Why I Write

It’s been just under a month since I decided to take a break from blogging and although I’ve liked having my evenings back I’ve missed writing terribly. So I thought I would explain why I write this blog and why I choose to share aspects of my life publicly.

I used to be a very private and closed off person. As a child I didn’t have a voice. I learned to show people only what I thought they wanted to see. I didn’t want to do or say the wrong thing for fear of disapproval or rejection. As the years went by my lie was easier to live, I was never my true self and that caused me untold amounts of pain.

People mistook my cool stand-offish exterior for rudeness and uptightness (oh how I hate this word). I shied away from any sort of social situations like parties or celebrations for fear of the discomfort of doing or saying something wrong. I now realise I suffer from social anxiety and I work hard every day to overcome it.

I lived my life in constant guilt always thinking I was a bad person, I was not normal and didn’t deserve to truly feel love or happiness. I won’t go in to the reasons and the causes for feeling that way, although I know exactly what they were.

I’m slightly getting off track here but this does all lead to the reasons why I write.

Over the last seven years with the help of my husband I’ve been able to open up and become myself totally. I no longer fear people knowing about my life. If I’m sad, depressed, happy or anxious then I can express it in a healthy way I no longer worry about other people’s reactions.

I’ve been through some very tough times and sometimes writing about them helps. Some of my blog posts help me to express what I’m feeling and once I hit publish a huge weight is lifted. Writing is cathartic and sharing my thoughts and feelings with strangers, although I can’t explain it, helps me so much.

Making a connection even a virtual one, with fellow bloggers, parents and readers has been invaluable. To know you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings is all anybody really wants I think.

I also love writing practical posts about how to save and make money. Not only to document it for myself but to hopefully help other stay at home parents. Being able to contribute financially while I raise our family is hugely important to me.

The biggest reason I write is that I want to capture the memories of my children while they are young. I have two older children who are turning 18 and 20 this year and I feel like their childhoods passed in the blink of an eye. I regret so much not keeping better records when they were growing up.

Blogging has brought lots of lovely experiences and opportunities for my family and that is also a huge bonus.

I think I’ve written this post for myself, to remind me when I have a wobble that I love to write and these are the reasons.

Blogging gives me a voice and I intend to carry on speaking.

Thanks for sticking with me.

 

Maths Problems, Giggle Fits & Sunshine #LittleLoves

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote a little loves post. I decided to take a little break as I wasn’t really feeling the love for anything. March has been a bit of a tough month with one thing or another but I’m determined to get back in to the swing of things from now on.

I’ve been taking things slowly this week and trying out new routines to see what suits us all as a family better. I also challenged myself to be in bed by 10 pm every night and asleep by 11 pm, I’m happy to report I’ve succeeded and I’m feeling so much better for it. I’ve only had one ‘rough’ day this week which is a huge improvement compared to the last few weeks.

Here are this weeks little loves.

Read

When I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed there is one blog I always turn to for inspiration. Be More With Less has so many inspirational posts to read. I have no desire to become a full-time minimalist but I’m all for clearing the clutter from my mind and Courtney’s blog helps me to do that. I also end up finding lots of other wonderful blogs and resources through her posts. I definitely recommend reading if you want to make some small positive changes in your life.

Watched

This is such a tough one this week as we have watched so many great things. Chris and I have been making the effort to switch off early and watch a film together with no distractions. This week I’ve loved two films, Arrival and Why Him? The two films couldn’t be any different. Arrival is one of the best alien themed films I’ve seen, it kept me hooked right until the end, Amy Adams plays her part brilliantly. Why Him ? is just hilarious, James Franco and Bryan Cranston are such a great combination. I had a fit of giggles at one of the opening scenes so much so we had to pause it while I recovered.

Heard

I heard Daisy’s class solving maths problems during a workshop in their classroom this week. Maths was not a favourite subject of mine but if I had teachers like Daisy I’m sure I would have loved it. They make everything so much fun to learn. I love these parent workshops, it gives me a good insight in to how to help Daisy learn at home too.

Made

I helped Daisy make something we have been sent to review. She had such fun playing with it. I love watching her make up little stories when she plays.

Worn

I don’t have anything to report as such for this section. I have however ordered myself some new clothes from H&M and Matalan for Spring and Summer. Being a larger lady I go for comfort over style, I ain’t never going to be a fashionista but I do like to look neat and tidy.

