But Why?

Now, I don’t want this to come across as arrogant or like I’m stuck up my own arse, because honestly, I am the LEAST stuck up person you will probably ever meet. But, I just wanted to do a post about how doing this blog and my instagram (@diaryofahullmum) affects me, mentally and personally, and how it makes me feel.

When I started out the blog, I had instgram and I rarely used it. I think it was around 2011-2012 when I installed the app, and I never used to post, maybe the odd “inspirational quote” or a ridiculous photo from a night out that I didn’t want people on Facebook seeing. (actual LOLS that last comment hahaha). I started following bigger accounts around the time I was getting married (2013), and would see that they had SUCH big followings, and shared lots of different aspects of their lives. I did start sharing more, granted nowhere near as much as I do now, but the odd thing here and there. It wasn’t until I fell pregnant with William, that I really started to enjoy Instagram. There were a few of the “big accounts” who were pregnant around the same time as me, and I enjoyed secretly stalking them, seeing if they were going through the same things I was in pregnancies/married life, and I found myself starting to read blogs, written by some of the bigger accounts I followed. When I had William, I would lay awake in the middle of the night while he was crying, or doing bottles at 3.13am and find myself reading these blogs. Sure, lots of them were great and I enjoyed reading them, mainly the topics were food (because why wouldn’t it be – have you seen me? I like to eat) and babies, something which was relevant to my new lifestyle as a first time mother. But the more I read, the more I found myself thinking – ” my god, I am NOT going through the same things as these people, they all have husbands who work 9-5, and I don’t, as you all know mine works away a lot of the time within the week, so I do solo parent quite a lot. I didn’t have anyone to “take the  pressure off” me, well not until a Friday evening or a Saturday morning, whenever it was that he finished work. And everything on these other blogs looked so lovely, the photographs I was seeing were of immaculate tidy homes, with things bought from Barker and Stonehouse or Laura Ashley, freshly cut flowers and babies dressed in all pristine white “The White Company” or “Jojo Maman Bebe” baby grows with not an ounce of sick or bright yellow shit on them. Was I doing something wrong? My house resembled an Aldi Special Buy Aisle after black Friday, and my baby was in mis-matched leggings and vest from Primark and George at Asda, or was given to us by friends so wasn’t white anymore. Where were all the NORMAL people??? So, I decided to write my own blog, mainly to show people (if anyone was going to be interested, I didn’t think so at that point) that it was OKAY to have washing from 7 days ago still on the kitchen table, and your baby to have sick on their baby grow, wilted flowers in the vase, and to be surviving on super noodle sandwiches (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it – bacon super noodles and beans in white bread. With cheese. Thank me later. Unless you’re Vegan. In which case I have nothing for you – sorry about that.) I wanted to show people that this was OKAY, and THIS was actually normal, not the bullshit you would see on everyone’s heavily edited feeds.

Its the same with Facebook, like when people check in at the hospital and then when people comment to say “oh no – whats wrong hun?” they reply with “inbox me bbe xo”. People only share what they WANT to share or what they know will get the most attention. Well, I for one am fed up of it. I wanted to see the warts and all, realistic side of parenting. Hell, if I had, it might have prepared me better for what the hell was about to happen after I had pushed this little bright red little baby out of my vagina, instead of expecting this made up reality about how everything is a walk in the park, and everyone is always so happy after the birth of a child, and everything and everyone is followed by singing cherubs and flowers grow everywhere you have stepped foot, and unicorns dance around your kitchen  sterilising bottles and cleaning up for you. It’s all a load of bollocks. Why wasn’t this being shared?

So I started posting to Instagram more, uploading stories when that became available, and writing my blog on the things that I feel I want to speak about, the things I wanted to share and tell MY side of it, rather than looking at everything else which looked like an advert for John Lewis. I must admit, I was SO nervous about posting my blog posts, because I am and always have been a very open book, and I sometimes overshare, im sure if you all follow me on Instgram then you will probably have already gathered this, and I was worried about what people would say. Would they think it was a load of shite? Would anyone even read it? Is my writing really bad? Does it make sense, or am I just babbling a load of codswallop and people are going to be sat there rolling their eyes at their screens? But then I thought to myself, No, Come on, if I myself wanted to read a true and realistic approach to parenting, then surely someone else in this big wide world would want to as well? SO I just thought sod it, and here I am.

