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The one with the balancing act.

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You’d think I’d have this nailed by now. An almost 12 year old and a 5 year old, technically I’ve been a parent for long enough to be able to keep a balance in life, but sadly I haven’t got it nailed. I’m still struggling with being able to switch between my various ‘sides’ – from being sensible Mum to wife to me.

The bloke and I don’t really get a lot of time on our own, unless you count evenings when they’ve gone to bed, and seeing as GG goes to bed at 9pm most nights, it doesn’t leave much of a gap between her going to bed and me falling asleep on the sofa, so those evenings consist of us eating our dinner, watching a bit of shit telly and going to bed. To sleep.

We had our weekend in Paris obviously, but god that feels like a year ago now (it was nearly 9 weeks ago!) and it went too quick. Now we’re back to the normal routine, work, kids, bed, work, kids, bed, it feels like we’ve gone back to being people who just meet up to discuss child based things and then carry on with our own lives again. Obviously we’re not joined at the hip (and I’d be ready to murder him if we were) but once you’ve become a certain version of yourself, it’s really hard to stop it. Being able to switch off while the kids are in bed takes time (and possibly alcohol) and if you’re knackered anyway, it’s not going to happen.

It’s too easy to be those literal ships that pass in the night, only we’re passing in the morning, usually on the stairs as one of us is going out the door and one of us shouting at smaller people to find their bloody shoes. After a while, that free side of yourself gets buried under ‘parent mode’ and it’s really hard to bring it back out.

We’ve been married for 13 years this year (shit!) so dates are a thing of the past, getting dressed up to meet each other at a bar is never going to happen because we live together, lazy weekends spent in bed – eating breakfast, reading papers and, well, screwing each others brains out are long gone. Even if we did have a weekend to do that, we seem to have lost the ability to lay in, we’ve got things we need to get done without the kids ‘helping’ (you know, clearing the shed, putting shelves up, wild stuff like that) Meals out that don’t include colouring books, iPads, kids meals and mini body guards are a rarity. Trying to spend time together as Mr & Mrs is such a big effort that sometimes we (both) think, do you know what? It’s probably easier not to bother.

NO! That’s not good. I read somewhere once that you only borrow your children, your partner is for keeps. So if you don’t put as much effort into your relationship as you do with your kids, then you’re going to be screwed. And this time not literally. It’s too easy to be lazy, to take things for granted but in the end that isn’t going to work. Leave that shed at the end of the garden to go rotten and fall apart because it’s easier than spending the day fixing & varnishing it, then you’re gonna have to take that shed down and build a whole new one. Not that I’m a shed but you get my drift.

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When you’re telling kids off for leaving washing here there and everywhere, tidy more bedrooms than you actually sleep in, do homework (again) and constantly have a washing basket full to bursting you don’t really show your sexy side. The bloke walks in the door and I practically throw the kids at him & he thinks “yeah cheers for that” we’re not exactly exuding passion. Obviously we love those little pests more than life itself but sometimes we need to stop & remember that we’re both in our 30’s and we need to concentrate on us as much as we concentrate on them. We also need to step back and remember not to tell each other off for the things we tell the kids off for! Kids, budgets, jobs, responsibilities, they’re all very grown up & everyone needs time off from being an adult once in a while.

How do people do it? Hire regular, weekly/monthly babysitters? Take holidays without kids? (er, major guilt trip couldn’t do more than a weekend!) It’s hard enough making time to see our mates when one can stay home with the kids & leave the other in bed to recover from hangovers, it’s practically impossible to both do it at the same time! It’s got to be done though, I need to start dating the bloke again, before I turn into Nanny sodding McPhee.

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Story of my life.

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Hold up. This is a proper post, not a review or even a sponsored post, this is a sit down, and take some time to actually write real words post. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Also, it’s probably a bit deeper than usual. Soz.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, this year started off with me being determined to focus on the good stuff, to create the life that I’ve been going on about forever and here we are at the end of April in the blink of an eye. Everyone says life needs purpose, I tell the kids that they need to do things that make them happy, even if their friends seem to be doing the complete opposite to what that is. But I felt like I was coasting along, doing the odd thing here and there to bring in the money, but none of it was what I really wanted to do. I had so many excuses ready for why I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, money, kids, time, too old, too late, take too long, blah x 3. When I was working full time (pre kids) I was never the kind of person who wanted to be a stay at home mum, but, I had the babies and they were too gorgeous to leave them (and, let’s be honest, the cost of childcare would be covered by me working and that would be it) so I stayed home with them, watched them grow and become these two little people that are now out in the world doing things without me! Argh!

