Sob story – I think motherhood has turned me into a cry baby…

My name is Gem and I’m a crier.


It’s that time of year again where I seem to spend most of my days getting emotional about literally everything.

I’m not joking, I don’t think there is a day that goes by at the moment where I don’t ugly cry at something.

It could be an advert about nappies, it could be a rare moment of affection and love between my boys, it could be a new bottle of Gin arriving in the food delivery that sets me off. I really do seem to turn on the waterworks at anything.

I am pretty sure my husband must think that I have finally lost the plot.

The summer term at school is always a hard one. There is loads going on day to day, there’s lots to remember, there’s uncertainty, questions, angst, stress, laughter, memories made, milestones reached and it’s all starting to take it’s toll on me.

I seriously don’t think I used to cry as much pre-kids. I have always been an emotional person (the sort to cry at TV shows and don’t even try to get me to watch Children in Need or suchlike, I just can’t) but I am pretty certain that motherhood has made my tendency to sob worse.

Just last week I think I cried about 15 times. Here are some of the things that set me off, some trivial, some not so;

– Ben telling me thank you at bedtime for giving him cuddles all day.

– All three boys eating the same dinner, sitting for the whole mealtime without me shouting at them for using their cutlery as weapons against each other like they normally do and finishing everything on their plates.

paddling pool brothers

– Listening to a song by someone called Agnes Obel (September Song – it was used in Big Little Lies on Sky Atlantic and I love it)

– Watching my middle one in his class assembly say his lines. For someone that didn’t say ‘Mummy’ until he was 4 and had speech therapy, I always get emotional seeing how far he has come when he does some public speaking.

– Listening to my middle one and his class sing their songs in their class assembly (Lean on by Bill Withers and History by One Direction – both got me right in the feels)

– Thinking about the fact my eldest only has 2 years left at Primary school.

Son being a cool dude

– Thinking about my middle one’s wonderful teacher leaving next week – she is one of the most lovely people I have ever met.

– Reaching the bottom of the washing basket for 2 whole hours.

– Having to say goodbye and go the funeral of my Auntie’s Grandma who was 102 years old – what a woman she was and what changes she saw in her lifetime. The vicar explained that when she was born in 1915, the first ever telephone call happened. Can you imagine the leaps in technology she has lived through, as well as witnessing 2 World Wars?! Astounding.

– Watching the last episode of Breaking Bad (yeah, we were late to the party there but what a series!!!)

– Having an argument with some fondant icing and ripping the head off something I had made in a fit of rage. Somewhat satisfying as well I have to say.

– Panicking about what I need to remember for the last 2 weeks of school and how I am going to fit everything in that I need to get done before the kids finish for summer holidays.

– Looking back at photos of my family and the kids.

Dorset kids on the beach

– My eldest coming out with some hilarious sayings and sounding really grown up. The comedian in me was super proud of his sarcasm, even if it was verging on cheekiness.

– Being told by my husband that a cake I made was actually, quote, “Pretty good”. High praise indeed from him.

Oh man, I’m starting to get all emosh just writing all this down! See, I told you I’m a crier.


 I actually hate the fact I am a crier. It’s super embarrassing.

Every time I feel like I am going to start wailing, I tell myself not to. I give myself a metaphorical slap around the chops and try to pull myself together, but to no avail. I’ll manage for a minute or two and then, once the floodgates have opened, that’s it. I’m like Paul Gascoigne after England crashed out of Italia ’90.

Last week, I knew I was going to cry at Zak’s assembly before I had even seen it. I read the script he was practicing with because I thought I might not find it as emotional if I’d got it all out of my system at home but no, I still sobbed like a lunatic whilst they spoke about being brave moving into year 3, about saying goodbye to their friends and reminiscing about all the fun they’d had as a class over the last 3 years. I was massively thankful that Ben piped up and demanded a piddle towards the end of it because I had snot dripping from my nose and makeup smudged all over myself like a crying clown. What a numpty.

via GIPHY

Brothers

I even looked at techniques online to apparently help stop yourself from crying;

– Pulling your bottom eyelids down (yeah Gem, because that wouldn’t look weird in front of the whole school and all the parents of your son’s class would it…)

– Pinching the bit of skin between your thumb and pointing finger really hard.

