Post Comment Love 28th - 30th April

Welcome to another Post Comment Love with me and Stephanie, it's great reading your posts week after week and we're so glad that you decide to come back every week. If you're new here, welcome! We love having newbies link up and if you have a minute why not check out our Blogger Showcase questions and send us your answers, you'll be featured in a Blogger Showcase in the future!

This week I've been noticing changes in my boys, both of them at the same time! BP is months away from becoming a teenager, he's been going through the process for years, slowly changing from a smily boy into a grumpy teen. It's rare that we catch him in a good mood so when we do we take full advantage of it. We've had arguments and strops, slamming of doors and lots and lots of complaining. It's tough, especially when I realise he thinks that everything I say is wrong.





  • Teenagers who are never required to vacuum are living in one. 

Fred G. Gosman

7 ways to spend your time as a stay-at-home mum

As a stay-at-home mum to young children, I’m talking toddlers and preschoolers, your days are filled. You barely get a chance to have a hot coffee, but there will come a time when your kids are at school every day and you have the day to yourself. 

I have been a stay-at-home mum since BP (almost 13) was born, I left my job for maternity leave I never went back. When LP (now 8 years old) was about to start school I worried that I would become the type of mum that was obsessed with cleaning. I needed something to concentrate on other than being a mum and being at home. With almost 13 years experience I'm sharing a list of the things I've done to fill my time.

Once the daily chores are done there’s only so much TV you can watch before getting bored so here’s a few ways to spend the time your kids are at school.






Coffee with friends


Mum friends you met in the school playground, working mums with a morning off work. Arrange a meet up at the local coffee shop, or your home, and have a good old gossip. It's a great way to spend an hour or two. 

I recently met up with one of my mum friends and we chatted for more than an hour while enjoying a lovely Latte. It was great to be able to talk without being interrupted by bickering siblings, which so often happens when you arrange a play date! 




Meeting up with friends is a great way for you both (or all depending how many of you there are!) to relax and chat without the burdens of motherhood.





Hobbies


Do you have a hobby that you’ve let fall by the wayside when you had children? Is there something you used to love but haven’t had the time?

Go back to it!

I’ve tried cross-stitch, sketching, and jigsaws, but now what I love more than anything is building with Lego. It might sound a strange thing for an adult woman to love Lego but there are some brilliant sets like the Tower Bridge or the Palace Cinema. Building them is such fun and the detail is shocking sometimes!

And if you're struggling to think of something check out my list of hobbies.




Reading


I love reading but the only chance I get is when I’m in bed. I spend at least 30 minutes reading before going to sleep. Whether it’s newspapers, books, your kindle, or blogs (wink, wink) reading is a chance to relax, to let go of the day-to-day stresses of being mum.





You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. 

C.S. Lewis






Escape reality and jump into a good book.





Fitness


If you’re into exercise (*shudder*) it can be a great way to spend time and get those endorphins racing around your body. Running or heading to the gym may help shift some pounds or keep you fit enough to run around the garden after your kids when they get home from school.






Shopping


Heading to the high street and trawling the shops for the perfect outfit or the best present is so much more pleasant without the kids in tow.




I love shopping without the boys and a chance to go clothes shopping all on my own is heaven! If the pennies are tight you can always try window shopping, it can help with inspiration for homemade presents or inspire home ideas.





Trip planning


A school break is always just around the corner and taking time to plan a day trip can distract you from the boredom.

You could surprise your family and plan everything while they're at school, plus them not being there makes it all easier to plan!

A few years ago the Hubby and I planned a holiday to Orlando, Florida while the boys were at school! 





Pamper time


Visit the salon.
Get your nails done.
Have a shower in peace.

All brilliant ways to spend your free time.




It’s not often you get the chance to pamper yourself so when you do take advantage of it. You’ll feel so much better, you’ll be happier, and as a result your family will be happy too.

Happy mum = happy family.





Whoever is happy will make others happy too. 

