10 things to consider when looking for nurseries for your child

10 things to consider when looking for nurseries for your child

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Sending your child to nursery or childcare is a BIG DEAL. I remember looking around nurseries when Leo was a baby and finding the whole process really emotional and overwhelming. I ended up getting a job in the evenings so he didn’t have to go but he did eventually go to a play school and Alex goes to a nursery school. There’s a lot to consider when choosing  a childcare setting for your baby, today’s guest post is full of advice to help you on your quest to find the perfect nursery for your little one. View Post

Do other mums find lockdown this hard?

Do other mums find lockdown this hard?

I’ve just finished getting the kids to bed, I am sat with my sleeping baby in my arms and I am crying. Everything feels too much today. Everything feels too much most days, actually. Before lockdown I think I was doing ok, just about managing to keep my head above the water. Now, 6 or 7 weeks in, the weight of all the changes and the fear and disruption the virus is causing are starting to pull me down. A lot of the time I feel moments away from drowning. It’s just too hard.


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The importance of not comparing yourself to other parents during school closures

The importance of not comparing yourself to other parents during school closures

I’ve just made myself feel really rubbish. It’s the first official day of school closures due to the Coronavirus outbreak and I’m already beating myself up for not doing enough. I’m sat feeding Til off to sleep and having a scroll through Insta – the usual – and I’ve been bombarded with other mums posting everything they’ve been up to today with the kids. (I would like to stress that the current time is 12.18pm before I continue typing the rest of this post.) So, I have so far seen posts from parents who’s children have already completed work sheets for maths, reading, arts and crafts, been outside on scavenger hunts and played shops with real money and real snacks. Lots of people got their kids jumping around for PE with Joe this morning on YouTube, this is one activity I can also tick off the list. Everything else though? No, we haven’t done anything educational so far today.

The importance of not comparing yourself to other parents during school closures

I feel like everyone is going at the homeschooling thing with their feet pressed down to the ground on the accelerator while I’m lagging right at the back, still getting seat belted in for this bumpy ride. Seeing everyone far out teacher/mum me over on Instagram has made me feel like a failure so I had to stop my scrolling thumb in its tracks and write this blog post instead.

I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way? If you haven’t already achieved a full school day worth of work, or done any at all, by midday then don’t worry – nor have I! It’s ok to already have succumbed to screen time, it’s ok if you haven’t so much as found a pen and paper, let alone asked your child to practice their hand writing on it. It’s ok if the paints and PVA glue are still firmly tucked away in the craft drawer. The children are going to be at home for four weeks at the very least, you’ve got time.

It’s also really important to remember that the kids aren’t at home because teachers have suddenly decided us parents could do a better job. Schools are closed to help stop the spread of a deadly virus that is on a killer rampage across the globe. Our children are home with us so we can keep them (and others) safe, they are not home because we suddenly have to teach them everything they were learning at school.

Social media makes it so easy to compare yourself to others and these comparisons can make us feel inferior and like we are letting our kids down. You are not doing your children any harm if you don’t have a colour coded timetable stuck to the fridge. My approach to ‘home schooling’ is going to be very laid back. Why? It’s not because I’m lazy or because I can’t be bothered. It’s because this is a scary, stressful and totally overwhelming situation and I don’t want it to be any more challenging for myself and my kids than it already will be. I have a list of things we are going to do, there will be reading and writing and worksheets and arts and crafts and everything that everyone else is doing, it just won’t all be today..maybe not even this week.

I don’t know about you but my brain is full of the news at the moment and it’s stressing me out no end. I don’t want to feel more stressed and if my six year old doesn’t want to do something and I’m trying to make him then I can tell you now, that situation is going to get really stressful, really fast. I’m not saying I’m not willing to deal with some challenging behaviours, I’m just saying I don’t want to be upsetting my child unnecessarily at an already upsetting time.

If you are one of the mums who have had your kids learning all day already and have a star chart and a schedule and maybe even a blackboard set up in the living room then please don’t think I’m judging you. I know you’re not posting everything you’ve done to boast or make others feel inferior. You’re just sharing your home schooling/self isolating journey and that’s totally your rite to do so. I think in situations where people are struggling with comparison, it is up to that person to distance themselves from the thing that is triggering them. For me, today at least, Instagram has pressed my ‘compare and despair’ button so I won’t be looking at it as much for the rest of the day.

It is important for us all the remember that none of us have been in this situation before. None of us know the best way to do this self isolation/social distancing/homeschooling thing, we are just trying our best to follow guidelines whilst keeping ourselves and our children safe. Now is not a time to be beating yourself up over the fact you haven’t done as much home learning with your children as others have. This is the first day of missed school, it’s fine to ease yourself in gently and take baby steps into your new life as a teacher and mother. Now, when anxiety levels are high and positive mental attitude may be running low, you need to be kind to yourself.

