Eight Years… And an Update

8 years and an years ago, almost to the day, I opened a WordPress account and joined the UK parent blogging community. I was pretty sure nobody would really want to read what I had to say, and even more sure that I didn’t want them to either. Now, reading back on old posts is a fairly uncomfortable experience. When I first started to write about my son’s birth I was in a bad place. I mean, a really bad place. Almost at the bottom of the gaping blackness of grief, anger, despair. Almost. Not quite. And while its hard to read back the words that literally spewed themselves onto the pages back then, I cannot ever bring myself to erase them. They’ve been such a huge part of my story, my journey, and my recovery. I used to think I was defined by my story, and that this blog was too. But now I see it. I’m defined by what my story has taught me. I’m defined by the strength I’ve built. I’m defined by every single person who reads my story, who takes the time to say ‘thank you for sharing’ or even ‘how dare you share’; every single person who lifts me, and even those who do not. I can’t pretend that everyone who has been a part of my journey has been a positive force, but in realising that for myself I have learned so much. So for every single person that has been here, in whatever way that may have been: thank you. (more…)

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October is Fall Car Care Month

Did you know that October is Fall Car Care Month? It seems terribly grown up, and yet in the UK we drive as young as 17 years of age- so knowing about the basics of car care can only really be a good thing can’t it? And yet ask the 17 year old me the first thing about how to change a tyre or check the oil and I would have looked at you rather blankly indeed. The truth is, I didn’t learn to drive until I was 26, and even October is Fall Car Care it was under duress. I was pregnant and didn’t want to be lugging a pram on the bus, but I never really wanted to operate a car, and I still have a love/ hate relationship with it all. But the one thing I will not compromise is safety, and that means either understanding what I’m doing or making sure I know someone who does.

I always remember my mum telling me that the most scary thing about driving was the other drivers on the road, and true enough this theory can be applied to most situations. Erratic driver? Keep your distance. Dodgy brake light? Keep your distance. Bald tyres? Yes- keep your distance. I’m lucky enough to have always driven a new car, and to have someone close enough to call when I’ve needed them. That said, I’ve been in some dodgy situations myself- a burst tyre thanks to a rogue pothole being by far the worst. And yes, I’m ashamed to say that I had to flag down someone to help me change the tyre and get me back on the road. For what its worth, if you ever need to pamper your car I highly recommend your visit Iverson Tyres to get your car serviced at amazing rates.

Learning how to look after your car and maintain its condition is so so important. October Fall Car Care month aims to help educate and raise awareness of this, to reduce the number of stranded drivers or- worse- accidents on the roads. Being a nervous (at times) driver, I’m all for this. I hate to drive on unfamiliar roads, but I hate flashing warning lights on my dashboard even more. So lets do something about it! Let me know in the comments what situations you’ve found yourself in as a young driver, and who came to your rescue. Bonus points if you resolved it yourself! And of course, please let me know your top tips for autumn and winter car care- sharing the knowledge spreads the education to all.

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Three Easy Ways to Live a More Eco-friendly Life

Three Ways to Live a More Eco-friendly days its hard to ignore the signs. We, as a nation, are sending more rubbish to landfill than ever before. We’re wasting so much. Water, energy, plastic, time… But living an eco-friendly life is not something beyond our reach, and as a family we’ve made a real effort to make changes in our lives that will go some way to reversing the ticking time bomb we’ve inflicted on the planet. I’m not saying we’re perfect. We have a LONG way to go. But we’re more conscious now, and we’re more likely to make a better decision than we were 5 years ago. We’ve really found that education is key, and its great to see how much the kids know about recycling, reducing waste and eco-friendly options thanks to school, books and TV programs. Recently I asked the little ones what their top tips would be if an alien landed on planet Earth and knew nothing about protecting their new home. Here are our three easy ways to live a more eco-friendly life. (more…)

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First Impressions Count

A few years ago, I found I was really struggling to get my head around being a wife and a mother and having a house to keep in order whilst holding down a full time teaching job. I only had two children then, and thought that life was so busy I needed help and I needed it fast. Ah, if only I’d known then how busy life could really be! I spent some time researching how to get organised, and in doing so I stumbled across a site called Fly Lady. It was filled with tips and ideas for keeping a house straight 24/7 and to be honest so much of it really was not for me- but there was one thing that has struck a chord and has been a house rule ever since. The Fly Lady insisted that first impressions of your home were the most important, and not just to visitors but to yourself too. And all these years later, I still agree with her. The way I feel when I walk into my home sets my mood up in so many ways, and if I walk into a tip I cannot help but feel agitated and annoyed. First impressions count, and in so many ways.

First Impressions’m about to spend a weekend away working with a client at The Baby Show, and as always I’m a little apprehensive about what I’ll return to on Sunday evening. It’s not that I don’t trust Ghostwriterdaddy to keep things in order, it’s more about the fact that we have four children who demand attention in different ways and when we’re forced to solo parent for any length of time there are certain things we have to allow to slide. Housework is usually the first thing that goes when I’m not there, and that’s just the way it is. So while I know that the house will need some TLC when I return, I’m hoping that the Fly Lady’s number one tip will help a little. Here are three ways that you can make that first impression a good one.

Tidy the porch/ entrance area

For years our porch has been the source of grief. SO. MANY. SHOES. And coats. And scooters. And bags. And… you get the idea. Seriously, how do people store these things? We now have pegs and pegs and pegs, and a nice new storage shelf for shoes but we still have other bits and pieces in the porch that drive me mad. That said, I always make sure that porch is tidy before I leave the house, because there is really nothing worse than getting home and not even being able to open the door to come in. Tidy that entrance area and you’re most of the way there.

Create a hallway that invites you in

Another area of the house that tends to be used as a general dumping ground is the hallway just inside the house. Why, oh why do my family feel the need to just leave things in the hallway? Hats, shoes (that should be tidily away in the porch, grrr!) and other bits and pieces that just don’t seem to have a home. The hallway just invites clutter, but if you allow it to build up your first impression is never going to be great. We recently discovered the joy that is a nice, clean and tidy hallway with just a couple of additions. We placed a beautiful console table against the wall with drawers to hide miscellaneous paraphanlia, and I always have fresh flowers on the top to make sure I always have something pretty to look at when I come in. I’ve also added some new plants to the hallway and another set of pegs beside the door for those coats that just won’t fit. It’s working for us.

Always make sure downstairs is tidy before you leave

So if you were to look upstairs, you will see the chaos that is living with four very energetic and playful children. But downstairs is always tidy. I do this for me, and for visitors too. I like to walk into a tidy house when I’ve been out, and if that means dumping everything upstairs on my bed (which is does, every single day) then so be it. I can sort all of that later, but I cannot get back that first impression when I walk into the house. Likewise, if we get impromptu visitors, its nice not to a have to run around apologising for the mess!

This is a collaborative post

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