, especially around the house.  I did very 'gently' remind the OH that he may need to help a little bit more around the house now that I only work one less day than he does.  However of course I did not take into account the fact that I work on my business in the evenings and on my 'days off'.  I need a spring clean...

Now the organised peeps out there (Miss Tidy Owl I am looking at you!) would I'm sure have some great tips - please feel free to share! LOL I need all the help I can get.  I am trying, I've bought the diaries, I've bought the planners and I've even got the over sized white board.  However no matter how hard I try I just can't seem to get into a rhythm.

Initially I think I felt it was the extra day and I'd never be able to balance it all.  But the more I look at the bigger picture then I think I actually just need re-organise how I work things.  Working in a School means the added bonus of getting all the school holidays off.  And I even get a few more weeks than the boys do here and there, so I need to use this to my advantage.

Spring Clean for Easter

  • Have a good clearout of all the toys - Samuel is 7 this year and much as he still plays with his lego etc. there are a lot of toys he no longer plays with, they just take up room! The two eldest only need gadgets and books, nice and easy.  So I need to have a mass clear out, which will also enable me to keep their rooms/the playroom tidier in the weeks I'm at work.
  • Plan social media - Despite the lighter mornings and evenings enabling pictures to be taken daily, time does not actually allow with ease.  What with sorting the morning schedule and school run, to then evenings of teas, homework and bedtime; it doesn't leave much time to plan a fabulous flatlay.  Prompts help brilliantly, especially to keep your feed fresh.  However I think even more so I need to actually batch up my imagery weekly where possible. So I'll use the holidays to plan and look for new prompts, as well as research new keywords (very important for Insta).  Then try and ensure that I set aside a morning once a week to take the following weeks images.
  • Plan blog posts - this is something I've really struggled to keep up with since Christmas and I miss it.  I absolutely love writing for you guys.  Finding new small businesses for us all to discover, planning my kids bedrooms, sharing craft ideas.  I'd love to write more, but in my head it just seems that it's a bigger job than it is.  However once I know what I am writing about it seems so much easier.  So I need to embrace this and plan weekly blog posts in advance.
  • Stock take business supplies - I regularly find myself running low on stock.  A certain sized envelope or business cards; storage bags or canvases.  I need to do a mini inventory each holidays, to list what stock I have.  Not only will this ensure I don't run out of anything.  But also that I can ensure I can plan my orders, combining where possible to keep shipping costs down!

Anything else...

Another biggy I want to try and pin down this year is my finances.  Despite being very organised with others money, I am a complete failure with my own.  So this month I have signed up to Quickbooks in the hope that I can give myself a financial spring clean too!  No it's not an #ad, just heard good things.

So it's two weeks till Easter and time to spring clean.  I need to stop trying to do everything, every week and instead recognise what can be done in batches in the holidays, leaving the weekdays free to get on with business!

Let's do this,

Fay x


Boys Bedroom

My Boys Bedroom - Shopping List

Those of you who follow me, know that concerning Fred’s room (specifically his bed) we’ve been back and forth.  However we have finally made a decision together on his ‘Boys Bedroom’ and so it’s time to get a shopping list going.  And time for me to get saving, making and up-cycling!

Bed

We have finally both settled for the Stora Loft Bed for his room.  I am still undecided as to whether I may paint it dark, that can wait.   It’s a really good size, and gives him some great floor space too.

Ikea £239

Sofa

For a long time the boys have had a sofa bed and a sofa in the playroom, and actually they only tend to use one.  So i’ll re-cycle the sofa bed and it can sit underneath Fred’s bed to chill on.  To give it a freshen up and tie it in with the  room, i’ll buy a brand new cover in grey.

Ikea £60

Artwork

Of course I think there needs to be a bit of a gallery wall, so far these are definites…

DoodleMoo

£12

Etsy

£10

Etsy

£26

Bold Print Studio £20

Soft Furnishings

I saw these cushions a while back on Pinterest, and struggled to find their ‘owners’.  I’m still not entirely sure how to order, but have tracked them down I think.  We’ll see…

Awesome Store £TBC

Paint

And so to paint colours…  Now this is the bit that is best left unmentioned to his majesty (i.e hubby) as we all know his aversion to dark walls.  But this time I’m standing my ground, even if I have to paint myself!

B&Q £12

So it’s time to get on it. So lovely to work with my boy every step of the way and know that he is as much as part of the design process as I am.  He’s really excited and has some great input.  Keep a watch out for the next installment.

Fay x


mince and doughballs

Family Recipes Mince and Doughballs

When I was growing up, family recipes mince and doughballs (otherwise know as dumplings or doughboys), were a staple of the Scottish diet.  I may not always have agreed with the vegetable choice (always carrot or peas!) to go with, but it still remains one of my fondest meals!

NB: Did you know that in Scotland if you had been ‘thick’, then you would be called a dumpling!

Family Recipes Mince and Doughballs

FAMILY RECIPES MINCE AND DUMPLINGS _ MINCE AND DOUGHBALLS _ COOKING WITH KIDS

Prep: 10 mins      Cook: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500g lean minced beef/steak mince
  • 600ml (1 pint) boiling water
  • 4 dessertspoons gravy granules
  • 1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 50g beef suet
  • 100g sr flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • water, as needed

Method

  1. Chop and sweat onions till transparent in olive oil and butter.
  2. Tip in beef mince (5%) and cook for several minutes – substitute with pork mince or turkey mince if required.
  3. Add gravy granules and water, cook to a simmer.
  4. Add dessertspoonful of Worcestershire Sauce.
  5. Mix flour and beef suet together with a pinch of salt. Add drops of water until the dough is thick (hence the term ‘dumpling‘).
  6. Cover hands in flour and roll pieces of the stiff dough into balls.
  7. Place each dough ball on top of your mince (or any dish with a simmering gravy or beef stock) and place the lid on your pot for 40 minutes or until puffy.  These could also be easily cooked in a slow cooker!

