Thursday, 19 April 2018

Family | Hello, I'm Called George

My three year old is the most sociable person I know, he says hello to almost everyone he sees, and he will strike up a conversation with anyone who will listen. He certainly doesn't get this trait for me, I hate making small talk and children just seem to invite that don't they? Henry on the otherhand is definitely mine and hates talking to other people as well. George could actually talk the hind leg off a donkey given the opportunity, he's happy, confident, outgoing and friendly. While all of these are great traits to have, it worries me.

It worries me because he will talk to ANYONE, and I mean anyone. Man with dog, he'll say hello. Woman with baby, he'll say hello. Look at him, he'll say hello. He has even started walking up to people and saying "hello, I'm called George!" Earlier this week we were at a park, it was quiet, it was early and we had the place to ourselves for a while so we were in our element. At most there were about three families there, including us, throughout the whole time we were there. We met one of these families whilst they were in the maze, Henry and I were sat on a bench stuffing our faces and George told the family "I can hear my baby brother Henry!" As they all came out of the maze, George walked off with them asking "are you looking after me?" George really took a shine to their six year old son so we did end up having a little chat with the parents for a bit while the kids played which was nice despite my earlier claims of hating people.

While I am glad he feels confident to talk to people and has excellent social skills, I'm worried he will befriend the wrong person. It only takes a couple of seconds and he could be gone in a blink. He only has to approach the wrong person and that could be it. I know this seems irrational, but I watched a social experiment where a man showed parents how easy it was for him to coax their children to go off with them. George probably wouldn't even need coaxing. And it's scary. 

I'm not a helicopter parent and I never have been, I like giving the boys some independence, I like encouraging them to explore and I believe it has definitely helped them to develop physically as they are both excellent climbers and will happily tackle a climing frame, but these days I am scared to take my eye off George even for a second.

He has never been a shy child even as a baby but all of a sudden his confidence has rocketed and he has become much more independent. Just recently in the ice cream shop he asked the woman who was scooping his ice cream if he could have the marshmallows from the top, and happily paid for a toy in a ship which is fantastic. I am proud of what an amazing little character he is growing into and it is my job to guide him. I won't teach him not to speak to strangers because he has witnessed me say "good morning" to people when we have been out and I enjoy seeing him talking to others. He can bring a smile to anyone's face and I love that about him. 

I just wish I could fit him with a tracking device! 

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Days Out | The Ice Cream Farm

The sun has finally made an appearance in the UK and I am quite excited which is so unlike me but here we have it, I'm a changed woman, what can I say? I had some holidays to take in work so managed to squeeze them in this week before I lost them and I think I picked the right week for it. With the sun shining today we picked George up from school and headed to the Ice Cream Farm. It is pretty much our (and a hundred others) go to day out when the weather takes a turn for the better. 

Situated just outside Chester the Ice Cream farm is off the beaten track but definitely worth the long, windy journey. They advertise as being perfect for both toddlers and older children and I couldn't agree more, there is so much to do even for Henry! As soon as you enter, you're hit with Daisy's Garden, the cutest outdoor play area which closely resembles something straight out of the Teletubbies, with hills and tunnels covered in astro turf for the kids to climb and crawl through. In the centre there is a massive ice cream tree which blasts out snow every 30 minutes, cute right? It gets pretty busy though so keep your eyes peeled for your little one running through the snow with what feels like a million other kids. 

Speaking of your little one running off you can get a wristband from reception to write your name and number on just in case your unpredicatable toddler decides he no longer wants to play in the tunnels and disappears to a roundabout without your knowledge causing unbeknown panic to set in for his parents who then split up and run round looking for him... Thanks George! 

As well as Daisy's Garden there is the Strawberry Field's mini golf which George begged me to go in to today depsite me protesting that he would get really bored really quickly, but to my surprise he lasted a bit longer than I expected. Albeit, he did have a massive tantrum because he told me he needed the toilet then refused to go because he did not want to leave the golf course. We did only have one tantrum though so I consider that to be a successful day out. 

