Thursday, 28 December 2017

Life | On Friendships After Kids

They say if a friendship lasts seven years it lasts forever. I'm not entirely sure who 'they' are but I like it. I have three best friends, my coven, and they have all been in my life for over seven years now - lucky witches!

I've known Emma since we were in pre-school and even though I left that school, we still saw each other once a year at a mutual friend's birthday party. Then when we started secondary school we were placed in the same form and have been best friends ever since. I think that's called serendipity.

Grace and I started a beautiful friendship during Year 10 Science class where we would constantly belt out Busted and Blink 182 song. Finally, when we hit drinking age we'd head out to our local rock club where we would neck 2-4-1 bevs and dance to loads of pop punk. She's since grown out of her emo phase but I liked her so I kept her around. 

I don't know how I became friends with Lauren but we would spend summers at the beach or nights in her attic gossiping, playing some Harry Potter board game or winding up boys on MSN. Remember MSN? God, I'm old! Again, we became good drinking buddies spending our hard earned cash on £1 drinks every Monday and dancing to cheesy classics (our common ground) at Aquapop, vowing each night to not get "Med Drunk" - if you know, you know.

I see many posts online where mums are complaining they've lost friends after they've had a baby. Most of it seems very passive aggressive - "have a baby, you'll soon find out who your real friends are" - that kind of stuff. Although part of me does feel sorry for these people, I also get quite annoyed by it. I want to know how much effort is put in by the person with child.

I understand that I'm very lucky in the fact my girls are still around after I've had two kids.Yes, two of us now no longer live locally due to work commitments and we don't go out as often as we used to but that comes with age and life getting in the way doesn't it?. If you all make the effort there's no reason for you not to be able to stay mates. The four of us have a Whatsapp group in which we talk almost every single day, we meet up as often as we can for a catch up or a night out and have even managed a couple of weekends away together.

Without sounding too soppy or gushy or cringey, I am truly blessed to call them my friends, they are all unofficial aunties to my boys. I mean, does your mum even have mates if you don't call them all auntie?

I'm a firm believer in that it works two ways, you still have to put that effort into any relationship after having a child. Whether it be catching up over coffee or something as simple as sending a quick text. You might be surprised!

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Life | "I Don't Want Kids"

I've always known kids were going to be part of my future, especially being the eldest grandchild on my mum's side of the family. I was only eight when my first cousin was born and I was smitten, my mum was his child minder for a while and I LOVED it when he came to ours for the day. I guess my maternal side kicked in when my twin brothers were born. In fact, I can remember the exact moment my parents told us they were expecting, they took us out for dinner, sitting opposite me and my brother. They said "we have something to tell you" and my brother said "you're pregnant aren't you?" my mum said "yes but there's something else" and without missing a beat "it's twins isn't it?" I said. And that was that, we were expanding! I was fifteen when Harry and Elliot entered the world and I fell in love, they were just so small and precious. I spend a lot of time helping out with the twins and my mum would jokingly say she had a built in babysitter - which wasn't really a joke. We have an understanding though, me and my mum, I never say no when she asks me to babysit and she never says no when I ask her to. Whenever my mum and dad were working and their shift patterns clashed (joys of NHS workers hey?) I'd get up in the morning, give the boys breakfast and dress them for school. They were three and I was eighteen by this point, so I was fairly confident in making sure they were clean and fed. Life was great, I would have babies to look after and play with, wind up a bit then hand them back over when I'd had enough. 

There was a time when I was a young, innocent naive eighteen year old that I just thought everybody would want children, why wouldn't they? Babies were cute. One of my best friends told me she never wanted kids and I was shocked "you'll change your mind, everyone wants kids!" Stupid wasn't I? It wasn't for the fact I was ignorant but I just thought she was saying it because she was young and wanted to live her life first. To this day, she still doesn't want kids. And that's okay! She isn't some spinster woman who lives on her own with a million cats (she just has the one yet so there's still time for that) but she's great with my boys and has nieces and nephews of her own who she's equally amazing with. 

Another close friend on the other hand doesn't like children at all and that's okay too. I don't really like other people's kids myself unless they're tiny babies. She's a good friend though because in all her awkwardness, she asked to hold George when he was newborn and she's put up with being slapped and kicked by him as well. Who can blame the girl for not wanting kids when she's been subjected to that?

Some women are maternal and want children. Some women don't. It doesn't mean they hate children, it just means they do not want to become a mother. Society just expects women to become mothers but why? We don't expect all men to become fathers and it seems totally okay for a man to be a bachelor, but when a woman says they won't want children why do we react like they're about to shoot us in the face? 

If your response when someone says this is like mine when I was younger, stop and think first. I actually know someone who has been asked "what's wrong with you" because she doesn't want children. How is that an acceptable thing to say to someone? It is so disrespectful! Women who do not want children are only the same as people who don't want pets. If I told you I didn't have any pets or didn't want any pets in future, you wouldn't ask why or tell me I may change my mind, you'd just accept it. 

Respect their choice and if you can't, just keep your mouth shut and smile :) 

Their body. Their life. Their choice.

Rachael xo

Monday, 18 December 2017

Christmas | The Christmas Tag

Christmas is my favourite time of year, as soon as Halloween is over, I'm ready to embrace all things Christmas, the Christmas songs come out and I want to dust off the decorations and get them up so I can enjoy them for as long as possible! I was tagged by the lovely Lyndsey from Fizzy Peaches to take part in the Christmas Tag so here goes!

What's Your Favourite Christmas Movie?

