DAD TALK – January, Here I Come!

I was really looking forward to Christmas this year, it really seemed to creep up on us quickly although we were as prepared as we have ever been. It felt different, calm relaxed almost peaceful.

It started well with my first park run on the Saturday before although being my first run in a crowd for a long while and I spent the night before quite anxious about seeing people again after a while. It appears any anxiety was unfounded and it was just that needless worries.

Christmas Eve was the same a very relaxed day and a few trips out and last minute preparations and we were good to go. Santa had checked the area for squeaky floor boards and hidden hazards, children were in bed and as far as we could tell asleep, so I decided to take my medication one being sleep inducing and then disaster struck footsteps, talking 3 awake😩. Children were resettled but unfortunately not sufficiently enough for Santa to come and said medication was taking effect. I was trying to fight it but in the end I don’t remember it happening but I was fast asleep. I awoke in a panic, what time was it? were children awake? had Santa been? luckily on this occasion I believe Mrs Claus had stepped in and saved the day, PHEW!

Now normally we have so many presents under the tree being a family of 8 that we decided to try and manage it this year with just stockings and one main present, and friends and family bought experiences such as horse riding lessons etc. We ourselves went down the electrical item route, although I don’t agree in using it as a babysitter it does have some really good points. The children love using audible and the family ability on the iCloud is superb so that they can access everybody’s music and film. They also have some excellent teaching apps that they find fun and imformative and with the right restrictions I have no problem with it. After all it really is a different world now! So when we came downstairs at a respectable 6-15 (happy with that) the tree was full but not overflowing with boundless plastic items and hoards of unnecessary items to add to the already overflowing playroom. We still had the game of catch up for thank you notes, now who was that from, did you read the label, and that’s lovely.

Christmas Day lunch was lovely and even better as we didn’t have to lift a finger, glorious! Also the obligatory Boxing Day Hare and Hounds run through countless streams, bogs, forest and the dreaded Horsford drewary whilst this year dressed as Bertie Bassett all in the name of charity. Although didn’t feel very charitable when our navigator, who shall remain nameless, got us lost in the woods adding an extra 2 1/2 miles on to the already tortuous run. Then with family games (although losing my Monopoly crown to the new property mogul 8 year old Neve) woodland wet boggy walks and forthcoming visits to and from family the week flew by. Probably our most relaxed enjoyable Christmas ever, I think it may have to do with not having the mass of expectations on having the perfect day it all just flowed from one day to the next.

New Year’s Eve we have our own tradition of playing lots of games a buffet tea and we wrap up prizes so each child gets a couple of gifts. We thought about taping fireworks on the early news and putting clocks forward (tricksy parenting) but as it was everyone was in bed by 10, Happy New Year!

As you will know from previous blogs I am suffering from a bit of depression due to a back injury and although my back is no closer to being resolved my resolutions involved my mental health. I’m still finding it really hard in the mornings so my resolutions are to have my alarm for 6.30 ( the Harry Potter alarm clock I got for Christmas #iknow will come in handy here). We have a mile loop around our house which I will run giving me motivation and wellbeing. This will also knock onto showering and breakfast and ready for work by 7:30 it’s a win win. So hopefully 2018 will see my back resolved, medication not needed, running back to normal, excess weight lost but most important I will get back to being myself.

Happy New Year, all the best for 2018!

New Year Goals

Christmas is gone, the tree is down and there is a whole new year ahead of us.  January is full of hope, opportunity and excitement.  2017 has been kind to me in so many ways but equally it has been a very testing year physically and emotionally.  I will say goodbye and breathe a sigh of relief that the year is finished.  What will 2018 bring?  I have absolutely no idea!

Every year since I can remember I have set myself goals on New Year’s Eve, and this year is no different.  So here they are, I’ve tried to be realistic and not set the bar too high!

 

No Spend January

This is something I’ve done for the last few years.  I don’t buy anything in January unless it is absolutely necessary – that includes going into the sales!!

