A very happy birthday to my first furbaby, Rambo. He is 13 today. I can’t believe he’s been in my life for 13 years, we’ve done so much and seen so many places. It’s gone so quickly.

He is so good, his temperament is just perfect. He’s not a yappy dog. He barks to mark his territory but that’s it. When the kids were toddlers, they would pull his fur out in clumps and he would just lay there. He cleans the other pets in the house and always makes sure the kids are safe at night time. It’s so cute. He’s such a loving, fatherly dog.

This little man is my follower at the moment; more so than normal. He follows me everywhere. If I’m on the loo, he will sit at the bathroom door staring at me. When I’m in the bath, he pushes the door open and sits next to me and stares. Right now, he’s currently snuggling under the duvet.

Let’s hope we can go and explore somewhere new in the summer, with amazing views and miles of countryside. Our favourite.

Thanks for all the adventures Rambo 🐾 and the snuggles! We love you lots.

A very happy birthday to...

I wonder what is going through their tiny minds right now? Do you think they consider things like we do? Do you think they #dream of what’s going on? The kids seem to be taking it all in their stride and albeit they are sad they can’t see their friends, they seem to be just getting on with it.

Whereas, I go through waves of different feelings. I’ve discovered I’m at my best when I just take each day as it comes. When I start to think about things globally, or the time period of lockdowns and when the kids are going back to school... that’s when I start to feel worried and glum.

I worry that my employer will soon say “sorry Sonia we’re not paying you anymore as you’re homeschooling”, or the worry that I’m not teaching my kids correctly and they’re missing too much of their education. Or the impact of isolation on the kiddies at this age, making friendships and building rapport with people.

I hope these are worries over nothing. And I know all of the kiddies in the world are in the same boat. But, as a parent you can’t help but worry.

So for now I’m trying not to think negatively. Trying not to think more than 1 day ahead (except maybe planning Easter Sunday dinner) and I’m trying to keep smiling. So my babies keep smiling.

Keep calm and carry on. Isn’t that the saying!

#mummyphotoaday

I wonder what is going...

This afternoons activity with Daddy looked like lots of fun: they gathered sticks and the kiddies built their own pile of firewood for a camp fire. They then sat around the fire pit to test whose camp fire would flame up the best!

Isla created a very structured camp fire, logical and a pattern to where she placed her sticks. Noahs looked more sporadic but covered a wider area.

Neither camp fires took fire, it was quite windy. So the kiddies enjoyed a hot chocolate and marshmallow around their piles of sticks.

They had fun though and that’s the main thing. I’m loving all of these practical tasks they’re doing with Daddy.

I’ve been waiting, all day, for someone to tell me it’s all a dream and we are still going to Dubai. But, unfortunately, no one jumped out screaming April #fool and alas, we are still at home. I’m gutted.

Lots to look forward to though and right now it’s about focussing on our main objective: stay at home at all times, unless to buy essential food & walk the dogs! I have actually loved being at home everyday. It’s my favourite place.

#mummyphotoaday

This afternoons activity with Daddy...

“We are very excited to try out this new food from Forthglade, it smells woofing delicious” 🐾 Straight from the doggies mouth!

I am very excited to announce that I am a new ambassador for @forthglade. What does that mean? Well, I get to try out the products and tell you all how good they are and get special offers and discounts for my followers too!

It’s such a strange time with lockdown, however finding out about Forthglade couldn’t have come at a better time. When I went to get our usual dog foods in the supermarket it had all sold out. So, resorting to online orders seemed a very natural thing to do to ensure our furbabies are fed.

This food is a minimum of 75% meat or fish and is free from junk. With Snoopy, he has a tummy condition which means we have to be careful what he eats, it’s perfect. We will keep you posted on what they thought! 🐾 #gifted

“We are very excited to...

🌼 April is here and along with it comes another set of photo keywords for #MummyPhotoADay photo challenge.

We should have been flying to Dubai today, so my insta squares would have been very different to what they now will be. I’m expecting to see lots of Spring colours and stay at home families instead this month.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #mummyphotoaday so I can comment and share my favourites throughout the month.

Does anyone have any creative stay at home plans for April?

🌼 April is here and...

My favourite pics from March #MummyPhotoADay - a massive thank you to everyone that took part. We have had a lot of new members this month and it’s been really hard picking my favourite 9! There are now over 4,000 photos to choose from.

All photos are tagged, but from left right:
📷 @cultivatingdelight
📷 @newmummyblog
📷 @confessionsofacrummymummy
📷 @houseofbaughs
📷 @sahrazade
📷 @otisandus.blog
📷 @_lisaslife_
📷 @socalshopgirl384
📷 @descendants_of_war

I’ve really loved seeing photos from @anywaytostayathome, @the_mummy_editorial, @freyalexandra, @becsbrewtifullife & @canonjacq.

All you have to do to join in is add #mummyphotoaday to your caption and the keyword of the day... I’m very excited to see what April has in store for us. Lots of fun “Stay at #Home” themed photos!

Thank you to everyone that joins in 📷

My favourite pics from March...

The kiddies had a lot of fun playing in the bath today. Swimming pools are closed, it’s too cold to get outside in a paddling pool so we put our swimming costumes on and pretended!

The kids had loads of fun making sparkly bath water and foaming soap shapes with @kidsstuffcrazy products. It’s amazing how fun products like this can keep the kiddies entertained for hours.

They literally played in the bath for an hour. The water had gone cold by the time they got out. It was the perfect indoor fun activity, especially as it was wet outside today.

