Post Comment Love 30th September - 2nd October

Welcome back to another Post Comment Love, I'm looking forward to reading all your wonderful posts.


This week has been weird, after last week's super organisation and lots of productivity I seem to have lost my motivation and I haven't been able to focus. So much is happening right now and it's difficult to focus on one thing at a time, but focus I must. I'm determined to get back into a good routine. Hopefully next week will be better.

I'll be travelling down to London today for a blogger event. It was all very last minute, and it's not something I would usually do but I figured if I want to do better with the blog I need to put the effort in and go to these events. So for the first time ever I'll be taking myself to London, I have to drive myself to the train station and when I arrive find the place I'm supposed to be going to. It might not sound like much to some but when you spend your days in your own house stepping outside of your comfort zone can be daunting. I'm sure I'll be shaking the whole time but once I've done it it will be less scary right?

As long as I don't get lost in London I'll see you all here next week! 

How has your week been?

Blogger Showcase Fionnuala from The Inconspicuous Blog




Exactly 8 years ago this month (September) Fionnuala set up her first blog, My Kitchen Notebook, as a place to record her own recipes and photos from her travels. Six years and three children later she was inspired to start a second blog, simply named Three Sons Later, as a place to share her way of life and her approach to parenting through crafting, baking, making and spending time in nature. Here you'll find home and garden posts, restoration projects, crafting ideas and travel reports too.



Over the years blogging went from something to dip in and out of to a real hobby, leading to freelance writing and even a couple of awards. Earlier this year Fionnuala decided to set up a third blog, this time on blogging. The Inconspicuous Blog, with the tagline "For the quiet little blogs of this world", is meant as a resource for hobby bloggers to find some reassurance and guidance when things get too much or when they are in doubt as to where to go with their blog. Taking things back to basics, The Inconspicuous Blog is an alternative to the advice of big bloggers. 


Connect with Fionnuala and her blogs here. She's always happy to get in touch with other bloggers.

Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram
Three Sons Later on Twitter
The Inconspicuous Blog on Twitter


Fionnuala's favourite posts

Am I Blogging Properly? from The Inconspicuous Blog

Double Chocolate Salted Brownies from My Kitchen Notebook

Craft Myths, Busted from Three Sons Later

How To Volunteer When You Think You Don't Have TIme from Three Sons Later

Lazy Organisation from Three Sons Later


Pocolo


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts. 

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger, it's always nice to get a comment or two.
  
If you'd like to be featured in our Newbie Showcase please do email us at postcommentlove@gmail.com.

Thank you for popping by.


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Sometimes it SUCKS being a woman!

It begins at age 10 or 11 - your body starts to change; hormones cause havoc, boobs grow, and BAM!

You’re a woman.


Just like that.
And it's not as if it happens nicely either. 


How do you know you're finally a woman?


You start bleeding.
From your genitals.

Nice.

Children's chores and what they teach them about responsibility

I have a list of chores for my boys and every day they have to make their way through the list before they can play games. Not only does giving them chores make my job a little easier but it also teaches my boys about responsibility. 



Making their bed


Both LP and BP have to do this in a morning after getting up. For LP I don't expect him to get it perfect but as long as his quilt is in the right place and neat then I'm happy. BP is expected to make sure his bed is made properly. 

Making their bed is becoming part of their morning routine and teaching them to keep their own things neat and tidy.



Opening their curtains


Letting the morning sun into the bedroom first thing in the morning is the easiest way to wake yourself up. Either before or after making their bed they have to open their curtains, not only does it allow light into the bedroom and help them wake up but it adds to the morning routine. 




Tidying their bedroom


The boys' bedrooms are their own areas, they keep toys in there, they have books they like to read. On occasion their bedrooms end up with toys all over the floor or books piled on the floor. I like them to make sure their bedroom is tidy by the end of the day so that they don't have any trouble getting in or out of bed. If they didn't tidy their room and tried to get up during the night they would probably end up tripping over a toy and hurting themselves.



Taking dirty plates away


While I don't expect my boys to wash the dishes (we have a dishwasher) I do expect them to take their dirty plates into the kitchen. Leaving their plates on the table or on the sofa is not an option. 



Empty their washing basket


Again I don't expect them to wash their own clothes but taking their dirty clothes into the utility room helps me. It makes it easier for me to get through my washing quickly rather than trawling through the house trying to find dirty clothes. My boys do this about once a week or so, they simply carry their basket into the utility room and empty it onto the floor. 


There are certain chores I can't expect LP to do, he's only 7 so he can't do some. BP on the other hand can manage a lot more.



