Love Letters to Our Little Ones {6th June 2016}

Love Letters to Our Little Ones {6th June 2016}

So, you may remember last week I decided to start a little weekly series of love letters to the children and I’m really glad that I’ve decided to do this. We had a lovely weekend together as a family and I’m sure that I’ll be writing more about the charity work that we were supporting on the blog soon, but for now, let’s get started….

Isis Mae

Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

Isis Mae, this weekend you absolutely blew us all away. We were singing at Ashton Park for ‘The Big Lunch‘ fundraising together and literally words cannot express how proud we are of you. I felt so privileged to be able to sing a duet with you, it was a very special moment. We sang together at Nana and Grandad’s church once but this was different somehow. Singing a song we’d learned together just this week, and having you introduce me back on stage after you’d finished your set. You were just astounding. Cool as a cucumber, speaking to a field full of at least a thousand people. They may not have all been staring at you but you were looking out at them, fearless, engaging with the audience. I couldn’t be more proud. I know I tell you that’s what you should do and you are the best pupil, you just do what I say, but that doesn’t make it easy. Your self-belief is amazing. I love that you trust that you can do things that make you nervous. I have been singing solos since I was about 7 years old and so have you, the difference is I would be vomiting before and afterward up until the age of 15 with nerves. It was only at that age that I realised I didn’t care what people thought of me, and I could only bring my best. You seem to have caught this already and I hope and pray with every part of me that you never lose this. That your confidence grows from strength to strength. I was amazed that you practiced so hard in the run up to the event too. We all went swimming Saturday but that was the only specific fun task that we did, considering it was half-term. I’m so pleased you all play so lovely together and that you don’t feel like you’re missing out if you’re not off on day trips for half-term. You have just as much fun with your siblings in the home. You learned to swim on your back this weekend. You said that because Shayla could do it, that gave you the final push to learn for yourself. I could literally babble for thousands of words and never express how much you blessed the entire family this weekend. Uncle John was so happy listening to you sing. What a gift that is, to bring such happiness to people. You have an exceptional talent and grace about you that will bring many smiles to people. You hadn’t finished your first song before people were trying to book you for their next event. Always believe in yourself darling girl, we will always believe in you.

Shayla-Rae

Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

Baby girl it was hard for you this weekend with Isis needing to practice so much and being up on the stage. You were so desperate to be up there too. You were made for the stage and I promise you your time will come. Last year when Isis and I sang at a charity event we were able to get you up on stage to sing a song too. It was a lot more of a relaxed atmosphere and this crazy little 5 year old shouting Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ went down really well. Your little voice is becoming so beautiful too, you were joining in with Isis and I when we were practicing and it was lovely to hear your gorgeous voice. You are super confident and when it’s your name being asked for when people call to book I know that all we’ll need to do is unleash you because you are absolutely fearless when it comes to performing and I love that about you. You can come across so quiet but give you a microphone, some lines to say or a dance routine and you are the star of the show without a doubt. You learned to swim on your back this weekend. You were the reason Isis pushed herself to do it. You were playing so nicely in the pool with Judah too and encouraging him. You were able to have some special time with Grandad when he came. You two have such a wonderful and precious bond and it’s really beautiful to see. I love seeing you and Judah together. You’ve got such an interesting relationship. You are either amazing together and making hearts melt or you bicker. It’s a typical sibling relationship but I just love seeing that dynamic as you’re into a lot of similar things. You two make it seem as though you live together all the time, no-one would know that you and Isis spend time together separately. Of course, that’s the reality and you have a wonderful home that doesn’t involve Judah but seeing you together and your bond, it would be impossible for anyone to pick up on that. I love how you always include him in all your games. You’re a very kind big sister. We had lots of fun cooking together this weekend. You’re the fastest stirrer in the house. Whipping up the guacamole almost as good as the blender could. We love you very much and we miss you terribly when you’re not here.

