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Mental health & Wellbeing

Ways to help with mental health and anxiety during the Corona Virus

This is a very difficult time that we are all facing and as well as looking after our physical health we need to also think about our mental health. A lot of us are going to be put into situations we are not used to being in and will find isolation a challenging time. I wanted to share a few tips / ideas to help anyone that is feeling overwhelmed by the current situation to find some calm. 

Read a book

By taking time out to read a book this can really help your mind relax and for a period of time forget about your worries. As the saying goes ‘ lose yourself in a good book’. I always find reading takes my mind off things and helps me relax. Reading is especially good before bed as it will help you to sleep better. 

If you have run out of books and are unable to go out to get a new one then why not look at kindle books. You can download the kindle app for free on phones and tablets and then using the kindle store you can have access to purchase thousands of books to read instantly. There are also so many indie authors with great kindle books at amazing prices.

Take a break from the news

I think we have all got caught up in the media storm around the Corona Virus and are constantly checking the news to see what the latest updates are. I am not normally one for the news but even I have found myself checking over and over again for updates and it can be so overwhelming. 

If you find it is getting too much then taking a break from the news and social media can help. I don’t mean cut yourself off completely but have a good few hours a day where you completely blank out the news and anything to do with the Corona virus.

Listen to Music

Music is a great way to relax and try and take your mind off things for a bit. Although try and stay away from the radio as this will have lots of news and updates and you want to get away from listening to these if you want to relax. Even putting the music on and having a dance around will be a great benefit especially if you have little ones at home they can join in to.

Exercise

I think exercise is going to be a key part in us all being able to stay sane during this tough time. 

While you are able to get out and enjoy walks or runs in the fresh air as much as possible, please do make sure you stick to the current health guidelines and stay safe when out. 

If you are self-isolating then setting a regular exercise routine is going to be crucial. It is so easy especially when at home to brush off exercising and finding the energy to exercise can be hard. However if you do manage to be motivated and keep exercising then you will find you have a lot more energy not to mention feel happier. When we exercise our bodies release endorphins which can trigger a positive feeling in the body.

A few ways you can exercise when self-isolating – 

  • Exercise from online videos. Youtube has lots of great workout videos including the Body Coach. If you want to sign up to more of a class where you have someone helping you stay motivated try signing up to an online exercise platform.  A lady I follow Laura Bland runs a online health and fitness business and with the way things are at the moment you will find a lot of your usual exercise clubs are going online like a local one to me FitClub has done.
  • Indoor walking. Being indoors it is easy to sit for long periods of time without moving so to combat this why not set yourself an hourly alarm to get up and walk around your house a set number of times. 
  • If you have stairs in your home and are able to walk up and down the stairs a few times. You can see how many times you can do it and then increase it by 1 extra time everyday.
  • Dancing is a great way to exercise and is fun too. Just put on your favourite tunes and dance away until your heart’s content. 

Be Creative

Being creative and taking part in any kind of art can really help with mental health and can be a great distraction when times are tough. This could be in the form of colouring, drawing, painting, knitting, story writing and even photography and if you are finding yourself homeschooling children then these are activities you can all do together. Being creative is my go to activity when I am feeling stressed, my favourites are photography, writing and painting. 

Connect with people

Self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to shut yourself off from the world just away physically from it. You can still connect with people over the phone, txt, social media or by video calling, so make it a priority to speak with at least one person a day that is not in quarantine with you. This could be family members or friends and speaking with them will not only benefit you but will help them too. Social media is a great way to connect you with like minded people from all over the world and can help you feel that you are not alone. However do remember if you do start to feel overwhelmed again ensure you take a break from it.

Self-care

In these tough times it is more important now to ensure you are regularly practising self-care. Just by setting a side a bit of time everyday to carry out some self-care can really have a positive effect on your mental health. Some of the ways you can do this include –

  • have a bath
  • take a tea break
  • meditate
  • exercise

Take a look at my post self care tips for busy parents for some more ways to practice self-care.

