Post Comment Love 31st March - 2nd April

Welcome back to Post Comment Love, link up your favourite/best post of the week and Stephanie and I will head over to read and share. Not to mention the other lovely linkers will do too. Extra exposure for your posts and lots of great posts for you to read too, what more could you ask for?



This week has been a fairly quiet one, I've managed to catch up on all my reading (including your posts - yay!) and have even got to schedule one or two posts. Of course that's just the usual routine, the boys finish school today and they're off school for two weeks so I'm super organised. Typical.





I accept chaos, I'm not sure whether it accepts me.

Bob Dylan





I am looking forward to the boys being off school though (really, I am...), it's LP's 8th birthday on Tuesday. I cannot believe it, 8 years old - how did that happen? He is growing up so fast and becoming a lovely young man. He's constantly learning and asking questions which always makes me smile (and cringe sometimes!) and he's on the go all the time. He has been going on about his birthday for ages and as it gets closer his excitement gets worse. He's even struggling to sleep!

We're planning a quiet day for him, so he can choose what he wants to do, but we're taking a few of his friends to Handmade Burger Co. for dinner on Monday. LP chose it because he liked the shakes so much that he wants to show his friends how awesome they are! I'm just looking forward to eating a tasty burger.





We had their parents' evening recently, both of the boys, and they're both doing well. LP is thirsty for knowledge, but we knew that anyway. It was so nice hearing his teacher say how he strives to do better, no matter what it is he's doing. BP is doing well too, he impresses his teachers with his caring side and helps people whenever he can. Unfortunately for BP he is in the year that they decided to change the grading system so the teachers are learning. That means that his grades are really just a guess but hopefully when it comes around to GCSE time they'll be more confident in their grading. He's only in Year 8 at the moment so there's plenty of time. I hope.

Over the past few months I have felt like there's been a cloud above, I don't know why. It's probably because it was Winter and the weather has been awful. But with the sun making an appearance more often and light finally getting into the house my mood is improving. I'm continuing with the card-making, which is always fun and I'm making time to create. My artistic side is in its element at the moment with me spending time sketching and creating cards. It's great to allow myself the time to explore that side of me and as a result I'm happier. It just goes to show that giving yourself permission can make you a whole lot happier, and as a result your family will be happier too. Win!


A little drawing I did of myself.





It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life. 

Julius Caesar 







Wow. That was a bit of an epic update wasn't it?

How was your week? Are you ready for the Easter break?





Blogger Showcase Kylie from Kyro and Style





Who are you? 


My name is Kylie Rodriguez, the blogger and brains behind http://www.kyroandstyle.com . I grew up in Germany and Thailand even though I'm an American-born Filipino because my dad's job entailed a lot of travelling (he used to be an Ambassador before he retired).





How did you discover blogs/blogging?


When my family moved back to the Philippines in 2010 it was the time when blogging started to become popular.





Why did you start blogging?


Since I've always known I wanted to write professionally, I decided to become a fashion blogger to merge the two aspects of my life that I'm extremely passionate about -- writing and fashion. After meeting the blogger I idolized the most, Camille Co, I knew this was what I wanted to do.





What do you find most challenging?


What's most challenging is getting people to discover your blog. There are thousands of blogs out there so it's really hard to find ways to stand out from the crowd.





What is your favourite topic to write about?


I love writing about fashion because it's something I know a thing or two about. It doesn't feel like a job to me when I'm writing about style or promoting clothing companies and such.





Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?


It's a mixture of both. I blog because I love to write, but being a blogger has become such a passion of mine that I'm also working towards a goal. I want to be recognized as a professional fashion and lifestyle blogger and hopefully be recognized as a strong writer as well.





What is your favourite thing about blogging?


My favorite thing about blogging is that it's a two-way communication -- I blog, and people respond with their thoughts and reactions via the comments section. It's basically an engagement with your audience which is always fun for me because I love talking to people.





Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what did you think?


There aren't really a lot of blogging conferences being held here in Manila, but I have attended a few blogger events. I love meeting new people and forging new conections and overall just socializing, so it's always fun for me to attend these functions.





