Mock The Week Mums’ List

The awesome Hannah from Mumsdays has started a new linky for recapping the week, looking back across blog and social media to see what’s happened, what’s gone well and what’s been popular. In my case this week it’s a bit ‘mock the week’ because I’ve been on a collision course to disaster starting with an almost faint and ending with a fall but next week WILL be better!

My favourite post of the week involved eating this bad boy banoffee pie!

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I also really enjoyed doing the research for my post on toddler play schemas, any mum of an under three needs to take a look at the links I posted, it explains a LOT about Joss’ play personality and behaviour! This was a post that got a lot of my friends talking on some of the Facebook groups I frequent which was great, I also hit my best ever page views for it which is AMAZING!

Monday this week started with a call to the doctors about another nearly faint, I have very low blood pressure so am reading about staying healthy and upright! Tuesday saw Joss and I meet up with Hannah and Aggie and their boys – ‘farm boys’ as Joss called them, because she got to run around Bill Quay Farm with them, her favourite place in all the world! I really enjoyed some adult conversation and hope we can continue some #nemumshour and #nepblogger meets, would be great to see Grace soon too!

Onto Wednesday, a work day for me, I got to finalise a blog post that I hope will be published in a professional capacity which is really good for my profile! Wednesday evening was #nemumshour over on twitter and it was great to celebrate finishing my dissertation! I blogged a wee piece about my journey

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Now I have some free time I’ve been reading some blog posts about pursuits I’d like to take up, I especially love crochet so Attic 24 is always lovely to stop by. I also enjoyed seeing what other folks have been doing with their Cake Angels goodies, don’t these look and sound amazing! Ruth’s fab series on summerwear saw me getting excited for nicer weather and Joss will finally get to wear a daisy print dress I bought last year in the sales!

This week ended with me taking a tumble from these bad boys, I’m fine, pride is a bit hurt but I’ll be back in my skyscrapers tomorrow!

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Mums' Days

Toddler schemas – the one where I get heckled

“They’re all different…” “every child is unique….”

Apparently there are ‘toddler personality types;’ the wallflower, zen baby, the extrovert explorer and the whirlwind, I have all four, no, not quadruplets, but Joss is a whimsical “flibertigibbert, a wilo-the-wisp, a clown” and regularly displays all of these traits and more.

She’s more wallflower probably, cautious,careful and thoughtful with the occasional flash of courage!

What really amuses me now that I am used to dealing with it is her tenacity, I have stopped seeing her as “stubborn” and “headstrong” there’s a humour under her steely determination that makes it much easier to work with, than against, I’m not saying there aren’t nights when I’ve been at work all day and could handle her whinging better but sometimes you just have to laugh at how they start to find their feet and understand their own emotions and whims. Like tonight, when I walked home with the buggy after the childminders, she leaned right out the pram asking me for more crisps and heckling ‘silly mammy’ asking me to run up the bank with all 10 kilos of her, a buggy, workbag and shopping ! – If I can catch her at the right moment she’s easy to distract, but I sometimes miss the cues!

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A schema is a psychological term, it denotes a set of play behaviours when referring to children, and the BBC has a nice guide to toddler schemas you might be interested in here and there are more ideas for games depending on your child’s schema here

Joss’ schema is ‘transporting’ this means she likes to fetch and carry, to put items into bags and boxes to carry, to push items along, like her trolley and so her toy preferences are for bags, prams, cars and trailers.

It is fascinating how accurate this schema is for Joss, as these photos show, this is a really focussed enjoyable form of play for her!

What I also find amusing is how she does the same thing over and over if she’s really into her schema play, tonight she put all her animals in a little red bag and carried them about, this started with her looking at the bag, then thinking for ages, she suddenly and seemingly randomly to me said ‘sheep!’ hopped up and started filling the bag with plastic farm animals, but once she got bored she wanted bricks in there too, the bag then wouldn’t close and she got really angry, shouting for me to ‘fixit, fixit, fixit’ and when she calmed down we looked closely at the bag and talked about why it wouldn’t close, she was tired and couldn’t accept it so we moved on to distraction with a colouring book. Understanding her schema helps me understand her play and understand how I can develop her play with her too.

