Monday, 16 October 2017

Review - The Worry Plaque

' A fairy's magic changes red to green, gone are your worries never to be seen'

When we were offered the opportunity to review this product, I jumped at the chance. If you have read my previous blog post you will know that Isabelle is going through a bit of a hard time with over worrying and anxiety at the moment. I had actually heard of this item a few months ago but never got round to looking into it fully.

Around a month ago we actually purchased a fairy door for Isabelle's room and she fell in love with it. It leaves little gifts for her and it's helped with her sleep as she believes if she's not asleep they won't visit. Over all it's been a very comforting thing for her and I love seeing her believe in the magic of fairies. The worry plaque was actually created by the Irish Fairy Door Company and has a very simple concept behind it. A child simply places their hand on to the worry plaque, it turns red while the child is thinking about what is making them anxious and it changes to green as the fairies take away the child's worries. The worrying thoughts that have been taken away are then turned into positive magic and used to grant wishes, which is a lovely touch.

Isabelle has been using the worry plaque in the morning before school and it has been giving her a great sense of relief. It has been giving her a positive start to the day and I can see that she truly believes her worries are being taken away. It has stimulated her imagination and even though it's not a cure to her over worrying it has given her something to focus on. I definitely could have used something like this when I was Isabelle's age, such a beautiful, simple but effective product. We are willing to try anything to bring Isabelle some comfort at the moment and this has been a welcome addition to her routine.

The Worry Plaque is available to purchase from Smyths Toys and Argos priced at £19.99.

* Not sponsored. I was kindly sent the Worry Plaque in return for an honest review. 


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

World Mental Health Day 2017

The 10th of October is world mental health day. Of course mental health can affect us on any day of the year but it's another great opportunity to talk openly about it. World mental health day is focused on support for better mental health and taking care of yourself too. This year is all about mental health in the work place. I am so glad they have chosen this subject this year. Even though I am not working at the moment a lot of my mental health issues stem from previous jobs where I just didn't get the support I needed. We all know how stressful working is but there is a huge difference between being stressed and it taking a toll on your mental health. Considering that a great deal of the population spend more time at work than in their own homes it's important to keep some simple practices in place. 

My favourite mental health charity has always been Mind, they are just incredible. The work that they do has raised so much awareness in the UK and you can find some great tips on their website for helping you cope in the work place. A few of these are-

Taking a deep breath, this mind sound a bit silly but taking some deep breaths can help to ground you when your situation is feeling overwhelming. 

Make sure you take your breaks. We can all be guilty of skipping our breaks when we don't want to get behind with our work but this can have a negative affect on our working day. Making sure that you eat properly and just having some time to recharge is very important. 

Make sure you have clear boundaries between work and home. This means leave work at work. I know not everyone can do this but it's important for your personal life that working at home is kept to a minimum or at least to a designated area so that it doesn't invade your home space. 

Most importantly talk to your colleagues. If you know you are not feeling yourself or anxiety/depression is making you feel over whelmed at work then tell your work colleagues how you are feeling. Just talking can take a huge weight off your shoulders and they are there to support you especially when you are working as part of a team. 

Why not set yourself a challenge on Tuesday 10th October and simply ask someone how they are? Get the conversation going and lets keep talking about mental health!

For more information on world mental health day or for mental health support please visit the Mind website. 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

My worst fear has become a reality

I can't believe I'm here. The fear in her eyes, the panic upon her face. I feel helpless, I feel like this cannot possibly be happening. But you have it they have said, you should know what to do. Until now I thought I would know what to do. 

My child has anxiety.

It's real, it's happening and I feel like I'm reliving my own childhood all over again. It's like she is writing down my story but with her own words. Since the start of the year we have seen a change in Isabelle, a slow and steady change. We know what the trigger was and have tried hard to help Isabelle over come all of this. Ten months later and we are still here, watching our daughter struggle, seeing her consumed with worry. Like most with anxiety if it doesn't happen in front of you or I haven't told you personally, you wouldn't know anything was wrong. We have tried to play it down as much as possible, to not make it into a big thing if that makes sense but it's still here. 

For once I am able to say I know exactly how another person feels. I have a connection that is so strong because she is mine. Now there is another connection, an unfortunate one which I have always prayed would never happen to either of my children. The tears roll down my face as I blame myself. Have I some how passed this on to her, have I slipped up at some point and she has seen weakness inside me, has my worrying seeped out into her life. All children worry, some more than others and I know that. Once you have seen your child have what is basically an child's form of a panic attack it is imprinted on your mind forever. To not be able to take away that worry, to feel so unbelievably helpless. I can't even explain it, it's unbearable. 