What are your 3 best posts?


It's hard to critique myself, but the post I am most proud of is the write-up I did comparing different types of clothes to the different types of people in our lives.





Describe yourself in three words!


I am avant garde, persistent, and quirky. 





Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person?


I'm a coffee and biscuits type of person! I don't like tea and I don't like cake, unless it's oreo cheesecake!





What's your idea of a perfect night out?


A perfect night out for me would be spending quality time with all of my friends. It doesn't matter where we go to or what we do, whether we go drinking or just sing some karaoke, but the important thing is the company I'm with.





Your perfect night in?


A perfect night in for me would be ordering lots and lots of pizza and then binge-watching a good TV series with a small group of friends. Nothing beats that!





What would your best friend/OH/mum or kids say is your best quality?


They'd probably say that my best quality is my ability to not care when people say mean things about me. Some of my friends have told me that that's something they really admire about me. It's not that I don't care, but I just think it's a matter of knowing whose opinions matter and whose don't.




Thanks for being our showcase this week Kylie. I totally agree with you about people's opinions. Please feel free to grab our 'featured' badge. 

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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 Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two. 

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at postcommentlove@gmail.com.

Thank you for popping by.

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Holidaying with Teens - Hotel or Villa?

In August BP turns 13 which makes him officially a teenager (although he's been acting like a teenager for a long time!), while we're not venturing to Orlando, Florida this year that means he'll be turning 14 if we were to go next year. It will be our first experience of holidaying with teens and we're not quite sure what to expect, he could be completely fine or the dreaded teen hormones could give us a hard time. One of the things we're having to consider is where to stay while we're on holiday, do we choose a hotel or a villa?



Hotel



Animal-Kingdom-Lodge-Orlando-Florida-savannah-view


We have visited Florida many times and ever since our first trip, when it was just the Hubby and I, we have stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Disney hotel is amazing, our favourite by far and whenever we visit it's like coming home. Walking into the lobby my stresses slip away, I smile, and I feel like I can finally enjoy our holiday.



animal-kingdom-lodge-lobby


Entering that place brings a smile to my face every single time. Perhaps it's because I'm so familiar with it, perhaps it's for other reasons, like the fact that the boys know it too. They know where everything is, they know how to get around. The boys can walk into the Animal Kingdom Lodge and know they can sit in front of a TV and watch a Disney movie within seconds of walking in. They know they'll be entertained by drummers walking around the lobby with a line of children following them banging drums and shaking maracas. And I know they will be safe and looked after.






animal-kingdom-lodge-orlando


Part of the reason the hotel feels like home is it is very much like my home, rustic and homey. The African decorations and woodwork around the place remind me of home, our house is more brick and wood but still. The colours of decorations (oranges and bright yellows), the details in the floor of the lobby, it all makes for a great welcome.





Home is where you feel at home and are treated well. 

Dalai Lama





Of course it's not just the welcome that I love, the rooms are great too. We have to book a double room, usually the boys have a bunk bed, and we have a beautiful view of the Savanna from our balcony. Waking up in a morning, stepping outside with the Florida sun beating down and spying a Zebra (!) grazing right outside your window is one of the best things ever! Not to mention going for a walk around the hotel and seeing Flamingo in a small lake.

animal-kingdom-lodge-zebra


animal-kingdom-lodge-flamingo




See the dark cloud in the distance? Rain is on it's way!



The Hubby and I have a favourite bar, it has a view of the restaurant too, and it's like what I imagine visiting your favourite pub (we don't go to the pub) is like. We know the people, we know the drinks, again, we're home.


animal-kingdom-lodge-bar




But...

Having a teen, who doesn't want to sleep in the same room as his parents or share a bunk bed with his brother could prove to be a problem. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is expensive, there's no doubt about that, and while we love the place there may come a time when expense just puts it out of our reach.

The thought of booking 2 rooms, BP having one all to himself, scares me... a lot. The idea that he could come and go as he pleased, has a room key all to himself, is alone at night. Just the thought of it makes me shudder. Plus there's the expense of it. Booking two rooms, making sure they're together, and having to pay for two rooms is going to be double the price.