Judah

Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

You were so amazingly brave going down the huge inflatable slide at the event yesterday. You used to be so cautious and I love that about you. You’re still cautious now but you seem able to judge and weigh up dangers really well these days. You can see that it’s high but that it’s safe and off you climb so excited. You were funny singing along with Isis and I while we were doing warm ups, and you kept singing ‘My car has flat tyres’ when we were in the car and Daddy was hoping you didn’t have a strange prophetic gift, but I knew you were just singing your warm ups. You are such a hilarious character. You were incredibly brave in the swimming pool on Saturday, you learned to swim on your back and you were extremely chuffed with yourself. You also told me that you loved going swimming. I asked you why and you told me ‘because you can spit wherever you want’ and took in some water and projected it from out of your mouth. I laughed so hard. You have the funniest reasoning. You kept telling us how much you loved having fun with Uncle John. ‘Uncle John’s my best friend’ you said. I asked you why and you informed me ‘he always plays with me, and we can say stinky things’. You are such a boy, it’s brilliant. I love how you are so beautifully sensitive but still a crazy character that loves everything to do with farts and attacking us while saying ‘Lightning strikes’. Your favourite programme is ‘Dinosaur King’ at the moment and you know all the names of the different dinosaur types. Your memory is staggering. You don’t seem to have a concept of time though, everything that happened in the past, happened ‘last week’ to you. If it was in the morning, or indeed last week, it’s all ‘last week’ to you. You seem to have developed a conscience all of a sudden. You keep apologising for things that happened in the past, as something happens to trigger your memory. ‘I’m sorry that I smashed the plate at Nana’s last week Mummy’ (it actually was last week this time). I tell you that it’s ok and you apologised to Nana at the time. I like this new trait and I hope it means that you will soon stop hitting your sister when she has a toy you want, instead of just apologising afterwards. We were shooting some pictures for a campaign we have coming up earlier and you told me you wanted an icepop when you had finished your work. I love that you understand what I do. You told me you want to do my job when you’re older. You want me to teach you how to take pictures. You were snapping pictures of me last night and telling me you were ‘capturing my beautiful hair’. You decided to vlog while I was editing, you were chatting into the camera ‘Mummy taked me somewhere pretty and new today’. You’re so unbelievably sweet. I can imagine your Daddy being like this as a child. I hope this means you’ll grow up to be as loving as he is, if not more. We love you handsome boy.

Eden

Image. Double tap this image to view it full screen. Double tap and hold to show sharing options.

Our darling baby girl. You are just so funny. You cling to me all the time. You’re like my little shadow and I love you so much. This week you’ve asked me for your own make-up and I couldn’t help but find myself saying yes, so I now have the task of finding something suitable for a teeny toddler that doesn’t make me cringe but satisfies your desire to play at being like Mummy. You kept asking me to put your hair to one side in a bobble which is often how I wear mine and telling everyone that you ‘got hair like Mummy’. The funniest thing you did this weekend was deciding you were going to teach yourself to swim. You were literally pushing Daddy and I away as you were spluttering in the water because you wanted to do it yourself. It was scary at first until you clicked what you were doing. Oh my goodness it maybe only took you seconds, but those seconds watching you only just keeping your head above water felt like hours. You would hit us away if we tried to help ‘leave me now Mummy’ you would say. I had my eyes glued to you following you like a hawk the entire time we were in the pool. You were jumping in off the side, which inevitably took you under the water but you were absolutely unphased. You’d bob back up with your arm bands in your own sweet time and take yourself off to do it again. You were unbelievably brave and really I’ve got to say it, incredible. Daddy and I were literally awestruck. Not to be left behind by your brother and sisters you also were pleased with yourself as you learned to swim on your back too. Your vocabulary is astonishing. You told Judah how to do his drawing earlier ‘if you put some stickers here and then draw a dinosaur that will be awesome’. You said ‘awesome’ with such excitement. I just love everything about who you are becoming but also know that we will need to keep our eyes glued to you as you are not deterred by anything and dangerous things seem enticing to you, like most toddlers. You weren’t at full health this weekend, we had to sit in the bathroom with steam quite often. It only seems to play up at night otherwise we would’ve taken you to the GP by now. We have also been giving you your inhaler as and when you need it. I hate when you’re unwell, but you still always carry on the same. You just may toddle a little slower, but not by much. You really are amazing, I pray you never change.

Sensational at Sixty

Yesterday evening I was privileged to attend a sixtieth birthday party for one of my Mum’s nearest and dearest friends.  My Mum’s friend June has been in our lives for as long as I can remember and hearing everyone speak about the wonderful woman that she is last night made my heart want to sing.  If there’s anyone that is sensational at sixty, June is.

Sometimes we go through difficult times and attend funerals for those that we have loved and lost, it’s often in these moments we realise we never really praised them while they were still alive.  We have so many wonderful things to say but we regret not saying it to them when we had the chance.  Also, you can find at weddings, funerals when eulogies and toasts are involved it’s very easy to focus on the good when everything is romanticised.  No-one talks about their terrible attitude at times etc. Last night I realised though, Mum’s friend June just doesn’t have a bad side.  To me she’s living proof that angels walk among us.

So, I just wanted to take the time out here on my blog to celebrate the life of June, who is absolutely sensational at sixty and one of the most amazing ladies I think I’ve ever been privileged to meet.

Kind and Generous

June is a beautiful, classy lady who has a velvet voice and is extremely well spoken.  Being a Northerner and growing up in Chorley (of Peter Kay’s “Chorley Labour Club” infamy) meeting people who are so well spoken can seem daunting.  My maid of honour Sophie is from Bath and when we first met I always felt like it was so obvious we were from two different class systems.  Growing up knowing June that wasn’t the case for me because I never knew any different, but hearing some of her oldest, truest friends chat about meeting June last night made me realise this is how they felt at first too.  That is until they focused on the words she spoke rather than how eloquently they were spoken.  June is ALWAYS peaceful, kind, gracious, and generous in all her dealings.