As with every little thing in parenting, do what feels right for you and your family. For me, right now, the thing that feels right is cuddling my baby close as she finishes her feed and then I am going to go play on the floor with the boys. Be kind to yourself mama, please.

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Our new life – thoughts, feelings and fears about Coronavirus

Our new life – thoughts, feelings and fears about Coronavirus

Do you remember where you were when you first heard Princess Dianna had died? Or when you first heard the news of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York? Or when Michael Jackson died, or the Manchester Arena bombings happened, or when our future king Prince George was born? These were all big news, and if we all think hard enough we can probably remember what we were doing and who we were with when the news broke. I don’t remember the first time I heard the word Coronavirus, or who I was with or what I was doing. Yet, now every time I turn on the television, pick up my phone or speak to a loved one, it is the only thing being discussed. Not only is Covid19 big news, it is global news. It is life changing news. View Post

Potty training tips and advice

Potty training tips and advice

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I can remember dreading potty training when Leo was a toddler. I just didn’t understand how my baby was going to go from doing all his toilet business in a nappy to suddenly figuring out how to use a potty. When it actually came time to take the plunge and there was no ignoring all the signs Leo was ready, I discovered that potty training wasn’t as stressful as I’d expected it to be. With all things parenting, you have to figure out yourself what works best for you and tour child but it’s always beneficial to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. If you are about to embark on mission: potty train the toddler then today’s guest post is a must read. This post is full of potty training advice, I hope you find it useful. View Post

When half term feels like survival

When half term feels like survival

Half term, it’s something I spend a lot of time wishing for. On those weekdays when I’m trying to get little people fed, washed and dressed and out of the house by 8.30. It’s a week of reprieve from evenings spent packing lunch boxes and mornings consisting of me searching through piles of washing and pulling everything out of the tumble dryer on to the floor in search of a school sweatshirt or a pair of grey trousers. Half term is a break from spelling test practice, arguments over homework, the weekly search for the missing book bag and there is no pressure to be anywhere at a certain time. Term time is so hectic and busy so when half term arrives the kids and I are so excited ready for the break, we welcome the rest from routine with open arms. Sometimes, the joy of half term arriving can be short lived though. Sometimes after only a few days I find myself longing for those manic mornings as I miss the peace that’s comes with having two out of three children in school. Sometimes, and I really wish it was actually never, half term feels like survival. View Post

Tips and advice on how to keep your child safe online

Tips and advice on how to keep your child safe online

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Online safety has been on my mind a lot lately. Leo (and Alex, actually) is getting more and more interested in mine and Oli’s smartphones. He has progressed from just wanting to play games, he now likes to watch videos on YouTube as well. I don’t mind him being on YouTube when we are with him but I do not like him going and watching it alone in his bedroom as it is all too easy for him to stumble across something he is too young to see. With smartphones being literally EVERYWHERE it feels impossible to keep our children out of the online world for as long as we would like. Luckily for anxious parents like me, there are lots of tools and resources available out there purposefully created to help keep our children safe when using the internet. Today’s guest post is full of tips and online safety advice, I hope you find it useful. View Post

How do you know when you’re done having babies? – Having a vasectomy and why we are stopping at three

How do you know when you’re done having babies? – Having a vasectomy and why we are stopping at three

As I draft this post I am sat in the car feeding Tilly while Alex sits and plays in his car seat in the back. We are parked up outside a private clinic where Oli is currently having a vasectomy. Yep, he’s having The Snip, that operation that just at its mention has men everywhere protectively putting both their hands over their crotch. In a matter of twenty minutes or so, Oli and I will officially not be able to have anymore babies. View Post

Tips for travelling with kids

Tips for travelling with kids

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In the six years we have been parents, my husband and I have only braved travelling abroad as a family three times. The first was a holiday to Majorca with just Leo and then we went on holiday to Italy and France with both boys after Alex was born. We haven’t even considered taking all three kids away yet as we find it hard enough just taking the family up to the in laws for the weekend, let alone navigating an airport or train station with two excitable boys and a baby. Travelling with kids doesn’t have to be difficult though, there are ways you can make the experience a lot easier and enjoyable for everyone involved. Today’s guest posts is full of so many useful tips and tricks for travelling with kids, definitely read on if you have a family break booked soon and want to prepare.  View Post

