What I Read 19

How has half-term treated you? Good I hope. I always feel a mixture of elation and sadness when the kids go back to school. This is Big Prince's last term at his current school, High School in September!

I've been reading lots this week, but as usual I've included 6 posts I think you'll enjoy too. Let's get on with this week's What I Read.

What I Read 19 | Morgan's Milieu: What I Read Badge

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 19: Tara Cain from Stick Fingers
The constant worry of parenthood is never-ending, from the moment they are born you are hit with a deep worry. After speaking to a friend of mine a few months ago I learned that that worry NEVER goes away, even when they're adults and driving around or visiting other countries. When I read Tara's post, Do you ever stop worrying about your children?, I simply had to include it in What I Read. Not only does it express how I'm sure every parent in the world feels but it is well written. I agree with Tara's mother-in-law too, it's what we sign up for when we become parents.

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 19: Photo of Vicki Psarias
How many friends do you have? I don't have many, one or two that I could actually count on, but I love them dearly. My friends are there when I need them, they make me laugh when I want to cry, and even after being apart for ages we can get together and natter for hours. That's why I loved Vicki's post The Power of Great Friends, in the post she writes about her friends, both off and online friends. Friends who have supported her and celebrated her accomplishments while keeping her grounded. "Women together are strong." Too right Vicki, I couldn't agree more.

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 19: Photo of Michelle from Bod for Tea.
The only time I've visited France I was heavily pregnant and overweight. The Hubby and I went to Paris for the weekend and wandered around sight-seeing. I haven't ventured to the South of France at all but Michelle's post, 6 Things I'm looking forward to in Provence, made me want to look into it. She describes a James Villas place she's staying, it looks beautiful and luxurious. Provence sounds lovely and if the sun is anything like it is in her photos then it's on the list!

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 19: Photo of Katrina from Mum for Fun.
I like to think that, even when I'm having a tough time, I can still look on the bright side. When challenges are thrown our way the Hubby and I have always looked at the good things about the challenge. Someone else looking on the bright side is Katrina in her post My Week at a Glance. After working late lots and feeling like she was a terrible mother, Katrina pushed past it and looked at the good things that had happened, one of which was being asked to review a product on her blog. That bit made me smile, it's always exciting when something new and blog-related happens. Good luck Kat, and enjoy BritMums Live!

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 19: Photo of Michaela aka Yorkshire Mummy

What to do whilst the kids are away is a post I could relate to this week. We don't often get time to ourselves, but when we do we take the opportunity to take walks together and enjoy the time. Michaela and her husband are planning a trip to London where they'll see the sights and be together. That time is always special, you get to be a couple again and concentrate on each other. I hope you enjoy your London trip Michaela. 

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 19: Rebecca from Busy Bee Mummy Bex

Finally a post that touched my heart and made me want to shout from the rooftops "AMEN SISTER!" I'm the not a perfect mum is a well-written and heartfelt post about being a mum written by Rebecca. We all have our bad days, days when we don't think we can take one more bickering session or see one more nappy. But when it comes down to it we are all awesome. We raise our children, put ourselves second, and make sure our babies are happy. We are superheroes, but no, not perfect.

Enjoy reading, spread the love, and I'll see for more next week.

Activities for a Rainy Day

It's been an okay week so far weather wise and we've taken the boys out almost every day. This morning we woke to pouring rain.

Morgan's Milieu | Activities for a Rain Day: A photo of a rainy window.

It's always annoying when we're stuck inside because of the weather. 

But what kind of mum would I be if I didn't have rainy-day activities in stock?

50 Brilliant Walt Disney Movies

Back in March I did a post about the fantastic movie's that Pixar made and I thought I'd follow that up with the brilliant movies made my Walt Disney.

Morgan's Milieu | 50 Brilliant Walt Disney Movies: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Sitting right at the top of the list is Walt Disney's oldest animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Whenever I watch this movie I smile and remember being a little girl and singing along (trying to stay in tune but failing).

