Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Family Funday: Capstone Park, Hempstead

On Sunday, my little bunch and I headed out for an afternoon walk around the incredibly picturesque secret that is Capstone Park in Hempstead, Kent. Even after a year long stint of pre-parenthood living in Medway with this glorious place about a five minute drive from my doorstep, I am ashamed to say that I had never actually been there before. 

In my (rather weak) defence, before our children came along, it is fair to say that I never really and fully appreciated a good walk, fresh air, nature and the beauty that the outdoors has to offer. Now that my life consists of routine, plenty of rushing, chores, errands and constantly taking care of someone (yes, even in the five minutes you think that you have escaped for a toilet break... you hear mini hands banging and clawing away at the door until it swings open to a rather frazzled looking Mama- One knows no peace!!!).

These days, when my family and I are all together, the absolute first thing at the front of my mind to do would be to find somewhere beautiful to take a stroll. Considering the usual and only day that we get to be all together is a Sunday, nothing shakes off the stresses of the week before and gets you ready and refreshed for the week ahead like being outside, especially on a sunny but crisp Autumn day like it was on Sunday. It is nice to be away from technology and for the children to just be children, free to embrace their wellies, jump in extremely muddy puddles, run, laugh and create a game around a twig if they want to (Sorry, Noah's magic wand actually... Oh, Yes Noah, i'm still a frog before you ask...).

Matt and I get to walk together, talk and hold hands if we want to, like sweethearts. We get to cuddle while we look out over the lake as the sunshine hits it, the light cascading all around us.

 We get to observe the little humans that we love the most and smile. We are able to smile at who they are. We allow ourselves the time to just be, for five minutes or so. We don't check phones and the time. Those things do not matter to us. We are together, that is what matters. These are the things that I want to remember the most. All of us with the space to breathe yet making the choice to remain close by... because that is where we want to be. With each other.

You can probably tell from the photographs how much of a wonderful day we all had. If you are local to Capstone Park, do try and go. It really is such a beautiful place, especially if you are there with the people that you love.

Lots of Love
x Maria x

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Guilty Shopper...

Hands up if you are a Mum and you can no longer shop for yourself??? I have literally been driving myself crazy over the past couple of weeks because I have struggled so much to kit out my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. It first started when Matt, The Kids and I went to Canterbury one Sunday. We went with the sole purpose of finding me some clothes that are not ripped at the knee (due to constantly shimmying around the floor with the children in many an adventure!), stained beyond belief (due to having food flicked at me, drinks spilt on me, pens swiped up the leg of my favourite jeans that leave an ink stain so bad that they will never see the light of day again.

We went early. We had plenty of time. Matt even took the children off to have lunch so that I could have some undisturbed shopping time. I NEVER get that chance usually, like ever! I was focussed! So I revelled in it. In no time at all I was throwing things in baskets, hooking garments over my arms and placing hangers of clothing over each finger which turned my hand a weird plum shade. I was a woman possessed and I was doing so well... too well... until I tried it all on!

I was in one particular shop for TWO HOURS! I'm not joking here when I say, I put everything back because it either didn't fit right or right at the last minute I decided I didn't like it after all. When I walked out without anything, the look on Matt's face was priceless. "What do you mean you put it all back, you need clothes?????????" He said.

"I don't want to buy them today I don't think! Nothing fit right and i'm not sure what I want to be wearing right now anyway!" I replied as I walked off rather sheepishly and well aware that taking the children for lunch may have been a rather stressful endeavour for my wonderful husband and it had turned out to be a waste.

Matt didn't get it. I'm not sure even I get it...

When I buy things for myself, I feel guilty and it makes me so uncomfortable, I've said it before in this post HERE. At the moment though, it feels like it's more than that. I don't like any of my clothes and i'm really not too sure what I want to wear at all. I have generally had the same style for years but now I can feel it changing and I don't know what to buy.

If I didn't feel so guilty all of the time about spending money on myself, this would be such a great time for me as a woman. It would be my opportunity to be creative, mix things up and enjoy changing with the times... I just really struggle to combat it.