Now, I’m not going to lie, my Instagram has gone up by followers a LOT in the last few months, (This is the bit where I don’t want to sound like a tosser and I apologise if it do – I don’t mean it to). I’m currently at nearly 10k (what even is that – oh my goodness me), and I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t feel good, because of course it does. But not for selfish reasons. I do my Instagram and my stories (that’s generally my preferred method of social media posting – I’m crap at uploading arty-farty cute photos if I’m honest. My photos only got better recently because I got a new phone because the one I had been from when the Pharaoh’s were still around – no joke) because I ENJOY it. I have met so many wonderful people through instagram, some of them I am even lucky enough to call my REAL LIFE friends. I also get to talk to so many other people from different backgrounds from all over the world! Where else can you do that? I LIKE being silly and stupid, ask any of my friends and they will always say “Oh Tara, yeah shes the one who is always cracking jokes, the class clown, etc etc”. It’s just what I DO. I don’t like awkward silences, or confrontation, and in these sort of situations, I laugh, or try make people laugh, and just generally act like a tit. Instagram is the same, I try to make light of things that may be rubbish at the time that are happening, by being silly. It takes my mind off things. It makes ME feel better, it makes me laugh, and therefore whatever stress or shit I may be going through at the time, soon washes away, because, as they say, laughter really is the best medicine. And let’s be honest, after you’ve had a child, all your dignity and self-respect are thrown out the window once a room full of strangers has seen your vagina and seen you poo yourself. (true story)

But aside from how it makes ME feel, more importantly are the messages I receive after I’ve done a stupid video, or done a post/video about how I am struggling with something, usually William-related. The messages of support I receive are unbelievable. I get so so many messages offering a virtual hug, or amazing advice I’d not even thought to try before. It honestly is an amazing community that I am proud to be part of. But not only that, the messages I receive when I’ve posted a story of myself doing some wacko dance in my kitchen, in one of my many dressing gowns, the response is amazing. People message me saying that they are having a particularly tough time, for one reason or another, and they message me to say that they feel better for watching my stories, or that I made them smile after a particularly rough day. THATS what I want to do this for. Because even if I just make ONE person smile, or ONE person feel less isolated, then that is good enough for me. Because I know that I myself could have done with that at one point, and fi I can make someone feel a little more themselves, then that makes me happy. Because, contrary to popular belief, I’m not actually that much of a stone hearted bitch with a resting bitch face. Well, I do have a resting bitch face but what can ya do.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t worry about putting myself out there. recently, I had an article written about me and another Hull Blogger, and I was worried to absolute sickness about how it would be taken, should I of put myself out there, what happens if I get trolled, etc etc. Why am I even worrying about these sorts of things? Why am I worrying about what other people, who I don’t even KNOW, are thinking about me? Why am I worrying if they are going to write something mean about me somewhere? Why can’t I just be my stupid, bad dancing, ugly Monday, frizzy haired self without wondering if things are going to be “perceived” in a certain way? Online trolling, abuse and bullying is becoming more and more apparent in society now, and it is affecting people from all ages and backgrounds, and it shouldn’t even be a THING for people to be worried about. How sad is it that I have to over think what I am going to say, in case I offend someone, or in case someone thinks I can’t parent, or in case someone thinks I should lose weight. Why should we have to worry about what other people think? I sure as hell don’t walk around the streets covered from head to toe ans whispering in case I offend anyone with my outfit/conversation/way I parent, so why should I do it on my own social media account? I have only been trolled the once, and I’m not going to lie it was absolutely fucking awful. I received a message telling me that I was a disgrace as a mother, that my language in front of my child was inappropriate, I should be ashamed of myself, and that my child would be the one child at school everyone talks about because of me, and nobody would want their kids hanging round with William and it was all because of me. She then went on to say that my Instagram was laughable, and there were places people went to talk about me and slag me off, and that my blog was shit and who the hell did I think I was? I’m not going to lie, it knocked me sick. I cried. I felt like a piece of crap. Was I really a bad mother? Do I swear too much? Does everyone hate me and William? Do people really go online and write nasty things about ME? A working mum from Hull? But then, the moment passed, I realised she was just a troll, and blocked her account and carried on with the rest of my day. But the words she said still stung me, and if I wasn’t comfortable within myself, then the repercussions of that thoughtless message could have been so very different.  Why do people think that these sorts of messages are okay to send to someone? It’s utterly disgusting and I am thankful that for now, that was my only experience of such vile actions. At the end of the day, when you choose to send a message like that, you aren’t seeing the bigger picture. I am, under all this, still a wife, a mother, someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s granddaughter.

And yes, maybe it “comes with the territory”. But come on. When is it ever okay to send such things, such hurtful things from behind a computer/phone. I wouldn’t go up to Shannon in Tescos and tell her that her hair was awful, her trousers looked shit, she shouldn’t speak to her kids like that, etc etc. So why is it acceptable for us to do this online? Anyway, I have digressed.

So, that’s how I got here. And I’m thankful for all of you guys, friends old and new for keeping me going along the way, and enjoying what im posting and engaging with me! I’m glad I make some of you laugh, and I hope to continue doing so, for as long as you’ll have me.

