Friday, 28 June 2013

National Breastfeeding Week

This week is national breastfeeding week and I've read some fabulous posts and seen some great articles around the net.  I didn't take part in the scavenger hunt but as I have breast feed beyond a year I thought I would share my views.

I was 18 when I had the teen princess and despite having heard some mothers talk about bottle feeding being less stressful, I knew I wanted to breastfeed.  I have nothing against bottle feeding but I have suffered from depression and wanted to bond quickly with my baby and was afraid that if I didn't breastfeed I might struggle with the feeling of closeness.  You can imagine how upset I was when the midwife told me that my princess was to tired to take the breast and would have to have a bottle for her first feed.  In my young mind I wouldn't feel like a 'proper' mother until I had breastfeed my baby.  

When she woke up for her second feed I got the chance to breastfeed and it was strange, a strange but lovely experience.  It was lovely to know that I could provide nutrition and comfort to my lovely new baby and it really did help bonding.  I still tease her now about having been breastfed until the age of two!

With little man I had to wait a little longer to hold him as I had to have an emergency c-section.  When they put him to my breast during recovery I felt nothing, I was too tired.  That I guess is one of the benefits, you can be tired and still breastfeed because it doesn't involve preparation you just do it.  

I am one of the lucky ones that didn't have problems breastfeeding, but I know mothers who did, and know that it needs to be more normalised so that people are more willing to seek help with breastfeeding when they are finding it difficult.

The most difficult thing about breastfeeding beyond a year was getting them off it.  We had many a screaming day and a sleepless night (both me and the children.)  After I stopped feeding little man my breast became painful and lumpy, that is until I discovered cabbage leaves!  I now swear by cabbage leaves and would advise anyone with pain from stopping breastfeeding to pop a couple in your bra and watch the pain disappear! 

I had no problem breastfeeding in public even though I would sometimes get people giving me funny looks or staring.  I did sometimes get annoyed and say, "What's up?  Do you want some?"  Which would at least stop them staring.  With the bad there was also some good, I would get older ladies or other mothers look over spot me breastfeeding and give an approving nod and smile.

Breastfeeding is not for everyone but it has it's many benefits and you can express to give yourself a break, unfortunately for me little man refused to drink from the bottle so that was that!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

What's Green and Runs?

Yesterday the teen princess had sports day and her 'house' colour happens to be Green which matches perfectly with the theme for this weeks gallery.  

I didn't manage to attend her sports day last year, in fact she had insisted I didn't come.  This year however she would be doing some cheer-leading as well as participating in a race.  In a show of solidarity both Daniel and I accompanied her wearing green.  Due to having a bad body day, I will avoid hurting your eyes with an image of me and instead let you see my beautiful boos in green.

Tee did wonderfully in her cheer.  Unfortunately she didn't place in her race and although I would love for her to try again next year she is insistent that running is just not for her.  She didn't inherit my family's pace and would much rather live life in the slow lane.  I don't blame her though, when you live in the fast lane you often miss the beauty of your journey.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Grey Skies

Yesterday was not so great, I had lots of grand plans to go out and explore a bit more of the world with the little man (as the teen princess was out with friends) but shit things happened.  Not those dramatic oh my God kind of things, just the average every other day kind of things, like being woken up in the middle of the night because little man decides that he's going to be an absolute joy and not sleep after 2am.  Or the fact that I still have a sore throat and feel generally under the weather, or looking outside and seeing nothing but grey skies.

We did attempt to play in the garden but after 10 seconds the little man and I gave each other very telling looks and decided it was much too cold to enjoy the garden.  I can't even say that I compensated for not having taken him out, I didn't.  I made him suffer through a day of pigging out on the sofa wrapped in a blanket watching recordings of Raa Raa the noisy lion and The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  We didn't read books, we didn't sing songs, we didn't paint or play and he was so tired he didn't ask to do those things as he usually does, he didn't even attempt to empty the kitchen cupboards or pull out all the printing paper.  

Hopefully soon we will be back to our normal selves and can enjoy the world again.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Not another Mug!

For all of those thinking, the end of term is coming up soon and it's time to purchase those teacher gifts, here is a guide to some teachers gifts they will really love.  The truth is most teachers see the gift you get them, or lack of, is a reflection on how you thought of them as a teacher.  Hate me if you must but there are just some gifts we will leave in the staff room accidentally on purpose!  (Only joking we aren't that ungrateful)

First things first we do love mugs saying best teacher etc but only in the first year of our teaching career, If your teacher has been teaching for a long time she could restock the shelves at Tesco's with her mug collection!