 

Writing in a Journal

I’d had my eye of Fearne Cotton’s Happy Journal for a while and I was lucky enough to get it for Christmas.  I’m so excited to get started on it, I’ve even bought a new pen (stationery Nerd!)  A chance to write joy into everyday and let go of perfect.

 

Declutter

Although we had a massive clear out when we moved house 10 months ago the house needs a blinking good sort out.  Each room feels muddled and there are piles of ‘things’ everywhere!

 

Look After Myself

You cannot pour from an empty kettle.  Enough said!

 

Healthy Eating

Be more conscious of what I and we are eating as a family.  I don’t like to say the word diet, but……..

 

To Wear Everything In My Wardrobe Atleast Once

I have a ridiculous amount of clothes yet always manage to wear the same few outfits.  Wear it or lose it!

 

To Wear Lipstick

I don’t mean a bright red one!  My Nanny always said you can change your mood by putting on a lipstick, so this one’s for her.

 

Be Grateful

A mushy one – Be grateful for everything I have, everyday even when life is difficult.

 

Happy 2018 to you all and a massive thank you for following me and my ramblings x

 

Larger Family Christmas

The things I love most about Christmas are food, family/friends and of course presents!  It’s a time for magic on the most spectacular scale with people coming together and showing impressive acts of kindness and love.

Having a larger family makes the festive season even better, and here are my top 5 reasons:-

We have a ready made party, without having to invite anyone round!

With a family of 8 every occasion/birthday is a party.  Put up some balloons, party poppers and banners and da da da you have a party right there.  You don’t have to worry about asking anyone else, and at times (let’s be honest) you don’t want to have to ‘entertain’ other people but if you do, it’s not long before you’re into double figures – the more the merrier!

 

Want To Play A Game?

Christmas is the board game and Let’s Dance season in our house and there is always someone who wants to play.  There doesn’t need to be any compulsory Mum and Dad playing (although Mr H doesn’t need to be asked twice and is a Let’s Dance Ninja!) as there’s enough children to play.  One year we a had Sing Star competition, it’s surprising how competitive you can get against your own children (and husband!).

 

Soooo Many Presents

No, not all for me, in fact very few of them are for me or Mr H but combined the family present count is HUGE.  8 people, an average of 7 presents each = 56 presents under the tree, and I can tell you that looks pretty special.

 

There Is Always Food

We have a huge number of buffets over the festive period and it’s always an impressive spread.  These are my favourite mealtimes, we have proper party food where cheese and pineapple on a stick are compulsory.  Whether it’s leftovers, food specially prepared, a present we’ve been given or snuffled food from Nanny’s house we have food galore.  There’s always someone willing to prepare it (put it on a plate) and eat it!  Chances are with 6 children, someone will always be hungry.

 

We’re All Believers

For the past 15 years there’s always been a tiny person in our house, so there is always Christmas magic by the bucket full.  For the ones who have reached ‘that age’ they keep the magic alive for the younger ones and join in with all the fun.

 

Christmas Is Coming!

December is upon us and we are officially in the Festive Season.  It is now acceptable to eat and drink ridiculous amounts of sweets, mince pies, shortbread and mulled wine each and every day whilst eating chocolate for breakfast – what’s not to love?!?

We headed to Blicking Hall in Norfolk where the house and gardens have been lit up with thousands of lights for Christmas.  I have to be honest, although it’s December I haven’t been feeling as “festive” as I wanted to but this has kicked it off BIG TIME!!!

It was busy and we had to wait to get into the carpark but it was well worth it.   The house was colourfully lit up and there were small Christmas Trees all the way down the driveway.  The gardens and courtyard were a sea of lights and there were Christmas songs playing, it would have been rude not to sing along!

All the lights led on from each other naturally taking you around the gardens into the walled gardens and back to the front of the house.  There were Venison Burgers, Mulled Wine, Soup and Hot drinks available at several pop-up cafes along the way as well as the main restaurant being open.

 

The children loved finding all of Father Christmas’ reindeers that were all around the gardens and we’re even going to try and have a go at building our own at home!

