time flies when you're being a mum

Seeds of a story

06 Jan, 2020

I was looking through an old note book the other day, while moving some books, and found a series of 3 sketches from a few years ago when I wanted to learn to draw. They were a tadpole, a tadpole with back legs and a froglet. I had copied them out of a ‘how to draw’ book so they’re nothing amazing but at the time, I really liked them and that was the catalyst for starting Frog Boy. It was just a few ideas seeds to begin with but after I listened to The Secret, I started to believe I could write a story and so it turned into a bigger seed which I finally planted.

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I had forgotten all about that until I found the little drawings. I thought I had started FB because I had found some frogspawn with Reuben and my mum and we brought a little home to watch them hatch (then took them back to where we found them). That was definitely part of it; when I thought ‘wouldn’t it be funny if a tadpole turned into a boy?’.

It wasn’t the very start but it was when I finally put pen to paper.

So, I wrote about a girl who lived in a house, a lot like ours, and went down to some crags, a lot like the ones near us, and brought back some frogspawn to watch hatch.

One of them turns into a frog boy.

It was sweet and innocent even though he does whisk her out of the window on a magic carpet of tiny frogs.

Apart from that particular chapter where the tadpole turns into a boy, most of the story has morphed into something else entirely and is focused around the Bobby Shafto nursery rhyme.

I’ve also noticed that ideas are much easier to come by than I first thought was possibly. I pick up on little ideas all the time now.

I used to think writing a story and coming up with ideas would be really hard. And it is because even with ideas you still have to sit and do the work.

But the ideas themselves seem to be all around.

I’ve come up with at least 2 more book ideas from just chatting with people.

I can’t have had my ideas receptor up before now!

 

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04 Jan, 2020

Over the last 3 evenings we’ve been watching the last 3 Harry Potter movies. Mike and Reuben had not seen them (or read the books), so we’ve really been enjoying doing that as a family. Bloody love HP – I read all the books when I was in my early 20s and had caught up by the publication of the Deathly Hallows. Loved the stories and it’s all hugely inspiring. The only trouble for me is that I’ve got a bit of comparisonitus!

Little digs keep popping into my head like:

‘My book will never be as good as HP.’

‘People are going to laugh at me.’

‘This is all pointless.’

Etc. you get the gist. Sometimes it’s not even words it’s more a feeling, a feeling of the pointlessness of it all. Why even try?! Steven Pressfield talks about this in his books and calls it Resistance (with a capital R)*.

Thankfully, I’ve done enough on my book now to not give up, however painful it feels at times and however much it feels like I’m trying to get blood out of a stone. I have to show the feelings and mean words who’s boss and keep ploughing on regardless.

  1. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to know and accept my book will not be as good as the most successful children’s books ever written, but that doesn’t mean it will be bad. Comparison is bad but a little competitive spirit is good – it keeps you striving to do the best you can.
  2. People may well laugh at me. They might even be doing so now. It doesn’t matter. I’m having a go and putting myself out there. And that is all you can ask of yourself.
  3. And life is as pointless or point-ful (not a word but you know what I mean!) as you choose to make it. I’m choosing point-ful!

Whatever happens I’m going to finish Frog Boy and I’m going to learn a lot in the process: how to write a book; the history of northumberland; hell, I was even learning about Faberge Eggs the other day; and, most of all, myself.

And, something I’ve already learnt about myself is that I am happiest when I make time everyday to write. Confidence grows when you do the thing that scares you, even if it’s just a little bit everyday.

 

* The Artist Journey and Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t are both great books I’ve enjoyed by Steven Pressfield. I’ve listened to them both twice!

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03 Jan, 2020

I’ve got out of the habit of reading so this year I want to be more consistent and keep track with a reading list.

With my current interests, the things I’m going to be reading are focused on either writing, children’s literature, research related to the book I’m writing (Frog Boy) or general get your act together books… here’s the 4 books I’d like to read this month.

