The Magic of Christmas Disappearing?

Sleigh bells, twinkling lights, tinsel and presents. The Christmas season is upon us and everyone has their tree up and their lights on. I love Christmas, I always remember how magical a time it was when I was a child. My father made a real effort to make it that way and I will always remember the one year he walked through the house in really muddy boots (mum was not pleased!) so that there would be large footprints everywhere. He was trying to convince us that Santa had done it, and it worked.

Although we had little money we still managed to have a magical Christmas. I remember putting out a mince pie and a glass of milk, not forgetting the carrot for Rudolph, and hoping that they would be gone in the morning. Waking up on Christmas morning and finding my sock full of fruit and sweets and the odd little toy was great, I have one specific memory of my youngest sister waking at 3am and asking if she could have her sock! Walking downstairs and rushing into the lounge to see that Santa had been considerate enough to put our presents in three separate piles, one for me and one each for my sisters, was great. The fact that we had no money didn’t effect the magic, not ever.

These days it all feels very different. Obviously it’s going to, I’m on the other side of it now and have to try and make this time magic for my boys. I’m glad my father went to so much effort because it means that I don’t really have to struggle to think of things, I just pinch his ideas. Last year we bought GoGo’s for my eldest and hid them around the landing upstairs, down the stairs and leading towards the lounge. He was very impressed that Santa had been into his bedroom and walked around upstairs to hide these little figures. The hubby and I gave each other a knowing smile. 

My youngest is just getting into the stage where he knows that Santa is coming and he knows he’ll get presents. Whenever we go shopping and he sees something he wants he says “Mum! I want this for my Christmas list!”, his brother has been adding things to his list for weeks and I think it’s finally rubbed off! 

There is one problem with having two children 5 years apart, how do you deal with the ‘Santa’s not real’ thing? My eldest is on the brink of finding out, he has friends who know already but have promised not to tell him. I think this will be the last year that we can convince him. But what happens when he knows? I’m hoping that we can tell him he’s in our little club, the ones that know the secret, and our little one still needs to believe in Santa.

The thing is, when you have children who don’t believe in Santa anymore how do you make it magical for them? They know that it’s you that buys the presents, or that they’re from others in the family and there isn’t some magical character that delivers them on Christmas Eve. How do you get them into the Christmas spirit without it being all about the gifts? 

I’ve got a year to think about this, I hope. Maybe I’ll talk to my father and find out how he dealt with it. Either way this is the last year that me and the hubby can enjoy the smiles on their faces when they find secret toys hidden in their rooms or see the eaten mince pie and empty glass (Santa now enjoys a glass of bourbon and a glass of Amaretto!). I’m going to enjoy every moment and I will secretly be hoping we can con our eldest into believing for just one more year. Fingers crossed!
All the photos are of Tesco Charity Christmas Cards that I bought yesterday. I love them!

The Snowman and The Snowdog Premiere

Thirty years ago a 26-minute animated film aired on 26th December on Channel 4 for the first time ever. An adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, this film was an immediate hit, was nominated for an Oscar and has been shown on TV every year since. When I was a kid I loved this film and watched it at every opportunity. I always looked forward to seeing it on the TV and watching it now, thirty years later (OMG!), I still love it. The fact that my kids love it too makes it all the more enjoyable, we can all sit on the sofa watching it and I see their smiling faces as the Snowman takes the boy flying through the air towards Santa. That’s the iconic piece in this film, the flying sequence, and even now I think it’s amazing. Those pictures were hand-drawn and coloured in, people spent hours on this and it definitely shows. So, when I found out that there was going to be a sequel I was very excited. Another christmas film for my kids to see and another christmas tradition to add to the list, great!

The Snowman & The Snowdog premiered at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square on Sunday 9th December and we were lucky enough to be invited. This is because my husband made the game, but we’ll get onto that later. I’d been preparing for this premiere for weeks, making sure the kids had appropriate clothes, booking a hotel for us to stay in over the weekend and planning activities for us all. When Sunday came I was wiped out from a hectic weekend but nothing could dampen my spirits. We’d been told that there was going to be a snow-globe for the kids to have their picture taken, face-painting and The Snowman himself might be there! 

We arrived outside the Empire Cinema at about 9am, a whole hour before we were allowed to go in, and saw the red carpet and three elves wandering around outside. A large crowd was gathering, some people waiting to go in and others just waiting to see the celebrities arriving. We waited as patiently as we could until they started letting us all in and then joined the long queue. This part was slightly disappointing. It’s nothing like they show on the TV, where the celebrities arrive and wander into the cinema with no one else around. We were ushered into the foyer with only a moment to see the snow-globe, face-painting and a quick glimpse of the Snowman then we were told to find our seats in the cinema.

The contents of our Goodie Bag
Disappointed we wandered into the cinema to find our seats and I noticed that every single seat seemed to have something laying on it. As we got closer and selected our seats we found goodie bags! As you can see from the picture there was the a copy of the The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, The Snowman including Father Christmas DVD, The Snowman and The Snowdog activity book, a plush Snowdog, a candy cane and a few advertising cards. The kids thought it was fantastic and wanted to pull everything out straight away, particularly the cute little plush. Whilst in our seats we were told by elves that a magician was wandering around the cinema and that if the children wanted a balloon they could go to the back of the cinema to choose one. My eldest did just that and came back with a Snowman for his little brother and a Snowdog for himself.