1. A gift voucher... find out your teachers favourite shop and buy her a voucher for it, teachers won't admit it but we love to compare gifts with the teacher next door and boasting about the 'ten pound gift voucher' you got from Timmy will always beat the £10 bouquet of flowers Mrs M got from her favourite student Penny.  (of course we don't really have favourites.)

2. A bottle of wine... if your teacher is a drinker (not all of us are) we love a good glass of wine after school to de-stress and odds are if it's the last day of summer term we've planned a 'schools out' get together with our colleagues or a bunch of friends we haven't seen for a while.

3. Chocolate... as a rule most teachers LOVE chocolate and if they don't they will often do the 'gift swap'  - yes we go from classroom to classroom hoping someone will exchange our box of chocolates for their bottle of wine!  And if you want your teacher not to give your box of chocolates away as a Christmas gift the key is to write all over the box to Mrs M from James.

4.  Flowers... we do like flowers but the truth is by the time we pack the car full of all our 'summer homework' in preparation for the next school year we can just about fit the flowers in.  They end up looking more like a bunch of twigs than a bunch of flowers by the end of our journey.  The best thing to do is opt for a plant at least if the flowers break off on the journey home it will hopefully bloom again next year.

5.  Pens or better still board markers... they may seem like a boring gift but teachers can NEVER have enough pens, we loose them everywhere or run out of ink every other day and the school cupboard always seems to run out just before we get to it.

And don't think that you have to spend lots of money to make your teachers happy...

6.  Hand drawn pictures of themselves... teachers love to see how you see them and find it very cute when you have taken the effort to draw them a picture.

7.  A snow globe (can be found in the pound shop) with a picture of you and them together...  It makes the ideal paper weight and the picture will bring back lots of fond memories.

8.  A set of stationary... scissors, rulers, staplers, notebooks.  These things all come in handy for the job.

9.  A book... we don't get loads of time for reading but most of us love a good book and you can pick up some great bargain books in a charity shop.

10. A hug, some tears and a heartfelt goodbye... It's free and  there is nothing a teacher likes more than a parent or child telling them how much they have appreciated them over the year and how much they have helped their child achieve, after all, that is the reason why we do what we do.  We want to see you become independent learners who enjoy learning new things.

I don't have the endless task pleasure of teaching a classroom of 30+ pupils anymore, I now spend my days with a much smaller 1:1 or 1:2 ratio...

My easily distracted 22 month old!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Cut to Confidence?

Confidence is such an important thing to have, in recent months I have lacked in this, not in terms of my abilities as a mother, my ability to write, or my willingness to address an audience but more in my appearance.

I love lots of things about me but have a few things that really bug me, not that you could tell by looking at my recent photos.

Generally speaking I'm not one of those that waits for her boyfriend to tell her she looks good or whines on at him about how my tummy needs a ton of fat sucked out.  In fact in a past life (a very very past life), I've been know to send a nude picture or two (sorry mum).  

I reserve those self scrutinising comments for when I'm in the company of my female friends, who are all equally unhappy with some if not all of their body parts.  I'm sure not all of us feel this way but a lot of us do and the media probably has a lot to do with it!  I've seen more adverts for teeth whitening, breast augmentation and rhinoplasty in the last few days than I've had hot dinners (and trust me when I say I have no choice but to cook something daily!)  What is even more amazing is that despite having watched top 10 plastic surgery disasters and similar shows we are not put off by faces like this...

What I do wonder is if having had the magic treatment would we then be satisfied and stop?  I happen to know at least three women who have opted to go 'under the knife'.  All claim to be extremely satisfied with the outcome but at least two have disclosed wanting to have something else done.

That being said, given the chance, I still would!  Would you?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Gallery - Dads

Tara has set the theme this week as 'Dads' I saw my dad on fathers day but since 2000 this picture pretty much sums up the existence of my dad in my life.

Head over to the gallery to see more on the theme 'dads'.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Time Out!

I have to admit that before the mother arrived, although I was happy plodding along through motherhood with a smile and a large cup of coffee to wake me up in the morning, I'm happy to be able to have a little me time.  

I thought raising the teen was hard, even with all the family support but raising the teen and the toddler... wow!

No, I haven't as yet had to start implementing timeouts for terrible twos but I've been able to take my own time out for good behaviour!  In the last few weeks I've been able to attend and run events without a toddler attached to my hip, I've been able to go out for meals with friends and enjoy evenings full of laughter.  My usually outfits of joggers and baggy tops have been exchanged a few more times for dresses or a casual going out looks and although I still need the coffee to wake me up in the mornings, I've had the pleasure of washing away some of the daily stresses with a good cocktail or 3!

Monday, 17 June 2013

My forever baby's bubbles

The 8th of  June saw Women Know Your Worths budgeting event.  It all went very well and we have now launched our website which is still a work in progress.

