Monday, 31 January 2011

Quiet Reflection

We are approaching our youngest's 11th birthday and sitting here looking back eleven years to the turn of the Millennium Life was very different. I was four weeks away from giving birth to our 4th child, we lived in an area that I was happy in, we had a large social circle of friends and Life felt Good. However the next eleven years were full of so many changes...Changes I never would have imagined.

About seven years ago I became restless and dissatisfied with our surroundings. Don't get me wrong I loved the people who surrounded me they wasn't the problem but I had watched the area rapidly decline. Our next door neighbour Sandy passed away, he was our neighbour for the past 12 yrs and in his eighties so we knew it was only a matter of time.

A new woman and her unruly (putting it politely) children moved in. Sandy's tidy house was painted bright orange, his lovely tree's and plants dug up and trashed, dance music boomed through the walls all night long and she insisted on driving her car across my front garden to park on her own.

It was time to move on before I strangled her or drove my own kids barmy by playing Marilyn Manson full blast every morning to get the crazy ole bag up out of her pit as revenge. We made the decision to uproot the children and take them to a better area somewhere hopefully they would have a better quality of life

We moved 200 miles from everything & everyone and at first it felt good, it felt Peaceful. I did miss my many friends and family that I had left behind but the change was doing us the world of good, at first anyway. However the next few years life changed a whole lot more.

Our two teenage children struggled to settle into the new area, the oldest run away back to Essex. We knew he was safe but it broke my heart as I missed him so much and worried over what would become of him without our guidance in his life. I had every reason to worry as we were soon surprised with the news that we were to become Grandparents. I agonised over how our Son would cope with such a huge responsibility at such a young age without us being there to support him. Shortly after our Beautiful Granddaughter was born we discovered My Mum had Cancer and ten months later we had lost her.

I had a crazy year after Mum passed...Basically I lost the plot. Looking back I definitely had some kind of mental breakdown. My studies at Uni fell behind, I felt depressed, I drank too much and worst of all our marriage suffered terribly. We split for twelve months.

Reminiscing over that year fills me with utter dread, definitely not a year of fond memories but it taught me so much. It taught me that there really is only one life for me. A life with Papa. A life together as a family.I gave myself a shake and Papa & I worked through our problems. We were lucky. We fought for our marriage and we won. We moved back to Essex to be closer to our family, especially our Beautiful Granddaughter. We love being Grandparents together as a couple.

Life is Good again. I Now appreciate every moment of every day. I appreciate My husband more than ever...My children even more. I am Happy. I don't really want for material things, they are not what are important to me in my life. People are. People you love should be cherished and so should every minute you spend with them.

Time is important, Treasure it, be together and make every memory count!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Gallery - Big up Blighty!

For this weeks Gallery over at Sticky Fingers the theme is Children so I just had to share my favourite photo of me and my eldest Brother Bigging up Blighty at the Silver Jubilee (1977). My Nan Grace made my dress out of crepe paper and I loved it...I wore it until it literally fell off me.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Listography - Things I wish I could do

I've noticed that a few blogs that I follow are taking part in Kate Takes 5 Listography of 'Five things I wish I could do' so I thought I'd join in too.

1. Speak to my Mum.

I find it so frustrating that I can't talk to her anymore and if you are lucky enough to have had a (or have) a good Mum in your life then you really do not realize how much you rely on her for advice until you no longer have her there. Mums have a way of being able to tell you exactly how things are without causing any real offence. I knew My Mum loved me no matter what and trusted her judgement...she really did always know best.

2. Lay Bricks.
A bit bizarre I know, but If I could lay bricks I'd build all sorts in my back garden, first thing would be a super duper craft room. I'd love to not only lay bricks but to plumb in bathrooms and run electrics. Anything a builder can do really...I'd love it!

Photo: Wilsons Homes

3. I wish I could be a little less obsessive.

Sometimes it is a good quality to possess and when I'm on an obsessive one I get loads done and I learn tons of new stuff. I become obsessed with everything I want to do. Other times it can be a bit of a pain in the a**e as I obsess over what the kids are doing...I'm too over protective and freak over the slightest little thing. I guess its because I have an addictive personality.

4. I wish I understood My Father.
And why he neglected his children. I just can not understand people who cut loved ones out of their lives for no reason. It just baffles me.

