5 years blogging and a look back on 2016

I can’t believe it was this time 5 years ago that I set up Morgan’s Milieu, back then it had a different name and a different purpose. It all started because I wanted to be a writer, I’d started writing a novel and had read that I needed a blog too so that I could get my name out there. My very first post went live on 30th December 2011 and it seems so long ago now.

The early years of blogging were okay, I blogged about once per month, if that, and it wasn’t regular at all. I had no purpose that I could think of and ended up writing rambling posts about nothing most of the time. 

  • Finding success is all about taking action. You can read all you want, but nothing will happen until you execute.

Pat Flynn

Then I stumbled onto parenting blogs and suddenly I knew where I belonged.

What's on your Christmas soundtrack?

This time of year you spend a lot of time in the car, travelling to see family, playing Santa and delivering presents, so you need a great list of music to listen to while you're on the road. Over the years I've gathered a few favourites I like to listen to during the festive period and below you'll find 10 (of the many) that are on my list. What's on your Christmas soundtrack?

  • If music be the food of love, play on

William Shakespeare

One of my favourite singers is Michael Bublé, I've got a few (okay, a lot) of his albums and I love "Christmas". You'll notice that I've picked a few from this album because to me, listening to Michael Bublé sing Christmas songs is wonderful.

Post Comment Love 16th - 18th December

It's the last Post Comment Love of the year! Stephanie and I have had a wonderful year hosting Post Comment Love and reading your brilliant posts has made us laugh, made us cry, and entertained us. We are both looking forward to a break but will be back in the New Year to read more of your great posts.

It's so busy this time of year it's easy to get behind on things, which is exactly what I've done lately. I'm catching up on my #pocolo reading and commenting but I'll get there. I'm hoping to catch up properly over the break. 

Like I said, this week is the last Post Comment Love of the year, closing on Sunday at 11pm, but we'll be back on 6th January to host the first #pocolo of 2017. 

Read stories to your children this Christmas

Reading to my sons has been one of the biggest joys of being a mum. Whether it was watching them fall asleep as I read The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss or listening to their questions about the stories it's always been the best part of my day. As they got older their interest in hearing me read to them has almost disappeared, BP (now 12 years old) never wants me to read to him, and LP (7 years old) enjoys reading by himself but will, occasionally, want me to read to him.

  • There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.

Walt Disney

Post Comment Love 9th - 11th December

It's time for Post Comment Love again and I'm back for another week of reading and commenting on your brilliant blog posts. We're almost at the end of the year, Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is ready for a break. I can't wait for a break myself and am looking forward to catching up on reading.

I've been slowly getting over the flu this week, I've still got a cough but am feeling better. My head is clearer and I'm able to get stuff done, or at least try anyway! 

Has Christmas crept up on you? It has me, I realised yesterday that there's just 16 days until Christmas Day and I haven't started buying any presents for my family. To say I'm in a bit of a panic is an understatement. Not only have I got to get organised for hosting Christmas Lunch but I've got to do a lot of shopping too. I have no idea when I'll get it all done, more organisation is required. I'm going to have to have a schedule. 

Inspiring our children to read with Penguin Random House Children's

Whether you're a big reader or not it's hard to argue with the fact that getting your children to read classic children's books (or you reading to them) is a good thing. Stories like Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, and Black Beauty inspire a generation of readers and (hopefully) writers. I have loved reading since I was a child and the Hubby gets through at least one book per month. The types of books don't particularly matter either, I love anything from romance to science fiction and the Hubby loves non-fiction as much as he loves fiction. As reading parents we're hoping we can inspire our children to enjoy reading as much as we do. 
diary of a young girl by anne frank, Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson, Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, and The Witches Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett

Books we loved as children


A couple of favourites that come to mind are Black Beauty and The Diary of a Young Girl. My nan gave a copy of Black Beauty when I was around 10 years old, it was a gorgeous deep red hardback cover with no pictures. I remember it being very small and the text was tiny. I started reading Black Beauty one Christmas when we were staying with my Nan and I fell in love with the story. Written from the perspective of the horse I found it intriguing and I truly empathised with the horse. The descriptions of having a bit shoved into its mouth and how it felt to have someone climb on its back moved me. While I lost the book (boohoo!) many years ago the story will always be one I'll remember.

