time flies when you're being a mum

Blog break!

30 Apr, 2016

Hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.

At the moment I am taking a break from writing Mums’ Days but please do explore the 750 articles I have written here over the last 4 (+) years!

I started Mums’ Days when I was pregnant, so you’ll find articles relating to pregnancy, health and fitness, the new born months and much more as I’ve explored my new role as a mother. Hopefully you’ll find something that tickles your fancy!

Taking a break

Anyone who blogs (professionally or otherwise) will tell you that blogging is brilliant and exhausting!

I’ve decided to take a break as we’ve recently been through some big changes as a family and I’ve been doing some soul searching to get my head around it all (I did an online course called Life with Intention by my favourite podcaster, Jess Lively! I’d highly recommend it if you can get on it).

I realised that I’ve lost sight of what it is I want to do with my life. What truly gives me meaning, a purpose and makes me happy. I’ve been allowing blogging (namely stats, my tots100 score and likes on Facebook, etc…) to define me and my sense of self worth, and it is a recipe for never feeling good enough.

About a month ago I was completely done with it all. But I’ve had some time off and I’ve started to miss it, so I don’t think this is going to be a forever break anymore.

For the next couple of months I’m going to basically hibernate away from the internet so that I can focus on Reuben (can you believe this is his last term before he starts school? He’s not 4 until August. Sob!!), do some gardening and reading.

If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can do so on hannah@mumsdays.com.

Thanks for all your support!

10 comments.

31 Aug, 2015

It feels like we’ve only been back 5 minutes – and the non-diminishing washing pile is testament to that – but we actually got back from Tenerife well over a week ago. Thankfully it’s still really fresh in my mind; all that sun, pool time and relaxation. It was the perfect family break for us.

Despite vowing to never go all inclusive again, the minute we discovered that Reuben could go to the kids club, we went to a Holiday Village. We flew out early (although an hour later than planned) on the day before Reuben’s birthday, on 11th August. The flight was a long one at nearly 5 hours but it was a far cry from our flight to Egypt. This one was relaxing and I was able to read loads of my book. I owe a debt of gratitude to both snacks and Paw Patrol for such an easy journey!

Tenerife - our summer holiday to Holiday Village

Once we arrived, a hot sticky mess, we found ourselves the snack bar and then hurried to the pool to cool down. It was soooo hot! (more…)

30 comments.

16 Oct, 2014

On the beach - we are lucky to live right by the beach so it's perfect for family fun!

We are lucky enough to live right by the sea. So, family fun for us is often a walk on the beach followed by chips and a walk home!

On the Beach

Last weekend we were looking after my parents’ dogs, Jack and Oscar, so Mike’s parents came for a visit and we made the most of the last of the Indian Summer – we’re wrapped up a bit but it really wasn’t that cold at all!

On the beach - we are lucky to live right by the beach so it's perfect for family fun!

There are loads of stones on the beach these days, great for collecting or throwing in the sea. But, it’s so fascinating to watch this landscape change. Every time we visit it is different as the tides change, bringing more stones and taking away sand.

This visit was also tinged with sadness. We are hoping to move into Newcastle, so no more quick walks on the beach for us, and this weekend it kind of felt like this could be one of our last visits while we still live so close. What is ordinary may soon require a 20 minute car trip.

It was fun nonetheless and I just love watching Jack and Oscar running together – they can’t be trusted for the most part but there is a quiet stretch away from the masses which Mike’s Dad and I walked to and let the dogs have a run around. Jack is SO fast!

On the beach - we are lucky to live right by the beach so it's perfect for family fun with our dogs!

Gabby and Mike’s mum had a race – I love the fact Gabby insisted on giving Grandma a head start!

On the beach - we are lucky to live right by the beach so it's perfect for family fun!

And Reuben did well with his walking in fits and starts but was soon up to his usual antics (as described in this post about tips for walking with toddlers!) and even laid down this time! Thankful a bit of walking with Jack spurred him on…

On the beach - we are lucky to live right by the beach so it's perfect for family fun!

