We all live in a #yellow... pop up tent! A yellow... pop up tent. A yellow... pop up tent. 🎵 Not a submarine in our back garden today.

Daddy pitched this yellow pop up tent in the garden and the kiddies sat in it for ages. It was moved to various shady areas throughout the afternoon, but served its purpose of entertaining the kids for a while.

Now, what you may not be able to tell from this photo is that this tent is not very wide. They had to lay in a foetal position and couldn’t stretch their legs out. For some reason this tickled me. Seeing their feet poking through the sides every now and again!

It’s the small things that make me smile. The @myhousethismonth challenge today is 5 things about me, so here’s 5 things that made me smile today:

1 ~ the yellow pop up tent
2 ~ watching Gary Barlow and his Croony collabs
3 ~ Isla and Daddy’s delicious homemade brownie
4 ~ Noah & Isla watching #GBBO & their comments about the celebrity bakes
5 ~ I got something finished for work this afternoon (made me feel productive)

What about you? What’s your 5 things that made you smile today... #mummyphotoaday #mygardenthismonth #myhousethismonth

We all live in a...

I usually get a lot of feedback about our front garden, but as no one is going to see it in all it’s glory: I’ll post a photo or two! It’s full of life and colour.

In the last few days everything has decided to #flower, the tulips have come out in yellow and red, the hyacinth is popping up in purple and white... and so many other pretty flowers and plants, that I don’t know!

I’ve set myself a task to find out what the other plants and flowers are. Without asking my family. I will just double check with them once I’ve guessed. I’m sure I annoy them constantly with my “what’s this?” what’s app messages.

I inherited this garden from the previous owners. The late husband was a professional gardener/landscaper and you can tell. I have things in the garden that are not popular and the established borders are set out perfectly. They loved in it from brand new. So, this is a definite “grow your own“, I just need to master the upkeep now!

I’ve got a lot of learning to do and I’m determined to understand these gardens by the end of the Spring.

You can just make out the camellia in the last photo. I can’t wait for that to bloom fully, it’s a stunning flower and brightens up the view from our living room.

#mummyphotoaday

I usually get a lot...

Today, we had another day in the garden. Some chill time and lots of fun with an #activity or two! Happy Sunday.

Daddy and I moved the old patio and rubble (which will have to live in our garden until the recycling centres open back up) and I think we’ve hidden it rather well. If you spot it I’ll be most impressed.

Where the rubble had been is now where you can see the outdoor dining area. It’s been out of action all winter, which we wouldn’t have used in any case. It’s opened the garden up even more now we’ve cleaned it all! It’s amazing how much space this garden has.

When we bought the house, the garden was full of stuff: rockery, pond, vege patch, pagoda and a 10ft greenhouse. It made the garden feel quite small, it’s amazing what a bit of hard work and a little vision can achieve. I knew this garden had the potential to be a perfect family space.

I cut the grass, tidied up some more of the bushes and watered everything. Whilst the kiddies played this game... they love it. But they do get rather competitive!

What activities have you been up to today?

#mummyphotoaday

Today, we had another day...

We made the most of the day today and it feels good! Whilst Daddy finished off the final 13 patio slabs (which look incredible), I sorted the garden.

I pruned all the bushes, weeded the flower beds, got rid of a lot of thorny weedyness, painted the potting shed door and filled an entire green bin. 😂 I even trimmed the grass edge with grass scissors.

I am loving the garden more and more. I hope that the sun keeps on shining so that we can get it looking how we want before Summer. Making the most of #lockdown. It was lovely as our neighbours on either side, both over 60, offered advice and help today. Deano nearly ran out of sand and one neighbour dropped some over the fence. It’s nice to have a sense of community even though we are all in our homes.

We’re looking forward to playing in the garden tomorrow and making the most of this space.

#mummyphotoaday 
#myhousethismonth #mygardenthismonth

We made the most of...

We have joined the rest of the country and made a #rainbow design in our living room window. The kids have drawn one on a piece of paper and also used window felt pens to design a 🌈 on the pane itself. It looks pretty. The kiddies are very happy with them. They lit up when the neighbours asked for them to make them rainbows for the window.

I love this part of the front garden, you can just see the flowers are about to bloom any day now. Daffodils are hiding in amongst the tulips, hyacinths full of a deep purple, the Heather has come up a nice reddy purple too. By the front door there is a sea of purple from the aster (I think that’s what they are). Can you see the beautiful Camellia to the left of the kiddies too? It’s about to bloom with its bright pink flowers. The yellow Jasmine is just starting to grow on the right side of the kiddies, can you see it climbing up the wall?

