Life | Finding my Voice

I've always loved writing and I started blogging way back in 2012 believe it all not after being inspired by Burkatron. My blog posts were awful though, they lacked creativity and originality but it was all really new to me. I've been through so many different 'brands' since then from Jegz Loves Tea, to Girl Behind the Blue Door and eventually, my third baby, Tots and Tantrums.

To be honest I never really wanted to stick to one niche such as parenting but I just wasn't interesting enough (or just too lazy) to be a lifestyle blogger. I know it's a risky game branding your blog around your kids isn't it but it's what I know, I'm with them all the friggin' time so it's quite easy to find something to write about. I toyed with the name Tots and Tantrums for ages before fully committing to it and while I know this blog most likely has a shelf life it'll still be good to look back on in years to come. 

Tots and Tantrums was born in December 2016, just before Henry came into our lives (I can't believe it's been three years) and I guess I got sucked into what I thought mum bloggers should sound like. The truth is it's not really me, not that there's anything wrong with that style of writing of course. Despite my Facebook page being quite casual and sounding like my common self, my blog was far less me and it took me a year on my own to rediscover myself - without sounding like too much of a pretentious wanker. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I'm loads happier these days and I feel more myself than I have for a really really long time which I feel has reflected in my writing. I reckon I've found myself properly after an unplanned albeit much needed hiatus. I genuinely never thought I'd see the day I'd fall back in love with blogging again but here we are...

Here's to 2020!

Rachael xo

Family | Co-Parenting at Christmas

Christmas 2019, the first Christmas I'd separated from the boys' dad. How would we spend it? How would we split it fairly as both of us wanted the boys on Christmas Day. We've both got our set days and typically Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day fell on his days. Sounds stupid but when we split my biggest fear was him not being flexible around the holidays which is silly because we both do try accommodate each other with regards to extra days and swapping days when need be (me more than him - go figure).

Anyway, I needn't have worried because we decided to spend Christmas Day together with the boys which might seem unorthodox to some of you you but the truth is we get on far better now than we ever (most of the time anyway). I knew I wanted the boys to wake up with me on Christmas Day and we'd open our presents and have dinner together. Usually we go to my mum's for dinner but this year, to save their dad being on his own and to split the day fairly, we decided to spend it together. 

We had a nice day though and I feel like it's the nicest Christmas we've had since George was born, the first one where there's been no arguments and it really was proper lovely. I'm sure arrangements will change if he or I were to meet someone else but you've got to make special arrangements for special occasions and I do hope every year can go as smoothly as this one did. 

Guess the point of this post is that even when we're no longer a couple, we're still equal parents and things should be split fairly, even if it's not the ideal scenario. At the end of the day we have to do what in our babies' best interests and it's all about compromise isn't it ? :) 

Rachael xo

Mum Steez | January Edition

It's been a while since I did one of these hasn't it but Polyvore shut down and I've struggled to find an alternative tbh! However, I've found one and I'm back so here's the January edit. 

If you wear anything other than leggings and over sized jumpers in January then you obviously didn't overindulge at Christmas. Leggings don't have to be boring though, I love my wet look leggings at the mo and I practically live in them because they're stretchy, flattering and the comfiest things ever. Who wants to be squeezing into jeans when you're practically still full of brie and prosecco? 

Paired with an oversized jumper to hide those Christmas sins, some platform Vans (my faaaave) and a slouchy bag to put snacks and toys in and you're ready to tackle soft play, museums or playgrounds  (or whatever it is we do in January) by being comfy and looking cute af.

Rachael xo

Life | Dating as a Single Mum

If you told me this time last year I'd be dating again I'd have probably laughed in your face because honestly the sheer thought of being intimate with somebody new terrified me. I had been in a long term relationship since I was 21 so the idea of being single again was a daunting one. Turns out a few DM slides does wonders for a girl's confidence. Who knew? 