There was a real air of Christmas Magic and it has really kick started our Christmas.  No children were lost, minimal tantrums and no injuries, so I think that’s a successful trip.

If you live nearby it’s really worth a visit.  Christmas at Blickling is open until 10th December, 11am-6pm and if you’re a member of the National Trust, it’s FREE!

 

DAD TALK – Light At The End Of The Tunnel

As I write this I’m lying in bed in my work clothes pain shooting down my back and my mind has won another battle,  I don’t know what I expected, a magic cure perhaps. Take the tablets and I’ll Be all Sister Maria twirling and singing on a mountain top?

Well unfortunately for me days like today still happen.  The lack of sleep, the constant pressures from the outside world as well as the expectation from within myself, the pain in my back and it feels like a weakness to mentally give in and hide in bed.  I’ve learnt that isn’t what it is, at some point a little kink of light will show I’ll get up I’ll deal with the day and I’ll know I am recovering.

The trouble is people cannot physically see anything and I have to admit you feel like a fraud, oh yes multiple fractures in my spine and the small matter of depression , oh poor you and then the embarrassment factor as you notice people shut down ‘ NUT JOB’.  No please don’t skirt over it, talk to me about it, I’m not ashamed and talking actually helps would you believe, and quite the contrary I’m still the same person and yes, ok maybe a little nut job, but aren’t we all? Bad days will happen but they’re not bad weeks or months anymore.

Luckily  I have some amazing clients who put up with my erratic nature and are just about allowing me to keep the business going, the Doctors is on speed dial although unless you go through triage at 8 am in the morning ‘the next available appointment is 10.50 on the 25th of February’  could you make it? Yep we’ve all been there, pull your hair out as you think A: hope not to be ill then and B: who blinking well knows it’s two months away! As you say, “oh that sounds great”.

I have some amazing friends who have offered lots of support and I’m sad to say I perhaps haven’t taken advantage of there generosity and kindness, instead I have pushed people away. I can’t explain why but I guess I just didn’t want to wear the mask of pretence it’s exhausting but as I have been dealing with it I realise it’s ok to just be who you are that day and to lean on people. It’s the simple things like receiving a text ‘fancy a run’ and although I say no more than yes when you’re out there pounding the pavement in the fresh air with nature around you, having someone converse with you or just listening to you ramble that support is worth the world. So thank you all, please keep persisting.

Mrs H is an absolute rock as are our six children, they all deserve so much credit as I’m well aware it really hasn’t been easy.  I had a pretence that I’ve been using to keep home, happy, light and fun but when I hit the bottom it became quite hard and for a while I just lost all interaction any responsibility around the home, I was almost a ghost.  They accommodated me understood what I needed and allowed me the time to be, I cannot underestimate the strength and love that it took for Mrs Hurr to see me so low yet not allow it to take her down, everyone participated in the running of the house, they all seemed to accept an unsaid word and realised it was time to pitch in as a family unit.

It isn’t all roses and perfect families we are just perfectly imperfect, we do have two teenagers who are finding their feet in the world and with each other and normality resumes most days as they can’t bare the site of each other, children who get undressed and throw clothes and toys where they happen to be standing at that moment, we hear I’m hungry, he hit me she’s been in my room a thousand times a day, thank god for anti depressants I’m as cool as cucumber now, ha ha!

I cannot communicate how proud I am as a husband and a father of my beautiful family.

Last  night whilst preparing Felix for bed I got one of the most rewarding joyful moments  he merely asked “are you coming to watch the school play Dad”  to which I replied “I wouldn’t miss it for the world ‘ he then said “I don’t want you to” to which my heart sank but persevered “don’t want me to what” to which he replied get ready #joyfulmoment “I don’t want you to miss it you are the best dad in the world” tears stream, big hug and kiss super proud emotional wreck of a Dad .

Bring on Christmas and all the joy that come with it.

#lightattheendoftheday

#mentalhealthawareness

There Is Always Time

Having six children people often ask (amongst other things) “how do you have time for them all?”  I am, obviously, only one person and even with Mr H we still have a ratio of 1:3.  There are however an amazing number of opportunities for some quality 1:1 time with each of the children on a daily/weekly basis.