 

  1. Plain Words – this was recommended to me years ago, when I told a local book shop owner (Helen from Forum in Corbridge) that I was interested in writing. I’ve finally cracked it open and it’s looking… a little complicated! I always had a fear of writing and English in general, the same way some people have a Maths fear, because I didn’t do so well at GCSE. I think I might end up being ok at it once I’ve learnt the rules properly. So, it’s time to dispel a few old beliefs and getting learning.
  2. Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder, by Lawrence Weschler – this was listed as one of the best nonfiction books of the last 25 years (as per this list) and I happened to have bought it 2 years ago because there is a cabinet of curiosities in Frog Boy, so I thought it would be fun for research purposes to finally read it.
  3. The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch, by Tom Fletcher – admittedly I’ve been reading this with Reuben over Christmas because we loved the first one. Still, I want to finish it and it’s good research!
  4. Drop the Ball, by Tiffany Dufu – this was from an Austin Kleon book list that tickled my fancy because it used the words ‘florist at work and life’ but now I’ve studied it more it seems to be about equality at home, which I feel like I already have. Still I’m sure there will be a few nuggets.

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It's a new decade!

02 Jan, 2020

I started this blog back in January 2012, 8 years of chattering away but if I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that I love a resolutions post. It’s now 2020, a new decade so I feel a goals post coming on.

2020

My very first blog was basically list of goals; I was pregnant with our first child when I started Mums’ Days and I wanted to keep a record of that but also work towards a number of things before the big day came. I find it motivating to have something written down so I can keep track of my progress.

This blog has morphed many times since then; from pregnancy, to baby, to what do I do next type blog. For a while it was even an income stream and source of free stuff! But a consistent post has always been my latest goals.

Like this one or this or this! So, with that in mind (and since I’ve not written anything for AGES…) here are my goals for 2020.

2020 Goals

1. Finish Frog Boy (working title)

Back in November I had a bit of an existential crisis because I wasn’t doing anything creative and after a while that makes me feel sad. Since then I’ve made sure that I make time to write (I’ve been getting up at 5:15 every morning to journal and work on a kids’ book) and I’ve made as much progress in the last month and a half than I have since I started it back in 2016. My aim is to finish the first draft by the end of January.

2. Write another book

Everyone knows your first book is crap, so if I actually want to be any good, I’ll have to move straight onto the next book and write that one too. Fingers crossed by the end of 2020 I’ll have something that’s half decent and possibly publishable!

3. Work on my ‘Findability’

This is from Show Your Work, if you want to be found (in my case so my book/s can be published) you need to be findable!

Which is where this blog comes in. I haven’t blogged consistently for years as I no longer want to write about my kids. However, I still associate with Mums’ Days and feel close to the contents. I’ve always been truthful, and when I read a post back it feels like I’m reading my diary!  So, I now plan to use it to document my latest journey with book writing… another birth of sorts! It totally won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s OK, the right people should hopefully find it and enjoy it.

2020

I have a few other goals (as per the pic!) but those are the main ones. And as you’ll see, I’m a lover of daily habits – I don’t have loads of time, what with looking after a 13 month old baby full time, so it’s all about the routine for me.

“Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time.”

Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

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We're off on an adventure!

24 Jul, 2019

It’s been a while! 3 months have gone in a flash of many more sleepless nights and busyness – which is why I hate it when I stop blogging because I can’t remember what I’ve been doing!

Here are some highlights…

Nancy turned 6 and 7 and 8 months old.

6 months

6 months

7 months

7 months

8 months

8 months

AND SHE’S SHARTED SLEEPING THROUGH *gets out the party hat and streamers*

She’s an absolute peach. “No bother” is the general comment about my youngest and “I love her face”. Haha!

Both statements I can endorse as I feel the same.

We’re in a great routine (that Mike is still struggling with – “she eats at 4, right?” was the question yesterday. No, love, it’s 5.), and while that does make my days feel a bit groundhoggy, it allows me non-baby time as she’ll sleep in her cot for a couple of hours a day that way.

Groundhog Day is my favourite movie anyway.