When I talk about June being generous I mean that she extravagantly goes above and beyond in encouraging people.  She is generous with her words, abundant in showing her love.  Yet, she’s always dignified and graceful in all her ways.

One of her friends regaled us all with a funny story about when she was trying to quit smoking and June would send her cards encouraging her with “well done, I’m so proud of you, you can do this” messages inside.  She said as she then inevitably would start again June would just lovingly reassure her that it was ok, she could try again.  Everytime she quit smoking lo and behold another encouraging card would come through the door, stating how proud June was of her.  Such a simple anecdote but it completely sums up June.  She did manage to give up in the end but how many of us would still be sending cards by the fourth and fifth attempt?  June was. Always faithful, always loving, always true.  Never wavering in her belief in people and consistently showing up as her most sensational self day after day.

Army Bride

You may think reading this and not knowing this lady I’m chatting about, who I deem is sensational at sixty, fair enough, but I bet she’s had an easy life.  It’s easy to be that way when life has dealt you an easy hand.  This is not the case.  June met her husband in the army and has been an army wife, raising children overseas and understandably known times of true loneliness.  June has been through extremely difficult situations within her family.  One thing you observe as a child of their friend, viewing things from the periphery, is that June knows a quiet but fierce determination of strength and belief in people.  If she believes in a resolution, or redemption she will hold on with all that is within her until it becomes a reality.  She fights for her family, but not with aggression, with an unshakeable faith that believes for the best.

June is not the sort of character to spill out all her woes to every man and his dog but there has been the odd time I’ve been privy to some of her difficulties and I have to say even in the face of hurt she never, ever gives up on people or speaks a bad word about them.

June is the sort of person I want to celebrate, as a wife, as a mum, as a grandma she is who you would aspire to be like.  Alas, for this candid girl from the backstreets of Chorley, it’s probably not that attainable, but my gosh I’m feeling inspired to try.

Time After Time

After the speeches my sister sang a song and had me in tears as it was so appropriate:

“If you’re lost you can look and you will find me

Time after time”

Hearing account after account from her friendships that were mostly three decades long just showed what a faithful, beautiful lady she is.  Also, seeing people walk in and out of my Mum’s life as we’ve been through hardships, there is one lady who has ALWAYS been there, stuck closer than a brother and that’s June.

So June I just want to honour you today and immortalise here on the internet for as long as this web server survives, you fabulous lady who I adore with every fibre of my being and I know I have probably taken for granted in my life.  You indeed are sensational at sixty and an inspiration for women everwhere.

Happy Birthday princess.

sensational at sixty, celebrating motherhood, I'm Every Mum, lifestyle and parenting blogger June with her two eldest beautiful granddaughters sensational at sixty, celebrating motherhood, I'm Every Mum, lifestyle and parenting blogger A full dancefloor to the 70’s vibes sensational at sixty, celebrating motherhood, I'm Every Mum, lifestyle and parenting blogger My beautiful Mum who had organised the party sensational at sixty, celebrating motherhood, I'm Every Mum, lifestyle and parenting blogger June’s oldest friend who knew her in her teens and in the army sensational at sixty, celebrating motherhood, I'm Every Mum, lifestyle and parenting blogger beautiful cake in June’s favourite colours

sensational at sixty, celebrating motherhood, I'm Every Mum, lifestyle and parenting blogger

Changing my Perspective

It’s been such an interesting time for us recently and to say that I’m changing my perspective almost seems like an understatement.  Things have changed dramatically since I reached a turning point nearly 9 weeks ago.  April 2nd I was feeling horrendously low.  I was in so much pain walking, and just not wanting to leave the house.  It was getting worse.  Have you ever treated your body so badly that you literally get that feeling, ‘I’m going to die if I don’t change something soon’.  I had got to a point where I didn’t see a way out.  I didn’t feel like anything was ever going to change.  That we’d got to the point that I was going to be one of those people who just live in their bed and their husbands bring them food, and they start to become the bed as they are so huge and then magazines come and write articles about them.  I wanted to die.

Looking at all the things around me that I have going for me, my amazing husband, our beautiful children, I’m talented in a lot of areas, maybe a jack of all trades and a master of none, but there are many things that I could turn my hand to and do well.  There’s something horrendously wrong when my eating habits, weight issues, anxiety and depression are bringing me to the point of suicide.  I told James how I was feeling and said ‘we HAVE to go to church tomorrow’.  I was desperate.  Something needed to change, and I didn’t know where else to turn.

I’ve grown up in a christian family, I’ve always known Jesus, but over the previous 6 months I had got myself to a point where I was so low I was shutting out everyone and everything.  Cancelling everything in my diary, not wanting to see people because I was so aware of how much weight I’d put on.  I could barely walk at times due to my weight and declining health.  I was being tested for everything under the sun, cameras down throats, cameras needing to go in my tummy, ultrasounds, smears, blood tests, my body was telling me that something was wrong and the doctors were trying to figure out what it was.  Every test turned up nothing.  Constant vomiting, blood appearing in lots of places that it shouldn’t meant that they kept testing me but they weren’t finding anything.  Anxiety was not doing so well at this point either.  I just didn’t want to be around people, I felt a fraud around the children, I was avoiding the older ones as I felt they could see through me.  It was just an awful time, and it was getting worse.

