BRITISH MUMS SPEND MORE ON TOYS THAN ANYONE ELSE

When we were children, Christmas just couldn’t come fast enough, could it? The thrill of opening presents delivered by Santa was second to none. But when we have children of our own, our excitement shifts to them. We no longer look forward to opening gifts from others (well, maybe one or two), but jump out of bed to see the eyes of our little ones light up as they see their toys piled under the tree.

Our friends at what2buy4kids.co.uk have been doing some research, and it just so happens that British mums and dads are mad for giving gifts, spending more on toys for our children each year than our American and European neighbours.

Interestingly, we’re not content with buying presents just once a year and are constantly looking for new occasions to dote on the people we love; from Father’s Day to our child passing a tough exam.

After all, they’re worth every penny!

 

*Collaborative Post.

Dylan – you are 2 years old (A letter to my son)

My Darling Dylan,

You are now two years old. What a fantastic year it’s been since your last birthday. You’ve taught me so much in the last year. Despite me already having experience as as parent I have had to learn a whole new skill set with you. I have learnt to have more patience, to be more understanding and to learn the art of gentle discipline.

You make me laugh out loud every single day with your crazy personality. You laugh and you play in the most innocent way, you really are the most beautiful little boy.

For the last 6 months we’ve all come to realise that patience isn’t one of your strong points. You lose your temper quite easily and can quickly turn from being a happy, smiley little boy in to a little devil. You have the most almighty tantrums and we joke that we all need to take cover when you’re in the middle of one. We also all know that it’s your age that’s to blame for the outbursts and it will soon pass (Please let it be sooner rather than later!).

Your birthday was on Monday and you received lots and lots of lovely toys. You absolutely love Thomas the tank engine and dinosaurs and most of your new toys followed that theme. You were spoilt by family and friends. We had a little party for you the day before your birthday to celebrate and you enjoyed being the centre of attention.

You still love your food. Your day revolves a lot around food and it’s one of my bargaining tools. I can usually get you to do something by offering food as a result. Everyone around you knows you love your food and it’s something you’re known well for. “Where ever food is, Dylan will be”.

You are really close to your sister still and you love her a lot although I have found you arguing a bit more recently. Usually over a toy. It’s not long before you’re laughing and joking together though.

Your personality couldn’t be more different to Katie’s. She is outgoing, confident and very self assured. You are a lot more reserved. You dislike being in a crowded room and it takes you a short while to come out of your shell. You are also frightened of a lot of things that Katie loves to do such as swimming and soft play.  It’s fine, it’s what makes you unique as a person and we handle you completely different to your sister.

We all love you so much Dylan, you brighten up our lives by being in it. There was a short period in the beginning where we feared you may not be apart of our lives at all and it still fills me with dread just thinking about it but you are a fighter – always have been, probably always will be. That’s what makes you so special.

You have your two year check up with the liver consultant in a couple of weeks time and we are all hoping and praying that you get the all clear and they can finally discharge you from their care. It’s something I look forward to and will finally be able to draw a line under it all once and for all.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 12 months has in store for us, I hope it brings you as much joy as you bring me. My beautiful, blonde haired wild child.

Happy Birthday sweetheart!

 

 

XXX

 

And just like that, you started School!

As I write this, you have just finished your first week of school. The first week of your new beginning. We’re all a little bit tired and frazzled from the crazy week we’ve just endured but you’ve gone to bed buzzing from your exciting week of making new friends and exploring your classroom.

How did this time come round so fast? The last four years have brought us so many happy memories and milestones but this feels like the biggest milestone of all. You were so ready for it though. As we put you to bed on Monday night with your uniform hung up and your book bag ready to go, you were gleaming. You’ve counted this day down for the last 6 weeks, asking us how many sleeps there were until you started.

