Best Home Made Christmas Decorations

Since Sausage came along, I’ve made it a bit of a Christmas tradition to make home made Christmas decorations to go on the tree and around the house. We always make our own paper chains, usually from Christmas printed paper or old rolls of wrapping paper from the year before but the main event is the decorations for the tree. I have a dream that, one day, when I’m old, none of the decorations on my tree will be shop bought, but all handmade by the girls and I over the years, so that when our grandchildren, should we be lucky enough to have them, come over for Christmas I can show them all the treasures their Mum and Aunty made when they were little.

This year, as it’s BB’s first Christmas, I thought we’d make salt-dough stars from their hand prints – we’ll cut out the shape of their hands (providing BB plays ball!) and then decorate them with white paint and glitter.

Some of my blogging chums have got some absolutely stunning ideas for home made decorations so I thought I’d pull together some of my favourites, to give you some inspiration for the run-up to the festive season:

Cas from Mummy Never Sleeps wrote a guest post for Carolin at Mummy Alarm showing us how to make a gorgeous, kid-friendly, cheap window display from things you’ve probably already got around the house. home made paper christmas decorations

Joy over at Pink Oddy has made some simple but effective salt dough stars which are perfect for making with little ones. I also love how versatile these are in terms of the millions of different ways you could decorate them, even to match a specific colour scheme or as gifts for family or class teachers.

Christmas Salt Dough Stars

As a single Mum, my friend Aly from Bug, Bird, Bee is one of those amazing people who makes her budget stretch as far as possible by foraging, making home made gifts and some seriously savvy charity shop shopping and I’m always impressed by her skills. I love these Hama bead (which you can buy from Craft Merrily) creations for Christmas and I can totally see a Hama bead Angel sitting at the top of our tree!

Christmas Hama Bead Angels

My friend Vanessa from HPMcQ is one of those people who is ridiculously stylish and talented so I just knew her handmade decorations would be something aspirational – and I wasn’t wrong. These paper tealight houses (for battery operated tealights, of course) are utterly adorable and would look at home on even the most minimalist of mantlepieces. I really want to try making these but I suspect they might be a ‘mummy-only’ project!

Christmas Battery Operated Tealight Houses

I absolutely LOVE this home made wreath, for which Ali at Kids Chaos used upcycled books. I’ve never been one for outdoor decorations before but I love this idea so much that I’m definitely going to put something on my front door this year. We’ve actually got a pine-cone giving tree in our garden AND a holly bush, so I’m thinking I might be able to make this without any expenditure whatsoever!

upcycled books christmas wreath

For me, Christmas should be a time to treat all of your senses, and these cinnamon stick tree decorations from Cass at Frugal Family are the perfect way to tantalise your sense of smell! Nothing says Christmas like the smell of cinnamon, and true to form, these gorgeous decorations are super cheap to make. home made cinnamon stick tree decoration

No craft round up would be complete without something from the Queen of Craft, Maggy at Red Ted Art! Her site is awash with amazing Christmas-themed crafts, but these cork snowmen and Rudolph would make such a lovely, colourful addition to any tree – and it’s always good to have an excuse to accumulate a lot of corks!

Cork Snowmen

Otilia, over at Romanian Mum, made this gorgeous paper tree garland, which I reckon Sausage would love to make too, especially as it involves glitter glue! I guess we could use other shapes too, such as snowmen and stars.paper Christmas tree garland

My own offering may not be quite as slick at the others, but I was so super impressed that my woollen baubles worked last year! They’re super messy to make but very cheap as you only need water balloons, wool and PVA glue.

home made woollen christmas baubles

All of these will be added to a Pinterest board of the best home made Christmas decorations from around the web, so if you’ve got a post you’d like me to add, please leave a comment below with a link to the post. We’d love for you to follow the board too, so you can see all of the new Pins as they’re added.

Follow Mum’s The Word’s board Home Made Christmas Decorations on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading and happy Christmas crafting!

The Best Decision I Ever Made…

shield-492993_640When Husband and I met, its safe to say that things moved pretty quickly. We met on 22nd February 2006 and by the beginning of March were living together. By 1st April, we were engaged and planning a wedding and by August we were man and wife. Right from the beginning, people were sceptical of our relationship. We kept ourselves to ourselves but people still felt the need to impress upon us how THEY thought we were moving too fast and that we should wait a while before we got married. Sometimes, it’s not easy to be so bold and a bit of reassurance from somewhere like The Circle might really benefit you if you need it.

