Playhouse Milton Ernest

Playhouse party review and giveaway

My oldest baby has now turned five and to celebrate we decided it was time for Jasmine to have her big girl party at Playhouse Softplay in Milton Ernest, Bedford.

We’ve been taking Jasmine to playhouse since it first opened when she was around 18 months and have been coming back ever since. We’ve always been impressed with how clean the place is kept, the size, the equipment and the food. Jasmine had been to a couple of parties herself here and was desperate for one of her own now she was a big girl and had her school friends to invite.

The whole booking process was straight forward and we were given a great selection of food to choose from, all we needed to do was bring the cake and party bags (they can supply party bags at an extra cost). We were greeted by friendly staff and shown to our reserved table where juice and water was provided. The children were left to their own devices to play, whilst us parents got to sit back and enjoy a hot cup of tea.

Main play area

The slides are always a firm favourite with Jazzy

Playhouse has a baby area, a toddler area and a big play area for older children up to 10. There is plenty to do and lots of seating so you can easily keep an eye on the children. They have a decent food and drinks menu, with children’s meals, baby food and cakes. In my experience the food has always come in good time, even when busy and has always been very tasty. The toilets are kept clean and they have a decent changing facility for babies.

Toddler area

We opted for the princess party so the children could have their faces painted. The staff took the children two at a time and the children loved picking out a design. After the children were all face painted it was time for lunch and the children were extremely eager to get stuck in after running around like crazy. We were shown to a beautifully decorated party room and once the children settled lunch was served.  We decided to go for pizza, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, fruit and vegetable sticks. I sneaked a slice of the pizza that Jasmine didn’t finish and I can tell you it was very tasty.

Jazzy opted to be a tiger

The children loved it, we had full smiles all around and we will defiantly come back soon. Thank you Playhouse and your wonderful team for making Jasmines party extra special. Check out the Playhouse website here.

 

Party food!

Playhouse have been lovely enough to supply me with a three-month membership for two children and also a free admission ticket for two children that I will be giving away. Please enter below and share with your friends. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jasmine with her best buddy

*I was gifted services for this blog post for a review. All opinions are my own.

*To enter the competition you must be a UK resident and be able to visit the site, it is none refundable or exchangeable. It must be used within six months of issue. For playhouse rules please visit https://twinwoodsadventure.com/playhouse

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My anxiety journey and how I am learning to cope

Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing and is actually rather useful at not just keeping us safe, but also helping us reach our full potential. It’s healthy to have a certain level of anxiety for real stressful situations, it spurs us on when we need it. The problem with anxiety is when it comes from imaginary danger. We become hyper alert and play out thoughts in our heads and often it leads us to avoid certain situations.

Anxiety manifests in many different ways, shortness of breath, dry mouth, increased heartbeat, digestive problems, dizziness and weak bladder. For everyone it is different, for some people it is deliberating and stops them from enjoying life, from going out and it is damaging to your mental wellbeing.

I have suffered with anxiety since I can remember, but I had no idea what it was until I was in my early twenties. I remember always shying away from crowds of people and even having panic attacks on nights out. To even go out for the night I would have to drink before hand. Having my daughter who is now five really highlighted how bad my anxiety had got, but I continued to fight it and forced myself out my comfort zone, but I still had some much avoidance behaviour.

When I got pregnant with my second child and I was diagnosed with SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction), my life changed as I just couldn’t get out. I was avoiding more and more things and was isolated and alone. I kept telling myself as soon as my baby was born it would be ok and I would be able to get out, but this wasn’t the case. I became a recluse and only felt able to leave the house if I had someone else with me who would take charge. I would feel sick, dizzy and I would panic. This would then lead to frustration, anger and then tears. It was apparent after six months after my son was born that I also had PND (postnatal depression) and combined together it was a very sad existence.

I remember not even being able to do the food shop because of my anxiety and getting in the car to go out and having to turn the car back to go home. It wasn’t just my life it was effecting it was also impacting my children’s life and stopping them from having a normal childhood. I decided to seek help and a couple of months later I started CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy). CBT doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it has given me tools on how to deal with my anxiety, so I decided to start a diploma in CBT and I am now almost half way through the course.  

