Monday, 30 October 2017

Autumnal Escape

Autumn has always been my favourite season. Summer ends and a change begins. The leaves begin to turn orange, the darker nights begin to creep in and the year is slowly coming to an end. I wish that a change could come into my own life. Not for me but for Isabelle, I wish I had a magic wand to take everything away for her. Things are getting worse and I hate the feeling of having no control over it. I want to take all the worry away from her, I would have her worries in a second. 

I find myself walking a lot more, I can't bear to sit around thinking. Over thinking never does anybody any good. It's hard to let go and realise that this time I have to. I have to put my trust in others to help her, whether that be doctors or her teachers while she's at school. All I can do is hold her hand through all of this and tell her that it will get better. I want to wrap her in cotton wool and keep her with me at all times. I just want her to be OK, so badly.

When she's around I try my hardest not to let on that I'm worried about her but sometimes I just can't hide my sadness. My beautiful daughter is consumed with worry and she has changed into a different child. That is the hardest part in all of this, that she isn't herself. 

Getting out with Charlie has been lovely and Isabelle has of course joined in while she's been on half term. Going for a walk in the country side does seem to help her. I think it's just being outside and maybe it helps her to relax. Charlie is a great distraction for her and they love exploring together. I had pockets full of conkers, so much so that I suggested that maybe we should leave some for the other children! 

While we're out walking through all the leaves (and throwing them at each other) everything is forgotten for a short time. The relief is obvious but then reality hits and the panic is back. We have to repeat our plans, we must say how long we will be there if we divert from the plan Isabelle becomes extremely distressed. It is so hard but I have all the patience in the world because right now if this is what comforts her then I will do whatever she needs and however many times she needs it. 

Our weekends now always involve going out for a big walk, it seems to be like therapy for her. No child deserves what she is going through but this is what's happening and we just have to try our best to help her anyway we can. I just want my Isabelle back, anxiety free and loving every second as she grows up. To not have those horrible, worrying thoughts going round her head over and over again. It doesn't matter how long it takes, I will fight for her every step of the way.


Friday, 27 October 2017

New Mental Health Guest Post Series

On Friday 3rd of November a brand new series will be starting on my blog. If you are a regular reader then you will know that mental health and openly talking about it is incredibly important to me. Some thing that I hear on a weekly basis is that too many people are afraid to talk about their mental health as they feel ashamed or worried about what others might think. This is just not OK anymore, we must feel like we can open up in order to help ourselves. 

So what will happen in this series I hear you ask? My original plan was to publish a guest post every other Friday but due to the amount of interest I have received it will now be weekly. Every Friday at 10am a guest blogger will share their mental health story here on my blog. This may be PTSD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, GAD, post natal depression and many more mental health topics. 

I am extremely proud that so many bloggers are interested in raising awareness just like me and at the moment the series will be running all the way until the beginning of February. 
It takes a lot to publish a post about mental health so I would really appreciate it if you would show the guest bloggers some support every Friday. 

Join us back here next Friday for the first guest post in my mental health series. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Last minute, easy Halloween craft and baking ideas

This year I have to say I feel completely unprepared when it comes to Halloween. Normally we do as many craft activities as we can fit in along with baking biscuits, cakes and anything else I can find. Now that it's a week until Halloween and we are now on half term I'm hoping that I can turn it around and do as many Halloween activities as possible. Isabelle would happily craft all day if she could but with Charlie it needs to be something super straight forward as like most three year old's he gets bored very quickly.

I am always looking for new ideas and below you can find 11 amazing ideas from my fellow bloggers. If you try any of them make sure you tag me and the individual blogger on social media as I'm sure they would love to see your makes. 

1.) First up is Danielle from Someones Mum with three easy Halloween decorations. 

You can find instructions on how to make lolly stick hanging spider webs, cardboard dribbling wax effect candles and jar jack-o-lanterns. Isabelle has asked to make the spider webs as she said 'they look really real'. You can find full details here.

2.) Next up is Samantha from North East Family Fun

I love Samantha's idea, it really couldn't be any more simple and they look brilliant! You can create scary apple faces using apples, jelly sweets, grapes and cocktail sticks. Check them out here.

3.) We have friends with children who can some times struggle at Halloween due to being allergic to milk so they have to miss out on the usual Halloween chocolate treats. Emma from Ready Freddie Go has come up with some great ideas for dairy free treats.

I just love the Mummy's in bandages, they really do look so cool! I also like how Emma has included some healthier treats as Halloween is so full of sugar! Find all of Emma's idea's here.

4.) Now if you know me you know that I love a good chocolate bark recipe and Sophie's from Soph Obsessed does not disappoint!

This really does look fantastic and I will definitely be making it with the kids this week. It would also make a lovely Halloween gift too. Find the full recipe here.

5.) In previous years we have done Halloween paper plate crafts as it always goes down well with the kids. These from Samantha at Stressy Mama are a great example of how simple it is to do.

My favourite has to be the witch but check out the Stressy Mama blog here where you can also find out how to make a ghost, spider, monster or a pumpkin.

6.) Kirsty from Winnettes is always so inventive whether it be baking or crafting ideas and her fabric pumpkins do not disappoint.

She has managed to turn boring old pumpkins into something super stylish by just covering them with different materials. You can find a video on Kirsty's blog here showing how you can do the same.

7.) Another pumpkin idea from Beth at Twinderelmo and this is exactly what I had in mind to do. 

Now don't get me wrong I love carving a pumpkin and it gets us all in the mood for Halloween. I couldn't be without a carved pumpkin with a tea light in. But this year I have seen a lot of pumpkins that have been painted or with glitter all over. I think I will buy a few extra pumpkins and let the kids go crazy! Beth has some great pumpkin decorating ideas which you can find here.

8.) I love this original idea from Leandra at Larabee Uk and what a great way to use up your empty toilet rolls plus they are super cute!

I would never have thought to make some thing like this with cardboard tubes. Leandra talks you through how to make them along side a video that you can find here.

9.) Now these Halloween krispie treats look seriously delicious! These pumpkin krispie treats from Vanessa at Mother Hermit are so good! 

I really don't want to use the word cute too much in this blog post but I mean, look at them! Get all the details on how to make them here.

10.) Now this next recipe from Eva at Captain Bobcat has made me seriously hungry!

Look how amazing these pumpkin and choc chip vampire monster cookies look, so yummy! The little fangs on them are adorable (as adorable as a Halloween themed cookie can be!). Get the full recipe here.

11.) At the moment I have dozens of conkers laying around with no idea what to do with them.  Jennifer from My Mummy's Pennies has given me the great idea of making Halloween spiders with them.

We have plenty of pipe cleaners hanging around so we will be giving this a try. You can find the instructions as well as some Christmas conker ideas over on Jennifer's blog here.

So that's it, eleven brilliant Halloween themed crafts and baking ideas to keep you busy over half term. We will be trying as many as we can and I will definitely be reaching for this post when the sibling squabbling is getting too much! Have a fantastic Halloween and have fun trying all of these ideas!


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.