5. I wish I could surf.

If I could swim then the first thing I'd do is learn to surf. Its something I've always wanted to do. I love beach living and can quite happily spend my days surfing & living in a cabin right on the beach.

Lisa Andersen : photo courtesy Roxy

Monday, 24 January 2011

Actionaid - What makes you feel the happiest?

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Keonig

Today's post is helping to raise awareness for actionaid as they kick off their newest campaign to end global poverty. They have been asking people what makes them feel at their happiest. The top ten results were:
1. Helping someone who needs you
2. Receiving an unexpected compliment
3. Hearing the sound of the sea
4. Sitting in the sunshine
5. Listening to music
6. Eating your favourite food
7. Hearing happy laughter
8. Winning money
9. Going for a walk on the beach
10. Having a snowball fight

Pop over and watch actionaids video here

So what makes me feel the happiest? That is such an easy question to for me to answer and the answer is watching my kids enjoy the simple things in life.

Kids today put so much emphasis on the material things that our world has to offer them that they often miss the 'small' stuff and forget to appreciate the little things in life.
Our children are favouring more and more to spend their time sitting in front of all things electronic. TV, video games, the Internet, mobile phones... the list is endless, all these things have our kids permanently plugged into technology and increasingly disconnected from their natural environment.

But Hey I'm no saint. I am guilty of buying these things for my own kids. How can you not when they want to have the things all their friends have and as a parent you want them to be happy? Getting the balance right is no easy task and raising kids who aren't materialistic is a constant uphill battle.

I don't want my kids to become adults who are so concerned with materialism that they lose the real importance of their lives and true feelings of happiness. Their main focus turning towards working too many hours to pay for that bigger house, racier car or designer handbag. Working too many hours that leave them with feelings of being unfilled and dis-satisfied as they miss quality time with their own families.

I yearn for them to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them... the great outdoors and the fun that can be had in life without spending money. The joy a walk in the countryside with their family can bring and the feeling of love, togetherness and unity that can be felt as they explore mother nature.

Helping my kids to open their eyes and appreciate these things is important to me and so I am happiest when I see my kids enjoying these precious moments together...Moments like these remind me that I am truly blessed.

So what makes you feel at your happiest?

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Facebook Page

I've just started a new Facebook page and would love it if you could pop over and say Hi

At Home With Mama Syder Facebook Page Here

Friday, 21 January 2011

A Day in my life

For Today...

Outside my window... Although still bitterly cold The sun is trying not to say goodnight as my neighbours chat and laugh

I am hearing...Music coming from my teenage Daughters bedroom as she jumps around shaking the ceiling lights.

I am thinking...decorating my bedroom. I've decided to go with yellow after picking up some gorgeous vintage sheets yesterday. They will match my candlewick bedspread beautifully.

I am thankful for...My wonderful husband and all that he does for me.

I am wearing...Black leggings, a sage green top, black long cardi and bright pink (odd) socks.

I am creating...Always lots - but making a start on new kitchen curtains.

I am remembering...That I once had a good relationship with all my Brothers.

I am put on my muddy walking boots and go for an evening stroll along the river after dinner and burn off some calories.

I am currently reading...Songbird - The Eva Cassidy biography.

I am hoping...that I lose lots of weight before I'm fitted for my bridesmaid dress in July.

On my mind... My poor Nan after just getting off the phone from her and the recent loss of her sister My Aunt Pink.

Noticing windows seriously need cleaning!

Pondering these words...

"As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You'll have your heart broken and you'll break others' hearts. You'll fight with your best friend or maybe even fall in love with them, and you'll cry because time is flying by. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you've never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you and tell someone off, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone's hand, comfort a friend, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, be a flirt, and smile until your face hurts. Don't be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back." Author Unknown

From the kitchen...washing up, kids chatting to Papa, kettle whistling and tea being served.

Around the house...Apart from decorating my bedroom we need to paint the Kitchen...It will be fairy dust pink.

One of my favorite things...Definitely my sewing machine that was a gift from my Auntie Jill.

A few plans for the rest of the week...well its Friday so I will be enjoying a glass of vino in the company of good friends. I'm also planning on braving the lottie to check on what work needs; lots of digging!