Family Favourites _ Mince and Doughballs Family Recipes _ Cooking with Kids

Tip

Leave these beauties alone, don’t keep checking them by taking the lid off your pot as this will make these flatten.

Doughballs can be served with anything that has stock or gravy if you don’t happen to have mince.  Garlic Chicken casserole; Ground beef, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and beef stock to make a bolognese; or beef stewing steak with a little red wine.  And if you like a crispy top on your doughballs then uncover and put in the oven at high heat for 5 mins.

It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved in, as they love the making of dumplings.  They don’t have to be neat, so it makes no difference if they are all the same size or not, get the kids involved!

Enjoy,

Fay x

If you liked this post then check out all my other family recipe ideas, perfect for trying the kids:

Family Recipes & Bakes

Or follow my Pinterest board, for even more inspiration:

Family Recipes | Kids Recipes | Baking with Kids

MINCE & DOUGHBALLS _ COOKING WITH KIDS _ FAMILY RECIPES

Easy Fridge Cake Recipe

Easy Fridge Cake Recipe - Baking with my boys

Can someone tell me where weekends actually go?! Whether I pack in loads or just take it easy, it always seems to fly by and before I know it, it’s Monday again.  What I really want to do is one weekend just lock all the doors, switch off the phones, stay in my pj’s with the boys and literally chill ALL weekend.

Anyway whilst I try and figure out how to pull that weekend off, I’ve literally started this evening running…

18:00 – Home from work

19:00 – Tea cooked for boys. Boys all showered. Ironing put away ( well 2 baskets worth – we each have a basket each!)

19:30 – Fridge cake made with Samuel & Fred (forgot to take during photos for Insta #sillymummy), then Samuel put to bed with drink.

20:00 – Homework done with Henry, Another drink for Samuel.

21:00 – Tea cooked for Matt & I, Henry & Freddie to bed.

21:30 – Time to get to work…

Just call me Superwoman LOL #whorunstheworld #girls

Anyhoo who fancies checking out my easy Fridge Cake recipe?

Ingredients

Easy Fridge Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 250g Digestive Biscuits
  • 300g Milk Chocolate
  • 100g Unsalted Butter
  • 150g Golden Syrup

baking with kids

Method

  1. Line a 20cm shallow, square-shaped tin with cling film (leaving extra hanging over the sides).

  2. Put the digestives into a sealable freezer bag, then happily bash the biscuits into pieces using a rolling pin (perfect job for a little one).

  3. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.

  4. Remove the bowl from the heat and immediately stir in the broken biscuits, and any extra ingredients you fancy adding – see below for ideas.

  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin. Press down with a wooden spoon to level.

  6. Once cooled, put the tin in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set.

  7. Turn out the cake by turning upside down onto board/plate.  Peel off the cling film and cut the cake into squares and enjoy!

Ingredients Ideas:  Mini Marshmallows, honeycomb, choc chips (for true chocoholics), Hazelnuts…

Easy Fridge Cake Recipe
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P.S Check out some of my previous recipes for even more ideas including Chocolate Biscotti and my personal favourite Chocolate Cornflake Cake.


Beds for Boys

Time to pick a new bed...

So Fred was really happy with the mood board I showed him, and was actually really excited by some of the bits I’d found.  He was especially excited about the Egg Chair (that’s gonna take a while to locate) and the gaming artwork/prints.  However we had a bit of a spanner thrown into the works…

So one of the biggest decisions is Fred’s new Bed! He currently has two single beds in his room.  However one of these is going to Grandma’s new flat when she moves next week.  So do we stick with the single divan he has (it was expensive and is only a few years old); or do we buy him the double bed he really wants?  Okay so if it was just me then i’d give him a double bed in a flash as it’ll last him for much longer.  But trying to persuade the OH of the need for a new bed is another thing altogether.

Beds for Boys

So I spoke to Fred and he immediately showed me a couple of ideas that he wanted.  I have to say I loved them…

However there are a couple of issues with this style of bed for Fred’s room:

  • While it is a space saver, the layout of Fred’s room would mean a double bed version would take up a large part of his room.
  • He is no way allowed his XBox in his room (that’s what the playroom is for) so there is really no need for the seating/gaming area underneath.
  • He already has a desk and storage too so it’s not needed for that either.

So I think it’s time to choose a double bed.  But what style?

Now normally I’d go for wood every time, it’s timeless.  Especially in this black tone I think it has a clean, modern look.  But I really do like the style of this metal bed. It’s perfect for a young lads bedroom.  So I’m torn, what do you think guys?

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Fred's Bedroom Mood Board

Fred's Room - Mood Board

So when Fred gave me his brief (brief as it was… see what I did there #hilarious) I must admit I wasn’t surprised in the slightest and am pretty happy with the design ideas based around gaming etc.  However I was slightly disappointed with the colour choice.  It’s still basically the same colours as he has now and I kinda really want to change for him, make a real impact.  So I have a plan in my head that I really don’t think he will go for unless I present it to him in the right way.  So I think a ‘Fred’s Bedroom Mood Board’ is required, to give him a real feel for the room.

Mood Board

Fred's Bedroom Mood Board

I still have to break the news that I have completely ignored his colour choices.  I’m hoping he is so wowed by the mood board that he doesn’t care.

