time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Learn tagged with 'family'

This category is all about learning and development and things to trying with your baby or toddler. I’m learning too so if you have any suggestions, send them my way.

Facing your fears


How I've been learning to face them and move on...

20 Mar, 2018

On Sunday I sat down to write. I wanted to document a funny week and it’s turned into a 2-parter. This one is all about facing your fears and how I do it/hope to do it.

Mike is away in Tanzania. He’s been facing his own fear of heights as he climbed Kilimanjaro (read his story here) for Team Kenya (who are changing lives through empowering and educating women). Thankfully he’s done it and is safely back down. He gets home on tomorrow morning. Yey!

It’s also my Birthday today! It doesn’t feel much like it…It was just Reuben and me, and after the initial flurry of present opening (I didn’t open a single one!) it was back to business as usual!

facing your fear

Reuben decided today was the day to address the issue of not being allowed to play on the switch on the way to school, and he discussed it for quite some time coming to the conclusion I’m a horrible person. So fun.

(If you’d like to do me a Birthday Favour please fill in this! < More info at the bottom.) (more…)

01 Apr, 2014

I’ll level with you. I’m really missing Mike. I want him home now. Reuben has taken to toting round a little (yet to be framed after 5 years) photo of him and Gabby, shouting “DAD” at the top of his lungs. I think he misses him too. I literally CANNOT wait to see his little face when he finally sees Mike on Sunday. It’s going to be so precious. In the meantime, while thinking about Mike, I was scanning through my photos and I found a bunch of recent photos (all in March) of Reuben with various male members of the family. It’s got me thinking about what a lucky little boy he is to have so many positive male role models in his life.

His dad is around a lot, we nearly always have breakfast together. This is our family meal. He picks him up on a Monday and is normally home early on a Wednesday and Friday. Plus we do lots of fun things together as a family at weekends when we get Gabby back.

male role models

Bit of telly with daddy

His Grandad Parker is around at the drop of a hat. He has him on a Monday (with Grandma!) but is always willing to have him if he can during the week. They go on bus and train rides. Eat ice cream at the beach and generally have a great time together.

male role models

Reading a classic with Grandad Parker

Then there’s Grandad David (he doesn’t want to be Grandad Bryan – that’s MY Grandad!). You will never know work ethic like my Dad’s. He works for God – was a vicar and now teaches people to be vicars (among a lot of other things). He generally works all day and night and some weekends. And he’s a published author. But despite not seeing him as much, Reuben still thinks he’s great, which is proven by the fact that he wants to snuggle up on the sofa for supper. This is not Mr Independent’s style!

male role models

Supper time with Grandad David

Then there’s Uncle Isaac, “Ike” as he calls him. ‘Uncle’ Isaac is my 14 year old brother. What a pain in the bottom he is! I may be 31 but he’s still my little brother. Guess who thinks he’s the bomb? Reuben. Isaac will spend the majority of his time while we’re there shouting at a computer screen, then come down, jiggle Reuben about and then he’s the favourite. Unjust but true.

male role models

Playing the piano with Uncle Ike

Then last week we met with my Grandparents for lunch. We don’t see them enough, it was before Christmas when we saw them last and yet Reuben acted and felt like he knew them. You can’t make a kid that age do anything he doesn’t want (believe me) so it’s all truth. It melted my heart to see him holding Grandad Bryan’s (Great Grandad to him) hand as we walked back to the car. As I said in Friday’s Mums’ List, he doesn’t like holding hands!

male role models

Walking with Great Grandad (my Grandad Bryan so my Dad’s Dad)

And those are just the photos I have in my phone. There’s more uncles who he also loves! He’s literally tripping over fantastic male role models. Apparently, the root to being happy is to be grateful and I feel so grateful for this.

I don’t know if you saw it but last Friday night Joanna Lumley met Will.i.am. It was an amazing documentary. What a fabulous pairing. Anyone else and I wonder how genuine it would have seemed. It also showed what a gentleman Will.i.am is. I’ve never been his biggest fan or anything, just thought he was an incredibly talented oddbod! Anyway, during this documentary, Joanna Lumley talks to Will’s mother. She was a single mother and in one sentence I was blown away. When asked if she was a strict mum she said something along the lines of, “My mum raised 8 kids alone and none of them went to jail, so I knew I could and, yes, I was strict.” Did you hear that? NONE OF THEM WENT TO JAIL. In that time in their neighbourhood, that was a big deal.

I thought/worried about a lot of things when I was pregnant but I didn’t think about jail. I can’t imagine having a baby knowing that the odds were stacked that he would end up jail. I feel so lucky that that isn’t really a concern. It’s there obviously, but not like for Will’s Mother where Gangs were rife and males went to prison.

It has brought back memories of some people I grew up with, albeit briefly. When I was 10 my family moved to Birmingham. I went to an inner-city school for a year, where the crime rate was high, and there were probably no more than a handful of kids in my class who had dads in their lives. I don’t know the statistics about linking crime with a lack of positive male role models but I do believe there is a connection. I wonder what happened to some of those kids?

Anyway, hats off to Will.i.am who hasn’t forgotten where he came from and is doing loads of great and interesting work with underprivileged people. And, I hope that some of the money you helped me raise for Sports Relief can help people in similar situation.

The other side of this is being a single mother. I’ve only had a week and a half of it and I’ve been a mess. Leaving my phone 30 miles away. Leaving the backdoor open overnight. Leaving the buggy out overnight in the rain. There’s been a lot of leaving going on and Mike is normally the one that makes sure I don’t leave things. I’ve realised that I need to get my shit together and stop relying on Mike for so much! There are some incredible women out there raising children and doing a wonderful job without a full time dad.