Pop over To a Simple Womans blog and check out the other entries or maybe even join in yourself.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

He is My Life, My Love and My soul Mate

The prompt I picked this week over at Mama Kats Workshop is:
1) Something unique you love about your significant other.
My Husband is truly my soul mate and we have been through lots of trials & tribulations over the years to finally realize that. Oh yes our Marriage has been tested many times and now after 24 yrs together as a couple we are at a Good place. We are inseparable.
I first spotted his uniqueness the moment I met him back in 1987. I guess you could say it was love at first sight but don't tell him I said that because I like to tease him that it was the other way around. He quite happily accepts this and tells me I was very 'aloof' when we first met. What he really means is he thought I was a right 'stuck up' cow because whenever he tried to approach me I blanked him. Truth is I was fancied him so much that I couldn't talk to knees turning to jelly every time I saw him and I was terrified I'd blurt out something totally inappropriate and make myself look a complete fool.
Obviously we did eventually get talking and instantly become the best of friends. I knew almost immediately that he was 'The one'.

I took him home to meet Mum after 8 weeks of dating him and introduced him as my fiance. Apart from looking like she was about to pass out with shock (as it was the first she had heard of a boyfriend being on the scene) she really did like him. In fact they got on like a house on fire and still did right up until we lost Mum in 2006. My Mum loved him like one of her own and she told him this on her deathbed.
He also got on exceptionally well with my five younger brothers and would spend hours entertaining them building lego cars and race tracks. This was important to me as I spent the majority of my time helping Mum look after the boys so it was vital to me that the boys liked him. I really didn't need to worry though as they hit it off with him straight away.

I love the unique way he has with kids. All kids, not just his own. They love him, adore him and laugh at him. It is what has made him such a special Father. He spends all his time entertaining them, making them roll on the floor in fits of laughter...

Even if it means dressing up like a cardboard box, flexing his muscles and chasing the kids around the house like a complete lunatic. He will do it if it makes the kids laugh.

He will join in all their birthday parties even if it means he gets bundled by 30 ten year olds....
This is why he has the gloves on.
He just loves being a Dad and now a Grandad and I have so appreciated over the years how wonderfully supportive he has been.

And how he makes me laugh...
And Laugh...
And Laugh.

He has a unique way of knowing me like no-one else ever has. He can read me like a book and he loves me like no other.

He is My life and I am his... this is why he is Unique to me.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Gallery - Mother Nature

I really struggled to pick a photo for this weeks Gallery over at Sticky Fingers
The theme is Mother Nature and as a keen walker and a huge Fan of Mother Nature I have thousands of Nature photo's.
I decided to go with a photo from My favourite place...Yeah Yeah you guessed it, North Devon. The seagulls diving for fish as I watch from the quayside. This was something I did most days when I lived down there but sunny days I'd spend a little longer watching them as they thrust upwards into the blue skies and soar back down into the sea to hunt for fish.
It was a scene I never tired of.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Fat Butt and Little January

" To be a success in life, it is not what you have in life; it is rather what you make of your life, for you can only build your success through your own works." ~ James R. Padgett

Ok so I've become a fatty...Theres no skirting around it. Its true...really really true and now I am finally doing something about it.

I've been putting on weight since I lost my Mum in 2006. I gave up smoking that year too so I think my dramatic weight gain is a combination of craving nicotine and comfort eating. Very strange that I should be comfort eating as I was more likely to NOT to eat before whenever faced with a stressful situation but this time I feel I'm eating to try and fill the huge hole that Mum has left me with. I know that that hole will never be filled so rather than sit around just getting fatter I need to change a few things.

I started a Facebook group on January 2nd this year for weekly weigh in's and support. Really its aim was to help motivate me and give me than big kick up the a**e that I needed.

It has worked...The group is proving to be a great success and everyone in the in it is so fantastic I could cry! We are all, very quickly becoming firm friends...some already were and those who weren't have become so and to top it off we are losing weight! It is the best diet group I have ever been a part of!

I was really unwell for the past fortnight so have been unable to workout up until yesterday. I have been feeling great, on top of the world. My mojo has returned with a vengeance and I've been out walking today. A two hour cross country walk...and it felt Damn good! Slipping and sliding through wet, muddy countryside was a task in itself but the sun was shining and I felt energised I inhaled the crisp, fresh January air. I feel great and I welcome my continued weight loss with open arms.

I love January. It is a month of new beginnings with a new year to look forward to. A clean slate to do all those things we wanted to get on with last year.