The cute little Snowdog plush
Once the celebrities were seated and everyone was ready the film was introduced and it began. I sat there with tears in my eyes the whole time. I did wonder if they would manage to make something as wonderful as The Snowman but I do think they’ve made a worthy sequel. It pulled at my heart strings, made me smile and most of all made me look forward to Christmas. In a film without words it must be quite difficult to express emotion but with the beautiful music and the expressions of the characters they got the lump to stick in my throat and tears to well in my eyes. Magic. The kids sat silently watching it and asked if they could watch it again when it was finished. Like I’ve said before, the mark of a good film.

I don’t want to spoil the film for all of you so all I’m going to say is watch it. The Snowman and The Snowdog is a brilliant film all on its own and a great sequel to the original, your kids will love it. It is due to air on Christmas Eve on Channel 4 at 8pm. 

Also, while I’ve got you… There’s a game too! Now, I have to admit that I’m a little biased because my husband and his crew at Crash Lab made this game but your kids will love it. You fly The Snowman, Billy and The Snowdog over Hastings, London and the North Pole collecting snowflakes, angels, snowmen and various other things from the film. There are objectives to complete, badges to collect and a wonderful world to fly around. There are also some nice little touches, shake your iPad/iPhone and watch what happens. The best bit though - the game is FREE. That’s right, FREE! 

It’s available on iTunes, Android and Amazon app store so whatever your device grab yourself a great christmas game that will keep your kids quiet for while! ; )

And don’t forget to look out for the film on Christmas Eve!

What Am I So Afraid Of?

Have you ever been so scared of something it stopped all of the creative juices flowing? So absolutely filled with fear that you couldn’t bring yourself to write another word? So afraid to take that next step that you couldn’t bring yourself to think of anything in a rational way? 

This is how I’ve been feeling this past week.

For those of you who read this blog you will know that last weekend I posted about a very special lady, Kerry aka Multiple Mummy, who is very ill in hospital at the moment. Again I wish her a speedy recovery and am sending healing thoughts every day. When I read about Kerry and how suddenly she became ill it made me realise that we have to take opportunities when they present themselves. I began thinking about what I wanted to do, how I wanted to proceed with my blog and my writing and if writing was what I really wanted to do. It is and I decided I would start to blog more often.

That’s when the fear hit me. You see, I’ve been a stay-at-home mum for over 8 years and in that time I haven’t done anything but be a mum. I’ve had various hobbies including doing cross stitch, sketching and reading but nothing ever felt like it could be a real job, I was just wasting time and trying not to be bored. When I started writing I thought it would be a good way to use my time and maybe I would publish something someday, it never occurred to me that it could be a real job.

Mmmm... Tea
Deciding to blog more made me wonder where any of this stuff could lead if I took it seriously enough. That’s what scared me. What if it became real and meant that I had to do real work? I’ve become quite accustomed to being able to sit on my bum and have a cup of tea whenever I feel like. I’m here for the kids when they need me but I also have time to myself when they are at school and I like it. To take the next step meant, maybe, giving all this up. 

OMG! You have no idea how much this scared me. I’ve not written one word since last Saturday because I’ve been fighting with myself. Part of me really wants all of it to be a real thing, not just something for me to mess at but the other, more lazy part of me, wants to quit. Give up everything and just sit on my bum watching daytime TV and complaining about having nothing to do. The drive I had when I was young is still there but the introvert in me is petrified of trying. 

Today I have taken that first scary step. I’m back to blogging and I’m going to try and blog more often. About what? Who knows but I’m hoping I can find interesting stuff to say and not bore everyone to death! The hubby said trying to get something off the ground is hard work, he should know… he’s done it a few times now. He also said that doing it part-time is even harder. Part-time is all I can do at the moment, I have a house and kids to look after so this is never going to be a 9-5 thing. But, if I keep at it and continue with my ramblings perhaps something will come of it all. And maybe, along the way, I will lose this fear.

Have you ever felt like this? How did you cope, what steps did you take? Did you give up? I’d love to hear from anyone who’s experienced anything like this.

Hopes and Wishes For Multiple Mummy

About a week ago I came across a story that made my eyes water and my heart ache. I clicked on a post by Mammasaurus on Twitter and this post has stayed with me ever since. Sometimes on social media you hear about something that makes you stop and think. You know the kind, whether it’s about life or something more simple you can’t help but think about it.

Alice Baillie wrote this beautiful poem

The story was about Kerry, aka Multiple Mummy, who suffered a haemorrhage in the brain following a ruptured aneurism back in August and has been struggling to recover ever since. Her husband posts updates on her blog about her progress as well as coping with taking care of their children while all this is happening. I think he’s doing a fantastic job and I wish them all the best. It must be so difficult.

NewOnlineMum has set up this blog hop in the hope that sending prayers and wishes to Kerry will help her recovery. I’m not religious and don’t pray but I’ll be sending healing thoughts and wishes to her in the hope that somehow this helps. If we can all stick together and pray/send best wishes/healing thoughts to her maybe, somehow, she’ll get better and we’ll all be able to see and read her words on her blog again. We’re all hoping she recovers enough to be home with her family for Christmas, I’m sure this would be the best Christmas present her family could get. 

Please take part in the twitter thing this evening at 10pm, tweet #Healing4Kerry and your best wishes or prayers. I know I will be…

The Lorax Review

I don’t normally write reviews and this is not a sponsored post but when I heard that The Lorax was going to be released as a film I have to admit to being a tad excited. I love the book and have read it to both my children, they both love the story too and I thought it would be a great trip to the cinema for all of us. I was right.