I've been single for a year now and am comfortably back in the dating game but as a working mum it can be hard yeno. My ex works weekend (self employed isn't he?) and I work mid week so our arrangement with the boys suits both our work patterns; however one of us (and it's not me) has it way more easy than the other... It can be so hard for me to find the time to meet up with someone midweek due to work commitments, but obviously those three free evenings I do get, I try to make the most of. Nine times out of ten though most fellas are sound with going for a midweek bev and if you go straight from work you can be on the last train home and back in bed by midnight so it's not really as bad as it sounds. Exhausting though! 

As well as finding the time and being constantly knackered it's really hard to meet new people isn't it? Nobody wants to meet someone in a night club (not that I even go to night clubs being nearly thirty and all that). On top of that my weekends are quite precious because they're my days with the boys, so even though I could get a babysitter and go out (which sometimes I do), I don't really want to unless it's to catch up with a mate. 

So that leaves me with dating apps which I'm not gonna lie, can be so much fun but are equal parts depressing at times.They're just shallow aren't they? Swipe if you fancy me judging from a few of my best photos. Some men are just disgusting when they can hide behind a screen as well, cue the hasty use of the unmatch button. It's not all bad though, I have actually met a few nice fellas from dating apps which haven't worked out for one reason or another so there is hope. 

The next thing us mums have got to worry about is if it's going well with someone, when and how do we introduce him to our kids? Luckily that's an obstacle I've not had to face just yet but it is always there in the back of my mind like. Will the kids like him? Will he be good to them? Will they be confused? 

Dating in your thirties is hard enough without throwing kids into the mix but it's deffo nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Apart from learning about things called breadcrumbing and ghosting (seriously, wtf?). If someone likes you they won't care about your stretch marks and wobbly bits and they WILL make time to see you when you're free; be it a midweek drink or a lunch time coffee. 

So single mums (and dads) get yourself out there!

Rachael xo

Days Out | Free Days Out in Merseyside


January is so miserable isn't it? We're all fat and skint after overindulging at Christmas and since kids just have no concept of money and well anything at all really, it can be a struggle to find something to do with them that won't break the bank (or your overdraft). Well fear no more because I've put together a list of FREE stuff to do in Merseyside for you and the sprogs, so shake off the cobwebs and do them:

WORLD MUSEUM - Liverpool City Centre

The World Museum in town is probably one of the best places you can take the kids and it's free. You can actually visit the whole world in a day (okay maybe not the whole world but it's fun anyway). 

With the Natural History Centre the kids can touch the skull of a hippo, examine a tropical butterfly and even hold a mammoth tooth. 

The Bug House and aquarium are both favourites with my two because kids love bugs and fish for some reason don't they? Although I must admit the spiders and scorpions creep me out a bit. 

Just remember, if you want to head to the Planetarium you have to pay for tickets! 

TAM O'SHANTER URBAN FARM AND BIDSTON HILL - Wirral 

Tam O'Shanter is a small farm situated in Bidston, Wirral. While it's only small, you can buy food to feed the ducks/ goats - just be careful they don't go for the paper bag! There's a small play area for children to enjoy and dogs are welcome if kept on lead. Kids can even sit on a tractor which is always a good Instagrammable post ;) You're welcome! 

Once you're done at the farm you can head into Bidston Hill itself where you can play hide and seek in the woods. Loads of fresh air normally knocks the kids out so they'll be shattered when you get home if you stay out long enough. 

THE GRUFFALO TRAIL - Delamere Forest

"The Gruffalo said no gruffalo should, ever set foot in the deep dark wood." Okay so it's not in Merseyside but it's only a short car journey away and well worth it. You do have to pay for parking at Delamere but again, it's only a couple of quid so you'll be sound. Here you can do the Gruffalo Trail and hunt for the big bad Gruffalo, an orienteering leaflet will set you back £1.50 and it includes a certificate and a map - you can then hunt for the creatures from the story. Dogs are welcome here too so it's good to tire the pups out AND the kids. It does get a bit much for little legs though so be prepared to bribe them to walk back (maybe a piggy back will help).

