Friday, 30 August 2013

This can only go in One Direction

Sometimes being a parent means putting aside your own likes and dislikes and giving in to their whims.  Yesterday the Teen Princess insisted she must see one direction's film 'This is Us'.  I have to admit I've been a secret fan of the boys myself ever since their appearance on x-factor so was interested to see what the film would have to say.

My mum baby sat for me and it was lovely for the teen and I to have a bit of us time as we rarely get that these days.

When we arrived at the cinema there were a number of pre-teen and young teen girls dotted about wearing one direction T-shirts.  My teen princess is of course much to 'cool' to actually be seen with anyone's face on her clothing. (At least she is for the moment until she sees a Jessie J t-shirt she can't resist!)  Bed covers are just about acceptable :)

Now as movies go I would say this is definitely one that should be seen from the comfort of your own home.  The film does not in my opinion justify spending the crazy amount you have to pay at the cinema.

What I did enjoy about the film was that you got to see the boys being boys.  Despite their grueling schedule of travel, concerts and appearances they still found time to mess around and be silly as young boys should.

There are moments in the film that as a mother, I found heartbreaking to watch for example when Liam's mum broke down in tears after buying a cardboard cut out of him so that she could still see him every day or when Louis mum admitting having seen her son only a handful of times in the last 3 years.  

A lot of young people dream of a life of fame and fortune (including the Teen Princess) but there is so much more than meets the eye when it comes to fame and living the high life.  Yes the boys get to travel the world and can do lovely things for their families (in the film you see that Zayn brought his mum a house and Harry gets to show his family the world) but there are the downsides of not being able to spend much time in the place they call home.  You can see the look on the boys faces, the utter joy they have when they get a chance to go home.  That of course doesn't detract from their love of performing.
Niall on stage

I'm glad that the teen princess was able to get an insight into the lifestyle, it may not change her dreams of super stardom but at least she will have an idea of the reality.

All that being said the purpose of our day out was to enjoy each others company before school starts back, and that is exactly what we did.  And today she went to see it again with her little sister! 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Did I forget to put clothes on again?

Can you imagine having confidence enough to stand naked in a room full of people? 
Well neither can I.

But that's what I feel like every time I write a post which talks about my personal experiences.  All of the lumps and bumps left clearly in view and I lay myself bare for the critics to say their piece.  It is only when reality hits that I realise people are either empathetic, embarrassed for me, or just couldn't care less.  

There are many reasons I started blogging but this was one of them.  I wanted to put myself in the position where I could be vulnerable, which in a way meant being brave.  My year 3 school report reads, "Gailann is always well behaved and is polite and well mannered with adults and her peers.  Gailann is very reserved and needs encouragement to come out of herself."  This blog (as well as my WKYW work,) is one of the ways I get to come out of my shell.  Thankfully wearing the shortest dresses possible is no longer the way I choose to walk on the wild side!

Blogging allows me the freedom to say whatever I want with the smoke screen of being 'just another blogger.'  I can question my own sanity, share the joys or mundane events of my everyday life and let people get to know me without ever having to meet me.  I can preserve memories for myself and my children and can entertain my readers, especially mum who loves calling me to tell me I've missed a comma!

That being said, this week has been pretty relaxed I've stayed in a few days to teach little man the art of using the potty.  He so far seems to be mastering the art of peeing in it but due to issues with constipation he refuses to do anything else.  I've tried clapping for him, bribing him with offers of reading his favourite book or playing his favourite games but nothing so far has worked and when this little face is looking up at me asking me for 'nappy please', how could I refuse?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Laughter after Bedtime

Taking your child to the park and challenging her to beat you in a swing-a-thon, racing her to the roundabout and spinning until you are both so dizzy you walk off and fall to the floor, inviting her on a tour of all the old places you used to frequent as a child.  All completely normal activities, the kind of activities that make you smile and say what a good mother she is, always making time for her child, always spending that quality time. That is until she lets you into a little secret, these activities did not take place in 'normal' hours, they took place long after other children were fast asleep in their beds.  Long after the sun had said goodbye to the madness of another day and the moon had welcomed the stars to shine their brightest.  These activities took place in the darkness of depression.

When the daylight hours where work, friendships, relationships, life in general was too stressful, too much to bear, this mother lived her life in the night.  The life where instead of letting the deep pain and stress crush her into nothingness she did the only thing that she could think of.  She got in her car, 9 year old strapped in next to her and drove to places that took her mind back to happier times where life was easy and she wasn't entangled by things that challenged her not to want to be in this world.  