There is also the Fun Factory soft play and Honeycomb Canyon for when the heat gets too much. George and Henry both spent more time in the soft play today than anywhere else today which is typical when the weather is cracking the pavements but it kept them entertained for a good hour or so and it was quiet in there which was nice because it meant Pete and I could relax a bit. We didn't go in Honeycomb Canyon this time round but we have been in the past, it's water and sand play so if you do fancy it, I'd suggest taking a spare set of clothes and a towel for your little one. It is free to get into the Ice Cream Farm but there is a small charge for the additional activities. If you've had enough of the hustle and bustle of the play area and soft play, you can go for a walk through Fudge Farm where you'll see some cute little animals because of course no farm is complete without animals. Pete took Henry here today while George and I played mini golf so we missed out. 

No trip to the Ice Cream Farm would be complete without an ice cream! There are over 50 flavours of ice creams and sorbets which have won some awards apparently. It's pretty good ice cream to be fair. I try to get something new each time we visit but I normally end up queuing on my own while Pete looks after the boys outside and I get really overwhelmed (lol). I think my favourite has to be the white chocolate, raspberry and Oreo though but the Ferrero is pretty good too. 

The Ice Cream Farm is definitely one of our favourite places to visit, I think we have been three times this year already, but George loves it there and we get to indulge in ice cream so it's a win win.

What's your favourite ice cream?

Rachael xo


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Life | Taking a Break

So if you follow me on social media you'll notice that just short of a week ago I made the decision to take a break from it all. I haven't deleted my accounts, I've just removed the apps from my phone. I make it no secret that I suffer really badly from mental health problems but I guess I have what you call high functioning depression. If you met me you probably wouldn't think I was depressed, the majority of the time I am quite well put together, I'm sociable, I take the boys out, visit family, go shopping. None of the stereotypical things you'd expect of a person with depression.I have good days and bad days. On a bad day, I will just sit on the couch and binge watch trashy TV, I won't do any house work and I'll possibly go to bed at 7pm. 

I mentioned a while back how Pete had become self-employed and how it has affected me which you can read here and five months later things are no different really. I am still struggling with lone parenting of a weekend. I feel like I can't make plans of a weekend due to him being away and last week he was working three nights in a row. It hit me that I didn't have a free weekend until mid June. The girls were trying to make plans for a London meet up and I just couldn't fit it in. I broke down. Completely. I ugly cried for about two hours on the couch after the boys went to sleep. I was texting Pete which I realise is completely unfair but it my way of coping. Give him his due he tried everything he could to try and make me feel better including inviting me to his clubnight in Liverpool on the Saturday. He even invited us all to Glasgow with him earlier that day before I started Cry Fest 2018. That's when I  made the decision to delete social media from my phone. 

You see, I'm a self confessed social media addict. I spend hours scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I was finding myself jealous of everyone that seemed to be doing something I wasn't. Holidays. New cars. New clothes. Nights out. Why wasn't I doing any of that? I for one, know full well that people put the best part of the lives online and I have been guilty of doing it myelf but when you're in a bad place it can just make you feel like you are at rock bottom. Why was I torturing myself like this?  I didn't need it. I needed to concentrate on myself. I deleted Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I took my a Sertaline and an ibuprofen and I went to sleep. 

I woke up on Friday, took George to school then Henry and I hopped the train over to Liverpool to get out of the house and blow off the cobwebs.  I figured it would do me some good to get out of the house so I did a bit of shopping and took Henry to visit my colleagues before heading home for some lunch. I had a good heart to heart with the girls via Whatsapp and already started to feel better. George and I then had a movie night with pizza and chocolate then I had an early night. It was just what I needed.

Saturday morning rolled around, we went to Gym Bobs, went to visit my mum and then spent the afternoon watching TV. When Pete got home from Glasgow, I went for a bath and he persuaded me to go out with him and I had such a good night. I drank loads of prosecco and danced to pop punk and I was so glad I went out. 

Fast forward a few more days and I had booked a holiday to Barcelona with the girls for May. I mentioned it Pete and he pulled a few strings and arranged that he would stay at home that weekend rather than go to Milton Keynes. Result. 