Now they’re bigger I have the time to do what I want to do & I’m doing it. I finally signed up for the first in a long line of courses that I need to complete (and pass) in order to be a fully trained Sexual Psychotherapist. I’m actually taking the steps I’ve spent god knows how long talking about. The kids went back to school on Tuesday, and I spent the whole day at my desk studying. The day went by so fast, I got so involved in what I was reading and learning that it was pick up time before I knew it, no TV, no radio, no distractions. And I bloody loved it.

I want to do something with my life, to leave a mark, to have something that’s mine, that I worked for all by myself, for myself. I want my kids to see how good it is to work hard for something that makes you feel passionate and proud. For the first time in a long time I feel like I know where I’m heading as ‘me’ – which means I’m happier in every other aspect of my life. It’s a win win.

 

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Framing your Instagram images with Inkifi

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Did I tell you I went to Paris last month? I didn’t? Are you sure….!?

Anyway. I did. And while I was there I took a million and one photos on my phone, which, were of course, uploaded to Instagram. Because I am addicted to Instagram, which I’m also sure you’ve noticed! So when I was given the chance to look at the Inkifi range of products I was all over it! Unlike some companies, they don’t just offer standard square prints, they print cards, posters, books and framed or unframed photos. I picked a framed print (in white) and decided to make a collage of my favourite photographs from Paris.

The site is really easy to use, and they also have an app. The hardest part for me was deciding how many images to include in my print (you can choose from 1, 4, 9 or 16 images) and which images to use! I would normally go for photos of the kids but I wanted something remember Paris with, that was special to me and the man.

The way the print turned out was fab, they emailed me a proof so I could check it over (this is an optional extra, you don’t need to do that) and I just made one tiny adjustment, moving the Eiffel Tower out from the centre and putting us in there, and it was good to go. The quality of the images is amazing, I’ve had some instagram prints that have looked grainy but these are perfect. I love the site, and I think next on my list of products will be the square prints and the greetings cards, the square prints will look perfect lined up on my photo shelf.

Inkifi offer free UK shipping and the delivery is quick! If you’re an Insta-Addict, this website could be dangerous!

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PR Sample

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Boujies London Candles

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Anyone who knows me in real life will know I have a candle obsession. When I was younger it used to be about the shape of the candle, I had houses, flowers, animals, and more. They were never lit, just placed on shelves to look pretty. (When I say younger I mean pre-teens!) Now, I am all about luxury candles, the kind that smell amazing, and fill the room. And as much as I like to keep them, once one has finished, I move onto the next. No more saving!

I was introduced to Boujies London at Christmas last year when my Sister and BIL bought us a natural wax candle and room diffuser in Black Dahlia. They are independent perfumers & luxury candle makers, founded in Spitalfields market in 2009. They wanted to re-discover the natural artistry of British perfumery and develop a range of luxury fragrances, all made in England.

I am in love with this brand. Not only are the candles (and room diffusers) amazing, but the packaging is too. The candles come in a variety of containers, such as gold and stainless steel, all embossed with the logo on the lid, or the side. Then they are placed inside boxes inspired by antique English hatboxes, I literally didn’t want to throw anything away! I’ve kept the boxes for trinkets, and once I have finished with the larger steel container from Christmas, I will be using it for make up goodies!

The gorgeous Chelsea Flowers candle that I was sent is like a tiny tin of expensive paint! Once you’ve opened the lid (with a knife, just like a paint pot) you are met with a fresh, flowery, almost summertime scent. With top notes of gardenia blossom, freesia, peony, tuberose and orange blossom blended with a base of vetiver, cashmere woods and musk.

The candles are reasonably priced, starting at £14 for the smaller pots, ranging all the way up to £68 for gift sets.

The whole Boujies London range can be found here.

PR Sample

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With this ring…

The man and I have been married for 13 years this year. My god. I just had to calculate that in my head to make sure I wasn’t adding it up wrong! Thirteen years!!

We (it was my idea obviously!) always wanted to renew our vows when we got to 10 years, but that anniversary came and went without even so much as a blink of an eye and I just didn’t get my finger out to organise it. I’d like to think that we might do it on our 15th wedding anniversary, 20th seems too far away! It happens that our 15th wedding anniversary falls in the same year that I turn 35 and he turns 40 (cough, that’s forty!) we’ve already decided we want to hit New York together for a long weekend for a joint celebration, so it could be a good year for partying!

