Saturday, 18 April 2015

A Little Fresh Air...

Sometimes (in an easter egg, too much chocolate haze) it can feel a little like the walls are closing in on you and you need to re-energise yourself. The fact that the children and I spent the whole of Bank Holiday Monday eating easter eggs until just after 4pm when Matt came home from work had me feeling pretty damn grim. So, as my gorgeous one calmly walked through the front door, within minutes and in a frenzy, I had turned him back round and we were all heading for the woods to breathe in some fresh air and take a bit of time away from technology, chores and easter eggs.

I love having such beautiful countryside and pleasant walks practically on my doorstep. I feel like the best version of myself when I get the opportunity to take advantage of it with the people I love the most.

And... I love playing man hunt with my little people. My aim is to start them young so that they rebel against the technology that captures the minds of todays children and teenagers. 

A mama can dream huh?

Anyway, check out my little vlog to share our relaxing but beautiful stroll at the woods, which could be a little outdone by the delicious lemon and blueberry drizzle cake at the end! It's not like we hadn't already eaten so many easter eggs it felt like they were coming out of our ears or anything, ha!

If you like it, don't forget to give it a thumbs up and hit subscribe to see more :-)

Lots of Hugs (while I flick through a healthy eating cookbook, hehe)
x Maria x

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Last Post 'March Faves'

Monday, 13 April 2015

March Faves...

In the month of March... I was quite a busy girl! I went to watch both, The Script (post HERE) and Usher (post HERE) at the O2 in London and I had the privilege of attending my Niece's wedding (post HERE). So, I ended up buying a few new things to see me through and I have really enjoyed them. I have also revisited some old favourites to coincide with the change of seasons and because I love to feel healthy. 

None of my favourites this month are particularly expensive and apart from maybe a MAC lipstick, a souvenir from the Usher Tour and an ASOS purchase, you will find most of these things in your local high street.

Let me know if you have tried any of these things and what you thought? Also, if you have any recommendations for me to try?

Huge Hugs
x Maria x

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Also, Did You Catch My Last Post? - 'Growing Up So Fast'

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Growing Up So Fast...

It's a hard time in parenthood when you notice your eldest child growing up so quickly and changing so significantly right in front of your eyes. You watch them play and move around and they have become so different in what feels like a heartbeat. The worst thing is that they take it in their stride, revel in their growth and you, you are left dizzy, heartbroken even. You are left trying to figure out a way to slow it all down, hit pause, rewind time- you are stunned in the moments that erupt from nowhere when they demonstrate how wise they can be. Your jaw drops to the ground when you realise that they are not babies anymore, not even toddlers... they are little people and they are growing up, what feels like around you. You wonder how it happened, when it happened... where your warning was?!

Noah is growing up- fast! It is so hard to grasp. It doesn't feel like I have had enough time. I didn't get enough of the baby Noah. He walked at ten and a half months old and the rest is history. He has always been so fiercely independent. I just wish I could beat the clock! At the same time, I am loving this stage in his life, it brings us both such joy.

Noah is physically changing in front of my eyes. He is getting tall and is growing out of like ALL of his clothes. His face is (still so beautiful!) changing. He has lost that plumpness to his cheeks and he likes his hair pushed to one side- a bit like Bieber (oh dear!). At his last dental check up, we were told that some of his teeth are starting to loosen- When I heard this, I disappeared upstairs and sobbed to myself. 

He spends time researching things on Google- Dinosaurs, Spiderman(anything Marvel related really!)and Aliens. He is thirsty for knowledge and information.

He follows me around, glaring at his digital Spiderman watch and tells me every time that a new minute passes us by. I get constant time checks and I am kept on a tight schedule- even when it comes to his bedtime at 7pm. He likes to be prompt.

He wants to watch YouTube rather than cartoons. He can't get enough of Uptown Funk feat Bruno Mars and he loves watching Blank Space by Taylor Swift- he says that she is a pretty lady (Yup, freak out!)

Noah writes me beautiful stories about the Easter Bunny and my favourite so far- the story about the alien named Jamie with seven eyes, looking to make himself a friend.

He goes off to gymnastics training so confidently, we leave him and pick him up when he is done. He handles himself so maturely. He takes the two gymnastics competitions coming up in his stride...and way better than I do may I add.

I am just so happy that even though my gorgeous son is growing up so fast, he still allows me glimpses of the toddler that he once was. 

Noah still creeps in to our bed just before we have to get up in the morning, just for a morning hug. When he feels tired, he plays with my hair and strokes my face for comfort. He lets me hold his hand still as we walk along- more than he used to in fact! He still loves to be tickled and when I pretend to steal his nose. His eyes fall heavy when I stroke his eyebrows, just like I did as a child and he likes to tell me often ' I love you Mummy!'