Just before I wrote down this little ramble, I was staring at six tabs open on my computer screen. All for different clothes shops and all with many weird, cute, sophisticated, beautiful, wonderful and stylish items in the basket. I emptied the lot and decided to search the children's sections instead. What is wrong with me? I am so frustrated!!! 

Every day Matt is telling me to buy myself some new things, encouraging me to just do it and every day I big, fat fail!

I think I need to set myself an early New Years Resolution and carry it on throughout next year to allow myself the basic human right of buying myself clothes. Someone please, shout my way if any of you have this problem. Resolutions to this issue are more than welcome also...

Lots of Love
x Maria x

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Mamma Mia, Hair Bobbles And Big Chins...

On Sunday, I was very kindly nominated for another Leibster Award by  the very down to earth Paige over at Miss Sugar Spice All Things Nice. This is basically a form of recognition amongst bloggers. It made my day. I am so grateful for anybody reading my ramblings, it's unreal. As I have already completed it and passed it on a couple of times I am just going to answer the (brilliant!) questions that were given to me and urge you to check out Paige's blog... especially if you are in need of a beauty fix.

How tall are you?
I am 5'5. Quite strangely when I was born, I was super long (I also had wispy hair, big ears and a big chin... but that is irrelevant). The doctors predicted I would be a 6 footer and throughout primary school and the beginning of secondary school, I was the lanky giantess amongst my peers. Then I stopped growing, while in years 9 and up, everyone grew around me. It was swell!

Goals in Life?
Easy!...First and foremost, to bring up my children to be kind, courageous and well rounded humans. I want them to live life with abundance and that starts with their Mama (and quite equally Dad!) and then I guess I just want to write... hopefully a book one day and I want to have opportunities to be creative. Oh...Duh! I really want to travel (everywhere!).

Your favourite bloggers?
This is actually really hard. I can't narrow down my favourite bloggers at all. The blogging community has become such a huge part of my life and who I am now. I have a different favourite for every mood. I guess my favourite at the moment... because my wander lust is going a touch mental... would be The Londoner! She is quite a new find (I know, where have I been right?)and she makes me feel like I am reading a fairy tale. I love her.

If you had to endorse a beauty product/brand who would you choose?
I'm not sure if this is a good answer or not because it is a little contradictory (because I have all kinds of stuff in my make-up collection!) but I would have to say  somewhere like Lush, The Body Shop or Tarte. I love a brand who are conscious of the ingredients that they are putting in their products and especially who are against animal cruelty.I wish that more brands were like it.

You are stuck on a deserted island, what three things would you like to have?
I'm sure I have answered this question before and I wonder if I said the same thing then but I would like to have a hair bobble, a pen knife and sun screen... this girl burns and I like to have useful things with me ( I'm so obviously a Mum,lol).

Would you rather save or splurge on make-up?
Both! I am a girl and a girly one at that. I like to be frugal where I can but when buying foundations and lipsticks I believe you get what you pay for. I like to spend bit more on those things, to treat myself too. 

Song you're loving at the moment?

Celeb crush?
See this post HERE, it was a good one to (kind of...) write.

Do you prefer straight or curly hair?
It depends on my mood, how much time I have, the occasion... I will usually opt for curly if it's for something special. Most of the time my hair is a mess and shoved up in a top knot.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Even though I have never been there, I would say Santorini in Greece. Honestly, it's not even funny how much I wanted to be in the movie Mamma Mia and the setting looks so similar. I could definitely live there. I would probably dance around, singing Abba songs if I did.

What is your go to lip shade?
I don't wear much make-up every day so I would usually go for cherry carmex to keep my lips moisturised but if I am getting glammed up, I  am loving a bold red right now.

That was fun, I love posts like this.
Lots of Love
x Maria x

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Being A Mum Can Be So Scary...

I am such a worrier.

I wasn't so bad before I had children, but the thought of them being hurt or poorly makes me feel very uncomfortable. Every last one of my efforts goes in to making sure they are okay. I am very protective. I still like Noah and Ellenah to hold my hand when we are anywhere near a road...or just anywhere really (haha), I still freak out if they do manage to run ahead anywhere and God forbid if ever they slip out of my sight. I can't stand it.

