Miss C is 4!

I honestly feel like I’ve blinked and the last year has flown in and here we are again. Miss C is 4 and here is a bit about her.

Things She Likes

Her Siblings

She and Little D are still best buds. When she started nursery last year he was so lost without her and when we picked her up they would run at each other and were so happy to be reunited. They play so well together and she is still really protective of him. They fight over the same toys and she bosses him around like an old nagging woman but as he’s started to push back she’s become more patient and much better at sharing.

She has a funny relationship with her big sister. One minute they are best friends and the next they can’t look at each other just like most sisters I suppose. When they are playing nice, life is wonderful but when they aren’t it can be hellish.

Music and Dancing

She is still going to street dance class and she loves it. She’s been in 2 shows and amazed us all with her confidence standing up there in front of so many people while she struts her stuff.

She loves music and we always have some on in the background. Her ability to retain lyrics is scary and she’s been able to operate Alexa for a while so loves doing that.

Movies

She is a big film fan. She will happily watch the same films over and over again and is word perfect on the scripts. Some of her favourites are Zombies, Coco, Descendants, Tangled, Monsters inc, Hotel Transylvania and Toy Story to name but a few.

Accessories

She loves sunglasses and handbags. Last year for her birthday she was given a Toy Story backpack which she regularly fills up with her favourite things and walks about like Dora the Explorer.

Food

She is still a big foodie and despite her food allergies she will eat anything put down in front of her. Over the last year I’ve let her do some more cooking and get more involved which she really enjoys. Her favourite dinner is slow cooked Chicken and Chorizo stew and is really good at making it herself.

Being a Joker

She is always the one in the picture pulling the funny face or sticking out her tongue and generally causing a riot. She has the funniest laugh and a really good sense of humour. She is going through a very funny phase at the moment and is a total unconscious comedienne.

Nursery

She started the day after her third birthday and was so ready for it. She is a clever wee cookie and has really thrived since she started. She loves role play, playing a teacher in particular, and reading her pupils stories. Her number recognition is fantastic as is her comprehension. She’s had to learn to take her time and slow down a bit which doesn’t surprise me because her nickname is The Tornado!

Stuff She Doesn’t Like

She is so head strong and the last wee while has been hard going and she has been pushing back and testing the boundaries. The threenager has well and truly moved in but thankfully the tantrums have calmed down in the last month and it’s now just the hormones to deal with. Everything seems to be the end of the world, and some times we have full blown tears and snotters over nothing. It’s all a phase though so I just got to get through it.

So Happy 4th Birthday to my little firecracker. You are kind, funny, loving, head strong, caring, well mannered and fiesty and please just keep being yourself because you are amazing!

Love Mum xxx

First Day

4 Weeks

4 Months

4 Years

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Eleven

Miss B is Eleven! 

No, not the wee lassie from Stranger Things but an actual 11 year old!

This year seems to have flown in and lots has changed for her. She is 100% in tween territory and some days she is an emotional wreck then others she is huffy and hormonal then delightful and loving. Kids eh!

Things she’s been upto

Learning the flute

She started learning the flute 18 months ago and last year saved up and bought one so she could continue her lessons. She has taken part in a concert held by the high school she will attend for the last 2 years and loved it. Shes grown so much in confidence and really enjoys it. She was absolutely brilliant and seems to have a natural flair for music. One of the songs she learned was Havana and given that it’s one of the boys favourite songs, she was a bit of a hero round here.

Joined the Guides

She joined the Brownies about 2 years ago and really enjoyed her time there. She went to a camp last summer and had the time of her life. When she went back in August she was spoken to about joining the Guides because at the grand old age of 10 she was officially too old to be a Brownie (how rude). She was a bit hesitant at first because she had a great bunch of friends and her wee cousin was there too and she didn’t want to leave them. We had a chat about it and went along to a Guide information night and after that she was really excited to start. She went along and immediately loved it and was desperate to get a uniform. They are on holiday at the moment but back in a few weeks and she is raring to go again.

Big Sister Duty

She was an only child for 7 years and people kept telling us how she would struggle to share everything with a sibling, never mind 2 of them. I can honestly tell you that she was a natural big sister straight away. She needs to try and be more patient with her little sister although to be fair she is pretty challenging at the moment. The wee ones both adore her but her brother in particular seems to have a soft spot for her. She loves to read them stories, play with Lego, do jigsaws, dancing, singing and gymnastics. A current favourite activity is recreating The Greatest Showman, The Descendants 2 and Zombies.

Gymnastics and Swimming

She has now completed all her advanced swimming certificates and started the Club Ready programme which is to ensure she is ready for joining the competitive swimming club. She is still undecided about joining a club but she also has the option to learn to be a Junior Lifeguard. I think she is going to go for this because she was talking about being able to be a lifeguard for a job when she’s older.