Blogging Consistently

When taking up blogging you should realise that it's a never-ending learning process.

I have been blogging since 2012 (one post in 2011) and in that time I've learned lots but there's still plenty to learn.

Morgan's Milieu | Blogging Consistently: A computer screen showing google analytics results for pageviews.

I track my pageviews, I have blogged more consistently, and I have tried to design my own blog. All of it took hours of reading and working out what I was trying to do.

But there's still more.

Health and Weight Loss Tips 20

It's Bank Holiday Monday and all I want to do right now is go out for lunch and scoff a giant burger. But I won't.

Morgan's Milieu | Health and Weight Loss Tips 20: health and weight loss tips badge

10st 11.5 lbs

54, 453 steps

The kids stayed at my sisters this weekend to give us some much needed time off. As a consequence alcohol (namely bourbon) and pizza played a big part in our weekend.

What I Read 18

Are you ready for half-term? I'm not but I guess that doesn't matter because it's upon us already!

What I Read 18 | Morgan's Milieu: #WhatIRead Badge

To start off a busy week why not spend a little time reading some great blog posts. Here's my selection for this week's What I Read.

First up we have Tim with a questionnaire to find out if you're taking blogging too seriously. I found this questionnaire very entertaining and I giggled at some of the questions, which included "Are you considering relaunching your MySpace page, just in case it might drive additional traffic to your blog?" That one made me laugh out loud! 

I scored 6/20 on this = Must Try Harder.

Ruth Morrison over at pantomum.blogspot.co.uk has written a brilliant poem. Mum of boys is totally relatable if you are a mum of boys. I smiled the entire time I read through this poem, and particularly enjoyed the last two lines. 

Do you judge other parents? Do you think you could do a better job? We all do it don't we, judge a situation without really knowing the circumstances. I've done it in the past, especially before I had children. But the thing with judgement is it can come back and bite you. That mother trying to deal with the screaming toddler in the supermarket is not doing a terrible job, she's having a tough day. I always feel for these women and, when I can, offer a friendly, knowing smile. Caroline wrote a post that I really enjoyed reading on this subject and she articulated it so much better than I just have. Am I a bad mother? Or just a different one looks at the different ways of parenting and how none of them are wrong. Please do head over and read. 

As I said a few weeks ago I love reading about blog conferences but the larger ones scare me. Then I read Jo's post about Talk to Mums blog brunch that she attended. The small get together sounded lovely and I think she is one brave lady being one of the speakers there. This is just the kind of conference I could get on board with.

Where will you be a year from today? This is a question asked by Claire over at Joy and Pops in her post A Year from Today. The post was lovely to read and it made me sit and think about my little dreams. This time next year I hope to be sitting in my room, typing away, much like I am now. A few more readers of the blog would be nice, maybe even getting ready to attend my very first BritMums Live. Maybe.

Speaking of BritMums, I read another post about those award thingies. Written by Amy, Self-doubt and dealing with disappointment is about NOT getting nominated for said awards. Amy was very disappointed and I really felt for her. I can imagine the kinds of things that go through your head at that time. But just so you know Amy, I think you're a fabulous writer and you certainly don't need awards to tell you that. Your readers love your blog, awards or not.

Enjoy reading, please share and comment if you have a minute, and have a great week.

Why I Love Having the Hardest Job in the World (And You Should Too)

Do you ever find yourself just wanting to go into your room, close the door and ignore everything?

Morgan's Milieu | Why I Love having the hardest job in the world: a photo of a sunset obscured by trees.
Just stare out of the window and forget about it all...

I know I do.

Because being a mum, being there 24/7 for my children, is hard.

Magic Jeans!

I spend most of my days wearing jeans, they're comfortable (most of the time) and you can put all kinds of tops with them.