No matter how much we love the Animal Kingdom Lodge there will come a time when we can't book there anymore. So I have to turn to local Villas...





Villa






The range of villas is huge in Florida, there's small properties, huge properties, and properties in between. The price range is the same too, there's some reasonable, some expensive, and some, well, let's just say you'd need a LOT of money!

The benefit of a villa is that we wouldn't need to think about paying for an extra room for BP. No matter which villa we decided to rent it would be one with at least 3 rooms, that way both boys could have a room of their own.

The thing Villas have over hotels is they are homes, they have sofas, TV's, sometimes even pool tables and games areas (depending which villa you rent). If we rented a villa I could cook (not that I would choose to!), the Hubby and I could watch our movies or TV series in an evening while the boys slept in the rooms upstairs, just like at home. 

I wouldn't have to worry about BP's complaints that he has to sleep in the same room as his brother and his parents. He would get the privacy he craves even though we were on holiday and that would probably help with the teen tantrums. He could go into a separate room and watch TV or read a book while he calmed down, or even have a little bit of time to himself. 





Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite. 

Marlon Brando 





Giving teens time to themselves when you're on holiday can be tough, especially if they're a younger teen like BP. While you want to give them their freedom allowing them to roam alone can be terrifying. A villa would help give them the freedom.

Clickstay.com is a great place to find villas for rent, they have a huge selection and after a little searching I found this one.



Just look at that sunset!


The main photo (above) for The Presidential Lodge won me over, can you imagine being in that pool after a long day at the Disney parks watching that sunset? How amazing! I see a large glass of bourbon sitting on the table waiting for me as I watch that sunset, and the boys in the games room playing pool while I relax. Now that sounds amazing. 

With gorgeous decor, comfy looking sofas and plenty of rooms this would be my choice if we were looking for a villa to rent. 



Which to choose


Privacy is a big deal for teens and that's the biggest challenge when you go on holiday. For us either of these choices are possible at the moment, a hotel room with bunk beds for the time being and later a villa. Knowing that there are some lovely properties available for rent is comforting, it means it's not something I need to worry about in the future. 

I like to be prepared and looking at the villas on Clickstay.com I now have a list of options for future trips to Florida (the pool tables swung it).




When you go on holiday do you stay in a villa or a hotel?

10 things to do during the Easter Holidays

On Friday my boys break up from school for the Easter Holidays and I always get stressed wondering what on earth we're going to do for two whole weeks. This time though I'm getting prepared, I'm making lists of things we could do during the holidays and I thought I'd share some of my ideas with you.




Family Attractions


Alton Towers is a great place to visit during the holidays, a day out at a theme park. This year we've bought Merlin Annual Passes again, we've had them before and really enjoyed visiting the attractions. With the boys that little bit older we decided to get them again, while they're expensive there are loads of attractions around the country and it makes our days out much more interesting if we can visit a different attraction without extra cost. 

Post Comment Love 24th - 26th March

Post Comment Love is back for another week and we welcome any post, any topic, as long as it was written in the last week. I'm still playing catch up on the reading but I'll get there eventually, I'm enjoying all the reading though, there are some great posts.

Wednesday and yesterday I was feeling rubbish, I thought I was getting a bug the Hubby had a few weeks ago but it turns out I'm not because I'm feeling better. Yay! Plenty of fluids, plenty of paracetamol and rest and I'm back to myself within a couple of days, that's awesome.


Making cards with Stampin' Up! UK - Oh Happy Day!

It's pouring rain outside and I have been feeling terrible. My throat hurts, my body aches. I've filled myself full of cold and flu remedies in the hope that I'll feel better soon but I'm not holding up much hope it'll work. The bug has hit me and I'm afraid I won't last much longer without a nap. But out of the corner of my eye I spy something cheery, something that might just lift my spirits. Card-making has become a new hobby of mine and I was kindly set a card-making kit from Stampin' Up! UK.





About the kit


The Oh Happy Day card kit is sold with everything you need to make some gorgeous and cheerful cards for someone you love. From bright and colourful cards to sparkly embellishments and embossed sheets this kit is awesome.