She has also really progressed in gymnastics she still doesn’t just walk anywhere, always cartwheeling or flipping all over the place and how she hasn’t done herself an injury is beyond me!

School

She will be starting Primary 7 in 10 days. Her final year of primary school is about to begin, I swear she only started a few months ago!! She knows who her teacher for next year is and she is happy to get going. Her uniform has been ironed and ready to go since the end of June and she packed her bag a few weeks ago. She loves school and we encourage her as much as possible. Long may that continue!

I am really proud of who she is growing up to be and the person she is becoming. She is polite, well mannered and I can take her anywhere. She is funny and smart and we can have really important and heartfelt conversations then giggle like crazy when I intentionally get the words to songs wrong just to wind her up. She is growing up and is emotionally mature but still has a nice balance of just being a kid too. Miss B, I love you, please stay awesome 🙂

Miss B through the years

First Day

11 Weeks

11 Months

 

Pregnant Then Screwed Live

It’s been four weeks since I went to Manchester to attend the Festival of Work and Motherhood hosted by Pregnant then Screwed and I’ve just about processed it all.

Pregnant then Screwed was founded by Joeli Brearly when she was sacked by voicemail after informing her employer she was 4 months pregnant. What they did was wrong, discriminatory, and when she reached out to them she was ignored. The next stage would be to raise a tribunal claim, however she was suffering health issues and was advised to avoid stress so made the decision not to. She then launched Pregnant then Screwed to give woman a safe space to talk and share their experiences.

I came across them through Mother Pukkas instagram page and was immediately hooked. I feel so strongly about what they are fighting against and for and having been in a situation where I’ve been discriminated against, I felt an instant kinship with so many people.

Joeli announced in January that she was having a live event in Manchester and I knew I had to be there. I travelled down the night before and was nervous and excited to hear from the speakers and meet like minded people.

I met amazing and inspirational women who were all sharing their stories, being open and honest with each other. It was a celebration of women and how strong we are. I heard some awful tales about how badly some women had been treated at work and how they have or are in the process of overcoming. It saddens me beyond belief that in 2018 employers still mistreat their employees and discriminate against women who are pregnant or on maternity leave.

There were panels and workshops lead by amazing women covering everything from building up your social media profile, mindfulness for kids, tips on returning to work after maternity leave, how to negotiate a pay rise or promotion, tips on setting up and growing your own business and so much more.

A few major highlights for me were the panels on Flexible Working by Anna (Mother Pukka), Sara Allan,(Further and More) and Cheney Hamilton, (MummyJobs). I also loved the mental health panel with inspirational woman really talking sense about mental health. Natasha Bailie, Clemmie Telford, Anya Hayes and Candice Brathwaite talking about mental health and the difficulties they have had, and have worked on, and are still working through. Finally the workshop run by Nicola Washington, “Too Much Mothering Information” on “how not to be a self obsessed bore online and how to win at the social media content game” was brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever come away from a session so energised before. It made me really think about my blog and social media feeds and what I want from them. I called Mr B as soon as I came out totally buzzing with ideas and I’ve got some plans afoot which I’m super excited about.

Please go and have a look at Pregnant then Screwed and see what they are fighting for, I’ve listed some of the main issues below.

The Current Problem

  • 54,000 women are forced out of the workplace each year for being pregnant
  • 390,000 working mums experience negative and potentially discriminatory behaviour at work each year
  • There are currently 2.6 million Mums out of work in the UK
  • Pregnant woman and new mums have limited access to justice and less than 1% of women discriminated against take legal action against their employer
  • Discrimination can have a huge negative impact on confidence and mental health
  • Pregnant woman and new mums are extremely vulnerable and less likely to navigate the confusing legal system

We need to make changes. We need to talk and empower woman in the workplace. We need to lead the way in making the changes now for the future of all working woman and ensure history doesn’t repeat itself for future generations. Please look them up and support in anyway that you can.

I can’t wait to start making the positive changes I’ve been thinking about and to take you all with me!

Cx

Slow Cooker Chicken and Bacon Casserole

When Little D was a newborn I bought a slow cooker. I was breastfeeding him and he was permanently attached to me and would feed for hours so I needed something to make my life easier. I had no clue about them, what size to get, what I could make but after procrastinating for ages I picked up one from Lidl and hoped for the best. I’m so glad I did because I love that I can chuck all the ingredients in first thing in the morning and I usually don’t need to worry until later.

My Mum bought me a slow cooker cook book for my birthday and I looked on the web for ideas. I found it quite difficult finding things that worked for all 5 of us taking into account the kids food allergies. A lot of things were tomato based which were out because Miss C couldn’t tolerate it. I’m not afraid of using spice and I think kids needs to try all different flavours to adapt their palates at a young age so I was happy to make curries and hot pots as long as they suited everyone.

We eat a lot of chicken so that was the first place I looked for inspiration. I came across this recipe and it was an instant hit. The only amendment I would suggest is I usually double the flour, stock and purée quantities. I also shred the chicken halfway through cooking or it can go a little dry.