She was selfish and her daughter was her best friend, the only one she would really talk to about her struggles, the only one she would let close enough to see the sadness and watch the tears gather in pools beneath her tired eyes.  To her colleagues and her friends she appeared the same quiet woman who had an excellent rapport with everyone and sometimes came out of her shell and showed you the bubbly 'crazy' version of herself that was up for a laugh.  In her mind they wouldn't understand, nobody would.  The doctor who offered her pills, he didn't understand, the sister who offered her advice and a shoulder to cry on, she didn't understand.  Even the counselor with his annoying notebook and pen writing down god knows what about the intricate details of her life that he forced her to share, he didn't understand.  But in truth they all had their own understanding of her situation it just wasn't the same understanding that she had.  She was living it, breathing it, it lay in bed with her at night telling her things would not get better and it sat with her whilst she surfed the net looking for a place to escape it.  It made her decisions for her, it was just the luck of the draw whether those decisions worked out and it was luckier still that those decisions didn't take her and her child into the path of danger.

Depression can be like a secret badge of shame, some people say 'I'm depressed' as a general statement of dissatisfaction with their current situation but for some that suffer from depression, it is a ever-present companion that makes itself heard at it's own leisure.

People on the outside looking in can never really understand what a person faces when going through depression.  A post such as this one can only give a tiny glimpse into one person's experience of it because depression affects people differently.  Whilst for some it causes them to act wildly living out fantasies recklessly and forgetting their reality, for others it causes them to retreat into themselves, and for most it can be a combination of both.

When my ever present companion is in her silent phase I look on the role she has in my life and laugh at the craziness.  It is only in her silent times where I can hold my daughter and tell her I'm sorry for my sadness, please accept my love.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Pack your bags, it's time to go!

Sunglasses – check

Sunhat – check

A large pile of shoes for every possible scenario (you never know you might need wellies in Dubai or flip-flops in Greenland!) – check

Now all I need is money to actually book a holiday... 

Since returning from Barbados a year ago I've been spending hours, daily dreaming of the next holiday, the next adventure that the children and I can take together.  There are so many elements that go into planning the perfect holiday.  As well as finding great deals on sites like you have to work out how to keep yourself entertained.  You also want to make sure there is plenty for the children to see and do.   I personally am not the kind of traveler that likes to book a holiday and spend all of it in the hotel, for me that defeats the purpose of travelling to a new country, but each to their own.

When choosing my destination there are some key things I look for.

1.  Does the hotel have a kids club or children’s entertainment?  I have never actually used a kids club whilst on holiday but it’s one of the things I look for because it usually indicates they have at least a couple of members of staff who are friendly and engaging for the little ones.  On rest days it’s great to have people to keep the children entertained with fun and games whilst the adults have a quiet drink.
2.  Is there a great beach or water park nearby?  There is nothing worse than having to navigate your way around a new country by public transport with bags full of things for the children, having realised your hotel is not in walking distance from a beach.
Miami Beach - Barbados

Carlisle Bay (aka Browns Beach) - Barbados
3.  Museums, famous landmarks and historic buildings that are easy to get to independently or via hotel arranged tours.  Finding out about the local culture to me is a must, the children may not appreciate it immediately, but when they can look back and say they've visited the 400 million year old Batu caves or viewed the famous art pieces in the Louvre, they surely have had some great life experiences.
 4.  Nearby zoos and parks.   The teen princess, little man and I love looking at animals (little man draws a line when it comes to farm animals that are within touching distance) but I can proudly say that we have visited at least one animal attraction in every country we've been to. (Not counting the holiday to Canada in which I had such awful morning sickness, I barely made it to the local mall!  Unless of course you count the pet shop in the mall.)

5.  Opportunities to shop.  Now this is one for both the adults and the children.  I can’t resist a good souvenir and the children are usually right in there with me rummaging through shelves or picking up handmade items from local market stalls.
6.  Food Food and more Food!  Little man has yet to embrace the love of trying new food that the princess and I share but all the same good places to eat are a must.  I don’t want to go all the way to Tunisia and be stuck with fish and chips.  We like to try out the local delicacies as well as having some ‘familiar’ options.
7.  When looking for holiday's on I look for places with opportunities to experience something new, for example a tournament and flamenco show in the medieval castle of Valltordera - Spain, travelling across the dessert in Sharm el-Sheikh – Egypt or visiting the 86th floor  of the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur (where the observation deck is) - Malaysia.

Tee & I in Sharm el Sheikh

Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia

And as we approach the end of the summer holidays and the mad rush for that one piece of uniform you've forgotten is hanging over you or you've finally managed to blag a week off work, where would you head off for a last minute summer break?