Just remember that you are not alone we are all in this together.

Why not also take a look at my other posts –

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Indoor crafts and activities for children

How to make a pompom rug

How to make decoupage hearts

Self Care tips for busy parents

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Parenting Advice

It is OK to have a lazy day every now and then.

I always feel that on weekends and especially on Bank holiday weekends our family should be doing something special like visiting a new place, going on a beautiful walk, making something or doing an activity.

I often feel that if we haven’t done something that day then it has been wasted and I have let everyone down. Today was one of those days, I wanted for us all to go out and make some memories but no one really wanted to move. All of us were knackered, the weather was cold, we don’t have a lot of money as we are going on holiday in 2 weeks and we just couldn’t be bothered.

I think social media plays a huge part in making us feel like we should be doing more as you only really see post when people/families have done something or gone somewhere exciting you don’t see people posting that they spent the day watching telly and doing the washing. However the real-life truth is we can’t do all these things all the time we have to have the boring days of doing nothing to be able to enjoy and look forward to the fun days.

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At first I was worried that my girls were missing out on an opportunity to do something over the bank holiday but then I looked at them chilled out playing on the computers and I then realised that they need days like these, they are happy and not moaning and we could all do with a down day there is nothing wrong with having one every now and again..

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So instead the girls all played computer games, I did the housework and then we did a bit of roller skating. Even though we didn’t go anywhere we still all had a good day. It also means we were able to save money so we will now have a bit more to spend and enjoy our holiday with.

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Why not also take a look at my other posts –

New Years Health & Fitness Routines – Why they don’t work and what we should be doing.

Body Image / Body Confidence photo shoot

Love the Skin you’re in

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poems

A Poem for An Amazing Mum

Mum you will always be by my side,

With the unconditional love that you provide,

Millions of kisses you have showered upon me,

To your family you are a true devotee,

You are my saviour through dark times,

That is why I love you longtime.

Categories
Parenting Advice

All parents make mistakes!!

It is the dreaded swimming lessons this evening!!

This got me thinking about the times recently at swimming when I have had epic parent fails and I wanted to share these with you all to highlight the fact they we all make mistakes when it comes to parenting. 

My parent fails at swimming lessons!

When we first changed to evening swimming lessons I missed judged the time of dinner and my little munchkin ended up being sick in the pool. The whole pool had to be evacuated and closed down for the evening. That was a day I wish the ground would have swallowed me up. A major fail!!

The second time was when Alexa was getting out of the pool and I went to get her into the shower only to find I had forgotten to pack a towel and our swimming pool doesn’t sell them either. I ended up using my jumper to try and dry her. Fail!!

The third time was the week after the previous towel incident we were running late for swimming and I was rushing to get the girls out the door. This time I had triple checked the bag to make sure I had everything in there. Just as I was about to leave one of the girls was struggling with their laces so I put the bag down and did their lace up then we rushed off in the car to swimming.

Although we were initially late leaving we managed to get in to the car park with 5 mins to spare I was feeling quite chuffed that I had made it and then we went to get out the car and my smugness was wiped away when I realised I had left the bag at home with her costume and everything in. Fail!!

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It’s OK to make mistakes!

At the time I felt like an epic failure as a parent, I was annoyed with myself and couldn’t believe how I kept getting it wrong but now I look back and I laugh. I even reminisce with the kids about those times and we all laugh about them together.  If I think about the whole 11 years I have been a parent I could probably fill a whole page with times that I have failed.

It is so easy as parents to get caught up in the worries of doing the right thing for our children and feeling bad for the times that we have failed that we forget that everyone makes mistakes especially with the stress of caring for little ones. You can’t be the perfect parent all the time and that is OK. One bad day or in my case 3 doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent or a failure. 

I would love to hear some of your parent fails we all have them. Please do share in the comments below.

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Parenting Advice

I Miss The Hugs

Last night we were all watching a film together and I was laying on the sofa when my youngest came and snuggled up with me and I ended up falling asleep. That is until she found my phone and started taking selfies of us (little monkey).

