44 articles Articles posted in All About ME!

Summer Weddings: Finding the Perfect Dress

Husband and I have been invited to a wedding in August, and I am SO excited about it – not only do we get to dress up and have a fun evening with our best friends, we also get to STAY AT A HOTEL for the night, which is something we haven’t done in literally years! Of course, going to a wedding means finding the perfect outfit, so when Fashion World got in touch to ask if I’d like to take a look at their range of women’s dresses, I jumped at the chance!

I knew that I wanted something in either blue or grey, as they’re the colours which suit me best, and if it was blue, ideally it would be navy. I’ve had an obsession with peacock feathers for ages, and wanted to be able style whatever I wore with a peacock-feather fascinator, so it meant that I could narrow down my search on the site by not only size, but also colour and occasion. Here’s what I chose:

BEADED PROM DRESS

To be totally honest, the picture doesn’t do it justice – the beading on the front is not only very intricate, but the peacock-inspired colours really pop, shimmering with blues, turquoises and purples in the light. It’s going to be absolutely perfect with my dream head-wear and I can’t wait to see what the whole outfit looks like together.

My mission now is to find the perfect shoes and bag to go with the outfit. As we’re staying, the bag only needs to be big enough to fit my phone and bank card, so something clutch-sized. The shoes would ideally be a mid-sized heel (I don’t want flats but I walk like a baby giraffe in skyscraper heels!), and would compliment the colour of the dress. I saw an incredible pair or purple platforms in a Kurt Geiger sale, but I wasn’t brave enough to buy them and now they’re sold out! Any suggestions of accessories to complete the outfit would be much appreciated!

What do you think of my choice?

Who Am I?

Who am I? Good question! It’s such a long time since I took part in a good old fashioned bloggers Q&A so when the lovely Emma at Emma & 3 asked if anyone wanted to be tagged, I stuck my virtual hand in the air pretty sharpish! I find myself bogged down with work and commercial posts sometimes, so having the opportunity to actually write something personal seemed too good to pass up. So, here are my answers:

Jayne and Maureen

When was the last time you cried?

Sunday evening. I got a really nice, thoughtful text from my Dad and at the end of what is usually quite a tough day for me, I sobbed. Although, to be fair, it never usually takes much to make me cry, my emotions bubble pretty close to the surface and since we lost Chuck in December, I’ve shed more than my fair share of tears.

If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

That’s a really hard one to answer. On the surface, I can seem really flaky and unreliable when it comes to making and keeping arrangements, but this is due in no small part to social anxiety and awkwardness that makes me shy away from socialising much. I think I’d probably find me pretty funny (because I am one of those wankers who laughs at their own jokes) but it would probably be one of those “I haven’t seen you for six months, lets talk for 3 hours solidly and then not see each other again for six months”-type friendships.

Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Yes. Yes I do.

What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Hmm, that’s another toughie – as someone who is pretty over-sensitive, I think I probably pick up on my perception of the person’s body language before I notice anything material, and that can really colour my impression of a person. I tend to gravitate towards people who I perceive as being emotionally open, I don’t really gel with people who are naturally closed or stand-offish.

Scary movie or happy endings?

I’m woefully uneducated with scary films, although Husband has been doing his best to get me to watch more of them, but I think I’ll always love a happy ending.

Favourite smells?

Creosote, tomato plant leaves, Imperial leather soap, roast dinners, new carpet, puppy breath, newborn baby skin, BB and Sausage’s hair when it’s just been washed, Chanel Egoist, and most importantly, the smell of Chuck’s feet. I miss that smell so much.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

Maldives – our island was precisely 5261 miles away from home!

Do you have any special talents?

I’m okay at baking and cooking, I guess, and I have a fairly impressive capacity to eat junk food, but I don’t think I have anything that could be described as a talent. I’m pretty devoid of exceptional qualities. Oh wait, I do have a huge talent for putting myself down – there you go!

Where were you born?

Orsett, in Essex. The hospital wasn’t supposed to be open for births on the day I was born, but apparently it was too late to get me to the sister unit a few miles away, so I had to be born there.

