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.





Tuesday, 15 August 2017

About Me/Work With Me


About me

I was born in Bath in 1987 and shortly after my family moved to Wiltshire. I lived in the same small village until I left home at the age of 18. I met my husband when I was 17 and we have been together ever since. We have two children, Isabelle who was born in 2012 and Charlie who was born in 2014. 

Up until 2016 I had always worked in customer service but I am now a stay at home Mum. I started this blog In December 2016 and I haven't looked back since. I had originally planned on it just being parenting based but I very quickly realised that writing about my mental health really helped me personally. The support I have received since starting has been incredible and I am so thankful.



This blog is my little place on the internet to share my journey as a Mum, my battle with anxiety and everything in between. You will find reviews, days out with my little explorers, updates on my anxiety, the trials and tribulations of being a Mum and much more. 

I am PR friendly, if you would liked to work with me I welcome you to contact me HERE, I look forward to working with you.

You can find all my social media links below, come over and say Hi! 




Disclaimer

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Laura Stevens. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship and other forms of compensation. I am sometimes compensated to provide opinion on services, products, websites and various other topics. Even though compensation is received for these I will always give my honest opinion, beliefs or experiences on what I am reviewing. I will always fully disclose, upfront, if compensation has been received. This blog is not responsible for what you might click through from advertisements. Any views or opinions that are represented in this blog are personal and belong to the blog owner, Laura Stevens. The views or opinions do not represent those of people, institutions or organisations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity, unless otherwise stated. 
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog takes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. The blog owner is not responsible for the content in the comments. Please do not use the pictures on this blog without prior permission first. 


This blog disclaimer is subject to change at anytime without notification. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

National Allotment Week 14th - 20th August 2017




Potato Harvest

L to R - Parsnips, white onions and cauliflower

Carrots

Runner Beans

Tomatoes 

Strawberry Plant


Those of you that follow me on Instagram will know that we got our first ever allotment in May this year. As it is national allotment week this week I thought I would share some pictures of what we have achieved so far. We were supposed to get our allotment back in March but unfortunately it was not ready in time. When we did finally get it it was all actions stations to try and plant as much as we could so we could actually get something back from it this year. 

I had already been growing some veg from seedlings since around February which I'm so glad I did as it really helped get things going. The only things we did buy as ready grown plants are the strawberries and we also have sweet peas growing in one corner just to add some colour and to break up all the green! Around 75% of what we have grown has come from seed and I'm really proud of that. 

Considering we have never done this before I'm really pleased with how the allotment has done so far. The only thing we have harvested is the potatoes and basket upon basket of sweet peas. We also have these growing in our garden at home so the house has been full of them constantly, not that I'm complaining as the smell is incredible. I'm very excited for when everything else is ready to be picked, which shouldn't be long now.

The main reason we wanted to get an allotment was to become slightly self proficient with some of our veg and also to teach the kids how to grow their own food.  The kids have loved coming up to help and of course getting dirty! Having an allotment is a commitment as it does require a good chunk of time to get it set up. It took us a good few weeks to sort the ground out before we could plant anything. Once things have been planted and have started to grow the main thing is upkeep. Every week (well we try to) we go up to weed as unfortunately we do get stinging nettles growing on our plot. We also love that it has brought us closer to our community and Isabelle's school also has a plot up there too. 

When next May arrives we will have to decide whether we want to have the allotment for another year. Myself and my husband have already agreed that we would like to. It's the best feeling to put hard work in to something and get a brilliant reward. This being growing and eating our own fruit and veg. 

If you are considering getting an allotment or you would like more information, you can do so by speaking to your local council or by visiting The National Allotment Society's website.






Friday, 11 August 2017

Asda Little Angels nappy review






In the next few months we will be saying goodbye to nappies forever (sob). As we have used little angels nappies for five years and with both children I thought it was time that I did a review on them.

The reason we initially went for Asda's own brand of nappies back in 2012 is that we had already heard such good things about them. Also being that it was where we did our weekly food shop it just made sense to give them a go. 

We have gone from the newborn size all the way through to our latest find being the paw patrol pull up nappies which I should add Charlie is obsessed with. We now go back and forth between these and the size 6+ comfort and protect.

Now down to the nitty gritty, what do I actually think of them? Well I think they are brilliant. From day one we have never had any problems with them. Yes we had the new born stage with both children were there was the classic poonami stage were leaking is just unavoidable sometimes considering the situation. But at the time we did try a few other brands and we found that they were just not up to scratch with little angels. Charlie especially would tug on them as if they were uncomfortable and with little angels this never happened.

I have found some other brands really do not fit well but with these they are very true to size. Both children have never had any issue with rubbing around the legs or leaving a red mark from the elastic. The price for me is also another bonus, they are so reasonable. The little angels comfort and protect nappies are only £3.50. I should also say both of my children have never had nappy rash apart from right at the beginning (when let's be honest we're all figuring out how to look after a brand new baby) and I'm sure that's down to these nappies. 





We have also used their sensitive baby wipes since day one and I highly recommend them. I'm sure I will continue to buy them long after Charlie is potty trained for wiping dirty hands and faces. Mum hack, there fab for dusting too when you only have a few minutes to make your house look reasonably clean, oh come on we have all been there. 

Overall I can not recommend the Little Angels nappies and wipes enough. As we come to the end of our nappy journey I'm so glad we picked these for the past five years. Let me know if you have tried them and if you have any other staple products.



Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Am I strong enough? Self Doubt





Today was hard. Now that the children are asleep and I am sat in a quite house I'm not sure how I continued to carry on. I feel fear, I feel ill and I feel exhausted. 

Life will always throw obstacles but it's how you deal with it that matters. Most can resolve what ever it is and move on with their life. I however make myself ill with how much I let things consume me. 

Today was another example of this. Something unexpectedly happened and although I dealt with it well at the time, hours later I started to shake and the room was spinning. Then that dreaded feeling washed over me. Panic. I wanted to give in, I wanted to let it just do whatever it wanted to me so that it would be over. But no, I fought it. I pushed the feelings away and did whatever it took to not let it consume me. 

Over the past year I have started to notice that stress is affecting my anxiety more and more. The two just go hand in hand together. I find myself thinking am I strong enough to be a wife, a mother or a friend? When anxiety is my life is there enough room for everything else?




If you saw me today you wouldn't have been able to tell, as usual I put my face on and pushed through the day. What I hate is that it is hard enough to receive bad news or to go through a difficult situation but then I get a second kick to the stomach when my anxiety replays everything. It's like a double attack. 

I have been lacking in confidence recently. I have been finding it harder and harder to speak to people and to break out of my comfort zone that my anxiety puts me in. I have had to remove myself from certain friendships and situations purely because they were having a negative impact on my life. A few years ago I would never have done this but I have to do what is right for me. I can only have supportive, character boosting, loving people around me. 


The fear is setting in of waking up tomorrow and that well known feeling of panic suddenly hitting. I need to remember that it is not in control, I am. All I can do is stay true to myself and continue to fight this.  Today was bad but that's exactly what is was a bad day, everyone has them whether it is anxiety related or not.