As much as I am not ready for the pace that Noah is seemingly outgrowing me, I take such pride in the little boy that he is. It makes it a little easier when I look in to his big, beautiful eyes every single day, that is for sure.

Love & Hugs
x Maria x

Did You Catch My Last Post? 'Happy 1 Year Blogiversary To Me'


Friday, 10 April 2015

Happy 1 Year Blogiversary To Me....


Can you even believe that I have been a lifestyle & parenting blogger for one whole year today?

It only feels like yesterday that I very shakily hit publish on my first post...EVER! (What the heck, you can find that little love HERE!) I was so nervous that day. I must have proof read my post about one hundred times. I spoke about how I felt that maybe I had lost my sparkle a bit and how I felt that since becoming a wife and mother, I felt a little lost.

I felt so guilty writing those words. I felt guilty to write down that even though I loved my life, was proud of my family and couldn't want anything more from the people I am blessed to share my life with, I was thinking about myself and was striving for something that was just mine. I was searching for a creative outlet, somewhere to call my own. I needed somewhere to be alone for a small part of each day to find myself again and to make space for all of my thoughts and feelings.

I needed to regain my rhythm to life. As a person in my own right.

Starting my blog was honestly one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I am truly happy floating around in the blogging world, pouring my heart out to all of you truly amazing people who take the time to read the ramblings that I write. You make me feel like the thoughts in my heart matter and you truly protect them with all of the wonderful things that you say. About my writing and about me.....

Hang on....

Yep, I didn't think that I would get through this post without a tear or..ten?!

This past year has been an eye opening journey. It has broken my heart. It has been hard. It has been so very easy. Sometimes, you don't really understand your own thoughts until you read back something that you have written in black and white. At points this past year, my blog has smacked me in the face with the honest truth that I haven't always been prepared for. 

At the beginning of the year, I didn't know what blogging would bring me. I didn't know if I would still be doing it the following week, let alone a year on. 

As it turns out, as well as getting to play with words and express myself- I have managed to somehow work with some great companies and live some wonderful experiences. My blogging journey is now branching out in to the Vlogging community on YouTube. My latest and one of the accomplishments I am most proud of is becoming a #ChannelMum Sponsor. You can read all about that HERE.

You will have heard me say this in other posts but it is still completely true- blogging is my second home, it's one of the best parts of my day and I have never felt more like myself since publishing that first post, one whole year ago.

The main thing that I wanted to say is thank you! Not in an 'I Just Won An Oscar or Beauty Pageant, World Peace Kind Of Way' but in an ' I am so happy that you read my blog and as much as I am touched that you have been so kind to me... thank you for commenting, emailing, tweeting and messaging' kind of way...because it matters so much to me that you can trust me with your life experiences, thoughts and feelings as much as I trust you with mine. You are fab friends and you make this whole experience that bit better.

Anyways, what is a post by me if not soppy and a bit of a ramble?!

Cheers to you, Cheers to me and Cheers to a lot more blogging years ahead of me....YAY!

Huge Squeezes & Super Smiles
All My Love
x Maria x

Did You Catch My Last Post? - Going Back In Time...#ChannelMum


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Going Back In Time... #ChannelMum

I don't quite know how to start this post today. It's not very often that I am speechless or unable to write down what I am thinking or feeling... it's kind of one of the things that I usually do best!

I think that I am finding it hard because I am still completely overwhelmed and yes, I realise that I am probably not making much sense AT ALL!
Just over a month ago, I sat myself down in front of a camera and reeled off some (probably not very interesting) facts about myself as part of the application process for the Channel Mum Sponsorship. 

Over the past year, I have been around on YouTube- popping in every now and again to share a family vlog and then scurried off again. At first, I was terribly shy and then I found it getting easier and easier to talk to my camera like an old pal. It's no secret that my life is a little mad so, I wasn't consistent but I would think about it every day. I would think about how my diary and my blog have become so valuable to me in terms of preserving our memories as a family and how YouTube and Vlogging would allow me to bring our memories to life. 

I would watch other Vloggers share their lives with the world and I would lose myself in somebody else's 'real life' for hours. It dawned on me one day that I could create a visual diary for our children to watch when they grow up... I could make something truly beautiful for them. I want them to see how loved they are so badly. I knew that they would have my blog and my physical diary but I want them to see and hear it all. I want them to see themselves through my eyes because then I'm sure that they could never be sad.

And... basically, I could take my children back in time, couldn't I?