And Lastly

I loved the few sunny days we had at the start of the week. Being able to sit in the garden and feel the warm sun on my skin has helped me to feel much better. I love that the kids played in the garden until almost bedtime, they certainly had no trouble sleeping on those nights.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

 

 

Vintage Magazines, Schedules & Strong Women #LittleLoves

In last weeks little loves post I touched on the subject of trying to gain a better work/life balance. This week I have been following a new schedule and switching off when I need to and it’s working wonders. I do wonder if I’m cut out for this working from home lark. I have workaholic tendencies and burn out really quickly.

I’m happy to say that the rain has stayed off for the majority of the school runs this week and the sun has made an appearance. I’m hoping to get out in the garden at some point this weekend to start the inevitable post Winter clean up. I can already see the signs of life again from some of the plants and shrubs.

Here are some of my #littleloves from the week.

Read

On Saturday I visited an antiques and collectable centre. Amongst the usual vintage treasures were magazines and postcards from bygone days. I spent some time looking through the magazines at the articles and advertisements and had a good giggle at the advice columns and the pin-up models of the 1950’s. I also spent a while reading the postcards that were lovingly sent to family and friends at addresses that probably no longer exist.

Watched

Years ago when I first discovered blogs Louise Pentland’s ‘Sprinkle of Glitter’ was a favourite of mine. I loved her style of writing. As the years went by and her fame on YouTube grew I found it hard to relate to a lot of her content as it seemed targeted at a teen audience which was such a shame. I’ve just rediscovered her again in the last twelve months and I have to say I’m so glad I did. She seems to have gone through a huge personal change and I’m loving the raw, real and uncensored videos she’s creating now.

She made this video on International Women’s Day this week and what she had to say really resonated with me. I’m one of life’s apologiser’s and I certainly never shout about my achievements.

                           

Heard

My children say so many funny things throughout the week I usually write them down so I don’t forget. A few gems from daisy this week have been ” Mummy, when will all the tree’s die ?” , “Do you know about the word spontaneous, because my teacher does” and to Jake “don’t do that ! you are not Spiderman”. Listening to them certainly is a tonic if you are having a stressful week.

Made

As I mentioned above, I’ve made a new working week schedule. I’ve cut my working days down to 3 days a week from 7 which is a huge achievement for me. I spent some time with one of my lovely friends on Monday, we share the same hobby of entering competitions. We talked about how to schedule and organise our time so we don’t miss out on those all important closing dates. I came away with lots of ideas and have already made myself a new plan of action.

Worn

Nothing fancy, but if it counts I’ve worn my coat open this week instead of zipped up. It’s definitely starting to feel like it’s time to swap my Winter coat for a lighter jacket.

And lastly

This week I’ve loved closing my laptop by 8pm, putting a film on and lying down on the couch to relax. I might not be as productive and I might miss some opportunities but I truly don’t care. I had actually forgotten what it was like to give my full attention to one task at a time. Even my phone has stayed in the kitchen to avoid any distractions.

I’ve watched Bad Moms and Fifty Shades of Grey, both hilarious in their own ways !

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

An Afternoon At Bygone Times Chorley

Last weekend I took some much needed ‘me’ time, a few hours away from home and demanding children. It was bliss. I like to try to get together with my cousin Lisa regularly. She’s more like a sister to me so I feel it’s important that our relationship doesn’t get neglected by the busy lives we both lead. Lisa suggested we visit Bygone Times.

Bygone Times is an antiques and collectables centre based in Chorley, Lancashire. It’s a unique shopping experience where you can find everything from vintage clothing and furniture to collectable memorabilia. There is also a Titanic exhibition and war museum included in the entry price.

One of the most wonderful things about growing up together is that we share so many lovely memories of our grandparents. Our Nan’s house was like an aladdin’s cave, full of ornaments and other shiny wonders. We love nothing more than to reminisce about the time we spent there. Lisa had been to Bygone Times before and told me it was just like being back at our Nan’s house.

We spent hours walking around, there was so much to look at it was like a sensory overload. I thought of it like a huge warehouse full of memories and knick-knacks of bygone days. It was so nice to lose ourselves in memories of our childhood’s.

If books are your thing then this place would be heaven for you. There were cases and cases of books and magazines from yesteryear.

We almost forgot about lunch we were that immersed in the nostalgia of it all. There’s a lovely cafe on site where we stopped for a Pannini and some delicious chips.

The centre is also said to be haunted and we certainly felt some chills on parts of our walk around. They host ghost nights regularly if you brave enough to partake.