Maintain your immune system with Redoxon multivitamins

I'm just recovering from the flu and although I still have an awful cough I am feeling a lot better. For about a week I was sneezing, coughing, couldn't breathe, and my whole body ached. But of course I'm a mum and I have to continue regardless of how terrible I'm feeling. Thanks to Redoxon multivitamins I've been able to help my immune system and this time the illness hasn't lasted as long as it usually would.

When I was a little girl I remember hating autumn and winter because I knew I'd be ill most of the time. If there was a bug going around in school I would get it and suffer for more than a week. I don't ever remember having a 24 hour bug, they always lasted longer. My body could never cope with the colder weather and went into shutdown mode. 

My immune system is not the best, I'm the kind of person that catches everything. The winter months are the worst with colds and flu around and I tend to get prepared beforehand by stocking up on lots of lemsip and cold capsules.

Post Comment Love 2nd - 4th December

Welcome to Post Comment Love, the linky Steph and I have been running for almost a year now. Link up a post written this week and we'll show it the love it deserves. We love seeing newbies link up and are so pleased that you decide to come back every week, our little community has grown over the year and it's so nice to see familiar names and new ones too. 

This week I'm feeling sorry for myself, I've been hit with a flu bug or a cold of some sort. I've got a foggy head, the sniffles, I'm sneezing constantly and feel like my arms weigh a ton! I'm doing my best to fight it, filling up with Lemsip and pills and carrying on like all good mums do. It's so tough to keep thoughts in your head when you feel this way, one minute you're concentrating on what you're doing and the next you're overcome with sneezes and forget what you were doing. 

Planning Christmas lunch for a large party

Last year I invited family to our house for Christmas Lunch and on Christmas day 15 people arrived expecting to be fed and watered throughout the day. Right now our family is going through something (I'm not ready to write about it just yet) and it's important to get the entire family together to enjoy these special times. Again, I have invited our family for Christmas Lunch and this year I'm expecting 18 people which means it's going to take some planning. If, like me, you're expecting a large party for Christmas Lunch I've got a few tips for you.
gold baubles and gold reindeer tree decorations

Time for food

Once everyone has been invited you need to settle on a time for serving the food and for Christmas Lunch it tends to be later than usual. We'll be serving (as long as everything goes to plan) at around 3pm, and will expect everyone to have arrived before then. When you know what time you want to be serving your meal you can let your family and friends know when to arrive.

Perfect Proposals, Wonderful Weddings, and more

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about marriage proposals, it started out as a simple post but after turning to blogging buddies for their stories the post transformed. I loved writing it, but I loved reading others' stories so much that I decided to do a proposal series. An interview style post where you answer questions about your proposals and tell your story. So today, sharing my own story, I'm introducing Perfect Proposals.

But that's not all.

Exiting Engagements is a chance for those who aren't yet engaged to share their idea of the perfect marriage proposal.

And Wonderful Weddings, where I ask about your wedding, how the day went, what the weather was like, and everything in between. 

Post Comment Love 25th - 27th November

Welcome to Post Comment Love, the linky that aims to give extra love to the posts linked up. Whether you're a regular or a newbie, it's great to see you! 

Is it just me or are the weeks flying by? I feel like it was only 2 minutes ago it was the start of the Summer Holidays and now it's almost Christmas. Next week I'll be putting up Christmas decorations and the house will feel festive and before you know it'll all be over and we'll be into yet another year. 

But let's not wish the time away,

I'm focussing on right now. 

Be Real, Be You

We are bombarded day and night with images in magazines, on the TV, and in movies that make us think we are not good enough. We are not, and could never be, as beautiful as the movie stars or the music stars. We are shorter, fatter, have a stumpy nose or wear glasses so how could we ever consider ourselves worthy? Our confidence revolves around the images we see every day and that's why I love the Be Real Body Image Pledge, supported by Dove. It's time that organisations portrayed realistic body image. It's time you had the confidence to be real, to be you.

An attack on the mind

When I was thirteen years old I was told I had to wear glasses. I had been struggling to read the blackboard in school and couldn't manage without them any longer. It was amazing to finally be able see further than a few feet in front of me while wearing my glasses but I now had to contend with the fact that I was a teenage girl who had to wear glasses.