I absolutely love The Santa Clause trilolgy, I watch it every year wheen I'm wrapping presents, it's become a little tradition.

Have You Ever Had A White Christmas?

I think we have but because I live on a peninsular, we're really lucky (or unlucky if you hate snow) if it sticks. I do remember falling over on the ice in 2010 so maybe that was the last time we had snow.

Where Do You Usually Spend Your Holiday?

On Christmas Day we go to my parents' for dinner and spend the day there.

What's Your Favourite Christmas Song?

Okay I have a few because I love Christmas songs. My top three are, Baby Please Come Home - Michael Buble, Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea and River - Barry Manilow.

Do You Open Any Presents on Christmas Eve?

Absolutely not! And the boys won't be doing it either. Everyone does get new pjs though, I mean is it even Christmas if you don't get Christmas Eve pyjamas?

Can You Name all of Santa's Reindeer?

Unlike Lyndsey, I'm not going to cheat! Comet, Vixen, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Rudolph, Blitzen, Cupid and Prancer. I think? How many does he have?

What Holiday Traditions Are You Looking Forward to This Year?

Having steak and prosecco for tea on Christmas Eve, bathing the boys, putting their new pjs on, taking a photo in front of the tree, watching The Snowman and putting out some prosecco and a cake for Santa! Yes, Santa likes prosecco in our house.

Is Your Christmas Tree Real or Fake?

We have an artificial tree because I like it to be quite full and I don't really like the look of real trees!

What Is Your Favourite Holiday Food/ Treat?

I do enjoy a pig in a blanket, there's just something about sausage wrapped in bacon isn't there?

Be Honest: Do You Prefer Giving or Receiving Gifts?

I really do enjoy giving! I love buying presents for other people that I know they will love, it makes me really happy. Although I'm not going to lie, I do like receiving just as much!

What's The Best Present You've Received?

My mum made this photo book online of all the photos from mine and Pete's engagement party and it was so perfect, I might have cried.

What's Your Dream Place to Visit for the Holiday Season?

I would LOVE to visit New York at Christmas, I know it sounds cliche but it just looks so dreamy. I want to see the tree at the Rockerfeller Centre.

Are You a Pro Wrapper or Do You Fail Miserably?

I'm definitely a pro because I have to wrap EVERYTHING. Pete only has to worry about wrapping my presents!

What's Your Most Memorable Christmas Memory?

When I was 12 my mum and dad presented my brother and I with a little Christmas gift bag and inside where our passports and a message telling us we were going to be spending New Year in Disneyland Paris.

What Made You Realise the Truth About Christmas?

I was quite old I think and people in school were talking about whether or not they believed and my mum and dad decided to tell me. I remember being secretly upset about it actually.

What Makes the Holidays Special for You?

Spending time with family definitely! Not that I don't anyway but it's just nice to keep up traditions and not stress about anything for a week or two!

So there we have it! I can't believe Christmas is a week away, I am so excited to celebrate this year as a family of four, it's Henry's first Christmas and soon after he'll be one!

I tag:

Louise - Wee Ohana
Sophie - Vitiligo Mum
Karina - Mums The NerdKim - Brummie Gal in Cardiff
Jemma - Mayflower Blogs
Amy - All About A Mummy
Jenny - Edspire
Jess - Mrs Hible
Claire - Bumps, Babies, Tots and Teens
Siobhan - The Baby Boat Diaries

Thursday, 9 November 2017

School | Life With A Pre-Schooler

Life With Preschooler

On the 18th September this year, my precious first born started his first day of pre-school. Part of me didn't want him to go, he was too little, he was only just three eight days prior. Pete and I walked him the ten minute journey to school and he looked so smart and grown up in his uniform. When we arrived at the school gates, he trotted into his classroom without a second glance at us! I was relieved but also secretly a bit gutted that he didn't care. Selfish right? At 1.30 we picked him up and I was beyond excited to hear about his day but naturally, trying to make conversation with a three year old can be compared to drawing blood from a stone. With a lot of specific questions from myself and Pete we've actually learned a lot from the short time he has been there, he has lots of friends, his favourite toy is the trains and there is one boy in particular he isn't quite fond of or so to speak. 

George stays for lunch at school so I get the whole morning to myself, from 8.45 to 1.30 I am a free woman - or I wish, I still have a  baby to look after, but it suits me just fine. Henry gets some one on one time with me, which I must say is rather difficult when you have a boisterous three year old demanding your undivided attention. When Henry naps, I can get on with my housework, watch some television (yep, grown up stuff - RuPaul's Drag Race anyone?), blog or even nap. I must say napping and watching telly normally take priority but hey, I like to procrastinate. I love having that time to spend doing things for myself and with Henry without having to juggle spending time with George too. 

When George comes home from school he is normally quite tired so we chill in the afternoon which is a bonus because he will sit and watch cartoons and I can have a cuppa in semi-peace! He went through a little phase of crying when he came out of school which I think was a combination of tiredness and relief that I was there. This past week has been brilliant though and it is amazing to see him coming out of school with a smile.

We recently attended our first parents evening and I had no idea what to expect but his key worker sung his praises, she said he's popular, his confidence is growing and he's the first child to move along their reward chart. I think I almost burst with pride. You see, Pete was worried about him  starting school because he's a bit of a law unto himself our George, but I knew school would do him some good and he's definitely proved me right. Although he needs to work on his concentration (I mean he's a very clever little boy so he is always looking or something to do to keep him entertained - it's exhausting, but what three year old can concentrate all the time?) he seems to be thriving and I am so glad we sent him when we did.