Vacuuming


Every few days I'll ask BP to do the vacuuming, while he does that LP will go around and make sure there's no small lego pieces that will get hoovered up. They work together (for the most part) in doing this chore.




Putting the bins out


On bin day I ask BP to put the bins outside the gate, it takes just a few minutes but it helps a lot. 



Getting your children to do chores may sound like a mean thing to do, especially if you're a stay-at-home mum, but it teaches them. My boys realise that I work hard at keeping the house tidy and by keeping their rooms tidy and doing their chores they're helping. They see the work it takes to keep a house tidy, they see the daily routines. 

When they grow up and have a house of their own it will be much less of a shock when they have to do all the chores themselves. By giving your child chores you're teaching them how to take care of themselves when they're older.

Do your children do chores?

Children's chores and what they teach them about responsibility. Do your children do chores?


By getting the children to do chores you get to enjoy more time for you!

Best of Worst

Menswear Autumn/Winter Staples

With the cooler weather heading our way and having already featured my Autumn/Winter Style Staples for us ladies I thought I'd list a few for the men too. With these staples you won't need to go shopping every season, these will last and for all the men that hate shopping that's a bonus.





A great jumper is an absolute essential in any wardrobe. This Vivienne Westwood Round Neck Jumper is gorgeous and I can imagine it keeping your man warm on those chilly nights. It's a little pricey, at £155, but for that price you can expect it to last a few years. The jumper is described as lightweight and it has the Vivienne Westwood orb logo embroidered into one of the arms. If this one is not to your liking though there is a huge selection of great jumpers at the Garment Quarter.












Another great jumper is this Gant Crew Neck Cable Knit Jumper, I love the cable knit and it looks good in Navy. At £100 (reduced price) it's a good deal and you're not going to have to dry clean this jumper because it's machine washable. I think this would make a great Christmas present! House of Fraser have got a brilliant selection of jumpers on their site - be sure to check them out for some great deals.







Your man's favourite shirt or t-shirt underneath those jumpers will be sure to keep him warm throughout the autumn/winter months.





As with women a great pair of jeans can make an outfit and these Paul Smith Dark Rinse Jeans are just the thing. They're not cheap jeans, costing £120 it's a bit more than I would normally pay, but again you can expect them to last. I like the dark rinse, they're dark in colour but not black which means they're smart/casual. Pair these with a shirt and jumper and your man is set.













During autumn/winter keeping dry but not too warm becomes a challenge but with a Parka your man will keep dry while looking good. This Tommy Hilfiger Dunford Parka for £115 (reduced from £230) is a great deal and your man will love it too.












Footwear is always an issue during the cooler months, sometimes shoes will do and other times only boots will do the job. I chose these brown boots from Timberland, the brown will go with almost any outfit, they're not suede so won't be ruined if they get wet, and you can tell they're the kind of boots that will last. They cost £160, so they're not cheap, but for a great pair of boots that'll be sure to last your man years I think these are a great bet.





Is there an outfit you love to see your man in during autumn/winter?

Sponsored post

How to improve your child's handwriting

LP loves his sports, from football to badminton he likes nothing more than being outdoors running around burning off energy. He's an active boy and enjoys playing sociable games. He also enjoys maths (he relishes a challenge) and reading. LP is an insatiable reader and at bedtime he will often stay up late reading his favourite books. 

The problem is handwriting.

At 7 years old LP's handwriting is not great, his letters are all one size and he will often write letters backwards. When I attended parent's evening at the end of last year his handwriting was one of the things mentioned and his teacher said he needed to work on it. 

LP practises his handwriting every day after school. When trying to get him practising it can be tough to think of things for him to write but over the last few months I've come up with a few ideas.



Writing out his favourite stories


LP has an exercise book that he uses for his handwriting practise at home and I will give him one of his favourite books, like The Odd Squad or Horrid Henry, and tell him to copy one or two pages. While this doesn't help him with spelling it gets him reading and, more importantly, writing. 




Writing about his day at school


This writing comes from LP, there's no copying or reading. He uses words he knows to describe his day. I'm not specific about the kinds of things I want to see, I just let him write. It gets him thinking about his day, thinking about how to describe his day, and writing those thoughts down.



Writing questions


If there's something LP wants to ask me I may ask him to write it down. This way he is writing and I can tell him if I don't understand or can't work out what he's written. He can work on particular words and his letter formation gets better.