As I have written before my children never see any of my anxiety, I have always made sure of it. Now I feel I have to be stronger than ever. She saved me by coming into my life when I least expected it, now it's my turn to do all I can to help her get through this. Every morning I now tell her 'You've got this'.  I squeeze her extra tight and say how proud I am of her, that she is my everything. 

We have taken her to the GP several times but have always been fobbed off, it's just a child worrying. Last week we saw a GP who just understood, he could see it and we are now on the road to getting some support for her.  I have known what has been going on for ten months but last week the realisation finally happened and I broke down. I broke down because I wouldn't wish the way I feel on my worst enemy. I can't think like that though, she is so much stronger than I am. She shouldn't have a care in the world and I will do everything I can to make that a reality for her again. 

So this is why I have been absent across my social media and on here. She comes first, without explanation. I know she will get through this. My feisty, clever, beautiful girl. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Potty Training, second time round

Potty training first time round with Isabelle was a breeze. I think a lot of it was purely down to luck but she was fully potty trained by the time she was two and a half. She just took to it like a duck to water and we had hardly any accidents during the day or night. She was brilliant and took it all in her stride.

This time round though, things have been a little more interesting to say the least. Charlie turned three at the start of September and I have tried since the start of the year to begin potty training him but to no avail. Every time it was brought up he would get very upset and would beg for a nappy to be put back on. Moving the nappies to some where he couldn't find them didn't work as he would get hysterical. I just took this as a sign he still wasn't ready and we moved on from it. I tried again over the summer holidays but I would still get the same reaction. 

Last Monday I tried again, we had hardly anything on so for the most part we stayed at home. As soon as he realised what I was trying to do again he got upset but I persevered and I did my best to take his mind off of it while still trying to do what was needed. Everyday however was the same, he would hold it in all day until late afternoon and he would have an accident. Of course I gave him constant reminders and reassurance but he kept telling me he didn't need to go. It does seem he doesn't like the potty as he just won't sit on it. I have tried him on the toilet on a child's toilet seat which he would sit on but then quickly asked to get off.

This week again I have purposely not planned much so that we can stay in and try and turn a corner with it. I know I shouldn't but I do feel the pressure that he is now three and he is starting pre school in January. A friend of mine has suggested if I can get get him to sit on the potty then I can give him bubbles to blow so he's sat on it but so he's distracted at the same time. I will definitely try this and I am open to other suggestions on how to help him.

I think it does make things harder when the first child has done something so quickly/found it easier but I really don't think children should be compared especially not siblings. I know we will get there and he will do it when he's good and ready. If you have an tips or advice for us it would be greatly appreciated. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Why I've been quiet

Depression, it can be brewing in the background for weeks or it can just slap you in the face when you least expect it. This time it came out of no where and boy has it hit me hard. The unbelievable sadness that cannot be explained and that also cannot just be fixed so easily as I wish it could. Feeling so hopeless and clinging on to this ride that is life. Rock bottom. 

The past few weeks have been truly horrendous for not just me but the people closest to me too. There is no feeling like not being able to help someone or knowing how to for that matter. Life can be hard, really, really hard and it feels like things will never get better. It's the classic case of people looking at me and not knowing the suffering that is happening and how I am praying that I will catch a break and things won't be so damn right hard. It has been one things after another for over a year now and there comes a point where I have to put my hands up and say I'm not coping, it's OK not to be OK. 

I want to thank those people who have been there for me recently, the people who I can be 100% honest with. The people that know the whole story as to why things feel so down right awful right now. You know who you are and you continue to be my guiding light in all of this.

When your in the depths of depression it's so hard to be able to see past it, to feel like things will get better. One look at my children and it's all taken away, maybe for a brief second or maybe for longer. I have said it a million times and I'll say it can they have no idea how much they keep me going. The moments where I lose myself belting out the Moana soundtrack, where I'm judging scooter races or where they are just in my arms and it feels like all is right with the world. Yes they can be hard work but life would be pretty boring if being a Mum was easy. 

I will continue to write about anxiety and I will continue to write about depression. I needed the past two weeks off from my blog to be present in my life and to be there for the people who needed me the most. Writing helps, it releases so much of how I am feeling so I feel like I can breath again. 

Right now Coldplay's fix you is playing as I'm writing this, seems like fate to me. I need to look after myself and get back to me again, I have done it before and I'll do it again. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Back to school dread

As I write this its the day before Isabelle goes back to school and a wave of sadness has come over me, one that I can't seem to shake. It's been building up for the last week. As I have labelled her new uniform, as I have put her P.E kit back in it's bag and as Monday get's closer I'm not ready to lose her back to school yet.

