• I Choose Life

  • The Beach House

  • To Challenge. To Change.

  • Tantrum HQ? “I got this”

The Beach House

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I think this picture heavy post speaks for itself, we decided, quite spontaneously to pack up our bags and leave Brighton for dust this past weekend. We fled to a beach house located on West Wittering beach and spent two nights routine free, buggy free, pretty much phone free and genuinely we felt free – free to let our freak flags fly and embrace some serious family time. It was honestly food for the soul.

I often get stuck, I always have, but before birthing Max, I used to just get lost in my head and I would eventually un-slump myself, but Max makes everything better – I don’t have the luxury of time and mindfulness anymore. Until recently that is, Max started nursery and I gained 2 hours twice a week and I kept finding time to stop, think and process, but that has led to me feeling overwhelmed, lonely, isolated, anxious and stuck.

I hate change. It has been well documented, but I long for clean slates, for fresh starts and new beginnings – can you see the conflict here? We are all fighting our own battles and this post seems incredibly indulgent, but I wanted to share it, because in this age of filtered snaps and edited lives, sometimes it can all get a bit much and I would hate for anyone to think that life is peachy when it really isn’t.

Mr.B and I have been together for 15 years and we have always been incredibly smug about our relationship, we have never had to work at it and we are discovering that suddenly we need to make effort – to spend time together, to talk, to have fun and it is news and new to us. It has come as a harsh shock that we have to work on making time for each other and it has made us question everything. We needed this weekend to ‘work at it’ and gain some perspective away from the noise of people, phones and routines. It worked too, but it is only going to keep on working if we keep making the effort.

It is so easy to let life happen, unravel, but it is so important to not just go through the motions. I want to embrace life, survive motherhood, travel far, have adventures, share experiences and love hard. Is this too much to ask? I did it this past weekend so maybe if I make an effort I can keep the momentum going on this crazy life avalanche. “They see me rolling…”

To Challenge. To Change.

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What do you do to stop germs spreading?

What are your biggest challenge(s) when it comes to fight germs?

GSK asked me and I realised I don’t do nearly enough to actively fight germs in my household. I have a two year old boy who loves soil and sand and being outside and picking up snails and eating with the same hand…I mean how? Max is constantly wet wiped, washed, but really I need a hazmat suit to tackle the toddler issue.

GSK are on a mission. A mission to help people do more, feel better, live longer.

Did you know?

> 6.3 million Children under the age of five are still dying each year from preventable diseases (such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition, malaria and neonatal deaths).

> Children under the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa are 15 x greater risk of dying vs. children developed regions. 1.5 million neo-natal deaths occur due to infection, commonly umbilical cord infections.

Despite billions in aid donations, the number of preventable deaths just isn’t decreasing fast enough. Giving money is crucial, but businesses can do more.

GSK is partnering with Save the Children to help end preventable deaths, not by just donating money but by combining GSK’s scientific expertise and global resources with Save the Children’s on-the-ground knowledge to help save one million children’s lives in some of the world’s poorest countries. GSK aim to do this by:

  • Accelerating access to child-friendly medicines
  • Looking at product innovation. For example, GSK are reformulating the antiseptic commonly found in mouthwash to create a gel used to clean umbilical cords and prevent infection in newborns
  • Widening vaccination coverage
  • Investing in the training of health workers. 5,000 health workers have been trained and equipped with skills to identify malnutrition and preventable diseases have been trained through our partnership since 2011.

COMPETITION

Would you like to win £50 in John Lewis vouchers? All you have to do is simply answer this question: What do you do to fight germs? Via this link: WIN £50 JOHN LEWIS VOUCHERS

To challenge To change is GSK’s way of challenging some of the world’s biggest healthcare issues and creating change to improve people’s lives. For more information please click HERE

Competition Terms & Conditions 

There is 1 prize of £50 John Lewis Vouchers

Closing days for entries is 6th July

Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment

Optional entry methods are to follow on Twitter, Facebook and  tweet on twitter

The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries

The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen

The winner’s name will be available on request

The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address

Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions

The prize is non transferable and no cash alternative is offered

Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of GSK

Tantrum HQ? “I got this”

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Woah Nelly Furtado, I now live at Tantrum HQ, Tantrum City, East Tantrum. You can take either the tantrum express or tantrum tunnel to get here. Please send H-E-L-P.

I have documented a handful of Max’s ‘terrible twos’ on the blog because, in all honesty they haven’t all been “terrible”, but this past week has been terrifying. The kid is physical, loud and damn right obnoxious. I blame the parents. In Max’s defence he is not being “naughty”, he is not doing anything mischievous or nasty that would warrant a time out in the cone of shame, but he is 2 years old and it looks tricky. He is navigating life and discovering that there are limits to what humans can do and in turn he is pushing this mama to her limits!