LITTLE LIVERPOOL - Liverpool Museum

Little Liverpool is suitable for under 6s and the kids can create their own Liverpool, a city in where the're in charge. Every kids dream, am I right? There's also an interactive water based activity where they can drive boats and The Liverbird's Nest is a sensory pod for babies/ pre-walkers. The nest only accommodates up to 5 people but everyone has to take their shoes off so you know there's a safe and clean environment for your bub to play in without a worry. 

PIRATE SHIP - New Brighton Beach

I know what you're thinking, NOBODY wants to hit the beach in January but there's no reason not to wrap up warm and take a walk down to the pirate ship at New Brighton Beach. It's made entirely from drift wood and it really is amazing. You could even take some toys with you to hide in the sand and do your own treasure hunt. 



If you have anything you love to do that keeps the kids happy without spending  a penny let me know.

Rachael xo

Family | Just the Three of Us



If you follow me on any of my socials you will already know that way back in January I made the decision to leave the boys' dad. It probably won't really come as much of a surprise to any of you considering I spent the majority of 2018 miserable as fuck. My mental health was at an all time low and at Christmas I just thought to myself "I can't spend the rest of my life like this." I'm not gonna go into detail about my reasons for leaving because they're quite personal and it wouldn't be fair to my ex - but get me drunk and I'll tell you everything.

The idea of becoming a single ma was so fucking daunting because let's face it, nobody really wants that do they but our relationship had just become so toxic and it got the point where it felt we were just co-existing. The hard reality of it was I was practically doing it alone anyway as we were living separate lives just under the same roof.

Anyway, I found myself a little two up, two down, scrubbed it because it was a bit minty and was excited albeit nervous to start our new chapter as a three. Things were really hard at first, which I knew they would be, I'm not soft. Henry would cry to "go home, not mummy's house" and George's behaviour was out of control and he'd scream for his daddy. Queue ultimate mum guilt (ballache that init?) and I'd be crying to my mum "I can't do this, they hate me, I took them out their home!" to which she'd usually just reply "get a grip, you're doing great!"

But you know what? As rough as those first couple of months were it was so worth it in the long run. The boys have settled in really well (we all have), they spend half the week with me and half at their dad's so the balance is just right. I miss them like mad when they're not there but the truth is the peace is really lovely. I love coming home knowing that whatever mess I've made is mine or being able to just jump straight into bed if I want to. I'm happier than I've been in a really long time, I'm no longer taking anything for my mental health (for now) which is great. Don't get me wrong I still have my off days but who doesn't?

Rachael xo

Life | The Mental Load

Source: skitterphoto.com


A few months ago someone shared a post on Facebook entitled "The Mental Load" and when I read it I couldn't believe how relatable it was, in fact, I shared it and when Pete saw it he laughed. I don't know why he laughed because it's actually scarily accurate. You see, I think men think they do more than they actually do.

The mental load describes how women are expected to run the household, work a job and look after the kids, while the men don't do these things unless asked. But who's asking women to do these things? Why don't the men in our lives know what needs to be done around the house unless they've been nagged at by their missus?

Another week has come around when I've come home from work to dirty dishes sprawled across every kitchen surface, the dishwasher still full of clean dishes to be put away and last night's pots and pans have been left on the draining board. I'm pissed off. All weekend whilst Pete is away, I manage to keep on top of the housework, take both boys out and cook for myself and the kids. Yet I go to work for a day and Pete "doesn't have time" to empty the dishwasher and keep things clean and tidy meaning I have to come home from a full day at work, clean the kitchen, cook dinner and share bed time with the boys. 

I have whinged, complained, moaned, shouted more times than I can count but all to no avail. Nothing ever changes. It stays the same. It's got to a point now where I just think I'm going to have to put up or shut up but at the same time I'm thinking why the hell should I? We both live here. We both work. We both should share the responsibilities. Reliving the same argument over and over is incredibly frustrating but I'm exhausted. And yes maybe I should ask him to do things because he doesn't think to do them himself, but I'm stubborn and I don't think I should have to. It's a bit like having a third child sometimes. 


I'm going on strike.

Rachael xo