So, I decided that I was doing it. I was going to put more effort in and make something great! And then, within days... I heard about the Channel Mum Sponsorship. Channel Mum is the first YouTube network for mums, which hosts a community of Vloggers who represent the honest face of parenting. They were giving me the long shot opportunity, the teeny tiny chance to be a part of it. Channel Mum was founded by Siobhan Freegard, the same lovely lady who previously founded the U.K's biggest parenting website (and my bible) Netmums. I knew in my heart, I had to at least try. 

Last month, I found out that I was in the first round of people to be chosen. I'm not going to lie... I cried! I couldn't and still can't believe that they picked me but I am so bloomin' pleased and happy that they did. I am excited to be a part of such an inspired community and idea.

My Vlogging journey so far has opened my eyes to some absolutely amazing people and such a supportive community. I feel like I have known some of these people forever. It's so nice that I can send out a Parenting S.O.S at any time and somebody is going to be real with me, honest, offer a solution or at least make me feel like I am not alone... and I would do the same for them! This community of strong women and mothers is inspiring and I am honoured to be one of them.

Along with sharing my diary entries in the form of our vlogs and the random bits like beauty, fashion and life that keep me sane- let's call that my 'me-time'... I want anybody watching my video's and subscribing to them to really know me and my little bunch. I want them to find a friend in me. to enable us to survive and flourish in motherhood and parenting and raising awesome people together. 

I have always said, you can get through anything if you have a strong, supportive network around you and I have never believed that more. Us Mums, we've got to stick together and empower each other, right?!

Documenting my family life is my gift to my children in years to come. It is my version of a scrapbook and I enjoy capturing our special moments. Of course, I would still do this if nobody watched my videos but I would love it if you did and shimmied by my channel for a look, you can find it HERE. It's not perfect but neither am I and that's not a bad thing, I hope :-)

Or, watch my first Channel Mum related video below- Our Whirlwind Romance & Becoming Parents. If you like it, let me know and hit subscribe- grab yourself a cuppa and come back any time. You will always be welcome :-)

Squeezes & Smiles
x Maria x

Did You Catch My Last Post? - Who Do You Like Better Mummy?

Are We Friends Yet?

Monday, 6 April 2015

Who Do You Like Better Mummy?...

This morning, as Noah, Els and I sat up at the dining room table, playing scrabble... I could hear Noah huffing and puffing to himself. I assumed that he was deep in thought about his next word or he was getting frustrated about a missing letter. So, I carried on playing. Noah had another turn, then me, then Noah... but on this go, I looked up from the board to find him- face smooshed in to the palm of his hand and putting the weight of his head onto his elbow which was resting on the table. He looked down at the table, oblivious of anything around him at all. He glanced over at me and started to huff again. I could sense that he wanted to talk. I'm not going to lie, I could tell the topic was serious and I started to feel a little panic in the pitt of my stomach. My son is not serious at all. He is many things... charismatic, funny, energetic...  but serious? Nothing makes him more uncomfortable!

I prepared myself...

'Noah, what's up?' I asked him

Noah gulped and he looked up at me with his big beautiful eyes. I could see tears beginning to glisten there and he looked so sad.

'Nothing Mummy... I'm alright!' He replied, looking a little shifty

I stood up from my chair and walked over to where he was sitting, crouched down and cuddled him so tightly. There was something wrong... why wouldn't he tell me?!

'Noah, you look sad! You know that you can tell me anything, don't you?' I asked him as I stroked his hair mid hug.

'Mummy, if I ask you a question, would that be okay?' He whispered.

'Sure, what is it?' I replied calmly, while deep down I was thinking- Crap! parenting is hard when you don't have a clue what is coming next.

'Well, I've been thinking Mummy and I was wondering..."

I nodded happily and pretended not to notice how tense we were both feeling. Deep down, I was majorly freaking out!

' I was wondering...if...who...if...who... Who do you like best, Me or Ellenah? Noah asked me, so innocently as a solitary tear fell upon his cheek.

Nothing prepared me for this moment. In all of the parenting books that I have read which is many... NOTHING! I did not expect this question to come from Noah's mouth ever and I had no clue how to answer it. Much like the time that Noah asked me where babies come from and my reply was basically something about a stork flinging one through your bedroom window!

BUT... I reacted quickly enough I hope. Quickly enough for him to know that I truly don't have a favourite child. I reacted quickly enough to conceal my sudden self doubt. The self doubt that attacked every thing that I am or thought I was, as a mother. Fair, loving, gentle, a good listener and committed. 