We went to see it at the cinema and the kids LOVED it. Me and the hubby thought it was great too, so much so that we eagerly awaited the DVD release. Normally, with something like this, we would wait until Christmas to give it to the kids but we couldn’t wait that long, I think we were more excited to get it than the kids were! So, yesterday the hubby took our eldest to Tesco and returned with the Blu-ray version of The Lorax. We proceeded to sit down, turn the lights off and spent the next hour and a half watching this magical movie. 

I have to say that this movie has the best opening sequence I have seen in a long time and it will have all you adults out there laughing within two minutes. I promise that. It grabs your attention right from the start and delivers entertainment the whole way through. No mean feat, especially where children are concerned.

A classic
The makers of this movie have managed to bring the Dr. Seuss world of The Lorax to life. The Truffula Trees look fantastic, the Humming-Fish are very entertaining and the Brown Bar-ba-loots are really cute! They’ve captured the magic of Dr. Seuss while adding to the story and creating new characters. Some of whom are very funny!

The soundtrack is very good too. I found myself humming along with some of the songs and made a point of telling the hubby that I want to buy it. Little snippets of recognisable music will have you giggling throughout.

My eldest sat for the entire time without speaking, he was glued. My youngest however, did not do too well. Being 3 and a half I guess is just a little too young to sit and watch a whole movie at home, he’s quite the fidget at times. Aside from the fidgeting both kids loved this movie, so much that the first thing they wanted to do on waking up this morning was watch it again. Now that’s got to be a good sign! 

I think this is a great family movie and I recommend you go out and buy it, whether it’s for a Christmas present or just to watch right now, it would be a brilliant addition to anyone’s movie library.

The Beginning of the End?

When you have children you know the day will come. You dream about it, scare yourself silly about it and just plain fret about it. While they’re growing you kid yourself that it won’t happen. For me, it happened yesterday; My 8 year old son, after receiving pocket money, asked to go to Tesco - alone

Image courtesy of

OMG!! Alone?

My baby out on his own - why would I let him do that?

Well he thought it was a fantastic idea. He wanted to walk more than two miles, in the dark, across busy roads, to go and spend his money. I forced a smile and pretended I wasn’t bothered by his request but inside I felt sick. The thought of him walking all that way alone, nope. Not gonna happen!

It came as such a shock! He’s never really been bothered about being on his own before and I guess I’ve been kidding myself that he would grow up without the need to do it. I’m terrified of letting him out of the door, not knowing where he is or what he’s up to. It makes my stomach flip, my heart pound and my legs turn to jelly. I hate it. But, of course, I don’t have much of a choice in the matter, I know I’m going to have to let him go at some point and I will have to face the fact that I can’t keep my eye on him all of the time. 

So, what to do? 

After my son went to bed the hubby and I talked about it. There are so many scenarios you have to consider and, it being our first time, we didn’t really know where to start. Our initial instinct is to give him a phone, make sure he knows how to use it and keep track of him that way. This has it’s own drawbacks, the most significant being what if he loses it?

Next we had the idea that he could walk home from school one day, it’s just one long road and he would be heading home, we know how long it should take and when he would be leaving school, so if he was late we’d know it. There’s also the possibility of involving one of his school friends, with their parents permission, of course. They could walk home together and then, on arrival, I would text the other parent or they would text me to let me know they’d arrived home. 

With so many possibilities how do you choose just one? This is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to face as a parent so far and I think I need help. I’m not sure what the first step should be so I’m asking all of you. If you’re a parent who has done it, how did you? How did you deal with doing it that first time? What steps did you take to minimise risk? If you’re a parent who hasn’t done it yet but have some great ideas, please let me know what they are. This is one of those things that all parents have to deal with and I’d love to hear your views on the issue.

Happy Halloween!

With Christian, Celtic and Pagan roots All Hallows’ Eve has evolved into a tradition where children (and sometimes parents) dress up in costumes and go trick or treating. They go from door to door picking up treats and then head home with a bag full of goodies. My two boys are certainly looking forward to getting into their costumes and collecting goodies this evening.

After I became a mother Halloween morphed into a fun, exciting time where the kids play and, as a family, we enjoy an age old tradition. In my early teenage years I loved Halloween for different reasons. I loved to tell and listen to ghost stories, anything paranormal peaked my interest and I would spend hours reading through horror stories and true story books. 

Morgan's Milieu | Happy Halloween: Borley Rectory surrounded by trees, black and white photograph.
Borley Rectory - The Most Haunted House in England?
I came across one true story that has never left me. Borley Rectory - The Most Haunted House in England. Ghostly photos, writing on the walls and other strange happenings made this story interesting. The building burned down in 1939, the owner, Captain W. H. Gregson said that he was unpacking boxes when an oil lamp in the hallway overturned. The insurance company determined the fire to be fraudulent. The story of Borley Rectory captured my imagination. After all, Harry Price, a British Psychic Researcher who had spent his career exposing fake spiritualists, conducted an investigation in Borley Rectory and wrote a book about it documenting everything.