On one of the floors there is a penny arcade with vintage penny push and slot machines.

My favourite part was one of the  lower floors full of vintage car parts and beautiful antique furniture and clothes. I found a rail full of vintage wedding dresses. I was amazed at how beautiful they were and how much love and attention must have gone in to making them. I wondered where those brides were now and if they are still married to their true loves.

We came across so many things that our Nan had in her display cabinets, shelves and on her  fire place. From brass ornaments to the Bossons Head’s that she proudly displayed on the wall. It’s been over twenty years since she passed but I miss her terribly. Seeing all these things brought her to life again for me if only for a little while.

Everything at the centre is for sale and I couldn’t believe how reasonably priced most of it is. You can even telephone some of the unit holders to haggle for a lower price.

We had such a lovely time and I’m sure we will go back time and time again for lots more trips down memory lane together.

 

Polar Bears, Singing Husbands & Rapunzel #LittleLoves

I’m so happy that March is finally here although I’m not sure how we are already in the third month of the year. Hopefully this month will bring us lots more opportunities to get outside and have some fun. I don’t know about you but when the sun is shining and things start to grow again it improves my mood and lifts my spirits.

I’m making it a priority to indulge myself in my little loves each week. For the last six months my work/life balance has been non-existent and it’s just not the way I want to live anymore. As much as I love being my own boss I just haven’t been taking the time for myself. I’m trying to rectify that by following a new working hours schedule and actually taking some days off.

Read

I read a post over on The Cornish Mum called The Unfair Stigma of Diabetes. Her message struck a chord with me and has really helped me with some of the guilt I feel about my own diagnosis with type 2.

Other than reading lots of blog posts I haven’t picked up a book or a magazine this week at all. I would love to get back in to reading regularly again but it’s the one thing that gets neglected when I’m pushed for time.

Watched

Another series I’m late to the party with is Fortitude. I started watching it earlier this week on Sky box-sets and I’m hooked already. It’s certainly not what I expected it to be. I love it’s Arctic setting and the plethora of recognisable actors. It’s got it all, stunning backdrop, murder, suspense and polar bears. If you love a good ‘who done it’ with lots of twists then I definitely recommend it.

I also watched a film at the weekend called ‘Nerve’. I think it’s more suited to the teen audience but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was like a modern day Hackers.

Heard

My husband, Chris is an amazing singer (of course I’m biased) he was singing at an open mic night when I met him. He has this beautiful rich tone to his voice that gets me right in my stomach every time I hear him. His guitar has sadly been gathering dust for a while as real life took over so I was delighted when he brought it downstairs at the weekend. We all sat in the kitchen and listened while he sang my favourites. I wish I had an ounce of his musical talent.

Made

Every half term I like to let the kids bake something. It’s great now that Jake is old enough to properly get involved. They made some cupcakes and lots of mess.

Worn

I have to let Daisy have this section this week. With world book day on the horizon I was so happy and relieved when she said Rapunzel was her favourite book. We already had the costume so I didn’t need to dash round trying to sew bits of things together. I’m just not that creative kind of Mummy. Next year Jake will at school too so I think I might snap up lots of costumes in the inevitable sales that follow.

And lastly 

It’s no secret that I’m a huge YouTube fan, I could watch videos all day long. I’ve had a bit of a shuffle and sort out on there this week and have found some great new accounts to follow. I don’t know what it is but having a video play in the background while I go about my day but it really makes me happy. There’s always something new to watch.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

 

Word of the Week-Rain

This weeks word was almost going to be pancakes but after being defeated by them twice this week I’m going with rain. Rain has certainly dominated the school run this week, I’m still waiting for my shoes to dry out.

Our route to school runs alongside a brook that usually holds very little water. It was such a shock on Tuesday to see it actually flowing and almost full ! Not to mention the size of the puddles that I had to carry Daisy through.

Along with the rain came snow, sleet and hail stones. Daisy and Jake were really excited about the huge puddles and the chance of snow. Me not so much I was freezing with soggy shoes wishing someone would carry me over the puddles.

I haven’t even had the option of an umbrella as Jake has had to go in the buggy while it’s been pouring down. I can’t wait for the day when I have both my arms free again.

Getting Daisy to school on Thursday for World Book Day in her Rapunzel dress was interesting. I think she must be the first fictional princess to wear welly boots.

Having looked at the weather forecast this morning it looks like rain is going dominate for the weekend too. Oh well it’s nice weather for ducks as they say.

