Monday 18th May 2015

25 Things To Do When You Haven’t Got The Kids

I love my son to death. That sounds obvious, but seriously; I sometimes look at him and just want to squish the hell out of him because I love him so. Damn. Much! He has his moments of course— don’t they all— but on the whole, he’s a bloody cute, loving, cheeky little thing.

That said, a little time without him now and again is good for the soul and to clear the mind (or just get shit done.) It’s nothing to do with him as a person, but more about having a little breather from someone who is so dependent on you and can swallow a lot of your time where you are only known as ‘Mum’ and not someone’s daughter or wife or best buddy or just, y’know, Aimee.

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Some mums and dads have never spent a night away from their child or feel guilty doing so, but there’s no time for that in parenting, for me. We’re already made to feel guilty about so many things since the conception of our child (are you taking folic acid? Did you have the nuchal translucency scan? Are you eating properly? Are you having a natural birth? Are you breastfeeding?) and having some “me time” is not something I’m willing to add to that list!

Byron’s time away from home is as much about him as it is me; he loves spending time with his grandparents and aunty (and usually doesn’t want to come home!) just as much as they love having him.

Plus, distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?

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It sounds silly, but it can be a bit of a challenge to find things to do sometimes, when you haven’t got a pair of little feet following you everywhere, so here are 25 things to get you started:

Have a long soak in a hot bubble bath
Read a couple of chapters of your favourite book
Pop on a facemask
Bake a batch of gooey chocolate brownies
Eat those damn brownies
Have a freakin’ nap
Go out for dinner at a restaurant that’s not described as “family-friendly”
Go to the cinema and see a film for grown-ups
Stay up past your bedtime, dammit
Revel in your housework, knowing it’s going to stay like that longer than 10 minutes
Treat yourself to a back massage
Have a haircut, complete with treatments and all that jazz
Go out for a coffee with friends
Listen to loud music, just because you can
Go shopping (at your own leisurely pace)
Go for a wee, solo
Paint your nails or get a mani-pedi
Grab a movie and have a date night in the comfort of your own home
Cook something hot and spicy for tea
Go for a swim
Go for a drive and see where it takes you
Have a little spa weekend
Go for a drink or two, if that floats your boat
Watch what you want on the TV
Do nothing. Sweet, sweet nothing.

Sunday 17th May 2015

5 Things That Have Made Me Smile • #020

Sitting outside in our garden & having a picnic in the sunshine
Byron sleeping through the night for the first time in a few weeks!
Getting the internet back (#firstworldproblems, much?)
Swapping our normal supermarket shop to Aldi & saving some pennies!
The smell of new bedsheets, after they’ve dried outside in the fresh air (yes, I know. But seriously. All the smells.)

Saturday 16th May 2015

“Hi, I’m Byron & I Like Cars” • First Parents Evening!

I can still remember spending one evening a year, waiting for my mum to return from parents evening at my primary school just around the corner, while my Dad was at work. Secondary school was a little more daunting as we were expected to attend too. There was never anything to worry about; I was academic and never in trouble for anything (unlike my husband, whose parents got sympathy when they spoke to his school!) and yet there was still that dread of going and wondering what my teachers were going to say. (Nine times out of ten it would be about me being quiet and introverted, but you can’t have everything, can you?!)

This week, we went to Byron’s first parents evening. Parents evening. Certain events feel like they grab me by the shoulders, shake me vigorously and give me a reality check. I suddenly realise that holy cow I’m a mum. (Yeah, I know. It’s only taken three years!) I’m a parent. I have a husband. I’m responsible for a human being. I’m raising a small person. I have bills. I have to worry about fun things like council tax and consider if I’m paying too much for my gas and electric. I have to bleed radiators, FFS. I am, to another human being, what my mum is to me. I’m a grown up.

And this was one of those events!

It feels like only yesterday I was cradling Byron in my arms, feeding him his milk and watching his sleepy little face relax in my hand, as I burped him. This week I’ve been told how that same little boy is excelling in all areas.