Anne Frank





So as you can see there’s no excuse for being bored when the kids are at school. Use your time effectively and there’s plenty to do!

How do you spend your time when the kids are at school?


If you enjoyed reading this post you might enjoy Stay-at-home mums - why we shouldn't be ashamed or if you're looking for hobby ideas check out Hobbies for stay-at-home mums

I'd love to hear how you spend your time when the kids are at school - come connect with me on Facebook and we'll chat! 

And if you're a mum who wants to start celebrating even the tiniest of wins join my #MumWinning Revolution!

10 ways you can feel better in 10 minutes!

Being a mum can strip you of your energy, leave you feeling wiped out and disorganised. That in itself wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't for the fact that you almost never get time to yourself. Getting just 10 minutes to yourself is near impossible but if you can swing it then here's 10 ways you can feel better in those 10 minutes.

It will help you smile again and maybe even make your days a little bit easier.



Take a shower




A simple (and quick!) shower may be all you need to feel better. Wash away the day, give yourself 10 minutes and enjoy the peace.





To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. 

Buddha





Clear out a kitchen cupboard.


It may sound dull but clearing out a cupboard can be quite therapeutic. I did this recently with a cupboard that I'd been hoarding old baby cutlery in. Can you believe I still had sippy cups and bottles and LP is now 8 years old! I was so ashamed of myself!

I tell you what though, clearing out that cupboard felt so good. I got rid of the things I didn't need (a LOT of baby things!) and made space for the things I do need and use. It brightened my day and made me feel like I'd done something productive.

So why don't you pick one of those cupboards you've been ignoring and clear it out. You'll be surprised the difference it can make.



Sort out your wardrobe




Take out winter clothes (or summer, depending on the season) to make room for your spring wardrobe. Throw away clothes you haven't worn in years, anything you'll never wear again, and make space for new purchases!

We all like an excuse to go shopping right?!



Plan a room makeover


Whether it's a real makeover plan or just for fun planning what you'll do is sure to make you feel both motivated and happy. Choosing paint or wallpaper, adding your own unique touch to your home, is a wonderful feeling. Picking out furniture or ornaments, flowers or paintings, it's all fun.

Even more fun is planning what you would do with a room if budget wasn't an issue. Let your imagination run free, pick out all the things you always wanted and dream big!



Put on make-up



A touch of foundation, mascara and lippy. That's what I do. If I'm feeling down, or a tad sorry for myself I put make-up on. I may be feeling rubbish but I can at least look a little better when I look in the mirror.

Simple, easy, and you'll be done in 10!



Sit and have a cuppa


No kids (if you can manage it!), just you, your cuppa, and peace. Don't even put the TV on, sit and enjoy the quiet while having a cup of your favourite drink.

Being able to sit quietly and do nothing is not something us mums get to do very often so when you do, enjoy it. Take full advantage of those 10 minutes.



Go for a walk


Fresh air, the great outdoors, nature... it can inspire and brighten your mood. A walk through the woods or at your local park with give the children time to run around but also give you the freedom to breathe fresh air without listening to whining constantly.




I love the occasional walk, especially if it's somewhere the boys can run off for miles (as long as I can still see them). If you're in the Nottingham area Wollaton Park is great for that, the kids can run off as far as they like and you can still see them.

Go somewhere here you can look at the scenery and smile. Trees, gardens, flowers, anything that makes you smile, walk past it and take it in.



10 minutes for your hobby


If it's card-making plan your next card, if it's sketching start your next project or continue your current one. Have 10 minutes doing something you love and wait to see the stress melt away.





If you do what you love, it is the best way to relax. 

Christian Louboutin 





Whenever I'm feeling like I need a time out I take a few minutes (sometimes less than 10) and plan my next project. Sketching, card-making, or even writing, it doesn't matter as long as I get time to myself doing something I love to do then I know I'll be happy.