Self care isn't always bath bombs and face masks, it's removing yourself from something that is making you miserable and also gaining a bit of perspective. I think last week I was just overdue a good cry and it got the better of me. I've checked in on social media a few times and am overwhelmed with the amount of love I got from everyone <3

Thanks for listening to me ramble! 

Rachael xo


Mama Style | Spring Dreamin'

I am an Autumn/ Winter girl through and through, give me boots, hats and pumpkin spice lattes every day. I love candles, I love being cosy, I love eating a massive bowl of Scouse and being huddled up in loads of blankets. However, recently I am dreaming of warmer months, maybe I've had enough of the snow, maybe I'm sick of being cooped up inside with two boisterous boys who just want to be active all the time but I've said it, I am spring dreamin' 

I  bought a pair of these frayed hem jeans from Primark recently albeit in black (of course - it's pretty much uniform) and I love them. They're not for everyone though because my mum and brother hate them and call me shipwrecked whenever I wear them, but what do they know ay? I don't often wear colour so on the rare occasion I do, it's normally a muted tone and although I hate yellow, I love mustard, probably because it's the only shade of yellow I can wear with my pasty ass skin, so adding it as a little pop of colour with a cute crop, some DMs and I am inspired. I actually wore a mustard blouse recently for work and George told me he didn't like me in it. Cheeky.

There's nothing I love more than rocking a good grungey look and I'm off out out on Easter Sunday to do a bit of day drinking so naturally I've been planning outfits ahead of the big day (something my mates always take the piss out of me before). I only wish the weather was a bit warmer so I could  rep the denim skirt and Vagabonds but I might just throw on a pair of fishnets and get my beer coat on and I'll be sound.

Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking! I am a bit partial to the floral trend as long as it's not too bright and girly and I think this outfit is mega cute. Converse are my go to shoes these days especially as I'm normally running round after George who cannot be trusted to walk sensibly. See, I plan all these cute outfits and say I'm excited for Spring so I can wear them but the reality of it is, I'm gonna be sporting a mum bun and leggings the majority of the time! A girl can dream right?

Rachael xo

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

School | My Three Year Old Got Sent Home From Pre-School

George started pre-school in September and I touched on how worried Pete was about it here and how our little man surprised us. His first parents' evening went swimmingly and I felt pretty smug. Fast forward a few months and I might as well be eating my own hat. After Christmas, things took a turn for the worse, his behaviour spiralled downhill and in fact things have gotten so bad my three year old got sent home from pre-school.

It all started when he went back to school after the Christmas break. George's teacher would pull us up at home time to tell us what a bad day he'd had. At first, it was not listening and smacking other children so his teacher mentioned introducing a reward chart which took a while to be put in place and I asked if we could have the same one as it was something I wanted to introduce at home and obviously wanted some consistency. Eventually, we were given the said reward chart and after a week his teacher reported "it didn't seem to be working" which hardly seemed fair considering they hadn't really given it much of a chance. I mean, a week, seriously? A sticker chart was then introduced and since then we haven't bothered with the reward chart we were given. 

It had previously been mentioned George had been put down in the incident book for spitting and it was explained to us that if it happened again he would be sent home as the head teacher does not tolerate spitting (fair enough) but at the end of the day he is only three. He doesn't understand that spitting is disgusting and a bad enough offense that he will be sent home from school for it. Not that I condone his behaviour in any way, if he is caught spitting at home he does get punished for it but I just thought it was a little bit harsh. Again, I picked the demon up from school one day and got called in by the deputy head for a "quick word". George had spat at a member of staff. I swear the way she spoke to me made me feel like the smallest person in the world and I knew for a fact she was judging me "oh what kind of a mother is she? Her child spits at people, what must his home life be like?" Naturally I was mortified, spitting on the floor of the playground is one thing but spitting at another person, especially an adult is just on another level! Meanwhile, George was sat in the office completely oblivious to how much trouble he was in due to the fact nobody had spoken to him about it properly. I questioned the DH as to whether she had spoken to which she replied "I've had a brief chat with him just now." Personally, I didn't think it was good enough that she had waited until after the incident to speak to him and only did so because she wanted to speak to me on the school run It literally took all my strength not to roll my eyes at her. Not that I am one of those parents who thinks the sun shines out of her kid's arse because I will always chastise George for bad behaviour and it was me that requested to follow the same reward chart they'd so easily discarded. 