Coordinating coloured sheets and pop-out embellishments this is a great kit for any novice, you're given everything you need to make the cards as well as good instructions to help you create the cards. Or you could simply ignore the instructions and create the cards you choose - it's completely up to you.

The Oh Happy Day card kit costs £31.50 and will provide hours of entertainment for you or your budding card-maker.



Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. 

Mahatma Gandhi





Making the cards


As I said, I've been feeling rubbish lately and whenever I thought about sitting to create some cards it made my head hurt. I didn't think I had it in me to sit for hours to make them. But instead of going to bed and ignoring the kit I made myself sit at my creation desk (cool name huh?) and make the cards.

I decided to follow the instructions, being a novice means I'm not quite sure which colours go together just yet or whether or not to put embellishments on so the instructions were the way to go. 

I started out with what I thought was the simplest, a very small "miss you" card with an embellishment. Before sticking anything down or attempting to stamp the words I planned it all out. I didn't want things to go wrong.






I laid out each piece where I wanted it to go and took a photo.

Next I took my pencil and marked where I wanted the stamp to be then took away the embellishments and using my own ink pad stamped the words onto the card.







After allowing the ink to dry I stuck the heart card on and then the heart embellishment.





The instructions are very easy to follow and if you can't understand the instructions there are handy pictures too so you can just copy the picture.




Hiccups


If you're new to card-making you don't need to worry about having your own ink pad, one comes with the kit. However, on opening my kit I found that the ink pad had dried out so I used my own. 

A lesson learned during the making of these cards was to let the ink dry. And by letting it dry I don't mean leave it for 10 minutes and then try to pick up the card as if everything was okay. If you do this will happen...



That's right, I stamped the words, added the embellishments, and then tried to pick up the card before I realised what I'd done. The ink wasn't dry and I ended up with it all over my hands and the card was ruined. Completely my own fault but lesson learned.




What I thought


Oh Happy Day indeed. Even though the weather was dreary and I was feeling anything but cheery this card making kit cheered me up. I spent the best part of 3 hours making cards, sticking, glueing, and stamping (leaving time for drying of course), and within a few minutes of making I was feeling better. I even smiled.





  • Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. 

Dalai Lama






I haven't made any cards for a while and making these made me remember why I enjoyed it so much. The finished cards are brilliant and would make any friend or loved one happy.



After enjoying making the cards I spent some time exploring the Stampin' Up! UK website. If you're a fan of card-making you'll enjoy looking through the website too. You can find die cutting machines, gorgeous stamps, and even brilliant punches for creating animals! 

I'll be spending some money at Stampin' Up! UK very soon, especially if I can get this stamp set...



Isn't it gorgeous?!


As well as the Oh Happy Day card kit there is the Watercolour Wishes card kit which I think is beautiful too.



Have you tried the card-making kits?

I was sent the Oh Happy Day Card kit for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

My fantasy loft conversion

When I'm feeling low or ideas just aren't coming for new blog posts I step into the world of fantasy. I pretend that money is no object and I plan a room make-over. One of my fantasy room make-overs is for our loft, it always seems like there's so much wasted space up there. To lift my spirits and in an attempt to reignite my creativity here is what I would do in my fantasy loft conversion.



Collect things you love, that are authentic to you, and your house becomes your story.

Erin Flett


First of all it wouldn't be a bedroom, it would be a games room. Games of all types. 


Arcade


When I was a little girl I used to love the arcade machines, Pac-man in particular. I remember a holiday to Corfu when I was 11 years old and there was a Ms Pac-man machine right outside our villa. I spent the whole holiday trying to get my initials on that machine, it was awesome. 

I also remember seeing Donkey Kong in an arcade at some point, it may have been in Mablethorpe when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I never got to play that one but always wanted to. 

When I think of Space Invaders I remember having the Atari console and playing it constantly. I got hooked on it pretty quickly and me and my sister had competitions.

I know it would be difficult to actually get them up into the loft but given this is a fantasy I'm not focusing on that right now. I'd love to have Pac-man, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders arcade machines, they'd sit in a row along a wall joining the two we already have.