It’s really weird to see or hear about things your child does when you’re not with them. Usually if he’s with family, we’ll get to hear the highlights of his day but you don’t get that quite so much with nursery or preschool, so looking through a folder full of observations and reviews was lovely. He was hesitant with big groups of children at first, but it appears now he’s very confident; when introducing himself at circle time, he said, “Hi, I’m Byron and I like cars!” He’s also not afraid to tell other kids how if they don’t pull their weight, none of them will get to play outside, apparently! He loves to make friends (and even has a best friend), enjoys maths (despite no one else in his class being interested), mark-making, telling stories and playing in groups. He’s affectionate, caring and communicates brilliantly. He’s helpful and likes to take care of the babies and his ‘children’. He’s drawn pictures of me that I didn’t know about. He doesn’t like messy play quite so much, but that’s okay.

I’m not really sure what I did to make such a smart boy, but he astounds me every day. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring.

Tuesday 12th May 2015

The Loves & Hates of Parenting Tag | Video

When you have money burning a hole in your pocket, you go shopping but find nothing to buy. When you have a million errands to run and housework to do, you wish you had time to just stop and sit down, but when you get that time, you’re bored. It’s always the way, isn’t it? In my case, when I had the internet, I had no motivation and yet as soon as we didn’t have it, I wanted to do nothing but blog, tweet and post photos of my dinner to Instagram.

The struggle is real.

We officially moved into our new flat 10 days ago, when the internet should have been sorted and live 5 days earlier, but it’s only today that we’ve actually had any service! Let’s just say there have been many phonecalls, engineers saying they’ve visited but haven’t, lots of “wait 48hrs” and patience wearing thin. Using your mobile data sparingly is really hard for an internet nerd like me, so I decided to start filming some videos. I guess it was a blessing in disguise as it’s reignited my love for creating content on YouTube!

I used some precious data to see what I was missing in my subscription box and saw that the lovely Charlotte had created a tag titled, ‘Loves & Hates of Parenting’, so on to that bandwagon I jumped on a whim! Enjoy my unorganised, incessant rambling.

Sunday 19th April 2015

Life Lately • #031 | Home Is Not A Place, It’s A Feeling

I promise I haven’t fallen down a rabbit-hole like Alice in Wonderland, or run off with E.T. back to his home planet. I’m here and in fact I have been regularly checking social media (even if I’ve been quiet myself!), despite the fact it’s been a whole month since my last blog post. For once, the lack of posts hasn’t been down to lack of motivation, but instead a lack of time! Life just suddenly got very busy.

It’s been almost a year since our first family holiday abroad to Florida, when we decided that we’d look for somewhere new to rent on our return. We looked at a bunch of places online, saw one place in real life that wasn’t quite right and for one reason or another, the search quickly fizzled out.

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We moved into our flat way back in August 2009, when we were a young couple who’d been together for four years, looking for our own space. We moved around 30 minutes away from our home towns (despite still working there) simply because that’s where we found a perfect little flat for us. We never intended to move away forever, but our little two bedroom flat has kept us here for six years! It’s changed a lot over the years, from the initial mismatched furniture and hand-me-downs. We never needed that second bedroom initially— in fact, we used it as a bit of a dumping ground for the longest time. When Byron came along, we obviously didn’t have to make that move for more space, as there was already a little bedroom for him. That, along with our landlords being amazing and letting us decorate, never asking for a random inspection and only putting the rent up the smallest amount just once, has meant we’ve never really had a reason to move.

However if you’re a parent you’ll know that children come with a lot of stuff. And our collection of belongings as parents has grown too. We’ve outgrown the space we do have, so it’s time to make our home elsewhere! Around a month ago, the hunt began once more, when we realised that we’d be applying for schools in September for Byron too. School already? Complete madness.

We must have seen at least twenty properties in recent weeks. From complete hovels, to wonky houses, to properties that just didn’t give us that feeling. We’ve had some bad luck along the way too. The first flat we saw that we really liked and put an offer in for, we missed out on because the landlord chose a nurse, “because he likes nurses” (!) and the second, the landlord pulled out after we put in our offer, as he decided he wanted to sell it instead! Hopefully it’s third time lucky for us though, as last weekend we found a place that’s in a great location for schools, family and nursery and has all the things that previous places didn’t have but we were willing to forgo, like gas central heating, some outside space and a garage. Things have moved very quickly and we’re paying the final deposit this week and picking up the keys on Friday!

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I’ve already started packing our belongings away, which while it’s quite exciting, is also a right ball ache as we have four times the amount of stuff now, compared to when we first moved in. I can’t wait for it to be over and be in the new place! Expect lots of interior inspiration coming up on the blog, as it’s the first time since becoming a little older and wiser that we can plan out how we want our home to look. Exciting!

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