Where do you go for family fun? On the beach or do you have another beauty spot nearby?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

7 comments.

10 Oct, 2014

I have a step daughter, Gabriella, who turned 8 at the beginning of September. We have a great relationship but woah there! She’s suddenly turned into a mini teenager. Literally over night. She’s a bit moodier, spends a bit more time on her own and boy does she love a good answer-back. She always has done but she’s really outsmarting me now! All of which requires me to take a step back and think about ways to connect with her so we don’t go into her teenage years arguing but having a good time instead.

23 ways to connect with your step daughter. My step daughter has just turned 8 and I can feel the dynamic of our relationship is changing as she grows. I have written this as a way of making sure we connect as much as we can! http://www.mumsdays.com/connect-with-your-step-daughter

The lovely Erica, Let why Lead, and her 42 ways to make your kids feel absolutely loved really got me thinking about Gabriella and my relationship. I love her but there’s no doubting that it’s different from the relationship you have with your child. It just is. And, it should be too. I’m not here to try and replace anyone, Gabby has a lovely mum!

We have her every weekend, which is fantastic and Reuben talks about her everyday from Monday until Friday – he often tells me before I’ve realised it’s even Friday, that Gabby’s coming home today! That’s one toddler who has got his routine down. But because we don’t see her all week, each weekend we (or more I) go through a little learning curve of a new dynamic to the house. A new thing on the telly, new stuff being left around the house, Reuben’s attention being elsewhere (a god send at times!!), new conversations, more bustle. I love it but it is different.

I’m not Gabby’s mum and she’s not my daughter, so while there isn’t that unconditional love you get with mother and daughter, we do love each other. My fear is that as she grows there will be a change that will result in us growing apart. You know, those weekends when she decides she’s not coming to see us…they are going to happen. So while everything is much the same as it has been for the last 5 years, I want to be present as she’s changing into a young woman and connect with her as much as I can!

Inspired by Erica, I wanted to do a post about my favourite ways to connect with Gabriella and, although I’m coming at it from a step mother’s point of view, I think it’s probably similar to what you would do to connect with any pre-teen (but replace girlie things with boy things)!

23 ways to connect with your step daughter

1. Watch a film together cuddling on the sofa, preferably with popcorn and/or ice-cream {or her favourite Youtube videos (this is like research for me – have you seen Gracie and Mommy?! They are so annoying but seriously working the Vlog thing!) or her favourite TV show without moaning (Jessie anyone? Yawn/puke)}

2. Make a cake together, or teach her to make easy things like scrambled eggs that she could then do herself (she loves responsibility!) and involve her in cooking dinner.

23 ways to connect with your step daughter. My step daughter has just turned 8 and I can feel the dynamic of our relationship is changing as she grows. I have written this as a way of making sure we connect as much as we can! http://www.mumsdays.com/connect-with-your-step-daughter

3. Chat after dinner while dad tidies up and LISTEN when she talks (properly – I get all sorts of insights when I actually put my book/phone/etc down! You’ve kissed a boy have you?!) and ask questions but don’t probe! Also listen to what she is currently interested in – It’s all about Zelfs and Monster High in this house at the moment!

 

4. Go to the Library, the cinema, or the park together, or have a coffee date. Or even go on a day trip, just the girls.

5. Give her responsibilities (her job is to set the table and organise the shoe cupboard (not a regular occurrence!) and she occasional does a bad job at washing up!) or chores (she loves a little financial incentive!)