Don't get me wrong, I do consciously allow them both freedom because I know it is good for them, their development and the way that they will grow up... I just scare myself. I hope I don't sound weird. I can imagine every parent feels the same way. I know some parents see any time their child hurts themselves because they have done something silly, as learning. I struggle to see things that way. I just don't like it. Noah is particularly clumsy and whenever he hurts, I hurt too... the same goes for Ellenah of course.

On Saturday night while I was cooking dinner, Matt was bathing the children. I could hear happiness. Laughter, splashing, playing and fun drifting down the stairs. I was happily chopping salad, thinking of who I thought may be kicked off of The XFactor when I hear a blood curdling yell coming from Matt upstairs. I could hear Ellenah crying. Matt sounded so scared... he was calling me to hurry. 

In a blur, I chucked my sweet gem in the washing up water, my knife went with it and suddenly I was at the top of the stairs with Ellenah crying hysterically in my arms. I could hear Matt saying over and over, "It's bad Ree, It's bad!"...

I couldn't look at her. I couldn't look down. I could feel bile rise up in my throat. I was scared to face her almost. I was oblivious to what had happened, I just wanted to take the hurt away and stop her from crying. All I could do in that moment was hold her tight and cradle her in my arms, rocking her and telling her 'Mummy is here, Mummy is here... It's okay, you're going to be okay!'.

Usually, Matt will bath the children together but on that particular night, Ellenah went in first and then Noah after she was dry. While Noah was being washed, Ellenah was happily playing with her kitchen when somehow, her game took her tumbling down the first part of our stairs and hitting her head on the the wall. Not just a little bump, within seconds Ellenah had a very bruised, very large egg on her head. Honestly, it was just awful.

Immediately, I scooped her up and said "We are taking her to hospital!".

My mind was made up in an instant. I put Ellenah on her bed and hurried around finding things to pack in a bag for her, making sure she had enough clothes on to combat the night air for our journey ahead. I did not care for the NHS website, helpline or anything Matt was telling me.

While I was having an emotional frenzy, Matt was (rather calmly and superiorly) making his way through the NHS website and ruling out all possibilities that Ellenah would need medical help. I was just desperate for her not to cry anymore. I decided to play Dr. Mummy and whip out Ellenah's play kit to see if that would help.

Ellenah immediately stopped crying, leapt off of her bed to take over as the doctor. She was absolutely fine. Matt had already come to this conclusion about five minutes before I considered that actually "Maybe she is okay Matt?!'.

She managed to eat, play and we kept her awake for a fair while just in case and still a little in fear of the worst but you know what, she really was fine!

She had an almighty lump and bruise on her beautiful little head all day yesterday and it is still looking rather grim today but thankfully, no real emergency after all. 

When you have children, you are responsible for their safety and that thought in the back of your head never goes away. Thankfully I have a more logical partner in such times of panic or I would practically live at our local hospital. I'm aware I may sound neurotic and in all honesty, it's because I am... and that is because (in my way) I care so much. Being a Mum really is scary sometimes. If somebody could pass me an instruction booklet on how to do everything right, be perfect and have all answers to every catastrophe and question, that would be swell- oh wait, that doesn't exist, does it?

(Because of the lighting, you can barely see just how bad it was and is... but my girl sure deserves some sympathy!)

x Maria x

My Little Mermaid...

I really wanted to share these really cute photo's from mine and Ellenah's girly day last week. I completely forgot that I took them due to a wave/splash/nightmare enveloping my camera and there being a slight panic about my camera being broken. It wasn't and I have fallen in love with these photograph's. Ellenah LOVES bathtime and always pretends to be a mermaid...  She is just too beautiful.

I hope you are all having a fantastic Sunday.
Lots of Love
x Maria x

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Getting A Little Spooky...

I have to hold my hands up and say that as a family, we do not usually do very much for Halloween. I have never taken my children trick or treating and aside from a rather manic children's Halloween party that my sister and I hosted last year, my only attempt at getting festive was carving pumpkins (which I have to say, I found a bit gross!) and I eventually made Matt finish it while I made a brew.

