Family Holidays: Creating Traditions

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I recently posted about the importance of a family holiday.

Well, our holiday at Center Parcs was a well needed, well-deserved break. It was a rare family holiday for just us, making memories that would likely shape what we looked for in our family holidays for years to come.

Because when it comes down to it, traditions start life as a simple family activity but stay alive because they become the memories that stick. The thoughts and feelings that your children carry with them from the experience.

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I knew immediately when we told Gray about this holiday that we had already created a holiday tradition.

When I was still pregnant with Rhyd, Gray had just turned 3 and we had gone for a weekend break with my mum, brother, and niece. One thing we did as it was a winter holiday was buy marshmallows and toast them on the fire.

Almost the first thing Gray asked when I told him about this holiday was if we could toast marshmallows again!

Well, I thought, this is obviously a positive memory that has stuck with him, so hell yes, we will buy marshmallows! I am happy to embrace such a tasty tradition!

By the end of the week, it was clear to me what sorts of family holiday traditions we liked and wanted to try and continue each year. View Full Post

Productivity Triggers – How location can change everything.

It’s amazing how a simple thing can affect your productivity and motivation.

I wrote this post at 8 am, in a café in London.

I had a cup of tea to sip and an almond croissant to nibble on, nervously awaiting the work meeting I’d have to attend at 10 am. (So nervous I arrived two hours early to make sure I wasn’t late!)

I know getting anywhere in London with a time limit ups my stress levels so I decided, I may as well head in super early (thanks, body clock!) and do some writing on my trusty laptop.

I used to go at least once a week to a local coffee shop to do this, while the eldest was at nursery and youngest home with Daddy. But returning to work and changing routines nixed that, unfortunately.

Realizing that once the kids start school and nursery in September I may be able to start doing this again is a huge deal. It really does make me happy, because to me, writing in this kind of environment is something special.

I would say I can’t put my finger on why, but I think I can.

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Never Underestimate the Importance of a Family Holiday.

In exactly 18 days, we are taking a family holiday.

It is our only family holiday this year. We actually take about four weeks of ‘holiday’ throughout the year, but usually, three of those are spent visiting my family in Wales. Which is, of course, a lovely time but not really a holiday in the same way. That time is spent enjoying the company of family members we don’t get to see often enough and visiting as many of them as possible. The boys love it, but we don’t get a moment of alone time as a family.

Which is why I am counting down the days until our humble, four-night adventure at Center Parcs. Husband and I have been to the Elveden parc several times before we had kids. We spent our hours idly cycling, swimming and chilling out in the spa. They were possibly the most relaxed, calm and content holidays I’ve ever had.

We booked this one on a whim because we realized, with much dismay, this may be our last chance to take the boys there, at least for a long time.

The problem is Gray is starting school in September. View Full Post

Why We Need To Apologise To Our Children

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The other day I was browsing Pinterest (as usual) and came across a pin that appealed to me. It seemed to be advertising a post written on a parenting blog about raising kids that were happy, disciplined and well-rounded. Who doesn’t want that, right?

But upon visiting the site and actually reading more, I was disappointed. So much so I actually made a point of *gasp* unpinning it! (Pinterest lovers, clutch your pearls!)

The problem was the advice was simply at odds with what I believed as a parent. Do I believe that children should behave in public? Yes. Do I believe children should have a routine and chores around the house? I do. Do I believe that children should listen to their parents? Of course!

The advice I found, though, put me more in mind of a military boot camp than a loving home.

There was one thing that struck a chord; that was about showing authority and sticking to your guns, no matter what. Of course, this can be a very useful, even necessary tool for disciplining and teaching your kids, but I feel there is one big flaw here. View Full Post

My babys first year; why do I feel like I’ve missed it?

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I wrote this post the day my youngest, Rhyd, turned one. It was a bittersweet, strange day.

I remember clearly how Grays first birthday went. I made a cake, wrapped presents, cards etc. and I remember feeling disappointed at the end of the day because, well, he was one. He had no idea what was happening, no idea why were singing at him. No significant attention was given to the presents, in fact, the most excited he got all day was when he was opening and closing his birthday card in front of his face to play ‘peekaboo’.

So this year I knew I didn’t want to make too much fuss. The boys are both in nursery on Monday afternoons and Daddy works all day, so there was no point in my mind trying to disrupt our routine for something Rhyd couldn’t understand.