The only thing with him only doing mornings is that I find we're limited to what we can do, for example I went Christmas shopping last week and was so conscious of being back home in time for him to go to school but I guess it would be the same if he did afternoons because we'd be waiting around all morning for him to go. It's all so new to us I think we are still trying to find our own routine but I love having a pre-schooler, I love hearing about his friends and his day. 

George never went to nursery to this is all very new to me, but earlier this week we went to our local park and one of his school friends was there and I just loved hearing her shout "Georgie" and watching them play together, it really was the sweetest thing! He even walked to school with another of his friends this week, straight into the gates and into the classroom before I'd even caught up with him! 

I am going to miss him so much when he starts full time but thankfully we have two years of pre-school to look forward to first! 

Does your little one enjoy school?

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Top 10 | Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Halloween is just around the corner and this year I will be in Amsterdam over Halloween weekend, so no party for us second year on the run! I didn't do one last year because I was pregnant with Henry and the thought of having people round was just too exhausting. When I was a kid, I was never a big fan of Halloween, still to this day I don't like masks (seriously though, what's the deal?) I guess it wasn't really a big thing back then but it's definitely a holiday that has grown on me. I love horror films and dressing up now, it's like I'm trying to relive my youth or something. George won't be missing out this year though as he is going to his cousin's for a little party and he got to choose his costume this year and I'm a bit upset I'm missing it to be honest! 

Anyway if you're not a big fan of Halloween why not stay in and watch a movie with the kids? All you need is your tv, big blankets, some toffee apples and treats and you're set! Here is a list of my top 10 family friendly Halloween movies: 

10. Monster House
When my little brothers were younger they were obsessed with this film, they used to watch it on repeat. It's about some kids who discover their neighbour's house is actually a monster. Clue is in the name right? 

9. Haunted Mansion
It's a Disney film and it has Eddie Murphy in it, need I say more? The spider scene scarred me for life - you've been warned. 

8. Beetlejuice
I freakin' love Beetlejuice! Such a classic. Just don't say his name three times! 

7. The Addam's Family
What list would be complete with The Addam's Family right? Wednesday Addams is my spirit animal.

6. Casper
Fun fact - this was the first film I saw in the cinema at the ripe old age of 5. My mum cried.

5. Coraline
Okay Coraline is super creepy but I love it anyway! Maybe not suitable for pre-schoolers! 

4. Paranorman
I actually really enjoyed this film, a rewatch is needed. I wish I was as cool as Norman to be honest. 

3. Corpse Bride
I went to see this in the cinema twice. What emo kid wasn't excited when this came out? I even donned a Corpse Bride tshirt back in the day. 

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Is it a christmas film is it a Halloween film? WHO CARES?! It is great. I can recite Jack's Lament as well. 

1. Hocus Pocus
Of course this took the number 1 spot. I adore this film, everything about it is fantastic. I used to fancy Max so much when I was a kid as well. 

What will you be watching this Halloween?

Rachael xo

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Days Out | Jedi School at Spaceport

jedi school at spaceport
Photo by Spaceport
[Gifted] Pete really likes Star Wars and honestly I don't see the big deal with it but that's because I've never watched it! It's kind of like that episode of How I Met Your Mother when Ted shows Stella the movie and it's really important she watches it and likes it before they get married blah blah, so I reckon that's why we're not married yet (ha!). So when we were invited to join the Jedi School down at Spaceport this half term I jumped at the chance, I thought this will get me extra cool girlfriend points amirite? 

jedi school at space port
Photo by Spaceport

We went into the planetarium where the Jedi School took place and I was really unsure as to how George would be when we got in there as it was full of older kids and he lacks concentration at the best of  times. As it happens George was more interested in the babies behind us which he kept getting up to tickle every five seconds. I always get dead paranoid when George touches other kids because some parents might be a bit funny about it but they seemed okay anyway.

Luke Skywalker and Padawan asked the audience questions and made everybody get up and do Jedi moves so I got up with George and he kept running away to look at the babies and I was basically dancing about on my own because Pete was just sitting on his reclining planetarium chair all comfy like. Two members of the audience were then invited up to perform their new Jedi mind tricks and knock the Jedis over which was really good. There was this one kid who loved Star Wars so much he was practically jumping out of his seat to be involved. It was really cute because he was just so into it and so excited.

jedi school at space port
Photo by Spaceport
George got a little bit scared when the Jedis went out to fight Darth Vader and to be fair it was pretty tense. I was a bit disappointed because the fighting action was all on screen although given the size of the room it would have been difficult to do inside. When the Jedis came back in we thought they had defeated the evil Sith lord but how wrong we were. Cue scary music and Darth Vader walked in through the back door. We all had to use the force to defeat him but it wasn't powerful enough despite there being 20 of us against one little Sith so he must be strong or something! Anyway we all booed the evil man out of the room and faith was restored. Hurrah!

The experience was aimed for children aged 6+ so George was a bit young for it to be honest and he's yet to see Star Wars (I'm sure it won't be long before Pete brainwashes him) but he might have recognised some of the characters from daddy's pyjamas. I enjoyed it considering I'm not really a fan of Star Wars so I wouldn't even say you had to be massively into it to go, especially if you have kids or even a fella who likes it. 