The Hubby bought a couple of arcade machines about 12 years ago, Gauntlet and R-type, and the boys and the Hubby love playing. If we had a loft conversion they would go in the loft (somehow!) with the other new ones. 




Console




My boys love their console games and as they get older I know I need to expect more of that. In order to accommodate them and still have use of my lounge when I want I'd need an area for the consoles. 

Comfortable seats, probably recliners. Sitting comfortably when playing console games makes the experience even better. Being able to relax in a comfortable chair, perhaps with a drinks holder and fridge included too, now that would be perfect.

A unit of some kind to keep the consoles and controllers neat and tidy is a must. The last thing I want is wires trailing all over my fantastic loft conversion.

Headphones are a must here, I may like games and I don't mind the boys playing but the noise that comes from them is unbearable at times. Headphones keep the noise where it should be, in my boys' ears.

Most importantly the boys will need a great screen to play those awesome games on. A huge TV, 4k perhaps, would be brilliant. They could get engrossed in their games and marvel at the quality of the picture (yes, because teenagers do that all the time!).






Family 


LP loves playing pool, we have a very small pool table downstairs at the moment. I bought it from Argos years ago and it's never had so much use since LP started playing. He would love us to have a full-size pool table but we don't have the room for it. If we had our loft conversion it would totally fit and would make his day. So of course I'd have to have one!



Add to the pool table somewhere for us to play our board games. We love playing board games together and our collection keeps growing. We currently play on the dining table, but having somewhere just for the games would be great.




Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.

Randy Pausch




Movies


And of course no games room would be complete without a great movie experience. Big screen, projector, comfortable seats. 

Think big screen (like at the cinema), reclining seats, and somewhere to keep your goodies. The boys would love it, and they could invite friends over to enjoy it too. Perfect.



It would cost an absolute fortune to get everything I'd want but when money is no object it is so fun to dream.

What would you put in your fantasy room make-over?

Why it's important to have 10 minutes to yourself

As a busy mum to two school-aged boys I find it difficult to find just 10 minutes per day just for me. It might sound ridiculous but when I think about my day it mainly consists of doing things for others or working and just when I think I may get 10 minutes to enjoy a coffee and read a magazine the boys are causing havoc and I have to intervene.

But those 10 minutes to yourself are so important, you really must try to have at least that.

After chatting to Michelle Reeves a couple of weeks ago I decided to get up 30 minutes earlier than usual. My usual waking time is 6:30am but I thought I would get up at 6am instead so that I could enjoy a hot coffee and watch the news without interruptions or arguments from the boys. 

My alarm went off at 6am and I hit the button quickly so as to not wake the Hubby. I crept out of bed and into the bathroom where I tried to go through my morning routine as quietly as possible. I then crept downstairs, avoiding the one creaky step, and went into the kitchen, closing the door behind me. Closing the door I hoped would keep the noise of the boiling kettle from waking the boys. So I boiled the kettle and made myself a coffee and with my coffee in hand I opened the kitchen door.

And sat on the stairs with his best smile was LP.

I can never be disappointed to see that smile in a morning but I was a little disappointed that my first attempt to get some time to myself didn't go so well.



I think women are natural caretakers. They take care of everybody. They take care of their husbands and their kids and their dogs, and don't spend a lot of time just getting back and taking time out. 

Reese Witherspoon




Why is it so hard to have time to myself?


Being a mum to school-aged boys doesn't mean I get the whole day to myself, unfortunately. I spend the time while my boys are at school blogging. Yes it is a choice I make and I could just as easily have 6 hours all to myself right?


blonde haired woman with her arms in the air, a beach in the background


Nope.

Instead I would use that time to do housework and then by the time the boys came home the housework would be done and I'd spend time with them. Because being a mum isn't about how I can spend time on my own, it's about making life good for my children and husband. I forget to think about myself.



So how do you get time to yourself?


It's not easy. If you're a morning person you can try getting up a little earlier than normal and attempt what I did, but it's not a guarantee. 