Morgan's Milieu | Magic Jeans!: Photo of Morgan Prince wearing Mango Jeans, pink top and Clarks leather shoes.
Pink Top (F&F Tesco), Mango High Waisted Jeans (House of Fraser),
Clarks Nude Sling-backs (Shoetique)

I have pairs from Ted Baker, Diesel, Tesco and Asda (amongst others). Skinny pairs, bootcut, straight, I love them all.

But sometimes you come across a pair of jeans that are game-changers.

Pop! Vinyl Figure Review

Have you seen the Pop! Vinyl Figures?

These awesome little figures are everywhere at the moment and my boys (including the Hubby) love them. We have quite a few already.

Morgan's Milieu | Pop! Vinyl Figure Review: A photo of four vinyl figures - Stitch, Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, Slimer from Ghostbusters and the Joker dressed as Batman.

When I was offered the opportunity to review one of these Pop! Vinyl figures I found it really hard to choose one. There are so many.

Leaving the Novel Behind

After last week's tough decision I feel amazing.

Morgan's Milieu | Leaving the Novel Behind: A woman at sunset, raised arms in the air, staring at the sun.

I first started this blog as a way to document my writing journey and back then I was fixated on writing a book. It was what drove me to the computer every day.

Words flowing from my fingers and onto the page fulfilled me.

Health and Weight Loss Tips 19

The house is back to normal with iMacs all working well and mine has even had an upgrade. I'm so pleased to be back in my room!

Morgan's Milieu | Health and Weight Loss Tips 19: health and weight loss tips badge

So this week hasn't been great...

10st 10.9 lbs

58, 214 steps

My will power has been waning all week and we've had all kinds of bad food that meant I put weight on. It may be less than a pound but it still gets me down. I've been trying so hard recently and just a little (okay, not so little) treat sets me back more than a week.

What I Read 17

I'm still working on the Macbook Air but hopefully my iMac will be fixed by tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

It's been another brilliant week for reading blog posts and I have a great selection for you in this week's What I Read. 

What I Read 17 | Morgan's Milieu: #WhatIRead Badge

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 17: Janette of Life with Six Kids

A post that touched my heart and made me marvel at her strength was Two years ago, my world fell apart written by Janette Davey. The things that Janette has been through could put anyone on their bottom but she found a way through. I was so pleased that she now sees a rainbow, she truly deserves it.

Escape Soft-Play Centre Review

Escape is our local soft-play centre and we tend to visit during the school holidays. Soft-play centres are great when your kids need somewhere to burn off that extra energy.

Morgan's Milieu | Escape Soft-Play Centre Review: The Over 4s Area in Escape.
Slides, boxes, tubes and zip lines - you're kids will love it!

Escape is located next to the Giltbrook Retail Park, Nottingham and is open all year round. It's great for kids aged up to 11, although some children of that age might feel they're 'too old' for it. BP, who turns 11 in August, loves running around and climbing in the large area. On the website they say for kids up to 14 but I haven't seen any kids there older than about 11 or 12.

When you first walk in to Escape you enter a large entrance area, so if it's a little chilly outside and there's a long queue (fairly likely) you can still wait indoors. There's plenty of parking spaces too, it is located next to the retail park so you can park there and walk to Escape if necessary.

With many soft-play centres you find that the area for under 4's isn't adequate but the one at Escape is large and has plenty of cushions and climbing apparatus for your toddlers/babies. 

Morgan's Milieu | Escape Soft-Play Centre Review: A photo of the sports area in Escape
Above the Under 4's area is a section for older kids, it is filled with various soft balls and has goals built in at either end and basketball hoops attached to the walls. Perfect for those that like sports.

On the opposite side of the huge room is the climbing area. Filled with slides, stairs, zip lines, ladders, and tubes, your kids are sure to enjoy at least one thing here. Just outside the entrance to the climbing area is a place for your kids to keep their shoes.