CBT helps you become aware of your thoughts and feelings, so you learn to challenge them. I can now usually notice the negative thought and question it before it and stop it. Once you learn the skills of CBT it can be used in so many areas in your life. CBT teaches you to be your own therapist and as long as you go back and remind yourself how to use it once in a while it will make your life far more positive.

I have tried medication for my anxiety called lorazepam which is a benzodiazepine. It helps with anxiety and sedates you, but these tablets are highly addictive and can be fatal if overdosed as they suppress breathing. I have overdosed on them twice, with other prescription drugs and have had a lucky escape. You quickly build up a tolerance to these drugs and need to take more for the same effect. They shouldn’t be taken long term and you should be monitored. They can cause rebound insomnia and rebound anxiety so these drugs are more for a quick fix and not for long term use. They are known to increase risk of suicide.

My anxiety today is manageable with CBT skills that I have learned and I am now able to enjoy life so much more. If anxiety is a problem for you please see a doctor and explain your worries so you can be referred for CBT.

 

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Summer is here and it's time to shine

Summer is here and it’s time to shine

This week has been hot and it has got me in the mood to update my summer wardrobe. For me I love handbags, but unfortunately over the last five years my life has been taken over by babies and the need for changing bags. I am currently using three changing bags that I change between , but now I’m back at work and able to leave the children as my nursing duties are over it’s all about me again and my love of handbags. I love a handbag I can either sling over my shoulder easily or I can cross over my body and I decided for summer I wanted to find the perfect tote to compliment a summer dress and some sandals. I resent paying full price and find the whole shopping process far more rewarding if I can get myself a bargain.

I recently stumbled upon a website dedicated to sale shopping and I am hooked. Love the sales aggregate sales from the top 700 retailers and display them all on one website. It focuses predominantly on fashion, but also covers beauty,home, garden, electronics, sports etc. I decided to get searching and entered my budget and style to refine my search and quickly found a bag that I love that was also £29 off.  I went for the Kurt Geiger Cravela Krypton shopping bag and I can say I’m really impressed. Shopping in sales online can be a tad overwhelming and I found love the sales a far more relaxing experience and obviously a wider selection. It’s my new go to website for online shopping. Click here to check out Love The Sales website. Click here to see a selection of gorgeous handbags.

Carvela Krypton Shopper Bag
Carvela Krypton Shopper Bag

One thing that has really been getting me down recently is my skin. I stopped using my BareMinerals powder after I run out and instead used my going out Estee Lauder Double wear. The results have left me with horrible skin. I have suffered with acne since a teen and haven’t found anything that completely clears it. I decided to ask some other bloggers if they had any experience and I was quickly directed to the brand La Roche-Posay that do skincare for many different skin complaints. I decided to head to my local Boots and have a browse and quickly drawn to the Effalar ‘3-step’- anti-blemish system and to my delight it was also reduced from £32.50 to £24.37. I decided to snap it up and give it a try. The set includes a gel cleanser, a toner to reduce the size of pores and a repair and hydrate. So far after a few days it does seem to have stopped my skin from being so oily and it’s dramatically changed the size of my pores. Spot wise I still have them but they do seem to be drying out and I haven’t had any new ones. I’m impressed so far and hope it continues to work. I have also made sure to get the new BareMinerals Bare-pro foundation and so far I am really impressed with it. I have been using BareMinerals for a good four years now and honestly love the stuff. It’s light weight, you can build coverage and it lasts all day.

I love my Pandora bracelet, but I don’t often wear it in the day so I decided to go for one of the brown weather straps to make it more casual for day use and I love it. I love brown leather and I think it looks great for summer and it’s a great way of showing off my many various charms which I can interchange daily for different looks. unfortunately this was not in the sale at £45, but I love that I will now get so much more use out of my charms which usually only come out for a special occasion.

What have been your favorite summer buys this season?

 

 

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The supermum does not exsist

Since I became a mum five years ago I have noticed the media has shoved this supermum ideal down our throats, making us feel we need to compete and I’m so sick of it. I’m certain this idea has been around longer than I have, but I believe media, social and mainstream have so much to answer for. This competiveness takes the actual goal of being a good mum and instead turns it into some race that will cause upset and guilt. We need to stop comparing ourselves and instead enjoy our own journeys as mums and treasure the time with our children before they grow far too quickly.