There is no dread for Isabelle, she is so excited to go back and if she had it her way I'm sure there would be no half terms! This was our first summer holidays since she started last year and I feel like it went by in a flash. I did everything I could to make it the best possible but now it's over I find myself regretting certain aspects of it. Did we do enough? Did I let a lack of funds ruin it? Did I say no too much? Did I spend enough one on one time with her? Will all she remember be me asking her to stop fighting with her brother so many times. And of course none of these things matter it's just me over thinking as usual. 

When I actually sit and think about the past six weeks we did so much, more than I actually thought we would be able to do. I have to stop being so hard on myself I know. Isabelle's first year of school taught me that she does get so stressed and I wanted her to be able to have the best break possible. She doesn't even go back until tomorrow but I miss her already, my heart aches, how is that even possible and maybe it sounds a bit pathetic? 

The other aspect of this is that my social anxiety really hasn't missed the school runs and the awkward chats with other parents when I can't make conversation. I am determined though not to let this get to me too much this time round. I over think it far too much, I just need to be accepted for who I am and to stop trying to fight it. 

As much as I don't want tomorrow to happen I need to be thankful that Isabelle loves school as much as she does as this would be so much harder if she didn't. I need to embrace her passion and let some of it rub off on me I think. By the time this post goes up she will have done her first day back at school in year one and I will be hearing all about it. It's just breaking the routine for the six weeks of half term and then getting back into it again. 

Most of me knows that I just need to pull myself together, the rest of me however just wants to cuddle this little one and not let her go! Back to reality...........

Friday, 1 September 2017

A letter to you my boy on your 3rd birthday

Time seems to be going so fast and you have reached your third birthday even quicker than your sister did. I remember the day you were born so clearly and it really doesn't feel like three years have passed already. In the past year you have really come on in leaps and bounds. Your speech has gone from strength to strength and your definitely not a baby anymore.  You and your sister are a force to be reckoned with when your together and she is 100% your favourite one of us all. In the next few months as we head towards January I want to try and live in the moment with you as much as possible before you start pre-school. How is it nearly time for you to go already? 

You definitely have your toddler moments especially when you don't get your own way and we still need to work on your lack of danger awareness. The not looking before you cross a road really isn't good for Mummy's stress levels! You love nothing more than running around like crazy and it's a challenge to keep you entertained these days. Those blue eyes of yours mean you get away with practically everything, I see that carrying on into the future! You still love paw patrol, trains and everything construction related. You also enjoy walking round the house in your sisters shoes and wearing her nurses outfit. Your newest 'thing' is to give us a thumbs up when your finished telling us a story which is just hilarious. You also give the best cuddles and one of my favourite parts of this last year was when you started to say I love you back to me at bedtimes. 

I am finding it so hard to know I will lose you in a few months but I know it will be the absolute making of you. You make me laugh until I cry and I can't imagine life without you. Now if you could just work on the sleep side of things that would be great! 

Happy 3rd Birthday Charlie, Mummy loves you so so much xxx

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Our visit to the Trolls truck tour!

A very quick blog post this evening to tell you about our visit to the Trolls truck yesterday and some info on where the truck will be this week!

I kept this as total surprise for Isabelle as she is obsessed with the film and her reaction was just THE best. We were greeted by some lovely event staff and both children were handed a cupcake each. They were taken over to the decorating station and got to choose what they wanted to put put on top. Both children picked ALL the sprinkles they had to put on and they then proceeded to eat them straight away. 

There was another station were you could either get your hair sprayed in a variety of colours or you could choice a tattoo. Both children went for a tattoo, although Charlie took ten minutes to buck up the courage to go anywhere near the lady! 

They then finished off their visit to the Trolls truck with a spot of colouring. The whole atmosphere was brilliant and their was so much detail inside. The film was playing on the TV's and the soundtrack too. Isabelle has not stopped talking about it since and of course she asked that we come home and put the film on straight away! What tops it off though is that it was completely free!  

The Trolls truck tour is only visiting a few more places this week, you can find the dates and locations below. Please contact the individual stores for confirmation of the timings.

Monday 28th August
Smyths (Slough)
Slough Retail Park, Twinches Lane, Slough, SL1 5AL
Tuesday 29th August
The Entertainer (Staines)
Unit S4, Two Rivers Retail Park, Staines, TW18 4WB
Wednesday 30th August
Tesco (Lakeside, Grays)
Tesco, 2394 Lakeside Extra, Cygnet View, West Thurrock, RM20 1TX
Thursday 31st August
Tesco (Watford Extra)
Tesco, 239-241 Lower High St, Watford WD17 2BD

Friday, 25 August 2017

More children, lemon drizzle and my hardest Mum moments!