Food, General, Parenting, Parenting, Personal, Uncategorized

What’s Been Going On?

It’s been a while Again since I have written a blog post, it’s been Christmas and New Year, and then the struggle of getting back into the swing of work/housework/parenting after having a little time off at Xmas is always draining. When is it you should stop eating crackers and cheese and pate and chocolate for every meal..? Asking for a friend that’s all.

So, as usual, Christmas was hectic and stressful, but honestly this year has been the first year that I have ACTUALLY enjoyed Christmas Day from the beginning to the end. We had Norms’ family over in the morning, and then Will had a sleep after playing with his new toys, I prepped Xmas Dinner, then we ate, opened more presents and just played for the rest of the day. It was very relaxed, none of this to-ing and fro-ing which I HATE doing, as awful as it sounds, we always say to people that if they want to see us on Xmas Day, then  they can come to us, as our parents live at complete OPPOSITE ends of the city. We did it for a couple of years Pre-Will, and we weren’t getting in until late afternoon and we were having to please everyone else instead of pleasing ourselves. So we knocked that on the head, and Norms’ family just come and see us because that’s what they like to do.

As some of you may know, I found myself worrying and getting myself so stressed and anxious about Christmas. Would William enjoy it? Would he have enough presents from me and Norms? Will I get good pictures that I should share on social media? Will I need to buy him more presents? Should I of bought Norms more presents? Will the dinner be nice? Will Norms Grandma be out of hospital? “AM I GOING TO PLEASE EVERYBODY ON EARTH AND THERE WILL BE WORLD PEACE??”

I was driving myself crazy, not sleeping, seeing the Instagram stories of people buying their kids all these bloody gifts, several stockings full of presents, their partners expensive watches or designer clothes. And there was me, with a book shelf from eBay  and a stuffed toy duck for William, and a Body Shop gift set and a top from Sports Direct for Norms. I felt so inadequate, and I know, I know, it’s not about the money, but sometimes, let’s be honest, it is. You work all year, and want to spoil the people you love the most. And unfortunately (because 1. I don’t earn a great deal of money and 2. I am shit with money and don’t save up and buy kebabs with it instead. #real) But, the gifts that William received were fine, lets be honest, the kid is 2 years old and hasn’t got a clue about what day it is, I mean he didn’t give a toss about his Xmas dinner. Do you know what he had for his Xmas dinner? Tomato Soup. So festive. And Norms fully understands the circumstance I am in with the whole money situation, but he liked his gifts he received, and to be honest it was just nice to be able to spend some proper quality time together, as his hours are erratic with his job, so we rarely spend proper time together as a family, so just to be able to do that was lovely.

As usual, Christmas comes with a stereotypical family crisis. Norms’ Grandma has been unwell and was in hospital over the festive period so the family was a bit upset about that, and also there are some other things happening with his family at the moment, which I wont go into as it’s not for social media, but things were a bit fraught sometimes. Plus my mum was poorly over the festive period with that horrendous flu bug thing that makes you feel like you’ve got the Bubonic plague and are on death’s door, so we didn’t get chance to see as much family as we usually would over the festive period. But that’s just the way it goes sometimes. We just chilled out, spent time together as a 3, and that was lovely in itself.

I also spent a little less time on my phone over the Christmas season. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision, I just have realised that a lot of the time I have spare at home is often spent with my face in my phone on instagram, and not concentrating on the here and now, and I was missing out on family time, things that were perhaps happening and would maybe not happen again, all for the sake of what? A double tap and a funny 15 second video? Plus, because me and norms don’t see each other a great deal, when we are together I am aware that (as the majority of other couples probably do as well), most of our time is spent with our faces in our mobile devices, when we should be talking and interacting with each other. And to be honest, it was good to get back to basics.

Another thing which has happened recently is William’s speech. He is coming along SO MUCH at the moment. He can say a few little words, and I feel like now I can actually COMMUNICATE with him and he can communicate back to me, don’t get me wrong, there are still PLENTY of times when I just look at him in disbelief and think to myself “what the actual hell is he trying to tell me??”, but the difference just in the last few weeks has been amazing. And because he is speaking a little and can communicate with me, the temper tantrums are becoming gradually less, and I believe it’s because we I can understand him and what he wants and needs. His personality is now starting to come out too, and his nursery have even told me that he is coming out of his shell more and more, and is willing to get involved and play more, which for me as a mum makes me SO happy, knowing that he is going to be there for the day and not be feeling sad or upset or scared, he’s getting stuck in and making friends and it just makes my heart hurt with pride and love.  We also had a health visitor appointment just after the new year, I am going to write a blog post about how it went and how the whole lead up to it made me feel, it didn’t go as badly as I was expecting it to, and afterwards I felt relieved, one because it was over but two because she didn’t say she was concerned about him, so that was also a massive weight off my shoulders.