And here’s my own ghostly story:

At 13 I was 'into' the paranormal and had read books about poltergeist activity. One night, when I was in the house alone, I happened to be walking up the stairs and something hit me on the head. I turned around as I heard it hit the floor, ran back down the stairs, and found a tiny dice on the floor. I put the dice on a shelving unit by the front door, shrugged, and began up the stairs again. Half way up something else flew by my head, I didn’t know what it was but I decided not to go upstairs…

Later on that evening my parents returned with the rest of the family and we all sat in the lounge, talking. My gran happened to notice a funny smell and asked if someone had been smoking a cigar. Being a non-smoking family we didn’t know why she would ask that but she then explained that it was the odour of my grandfather’s cigars. The scent seemed to fill the lounge and it wasn’t long before we could all smell it. My Uncle headed to the door, he was going to open it to air the room. As he walked beneath the light fitting the light bulb exploded! The glass shattered and fell in his hair and around him on the floor. Was it the ghost of my dead grandfather or simply coincidence?

In my time I’ve witnessed a few strange things and have always wondered if all those ghost stories are true? No probably not, but I think there are some that can’t be easily explained - they’re the ones that intrigue me.

As a last little note here’s a strange, unnerving story called The Strangers for you to read (I found it on StumbleUpon). There's a lot to read but if you have the time, check it out.

Happy Halloween.

Status Updates and Memories

I read a status update on Facebook this morning that transported me back to the 90’s. It read ‘this person went from “married” to “single”. Normally I’m not so affected by Facebook posts but this one was another in a long line of posts telling me that old friends are getting divorced.
Picture courtesy of

When I was in High School I remember listening to friends talk about their parents’ divorce, “I get to have two Christmases, two birthdays, it’s great. Twice as many presents!” they’d say with huge smiles. I heard that line far too many times so I decided to start boasting about how my parents were still together and how great that was. Being a teenager I didn’t consider other people’s feelings and started reminding these friends what they were missing out on.

However, when I was 13 my world fell apart. My parents announced they were getting divorced. They were joining the hordes of other parents who just couldn’t stay together any longer. I didn’t understand it and buried my head in the sand. The day my father left the family home it was my 14th birthday and I can’t think of that day without tears coming to my eyes and my heart aching. It was a very tough time.

Twenty years on my friends are now the married ones and one by one those couples have started to split but this time I don’t want to prove anything. I learned my lesson. I’m not about to start boasting on Facebook. What happened this morning was not what happened all those years ago, this time fear filled me, my stomach flipped and my heart skipped a beat because I suddenly thought “what if I’m next?” 

I know that marriage takes work and compromise but sometimes things happen that kill the relationship. What if that happened to me? What would I do? All kinds of scenarios went through my head, every one making me wince. I love my husband and my kids and I can’t imagine a life without them. For eight years my whole world has been to take care of all of them and I’m not sure what I would do if I found myself single again. 

I’m sad when I think of all those families torn apart, I remember how I felt and I wonder about the children. It’s terrible when a family splits, no matter what the reason, and it can cause scars that last a lifetime. Sometimes life happens and we have to deal with the consequences, whatever they are. We have to learn to live in a new way and hope for the best. 

When my parents divorced I learned a valuable lesson… Don’t take things for granted because you never know when they will be gone. The end could be just around the corner, caused by any number of reasons, so while you’re happy, enjoy it. Kiss your husband or significant other and tell them you love them and hug your kids like you never want to let go.

Summer Holidays

Morgan's Milieu | Summer Holidays: Bolsover Castle
Bolsover Castle
After a few weeks of the kids being back at school I am (slowly) getting into a routine. The little one is at nursery in the morning so, at the moment, that gives me 3 hours of childless time. In that time I’ve managed to get most of the chores done. The dishwasher has been put on and emptied, the washing machine and dryer are both going and the hoovering has been done. The house is tidy. One problem… little one is due home.

Chocolate, Alcohol and a Choice

Since the end of the Christmas holidays me and the hubby have been on a weight loss campaign. We have a holiday planned for Summer 2013 and we both want to be at our goal weight by then. This is the fourth time (I think) we’ve done it and so far I’ve never managed to reach my goal. 

Morgan's Milieu | Chocolate, Alcohol and a Choice: Latte and biscuits.

Previously we have tried various techniques to lose weight, every time opting to do lots of exercise as well as eating differently. I have always found it very difficult and watch as the weight drops off the hubby. I believed it was because I’m a woman and it is harder for us to shift that excess fat. However, this time things are a bit different.

Thank You

So far on this blog I’ve not made a big thing about my writing, it’s just something I do to keep the boredom at bay and hold on to my sanity. When the idea first struck me I thought I’d give up before I finished anything but it seems to have stuck and I keep going. 

Morgan's Milieu | Thank You: My new toy, a Macbook Air.

To be honest I’m just kind of winging it. I’ve written one novel that is in the editing stages and half-written two others - one abandoned and the other I’m currently working on. I try to fit in the writing whenever I can but sometimes the chores of motherhood get me down. 

Well… not motherhood, more housewife chores, the constant tidying, hoovering, polishing, washing clothes, all those things that no one else does. I look at my house and see piles of clothes ready to wash, notice the dust that has settled on the surfaces and see the dishes ready to be put into the dishwasher and a darkness descends around me. 

Why can’t someone else do it for a change? Why am I the one everyone turns to?

Instead of asking for help I keep quiet. I put the dishes in the dishwasher, put the clothes in the washing machine and grab the duster and polish, all the time muttering to myself. I end up feeling angry and I have no idea why. After all, it’s my own fault for not asking for help, right? The problem with asking for help is I feel guilty. The Hubby works (well someone has to!) and the kids, well they’re just kids. So either way, whether I ask for help or not, I end up feeling bad.