If you’re homeschooling and self isolating with young children why not make a fun bath and invite the kids to make a mess with whatever you have in the bathroom! We also tried to make our own bubble bath using washing up liquid and #citrus juice - it wasn’t a nice smell 😂 the kiddies will try again in the week.

You can get the Magical Sparkle bubble bath and Foaming Soap from Kids Stuff Crazy at @superdrug - check out my review on the blog. #linkinbio

#mummyphotoaday 🧼

The kiddies had a lot...

Today has been a busy day, but nice and chilled at the same time. We let the kiddies have iPad and Xbox time this morning; our homeschool doesn’t give out homework! They built some cool stuff in Minecraft and worked together. Which was nice to see.

After lunch we took a longer walk than in the week, across the river. This is a walking route that is direct from our doorstep and took us 90 minutes in total, part of our one exercise a day under lockdown rules. It was nice to get some fresh air and just talk about whatever comes into our heads. We spoke about a lot of random things. 7 & 9 year olds do come out with some funny comments. Noahs favourites are “would you rathers”. We got home and Daddy made a delicious roast dinner and I did a deep #clean in the bathroom. Then had a long hot bath!

No rush for any of these things as we seemingly have about 12 weeks of working at home and possibly months of homeschooling. I just hope we can have family over soon as we miss them all.

#mummyphotoaday

Today has been a busy...

3 tips to help us understand a childs mind

Our brains are complex things, made up of 100’s of billions of neurons and different parts. I went on a course the other week called “brain leadership” and quite a lot of it can be used to understand the kids, as well as adults. This might be a little technical in places, so I will try and keep it as basic as possible. Here are 3 tips to understanding your children and why they do the things they do… a little insight into a childs mind. 

A doodle of our brains

First things first, I am going to be referring to different parts of the brain. Now I am no way as good as Katie (from Hurrah for Gin) but this is my little stickman doodle of those different parts of the brain: 

So, the main parts I will be referring to are the prefrontal cortex, this is often called the stage, where you balance the conscious/active things on your mind. This lives in the Neocortex section. The lizard part of our brains which is called the reptilian brain and the mammal part of the brain which is called the Limbric brain.

The reptilian part of brain is the oldest part. It controls the body’s vital functions that we are not conscious about: breathing, heart beating, body temperature for example. This is the part of our brains that control the “fight or flight”. So for example someone is about to throw a punch at you – do you run or fight back? You hear something rustling in the bushes next to you, do you run or find out what it is? 

The Limbric part (mammalian) of the brain is the second oldest part. It can be found from the oldest mammals. It can record behaviours and controls our emotions. It controls our values and judgements which often play out in the way we behave. It also looks after our motivation and long term memory. 

The Neocortex is the found in primates and culminated in the human brain. This part of the brain controls our language, abstract thought, imagination and our consciousness. It has infinite learning abilities. It’s amazing. This is what I call the human part of the brian. 

Brains want fairness

I thought this part of the course was fascinating, learning about fairness and why our brains detect unfairness so quickly. In the below monkey video it is very clear to see that the monkey observes he isn’t getting the deluxe fruit treat like the other monkey and after the 1st go refuses to eat his treat. He wants the same as the other monkey. They are doing the same task after all. Have you ever wondered why one child will ask for a drink and the other one immediately says me too. But if the first child hadn’t asked for a drink, the other child would not have? Or, give one child 4 biscuits and the other child 6 and watch a mini war break out between them. 

This is simply because the mammal parts of our brains (Limbric brain) are hardwired to look out for fairness. Back in the days when we evolved from monkeys, we didn’t have the human part of our brains. We were hardwired to want fairness between us. This still sits with us today, but fortunately we have that human section to our brains too. 

Children have no filter

Our prefrontal cortex (the front bit of the brain) is fully developed around 25, so young children have not mastered this. What this means is that they do not have that filter that grown ups have. The prefrontal cortex controls reasoning and planning. This part of our brains regulates our emotions. Children cannot do this as easily as adults because it hasn’t matured for them yet. This is why they come out with comments that we would never dream of saying “out loud”. For example, we went to view a house the other day and it was horrible inside. Noah decided to tell the owner that their house was disgusting and everything was broken! I wanted to shrivel up,  but they just laughed. Thankfully.

They say children learn to use their prefrontal cortex by observing their parents. For example, have you ever shouted at another driver in the car: “stupid idiot” was something I once said. A few months later, we were in a similar situation and Noah repeated what I had said. Learning that a particular situation and emotion means we say “stupid idiot”. I find this stuff so fascinating. 

Brains like routine

Quite simply, our brains like routine and for children who are developing all the time this can only be helpful. 95% of our brains activity is unconscious. When we are following our routines our brains can cope with more. We can multi task better when we are in “auto pilot”. So having a morning routine will obviously help the children to learn what is coming next, but it also means they can cope with something else being thrown in. I suppose the flip side of that is not having a routine means that there will be a melt down if we have to do something different in the mornings. My kids are quite resilient, I put this down to our routines. Not entirely restricted but they can deal with a lot, for example getting out the door 5 minutes earlier than usual because I need to run an errand. They take it all in their stride. 

Did you know when in autopilot mode you can be more creative? If you are struggling to think of something to write or draw, or play try unwinding a little and go back to your routines. Then try again… 

I have not studied this, I am not qualified, the points raised are things I picked up from a leadership course. (Basically I may have got some of this wrong). Do you have any other amazing facts about the brain? I love hearing about it and learning. Please comment below or find me on social media: @mummyconstant

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#SilentSunday 21 January 2018
3 tips to help us understand a childs mind

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