Autumn/Winter Workwear for Men and Women

Workwear is not something that I find myself concerned with very often. Having not worked in an office for almost 13 years it's not something I think about. The Hubby hasn't had to think about it for a while either because for the last 7 years he has worked at home. Working at home means that the Hubby and I can select more comfortable clothes to work in but during Autumn and Winter we still need to think about staying warm. I love putting together fashion pieces so I thought I'd do an Autumn/Winter workwear post for people who work at home, with a few pieces for those who do work in an office.
clothes in hexagons, workwear, homewear

Finding clothes that are both comfortable and smart can be difficult when you're a plus size woman. I like to look smart even though I work at home but more often than not I opt for comfort. I tend to have a few favourite shops I'll go to because I know their clothes are comfortable and smart.



First of all I grabbed all the tops I loved from my favourite stores:

Post Comment Love 18th - 20th November

Hi guys! Welcome back to another week of Post Comment Love where Stephanie and I give your posts that extra bit of love. Every week we look forward to seeing what posts get linked up and every week we have such a range of topics it's a pleasure to read. Thank you for coming back week after week to link up your posts, and if you're new here - welcome!

I have finally recovered from Blogfest '16, I think last night I managed to catch up on sleep and am feeling back to normal now. It's always tiring to go to the blogging conferences in London, I have to get to the train station at about 6:30am, spend a few hours travelling, then there's the conference itself and then back on train to go home. I usually get home after 9pm whenever I go to a conference in London so it's quite a long day.

It was a great day though, despite some questionable comments about men. I enjoyed listening to the sessions and learnt a lot from Emily Quinton in her photography session. I don't feel like I'm a terrible blogger for wanting to take all my photos with my phone because she said she takes the majority of her photos with her phone! Yay! Like I said, I learnt a lot in that session and hopefully that will show in the photos I take from now on.

A new family game to play this Christmas: Best Guess

We love playing games, the four of us together sat around the dining table playing our favourite board game. While there are a few games we can play on consoles, like MarioKart, there aren't many games on, say, the iPad, that we can play as a family. But that is all about to change thanks to a brilliant new game from Crash Lab called Best Guess. This is a game we can play together while passing around an iPad or iPhone and answering questions, or at least guessing at the answers!

The games we play

Game of Life, Monopoly, Catan, and Carcassonne are all games we have played together as a family and we love all of them. Playing board games has become a thing we all enjoy doing and I'm sure it will continue as the boys grow older. We've introduced the boys to games we played as children, like Monopoly or Scrabble, and together we've discovered new games like Catan and Carcassonne where we learn as we play.

So far though there hasn't been a game on the iPad we could play together. My boys love their iPads and love all the games they can switch between, but it's never much of a social thing, they'll just stare at the screens and play quietly (or as quietly as a 7 and 12 year old can),

Enjoying me time at Blogfest '16

If you didn't know Blogfest '16 is a blogging conference organised by Mumsnet and it was held last Saturday in London. It is a place where hundreds of bloggers meet, learn, and have a good time away from the children. I bought my ticket months ago and travelled to London on the train early Saturday morning, I was excited to meet lots of blogging buddies and enjoy some me time in the process. Being more confident because it wasn't my first trip definitely helped things and I'm so glad I made the trip.
blogfest 16 programme, notebook, pen, iPad, and camera on an old table background

Meeting new friends

Just before making the trip to Blogfest '16 I'd organised to meet someone new on arrival at St Pancras. A newbie blogger, Sarah from A Mundane Life, was going to Blogfest and it was her first time. She was super nervous so I offered to meet her in London and we could walk to the place together.

Christmas Extravaganza at Clarks Village

It's exciting to see towns and cities putting up Christmas lights this time of year as they prepare for the big switch on. I like to see the process of the lights and decorations being put up as the town transforms into a festive place. The switch on though is the best part and it would be nice if I could go to the Christmas Extravaganza at Clarks Village on 17th November (this Thursday), not only are the lights being switched on but there's a chance to meet local Olympians too.
The entrance to Clarks Village lit up with christmas lights

Meet Olympians and Paralympic Heroes

On Thursday 17th November local Olympians and Paralympic heroes, James Guy (swimmer), Jo Frith (archer), and Ed Ling (trap shooter), will be pushing the button and illuminating the village. 

Visitors to the village will be able to meet their heroes and ask questions as well as have a photo taken with their favourite star - and they'll even have their medals with them!