The writing has been like having a therapist and even if I don’t write down what I’m feeling, the process of typing words into the computer helps. It’s turned into something that I need to do. 

Morgan's Milieu | Thank You: A hot cup of tea.
The fact that the Hubby is taking it seriously helps too. He’s spent time and money making sure I can work to the best of my ability. He came up with a genius plan for keeping the house tidy, it’s a sticker chart for the kids. Every day they have to put all their toys away before going to bed, if they can do this they get a sticker and once they get 10 stickers we can all go out for a meal. They get to choose where we go and the current aim is TGI Fridays and they have 8 stickers. I can’t believe it’s been working as well as it has but I think it’s wonderful. It means that I can walk around the house first thing in a morning and see that it’s tidy. I can have a cup of tea knowing that there’s not hours of work before I can sit in front of the computer. It brightens my day so much.

That’s not the only thing the Hubby did. He bought a new iMac recently and I was delighted when he said I could use the old one, it meant I could get a new program I’ve been wanting for ages and perhaps even get more writing done. Then, last weekend, we took a trip to PC World and he surprised me by buying a new Macbook Air! Wow! I’d been saying how much I love working on the iMac but it’s a bit uncomfortable sitting at the dining table and that was his solution. Now I’m sitting on our recliner in the lounge with the Macbook Air on my lap writing this blog post.

Sometimes I focus on the wrong things, like getting worked up about having to do housework. It’s just one of those things and seeing as I don’t have to go to work I think it’s okay that everyone expects me to take care of them. That’s my job. I’m a mother and housewife and that’s what we do, but we also need time for ourselves. Everyone needs private time, a time to think or do something they enjoy and having an understanding partner makes all the difference.

In the last few weeks I’ve gone from having hardly any time for my writing to being able to write as much as I choose to and that’s all thanks to the Hubby. So, here’s to all the understanding husbands and wives out there who do all they can to support their partners. Even if that’s just making them a cup of tea in the morning. 

Thank you x

Growing Up

I got the letter confirming Little Prince's place in nursery. He starts in September but has two practice days at the end of this school term. You know what? September can't come quick enough!

Morgan's Milieu | Growing Up: Cherished memories of babies.

That might sound like a terrible thing to say but, at the moment, it's how I feel. I'm ready for a few hours a day where I can drink a cup of tea in peace. I'm ready to sit in the house and listen to the birds outside or watch something on the TV. What makes this all the more exciting is I’ll have more time for writing. I’ll be devoting the free time to my stories and hopefully get them finished faster. There are so many things I'm looking forward to but being child-free is top of the list! I will be able to sit and think of no one but myself.

This new phase will be good for LP too, he is ready to be going to school every day. When I take his brother he asks if he is big enough yet and every day I have to tell him “Not quite.” Then the tantrums start.

When LP is in nursery I will worry and fret. I'll hope he is getting on OK and wonder if he is making friends. As he says goodbye to me every morning and totters into school with a smile on his face I will walk away with tears in my eyes because my baby is growing up. I'll wish for the days when he stared up at me from his moses basket or the times when we sat on his activity blanket playing with his baby toys. I'll find it really difficult to let him go because this time there will be no more babies. 

When my eldest started nursery I loved it and I didn't worry about letting him go. I knew he had to grow up sooner or later and, although I was sad, I watched as he made friends and became a 'big boy'. At that time the Hubby and I were already planning our next baby so I didn't need to mourn the baby days. I could enjoy the free time and remember him being a baby without feeling sad, but now things are different. We have no plans for any more children. I will watch them both grow and become more independent every day. As the years go by they will need me less and less and I find myself wishing that wasn't the case.

This is a phase I'm sure all parents go through. While they are newborns we wish for them to grow and be more interesting, to start moving around or playing with toys. Once there, we want them to start walking, then onto the nappy-free days.

When they start school and we have that spare time to ourselves we realise that we have spent the last three years wishing our babies lives away. We've hurried to the next interesting stage so we can find out new and exciting things about our children. What we fail to realise is we should be spending our time enjoying the stage they are at NOW because before you know it they will be going off to university. 

Enjoy the newborn stage because when you look back you realise that it passed far too quickly. They are small babies for a very short time and we should cherish it. Savour the time when they're not-yet talking because as soon as they learn how to get their words out there's no stopping them. You won't get a moment's peace in the day!

I love my children and always try to enjoy the stages they are at. However, sometimes I find myself either wishing their lives away or wishing for a time gone by. It's these times when I remember those precious moments that have a special place in my heart. They make me sad that I will never see my children like that again. I have to slap myself and remember that we all have to grow up and I should be enjoying every second with my kids, creating new precious moments and keeping them in my heart too.

We should remember those baby days with fondness and at the same time take notice of our children's new abilities and remember those too. Hold onto those memories because when we are old, sitting in that armchair enjoying a visit from the great grandchildren, we will be able to look into the eyes of the toddler standing before us and see our children as they once were. We'll re-tell stories to the next generation and smile when we remember that time 'he fell in the canal!' watching as our great grandchildren laugh at the idea of their grandfather falling in the canal. 

Those are the times I look forward to the most.

What precious memories do you have?

Beautiful Blogger Award

As I read through my emails this morning I saw something from a fellow writer, Rod Tyson. 

After reading his note on my blog I headed over to his to check it out. It turns out he'd awarded me the 'Beautiful Blogger' award!