Here our some common misconceptions the media want us to believe.

  1. To be supermum you need to ‘snap back’ into your pre baby body so you can ‘flaunt’ your ‘enviable figure’ on the school run. If you are lucky enough to get back into your pre baby clothes 6 weeks after baby or like me two years later you still haven’t, it really doesn’t matter and your child is not judging you by your mum tum, personally I find my mum tum handy for balancing Mr T.
  2. To be Supermum you need to have a job and be mum and do them both with 100% enthusiasm and never compromise. If you are working full time with a baby in nursery or you stay at home, you are working and it’s hard. Do what works for your family and don’t feel guilty if you can’t do it all, it’s hard.
  3. To be supermum you need to breastfeed your baby and have photographic evidence on Facebook showing everyone that you decided to give your baby the best. You also need to bottle feed when out so you don’t offend anyone with a slight nip slip.  Which ever way you feed your baby there seems to be some judgement, stick with what works for you and enjoy your own feeding journey.
  4. To be supermum you need a home like a show home, no toys in sights and everything in it’s perfect place. You also need to buy every new toy in sight and have photographic proof at Christmas and birthdays on social media. If you can afford it, buy it, but try and remember that time spent with children is more valuable.
  5. To be supermum you still need to look good, all the time, hair done, no roots, nails and make up should still be high on your to do list. Personally I do enjoy getting dressed up when I can and I make sure I take a picture for proof that I do actually look nice some time. If you just want to rock a messy bun for the next few years and make up is more like hassle then so be it.
  6. To be supermum you need be the crafting queen, sow, knit, baker, masterchef champion and sporting Olympian. Very few people can do them all, find something you enjoy and stick with it, don’t let Pinterest take over your life.
  7. To be a supermum you need to stop your child from having a dummy or a bottle past 18 months otherwise you are in the lazy parent category. It seems everyone has a opinion on this, but be realistic and do what works for you.

Social media is a polished version, no one is going to upload a picture with a pile of washing in the background, it’s edited to make it look better than it is. Media outlets will always pit women against each other as it get’s the clicks/sales and starts heated debates. We all supermum in our own ways and all have our own battles.

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The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

This isn’t a post for attention or even pity, it is a post for understanding, making sense of my own thoughts and also helping others understand about different mental disorders, the one that less than 2% of people suffer with. I’m having a bad few days, and when that happens I try to force myself to write as it is more important than ever for me to make sense of my emotions. Having BPD (borderline personality disorder) can be very intense at times and often if I am struggling with BPD my anxiety and depression will be heightened too. I don’t get in this frame of mind often, but when I do it can be pretty dark and very scary. It will sneak up on me when I least expect it.

I have been feeling a bit out of touch with reality and have disassociated myself, which for me is normal when I’m in this state of mind. It’s not that I want to be left alone it’s just I feel unable to interact with the outside world. In truth this is when I do need people around to connect me, encourage me, but I struggle to let people in. My life can begin to spiral out of control and I have no power over it. It’s like I’m just there for the ride. I get frustrated with myself and hate having these thoughts and feelings, but feel so powerless to do anything about it.

You are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with BPD if you are female. 7 out of 10 people with BPD will attempt suicide and this figure does not surprise me. Even more frighteningly is that around 1 in 10 will succeed. 75% of BPD sufferers will engage in self harm. It’s a scary and confusing place to be in when you feel all alone.  Something else that often goes along with this is self harm, it isn’t just something a teenager does, it’s something many people do, especially BPD sufferers do as a coping strategy.

When my BPD is bad I struggle to trust many people, I have paranoid thoughts and I feel like I am being a burden to them. It’s a mentally and physically draining and I still always worry that one day BPD will win. I don’t want it to win, as I love my life and just want happiness I just want rid of this black and white thinking and these intrusive thoughts that try to ruin my life. I am trying to control it with the use of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) a form of the better known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it’s a skill and I am having to relearn my thinking patterns., which will take time.