Writing stories


LP isn't great at coming up with stories just yet, he's only 7 after all, but on occasion I'll tell him to write a short story. It doesn't have to be long but it has to come from him, it's his ideas and his imagination. I particularly like this handwriting practise because it involves being creative as well as practising writing. 


With these four things LP has made a lot of progress. In just 2 days his handwriting is much neater, I have less trouble reading his writing and his letter formation is coming along nicely. The great thing is he can see the progress too. 

When looking at the pages in his exercise book it is clear when he's been practising daily. He can tell when he's had a break and works harder to get his handwriting neat again. 


If you're struggling to get your little one's handwriting on track why not try a few of these ideas.


Do you have any ideas you would add to my list to get your little ones practising handwriting?



If you enjoyed this post you'll like Teaching your children about work or if you're after something a little more practical try Why it's important to teach your children to cook.

Stop by Facebook and let me know what you're teaching your children.

And if you'd like a little more time to enjoy that coffee why not grab my cleaning checklists so you get through your chores quicker!

We need to talk about home improvements

Ok, so when you have a young family to care, for certain things can get pushed down the list. One of these is definitely home improvements. They can seem so overwhelming when there is so much to do already. But actually, a few small changes here and there can make a massive difference in the look and feel of your home. Carry on reading for some information and inspiration.


Curtains


You can change the look of a whole room, by just updating the window dressings. It can make such a difference. If you would like to get more light into the space, go for a translucent or voil type dressing. This will allow your windows to feel dressed, without compromising on light.

Post Comment Love 23rd - 25th September

It's time for Post Comment Love people! Come link up your best post of the week and get in touch with us if you'd like to be featured in a future #bloggershowcase.

We're well and truly back into the school routine now, LP is loving his after-school clubs and BP is enjoying seeing his friends. LP enjoyed a school trip to Nottingham Castle this week, he was so excited and he learned lots while there. It's so lovely seeing him excited about history. BP continues to push boundaries and stomp about the house when he can't get his own way but sometimes he's such a sweet boy. I love it when he's in a good mood, he's a lot more talkative then and I take the opportunity to listen to him when I can.

My cleaning routines are going well too, I'm keeping up with the washing (so far) and the kitchen is fairly tidy most days. Of course with half-term at the end of the month that might break me, only time will tell.

I've been spending this week getting more organised and I'm hoping that continues. It's so much easier to get things done when you're organised. Thanks to Aby's challenge last week I've got a great system and so far it's working well. I hope it continues.

How has your week been?

Blogger Showcase Nicky from Not Just The 3 Of Us



Nicky has been blogging for just over a year and recently she began working on her blog full-time. She likes to have a natter about most things so why not pop over to Stephanie's blog to read the full showcase.

You can find Nicky here:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram

Read some of Nicky's posts here:

http://notjustthe3ofus.com/lifestyle/beach-etiquette/
http://notjustthe3ofus.com/parenting/puberty-plaits-peri-menopause/
http://notjustthe3ofus.com/parenting/how-to-do-a-sample/
http://notjustthe3ofus.com/out-and-about/spf-starfish/
http://bit.ly/2aOfbry


Pocolo


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts. 

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger, it's always nice to get a comment or two. 

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do email us at postcommentlove@gmail.com.

Thank you for popping by.



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Tween issues you'll face as a parent

BP is a tween, he's 12 years old and this time next year he'll be a teenager (OMG!). Over the past few years the Hubby and I have had to deal with a lot of new issues and I'm sure these things will continue to be issues for a few years yet. As your little one grows you'll have to deal with a whole host of new issues and when they hit that tween stage they become more complicated. Here's a few of the issues you'll have to face when you have a tween.



Sex


While I hate the thought of BP knowing about sex it has happened. The internet is filled with sex videos, there's all kinds of sites filled with "information" about sex, and his peers will be talking about it constantly. The older he gets the more curious he will be, it's inevitable. 

As his mum I have to come to terms with the fact that he is growing up, it is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. It doesn't seem right. All I can do is talk to him and hope that he makes the right choices. 



Rules


BP doesn't like rules, he doesn't like doing chores, he doesn't like homework, and he doesn't like having to obey. He would much rather sit on his bottom (or lay around) in front of the TV. We have had rows over chores, BP stomps through the house because I've asked him to vacuum the lounge, and there has been tears over homework, but these rules teach him. 

Whether it's chores or homework if you have rules stick to them. While your tween will complain and argue they are learning that there are things in life you have to do. It sounds like a harsh lesson but it will do them good in the long run. 