Make a child smile this Christmas with Operation Christmas Child

In a world where our children are bombarded with adverts this time of year and we're surrounded by thoughts of presents to buy for family and friends it can be easy to forget there are children out there that won't receive a present on Christmas morning. It makes me sad thinking about that and so this year, we decided to take part in Operation Christmas Child; a project run by Samaritan's Purse that ships shoeboxes full of gifts to children around the world.
holly at christmas, focussed in the foreground, blurred in the background

What Christmas is about

When I was a little girl (think 8 or 9 years old) I remember  going to Midnight Mass with my Nan. She was a religious lady who wanted to involve me in everything she could. I couldn't believe she'd chosen to take me and felt privileged to go. My memories are fading now, but I recall the pastor speaking about helping others at Christmas, how it was a person's duty to help those less fortunate than themselves. That has always stuck with me and I like to think I've done my best to do that.

Christmas is a time to be together, to give presents to family and friends to show how much you care. But it is also a time to think about others, those less fortunate than ourselves, that may not receive a present at all. 

Post Comment Love 11th - 13th November

Welcome to another week of Post Comment Love - where your best (or favourite) post of the week gets the extra love it deserves. If you're a regular linker, welcome back, and if you're a newbie thanks for stopping by. Link up your post, grab our badge, and make some new friends!

I can't quite believe we're in the second week in November already. I was chatting to the Hubby the last week and we were talking about Blogfest 2016, I told him it was in two weeks and he was confused. After checking I realised it was just a week away and then I panicked. "I'm not ready!" was my first thought, but after calming down a little I got excited. Tomorrow (!) I'll be travelling to London (again) and I get to see some of my favourite blogging buddies as well as say hi to people I've only ever spoken to online. Best of all though I get to chat (in real life!!) to Steph, my lovely co-host.

This time around I'm a lot less worried and a lot more excited, I might even learn something... or more to the point I might implement the things I learn! I'm looking forward to saying hello to Aby from You Baby Me Mummy, her productivity course has really helped me over the last couple of months so I want to thank her.

The boys are looking forward to Saturday too because it means they get to spend a whole day with their dad on their own. I'm sure they'll have a great time, and when I get back they'll probably ask me when I'm going again!

Marriage proposals - how do you do it?

When I was a little girl I dreamt of the day my knight in shining armour would ask me to marry him. As a steadfast Disney fan I knew my day would come eventually, all I had to do was wait. Obviously as a young girl I had no idea about the realities of a marriage proposal but I do think it was healthy to dream. I loved the fantasies, pretending to be a princess and having a prince propose was always my favourite. With the pressures of movies showing us how a proposal should be done I began wondering how regular people (not movie stars) proposed, so my question to you is - How do/did you do it?

According to tradition the man proposes to the woman, although that isn't always the case, as we almost saw in Friends.

He presents the woman with a ring and simply asks "Will you marry me?" - but is that how it really happens?

Our story

The Hubby and I have been married for just over 9 years and they have been the happiest of my life. Our engagement story is nothing like the movies, there was no restaurant where the Hubby hid the ring in a cake. Our story signifies who we are as people. 

One night, while we were in bed chatting, the Hubby asked me if I was happy.

“Of course!” I said, at the time I couldn’t have been any happier; I had a boyfriend who loved me and I had a beautiful son who I got to spend every day with. I was a young stay-at-home mum with nothing to worry about but keeping my boys safe.

He went on to ask if there was anything he could do that would make me happier, I told him I didn’t think there was. As I was clearly not getting what he was driving at he said “Okay then... what if we got married?”

How to enjoy Autumn

The Autumn months are officially here, there's a chill in the air and the days are shorter, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. Even when you spend your days at home with the children there are great ways to enjoy Autumn.
a young boy playing in a pile of dead leaves, the sun is shining and there are trees in the background.


What comes to mind when I think of Autumn is the coloured leaves, the wonderful colours that surround us during the cooler months.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. 
Albert Camus.

Doesn't that just say it all?

Post Comment Love 4th - 6th November 2016

It's that time of the week again, Post Comment Love is here and Stephanie and I are waiting to read some fantastic posts from you. Link up your best post of the week, a post that needs some extra love, or simply your favourite and we will show it the love it deserves. If you're new here, welcome, and if you're a regular linker, thanks for coming back!

The boys are back at school this week (Yay!) which means we're back into a good routine. Although I'm not liking the darker nights very much, it's dark by 5pm these days. It won't be long before I'll be getting up when it's dark too, I hate that. I'm lucky to sit by a large window during the day because really it's the only daylight I get, apart from during the school runs of course. 