I was so happy that you were happy, but I had a lot of anxieties around you starting that I hope didn’t show. Would you be OK? Would you manage the toilet OK? What happens if you are a bit upset? Would someone comfort you? I didn’t need to worry, you were absolutely fine! You skipped out of class every day excited to show me all the things you’d done and all the friends you’ve made. It’s funny, but it’s like you’ve grown up in the last few days.

On your first day Daddy, Dylan and I dropped you off. There was a sea of chaos and chatter sounding the classroom as everyone tried to work out where to go and what to do but you hung your coat up and sat straight down at the colouring table. Both myself and Daddy felt very emotional about leaving you but we held it together and said goodbye. We spent the next couple of hours wondering how you were getting on and wondering what you were up to. We picked you up a couple of hours later and took you out for dinner to celebrate your first day and the fact that you handled it so well. You little superstar!

It feels strange without you here during the day. The house is quieter as it’s just me and Dylan. I know he has missed you this week but he will learn to adapt without you during the day. We both will. We are all learning new routines this week and it’s been hard but worth it.

You make us so proud and we are so lucky to have you as our daughter. I want everyone in your school to see what a lovely little girl you are and what a beautiful soul you have. I can’t wait to see what this next chapter in your life brings us. Your school years have only just started Katie, enjoy every minute of them!

I’ll see you at the school gates sweetheart xx

 

 

 

 

Time management as a busy mum

Time is something we all wish we had more of.  As a busy mum of two who works part time, runs a blog and manages the home, time is the one thing in life that I wish I could extend. There have been many days where I look at my watch to realise that it’s already the afternoon when I thought it was still mid morning and wondering where those precious few hours went.

As a mum I find myself juggling my schedule on a daily basis. There’s always something to do and somewhere to go (hello, 3 hospital appointments in one week!) and if I’m not organised enough I can very easily become over whelmed and that’s when all those plates that I’m juggling suddenly drop.

I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve tried (and failed) to get up super super early the next morning to finish what I started the day before and it becomes a burden. I sit there annoyed with myself that I can’t get my act together when everyone else can. Why is it that every other mum out there can handle all this stuff and I can’t!? Why is it that with all this stuff to do and organise, am I finding myself scrawling through Instagram when I should be sorting the laundry or writing a blog post. With Katie starting school next week *sob* my life is only going to become more chaotic with school runs and so on.

So I decided enough was enough. The procrastination was over with. I’ve started to manage my time better in the day which keeps me organised and in turn helps me achieve everything I set out to do in that day. Now, I’m not perfect by any means and the changes I have made are still a work in progress but I have found that they have helped me enormously so I want to share them with you too.

  1.  GET A JOURNAL

I’ve recently invested in a journal. Nope, not your regular diary. I mean, a full on Journal. I found with a diary I’d just write important dates down, shut the book and put it back in my bag, never to be looked at again! I would forget so much stuff! Especially since I have 4 peoples schedules to think about. With the journal I bought (TKMaxx £9.99 if your wondering) It has a full month to view page, space for reminders and to do lists and STICKERS – It has STICKERS! OK, so stickers aren’t completely necessary but they look pretty. Having everything written down in one place has really really helped me organise my month better as I can see it all in front of me at once and it means I can work out what I need to be doing and when I have the time to do it.

2. LISTS LISTS LISTS

Going on from a Journal, I have been writing lists lately. Lots of lists for everything. I was useless at lists before. I’d have a “list” in my head of what I needed to achieve that day or the shopping I needed to get and subsequently I’d forget it. Now every morning I write a list of everything I want to achieve that day and tick it off as I go. It keeps me focused and makes me feel productive when I do tick it as done. I bought a cute little list book so it keeps it all together but it means I can tear it off and take it with me if needed. Keep your lists short. Don’t write too much that you can’t achieve it in one day otherwise you’ll feel like a failure and that’s not what we’re aiming for! Short and sweet!