This year, I wanted to do something for Halloween. Not necessarily because I think it is a holiday worth celebrating, I find the whole concept a bit strange but because I feel like if you don't make the most of these little opportunities to shake up your life and sometimes mundane routine, then life may as well and quite simply pass you by.

We really didn't get up to that much and we really didn't go all out, we kept things low key and somewhat thrifty. As I had been at work all day, the children and I made a quick dash home and as soon as we stepped foot in the door I whizzed them upstairs to get in to their costumes. As I mentioned, last year we had a Halloween party and the costumes which we had for that were way too big but this year, they fit perfectly. So once again, Noah was a zombie and Ellenah a pirate princess. I had fun with a few different masks which had them both running for a hiding place- too funny. When Matt came home, he too had a lot of fun joining in. 

We turned off the lights, grabbed a torch and played a bit of hide and seek in the dark. There was a lot of screaming, weird dancing (mainly on my part), running, jumping, laughing and a few tears from little Els when she got a bit overwhelmed.

We broke all dinnertime rules and had sweeties and cake first, in front of the T.V, while they watched the Halloween special of Sofia The First. Ellenah found this just the greatest thing. Every now and again, Noah would shout 'BOO!' to see if he could make anybody jump, that or 'TRICK OR TRICK?".

It didn't exactly fit in to the Halloween festivities but after we had actual dinner, we decorated gingerbread men to wrap things up before bed... Ooooh, rebels! All in all, it was a giggle. I love spending time with my little pumpkin heads... bring on next year that's what I say.

What did you all get up to this Halloween? I hope it was spooky and you had a smashing time.

x Maria x

Friday, 31 October 2014

The End Of An Era...

Last night emotions were running high in our home and as always, they were mine. A few days ago we chose and purchased a full single sized bed for our little Els and last night we built it and smothered it in a cute duvet set, lots of pink and a new (very snuggly) duvet.

As Matt took apart her little cot bed that may I add was incredibly battered, covered in stickers and even though it had been mended (result of many hours being used as a trampoline)- it was a hazard, I had a little cry to myself. Matt was taking down and preparing to dump the place where both of my children as babies have slept. He was taking apart the place where my little loves have dreamt, smiled, learned to stand, laughed, played, been safe, snuggled and thoroughly enjoyed. While the loves of my life closed their eyes each nap time and night and drifted off in to the land of nod, they grew. To see my once very beautiful Mamas and Papas cot bed in pieces, it broke my little heart.

I felt like time had gotten the better of me. I realised just how much my children have grown since their first days in their cot. I realised I had to say goodbye to watching them sleep there, cooing over each and every sound and watching them twitch while they dream.

It was like taking a bullet!

I know to some people, it is simply a cot bed but I have always been the sentimental type and I don't know, I just felt a bit blah and a bit sad. Sad that I no longer have babies who will stare in to my eyes for hours and allow me to hold and hug them endlessly. In the same breath, I also realise that instead I have little people, with voices and opinions. I have boundary pushing and constant questions. I have inquisitive, curious and wonderful little humans who make me see the world very differently. All things that I adore and love about them and about my life. I most certainly wouldn't want you to mistake me for being ungrateful. I realise that I am incredibly blessed.

Noah is at a fascinating age and he is surprising me all of the time and Ellenah is really coming into her own. She is changing daily in front of my eyes. The way she looks, speaks and grows. She is learning new things and constantly trying to  figure the world out. I guess her big girl bed is another portal in allowing her to do so. Her big girl bed will give her more space for all of her future growth and hopefully her big dreams.

I guess I just feel like it is an end of an era and as much as I look forward to the next chapter for my lovelies and us as a family, I will miss the one just gone. I'm sure every Mother (and Father!) feels like this when they realise that there is nothing that they can do to stop their children from growing up, what seems to be so very quickly.

Anyway, time for a little reminiscing before I carry on being my usual smiley self- Noah and Ellenah absolutely loving their cot bed. I still find it so bizarre that both of them learned how to pull themselves up to their feet in the same place in the same cot... special times.

Huge Love
x Maria x