6. Read together, we enjoy a page each

7. Make a den, dress up or generally goof around

23 ways to connect with your step daughter. My step daughter has just turned 8 and I can feel the dynamic of our relationship is changing as she grows. I have written this as a way of making sure we connect as much as we can! http://www.mumsdays.com/connect-with-your-step-daughter

8. Help with her arty ideas (like this one)

9. Be sure to kiss and hug when saying hello and good-bye and tell her I love her every day

10. Send an email during the week (she’s not got the hang of this yet but she will!) and give her a call to see how her week’s going

11. Get her a favourite new book from the Library during the week as a surprise

12. Go food shopping together – get her to write the list/read the list/go off to different aisles to find items

13. Invent a mocktail

14. Discipline her when necessary

15. Play games or teach her to play cards

16. Respect her alone time

17. LOVE BOMB (see Actually Mummy’s post for the gist – I love this!)

18. Let her look after Reuben – she’s like a mother hen and loves nothing more than getting his cereal, putting on his favourite programme, carrying him around like a toddler would a cat – it’s lovely to watch their relationship grow and by giving her little responsibilities like that, WE connect better!

19. Brush her hair (not popular but important!)

20. Do her homework with her (not popular but important!)

21. Plan the day well (Gabby likes to know what’s happening, when and with whom)

22. Praise her – sounds obvious but I hear people putting their kids down in little jokey ways all the time. Equally, never say anything mean about anyone in her life – it’s a complex business being married to someone with a step-child as there is of course the child’s mother. We have a wonderful relationship with Gabby’s mum and I like her. But even if I didn’t, I would never say anything bad about her to Gabby. Hearing something bad about your mother or father is apparently more damaging to a child then it is for them to hear something bad about themselves. Fact.

23. Embrace her dreams, encourage them and help them happen!

There are definitely more (I actually had about 45 but combined some together to get to the magic 23 number!) – things about teaching her; Teaching her to be kind, relish her female friendships, to be strong and believe in herself. But I think those are the kinds of things that should generally underline everything we do and say. Trying to be very aware of how I speak to other people, for example eye rolls or swearing are noticed by little people even in another room!! (learnt the hard way) I’m not saying I’m brilliant at all this. Far from it. But it’s something to strive for, especially on those harder days when we only seem to butt heads. It’s then that I need this list to remind myself how to move forward and re-connect with my step daughter again.

Do you have a step daughter or son? How is your relationship? And what do you do to connect with them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and anything you think might be missing! Click here for comments.

Or come and join the conversation on the Mums’ Days Facebook Page!

  Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

10 comments.

15 Sep, 2014

We met my parents yesterday at a wonderful pub, called the Snowy Owl in Cramlington, for Sunday Lunch. I highly recommend it for it’s amazing food but also for its location right next door to The Lady (or Goddess to some!) of the North, also known as Northumberlandia – a giant woman sculpted out of 150 million tons of rock, clay and soil in the middle of a 46 acre community park!

It’s free to enter (although there’s a suggested donation of £2 per car or £1 per person) and dogs appear to be welcome too. It’s a lovely place to enjoy some wonderful views (especially of the Shotton Surface mine if you’re Reuben and/or love diggers), fresh air, piece and quiet, all while walking on someone’s body. I love the walk through the ‘deep dark woods’ (I couldn’t help but recite most of the Gruffalo as we walked) and the lakes. But there’s also places for picnics, open fields I could imagine someone (not me) playing rounders and benches in strategic viewing spots for soaking up the scenery. Oh and since we last went there is now a cafe and toilet just as you enter from the carpark, which is always welcome!

Northumberlandia Map - A fantastic and free community park. Home to the Lady of the North and 43 acres of parkland. Wonderful for a family day out! Click here for our family review with a baby and a toddler http://mumsdays.com/northumberlandia/

Map courtesy of Northumberlandia

We only had time for a flying visit yesterday – up the head and the left boob – and then we were off again so I only took a couple of photos…

Northumberlandia Map - A fantastic and free community park. Home to the Lady of the North and 43 acres of parkland. Wonderful for a family day out! Click here for our family review with a baby and a toddler http://mumsdays.com/northumberlandia/

Uncle Isaac, Reuben and Gabby sat on the left boob (more…)

8 comments.

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