Emotions/hormones


BP is not good at coping with the emotions and hormones that race through his body. He bursts into tears at the drop of a hat, he can be truly happy for no apparent reason, and he snaps at his brother all the time. It can be amusing watching his moods change from sad to happy after a text from a friend but at the same time it makes us realise how fragile he is right now.

An innocent comment can be taken the wrong way and become a huge deal. Arguing becomes a shouting match. And tears flow.

Tweens are fragile, they're trying to deal with peer pressure at the same as these hormones are causing havoc. It's okay to give them a break.



Hygiene


As their bodies begin to change they need to change their hygiene habits. Starting to use deodorant, being reminded to change clothes and shower often, it's all a part of growing up. I have to remind BP every day about his hygiene. 



Secrets


Tweens have secrets. Everything is a secret, from friends to going out. While it may seem like they're keeping things from you you have to realise that it is okay for them to have secrets. Respecting their privacy is important, but at the same time you have to make them aware that you'll be there if they need you. 



Sleep


Their sleep patterns change as they get older. BP's bedtime is 9pm but I know he will often stay awake until at least 11pm either reading or drawing. It is difficult getting him to realise that although he may not feel tired at night he still needs to sleep. Him struggling to get up in a morning has been the cause of a few arguments.

Being strict on bedtimes and trying to ensure they go to sleep at bedtime is all you can do. Whether or not they listen is another matter.



Independence


From arguments about bedtimes to rule-breaking your tween is testing their boundaries. They're trying to break out and be their own person. It is a difficult thing to deal with, you want them to be independent but you also want to protect them from anything that might hurt them.



All you can do is be there for them, and make sure they're obeying the rules when necessary!

Are there any issues you've faced with your tween that I didn't mention?

The Perfect Date Night Outfit

As busy parents it's not often that the Hubby and I get to have a proper date night. More often than not, when given the opportunity to go out, we'd much rather stay in watch movies and drink bourbon. But sometimes a night out is just what you both need and with that in mind I thought I'd put together my perfect date night outfit.

Let's start with the dress, because let's face it - it has to be a dress. Being around a UK size 18 at the moment I'm conscious about the type of dress I wear, I know certain styles suit me and certain styles do not. A bodycon dress certainly wouldn't work very well but I have a bigger bust and a V-neck or plunge neckline works. Halter neck is another great choice.


Visiting Chester Zoo

At the start of summer we asked the boys to come up with ideas for things to do during the summer holidays. One of the ideas was to go to a zoo and after a little research we settled on Chester Zoo. It is supposed to be the best zoo in the country with thousands of species of animals.

When we settled on Chester Zoo we worked out that we had to book in advance to get the best deal on price. It’s always a bit of a risk doing that in this country because you can never count on the weather being good. We did book in advance and checked the weather report daily as the day rolled round.

We got up on the day and it was pouring, the skies were dull and there was no sign of the sun. Typical. Of course we couldn’t abandon the trip because of the weather and I did hold out hope that the weather would improve during our journey to Chester.

It didn’t and by the time we arrived at Chester Zoo the rain was hammering the car. Luckily we’d prepared for a wet day and we put on our coats and grabbed the umbrella out of the boot of the car.


Rain hits a window, the camera is focussed on the rain and not the background.


After entering we took a moment to study the map, there was so much to see and we wanted to plan the most effective route. We decided to go to the Islands first, we figured it would be less busy first thing in the morning and there was a boat ride we wanted to try out.


A map of Chester Zoo


It wasn’t long before we spotted the first animal of the day, a rhino. It was having its breakfast as we walked past. I couldn’t believe how close we could get to it, it was pretty awesome. The rhino stood in the rain eating, seemingly unbothered by the rain. It stood, almost posing, as the Hubby took photos.


A rhino stands next to his "house", a tree in the background - at Chester Zoo


A rhino, at Chester Zoo, sleeps on a bed of what looks like hay.


A rhino, at Chester Zoo, eats on grass
The second and third photos were taken later in the day but that rhino seemed to like to pose for us.


From there we continued our walk towards the Islands, it took us past a bear. This is the first time, ever, that I’ve seen a bear in a zoo. I’ve been to Orlando where they have the Animal Kingdom and I’ve never seen a bear. It was a lot smaller than I expected but it was still cool to be able to snap a photo. Again the rain didn’t seem to bother it much.


A bear hides in the scene, surrounded by trees and grass.


The walk towards the Islands took us past a few more animals and as we walked towards the boat ride I spied the birds section in the distance.


A zebra, at Chester Zoo, stands beneath a large tree to get shade.