Have a read, what schema is your little one on? I’d love to hear more!

The Mum Tag

20 questions, ooh it’s like Mastermind – go! Katy from Modern Mummy tagged me in The Mum Tag, here are my responses, cue studio lights…

1. Are you a stay at home mum, or a working mum?
I’m a part time working part time studying Mam so a bit of both!

2. Would you have it any other way?
No, I don’t think so, I will be pleased to finish my Masters this month to take some pressure off but part time work strikes a good balance for me and a good balance for Joss too, being productive is a big part of my wellbeing and I get that through work and study. I was with my parents full time til I went to school and I think socialisation was missing though my parents made lots of sacrifices for us along the way and I was grateful for my upbringing it is healthy for children to mix regularly and in Joss’ case she also spends a day of the week with one of her sets of grandparents (alternating weekly) so she gets the best for all worlds!

3. Do you co-sleep?
We did up until Joss was ready for her own space at nine/ten months against lots of criticism from health professionals but we did so safely and it felt right for us. We still co-sleep occasionally and it was great for bonding and maximised sleep in the early months for all of us!

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4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
Cloth nappies have served us really well from around ten weeks up to the potty training time that we’re probably nearing. Eco-friendly, efficient and moneysaving they have made life with no car and hence little chance of getting out at night to get more disposables much easier!

5. How many kids do you plan on having?
We don’t know, I am honest about my experience of postnatal depression contributing to the uncertainty, if and when the time is right we will decide on our plans as a family

6. Date night? How many per month?
A month? None! Maybe once every three months, but we try to do nice things after Joss’ bedtime a good few evenings a month, we’ve watched some brilliant TV series, currently we’re watching Salamander, will occasionally share a takeaway and try to catch up after a busy working day.

7. Your child’s favourite show?
The Adventures of Abney and Teal have brought together Joss’ love of porridge and the obscure! It’s all very genteel so I’m happy for her to enjoy it. She’s a big fan of the Tombiliboos from In The Night Garden too though.

8. Name one thing you bought before you had your baby and never ended up using?
Nothing! We bought really carefully, actually, scratch that, I bought lots of pairs of bootees but Joss has always loved to be barefoot!
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9. Your child’s favourite food?
Hands down got to be fruit everytimes, especially blueberries, the call of ‘bloobellies’ goes out many times a day! That said, as a treat we both love a bit of icecream!
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10. How many cars does your family have?
None, we have a low carbon footprint but it’s becoming important to us to learn to drive as Joss gets older, we might look at a car then, or just the occassional hire

11. Weight before, during and after pregnancy and now?
Cheeky! Before I was at my heaviest, during I felt really healthy and put on roughly a stone and after a year I started Slimming World to get to my current target weight of 10lb 7oz, a healthy weight for my height. I now eat a clean healthy diet and believe in not cutting out any major food groups, balance is kind to you and healthy too

12. Dream holiday with your kids?
Eventually we would love to go to America, perhaps the Canadian Pioneer tour, definitely Disneyworld, Joss would love to see Tramp!

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13. Dream holiday without your kids?
Not something we’re interested in, we like to have new experiences through Joss’ eyes!

14. How has your life changed since having babies?
It’s more balanced, it was work, work, work sadly, and I look back on all that free time I had with longing, but Joss has brought in a balance now, I will relax and enjoy a cuppa while she and I play with lego or have a tea party together; I worry more and plan more but I also smile and laugh more too!

15. Finish the sentence: ‘It makes my heart melt to see……?’
Joss singing her favourite songs to her stuffed animals

16. Where do you shop for your kids?
We love H&M and Frugi for their cut for cloth fit

17. Favourite make up and skin care products?
I have a MAC habit and have done for years, I also love Lush skincare masks and shower gels and scrubs, I adore Kiehls skincare, nothing beats it for me!