I have also been receiving a lot of positive feedback from my instagram account, which makes me really happy. I’m not going to lie, when I gain new followers it DOES make me nervous, because I feel like sometimes you are expected to keep up this massive “insta-prescence” , but in reality I am just a normal working mum who just does silly stupid shit on a social media app, and people seem to like it. I will be writing about how it makes me feel personally too, as I feel that it’s probably how many people who use social media probably feel too.

And that’s about it! Nothing exciting really, however I just thought I would check in with you guys and let you know I am still here,  I’m going to try and blog more, but do let me know what sort of stuff you would like to see, I am always open to suggestions and ready for a ramble (understatement on my part).

General, Personal

It’s fine. I’m fine.

It’s been a while since I last wrote a post, and I really have no idea why. Sometimes I guess you get like….a block? And also, stuff happens, life gets in the way too I think.

Recently I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps, stressed and worried, not sleeping great and just generally a bit MEH. Which is hilarious, because it’s coming up to “the most wonderful time of the year” (who can say that sentence without singing it to the tune – I can’t). And it’s been my birthday too, which of COURSE is always supposed to be such a joyous and all singing-all dancing time.

The truth is, I’ve been feeling a bit low about a number of things, and I thought, instead of stewing on it, just come here and blabber it all out to you unfortunate lot who happen to read the stuff I put out there. So here I am.

I don’t know why, but whenever it’s like, birthday season, for me, you always expect something AMAZING and MASSIVE to happen, like when you see all these people on social media posting photos of themselves, in a candid pose lying in their bed’s on their birthdays with the room filled with balloons and home-made cards from the kids and a lovely breakfast and flowers on the bed, for some reason we now feel like that’s how birthdays SHOULD be, so when you wake up to just another day, getting ready one handed and trying not to have a mascara wand stuck into your eye while a 2 year old is hanging off you, and your husband hasn’t got you a card to open and you have no home-made card from your little ray of sunshine, you can’t help but feel a little, well, disappointed I suppose.

Which I Know sounds HORRENDOUSLY selfish and so so ungrateful of me. In reality, I don’t actually give a shit that I’m not surrounded by balloons (bloody hate balloons me). And I’m not all about the fuss and the big grand gestures really. I’m happy with a bunch of flowers, a couple of beers and a burger. (honestly, love me a burger.) But for some reason, I build up this big thing in my head based on what EVERYONE ELSE is doing. It’s one of my biggest flaws, I am a very jealous person. I’m jealous of everyone else’s lives as they all seem to be so perfect, and free of problems and the usual day-to-day boring rubbish, it’s all parties, events, well-behaved children and family days out with no limit on expenditure. I’m jealous of other people’s relationships – they seem to be so in love, never argue and always make time for each other. I’m jealous of other people’s children, how they behave as opposed to mine, how “much further on” they seem in their development, basically, I’m always just thinking that I’m either doing something wrong, or that I’m missing out on something.

I know that everyone’s relationships aren’t all peachy keen and like a fairy-tale. I KNOW this. But yet I still compare mine to others. I KNOW that every child is different, and that William will get to where he needs to be whenever he gets there. Yet I still compare him to other children. Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Because on social media, at the moment, people seem to want to only show the good bits. If you follow me on my Instagram account, you will know that I really do try and keep it as real as possible, and share when I’m having a good time and also when I’m having a not-so good time.

I think Christmas also brings a lot of pressures to us. I know I go on about it all the time, but Norms works away a lot, but he does that in order for us to have nice things and to get the money in. The more he works away = the more dollar he earns. This obviously puts a strain on our relationship, as we don’t get to DO the normal things, like he doesn’t come home at 5pm every day and I get to toddle off for a bath or go paint my nails, he can sometimes be away Monday right through to Saturday lunch time. And yes, I know that others have it worse, for example military families, but it does take it’s toll on us as a family. But, at Christmas what do you need lots of? MONEY. Hence why he does it, and why I try and do whatever overtime is available at work, to earn some extra money. CHRISTMAS is another time that always makes me feel like utter shit, because everyone is posting there homemade fucking chutney’s, and homemade footprint cards, and the halls are decked and the presents are all wrapped in biodegradable brown paper made with unicorn tail hair and costs £6 a roll. “ALL FOR THE GRAM.” Which is great, if you can afford to buy your wrapping paper from Harvey Nick’s then crack on, but sometimes I can’t help but get sucked into the whole thing, thinking I should do it this way, or that way, or buy a certain gift or whatever because it’s what EVERYONE is doing. The reality is, I work 2 and a half days which, lets be honest, doesn’t pay that great and after my wages have gone in, within a week I have around 80 quid left to last me the rest of the month, after all the bills and nursery fees etc have come out. So I really do have to be careful with the pennies. And that’s just the circumstance we are in, but we are happy and healthy, and in reality that’s what is really important. But even though I know this, it’s still hard for me to not compare myself to others. I would love NOTHING MORE than to be able to go out into any shop, even just Sainsbury’s or Asda, and pick up clothes and gifts for myself, William, or anyone and think “yeah, I want to buy that, I am going to buy it.” Because in reality, I can’t do that. I have to SERIOUSLY consider whether I should buy a five pound concealer because if I do, I might not be able to afford to put fuel in the car, or get some Pampers for Will. Like, that’s the reality, I have to be so SO careful. And it hurts a bit when people complain they are skint, right after buying a new car, or spending £200 on their partner for Christmas, or buying a new kitchen appliance just like that, no worries. Like, honey, you literally have no idea.