Little January
Tapped at my door today.
And said, "Put on your winter wraps,
And come outdoors to play."
Little January
Is always full of fun;
Until the set of sun.
Little January
Will stay a month with me
And we will have such jolly times -
Just come along and see.
Winifred C. Marshall

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Writers Workshop - Scarred

(photo - H is for Home)

When I think of the word scarred I think back to the time I lost the tip of my left middle finger. I was 2 years old so I don't actually remember a thing about it but I've heard the story a hundred times.

It was a warm, balmy afternoon in the summer of 1972, Mum and My Auntie were taking a break from their daily chores and sitting in the back garden drinking tea, chatting while my baby cousin slept in his pram. They could hear birds singing, the faint distant hum of the radio coming from the kitchen and me giggling as I ran over to them from the bottom of the garden. I jumped up onto one of the empty deck chairs...It hadn't been unfolded properly and securely. It collapsed with my finger trapped inside.


I was rushed to hospital...Mum was hysterical as she wrapped my hand in whatever she could find to absorb the blood. The man across the road was a fireman and told Mum that she had better take my finger tip with her to the hospital so that it could be sewn back on. It was found amongst the grass and put in a matchbox. By the time they reached A&E it was too late to sew it back on so now I have a funny scarred finger.

Mum never would let any of her kids sit on those style chairs again...She wouldn't have them in the house. Cant say I blame her!

I also have four other scars...scars from My babies.

When I first found out I was expecting our first child I really wanted a natural water birth. It was a relatively new fad back then and I didn't know of anyone who had given birth that way. I loved the concept of giving birth with no or very little pain relief...maybe I was being a little naive but I wanted to explore all my choices. The thought of hiring a birthing pool and having our baby at home with Papa, My Mum and all my brothers in the house, around me really appealed to me.
I did lots of research and decided it was definitely what I wanted. Mum was excited about it too and offered to pay for the hire of the pool, she even rang a midwife who helped new Mums give birth at home. It was all really exiting...Until I went for my 20 week scan. They told me my pelvis is too small for natural child birth and that I would have to have a caesarean section and not only that...I would always have to have C-sections with any future children.
I felt devastated! My dreams of a natural water birth at home were dashed!
So now I have four scars and these scars remind me that it doesn't matter how the hell you give birth as long as your babies arrive into this world safely. I quickly realised this the minute I held my first baby in my arms.

Master J born - 1990 (A Dad himself now)

Master N born - 1991

Miss K born - 1995

Miss C born - 2000

The post is for Mama Kat's writers workshop

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Giving - An act of Kindness

"Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on!'

Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on!

Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another's tears, 'Till in Heaven the deed appears, Pass it on!" ~ Henry Burton

This weeks theme for writing workshop over at Sleep is for The weak is 'Giving' helping to promote and raise awareness for Actionaids latest campaign.

Being kind to other people should come naturally to us, well most of us anyway and the sense of satisfaction we receive from an act of kindness is just so rewarding. And its not just about giving kindness its also about receiving it.

I'm not talking about giving material gifts or money...Nooooo, I'm talking about giving gifts of time, gifts of love, gifts of caring.

There are lots of ways to give and it doesn't always involve putting your hand in your pocket.

Its about being totally aware of our surroundings and those who are in it...those who pass through for a few minutes, days, weeks or years and those who are with us for a lifetime. Everyone needs to give and receive kindness...its what makes our mad, frantic world a better place. Whether is be a friendly hello to the postman or complimenting someone in the street for how they are wearing their hair or a particular item of clothing. You just do not know what people have going on behind the scenes by simply passing them in the street and a cheery hello could make all the difference.

I personally learnt how such a simple, thoughtful act can lift ones spirit to a whole new level back when I was in my early twenties. I'd just given birth to my second baby and was going through a real s**t few months, I was trying to lose my baby weight and was having a few personal problems on the home front. I was living 200 miles away from my Mum, had no friends in the area, was feeling really down and although thrilled to be a Mummy again I was down right fed up with where I was living and how I looked.

It was my birthday and I decided to have my hair cut by this Fab trainee hairdresser who used to come out to the house...Julian was his name and he cut my hair really short (Like sharon Watts in Eastenders...If you can remember that far back). It was the hair cut of the nineties and if my memory serves me right it is the one and only time I've ever asked for a celebrity hair style. I spotted a photo of Sharon (just like the one below) in a weekly womans magazine, I ripped it out and kept it in my purse until the day I saw Julian.