James heard my cry and agreed we’d go to church the next day.  We went somewhere new, I didn’t want to see anyone that knew me, I’d closed them out.  I also didn’t want everyone gossiping about how much weight I’d put on.  So, we decided to try a new church in Manchester.  There was a visiting preacher that week who was a comedian.  He was really funny, but he also chatted about how he tended to be really introverted with his thoughts and get so caught up in his thinking he’d destroy an idea before it even had a chance, he was describing how I felt.  He talked about how he would tell himself ‘I need to be changing my perspective‘.  To have listened to this guy chat about life and be so funny, to then hear how down he could get if he left his mind to it’s own devices.  I just really related and felt a freedom for how I had been feeling and that I wasn’t so abnormal.

I realised that something needed to change dramatically but I didn’t know how to do it.  I just pretty much cried through most of his preach and most of the singing.  They did an alter call at the end if anyone wanted to become a christian.  This wasn’t me.  I knew Jesus, I’d grown up loving Him.  Then they asked if anyone felt distant from God.  I knew, I knew I had to put my hand up.  Some people came over and brought me a little pack, with a Bible in and invited us to chat to them at the end in the coffee area.  I chatted to a lovely lady who I think didn’t know how to deal with me.  Seeing a lady with four children telling her they’d got to the point of suicide the night before.  She could sense my desperation, and see how tragic it was with all these beautiful faces around me.  This lovely lady, her name was Janet, just prayed for me.  I cried some more and we went home.

Something changed in me that day.  That week, I attended a meeting in someone’s home that I’d never met before.  They invited us all as a family as we couldn’t get a babysitter.  I also took myself off to my Mum’s one of the days that week.  This was just absolutely unheard of and James didn’t know what was going on.  I can’t say that everything is magically better, but bit by bit, step by step I’m getting stronger all the time.  I attended a party this week to celebrate my Mum’s friends sixtieth (which I blogged about here) with people who’ve known me for years, this is something I doubted I would be able to do again, unless I somehow miraculously lost all my weight.  But because I’d been changing my perspective I just didn’t care anymore what people thought of me.  I realised that people can think whatever they like, they always will anyway.  I can’t let it stop me living my life.  This had definitely been a huge part of the anxiety for me.

I have a MASSIVE amount of weight to lose.  So much weight that a brand want to work with me, and if we collaborate together they want to get my story into the press.  I’ve decided not to shy away from this.  I don’t know if it will happen, I don’t know what people will think when they read the article.  I know there will be negative comments, but I’ve determined not to let this be something that stops me encouraging other people that it’s never too late to change, to make a difference.  Changing my perspective has saved my life.  Looking outside of myself, and for me personally, looking to Jesus when I’m feeling low is getting me through.  The difference in who I am now is gigantic.  My husband can’t believe the difference.  It’s been two months and I’m living a completely different lifestyle.

Is everything magically better?  Is it heck.  I still have about two people’s worth of weight to lose, my home is still messy, it will take me time to sort it all out while doing all the other things that I need to do in a day, looking after two toddlers, preparing meals for my family, cleaning up after preparing the meals, getting back on top of my blog as I have deadlines and contracts to live up to (more about that to come soon).  I read the Marie Kondo book ‘The Life-changing magic of tidying‘ last week and we’re working our way through the decluttering stage.  I’ll write more about that sometime in the near future also.  Nothing happens overnight, but I’m changing my perspective and slowly I’m getting there.  I’m feeling excited for the future and I hope that this general blurt about where I’m up to at the moment can encourage somebody else.

There are so many people in this world with real, life-altering problems, and I don’t want to be someone who destroys their own life with their negative mind when I am so blessed to have my health, and my family.  When you’re feeling down choose to look above your circumstances.  Focus on other things.  You’ll soon realise how insignificant the thoughts that captivated you are and start to live for the things that make you feel free.

changing my perspective, I'm Every Mum, focusing on the future, Wayne Dyer quote quote by Wayne Dyer

7 Tips for Buying a New {Used} Family Car

7 Tips for Buying a New {Used} Family Car

point S tyres, new family car, Vauxhall Zafira, 7 Seater, tips for buying a family car, women buying cars, tips for women buying cars, don't call me step mummy, lifestyle blogger, mummy blogger, blended family, beautiful scenery

Buying a car can be quite daunting, especially if you’re the stereotypical woman who doesn’t really know much about cars.  Or if you’re like myself and started driving later in life.  In the past I have taken the easier but more expensive option and bought new so that I knew I at least had my warranty if anything should go wrong.  This can be a bad financial move as the cars lose their value as soon as you drive them off the forecourt, but I know that a lot of people still buy new every year, and to be honest we debated getting a new model on finance because of our lack of knowledge and my constant fear that if you don’t buy something reliable I could end up stuck on the motorway, miles from home with 4 children hungry, tired, needing the toilet in the back.  Mine and most parents WORST NIGHTMARE!