– Deep breathing.

– Singing a jolly song in your head (I chose always look on the bright side of life. That was a bad choice – it made me cry).

– Counting in your head.

– Looking up (again Gem, you’d have looked like a bit of an idiot doing that, either like you’re bored or doing some serious soul searching)

None of those things worked. None of them.

Utter bullshit.

I just cannot, stop, sobbing!!!!

Next week when it’s the end of term I am going to be even worse *goes off to google more ‘stop yourself from crying’ techniques*. We have leavers/end of year assembly at school and even though none of my kids are leaving, I will still cry. We have to say goodbye to my middle one’s teacher for good, again I will probably ugly cry in front of her and the entire class. We have to say goodbye to my little one’s preschool manager who is also one of the most lovely people ever (she is off to live in Dubai…noooooo!), the 3 year old has his preschool booster jabs and is going to hate me forever for letting them jab him up and we just have day to day carnage and shit to remember. I think I might be a complete wreck by next Friday and be on intravenous Gin.

I am fully preparing myself for another couple of weeks of snotty nosed sobbing before the summer holidays hit, and then I’ll probably just be crying through stress. Please be kind to me summer holidays…

*Sob*

 Dprset sunset




6 fun or thrifty ideas to keep the kids busy this summer!

As the summer holidays loom ever closer, you’d be forgiven for worrying or not being sure what you and your kids are going to be doing for the entirety of their 6 weeks off.

*Breathe. Breathe. It’ll be ok. It’s only 6 Monday’s…*

I’ve put together 6 simple ideas if you find yourself at a loose end this summer.

Oh, and don’t forget to stock up on the Gin, Wine and Rum. I’m sure stocks run low during the school holidays, it’s best to plan ahead…


Enjoy some sports in the comfort of your own garden or at your local green space…

You don’t have to fork out on expensive equipment or have a garden big enough to fit a full size football pitch in order to enjoy sports at home. Why not head to your local park and practice a bit of golf with an air ball? Why not try booking a local tennis court for an hour or two to find your inner Andy Murray? If you’re lucky enough to have some green space nearby, go old school, use jumpers for goalposts and have a kick about with a picnic after or have a game of Percy Jackson’s Capture the flag? Make sure you have a look on local ‘for sale’ pages for pre-loved sports equipment, or maybe ask to borrow some from a friend? 

If the weather is on your side, the possibilities are endless. And even if it isn’t, why not buy a table tennis net, attach it to your dining table and have a table tennis tournament?!

Bubble popping competitions are also a firm favourite in this house. It’s impossiBUBBLE (see what I did there…) to keep count of how many they have actually popped in a minute but I quite enjoy making it up as I go along and the kids seem happy enough.

 Keeping active is so important for our kids, and hopefully they’ll be so worn out by the end of the day, you’ll be able to put them to bed at 7 and have a well earned drink with your feet up. Forward planning people, forward planning.

Furniture upcycling…

Get the kids a small piece of furniture each, like a cheap stool or a plain pine shelf, and allow them to paint or varnish it themselves. I used to paint shelves all the time as a kid – my poor parents – back in the 90’s when hippy-like Sun, Moon and Stars stuff was in fashion. Very Bohemian. You could maybe order something cheap and cheerful from eBay and get Shiply to deliver it to you if you can’t find anything in a local charity shop or DIY store. You can teach them how to sand the rough edges down and they can choose their own coloured paint. They’ll feel so proud that they helped to make something.