There’s so much going on. It looks beautiful. I don’t remember it looking this pretty last Spring. Maybe I didn’t pay much attention. Or maybe these things have grown from random seeds I planted last year and forgot about. I can’t remember what I planted though 🤦🏼‍♀️ Does anyone else do that?

Have you seen many rainbows in the window of people’s homes?

#mummyphotoaday

We have joined the rest...

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...

Tips for having fun with your fellow mums

Raising a young family is a stressful and complicated process. That is why you need to have plenty of people that you can rely on when times get tough. Otherwise, you may find it a real struggle to cope with the demands of being a parent. When you are establishing your social circle, it is especially important that you find people who can understand your situation. This will help you to avoid judgement or unsolicited and unhelpful pieces of advice. If you are determined to strengthen the connection that you share with your fellow mums, you will need to put the work in. Below are seven tips to help you make this happen.

Enjoy grown-up activities

If you are going to bond with your fellow mums, it is important that your relationship exists outside of your children. Although it is important to think about your kids, it is also important to have friendships that don’t rely on the presence of your little ones. That is why you should look out for adult activities that you can enjoy together. One option is to treat all of your fellow mums to Escape Room gift cards. This is the perfect opportunity for you to put your mind to the test and to enjoy an adrenaline fuelled activity. It is also a great chance for you to bond with your friends away from the school gates or the local play area.

Give everyone the chance to take control

If you are part of a large group of mums, you need to make sure that everyone has the chance to take the lead. Why not take it in turns to choose a different activity? You could also take a vote on the time of day that you are meeting, the mode of transport you are using, and the choice of refreshments. If you are going to make a success of your plans, it is vital that you are sympathetic to everyone’s specific situation. You need to remember that everyone has a different schedule and a different set of responsibilities. Letting other people take the lead will also help you to learn about your fellow mums and their interests. It might be fun to see them in a different environment and to step outside of your own comfort zone.

Think about your budget

In order to ensure that no one feels left out, you need to think carefully about your budget. Make sure that you have a mixture of thrifty and more expensive activities available. Perhaps some nights you could stay in and have a home movie night. Or maybe you could enjoy a fun picnic in the park. One option is to meet every week and to do something small scale. Then, at the end of the month, you could enjoy one big activity that costs a little more. This is the perfect opportunity for you, and your mummy friends, to get the best of both worlds.

Think about your kids

Another vital step is to think about your kids. This will help everyone in the group to relax and to avoid any mummy guilt about having fun. One option is to find activities that are suitable for both adults and children. You could get crafty, go on a walk as a big group, or visit your local play area. You should also make plans for your children whenever you are planning to leave them at home. You could organise a fun movie night, throw together an exciting slumber party, or prepare them tasty snacks. You should also work hard to find a reliable childminder that everyone in your group is happy with. Having all of your children in one place will give your little ones the chance to make new friends. It will also help you to save on the cost of childcare and to feel more confident in your decision to venture out.

Embrace the opportunity to get dressed up

If you are busy raising a young family, you might not get too many opportunities to get dressed up. That is why you should embrace the chance to get out of your sweatpants and baggy jumpers. Even in the cold winter months, it is still possible to go out in style. You could even plan a giant shopping trip with your mummy friends and buy yourselves a new outfit. Just make sure that you are pushing yourself to experiment with new styles and doing your bit to boost your confidence levels.

Get your partners involved in the process

You should also make sure to get your partners involved in the process. This will help them to have a great social life as well. It will be much easier for you to maintain your social calendar, if you know the same people and get along as part of a big group. One of the best ways for you to get your other half involved is by arranging your own come dine with me. Each couple can take in turns to prepare a delicious meal and a night of entertainment. Then, once everyone has had a go, you can give a prize to the best night. Just make sure that the votes are anonymous and the competition doesn’t get out of hand. Another idea is to compete in physical activities such as a half marathon or a charity walk.

Keep it up

Whatever you do, just make sure that you keep up your efforts. If you are going to establish meaningful relationships, you will need to work at them. Why not create a schedule to put up on your fridge or on your family notice board? You could also download an app to manage your activities. This will help you to stay on top of your schedule. You could also sign up to something binding such as a gym membership. Then, you and your mummy friends will have an incentive to meet on a regular basis.

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Wednesday 3 January 2018
Tips for having fun with your fellow mums

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