I digress, last Friday we got a phone call from the school asking if we could pick George up early because he had spat. Pete was the one who took the phone call and as far as we were aware, the head teacher was sending George home from spitting. George came home looking rather sheepish so I called him over and asked why he had been sent home and what his HT had said to him. He didn't know. Pete then told me he didn't think George knew why he had been sent home and that the HT hadn't spoken to him because one of the TAs explained the situation when she brought him out. Once again, there has been a lack of communication from the school! George broke into silent tears and it was awful, I've never seen him cry like that before. He was sad. I told him he should never spit and it was unacceptable but he had been sent home from school as punishment and that was the end of it. We cuddled, he cried and I cried too (hormones!) That was that.

Fast forward another week and we get another phone call to pick him up as he had spat at a child. Fuck. Sake. It is so embarrassing! I went to collect him and he came out smirking which obviously just made matters worse, he just does not fear any consequences at all. We left school and started walking home. I didn't get cross with him, or angry or shout, instead I asked him who he had spat at and why he did it. Three year olds are pretty honest so he told me who he spat at and that this child had pulled his hair so he'd just retaliated. I calmly explined that if someone hurts him he should tell the teacher rather than spit or hurt anyone back. He said okay and we went home. So at the ripe old age of three my toddler has been sent home from pre-school twice.

There has been talk of getting the SENCO involved and they have finally asked for a meeting with us which is to take place next Tuesday. His teacher told Pete he hadn't been listening again yesterday, so of course they had a discussion about his behaviour but once again, George was none the wiser. I cannot express how frustrated I am with the school right now. It may seem like I am completely against the school which is far from the truth, I really want to help and get to the bottom of the issues he is having. At the moment I am pretty annoyed with the school because George is under the impression he has had a good day if he hasn't been put on the "thinking chair" but his teacher will then tell us that he hasn't had a good day. We talk to him about it and he is confused because he doesn't understand. The reward chart was dismissed far too quickly and he needs to be told off for what he has done there and then, there is no point leaving it until hours later because he will definitely have forgotten about it by then. 

I struggle to see what could be causing him to behave this way because I personally don't think his behaviour is that bad at home, yes he struggles with attention and does have huge strops sometimes but he is only three. I'm hoping the SENCO can provide some answers and suggestions to help him settle back down again and in a way it is a relief in case there is an underlying issue there. It is still early days and I am glad the ball is rolling now!

Wish us luck! 

Rachael xo


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Life | The Week That Was

It is 19.26 on a Saturday night and I'm in bed drinking prosecco. I'm in bed drinking prosecco because I have had the week from hell. You know one of those weeks were loads of bad stuff happens and anything that could possible goes wrong, just goes wrong? Well that's the week I've had. This is the week that was. 

Last Sunday I started clearing the boys' bedrooms and spent all day slogging my guts off, making piles for the loft and hanging up all of their clothes that had just been lashed on George's bed. After I'd had enough, I showered because I was minty (scouse slang for dirty), we ate tea and when the boys were in bed when I headed upstairs myself to catch up on All  Stars 3 in bed (seriously, if you don't like RuPaul's Drag Race, we can't be mates). Towards the end, my eye felt really gritty and sore, I just figured some dust had got into it, I finished watching the episode and went to sleep only to wake up on Monday morning with what looked like conjunctivitis. Not to mention, I got my period so needless to say, I was pretty pissed off. Nice one Monday! Anyway, Pete took Henry to Rhythm Time, went to do a food shop and got me some ointment for my eye, perks of being self employed and all that. 

Tuesday my eye was still red and sore. It was all closed up and I looked horrendous so I didn't leave the house again all day but Wednesday I was due in work. I don't know about you but since I only work two days a week I didn't really think I should phone in sick, especially when I'd agreed to do overtime. I put on bare minimum makeup because I won't leave the house without a bit of mascara due to my blonde eyelashes and headed to the office. We were busy, hence the over time and I literally didn't stop all day. Come home time, I learnt that a train had broken down and all my trains were severely delayed so I made the decision to get the bus home and popped into Lush on my way to the bus stop only to drop my phone and smash it into a million pieces! Great! 