Fred wanted a gaming chair but actually I think the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair is a fab alternative.  Cool enough for the kids, but a timeless classic that will last!  Just need to find a slightly cheaper version…  And the colour changing light from B&Q is a bit of fun, that I know he will love.

Now when I decorated Samuel’s room I had wanted a blackboard wall but I was overruled by the OH.  He said it would be a nightmare to change.  However this time I am going to put my foot down as I really want his walls to be dark grey, I’ve just not decided if they should all be painted or not.

xbox

I’ve just discovered a fab shop on Etsy called ControlFreakGameArt.  I cannot wait to order a set of prints for his room, all hand painted and in the colours of my choosing.

I’ll be making some art work of my own (of course) along with some cushions.  But the rest will all be either from small independents or high street finds.  Can’t wait to get started, wish me luck in breaking the news to him…

Please check out my Pinterest board to check out my latest finds and ideas before I get started.  And feel free to tag any shops you think i’ll love.

Fay x


The reality of being a mum

A cough, Tena Lady and a lesson in pelvic floor exercises...

Good Morning Britain

So this was our first week back at work/school and I have to say it has been a rude awakening! When the alarm went off at 7am on Monday morning I have to say my heart sank.  Having to drag myself and then the boys out of bed was like absolute torture, pitch black outside and freezing cold.  Not something I relished I have to say!

It has got slightly (not much) easier as the days have gone on, but we’ve also ended up ill.  Fred & Hen had Wednesday off school complaining of headaches and stomach pains, luckily a day in bed seemed to sort.  I started with a cough literally from the get go on Monday and it has only got worse.

The reality of being a mum

Seriously…

Now I’m not normally one to complain and actually in terms of it I haven’t really been that bad.  Well except for Tuesday night when I felt dreadful, but again one good nights sleep seemed to get rid of the headache.  But the cough just won’t shift.  It’s one of those really dry coughs, that once you start you just can’t stop.  Unfortunately after 3 kids that means a plentiful supply of Tena Lady to hand; going to the loo at every opportunity just to be safe and wishing to god I’d listened to the experts and done my pelvic floor exercises….

Such fun!

Just picture me walking round Aldi and having to cover my mouth constantly whilst coughing but also cross my legs; to try and delay the inevitable. Ah well time to buy an extra bottle of Cava to dull the embarrassment LOL.

So whilst I consider buying shares in Tena Lady.  I would also be utterly grateful for any hints or tips to sort the old pelvic floor out (or am I past saving?  LOL) to help future ‘episodes’.

weak bladder joke

Anyway enough of that talk, it’s Friday and I have s**t to do…

Okay I have two loads of washing, a house to tidy, a tax return to complete, Judge Rinder to watch oh and yeah best nip to the loo, it’s been at least 10 mins since the last time I went.

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P.S Fancy seeing what my middle son Freddie is thinking for his room this year? It’s his turn for a redesign and he has some fairly strong ideas, click here…


Boys Bedroom Ideas

Come in No.2 your time is up!

Fred’s Room

So this year it’s all about Freddie and his room.  He has patiently waited whilst both Samuel and Henry had their rooms redesigned, and now finally it is his turn! Actually out of all the boys, Fred is the tidiest.  He’s a complete soap dodger, but keeps a tidy room (well apart from an inability to make a bed?!) LOL.

Boys Bedroom Ideas

The Story

Anyway I digress, back to Freddie and his room.  Now when we last decorated it was the time of great sporting success for Britain, we had just had the Olympics, then Andy Murray topped that and won Wimbledon, so Fred was completely swept up in this (he has always been massively sporty and was only 6) so everything was Union Jack.  Fred loved this and his bedroom became a homage to all things Great Britain and the Union Jack.  Now he’s (nearly) 11 and it’s all looking a little tired, with the others spare bedding and not v cool at all.  So what does he want…

boys bedroom desk

The Brief

Colour: Black, Red & Dark Blue

Style: Gaming

Requests: Double Bed (2 singles put together, tick), Desk (tick), Gaming Chair (no chance), TV (maybe)

Okay so it’s not the most inspiring brief I’ve ever been given, nor is it comprehensive, but… it does me a lot of scope, which is always a good thing in my eyes!

Pantone-Fashion-Color-Trend-Report-London-Spring-2018-Swatch-Cherry-Tomato
Pantone-dark-blue

The Plan

So it’s off to pinterest I go.  I’d love some recommendations of shops to look at on the web/insta for awesome items for his room!

Here’s a few ideas that have grabbed my attention so far…

I love these cushions! Definitely going to make a couple of my own for Fred’s room.  I use spoonflower to print all my fabric designs, fat quarters are the perfect size for a 18″ x 18″ cushion cover (x2).

I already had had a similar idea with the storage boxes that currently sit on Fred’s desk, by attaching to the wall and putting a flatscreen above.

If I could have a pound for all the times the boys have said this to me, along with ‘can i just finish my video’ or ‘just 5 more mins…’

Buy this print along with others on Etsy.

Already getting a plan in my mind, may have to work on his colour choices though…

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chocolate biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

As soon as Henry saw this recipe for Chocolate Biscotti, he decided we needed to bake for Christmas; and I have to say they were delicious!  So why not give everyone a taste of Italy with these delicious biscuits – perfect for baking with the kids, then dunking in hot chocolate!

Prep: 20 mins               Cook: 40 mins              Level: Easy

Ingredients

225g Plain Flour (extra for dusting)

1tsp Baking Powder

175g Caster Sugar

2 Eggs, beaten

150g whole Hazelnuts

75g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa at least) , chopped into small chunks

Chocolate Biscotti

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

henry baking

2. Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the eggs and stir briefly, then use your hands to bring together the mixture, kneading till smooth.