I asked on my Instagram and Twitter if anyone had any questions for me because one of my favourite type of blog posts or videos to read/watch are question and answer or tags. 

All of the questions have come from some lovely parenting bloggers so make sure you go over and have a nosey at their blogs. So let's get into it!

The first question comes from Kellie from My Little Babog. Kellie asked what is your favourite day out without the kiddos? I have to say it's really rare that I don't have the kids with me, like REALLY rare. I like doing the simple things (you know the things that I used to take for granted) like going for a really nice lunch with some drinks or going to the cinema. That might sound really boring but it's what I miss, just some me time or quality time with my hubby and friends. I am turning 30 this year and really need to start thinking about I want to do as this will probably be my next kid free time. 

Nicole from The Mum Reviews asked, if you had to live on one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? 100% Italian. It always has been my favourite, just give me all the pizza and pasta and I'm happy. When we do eat out it's always what we go for. 

Jessamine from Mum Under Pressure asked do you think your family is complete, if not how many children would you like? This is something that I'm very much thinking about at the moment. That wave of broodiness has hit me again recently. I would love a third child but I just don't feel like it will happen. We aren't financially staple enough and I know my husband is happy with two children.  

Gemma from Gem and them asked what do you do for some quiet alone time? I do my own gel nails so if I do have an evening spare (and the kids are actually asleep) I love to do that. I also knit (no it's not just for 80 year olds) and I have done for over a long time now. My Nan taught me and I find it really helps with my anxiety as it keeps my mind and hands focused. I love a good bath too, scolding hot of course. 

Kat from Confession of a working Mum asked If you joined the circus what would your act be? I have to agree with your answer Kat, I would have to be the lady spinning all the hoops. I have a tendency to feel very over whelmed and constantly feel like I'm trying to keep everything together (what Mum doesn't) so that or the lion tamer!

Rebecca from All about Hurr asked what is your favourite type of cake? This is like asking me which one of my children is my favourite! There are just to many to choose from but coming to my mind straight away is lemon drizzle, chocolate fudge or I have recently discovered cherry bakewell victoria sponge (oh my days!).

Jenny from Midwife and life asked how do you cope when you want to shut the world out but you can't because you're a mum? Being that I have generalised anxiety disorder this is something that I feel a lot. We all have those days were we just like everyone and everything to go away but you just have to push through it. I get through the day the best I can and I then make sure I look after myself even if it's twenty minutes in a hot bath. It's so important to switch off.

Hannah from Mum meets world asked what is your dream job? This is really hard to answer as I honestly don't know! I'm at that point in my life were I don't really know what direction I want to go in. Charlie starts pre school in January which means that I will suddenly have a lot of spare time on my hands. I come from a customer service/hospitality background but I'm just not sure that's for me anymore. I'm hoping I find the answer by the end of the year. 

Amy from The smallest of things asked what has been the hardest thing about parenting for you? This often changes but if I answer for right now it's my toddler not sleeping. It's incredibly draining and it's also very reminiscent of the new born days. During the summer holidays I have also found the sibling squabbling incredibly difficult to cope with as it has just been constant! Being a Mum is bloody hard and I think it's important to say that and put it out there!

Thank you so much for the questions, I loved answering them!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Toddler sleep deprivation

Today we went on a trip to our local pick your own farm with some of our friends. We had a great time and the kids were filthy by the end of it, sign of a good day if you ask me!
It is now 8pm and you would expect the kids to both be asleep as they were shattered. One is asleep and one isn't. Take a guess as to who is still up, you guessed it Charlie.

This has been going on for nearly a month now and the last time I felt this tired was when the kids were babies. If I'm this tired then how is he not?! Charlie has played up at bedtime ever since he went from a cot to a bed. He was OK for the first few weeks and then the freedom got the better of him and he now spends more time going up and down our stairs than in his bedroom. It is very rare that he gets into bed and goes straight to sleep. 

In the past few weeks things have got a lot worse and something has to change. He has now started to wake up several times in the night. He either comes into our room, goes into his sister's room or puts the light on in his room and just sits awake. Myself and my husband are light sleepers since having our children so thankfully we wake up when the kids do. One time last week though we woke up at 6.30am and found Charlie asleep on our bedroom floor with no idea how long he had been there. I have to say this really upset me when I realised where he had been since I don't no what time. 