He was a Great fella...As Gay as a handbag full of rainbows, outrageously flamboyant and had me in absolute stitches as he bitched & gossiped about everyone he knew. He didn't know it but just chatting to him was working wonders on me. It took him forever to cut my hair and when he had finally finished fluffing around with it and spraying me with at least half a can of super hold hairspray I looked in the mirror and felt pleased...I liked it but felt a little nervous as I grabbed my bag to walk to the shop. I felt a bit self conscious of my new hair do and walked with my head down as I quickly chucked what I need into my shopping basket. All of a sudden and out of nowhere this really gorgeous, looking young woman came running over to me and said "I just love your hair...Where did you get it done?" I must admit I was really taken aback and I smiled like a Cheshire cat all the way home...I was thrilled!

That woman didn't realize it but that day she gave me a gift. The Gift was a pocket full of confidence... God, I felt a million dollars all because a complete stranger, very simply took two minutes to compliment me on my hair...So Simple!

I have never forgotten that day and I always remember what a difference such a small act of kindness can do to lift someones spirit. Such an easy thing to do, so next time you are out and about and you think someone looks nice then tell them... You really could Just make someones day!

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." ~ Oscar Wilde

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

The Teenager

Teenagers...I love em but you've got to admit they are a completely different species to us 'grown ups'!

I'm beginning to sound like my Mum, God bless her and have got to the age where I do & say all the stuff my Mum did & said that I swore I would never do!
I remember being fifteen and Mum coming out with comments like that. I'd think to myself "Oh Mum you are so old and fogey...get a life!" She was thirty five...Five years younger than I am now. I thought everything she said & did was just to get at me and to ruin my life.

Mum (age 35) - "Be in by 9 or I'll come out looking for you and drag you home by your hair if I have to!"

Me (age 15) - "Are you kidding???? Are you actually trying to wreck my life???? All my friends are allowed out until at least 12!" (Extreme exaggeration, but hey Mums are stupid aren't they?)

Dodgy Look in Mums eye, raised left eyebrow...Shes thinking about it while I'm praying "Please God let her believe my b***s***!" No such luck!

Mum (age 35) - "Don't argue with me...Be in by 9!"

She meant business and was actually raising her eyebrow in total disbelief that I would think for one minute she would believe that!

Enough said...I'd leave the house in a huff and of course come in late with attitude, stinking of fags and get grounded!

It was a constant battle in our house growing up and its one battle I don't have in mine...Thank God! They have all been pretty good with time keeping and I have rarely had to argue with them about what time to be in. I'm just lucky I guess or they are just much more like their Papa...Mr Sensible!

Having said that we do get the 'Teenage stroppiness' in our house....You know the type of strops like grunting in response to a question. These are questions that usually involve turning down the volume on the TV. The Grunt is accompanied by an eye roll making you feel like you are about 100yrs old! Of course they turn it down only to turn it back up as soon as you leave the room, thinking you wont notice!

Oh and they store washing...I only have one teen in my house at the moment but I swear she has enough clothes to cloth a hundred. I reckon I do at least three loads of washing per day...I'll wash and dry all day long, folding and putting away as I go, I'll collapse on the sofa in the evening with a smug look on my face "I'm so goddamn organised!" My bliss is short lived and I'm thrown back to reality with a loud "Mum can you wash these for tomorrow?" Aghhhh it has to be the biggest pile of washing I've ever seen in my life!
Why oh why do they store their washing...and where do they store it? The mind boggles.

Thing is you cant really complain about anything they do because they blackmail you with the hundreds of video's they have taken of you on their camera phones. They are not really texting their friends all night they are actually secretly recording you picking your nose, pulling out grey hairs, farting and singing when drunk. You Tube is a powerful weapon against the war on nagging parents...Hands down they win!

To be quite honest though we must be just as annoying to them. I know I irritate my fifteen year old...infact I think she honestly thinks I brought home the wrong baby from the hospital when she was born. Seriously...She cringes at everything I say and do, thing is I find it hilarious and try my best to annoy her even more.

The thing I like to do the most is sing along to chart music...this is often greeted with a disapproving look of disgust even more so if I dance along to it. Just remember though if you want to irritate your teen in this way never forget 'The mobile phone videoing blackmail' Any signs of pretend texting then abandon mission!

I also like to go into her room when she is out and open her curtains...She goes absolutely ballistic if I do this. She actually finds this very traumatic so I try not to do it too often for fear of causing far too much distress.