I’m making a real conscious effort to try not to put so much pressure on myself this year, because it really doesn’t do me any good, I get told off by my friends ALL THE TIME for putting myself down, worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet, or comparing my life and my family to others. I’m often the one in my groups of friends who is there for everyone else, always lending an ear, or letting them peck my head, but quite often I don’t return the favour, and peck their heads back. I moan about it to Norms all the time – how he never talks to me and keeps his feelings to himself and never opens up to me, yet I do the same thing to my bloody friends. Such a hypocrite.

I guess what this post was, was just a way for me to ramble, have a rant, and let off some steam. We’ve got a few things going on within the family at the moment, and sometimes having a RIGHT GOOD MOAN can do you the world of good. So, if you have made it this far, I owe you a favour, because it’s probably made NO sense, but thanks for sticking with it, and I promise I’ll make the next post a bit more upbeat! (*hopes nothing goes wrong from now until then)


Mess Around East Yorkshire

*We were kindly asked to go to a local Mess Around Sensory play time in return for a blog post – as always all thoughts and opinions are my own*

So, I have probably mentioned it before, but I do sometimes struggle with things to do with William, especially as the days are getting colder and darker and wetter. So when Amy from Mess Around East Yorkshire got in touch and asked us to go and see what their Halloween sensory play activities were like, I of course jumped at the chance.

William is always a bit shy when trying new things. When I pick him up from nursery, they always say he is the last to have a go at the messier play activities, he likes to watch everyone have their go and then when he is sure of what to do, he will then participate. So I was interested to see how he would get on in this new environment, as we have never done anything like this together before. I was also intrigued to see what one of these sorts of activities would be like.

We got to the village hall and it was PACKED. I wasn’t sure if we would get parked! When we got there, I’m not going to lie I was AMAZED at the selection of activities that were there for the kids to play with.

William was unsure at first, but then got stuck into the slime! They had attached a big drain pipe together, with two buckets at either side of it, and provided ladles and big spoons for them to spoon the slime into the drainpipe and watch it slide all the way down. And of course, there were added Halloween themed toys and decorations in the mix too.

There were various other activity trays too, one including a pumpkin with baked beans and rakes for the children to scoop and move around the tray, a tray filled with shaving foam and spiders to look like a spiders web, a tray filled with oats and skeletons and various spoons/pouring equipment, another filled with coloured spaghetti and another filled with multi-coloured rice and cauldrons and other spooky toys. There was also a tray filled with some green sort of sand, I was unsure of what it actually was, and another filled with jelly! Honestly, the selection was incredible and there were so many different things for all ages, from baby to toddler.  There was also a witches cauldron and inflatable toys and balloons. There was also face painting in one corner, by a local company called Fantastic Faces who did an amazing job and loads of the kids ended up with their faces painted. There was music playing the whole time, and in one corner there was a painting area where the kids were free to play with the paint – there were certainly some artists in the building. (Banksy watch out).

William LOVED the slime. He played with it for AGES and laughed every time it slid down the pipe. He loves scooping, mixing and playing kitchens so this was right up his street, he was there mixing it all up and plopping it into the drainpipe. He also really enjoyed the rice, filling the cauldron up and then pouring it all out again, then repeating. He actually poured it on one of the mum’s head (oops – always my child). Mega LOLS for that thanks hun.

He also loved playing with the spaghetti, and was chucking it around, it was EVERYWHERE. It was in his hair, down his top, on my shoes, in my hair, honestly, the simplest things make the best toys! Why is that? He honestly loved it! Wasn’t too sure on the jelly and shaving foam though – which is fine, he hates wet things on his hands, and nags me to wipe his hands if he has even fallen down onto WET GRASS (*insert eye roll here*).

There were such an array of different activities for all ages of children, up to probably 3-4 years old, there were plenty of little babies sat in the middle of the jelly and shaving foam and were having a whale of a time!