When I think back to our wedding day, I can remember it all clearly, every second of it, my Dad standing on the back of my dress (both feet) and not knowing if he should jump or hop! (poor sod!) The car being late to pick me up, head butting the seat in front when it stopped suddenly (never mind whiplash I was more concerned that my tiara was knocked sideways!) to the beautiful speeches & the shoes coming off so I could dance! The whole thing was amazing. But, if I was to do it now, it would all be different, but only style wise. My dress would be different, my shoes would be different. And my wedding & engagement rings would certainly be different! Since buying them, all those years ago, I’ve become allergic to them, which really upsets me.

I’m allergic to the nickel in the wedding ring, apparently gold that’s older than a certain year (way to make us feel old!) has a higher nickel content. My engagement ring is white gold, but my skin reacts to the rhodium. So out of three gorgeous rings, I can only wear my eternity ring. Had I known that I would be reacting to them within hours of putting them on, I would have gone for a titanium ring that is suitable for people with allergies. Of all the things I can be allergic to, it has to be expensive jewellery. Says it all really doesn’t it!

Because I have small hands and fingers, I’m thinking of investing in a diamond set wedding ring, which will replace the engagement and wedding band. I can keep it thin enough to sit nicely on my finger net to my eternity ring. Something like this eternity ring. Or this one! The Man is still able to wear his wedding ring (luckily!) but when I do change mine, we want to have matching ones again, he would want something plain, simple and stylish like these men’s platinum wedding rings.

PicMonkey Collage

We actually got married in December, even though it was a beautiful day, we even had a rainbow over the house as my dad and I left, but all the pictures that make me want to re-do it are summer scenes, so I’m thinking a beautiful day in late July or early August, nothing massive, just a ceremony to celebrate fifteen years (or more) of being married to my best friend. I know GG wants us to do it, but that’s so she can be a bridesmaid again! TB is convinced he’s going to marry me when he’s older so he might not be too happy with the idea but I’m sure I can persuade him with the promise of a new tie! (He’s obsessed with wearing ties like grown ups!)

Yup, the more I think about it, the more I want to do it. And we all know I love a project!

Thank you to Wedding Rings Direct for giving me new ideas & something other than hand operations to think about! See my disclosure page for more info.

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Guilty.

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Hands up if you’re the type of person who always feels guilty. *hands up*

If you’re the type of person who tiptoes around others in case you offend them, or say something that they might disagree with. If you’re the type of person who worries too much about what other people think and not enough about what you think.

Yeah, my hands are still up.

You know the things, loving a top but wondering what other people will think about you in it, rather than how you actually  feel about yourself in it. Wanting to say something to someone but biting your tongue because you might rock a boat that you don’t even want to be on. Being paranoid that people are talking about you behind your back, because you dared to think or act differently.

Jesus it’s the biggest pain in the arse ever.

Living my life, for the benefit of others. Makes no sense at all does it? It means I’m not actually living my life at all, what a bloody waste! I am not the type of person who sits around waiting for someone to do something, if it doesn’t get done, I’ll do it myself, but yet somehow I find myself putting me behind everyone else.

Here’s the big thing. No one else cares about the things you care about. And I mean that in the nicest way. Does anyone really care if I wear a yellow jumper? No, of course they don’t! They’re all too busy worrying about the green/blue/pink jumper they want to wear but feel like they shouldn’t. Does anyone notice if I pick up a pair of size 14 jeans rather than a 12? Nope. They’re too busy looking at their own reflection and hoping they look ok. Basically, what I think everyone is judging *me* on, they’re really judging themselves on. We’re all too blinkered to really notice anyone else. I certainly wouldn’t judge someone for having a difference of opinion, so why would I assume they judge me?

It’s exhausting, it really is. And, in the spirit of trying 12 new things during 2014, here’s one of them. I’m going to stop feeling guilty about things. I’m going to say no, and stick with no if that’s what I want and mean. I’m not going to be emotionally bullied into things, if someone doesn’t like what I have to say, then that’s their issue not mine. I won’t go out of my way to be rude (unless you’re taking a leisurely stroll around Sainsburys in which case I will be damn rude) but I won’t be censoring myself in a way that means I don’t get to be me. I am who I am, their choice is to take it or leave it.

Scary steps to take, but pretty important ones I think. I can’t stop people judging me but I can stop it from affecting me. What difference to my life does it make if someone ‘thinks’ something bad about me? None whatsoever! Time doesn’t stop, the world doesn’t stop spinning, my kids don’t stop shouting, everything carries on as it always has. And that’s how I am going to react from now on. With nothing.

Wish me luck.

 

 

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