Why I Love Having Girls

Being overrun with girls in this family has its merits. I talk to you today about what its like raising three girls and the positive outlooks I have for the future with them. Check it out here!

Growing up, I was 1 of 3 sisters and admittedly living in a household full of girls was a lot of fun. It also had it’s ups and downs as you could imagine (vast surge of hormones). My poor Dad was overrun by females!

There is 7 years between us all. Apparently this wasn’t planned but i’m contemplating disbelief. Me and my older sister harmonised. I loved being the ‘annoying‘ younger sister who’d wanted to hang out with her all the time. She didn’t mind too much but as we grew up we would get on each others nerves and she’d persistently enjoy getting me into trouble.

Then borrowing of clothes occurred – not something I handled too well (especially through my teenage years). I would snap at my sister for robbing off with my favourite orange tops. No matter how much we drove each other crazy though, we’d always stick up for one another- its an unbroken sisterly code, and I loved her very much!

When my younger sister was born, I loved having somebody I could help take care of – it made me feel special teaching her new things as she grew. When we became older she was the annoying little sister (I guess as much as I was to my older sister) who’d always wanted to hang out with me – it drove me mad and we’d have our quarrels over it, but I still loved her very much too!

My point being no matter how much my sisters annoyed me whilst we all grew up, I do feel lucky having them around. This brings me onto my next topic – having three girlies of my own.


Faith

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Faith is one of those little girls who just isn’t girlie at all. She enjoys playing in the mud, picking her nose and eating her bogies, playing with worms and everything else you’d expect a typical boy to do (she’s very much like me when I was a child, attitude and all, other than eating my own bogies – that’s just gross). I wouldn’t say she’s very affectionate either, but perhaps very independent more than anything and a little nuts.

 


Aurora

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Aurora is totally different to Faith. She is in fact very girly. She loves pink, having her toe nails painted, she likes singing and dancing, is very affectionate (loves kisses and cuddles), and enjoys brushing her own hair – I absolutely love it!

I much look forward to getting her her first pair of boots. The girls have completely different personalities but they enjoy playing together and its lovely to see.

 

 


Kiiara

IMG_2499 (2)Kiiara is yet to grow into her personality. I’m excited to see who she’ll become but even though shes still a baby, Aurora and Faith are very loving towards her. More so Aurora as she’ll tantrum if I don’t let her cuddle and kiss her little sister.

 

 


I’m excited for the future to watch these three little girls grow up together (alongside the arguments and bickering). Even though I know they will have some rough roads along the way (lets face it, teenage years are hell with girls!) they will love each other unconditionally.

Having girls means having a best-friend to be able to talk to and have a laugh with, and even intimate conversations with. I certainly feel blessed having 4 lovely kiddies to watch grow up.

Many girls tend to be Daddy’s girls, and mine are definitely that! I’m not allowed to dispute with their Dad otherwise Faith defends him first (it’s mildly amusing and it’s nice to see how much of a bond they have especially because he’s her step-dad).

I enjoy being able to pursue Mummy and Daughter activities, for example:– Faith enjoyed painting my nails and gluing sparkly tattoos to my arm. Bonding time with the girls is VERY important for their well-being.

I’m looking forward to Auroras 2nd birthday this year and being able to spoil her with new girly outfits and sparkly pink balloons.

They will always have each other to speak to and help each other out. Their sisterly bond cannot be broken!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Mummy Confessions: Entry 4

Diary entry of a stressed-out mum dealing with 4 kids. What it’s like and how it feels to deal with them all at once!

Since the children have been at their Dads it has been much quieter and I haven’t had to shout for the most part of a few days now (bonus!), but to be honest I haven’t actually been myself lately.

It seems to be stress after stress. I do feel very blessed having such a big family but I’ve been finding things very difficult. Since moving to Liverpool I’ve realised how home sick I actually am. I miss my family and friends, and frankly it’s been getting me down.

I feel like I haven’t exactly been the best Mum I could be either.


Needing A Time Out

Lately I’ve just needed some time on my own to reflect and evaluate my circumstances, but I feel guilty in doing so because I have housework to do, a toddler to entertain and a partner to talk to, so my reflection time hinders.

I try to cultivate a smile and get on with things – that’s what you have to do when you have so many people who rely on you. I’m not usually mopey or down-in-the-dumps, but I’m finding it really hard to snap out of it (I do wonder where the ‘happy-go-lucky’ Zoe has gone). I want to be my old self again!


No MORE Added Stress

Yesterday wasn’t ideal. What could possibly go wrong? 

Well where do I start? The internet went down yet again, so another engineer is to be called out – the 4th one since I’ve moved here might I add. Then me and my partner thought as it was Valentines Day, we’d order a Chinese takeaway in. Nice concept and rather simple. Surely nothing could go wrong…

We didn’t eat it, it was foul! I chose my favourite takeout food, the sweet and sour chicken, but it honestly tasted just like pure vinegar (too sour than sweet). Wasted food = Wasted money. As you can imagine it didn’t contribute well to the mood I was in already.

For dessert we were to order in but from a dessert takeaway app to make us feel better (chocolate certainly cheers me up). As I downloaded the app, chose what to have and proceeded to pay, we were then told that they do not deliver to our postcode – we were literally one postcode out!

I felt like screaming – they were depriving me of my chocolate! Valentines day was clearly not going the way I wanted it to.

We thought there’s no way it could get any worse…

Well of course it did! The electric tripped. We wondered what had caused it. The one thing I use and rely on with 4 kids to dry their clothes – the bloody drier! Computer said No, nata, adiós, boom kaput! 

I began thinking perhaps we were cursed – someone had put a curse on us and hasn’t owned up. Hmmm… Either way it was certainly not our day.

My hope is that when we move back, things will brighten up because ever since we’ve been here everything has gone ‘tits up’ so-to-speak. Hopefully things will be better for the rest of the week. A girl needs a bit of luck, or if not, sex would be a nice alternative (can’t even have that at the moment, grrrrr).

However, there is one thing that I’m looking forward to this week. My BEST FRIEND is visiting me! (the last time I had seen her was at my Dads funeral) She is completely bonkers so I know my missing smile will return for atleast that one day.

I feel awful writing this, but in my opinion you need to be a happy Mummy to have happy children. I think perhaps working on myself to get myself back-on-track, and to return back home would certainly boost my optimism. Only 3 weeks left to go before I can escape this abhorrent region, woohoo!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

 

-Zoe

How Much We Actually Rely On The Internet

The invention of the internet has revolutionised the world, but how much should we actually rely on it? What if the internet was non-existent? We talk about this in this latest blog post here.

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a topic about parenting in particular, but we can still all relate and some of us do let our kids access the internet to play games or watch YouTube and various other activities.

I talk to you today about this topic because I have had so many issues with my broadband since my family and I had moved into our place here in Liverpool – it’s very frustrating. As I write this I am without internet and having to post this AGAIN with hotspot (I’m soon going to run out of data, I just know it!).

The internet is good for businesses and families, and we use it daily. It can provide us with the latest news, weather forecasts, all the information we can ever need. We can buy the latest products, sell our things, listen to any music we desire, watch any movie that has ever been out and so on.

Since I’ve had unreliable internet from a company I shall not name but claims to provide ‘Fast and Reliable Broadband’ on their adverts from man with a Yorkshire accent (I still can’t tell you, but take a wild guess), I am bound to find alternative ways of spending my time productively.

Without the internet and not being able to access the things you do on a daily basis makes you realise how much you rely on it and take it for granted. There’s no checking your emails, no exploring Facebook to check what your friends are doing, not being able to write or read blog posts like this one – the list is endless.

Of course smart phones can access a data plan with their mobile phone providers to access the internet – this is quite useful, although if you don’t have a large data plan, it can quickly and easily diminish. But even so, you shouldn’t have to rely on a data plan to access the internet despite paying for it at home with your ISP.

The addictive prospects of the internet make it difficult to withdraw from. I mean, what would we actually be left with if we cut the internet out completely? I grew up with computers and the internet – the golden age of the modem – parents shouting at me to come off the internet because they were expecting a phone call. How special I felt being able to access this new technology on a curfew. Nowadays I can usually access the internet whenever I want, pretty much ANYWHERE.

My parents, on the other hand grew up without the internet. They relied on their own imaginations and the things they had around them at the time. Kids used to play outside in the park with their friends, and they’d also dedicate some of their time to sing in a Choir at Church. Books were a good source for knowledge, VHS tapes were the newest way of watching a film at home, and mobile phones were the size of a brick and could only be used to ring someone up.

If you were without the internet for one week,

How different would your life be?