I always find it difficult to get motivated to do anything when the days are shorter, it must be to do with how much daylight I'm exposed to. I've been meaning to sort out my office, things are getting rather cramped and it's filled with junk, but finding the time and motivation is proving tricky. The same goes for the rest of the house too, there's so much junk everywhere and I keep saying we'll get it sorted but somehow it never happens. Do you find you're like this? I say I'll do something but when it comes around to actually doing it, I don't. Perhaps I'm just being lazy?

Beasty Baby Christmas show at Nottingham Lakeside Arts

This Christmas season you can experience the heart-warming tale of Theatre-Rites' Beasty Baby at Nottingham Lakeside Arts.


About Beasty Baby

In a snow-laden forest lives an adorable, sweet yet totally mischievous baby. Watch the magical mayhem unfold as three people take on the job of raising this endearing little rascal. 

Beasty Baby is a story of family life and the wonderful, but often challenging moments in a child's early years. Children will delight in the comical antics of Beasty Baby, whilst parents can reminisce on the chaotic magic of bringing up a child. It's one that will make the whole family smile. 

Hobbies for stay-at-home mums

Thirteen years ago I'd just found out I was pregnant. I spent time reading about pregnancy and readying myself for being a first-time mum. 

At around 5 months pregnant, I left work and began my maternity leave and at the time I had no idea how my life would change. The Hubby (the boyfriend then) worked in an office which meant I would be at home alone every day. 

Having spent most of my time up to then working I didn't know what I would do but I decided to do a little research into hobbies. Over the years I've been through a few hobbies, some I've enjoyed and some I gave up pretty quickly. Below you'll see just a few hobbies you could try.

How to spend a night in with your hubby #AD

With two boys at home and a limited supply of babysitters, nights out with the Hubby are in short supply. I'm not complaining, in fact over the years we've got rather used to having awesome night's in.

What you'll need:

The perfect movie

You'll want to find a movie that has a big of everything; moving, romantic, and even sad. The most important thing though, is that you watch it together. If you're unsure which movie to choose, why not try Me Before You? It's a movie that will have you reaching for a Kleenex within about 30 minutes of starting.

Post Comment Love 28th - 30th October

Post Comment Love is back again for another week of linking and giving those posts the extra love they need. Link up your best post of the week and we'll show it the love it deserves!

As you can imagine this week has been hectic with the boys being at home for half term. I was a little less organised this time than I'd like and we haven't managed to do an awful lot but we combine a trip to a theme park with a visit to see family on Wednesday. It was great seeing my dad and they got to see what the boys are like when they're going crazy!

The boys are looking forward to going trick-or-treating on Monday, and BP has invited one of his friends along with us which means he'll get into the spirit of it (I hope). LP cannot wait, and this year we even bought a pumpkin - the carving ought to be fun!

The darker days are starting to get me down a little so I'm making the most of the daylight hours by sitting in our lightest rooms and trying to get as much daylight exposure as possible. Of course it is nice to snuggle under a blanket at night when things get colder.

How are you coping with the colder weather and darker days?

The Bigger Ones Tag

Getting my boys to talk about anything is difficult, when I ask them a question I usually get a one word answer. Sometimes I can have whole conversations with them but this only happens on rare occasions when they're feeling particularly sociable.

A few weeks ago I was tagged by the lovely Catie over at An Imperfect Mum for The Bigger Ones tag. I get to ask my boys 10 questions and maybe learn a little bit about them!

An interview with LP (7 years old)

Who is your best friend?


What do you want to be when you grow up?

A typer. Someone who types.

If you could have one super power what would it be?


Bustin' a move with Frubes

My boys love yoghurts, for the boys they're tasty treats and for me, it's an easy way of making sure they get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in their diet. LP has always liked milk, he has it with his cereal in a morning, has milk at school, and, like I said, he loves his yoghurts. BP is slightly more difficult to please, he won't drink milk and refuses to have it on his cereal so making sure he gets plenty of calcium and vitamin D in his diet is a little more challenging. 

Frubes is the largest portable yoghurt brand, you can put them in lunchboxes or school bags as a healthy treat during the day. Available in Strawberry, Red Berry, Peach, and Banana flavours they contain vitamin D and calcium which help to build strong bones. 