The 9th of June however was a day of mixed emotions for me, the anniversary of my forever baby's birth.  It has been 15 long years since Reanne was born and every year without fail this day and those approaching it have filled me with anxiety and sadness.  I hide it well behind smiles, hugs and the need to make sure my children don't feel an ounce of my sadness.  Yet this year was a little different, it was the first year I did something to commemorate her, an outward display to show her that I was thinking of her.  

Some people don't understand how I can still feel so sad about a baby I never saw grow up.  They  don't understand that life growing inside you, connected to you, changing your body and influencing the way you think and feel is so deep a connection that no matter how short a time you have your baby, the love you feel is immeasurable.  I never held a funeral for my baby girl, I was advised not to and my young, nieve and grieving mind, allowed those around me to make the decisions.  So this year me, alongside Reanne's brother and sister blew bubbles for my forever baby.  It was all the more special because the princess understood why we were doing it and couldn't wait to blow bubbles for her sister.  We had a very special moment and it felt nice to have done something for her.

I went out later that day to celebrate a friends birthday at a comedy club, they say laughter is the best medicine and it really did do me the world of good.  

Bug Busters - A review

When asked to review a hygiene pack from the Noroclear range I thought why not?

I am a firm believer in letting children get messy.  Not your average oh dear you got drink down your top messy but roll around in the mud, climb trees or cover yourself in paint and check out the bugs in the garden kind of messy.  

I do however like to know that after getting as messy as possible, I can then make them as clean as possible to avoid catching all those horrid illnesses that children seem to pick up.

For those of you who like me would much prefer to wash our hands after playing in mud, the wipes provide a great alternative.  They are very wet so really give you that feeling of having just washed your hands and surprisingly don't leave your skin feeling dry like many others do (this could be attributed to the Aloe Vera used in them.)

I found myself using the hand rub instead of the wipes to clean my hands before a meal, and the surface wipes are perfect for giving highchairs that extra wipe when eating in restaurants.

They claim to protect against 99.99% of superbugs including MRSA and Norovirus.  At £12.99 the pack is a bit pricey but I guess it's about what you are prepared to spend to keep your children virus free.

To purchase your pack or find out more about what they have to offer visit their website.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Inspirational Women ~ The Gallery

The theme this week over at The Gallery is Inspirational Women.

I am going to do the very predictable thing and pick my mother!

Mum, me and the Teen

This picture to me symbolizes my mum perfectly.  The hand at the very back is my mothers.  She has held me through my toughest times, comforted me and kept me sane.  She has helped me become the mother I am and supports me in the raising of my children.

She isn't rich in material possessions but she is rich in kindness, love, respect, enthusiasm and utter craziness.  

I love my inspirational woman! 

For more inspirational women head over to The Gallery x

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Up In The Trees

My entry to The Gallery is a bit later than usual.  I am normally quick on the ball and ready to post by Wednesday.  This week however, despite the good weather and my increasingly good mood I have not been so great at remembering to snap a photo in those special moments.

As Tara has chosen the theme 'two' i have chosen two photos and put them together so that two become one (corny I know).  The photos I have decided to use this week are one old photo of my daughter with one new photo of my son.

As you can see I like sticking my children in trees.  My mother used to help me climb trees when I was younger, it made me love being in the outdoors and experiencing nature from 'within' so if you are ever in a park near me look up and you just might find me :)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Performing, Playing and Purging

I have had a busy few days filled with challenges as well as fun and laughter.  On 29th may I went along to Youth Directions hosted by ABCD in the CVA centre in west croydon.  It was great to see such a large turnout with some brilliant young performers.  It was also a chance for us to talk about our project and as this was our largest audience to date it was a little scary but very worth the effort.

I only had the princess with me at that event as mum is back.  It was nice to get some time for just the two of us, though every time it is just the two of us we both get little man withdrawal!  My sister brought her two youngest and they seemed to enjoy themselves.

My nephew with his scary face paint

As well as that event my sister and I met up with a friend from playgroup and took the children to kids play cafe in Addiscombe.  This was my first time going there since it has been under new management and all I can say is thank goodness for the change over.  It was much better, clean with working toys, friendly staff, menus and well organised tables.  The children had a great time.

Last night after spending the day window shopping with mum, I went to the cinema for the first time in ages.  It cost way too much and the film we (me and my girlie Connie) went to see was well below standard.  It was called The Purge or something like that and I would honestly like to purge the film from my memory bank.  It was pure stupidity and violence just for the sake of it.  I guess it had a moral of some sort but the ending left a lot to be desired, I obviously won't recommend you go and see it, but if you have nothing better to do and want to waste an hour and a half or so of your life then go for it!

Next on the list of things to do is a trip up west for little man to attend a casting.  That should be fun :)