The thing is BPD isn’t always this way and I have episodes of being happy, organised, motivated, but then with little notice it can come spiralling out of control again back to the dark place where I feel vulnerable and alone. When I am in one of these episodes I withdraw from contact, this includes my own children, I feel flawed, I will even engage in risky behaviour and try to escape reality. I can see myself sabotaging and falling apart, but once in motion I cannot stop it. I am trapped in my own dark mind and don’t know how to make it right again, it’s my own version of purgatory where I am unreachable

One of my biggest fears is abandonment when I push the people l closest to me away. I have been incredibly lucky to have support people around me, but I do worry that eventually they will just have enough of me and leave. My biggest fear after that is that I will eventually commit suicide I know this is morbid and something many people cannot understand, but I do worry that one day when I am not in control that my demons will win. The truth is I want to live so much it’s just my brain that’s stopping me.

Each new day is new start where I can make a difference and shape my future for the better. I am doing everything I can to hopefully recover, which is a possibility with a BPD diagnoses. I have just got to try to stay positive and keep with the DBT classes.

 

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You are needed more than you will ever know

You are needed more than you will ever know

Please remember you are not alone, you are needed, you are cherished and you are unconditionally loved. Being a mother is exhausting both mentally and physically and sometimes it isn’t much fun. We can’t be the perfect mother every moment of everyday and we need to remember we are doing our best and that is just fine. Just making it through the day is achievement enough and something you should hold onto when days are tough. As much as the media would like to portray, the perfect mother does not exist and we all have our own bad days, own battles and own guilt, just some of us are better than others at hiding it. Every mother will cry because she doesn’t think she is good enough for her child at least once and that is what makes you the most wonderful mother to your child. You literally beat yourself up about being the best mother and you don’t realise that you already are.

Every stage of parenting from newborn to having a full-grown adult, brings its own challenges and when your child eventually flies the next you won’t just stop being a mother, this is a life long commitment like no other. Once you hold your baby in your arms for the first time you will carry them in your heart for a lifetime. You will see them achieve greatness, probably stumble and fall and you will feel their pain as your own. To be there for your child no matter what happens, whatever they chose and wherever they may go is something so beautiful. To watch someone you created make mistakes whilst you are helpless to stop them is difficult, but you can of course only guide them and let them fly free and become their own person.

Nurture them, love them, provide for them and show them acceptance when this world will try to show them differently. You are their first bond, their first love and you have the position in their life to make a difference. Show them that it’s ok to make mistakes, that apologising is healing not only for the recipient but also for themselves. Teach them what love is, form a healthy bond so they can base their future relationships on the love they have received from you. Show them that no one is worthless, everyone deserves an opinion that should be respected.

You really are needed so much as a mother not just from the moment they are born, but through every step and every challenge. Your love will be the key to their happiness, the roots you give them will ground them forever. You are like no one else in this world to your child, you are their mother and you are needed.

Returning to work

 

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Self-care with a new baby

Self-care with a new baby

My ‘baby’ is almost two now and I’m still very unsure if a baby number three will ever be on the cards so this is really a reflective post on self-care I wish I had implemented with a new baby. My daughter is now almost five and son was two a few weeks ago and my experiences were completely different, with my first I took to it easily and was back up in no time, whilst with my son I had terrible postnatal depression which I think was contributed to my lack of self-care in the early days post delivery.

If I do ever become a mother again this is how I would self-care better.

