General, Personal

I Need a Taxi.

*This post is sponsored by Drive Taxi’s Hull, however All thoughts and opinions are my own* AD

How many times have you said that? I for one have used the saying quite a lot – on nights out with friends, when something happens beyond your control and you don’t have access to your car or public transport, on a day out…the list goes on.

Now, I know that sometimes booking a taxi can be such a bloody difficult thing – calling endless numbers, being on hold, the advisors on the other end of the phone being rude, none being available for 23085 hours, etc etc, we’ve ALL been there and it really does do my head in – as much as the next persons. Now, within Hull there are obviously several different taxi firms, and they all have their own dedicated numbers and websites and a few of them have app’s as well, and I wanted to just tell you about one firm in Hull who are looking to change the way taxi’s are perceived within the city, and also are proud to offer great service and a positive taxi experience, to break the stigma that taxi companies and drivers have.

Lets be honest, how annoyed do you get when the taxi doesn’t turn up, or goes to the wrong address, or the driver is a bit of a moron and takes you the “long way round” just so they can get a few more of your hard earned ££’s from you? We’ve all been there and it is NOT what you want when you are paying for a service, be it out of choice or simply because you have NO OTHER choice.

Well, Ride Hull are launching a new App and have had a complete overhaul, including a name change to DRIVE, and they have got in touch with me and asked me to help them promote the new App, let the people of Hull and the surrounding areas know that this is a firm that can be trusted and prides itself on giving a good service. Because lets be honest, when you’re getting a taxi you don’t want to get out, slam the door and think “ugh, I’m never using them again, ignorant so-and-so’s” or whatever. And I for one like to know that when I do need to use a taxi I am going to be booking with a reliable and trustworthy company, that doesn’t charge the earth and isn’t going to leave me waiting around like some spare part, whether it be in the daytime with my son or on a night out or perhaps in a vulnerable position.

So, who are Drive (formerly Ride)? Well, Drive was created in 2017 with the goal of modernising and improving the Hull Taxi market. With the first acquisition of 57 Cars, Drive has since merged 65 Cars, 70 Cars, 706 Cars & Sutton Cars to create a Hull wide taxi firm with 550 Cars and complete over 40,000 bookings a week. Now, I for one have used one, if not all of these individual companies in the past. Now they are all in one place, and they are the largest private taxi hire company within Hull and the surrounding areas. Which means that, pretty much whatever time of the day or night it is, you are more likely to be able to get a car with Drive than with any other taxi firm within the area. Which (if you’re like me and an impatient little witch) is just so so good. Who wants to be waiting hours for a bloody taxi? Not me mate. I can also say that from my own personal experience of using Drive, there hasn’t been a long wait for a car and they have always turned up bang on time, and in some instances were actually early! Brilliant!

Drive are also super hot on the safety of their passengers. For example, if you are a student within Hull, you can call the office on 01482 575757 and if you are for any reason left alone or vulnerable after a night out, they will get a car to you as a matter of priority. We all know the drill – you’ve been out for hours and are probably a little worse for wear, and if you aren’t from the area then it can be a really daunting task trying to find your way home – having a taxi company that are committed to helping you out when you need them surely is a good thing? If anyone reading this is a student then please download the app (link here) or save the number in your phone for future reference. Just don’t be sick in the car. (I mean it – not cool….not speaking from experience at all…)

I have actually downloaded the app myself and used it a few times for journeys, and I must say its dead easy. You just type in the address you want picking up from – or if you have your location turned on it will pick up your location from that, then enter the destination address/postcode on the next page, and enter the time you want your taxi. It also gives you a fare estimate, which for me is a GOD SEND as you know how much money youre going to need for the journey and youre not worrying if you have enough. Alternatively (which is my preferred method) you can pop your card details into the app, save them, and simply pay via your card on the app – the payment comes out at the end of your journey when your home safe and sound! That for me is a life saver, as I hardly ever carry cash, everything is contactless these days and its so good to know you can just book the taxi and pay for it within a couple of taps. Also on the app, you can also track your driver, which is so useful, so you can see exactly where they are and it tells you how far away they are and the estimated arrival time, so you can gather up all your crap (toddler-life) and be ready for when it arrives. When the car does arrive, you actually get a call on your mobile (you need to pop your number into the app) to let you know that the car is outside, as well as the usual text message reminder.

Here are a few screenshots from the App, just to give you an idea..

All in all, Drive are not only a friendly and reliable taxi company, but being the largest in Hull, they are a force to be reckoned with, and I for one have no qualms about using them, and recommending them to family and friends, as they cover the whole of Hull and the surrounding areas, which is so so helpful as I have family and friends on opposite ends of the city, and it’s reassuring to know that they will be able to pick me up whenever and wherever I am.

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)

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?

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….