Neither of us were starry-eyed teenagers; Husband was 27 when we got married and I 22. We’re relatively intelligent people who aren’t prone to dangerously impulsive behaviour and we both felt that getting married was the right thing to do. Before we met, we were both of a mindset that marriage and kids weren’t something that would be in our futures, yet when we came into each others lives, all of that changed. Suddenly, commitment and family was something we could see ourselves sharing with each other.

Marrying Husband was one of the best decisions I ever made and I’m so glad I refused to listen to other people’s concerns. Two months after we got married, Chuck came into our lives. Two years, almost to the day, Sausage came along the day after our second anniversary. Eight years after we met, Burrito Baby came along. Life isn’t a magical mystery ride every single day and we often get bogged down by the drudgery of domesticity, by we’ve all got each other and we’re happy.

What I’m trying to say is, sometimes when you know something, you just know. I knew that Husband was right for me, I knew what I wanted and I went for it. Being bold can really pay off and as long as no one gets irreparably hurt along the way, what’s the harm in taking a chance?

Go on. Be bold! But if you need advice, don’t forget about The Circle!

Christmas Present Ideas for a Six Year Old Girl

Telescope_by_vladstudioOur Sausage is a unique little pickle with widely varying interests. She’s just as happy playing with her Barbies as she is watching documentaries with her Dad, or surfing Wikipedia to learn something new. As well as the usual toys and games that she’s got on her Christmas list, Husband and I like to think outside the box and buy her gifts which are slightly different and encourage her imagination in some way. I thought I’d share a few of our ideas, just in case you’re keen to buy something a little unusual for your quirky kid.

A Microscope

Sausage is super inquisitive and loves learning, and we thought a microscope would be a brilliant present to encourage her thirst for knowledge. There are some great kids sets available and we can’t wait to see her reaction when she sees how different things can look when she sees them under a lens.

A Telescope

Looking at small things is fun, but looking out into the Galaxy is just as, if not, even more stimulating so we’re hoping Sausage will love a telescope. She’s already fascinated by the Planets and knows all of their names and order from the sun, and the recent landing of a probe on a comet has been a huge source of interest for her, so this will hopefully expand upon that.

A Chemistry Set

Just recently, Sausage and her Dad did the ‘bicarb and vinegar’ volcano experiment and despite the fact that I’m (and I’m not even kidding when I say this…) still cleaning stains off of my ceiling, the look on Sausage’s face when she saw the chemical reaction was utterly priceless, so a chemistry set could be just the thing to nurture her interest in science.

A Penknife

Husband and I are passionate about teaching kids knife skills, rather than keeping them away from anything vaguely sharp and with proper instruction, knowing how to use a Swiss Army Knife is a really important life skill. She already owns her own fire steel and know how to use it to start a fire, and while we’re not expecting to have to survive in the wilderness any time soon, knowing how to is super important, especially when most people can’t even cope without a TV and a Co-Op on the corner of their road.

Books!

When I was a kid, books were a staple part of our Christmas stash but people don’t seem to do this any more, favouring battery operated whatsits with bells and whistles attached. Sausage is an avid reader and uses both a Nook and real books – her library card gets a regular bashing! We’re currently looking for a full set of Horrible Histories books for her and there’ll be a few ‘lighter’ reads too – she’s favouring anything mermaid or fairy related at the moment!

So there you have it. Will you be buying any of the things on my list? Have any suggestions? Let me know!

Treat Your Kids This Christmas

The school holidays are a hard time for any parents. If it’s not the negotiating of your work schedule to get time off to look after the kids, then it’s thinking of ways to keep them entertained while they’re off school.

You can imagine my lack of surprise then when I read recently that stressed-out mothers are turning to other means to keep themselves entertained and fuss-free during these periods. It seems that there’s a spike in online gambling around the school holidays – that’s right – stir-crazy mummies and daddies are literally turning to sites like CasinoSagaFans.com instead of taking their kids out.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. For one, there are plenty of ways that you as parents can get out there and enjoy spending time with your kids, particularly around the Christmas holidays. In my efforts to be super dooper organised this year, I had a look online at what the best child-friendly activities there were out there this season. Here’s what I came back with.

Hampton Court Palace

Home to a maze and gorgeous gardens, not to mention a pretty hefty palace itself, Hampton Court Palace goes one step further for the kiddies at Christmas: it offers its own ice rink. It can be pretty dear to individuals, but you’re much better off getting a family ticket for £38. The outdoor rink is open from 21st November until 4th January, so you’ve plenty of time to get your skates on.