Thank you Rod, you made my day!

Rod has just recently released his second novel 'The Orphan Stone' and 'Curse of Ancient Shadows' was just shortlisted for the Kidwell eFestival Awards!

Congratulations Rod, I hope it all goes well for you. x

Check out his blog here*. 

His post Ghost Stories... reminded me that I love to hear the spooky stories people have about strange sightings and I enjoyed reading his story.

The 'rules' for the award are that I now have to select 7 fellow bloggers to pass on the reward to and list 7 random facts about myself. Here we go...

My nominations are:

2. Darren Cockle - I loved his post 'The meaning of love'.
3. Susan, Super Earthling - She has such brilliant stories and always makes me smile.
5. Susan May - An Adventure in Words - When I first began networking Susan was one of the first people I communicated with and she taught me that we all have some times when we think we are terrible writers. The idea is to keep going and keep learning, it's the only way to improve!
6. Jeff Hargett - Strands of Pattern - I love his 'Sunday Surfing' posts because there are always useful and entertaining sites to check out.
7. Stacy Lynn Lewis - Her post 'On to the next stage...' struck a cord with me because my youngest is about to start at nursery and I will have some time to myself.

And now for the random facts. This is going to be tough...

1. After years of using windows, I have recently found that I prefer using Mac's rather than PC's. Apple's operating system is much more pleasant to use and I find that I am much less annoyed at my computer!
2. I drank Tomato Juice once... I was pregnant and that was what I was craving! I've not been able to drink it since, probably because it is awful!
3. I get annoyed at impolite people. Whether it's in the supermarket or while driving, rude people really wind me up.
4. I find it hard to make friends. Face-to-face that is. If it's through the internet or phone I have no problem but when I meet new people my mind goes blank and I can never think of anything to say.
5. I love watching movies. Moulin Rouge, Casino Royale and Love Actually are among my favourites but I have many more.
6. My children are my world. Even on those days when they make me want to pull all my hair out!
7. I sometimes wish I had a cleaner. Obvious reasons aside I'd like to sit on my sofa, see the is house tidy and know that I didn't do it!

*unfortunately Rod's blog has been removed.

Positive Thinking

A while back, the Hubby had the opportunity to interview for a job. It was perfect for him and he would have loved it. It would have stretched him but he was ready for the challenge. The job was in California. If you've read my profile you will know that I live in Nottingham, UK. It is quite different to California. Looking at a website I saw that Downtown LA has 292 days with sun! Those are the kind of numbers that we can only dream of in the UK! This year, so far, I think we've probably had 15!

Morgan's Milieu | Positive Thinking: Pier at sunset, with bird

There are hundreds of differences between Nottingham and LA. Many that I'm sure we're not even aware of but as he made his way through the process we found ourselves looking forward to it. Yes, it was a huge change. It would be a really difficult transition to make, especially with the children, but it was one we were willing to make. The opportunity was huge and we believed it would encourage our children to aim for the top. The fact that we were considering moving to another country could open up their minds and make them realise anything is possible if you try.

We considered all the challenges that the move would present. We thought about all the pros and cons of such a move and actually started to get excited about it. We imagined how different our lives would be, how many more opportunities our children would find they had and how we could both reinvent ourselves if we wanted to.

After a couple of months it turned out that he didn't get the job and, although he was a little disappointed, we were relieved. We were thankful that we wouldn't have to live apart for months while he organised everything over there. We were happy not to have to move the children away from their friends and family and we were pleased that we wouldn't have to pack up our stuff and ship it to another country.

This whole process got me thinking and it dawned on me that we are very lucky people. Both me and my husband tend to look on the positive side of things. We try to see the best  in everything and react accordingly. If a spanner is thrown in the works we see it as a hidden opportunity. As you can see, when he was going through the interview process we looked at all of the good things that would happen if he got the job and then, when he didn't get it, we saw all the good things about staying.

I know people who go through life only seeing the negative. They go to work every day, to a job they hate, and complain about how awful their lives are. They complain when the rain is pouring and complain when the weather is glorious and the sun is shining. Given an opportunity they would rather stay as they are than risk it all. I'm so pleased that I'm not like that. Don't get me wrong, I do consider that all things have cons but I like to think that I can see the good in everything. There's always a silver lining.

My husband is now setting up his own business doing something he really enjoys and with this new phase comes new things to look forward to. If he starts going to an office every day then I can enjoy a quiet cup of tea on my own or, perhaps, do some writing!

Being able to see the positive is a blessing. Even in the darkest times you can see that light at the end of the tunnel and aim for it. I pity all those people that go through their lives limiting themselves because they're afraid to take a risk. New opportunities present new ways to seek out life. I want my children to grow up believing they are capable of anything as long as they put their minds to it.

My Hero

A while back my eldest son came home telling me about his work at school. They’d been asked to draw a picture of their hero and explain why they’d chosen that person. He chose a computer game character (they were told that was ok) called Spyro. His explanation was that Spyro helps people.

It made me think about my hero. Did I even have one? To be honest I’d never thought about it but when I did the person that popped into my head surprised me. It was Rolf Harris. When I was a kid I watched Rolf’s Cartoon Club every Saturday and loved to try and copy his cartoons. As I got older I watched him on Animal Hospital and through the years I have listened to his music, seen videos of him performing ‘Jake the Peg’ and laughed when he did his noises. Rolf Harris is one of those men that has been around in the public eye for years. We all know and love him.