What are your hobbies?

What hobbies does any working Mum have?! Does doing the school run and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge count?! I enjoy sewing and reading but never seem to find the time for either lately.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an astronaut and had it all planned out – I was going to get a Royal Air Force scholarship to go to University and then become a pilot, which I hoped would give me the opportunity to advance from there, but I was told during a school careers day by an Air Force rep that I’d never be a pilot because I didn’t have perfect eyesight, so I had to give up on that dream. Then, I wanted to be a drama teacher, but that didn’t pan out either! Being a freelance writer and social media bod suits be down to the ground, to be honest, as I can work the hours I want and not have to deal with the public!

How many countries have you been to?

France, Belgium, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Maldives – 6.

What was your favourite/worst subject in school?

I adored Drama, English and Biology. Least favourite subjects were R.E. and French.

What is your favourite drink?

Non-alcoholic, anything cherry flavoured – I love a Cherry Pepsi Max! Alcoholic, I like lots of things, but my favourite of all time is probably sake, Stones ginger wine or Taboo (do you remember that?!).

What would you (or have you) named your children?

Sausage and Burrito Baby 😉 – I don’t have my kids names on my blog, but they both have what people call “old lady” names, with a flower middle name.

How many boyfriends have you had?

Proper actual boyfriends/girlfriends, 4, not including the ones at school where someone asks you out on the bus and you spend the next two weeks avoiding them.

Favourite memory from childhood?

Probably the weeks that my cousin and I would go and stay with my Nan and Grandad in Lowestoft for a week. We had so much fun and got to do so many lovely things with them, and the memories are even more precious now that they’re no longer with us.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

Professional scruff. I usually look like I’ve been covered in superglue and thrown onto a table at a jumble sale.

Tell us one of your bad habits!

Swearing too much.

I tag:

Emma at The Syders, March at Mrs Teepot and Jen at Smiles and Trials

 

My 33rd Birthday

This Sunday is my 33rd birthday. Woohoo, right? Except, not really – who actually celebrates being 33?! I’ve actually been spoilt rotten already by Husband – my laptop died a few weeks ago, so he bought me a brand-spanking new one as an early present, AND surprised me with a grey leather Pandora bracelet and moonstone birth charm that I’ve been coveted for ages last week! However, I usually get money as a gift from other family members, so I’ve been trying to think about what to spend it on (rather than doing what I do every other year and keeping the cash in my purse until it ends up being spent on takeaway or petrol!). Here’s a few things I came up with:

Garden Furniture

We’ve got an amazing garden where we live now, but it’s basically just a massive plain lawned area with a little bit of patio. I’ve been planning to get some garden furniture for ages so that we can make the most of our outside space but nothing struck my fancy until I looked at Nest. Their ranges are so much more contemporary than average garden furniture and it would look absolutely fabulous in our back garden!

A Latte Maker

Even though I’m on a strict low-carb diet, one indulgence that I haven’t given up is a daily latte. I have a loyalty card for the supermarket opposite Sausage’s school which entitles me to a free coffee and I do tend to go in most days, but I would absolutely love a proper coffee machine to enable me to make myself a decent drink at home.

Books

This one might seem really dull, but I used to spend a fair amount on books and I’ve basically stopped since the girls came along, I’ve got a list as long as my arms of things I want to read and since BB is starting school in September, I’ll have more time to read. I’ve been adding the things I want to read to a wishlist so perhaps I’ll start at the beginning and work my way through!

Perfume

The last time I bought myself a bottle of perfume was back in 2012, when I started a new job. The job didn’t last and the perfume is all gone, and although I’ve been bought perfume as a gift by Husband since then, I haven’t treated myself, so I might spend a morning at the perfume counter sniffing new scents and seeing what I like.

Afternoon Tea

This may sound bonkers seeing as EVERYONE seems to go for afternoon tea these days, but I’ve never actually been for afternoon tea before. Part of managing to be succesful on my diet has been allowing myself the odd cheat day here and there, and I think treating myself to an afternoon tea for my birthday would be the perfect cheat meal and celebration!