  1. I’m a pretty determined person if I put my mind to it and I was desperate to get out and about with the new baby and prove that again I was this perfect earth mother second time around. I was naive to think that two children wouldn’t be much harder and that I would heal in the same way. I was emotional and physically drained and I should have slowed down.
  2. I was pretty strict with my first with visitors and my second I let things slip. It was overwhelming not just for me but for my oldest. Miss J needed time to adjust to a new baby and we didn’t give her the chance.
  3. I wish I had treated my body better. I was so focused on keeping everybody else happy that I neglected myself. I had very low iron in pregnancy and required an iron transfusion after giving birth second time. I wish I had taken Spatone Iron earlier to help with my iron levels. If a third ever does happen I will be taking it throughout my pregnancy.
  4. My first labour was a real struggle and required a fair amount of stitches. The time it took to heal was long and using the toilet was a very scary experience. When Mr T came along I luckily only grazed, but second time I was clued up and had a jug of warm water ready for toilet trips and I took many salt baths which I really think helped make me recover so quickly.
  5. Breastfeeding first time was tough and I spent a fair amount of time crying through the pain.  With my first child I remember desperately waiting for our local shop to open on a Sunday morning so I could send hubby to buy some formula, whilst I was waiting for my milk to come in. I know some people are really against it, but it helped me carry on breastfeeding when I was struggling so much. With my second I had a carton just in case and never had to use it.
  6. Do your reasearch on a good breast pump. First time I went for a brand I knew and it was rubbish, second time I really looked into it and found a great Medela Swing pump which enabled me to pump and store milk.
  7. Close the curtains and air your breasts if they hurt and stock up on lanolin cream, Lansinoh seemed to work best for me.
  8. First time around I was desperate to get back into my clothes and I was ‘fortunate’ enough that I actually lost 20 Ibs in the first five months of pregnancy, so after delivery I was skinnier than before. Second time around I wasn’t so lucky and still haven’t lost it two years on. If there is a next time I will not got hung up on this and will embrace the leggings post delivery.
  9. Accept help if offered and ask for help when needed. I really wish I would have asked for help and accepted in more in the early days with baby number two. Miss J probably would have benefited from some time away from the new baby and I needed time to bond with my new baby.
  10. Make the most of box sets. I loved box sets with my first child, but with my second it was mostly spent watching kids TV. I wish instead of going insane watching Paw Patrol whilst I had a baby stuck to my boob that I had got out my tablet. There is no harm in watching TV and just staying awake.
  11. For some reason with my second I felt that I shouldn’t nap and as soon as my hands were free I would attempt to clean, I wish I had just laid my head down on the sofa and just rested my eyes for five minutes whilst my oldest watched some TV.
  12. With both children as I breastfed I felt like I had to be with them every moment of the day. I wish I had taken the time when hubby was home to pop out for an hour on my own between feeds or even go for a walk. Having a baby is all-consuming and sometimes you just alone time.
  13. I wish I would have expressed how I really felt. I bottled it up and I wish I would have been honest with myself and say how it really was. I didn’t feel confident enough to really start expressing my thoughts until Mr T was 16 months old and I started to write it down in this blog. Once I started to express how I felt, I then could make sense of it and let go of guilt.
  14. I really wish I had known about mindfulness earlier and took time out to mediate, relax and be present in the moment. It’s done wonders for my mental wellbeing and it really is one of the best self-care tools you can use.
  15. Own your parenting decisions and don’t let people make you feel guilt. Do what works for you and your baby and don’t let anyone else try to make you feel guilty. We are all trying to do the best by our children so don’t let someone limited perspective make you feel bad.

Having a new baby whether it’s your first or fifth is difficult and a big transition for you all. Be kind to yourself and remember unless you look after yourself first you can’t look after your baby to the best of you abilities. If anyone has any other self-care tips to add please let me know in the comments.

A special moment with both my children
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Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

In my opinion as a society we need to become more aware of mental health care with children, even though massive leaps in recent years for mental health have happened, it’s still often forgotten about or brushed under the carpet, especially with the care of children. The statistics say one in four adults will suffer with a mental health problem, but I am certain that figure is higher. I think many of us have been parented in an anxiety inducing way that manifests as we become adults. I am working on my own mental health, trying to be more aware of myself and how I treat others, especially with my children.

People might not want to face up to the realisation that many mental health disorders are deep rotted from childhood or teenage years, this could be from parenting, discipline or even abuse (physical, sexual or mental). People often talk about the chemical imbalance in the brain of mental illness, but not where it could have started.

Parenting is tough and I for one I am the first person to admit it and I am certain I am not doing it perfectly much of the time. I have tried since first having my children to practice attachment parenting and gentle parenting, which helps form strong attachments with parents, which then gives your child security. I try to be conscious how I speak to my children, admit when I am wrong or have overreacted in a situation. I will make mistakes as a parent, but the important thing is that I explain to my child why I acted in a certain way and apologise when wrong. I don’t want my children to be anxious like me and I want to show them why it’s important to admit when you are wrong. I don’t believe we apologise enough as adults for our bad behaviour, yet we expect our children to be so quick to.