So here are a few little tips that I discovered whilst researching into buying a new used car:

   1. Don’t be scared to ask for advice

This one can be a lot easier for women buying than men that don’t like to admit they know nothing about engines *coughs* ‘my husband’.  I know most of us are worried about being ripped off every time the car needs anything doing to it at the garage.  They could tell you it needs everything doing and you’re kind of at their mercy.  Although neither my husband or myself know anything about cars, my Father-in-law does, and I have a mechanic friend who gave me some tips.  Also, my Dad recommended someone that he trusts to give me some advice and I took my brother along, who knows more than my husband and I combined when I went to actually buy the car.  If you really don’t know anyone who can give you tips, then ask around on Facebook groups, do some research, the internet is full of people wanting to give you their opinion.

    2. Decide your budget

A big factor for most people is working out what you realistically can afford.  I really didn’t want to go for a Diesel engine as  I’m a big fan of the environment, and it was easy to be tricked into buying a petrol engine that was a lot newer for the same amount of money.  Let’s be honest aesthetics are important to us women, but for the particular car that we were looking at, a Vauxhall Zafira, every mechanic and friend who knew anything about cars advised me against a petrol engine as they are notorious for having problems.  This was much to my dismay, but once I got my head around the fact I would probably only be able to afford an 04 plate as opposed to an 07/08 plate it made the choosing a lot easier, which leads me to the next point.

  3. Narrow your search

There are SO MANY used cars out there, my mind was literally boggling with all the choices.  Was I willing to travel to collect our car or would I settle for lesser quality because it was down the road and easier in the short-term?  We all love to have instant everything these days, and delaying gratification is definitely something that I struggle with.  Once I decided my exact budget, and that I was going for a diesel engine, the amount of cars started to whittle down.  I then also made a choice, that because I didn’t have the luxury of taking my mechanic friend along, I would only buy from registered traders rather than a private sale, because I didn’t know enough to be able to see if the car would be a good investment or not.  I have seen my sister buy cars in the past from a private sale and the next day go and spend £1,000 to fix it because they wouldn’t allow her to return the car, and in the end she couldn’t be bothered with the hassle.  Again this started to whittle my search down.  I then decided how far I was willing to travel, don’t forget that on sites such as autotrader it works out miles as the crow flies, it doesn’t take into account how many miles you’ll actually have to drive to get there by road.

4. Buy a car with a recent MOT or a long time left on it

If you’re really going for a cheap car, you may only want it to last you a year minimum whilst you save for something else.  A car with a recent MOT and that had minimal, if any, advisories on it is more likely to last you at least a year.  Ours had been MOT’d the day before and only just put on autotrader the night before I bought it.  It hadn’t had any advisories on it’s last MOT.  The year before it had a couple of minor things, such as break lights needing replacing etc. and this had been rectified at the time.  Which leads into the next thing…

  5. Get a FULL service history

If you’re buying used you need to buy a car with a full service history.  This way you know that nothing is hidden.  You know exactly what issues that car has had in the past, hopefully only minor ones.  You can see if it’s sailed through it’s last MOT’s etc. or if it often needs a lot of work doing to it.  Great for assuring longevity although we all know nothing is guaranteed when it comes to our automobile friends.

  6. Take it for a test drive

This can be daunting but is such an important step that should NOT be overlooked.  My cousin told me about a car she bought that had so many issues that she would’ve realised had she taken it for a test drive.  I was super nervous about this part as I was going from driving a teeny Toyota Yaris to a 7-Seater Vauxhall Zafira.  I asked the mechanic to drive it off the forecourt for me and take me to somewhere more spacious for when I started to drive, think like when you first passed your test.  Then it was my turn.  Check the car starts first time, that it doesn’t misfire, check there’s no mechanical fault lights flashing whilst you’re driving, check the lights, the aircon, the electrics.  All the things that may have contributed to why you were willing to pay this price.  Does it drive smoothly?  Are the gears shifting nicely, does the clutch stick?  Are the breaks working well?  All of these things are important to check on a test drive.

   7. Check the tyres

I have had a car fail it’s MOT in the past because the tyres were not at the legal tread requirement.  Tyre safety is so important, after driving for nearly a couple of years now I can definitely tell the difference when I’m driving and the tyres need more air in them, when the tread is wearing it doesn’t corner the way it should.  It is unsafe in wet conditions and will add time to your breaking distance.  It is so important to be aware of tyre safety.  If you’re buying a used car from a registered car trader the tyres should all be legal, and again, this is one thing to look out for on the recent MOT.  Tyres can be expensive if you don’t know where to look – check out Point-S car tyres in the UK!  Point is a network of independent tyre dealers that stocks some of the best brands at really reasonable prices and if you use their locator you’ll see they have stockists up and down the country. There are 3 centres within 15 miles of myself.   There are also some companies that stock part worn tyres that are in great condition and can be even cheaper.  We sometimes go to a local dealer like this as recommended by our mechanic friend when funds are a little tighter.  The important thing is to check your tread is at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference.  For more information on the laws about car tyres click here.