Here is where giving your children chores will help you have more time. Perhaps your 10/11 year old can load the dishwasher and your 6/7 year old can pick up dirty clothes and put them in baskets. The vacuuming is an easy job to give to your older children and it doesn't even take long but it will give you a few extra minutes.





It is amazing how quickly the kids learn the operation of the DVD, yet are unable to understand the vacuum cleaner.

Etienne Marchal





Hiding in the bathroom may work occasionally but you can't really sit in there with a cup of tea and enjoy peace and quiet while you're hiding from your children can you?

If you have older children you could instigate times during the day when they're not allowed to interrupt you, no matter what (barring emergencies of course). They can entertain themselves while you enjoy a drink and read a magazine.



Why is it so important?


Having time for yourself allows you to think.

You can sit and be you, without thinking about housework or things the kids need. Ignore everything but your drink and your magazine or book, or whatever you choose to do in your time. You have time to wind down, to enjoy something for yourself, just like everyone else does.

Giving yourself that time may help you find new hobbies, learn new things, or even stumble across a business idea.


brunette woman sitting in a yoga position by a lake, relaxing. The lake is in the blurred background.


You are not just a mum. You are not just a wife. You are a person, someone who devotes their whole being to making others happy, and allowing yourself 10 minutes will make you happy. It doesn't matter what you do in those 10 minutes as long as you get to be happy.

I haven't yet managed to get my time in a morning, whenever I try to get up early LP joins me. He is a light sleeper and the sound of anything downstairs wakes him. I'll get that time eventually, perhaps on the days he has after school clubs. He'll be extra tired on those days so perhaps I can take advantage of that?



How do you make time for yourself during your busy days?


Post Comment Love 17th - 19th March

It's Friday again and that means it's Post Comment Love time again. Link up your best or favourite post of the week, read fab posts from other bloggers, and maybe even make new friends. If you're new here, welcome! It's lovely to see new people linking. And if you're a regular it is so great to see you linking week after week, Stephanie and I really appreciate it. 
shower head with water

So how is it Friday again already?! 

The weeks are flying by, before you know it the kids will be on their Easter holidays and I'll be shrieking because there's no time for anything! I've got LP's 8th birthday coming up at the beginning of April and he's making requests, which is good in a way because then we don't have to come up with ideas ourselves and not know if he'll like it. 

Why mums of school-aged children are so tired

Come 9pm most days I am tired, the day has taken its toll and I'm ready for sleep. I am a mum of school-aged boys and I always wonder why I'm so tired, it's not like I'm chasing after toddlers all day or changing 20 nappies per hour. After thinking about it for a while I realised why most mums of school-aged children are so tired.


Using my own routine as an example here's how our days tend to go...



Wake up, get up


Waking at 6:30am I go into the bathroom and go through my morning routine. By 6:45am I'm heading downstairs, closely followed by my youngest, LP.





Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy. 

Tina Fey





First things first, breakfast. I make breakfast for LP, usually cereal, and while I'm doing that BP and the Hubby rise too. So it's their breakfast time and I put bread in the toaster. While the bread is toasting I'll make drinks for everyone (not myself) and take them through to the lounge where the boys are waiting.

Back to the kitchen to sort out the toast and hand to the hungry people. Now I get a 10 minute (or so) break to have breakfast myself, but I always forget to do myself a drink and just get on with eating my breakfast.

By the time I've finished my breakfast the boys are sitting around so I have to tell them to go through their morning routines; brush teeth, wash face, brush hair etc. Of course it's not just once I have to tell them, it takes many times to get them to actually move.

Once they've done that they have to get school uniform on and make sure they have everything ready for a day at school, this usually results in homework being printed or panic about unfinished homework, rushing to find school shoes/PE kit, or just grumpiness because it's a school day.

While the boys get ready for school (or fight over who needs to be in the bathroom) I get to tidying the kitchen. The dishwasher goes on, the washing machine is filled and turned on. I keep my ironing board in the kitchen (it's a big kitchen) and do 10-20 minutes of ironing to tackle the mountain of ironing I always seem to have. After that I take the clean, ironed clothes and put them away or lay them on the kids' beds so they can be put away.

After all this it is usually school run time and I rush out the door to take LP to school.






