On the move

Finn is now truly on the move!! He finally progressed from commando crawling which he seemed to be doing forever, to proper crawling and then to race crawling in just a few days. Inevitably, he mostly demonstrates his new skill at speed when heading towards anything he isn’t allowed. So far his favourite places are…

1. The top of the stairs – which currently have no stair gate as it seems impossible to find one that works for our weird layout. (We’re working on it!)
2. The oven – although only when it’s actually on
3. The pushchair wheels – so that he can bite them
4. The fireplace in the backroom – although it isn’t used, the coal apparently tastes great
5. Anywhere on the carpet where there is a speck of dirt – he is literally like a human hoover (so much so that Richard has taken to calling him Roomba)
6. The bottom of the toilet – yes it’s gross, I mean it doesn’t matter how much you clean a toilet, it’s still a toilet isn’t it!

The cheeky little boy has also immediately decided that he’d like to try standing up and cruising – I personally think he should have given us a little more time before trying such things but he is of course proud as punch.


This new found skill has inevitably created chaos in a house which wasn’t ready for it as we strive to make sure that Finn can’t get hold of things he shouldn’t have. My desk now looks like this for example…


I realise I haven’t really posted on the blog about specific milestones with Finn so far but I couldn’t resist this one because not only he is clearly loving his new found freedom, but it also seems a like a huge milestone in him changing from a baby towards a toddler. It’s incredibly exciting to watch and a reminder that this first year or so is full of change on a dramatic scale. I can’t wait to see what he does next!

The thoughts in my head

It’s a busy place inside my head. I mean, some days the thoughts in my head are pretty quiet – mostly when I’m distracted by all the stuff I have to do. To be fair, there is an awful lot of stuff to think about …..sleep, milk, food, nappies, sleep, dinners, food shopping, school events, sleep, how everyone in the family is, sleep (sorry did I mention that one before).

Sometimes though the thoughts in my head are very loud, brimming with positivity and excitement – delight when Finn is doing something new, or when he’s laughing, or when he pulls a face at some new food he’s trying! Moments like this…


Sometimes though my thoughts are not nearly so good and they seem to be screaming all sorts of things I really don’t want to think. Managing these thoughts is particularly challenging for me after I’ve had a baby – maybe it’s the hormones? or maybe it’s the fact it’s exhausting? Rather annoyingly though, despite it being almost 8 months since Finn arrived I’m still having to manage my thinking carefully and reign myself in every so often. Embarrasingly sometimes I even end up saying what I’m thinking out loud!

Most recently these have included me saying ‘I don’t really like babies’! I’m not saying it isn’t true, I absolutely love my children but the baby stage is, for me, the hardest by a country mile. I don’t think I’m supposed to say it out loud though! Then just yesterday I found myself telling Finn that I wasn’t changing his nappy just now because ‘you’re going to fight with me about it and anyway I need the toilet and strictly speaking, well, you’ve already been.’ Another thing you probably shouldn’t say out loud.

On a really bad day the thoughts in my head are all about how having a baby was a silly idea and why did I ever thing I should do it again. The fact that I’m not strong enough to handle it when everyone needs a bit of me and that I’m a horrible person for enjoying the fact that the first 8 months have (in hindsight) gone quickly. Of course most of the time – when I’m having fun with friends or family who have always been there for me, when a day goes perfectly to plan, when I’m having a lay in at the weekend while Daddy takes over, or when I’m laughing with Ellie – I can mostly shrug it all off and push those thoughts away. It’s those tougher days that don’t quite go to plan that can be hard and on those days it can be really hard not to listen just a little too much.

Anyway that’s quite enough for one post, but I hope that by sharing my thoughts anyone else out there with their own challenging thoughts in their head won’t feel quite so alone.

Until next time…..

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Great days out that don’t break the bank!

Finding things to do in the summer holidays can turn out to be incredibly expensive so one of the things I’m particularly chuffed about this summer is that I’ve managed to organise a fair number of days out that were either free to do or at a reduced price. It took a little advance planning but really wasn’t all that difficult – we’ve done a huge range of things including splash swimming sessions, dry ski slope toboganning, outdoor adventures and there is still more to come!

How did we do this? Well you could argue this post might have been more helpful before the summer holidays but now I’ve tried and tested these methods AND it’s a reminder for next school holidays, so here are my top ways to have great days out that don’t break the bank…

1. Keep an eye on those discount websites. In the 2 months leading up to the holidays I frequently looked at both Groupon and Wowcher – both have great discounted days out. You do need to check the small print to make sure it’s valid for the dates you want and also sometimes you need to phone and pre-book by a certain date.