point S tyres, new family car, Vauxhall Zafira, 7 Seater, tips for buying a family car, women buying cars, tips for women buying cars, don't call me step mummy, lifestyle blogger, mummy blogger, blended family, beautiful scenery

*N.B. This is a collaborative post

You Baby Me Mummy

+Rehab London Male Skincare Routine {Review}

+Rehab London Male Skincare Routine {Review}

Rehab London, male skincare, beauty blogger, male bloggers, video review, male skincare routine, male skincare for sensitive skin, anti-fatigue, stress relief, exfoliators for men

The wonderful people at +Rehab London (click here to check them out) heard of my husbands extremely sensitive skin and decided to rise to the challenge and send some products for us to review.  My husband suffers with Rosacea on his cheeks and nose area and also Psoriasis at the base of his hairline due to his scalp.  Usually the only products that he is able to use are medicated and prescribed from the GP.  Being able to use anything other than those was a distant dream really.  Definitely, he would never think to find anything more specific than a medicated wash and some soothing gel that are on repeat prescription.

I don’t want to write this review for my husband really as the real review has been captured in his words and by the video camera.  I will summarise though as I myself was so impressed.

James very rarely shaves, it’s extra irritation that he just can’t be bothered with.  When he does he dry shaves with a clipper so never really achieves a close shave which would be better for his work life on those days he needs to attend court.  When he does try and shave closely he usually is full of red patches and cuts as his skin is just so sensitive.  Enter the ‘Argan Oil Shaving Gel‘ that +Rehab London sent to us, it really did work wonders.  You can see James’ shocked reaction as he runs the razor through smoothly first time.

Rehab London, male skincare, beauty blogger, male bloggers, video review, male skincare routine, male skincare for sensitive skin, anti-fatigue, stress relief, exfoliators for men

James would definitely never dare try an exfoliator unless it was prescribed, well, saying that, he once did because I suggested it may help, before he had a diagnosis from a facialist and GP, it didn’t have great results – oops!  The ‘Scrub Up Daily Detox‘ was brilliant, he said his skin felt smooth afterwards and refreshed, there was absolutely NO redness.  I’m not being dramatic here, this feels like nothing short of a miracle after seeing how sensitive his skin is and how it flares up to everything.

With the ‘Calm Balm‘, ‘Shine Free‘ and ‘Revive Survive‘ I wasn’t expecting such negative reactions, but even still I was pleasantly surprised.  James was really impressed and he’s kept up the regime for the past two days post review, which is extremely unlike his dyspraxic self so he must’ve decided it works well and like the results or he just simply would not bother.

As his wife I am just so pleased that he felt pampered, that these luxury products are compelling him to keep up with a skin regime that makes him feel nice and more confident about himself, although he probably wouldn’t admit that, as to him they’re just ‘beauty products’ but I think the guys and gals at Rehab London may have made a convert out of him.  I also have to point out that they smell delicious, his skin feels so smooth, and it makes kisses and cuddles even more special if that’s possible *winks*.

Don’t take my word for it though, please watch James’ Review on our YouTube channel or by pressing play below.

These products are certainly not cheap, but they are also extremely affordable for what they are, ranging from just under £10 to around £20 per item.  We’re yet to see how long they will last, but with the easy pump on the moisturisers it’s likely to not get spilled or overused so we’ll be expecting at least 4 months from those and maybe need to replenish the scrub before then.

*Disclaimer – we were gifted the luxury products from Rehab London for the purpose of Review, all opinions are however honest and our own.

{Me & Mine} 2015 – July

{Me & Mine} 2015 – July

me and mine, july, family portrait project, family photo, on the beach, don't call me step mummy, blended family –

Daddy is loving : 

* The extra bed space on the nights Mummy is at work

* Packet noodles (fast becoming a work staple – oops)

* His new iPhone 6 now that Mummy has upgraded

* Having the car to himself now Mummy has a new car

Mummy is loving :

* Her new job and meeting new people

* Wearing make-up again (taking some time for herself)

* Having quality time with the children now school is out

* Practicing singing with Isis who is sharing her first gig with Mummy

* Doing lots of editing, planning for the future of the blog (rebrand)

Isis is loving :

* experimenting with little bits of make-up that Mummy and Daddy allow her to

* her new iPhone 4S now that Daddy has Mummy’s old phone

* herself!!! It’s amazing seeing her confidence explode after months of zero confidence at the end of last year

* singing, YouTubing, modelling, finding her creativity in many ways

Shayla-Rae is loving : 

playing with Judah all the time, they are the cutest of friends

* watching our YouTube challenges, sitting and laughing so much

* going to the park now school is out

* accessories, accessories, accessories

Judah is loving : 

* Team Umizoomi

* when Mummy gets back from work in the mornings

* our new ‘Super Car’