On Thursday I planned to leave early and go to the walk in centre over my eye because it hadn't cleared and clearly wasn't conjunctivitis because the ointment was doing sweet FA. I went downstairs after rushing to get ready only to discover it was snowing. Heavily. I didn't have time to change, was wearing a dress and slippy boots AND I'd left my gloves in work. Anyway, I slowly made my way to the station in the hope my trains had been cancelled but no such luck. I got to town only to find the walk in was closed. Fuck. My Life. I went to Tesco, bought myself some food, fluffy socks and an umbrella then headed to work. I then fell on my arse and hurt my wrist. So I cried like a baby for ten minutes in the toilet before giving my head a wobble, wiping my face and going to get a coffee like a grown up. 

Friday I did some more over time, then I got a phone call from the school asking if I could pick George up early because he had spat at another child (more on that in another post). Great. I left work to pick him up, then had to go into town to get Mother's Day presents, visited both my nan's to deliver said gifts and then went to my mum's for a bit. We ate pizza and watched Disney films and Henry fell asleep during his bottle. Fabulous I hear you say? Well it was until Henry woke up at 1am and didn't go back to sleep again until 3am. I swear I had never regretted having kids so much as I did in that moment. Of course the boys then woke up at 6am and I was ready to start my day. By ready to start my day I mean, I made them bottles, stuck the telly on and snoozed for an hour until George crept over and shouted "wake up!" at me. Then I lost an earring. Great! 

After my coffee, I felt better, we watched Trolls, we all got ready with no qualms, the sun was shining and I thought "I got this!" Anyway, we were all ready in good time to leave for Gym Bobs so I took the double pram outside, set everything up, put Henry in the pram and then the worst thing happened. George shut the front door. With my changing bag inside. The changing bag that had my house keys in, my purse, snacks and lunch for the boys, nappies and baby wipes. And Pete was in Southampton. I hit the roof. I shouted at George. I rang Pete and shouted down the phone at him even though it was far from his fault and I made the walk to Gym Bobs. I felt so guilty for shouting at George, obviously he didn't lock us out on purpose and I had told him not to let the cats out so it was my own fault so I got him out of his pram, apologised for shouting and gave him the tightest hug and biggest kiss. All was well again, we were going to Gym Bobs and then heading to my parents' until Pete got home and that was fine. Until Henry started screaming at Gym Bob's and wouldn't settle so we had to make an early dart. Queue more mum guilt because poor George didn't want to go home but Henry was hungry and tired. What could I do with NO food?? So we spent the afternoon with my dad, who fed us all burgers, let me drink his nice coffee and we watched Disney movies so it could have been worse.

As soon as Pete text to let me know he was home, I practically shoved the boys in the pram and ran home, palmed them off on him and headed upstairs with a prosecco and ran myself a bath, And you know what, it was pure bliss. 

Thank god the week is almost over ay! 

Rachael xo

Monday, 5 March 2018

Home | Toddler Room Makeover

Just a quick one today but I really wanted to share this with you. Following from my post that the boys don't sleep in their own room which you can read here I have been inspired to finally redecroate the bedrooms! We moved into our house almost four years ago come June and we have used the middle bedroom as a dumping ground for all sorts of shit. Seriously, I can't even bring myself to show you a photograph of it because it's that bad. Since the boys have been sleeping downstairs, we had just been dumping boxes in George's bedroom too rather than putting them straight into the loft. I can't even remember the last time I hung any clothes in their wardrobe, it has literally been in the worst state ever. I've just gotten so lazy as of late and have no excuse for it to be honest, I just keep making excuses but I'm suddenly motivated to get it all sorted.

Today I spent the entire afternoon hanging up clothes, putting boxes in the loft and now we finally have one clear bedroom, it's a shame nobody is sleeping in it! After I'd cleared the box bedroom, I sat on the floor, listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack and buying some little bits for Henry's new room. It has made me so excited to finally sort the upstairs of our house out. Is there anything better than the feeling of a Spring clean?

What do you think of my picks?

Rachael xo