What would you do?

Would you be able to do what you do now without the internet?

Would you be happier?

Nowadays kids are put on tablets at a young age to play games on (even I’m guilty of that), have mobile phones to ring up their friends in primary school with, and even use to it stream their favourite programmes and movies. Times have changed. So have we.

Should we be letting our kids access the internet and using technology at such a young age? I have no frickin idea. Only time will tell. I restrict my kids time on technology so that if they ever become stressed, they are immediately removed from it. I’ve found it certainly changes kids’ behaviour having technology as they grow up than I’ve seen without.

Smart devices are becoming a new advance in the internets existence. Having everything work together is a dream come true. Working your phones volume from wireless headphones, syncing up your favourite songs to your fridge, talking to a device which answers you back. Very futuristic, but absolute shit. And I’ll tell you why.

Too much power for one individual can lead to dictatorship and slavery. Similar thoughts are upon technology. Too much reliance on one source (in this case the internet) can lead to devastation if the source is corrupted or fails. If everything you had required access to the internet to work, and the internet goes down (in which I’ve had plenty of experience), you have nothing that works!

I recently won a smartwatch. It’s a brilliant technological advance and looks very stylish, but I can’t get it to work. It requires me to have a new phone to work fully. So I’ve been wearing it, in standalone mode without the correct time and date for weeks (despite connecting it to my WIFI when it works) needing to sync up to a phone app to receive all the data it needs to run. I JUST WANT TO READ THE CORRECT TIME AND DATE – HOW HARD CAN THAT BE FOR A WATCH!?

It turns out very hard for a smart watch without the right accessories to go with it. Or I could perhaps wear a mechanical quartz watch instead – tells the time instantly without having to mess around.

My point being rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, distribute evenly around many baskets to secure a reliable system. In other words, find other ways of doing things instead of using just the internet, and if it ever does fail, you still have a good system to work around it!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out more daddy blogs here!

 

-Liam

Breastfeeding: What To Do If You Have A Blockage

I’ve found breastfeeding full of benefits and I was successful doing it with my other daughter. Encountering problems though may be off-putting. Most recently, I talk about suffering with blocked ducts and how I’ve managed to relieve them before they escalate into something worse, all in this latest blog post here!

I first started breastfeeding when Aurora was a baby and I didn’t encounter any problems – it went quite smoothly and it was a great feeling knowing she was gaining weight and I was doing it properly. I breastfed Aurora until she was 14 months old which was when my milk dried up due to my pregnancy with Kiiara.

When Kiki was born I made assumptions that because breastfeeding Aurora went so well, I wouldn’t have any problems breastfeeding Kiiara either. So far so good, until the other day…

Kiiara slept better than she usually does and didn’t wake up for her usual feed through the night (more sleep for me, yippee!) so as you could imagine my breast was quite full (this has happened previously but feeding her would usually ease it). The other day I wasn’t myself. It was completely different than what I was contemplating. I woke in agony thinking it would dissipate once I had fed her.

Boy was I wrong! It just stopped working (nothing was coming out no matter how hard I tried). It felt like I had a boulder strapped to my chest and the pain was intense.

I started panicking – I really didn’t know what to do. This had never happened before. I contacted Liams sister for advice (she has breastfed her kids and been in a similar situation in the past), and I even googled it.

‘Mastitis’ came up. Ouch. Luckily enough it hadn’t progressed that far, but if I didn’t get it sorted, that’s what it could have become.


Advice On What To Do

On Google, I found quite a few answers to help me out. I’ve summarised the most common methods of relieving it below.

  • Hot Flannels
  • Hot Shower
  • Massage
  • Attempt a feed with baby
  • Use a breast pump

I tried every single one of these methods, and not one of them worked. It honestly felt like my breast was a balloon on the cusp of bursting (my partner stood to the side of me to avoid the splash zone in case it did). I even considered dropping on all fours and getting my partner to milk me like a cow!

I didn’t know how to resolve this problem. Took me a good couple of hours trying to get my breast to work. As I sat in tears because of my pain and frustration, Liam suggested using a hot water bottle. I would have tried anything just to ease the discomfort at that time.

It actually WORKED! Feeding Kiiara helped relieve it too alongside the hot water bottle being pressed against my blocked ducts. It was ever so uncomfortable even to now. Considering breastfeeding is a natural process, I didn’t think many problems could arise from missing a regular feed.

I may have enjoyed the extra sleep, but I certainly don’t think it’s worth the pain of a blocked duct and engorgement.

My older children made me feel ever so disconcerted when Wyatt informed his granddad about my sore ‘boobies’ as he put it. It made me flush, but I had to laugh too!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Co-Parenting – Understanding & Accepting

Splitting from a partner you’ve had kids with can be a nightmare and though not convenient, you may have to let them see the kids. Co-parenting is a common occurrence in today’s world. Here I share my experience with co-parenting and the best way I’ve found of dealing with it.

Having to co-parent is hard sometimes. Whether you get along with the children’s Dad or not, you have to be civil for the kids sake.

When I first split from Faith and Wyatt’s Dad, I found it really hard to get past the things he did and I didn’t think he deserved to have the children because he didn’t bother with them when they lived with him (I raised them both on my own whilst he played on his video games and slept through the day).

When Liam came into the picture the children’s Dad was then determined to be involved in their lives. It was undoubtedly difficult to let my babies see him because they have always been with me.

I felt like a piece of me was missing but I put my feelings aside and began by allocating a few hours with him at a time on the weekend to see the kids. I came around to the idea but he then wanted them over night. The panic and questions emerged.

‘Will he cope?’ 

‘What if he doesn’t watch the kids properly?’ 

‘What if the kids hurt themselves?’ 

If i’m honest it took me a while to agree. I believed he wasn’t able to look after them properly and the thought of it just terrified me. I may have come across as a selfish Mum, but this co-parenting was new to me, I had to share.


Staying Out The First Time

I finally gave in and thought I’d give it a go. I packed their little bags with tears running from my eyes all ready for them to pursue confinement at his place for one night.

He came to pick them up. At this point in time we weren’t getting along too well, so letting my little babies go with someone I really disliked was not my happiest of intents.

That entire weekend dragged. I was in shambles not knowing what to do with myself (I wasn’t used to being childless).

When they returned home the following day, myself in tears, I ran at them for the biggest hug I’d ever given them as if I hadn’t seem them for weeks. They soon expressed how much of a great time they had that weekend (It really pissed me off, but I had to think it wasn’t about my feelings anymore). I had to do this for the children.


Getting Used To The Idea

We finally made an agreement that they could go to stay with him every weekend. Doing this was advantageous, but there were certainly some bumps in the road.

We had certain rules in the household that the children must follow, but when the kids returned after the weekend at their Dads, their behaviours had contrasted from before (he was spoiling them). I soon understood there was more to this co-parenting than I originally thought (we actually had to communicate with each other!)

At the time, that was far from something I wanted to do. I’ve never known anybody to get on my nerves so much just by being in my presence, so it took me a good while to rein in my discontent and speak to him so we could all get on the same page regarding the children.

When we first discussed the rules with him, he did not look amused (he didn’t like Liam). He proclaimed that Liam wasn’t to have a say in the children. I believed that he did – he was helping me raise the children on a daily basis which he didn’t actually have to do, in doing so becoming a father figure to the kids.

After many arguments and disagreements, he soon realised I wasn’t going to give in (I can be stubborn when it suits me).


Things Started To Get Easier

Co-parenting wasn’t perfect but it was definitely getting better. We introduced the idea of sending the kids to their Dads over the holidays too, sharing them equally and he was finally on the same page as us regarding the rules.

He soon consummated the idea Liam was there to stay.


Moving Away

When we decided to move away, the children’s Dad wasn’t fond of the idea but Liam and I told him what was happening and that he would still see the kids over half term holidays. He agreed to it so the kids go to visit him every 6 weeks or so (the kids are off to his for a week today. Peace and quiet at last!).

Co-parenting is tough, and there has to be communication between both parties otherwise it just won’t work. Respecting the rules is a must and making sure you are both on the same page when raising the children certainly helps to create a smooth, civil environment for the kids to be happy within.

I know it can be really hard putting your own feelings aside especially if you don’t get along with the other parent, but to suck it up and let him be apart of their lives is the best thing for the kids and in the end they will respect you for it.

 

If you have had any similar experiences with co-parenting or just wish to discuss about this topic, please drop a comment in the comments section below!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Countdown to Moving

A difficult decision has been made. WE’RE MOVING HOUSE! Find out where, when and why here!

TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK……..