The Reading Residence

 

 

A Family Lawyer in London’s Tips for a Successful Marriage

London divorce solicitors are all too used to dealing with the breakdown of marriages, so what goes wrong?

The waiting room of a family lawyer in London often isn’t the happiest of places. Even if it’s too late to learn from your own experiences and save your marriage, though, someone else can learn from yours. A divorce solicitor sees many people come and go and hears all the stories of what works — and what doesn’t.

So how do you avoid the waiting room and lead a long and happily married life? Whether you’re just starting the rest of your life with someone, or you already have your tin, silver, or golden anniversaries under your belt, it’s never too soon to learn something new and start applying it in your daily lives. From your engagement to your mortgage and first home together, to the birth and upbringing of your children, here are a family lawyer in London’s tips for a long and happy marriage.


Sign a Prenup — and Yes, They Can Be Romantic

 

Finances are the leading cause of stress in relationships. Whether they’re caused by different incomes, different outgoings, or a buildup of resentment about the poor distribution of income and effort that’s in your marriage, financial disagreements are never pretty. If you’re planning on proposing, or if you’ve popped the question and are planning your wedding, a prenup is as important as house insurance.

 

A prenup lays out both of your expectations about what belongs to each of you, and what’s shared that should be divided. In the unfortunate event that the marriage breaks down, the prenup will help the court to decide who gets what. A prenup should be written with the security of both parties in mind.


Lifestyle clauses are also becoming increasingly popular. While these aren’t legally enforceable, it’s a good way to sit down together and work out your expectations of one another in a relationship. These are made popular by celebrities, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, who added infidelity clauses to their prenuptial agreement.

When you sit down with your family lawyers in London to work out what both of you want, it’s a great time to plan the boundaries of your future and make sure you’re on the same page. When married, it will give you extra security to know that things are taken care of already if something goes wrong. They may not seem the most romantic thing, but phrased gently and approached lovingly and respectfully, it can be more planning your future, than expecting a breakup.

 

Keep Some Things Separate — From Friends to Finances

 

As mentioned above, financial stress often plays a big role in break-ups. There’s no easy way to solve this; separate bank accounts may not be the answer, but neither may joint ones. As shown when different couples are asked how they handle their finances and what works, transparency and communication are key.

You may want to share everything with someone else, but keeping your own hobbies, friends and interests is important if you want a successful marriage. These are the things that develop you as an individual, which is what makes you attractive to the other person. When you stop developing yourself, you stop developing your relationship and you risk losing the passion in your marriage.

 

Learn to Communicate Early On

 

If you can communicate about your finances and hobbies with each other, communication on other matters should also be easy. Communication in a marriage is something that has to be learned, though, rather than considered automatic. We spend so much time online — messaging, texting, Facebooking — that we often forget to really be present with the other person. It’s so easy to read the wrong tone in a message that you read on a screen. A lot of arguments between couples could have been saved simply by picking up the phone and communicating — yet we rarely do this, because it feels like we’re in contact all the time.

 

We’re facing a breakdown in communication in our generation, as social media is giving us an escape from the problems in our lives. Excessive Facebook use has been proven to cause divorces and break-ups, so if you feel like you never really communicate your needs to each other and get heard, it’s time to start before a family lawyer in London is hearing you instead.

 

Make Time For Each Other

When he went undercover to discover why married women have affairs, relationship expert Charles J. Orlando discovered that not feeling appreciated or like attention was being paid to them were the leading causes. Complacency, and forgetting to still make the effort that sparked each other’s flames in the early days, is a quick way to lose satisfaction with each other and your marriage.

 

Making time for each other can mean anything from making time to be intimate in the bedroom, to making time to be intimate in your conversations. Find someone who can look after the kids for the weekend every few months so you can both go away and remember how to be with each other. You’ll then avoid the ’empty nest syndrome’ which divorce lawyers in London see breaking up so many married couples. When their children head off to college, couples realise they no longer recognise each other or know what to do together. By the time you realise and try to fix things, it can be too late, so make time for each other now, whatever it takes.

 

If you have a happy marriage, now more than ever is the time to put the work in. Remember the reasons you fell in love and what you used to do with each other to show your appreciation, then check in with yourself that you’re still doing so. By communicating and showing your appreciation, you’ll be in for a long and happy life together.