Winter Wonderland Illuminations

With all the fun and sparkle of Halloween and Bonfire Night behind us, it’s now up to the Christmas season to give us our all-things-pretty fix. Step forward, the Winter Wonderland Illuminations. Taking place at Drusillas Park, East Sussex, this beautiful light display will feature an animal-themed light show to festive music. You can catch the display from 29th November to 4th January.

Vauxhall Christmas Tree Maze

We all love an excuse to travel into central London to look at the Christmas lights around Piccadilly Circus, but slightly further out, Vauxhall will be host to its very own Christmas Tree Maze this year. Located within Vauxhall’s Pleasure Gardens, hundreds of Nordmann Firs covered in fairy lights have been arranged to guide people to the middle, where they will meet a very special Christmas guest. Once you’re done getting lost, you can also don your skates, have a hot chocolate or take a stroll around the markets.

Well Played, John Lewis. Well Played…

On Thursday afternoon, I saw the new John Lewis Christmas advert. I was, it’s fair to say, pretty underwhelmed by the whole affair, especially after having seen so many people talking about how moving it was across social media. I mean, it’s cute enough and all that, but it didn’t make me feel in the least bit Christmassy, nor did it make me want to shed a tear like so many of my friends seem to have upon viewing it. I mentioned this fact on Facebook and inadvertently managed to surprise a lot of people who felt that my lack of enthusiasm meant that my heart must’ve been replaced by a swinging brick, but the whole thing just felt wrong to me.

This morning, I was browsing the internet and guess what? John Lewis has sold out of cuddly penguins featured in the advert.

John Lewis Penguins Monty and Mabel

I toddled over to the mobile site and found that not only were John Lewis selling cuddly penguins, including a huge one for just under £100, they were selling a whole bunch of ‘Monty the Penguin’ branded goods. MERCH ALL UP IN YOUR FACE. And you know the worst part? John Lewis has actually sold out of almost all of it. The hapless consumers have played right into their hands.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that a company as huge as John Lewis would make an advert at Christmas, the busiest retail period of the whole year, just for shits and giggles; they’re trying to sell us stuff, plain and simple. But to me, creating a specific character, crafting an overly-sentimental advert around it and then merchandising the hell out of it, seems like a new low. I’m not even going to get started on the fact that people are buying a £95 cuddly toy.

The sudden lack of stock on their online store could be one of two things; either the British public really has lost its tiny mind and bought these exorbitant fluffy buggers in their thousands, or John Lewis is applying a bit of renegade marketing by only releasing a certain amount, thus creating a sell-out situation, and making demand for them go through the roof. What’s the betting we see people selling them on eBay, in early December, for hundreds of pounds to beleaguered parents whose kids want NOTHING but Monty the Penguin, only for John Lewis to miraculously find a mountain of stock right before the big day?

I know that for most, Christmas is not really a time of spirituality any more, and if you know me at all you’ll know that that’s really not my bag anyway, but I’m really nauseated by the blatant manipulation that John Lewis has employed in doing this and I certainly won’t be buying into it. It all seems so dreadfully cynical.

Have you bought any of the John Lewis Penguins or do you think the whole thing is madness? Let me know.

Questions and Answers

questions and answersMy gorgeous friend Mary from Keynko has tagged me to answer some questions and seeing as I’m having a total blogging lull where I have about 7 unfinished posts in my drafts at the moment, I thought this might be a good way to give myself a kick up the bum and get some mojo back! All I have to do is answer the following questions, make some up and then tag some other bloggers to join in.

Here are Mary’s questions and my answers:

What’s the worst movie you ever paid money to see?

Hmm, that’s a tricky one as I don’t go to the cinema to watch grown-up films very often these days! Justin and the Knights of Valour was probably the worst film we’ve seen as a family but we tried watching the Tom Cruise film ‘Oblivion’ at home and switched it off because it was SO bad. It’s very unusual for Husband and I not to persevere through even the weakest of film so that should give you a good idea of just how bad it really was. The newest Godzilla was also appallingly bad.

Where would your perfect Christmas be spent? 

I know it’s corny, but anywhere that my kids and Husband are. Ideally, in a cabin in the woods with snow outside, a log fire burning inside, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings followed by an evening of boardgames and fun, then the kids and Chuck snuggling under heavy blankets while Husband and I share a tipple by the fire. Having said that, we go to Husband’s Aunt’s house every year and have a huge family Christmas with lots of fun and games, which is pretty darn close to perfect anyway!