However what I have realised is that I am COPING. Mr.B is travelling with work so I have been a single mum for the last 5 days and normally, just the mention of a possible “work trip” would of normally sent me straight to the cupboard under the stairs ala Harry Potter, but this time I was like “Babe, I  got this”. I definitely “had it” for the first three days, but then I broke. Tantrums will wear you down, they crush your soul and leave nothing in their wake, but disappointment in both yourself and your child. I am half the person I used to be. Tantrum Thursday soon turned into Tantrum Friday, oh and Saturday and really, now Sunday and so on.

The best part about tantrums is that you think that by taking your torturous toddler outside that it will get better. Every time I do this I open myself up to the potential of crying on a stranger, because it is like taking a contained tiger out for a walk or poking a bear. Nothing hammers home how much your child is being a complete butt munch than public bribery and judgement from the park mafia. In public you have to pretend that this is the first time you are being showered in a confetti of rice cakes whilst being kicked in the throat as you strap your cherub into the Bugaboo. In public it is kind of frowned upon to walk away from your child when you need someone to spin you on the rage roundabout. Breathe.

Ah motherhood. It is hard to see the wood through the trees sometimes isn’t it? I am pleased to say things have become a little more manageable after a rough week here. He suddenly knows colours and can tell me when he needs the toilet soooo…..great? Another wanker, I mean wonder week under our belt. I met a mum in a cafe today who had a 5 month old baby and she asked me if it gets easier and she looked so hopeful and so I said yes. I remember 5 months, I was up 24/7 and I was wondering when the “Babe, I got this” moment was coming so I lied. She left me with fresh optimism, a large sized frothy coffee and an “I got this” look in her eye. Good on her, because it really doesn’t get easier, but you get better at it.

PRO MAMA #BRESSURE

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Did you feel pressure to breastfeed? Did you struggle? Or did you bottle feed? I am part of this awesome campaign to empower mothers and to stop the breast versus bottle shaming. It is not a breast issue or a bottle issue – it is a feeding issue. Head on over to Channel Mum and share your feeding story and experience. Alternatively join in the conversation on Twitter and Instagram, use the hashtag #BRESSURE and meet other mums who are all proving that one size does not fit all. You do not have to feel alone in your own journey and you definitely should not feel judged. Join us so we can reinforce a positive change. Life is tough as it is and raising children is even harder, but feeding your baby doesn’t have to be a struggle.

My breastfeeding story is LIVE over on the Channel Mum YouTube channel as well as many other breast and bottle stories and videos.

You don’t have to be pro breast or pro bottle, just PRO MAMA!

What would be the one word that sums up your baby feeding experience?

If I were a Boy

If I were a boy I wouldn’t be writing this.

If I were a boy I wouldn’t have to text my friends as soon as I got home.

This is not something I would usually write about, but it is something that is on my mind everyday and it effects my decisions and subsequently my life. For as long as I can remember I have been told to “walk home with a friend”, to “text as soon as I walk through the door”, “to be careful” and “to be on my guard”. Incase of attack. Our lives as women are apparently made up of a series of decisions and choices that could go well as long as a man doesn’t rape us.

I just watched the Game of Thrones episode (spoiler alert) where Sansa Stark is raped. I am a huge GoT fan, but the entire Sansa storyline from series 1 to present day has been plagued with the question “Who will rape Sansa Stark?” Will it be King Joffrey? A dwarf? A peasant or Lord Baelish? I hated it and dare I say it, now it has happened I feel relieved. Relieved it will no longer be hanging over me. This, plus the recent story of a woman who got rewarded £500 for attacking her attacker has made me really mad. I am so mad that I have to worry about rape every time I leave the house.

Since becoming a mother I don’t get to go out much, but this week I got invited to a dinner with some girlfriends and I will have to catch the train after 7pm to the destination. My gal pal invited me to said event and in the invite I was promised a buddy system escort service to and from the station. This is not because I am a weirdo who doesn’t like to go out at night or I cannot walk by myself, this is just how women have to make plans. If we want a rape free night – we have to have plans in place.

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I cannot help, but think that if I were a boy I wouldn’t have to make these decisions, I wouldn’t have to make these plans and no, I don’t believe every man is leaving the house with rape on their mind, but why do I and every woman I know carry the burden that they might?