10 Games to play with your school-aged children

Regular readers of Morgan's Milieu know that my boys are 7 and 12 years old and we regularly play games together. It could be computer games or board games, either way you're spending time with your children having fun.

The games we like to play depends on what kind of mood we're in and how much console games the boys have played recently. Below you can see my game suggestions and what I think of them.

Console Games


Paint your base with your colour using paint guns, huge brushes, paint bombs... Paint your opponent's area in your colour. But beware - they're trying to do the same. The winner is the team with the largest coloured area.

Me Before You signed poster giveaway with Warner Bros.

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited down to London for a special viewing of Me Before You at the Warner Bros. Studios. It was the first time I'd ventured into London alone when I wasn't going to a blogging conference and I was rather nervous. 

As it turned out I got into London on the train without any issues and managed to find my way to the Warner Bros. Studios. It was quite daunting walking into the place and as I wandered up to the reception desk the gentlemen welcomed me and handed me my pass. 

Before we were shown into the screening room I thought about the movie I was about to see. I'll be honest and say that I hadn't even heard of Me Before You. Looking at the promotion images I figured it would be a romantic comedy, I love romantic comedies and was looking forward to watching.

Even Batman was looking forward to watching!

Starring Emilia Clarke (played Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (played Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games) Me Before You is no romantic comedy. From a few minutes into the film I soon realised Me Before You is no romantic comedy, in fact it is based on a book of the same name by Jojo Moyes.

Post Comment Love 21st - 23rd October

Hello my lovely fellow bloggers! Welcome back to another Post Comment Love where your posts can get some extra love.

I've been struggling this week to cope with everything, I've written less posts, I think blogger's block has been lurking, and the house is a mess. On the plus side I did tidy the kitchen yesterday and I now have an island unit that is not completely jammed with papers and toys!

I was so busy last week that I forgot to post a photo of my new glasses! So here it is people...

Do you like my snazzy earrings too?

10 things to do during half-term

After the long summer holidays the October half-term can whizz by without you leaving the house but with a little planning you (and your children) can have as much fun during half-term as you did in the summer.

All those activities you did during the summer are still valid, you just have to prepare for colder weather. 

Chester Zoo

We visited Chester Zoo in the summer holidays, the day we chose to go it poured with rain but it didn't make much difference to our day. We took coats and an umbrella and wandered around the zoo. The great thing was that the weather had put people off so there were less people than would've been there if it had been sunny. That meant we could walk around and see the animals without lots of people blocking LP's view. Chester Zoo even have an indoor picnic area so you can still take a picnic with you. Win!

Make Christmas Special with a Magic Santa Letter

As my boys have grown I have an increasing fear of the magic of Christmas disappearing so every year I try to think of new ways to keep the magic alive. For BP it's difficult, he's 12 and he knows the secret but I still try to make it special and magical for him. LP is 7 so it's a little easier to convince of the magic and this year I've found the perfect way to bring a smile to his face.

A Magic Santa Letter

How would your child like to receive a letter from Santa? 

You can make your little one's Christmas for as little as £3.99 with a Magic Santa Letter, a personalised letter written by Santa and delivered to your home. The envelope will have your child's name on, the letter will be addressed to them and they will receive a special 'Good Child' Certificate. The letter and certificate are sent in the standard "North Pole Express" envelope.

Post Comment Love 14th - 16th October

Welcome back to Post Comment Love where your best post of the week gets the extra attention it needs. It's great to see this linky doing so well week after week and I'm so proud to be the co-host with Stephanie.

I'm still playing catch up but as always I'm getting there. It takes a lot of effort to keep up the progress every day for hours on end and sometimes you just need a break. I took the break but unfortunately that means I have to spend time catching up. Like I said though, I'm getting there.

I now have my new glasses and I can see again! Not that I couldn't see before but things are a lot clearer from a distance and driving at night is much better now. It was great driving to the supermarket and not being almost blinded by the cars driving towards me.

Creating a brightFuture by making small changes with Unilever

When I was in school (many years ago) I used to fret about the future of the world. I worried all the time about environmental issues, whether people and animals would have enough of what they needed to survive. I was concerned because it seemed like not enough was being done to ensure a brighter future.

Fast forward to now and I'm feeling much better about the future, much like most parents (between 70-80%) who believe that, compared with themselves, their children will live longer, have a better education and better job prospects, and will enjoy life more, even if they will have to work harder to reap the rewards of the greater benefits ahead.