I watched him on a Piers Morgan show recently and was hooked. The show was an hour and forty minutes long but I could’ve watched it all night. On it I heard how Rolf hadn’t always been the jolly fellow we all know and love. He’d been through some tough times and made hard decisions that he regretted but he also spoke about how much he loved his family and how he rocked Glastonbury! In 2010 he played to a crowd of more than 100,000 people. He was 81 at the time! Can you believe that? Rocking Glastonbury at 81 is amazing. I think the fact that he is always so jolly must aid in ageing. I hope that I can be that happy when and if I reach that age!


Secrets are a funny thing. 

We all have them.

Morgan's Milieu | Secrets: Fortress, Castle - black and white

For a very long time my secrets have been locked away in my head, hidden inside a fortress, surrounded by an unbreakable forcefield. You know the kind. It's the place you put those things you never want to remember and never want to reveal. The things you'd rather forget. However, your mind has a strange way of working and sometimes remnants of those memories can leak out.

The Liebster Award

Being a housewife and mother I find it hard to find the time to write. Sometimes I go more than a week without writing a word and that means I get irritable. Writing has become my stress relief and it really works. When I’m writing I can feel the stress melting away and I feel like me again. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen often enough, with cleaning the house, potty training a 2 year old and feeding the hubby time seems to slip away and I find that there’s no time left for writing. As a consequence I’ve had to give myself a routine for blog posts, this way I can have time to think about what to write and I (hopefully) don’t run out of things to write about. 

Well this week I have been given something to write about by Jack Flacco. It’s called the Liebster Award and is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers. Hopefully this gives those bloggers more attention. I’d like to thank Jack for giving me this award, he made me a very happy lady! Writer of The Necklace and a supporter of all writers, Jack Flacco is currently writing his second book. Check out his blog, I promise you will be entertained.

The rules of engagement for this award:
  • Thank the person that nominated you on your blog and link back to them.
  • Nominate up to five other blogs for the award.
  • Let them know via a comment on their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.
My nominations are:

Rod Tyson
Christine Benson
Susan May
The Highly Unlikely Housewife
Rebecca @ Here Come the Girls

So, after going to pick up my eldest from school I’ll have a couple of hours (maybe) to get some writing done. Maybe I’ll get another chapter finished. Or maybe the kids will end up fighting and I’ll close the laptop and go yell at them then give up and tidy the house instead. Who knows. What I do know is that I will write at some point and I will finish this book. I will also continue to blog, it won’t be as often as I’d like but I will keep at it. We all have to make sacrifices to get the things we want and I think mine will be time. Time from cleaning or time from the ironing, maybe I could get the hubby to do the ironing instead, what do you reckon? No I don’t think so either but I can dream.

An Exciting Journey

This time last year I was scared, I'd started to think about my future. My youngest son is almost 3 and starting nursery in September. I realised this is the first time since having my eldest, who is seven, that I've been able to think about myself. I began to wonder what I would do. The last time I had any time to myself I was pregnant so it seemed pointless starting anything. I have no plans for any more children (two is enough) so the time will be mine.

Morgan's Milieu | An Exciting Journey: Hiking in the mountains.

After spending all of my time for the last eight years looking after children I was pleased I would have some time for me but there was a terrible dread. Would I turn into a neat freak, spending all my free time cleaning the house?

At the time I was reading a book called The Heat, the first book in a series of four called The Big Bad Wolf Series by Heather Killough-Walden. She is a very talented writer who I admire a lot. She is also a mother.

When I'd finished reading one of Heather's blog posts I had an epiphany. I realised Heather was a real person too. She has problems just like everyone else but she manages to do something she loves and touch people's lives. I thought about myself, about my life and what I intended to do with it. Something seemed to fall into place and I wondered if I could do that. Could I write a book? Ever since I can remember, I wanted to write but didn't. My self-doubt had always held me back, I didn't think I was capable and with all those millions of books out there, why would someone read mine?

Then came Amazon. They opened up the world of writing to me. Amazon and the Kindle made me realise that I could write a book and publish it myself. My husband told me about someone called John Locke who'd managed to publish books himself and was doing quite well. John Locke has written lots of books now but at the time there were five. Having read his book How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! I challenged myself. I was going to try and write a book.

I spent weeks expanding one simple idea into a story. I planned the plot and twists and spent time getting to know my characters. I didn't start writing until I had everything in and it felt right. This was the most painful part, I wanted to start writing straight away but knew that if I did I would end up in a muddle, not knowing where I wanted the plot to go or what my characters should be doing. When I eventually started writing it went quicker than I'd imagined and within a few months I was finished.

In the years I've spent looking after the children and taking care of the housework I've not had much to be proud of (apart from my children) but when I wrote those two words, I felt wonderful. The End. Wow! I had cobbled together random thoughts and created a story. I had written a novel. Me, a lowly housewife!

However, I couldn't put my finger on it but the story wasn't right. It seemed forced and I felt like I was chasing the crowd so I decided to move on. After taking some time away I had a flash of inspiration for a new story and realised I'd been writing the wrong genre. Leaving my previous story behind I began the planning for my new one. Again it took a while but I'm writing chapter 12 today. I'm not going to publish that first story but it's something I can look at when I'm feeling down and be proud.

I'm still learning and writing as much as I can and sometimes it's hard squeezing it in between housework and taking care of the kids, but I've found something for me. Something that is all mine. I have my self-confidence back and I feel good. I took a terrifying step into a world I know nothing about, but you know what? I'm excited!