Date Night

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If you follow me on Instagram you will know I have an obsession with @DeliciouslyElla and her food ethos. Trust me, I have all the healthy eating books that promise to nourish me and make me glow from within and I get a little something from each of them, but I always go back to Ella. She is my jam.

I am always trying to eat healthy, emphasis on trying and I find the Deliciously Ella app and book to be my ‘go to’ for healthy alternatives when I crave a curry from my favourite Indian or want to reach for a snickers. After weeks of really trying to be healthy I feel like I have kicked my sugar habit and I no longer crave sweet treats. I am as surprised as you, BUT every evening like clockwork I crave a little taste of luxury after dinner and where I would normally go hell for leather on the chocolate I go for the dates instead. Say what now?

I know. Dates. Medjool dates to be specific, they are the fattest and most juiciest of the date family and they have a delicious fudge like consistency. I open the date, throw away its stone and stuff with almond butter. Done. I like to sprinkle some raw cacao powder on top and stick in the fridge for an hour to set. They are deliciously sweet and filling, so you need only one or two and I cannot believe something so small has changed my nightly chocolate routine. Every night is date night!

What after dinner treats are you loving? Is anyone else reading “Get the Glow” by Madeleine Shaw? Ive just picked it up and I am eager to try the 6 week programme.

It’s a Dog’s Life

PetPlan got in touch with me and asked me to create a video of a “Day in the life” of my dog – Cosmo. I jumped at the chance to see what Cosmo gets up to in the day…turns out that a lot of it involves sleeping. It really is a dog’s life!

This was such a fun video to create as we have always known that Cosmo is a special pooch with a lot of personality and Shih Tzu attitude and we finally get to share her with the world wide web.

This video has been made possible thanks to Petplan, but all themes and content are my own. @petplanuk #petplan

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Recommended: Hello Fresh!

hello fresh reviewDo you ever get in food ruts? You know when you’re just out of ideas and inspiration about what to cook for dinner? I do and all the time. Sometimes I have days where I even eat the exact same things as the previous day because I have an empty fridge and no time to find flageolet beans that a recipe book requires. I will admit that I have often looked at an Ella’s Kitchen pouch with hunger and a strange curiosity before pulling myself together and ordering the same food as last week on my online food shop.

This all changed last week when I discovered Hello Fresh, a delivery food service who will send you 3 or 5 delicious recipes and all the ingredients in the exact quantities you need. The meals are super simple to prepare (each taking under 30 minutes), they are farm fresh and will break your routine and allow you to discover exciting new recipes. Best of all, they are very flexible and you can pause your deliveries if you go on holiday or if you’d rather have a Chinese! They offer a trial box so you can dip your little toe in the water to see if you like it, which is what I did last week and I am hooked.

Our box arrived last Thursday and not really knowing what to expect I was pleasantly surprised. Three delicious recipes, complete with ingredients and instructions on how to make each yummy dish. One of my biggest pet peeves is waste. I hate finding mouldy veg and fruit in my fridge and having to throw food away, but I do all the time because I’m not organised enough to write meal plans and list all the ingredients I need, let alone finding time to skip up and down the food aisles. My style is more supermarket sweep! So Hello Fresh is my saviour.

I have realised that it is impossible not to talk about a product on blogs with enthusiasm without readers thinking that you have been sponsored or paid – for a plug, but dear reader – please know this… I will always be 100% honest with you about the content that I am choosing to create and share with you. Your trust is everything and without it this blog would not have a purpose. The Hello Fresh leaflet is something that popped into my post box as it probably did yours and is genuinely a service that I would recommend. Not only will your kids think you have slaved away over your piece de resistance, but you will never waste another bag of curly kale again. Thanks BEY!

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Thomas the Tank Engine turns 70!

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I don’t know what came first, a boy or Thomas the Tank Engine?! Max is a toddler who loves all the stereotypical “boys” toys – I trip over Thomas the Tank Engine daily and there is always a digger or car hiding on the stairs waiting for me like the first five minutes of a Casualty episode.

Our newest addition to the Thomas family is Thomas Pop ‘n Go which Max now loves to push and chase Cosmo with. Poor dog, but she’s just as transfixed by all the popping balls as Max is.

Can you believe that Thomas turns 70 this year? Bust my buffers I need to get the number to his dermatologist! Aside from the Thomas breeding programme in my house, I enjoy and encourage Max’s love and curiosity for Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. I remember watching the show when I was a child and I love sharing it with Max. Plus, anything where Ringo Starr has to do all the voices, complete with different accents gets my vote.

“They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight”

Are any of your little people embracing the stereotypes or are they open minded when it comes to toys?