To be honest the boat ride wasn’t very good but I think that was mainly due to the weather. The animal areas it took us past were empty and so apart from the trees and plants there wasn’t much to see. It didn’t dampen our spirits though, we just carried on our search for the animals.


Chester Zoo, heading towards a boat ride.


The orang-utan area was brilliant. We stood in an indoor area, looking through large windows and spied a mum and her baby. She slid down a rope, her child clinging to her and began picking up the pieces of fruit that were scattered on the floor. I watched the baby copy its mother, picking up the fruit and eating. The mum then climbed on one of the ropes and began swinging from one rope to the other. She was clearly having fun, her long arms helping her swing. After a while she climbed to an upper level and grabbed herself a passionfruit (or at least that’s what it looked like). It was then that I spied another smaller orang-utan, this one was slightly bigger than the baby but not quite adult. It slid down the ropes and scooped up fruit from the floor, it followed its mother to the upper level, leaving the baby on the ground. I could’ve stayed there for hours watching them play but the boys started getting bored so we moved on.


A mother and baby orangutan standing in their enclosure.


A mother orang-utan puts it's arm around the baby, standing in their enclosure at Chester Zoo


A mother and baby orang-utan in their enclosure at Chester Zoo
The little one clung to her as she climbed down the ropes.


An orang-utan plays on a rope in its enclosure in Chester Zoo






Inside the same building where we looked through the windows to see the orang-utan there were a few glass boxes containing stick insects, spiders, and a frog. We couldn’t see the frog but the boys enjoyed looking at the huge stick insect.




As we walked along the paths the sun did come out and we were able to put the brolly down. It was hot with the sun out but not quite enough to dry the rain. The next animal I was stunned by was the tiger. I adore these animals, I think they’re so elegant at the same time as being strong and powerful. The tiger sat beneath a rock (or fake rock) in the shade. It looked around but didn’t move much at all. Again I could’ve stood there for ages staring at the tiger but we moved on.



Before lunch we also saw smaller monkeys, some in separate areas. Some of the monkeys were really small, they could probably fit in your hand.

It was impossible to get a clear photo as this little monkey wouldn't be still! 






For lunch we’d packed some sandwiches, we had planned on having a picnic. Chester Zoo has lots of grassed areas for picnicking but the rain had made those areas unusable. Some of them were a little flooded. Luckily Chester Zoo caters for this eventuality and next to one of the restaurants was an indoor picnic area. It was sheltered and had tables and chairs. We sat to eat our sandwiches and had a brief break before venturing back into the zoo to see more animals.

Like I said, we’ve been to the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World and they have beautiful giraffes there but you can’t get very close to them. The Safari takes you fairly close but they don’t usually come close to the vehicle. At Chester Zoo we were able to walk right by their indoor area, we were close enough to touch them. We were so close that we couldn’t get the whole animal on the photo! Giraffes are beautiful animals, I watched their movement as they walked around inside and saw the muscles moving beneath their skin. I was truly fascinated by it.






An area LP loved was the aquarium, there were lots of fish to see.

This coral was strange, it danced in the water and you could see the little "hairs" moving constantly.






Clown fish near the coral


 The boys were entertained by this little catfish which kept "sucking" on the glass.


The reptile area had BP running around like an excitable 4 year old. He was taking photos and quickly running to the next window to see what he could see. He also enjoyed reading about the reptiles.


















There were so many animals at Chester Zoo that it would take me forever to go through them all. Needless to say there’s plenty to see.




This bird was trying to hide, can you see it hidden in the shadows? 




 The black thing with it's back to the camera is a bird, it is sitting on its nest. There was a sign nearby saying that this bird only lays 1 egg and it takes a really long time to hatch. They requested the bird be left alone as they were hoping to hatch the egg. 




Despite the weather we had a blast at Chester Zoo, the rain didn’t stop us having fun at all. We got to have our picnic lunch, see lots of awesome animals, and all without other people bothering us (for the most part). We hate going to these places when they’re busy and it being a rainy day probably helped to keep numbers down that day. That meant LP could get to the windows easily and saw all the animals without much trouble.



The boys enjoyed playing on this bike.





 Flamingos, and they really were that pink!




The lion began pacing as we watched.






Can you see the otter?



This seahorse is a male. How can I tell? Because he's pregnant!




Chester Zoo is an all-day trip, getting there early means you can get around some of the busier areas before the rush but there’s enough to see that you’ll still be wanting to look around by closing time. 

I would highly recommend a visit.

We paid to go to Chester Zoo ourselves, I was not compensated for this review.