There are other things you can do to annoy The Teenager like upload photo's of when they are babies to facebook and let their mates Tag them. This is great Fun but be careful...remember what photo's they might have of you on their dreaded mobile phones! It could get messy.

Compliment them on any new items of clothing asking "I wonder if New Look do that in my size?" The look of horror on their face is most satisfying.

Constantly tell them you wasn't born this age!

I must say jokes aside, I do really love teenagers. They are Fun, witty, adorable and when they leave home you sure miss them! Who'd be without them...Not Me! Enjoy your little Darlings while you still can!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Oh to be by The Sea!

Oh To be by The sea...
Its that time of year again when you start planning what you will be doing over the coming months so of course I have been thinking 'Holiday' Not because I feel I need a holiday...No, I'm craving the sea...I'm craving North Devon...I need a Fix.
Nothing new there I always yearn to feel the soft sands of Westward Ho inbetween my toes, to once again paddle my aching feet in its warm waters, to watch the kids run, laugh and be free.
As I stand and watch Papa and the Kids walk out to meet the Calm sea my Spirit feels calm...
I am Home...
Home to the place that Healed me, the place that eased the constant, gut wrenching, stabbing pain I felt in my heart for the loss of My Mum.
My time in North Devon was a time of seclusion. I withdrew from my 'old' life and all the pressures and stresses that went with it. I escaped all its toxicity and its frantic, manic, rushed busy-ness... Escaped to a place of peace, sanity and quiet contemplation. Its affect almost instant, I felt a deep reconnection with my 'authentic' self and remembered what real happiness was...I had found Solace by the sea.
So yes, Devon shores are calling to me...Really have to go this year and re-connect with my old Friend...
The Sea!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Avoid Housework...Live Outdoors!

Ok Ok We cant totally avoid the housework but you can still keep a clean house and live outdoors...Infact if you spend the an hour or two in the morning zipping through the house like a blue arsed fly then you can spend as much time as possible outside.

Here in the UK the winter months are a little too cold to be outside too long with the kids but a little walk or bike ride is great...not only for exercise but to point out to the kids the natural wonders of your environment.

No matter where you live, be it The city or countryside (I've lived in both with my four) there are always things to look at to get the kids interested in nature.

When my eldest two were babies we lived in East London. It is where I grew up so I was used to city life and knew all the best ways to get the kids into nature and avoid the noisy city streets. Our first stop was our local park...Double buggy in hand I'd walk them around the lake everyday, feeding the ducks any left over bread we had in the house. I'd let my eldest out of his buggy straps and let him toddle up to the ducks. I loved to watch their smiling faces and listen to their giggles as the ducks nipped the bread from their little chubby hands. They would squeal with delight if they spotted a Mummy duck with their ducklings and want to make sure the ducklings got the bread first before the bigger, bossier ducks.

Next stop our local city farm. It was free and had all kinds of animals from guinea pigs, to chickens, to goats & pigs. In the warmer months we would visit most days, buying a cup of chicken feed on our way in for 20p a cup. The chickens would freely roam the farm so if you were carrying a chicken feed cup they would cluck at your feet for food. We would sit in the giant rabbit pens and play with the rabbits and guinea pigs, other kids would also be in there at the same time so my boys would often end up making friends too. We'd take some sandwiches and sit and eat them in the picnic area before heading back home. Our daily walks would pass the time, entertaining the boys, tiring them out (which all Mums love), It kept the house clean, avoided any bored cranky and hyper active rugrats jumping around on the sofa, marker penning the walls or practising body slams on each other. We always always always had to take the boys out everyday, even if it was just for a kick around with the football...If we didn't we would know about it at home and I'd end up rocking back & forth in a corner, pulling my hair out!

We have done the same with the girls and we are now lucky enough to live out in the countryside where we are always out & about pointing out birds & bugs, taking walks along the river and through our local farm that has ponies & llama's. Nature play has always been a big part of our kids childhood and its often saved my sanity, although my reason behind our nature walks hasn't solely been for my own benefit, Of Course not...
The Great outdoors for our kids is essential for their health and emotional well being.