If you turn your “ipod”  (or equivalent music playing device) on what’s the first tune that plays?

At the moment, I listen to the most music whilst driving and I have a car stereo which takes memory sticks with .mp3s on them. If you turned the car on right now, you’d hear Disintegration by The Cure.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

Oddly, my earliest memory is a nightmare. I have huge gaps in my memory because of childhood trauma but I remember this nightmare vividly; I was standing in my cot in my bedroom and there were giant crabs and lobsters trying to snap at me through the bars. It’s bizarre, because I haven’t been in that bedroom since I was 5 years old and I have no recollection of it other than in this memory of a nightmare, but I remember every single detail of what it looked like.

And are you a tea or coffee person? Mug or cup and saucer? 

Both. Give me ALL the hot drinks! I do adore the mini-luxury of a properly brewed cup of tea, made in a teapot and served in a cup and saucer, but I also love a bog standard mug of monkey tea. I probably drink more coffee than tea these days (and I’m addicted to a free Waitrose latte!) and we have both instant and proper coffee made in our machine. Funnily enough, one of our favourites is the £1.25 a pack Ikea ground coffee – it’s lovely and works out at literally a few pennies per cup.

So, now it’s MY turn to ask questions and tag some peeps!

What was the last thing that made you cry?

Finish this sentence…”Never have I ever…”

What’s the tastiest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Would you rather fight one elephant sized gerbil, or 1000 gerbil sized elephants? Why?

If you had £50 to spend on something JUST for you, on what would you spend it?

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen somebody do?

If you could have one superhero’s powers, what would you choose?

What would be the first sentence of a book about your life?

I tag: Kate at WitWitWoo, Steph at I’m Counting UFOs, Jen at Smiles and Trials, Emma at The Syders, Kylie at Not Even a Bag of Sugar and Sally at Who’s the Mummy – over to you guys to answer my questions and then make some up of your own.

Why I’ve Stopped Using Deodorant

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Apologies for the slightly Take a Break-style sensational title to this post, but you should know by now that I’m a pretty straight forward kind of lady. I, friends, have stopped using deodorant. Here’s why:

I’ve never had a great relationship with deodorant. It makes my armpits itch terribly and I tend to jump from brand to brand, using each one until the irritation begins. I’m similar with shampoos, if I’m honest, and I think it might just be an all-over sensitive skin issue which causes the problems. Also, because of my diabetes, I sometimes get ingrown hairs or boils under my arms, which make using chemicals under there a real problem.

Just recently, I discovered a lump in my armpit, just behind where my breast meets my underarm and initially it was quite tender, so I went to the doctors and got some antibiotics, which took the tenderness away. In the meantime, Husband suggested that I stop using deodorant on my underarms to avoid exacerbating anything if it was a cyst or something else causing the lump, and keen to try anything which might help, I stopped. Obviously, I still showered every day and wore clean clothes, but I started to notice that I wasn’t having any obviously offensive body odour issues.

This was all about 4 weeks ago now and I’ve worn deodorant just once in that time. Weirdly, the day that I wore deodorant, I ended up washing it off because I seemed to be producing bad body odour. Husband has a bit of a conspiracy theory about certain cosmetics, such as face washes; use them on clear skin and suddenly, BOOM!, you’ve got a bunch of spots – so, you’d better carry on using the facewash, hadn’t you? I’m not saying that cosmetic companies are giving us spots and BO, but the products we’re encouraged to use don’t always protect us as well as we think and are mostly intended to make us buy more products. I even put this theory to my GP, who said that she actually agreed to a certain extent, and that her friends daughter, who was at medical school, actually wrote a dissertation about something almost identical.

Interestingly enough, I read a little while ago that the concept of B.O. (body odour) was actually invented by advertisers who were trying to sell a new product to the masses. They effectively decided to convince us all that the smell of a normal human was offensive and needed to be covered up, and wouldn’t you know it, they had JUST the product to help! Up until this point, we’d all gone happily about our days, washing our pits when they needed it and understanding that humans sometimes sweat, which isn’t the end of the world.

While I’m not saying that we should all walk around stinking, I’m not sure that we all need antiperspirant as much as we think we do, and my armpits certainly feel a lot healthier without being caked in deodorant every day. I’ve noticed that certain fabrics, such as stretchy nylons, will sometimes make my armpits a bit whiffy but I think that’s because the air doesn’t circulate as well through these materials. Other than that, my pits have been fine – my Husband is very particular when it comes to personal hygiene and even he’s agreed that I don’t stink!