A Healthy Mum Means A Happy Family

When you’re a full-time working mum, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. Usually, most of your attention is focused on your kids, and perhaps, that’s the way it should be. The problem is that by always putting your kids first, you can forget to look after yourself. Working full time is stressful when you’re a mum, and you don’t want to lose your quality of life because you haven’t been looking after your own health. Here are some of the things that you need to think about to stay healthy when you’re working.

Cut Out The Stress

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By far one of the greatest dangers to your health is stress. Stress can have a number of different effects on the body. It has even been connected to the development of certain types of cancer. As such, you need to do everything you can to reduce stress in your working life. Breathing exercises are a simple way to do this. If you feel yourself getting stressed, just count to ten while breathing in deeply. As you let it out, you should find your stress levels are quickly diminished.

Sleep is important for regulating stress and tension too. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to get those eight hours that you need. To do this, you can think about writing before bed. This will help you deal with some of the thoughts swirling around your mind that could ultimately keep you up until the late hours.

Don’t Put Yourself In Harm’s Way

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There will be situations where you could put your health at risk simply by completing your job, and a simple example would be RSI. It’s estimated that twenty percent of the UK workforce deal with some form of RSI or repetitive strain injury. It is typically caused by typing for long periods without breaks. If you suffer from this, you may eligible for an injury claim. You might want to look into PISD claims for injury because your employer is accountable for any injury you suffer from while at work. Don’t forget, even the smallest injury can impact your mental and physical health.

Eat Well

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By eating a healthy diet, you can look after your mood, your mind and your body. You’ll keep your body strong, and it will be able to deal with the pressures of the day. Eating a good, wholesome diet filled with fruit and vegetables has also been shown to elevate mood and allow people to tackle problems more effectively. You don’t have to be a fitness nut to accomplish this either. Balancing your diet with the five recommend a day is enough. Another way you can really change the way you live to be more healthier, is to go to the gym atleast a few times a week, when doing this you may need some sport supplements. Take a look at some of the best on the market at Supplements Direct.

Take A Little Time

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Last but not least, every once in awhile you should make sure  you are taking some time for yourself. This could be anything from one day a week to twenty minutes every day. During this time forget the difficult situations around you and relax. Read a book, take a nap or just have a lovely soak in the bath. This will give your body and your mind the time it needs to recharge and keep you healthy.

Things to Do Before I’m 40

A few years ago, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I hit 30. Aside from the fact that I wrote it with not really enough time to achieve any of the things on the list, life changes and it became rather obsolete, but I was thinking recently that I should make another list of things to do before I’m 40 (especially because I’ve got about 2 and a half years to achieve it all in!) so here’s a few things that I know I’m going to include:

Go on a Hen Do

Amazingly enough, I’ve managed to reach the grand old age of 32 without ever having been on a hen do, and I didn’t have one of my own when I got married, either (nor did Husband have a Stag Do…aren’t we boring?!). Having said that, I’d love to go on a Hen Do and enjoy a proper girlie evening out with my chums, I just need some of them to hurry up and get married!

Be a Bridesmaid

Maybe I’m just a person who’s not conducive to weddings, but I’ve never been a bridesmaid either! I didn’t have any bridesmaids when I got married, purely because we got married on a desert island in the middle of nowhere and didn’t have anyone with us, so I can understand why I’ve not been top of anyone’s list for being their bridesmaid…although Sausage always insists that she’s going to have me as her Maid of Honour, so maybe I’ll get a shot one day after all!

Get a Degree

I’ve been so wishy-washy with getting my education but I’ve FINALLY decided what I want to do and have changed my subject from Psychology to English Literature and Language. Once I’ve completed my degree, I intend to get a teaching qualification and become a teacher. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for such a long time and it’s a profession which will fit in with our family. Hopefully I’ll have achieved it all before I’m 40!