I cupped his face in both of my hands and looked into his eyes and said, 'Noah, I like and love you and your little sister the exact same amount. You are both incredibly special to me and words will never describe what you both equally mean to me. Why do you ask that?' I said

'I thought that I was your favourite... but three days ago, Els got more milk in her cereal than I did... I thought that you liked her better than me and it made me sad!' Noah explained

So, effectively, I was tearing myself apart over milk. I was telling myself that Noah doesn't feel loved, I spend too much time with Ellenah, I'm not dividing my affection equally, I treat them differently... I would be the cause of any sibling rivalry because I got something wrong. 

As it happens, Noah has quite obviously inherited my neurotic gene, don't you think? I'm not failing because it is true, I love them both the same. They are both my whole world.

I apologised about the milk and I explained that I loved them both with my whole, entire heart.

'So because you have one heart Mummy and you have two chidden, Me and Els... that means that we each get half of your heart each, right? And that is an equal amount!' Noah questioned... (can you tell that he has been learning fractions at school lately?)

'That's right, half each, the same amount...well done Bubs!' I replied, seeing light at the end of the tunnel to quite an awkward and emotional conversation. 

I could see Noah still quite deep in thought, his eyes looking up to to the sky and a little pout appearing on his mouth. Suddenly, I could see panic strike.....

'Mummy, if you love Me and Els the same amount and we have half of your heart each and it is equal... don't you love Daddy any more?????????'

Oh Shit!!!

Have your little rays of sunshine ever stumped you with any of the constant stream of questions? Surely I can't be alone?!

Lots of Love & Squeezes
x Maria x

Did You Catch My Last Post? - 'Why I Love, Love, Love Easter...'

Are We Friends Yet?

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Why I Love, Love, Love Easter...

As I write this, I am feeling pretty exhausted from a busy week. Between being a mama, work, blogging, vlogging and just life, I am really feeling quite wiped. I am super excited for Easter tomorrow, it is unreal and my children are SUPER excited for Easter tomorrow, it's insane.

I just wanted to talk about some of the reasons why I love Easter Sunday so much. 

1. First of all and above everything, I get a whole day with my little bunch so that we can all be together. There is no rush to be anywhere. We can take the day in our stride. We can spend the day slowly. We can spend the day smiling without any thoughts of having to be elsewhere. I love these chances to be together so much and I appreciate them completely.

2. Chocolate. All bets are off at Easter! If you want to eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner... you can! That means the kids too, that's most of the fun! A day of grubby chocolate covered fingers and chocolate faces are where it's at. It's a nice and fun opportunity to let the little ones lead the way for a while.

3. Appreciation in the air. Whether you celebrate Easter on religious grounds or you are just thankful for a day that you can take to just be- by yourself, with family or friends... there is a sense of appreciation in the air. Aside from the panic over getting all of your Easter Eggs the day before and there being almost riots in the supermarkets to grab that last Creme Egg...Ahem, yep I suck!... there is happiness around! 

4. Tradition. I'll be honest, last year was the first year that my little bunch and I have celebrated Easter. Never before had they come downstairs to a mound of Easter Eggs and hunts. last year, I found myself looking upon people's traditions... as commercial as it may feel when I think about it for too long... I thought to myself that these traditions will actually stick in their children's memories in years to come. I wanted a piece of that! Now, we don't go crazy and fill the house with hundreds of Easter Eggs- just one or two! It feels nice to be a part of a happy day though. It's also nice to fine tune our traditions as the years go on and to have the opportunity to figure out how we prefer to celebrate our lives as a family. I want my Cherubs to have these traditions and memories when they think back on their childhood. It could well be something as simple as a morning stroll in the woods... or like mine as a child, watching 'Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves' at some point on Easter Sunday, along with 'Oliver!'

5. The questions. Noah attends a Church of England Primary School and in the lead up to Easter, the meaning of Easter, according to The Bible has been a massive part of his learning. I enjoy listening to his questions, discussing what he thinks about it and identifying what it means to us, in our lives. Let's be real... at five years old... you know.... the chocolate is a big deal, but it is nice to weave through the story of Easter and allow Noah to take something from it, at the same time allowing him to think for himself and to make up his own mind about his beliefs.  Of course, the morals and messages of the story are positive and I am absolutely happy that Noah has the chance to recognise them.

What does Easter mean to you?

I also wanted to take the chance to say to you lovely people who read my blog and make me so so so unbelievably happy... Have a lovely Easter Sunday whatever you are doing. I hope it is kind to you and you are surrounded by the people that you love the most. I hope you take some time to appreciate all of the lovely things about your day and about your lives. I hope your Easter traditions run smoothly or even better, I hope you are busy creating new ones. Whatever Easter means to you, make your day count and much!

Big Hugs & Easter Cheer 
x Maria x

Did You Catch My Last Post? - The Non-Pinterest Mum & Frogspawn

Are We Friends?