Junior Parkrun…

If you haven’t heard of Parkrun, go take a look! It’s a free event every single weekend in a park near you run by volunteers. The adult Parkrun is 5k every Saturday, and many parks now offer a junior (2k) run on a Sunday too for 4-14 year olds. All you need to do is sign up on the Parkrun website, download your barcodes and off you go. They scan your barcode after crossing the finish line and email you your official time so you can see if you’re improving or just to use to set yourself targets and goals next time you go.

It’s super friendly, free and doesn’t take up too much of your precious weekend.

Find your local Parkrun here!

Take a trip a local farm…

Our family loves going to farms where they can pet and feed the animals. The kids love the play areas they normally have there, seeing the animals and having and, of course, having an ice cream! We like Bockett’s Farm in Surrey (which also has an indoor soft play area should the weather turn) because it has a traditional farm feel with the added bonus of play areas for the kids. We also really love Hobbledown Farm in Epsom, Surrey, which has the most wonderful play areas outside and a brilliant indoor soft play. 

 The entry costs are fairly expensive for these places but you do get a lot for your money and it’s a full day’s worth of fun and entertainment. You can also take a picnic with you to save on the expense.

Get busy in the kitchen…

Find some easy to follow recipes that the kids will love to help make. They could make some pizza dough, and then use that dough later on to make themselves pizza’s for dinner, they could also make some fairy cakes and go mad with the sprinkes and writing icing. If you’re not into baking, why not buy some ready made fairy cakes and decorate those, or even a plain digestive biscuit! You don’t have to be a budding Mary Berry in order to have fun in the kitchen.

During the holidays, making ice cream or lollies at home is also a fun idea and it’s a fab way of sneaking fruit into the kids! Whizz up berries or bananas and see what flavour combinations you can come up with. Coconut milk is a great way of making a creamy ice lolly – and if mummy fancies sneaking a dash of Malibu and some blitzed up passion fruit into her lollies, I can highly recommend it. Pina colada lolly anyone?!

pikachu and emoji biscuits

Cinema afternoon…

If the weather isn’t playing ball and funds are running low, a cinema afternoon at home could be just what you need. Ask the kids to make a seating area or den to sit in to watch the film, draw the curtains to make it dark, get some sweeties, popcorn and make your own slush puppies to enjoy whilst you watch. We have recently indulged in buying an Amazon Firestick along with an Amazon Prime subscription and they have some great films available on there. It’s brilliant!


 What are your favourite things to do at home during the holidays?

As much as I jest, I am looking forward to having the kids home and not having to rush about quite so much.

I hope you all have a happy, and safe, Summer of making memories and having fun together!

 Isle of Skye Seedhead - By Gemma Nuttall


 Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.



Overbearing parenting. Is it impacting on our kids?

 Are overbearing parenting behaviours having a detrimental impact on our children?

Being a parent is tough. Our children mean the world to us, and naturally, we’re always worrying about the dangers they’re exposed to, their prospects in adulthood, and all the ways we might be screwing up. First of all, if you’re worried about your kids, you’re already doing great! However, there’s a point where some parents can become too overbearing, and potentially end up doing more harm than good. Here are some of the overbearing parenting behaviours you need to be wary of.

Let them experience risk…

Yes, it’s our job to protect our children. However, like with anything good we can do for our kids, there’s a limit. Modern day culture has led to a generation of parents who see danger at every turn. Yes, we should teach them to keep away from strangers, and shouldn’t let them play after dark, but you don’t want to wind up insulating them from healthy, risk-taking behaviours. If you’re never letting them go on school trips, or even playing in the woods from the fear of them being out of your sight, you could be making your child more susceptible to phobias that will restrict them in adult life. In some kids, it can make them resentful of your authority, and more likely to try really dangerous behaviours. Pretty sure that was the message of Finding Nemo.

via GIPHY

We can sometimes come to the rescue too quickly…

This is closely linked to our first point, but comes a little later. Many psychologists claim that the modern generation of millennials hasn’t developed the same skills as generation X, due to their parents constantly swooping in and taking care of their problems for them. Obviously, there are times when we should definitely do this, especially when they’re young. However, this also weakens or totally removes the need for them to navigate the various hardships that life throws at us, and figure out ways around problems by themselves. Problem solving is like a muscle that gets stronger the more we exercise it. Sometimes, we need to step back, see how our children fare in the face of challenges, and in turn equip them with the skills they need to deal with problems by themselves. The sooner you take care of this, the more competent your kids will be in adult life.