There was also a meet and greet at the end of the show where Luke and Darth Maul came out but George was a bit scared of Darth Maul (he is creepy with that red and black mask though to be fair). I felt like a bit of a div when he came out because George asked me who he was and I couldn't remember his name, luckily Luke came to the rescue though - thanks mate. 

jedi school at space port
I was totally unprepared for a photo after my 8am driving lesson, and trek to Rhythym Time but Pete refused to get in the picture
The Jedi School is at Spaceport for the whole of half term week (23rd Oct - 27th Oct) and you can book tickets here. Upstairs they have a huge collection of Star Wars memorabilia at the Sci-Fi Icons exhibition. While you're there you can look at all the exhibits in the Spaceport and there's also a couple of rides for the kids as well. Obviously with a baby and toddler in tow we didn't get the opportunity to check these out - at one point George actually ran through the ride exit and pressed some buttons for the ride! No lie. Toddlers just have no cares in the world do they? 

What are you up to this half term?

Rachael xo

Mum Steez | Amsterdam

my mama style
This mama is off to Amsterdam this week for a friend's hen do and my god I am so excited! Things haven't been too great this past month or two for me which you can read about here so this break is longer overdue! I love Amsterdam, I went there for the first time in July this year for my best friend's hen so I'm really looking forward to going back. 

It's never been somewhere I fancied going, I just assumed it'd all be sex and weed but it's the complete opposite (I mean it's there you've just got to go looking for it and it was really good) but it is so pretty and there's loads more to do there. Highly recommended.

I thought I'd put together a little fashion post because I love them and haven't done one in aages! Outfit planning just makes me so happy (is that really sad?) I'm always the first one to ask what everyone is wearing and the girls all laugh at me but it relaxes me and helps with my anxiety. 

I bought some vinyl jeans a few weeks ago from Primark and am yet to wear them, is anyone else loving this trend at the moment? I've not really had an excuse to wear them, I mean can you imagine me rocking up to mums and tots in a pair of stripper pants? I reckon I'm going to wear them every day in Amsterdam paired with my Dr Martens flatforms. These are going to be so versatile and they can be dressed up or down, I could easily swap the shoes for a pair of heels, remove the beanie and voila day to night in less than a minute. 

What are your thoughts on the vinyl trend?

Rachael xo

Monday, 23 October 2017

Life | Attending an Event After a Terrorist Attack

Attending an Event After a Terrorist Attack

On 22nd May 2017, the UK was subjected to one of the most horrendous acts of terrorism since 2005. A suicide bomber detonated a device at an Ariana Grande concert killing 22 innocent lives and hurting many more. I remember the day it happened, my best friend was there with her sister and thankfully they were safe but still, I grieved and I cried for all those who weren't. I know there are acts of terrorism everywhere, I'm aware this kind of stuff still happens in the UK albeit not on this scale, but this was the one that affected me the most. I've been to the MEN more times than I can count, concerts are a safe place, I spent many of my teen years at gigs, watching bands and I met some amazing people through this. It was too close to home, more so because I knew people there. We can be sad for other people anywhere but this time it was different. 

It was so different in fact because I was due to attend an LGBT event in Manchester that week and I was in two minds whether to go or not. It was only when I spoke to Pete that I made the decision to go, he said to me "don't be so stupid, now is the safest time to go" and he was right. I went, although my anxiety was through the roof driving down Mancunian Way. But I went and I had the best time ever, we were safe, there was an emotional tribute to the victims and I was glad I did it. No terrorist was going to scare me into missing out on something I loved so much. 

My nan on the other hand had a different point of view. Like me, the attack at the arena had scared her. She had bought my cousin and I tickets to see Little Mix in the Echo Arena for October, but she had told us both we weren't going. I told her I was still going because I wasn't giving in to fear and again, it was the safest time to go. Besides she was going to see Neil Diamond in Manchester in October so why shouldn't I still go to see Little Mix? Months on, she calmed down and agreed we could go, and Hollie (aged 11) was again excited to go, she planned for us to go wearing fluroscent dots on our faces and have matching tshirts.

Fast forward to a week before the gig and my nan told me Hollie was unsure on whether to go or not and I knew straight away she was scared, I asked her why she didn't want to go, got it out of her that she was afraid and when trying to convince her I left her to it. There was no way I was going to force her to go, there was no way I could change her mind. My nan then had another little word with her but she had made up her mind, she wasn't going.

I was gutted for her. I was sad for the fact that she was too scared to do something she had been looking forward to for 10 months. Sad for the fact she was missing out. Sad for the fact her friends were going. There was nothing on this earth anyone could have said to make her change her mind. And this is what terrorism does and how it wins. I'm sure in a few years she will overcome this fear but for now she is going to miss out and that makes me angry.

The tickets didn't go to waste, my mum came with me and boy did we feel like frauds! We were the only ones there without kids but we did have a ball! Upon entry to the venue we were body scanned in by security with metal detectors, something I've never ever seen before. My mum told me she felt more nervous at this concert because it was kids and there could be a repeat of the tragedy in May and I must admit it was at the back of my mind too. However, when we left the arena there was a big police presence, four by four vehicles and even armed police so they weren't taking any chances at all.

I guess there will be many concerned parents and guardians out there in light of what happened earlier in this year and I don't doubt many children missed out on Monday but I'm hoping by reading this post it changes your mind.

We are safer now than we have ever been! 

Rachael xo

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Family | Is Twinning Really Winning?

Is Twinning Really Winning?
When I was pregnant with Henry I remember going shopping and picking both boys up a matching pair of shorts and tshirts and in my excitement I sent a photo to my Coven (that's my group Whatsapp for me and the girls) and I got comments like "you're not going to match them are you?!" And I was like "HELL TO THE YES!" I didn't want my boys to be in matching things all the time, but the odd thing is okay right? 