Travel More

I’m lucky enough to have been to a few really amazing places, not least of all being the Maldives, but I really would love to travel more and take the girls to a few places too. We’re lucky enough to live close to a medium-sized airport which flies to a few different European destinations, so once we’ve all got our passports sorted we’ll be up, up and away!

Write a Book

I’ve had the beginnings of a novel floating around in my head for the longest time, Ive just never managed to get it down on a page. I’ve got no illusions of being the next J.K. ROwling or anything but it would be so cool to write a book and maybe even self publish a few copies, so that I can see my own name in print.

 

Taking Care of Yourself this Spring

I don’t know about you but I’m SO ready for some warmer weather. The winter has really taken it out of all of us and I’m definitely looking forward to longer days and some sunshine on my face. I’ve been doing a lot more to take care of myself lately, eating properly and going to the gym, and I’ve been thinking about ways that I can expand on that in the coming days, so I thought I’d share with you my top five ways to take care of yourself this spring:

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is good for so many things and I’ve been looking at all of the different uses for the different oils, including anti-ageing properties and ways to soothe aching muscles. Neal’s Yard Remedies have an amazing range which are completely organic and have an oil for every ailment imaginable – I’m planning to mix a few of my own scents to use in the bath on gym days.

Massage

A few years back, I went for a massage at a local day spa and I enjoyed it SO much but it’s something I’ve never found the time or money to do again. Now that I’m running and weight lifting, I feel like I’d really benefit from a massage (or even regular massages) so I’m planning to make Spring the season in which I do it!

SLEEP!

Sleep is SO important to healing and mental health and as most parent knows it can also be an elusive thing! It becomes even more important when you’re exercising because the body needs time to heal and repair itself, so I’m planning on revamping the whole look of our bedroom and treating us to some new bed linen, to make our bedroom a palace of relaxation so that sinking in to bed at night feels like a proper treat! Many people struggle with nasal issues which interrupt sleep, so consulting a nose surgeon might really help.

Yoga

As well as the exercise that I’m already doing, I’m planning to throw in a weekly yoga class as well. Running and weight-lifting are both great ways to lose weight, increase strength and tone up but I’m hoping that yoga will help with my flexibility and also help to improve any muscle aches that I get after working out. Invest in a decent yoga mat if you plan to go to a class as the gym’s own ones usually smell of feet!

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a word that I’ve heard a lot of people use in the last couple of years and after looking into it, I think it’s something I could really stand to learn more about. The definition of mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” and it sounds like exactly what I need for my Springtime self-care.

What are you doing to take care of yourself this Spring?

How To Make Use Of Spare Time On Your Own

In many cases, society expects us to parent our children in a certain way and judges us if we do certain things, like letting them stay up late or eating certain types of food. Heaven forbid spending time away from our children due to the accusations of neglect we’d receive. But the fact of the matter is that it is good to spend some child free time to yourself, and there is no reason to feel guilty about it. Of course we love our children and cherish them dearly, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to crave a little ‘me time’ as well. There will be plenty of opportunities to spend time with them, tell them off and use your unimpressed poker face when they’re being naughty. Whether they’re away for a whole week, just a weekend, or just during the day at school, here are a number of ways that you can make the most of your alone time.

Couple Time

If you and your partner are new parents, you may have forgotten what life was like before. So why not arrange for your children to have a sleepover with the grandparents, allowing for you to have a child free evening. This frees up time to go to the cinema, enjoy a candle lit meal or even just enjoy a bottle of wine. Why not revisit your first ever date together and remind yourselves of who you were before you were parents. It will make your bond as a couple stronger than ever, perhaps even reinvigorating the relationship as you continue your parenthood journey.

Girly Time

As much as you love your children, if you spend lots of time with them, you’re bound to miss regular interaction with adults. So whenever you get the chance of free time away from your children, utilise the time by hanging out with your friends. Whether that means heading to your favourite café for a cup of coffee and a really long gossip, or a pamper session at the salon, it will be great to have an adult conversation and you’ll feel energised and recharged afterwards.