* having all his ‘girls’ to hang out with in the holidays

Eden is loving : 

* terrorising everybody

* pretending she’s using the potty

* going down the biggest slides she can find (this child knows no fear)

* anything girlie, trying to steal Mummy’s make-up, her sisters handbags, headbands, bracelets etc.

me and mine, july, family portrait project, family photo, on the beach, don't call me step mummy, blended family

Life has been extremely fast paced recently.  With the loss of our au pair, and my working night shifts, it’s certainly never dull.  We have a second car, a blue Zafira that fits us all in.  The children have nicknamed her ‘Blue Betty’ and we are loving all being able to go places even if Daddy is at work and all together as a family on a Saturday.  It feels so freeing.  We were able to all go to the park the other day.  It would take us an hour to walk, but it’s a few minutes in the car.  We have so much fun all at the park.  We’ve been able to go and visit friends, attend family events without having to organise a convoy of cars.  It’s just amazing and we are so grateful to James’ grandad for giving us money towards buying ‘Blue Betty’ and also his parents for loaning us the rest.

We’re still in an adjusting stage but we’re loving every minute of it.  All the children are so happy and playing together amazingly, Eden is now at that perfect age.  I love that they’re all able to play together without our involvement.  James and I often just sit watching how sweetly they interact.  I can’t wait for our holidays together in a couple of weeks and all the holidays we have planned for the next year.  It makes such a difference having a second wage.

From all of us loving life and enjoying our little family so much we hope you and yours are great too.

dear beautiful

Working Nights

Working Nights

About 6 weeks ago whilst chatting to a friend online I decided to apply for a job working night shifts.  This was around the same time we decided to send the children to Private School and therefore obviously needed some extra income.  Life has been a little crazy since then as there has been so much to sort but I am so happy that all of this was set in motion.

I had an interview and then due to the nature of the job had to wait for my DBS certificate so I had a while to get used to the fact that I would be working again.  It has been so long since I had a ‘real’ job.  I have been self-employed for so long it was really nerve wracking going for an interview.  As I was applying for night shifts though I don’t think I had much competition.

I opted to work nights as I want to still be at home with the children until they start school.  No offence to the Mums that work 9-5 (we’re all just doing our best aren’t we to make ends meet) I just really wanted to be at home with them for as long as I could before they go off to school.  James’ wage was enough that we could cope until Eden went to school but with now needing to pay school fees a job for myself was very much needed.

I had to work two full weeks in the days on induction and that was very strange.  The children hated me being away, especially Judah who I kept finding curled up at the end of our bed when I awoke.  It was a huge change for him at nearly 3.  I guess at an earlier age it just becomes normal as their routines aren’t as firmly set.

Of course we have Martina who was prepared for having them extra, and also my Mum was on call to help the days that she wasn’t working.  So Martina spent some days over at my Mums and my Mum spent a day at our home.  They made it work bless them.  The hardest part for me was that my induction days happened to fall around Judah’s 3rd Birthday.  I hated not being with him on his birthday but James took the day off so that he could take him out to do something nice and we gave Martina the day off which she definitely deserved.

I assured my little man that I won’t be working in the day again, James told him that I would be working nights though so he was all confused with my leaving for work at 9:45.  Obviously he was in bed and blissfully unaware but because Daddy had told him before he went to bed he was all anxious about it.

When I started this post, we had Martina, but it has been sat in my drafts for a while.  Judah is just starting to ease up as my shadow.  I am finding it challenging shall we say without help in the days, but on the whole we are doing really well.  I have been going to visit my Mum or my sister who have been really helpful letting me steal a nap here and there.

Of course I am exhausted and my body is adjusting but I’m so happy that I am able to earn some money for our family and still be able to be with my beautiful babies in the day.

I’m really enjoying working and knowing I’m doing something worth while.  I’ve met some lovely people already and don’t feel as isolated anymore as a Mum of four that was usually only ever with the children.  Going back to work before the children are at school isn’t for everyone, and I’m not sure I would’ve done it had it not been night shifts, but just to encourage any of you out there thinking about it.  The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work out for you and you hand in your notice.  I’m very pleased I made this choice and look forward to what it can make possible for our family.

So what are you waiting for?   What’s the worst that can happen?  They’re so worth it!

working mum, don't call me step mummy, night shifts, blended family
They’re so worth it!

Too Much Information

Too Much Information

So I bet you’re expecting a tell all outburst of all that has been going on this last month that I’ve been too busy to blog, but alas this is not that post.  My brain at the moment is absolutely BURSTING with ideas.  There are SO MANY blog posts that I’m dying to sit down and write that sometimes I just don’t know where to start.  I have been struggling to keep on top of blogging whilst we have been experimenting with vlogging and trying to keep up with our YouTube channel whilst I was starting a new job, that involved 2 weeks of full-time induction weeks, and beginning my waking night shifts.