The boys often wear different clothes due to the age difference between them at the moment so it can be quite hard to find matching outfits but at the most I do like them quite co-ordinated because it looks really sweet. Here they both have red on but Henry has the same coat as George but in yellow, they have matching winter coats and hats and I think they look adorable. I also think on days out it will be easier to identify them if they're wearing the same thing - when they get older of course as Henry is still in his pram. 

I took to Facebook to get some other views from other mamas and I found that most of them agreed with me!
Is Twinning Really Winning?
I dont "twin" my kids being different sexes but sometimes they like to dress to a theme! - Star

Is Twinning Really Winning?
I like to have my boys matching but not the same sometimes. They like it too, for now (they’re 2 and 4) - Sarah

Is Twinning Really Winning?
I absolutely love it! There's 15 months between my girls and they "twin" every single day. If I try and dress them differently they cry and ask to be the same. Not sure that will last forever but for now, I'm a huge fan! - Laura
Is Twinning Really Winning?
I was that person who saw photos of me twinning with my sisters and was certain I wouldn't do it myself.. whoops! - Amy

Is Twinning Really Winning?
I love twinning with my daughter. It’s a bit of fun and she loves it! I intend to make the most of it before she gets embarrassed by me!- Leanne
For as many people who loved twinning, there were many who thought the opposite and hated it! Jacqui from Mummys Little Monkey shares her views:

'I still remember the year Mum dressed me and my sister up in identical dresses for Christmas - mine was blue, and hers was red and we had matching bags in the same floral material. I must only have been about seven years old, but to this day I can still recall dying with embarrassment because we were dressed alike. 

Maybe it was because my sister and I didn't really get on that brilliantly when we were kids, or maybe it was more the fact I wasn't really a floral dress kinda girl (give me jeans and a t-shirt any day). Whatever it was, I swore I'd never subject my children to matching outfits. 

And to be fair it's been easy to keep my promise, as the girls are poles apart with their dress sense. Big Sis loves funky styles - dungarees, sweatshirts, denim jackets - while Lil Sis favours anything frilly, floral or flouncy - dresses, skirts, pretty tops. They both totally suit their individual styles - to the point where, if I dressed them the same, one of them just wouldn't look right. 

They're great friends and get on amazingly well, but they enjoy having distinctly different styles, and I like encouraging their individuality.'

I agree with her for some part, I think when the boys have complete different personalities I will probably be likely to change it up and let them choose their own clothes or buy clothes that suit them as individuals.

Is Twinning Really Winning?
No, no, no. My mum did this to me and my sister when were kids and it was a nightmare. I will not be making my own kids suffer like this. I was not a girl and the dresses were the worst. I have bought tiny polo shirts for my son to wear like me though. Also I'm making this face in all photos from that age (I'm the brunette).

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! I loved seeing everyone's little ones all dressed up the same, how can you disgaree with twinning now when you see how cute everyone looks? 

What are your views on twinning? Yay or nay?

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Days Out | Ferry Across the Mersey

Ferry Across the Mersey

On Sunday we were invited for an afternoon out on the Mersey Ferry. The trip was scheduled for the previous week, however, all boats were cancelled due to the weather but unaware of this we headed down to the Woodside Ferry Terminal and we were sent home rather disappointed. The team at Mersey Travel couldn't have been more apologetic about this and instead we avoided a tantrum by heading to soft play and rearranging our trip! The team were really fantastic about the mix up though and rebooking was really easy - plus when we arrived at the weekend all the staff members were really accommodating.

Ferry Across the Mersey
Add caption

Upon arrival at Woodside, we collected our tickets and the boys were given flags, stickers and a paper rocket to build which I thought was great. I used to love making paper boats as a kid so it was right up my street, shame George wasn't feeling it and just wanted to run away from me. I swear he must have ran away at least 17 times before we'd even got on the boat so I was pretty nervous about actually taking him on - especially as he likes to run and climb. I actually have  big fear of water (probably stems from the fact I can't swim - I know, terrible) but it was constantly in the back of my mind that there was a possibility my feral child would fall in the Mersey and I wouldn't be able to do anything about it.

We had half an hour to kill before the ferry was due in so we went into the U-Boat story which unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy due to George's behaviour (screaming and running away - I actually wish it was acceptable for me to do it. I'd definitely run away from the kids if I could). In the exhibition you get to view a real life German U-Boat, however this was closed due to refurbishment but you can see some of it from the outside. Due to the interactive exhibit, you get a real insight into life on board a U-Boat during war time. This is included in your ticket price to the ferry, you just need to obtain a voucher from reception but if the ferry isn't your thing you can also purchase a ticket for this separately. 

Ferry Across the Mersey

We were lucky to ride on the Dazzle Ship which is a colourful boat decorated by Sir Peter Blake to commemorate World War 1. This is actually the only dazzle ship in the UK. I kept asking Pete if it was called Razzle Dazzle and he laughed at me like I was some sort of idiot, well the laugh was on him because there was a sign saying "razzle dazzle" so I was made up. Cue me singing songs from Chicago for the rest of the day!

Ferry Across the Mersey

We got to eat scouse on the Mersey which is definitely the scousest thing I think I have ever done and the food was great as well. I love Liverpool which seems a bit biased of me to say since I practically live here (I'm a wool) but seriously, you won't find another city like it. You may hear some ridiculous stereotypes but the city is amazing, the people are even better and there is so much to do here. Plus, check out that skyline.