  • An evening trip to the supermarket is one of my favourites and this usually sparks an argument about who gets to come (they keep track of whose turn it is now!)  It usually involves a cheeky McDonalds or Costa or a treat from the supermarket.
  • After dark dog walks – children will talk much more about things when they are walking than if they were in the car.  It’s a great way to find out about their day and walk the dog at the same time.
  • Most evenings we get the munchies and quite often it ends in a bit of cooking.  It’s calm as there’s no pressure on how quickly things need to be ready, perfect!  Don’t forget it’s a great life skill too along with increasing confidence and independence – a parenting win, I think!
  • A trip to see Nanny and Grandad (or a friend) means that not only do they have you all to themselves but also all the fuss from grandparents.
  • Football training/swimming lessons – obviously we don’t all venture out to these (unless we have to).  Me and Mr H try to share this (Mr H does more though) and obviously it will involve getting some food on the way home!
  • Bedtime story – Every night we read to the children and we take it in turns to put the younger ones to bed so they get Mum and Dad.
  • Late night films at home or at the cinema.  It’s not very easy for us to get a babysitter so quite often Mr H will take one of the older children to the cinema if there’s a film they want to watch.
  • Folding the washing, watching EastEnders, gardening, cleaning out the pigs the list is endless.

There are hundreds of every day moments where you can grab time with the children which we often overlook.  Day-to-day life can be hectic and sometimes you find yourself going through the motions and letting these moments pass.  All our children have completely different personalities and need different things from us as parents, especially as they get older.  It’s vital to us that we spend time with each of them on their own as well as all of them together.

 

 

My Baby Is One!

I’ve been in denial about Milo turning one for the last few weeks, but at the weekend the day arrived and I couldn’t ignore it anymore.  My baby is one!

Over the last seven days he has changed dramatically, taking his first steps, learning to climb on to the sofa and even managed to climb onto the table!  He is growing and changing every day, right before my eyes.   It’s a huge milestone to reach and I know everyone says it, but where has it gone?!?

I spent the day saying “this time last year…” and replayed the whole day over and over again.  I feel amazed that the year has gone so fast, happy that he is healthy and happy, proud and equally sad that he is already one, it really was quite an emotional day for me.

Needless to say that he (unsurprisingly) had absolutely no idea what was going on!  The children were so excited, there were balloons, party hats and banners everywhere.  To be honest, it was as much for the others as it was for him.  He needed help to open his presents and there was no short supply of willing siblings!

 

 

We decided to have a go at the popular “cake smash”.  Now anyone who knows me well, will know that I am not a great fan of any kind of food mess.  I find feeding Milo enough so the thought of letting him lose with a whole cake did make me a bit panicky.  However in the spirit of “yeah I’m chilled” I thought, well he will only be one once!

So, we put down a table cloth on the kitchen floor, put on his party hat and gave him his birthday cake.  I had made a simple Victoria Sponge and thinking that he’d never eaten much cake before I thought he would dive in.  Nope, he crawled straight past it!

He looked at it, took a finger lick of icing and wasn’t interested.

 

 

I thought maybe if he was in his highchair, he’d understand that the cake was to eat, but nope again not interested.

 

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Considering that he only ate a small piece of the icing, he still managed to get it in his hair and ears.

The whole day was in fact a bit overwhelming for him and his big (little) brother

 

 

So now, Milo is one heading fast to toddlerville.  I plan on grabbing and enjoying every single minute of the adventure that is my baby before he’s off to school!

Have you tried the cake smash and was it more successful for you?

Quack Quack Moo Review and Giveaway

I love discovering new brands of clothing for children and am always looking for different styles and designs for that something special.

I discovered the multi-award winning Quack Quack Moo which is a family run business created by mum of three, Leanne (also the creator of the multi-award winning Dribble Bubbs). They provide practical products made to the highest standard using the finest quality organic materials. Not only that but any samples or end of line stock that isn’t sold gets sent to worldwide orphanages.  What I love about Quack Quack Moo is that it was created by a mother, who knew exactly what worked and what didn’t.