Siblings

Reuben adores her and she adores him too 💕

She’s loving learning to eat. I keep worrying it’ll go tits up at 12 months, like it did with Reuben, but I managed once, eh? Plus, it might not.

Weaning

Getting Away

I’ve had a couple of lovely trips away. 

The first was with my friend, Jeannie (who has just been accepted into the GB masters team for the half-marathon. She’s really inspired me on my fitness journey!!), to Sweatlife in London. It was completely exhausting as we had to be up at 4:45am on the Saturday and didn’t get home until 11pm on the Sunday. It was also a great big workout – loads of classes to do and unlimited yoga (and Jeannie also did a hill training session in the middle – LOL!!)… I spent more time in the mediation room (yes, I was sleeping), than in classes, but it was inspiring, exciting, exhilarating (the Yoga Rave in particular was EPIC) and while mummy was away Nancy learnt to sleep through. Win win.

The second was the nicest weekend ever for our friend’s wedding in a beautiful hotel right on the edge of Windermere. No kids. It was the perfect date weekend, with time on our own but also loads of fun with friends (including ‘clubbing’ in Bowness at 1am).

Date weekend

We swam in the lake the morning after the wedding to clear our heads… Ah.Maze.Ing.

Windermere

 

Windermere

Writing

During nap times I’ve been working on my book! I talked quite a bit about this last year, as I was on a creative writing course and had started an older children’s book; then pregnancy and doubt stopped me. So, reinspired, a few hundred words a day has turned into 20, 000 words. According to Neil Gaiman (of Coroline success), that’s half way through…

Finding Why

I’ve taken a break from writing since the wedding as I’ve been back on the old ‘deep thinking’ train. Urgh. I’m trying to work out WHY I want to blog so much… I can’t seem to just get on with it so something mustn’t be quite right. So I’ve been reading Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why.

I’m really enjoying it and totally get the reason for establishing clarity behind what you do so everything you do makes sense and will help other people, who also share your values and beliefs, find you… I just can’t quite put my finger on exactly what my WHY is. I’m worried it’s tied with external validation, but maybe that’s something I need come to terms with? Can you reach out and be part of a community without it?

Through all this searching for meaning, however, I have my old friend and fellow blogger, Aby’s words ringing in my ears – just get started. Isn’t that always the worse bit after a break?! So, with that in mind…

Epic roadtrip

We have bought a motorhome and we’re going away in it in a matter of days on a European road trip for FIVE WEEKS!!!!!!! 3 kids and a dog. Shiiiiit!

motorhome adventure

dog passport

Mike and I are getting a little antsy about making sure we have everything we need.

I’ve been having anxiety dreams about running out of milk (I stopped breastfeeding Nancy a few weeks ago – terrible timing in terms of this trip as milk bottle prep in a confined space isn’t much fun but good timing as she’s now sleeping through and that is definitely something you want in said confined space)!

motorhome

Yesterday I filled a large Waitrose bag with Ella’s kitchen products and extra milk… I’ve no idea why as I hear Europe also have babies? But I’m hoping it’ll stop the dreams!

My other concerns relate to entertaining the kids (without too much reliance on devices), clothing, sleeping arrangements for Nancy (I’ve got 5 sleeping bags with togs from 0.5 up to 2.5, plus extra blankets), packing enough coffee, pooing – we have a loo but……. and Reuben’s Birthday is also in the middle of this trip. #winning

On the flip side, I’m so freaking excited!! I recon the first week will be a bit of test but we’ll soon get into the swing of things, plus we’re going to see some amazing places. We’re starting in Amsterdam, working our way through Germany’s Black Forest to see the original Disney Castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, then circling back so we can meet my family (my parents and older brother’s family) in France. It’s going to be epic and involve a lot of swimming in lakes I recon. Lush!

Have you ever been away on a Motorhome Holiday? What do I need?!

I plan to keep a journal on here as I love documenting what’s going on so I can look back (and I’ve stopped doing it). So if you have any tips for travelling with a family, or want to see what I’ve packed, let me know!

motorhome packing

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