 

3. A LOAD A DAY KEEPS THE BACKLOG AWAY

This applies to anything that builds up frequently. In my house it’s 3 things. Laundry, Dishes and rubbish. Therefore I have started to do a load every day. I put a load of laundry in the washing machine, I load the dishwasher up and I get a carrier bag and go around the house collecting rubbish for the dustbin. I try to do this 1st thing in the morning then it’s done for the day. I find that if I leave it, it builds up and takes even longer to do. Get it done then it’s done.

 

4. PREPARE

Do you race around in the morning trying to find the lost shoe or the missing hairbrush? Yeah, me too. It’s SO stressful and turns me in to shouty mum. No one wants to meet shouty mum, she’s no fun at all. She’s grumpy and she mutters things under her breath that she really shouldn’t be muttering! Therefore I have started to try and prepare the things that I will need for that day the night before. Now, this is something that I REALLY need to practice what I preach. I still forget to do this sometimes but when I do prepare it makes my mornings so much easier and makes me have a lot more time on my hands. I fully pledge to do this every night once Katie starts school.

5. HAVE”ME TIME”

I know this is all about getting things done and ticking off lists, but creating time in my day when I make a bit of time for myself helps me feel in control of everything around me. If I get to have some time in the day when I am doing something for me then I feel more refreshed and more like I’ve juggled everything and not left myself out. Sometimes it can be something small like catching up on a TV programme or reading a magazine and other times it can be a full blown couple of hours at the gym but what ever it is, it’s something for me. It stops me from feeling frazzled or resentful that I’m working for everyone else except myself. Having time to yourself is equally as important as making time for everything else so don’t ignore it!

So there we have it. These are my top tips for time management. Do these sound familiar to you? How do you manage your time and stay in control of your life?

I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Katie – You are 4 years old (A letter to my Daughter)

My darling Katie,

You are 4 years old. In actual fact, as I write this you are 4 years and 2 months old.

This last year has been amazing and you have gone from your toddler years and grown in to a proper little girl.

We are so proud of you and the little lady you are becoming.

You have just finished your time at Nursery and you are patiently waiting to start school in September. You are so excited for it, and I know you’re ready for it. You made lots of lovely friends at Nursery and were very happy and settled where you were. It’s such a shame that you have now all parted ways and will go to different schools. I know you will make lots of new friends in your new school though as you are a very confident, chatty and outgoing little girl so I don’t ever worry about that.

You were so excited about turning 4. It was a milestone you were desperate to reach. Almost like it confirmed that you were a “big girl”. It will never matter how old you get, you will always be my little girl.

Your party was at a local soft play center and you invited all of your friends. You had so much fun and enjoyed being the center of attention!

You’ve always been so clever, Katie. I’m sure every mum says that about their children, but you really are. You are inspired by life and take in all your surroundings. You are inquisitive and you remember everything that is told to you and everything that happens to you.  You can count to 100 and you are currently learning the alphabet. You practice your writing and letters on a daily basis and feel confident in writing your name and your brothers.

Being 4 is such a bittersweet age for a mum. It’s sad to realise that your baby and toddler years are very far behind you but it’s exciting to know how much of your life you have ahead of you and how many exciting times we have to come.

You are the sweetest, most caring little girl I have ever come across. You take in to consideration everyone’s feelings and are so kind towards people. You really are a beautiful little soul.

We spend most of our days outdoors as this is your favorite place to be. Whether you are running, climbing, jumping, cycling, scooting or playing football you are always on the go. You are very sporty – a trait you DEFINITELY don’t get from me and your current life ambition is to be a gymnast or a footballer (although this changes on a weekly basis).

Daddy bought you a season ticket for Sheffield United this year so you now spend your Saturday’s with him at Bramall Lane and you love it. You love the 1-2-1 time you get as a Daddy/Daughter team and you love to watch the game. Your other hobbies include colouring and crafting.

We couldn’t be prouder of you sweetheart. I look forward to seeing what the next 12 months have in store for us.

We love you so much!