For the adults that come along to Escape there are plenty of tables and chairs, you'll never be short of somewhere to sit. The tables are big enough for a laptop and planner so you could always get some blogging done while there (I've done this many times). The chairs could be a little comfier, although they're high-backed they have no arms and when you sit you sink into them. It's hard to get comfortable and I often leave there with a backache.

Escape offers food and drink for sale, no need to worry they have a range of coffee drinks including cappuccino and latte. A regular cappuccino costs £1.65. There's soft drinks (fruit shoots or dilute drinks) for the kids and a few muffins and cakes to choose from. 

Food on offer includes fresh sandwiches (ham salad, tuna mayo), toasties (ham and cheese, cheese and baked beans), pasta, and chips. There's a children's menu which includes pasta and beans on toast, amongst other things. 

Adult menu prices range from £1.85 (bowl of chips) to £4.75 (paninis). Children's menu prices range from 70p (toast) to £3.25 (pasta bolognese).

Opening hours:

Monday to Thursday   9:30am - 6:00pm
Friday to Saturday  9:30am - 7:00pm
Sunday  10:00am - 6:00pm

For a two-hour play session costs are as follows:

Under 8 months  - free
8 - 18 months - £3.25
18 months to 4 years - £4.30
4 years to 14 years - £5.80

Escape is a large play-centre with plenty of space for lots of children. My boys love going and enjoy climbing and sliding for the two hours. Most of the time they're completely wiped out when it's time to leave. 

I'd recommend Escape to anyone with children, it's great when you need a rest but the kids are still full of energy!

This is NOT a sponsored post, I just wanted to write about Escape because I think it's a great place for kids.

5 Facts About Me

I've been struggling today with blogger's block and although I wanted to join in with Prose for Thought the words didn't come. Instead I decided to share 5 facts about me that you may not know.

  • I learned to touch-type in college when training to be a secretary. At the time I never realised how useful a skill this would turn out to be. These days using the computer every day I know it's one of the best things I could've learned. 

Apple Watch Sport Review

On 10th April the Apple Watch was available for pre-order. Usually, with the phone, the Hubby and I order on pre-order day but this time I wanted to see and try on the watch before ordering. 

Morgan's Milieu | Apple Watch Sport Review: Apple Watch Sport next to a blue Baby-G sport watch

Saturday 11th April saw me and the Hubby heading to Meadowhall to try on an Apple Watch. I tried on both the Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch. The Edition was far too expensive, there was no way I was getting that one! 

A Tough Decision

As you all know I've been writing a novel for nearly three years. It's been a long time in the making and has gone through various stages but over the past few weeks I've noticed a change and I've made a decision.

Going on walks with my boys makes my day.

Since the February half-term I haven't touched the novel. Not one fresh word has been written, the document hasn't even been opened. 

But the funny thing is I don't feel guilty or sad about it.

Health and Weight Loss Tips 18

I am suffering today but it's the kind of suffering that makes me smile. Yesterday I ran a local 5k fun run and finished in 38 minutes. My muscles ache and complain whenever I go down the stairs or try to walk a little faster. Each time I feel the muscles tighten and the ache shoot up my legs I smile. I ache so much because I worked hard yesterday. 

Morgan's Milieu | Health and Weight Loss Tips 18: health and weight loss tips badge

10st 10.1 lbs

66, 663 Steps

Although, saying that yesterday I weighed 10st 9lbs and I have no idea why I put on 1.1lbs, but it's still down from last week so I'm considering it a win. 

What I Read 16

This week has been another crazy week. We found out that the Hubby's Mac is on its last legs and decided to test mine. I know I've been saying it for a while and it turns out I was right, mine is on its last legs too! Which means that for the coming weeks I'll have to work on the Macbook Air.

What I Read 16 | Morgan's Milieu: #WhatIRead Badge

I love my Macbook Air but the big screen of the iMac is so much better!

But anyway enough about that, I'll get on with sharing some super posts in this week's What I Read.