Morning school run over


Phew!

Well, no, un-phew. On a Monday I head straight to the supermarket from the school run to do the weekly shop. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1½ hours depending on what I have to buy.

After the school run (or shopping) I get home and have my first drink of the day (tea, coffee, or water, depending on how I'm feeling). Sometimes I'll sit for a minute or two just so I can chill after the hectic morning, sometimes not.

By now it's usually 9:05am and I head into my office for a day of work. I spend the morning planning my work for the day, begin writing posts, respond to emails, and get my head in "work" mode. In the few hours I have before lunch time I can get lots done, or I can get little done, depending on what kind of morning I've had.



Lunchtime


At around 11:45am I begin lunch, I make a hot lunch for both the Hubby (he works at home) and I and while the lunch is cooking (if I'm lucky) I'll tidy the kitchen a little more. I'll empty the dishwasher and refill if necessary, I'll put the washing machine back on and turn the dryer on if I need to.

Once lunch is ready I take about an hour off to watch the news with the Hubby and talk about the day's news or just rant at the TV.



Back to the office


Taking 1½ hours for lunch on most days I return to my office in the afternoon and get straight on with the tasks I'd planned during the morning. I watch the clock all afternoon because I know the timer is on and I only have a few short hours before the afternoon school run.





School run


At 3:15pm I leave my office and head to school, again, to pick up LP. It can take him 5 minutes or 15 minutes to get out of school. Luckily I live 5 minutes drive from school.



Back home


We walk through the door and the boys (BP is usually home after catching the bus from school) get changed out of their uniforms while I get to cleaning the kitchen. I wipe down the kitchen sides, clean the cooker top, put dishes away and wash dirty pans if I haven't already.

The boys have to be nagged to do homework or chores, either one takes lots of nagging and monitoring to make sure they get done. If I think I can get away with being disappearing for a minute I put the washing machine on again.

Once all the chores are done, the bedrooms are tidy, and homework is finished the boys entertain themselves and I sit down with a drink.



Dinner time


I can spend between 30 minutes to 2 hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking a family meal that we can all enjoy. Sometimes this works, others it doesn't (the boys will say they don't like whatever I've cooked). 

We all sit at our dining table to eat together most days, it's the first chance we all have to talk about the day we've had.



Chill time?



There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap. 

Carrie Fisher





Nope. While the kids and Hubby play their games I read blogs. Reading, commenting, sharing, I love it but it occupies my mind space and is tiring.



Real chill time


By 9pm both boys are in bed and the games are off, it's finally time to relax. An episode of our current favourite show and I'm ready for sleep but I refuse to go to bed until at least 10:30pm. It is so nice to sit with the Hubby and relax for an hour or so after the kids are in bed, it's our quiet time.

When it actually comes to sleep time I am so tired I usually fall asleep within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.


This is just a typical day, add in child illnesses, a bout of the flu, or a household problem like a broken shower and everything changes. 




Even if your children are at school all day and you're at home with "nothing to do" you're entitled to be tired. You work hard, every day, and try to make your home a wonderful place for your children and husband/partner to relax.

Be sure to take a little time for yourself every day, even if it's just a few minutes. You need to relax at least some of the time!



How do you spend your days?




Taking the annoyances out of online shopping with Octer

Being a busy mum I don't often (okay almost never) get a day out to go shopping. I used to love shopping, especially with my bestie, carrying bags around town as I almost ran into another shop to make another purchase. Online shopping is different, the excitement of leaving a shop with a bag full of goodies isn't there, going to different websites to find what you're looking for feels more like a chore. But I have recently found a website that takes the annoyances out of online shopping, and it's called Octer.




About Octer


Octer is an online shopping website that consolidates listed items from lots of retailers and hosts them in one place for you to browse. You can spend hours browsing and when you've decided on a purchase you simply click on the item and you'll be taken to the retailer's website. You cannot buy directly from Octer.

Post Comment Love 10th - 12th March

Welcome to another Post Comment Love, link up your best/favourite post of the week and give it a little boost. If you're a regular, thanks for returning it is always lovely to see you, and if you're a newbie, welcome! Great to have you here.