We can sometimes congratulate them too easily…

Boosting self-esteem has been a staple of western education since the 80s, born from a fear that the baby boomer generation didn’t think highly enough of themselves to achieve their full potential. This “everyone’s a winner” mentality has had some positive effects, but lately it’s been found to have a lot of accidental consequences. When they’re young, the fact that kids are always going to receive praise can eliminate the need for hard work and high achievement. When they figure out it’s only mum and dad who are raving about their achievements, they begin to doubt our objectivity, and the knowledge that all that praise isn’t really linked to reality can make them devalue it. Praise their achievements, but tone it down if it’s something they’re just meant to be doing.

via GIPHY


Disclosure: This is a partnered post.



Get your Bake On: Swirl Meringues

Meringues.

Fluffy, chewy, crispy little morsels of deliciousness. I love the things…possibly a bit too much!

I made these swirled meringues the other day to adorn the top of a birthday cake I made for a friend and everyone seemed to respond well to them and said they looked pretty good. So, I thought I would share my ‘how to’ with you in the form of a video tutorial.

I kid you not folks, this recipe is idiot proof. So idiot proof even I have managed to make them look acceptable.

If you have a bake sale coming up, why not give these bad boys a whirl. They’ll catch everyones eye and they taste great too!

Happy swirling!

(Oh, and if you like what you see and you fancy giving my YouTube channel a like, I would really appreciate it!)


Recipe notes

Ingredients:

4 egg whites

115g Caster Sugar

115g Icing Sugar

Cook/Prep time:

20 minutes prep.

1hr 30min bake.

2hr cooling.

Oven temperature: 100’c (fan)

Yield:

Approximately 12 large meringue cookies, or a mixture of large round ones and small droplet ones.




Big Pink Link #66

It’s time for the #bigpinklink again folks!

Another week has flown by and we are now just 4 weeks away from the Summer Holidays! Eek!

Excitement and apprehension fill me at the same time – and I am currently stock piling Gin in preparation.

4 more weeks of not having a complete hovel as a house, 4 more weeks of not playing referee to three ferrel children for 6 weeks solid, 4 more weeks of sneakily watching some trash TV whilst I clean the house.

So without further ado, onto the WOW’s!


 The first wow chosen by the baking goddess that is Kirsty who blogs over at Winnettes is by the very talented, Tooting Mama.

Kirsty said; “I loved this post by Tooting Mama. I think whatever our shape or body type we all have insecurities, things we would change. Whilst I think it is relatively healthy to want to better yourself with diet and exercise I refuse to allow the media dictate the ‘perfect ’body shape. This has become an even bigger concern for me now I have two daughters. The women discussed in this post really are inspirational”.

The second wow chosen by Kirsty is by Cheryl who writes over at Tea or Wine.

Kirsty said; “This post by Cheryl of Tea or Wine really struck a cord with me. Ellie starts school this year and whilst she hasn’t displayed any real adverse behaviour I know she is anxious about it. Taking a step back and thinking about why school is scary for the kids as well as us parents is so important”.

The first wow by the beautiful Lou from Pink Pear Bear is by the beautiful and heartwrenching Postcards for Findlay

Lou said; “My first WOW is for Postcards from Findlay with an absolutely heartbreaking story. Their beautiful photos will always be missing one person”.

The second wow from Lou is this one by Burnished Chaos .

Lou said; “Finding the positives in the end of precious precious nap times. It’s not all bad folks!”

Help yourselves to a featured post badge you super folks and take a bow!

Pink Pear Bear

And now onto this week’s linkup!

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