3. Add the hazelnuts and dark chocolate and knead again.

biscotti ready to bake

4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a sausage shape, then flatten slightly.  Place both dough sausages on the lined baking sheet, leaving plenty space between the two.

5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden, then cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

6. Turn down the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1. Using a bread knife carefully cut the dough rolls diagonally into 1cm thick slices.  Lay flat on the same baking sheet.  Bake for another 15 mins, until dry and slightly golden.

7. Cool completely on a wire rack, they will harden as they cool.

 

Serve with the drink of your choice (hot chocolate or coffee are recommended!)

So easy and so very very tasty, these Chocolate Biscotti are a perfect introduction to baking for your kids.  Apart from a little extra kneading and transfer of ‘dough sausages’ to cool before cutting, Henry did the rest himself and he did a great job.

For more simple and fun recipes to cook with your kids, then check out my other recipes.

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P.S Henry’s fab grey kitten onesie is from the amazing @KiguCrew all the boys got one this year in their Christmas eve boxes.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, then get over there, they are awesome!


coding for kids

Coding for Kids

My boys have always been into computers and games, minecraft was a given along with school favourites such as Scratch.  So when I was approached by KidloLand to check out their new Coding for Kids app, I jumped at the chance.

Coding for Kids

Samuel has just turned 6 so was the perfect age to try this app.  I must admit it took a little persuasion, I had to use his big brothers to encourage him as I think he felt it was some kind of homework (purely my bad for how I introduced to him).  Once he saw the home screen, the bright colours and fun animation then he was only too happy to give the app a go!

kidloland

Initial Impressions

The home screen was really inviting for a small kid and Samuel really was spoilt for choice.  Initially he wasn’t quite sure what he had to do, but after a quick helping hand from his brothers, then he was on his way.

He choose ‘Smoothie Maker’ and it took him a few attempts to get to grips with how the game worked, but once he figured it out he was quick to move on.

Usage

This app is aimed at kids under 5 and I definitely think that pre-school kids could have some great fun, however there is still an element of reading and instruction that parents will need to go through with their children before they can play ‘solo’.

That said I feel that the app is really appealing to all ages from pre-school upwards.  Samuel enjoyed massively once we had gone through with him, and my older kids who ‘forced’ themselves to play (10 and 12 respectfully) really enjoyed too and were happy to move though the initial levels quickly to get to a level that tested them.

So…

All in all we have loved the app and Samuel is really enjoying.  It’s great fun but educational too, so I don’t have to feel like he is wasting time away watching inane videos on You Tube etc. (although he does love watching tractors so I can’t really complain!)

This is definitely one for keeping and I can’t wait to watch him progress.

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coding for kids

christmas gift ideas

Christmas is a coming - Gift Ideas

‘Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling’

Edna Ferber

So I’ve finally started my Christmas shopping.  Little bit late to the game but better late than never eh!  So what am I buying this year…

Well here are my best picks from my list:

Mummy

So the first purchase is a completely selfish purchase.  I’m a sucker for a Christmas jumper, but I also love a slogan tee, and what better than to combine both with this awesome tee from the masters that are Parent Apparel.

Daddy

I’m not sure about you guys but I always find it nigh on impossible to buy for my OH. Either he’s already got it or it’s way out of my price bracket. So Gift Wink is a brilliant new site that does the hard work for you.  Just type in who you are shopping for and they will do the rest…

For little peeps

Every year on Christmas Eve grandma always gives the boys new pj’s and we sit down to watch movies. So this year we decided to go for something a little special, from grandma and mummy! I have lusted after these Kigu Crew onesies for a long time, so many to choose from and the sizing means they will last them for years!

For the Family

I’ve only recently discovered this misting spray, but couldn’t be without it now.  It really does help all of us settle at night, especially after a busy day.  If you are quick there is 30% off over at Three Little Pandas, just quote BNWF30 and order before midnight tonight.  Otherwise use FAY10 for 10% OFF at any other time.

For the Home

I love christmas time and all the decs that go with it. Every year without fail we have to add something to the collection. This year I managed to bag some of these giant crackers from Sainsburys Home which I’m definitely not letting anyone pull (although the gifts look fab!) but haven’t quite decided where I’ll display yet.  They are approx. 2ft long and only £5 so excited to display them…

The other purchase I cannot do without at this time of the year (and a definite little luxury) is Molton Brown Christmas handwash. It’s for the downstairs WC only and I always feel the festive season is on the way when the hubby brings a bottle home.  Again if you are quick there is up to 25% OFF till midnight tonight.

Craft / D.I.Y

Last but not least is a FREE make which is gonna look beautiful around the home and such fun to make. Head over to Doodle Moo and check out their Christmas edition free printables. Can’t wait to give these a go this year! Not got access to a printer or some of the materials required, then keep an eye out for DIY kits to purchase, with everything you will need.  Coming soon…

So there we have it, just a couple of the things I’ll be buying/making this Christmas. How are you doing with your Christmas shopping?! Are you organised and start early, or are you like me and leave till the last minute and finish it by the skin of your teeth?

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Time to get s**t done

Time to get s**t done - For one week only!

So I have one week till the new job, one week till my baby turns 6 (when the frig did that happen!) and one week till I turn my house from hell hole to organised style, ready to get the Christmas shizzle up!  Time to get s**t done.  There are 2 out of 3 things that are definitely gonna happen, and one I’d like to, but hey ho we’ll see.