This is a sponsored post but the daydreams, opinions and experiences are entirely that of the teen princess, little man and I.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

World Photography Day - The Gallery

Who knew it was world photography day on Monday?  Well I did thanks to Tara over at The Sticky Fingers Blog! 

Donning our camera's (my camera phone and little man his v-tech zoom which has more gadgets than I could have imagined,) little man and I headed to our favourite little spot in our local area and took lots of photos. Unfortunately I forgot to put the memory card into little man's camera so until I find a lead that fits you'll have to make do with my photos, which I'm sure are only slightly better than his due to the megapixel's of my phone camera being higher rather than any skill I possess!

Head over to 'The Gallery' and check out more world photo day pics x

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Relax - The Gallery

 The theme set by Tara for this weeks gallery is 'relax'

The little man keeps us all very busy with his constant demands for chocolate milk, toy cars or trips outside but on some occasions we get to relax.  As we have had a few nice days (and mum has mowed the lawn,) the garden is one of our favourite places to do just that.  

Well at least it is until the teen princess decides sitting and reading is only appropriate for five minutes maximum and starts riding her bike around our garden with little man racing behind her!

Head over to the gallery to discover some more relaxing images.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Shock Horror and a Mickey Mouse Cake!

It's been a while since I last posted mainly because the beginning of this month has been a really busy one.  Birthday shopping for little man was not done in one trip as I would have liked but rather in many long tiring trips with not a lot achieved on each one!  I must say though despite not enjoying the shopping, yes I'm a woman and I said I did not enjoy shopping, shock horror!  I did manage to get some bargains for example his Hugo Boss top in the House of Fraser sale which paired with denim shorts and his red&white converse meant he looked an absolute stunner for his birthday party.

And to join in with all the birthday festivities the teen and I thought we would match little man in wearing red and white.

those great moments when someone makes you laugh and someone else snaps it!

Unfortunately little man wasn't in the best of moods that day and instead of playing with his friends he wouldn't leave my side except when he saw this...

Aunty Chan Chan got him a cake with his two favourite characters!

It's amazing how their favourite TV characters have the power to perk them up when their favourite people can't.

The very next day we went off to my sister's house to celebrate two of my nephews' birthdays.  Then yesterday to visit an ex-pupil on her birthday.  At least we have a little break until my brothers birthday on the 25th, but next year there will be another birthday in between as one of my close   friends is due in 2 days!!!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Birthday Boy

Little man turned 2 yesterday and what a lovely day we had.  He woke up in the morning and opened his cards whilst singing himself happy birthday (we had sung it for him first). We had a French student visiting us again that day so hadn't made any major plans.  All I knew is that I wanted little man to feel special and with all the kisses and cuddles he got he was certainly feeling loved.  

He had a shower and Tee dressed him in his new football kit (bought out of her pocket money) and my brother arrived to take us to Christmas Tree Farm.

I now know that Daniel does not like farm animals!

Reaching for his uncle to escape the goats

I must admit I've never really been that good with farm animals either, apart from horses, but I really enjoyed meeting the animals this time and even managed to hold a kid.  I will be taking little man to the farm much more often and hopefully he will start to enjoy the animals.

After the farm we went to TGIs for dinner and he absolutely loved when they sang him happy birthday.  

It was then back home to give him a long awaited haircut so he could end his birthday as a 'real toddler'.  He has a lot more fun in store with his birthday party on Saturday but I'm dreading it as I'm not great with lots of people in one space and there is so much to do so I better get off my blog and get on with it!

I will be adding more birthday pictures over on my facebook page and you can check out his new hair!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Door - The gallery

I wanted to take a new picture to join in with The Gallery this week but because little man has been ill  I haven't been able to go and find a door that excites me.

My front door is boring and has been changed so many times that it really has no significance, now if I had a picture of my old front door, that would have a few stories to tell!  Mind you as I sit and write this I'm realising that the doorway to this house has much more significance than I give it credit for.

This doorway has welcomed family, friends, lovers.  It was the doorway to my children's first home, it was the door that seemed to smile at me when I had forgotten my keys and stood locked outside in the rain.  It was the door that I longed to see after a hard days work or after sitting my exams and feeling like I'd failed.  It was the door my best friend fell out of drunk and the door I fell into in the same unhealthy condition.  It was the door my daughter posed outside on her 'Hollywood' 10th birthday party, before her primary school prom and on the morning she started secondary school and these are just to name a few of the special moments this door has been witness to.

As of today I have a new appreciation for this door, thanks Tara!

For more door stories head over to The Gallery, I'm sure you'll hear some wonderful tales.