Being human…

Humans-–-Matt-Haig

I read a book over the weekend. Let me just state that again: I-READ-A-BOOK-OVER-THE-WEEKEND. It’s news in my world simply because I think I’ve probably managed to read about 2 books in the last year, so mentally crowded is my life with the demands of motherhood and work and (lately) commuting and threenage tantrums combined with a general need to spend the two hours of the day I have to myself vegetating in front of the iPlayer.

I guess that must say something about this book. It’s called The Humans and it’s written by a guy called Matt Haig. I’ve read one of his other books, The Radleys, but I bought this one for my sister as a gift a while ago after reading an intriguing review. It just so happens that she gave it a rave review herself and recently lent me her copy – an actual hard copy as well (I’m so used to reading everything on Kindle nowadays).

read more

Eleven Things

Eleven Things

Well this is embarrassing. It’s almost exactly eight months since I was tagged by Sarah over at Run Jump Scrap to answer eleven questions that she had set for the Eleven Things challenge. I immediately set to work thinking about my answers with every intention of getting the answers out there and then… I forgot. I guess life got in the way. Any hoo, here it is, I’m finally doing it! Enjoy.

1) Name three people dead or alive you would have dinner with and why?

I seem to recall spending longer on this one than on any of the others because I just kept changing my mind. Now I’m not sure I remember who I decided on except I think I definitely chose Douglas Adams, the genius behind The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because of his lovely British sense of humour and obvious intelligence. The other two would have to be JK Rowling for a bit of a pep talk on just blinking well getting some ideas together and writing even if you have got your hands full as a mum, and obviously my girl crush, Caitlin Moran – funny, intelligent, down to earth and clearly the kind of person who would liven up even the dullest party! (Not that my dinner party would be dull of course 😉 )

read more

Five ways in which motherhood has changed my life for the better

Five ways motherhood...Any given choice we make is a matter of swings and roundabouts (or, if my children had their way, slides and climbing frames) – we’re all different and no-one has the key to a perfect life. Having said that, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the parenting journey over the years and wondered, for a while, whether I was just another stupid idiot who had foolishly succumbed to that irritating ticking – you know: the biological clock.

You may read a lot of wonderful reports about the ‘overwhelming love’ that children bring into your life* but then again you may read tales of woe centred around any number of challenges that parenthood throws up on an almost daily basis. They bring us to our knees some days. I haven’t seen the light at the end of the tunnel but I have seen the end of my tether. Regularly.

read more

Why do we love lists?

List lovingIf you’re a blogger, or even if you’ve ever just browsed the online media, you will be well aware that one of the most popular formats for a post/news-related story is the ubiquitous list.

I am sticking this very post on to one of my own favourite linkies from the parenting/lifestyle niche – aptly entitled ‘The List’ – so I’m sure a few readers may also be fascinated by this phenomenon!

Personally I like making lists as I’m sure do many people – a to-do list provides a written reference to a set of (hopefully!) attainable goals and gives you some accountability and structure in how you organise your time.

read more

Best little things lately

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the ten things I need more of in my life and it included everything from coconut oil to exercise to sleep. A lot of it had to do with brain chemistry and the things we do to help flood our little noggins with the good stuff.

I was intending to follow up and go into more detail about each item on that list and/or provide a little update on how I was doing. Needless to say I was massively enthusiastic for the first two days – I even went to bed two nights in a row listening to my Headspace meditation (I know, I know, you’re supposed to do it fully awake sitting upright in a chair but it actually sent me off to sleep and that was one of the other goals on the list so I figure I’m winning one way or the other!). However there are a couple of points on that list that haven’t really touched upon yet – one of which being gratitude.

read more

Ten things to improve my life, health and happiness

Brain chemistry

I guess it’s true that we all need more of something in our lives because life can be a balancing act on a set of wobbly scales. The thoughts I am gathering together here are in no way unique – I’m not claiming to be either a scientist, nutritionist or healer but I am fascinated by brain science (the easily understood version), and the way in which the choices we make about what we put into our bodies, our thought patterns and our actions can trigger brain chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins – all of which add up to a natural high, a feeling of well-being and peace with who we are and where we’re at in life.