Time to get s**t done…

It’s a funny thing starting a new job, especially at this age; but who am I kidding for me it always was.  The not knowing simple things like where the toilet is, how to work the photocopier, when you can make tea, can you have a kettle in your office?  For me it goes even further, it’s that dread of the phone ringing and having to answer, what will they ask, will I know who it is, how do I transfer the call.  How do I find my way around the building, what if I get lost…

For people like me the anxiety never goes away, the self doubt is always there.  Is it admitting failure to ask how to work the photocopier, will people think I’m stupid if I get lost around the campus, how do I admit that I’m not quite sure.

Time to get s**t done

What’s changed…

I’m a lot better than I was when I was younger.  Age (and actually parenthood more so) gives you the confidence to be able to view things differently.  I am no longer afraid to admit when I’m not sure, it still burns like hell but I know that most of us go through it. I realise now that it’s actually a sign of strength to admit.

However there are still certain situations that I cannot control, situations that make me feel completely insecure and shove me right back to being that 10 year old girl that no one was talking to, and laughed at, and prodded, and fought with at any opportunity.  Even at 42, I can still be transported back to the classroom in a second. To that first moment of being picked out and made a target.  That feeling of everyone laughing at you; of going home knowing you have no friends, but have to return the very next day to do all over again.

Bullying and whispering school kids in uniform
Julia Wheeler and Veronika Laws via Getty Images

Maturity…

The difference that parenthood and age has brought to me is suddenly being able to accept that just because it didn’t work out right, does not mean it was bad/wrong.  Just because I made a wrong step as a parent or in my career, does not mean I failed, it means I’m human. It means I learned something!

So I will welcome next week with gusto, I really am so excited to start working there.  My new surroundings and colleagues immediately filled me with welcome and comfort, I have to take this and accept it.  I am bloody good at my job and the inconsequentials will be forgotten about before I even know it.  I’m gonna try and welcome those new job faux pas’ as just part of life.  Everyone goes through it, I’m no different and actually I don’t think anyone cares?! Do they?…

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Easy Sausage Casserole

Quick and Easy Sausage Casserole

Easy Sausage Casserole 

Finding meals and recipes that are suitable for hungry teens, fussy kids, and parents who want everyone to eat healthily is an everyday challenge. 

Nobody wants to be cooking three separate meals every night, but how you cater to everyone’s individual tastes and needs can be tricky.  This easy sausage stew is a perfect example of a dish that the whole family enjoy.

A quick and easy family recipe; Sausage Casserole cooked on the hob in less than 30 minutes!

Easy-Sausage-Butterbean-Casserole_002

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 8 sausages (meat or vegetarian)
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 400g / 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 200ml / 8 fl oz chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 400g / 14 oz tin butter beans, drained

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the sausages and fry gently for 5-6 minutes until they start to brown. Remove the sausages from the pan and put to one side.

In the same pan, add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes until it starts to soften and become translucent. Then add the garlic and carrots and cook for another couple of minutes.

Once that’s done, add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, paprika and mixed herbs to the onions, garlic and carrots. Stir well before adding the sausages back into the pan. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Add the butter beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until they have warmed through.
Serve immediately with crusty bread, rice or sliced crispy potatoes.

Fussy Eater?

This recipe has come from ‘My Fussy Eater‘. Ciara is a food writer and cookbook author. She specialises in fussy eating and shares tips and tricks to get your kids eating better along with lots of family-friendly recipes.

What’s your favourite mid-week go-to recipe, something that the family all love?  Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to find out some new ideas to try at home.

Fay x

For more quick and easy, family-friendly recipes and bakes click below.

Family Recipes & Bakes

QUICK AND EASY SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

Forgetful Kids

What To Do With Forgetful Kids

I began writing about forgetful kids earlier in the day on my lunch break, but actually couldn’t bring myself to type it.  Not for any other reason than I really didn’t want to write about my boy, my H and how scatty he is.  I began to question why I’d want to do that to him, why would a parent write about their kid, especially at such a crucial stage (he’s turning 12 on Friday!).  I could embarrass the hell out of him.  Two things then came to me…

  1. I’m his mum, it’s my job to embarrass my kids.
  2. Actually his friends all know what he is like so it’s not like I’m giving away a major secret.

Then my lunch (half) hour was over, so I had to wait till tonight to finish.

Forgetful Kids

So for those of you who don’t already know, my eldest boy ‘H’ is a tad forgetful.  I’m not talking bits here or there, a letter from school, a sock out his PE Kit.  No I’m talking full bags of PE Kit, Jackets, Mobile Phones and probably his best yet a whole School Bag!

He started high school in September of this year and so far we have lost the following:

  • PE Kit x 3
  • CousCous x 1 – to be fair it was his first lesson, and maybe best #sorrynotsorry
  • Mobile Phone x 2
  • Jacket x 1
  • Bus Pass x 1
  • Letters from school – too many to count
  • School Bag x 1 incl. pencil case, school books, text books etc.
  • Homework Planner x 3

Am I To Blame?

I sometimes wonder if we apply too much pressure these days.  So much to remember at such a young age.  But I also have to admit that H is my boy, my baby, my preemie miracle, and I have treated him with kid gloves.  So am I to blame?  He’s the first born and as I say was 5 weeks premature.  I know fine well that I have done more for him than my other two.  The youngest, poor Samuel is left at the wayside with things in comparison with what I did for Henry.

But Samuel is one of the most independent little beings that you could ever know.  He certainly won’t be forgetting s**t at school (unless he deliberately choose too, which wouldn’t surprise me!).  And my middle boy Fred is just so cocksure that even if he did lose or forget something, he’d not hesitate to ensure he got it back.  Or at worst he’d manage to charm his way right out of it!