Research a new hobby


As a mum you tend to forget who you are when those little bundles of joy come along. It's so easy to look after the little ones and forget that you used to love doing something. You don't allow time for yourself and as a result all those hobbies you had disappear.

Take 10 minutes whenever you can to find a new hobby. If you don't have any idea then search the internet, you could even check out my post on hobby ideas. Think of the things you enjoy doing and see if there's a hobby that incorporates those things.

My hobbies include card-making, sketching, stamping, and writing. I get plenty of time for most of them but even when the boys are at school every day I make sure to get some time doing what I love.



If all else fails...





Lock yourself in the bathroom and put earplugs in. Take a book or a kindle with you, your phone even, and read or browse Facebook while getting a few minutes to yourself. Try to forget being 'mum' for a while.







Being a mum is a 24/7 job, but that doesn't mean you're not entitled to breaks. Take time for yourself - you, and your family, will feel better for it!

I hope I've helped you think of ways to get 10 minutes to yourself, and given you reasons why you should!



Have fun and Make Your Escape!

Over the Easter Holidays we spent days in theme parks, days at home, and days visiting family. It's not very often we find something new to enjoy but this time we did. On the very last day of the holidays we tried out Make Your Escape in Derby.





What is Make Your Escape?



Escape rooms. 

Never heard of it? Let me explain.

You, and your team, are locked in a room and have 60 minutes to solve puzzles in order to escape. You work together to solve the clues, some puzzles are difficult, some are easy. Your aim is to escape the room. 







Sometimes even the best of us have to lose ourselves in fantasy to survive reality.

Maxi Bransdale



What we did during the holidays

The boys are back at school and we're getting back to routine, it's always lovely after a hectic break to be back to normal. We had a great time with the boys at home though and on the very last day of the break we did lots of things to fill the day. The holidays are a time to be spent together and we certainly did that during these holidays.





Climbing at the park


We visit family every weekend at the moment which means we're spending a lot of time in the car. The boys end up playing a lot of games and have lots of screen time so during the holidays we decided to change that and take them to a park close to my in-laws.



The boys both decided to try their hand at climbing and LP pushed past his fear of heights and managed to climb to the top of the climbing frame. He was so pleased with himself and couldn't wait to tell his Nanny all about it! 


Post Comment Love 21st - 23rd April

Welcome to Post Comment Love, a linky where you can share any post you like, as long as it was written this week. Stephanie and I love to read your posts and cannot wait to see what is linked.
woman-eyes-closed-prayer

So how was your Easter holidays? Or are your kids still on their holidays? My boys went back to school on Tuesday and to be honest I couldn't be happier about it. There's a funny thing that happens when your kids grow up, you start to look forward to the time they're not at home. It sounds awful and I'm sure you think I'm horrid but it's true. When they're at school they see their friends, they play games, and they attend after-school clubs and it keeps them busy and happy. When they're at home they have all this energy and no way to use it up. 





  • Motherhood is tough. If you just want a wonderful little creature to love, you can get a puppy.

Barbara Walters

Why it's okay to want your kids to go back to school

My boys went back to school on Tuesday and I couldn't be happier. They've driven me mad with their constant bickering, physical fighting, and the need to be entertained for every second of every waking moment. It's exhausting. And it's okay. Last week I couldn't wait for my kids to go back to school, and there is no way I'm going to feel guilty about that.


We love our kids, obvs!



LP has just taken an interest in tap-dancing (since seeing Lord of the Dance) and is so cute when he starts trying to tap around the kitchen, moving his legs as fast as they will go. His arms flail about and he has the biggest smile on his face, and I cannot help bursting out laughing every time he does it.

BP, while quiet a lot of the time, on occasion will do something lovely. Like make a drink without being asked, or offer to go to the shops for us. He is a lot less active than LP (being almost a teen will do that!) but can be just as entertaining.

My life has been enhanced by my boys in ways I never knew possible until I had children. They brighten my days and make me smile.