How to make moving easier when you have kids

How to make moving easier when you have kids

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In the past four years we have moved three times. The first of those moves was a big relocation to Hampshire in 2015. It was difficult packing up our whole life in Wales and moving four hours away but we did it, somehow! Leo was only two then, it was difficult trying to pack and organise everything around his daily routine but we managed it. In 2017 we moved 15 minutes down the road to a different house in Hampshire and then in the spring of 2018 we relocated back to Wales. The last two moves were the most difficult as we had two children by that point and Leo was in school and this made the process a little bit more complicated. There is so much to think about when it comes to moving house but it is important that you try to keep everything as stress free as possible for your kids as well as yourselves. Today’s guest post is full of lots of useful tips on how to make moving house easier when you have kids. View Post

The things people say when you have three kids

The things people say when you have three kids

I’ve noticed something recently. When I am out and about with my three little ones I seem to be getting lots more comments from strangers than I ever did when I only had the boys. There’s been a shift since Tilly arrived, not only has my family life changed but now the things people say and the judgements they make on me as a mother have changed too. The jump from one child to two felt big but it was a manageable leap, like stepping stones placed just close enough apart across a river. Going from two to three? Well, that felt like just hurtling myself off a cliff and hoping for the best. Life has totally changed now I have three children, Tilly has slotted right in but also breathed a sense of total chaos into our days too. And, wow, other people sure seem to love commenting on my growing family and giving me their thoughts on being a mum of three. Here is a list of just some of the things people have said to me now I have three children View Post

How to make a family beach trip less stressful

How to make a family beach trip less stressful

Today I have a guest post all about one of my favourite things – family beach days! We live in Swansea which is right on the South Wales coast so we are no strangers to a day out on the beach. Family trips to the seaside do differ massively to the days we used to spend on the beach kid free, there is a lot less reading on a sun lounger and much more sand castle building and jumping over waves in the shallows. The logistics of taking kids to the beach can feel a bit overwhelming but you can have fun by the sea with kids, you just need to prepare. This post is full of really useful tips and will hopefully help you to feel more confident about going on your next family day out to the seaside. View Post

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative guest post. I did not write the main article but had full editorial control. Remember, I would never publish anything I didn't think you would find interesting or useful.

5 lessons I want to teach my children about money

5 lessons I want to teach my children about money

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I’m just going to come right out and say it, I’m rubbish with money. I get the whole ‘burning a hole in my pocket’ thing when I have more money than we need for bills and life. It takes a whole lot of will power for me not to go shopping and blow any extra money on things we don’t need. Over the years though, especially since having children and money has been tight, I’ve tried to be more organised with money and more careful with what I’m spending. I think it is important to teach children to have a good attitude and knowledge base surrounding money so when they grow into adults they are better equipped to make sensible decisions with their money. Although many of us may not like it to be the case, you can’t really function as an adult without money and it’s best if you are able to keep your finances in check. I’m no Martin Lewis, I’m not a money saving expert but I would like to teach my children the lessons I have learnt about money. I’m still learning myself but I think these 5 lessons can be introduced to children to help them develop a healthy relationship with money when they become adults. View Post

Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with Wealthify. All words and opinions are my own.

4 tips to help you buy your new family car

4 tips to help you buy your new family car

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When you start a family your bank balance takes a massive blow. There really is no avoiding all the baby/family related spending that starts pretty much from the moment you get pregnant and doesn’t really ever stop. When I was pregnant with Tilly we realised we were going to need to invest in a bigger car as the boys were still in big bulky car seats. We are yet to buy ourselves a new family car, I am currently stuck sitting in the back and Leo has his car seat in the front whenever the five off us are off somewhere on an adventure.  While we save up, we are also researching what the most suitable car will be for our growing family’s needs. Today I have a guest post full of really useful tips if you too are also looking to buy a new family car. One day I will make it back to the passenger seat and Leo’s seat will fit in the back again – one day! View Post

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative guest post. I did not write the main article but had full editorial control. Remember, I would never publish anything I didn't think you would find interesting or useful.

How to get your child ready for nursery

How to get your child ready for nursery

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This week is a big week for lots of us mums and dads, oh, and our kids too: it’s the start of a new school year. My Leo has moved up into year 2 and I can’t actually believe where the years have gone! I can remember the day he was born so clearly and now he is six, in year 2 and basically an adult. Before sending our little ones off to the classroom though, many parents decide to send their babies to nursery. I have never done the nursery thing but I can easily imagine how difficult it must be to decide where to send them and when. If you are starting to think about sending your baby to nursery, this guest post is full of useful tips and advice to help you get your child ready for nursery. View Post

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative guest post. I did not write the main article but had full editorial control. Remember, I would never publish anything I didn't think you would find interesting or useful.