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Snuggling up to her on the sofa made me realise how much I miss the days when they were younger, when they would all be fighting to snuggle up to me. I used to barely be able to see the TV through the sea of kids that had engulfed me but I never minded I usually end up falling asleep cuddling all three of them anyway.

Now they all sit as far away from each other as they can and only when it is cold do we snuggle under the blanket together, my youngest is still willing to give me a hug but the other two are harder to persuade. They also are more interested in watching their tablets now than the TV. 

The only times they want to hug me is when it is time to go to bed and they know hugs are like Kryptonite to me as they weaken me down. Child are very clever and mine have figured out that I can never resist a hug from them and by giving me a hug it delays bedtime for a couple of minutes.

They also use hugs when I ask them to do something. I will say “go pick your coat up of the floor”, “ok, but I want to give you a hug first”, they say as they wrap their little arms around me. Then it becomes so hard to peel them off me to get them to do what I asked when I don’t want to let the hug end.

To receive true long snuggles with my girls they either have to be ill or extremely tired and then only a mum hug will do. Which I am always straight on hand to offer however at the same time I can’t really enjoy the snuggles as I don’t like to see them ill and if they are tired I feel bad keeping them up so late.

I do so miss when they were small, I miss their new baby smell, smooth cheek’s and their squishable chunky baby thighs. I miss their little curly hairs and most of all I miss curling up with them on the sofa after a long day.

I also miss taking them to the park and pushing them on the swing for hours. Our nearest park now is next to the house so they take themselves there and play with all their friends from our street, so me coming along is not cool.

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I did once go in and offer to push them on the basket swing and there was 5-6 kids piling on this swing at a time and after about 5 mins of pushing I was spent and I had to make a quick retreat back inside. Although we still do go to the park together and play football and push them on the swings these are only on outings and not at the everyday park trips.

When I look back to their younger years I have no regrets about the time we spend together although I had to work full time the hours I did get to spend with them were well spend and I do have so many fond memories of them being small. I know I hear it all the time but honestly they grow up so quickly. It only seems like yesterday that we did everything together and went to the park almost daily now they just don’t need me as much and at times it feels weird.

However it does make me appreciate family time that little bit more and the hugs that I do get as I don’t know how many years I have left of snuggles and of us all going out together as a family before I lose them to going out with friends instead.

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Categories
Guest Posts Parenting Advice

Lisa Norman shares her story on the premature birth of her son Neil!

Lisa Norman shares with us her heart wrenching story about the difficulties and trauma they went through when their son Neil was born prematurely. Lisa is an amazing woman as you will read from her story, she has also set up her own business Presents for Preemies to help others with premature babies.

Guest Blog

My introduction to motherhood was a quite a shock from how I had it all pictured in my head. I pictured a radiant pregnancy glow, my reality was feeling tired and nauseated all the time. I pictured the prefect bump, my reality was that you couldn’t tell I was pregnant until I was about 28 weeks. I pictured a calm water birth, in reality the exact opposite happened!

Early in my pregnancy I was told by the midwife that I had PAAP-A. In short it is a protein deficiency in the placenta that can cause various issues in a pregnancy. I was told not to worry though as they were unlikely and that from 30 weeks I would have extra scans to check my baby was growing as he should.

I was so uncomfortable as my baby boy was sitting really low and he was putting a lot of pressure on my hips and spine. I was attending aqua antenatal classes and pregnancy exercise classes as well as regular acupuncture. I was miserable and was really looking forward to my baby arriving. What I wasn’t expecting was that he would be arriving early and urgently. 

I arrived at the hospital for my first routine scan at exactly 30 weeks pregnant. There was no parking so my husband dropped me off and I went in for my scan on my own. The sonographer soon told me to tell my husband to park in the 10 minute bay and quickly left the room to tell security she had instructed him to park there. 