  • The kids are Job One. So, to be quite candid, if they need me, I do my utmost to make sure I'm there.

Susan Rice

Taking the boys to see Lord of the Dance, Dangerous Games

The very first time I saw Lord of the Dance was in Las Vegas way back in 2003, the Hubby (then the boyfriend) were on holiday and it was showing in one of the casinos so we took the opportunity to see it. Not long after that we saw Riverdance too. I love both shows and since 2003 have seen them both twice.

A few weeks ago we noticed that Lord of the Dance, Dangerous Games was on tour and would be in Nottingham for just 3 days. We don't really have any babysitters available nearby so we wrote it off as a non-starter. Although we would've loved to see it, it just wasn't possible. That is until we thought about it, I mean what was stopping us taking the boys to see it too?

It took just an hour to decide that we would do it and the Hubby bought the tickets. We'd planned it for the last day of the Easter holidays (Easter Monday) and although the boys would have a late night right before going back to school we figured it would be worth it.

Post Comment Love 14th - 16th April

Welcome to Post Comment Love, a linky run by me and Stephanie. Link up a post you wrote this week to give it a boost and Stephanie and I will read and share that post. It is always nice to see new people linking up but it's also great to see the same people coming back week after week. Our little linky has grown into a great community and I love reading the posts linked up every week.
dovedale-mountains-climbing

With the boys off school this week has been a busy one, we went to Alton Towers again, went walking in Dovedale, and have had a couple of days at home too. I'm tired. We've done lots of walking and I'm unfit (again!), I know I should be doing more but I just don't want to. You know what that feels like don't you? When there's something you know you should be doing but you really can't be bothered or simply don't want to do it. Exercise and me aren't getting along at the moment.

The boys loved climbing and LP even climbed a tree at Dovedale. He loved the whole morning.




  • The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. 

Christopher McCandless 





How to get housework done during the school holidays

Okay, let's face it, the school holidays are the worst time to try to get the housework done. Days out, trips to see family and the general mess from the kids being at home leaves the housework seeming like a mountain you have to climb.

You want a lie in (I hear you!), after getting up at 6-6:30am every day and dragging your lazy kids out of bed to get ready for school you're just ready for leaving that morning routine behind. But of course the kids decide that during the holidays they can be out of bed by 6am and your much-needed lie in just doesn't happen. 





I'm a housewife: I spend far more time on housework than anything else. 

Annie Dillard




During the school holidays your days start with making yourself get out of bed to make breakfast for everyone, resenting the fact that you didn't get your lie in. Making breakfast results in mess, plates and dishes to clean and food to put away. The daily trudge begins and you're just not ready for it. 

But can I give you a tip?



Do it anyway.


It sucks sometimes, I know, but if you just get on with it the jobs will be done and the kitchen will be clean. There's nothing worse than entering a kitchen to find messy counter tops and dirty meal plates everywhere. Doing five minutes of tidying once breakfast is over will save you doing an hour of tidying later after you've cooked lunch or dinner and ignored the mounting dishes.




I have been known to leave dishes on the counter tops, they mount up until I have to put the dishwasher on twice before having it all done and even then I have to spend ages washing pans and things that won't go into the dishwasher. Sometimes I really don't want to do the housework. But do you know what always happens? I hate myself when I leave them because it's more work. It uses up time I could be spending writing or card-making, or even spending time with my boys (given that it's the holidays!).

Doing the tidying little and often will result in a tidier home and a happier you. You won't have to spend hours cleaning and you have more time for yourself or your kids.




Don't ease up on the kids


It may be the holidays but that doesn't mean you should let them get away with not doing chores. In fact it's more important they do them now than when they're at school. You have to do chores daily, no matter what's going on, so they should too. 

There's plenty of time for playing during the holidays but if you also let them off with the chores then there's more work for YOU to do and that's not fair. The holidays are for spending time together, not for them watching you do their chores.





When it comes to housework the one thing no book of household management can ever tell you is how to begin. Or maybe I mean why. 