Ferry Across the Mersey

Our trip on the ferry was fairly successful given George just wanted to run about and us being stressed because family days out are never really that enjoyable when you have a baby and a toddler in tow, let's face it. Safe to say it was completely different to the last time I was on the ferry. Pete had hired the ferry for a Halloween club night, and as I was walking round the ferry I had vivid flashbacks of hanging up posters, my gobshite mates scaring me with horrible masks, dancing to emo music and feeling much drunker than I actually was due to the rocking of the boat.  Here we are in our prime, before we had kids and aged 10 years. I looked boss as a sugar skull and Pete was a really shit pirate.

Ferry Across the Mersey

If you're visiting Liverpool. I would highly recommend a trip on the ferry, the ride lasts for approximately an hour and you get to take in some pretty decent views. Try the scouse while you're there. You can book tickets here.

Have you visited Liverpool? What did you enjoy most?

Rachael xo

Monday, 9 October 2017

Health | Dealing with Hand Foot and Mouth

At the beginning of September, we packed up our car and headed across the country with two babies, the four hour journey to Skegness was a success and we arrived in Butlins. A fab week was had by all (more on that in another blog post) and was over in a flash. Typically, both boys were ill the week we were away, just a cold, but none the less it wasn't nice for either of them, but it didn't stop them having an amazing time. During the four hour journey home, we got stuck in traffic on the M62 (worst motorway ever) and had a very grizzly baby. I put it down to his cold and him teething, we had a quick pit stop at a service station, I got Henry out of the car for some fresh air, we had a bite to eat and continued on.

The next day, Henry cried none stop all day and he clung to me, which, even though he is a mummy's boy, was completely out of the ordinary for him. I was in my mum's at the time so she sent me for a bath and I had half an hour of peace and quiet. Bliss. On the Sunday I went downstairs and was greeted with Pete telling me Henry had spots on his face. "So? He always gets spots on his face when he's teething" was my reply. Until he went on to tell me he had spots on his hands as well, I looked at Henry's face and his spots looked really aggrevated and sore. "Hand, foot and mouth" I thought rationally. Irrationally, I was googling symtpoms of Sepsis, you know just to be on the safe side. When I told my mum about his spots, she confirmed hand, foot and mouth. She also warned me it was highly contagious, it's viral and I just had to ride it out. Great, just what I need with George starting school.. was my initial reaction. Anyway, a quick trip to the out of hours confirmed it, we were sent away with a spray for his mouth to numb any pain so he could eat and drink, and unexpectedly some antibiotics (which I believe is to stop it turning into impetigo).

I knew Henry would be okay with his medicine and regulated ibuprofen and paracetemol two hourly, but my main fear was George catching it. I thought there was no way to stop it, I had so many people telling me horror stories about them catching it from their kids, nails falling off so I was expecting the worst. Henry was attached to me so I figured it was inevitible I too would be diseased, but I was going to do everything in my power to stop George catching it, sharing is caring and all but that was something I could do without.

I told George that Henry had germs and he couldn't share his dummy, luckily he actually listened (first and only time). I ensured that the boys had different coloured dummies to ensure there were no mix ups and I also washed every toy Henry went near/ slobbered all over. 

Within five days we were clear and nobody else caught it! It was a mircale. I guess you can call us lucky but boy am I glad! 

Has your little one had hand, foot and mouth?

Rachael xo

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Life | Life Lately

So it seems I have not so absent mindedly been MIA from my blog as of late, my Instagram has been neglected and my Facebook page left unattended. I guess life just gets in the way! We have been super busy, with me jetting off to Amsterdam, four days in Haven, a holiday in Butlins, George strarting pre-school, my maternity coming to an end and most importantly, Pete resigning from work to become self employed. This is the main reason I have been absent. 

In August this year, Pete left his job of eight years to work for himself, part of me was glad he did it and encouraged him to do it and we then discussed the option of me being able to go back to work part-time - bonus. See, before this, it was highly unlikely I would have been able to go back to work due to childcare. Beforehand, my parents and both sets of grandparents helped out with George and it was great, but with two children it would hardly have been fair to expect it of anyone. It was agreed that I would  go to work two days a week, Pete would work three and then the weekends he was needed. It seemed like a great idea, the boys were sorted for childcare and could spend time with both parents and I got to go back to work. 

I always knew Pete would need to work weekends and his new role would be taking him away to different cities - this part I was not best pleased with, but what type of fiance would I be if I didn't support him? Since he has started his new business, I've had to cancel three different sets of plans. Three. I can't rememember the last time I had a proper night out and I now don't want to make further plans because there's a good chance I will also have to back out of those too. 

Safe to say, I'm feeling pretty shitty about the whole situation at the moment, especially seeing him party round different cities (the perks of being a promoter hey?) while I put my plans on the back burner. I am not ashamed to say it, but I am bitter. Bitter and miserable. What makes it worse is people telling me "well that's his job now" and that I understand. This is our main source of income, him being flexible has allowed me to go back to work, and he could become very successful at it as he is extremely good at what he does. However, it doesn't mean I can't be unhappy, it doesn't mean can't angry or resentful towards him at the moment because that is exactly how I feel.

To top it off, he basically has the one laptop we have glued to his hand or attached to his hip so at the moment I feel at a loss. I can't write. I can't work on my blog. At the moment I feel like all I am doing is taking care of the kids and my only escape is work. Is that really a life? 