If you’ve ever read our ‘About Us’ page, you should already know we’ve moved from North Wales to Liverpool late last year in hopes for a fresh start.

At first things were going great. It was the first time I’ve actually moved anywhere out of Wales but things have definitely declined recently. Work for my partner had fallen through so he hasn’t been able to get into the job he wants. As well as not having any friends or family close by, it hasn’t helped our situation either.

The house is lovely, we love the house, but that’s probably the only thing right now that we like about living here. There isn’t much locally within walking distance other than a park, shop and a school.

Luckily the school is only 5 minutes away – makes it easier for me to hurl the kids into school and run away!

Unless you get a train into the city (with 2 prams and 2 kids, could you imagine the hassle?), there isn’t much excitement. There’s plenty more I could say about why I don’t enjoy living here, but you can probably figure it out for yourselves.

Wales is beautiful – there’s definitely more to do with the children without needing to travel around so much. The views are spectacular, it’s very peaceful, and they host many events during the year. If you’d like to learn more about Wales and are keen to visit, take a look at the Visit Wales website.

 

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Photo provided by Plimley Media

Decision Making

With this all in mind we realised that moving away wasn’t the best decision for us all but at least we took a leap of faith and gave it a good try (rather take a chance and know what it’s actually like than wonder what if…).

Me and Liam have had multiple discussions about it and have decided to move back to our hometown (the kids are excited too – less bullying, get to see their old friends, spend more time with family and are able to visit the beach over the Summer holidays).

You don’t realise how much you can miss a place until you move away – it can be easily taken for granted, but if we ever think about moving away again in the future, we’ll know how we felt and truly think about what we’re actually leaving behind.


The Countdown

We have found a place to move to – it’s very exciting! It does have its pros and cons, but every place will anyhow- somethings we can live with. We just want to go back home!

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Photo provided by Plimley Media

The children will get to see their granddad more often and it will give us chance to do more family activities. Liam and I can also pave the way for our date nights to spend together again (a girl must acquire a dress to boast her voluptuous booty to her partner once in a while).

Waiting to move is torture! If we could up and leave right now, we would but we have to abide by a system and accumulate the money prior to the move.

I’m not really looking forward to the packing, loading and unpacking again, and there’s much to sort out, but I’ve realised from this entire experience that being close to friends and family makes life much more joyful.

We are currently waiting to hear back about our new property, but until then we are aligned on a runway ready to take off. It couldn’t come any quicker if we forced it to.

For now, we will keep you all updated on our moving day and hope to include you all as we voyage back home!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Things To Do On Valentines Day

With Valentines day fast approaching, parents look for fun activities to do as a couple, and single people look for stuff to do to make their ‘You’ day special. In this latest blog post I’ve listed some ideas for you all to sink your teeth into. Check it out here

As you all know Valentines day is coming up very soon, so I thought I’d talk to you today about it.

Apparently it originates from back in the 5th Century named after a Christian Martyr but has origins in the Roman Holiday Lupercalia which in fact marks the beginning of Spring.

Date NightOkay so it’s not exactly clear as to what made it a public holiday today, but the UK brought the idea in the 19th century to gift others with greeting cards, flowers and chocolates.

This is celebrated today as an annual holiday to show how much we love each other by presenting gifts or going out on dates.

Me and my partner Liam used to celebrate by going out on a nice romantic date. It was really nice spending quality time as a couple and be myself instead of just being a Mum. It’s the one day I can dress up and feel like a woman.


Gift Ideas

 

I don’t know about you, but I always struggle to find a gift for my partner (men are so hard to buy for. Us girls like the simple things – flowers, chocolates, jewellery etc). I thought i’d list a few ideas out there to share with you in case you’re struggling to find something for your partner.

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You can find a variety of personalised gifts including:

  • Dog Tag necklaces
  • Mugs with photos (you and him/her, the kids etc)
  • Lighters
  • Grooming sets (i’m talking about beard & hair trimming sets by the way)
  • Key chains
  • Wallets
  • Teddy Bears (if he/she likes soft toys)
  • Chocolate (once gave my partner a quote from ‘Frozen’ in chocolate- he loved it)
  • Cushions with your photo on it
  • Marshmallows with photos on (heard you can get them from Boomf but can also find other sites that make them too)

Or if you are a spicier couple for Valentines day, you could look into:

  • Romantic reward scratch cards
  • Karma Sutra playing cards
  • Fifty Shades Adult Game
  • Willy care kit
  • Bondage kits
  • or even Grow Your Own Girlfriend

Lovehoney has a wide variety of spicy valentines gifts you could look at, but if not, I’ve heard Poundland are doing a cheap raunchy range too this year!

I prefer more of the sentimental gifts (I’m a romantic at heart) but I think they are harder to find unless you go searching specifically online. I’ve come across some nice gifts on there including a book you can fill your life story in – kinda like a scrap book, but  slightly different. Quite handy to write your own love story to reflect on later in life.


Date Night

Valentines day is definitely an excuse to go for some couple time. You are a parent all the time, but it’s important to spend atleast one day a year just being you and spending it with the one you love so dearly.

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Me and Liam tend to go to the cinema to watch a movie. In the past we’ve been to see the Fifty Shades movies (got us in trouble a couple of times – we have proof, Aurora and Kiiara!). We also like to grab a bite to eat afterwards.

This year we have the children and no babysitter, so it will be a night in with a Chinese Takeaway and a sweet bottle of wine. Simple things like that usually make me happy.

If you aren’t stuck without a babysitter, there’s plenty you could do. Here’s a few ideas.

  • Go for a nice meal and a stroll together afterwards.
  • Spa day for 2
  • Night away in a hotel (All-inclusive makes it better)
  • Cook a 3-course candle-lit meal, run a hot bubble bath & cuddle up on the sofa watching a romantic film with popcorn and wine.

Whatever you decide to do, make it special, cherish the time you spend together and if you don’t want any more kids, use protection!

Being a parent is important, but making sure you spend time with your spouse is just as important – it keeps your relationship alive and helps it to become stronger.

There are also single parents out there who don’t have a partner to spend time with. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you. Here’s a few ideas to help enjoy a ‘You’ day!

  • Arrange to have a night out with friends. This can include going to the cinema, going for a nice meal together, or even go for a spa day
  • Arrange a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go
  • Have a cosy night in, either just by yourself or invite friends over – girly night with face masks, movies & chocolate
  • Have a ‘giving’ day – go out into town giving out free hugs, go to a homeless shelter to help out, or spread the love with positive messages on post-stick notes in your local area
  • Spend quality time with your kids – Valentines-themed crafts, a kids meal out, or make a time-capsule Valentines video for the following year!

Whatever makes you feel warm inside, feel better than an average day, just go and do it! As a couple or a single person, Valentines day is about love and happiness. Do what makes you happy, no excuses!

 

If you have any suggestions for a nice Valentines day as a couple, or even as a single parent that I haven’t already listed, please post them in the comments section below. I’d be happy to hear them!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Can You Really Fit Leisure Time Around Your Kids?

One for the guys. In today’s post I am talking about leisure time – Can you really fit it in when you have kids?

Kids can be fun and it’s really great to spend time with them, but sometimes you just need some ‘Man’ Time – some leisure time to engage in to relieve your everyday worries.

I’ve been most recently gifted with an Xbox One from my partner. She handed it to me as an early birthday present about three weeks ago and I’ve been playing on it almost daily.

I don’t however play on it and cut out the kids – seems too vulgar to do. Time usually flies by during the day and I don’t seem to have any especially when the kids return from school. My ‘Me’ time lies later in the day when the kids have been put to bed.

I may be cruel to my partner and zone out into my ‘Me’ time when we’re winding down for bed, but once I’m in that bed, she has my full attention (so she can’t really complain).

I guess organising and productiveness is key to fitting in everything during the day you need to do. I am currently reading a book about time management, and it’s informed me of ways I can fit more into my day.

One good suggestion I read about was to create a time diary – writing down what you must do during the day into time-slots and keeping to it. Brilliant idea!

But I have kids, and when you have kids, nothing goes to plan even if you plan down to the last minute! I go about my tasks in order of importance, and if I do complete all my tasks during the day, I feel accomplished and then reward myself with a game of Forza later that night – keeps me motivated, happy and focussed.

Not sure how everyone else does it, but I know someone who has 2 kids, a full-time job and still manages to fit in time for the gym too. Absolutely amazing! Whereas I feel like I’m stuck in a snow storm trudging through snow as deep as a car looking for a snow plough to clear my way (I’m not a tall guy either).