Three children in every classroom has a mental health problem and this is something that deeply saddens me. More needs to be done to recognise mental health problems in children by parents, teachers, health visitors etc. Children deserve the chance to get access to mental health care and support.

Something I have been focusing on recently with my oldest is mindfulness and yoga. I have found both have really benefited me and it’s something I want to share with my children to start health habits which will hopefully help them throughout life. Me and Miss J found a great website called Cosmic Kids which has videos of stories, yoga and mindfulness exercises, this has been amazing for Miss J as she is unaware that she is learning and is just enjoying taking part. I believe this will help her with her concentration and mental wellbeing, whilst it helps us bond over a shared interest. More schools than ever are starting to take part and use mindfulness in classrooms and I believe this will increase when people see the benefits it has.

I hope people are starting to realise that children should be seen and heard. They shouldn’t be expected to act in a certain way, be carbon copies of their parents and that every child deserves to grow and express their needs and desires. Children are the future and I am doing everything I can to make my future as self-aware, empathetic and mindful. Mental health care for children matters.

 

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What to look forward to as your children grow

Watching your children grow can be bittersweet, I love watching them grow and become their own little people with their own likes and dislikes, but I often feel sad that another phase is over and they are growing too quickly. The truth is I love a baby, I love the cuddles, the smell, the kisses and I even love the excitement of labour (not the pain), but like any other human I find them exhausting, draining and I have often missed having to give up such a big part of me. I don’t feel guilty for these thoughts anymore as I have every right to feel like this and being a parent to small children is relentless and hard at times. I now savour the time I do get a break from being a mum, which is rarely, but it’s ok as they will only be this young once and one day things will change, not to how they were before children, but they will change as they grow with a new set of challenges. I’ve written a list of what I have to look forward to as my little ones grow to full fledged teenagers.

The things I will look forward to as my children grow. 

  1. No more toys in the living room. This has got to be one of the things I look forward to most. My living room is filled with plastic junk and no matter what I do with the stuff it always looks un-kept and cluttered. The day I say goodbye to Toot-toot will be a good day.
  2. No more nappies or reminding someone to go for a wee. Nappies are a complete ball-ache and after that’s done you have the fun job of potty training to undertake. I can’t wait to be done with buying nappies, nappy sacks and nappy rash cream.
  3. No more changing bag! I love bags and even love my changing bag (I’ve had a few), but I’m looking forward to the day of not having to remember to take my purse out to put in my handbag for work. I have so many beautiful bags that’s rarely make an appearance these days.
  4. No more dummys. Not everyone goes down this route but I would love to turn up to work and not find a stray dummy in my pocket and having to do the dummy hunt behind the cot every night.
  5. Go out for a meal and eat my dinner hot. I try to take my kids out for meals so it becomes normal for them and they are pretty well-behaved, but it’s stressful and I usually end up eating my meal cold. God forbid you have a long wait and a screaming hangry toddler.
  6. Lay-ins! I know some people are early risers and I applaud you, but I’m five years into parenting and am still not an early starter. My children are great and generally never wake until 7am and sometimes even 8am at the weekend, but I look forward to the day of having to wake them up.
  7. Not having to persuade them to eat their food. Meal times with our oldest can be exhausting as she has a limited diet and is an extremely fussy eater. I hold onto hope one day she will just eat normally and I won’t have to bribe her.
  8. No more bath toys. Bath toys are ruining my life, the mould when water gets stuck, the space they take and the intruders in my bath tub when I’m trying to relax.
  9. privacy. The day will come when I get pee in peace, bath on my own and not have to dress in front of an audience. As this day comes the children will probably putting up their own boundaries of privacy away from me.
  10. No more school run. I enjoying having a chat with other mum’s, but as of next year I’ve got a much longer walk to school and I expect I will probably be late most mornings. It will be lovely when the day comes that I can pack them off and say goodbye.
  11. No more having to dress small people. I look forward to the day that the children can dress and coordinate themselves. Miss J can dress herself with most clothes but her style when left to her own devices often resembles a pink marshmallow. Mr T on the other hand just prefers not to wear clothes at all.
  12. They can feed themselves. Some days all I seem to do is try to fill my children with endless supplies of food yet all I hear is ‘i’m still hungry’. Life will be good when they just feed themselves.
  13. Freedom again to be husband and wife. As the children get older I know it will be easier to leave them and that is something I look forward to most, I can’t wait to spend time with just my husband again and be a couple for date nights.
  14. Getting my bed back. First thing when I wake up the kids are in our bed jumpy all over us and often Miss J finds her way into our bed at night. It will be nice when our bed is just ours again.
  15. Saying goodbye to Peppa pig and all those other terrible programs. I can’t wait to not watch kids TV, but I worry it will probably be replaced by some other rubbish.