Also, we have said goodbye to our beautiful au pair Martina, there is a couple of posts in the making with regards to that, as we miss Martina lots and have appreciated all the time that she gave to us.  I will save my sentiments for the post that is coming especially just for her.  We have been busy sorting out the schools that the girls will be going to as the one that we were intending to send them to expected more fees than we had offered.  With having four children we had asked for help from the community fund for the girls as they technically don’t live with us, but they couldn’t match what we asked.  This was actually a blessing in disguise, as we were rebudgeting (we were still intending to send them but just would involve us being stretched to our limits for the next 7 years) I did some research and received a high recommendation from a dear friend for a little village school that is quite a distance away from us but all that we wanted for the children from the private school for free.  This is great news as it means the money we will save can be spent complimenting their education, with lovely holidays, horse riding, dance lessons, swimming and beautiful birthday parties.  We also have sponsored children in Uganda and Birkina Faso and it allows us to keep blessing them too and maybe take on a couple of more children (our aim is to have one for each child to write to when they’re old enough as pen pals).

I am literally full to the brim with ideas for our blog and vlog and I am looking at a complete rebranding.  I love our blog, and it is a beautiful space that I adore but I know that our blog name can seem exclusive and also have negative connotations.  I want to encourage Mum’s, Step Mums, Adoptive Mums, Foster Mums, LGBT Mums, Working Mums, SAHM’s, WAHM’s, breast feeding Mum’s, bottle-feeding Mum’s to see that we’re all just doing the best that we can.  We’re all in it together.

So watch this space, there will be a lot of catch up posts going up over the next week.  Please don’t feel obliged to read them all, they’re there for our memories as a lot has happened for us this past month, but if you’d like to follow us on our journey then please do.

Love to all the readers who are following us on our journey so far and thank you for your patience with me this last month.

Alexandra

xxx

happy family, Don't Call Me Step Mummy, au pair life, family photo, family portrait project, big family, blended family

Moving Schools in Year 4 – First Trial Day at a New School

Moving Schools in Year 4 – First Trial Day at a New School

Since I last blogged there has been so much going on at the Don’t Call Me Step Mummy house, that it has been difficult to get my head around what to blog.  So much has been happening, and with my starting work over the last week, a full-time 9-5 training schedule for 2 weeks before I start my night shifts, it has completely thrown my routine.  It’s been huge for the children to be without me, and we’ve had a lot to sort with yet more issues with the girls school.

Out of the drama, which I will blog about (tactfully) another time, something good has come.  The girls Mum and wife have come to the conclusion that yes it’s about time we looked at moving the girls to a different school.  There has been too many issues and we don’t want their confidence being affected by individuals that we feel have no right to be working with our children (a long story but let’s just say there are now investigations going on – nothing too sinister, just not good).  So, with Judah all set to start at his new pre-school in September we began to make enquiries about availability for the girls too.

The Headteacher was absolutely wonderful with me, very reassuring over the phone and set aside all the relevant paperwork to pick up.  James and I then went round to the girls’ Mums house and we all filled it in together.  I dropped it off at the school the next day and that weekend we attended their Summer fair.  The girls absolutely loved it and then became very excited to schedule in their trial days.

Today was the first of those days.  The girls stayed with us overnight last night so I could get them ready for their first day.  They were so excited.  We collected their Mum on the way and all went to drop them off at 8:30am.  They were so so so excited, I cannot stress how much they were looking forward to it.  Shayla-Rae was a little bit tearful when she first went into her new classroom but then made a best friend very quickly.  I rang on my lunch break from work and was told that her and another girl were inseparable all day.  I was so pleased, I’d spoken to this little girl when we were leaving and asked her to look out for Shayla, and bless her, she really had.  The teacher told me that Shayla had been chatting about how excited she was to come in tomorrow and couldn’t wait to start in September.

As soon as I finished work I rang the girls Mum to find out how their day had gone.  They were both so chatty and enthusiastic on the phone.  Isis had been assessed and done really well on the tests which was a huge achievement, we’re so proud of her.  This means there’s a strong chance that she can get into an excellent grammar school even with only starting working towards it in Year 5.  We are proud of the girls whatever they achieve, or wherever they go, but we want them to be in a school that will think and expect the best of them.  That will be proud to have them as their pupils as they really do shine.  We are not just biased parents, they are adorable children and I can’t wait to see them fully appreciated for the shining diamonds that they really are.

The thought of all four of them being there together for the last 2 terms (once Eden starts her free pre-school sessions at 3) makes me so happy.  I love the idea of them all going to school together, something we never thought would happen.  They say everything happens for a reason, and I really believe God was looking out for all our little poppets.  We’ve had a stressful couple of weeks but it looks like the silver lining on these clouds is really platinum.

dont call me step mummy, isis and shayla, school days, new school, blended family, step mum, working mum dont call me step mummy, isis and shayla, school days, new school, blended family, step mum, working mum dont call me step mummy, isis and shayla, school days, new school, blended family, step mum, working mum dont call me step mummy, isis and shayla, school days, new school, blended family, step mum, working mum