If you’re going to try it then let me know how it goes.

Good luck

Cx

The start of something new

Miss C has been going to “the cafe” since she was a bump. It’s a local place which does nice food, reasonable prices and they have lovely staff. She’s never been able to eat anything because of her allergies but this morning after her emergency doctors appointment we popped in. I hadn’t had as much as a drink of water and she hadn’t eaten much either. We spoke to the chef who checked the allergens list and the kids chicken and chips was safe but then we realised the chips would be cooked in the same oil as mozzarella sticks. I was just about to give up on the idea when he said he would oven them and then they would be completely safe. We were both delighted and she had her very first meal there.

If you are out eating with someone who has dietary needs it can be really intimidating. If I take the kids out then I usually take food with me unless I’ve done hours and hours of research and called ahead to make sure it’s safe. The thought of either of the wee ones eating something and having a reaction doesn’t bear thinking about and the guilt is immense. Miss C has overcome 7 intolerances already and we just need to tackle her cows milk protein and soya allergies, but I have a plan for these.

I have to admit I felt really emotional sitting there watching her enjoy her very first chips and knowing that she had food that I hadn’t brought with me. Obviously since she is a sassy threenager she styled it out by wearing her shades most of the way through lunch.

The Kids Are Alright

Today Mark and I are celebrating 20 years together. 20 years!!

When we got together we were 17 and 18 and our relationship moved pretty fast. We moved in together after 6 months and bought our first flat 6 months after that. We got engaged on my 19th birthday and married when I was 23.

From the very beginning we were all in and I knew straight away from the start that he was the man I wanted to marry and have children with. It was intense and we were determined that we would do what we wanted and faced everything that was thrown at us together.

There was a lot of barriers in the way in the early days. Everyone seemed to have an opinion and didn’t hold back in telling us what they thought. We were told we were too young, too dumb, didn’t know what love was, it would never last, I was only interested in getting pregnant. But here we are 20 years later and still going strong.

It feels like such a big achievement and I suppose by today’s standards it is. We’ve had amazing highs and some awful lows, but we are stronger together and always get through whatever it is we are facing.

We’ve grown up together and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings.

Mark, thank you for the journey so far, there’s no one else I’d rather share it with.

Cx

Here are some of my favourite pictures of us over the years, finishing with our 3 little monsters.

The boy is 2!

How did this happen? My boy is 2 today and the last 2 years have been a complete whirlwind.

Things he likes

His big Sisters

There’s only 17 months between Little D and Miss C and they are really close. He was a bit lost when she started nursery last year because she’s always been at home with him. He loves going to nursery to drop her off and pick her up and gets so excited when he gets her back.

There’s 8 years between him and Miss B and he absolutely adores her. She is really protective of him and he has such a soft spot for her. He really looks up to her and she is great with him. He loves it when she reads him a story or builds a den for him and I love watching their relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, they all have their moments together. On Christmas Day he and Miss C spent the whole day fighting over a talking Jessie the Cowgirl doll and there are regular screaming matches over toys but in general they get on well.

Music and Dancing

He loves nothing more than shaking his butt to music and in particular he loves Little Mix, Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift. He also loves the Frozen soundtrack and wakes us up most mornings by singing “Let it Go”.

I am a big fan of Strictly and when the last series was on he was so excited to get up and dance around with his sisters, getting swung around and dizzy!

Movies 

He loves watching movies and his current favourites are:

  • Frozen
  • Moana
  • Cars
  • Tangled
  • Sing
  • Toy Story

I hit a stage of CBeebies overload so was really glad to have movies on instead. I don’t think I’ve seen the same hand full of films so much in my life (even taking into account the Dirty Dancing years) but it’s good to mix it up.

Food

The boy can eat! He eats everything that’s put down in front of him and even though he has a severe egg allergy it’s not held him back in anyway. We’ve had to adapt a few things but I’m glad to say he’s thriving and loves to try new things. His favourite dinners are spaghetti bolognese, sausage casserole and chicken and chorizo stew.

Housework

Just like his sisters he has been involved in the house and routine from as soon as he could be. His favourite jobs are sorting the washing, loading and unloading the machine and drier. When I tidy the living room, he goes around behind me and picks up any toys lying around and loves to hoover and dust. I think it is so important that kids get involved with the household stuff and are encouraged to be independent and he is more than happy to get stuck in.

Things He Doesn’t Like

To be honest there isn’t much he doesn’t like, he is pretty chilled and laid back. He really is a little ray of sunshine, always smiling and happy. He is a joy to be around and even though he doesn’t seem to like sleeping past 5:30am much (cheers son) I wouldn’t change him at all.

Here are some pictures of his magic twos

Two Minutes

Two Days

Two Weeks

Two Months

Two Years

Happy birthday my gorgeous boy

Cx