What we read... in July

We have enjoyed reading an awful lot of books again this month. Despite me lamenting last month about a lack of book storage space, I found myself grabbing some new ones at my work's school fete. Four books in great condition for just £1.50!

Matt just rolled his eyes...

So, without further ado, here is just a small selection of what we read this month.

Facing the Fear

I often feel that, at the same time as giving birth to my kids, I also gave birth to a whole new layer of feelings and emotions. Of course there is love, there is pride, there is happiness but there is also guilt, worry and fear.

And lately, it is fear that has been playing on mind. Lurking around the edges of my consciousness.

Fear of what life holds for my children.

Party Planning - Lily and Matt's Baptism

Following on from my post about Ollie's baptism I thought I'd share some photos and memories from the day both Lily and Matt were baptised together.

Lily was baptised in February 2013 when she was 5 months old. Matt had been dedicated as a baby but thought he had been baptised - once he realised he hadn't it was something he was keen to do. It made sense to us to do it at the same time especially seeing as Matt wasn't keen on being the centre of attention and Lily stole the show!

Party Planning - Ollie's Baptism

It's been exactly one year since Ollie's baptism and nautical themed party. I had a wonderful time both planning the party and enjoying the day with all my friends, family and church. I shared some of the little details in this post a while ago but here is an extra glimpse into our amazing family day.

Review - Beale Park

Thanks to the fabulous Facebook app, 'on this day' I was recently reminded of a lovely day out at nearby Beale Park and wanted to share it with you all.

Recipe - Slow Cooker Paprika Beef

In our house, I'm the one who does the majority of the cooking. Matt has a few speciality meals that are way better than mine (his toad in the hole has won the thumbs up from his mother-in-law and that is no mean feat) but usually it falls to me to budget, shop, plan and cook.

Oh the irony...

I had counted down to yesterday for weeks. Possibly months. Counted down the days to that golden Friday, the first of many, when schools are out and so I'm off work but my kids are still at nursery and so I have time to myself.

Time to myself. Something I crave during my normal busy, exhausting weeks. Time to read. To watch TV. To clean, to tidy, to blog. The possibilities of child free time stretched out in front of me like a tantalising banquet.
So why, after just a couple of hours, did the thought cross my mind - I wish Lily and Ollie were here right now?

Fetes, flapjacks, flowers and other reasons to be cheerful!

This week has been all about seeking the good in every day. Most days I haven't even had to look that hard. I've definitely been happier after adopting a more positive outlook.

Ollie is now back to normal, his waddling around melts my heart, it's like we can see the next layer of his personality blooming. He's got this cute little thing with putting hats on at the moment - he likes to put them on himself, even if he's already wearing one. He has also started insisting on feeding himself. It's messy but means I'm more likely to eat my own meal whilst it's still hot!

Saturday was amazing. A great day with friends at their village fete followed by a barn dance in the evening. One of those days when the memories will last far longer than the sunburn (Matt and I, not the kids!).

Wishlist... Kaya Jewellery (and giveaway)

From the end of the summer until early January is the busiest (and most expensive) time of year for us as a family as we have our anniversary, Lily's birthday, my birthday, Matt's birthday and nearly all of our family birthdays in addition to Christmas. So it obviously takes a lot of planning, and sale searching, during the summer to spread the costs (and stress) of picking out special gifts.

First up is Lily's birthday at the end of September. I've already started planning my ideas and designing the invitations for her birthday party. The theme has been decided. The venue has been booked. I've even picked up a few small gifts in the sales. Then, as I was browsing the Bloggers Required site, I came across this opportunity to host a giveaway for the lovely KAYA Jewellery website.

What would Flop do?

If you have a child that enjoys watching CBeebies than you have surely watched Bing at some point. If you haven't then you have definitely dodged a bullet.

For the uninitiated, Bing is a children's cartoon based on a series of books by Ted Dewan in which a preschool bunny experiences the world around him, under the guidance of a strange, soft-toy-crossed-with-a-saint creature called 'Flop'.

I've sat through endless repetitions of the brightly coloured children's cartoon. I'll be honest, I used to quite like it. Lily understands it and it has, in some circumstances, helped explain difficult concepts. I even quite like the 'rainy-bow' song. I know someone who managed to potty train their daughter after watching Bing and his gang go on the 'toilet train'.

He even featured on Lily's CBeebies birthday card (and it was shown on TV - #MumWin)

But over time, Bing has started to grate on my nerves.

He may not be anywhere near as annoying that stupid bloody cow mayor from Paw Patrol and he's definitely not as creepy as any of Justin Fletcher's various personas but my love of Bing is certainly waning.

Perhaps more surprising, is my growing irritation with Flop.

At first, I thought Flop was an example of a model parent. He is always patient. Always kind. Never shouts. Never hands the children over to a Mrs Flop and hides in the bathroom for 15 minutes with a smart phone and a glass of wine.

A few friends and I even had a running joke about 'channeling our inner Flop' and asking ourselves 'What would Flop do?' during a full on threenager tantrum.

And that's fine. As a parent, you take inspiration from just about anywhere sometimes.

But, whilst discussing this with my sister-in-law last weekend, I started to question whether Flop really is a saint. Or, if he isn't the very pinnacle of parenting that we should all aspire to, whether he is, in fact, the very worst kind of permissive parent currently breeding a generation of spoilt, entitled and rude little brats?


Maybe. But my case in point is the episode where Bing accidentally breaks Flop's phone after playing with it. He realises he has done wrong and decides to hide it in the bin. After a while, Flop realises his phone is missing and tries to find it. Then all is revealed, Flops response?

"It's no big thing, Bing"

Are you joking? That is a pretty big thing. You've told your child to be careful with your phone, they weren't and they broke it. Then they tried to cover it up.

Now I'm not the greatest disciplinarian, but that actually is a pretty big thing. I would expect there to be some form of punishment or discipline. Bing needs to know that he did something wrong!

I'm not advocating any form of shouting or violence here. But by passing it off as unimportant, Flop is missing the opportunity to teach Bing about consequences. Similarly, I get annoyed with the episode where Bing puts Sula's shoe down the loo. That is a big thing! Do something about it Flop!

Yes, I know it is just a kid's TV programme. But I am slightly peeved to discover that the Flop who I once thought was a fantastic parent, is actually some hippy-inspired anti-disciplinarian who is probably raising a psycopath (remember that time Bing killed the butterfly?).



A more positive outlook!

I'd happily write off the majority of this last week. To put it mildly, it's been crap. The 'Shitty Guilt Fairy' has been hanging over my shoulder, commenting on each parenting mistake I've made - from questioning how much tech my daughter should use to feeling awful for working when my son was ill, she even giggled hysterically after Ollie's nappy leaked out of the sides and I ended up with poop on my leg.

Then, on Thursday evening the vindictive little fairy had her most gleeful moment when my son was admitted to hospital with a huge fever and racing heart rate.

And where was I?

Working Mummy Fail

Most of the time I'm very happy being a working Mum. I get to enjoy the balance of getting out, doing something for me and working with adults (most of the time, I do work in a school afterall) whilst the kids get to attend a fantastic nursery, then, for the majority of the week I get the kids to myself. It often feels like I get the best of both worlds.

But then there are the times, hot on the heels of my mum guilt about technology, where being a working mummy totally sucks.

Today totally sucked. Today I received every single crap thing about being a working mum dumped on my head in one go.

Mum guilt - can I press Esc?

I'd like to think that I wasn't naive, 'judgy' or overly-opinionated before I had children of my own.

But, I do have to admit to having those tendencies.