The things I will not look forward to as my child grows

  1. No more pushchair for carrying my shopping bags. The day I say goodbye to my pushchair will a sad day as it has helped me on many a shopping trip. I’ve had seven in total and finally found my perfect one (Mamas and Papas Armadillo City).
  2. When the cuddles start to disappear it will be tough, but I live in hope as they become adults, again the cuddles will follow.
  3. Holding their hands. I love walking along and holding my children’s hands, but Miss J is keen to pull away as soon as she sees her friends at school.
  4. Letting them out and having curfews. I was a nightmare and I’m dreading trying tot find the balance of giving them freedom that is fair and also safe.
  5. Finding dirty plates in their rooms. I don’t know why, but most teenagers seem to do it and it’s something my husband still does today which drives me crazy.
  6. Moody teenagers and backchat really fills me full of dread. I was such a ‘Kevin’ as a teenager and from Miss J’s diva strops she has now I can see her being a challenge.
  7. Being eaten out of house and home. With teenage growth spurts comes teenage superfast metabolism and I’m guessing if these children grow like weeds as I did then my food bill will be going through the roof.
  8. Mum’s taxi. I hear it often from parents of older children and living a good 15 minuets away from anything and a rubbish bus route I expect I will be doing lots of driving about.
  9.  Homework or getting them to sit down and focus enough to do it. I hated homework at school and am not looking forward to trying to motivate someone else to do it,

Parents of older children do you have anything else you can think of?

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How to help someone with depression who won’t ask for help

I’ve been asked a few times how you help someone struggling through depression, especially when they seem to not want help themselves. It’s a tricky one and not one I have all the answers to, but I want to say what has helped me most.

I am great at pretending that I’m ok, but the closest to me can often sense when I am struggling. I often go on the route of shutting myself off, not writing, staying off social media and not replying to messages. I shut down and by doing this I am cutting myself off and making the problem worse. The whole time I am screaming from the inside for someone to ask if I am ok.

I find it much easier to write than talk and my friends know they are more likely to get a response over text than and phone call, but at times I can be very brief and dismissive. When depression is kicking me down I feel I lose the ability to speak, to explain and ask for help. It’s scary and very isolating to feel like you want to scream, but are too scared to do so.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just to turn up, be patient, empathetic and let them open up naturally. Ask if they are ok, but care about their answer and give them time to express. Not everyone is the same, but by taking the steps to ask if someone is ok, you are helping and giving them a chance to open up.

With depression I often have felt paranoid and thought people have been talking about me, mocking me and bitching about what a burden I am. There is nothing worse than feeling like a burden to someone and it makes me shut down immediately, feeling worse off than when I started. Be reassuring, without patronising and be honest and open up about your own feelings. By sharing your own experiences you are helping them not feel so alone. Loneliness and depression go hand in hand.

If a friend or loved one is struggling with depression don’t just offer an open door, you need open the door for them, pick them up and ask them if they are ok. You are not intruding, you are showing them love that they need and a chance to share their problem. It’s not easy and can be lots to take on, but the gift you can give to someone by being open could save a life.

We have a responsibility as a society to help others, show them love and respect. We all get caught up in our own lives, but take a moment to ask someone if they are ok and listen intently to their response. Pick up on clues in their behaviour and remind them they are not alone and never will be. Your friendship is a gift.

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