Morgan's Milieu | What I Read 16: Ruth aka Pantomum

We'll kick off with a post about working from home. I wrote my own recently describing 5 disadvantages of working from home and it seems I'm not the only one that has been thinking about it. Ruth over at pantomum.blogspot.co.uk wrote about Working from Home too and she had me laughing along as I read. I could totally relate to this post.

Monsters Love Underpants Book Review

Are you looking for a book that's entertaining for both you and your young ones?

Then look no further than Monsters Love Underpants, one of a series of books written by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort.

Monsters Love Underpants is the perfect book to enjoy together. It will keep you smiling and your little one giggling right to the end.

LP absolutely loves to read, he can't get enough. At the same time it's hard to find a book easy enough for him to read but challenging enough that it will keep him coming back. Monsters Love Underpants fills that spot.

Time with the Family

Last weekend I decided to take Saturday for the family. My head has been filled with ideas for blogging and along with trying to stay organised my time for the boys has been disappearing. 

So, on Saturday I spent the majority of the day with the boys. LP and I played pool, BP and I talked, and there was Lego everywhere.

A few years ago we bought LP a K'nex set for Christmas. It was very large and we never expected him to build it himself but it was MarioKart and at the time he loved MarioKart. On Christmas day we built the thing and it stayed built for all of two days. LP was just too young to enjoy playing with it and didn't appreciate the work that had gone into building it.

The Laundress - Review

In 2004 Gwen and Lindsey founded The Laundress, a New York Detergent and Fabric Care collection. Frustrated with "dingy white T-shirts, faded denim, and prematurely worn pieces" they created a range of products to clean your clothes and home.

The Laundress has lots of different products and I received two samples to try: Stain Solution and The Dish Detergent.

Positive Changes

Today is a good day.

My trusty trainers
At 6am this morning I got up, donned my running gear and headed into the garage (where we keep the treadmill). My iPod wasn't working but that didn't stop me. I ran 1.5 miles, was completely exhausted, and loved it.

By the time 7am rolled around I'd finished my run and had a shower. All before the boys got out of bed.

I planned this new routine yesterday. I decided that I would do my run early, allowing me to get straight on with other stuff once I'd dropped the boys off at school.

Health and Weight Loss Tips 17

I have been run off my feet the last few days so this post, that was supposed to be written yesterday, didn't get done. Things have been manic.

Morgan's Milieu | Health and Weight Loss Tips 17: health and weight loss tips badge

10st 11.1 lbs

80, 254 steps

Well, my weight increased due to a meal out with the Hubby at TGI Fridays but I enjoyed the food so I'm not complaining (too much). My step count is higher than normal because we've been for a few walks through the week, pretty much every day.

What I Read April Roundup

I've read some really fabulous posts over the past few weeks and if you haven't been keeping up (where have you been?) here's the roundup.

What I Read April Roundup | Morgan's Milieu: #WhatIRead Badge

In What I Read 13 there was a great range of posts from help with editing to wearing shorts in springtime. Sophie helped us all with her seven top tips for editing your novel. The post Suddenly I felt Love reminded me of the influx of love I had for my children when they were born. I discovered a wonderful linky for those who love to run and keep healthy - Blogging to Jogging. Kate Portman, a talented writer and a great believer in supporting other women, shared a fantastic post about being nicer to herself. In the post she found her new best friend, herself. Zaz inspired me to try out a new outfit with her post Wearing Shorts in Springtime. Ceri wrote a great post, How Can I make Friends? and talked about being true to you.