It’s so hard as a parent to admit that you’ve possibly/probably contributed to a particular trait in your own kids.  Have I let him down, will this be something he struggles with  forever?  But then I give myself a slap and tell myself I need to get a grip!  There are plenty of forgetful people in the world (me included – and actually that’s a point, all my boys contributed to my forgetfulness as I was never like this before kids! #quidproquo)

I can also console myself with this new paper by the journal Neuron which states that not only is forgetfulness normal but it actually makes us smarter!  So maybe H is a genius in the making.

For now I’ll take that.  Along with some tracking devices I can attached to his jacket, bag, books…

Any advice gratefully received!

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Samuels Gallery Wall Update

How I updated Samuel's wall for less than £10

Those of you who know me, know just how impatient I am.  It’s a couple of weeks till payday, and to finish Henry’s room a shopping trip is required.  So I’m getting styling withdrawal symptoms, and Samuels Gallery Wall Update is just what was needed.

gallery wall original

Samuels Gallery Wall Update

So this is how his wall looked originally, but the whole point was so I could change and update easily for him.  But it had sat like this for months and months.

To top this off I noticed that the washi tape was actually staining the wall very slightly having been there so long.  So it was time for a change.  But a change that would make it easier to update in the future…

doodle moo peg board

I had bought this gorgeous peg board from @DaisyMoo several months back for my own studio.  But actually I realised I didn’t really have anywhere for it, so it had sat unused.  I knew it would be perfect on Samuel’s wall, but lets see if he can look after it properly.

Samuels Gallery Wall Update

You might remember a while back I mentioned in one of my blogs about using clipboards to display art.  Well what better to introduce onto Samuel’s wall.  It also means we can easily change up his prints whenever we want!  These clipboards were only £2 each from Sainsbury’s Home.

Samuel's Room Update

With a little re-gig of what was displayed on his shelves and where, then essentially for less than £10 I was able to give his wall a fresh new look.  Did Samuel like? Well when I asked he said ‘I love you mama, you’re the best!’ #jobdone

What do you guys think?

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NB: I’ve listed all the wonderful small shops that are a part of this wall, along with a few high street favourites.

Name Garland – Mum Made

Lightbox – The Range

Tractor – Jones & Parker Toys

Rainbow, Bandit Peg Doll, Batman Plaque & Name Wedge – Three Little Tinkers

Star Canvas, Bean Bag, Toy Storage Bags – Henry, Fred & Felicity

Raven & Snow Peg Dolls (Large & Mini), Splatter Chair, Splatter Hands, Splatter House, Splatter Snowman & Tree – Tiny Jax

Cloud Wall Hanging – Crazy Little Crafts

Mini TV – Kids Boetiek

Hero Mask Wall Decals – V & C Designs

Felt Ball Garlands – The Bear & The Bird

Clipboards – Sainsburys Home

Prints – Bold Print Studio, Rainbo & Bear

Robot Boxes – Doodle Moo Printables

Personalised Peg Doll – Mono Me

Personalised Crayon Art – Mum Made It

Plush Guitar – Be Unique Kids

Teepee – Hobbycraft


Chocolate Cornflake Cakes

Baking with Henry - Chocolate Cornflake Cakes

So I have to say my first poll on Instagram was an absolute failure! LOL You guys all voting for us to bake all 5 cakes and then either invite you round or post to you wasn’t entirely helpful! Ha Ha so in the end I gave Henry the vote and he choose Chocolate Cornflake Cakes.

choc cornflake cake

A really simple and easy recipe, it’s perfect for an older child like Henry to essentially do on his own with little supervision.  Likewise it is also fun to get the little ones involved in whilst you bake.

Chocolate Cornflake Cakes

Ingredients

50g Butter

100g Chocolate

3 tblspoon Syrup

100g Cornflakes

ingredients

Directions

Step 1

Add the butter, chocolate and syrup to a microwaveable bowl.  Measure out the cornflakes into another bowl.  Put the wet ingredients in microwave for 10/20 secs at time, removing and stirring in between.

step 1
step 2
step 3

Step 2

Once fully melted then pour on top of your cornflakes and mix through with a wooden spoon.

step 4

Step 3

Now we made milk chocolate and dark chocolate batches and added choc to cornflakes, and cornflakes to choc.  The consensus from Henry is that adding choc to cornflakes is better/easier.

step 5

Step 4

Put the mixture into individual cases and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.  If you fancy you can add marshmallows, choc and/or glitter etc. for a little extra sparkle!

We found that as we used larger cases we got six from each batch.  Thanks to the original recipe from BBC Good Food.

choc cornflake cake

Henry totally approves!

So go on, have a go, think half of ours are gone already…

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chocolate cake kids baking recipes

Kids Baking Recipes

Kids Baking Recipes

So my eldest has developed a real passion for cooking.  Whether it’s helping with the Sunday roast or cutting the veg for the weeknight salad, he’ll do what he can.  However sweet treats are always a particular favourite.  So here are our top 5 favourite kids baking recipes, perfect for cooking with your kids!

Chocolate Cornflake Cakes

I remember cooking these as a child with my mum and sisters, and I still love making them now.   So easy, so simple and so tasty!

Prep: 10 mins               Cook: 5 mins                Level: Easy  

Get the Recipe
kids baking recipes

Fairy Cakes

Possibly my favourite from when I was young.  I am an absolute sucker for the icing, and the kids always love.  Great for decorating appropriately for holiday seasons & birthdays.