Mess Around East Yorkshire also cater for children’s parties, with really reasonable prices and LOADS of different themes, I know there have unicorn themes and also seaside/under the sea themed parties most recently.

If you are local to Hull then I would definitely recommend looking into one of the play sessions near to you I will link the East Yorkshire page here, or also anywhere in the UK, they have lots of areas that are covered within the UK, so if you are stuck for something to do, I will link the main page here and you can go and have a look to see if it’s something that takes your fancy or that you think your child may enjoy.

Thanks again Amy for inviting us, and we will definitely see you at one of your future events!

Beauty, General, Personal

Love The Skin You’re In

Following on from my previous post (you can read it here if you so desire), I thought I would just write up a little post on how I felt personally in MYSELF and in my own skin whilst on holiday.

I don’t know about anyone else, but before you go on holiday, it would usually be filled with going on crash diets, I’ve previously done diet shakes in the past (don’t ever try it – they are absolutely rancid and DONT WORK) to try and shift a few pounds before going away and to “feel  better in a bikini” or be “bikini body ready”.

This is the first year where I honestly couldn’t of given two shits what I looked like. Of course, I still wanted to look half decent, didn’t want to be scaring any of the locals or other holiday-makers in my 7 year old bikinis, but honestly, before going away I didn’t even give my weight a second thought. I would usually be panicking, thinking “oh god I have to be half naked in front of all those people, what am I going to do about my cellulite, my bingo wings, etc”. And I would be SO BOTHERED about going on the beach or by the pool, making sure I had every sort of cover up that there was ever designed with me in case I wanted to go to the bar or the loo, and HAD to cover myself up because NO ONE would want to see me in a bikini or swimsuit, asking Norms if I looked ok, and asking him not to take photos of me on holiday for fear of being “too fat”.

I think, now I am a mother, I have got this new confidence that I never had before. I’ve HAD to go out of my comfort zone, for the sake of my child, and I’ve HAD to be confident when usually I would shy away from confrontation or situations that would make me cringe into myself. And I think since then, I have just learnt to accept and have this new confidence in myself as a person, both inside and out. Yes, I could be slimmer, yes I could probably work out, yes I could probably eat less cheese and bread, but YES I could also be a lot more unhealthy and have really bad habits and be some sort of, I dunno, criminal or complete arsehole. But I’m NOT. I’m just a normal mum, on holiday, wearing a bikini or cozzie chasing my toddler around and eating Cheetos.

So, before we went, I had a little look online and in the shops, and bought a couple of bits to try. I ended up taking a cozzie and a bikini from Next, a bikini from Boohoo, a cozzie from Sports Direct and another bikini from Asda. I went for high waisted bikini bottoms, and ones that supported the melons. My favourite bikini was the one from Boohoo,  I just felt like it was flattering and a good support on the old boobs, and the bottoms were a good fit. I wore it nearly every day.

I’m not going to lie, of course I looked at other people who were more toned and looked like models in their swimwear and I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt a little self confident. But, with a toddler, you have no time to think about yourself, you are constant from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep. So I had no choice but to just – go with it. And do you know what, after I while I didn’t even give it a second thought, taking my shorts and t shirt off and just being in my bikini or cozzie, because I was just wanting to go spend time with my family. And really, thinking about it, who is ACTUALLY looking at you and is ACTUALLY that bothered about what you look like in a bikini? Because the reality is, its probably less than 1%. Everyone is too bothered about themselves and how THEY look, or looking after their children, or applying suncream, reading a book…the list goes on. We build ourselves up to think that as soon as we take one leg out of our shorts that a klaxon is going to go off and people are going to stop dead in their tracks and look and gawp at you in your swimwear. This holiday I finally realised – people really, really, couldn’t care less. The world isn’t going to stop because I am in a SWIMSUIT. Theresa May isn’t going to call a phase 2 crisis meeting with the Home Secretary. It’s FINE.

With this new confidence I can honestly say that I felt so much happier this holiday, and wasn’t worrying constantly or watching what I was eating or drinking, I relaxed and enjoyed myself and my first family holiday. And honestly, it was a revelation. Sure, I’m not a size 8 (or whatever the “perfect” size is supposed to be these days) and im sure some people probably looked at me and thought – oh, she could do to lose weight – or – oh she shouldn’t be wearing a bikini because of her size – but honestly, truly, I really couldn’t care what people thought. And it was so so refreshing. Here are a few pics of me on holiday, outfits I wore and of course, my fave swimsuit from Boohoo.