There’s a balance between leisure time, work and spending time with your family. It’s hard to maintain, more so the more kids you have. It also doesn’t feel right to bung all the kids on my partner and leave to do my own things without her (bribes help, but you didn’t hear that from me shhh).

During the summer holidays (when the sun actually comes out for a bit) it’s nice to go out with the kids onto the beach and spend some quality time with them. Bit of a workout itself just getting the kids out the door, but once we get to the beach, we can actually have a fun run-about and collapse 5 minutes later in exhaustion (alright guys, I’m out of shape, but I blame Winter!). It’s a good way of incorporating exercise into your day if you were going to do it anyway and still spend time with your little troublemakers.

Reading a book when the kids are about is very challenging. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it, but basically it goes like this:

Read first line of page

(in the background) ‘Roarrrrrr, I’m coming to get you’

Read second line of page

BANG! ‘Daddy, DADDY! Faithy hurt me’

‘No Wyatt! You hurt me first!’

Put book down, get up off chair and repeatedly bang your head against the wall until the kids waltz away.

You can see where the problems arise when the kids are present. Book reading, again I leave to later that day, usually around bed time when I’m settling down. It’s always between playing on the Xbox or reading a book (most of the time it’s the Xbox that wins, but I have my days where I just fancy reading a book.

 

I’d like to know what you do in your leisure time. How you manage to fit it in around the kids and whether you’ve found a good work/play/family-time balance. I’d love to hear it in the comments section below!  

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out more daddy blogs here!

 

-Liam

Tales of a Terrible Tuesday – It Comes in Threes

I often like Tuesdays, but today it simply wasn’t going to plan. Bad luck usually comes in threes, find out what went wrong today in my tales of a terrible Tuesday!

Nothing seems to go to plan in this house. It’s as if someone wants Mummy to go CRAZY. (Insert any head popping, eye spinning, steamy eared GIF here)

We had to go for a meeting with Faiths School this morning to talk about the procedures in place to assist in her learning (apparently, she’s behind 2 years). I can’t believe how different schools can be through the English/Welsh border. Faith was doing very well in Wales. She was where she was supposed to be, but not so much here.

It confuses me because they haven’t investigated Wyatt’s learning difficulties other than his speech, but he had needed extra support in his previous school in Wales.

Listening to the teachers, I mentioned Faith coming home informing us she’s currently getting bullied in School (probably explains her behaviour), but they replied back

‘Faith likes to throw out the “B” word. She isn’t getting bullied, it’s just girls arguing.’

Really? I mean, REALLY? Just yesterday Faith came home telling me that somebody told her to jump off a bridge and if she didn’t say the ‘F’ word, they would beat her up! Sounds like a sensible argument…. NOT!

I don’t know what to do if the teachers won’t listen. Aside from advising her to stick up for herself, I can’t really suggest much else, but she’s rather scared of getting into trouble. It’s an endless loop. It certainly worries me how cruel children can be to one another on the school yard.


Topping it off

It didn’t end there either. Our broadband has been disconnecting off and on for the past month and has been down today since early this morning, but we have been charged extra too than we have in previous months.

Hmmm. Something isn’t right here. So, I called my ISP up and they aren’t even sure what the problem is despite sending out engineers in the past to have a look.

Doesn’t end there though. I queried the bill and they informed me it’s home phone charges. Now I can understand that if I was on the phone all the time, but we DON’T EVEN USE THE HOUSE PHONE. The plot thickens….

This was what I was explaining to the adviser over the phone (Using my mobile phone guys. Again I don’t use the house phone). I was adamant that we don’t use it and after about half an hour convincing him, he realised he had been looking at somebody else’s account (not sure how he managed that as you need a username and password to access this). Now I understood why the bill was so high – it wasn’t even mine! Cue sigh of relief.

I had managed to sort out the billing problem after about an hour of phone time, but even so, still no broadband (hope they resolve the problem soon, having to use hotspot to post this).


Last Night’s Major Panic!

I got the kids to bed and fell asleep around half 10 (the kids knacker me out). I got startled awake by Kiiara screaming. This was unlike her. She has NEVER screamed like that before.

I panicked! Nothing would settle her. I felt sick and had the shakes myself (unsure whether it was a sudden reaction from startling awake or just general shock).

I gave her some Calpol. I wasn’t sure whether she had a belly ache or a bad dream but the screaming, so terrifying, made me consider calling an ambulance (I swear these kids are going to give me a heart attack one of these days).

Me and my partner managed to settle her after a while. Could have been the Calpol to ease her or the magic of ‘Mummy’s milk’, but we’ll never know. Whatever had happened, she was happy again.

Back to today, I’m hoping the rest of the day goes smoother. Heard bad things come in threes, and I think I’ve had mine, so it should have sufficed for now. A girl can only hope.

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

 

Birthday Banquet

Celebrating my partners birthday over the weekend, we spent time as a family making and baking delicious treats. Heartfelt moment, baking disaster and more in this latest blog post

It was a special occasion this weekend. It was my partner Liams’ Birthday! The children were really excited. We had a fun-filled day planned. Pancakes for breakfast, Chinese takeaway for tea and baking a birthday cake for daddy. Nothing really goes to plan when you have kids, something I’ve learnt from experience, but we still went ahead!

Morning came around and the kids burst into our bedroom to say ‘Happy Birthday’. They brought in some toys as gifts for their Daddy, and even made birthday cards ripped from pages of their books because they had no spare paper. Wyatt thought he’d be silly and draw poo on the card (strange little guy he is).

Time to Make Pancakes!

I usually cheat and buy the ready made ones which only require heating up, but this time I thought i’d be brave and make them from scratch (had 2 little helpers with me, Faith & Wyatt).

What a disaster it was. The mix blended fine, but I poured them too thick and they fell apart (Master Chef or what. Probably ‘what’. That’s why I usually let my partner cook). Faith, repulsed by my attempt at a pancake simply refused to have it.

‘I’m not having that one’

Daddy advanced into the kitchen to make the rest of them. Woman’s gotta try eyy, it’s the thought that counts. 

Auroras Birthday Gift

A birthday is not a birthday without a little heartfelt moment. Aurora put us both in tears that morning. It might not seem like much to everyone else, but this was a first, and certainly the cutest thing we’ve ever heard from Aurora.

She simply wished her Daddy a Happy Birthday.

‘Happy Birthday Daddy’ 

Clear as day to her Daddy. Melted our hearts in a single moment.

Thing is she only said it that once and never repeated it the rest of the day. Asked her to say it again and all I got back was

‘No!’ 

Bloody toddlers.

Presents

I was very kind this year. I bought Liam an Xbox One for his birthday. He spent quite a bit of time on it over the weekend and me and kids enjoyed watching him play on it (the house was unbelievably quiet for the duration of that game – I would endorse him to play it more often, but I’d never be able to tear him away from it).

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Bake-A-Cake

My cooking skills were put to the test again for this final cooking mastery. No cake mix to rely on, just thought i’d brave it. A simple sponge cake with chocolate chips could not go wrong……

….but it did. I followed a simple sponge recipe online and added chocolate chips to the mix. Placed it in the oven and waiting for it to bake. Certainly smelled like cake so I thought it was going well.

Faith and Wyatt hovering around the oven waiting for it to finish.

‘Is it done yet?’

They definitely like their food.

Out of the oven 10 minutes later and the kids surrounded me like a swarm of seagulls ready to attack. Checked over the cake. Aren’t chocolate chips supposed to melt in a hot oven or microwave? 

Well apparently not. They fell out of the cake and some stuck to the cake tin. The cake hadn’t risen as expected either – must have been one of the thinnest sponge cakes I’ve made (perhaps I can start a trend – call it ‘Skinny Sponge’).

Faith & Wyatt: ‘What happened to the cake Mum?’

My reply: ‘Well kids, I think Mummy needs a bit more practice baking cakes, or just simply buy a ready-made cake mix, whichever is easier’

I managed to salvage the cake with vanilla icing, the left-over chocolate chips and throwing a few marshmallows on top. There you go, he’ll never know! It still tasted nice.

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Takeaway Time

We ordered a Chinese takeaway. Haven’t had one for a while, so it was a nice treat. We ordered a banquet meal for 2 and some chow mein noodles for the kids. I compare the kids to seagulls only because the scavenge food from others. They finished all their noodles within 5 minutes of handing it over to them (there was plenty of it too – could have filled me up alone), and they came eyeing up mine and Liams food too!

‘Not a chance. Shoo! ITS MINE’

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…..I gave in. They stare until they get something. Couldn’t have them staring at me the whole time whilst I ate.

I imagine the kids to be like Casper the friendly ghost – Eating food with a bottomless belly. They could typically eat the whole house out if I let them.