Gym

A great way of keeping fit and a great social opportunity, statistically, people who go the gym are also far happier because exercise releases dopamine, a chemical in the brain that increases happiness. If you get yourself into a regular routine, even if it’s just once a week, and go along with a friend to keep each other motivated (it also provides opportunity for gossip). It’s also good to check if your gym runs classes like spinning, yoga or aerobics which can be great for meeting like minded people.

No Time to Read?

Time to ReadAs soon as I was old enough to read, I became something of a bookworm. The Hobbit was the first “proper” book I read when I was about 6 and it was an ongoing love affair from then. When I was in my early teens, I’d wake up on Saturday morning, go into town to buy a new book and then spend the rest of the weekend reading it, usually finished by Sunday afternoon. My mother was so concerned by my lack of interest in being a street-raker that she actually consulted a doctor about my behaviour (although I think most  parents would be delighted by a child who chose to stay at home and read, but hey, sometimes you just can’t win).

The last time I read a book was a couple of years ago now. Carrie, by Stephen King if I remember rightly (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t already read it. In fact, read ANYTHING by Stephen King.). But since then, I’ve not picked up a book. I have plenty of access to books and I also have a Kindle, so that’s not the problem.

I keep claiming that I “don’t have time to read”, but that’s not really true, either. I have plenty of time for Facebook and Netflix and Candy Crush and all of the other things which hog my attention. I might CLAIM to be time poor but that only seems to apply when it suits me. I think the problem is inside my brain…what I once loved about reading is the thing which is making it hard for me now. Bear with me while I elaborate.

One of the appeals of reading a book was that feeling of slipping inside the story, losing myself in the words and in my own imagination and being taken away from reality into a finely-woven tale which could completely consume me. These days, I seem to have an absolute inability to disconnect myself enough to lose myself in anything. Even when we’re watching a film or TV show, I’m picking up my phone to browse Facebook or Reddit or occasionally Twitter (I say ‘occasionally’ because, is it just me, or is that place just tumbleweed central these days? No-one seems to chat on there like they used to).

People have noticed how attached to social media I am and it’s become a bit of a running joke, but it’s also starting to worry me. It seems like my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has become all-encompassing. It’s definitely a lifestyle thing; when I was young and single, I literally NEVER turned down a night out or a chance to socialise. I could be settling down in my pyjamas, get a phone call and be in the pub in half an hour flat because I couldn’t bear the thought that people were having fun without me, and I think Facebook has become a substitute for that – I can still be sitting in my pyjamas, not NEEDING to go out and still be connected to everything that’s going on in my friends lives.

I’ve seen other people take a social media detox and I genuinely wonder how they do it. Going on Facebook, either by app or desktop, has become almost like a reflex, something I do as a matter course and I really feel like I need to take a break. The main fear is that, because so much of my work is social-based or reliant on a social media scoring, stepping away means losing money but I think I need to give it a go and see before I let it consume me. From next week, I’ll be removing the app from my phone and only accessing Facebook via my laptop, and I’ll only be using my laptop during “work” hours.

I need to re-learn how to read. How to watch a TV show without picking up my phone every two seconds. How to interact with my kids and Husband without there being a screen between me and them.

And the stupid thing is, the thought of it fucking terrifies me.

How To Tackle Tidying: The Easy Way

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We all love a clean and tidy home, but it is rare we love the process. Busy modern life might include work, travel, social occasions and family commitments to name a few. Cleaning and tidying can be the last thing we feel like doing. But occasionally, a small change in our approach can make a big impact on the results. A tidy environment can instantly give us a sense of space and clarity. It can encourage us to take a bit of healthy pride in our home. It can even make things run more smoothly through the day as we’re far more likely to be able to find things. If you have tidying to tackle on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis, look no further than the helpful tips below.

Make A List

It may seem that making a list is counterproductive if we’re short on time. Surely it takes us extra time to write the list? But there are many advantages to writing a list that will save us time overall. Firstly, we will have a clear idea of what needs to be done. We can work calmly and methodically without allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed. If necessary, we can even set times or days for each thing on the list. That way, we will be confident that everything will get done. Even if we’re very short on time. Another advantage of the list is the sense of accomplishment we feel when we tick things off! Seeing the list shrink before our eyes can feel like a weight is lifting. We can then use this feeling of motivation and accomplishment as momentum to get everything else done too.