My husband entered the room, sat down and we were given the news that our baby had a lot of fluid on his tummy that shouldn’t be there and his heart was beating too quickly. The sonographer had already sent the scan up to a team to assess. We were asked to wait while she went to get the results of their decision. It felt like an eternity! 

The sonographer entered the room and said I was going up to theatre now! She was practically

running down the corridor and I was struggling to keep up, she saw this and slowed down. I was in tears and as we got in the lift my husband gave me a huge hug, blocking me from the sonographer who was crying herself.

I was rushed into theatre for an emergency c-section. My husband had been warned while they were prepping me for surgery that they didn’t think our son was not likely to survive delivery. Once he was born we didn’t hear a thing, the room was silent. No baby cry and no staff talking. We were then told that our son was alive and that we could see him for a minute before they took him away. We weren’t allowed to touch him, just look through an incubator window.

In that minute I was so in love and in awe of the tiny little thing trying to look back at me. Then he was gone. We spent the next 73 days on 2 different neonatal units whilst they treated my son, Neil, for Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) and Hydrops. The first 4 weeks we didn’t know from day to day if he was going to survive. The fifth week was the turning point, Neil was now under more specialised doctors who tweaked his medication and miraculously this tweak worked.

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Pictures provided by Lisa Norman 

Neil went from strength to strength and we were eventually told that there was nothing they weren’t doing at the hospital that we couldn’t do ourselves at home. We were finally going to go home! It was strange at first but felt so right. Four days later though disaster struck. Neil was in my husband’s arms and he suddenly went limp. He was completely lifeless and turning blue. 

My husband is a police officer and regularly trained to do CPR. Neither of us thought we would ever be performing this act on our own child though. My husband started with the rescue breaths whilst I rang 999. Initially we didn’t think we were going to get Neil back but just as the ambulance turned onto our street Neil whimpered with a sign of life. We were blue lighted back to hospital where we would spend a further week. This was to be Neil’s first battle with bronchiolitis.

Neil is now 2 and although his heart and lung condition mean many trips to the hospital for both routine appointments and urgent children’s ward access he is getting bigger and stronger every day. I haven’t told my story for sympathy or to scare anyone. I have told my story because all this took its toll. It may not surprise you that I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. Being a mum is amazing and the best thing in the world. It is also quite scary at times. I hear so many mum’s who put themselves at the bottom of the to-do list. I am here to say to those mums please don’t! It’s such a tough job but it’s even tougher if you don’t look after yourself.

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Pictures provided by Lisa Norman and taken by Forever Green Photography

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was the right route for me and after many sessions I felt a lot better and was able to handle things much better. I went on to set up my own business, Presents For Preemies and most recently I have become an Amazon number 1 best-selling author. I don’t profess to always look after myself the way I should but by putting myself a little higher on my to-do list just for a few days has made me a much better mother and reminded me I can also be Lisa occasionally too!

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Pictures provided by Lisa Norman and taken by Forever Green Photography

Links

www.presentsforpreemies.co.uk

www.facebook.com/PresentsForPreemies

www.instagram.com/presents_for_preemies

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Pictures provided by Lisa Norman and taken by Forever Green Photography

Why not take a look other inspirational interviews –

Interview with award winning glass engraver Steven Lee

Interview with Cat at Cat Creation

Interview with children’s publisher Justin Davis

Cassandra Farren’s heartbreaking story ‘I’ve lost my mum’

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought

Categories
Parenting Advice

The horrors of slime

Aggrrggghhh is what springs to mind when I hear or see slime, this stuff is driving me mad.

From slime to putty to the self-made bluetac, soap, flour and anything else they can find concoctions it is everywhere and a growing craze. Whoever started off this craze and thought it was a good idea to start selling slime in all the toy shops clearly doesn’t have children and has never had to try and get this stuff out of a carpet or worse hair.

At first I would not let my children have any slime/putty as I hate the stuff and they don’t look after anything so I was worried that I would find it stuck everywhere.