Katharine Whitehorn 





So rope them all in to get the housework done. Your youngest can help you load the washing machine or the dryer while your eldest does the vacuuming. Tidying bedrooms could be done before they even go downstairs in a morning. 

If you can't get your kids to help you do the chores during the school holidays when you can you? 

I would even go as far as telling them they have to help in order to play games. 

During the school holidays my boys' gaming time is dependent on them completing their chores. If chores aren't done there's no gaming time, and although they complain when they can't play they know why. When the chores are done often it takes them five minutes, but when they've left it for a few days it takes them much longer. It's taken time but they're learning a lesson and I hope it will help them when they grow up. 



No pressure


The most important thing during the school holidays though is to give yourself a break. It's not only a chance for your kids to get away from school but it's also a chance for you to have a holiday too. Yes, there are still chores to do but it's not essential to have the house looking pristine before you step out of the door.

Give the kitchen a quick tidy in a morning and leave it at that. Your kids want to see you having fun too, so let go of the day-to-day pressures and enjoy time off.





What tips would you give to help others get their housework done during the holidays?



Post Comment Love 7th - 9th April

Welcome to Post Comment Love, a weekly link up where Stephanie and I look forward to reading your best post of the week. Link up and get extra exposure for your post, connect with like-minded people and perhaps even find your BFF. We're a friendly bunch!

With the boys being off school and things being rather crazy I haven't got much done this week. We're doing the 'one day working, one day off' thing through these holidays and again it's quite tiring. Finding something for the boys to do while I sit upstairs and try to concentrate on getting a blog post done isn't easy, they're spending a lot of time in front of screens. But we are making up for that with days out. 

Cleaning hacks to save you time!

Cleaning sucks, let's face it, so anything that makes life easier and helps the cleaning go faster has got to be good right?



Right.

Below you'll find some top tips to help your cleaning days go faster.




When life give you lemons... 




Clean with them!




I never thought of lemons as a cleaning product but it turns out they're useful. 

You can use lemons to make your chrome fittings shine like new. Scrub your fittings with a half lemon and wipe down with kitchen towel and see that chrome shine.





Excuse the mess, but we live here.

Roseanne Barr





Lemons can also be used to help clean your microwave, and you know you could do with some help in that department. I hate cleaning my microwave so when I read this it was a huge relief. 

Just add cut up lemons to a microwave-safe bowl filled with water and turn the microwave on for one minute. Remove the bowl (with gloves - it'll be hot!) and wipe the grime away with a cloth. Done!




A dishwasher doesn't just wash dishes.





You can wash all kinds of things in your dishwasher, and some of them I bet you'd never thought of.

Oven hood vents will look new again with a quick blast in the dishwasher, and it saves you from scrubbing and trying to get rid of thick oil and grime.

Does your fridge need a good clean? The shelves can be put into your dishwasher, making the job a whole lot easier!

Soap and toothbrush holders can go in your dishwasher too. So when they're looking grimy and covered with dried on toothpaste bung them in there - job done.

Plastic hairbrushes and combs will look great after a blast in the dishwasher, just be sure to remove all the hair first! Oh and don't put wooden handled brushed into the dishwasher, that'll just ruin them (yep, learned from experience - doh!).






Scissors to clean your hairbrush





Cut the hair along the bristles and use the end of the scissors to pull the hair free. The hair should come free easily but if there are any left over you can use a clean (spare) toothbrush to get rid of the hairs left behind. And just for good measure bung it in the microwave if it's a plastic one.








The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.

Marie Kondo







Keep your bed linen together



It only occurred to me recently to start doing this but it's such a time saver and a space saver too!

When you're folding your bed linen put the folded set inside a matching pillowcase, this way they'll all be together and it's easier to store.





I hope these few cleaning hacks make the cleaning go quicker but if not you can always give the kids chores to do!



If you enjoyed reading why not join other mums and let me make your days easier.