Here is a fab hand out from the RSPB - Every Child Outdoors - Children need Nature. Nature needs children.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Writers Workshop - Drunk

Drunk is a word that has described me a lot in the past...Not in a dark, sinister way but in a lighthearted, playful way.
I used to love to party and 'Get drunk' with my friends. I'd always be the one who fell out of the mini bus at the end of a good night out...unless we had to walk home which was more often than not.
The cold air suddenly hitting me as I leave the club either making me want to throw up or fall over...I usually fell over. I'd lean on hubby as we look towards the huge queues for taxi's and decide against the wait, passing the long line of shivering girls dressed in their Bas Vegas Bling and stiletto's, fags in hand fighting with their boyfriends or other girls who had dared look at their boyfriends. As we walk further on we pass the even more intoxicated men & women sitting on kerbs throwing up into gutters, mates trying to drag them up onto their feet to somehow get them home.
As we walk my feet are throbbing...I mean REALLY Throbbing from wearing heels and dancing the night away without a care in the world, I'm beginning to regret not sitting down more or that I didn't think to stash a pair of micro pumps in my bra before I went out. My nausea begins to pass, the happy chatter of my friends helps as we giggle, stagger and fall all the way home or hopefully, if we are lucky we might find an abandoned shopping trolley at the side of the road to transport us. More Laughter follows...Nausea completely forgotten now until I arrive home, crawl into bed and the room begins to spin.
Next morning BIG BANGING headache, and VERY LITTLE Memory...But I know I had a Good Night...I always did! But do I want to do it all again now?
Hell No!
As I begin my forties I'm content to stay home, enjoying quiet drinks with friends and family or sometimes not so quiet.
My Former Drunk Days of lots of parties & Clubs were Fun but I'm happy for those days to stay Former and for life to be a little less 'Eventful'....
Must be getting old, lol!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Benefits Of Blogging

The Benefits of Blogging and Why I do it...

To me Blogging is a modern day way to keep a diary or journal.

I always kept a journal as a child and teenager and would feel guilty if I didn't write in it at least once a day. Then I grew up, Got married, had babies and lost my journalling mojo. And then I discovered blogging through reading a family members blog. Instantly I wanted to write one myself, at first not really knowing what I was doing or how to find my way around blogland.

It began its days as a memory keeper then became much more than that...

The benefits of blogging are a lot deeper than you might think.

  • Reflection - When I write sometimes my posts may appear random, others more structured with a prompt. Some are my everyday thoughts, hopes, dreams and general day to day life. When reading back on these posts or blog entries they give me the chance to reflect and focus on things I may or may not want to change in my life. An opportunity to consider future goals and aspirations.

  • Understanding who I am - When I am writing it gives me quiet time to think about who I am and what is and is not important to me. I become lost in my own world without distractions. I begin to understand my worth and my values. Understanding oneself makes it easier to understand other people.

  • Wisdom - We are all wise...Wise through personal experiences in life and mistakes we have made. Through blogging I have learnt to trust my inner wisdom and intuition. Blogging sometimes forces me to ask myself questions to which the answers lie deep within my inner self...Reminding me that we do have an inner wisdom.

  • Discovering our passions - Blogging sometimes presents questions...Questions asking what is important to me in my life, What I love, what brings me happiness, what brings me joy.

  • Discovering our pain - As well as discovering my passions I have learnt what also brings me pain, heartache, anger and sadness and forces me to deal with these emotions.

  • Creativity - As well as writing being a creative pass time in itself blogging also offers inspiration from other bloggers. Creative, artistic bloggers who have filled my mind with inspiration for future projects.

  • Healing - This is one of the greatest benefits blogging has given me. It has helped me deal with the grief of losing my Mum four and a half years ago by keeping her memory alive. I often write about her...It has made my journey of grief somewhat more bearable.

  • Friendship - I have made lots of wonderful Blogger Friends who I would never have had the opportunity to meet if I didn't blog.

To me Blogging equals Personal Empowerment. It reduces My stress, sometimes makes me cry, makes me laugh (A lot), Helps me process pent up thoughts & feelings enabling me to let go of the past. It has empowered me to create, focus and Move on.

Where would I be without My Blog!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Boxing Day

Boxing Day was very special to us this year as I met my Step sister Miss J again for the first time in 23 yrs and her son Master T for the for the first time ever.
Miss J's father was my Mum's 2nd husband and was my step father for 10 yrs.
We lost touch years ago around the time Mum divorced her Dad.
We also had our Brother Mr D visit us with his adorable Daughter Miss R

My eldest in the middle of My Two Brothers

Papa and our two sons

Cousins meeting for the first time

We had a Great time and we are very happy to have our Sister back in our lives.
A very memorable Day!


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