He doesn't seem to be scared of anything, he doesn't cry and doesn't ask for anything. The majority of the time he just says it's boring, as in being in his room/going to sleep is boring. We have tried later bedtimes, putting his baby lullaby music back on in his room, a night light and staying with him. We have tried many more things but my poor brain just cannot think right now. He has a story at bedtime, he has a bath and his room is super cosy. He doesn't nap anymore and hasn't done for months. The only time he will fall asleep is if we are in the car anytime after 4pm, he will be gone if this is the case.

I have spoken to many parents, online and in real life and they have all said that at some point this 'blip' just happens to toddlers. They go through a phase of thinking that sleep is for the weak. We never went through this with Isabelle so I think we must have just been lucky. Of course when a new day begins and with all the broken sleep Charlie has had, he isn't in the best of moods to say the least. I do very much feel like we are back with a newborn baby again and it's honestly killing me! Unless you have gone through it yourself I cannot explain how bad it is, sleep deprivation is just the worst! I dread the bedtime battle to get him to sleep and now we have him waking up multiple times in the night. I want him to sleep well for himself, so that he is happy. It has started to affect Isabelle and her sleep which really isn't great. 

I am very much hoping that this 'blip will be over soon but I have the feeling that it will be sticking around for a while. I would love to hear from you if you have gone through similar and any suggestions you might have. Here's to team no sleep!

Monday, 21 August 2017

The strongest person I know

This week I took time to remember my Grandad as we marked twenty six years since he passed away. How is it twenty six years? He died very suddenly when I was only four but some of my earliest memories are of him. His memory has very much been kept alive though and I know he is still around. There are things that have happened over the years that I know are his doing. 

There is one person though that has had to over come so much and that is my amazing Grandma. It was devastating for the rest of the family but what she must have gone through is just something I cannot comprehend. Looking at her you would never know, she is very much the type of person that keeps herself together and gets on with things. If she knew I was writing this and sharing it she would kill me! My grandparents were both nurses and this is how they met, love at first sight. 

Not only did she lose her husband far too soon, she is also a breast cancer survivor. I remember this time so well and it's because of this that I am so proud to call her my Grandma. Every half term I would spend it with her at her caravan in Gloucestershire. I have such brilliant memories of going on holiday with her and it gave me the break I needed especially when things were difficult at home. 

As we don't live near each other we spend many hours on the phone every week, she is always the first person I call if I need advice. She lives in Manchester and I live in Wiltshire so I really don't get to see her as much as I would like but a few weeks ago we met while she was on a coach trip to the south west. My children have seen her many times but this time I saw them completely fall in love with her. Maybe it's because they are older or maybe they just understand how special she really is. She truly adores them and I'm so glad I have been able to give her great grandchildren. 

If I have learnt anything from her it's to live life to the fullest, not to care what others think and to have no regrets. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for her and when things are difficult in my life I always think of her. She has always been such an amazing role model to me and now she is doing the same for my children.  She really is the strongest person I know and I just can't put into words just how much she means to me. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Our visit to Moors Valley Country Park

Last weekend we finally took a trip to Moors Valley and boy did it not disappoint! So many people had recommended it and it's only an hour and half away from us in Wiltshire. Moors Valley is free to get in to but you do need to pay for parking. It really is an all day trip out so four hours or more is £10 which I think is really good value for money considering the amount there is to do on site. You can hire bikes, go on segways and go ape is also in the park. 

We started of by going on the train which was just brilliant. A return trip lasted around 15 minutes and it was a couple of pounds each. If we could have we would have definitely gone on it again but unfortunately we ran out of time. It was like Charlie's dream true as he is obsessed with trains and it was a fab experience for the children. 

We then headed off on the gruffalo trail, which FYI you do need to download the app before you go as the signal is not brilliant once your there. You can do this here. It took us around an hour to complete and you have to find check points were the gruffalo will magically appear on the app and you can take a picture of them. Charlie loves the book but he's going through a bit of a stage at the moment were he thinks it's actually real so he was scared at the end when we found the gruffalo. It was brilliant though and I highly recommend it if your children like the gruffalo books.

Next we had a lovely picnic and we were spoilt for choice with places to sit. We found a bench in a lovely clearing which happened to be next to some sculptures of the gruffalo's child. Which meant we could eat while the children were kept occupied playing. We then headed off to the play trail which has ten different play zone's including the ant's nest and tree top trail. It took us just over two hours to complete the trail and the kids were totally shattered by the end of it. Sign of a good day!

There is so much we didn't have time for including even more trails and den building so we will definitely be heading back soon.  A brilliant family day out and a new favourite place too.