What I Read 14 brought some great parenting posts and one brilliant interview. Over at Happy Mom Happy Life Jessica talked about Green Eggs and Ham driving her insane. Nikki wrote a touching post about parenthood and it being the best rollercoaster, I have to say I agree with her. Another heartfelt post came from MamaMim, Other Parents - I'm Sorry I Judged You. I loved this post and think MamaMim has a lot of courage for admitting she was wrong. Jo from Slummy Single Mummy wrote about her reflections on five years of blogging. It's interesting if you ever look back at your early posts and realise how bad your writing was. I did that recently - never again! I found a new blogger too, Kaila from Healthy Helper and her post Why I blog was a great introduction to her blog. Finally @twinmumanddad shared a useful interview with a PR/Digital marketing Manager. It has lots of information and is a must read for any bloggers wanting to work with brands.

In What I Read 15 there was a lovely mix of posts. Kim, aka Northumberland Mam, was made to play minecraft with her husband and children. She soon changed her opinion of the game. Steph shared a useful post about owning twitter, do you have a social media strategy? If not you MUST read this post. Michelle from Bod For Tea asked what Snow White could teach her about Joy after a Mama fail moment. If your children are about to take the Key Stage 2 SATs Nikki's post, 10 things you need to know about Key Stage 2 SATs, might prove useful. Her top tip - don't stress. A touching post that I enjoyed reading came from Julie in her letter to her younger self. In one post I learned so much about Julie and her inner strength. Finally Maddy over at Writing Bubble wrote about Achieving Dreams, a post that was featured in Mummy Tries' BritMums Carnival.

Please head to some of these wonderful posts and discover something inspiring. If you enjoyed reading I'd love to hear what you thought.

GB British Teddies from The Great British Teddy Bear Company

Meet Sherlock Holmes, a GB British Teddy from The Great British Teddy Bear Company, and my new cuddly friend (and source of inspiration).

Morgan's Milieu | GB British Teddies: A teddy dressed as Sherlock Holmes by The Great British Teddy Bear Company.

As a girl I loved my teddies and vowed to keep them forever. Unfortunately circumstances meant I lost all my teddies, even ones I'd kept since I was a baby. I miss those guys.

Perhaps that's why whenever I see cute teddy bears my heart melts.

I love all kinds of teddies, ones that say "I love you", teddies from movies (I have a mogwai from Gremlins), but my favourite are the 'proper' teddy bears dressed in clothes. Nurses, doctors, teachers, all of them turn me into a gooey mess.

Bears sleep by day. At night they stay awake to chase away bad dreams.

Jesse O'Neil

As you can imagine when I came across GB British Teddies my eyes lit up like a kid in a sweet shop. A smile spread across my face as I looked through The Great British Teddy Bear Company's selection of dressed teddies. When I spotted Sherlock I fell in love, who better to sit on my desk as I write than the world famous Sherlock Holmes. 

Teddy bear dressed as Shakespeare

GB British Teddies were born thanks to Grandma Jessup who used to make clothes for teddies from charity shops. The story behind the brand is heartwarming and today you can see GB British Teddies dressed in "beautifully detailed iconic British costumes just like Grandma Jessup used to make." sitting next to Harrods bears.

Since launching in Hamley's London the affordable range of plush teddies dressed in detailed British costumes is being bought worldwide. These teddies are not meant for show, they're made to be played with and that means they're huggable, washable and safe.

You really don't have to be young to find a friend in a teddy bear.

Rachel Newman

GB British Teddies have become such a popular brand that celebrities like Ewan McGregor and Shane Ritchie are fans. Even royalty love these bears, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has one!

Every time I look at the website I smile at the cute bears and the costumes are adorable. They have police teddy bears, historical bears like Sherlock and Shakespeare and even Royal bears.

Teddy bear dressed as Catherine the Bride.

With the exception of Grace - The Bridesmaid (priced at £16.95) you can buy any bear for £29.95, an affordable price for an adorable teddy that could last for years, being passed down through generations to come. 

Morgan's Milieu | GB British Teddies: Teddy bear with Sherlock Holmes style clothes removed.

Each teddy bear comes with costumes and accessories that can be removed if you choose to do so.

I like the idea that this family business began because Grandma Jessup wanted to make her children happy. They were born out of love.


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