Looking back I can see that I wasted too much time thinking about what I couldn't do and not enough time imagining what could happen if I did something. The voice inside my head had been saying "Who do you think you are? You couldn't do anything worthwhile!" and that was holding me back. It is so fulfilling to jump into the unknown and find something you know you ought to have been doing all along. Don't write yourself off just because you're a stay-at-home mum or dad. There will come a time when those young children are at school and you too will wonder what to do, if you're not already. I'm urging you to take that step. Find the thing that makes you happiest and do it. Embark on a scary but exciting journey. You never know what you will achieve. And who knows... Maybe we could help each other along the way?

Magic Moments Linky

The Flu Bug. Pah!

OK. So I'm sitting here with a tap running inside my nose, barbed wire attached to the inside of my throat and a head filled with cotton wool. I feel awful. It's dinner time, or at least it soon will be and when it comes around I will be expected to walk into the kitchen and cook something delicious. I would much rather go to bed and drink a hot cuppa.

Morgan's Milieu | The Flu Bug. Pah!: A hot cup of tea and a notebook.

I have two children and the days each of them arrived in this world will stay with me forever. Not because I love them and they mean the world to me (which is obviously the case!) but because it was a harrowing experience. My first born gave me 17 hours of labour, the second about 7. Before having children I never imagined what power my body had and even now I forget. A baby came out of me. Out of that small hole. Ouch! Thinking about it makes me squeeze my legs together!

Even when the children are here and the labour is over the pain doesn't stop. We bleed for a whole week each month, and for the most part don't complain (although I do my fair share of complaining at times). We take endless pills or injections or go through embarrassing examinations to prevent having any more children and we continue, regardless of how we're feeling.

Being a mother and a wife denies you the right to be ill. If I am out of bed, I am able to tend to my motherly/wifely duties. Forget about receiving any sympathy. The opposite sex seem unable to feel this particular emotion. You could look like a zombie and the family would still expect to be fed and watered at regular intervals throughout the day. But when the other half is ill it is completely different. You are expected to take care of them, bringing medicine/tablets when needed and making sure they are nice and cosy in bed or laying on the sofa. For men, being ill is usually the end of the world and no one could ever feel as bad as they do at that moment. Sometimes it really annoys me.

Then I realise that I'm a woman. My body has been made to endure so many things and a simple flu bug will not defeat me. Yes, I feel like my head is about to explode and my legs and arms feel 20 pounds heavier than usual, but I will go on. I will cook dinner and clean the house and take care of the children, just like always. I've survived giving birth. Twice. I've survived the monthly blood loss and I will survive the flu bug. This thing will not defeat me because I am a woman and I am stronger. I will feel bad for a few days and will sleep (hopefully) it off at night. 

As bad and annoying as it is being ill and being a mother remember one thing... You have been through much worse!

Why bother being SuperMum when you can be you!

Watching TV and seeing shows like Perfect Housewife or SuperNanny often makes me wonder if I should try harder, spend more time with my boys. Perhaps I should clean the house or iron the  mountain of clothes in the basket?

There's always something for a mum to be doing; cleaning, playing with the children, visiting family.

(24/7) once you sign on to be a mother, that's the only shift they offer

Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

I've been a stay-at-home mum for nearly 8 years and haven't managed one single day when there weren't chores to do. Every day is filled with chores; ironing, washing, cooking, cleaning. I do my best to get the most important jobs done, like making sure I feed the boys, and get some time to spend with the children. But sometimes I do resort to the Xbox.

What it takes to be SuperMum

First of all your house should be spotless, no toys on the floor and certainly no unwashed dishes in the kitchen. Your children should be well presented and polite, and never ask inappropriate questions. You spend all hours either tidying, cleaning, or cooking, which also means your house is filled with the aroma of freshly baked cake. You are happy to welcome guests without having to race around the house to clean up before they arrive. 

Are you up to it?

I know I'm not.

Am I SuperMum?

My house is never perfect, far from it.

I have 500 (roughly) toys on the carpet in the lounge, toys are all over the place. I have been known to find action figures hiding between the sofa cushions. My children's toys get into many dark, strange places; behind a radiator, under the cooker, even in my handbag! Many of them are lost for months, until I have a 'Cleaning Day'. On those days, my boys cheer with joy when they see that skeleton man or a bouncy ball they thought had been lost forever.

I am not SuperMum, I have never been.

I do my best and that's all I can do.

Time for a break

With everything you have to do you're entitled to a break. You need the few minutes it takes to have a hot drink in peace or, occasionally, a trip to the hairdressers. It's hard taking care of your family, trying to keep them happy, as well as making sure the house is clean and tidy.

Don't be ashamed to say you're struggling and would like time out. Everyone needs a break and no one can be a superhero without a little help.

Becoming a mother makes you realise you can do almost anything one-handed.

Don't be a Superhero

Your children don't need a superhero mum, they have plenty of toys to be the superhero, what they need is for you to be you. When you aren't trying to be a perfect mum and are enjoying life you are at your happiest, and your children will see that. They will know that you are happy and will be happy too.

Don't be SuperMum.
Be a real mum.

A mum who changes routine every day and is not sorry to say the housework can wait. It's a hard enough job, why make it harder by torturing yourself with guilt?

Drink tea. Eat Cake. And play with your kids.

What do you do to stay a real mum?