In the morning the boys and I went to a play date with a friend and sang happy birthday and had a piece of cake. Rhyd had a present from his friends and from some family members, but not from us. I had literally just put some toys away as he had too many! And I got his next sized (Grays old) clothes out of the loft, of which again there seemed more than he could ever wear. What could we possibly buy him?

I dropped the boys at nursery after lunch, sat down at the coffee shop round the corner, and started writing this post.

In the evening, I got a call an hour before pick up time to say Rhyd had had enough. It was only his third day at nursery, I wasn’t surprised. I picked them both up, headed home and made a fun, finger food dinner. Then Daddy arrived just in time for bedtime. It was all pretty normal.

It was the night before his birthday that I found myself lying in bed, part of me wishing I had the energy to feel more. Not that I wasn’t feeling, just that I felt like I wanted to cry, I was just so tired. I wanted to sob and sob that my tiny baby, my last baby, was so big now.

He had been in this world a whole year, yet I felt like I’d missed it.

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How To Create A Yearly Bucket List You Can Actually Achieve!

The ‘Bucket List’ is the idea of having a list of accomplishments/ experiences you simply must do ‘before you kick the bucket’. I think this is a pretty great idea, I know personally I have several things I would consider bucket list material!

But in more recent years I’ve been introduced to the idea of the ‘short term’ bucket list. One that you can use for smaller, more immediate goals.

So, I figured this year, why not give it a go?

I’ve never been very good with resolutions. I think I’ve never seen much point. I’ve always been of the mindset that if there is something I need to change about myself/my life, I will deal with it as it comes, not wait for the start of a new year to address it, just because.

With young kids, there are a lot of obvious things that spring to mind. Disney is one of ours, but that’s a long-term goal! When we do Disney, we’re heading to the US to do all the parks, all out, which is going to be best done when both boys are a little older.

So, this year, what do we want to achieve? As parents, individuals and as a family? After all, Gray starts school (!) in September, after that, everything changes! Eeek! View Full Post

Being far away from family at Christmas

Christmas can be a great time of year, likewise, it can be difficult for some. For us, it is a mixed bag.

We always have a lovely time at my in-laws with Gray and this year will be Rhyds first Christmas! The day is always filled with love, laughs, good food, and presents.

However, my side of the family live in Wales, approximately five hours away. View Full Post

Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.

There are so many things you hear as an expecting/first time mum. In those first few months, usually starting as soon as you announce your pregnancy to the world, you are inundated with ‘advice’.

This can range from the genuinely helpful ‘Always pack spare clothes. ALWAYS.’ To not so helpful ‘Who cares if the midwives don’t recommend it? I did it and it worked for mine!’* To the downright bizarre ‘You chew their food first then feed it to them, that way they get your germs to improve their immune system!’*

(*yes, I have heard both of these myself… sigh…)

I remember reading for hours on what to do/not to do. These days, I have an idea of what works for us, and how to make life easier with kids.

I spent the entire first year with my first born checking the development charts every month to make sure he was on track, trying everything that was recommended.

I also remember the only time I didn’t listen to my instinct as his Mother.

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5 Signs Your Child Is Struggling To Process Stress

As adults, we are emotional equipped to handle stressful, worrying and frightening situations. We can recognise, compartmentalise and logically engage these situations. Certainly, we don’t want to; but as adults, we know that it is our responsibility to do so.

Can you imagine, though, how it would feel to see these negative events going on around us, affecting our entire world and the people we care about, but not being able to truly understand what is happening or why? To feel like you have no control, no stability and no end of this upheaval in sight?

For many children, it can feel this way. The upheaval itself could be something as unthreatening as moving house or a routine change due to a parent getting a new job. Or, it could be far more negative, such as a family member needing to spend time in hospital.

This is what recently happened to us. View Full Post

Being angry at the world is exhausting

I am angry at the world, and that makes me tired.

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In the past, we have been through difficult situations. I remember when we got our first place together. Our yearlong contract turned into a trap, there was mould in the walls and under the floors which the landlord couldn’t care less about. I felt some nights like I’d suffocate in my sleep, it was affecting my health so badly.

This was about the same time I was being bullied incessantly by my insane manager at work. I felt depressed, certainly. Some nights I’d sit in the bathroom sobbing uncontrollably, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t stop crying from exhaustion. Every shift made me sick with dread at the thought of seeing that maniac. View Full Post