18. Huggies or Pampers?
Neither! Cloth all the way!

19. Have you always wanted kids?
Yep, I’m a big kid at heart so they’ve always been part of the plan!

20. Best part about being a mum?
Sharing in the hopes and dreams of my little girl and her being my first thought in the morning and last at night, seeing her learn and grow and at the moment getting a kiss from her just makes any day sunny and bright!

I’m tagging:
Rachel from Activities 4 Kids
Vai from Rambling Through Parenthood
and Jada from Unique Young Mum

I hope you enjoy the Meme guys!

Cake Angels Review – Turning 30 and letting someone else go first!

This weekend it was Daddy’s turn to have a birthday, the big 3-0 – just letting him have a month of being ‘the older guy’ in my life before I join him.

What’s the story with this photo then? The big event got underway with 30 gifts for 30 years, I loved choosing them, some practical some fun, there were garden lanterns and seeds for the summer, party glasses and hat, coffee and biscotti, a few IOUs for a steak dinner and a night out, pancake mix for breakfast in bed after a big birthday night out, the usual socks, some pavement chalk for playing out with Joss in the spring, too much to list but glad I split the wrapping over a few days!

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We took a trip to the beach to blow away the cobwebs and burn off our fish and chips!

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Then we returned home to a knock at the door from our neighbour. The lovely folk at Cake Angels had delivered a parcel just in time for the big day, some cake decorating goodies for Joss and I to test drive, I loved the bright pink bag, what’s this? Toddler toes in the photo, Joss barged me out of the way to nab the pink tissue!

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Here’s a rundown of our review parcel:

2 packs of toppers one fruit themed the other vehicles, these are great quality and travelled brilliantly in the post!

A tub of choc fudge icing that smells amazing!

White mini marshmallows

A pot with four kinds of chocolate sprinkles, including my fave choc curls

And two candles making up a 3-0 for daddy!

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I had promised a banoffee pie so how lucky that the pack we were sent had just the things to complement! The marshmallows are under the cream nestled in the bananas and we used the candles, chocolate sprinkles and banana toppers to finish it all off!

I feel another choc themed post coming up soon so we can review the fudge topping and sprinkles and toppers some more!

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As a busy Mammy who is currently finalising her dissertation I have to say a big thanks to Cake Angels, they get a thumbs up and recommendation from me for giving the perfect finishing touch to home baking, have you checked out their webpage?

There are loads of great recipes and best of all decorating inspiration especially for kid’s cakes!

If you haven’t seen the mini marshmallow sheep cupcakes you need to seek them out, so cute!

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Baking together

A big first this week, Joss and I baked together for the first time. Whenever we go to town we pop to a popular coffee shop I won’t name and Joss gets an oatmeal apple and raisin cookie. We decided to have a bash at our own minus the apple (it was a just using what we had in the house kinda day!)

Lots of weighing and mixing followed, a bit too much cinnamon was tipped in but we love it so that worked out ok, and in fact the end result was as good as the cafe version if not better!

Here’s Joss doing some mixing

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And the finished product

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What do you think? Good enough to eat?

35-49/365 Joy in the Mundane

Third row down third photo is my (slightly frivolous) What’s the Story this week. It features two of my joys, an old object refound, and vintage too. This necklace was a gift from Alex for my 24th Birthday from my fave little vintage store in Newcastle, it’s sparkly and retro but it’s heavy design gives it a ‘tough’ feel. I have way too much costume jewellery but when I changed jobs and found I had a smart enough wardrobe but it had no edge I got out my old leather jewellery case and remembered this beauty was in there. Joss spotted it straight away “pretty necklace Mammy” so I just had to wear it again, we’ve barely been parted this week! The first photo on the fourth row is my Small Steps… photo, Joss has started taking independent steps outside without holding my hand all the time, she’s growing up!

 

Ten things I learned before 30

I am a slooooow learner, some of the life lessons folks have before they’re say 10 years old bypassed me completely with others I was a bit late to the party. Here’s my rundown of ten things I learned before I hit 30 some deep and philosophical, some not so much, and my ten things I want to achieve before 40!