As a mum, I’ve bought things which are beautiful, but when I get them on my baby/child they are completely impractical, look uncomfortable and sometimes restrictive and the quality of the material just isn’t up to the job. When I’m buying clothes for Milo I want them to be soft and gentle on his skin, keeping him cool, comfy and looking good all at the same time. Not much to ask I think?!?

 

 

Quack Quack Moo offers clothing for Newborns to 12 months with the cutest character prints on, I mean who doesn’t want Laurence the Giraffe or Bloop the Jellyfish on their babies romper?!? They are gender neutral and make a bold statement against the white of the romper.  Plus the logo is pretty cool too!

I was lucky enough to be sent some rompers and bibs to give them the Milo treatment and put them through their paces. The first thing I noticed is how beautifully and thoughtfully they were packaged. They were folded and put in thin cotton bags, tied with cotton tape and then wrapped in tissue paper, making them perfect to send as a gift.

 

The rompers are stylish, modern and you can feel the high quality of fabric used. They are really soft and hang beautifully. Within 10 minutes of having one on Milo had been sick all down the front. Thankfully they wash really well and don’t loose shape or fade, this is a huge plus as any mum knows that baby clothes need to washed hundreds of times.  Another plus, they don’t shrink!

 

With Milo teething and dribbling over everyone and everything I am forever wiping his chin (usually with a muslin or whatever is near and handy!).  I was really excited to try these bibs out.  Bibs I had used in the past got very wet and then soaked through to his clothes and then I’d end up changing his whole top half.  The dribble bib absorbed all the wet slobber that Milo had to offer and didn’t make his clothes wet either.  They are the same high quality as the rompers and held their shape after washing.  They also look great too.

 

 

The best thing about the bibs is the double popper fastening.  Milo, like many babies, likes to pull off his bibs (usually when I’m feeding him) but with the double popper, no chance!  That’s a massive win in my world.

I have one romper and dribble bib (size 9-12 months) worth £25 to giveaway.  If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, simply enter via the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway “>

You can also get 20% off your order by signing up to the Dribble Bubbs Newsletter

Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer – This is a personal blog.   I was given the clothing for the purpose of this review but all opinions and views are my own.

Dad Talk – The Unexpected Benefits Of Feeding Your Baby

Having five children mildly self-sufficient in the eating department (apart from one who cannot eat anything without dropping it down her clothes, at 13 I might add) with a five year gap to our youngest, I had completely forgotten the joys and perils of feeding a baby.

The weaning process is relatively straight forward as they just sit expectantly and eat whatever you give them, relatively little mess apart from those first few delightful multi coloured, smelling nappies.

The fun really starts as the touching and feeling starts and the realisation of how fun their little hands really are, the different textures and tastes that are to be explored.
Now one of Milo’s favourites and my nemesis is porridge. In the early days his mouth opens, in it goes. Occasionally it would come straight back out but harmless, not anymore it really is a full-scale operation.

It starts with:-
• Make sure we are on a hard-based flooring;
• Have distraction at the ready;
• Full bib is absolutely necessary;
• No 3 goes for me too!;
• Wet wipes at the ready.

The first few mouthfuls are fine, but then fingers start to go into the mouth mid spoonful. Distraction tactics – start the train, the plane zooming through the air, the silly facial expressions. Mrs H @allabouthurr always laughs at me as with each spoonful I open my mouth completely through habit in the hope that he will mirror the action, but I’m sure he’s just laughing along with Mummy at silly Daddy. Then as the spoon is on its way it’s like a pendulum course trying to avoid the hands to get to the mouth. He seems to be able to move at lightening speed and my reflexes just aren’t up to it. Before you know what’s happening he has a spoonful of porridge, he then proceeds to rub it in his hair via his ears, eyes and nose. Now I don’t know what it is about porridge but I am sure you could build houses with it. As soon as it makes contact, it sets like concrete aahhhh!! It also seems to multiply as soon as it touches a wet wipe and it spreads and spreads – as you can tell I love the stuff.