All-in-all it was a good, calm day, i’d even say for the most part stress-free (I welcome more of) and the children seemed to have a lot of fun along the way too!

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Aurora’s Birth Story

A baby with my partner I love so dearly is a dream come true. I talk about pregnancy and labour –
Auroras birth story in this latest blog post.

How Aurora Came To Be

IMG_0112When I met Liam over 3 years ago, I didn’t think at the time that we would be having any kids together. It was a new relationship and I already had 2 young crazy children that I was bringing up.

The children took to Liam instantly, especially Wyatt. I was glad they got along with him so well. As time went by the children grew to love him even more and went from calling him ‘Spiky’ to Liam,  then out of the blue they started calling him ‘Dad’. I think he was as shocked as I was but we just went with it.

We were a happy little family. Liam moved in with us and our relationship was going well, so we made a decision to have a baby together. I was on the implant so we knew it was going to be a while before I became pregnant after it was removed. Funnily enough it only took us 2 months to conceive.


Finding Out I Was Pregnant

I wasn’t feeling too great in myself so I thought it’d be ideal to take a test. To my delight there were 2 faint lines. I wasn’t sure whether I was seeing things though (they were really faint) so I went in to ask Liam.

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There were definitely 2 lines but just to make sure, I went and did another 13 tests – 14 tests in total (call me extreme, but I wanted to be certain)

The pregnancy progressed and I enjoyed having a baby bump. I couldn’t believe we were going to be having a baby together!

We went to the 12 week scan and everything seemed perfectly normal. We found out that she was to be due on the 5th of May (a nice Summer baby) so we started our preparations for adding another to the brood.

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It was a few days before Christmas when we had our 5 month scan, so we cinched a plan to keep the sex of the baby a secret from ourselves and everyone else, and had the sonographer write it in a Christmas card sealed to be opened up on Christmas day for when our families came to visit.

I was super excited for Christmas day to find out what we were having. Liam had taped the card to the ceiling in the living room so neither of us could be tempted to open it. Those 3 days dragged, but when Christmas finally came around we did an announcement.

‘IT’S A GIRL!’

I couldn’t wait to go baby shopping! Pink Pink Pink… She’d look so cute in pink!

My due date got ever so closer and I grew more and more excited. My only worry was giving birth – I was really nervous about it. We spoke to a midwife to discuss a birth plan (I really wanted a water birth).

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Due Date Arrived

My due date arrived and there was still no sign of our little girlie (Faith was late too) so I thought perhaps it was a girl thing (we like to be fashionable late after all).

We went to see the midwife 3 days later as I still hadn’t had her and an induction was discussed if I didn’t go naturally within the next few days. I was petrified, but also disappointed as I knew I wouldn’t be able to get my water birth otherwise – I reluctantly agreed nevertheless.

She went to try a sweep in an attempt to get things moving and arranged to see me again within the following 2 days to try again if that also didn’t work.


The Waiting Game

We went home and even though I had a few minor pains, nothing happened. We thought this water birth was out of the equation at this point. I was gutted but went back to the midwife 2 days later for a 2nd sweep (our girlie was really stubborn).

This time IT WORKED! My pains began kicking in. Ouch, I didn’t realise how painful labour pains actually were.

I stayed at the house as long as I could until my contractions were roughly 4 minutes apart. I thought it’d be time to visit the hospital. It was 11pm by the time we arrived. We checked in at the midwife-led-unit (which had a pool available, yippee!). They checked me over and despite my contractions at 4 minutes apart, I was only 3 cm dilated so they sent me home.

I was only at home an hour before the pains succoured my nether region and I knew this baby was coming. Off to the hospital I went again!


Things Started To Progress

Back at the hospital, the midwife executed her usual checks on me. STILL only 3 cm dilated. Argh. But this time she wasn’t comfortable sending me home in case things changed (and they can certainly change fast).

I thought i’d try and get some rest between contractions (if I could). An hour passed and the midwife came to check me over again. I soon jumped to 6 cm dilated! First time I’ve ever seen someone panic so much to fill up a birthing pool, bucket after bucket in a speedy 5 minutes. It was definitely time to have this baby.

I climbed into the pool. The warm water soothed the pains and I relaxed as much as I could (whilst being in labour- hard thing to do really when you know something bigger than a melon will be coming out your fannoo noo very very soon!)

Probably the worst time to ask, but I needed the toilet. The midwife and Liam assisted me out of the pool and I gradually slid over to the bathroom, and then back into the pool between contractions. I clenched hold tight of the gas and air for relief (this shit is painful!).

My waters broke.

‘SHIIIIIIITTTTT!’ 

My abominable pains increased as labour progressed. I turned onto my front and floated for comfort. Liam was in-front of me holding my hands with his arms in the water.

The midwife spoke

‘They’re getting stronger’ 

To Liam’s reply

‘Yes she is’

as I dug my nails into his arm. He got the backlash of the labour (but men get it easy anyhow – I call it payback). I nearly drowned him yanking him forwards face-first into the pool just before I gave birth to our little girlie.

The pains dissipated and there she was. I was conquered with love and happiness for her. She came out weighing 7lb 9oz with jet black hair born at 4:48am – 6 days later than her due date.

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I was a Mummy for the 3rd time and I couldn’t have been happier. She’s now 21 months old and a mischievous little toddler. It goes so quick, so I try to make the most of every moment as much as I can.

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

 

-Zoe

Mummy Confessions: Entry 3

Diary entry of a stressed-out mum dealing with 4 kids. What it’s like and how it feels to deal with them all at once!

Being a Mum of 4 can be hectic most of the time, but last week smoke could have literally (not literally of course – don’t think that’s even a medical condition) been coming out from my ears after how trying it was.

Monday was a normal day. I got the kids ready for school, got home and sorted Aurora and Kiiara out. It was quite a laid-back day (which was unusual in this household). I went to collect the kids after school and that’s when all the drama began.

The moment I picked them up they were arguing, then developed into a full-on fight between them.

‘Mummy, Faith hit me’

‘No, Wyatt hit me first’

This happens on a daily basis between these two (i’m considering changing my name – the kids call ‘Mummy’ far too often).

I managed to calm them down after warning them to stop and stay away from each other. They went upstairs to play nicely, or so I thought….

Within 10 minutes they were at it again! (the ceiling shuddering as if a bomb went off near-by).

Why couldn’t they both just get along?

Both running downstairs yelling at me all at once with individual accounts of what had just happened. I felt like my head was going to explode. BOOOOOOOOM! 


Things only got worse through the rest of the week. Faith and Wyatt both lost Dojo points (more info about Dojo points here) and fell to -7 (this has NEVER happened before).

They sneakily brought up confiscated play-sand to Faiths bedroom, and just before bedtime they decided to play with it. I already said ‘No’ but obviously they didn’t want to listen. I don’t mind them having a bit of fun, but it was just before bedtime and I already had them showered.

Despite going against my word from the start, they also didn’t exactly play nicely with it either. Sand-rain I could probably call it! In the air and all over the bedroom!

Auroras cot, Faiths bed, and everywhere in-between. I wasn’t amused to say the least and all I got back from them was

‘It wasn’t me’ (I’m guessing they wished for me to believe it was the Sandman)

I love my babies very much, but they test me patience quite regularly. Faith seems to act like a teenager – does anybody else have this problem with a 7 year old? 

If she doesn’t get her own way she will literally have a meltdown – slamming doors, and answering me and my partner back with attitude (she must be a genius because she has an answer for everything!)

Some days are really hard. I love being a Mum but sometimes I would just like to have one day where there are no arguments, shouting and generally just a stress-free day (wishful thinking, but hey I keep hoping). I’ve found that ever since those kids have started their new school they have been acting up (coincidence?). Not sure why, but I hope it’s only temporary.


This week

The children have been trying to earn their Dojos this week by helping out and attempting to get along. So far so good (they REALLY want their tablet time back) but Faith continues to show that she can be a madam – hasn’t really earned many points because of this.

I went to parents evening yesterday. The kids both seem to be doing well – I’m very pleased with them. Speaking to Wyatt’s teacher about how he is at home as apposed to how he is at school and whether they have noticed anything about him – they looked at me like I was crazy (he’s not the same as he is at home).

What!? Surely he can’t change into a completely different child…..

Well I took him with me to Faiths parents evening (were on at separate times) and to my surprise, he sat there quietly without saying a word and was completely shy. This was NOT Wyatt! He was skipping down the road repeating the same word over and over again just 5 minutes before! (I can understand now why they thought I was crazy)

Faiths parents evening went okay but the teacher mentioned Faiths meltdowns and tantrums in class if she doesn’t get her own way (sounds familiar as to how she is at home). I’m beginning to think it may be due to her age perhaps.