Prep: 40 mins            Cook: 20 mins              Level: Easy  

Get the Recipe
chocolate cake kids baking recipes

Chocolate Cake

Now who doesn’t love chocolate cake?! This is a great recipe, a great staple for birthdays and treats on a weekend…

Prep: 35 mins             Cook: 25 mins             Level: Easy  

Get the Recipe
marshmallow-crispy-squares-56337fbaa3221

Rice Crispy Cake

Such an easy recipe and one the kids always love to help with.  Make as simple as you like or cover/add treats of your choice.  Perfect for an after school or play-date treat.

Prep: 10 mins               Cook: 5 mins                Level: Easy  

Get the Recipe
Kids Baking Recipes

Millionaires Shortbread

This is Henry’s favourite cake of all time along with brownies.  Another easy to make cake, with only 4 steps.  Keeps well in the fridge!

Prep: 20 mins             Cook: 20 mins              Level: Easy  

Get the Recipe

So there we have it, 5 kids baking recipes! Now H and I just need to decide which one we are going to bake this weekend?! What was your favourite bake as a kid?

For more Kids Baking Recipes just click here

Fay x

kids baking recipes | baking quote

personalised letter canvas

Paint your own personalised Letter Canvas

Paint Your Own Personalised Letter Canvas

Looking for a beautiful but simple way to personalise your child’s room? Or maybe you’d like to make a gift for someone’s birthday?  These personalised letter canvas are so simple to make and cost only £5!

What you will need

Box Canvas (15cm x 15cm) – Hobbycraft

Acrylic Paint – Hobbycraft

Small Paintbrush

Pencil

Eraser

Letter Stencil

Step 2 - Draw Stencil
what you need

Step by Step

  1. Create a letter stencil.  There are two options for this, you can either print off the letter you require from the internet (making sure it’s approx 10cm high) or you can buy a papermache letter from places such as Hobbycraft or The Range for approx. £1 and use to draw round.

2. Place the stencil centrally on your canvas and draw round.  Draw as lightly as possible, although any pencil marks can be erased afterwards.

3. With a steady hand paint the letter the colour of your choice (metallics are a particular favourite of mine at the moment!) with the acrylic paint.  Allow first coat to dry and then paint a second time.

Step 3 - Paint your letter

4. Once fully dry rub out any visible pencil lines.

5. You can also add a small number after the letter as per scrabble tiles, again check the internet to get the correct number or you can choose a specific number if the canvas is for a birthday present?!

And there you have it. Your very own personalised letter canvas.  So go on, have fun.  All for only £5!

how felicity finds signature
personalised letter canvas

About Me

Time to change things up a little!

So if you follow me on Instagram then you’ll know that for the last couple of months I’ve been through a bit of a change.  I was made redundant from my day job of almost 9 years and it really threw me for six.  It’s so hard not to take it personally and let it affect you, especially as a 42 year old mum of 3.  I had everything sorted, gorgeous family, a day job I really enjoyed, my own business that was doing well.  Then bam I get hit with that and it just completely upset the apple cart.

Time to change things up a little

I have always been one to take things personally and no matter how hard I try I can’t help but feel a little down with it all.  My mojo went completely and I found it really hard to work on anything, including Henry, Fred & Felicity.  However as time went on I began to realise that I needed to figure out what I should do going forward.  I guess the obvious was that a couple of months of really concentrating on Henry, Fred & Felicity would possibly mean I could actually make the leap and go full time.  However the more I began looking at everything, talking to the boys and actually looking at the bigger picture; the more I felt I had to just take some time out.

Time to change things up a little…

Actually taking that step back made me realise a lot.  I realised I was missing time with my boys, as every spare moment was being spent working.  I had got to a stage where the level of orders I was getting meant that I was spending all my spare time making, and very little time connecting with my customers.  I began to realise that actually it was the talking to like minded people about all things kids and kids decor was what I actually really missed.  I missed finding new small businesses on Instagram that I wanted to share with people.  I missed having the time to decorate my own kids rooms like I promised them I would.   I also realised that whilst I love making and creating, what I love even more is showing others how to do exactly the same.

So there we have it, the realisation became apparent.   It’s time to change things up a little.  So over the next few weeks I will be gradually cutting back my product offering.  I’ll also be stepping up my interaction and sharing with you guys.  Sharing lots of my favourite small businesses as well as bringing you the best of the high street.  What about some ‘how to’s’ so you guys can have a go at making some of the products I make?  And with my eldest getting a little obsessed with cooking at the moment, then we’ll be bringing some of our favourite family recipes and bakes too.

Let’s do this…

I’ve also found myself an amazing new job #wonderingwhyididntdoitsooner #timingiseverything.  Still part time, but also term time only so I get to spend that extra time with the boys I’ve always wanted to. This half term was the first time I have ever had the whole holiday off with the kids since they started school I realised.  And do you know what I really enjoyed it , I think they might have too!

Thank you guys for always being here and being so supportive.  I hope you’ll like my new set up and what I’ll be sharing.  If there is anything you’d like to see then just let me know.  Happy to check out for you guys!

Love ya,

how felicity finds signature

Simple Creamy Bacon Pasta

Simple Creamy Bacon Pasta

Family-Friendly Cooking – Quick and Easy

If your kids are anything like mine, then pasta is always a winner, especially at this time of year.  My boys love nothing more than a big bowl of pasta.  They love mac n cheese, but this simple creamy bacon pasta sauce is really delicious for a little change.

Being wheat intolerant I often used to miss out on these meals as gluten-free pasta was not always that great.  However, over the past few years, standards have really improved and now as a family, we only eat gluten-free pasta.