We have discovered that although yogurt is a big favourite Milo cannot tolerate it so by the time you are releasing him from his chair he is rather nicely giving you a lovely sick present down your back. Another feeding peril is the clap of doom where he manages to perform the perfect two handed clap with the spoon in mid-air which ends up 99% of the time with me having a face-full of yoghurt. On the plus side I hear it does wonders for your complexion. Although I can honestly say spaghetti bolognaise does not have the same effect.

His best trick at the moment is the joy of having two top and bottom front teeth, the spoon goes in and there it stays clasped between his teeth until (and I believe the genius is showing here) he picks the opportune moment and the correct amount of resistance to let go and send the contents back from whence they came. Then the cheekiest and cutest of grins spreads across his face with the look of ha got you again.

At the moment we are up to self-feeding with an array of cereals fruit and vegetables for him to discover. I love the way that he eyes mouthful after mouthful and takes it all in, chews, spits it out whilst putting the next handful straight in. I’m really not sure he ever actually eats anything.

He adores pineapple and Cheerios but once again the game continues. As soon as he sees Petal our Jack-a-poo he starts launching food at her. Most dogs are like hoovers and will consume almost any food although but she seems to draw the line at soggy Cheerios. Me on the over hand I love them as I discovered at breakfast this morning whilst drinking my cup of tea. There mid gulp as the expanded soggy mass of a cheerio hit the back of my throat I found that he also has an excellent throw and had managed to get two in my tea.

Oh the joys of feeding time. I’m off to remove my yoghurt facemask and wash the spaghetti bolognaise out of my hair whilst finishing the new protein drink of cheerio tea!

 

 

The Elf Will NOT Be On Our Shelf

Social Media is full of pictures of the mischievous things elves have been up to in households across the country but not in our house. It’s not something we have adopted as a Christmas tradition and I’m not about to begin now. Remembering things on a day-to-day basis just for life to run relatively smoothly is enough and in the run up to Christmas life can get pretty hectic, I’m just not organised enough.

I’ve seen some really impressive tricks caused by the Elves, but I always wonder, who has to clear up the mess?  In our house, that would be errrm, me!  We aren’t completely Baa Humbug though, we do have an Elf who sits quite happily on the unit (with his lady love), just watching.  The children love them, and are quite happy with Norman and Doris.

There is an enormous pressure to get Christmas just right.  The right tree, the right decorations, put up at the right time, in the right position, the right advent calendar (supermarket chocolate ones apparently are so last year), visiting the best grotto, with the best Father Christmas (garden centres just don’t make the cut), the best fresh free range turkey, the best presents (bought and wrapped by the end of November) the list just goes on.  I think most of the pressure comes from ourselves, keeping up with the Jones’ and all that jazz.  I don’t know why we do it to ourselves.

Christmas for me is shortbread, tins of chocolates, Christmas TV, board games and blankets!  It doesn’t matter whether we have a personalised plate to put goodies out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve with a space for the carrot and mince pie.  Christmas won’t be ruined if we don’t have Christmas bedding or matching pj’s.  Our Christmas tree doesn’t have a ‘theme’ and the children decorate it with things they’ve made, it’s pure cheese!  For many people these are traditions that they follow every year and are important to them and I am not belittling their importance.  However, to some they are just an unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves to make Christmas perfect.

The simple truth is Christmas is not perfect.  There will be arguments, tantrums, massive highs from overdosing on sugar and the inevitable lows, tummy aches, headaches, laughing, crying and things that you don’t imagine possible.  On paper putting up the Christmas tree should be idyllic, but in reality it will probably be quite stressful.   This year we were treated to putting the tree up, decorating it, realising it’s too small, taking it down, putting another one up and redecorating it – twice the fun!  It’s the things that don’t go to plan that make the best memories and the stories to tell.

Whatever your traditions, they are important (but only to you!) remember that the day will come and go regardless of what you do and don’t do/buy/make.

 

 

 

 

 

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