Ten things I learned before 30

1 – Life is about moments, not things (yeah, deep)

When I was 21 I got my first break following a long internship, paid employment whilst living at home. After savings (learned this one early, very sensible!) and board and lodgings I had a lot of cash to burn, and hitting the MAC counter to the tune of a hundred quid at a time, Waterstones Wednesdays and hanging out in All Saints and Reiss was a moneypit year for me. I enjoyed it, really enjoyed it, and am glad I was fortunate enough to experience a more louche lifestyle, but quickly realised what I really wanted was my own place, and to get out and enjoy life more. Nine years on and one mortgage and baby later my ‘money pits’ look very different, and yet I now hate to shop, preferring to spend time seeing the world through Joss’ eyes instead.

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2 – Don’t judge anything or anyone by their cover

This works on two levels, at the sharp end just give folks a chance and at the lighter end, I read about the TV series Girls for a year before I saw the first episode, yes sir, that claptrap was not for me, I freaking love it now!

3 – Learning to deal with disappointment sucks, but is worth exposing yourself to

Learning this at ten when everyone else did would have saved me a lot of heartache but life doesn’t always work the way we think it should. Sometimes life doesn’t match up to the picture perfect in my head, my response was often childish, the weather changed my plans, unexpected bad news came, I missed the bus, my child’s birth was not as I imagined, that one hit me hardest, how can you help a child navigate life’s disappointments if you react angrily yourself? A hard lesson still learned daily…

4 – The only thing worse than having a spider/fly/moth in your room is losing the spider/fly/moth in your room

THIS NEEDS NO EXPLANATION!!

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5 – The thrill of the tattoo gun is addictive

The noise of the gun, fresh ink, choosing something awesome, the hot pinching pain, I think I love the process as much as the end result, hooked.

6 – Becoming a mother is nothing like I thought it would be and yet the best thing I have ever experienced

This whole blog is testament to the journey

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7 – It’s OK to start over

See number three, I don’t always get it right, it’s OK to dust it off and move on

8 – Better to speak up in the moment then think of your best comeback an hour later

True dat, again, still learning

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9 – If in doubt shake it out

Bad days begone, bring on the trumpets, dance like no-one’s watching

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10- It doesn’t pay to live a life of all work and no play

Whether it’s 80:20, 20:80 or 50:50 that suits you best, your work life balance is your own business, take breaks, make no apologies for needing a break, another toughie but you can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself

And ten broad things I want to achieve before 40 in no particular order:

1 – Make some good savings for the future
2 – See more of the world with my family
3 – Help Joss to enjoy a good book
4 – Learn to declutter
5 – Bake better bread
6 – Maybe buy a house and sell our flat
7 – Take the next step in my work life
8 – Take some time out from work and study
9 – Learn yoga
10 – Say yes to more things

Mama and More

Owl goes to London

This week I headed back to the Big Smoke for work for the first time since I had Joss. It felt strange but familiar and I felt guilty to go but pleased to get my teeth into work, a trip of dichotomies then! Thankfully I made it back just before the bigger stations closed due to flooding and severe weather warnings, a trip to hospital followed on my return after an ear infection turned nasty, but it seems like we’re back on track again today, so I thought I’d share the project I set myself.

When I was pregnant with Joss I undertook a ‘tour of the UK’ presenting findings from a big research study I’d been working on, I kept a photo diary for her and this time I’ve decided I’m going to take a different toy of hers travelling with me for company each time, photographing the sights along the way, so this first one is Owl goes to London:

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Happy as a pig in…water

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A trip to the Farm at the end of the street this weekend and of course little pig had to come to see his bigger, real life counterparts too.  Joss had me in absolute stitches, she was hooting and giggling at a big Tamworth boar scratching on a fence post, it was funny, but not that funny; when she finally got her words out and shouted “piggy dancing!” I saw the funny side too and almost fell over because she was so tickled by it. 

Later little pig joined us for lunch and took a dip in her water cup, and then it was home to dig out the other farm animals and continue the fun and games.