Just What Kind of Mother Are You? #weektoview

DSC02263Hope you had an amazing Easter break? Ours was great, although a huge challenge to juggle work and children. I really enjoyed just hanging out in Nottingham with the kids for once. It was a chance to reconnect, to recharge some flagging batteries and to rethink. Having worked hard on some travel blogging press trips as a family we kept our days out low key, and the photos too. Although we did go to one blogging event, Next’s Summer 14 for Kids day, more on that in another post. hello Continue reading

How do charities catch your eye online?

I could really use your help this week. I’m not asking for money, or votes, just social media tips on gathering votes for charities. After #teamhonkrelay, and with blogging award season in full swing I know my readers will have some great ideas, I would love to hear from any charities reading this too.

I’m helping the often quite small charities involved in the Direct Debit Big Break for Charity initiative. Welcome to any charities reading this, I hope today’s tips are helpful! Continue reading

My #weektoview Tigers Tigers burning bright

DSC02130

Mr G was a cat in his reception year show. 90 kids in animal costume and onesies singing – very cute. He made me laugh (wrongly) by taking off his wired tail and poking it in the air during the bits where I couldn’t see him and popping up in other children’s masks. In this photo he has managed to detach most of his costume, crafty cat.

I am really proud of how well he has adjusted to school. For a wild cat it hasn’t been easy, I can’t believe how they have tamed him and channelled his raging imagination so brilliantly.

Miss L got herself covered in stickers in the last week of term, they both have been working incredibly hard, definitely time for a holiday! Continue reading

#Win Alternative Easter Gifts for Cool Kids

Cool stuff kids march

It is always good to have alternative Easter gifts up your sleeve, that aren’t chocolatey…I have some to win too!

Okido is the arts and science magazine for kids. I had banned kids’ magazines in our house because they are generally impossible to actually write on with any pen known to humans, a bit rubbish, focussed soley on telly watching, pink/blue, covered in plastic tat, expensive, insulting, boring and lacking in anything that is going to set my children’s minds on fire.

How refreshing then to receive Okido. Beautiful pages you can write on, lovely layout, bright colours, colouring pages you would want to colour, art, cooking, science ideas. The stories, poems and illustrations explore emotions beautifully. Continue reading

Our journey into a dragon’s butt and other adventures…Visit Wales.

DSC01921-001

Visit Wales asked me to go and see what our family could learn there in a weekend. Our trip came in the midst of a chaotic few weeks in March, I had just returned from Tanzania, Mr A was about to go to San Francisco for a week, did we really want to go away again? I think the photo above says it all!

I spent many happy years on family holidays in Harlech. Wales has the perfect mix of everything a child needs for a happy holiday – long sandy beaches, castles full of adventure, beautiful countryside to run wild in and myths and legends galore to fuel those adventures.

Turns out it is amazing what you can learn in Wales in a weekend, and how utterly refreshing a weekend of exploring can be. Fancy a journey into a dragon’s butt? Continue reading

Not your average Mother’s Day post

spring-dianthus-burning-witch-flower

Burning witch flower by Forest Wander, on Flickr

Apparently, when they are very small, kids cope with their mothers by believing they are two people, their mother and a witch. Or so my mother told me. I believe her, it wasn’t some kind of terrible bed time story, she was studying for a psychology degree at the time.

Years later as I sit here shell shocked by a scenario with my kids that escalated beyond belief, and feeling like a complete witch, that knowledge brings me some comfort.

If I am a mother and a witch, my son right now, is Jekyll and Hyde. Earlier he covered the entire house in tiny pieces of coloured sand and gravel from a craft kit we were sent, he also covered me. He’s in reception, he puts every ounce of energy into behaving beautifully at school. Gravel bombing me and the house was some kind of cathartic release from that, I am sure of it now.

As I raged and shouted at him, ordered him to his room, packed his toys into a bin bag until he agreed to tidy up, I couldn’t see that, I could only see more mess.

I remember my own mother, who was incredible I might add, letting the ‘witch’ out on a couple of occasions. Once she was chasing me up the stairs, I remember he fingers like talons grabbing me by the ankle, her whole body contorted, just like a raging witch. When I look back there are no feelings of being hard done by, all I feel is ‘yes, I deserved that, I was being a complete idiot’.

I remember being aware of her glaring eyes, like some kind of cartoon bad woman with lasers for eyes, burning into me as I completely embarrassed her with sheer lunacy in public. Once or twice I remember her walking out of the house, soap opera matriarch style, shouting how fed up with us she was and slamming the door, leaving us stunned for a few seconds, before the wailing at Dad to make her come back started.

Although I can’t call my mum these days on those dark days and ask her what on earth to do, I can look back in the memory bank and feel a sense of relief at those moments when mum totally lost it too. As I grew up it taught me she was a person, and not just my mum.

By tea time the conversation had returned to whispers and giggles between Mr A and the kids about what to get me for Mother’s Day, the witch was forgotten. I don’t think we’ll be seeing her again for a very long time.

If you are one of my Australian readers looking to spoil your mum or leave a hint to your offspring, Fresh Flowers have a gorgeous Mothers Day bouquet range, with same day delivery if you order by 1pm.

It’s been emotional #teamhonkrelay

Just one last bit of the relay to go. I’ve cycled 50k, walked 20k and even endured David Cameron for 5 minutes, I’ve been to Tanzania, I’ve visited a food bank in Nottingham.

This week has been a incredibly emotional week. It wasn’t meant to be. I expected to feel relief that this 10 week project is over. I won’t lie, #teamhonkrelay has hugely disrupted my personal, work and family life on a daily basis. It became a lot bigger than we thought it would be, but I couldn’t not give it my all. And I hate not doing things properly, and I’ve had to accept it can’t be perfect, which makes me cross. So I’m tired.

But I feel more fire than ever in my belly. I want to see the end to world poverty. I want to see the wealth shared. I’ve found my soap box.

£25,000 is utterly incredible, it will make a huge difference and I want to thank everyone who has donated, you are incredible.

In my heart I know there is more money out there and that I can’t stop there.

This week I’ve dealt with the inevitable wave of grief that hits you when you do something new and incredible but can’t share it with someone important. I say inevitable, once again I didn’t see it coming and it knocked me sideways. But I’ve blogged about that over on my new site littlelegacy.co.uk, I thought those posts deserved their own home. I found a way to come to terms with it.

It’s been a big week.

Now to put on those trainers and join in the Sainsburys Sport Relief Official Games on Sunday. Six miles in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It’s amazing to be part of something really big and I can’t wait.

My goal is to run it all, no matter how long it takes. Any cheering on in the form of sponsorship would be amazing.

Get your kit ON, with Cycle Centre

Cycling gear

Cycle Centre very kindly agreed to sponsor my kit for Nottingham’s leg of the #teamhonkrelay. I might have looked like a complete amateur on the day, but underneath that Robin hood costume from Joke I was fully equipped and prepared for anything. It was a good job really as we suffered 8 punctures on the day, so lots of waiting about in the freezing cold. Continue reading