Yes, I chose to have children and they are my main priority but a girl just wants a break every now and then, I feel like I am losing my identity. I am no longer Rachael, just mum. 

Rachael xo

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Health | Let's Talk Postnatal Depression

I've always had a bit of an issue with my mental health ever since I was a teenager, but it was always something I deemed manageable. There was a point in my life, which I admit, I felt I was at an all time low. I was out of work, I was living miles away from my family and I was so lonely and fed up. but I pulled through it. Then I became a mother. George was born and everything I'd ever felt before felt a million times worse. I never wanted to admit I had a problem, who does? We all like to put on a front that we're coping and when you're a first time mum that can be incredibly overwhelming. Despite having the best support team around me, that first year of George's life was extremely difficult for me. So lets talk postnatal depression. 

George came into the world on the 10th September 2014 and I was besotted, it felt like we had been awaiting him for such a long time (read about my PCOS story here). I fell in love instantly. It's true what they say, it's a love like no other. The sleepless nights and endless visitors were worth it, I was exhausted but I loved being a mum, I loved newborn snuggles and whilst I struggled to adapt to the 3 hourly feeds, it didn't last long and he was sleeping through from 8 weeks old. 

Then the anxiety crept in. I was terrified something would happen to him, to Pete or I. What would happen if we were in an accident? What would happen if we were to be bombed (crazy I know seeing as we live in one of the safest countries in the world - apparentl) but even now I get anxious when a plane flies over head. It's so irrational. I knew I was being irrational but these thoughts would creep in on a daily basis. 

There was this one day when he was about 3 months old, George just cried for 20 minutes and for the love of god I just didn't know what was wrong with him. He had me so stressed out that I left him in his pram to cry, took myself to the top of the stairs and just cried it out. I felt worthless that I couldn't console my own baby. My nan came round to visit and I just cried on her (this happens a lot, I'm emotional, what can I say? Mother, if you're reading, I blame you!) She told me not to ever think I was a bad mum because I was doing a good job and sometimes that's all you need to hear. She told me a story about a similar experience she had when my uncle was a baby and in that moment I knew I wasn't alone. 

When George was 5 months we got him christened and everything that could go wrong, went wrong. My hair was a mess, Pete lost his only pair of smart shoes, we were late for the church, the DJ did't turn up. It was a nightmare! An absolute nightmare. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for this day, I was a mess. There was a point when Pete was queuing for the buffet and I just screamed at him in front of all our guests, something that I am still ashamed of to this day! My behaviour was out of control and I knew I had to do something about it. I've said before I don't deal with stress but this was on another level.

After a good old heart to heart with my mum (have I mentioned she's the absolute best?) I went to the doctors where I was diagnosed with PND and prescribed  antidepressants. My mood improved and I became a lot calmer over the course when I eventually came off them on my own. Not even gradually, I just decided I didn't need them anymore and came off them. 

When Henry was born, the stress came back, I was awful, I was miserable so I didn't even see a doctor, I just went straight back on my medication. Even now I notice the difference on a day when I don't take them. I'm horrible, the stress becomes too much and I get myself really worked up. I had an episode on Wednesday where I did not want to go out, Henry's flask was broken (my fault) and I couldn't do my hair properly. To some this may seem like a really silly thing to get so upset about, but this is how my brain works. If something doesn't go the way I want it to I get really anxious. In this moment, Pete just calmed me down, hugged me and helped me work it out. There was a point in our lives when he didn't really understand what I needed when I was in this mood but I think he's got it sussed, he's a good egg.

PND can manifester in a number of different ways, I thought because I had bonded with my baby that there was nothing wrong with me and I was fine. It nearly cost me my relationship. If you are suffering in any way, please get help!

Rachael xo

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Family | Stop Asking Me If I Will Try For A Girl


As a mum of two boys, the one question that often creeps up is "are you going to try again for a girl?" and out of everything, it pisses me off the absolute most! You can give me unsolicted advice, doesn't bother me one bit, you can ask me if I want another baby, also doesn't bother me, but asking me if I will "try for a girl" gets on my nerves and I'll tell you why. 

I spoke about my PCOS journey here but for those of you who don't know, I have a hormonal imbalance which affects my periods making it difficult for me to conceive. It was agonising wanting a baby and knowing your body was failing you so when we finally got pregnant with George, Pete and I were over the moon. It was exciting, we were lucky it happened relatively quickly for us too as we thought I'd have to start a fertility drug had the first set of drugs not worked for us. 

19 months after George arrived into the world, we fell pregnant again with baby number two. Our little surprise was conceived completely naturally, despite my PCOS and although there were a lot of tears at first (from me - I was in shock) we bere excited to have a squishy newborn again. I knew I was extremely lucky to have fallen pregnant again so easily after all the trying with George. 

This time round, I wanted to know the sex of the baby, one thing we never found during the first pregnancy, but I thought it would make the transition easier for George, to be able to tell him he was getting a brother or sister. We booked an early gender scan, and I think part of me did wish for a girl as it would be nice to have one of each as they say. The baby was in a funny position, the sonographers made me wiggle my bum, empty my bladder, jump on the spot and eventually they saw it, a little willy. They confirmed it was a boy, Pete and I didn't speak for a minute then my mum shouted "wahey! Another boy!" I remember saying with a smile "I told you it would be another boy didn't I?" Gender disappointment is real, but although part of me did wish for a girl, I was still happy regardless. I wasn't going to love my child any less because he was a boy and I'm a bit biased because we're mainly males in our family anyway. I was happy to be giving George a little brother and the bond they share now is just incredible, it actually melts my icy heart (even though George has been asking me for a sister recently.. not happening pal). 