7 going on 17 – it sure feels like that sometimes.

Faith has said some horrible things to me in the past week, but its all part of parenting (i’m her Mum, not necessarily her friend). She may think i’m a ‘Meanie’ but she will be grateful in the long run, and besides I’ve been there before and know all her little tricks (where do you think she got it all from?)

Being a Mum is definitely hard work and it’s not always fun and games. It’s screaming, crying, the meltdowns, the stress of it all, but its all worth it in the end. I heard a saying once

‘If your kid says that they hate you atleast once in your life, you know you’re doing something right’

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts Here!

-Zoe

Review: Amazon Fire HD 7 Tablet

I review the Amazon Fire HD 7 tablet – is it kid-friendly? What features does it have? All and more in this latest blog post.

Before I get started, I just need to confirm this is NOT a sponsored post nor does this reflect any views from the Amazon Corporation themselves. All views and opinions are my own.

Amazon have brought out their range of tablets from the Kindle Fire 1st Generation up to the latest Fire HD 10 (latest from when this post was published). They appeal to a wide range of individuals and so far they have made themselves applicable for children too!

I don’t usually like to rely on technology to keep my children happy, but as Faith gets older and technology is becoming more of a dependence for the future, I feel it’s something she has to learn to use, so we bought her an Amazon Fire HD 7 tablet for her last birthday.

So far so good, it seems like a good choice, although her behaviour changes drastically if she gets frustrated on a game (nothing to do with the tablet itself, just a behavioural issue after exposure on games – would like to know whether it’s only Faith that does it, or whether it happens with other children too).

Lets look more into the tablet below.

Aesthetics


It’s very lightweight and has a nice 7″ display, and I’ve found that after the kids have been using them, they seem to be quite durable – the kids have dropped them, slid them along the floors and even thrown them, but they still work perfectly (only a few scratches here and there).

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They can come in a range of colours to suit your child. Faith has an orange one (pink or purple wasn’t available at the time when we ordered one from a retailer). We bought her a case for it to store it in, which can be available to buy pretty much anywhere. You can buy an Official Amazon Case for it if need be, which generally retails around £17 (I managed to win one with mine so I know all about it).

Functionality


Setting up the tablet couldn’t be easier. You will have to sign up for an Amazon account or have an existing Amazon account in order to continue setting the tablet up for full functionality.

You can create a password or pass-code to protect your main profile from your kids (prevent them from buying stuff without your permission etc).

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Profiles

They give you the option to create profiles including child profiles. When you come to create a child profile, you can change the parental controls so that you choose how long your child can go on it for and when they will have to come off of it. It will also allow a time schedule so that they are unable to access it until a certain time of day (brilliant to stop those sneaky late-night game sessions).

Very handy to use with Faith when she hasn’t been the best behaved child in the world and can then restrict her game time so it cuts off at a specific time.

If you have multiple tablets under the same Amazon account, it’s possible to apply more than one profile over all of them, so you can enjoy the same games from one tablet for, lets say Faiths profile, on another tablet too!

Games & Apps

It doesn’t come with any pre-loaded games, but you can download them from the Amazon App Store off of your main profile (to switch profiles you can drag your finger from the top, click on the user avatar picture and select which profile you wish).

 

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There are various games and apps to choose from to download. There are ones that you may have to pay for, but there are a lot of free games/ apps too! A good thing about the kids apps are that you can find learning games on there so that you can teach your child basic maths or spellings skills, but in a fun way that they’ll enjoy doing and won’t seem like boring school work. If you happen to allow your child onto your main profile to download more games (this is something Faith requests frequently), you may encounter speed issues as the storage space fills up. The cheapest Fire HD 7 has 8GB storage space, with possibilities of expandable storage (micro-SD slot. You can also get 16GB Fire 7 for £10 more) whereas newer tablets include more – you essentially pay more for more (very proportionate).

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Battery

The battery, after a good charge, will last up to 8 hours depending how much your child plays on it. After school Faith and Wyatt usually spend time on their tablets (so long as they are good) but no more than 3 hours a day, so the tablet only goes for a charge every 2 or 3 days.

Camera

 

The camera, though not the best camera out there (4K seems to be the hype at the moment, might be a while before they include that in an Amazon tablet), is still a reasonably good camera to use. You can take both photos and videos. The kids seem to enjoy taking photos quite often and sometimes it may be a requirement to use it on some kids games. It hasn’t many settings you are able to change in the camera menus – it would be nice to change the resolution for storage purposes and perhaps include some other features that some smartphone cameras have, but all-in-all for basic functionality it works great.

Retail Price

The best bit of this tablet has to be its price point. It retails at £49.99 (Fire HD 7) and the newest Fire HD 10 retails at £149.99. You can also get a Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet with a Kid-Proof Case for £129.99 – cheaper than some Vtech kids tablets I’ve seen when shopping around for tablets for Faiths last birthday.

To sum it all up,

Pros include:

  • Wide range of colours
  • User-friendly, especially for kids
  • Lightweight & has a nice balanced screen at 7″ – not too big, not too little
  • Very durable – Can withstand drops, slides and being thrown (within reason)
  • Can create passwords/pass-codes to protect your main profile
  • Can create kids profiles & set parental controls
  • Can load multiple profiles on multiple tablets under the same account
  • Can find many paid or free apps to download on the app store for kids
  • Battery can last 8-12 hours on a full charge
  • Price retails from £49.99 – cheaper than most tablets

Cons include:

  • Doesn’t include any pre-loaded games (but you can quite easily download them  from the app store)
  • May encounter performance issues as storage space fills up
  • Not the best camera with the HD 7, but if you get the latest version (HD 10) you can find a better camera.
  • Not many camera settings to change

 

Liam’s final rating – 4 out of 5 stars

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It’s a great tablet for all ages – has great functionality and user interface, and the kids profiles are perfect! I took off 1 star for the minor cons it has, but with each newer generation that comes out i’m sure Amazon will improve it.

 

If you wish to purchase an Amazon Fire HD tablet, you can find them via Amazon here:

Amazon Fire HD Tablets

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out more daddy blogs here!

 

-Liam

 

 

Not Ready to Say Goodbye

Losing a family member is very difficult and can leave a lifetime worth of scars. Many of us can relate and it’s a dreadful thing to happen to anyone. My Dad was my world. I open up in this latest blog post to talk about his story and how he passed.

Losing a loved one is hard and I’m sure many of you can relate. I thought i’d share my story about how my worst nightmare came true when I lost my dad.

When I was growing up I was a typical teenager who always liked to disobey my parents. I always got on the wrong side of them many times but I was very close with my Dad (I was a daddy’s girl).

He was so laid back and easy to talk to (he put me in my place plenty of times when I was naughty though) but I’ve always felt like he just got me. We used to sit and watch the soaps with biscuits and would chat about the most random of topics.

He was very outspoken about everything and always made me laugh, and sometimes cringe, but occasionally he’d repeat the same conversation from a half hour before – i’d still listen and enjoy the quality time we spent together just me and him.


When My Dad Became Poorly The 1st Time

My Dad was a funny man who would make a lot of jokes and was quite healthy for his age. He enjoyed taking the dog for a walk everyday.

He seemed fine in himself, but one day he felt something wasn’t right, so went for a check up at the doctors.

I remember going to see him that day, walked in and everyone in the room fell silent. They considered the possibility that my Dad had Prostate Cancer. He went for a usual routine check and it came back positive.

I was absolutely devastated and petrified- I couldn’t imagine being without my Dad.

I held his hand and broke down in front of him.

‘What you crying over me for, silly?’  

That day our bond became stronger.

Ever since then he always came to me when he needed someone to talk to about how he felt (that was unusual for my dad, he always kept his feelings bottled up). As he battled through the Cancer (he had an op to remove his prostate), I would visit everyday to prop up his pillows and cook his meals to keep his strength up.


Improvements

My Dads health began to improve steadily and was starting to gain his energy back. He’d go for his monthly check ups and was then told eventually his Cancer had completely gone.

We were over the moon! I wouldn’t have to lose my role model, my inspiration, my Dad. I was relieved knowing that things were going to be okay.

A few years past and my Dad was his usual self enjoying life, spending time with the family and continued walking his dog. He’d also enjoy his alone time watching television and eating his biscuits (that’s only if I didn’t pop over).


Faiths Birthday

It was Faiths 7th birthday. The whole family came around to celebrate. I noticed that my Dad didn’t quite seem his usual cheerful self. He looked poorly again and had a nasty cough that didn’t shift and affected the way he was breathing.