*This is a collaborative post*

 

Blogging, Virgins & Lullabies #LittleLoves

This week has been a bit tough. This nasty hacking cough is plaguing  us all at the moment, it’s been relentless. It’s meant that Daisy has only been in school one day this week, most kids would be quite happy with that but she loves school.

We have had lots of tears about missing her friends. I’m hoping she can go in for the last day before half term, fingers crossed for full nights sleep. Focusing on my little loves from the week really helps to keep me positive.

Read

I go back and to as to whether I want to try to earn a living from blogging. I’m not sure if it’s become a saturated market but I do like making little improvements to my blog all the time.

A few weeks ago I won a book written by fellow bloggers Emma Bradley and Lynn James called ‘Blogging Your Way To Riches’. I’ve been dipping in and out this week as it’s such an easy read. I’m loving the practical advice, I just need to start implementing it now.

Watched

I’ve been struggling to find something to replace Gilmore Girls but I think I have managed it. I’ve started watching Jane The Virgin on Netflix and I love it. How it passed me by when it was on TV I don’t know. I love the story and the narrator makes me giggle. It’s such an easy watch and I don’t feel the need to binge watch it which is great.

I’ve also started watching Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime which I’m really enjoying.

Heard

Despite all the coughing and requests for endless drinks and snacks some lovely things have been heard. Daisy and Jake have wanted lots of cuddles and mummy time. Daisy has been sleeping in bed with me and one night I heard her say through her poorly tears that she could only get back to sleep if I sung her a lullaby.

My 5 year old girl who insists she’s growing up and can do things herself needed to hear mummy’s voice to make her feel better. Sometimes children say things that you just want to remember forever.

Made

I’m seriously wondering if I’m ever going to have anything worthwhile to put in this category. I think I might set myself a Pinterest challenge or something.

Worn

Apart from my pyjamas which I absolutely love wearing I’ve also been wearing some new make up. It might sound a little strange seeing as I’m poorly and have barely left the house. It’s way too easy to wallow in self pity and not make an effort when you are feeling unwell. Putting some make up on this week has not only made me look better it’s made me feel better too.

And lastly

I’ve had plenty of time to start planning my Spring cleaning this week. There’s something about the lighter days that makes me want to clean everything within an inch of it’s life. My house is always pretty tidy but dust is my enemy and it must be defeated !

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

Word of the Week – Pamper

This weeks word is Pamper. I still have this hacking cough, I just can’t shake it and now the children have it too. I have read a few articles that say that this Winter cough could last at least 3 weeks ! Over the weekend Daisy and I had a pamper evening and I’ve carried on with some self care throughout the week.

As parents it’s easy to forget to look after ourselves as well as our children. I’ve found it very difficult this week, feeling poorly myself and having to take care of two small humans has really taken it’s toll.

One way I’ve tried to make myself feel better is by following a new skincare routine. Just taking the time to cleanse and moisturise each morning has made me feel so much better. I’ve also been using an eye cream that illuminates which has certainly helped hide the evidence of sleepless nights.

I treated myself to a lovely face mask, some new make up and  and I’ve even painted my nails. It’s felt so good to do something for myself.

I just need to win a spa break now so someone else can pamper me.

The Reading Residence

 

What I know About Love

I’ve not had a minute to write any of the usual blog posts about Valentines day this year. I thought instead that I would share with you what I have learned about love in my 39 years on this planet. It took me almost 32 years to realise what love is and what it certainly isn’t.

I don’t proclaim to know it all and I’m sure I will never stop learning about love. What I do know is that I’m grateful for everything I have learned even the bad bits.

What Love is

It’s being able to tell someone you deepest darkest fears and insecurities and knowing they won’t judge you or use them against you in the future.

It’s being honest, even brutally so at times and knowing that you can speak the truth no matter how painful.

It’s knowing that someone has your back at all times, even when you are being an absolute horror.

It’s being able to laugh together even in the toughest of times.

It’s believing in someone with all your heart and soul.

It’s being able to be yourself completely, silliness and quirks included.

It’s loving yourself first so you can love others.

It’s respecting and embracing each others differences.

It’s scary, exhilarating, passionate, wild and comfortable.

It’s totally unconditional.

What Love Isn’t

It’s not putting yourself last all the time.

It’s not endlessly forgiving hurtful comments and actions.

It’s not a one way street.

It’s not crying yourself to sleep at night.

It’s not something that can be bought with flowers, gifts and fancy holidays.

It’s not manipulative, abusive, obsessive, violent or jealous.

It’s not hiding who you really are or pretending to be someone else.