My New Year’s Resolution was to READ and so yesterday that’s just what I did. I had a click about on the Internet and, would you believe it, I’ve already found some really interesting stuff! [As an aside, Mike thinks clicking round this internet isn’t reading. Just so you know, he’s wrong. If it’s the written word, it’s reading in my view]

This was my journey…

More than toast

A delicious mum blog serving up gorgeous recipes with a side of motherhood and reality (see what I did there?!) – made sense to start here since this is where I went on the rare occasion I would read as it’s my favourite mum blog.

She linked to:

I’m only saying what you’re thinking

A mum with gorgeous hair and style, and an ability to say it like it is (1 out of 3 for me isn’t bad). Her post about pessimism really hit a chord (which is weird because she didn’t give much away at all!) about making sure your kids don’t see you frowning and moaning but instead laughing and smiling. I like that.

She linked to:

Free our kids – the beginning

I like this girl’s spark. She’s a really funny writer, making her idea all the more enjoyable to read about. Basically she lost her job and so a lack of funds combined with the news that British children are the most unhappy in the western world plus a general desire to stop needlessly spending money on new things and children specific ready meals, has resulted in Harriet doing it Granny style. Hang on there one track mind….

She’s going to raise her kid in the way her Grandmother raised her parents. Sans all the consumerist shit we all know (and love). It’s going to be hard work, incredibly time consuming, but cheap and ultimately I bet her kid has a ball. We’re talking no kid only meals and snacks (yoghurt in tubes, sweaty moulded cheese in plastic, etc), hand me down clothes and toys, reusable nappies, free activities (doing things with friends instead of paying through the nose for tumble tots, waterbabies and whatever else), the works!

I’d highly recommend you go and have a read of her ‘rules‘ and then have a read of her first posts. Twiching is my personal favourite so far where she provides a guide to birdwatching, here’s an excerpt to whet your appetites (it involves a naughty word I wouldn’t normally use – feels highly liberating!)

True story: I once stood in Hackney City Farm and watched a bold little girl break away from a huddle of scared school friends, stomp towards a goose, point a chubby finger and shout: “Fuck. It’s a giraffe!” There’s a moral there. Get out among the winged creatures before it’s too late.

There’s a possibility that story isn’t true but either way it made me laugh and she’s got a point. I live by the beach which is about 10 miles from Newcastle and I know that there is a horrifyingly high statistic for the number of children in Newcastle who haven’t seen the sea (can’t lay my hands on the actual stats, of course!)

So, I love the idea. So much so i left this message for Hattie:

And, just so you know, I’m no earth mother (I’m combination feeding out of choice (mine) and I’ve started giving my boy solids at 5 months…) but when you think back to being a kid weren’t the best days the ones where you were collecting conkers or flying kites or swimming in effing freezing rivers or building sand castles and accidentally getting burnt?

This all sounds incredibly nostalgic so what does it really mean for us…my family and me?

When I wrote my resolution to put my family first, I had in mind to do more things with Gabby, wholesome things, crafty things, hell we might even play with some of her Christmas presents. She loves all that stuff. And after last weekend’s major tantrum in Toys r Us because she wanted to buy something, ANYTHING, even that scary looking child-sized doll with the broken eye, we are taking a serious break from all toy shops. Next step? To surreptitiously throw out Gabriella’s favourite bed time reading – the Argos catalogue!

Free Games for kids – sand + toys + sea = fun at the beach for freeeeeee

What about Reuben? We’ve been incredibly lucky with the amount of toys, clothes, essentials like cots and pushchairs that we’ve been given (mostly second hand), which has saved us a small fortune (I reckon close to £1000), but do we go as far as reusable nappies?!?! I dunno, I’m tempted to investigate… I’ll think on it. But in terms of other spends, I’m certainly thinking twice about getting a new stroller to keep up with the Jones’! And, I love the idea of creating our own version of baby sensory and baby massage with friends in our own houses. Oh and I shan’t be buying baby food in jars, it’s easier, cheaper and yummier to just make it myself.

We’ll see how long the new year good intentions last…is this the year I learn to bake?! It’s a fun, close to free activity after all. One can dream.