Set A Timer

It can be easy to lose track of time when we’re cleaning. We can quickly become tired and frustrated, and it makes it harder to return to work after a break. Instead, try setting a timer. Many people swear by the positive effects of even ten to fifteen minutes of tidying. You may wish to set longer but don’t be tempted to go above an hour and a half without a break. If the work is physically strenuous, incorporate more regular breaks than this. Ultimately, setting a timer helps us to stay focus and minimise distractions. We are more likely to work intensively for a short burst of time. Over a long, uncertain time period we can quickly lose interest or become distracted.

Invest In Equipment

Cleaning and tidying is far more fun if we have reliable and effective equipment. It can be downright frustrating if we don’t. We should try to invest in a good vacuum cleaner, for example. Dusters and tea towels can be important for achieving shine and cleanliness too. Reputable brands like The Linen Works make fabrics that are more durable. We won’t have to put in as much effort to achieve excellent results!

Extra Storage

If you find that you seem to be constantly tidying or always cluttered, you may simply need extra storage. Even if you’re short on space, many containers are fold-away or stackable. You may find that storage actually frees up space rather than limits it. This can often make tidying a breeze.

The Year That Was.

NEW YEAR2015 has been a pretty odd year for us. We started the year living in the little bungalow that we’d lived in for the previous 5 years but knowing that we had the prospect of moving hanging over us because our landlord wanted to sell. We moved in March, thinking we’d found a long-term home, only for our new landlord to decide to sell up so by September we were living in our third home of the year. It’s all  very bittersweet; we’ve been messed around and had the rug pulled out from under us but we’ve ended up in a home which is a bit of a dream for us, so while I wouldn’t want to repeat any of the process that got us here, I’m kind of glad it all happened.

Sausage and Burrito Baby have taken the upheaval totally in their strides. Sausage is doing well at school and is adjusting brilliantly to it all while BB seems to be growing into a lovely little girl. We’ve struggled with her fiery temper and have worried about her on and off but she’s started talking NON-STOP which seems to have curbed her frustration at being unable to communicate and helped her blossom into a wonderful little person who is loving and sweet, just like her big sister.

Husband loves life in the country and is thriving on having space to walk Chuck. At the beginning of the year, he set himself some personal goals which he not only achieved but actually completely smashed and I’m really proud of him for sticking to his commitment to living a healthier life.

As for me…well, this year has been a time for contemplation and adjustment. I’ve had a lot of personal turmoil over the past two and a half years, monumental things that have happened behind the scenes which have really thrown my whole world into disarray. I haven’t blogged about any of it, nor talked about it on social media but needless to say, it’s meant that I’ve had to change the way I view a lot of thing, including what the word “family” means.

Removing people from my life for the sake of my own mental health has meant that I’ve had to re-evaluate and restructure – Husband, Sausage and BB are the most important people in my world and I’m lucky enough to have an extended set of in-laws who I probably wouldn’t have coped without for the past 2 years. It’s taken a long time for me to deal with the fact that my world, and my family, is a lot smaller than I expected it to be at this stage of my life but that I’m also happier. Calmer. More at peace.

Moving forward, I’m hoping that 2016 is free from major changes or upsets and that I can continue to develop my career and take on new projects. Mum’s the Word has been in existence for over 5 years and I’m not feeling any less in love with blogging than I have been since the beginning. I’d like my writing to evolve on to other things and obviously I’d like to make a bit more money somehow, but for now I’m content with the way life is going. I also want to make more time to help others; I don’t have the resources to donate endlessly to charity, but time is one thing that I do have, I just need to work out what it is that I want to do – any suggestions are more than welcome.

I hope you all had a great New Years Eve and are moving into 2016 with a clear idea of what you want from this year, even if (or ESPECIALLY if) 2015 wasn’t kind to you. And just think…there’s only 511 days until the next Star Wars film is released!