It had me worried but he said he was okay and that he would head home and rest. I rang him later that night to check up on him – he still had that nasty cough and sounded breathless as he spoke.

I told him it was best to go and see a doctor about it (he ummed and arred for a while) but I managed to convince him to go.

They found a cyst in his lungs and they thought then and there that it could be Cancer again. My whole world came crashing down once again, but because he went through it before, I thought he could fight through it again.

As he went for further tests they found that the cyst had taken over the whole right side of his lungs and that was the reason he had become breathless.

He had Stage 4 Lung Cancer that had spread to his throat and nose. There was nothing they could do.

I knew I was going to lose him this time and I was heartbroken. They gave him medication to help him breath easier and suggested Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy to allow him more time, but because my Dad was stubborn and scared (he didn’t want to lose the remainder of his long silver hair – he’d call them his luscious locks) he refused to go.

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Saying No To Chemo

My Dad decided he did not want to have Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy and just wanted to spend the remainder of his time at home. We had to respect his wishes even though we wanted a way of saving him. We would have done anything for more time with him.

I went to visit as much as I could and spoke to him everyday over the phone. Even though it was nice to spend time with him, it was hard to see him deteriorate in front of my eyes. I tried to make the most of my time with him and he’d kept himself upbeat whilst I was there – he’d make inappropriate jokes to make us both laugh.

I had to hold back my tears every-time (he always told me off if I got upset over him – just the way he was).


A Week Passed By…

…and it was time to go to visit him again, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. He looked pale and was glued to the bed finding it hard to sit up.

He still managed to throw in his jokes to make us smile. My heart broke – I had no control – I couldn’t do anything about it and I wasn’t ready to lose him this quickly. It was cruel and I was angry!


Another Visit

I went to visit my Dad but this time was the hardest. He wasn’t himself and looked very frail. I couldn’t hold back my tears this time, it was too much!

I held his hand and told him how much I loved him.

He answered back and told me he was in pain and that he couldn’t live like this – he just wanted to die.

It was the hardest thing to hear in my life but I stifled a smile and made a joke needing him to be around until I get married. His reply back humoured me.

‘I ain’t going to live til i’m 90 Zo’ 

He was only 71. At least he still had a sense of humour.

As I left, he told me and Liam that he loved us both. I didn’t think it was going to be the last time I heard him say that.


The Flu Hit Our Household

It was that day again I was to visit my Dad, but this time I couldn’t go. The whole household fell ill to the dreaded flu. We couldn’t risk my Dad getting worse.

It was tough to have to stay away, but I thought i’d still have a chance to see him when we were all better. I didn’t realise how wrong I’d be.


A Phone Call I Didn’t Want To Hear

It was a normal day, I dropped the kids off at School and was about to sort Auroras breakfast out when I received a call. It was my Mum.

She was distraught and hurried me to come over. The panic set in and I broke down immediately. I rang Liam to hurry home. We needed to see my Dad before it was too late!

As I got everything ready to leave, I received another phone call, this time from my sister. She was crying uncontrollably.

That moment I knew it was too late. I didn’t get my chance to say goodbye. She urged us to come over straight away.

As I arrived at my Dads house, I saw my Mum collapse in the front doorway broken and in ruins. I knew then and there he was gone. I’ve never seen my Mum this way before.

I approached her. She looked at me, took my hand and uttered ‘you can’t go up on your own’. 

She slowly escorted me up the stairs and stopped me outside my Dads room. I composed myself to see my Dad. I was not ready for this. I went into the room and saw him lying there paralysed and still, so very still. I didn’t get to say goodbye. It was too late for me.

I kissed him on the forehead and told him I loved him. Everyone in the room broke down and I felt I had to be the strong one to hold everyone together. I put my grieving aside for the time-being to support everyone else. It felt like it was something I had to do.

4 weeks after being diagnosed, my Dad had passed and I so felt angry, broken and guilty I didn’t arrive sooner! I felt like I should have been there to hold his hand. Many thoughts run through my head even today –

Could I have done things differently? 

Did he know I loved him? 

Was he on his own? 

Did he think about me before he passed away? 

There is a huge hole in my heart since I lost my Dad and I think of him very often. Losing a loved one is really hard and can make you feel angry and unlike yourself. I still have days now where it’s hard to function, but I pull myself together for my kids and partner.

They keep me going and I truly wouldn’t know what i’d do without their love and support through the difficult times I’ve had over the past 6 months since he’d passed.

 

In Loving Memory of John Warren, My Dad.

Zoe and Dad 3

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

 

-Zoe

 

Coping with a Child who has Learning Difficulties

Wyatt is an exceptional young boy but as he grows older, signs of difficulties begin to emerge clearer. Find out more about him here in this latest blog post!

Finding out Wyatt was different

When Wyatt was little, I noticed he was very different than his sister at the age of 2 but didn’t think anything of it. I just thought he had more tantrums than her and that he was a shy boy with delayed speech, but watching him grow I noticed that he wouldn’t maintain eye contact and his vocabulary hadn’t developed as normal, and his tantrums got worse.

He would have a meltdown over the slightest of things and would headbutt walls, floors and the doors. He also used to bite himself. There were days I would have to sit on the floor with him and cuddle him to calm him down, and believe me, I certainly got the backlash of it most of the time.

I’d get headbutted, screamed at, kicked and even bitten, but I know it wasn’t his fault. I hated seeing him this way.

I remember when he was 3 years old. He had his injections – it was very formidable – I watched as he’d screamed and throw himself onto the floor kicking excessively. At the time he was limited in his speech but was able to say a few words now. The nurse could not hack his meltdown and sent us out the room (which frankly was quite rude) so I carried my upset little man back home under my arm whilst he continued his paddy (took him about an hour to calm down).

I had onlookers stare at me curious to know what was going on, but I carried on walking.


Wyatt Started Playgroup

When Wyatt started playgroup he was very shy but that was to be expected. It was something new and a completely different environment to what he was used to.

As he continued to go everyday, he began to enjoy it but wasn’t really interacting with the other kids (he would tend to sit and play on his own). He would also only interact with one nursery teacher – I think he took a liking to her (she was amazing with him).

He refused to speak to any of the other staff, so she took the time to be his one-to-one and he came along really well. His speech improved slowly and began vocalising more words.

As Wyatt got older he enjoyed going to nursery and school, and made friends. He learnt to interact more with others. Despite his speech coming along fairly well, the teachers still had trouble understanding him and referred him to Speech and Language Therapy.

It’s helped him a lot (He doesn’t stop talking now) but still has trouble pronouncing words accurately.

Example: he’ll say Frod instead of Frog

Wyatt is 6 years old now and still has problems. I’ve noticed more subtle signs that he may in fact have Autism. He likes to build a tower with his younger sisters’ blocks and he forms the same one, exactly the same, everyday! Same colours and same shapes.

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Wyatt gets angry if anybody touches it. He lines up toys and categorises them by colours. He’ll say the same words over and over again, and repeats what I say to him as an answer to my comment.

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He still doesn’t maintain eye contact and doesn’t hug back. He still has a temper and breaks things (mostly his own toys) and has no sense of danger.


Taking Wyatt Out

When I take Wyatt out, he seems to be in his own little world. He doesn’t seem to notice anyone walking in front of him and he tends to gallop along a section of the pavement of the same colour. He doesn’t sense any danger and I will have to remind him to stop before he’d run onto the road (He’s given me plenty of panic attacks before now).


Wyatt At School

Wyatt comes home from school with homework and he struggles with it to say the least. He learns something but will forget how to do it again within a short space of time. I did his homework with him over the weekend, words that he’s been learning for a while now and has shown previously he knows them, but he was unable to write them this time and couldn’t recognise the words.

This is a continuing problem Wyatt has, but he does try hard. I will keep working with him and hope he improves.


Worries

I worry that this little boy of mine will get bullied because of his learning difficulties and will get taken advantage of (he can be manipulated easily by other class mates).

I must admit it’s hard having a child with learning difficulties – some days are harder than others and it makes me worry about his future. Wyatt wouldn’t be Wyatt otherwise though – it’s just who he is. He makes me proud everyday and I am fascinated to watch him build his tower house out of blocks and to see his imagination kick in.

Wyatt hasn’t formally been diagnosed with anything yet, but we were hoping to get an assessment arranged for a diagnosis in order to give him the help and support he needs.

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Being a Young Mum

Young Mums seem to get a bad reputation, but what is it really like and why is it made this way?