2. Check out those supermarket points – Tesco and Sainsbury’s both offer the opportunity for you to swap your points into days out, usually including a considerable uplift in value.

3. Register your email address with places you’d like to visit. Most places will send you updates and crucially discounts or special offers on a fairly frequent basis. With most of those I registered with this year I got between 30% and 50% off.

4. Find the local tourist board site. Most tourist boards have a website for their area and these sites frequently have special offers and discounts for local tourist places. (A lot of the websites are called the same thing such as visitcornwall or discoverdudley etc.)

5. Grab that Blue Peter badge. The kids had great fun a couple of months ago creating things to send into Blue Peter to try to get themselves a Blue Peter badge. They were excited to get their badges and I was excited because once you have a badge you can apply for a card that gives each child free entry into a huge range of attractions around the UK.

6. Save your packets. Well specifically your cereal and choccy packets when they have buy one get one free offers on them. (I note I seemed to have more choccy packets than cereal ones!)

7. It’s probably a very obvious point but …. picnic picnic picnic! Most places you go for a day out now have areas where you can picnic and lots even have under cover areas in case it rains. It saves you money and crucially means you can pack what you know the kids will eat.

So there you go – that’s how we found our way to a fun packed but reasonably priced summer! I will leave you then with a few pics of some of the great places we’ve been and I’ve included links to their websites. (Please note these are all Midlands based because that’s where we are!)

Ellie on toboggan2
Swadlincote Ski Slope (booked via a groupon voucher)

sutton park
Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield (free)

Conkers (booked via a Wowcher)

Dovedale (car parking costs only)

This isn’t a list of all the places we’ve been and sadly I didn’t get any suitable pictures of a couple of our favourites but I wouldn’t like to sign off without mentioning just three others… Rosliston Foresty Centre, Snowdome Tamworth (specifically their splash swimming sessions) and The National Memorial Arboretum.

That’s it for this post – but do comment if you’ve any other top tips for finding great days out that don’t break the bank. It’s good to share! 🙂

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#randomthoughts 12 August 2016

This week’s #randomthoughts… (if you haven’t heard of #randomthoughts before then have a quick look here.)

1. I thought I was a morning person but at 6am when Finn usually wakes I’m definitely NOT. (By 7am I’m a lot less grumpy and have reminded myself that we are incredibly lucky with Finn sleeping so well!)

2. I thought the summer holidays would fly. They are.

3. I don’t enjoy cleaning the house but I do like admiring it afterwards. Well at least for the 60 seconds it lasts before it gets messed up.

4. Swimming is brilliant – everyone in the family enjoys it from Finn at just over 6 months to Richard at a little over 40.

5. Despite loving swimming though I can’t stand the paddling pool – it takes forever to set up, is freezing cold, entertains for a tiny amount of time and is a nuisance to pack away.

6. I’m not good at making picnics – my picnics are boring. (Any ideas are welcome – please comment below!)


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Talking to Mum

One of the things I have always admired about my sister’s relationship with her eldest daughter (who is now a grown adult) is the fact that they are able to talk about anything – genuine, open, honest communication. I’m pretty sure they’ve had their moments but by and large they have always been close and talked about everything.

It’s something I aspire to with Ellie and I do believe we are really close but, at age 8, Ellie has developed two bad habits when it comes to communicating with me.


First – I have caught Ellie telling me little white lies more and more over the last few months. It can be anything from saying she’s brushed her teeth or combed her hair when she hasn’t, to telling me she put something away when she clearly hasn’t. It’s always small things and ridiculously easy things to spot (at least the ones I know!) – often that’s part of my frustration – why lie at all about something so silly! I can’t help but worry that it seems to be setting a horrible pattern for the future.

Second- she is fond of saying ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. This has usually been the line given when I want to discuss what she did wrong or why I sent her to her room, so I haven’t worried too much as I figure that’s pretty normal. The other weekend however, something happened that upset her when she wasn’t with me and whilst the responsible adult she was with told me about it, Ellie tried everything to avoid discussing it.

If I’m really honest – this is the first time I’ve felt truly frightened about how things will be when Ellie is older – I don’t want a teenager, going through all the stuff teenagers do, who doesn’t want or feel able to talk to me. I might of course be overthinking this (it wouldn’t be the first time) but I can’t help but wonder what I can do to make sure she always talks to me.

I’ve already had a conversation with Ellie where I reminded her that she can tell me anything, that I love her always and am always there for her – no matter what. I’ve also reminded her on several occasions that she must always be honest with me and we’ve talked through a version of the cry wolf story several times. So far though, that’s all I’ve got and that doesn’t quite seem enough.

So as ever – any ideas or similar experiences you’re willing to share are most welcome! Please comment below.

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