Simple Creamy Bacon Pasta

Ingredients

  • 500g pasta (of your choosing)
  • 8 slices bacon, fat removed
  • 10 fl oz. cups cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 150g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Serves 4-6

Preparation 10 mins

Cooking Time 20 mins

Directions

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil.

Once boiling add the pasta

Cut the bacon into thin strips, then dry-fry in a large frying pan over medium heat until crisp.

Add the cream, garlic and Parmesan and cook over low heat for 4 minutes.

Drain your pasta and add to the pan with the sauce.

Stir well and serve with garlic bread.

Top Tip: When draining, keep a little of the starchy pasta water in the pan.  Add to the sauce with the pasta, it helps to thicken the sauce.

Results

This dish always gets a thumbs up from the boys and it is so nice to be able to eat a pasta dish as a family.  There is something really comforting about a big bowl of pasta.

What’s your kids favourite pasta sauce?

Fay x


kids card games

Let's Play!

We’ve never really been a board game family. I admit a slight obsession with collecting Monopoly’s means I’ve spent a lot of years hiding said board games and telling the boys they cannot touch, this may not have helped?!

However several road trip holidays later (who can forget the one we left behind) and we have developed an addiction for all things cards, with UNO  as current favourite! However with 3 boys ranging from 5 up to 11, it’s hard to find kids card games that are suitable for ALL the family.

linkit card game

LinkIt

So when PikyKwiky got in touch to say they were launching a new card based game for all the family, and would we like to try; we jumped at the chance.   LinkIt is educational as well as fun; which is great.  Anything that means my boys are learning without actually realising is a complete bonus for me!  And the great thing about card games are that you literally can take them with you, wherever you go!

There are 3 different levels to play at. However the basic idea is to use the yellow deck as the ‘main’ set, whilst the blue deck is dealt between the players.  The object of the game is to spot the link between the cards played.  Interestingly enough the boys were much quicker to pick it up than us adults!

It was great to see them trying to figure out the link and seeing who was quickest to spot it. A simple concept that is quick and easy to pick up, but really quite addictive!  This has definitely become one of our new favourites as it’s great to have a game that all the family can play together.

Available in original LinkIt and also LinkIt ‘Part of’ from Amazon now.  Perfect for a Christmas Stocking Filler, reduced from £16.95 to only £11.95 for Part Of and £12.95 for Original!

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boo-bottles-spooky-crafts-sl

Top 5 DIY Halloween Crafts

It’s almost that time, Halloween is almost upon us.  Fancy involving the kids in some crafts this year and having some truly unique decorations, then here are my Top 5 DIY Halloween Decorations I’ve found online this year!

BOO Bottles!

So everyone has some bottles laying about.  Whether it’s some bang on trend ‘milk bottles’ bought for a kids party earlier in the year, or maybe some perrier/cider bottles you have ready to recycle.  Make sure you wash them all out thoroughly, soaking off all labels etc. Spray paint them white (you can pick up tester spray paints from B&Q or Hobbycraft), then draw the faces on with black marker.  To finish off some orange/black straw would look awesome (The Range or local Supermarkets).

Pebble Monsters

This is a great idea for the kids to get involved in, and how cute do they look!  You just need some pebbles, acrylic paints, googly eyes and a black sharpie pen. For the full tutorial check out Morning Creativity

pebble-monsters

Monochrome Pumpkins

If you are a monochrome lover and the thought of introducing orange into the mix is a step too far then what about these fab black and white pumpkins from stylist Liz Demos.  Just choose your pumpkins, paint them in white flat acrylic paint and leave to dry for 20 mins, then create your designs with black paint pens.  For the full tutorial click here

monochrome pumpkins

Cheesecloth Ghosts

These goolish creatures are a really easy to make and fun addition to your halloween decorations.  You’ll need cheesecloth, fabric stiffener, a black sharpie pen and a small balloon. For the full tutorial click here

cheesecloth ghosts
tea light witches

Tea Light Witches

These adorable witches are made from green tea lights!  So simple and easy to make with the kids, you can hang them all over the house! You’ll need green tea lights (Set of 12, £3.99 from Amazon) Googly eyes and black& yellow felt sheets (ready available from all crafts stores or Amazon), Purple rhinestones (1000 for £1.13 from Amazon) and a glue gun (or if you don;t have one to hand then superglue will do, just make sure the children don’t get involved in the gluing!). Get the full tutorial from Smart School House

So there we have it my top 5 DIY Halloween decorations to make this halloween.  Hope you like! I’m off to get goulish…

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Update your Kids Room on a Budget

Update your kids room on a budget...

Update your kids room on a budget…

Fancy giving your kids room a bit of an update, or maybe they are asking for a change?  It’s half term for a lot of people and money at this time of year is that little bit tighter.  Summer holidays are well and truly gone and Christmas is looming (if your kids are anything like mine, then every day brings a new game, gadget or toy they want.  ‘Just write it on the list’ is my current response – this list must be more like War and Peace by now).  So here are some of my top tips to update your kids room on a budget!

Look at the room with fresh eyes

This can be hard as you’ve probably been looking at the room for so long you’ve forgotten what’s there.  Remove everything from the room bar the furniture and look at what you have.  What can still be used in the room as is, what do you want to get rid of (if anything) and what could possibly be used, but isn’t quite right.  That brings me straight to the next point!

empty bedroom

Up-cycle

So what about those pieces of furniture that still have a use but maybe aren’t the right colour/style for the new room. Or maybe there is a piece of furniture you have elsewhere in the house that could fit well. Well that’s where up-cycling comes in.<