Last week I was feeling sorry for myself. I just needed a new perspective. As I take a moment to see how my son has grown before my very eyes (we’ve been having the discussion on the Mums’ Days Facebook Wall about how new pyjamas make us realise that our babies have grown!), I’m just grateful for these men in my life and my son’s life. We both have a lot to learn from them!

Male role models

New PJs! (I love them – a 2 pack was £7 from Sainsburys for anyone interested, although it looks like you have to go in store to buy)

I hope that made sense! Who are your favourite role models for your children?

I am also linking this in with #allaboutyou – Zaz, this is my shoehorned post so although it isn’t all about me it was a moments reflection on how lucky I really am, and a loose connection between feeling gratitude (and if you watch this fab TED video you will see how gratitude = happiness!) – so hopefully you still think it qualifies! xx
#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

Juice Festival 2013


Getting kids to be creative over October Half Term!

17 Oct, 2013

Before Reuben came along I had an event management company so I knew about the Juice Festival and would have loved to be involved, or even go, but it was for kids and I was, for the most part, kidless… so this year I am mega excited to get to go as a fully fledged parent with a toddler desperate for entertainment!

Juice Festival, to give you a bit of background, is a celebration of children and young people’s creativity. This year there are 35 different projects all offering a wide range of ways for our kiddies (and us!) to get involved in the arts. For me, the Juice Festival kind of sums up what the North East became famous for (before this government came along with their big boots and tried to stomp on it, that is, by getting rid of One North East and so many of the funding streams that was giving the ‘grim North’ its light), the arts! I can feel my younger self bubbling up inside me – Where is the joy in life without the arts?!

Don’t get me wrong, somehow through the amazing ingenuity of people in the arts up north (such as NGI), there is still a lot going on. Some wonderful venues to visit FOR FREE, like the Great North Museum, where Reuben and I just popped along to last week. And, venues and general arty people are putting a lot of thought into putting on great events for children to get them engaged in the arts… and history and science and, and, and. But Juice takes this to a whole new level as it jam packs a whole week with loads a stuff to do! It’s like they knew half term was coming up or something!

Juice Festival 2013

Reuben in the Mouse House at the Great North Museum – it’s the thinking mam’s soft play with museum-y bits and all gratis (and clean)! – that’s a blow fish and an owl above the ‘space rocket’


And…we’re back


02 Sep, 2013

We’re back! Did you miss us? probably not, but I missed you!

I have really enjoyed my little break though. I obviously didn’t do nearly half the things I thought I would in terms of the blog but I have had a lovely summer with my family! And in true family slide show fashion, here’s what you missed…


01 Apr, 2013

Happy Easter! This post does involve a chick experiencing some baby massage but I’m afraid that’s as Easter-y as it gets. I hope you’re having a lovely long weekend though!

Aaaaaaages ago, I was exchanging emails with Ally who commented on my blog post about breastfeeding in public. One of the things she said she’d be interested in me blogging about was…

“What fun things can I do with the little one when I’m on Maternity leave?”

By my calculations, Ally should have a 2 week old baby now so this post should start to come in handy in the next couple of weeks…I remember when Reuben was about 3 or 4 weeks old, I suddenly found myself starring at a baby who wasn’t crying, feeding, pooing or sleeping. I literally didn’t know what to do with him between then and the next time he’d need something! So I did my best to entertain him. It was pretty lame. After that it was clear that we were going to need to start doing things; having things to play with, ways to interact with each other.

One of the main things we did together when he was really little was baby massage. A bunch of us from NCT went to a lady’s house (Janine from Birth and Baby Basics to be exact!) 1 lunch time a week for 5 weeks, we sat in her living room with a roaring fire, and for a few minutes the seven screaming babies were calm. Surreal, I tell you. And from then on, every evening as part of his bedtime routine, I would massage Reuben’s legs (he couldn’t handle anymore of his body being touched in the evening). The change of scenery (he loved the bathroom) combined with nursery rhymes (and other songs, I somehow ended up singing Tina Turner most nights) and the leg massage was amazing for stretching him out when he was getting more and more ratty before his bath. It was a lovely time together, getting to know each other and we would have smiles again.

Baby Massage with bells on – meet Lavender Bee

Needless to say, when I met Pippa and David from Tactile Tales, a company about promoting the benefits of massage and storytelling with your child, I loved them and Lavender Bee…it’s baby massage to the next level!

baby massage

 I naturally instagrammed this gorgeous little packaging straight away! 

So, what is it? Lavender Bee is a story about a lavender bee (obviously) who goes on a journey through the lavender fields, encountering all weathers and a few friends along the way. It’s a lovely little story, but here comes the clever part…there’s massage instructions to match each page of the story. It also comes with a pot of lavender scented sunflower oil, which is therefore, great for babies from 6 months on (on a side note, they should make this in bumper packs because it is soooo nice). This is a very welcome break from Reuben smelling like a chip – so far we’ve only ever been able to use oil olive on him as he’s skin’s really sensitive.

baby massage

Lavender Bee Baby Massage story

I really, really like it! I have to admit, although I don’t want to, that Reuben’s a bit too small to engage with the story (he’d prefer to eat the book) – it is aimed at toddlers after all –  but I still like to do it with him. I like the techniques and the more we do it the more he will start to interact with the story. What a lovely way to incorporate baby massage as he grows! Plus for now the lavender oil makes him all nice and sleepy (me too!).

I’m doing it with my baby and Gabby’s doing it with her’s (the chick). NB Gabby isn’t swearing at me in the 4th photo, she’s getting her fingers ready for the next massage!

baby massage

baby massage

baby massage

baby massage

baby massage

You can buy the Lavender Bee massage pack from Tactile Tales for £15 (inc p&p)!

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