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So after my post the other week, I think a few people might have been a bit worried that I was completely loosing it. But the funny thing is that although, ok that weekend kinda sucked in some ways, I was actually in a really good place when I wrote that post because I knew that life was heading in a good direction and my grumpiness that Saturday morning was mostly just frustration that circumstances were stopping me from doing what I needed to do and going where I needed to go and although I had all this intention to start changing my life… the momentum hadn’t really got going yet. Have you ever felt like that before? I think I’ve felt like that on and off for a long time actually. Having young children and babies that are breastfeeding and up in the night often… a lot of the time I felt that I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn’t do it. I was stuck being too tired to exercise, or too busy to clean my house properly, or I had a baby that was stuck to me 24/7 like a little koala bear in a wrap and I couldn’t possibly…

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There are so many benefits of children learning abut music and I think a lot of parents would say that they have ambitions of their children learning to play an instrument at some point in their childhood, if they want to. But for someone like me, who loves and appreciates all kinds of music but can’t play and really doesn’t have much of a clue about the different instruments, what they sound like and how they are played, I’m not sure how I would be able to help them make a choice of which on to take up. Monty the Maestro and his Marvellous Magical Orchestra seeks to solve that problem, by introducing children playfully through stories, illustrations and musical accompaniment to all the different instruments in the orchestra. The books and audio books work together to show children what the instruments look like, how they are played and what they sound like individually and together. Recently, Gabrielle, the creator of Monty the Maestro story books and audio books got in touch to ask if we would like to try out and review the first two books in the series. I’m always keen to introduce my children to new things…

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Oh guys, I missed last month’s siblings post didn’t I? I’m a little bit sad about that but it doesn’t matter, I’m just going to jump straight back in. I took these photos on a walk in the woods. We’d gone there mostly to reclaim some sanity on a busy weekend, but also because I wanted to see how easy it was to drive to so I can take the kids there on my own during the week. I think I’ve mentioned before that I now have my own car so in theory we can go anywhere we want even when Carl’s at work… but I’m quite a nervous driver, so that often limits our adventures. It’s a really lovely wood, so hopefully we’ll be spending a lot more time there over the summer. We were a little short on time, so we were going to stick to the main path that takes you on an easy circular walk through the woods and back to the car park. But, the gorgeous blue colour caught my eye and before we knew it we were jumping over tree roots and lifting the buggy of a ditch to get to it. Even a…

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Ironically, right after I wrote on here last week about simplifying our lives, there followed the weekend where I felt the most frazzled and overwhelmed I’d felt in ages. I woke up on Saturday morning full of the joys of Spring, the sun was shining and I was excited (I know it’s weird) for our first ever Saturday morning family deep clean. I cranked up the Trolls soundtrack, sent Carl upstairs to tackle the bathroom, set the girls to work  on the kitchen cupboard doors with spray bottles and cloths (basically their favourite activity ever), and I started the dusting, hoovering and general tidying… so far so good! But as I tidied, I got cranky. Really cranky. First of all, in the last couple of weeks we’ve got rid of probably over 20 bin bags of crap from our house… so why is there still stuff literally everywhere? Boxes of random junk that I found in Ernie’s room and still needs going through, that shelf of doom in the playroom that we haven’t got around to sorting yet, the kitchen cupboards, the top of the kitchen cupboards, the top of the fridge freezer (which collects crap because it’s probably the only place in…

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I wasn’t planning to have a break from the online world for most of April, but it just kind of happened… it started from a place of complete overwhelm. We had a lot going on all at once for our family and I just knew I had to step away from everything else and concentrate on me and mine for a while. I’m a huge believer in knowing when you need to press that survival mode button, cut out anything unnecessary from your days and ride out that rocky patch. There was a time when I would have just struggled on regardless, trying to do everything and be everything to everyone, but now I know better. It’s ok to say no to things, even things that you do really want to do and even when the only person you are saying no to is yourself. Saying no doesn’t mean it won’t still be there for you later when the time is right to come back to it, it’s more like just saying ‘not now’, my time and brain space is needed elsewhere at the moment. I always forget that bit when I’m really excited about something and I want to do all…

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Getting the kids to brush their teeth has always been a bit of a battle for us. Finding a flavour of toothpaste that all the kids like is the first hurdle, and then I have to get over the fact that I’m putting something that’s bright blue and smells like bubblegum in their mouths first thing in the morning and last thing at night… Jack N Jill Kids recently got in touch and asked if we would like to try their natural, organic toothcare range for Mabel, Greta and Ernie and I crossed my fingers tightly that it would be the answer to all my toothpaste problems. We were sent a tube each of strawberry, blackcurrant, and (the big winner for me) flavour free. Greta and Ernie loved both the fruity flavours, but Mabel being the little fuss pot that she is turned her nose up at them but was more than happy with the flavour free version. The toothpastes have no colour, contain only natural ingredients and the flavourings they use are certified organic. This is such peace of mind for someone like me who knows how important it is for them to brush their teeth, but doesn’t feel…

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If you haven’t heard of them, Wicked Uncle is a website specialising making it easy to find awesome gifts for all the kids in your life. When I’m buying presents for my niece and nephews or friends children, I always like to find something they are going to really love. I’d rather give a gift that is going to be used and enjoyed time and again than a flash in the pan toy that will get oohs and ahhs on the big day but quickly be forgotten after a few days. Do you know what I mean? As a parent as well, I absolutely love it when the kids get presents that are an activity or a game that we can all do together. The amount of times though I’ve just resorted to a gift card because I have no idea where to find cool stuff for 9 year old boys, or 7 year old girls…. Wicked Uncle recently got in touch and asked if we’d like to road test their website and some of the creative gifts on offer and of course, we were delighted to take on the challenge. Finding something suitable was super easy because you can sort…

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When it comes to feminism, Princesses have a bad rep, and not for no good reason. But although still not exactly smashing the patriarchy, the Disney Princesses I grew up with were more feisty than their predecessors. Rather than sitting around being kind and beautiful and not much else like Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, waiting for a Prince to come and sweep them off their feet…. my animated heroines of the late 80’s/ early 90’s wanted more for their lives. Ariel, Belle and Jasmine weren’t going to settle down and marry the first guy who crossed their path, and they weren’t into following the rules either. These girls wanted to choose their own destinies, they fought back against the oppressive men in their lives and they were willing to take a few risks to go out and claim the life they wanted for themselves. Belle was by far the most relatable Princess for little girl me. Bookish, scruffy, probably a bit of an introvert, a loner… odd. Let’s just say there was a lot I could identify with. I watched Beauty and the Beast over and over again as a child. The songs were so catchy, the characters so fun, the…

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