read more

Why my blog is like my third baby

Mother of three

Funny how a lot of us dedicated parent bloggers often utter those words “my blog is like my other baby”. Last time I read that it got me thinking – why exactly do we say that? And I thought I’d make a little comparison:

  1. My blog was conceived on a bit of a wing and a prayer – I didn’t know anything about blogging. This is even more true of my journey into parenthood – you enter a whole new world and you rarely know what you are doing, you just know that you want to keep the baby alive.
  2. There are things you need to learn in order to be successful in this endeavour – with a baby you discover the world of ‘latching’ and, in getting to know your baby, you learn to intuit what works and what doesn’t when it comes to pacification. With your blog you discover linkies, stats, SEO etc, etc, all the things you need to make your little online space an ongoing concern, and you learn to intuit which kind of post actually makes you feel like you have an engaged readership.
  3. When you have a baby you quickly learn about the best products – be it those sanity-saving Avent dummies or that Baby Bjorn carrier that allows you to actually sit down and eat some beans over your baby’s head. With blogging you get to know which are the best apps and plugins you need in order to ‘optimise’ and successfully promote your little labour of love.
  4. As your child grows you do everything in your power to give him or her the very best opportunities in life and you feel so proud when you see them achieve all those little goals. Ditto your blog – you push for your blog to achieve something measurable in the blogosphere and feel incredibly satisfied when feedback comes in that people are impressed and really enjoy your work and compliment you on your writing or photography.
  5. You discover that there is a whole new group of friends who are going through the exact same set of challenges and emotions when you have a child… And also when you have a blog.
  6. Being a parent is an ongoing concern – something which pretty much seeps into every corner of your life and, when the kids are young, that means you will probably at the very least, think about them every single day no matter what else you are doing. If you have a living blog then you will spend a very large proportion of your time and typically evey single day thinking about it in one way or another – whether it be obligation, intention, inspiration or just an adoring little mental stroke of your blog’s head.

So there it is. My third baby – I just hope I don’t turn my back for too long one day and find my blog casually dangling from the bookshelves of Twitter or sliding down the bannisters of Facebook. You’ve got to have eyes in the back of your head/on every single social network these days.

read more

Taking stock in June

Happy June

It’s funny how easy it can be to slip back into feelings of inadequacy – particularly in this weird and wonderful world of blogging where it is difficult not to be constantly comparing yourself to others even though you know that what you are seeing and reading is just the top layer of other peoples’ complicated lives. When I get into this mindset – the feeling that I’ve missed the boat with a career – that I should have learned to go out and grab everything that life had to offer years ago even if it meant assertiveness training, hypnotherapy or just a willingness to go out and try and fail – then I know that it’s time to put the brakes on and completely re-focus on the all the amazing positives in my life. So here are my reasons to be grateful in June:

read more

Friends, freebies and food for thought at Britmums Live 2015

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of days, you’ll know that this weekend saw one of the UK’s biggest blogging events – Britmums Live in London. I had never been before (although I bought a ticket last year and then promptly forgot the date and booked a holiday at the same time – d’oh!).

Last year I avidly scrolled through the photos, watching other bloggers get the chance to meet, bond, laugh and relax. For some it was a rare opportunity to have a day (or two) off the otherwise endless round of parenting duties, for some it was the opportunity to improve their knowledge of everything from working with brands to branding themselves. As soon as Britmums 2014 was over I immediately booked myself a ‘Super Early-bird’ ticket for BML 2015 – I just knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

read more

The Psychology of the bucket list

Bucket list

Recently I was asked by the lovely Reneé of Mummy Tries to write a guest post about me and my blog. She has broken it down into a few questions, one of which is “tell us three goals you’d like to tick off your bucket list before you reach your next big birthday”.  At that point I realised one thing – I didn’t have a bucket list, never had. It’s always seemed a bit like a cheesy, jump on the band wagon kind of thing to do. But in the interests of fulfilling Reneé’s request, I had a bit of a mental rummage to see what I could come up with.

read more