I have cellulite. I have wobbly thighs. I have bingo wings. When I lie down and look at my phone I have double (*treble) chins. I have a tummy. I have stretch marks. But do you know? Who cares? So does the next person. We can pick ourselves apart until the sun comes up, but what good does that honestly, really do to anyone? It just takes us to dark and unhappy places. I once read something which went along the lines of “Beauty is in the eye if the beholder, however the most liberating thing is that in fact, YOU are the beholder.” The things that you pick apart on yourself, the fact your teeth aren’t straight, the freckles you have, the curly hair, the things you dislike about yourselves, are the things which make you unique and, more often than not, someone else finds endearing and beautiful. We should start to remember that the person staring back at ourselves in the mirror is actually the one who is the biggest critique, and no one else. That needs to stop. How can we teach our children to love themselves and be happy and confident when we can’t follow on the same advice we are serving?


Toddler + Travel

So, we’ve not long been back from Portugal, so I thought I would write-up about our experience of our first family holiday.

We booked through TUI, we always seem to go there as we have good service and are always able to find us something within out budget. We decided to go all-inclusive to the Be Live Palmeiras Village in Portugal. Now, generally, I aren’t really a fan of all-inclusive holidays, me and Norms have always been the type of people who will “go to the beach or see where the day takes us” kind of holiday-makers, however we knew this time round was going to be different because we obviously have William now. We thought that all-inclusive would be better in terms of selection of food and availability of it for him, as we booked this holiday in September 2017, a year ago, and you (as a first time parent) have no idea what you are going to be doing in a couple of hours time, never mind a full year in advance. But, it looked child-friendly and fun, and seemed to be in a good area, and the flight was only around 2.5 hours or so which was a big selling point for us.

Speaking of the flight, what a MARE. We were delayed for FOUR HOURS. I am not the best flyer anyway, I am a nervous passenger and I am a negative Nancy and always think something bad is going to happen, so when we were told that the flight had been delayed until potentially 1pm (the flight was due at 8.15am) because the plane needed a part, it nearly tipped me over the edge. I think I had a few* glasses of wine to calm my nerves. (*A few..) Of course, I would rather the plane be fixed and working properly and I understand the delay, but honestly, the dread that filled me and Norms when we realised we were stuck in this bloody airport with William and not really much in the way of entertainment for him. It was our first experience of this, and so far it wasn’t going to my little plan I had formed in my head.

We got on the plane in the end though, and arrived there safely (thank goodness!!). The transfer to the hotel was then around an hour, and we eventually arrived there exhausted (we had been up since 3am as we flew from Manchester and obviously we live in Hull so had to do the drive up there to the Airport) and just generally fed up. Holidays are great of course, but the travelling and everything can be a drag (sorry if that sounds SO shitty), but for me, travelling is boring.

We went for tea (evening meal) and then decided to have an early night. We were all asleep by around 9pm I think! And the next morning we slept in until around 9.30am! (ALL of us – including Wills!) The breakfast buffet was my favourite buffet. I am a BIG brekky person. I love all the different combinations you can have, sweet and savoury, little plates of loads of different fancies and all the CHEESE. I ended up having freshly made pancakes most days, and the selection of fresh fruit was just the bomb diggy. Will was ok with breakfast too, he loves cereal and would eat it for every meal if he could. The selection of food at these all-inclusive hotels is INSANE. Like everything you could possibly imagine. So that was good – however both Will and Norms just stuck to what they knew (more alike than I originally thought).

We would spend the days by the pool, the swimming pool facilities were brilliant! There were 2 separate children’s pools, one was just water and the other had 5 (or 6) slides for them to play on, and that kept William entertained for most of the day.  He LOVED it. There were 2 decent sized adult pools too, and honestly they were so needed as there was hardly any breeze and you could feel yourself getting hotter and hotter and the dip was CRUCIAL. Especially for the kids. The hotel was so family orientated, there was a kids club but I think one adult had to be with the children all day whilst they did the activities, so me and Norms didn’t really go for that. However, the Kids entertainment didn’t start on the evening until 9pm which was a little late, we usually have William in bed for then, and he was always getting tired by that point, so we didn’t actually go to that either (wow we sound really fun parents LOL).

We spent the days by the pool, having a couple of beers while William napped, and there were also 3 adult water slides there which were bloody amazing. I’m usually quite shy when it comes to those sorts of things but once I’ve got the first none out the way that’s it – im off! William laughed his head off when we came crashing down the slide and wanted us to do it again and again. I just looked like a drowned rat the majority of the holiday.

William was QUITE well-behaved on holiday. I think he was quite confused really as to what on earth was going on and where we were. He did love the pool and the slides, however after about a week or so, he was bored with them. We actually went to Slide and Splash in Portugal and it was so much fun, the kiddies pool and slide was brilliant and William loved the change of scenery, and me and Norms took turns to go on slides while William slept, and WE SAW JOSH FROM LOVE ISLAND. Yes, the real one. (Not as fit in real life I must admit – shame really). If you are in Portugal and you are on a family holiday, or even if you are just there as a couple, I would 100% recommend the water park. We wanted to go to the Aquamarine Zoo as well, however we didn’t get round to doing that unfortunately, but I have heard the reviews are brilliant and it is a really fun day out.