It can have it’s perks and sometimes it’s stresses. I was 18 when I found out I was going to be a Mum for the first time. I was excited, nervous, scared, and every emotion going really, but I just went with it and I’m glad I did.

Having that baby bump at a young age got me a few dirty looks in the street and quite a few unwanted comments from strangers.

‘You’re throwing your life away’ 

‘You can’t do anything with your life now’

‘You don’t look old enough to be having a baby’ 

I was also asked whether I would be able to cope being so young. To be honest, it shouldn’t really affect your parenting skills so long as you put your child first. No matter what age you are, it’s a learning curve for ALL new parents.

Would us younger Mums comment similar criticism back to Mums who are perhaps a lot older than we are?

I know I wouldn’t – it’s none of my God-damn business. Parenting is hard at any age. Getting to know your child, sleepless nights, dirty nappies and the endless crying, but either way we all do our best for our children. Being a parent doesn’t come with a manual, so we have to take it as it comes!

When I came to have Faith I still got dirty looks off people, but if I must say so myself, she was clean and well-looked after and I was doing the best I could (It could have been a lot worse).

When Wyatt was thrown into the mix (17 months later), the comments became worse. Somebody even uttered:

Oh my God, you’re mad having 2 kids so close together. There’s no way you can do it!’ 

Not exactly a confidence builder, but it just felt better proving them wrong!

I was 20 years old when I had Wyatt and I must admit going from one to two was difficult at first (more to accustom myself to) but I don’t think it was anything to do with my age. I have met some amazing young Mums out there that are too doing a great job looking after their children, but I’ve also seen some not-so-great Mums as well – it’s all about prioritising the kids and how much effort you are willing to put in for them.

Since 18 all I’ve ever known is being a Mum so I never went out partying, doing stuff regular 18 year olds do, but instead stay home and look after my children – it’s not about me anymore.

I do understand why some people may think being a young Mum is a bad idea, but to be perfectly honest I don’t really think i’m missing out on much – I’d rather cuddle up with my children and watch a family movie than go out drinking with a hangover the following day.

Being a young Mum doesn’t mean you are throwing your life away, it just means there may be some sacrifices earlier on in life that you have to make. I must say it’s definitely worth it because you have this little person who looks up to you with hope in their eyes and will love you forever unconditionally.

It is certainly hard work – there will be days where it can be extremely challenging no matter whether you have one or more kids. I have had countless challenges with my four children especially when Kiiara was born – having them all kick off at once makes my head explode (not literally of course), but having them all when I’m young just makes it easier for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Young Mums vs Older Mums

Again it really doesn’t matter when you decide to have children. There are pros and cons for each decision either way. Here are a few pros to each:

Being a Young Mum:
  • You are healthy and energetic
  • When the kids are older, you can relate to their current circumstances easier and have more time to spend together
  • More chance of bigger families
  • Plenty of support
  • Can still enjoy life after kids have grown up
Being an Older Mum:
  • Well-established and have life experiences
  • More chance of a settled life and good wealth
  • Taken more seriously
  • Can enjoy life & focus on career prior to kids
  • Can get support from others in similar situations

I’m 26 years old now and still get dirty looks off people when i’m walking through town with my 4, but it’s none of their business (it’s not like they have to deal with them) so I don’t care what they think.

Stand up – be proud of being a Mum. Whether you are a young Mum or an older Mum, if you already know that your kids come first, you are doing fantastic job! Keep it up!

 

If you have had any similar experiences as a young Mum facing off on a judgemental on-looker, or you just wish to share your opinion, please feel free to post your comments down below! 

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out similar blog posts here!

Smoking – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Smoking – dirty habit or personal pleasure? It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks….

Smoking is a bad habit whether you have children or not (I’m a guilty smoker) but it can be highly addictive and hard to let go. I think many people get penalised for smoking. People can often judge you as you walk down the street.

I understand people are entitled to their own opinions but it’s your life and your choice to smoke or drink or do whatever you please.

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I was 12 when I started smoking (I do regret taking it up now) but I was a young teen who thought it was a cool thing to do (could have been better, could have lived through the sixties), and everybody else was doing it so I thought i’d join in.

Back then I really enjoyed smoking but now I just do it out of habit, and when the kids stress me out it’s something I drift towards. I’ve tried to quit many times before and I was getting very close, but I just couldn’t do it in the end – there has always been something that stops me from giving up (i’ll keep trying again in the future).


Smoking When Pregnant

I was one of those Mums who’d smoked through pregnancy (please don’t judge me), but I did cut down, A LOT. As much as I wanted to quit, I just couldn’t. Might have also been risky to the baby to quit cold turkey too.

I have seen this topic being talked about all over the internet and come across Mums judging other Mums about their smoking habits – some even reciting that they shouldn’t have their kids and that they are irresponsible parents.

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I understand everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but I believe judging each other for it probably isn’t the way to go – we shouldn’t be spreading negativity around, there’s just too much of it nowadays.

I’m sure most people have their reasons why they smoke whilst they are pregnant – they may have a lot going on in their lives that we don’t really know about – doesn’t necessarily mean they will become irresponsible parents, but instead i’m sure they love their children as much as anyone else who may not smoke.


Smoking Around Children

Even though i’m a smoker, I always make sure I smoke outside away from my children. I do not want them to be forced to inhale my smoke. Smoking does help calm nerves when, lets say the children are playing up and stress you out – it’s a quick relief to continue disciplining the kids without losing your temper. I often need a quick 5 minutes to calm down when the kids are having a bad day and take it out on me.

My parents smoked around me when I was a young child but they loved me very much and I loved them too. They aren’t bad parents because of it. I think it’s each to their own with what they do around their children.

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All I’m trying to convey is that there are very judgemental people out there and rather than expressing their hatred for smokers, perhaps expressing a positive outlook may in fact benefit themselves and also the people around them. After all what other people do with their lives doesn’t normally affect themselves and will probably never see them again anyway.

Parenting is hard work and you are all doing a fab job! We are all doing the best we can for our children and that is nothing short of an achievement, so stand up proud and ignore the haters!

If you have any similar experiences of feeling uncomfortable when having a cigarette from being judged or just want to state your own opinions on this, please comment below. Positive/ constructive comments make the world keep smiling, so please keep it that way! Thanks guys! 

 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Use The Dojo Point System At Home

Figuring out a way to get the kids to behave has never been easier with this new points system that schools have been rallying behind. Find out about it here

The Dojo point system (pronounced dough joe) is something I’ve found quite handy when getting the kids to behave for me. It was first implemented in schools as a way of rewarding the kids who behave and disciplining the ones that don’t (aka Class Dojo).

Basically it consists of a point system where if you do something positive you are given a point, and if you do something negative you lose a point. Simple really.

We’ve implemented this system at home and have been using it for over a year now. It’s quite effective and gives the kids a motive to be good.

You can customise your children’s targets to aim for a higher or lower number and each week the chart will need to be reset back to 0.

Examples of ways kids can earn Dojo points:

  • Doing housework/chores
  • Listening to you
  • Doing as they are told straight away
  • Tidying up after themselves
  • Getting ready for school on their own
  • Making their beds

I’ve found that so long as you are quite regular with either cutting or awarding points, the kids will want to earn them (and it’s also good healthy competition between them if you have more than one child – they will want to be earn more Dojos than their siblings).

The reason to award the kids points is so that if they reach their targets at the end of the week, they get rewarded for their efforts. The reward system can be just about anything – it’s fully customisable to whatever you wish.

Currently my kids get rewarded with their tablets- they enjoy playing on the kids games. If they manage to get onto and stay on green points (1+ points) they are aloud to play with their tablets all week, but if they get red points (-1 and below) they aren’t aloud it for the whole week. Pretty fair in my opinion.

If they manage to reach their target of 4+ Dojo points (which they haven’t for a while) they are rewarded with a store-bought toy. As a Step-Dad to the oldest two, this has made it much easier to discipline the children without having to go bat-sh** crazy on them.

If they plummet below -2 or more points, I usually confiscate one of their favourite toys for the week until they can reach ‘+‘ Dojo points again – pushes them to boost their points up through the week to get it back.

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To sum up, 5 reasons why you should implement them at home:

 

  • It helps the kids achieve a target
  • Determines whether they have been good enough to be treated or not
  • Pushes them to do the housework (admit it, we’ve all been waiting for this to happen)
  • Kids enjoy healthy competition
  • and finally, it’s fully customisable!

 

Hope you found this quite interesting and perhaps consider using it in your own home. If you do introduce this to your kids, please let us know how it goes in the comment section below! 

 

If you liked this blog post, you can check out more daddy blogs here!

 

-Liam