So here's why it annoys me when people ask "are you going to try again for a girl?" I think it is really presumptuious that you'd think I was unsatisfied with having two boys, and newsflash, I'm not! I love having two boys, they are both loving and affectionate, handsome and clever. That makes me beam with pride. I also love how easy they are to dress, literally just grab a little shirt and shorts/ jeans and they instantly look adorable, plus I don't have to do anything with their hair. Bonus! Another reason I hate this question is because people don't realise how lucky I am to actually have conceived the two children I have, which I understand is through no fault of their own, and I understand it probably seems a little bit silly since I don't really mind being asked if I'll have another. If at some point in the future, Pete and I did decide to have another child, it wouldn't be to try for a girl, it would be simply because we want to expand our family. 

Disclaimer: we are 100% not having another baby any time soon for any family reading this!

Rachael xo

Friday, 16 June 2017

Life | Just Being Me

When George was around 9 months old, I went to Manchester for the night to meet up with some friends, we booked a hotel as everyone was from different cities then went for food, drinks and dancing. I stayed in Manchester the day after shopping and of course more eating then headed straight to Chester for the night to see another mate. I remember my mum saying to me "I would never have done what you did, I wouldn't have wanted to be away from the boys [my younger brothers] for so long." The thing is, I needed a break, Pete and I weren't getting on very well, you know how it goes, you've just had a baby together, you're fighting all the time. I had to get away! There's a page on Facebook (I won't name it)  and I don't follow it (it's full of people who get on their high horse) but a few of my friends do therefore I often see posts crop up on my timeline. One in particular, was by a mum who wanted to go on holiday with her friends but the father of their children refused to have them for the week (they were separated). The amount of comments I saw telling her she was selfish for wanting to go away was astonishing! I've just been to Cardiff for two days with my friend from Dublin, and I'll tell you, it was great! I got to leave the house with just a handbag (okay a suitcase too), but it was amazing just leaving without a million and one things and two young kids in tow. 

I also went to Magaluf for a friends hen do and I will be going on a hen do in July for four days too, without my babies, without my fella and am I looking forward to it? Too right I am. It doesn't make me selfish for wanting that time away, it makes me human. Firstly, yes, I am a mum, my boys come first  (soz for sounding like a Facebook ma) and even though I moan about them I do like that I'm needed, but I am also me. A lot of people agree with me and also do things to make them feel themselves: 

M E  T I M E

Listen to music I used to enjoy. I never get chance normally when I have a newish baby, mine don't like it, but the minute I can listen to what used to make me happy, I feel a little bit like me again - Accidental Hipster Mum

Putting old 90's CD's on in the car on the way to work. Locking myself in my bedroom with a book and a glass of wine (easier now my children are 5 & 10 and sometimes electronics are helpful) have an evening out with the girls - My South Bristol Yard

As a massive gamer, playing on my games consoles makes me feel like me again (as materialistic as it sounds). That's what I enjoyed pre toddler and that's what made me, me - LesBeMums

I tend to try and do this on a weekend though I fail most of the time! I leave my phone in my bag, have a hot bath, watch a movie or if I'm super lucky I go on a spa day! - Toby and Roo

E X E R C I S E / D I E T I N G

I joined slimming world and lost 3 stone in 6 months. It gave me back my confidence and I now feel fitter, healthier and more confident. I feel happy in my skin and like the old me again, not just a frumpy mum - Twinderelmo

I started running. I'd always hated it. But when Robyn was a few months I started the c25k and while it was great and helped me lose weight and regain fitness, it did so much more. That half an hour out running gave me space and time alone. I'd return feeling happier and myself - Bobsy's Mum 

B R E A K S  A W A Y 

I don't get little regular breaks, just because we don't have family nearby to help out, but I take longer ones less often. For example I went away for just over a week of sun with my sister at the beginning of the year, and I've had a couple of other weekends away too with friends. I need it, and am always pleasantly surprised at how quickly I feel like me again, not "mum me" - Five Little Stars (Kate)

For me personally we have regular family holidays and then I book myself a spa day while we are away. My daughter either goes to a babysitter or she is looked after by my husband or Mum, depending on who is on holiday with us. This is vital for me to recharge my batteries.  At least once a fortnight I enjoy some time at my allotment alone. I don't do a lot of work while there and just relax, play games on my phone and take it easy - Katy Kicker


Actually starting my blog has helped me alot, it gives me something to focus on when the baby sleeps - Mummy and Liss

After I had my daughter (who is a considerably harder baby than my son was) I completely felt like I had lost myself. I started a makeup related Instagram which quickly grew into a blog & Facebook makeup group. I feel like I have a passion again, something that is just mine, just for me! - itsrachelbeauty

A N D  O F  C O U R S E

T H E  N I G H T  O U T (because we all like a good drink)

 My breaks are the rare occasion that I get to have a night out with the girls. I actually put on make up, wear nice clothes, eat hot food and drink waaaaay too much prosecco. It doesn't happen often but i love those nights, they remind me that I'm not just "Mummy", although the hangover the next day brings me back down to earth! - Five Little Doves

So there we have it, we all need to feel like ourselves and not just a mum, whether it be haaving a bath and glass of wine, exercising, a night out or even a weekend away. Do what you want to make yourself feel good and don't let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting that time! 

Rachael xo