Do you have issues with deodorant and would you ever consider giving it up, or it the thought of laying off of the roll-on a massive no-no for you? Leave me a comment below!

Mum’s the Word 4th Anniversary Giveaway!

prizesOn 4th October, I realised that it had been 4 years since I started Mum’s the Word (you can find my first ever post here) and it felt like something which should be celebrated. You see, I’m rather flighty when it comes to personal endeavours and I’ve never, EVER stuck at a hobby or pastime for as long as this, although seeing as blogging is now my job as well as my hobby, I guess you could say it’s evolved into being so much more than a way for me to get my ramblings out.

ANYWAY.

To celebrate, I thought I’d do a bit of a giveaway and I’ve got some lovely things to be won! Each prize has it’s own Rafflecopter widget below and you can enter as many of them as you like.

Firstly, my lovely friend Donna at Little Lily Pad Co. has given me a gorgeous pink baby sock bundle (seems appropriate seeing as 2014 was the year I gave birth to my second baby girl!) to give away, which you can win by filling in the Rafflecopter Widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Next up is a gorgeous handmade treat from a lady I love dearly and who is insanely talented, Mary from Keynko. She’s giving away a pair of handmade bookends and a handbag which has been upcycled from silk scarves. I’m seriously wishing I could enter myself to win these! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our next prize is something that I’m so in love with; my friend Jenny, who blogs at Cheetahs in my Shoes, is one of my favourite photographers in the world – she was recently commended at an awards ceremony by the Zoological Society of London for her nature photography and is going to be published in one of their books! She’s given us a canvas print of a rose that she shot herself, my favourite flower.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Next, we’ve got a truly beautiful prize for all you babywearers, a Rockin’ Baby pouch in their Peacock print, which fits newborns up to 18kg. BB and I have been testing one of these recently and will be giving you our review next weeek! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Last but definitely not least is a brand who BB and I absolutely adore, Sophie La girafe, who’ve given us an utterly adorable dress-up tabard which comes in sizes 3 months to 3 years.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please do enter as many of the giveaways as you like, and here’s to another 4 years of Mum’s the Word!
Terms and Conditions
Winners will be chosen at random on the closing date of 31st October 2014. All decisions are final. Winners will be contacted thereafter. No cash alternatives will be offered.

Too Much Choice?

CluelessStill11As parents, we’ve always tried to maintain what we felt was a good balance of gentle guidance and egalitarianism in the household. Sausage is a bright child and we’ve tried to allow her the freedom to make choices for herself, in the hope that this would both encourage her to learn how to make good decisions, as well as make her feel respected, and like her voice is heard as an equal member of the family. In a lot of ways, it’s worked really well and she can be assertive when she needs to be, without the need for foot-stamping and demanding behaviour, which is something she has never done.

However, I’m starting to wonder if, by giving her too much choice, we’re overwhelming her and putting too much pressure on her?

We’re not the sort of household which is very regimental; dinner is ready when it’s ready and more often than not we wait until after the school run to even work out what we’re having, which usually means a quick trip to the shops of an afternoon. Most days, I’ll ask Sausage what she wants for dinner, applying a little of the gentle guidance mentioned above when she requests things like Supanoodles or Coco Pops, but largely we work together to work out what our family dinner will be.

We do it with other things, too; on our walk to school in the mornings, there are two routes we can take and most days I’ll ask if she has a preference over which way we walk. I let her choose her own clothes when she’s not in uniform and she has freedom over what books she reads (although Husband and I both took a sharp intake of breath when she eyed a copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover last week!), TV she watches and what games she plays.

Just lately though, I’ve been noticing a pretty dispassionate response to my questions. She’ll often answer “surprise me”, which I think is a way of removing the pressure on her to make a decision, and just this morning, I asked what she wanted on her toast and she answered “I don’t know, Mummy. You decide”. Is she shying away from making decisions because she’s feeling the weight of expectation on herself too heavily?

Husband came from a household where dinner was on the table at roughly the same time every night, everyone ate the same thing and there was no discussion about what it would be, by and large, it was simply prepared and served by his Mum. My upbringing wasn’t quite as regimented, but there certainly wasn’t anywhere near as much autonomy Sausage is afforded and, while I always thought this was a good thing, I’m unsure now.