I then found out that all the children without slime were taking the school bluetac and making their own. I walked in and found my youngest child with this blutac slime melted all over her hands and it was really hard to get off. This is when I decided that I would get them a tub of real putty as I thought it would be better than their homemade stuff.

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After seeing the putty I thought that I had found the solution as this stuff is fine to play with in the house it stays together and if dropped as long as it is not trodden on it can be picked up easily and best of all it doesn’t melt in their hands. I was happy they were happy win, win.

Fast forward to this morning when I get up to find flour all over my kitchen side when I quizzed them to why they have had the flour out it turns out that they have all been making their own slime concoctions at school and sharing it between the kids in the class.

Lia had a pot of something that was once blu tac but now a dark blue squishy mess that she had been adding flour and soap to this morning and Bella had another ball of homemade slime that her friend gave her. Luckily I caught them at the right time as when I took it off them it was so sticky it was all over my fingers and took me a while to get it off, thankfully they had not got it anywhere around the house or the carpet. This is the stuff of nightmares.

The same morning I get a text message from my friend as her daughter in Lia’s class has ended up with this homemade stuff stuck in her hair. The poor girl had to have a clump of hair cut out as it was just not coming out no matter what her mum tried. I have found out as well that another mum had to throw away 2 of her child’s cardigans as they had been ruined by slime getting all over it.

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From now on I will be on slime patrol checking their pockets before they enter the house and confiscating any that I find except the official putty that I bought them. I am hoping that this craze will be short lived. I wish they would go back to the fidget spinners craze that was so much simpler.

Who else is being tormented by the horrors of slime, maybe we should start a partiction to make it illegal?

Please share your slime horror stories. 

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

How to Make a Pom-Pom Rug

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

Salt Dough Beach Keepsakes

Last summer we spent a lot of time at the beach with the kids. On our last trip we ended up with loads of shells, stones, driftwood and sand. We had buckets and bags full not to mention the few extra that I found hidden in the girls pockets when it came to washing their clothes.

The big question was what to do with all this beach memorabilia? 

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That’s when I saw a post about using salt dough shapes then adding shells to them. This was a great idea but I didn’t just want them lying around so I decided that we would make them into hanging decorations and fridge magnets as keepsakes to remember our day at the beach.

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The kids went through their hull of shells and stones and picked out the best ones that they wanted to use. We then made a batch of salt dough and to make it more authentic I added the sand that was in the bottom of the bucket to the salt dough mixture. This gave it a great look and texture.  I already had some craft ribbon that I picked up from our local craft store and I found some cheap small magnets on Amazon.

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How to make Salt Dough Beach Shell Keepsakes

Step 1. Take a trip to the beach and get collecting.

Step 2. Sort through your collection and pick out the items you want to use then give them a good wash.

Step 3. Make your salt dough – One a cup of flour, half a cup of salt and half a cup of water. I then added some of the left over sand from the bucket to give the dough more of a beach feel. Then knead the mixture together until you have a dough.

Step 4. Roll out your salt dough about a cm thick and using a cookie cutter cut your dough into shapes.

Step 5. If you want them to hang make a hole in the top or if they are for the fridge, gently push the magnet into the back so half of the magnet is still sticking out.

Step 6. Add your shells and anything else that you have collected to your salt dough. To add to the keepsake I wrote the beach name and the year we went. I did this with a cocktail stick doing little dots next to each other in the shape of the words then gently pushing the dots together to form the letters alternatively you could use letter stamps or just wait for it to dry and write on your salt dough keepsake with a sharpie.

Step 7. Let your salt dough air dry, we left ours over night.

Step 8. I then went over them all with Mod Podge to seal them and give them a nice glazed look. Then leave them to dry.

The fridge magnet ones I found didn’t hold very well so I added a small bit of super glue then put the magnet back in the hole. For the hanging ones I tied together with the craft ribbon.

Step 9. Hang up and enjoy.

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If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

How to Make a Pom-Pom Rug

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.