It has been lovely to see the sun more often this week, it brightened my mood no end. The flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are singing first thing in a morning and when I wake at 6am it's no longer pitch black!

The honesty of women

Today is International Women's day and as a result I saw a BBC News broadcast this morning as they hosted Gillian Anderson chatting about her new book. This post is not about the book or about what they said. While they chatted they happened to mention Emma Watson and the recent photo she posed for in Vanity Fair. She (Emma Watson) was portrayed as doing something wrong, and that set me off on a rant to the Hubby about the honesty (or dishonesty) of women.



Why the rant began


The Hubby pointed out that Emma Watson would've been paid for the photograph, she did it to promote both Vanity Fair and herself. Now before you start to bash on me about being proud of other women I am not saying what she did was wrong, what I am saying is she needs to be honest about why she did. To say she posed for the pictures to help women realise they can do whatever they like is simply dishonest, or at least that's how it seems. Posing in that way just adds to the objectification of women. If she said she posed for the photograph because she was paid and it was what she wanted to do I would respect that much more. Because it was her CHOICE.

For me International Women's Day should be about women being Honest. Women making choices. Women helping other women. Women realising that by making a choice and being honest about it helps other women feel more confident.




Celebrities go on TV or pose for magazines and talk about doing things to help other women. But here's the thing... I feel patronised every time. These women, whether they're being honest about their motives or not, are beautiful, rich, and seemingly perfect. I cannot believe for a moment that someone like me could achieve the same as these women. 

Having to look after my family, keep a household running smoothly and trying to write and maintain a blog is hard work. I rarely wear make-up, struggle to find time for a shower even, and spend a lot of my time taking care of other people. I can't simply ask for what I want, I have to consider others, I can't just GO FOR IT. Because if I did my family would be left wondering what was happening. I choose to prioritise my family, that is my CHOICE.





I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves. 

Mary Shelley 




Unlike the celebrities I am not beautiful, not in an obvious, in-your-face way, I am not rich (not by a long shot!) and I am certainly not perfect. 

But I am Honest.




Why is honesty important?


To be honest with your fellow women, to really tell them what you think, is tough. There's the constant fear of being judged. If you walk in the street with pink hair women think something must've gone wrong for you to want to do that to your hair, if you're overweight and breathing heavily on the school run other women think you ate too much and you should take better care of yourself. 

Some women don't see the effort that goes into appearing normal. 

That woman with the pink hair may just really love the colour pink and having pink hair makes her happy. She made the choice to have pink hair and it got her noticed. She is being honest, she's putting herself out there and telling the world who she is instead of hiding in a body she hates. 




While I wouldn't have pink hair myself I love that some women choose to do that, it makes me smile every time because I see their honesty without even talking to them. They are who they choose to be.

The women who was breathing heavily on the school run is wearing her running gear. After dropping her kids at school she will run, she will let the wind blow at her face and she will put in the effort. She is doing that because she chooses to. I often see women running near the school and I love to see a heavier girl running. Again it makes me smile and actually it encourages me to be more honest.



Honesty and choice


Allowing women to make choices and be honest about who they are is empowering. It inspires other women. It makes us think anything is possible. 

I wish celebrities would be honest. About it all. If they're struggling with the children and having a bad day - say so! If they're having a heck of a time with PMS then have a duvet day and tell us that's what they're doing. And if they pose for a photograph because they were paid to do so they say that! 

It would be much more empowering to think that Emma Watson CHOSE to pose for that photograph because she could. She didn't do it to empower women, she didn't do it to make a point, she did it because she wanted to. 

Celebrities make choices. They choose to pose for photographs, to star in movies, and to sing their hearts out on stage. They cannot know how difficult it is for regular people but at the same time they deserve to be able to say they're making these choices for themselves.



No legacy is so rich as honesty. 

William Shakespeare




International Women's Day should be a time for all women to be honest, to make choices for themselves, or their family, or whatever. 

They should be allowed to be themselves.




So just for today look at other women with compassion. Try to empower each other by being honest, make choices for yourself or your family.

Just be YOU. HONESTLY.