Small changes

In the last few years I have made a few small changes to my everyday tasks that make me feel better about ensuring a brighter future. We keep a large cardboard box in our kitchen to keep all the small recyclable cardboard in before putting it into the recycling bin. Doing that has completely changed our recycling habits and we actively search for things to recycle now.

Tips for getting your children to do chores

I wrote a post a while ago about children's chores and what they teach them about responsibility but actually getting your children to do those chores can be a challenge. 

My boys, LP and BP, both do chores every day and we've settled on what works for us. There are lots of ways to encourage your children to do chores and you need to use what works for you, that can depend on the age of your children, your lifestyle, and your parenting style.

Below I'm listing things I've used in the past and the method I use now with the reasons they did or didn't work for us. 


First things first, the best way of getting results is to have a list of chores that your children can see. If they can see the jobs they need to do they can choose which ones to do first, this gives them a little control and makes them think they have a say. You can use a written list for older children but for younger children that can't yet read perhaps try pictures.

Simple ways to enjoy family time away from technology

With our lives continually revolving around technology it's easy to forget the simple things that can bring us joy and fun. But if we take a minute, focus on enjoying ourselves, and take a step away from technology we may find joy in surprising places.

Months ago (perhaps even years!) I bought 2 bubbles things for the boys and put them away. Over the weekend the Hubby and I were clearing out our spare room and we found the toys. Once we'd finished the job we gave the boys the bubbles toys and headed outside.

For 15 minutes the boys had a great time making bubbles, trying to catch them, and popping them. The sun was going down, but still shining, and we were all outdoors. As I stood watching my boys have fun I couldn't help but smile. Apart from my phone (to take photos) there was no technology in sight and the boys still had a great time. 

Post Comment Love 7th - 9th October

Welcome to another Post Comment Love, link up your favourite post of the week and we'll give it some extra love!

Well this week has been busy again, I went to the salon on Monday, the opticians with LP on Monday evening, and the opticians for me and BP on Tuesday evening. It was good news for LP, he doesn't need glasses (yay!) and while BP needs new glasses the change isn't too bad. As for me, well that's a whole thing.

I've known for a long time that I'd have eye issues and that's part of the reason I had laser eye surgery for my wedding. I had hoped that having the surgery would mean I wouldn't need glasses ever again but a few years after the surgery my eyes got worse again and I couldn't go through the surgery again.

Every time I visit the opticians I know I'll be getting new glasses, but this time I had extra information. Because of the surgery I struggle with dry eyes, and night driving is difficult too, but at my appointment I learned that the optician has noticed how dry my eyes are and told me I may end up having to use drops. Another thing to add to the cost of my glasses!

Healthy lunches with the Flora Lunchbox Challenge

Packed lunches for school can be a difficult one to get right, as a parent you want to make sure your little ones (or bigger ones) are eating properly but you also want them to actually eat what you make. It's a balancing act and more often than not I fail.

When I'm making packed lunches I will usually go for the easiest and quickest options. I don't want to have to spend an hour making packed lunches when I have so many other things to do before the school run. 

The Easy Option

My boys' packed lunches usually consist of a sandwich made of sliced ham or chicken (sometimes turkey) on white bread, a packet of crisps, a yoghurt, and a drink. It doesn't sound very healthy does it? 

Your weight doesn't determine who you are

During my adult life my weight has ranged from 9st 12lbs to 14st 8lbs, I have worn clothes size 10 up to size 18, but what I'm realising as I get older (I'll be 36 in January) is that my weight doesn't define me.

For a very long time I have battled with my weight, I always felt like people judged me when I was heavier. I'd dress in baggy clothes which made me look much bigger than I was and I'd give up on trying to look good. Being a busy mum didn't help with the motivation either, I figured there was no point in trying when I was going to school and back and never went anywhere else. Add to that reading glossy fashion magazines and my self-esteem was low.

What is parenting?

Cambridge Dictionary defines parenting as "the raising of children and all the responsibilities and activities that are involved in it."

It sounds easy doesn't it?
Ah if only.

Parenting is a learning experience.
Parenting is a challenge.
Parenting is exhausting
Parenting is exhilarating
Parenting is the most difficult and the most fulfilling job you could ever have.

The definition doesn't make any mention of the fact that you will change, you will become a new person. Throughout your parenting journey you will go through changes you didn't realise were coming.