We did love Portugal as a whole, we have both been there separately before, however holidaying with a toddler isn’t a relaxing break. It’s just like being at home – just in a hotter and sunnier place. You still have all the usual tasks to do, changing bums, trying to get them to eat, trying to get them to drink, keeping them entertained and playing with them, comforting them if they fall over, taking them for walks in the buggy if they are tired, etc etc. When I returned to work one of my colleagues asked me what sun cream I had been using because I “wasn’t very tanned”, and my response was “I’ve been on holiday with a toddler” – you don’t really get to relax and sunbathe as much as you would like to.

But seeing  William’s little face as he went on the slides and ran around in the pool, playing with other little ones on holiday, kicking his legs and wanting to play with me and his Dad, they are the moments you live for aren’t they? And even though me and Norms did have a few crossed words throughout the holiday due to William STILL being clingy to me even though he was spending more time with Norms, and him not letting me get ready in peace, etc etc, when we saw his little face creased from smiling and laughing, it just made my heart burst.

And that’s why we do it all, isn’t it? And let’s face it, we are looking into holidays for next year – so it can’t have put us off that much…

Food, General, Parenting, Uncategorized

St Stephen’s Hull – A Family Day Out

*This post is in collaboration with St Stephen’s Hull. All views and opinions expressed are my own*

As the Summer Holidays come to a close, and the days are drawing in a little earlier and the weather is getting a little more, brisk, shall we say, you can sometimes be left wondering what to do with the kids on a weekend or during the holidays. Even though William isn’t at school yet, I still often have to rack my brains for ideas of things we can do that are fun and that will stimulate him but also not leave me wanting to pull my hair out (or cost the absolute earth).

So when St Stephen‘s got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to go and see what their leisure attraction, Rock Up, was about, I of course jumped at the chance – especially as it has a special section for small children and purpose-run toddler sessions, as well as a soft play area (which of course, William would be ALL OVER).

Rock Up is a purpose built indoor climbing and adventure centre, situated in the popular shopping centre within Hull city centre. It has several rock climbing walls that adults and children alike have access to, as well as a soft play area for the under 8’s, and a lovely little café for you to refuel (before, during or after!). The centre also offers parties for kids and team-building experiences for workplaces or friends/families (if that’s your sort of thing!).

When we arrived we were taken through to the main climbing area and William had a harness put on him. He was intrigued by what was happening, and the instructor was so helpful and was showing Norms and I how to attach him to the walls and how to unstrap him etc.

Now William, bless him, didn’t actually manage to do any climbing, I think he was just a bit overwhelmed by being strapped up, he LOVED watching the other children though, some of them were fearless! On a Sunday morning there is a toddler session and a children’s session, where no adults can climb and it’s just kids, and I can honestly say that it is something we will be taking William to again. He was so intrigued and interested in watching the other children, but he IS quite shy so daren’t have a go himself, but I’m sure the more we take him the more his confidence will grow and I think it would be a different and fun hobby for him to get into (if he wanted to of course – I’m not about that pushy mum life).

One thing that, of course, appealed to William was the soft play, he played in there for (no exaggeration) hours! There was a separate area for toddlers and then the main area was for children up to the age of 8. There was a brilliant slide in there which William absolutely LOVED! While he and Norms played I sat down with a drink and snack from the cafe and sat down and chilled (something which doesn’t happen that often these days – TRUST ME!)

We left Rock Up around mid-morning, the time flew by so quickly and we decided to go to Krispy Kreme for a coffee and a little weekend treat! I mean – who doesn’t like Krispy Kreme? I always walk past and try not to look as I know that I will be lured in – I just can’t resist! We sat down and watched the world go by for a while – FYI the Reeses peanut butter donuts are THE ONE. And I got to drink a hot latte. Winning. At. Life.

We then had a wander around the shops – I never really venture into town, what with one thing or another, but we spent a good few hours having a look, there are loads of shops there to cater for everyone in the family. I was particularly eyeing up some new trainers in Foot Asylum (*hint hint Norms*). Plus William had a sleep after all the excitement from the morning, so we were able to actually LOOK around, rather than pick up clothes/shoes/other miscellaneous items that William has pulled off the rails and frantically try and put them back in the right place before his little hands appear out of the buggy to strike again. (#mumlife #blessed)

All in all a great day was had, and we are definitely going to be going back to Rock Up again! I wonder if I can persuade Norms that we should go to look at trainers again. Or donuts….