Parenting means doing things in the way that you think is right for both yourself and your kids, but sometimes the way you do things can end up being the exact OPPOSITE of what your kids need and I’m really keen to identify issues like this and change them before they become too much of a problem. Husband has been telling me for months that we should just give Sausage her meals rather than asking her what she wants all the time, because of the stress she’s started to show and I’m starting to think I should have listened to him long ago.

Are we, in giving her so much choice, ladling too much pressure on her? Do you give your kids a say in every day decisions or do you make the majority of their choices for them? Do your kids ever show signs of being overwhelmed by too many options? Leave me a comment below.

 

Guest Post: Mummy, Why are They Being so Mean to Me?

On the blog today, we have a guest post from Helen Neale, who writes at both kiddycharts.com, a parenting advice and tools site offering free personalised kids charts, and stickersstarsandsmiles.com, a much more personal blog where she promises to tidy up, but never quite gets around to it. She can be found far too much on social media, particularly Twitter.

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As the teacher passed, she could hear sobbing. She looked across the wooden hall floor, but couldn’t find where it was coming from. She tilted her head to try and concentrate. In the corner of the hall was a gym mat, positioned delicately against the climbing frames that the school children used in PE. She moved silently towards the sound, and as she approached the noise got louder. Leaning in, she peered behind the mat.

Standing pressed against the wall, tears streaming down her face, was a small girl.”

Thirty-five years ago, that was me.

Even after all this time, I can still remember vividly the teacher who found me, and helped me. But even now, I can sometimes still feel like that little girl, hiding from harsh and cutting words.

My time at school has shaped me into the woman I am today, I am sure of it. It has made me into someone who hates confrontation, so much that I will apologise for anything just to move on, and not create tension.

It has made me desperate to be liked. I turned to bribery in secondary school. Eventually, a close friend told me that I didn’t have to use my dinner money to buy her sweets to get her to speak to me. It was only then that I finally came to realise that I didn’t have to pay for friendship. Friendship was something that is freely given, and gratefully received.

Despite finally finding a wonderful friend, I was still singled out by some of the older girls as the weaker one; sensitive to criticism. I often wondered if I “just had the face for it” as I grew up.

I avoided catching the school bus home to my village if I could. When I did brave the ride on the first bus home, I would sit near the front away from the other children. I would then spend 45 minutes listening to the kids behind me, talking about me, calling me names, deliberately waking past, and flicking my hair, throwing my bag down the bus…anything to upset me. Never physical, but the constant niggles were enough to cut deep.

Suddenly though, it stopped.

The main culprit left the school; as simple as that.

The other players didn’t have their heart in it. Having finally told my mum, she helped too; giving me the confidence to stand up to them, to speak to the teachers and not to try and handle everything on my own. After the bully left, my bus trips started again. However, my anxiety and my wish to be liked has remained ever since.

If I had my time again, I do sincerely wish that it hadn’t happened, any of it. Of course I do. Thinking about those times, still stings my eyes.

But, the sensitivity it has instilled in my heart; how we should listen, and love, has made me into someone who has understood many of my friend’s darkest moments. Once, it helped save a life.

The determination to carry on despite being bullied lives on in me now too; that survival instinct has moulded me both personally and professionally.

I made it.

I was able to come out the other side. That has given me a confidence in myself that I didn’t think, as that little six-year old, hiding behind a gym mat, I would ever have. I am still desperate to seek approval from others, but it isn’t as all encompassing as it was when I was a child. It doesn’t choke me, it doesn’t mean I feel that every friend I have is just here for a while until they find someone else more exciting, funnier, or with more money for sweets….

However, I realised this week that I find myself seeking approval from my kids in a way that I wish I didn’t. Anything from the simple questions about whether their birthday party was any good, to whether they liked the dinner I made them. This even extends to the friends they invite to those parties, or sit down to have that dinner with them.

Despite all that I have achieved, there is still a wee six year old in there, desperate to be liked.

How have you overcome this need for approval if you have it too? Is there anyway to do so? Shall I just give up and have a biscuit?

If you or your children are experiencing bullying, please seek help. There are some wonderful organisations out there. Relevant sites in the UK include:

http://www.bullying.co.uk/

http://www.beatbullying.org/

http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/

It would be wonderful if we can lend a little support to these and other organisations supporting anti-bullying campaigns, including this campaign from fellow blogger, Gammon and Chips, in the memory of a wonderful 16-year old girl, Izzy.