Friday, 27 May 2016

She ate an apple!

Big news in our household last night. E ate an apple!  That's right, with a little persuasion, our picky eater ate an apple.

Yesterday we had to take her to the Drs because she was struggling to go to the toilet (both) and it turned out to be constipation. It was looking like we would end up having to take her to see the paediatric team at the hospital, just as we had with T in April but thankfully after some medicine to help things along, the problem resolved and she was soon back to her usual self.   

I sat down with her and asked her if she liked having a sore tummy and not being able to go to the toilet and naturally the answer was no so I then explained that she needed to eat more fruit and vegetables to stop if from happening. Now I know that she eats apples, pears and bananas at nursery snack time but she has refused point blank to eat them each time I've offered them at home. So it was as simple as me telling her this and saying that she needed to eat two of them at home each day and if she did, not only would she get stickers on her charts but she could also have a new Shopkins (something she has just got interested in). Bingo! Not only did she have an apple last night but she also asked for one for her breakfast this morning and has requested one for tomorrow's breakfast too.

I really hope that we can get this phase cracked sooner or later!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Is It Possible To Have Kids & A Tidy House?

I love my home; we’re finally getting it just how we want it to be after moving in a year or so ago. I know a lot of parents who really struggle when it comes to keeping their home’s neat and tidy after adding little ones to their home. Kids need a lot of ‘stuff’, which does make keeping your home looking nice hard work. However, if you’re smart about it, it is doable.

child play.jpg

Get rid of any junk
Something I learned when we moved to our new home last year, was that before moving it was important to get rid of any junk. You may not realise it, but your home is packed full of junk - everyone’s is. Most of us store items that we no longer need and then forget about them, using up precious storage space.

With kids, you need every inch of storage space you can get. That’s why it makes no sense to hold onto things that you no longer need. Sort one room at a time and take anything that you don’t want to your local dump. Or, to make things easier, look into skip hire or an alternative option.

Tidy as you go
The main cause of mess is not cleaning up as you go. With kids, there’s always going to be new mess that needs sorting out. That’s why it’s important to tidy up as you go, to prevent your home getting into too much of a state.

After preparing food, while it cooks wash up and clean the counters. After your kids have finished with one toy and moved onto another, tidy it up. Or better yet, get them to do it. Children are never too long to learn to tidy up after themselves. Implement a rule that after finishing playing with one toy, it must go back where it came from, else they can’t get another one out.

Ensure you have adequate storage space
If you want a home that’s easy to keep clean, then you need lots of storage space. The good news is that even if your home doesn’t have adequate built-in storage space, there are plenty of ways you can make more storage space. Wardrobes, cabinets, and chests all offer a good amount of storage space.

You could also consider adding more built-in storage to your home, such as built-in wardrobes. Another option is to use self-storage to store any items that you no longer need or use but don’t want to get rid of. This will free up some much-needed space and will help to reduce clutter in your home. The less clutter there is, the easier to keep it tidy it will be.

It’s no secret that kids have a lot of stuff and make a lot of mess - toys, clothes, food go everywhere. However, that being said, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a tidy home if you have little ones because that’s not the case. It just takes a little more work; that’s all.

* Contributed Post

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Living Arrows : 25th May 2016

Last weekend we had dinner at my in-laws. Whilst we were waiting for it to cook, D and his Dad took T and E outside to play with the motorised radio controlled car. The kids jumped in and D got on the controls.

Needless to say they absolutely loved it and spent the whole time shrieking. D's parents have a large garden with plenty of room for them to run around in. Or, in this case, be driven about in! 

I don't know about you but I would have loved having a car like this and a big garden to play in as a child!

Linking up with:  

Living Arrows

Fun and creative things to do with young children

Creativity is often misunderstood. Many people believe that it is a gift and you either have it or you don't. This is not true. Creativity is something that is available to everyone, its not just about being an artist. It comes in many different forms and has countless benefits. There are lots of fun and creative activities you can do with young children. How many of these have you tried?

Attending A Workshop Or Group

There are lots of groups like Little Squigglers for your toddler or young child to enjoy. There are toddler groups, after-school clubs, and holiday workshops. Some of these you can attend with your child. There are lots of benefits of attending these groups:

  • Your child gets to interact with other children
  • You have the opportunity to meet other parents
  • They often provide resources and materials that you don’t have at home
  • It’s a fun, caring environment and everyone can work at their own pace
  • Everything is organised, and surfaces are protected, so it’s fine to make a mess
  • You and your child get to learn new skills
  • You gain inspiration and ideas for projects to try at home
  • Someone else cleans up at the end of the day

Learning A Musical Instrument

Some people equate creativity with being an artist. However, this is a very narrow view. Creativity expands into lots of areas. Learning a musical instrument has lots of benefits:

  • It encourages discipline and hard work
  • It helps cultivate academic skills
  • Your child will improve his / her social skills
  • It can help with self-esteem
  • It boosts self-expression
  • It teaches motor skills

When your child is young, consider providing them with a range of percussion instruments to play with. Start with simple things like drums and wood blocks. Then move onto chime bars and glockenspiels.


Again, it’s not just about being artistic. Create a child-friendly outdoor space and encourage your child to get involved. Fire their enthusiasm by allowing them to choose some seeds and plant them in a small pot. Help them to nurture their plants and watch them grow.

You can then move onto larger spaces. Make a space for your child where they can plant their own veggies and flowers. If your garden is small, use pots. If you have no garden, then create a herb garden or grow tomato plants on the window ledge. Not only does this encourage creative thought and planning, but it also teaches children about science. It allows them to experience where their food comes from and the process it goes through.

Craft Corner

Set up a craft corner for you and your kids. If space is limited, then transform the dining room table for an afternoon. Get a cheap vinyl tablecloth that you can wipe clean afterwards and put down lots of newspapers. Provide aprons for your kids to protect their clothes. If they don’t need to worry about making a mess they will be more experimental.

Start by putting together a small craft kit. This might include paints, pencils, paper, glue, glitter, stickers, etc. You can also use household items like toilet roll tubes and old newspapers and magazines. Create a project that you can all work on together. Demonstrate each step and then let your kids put their own stamp on it. This will encourage them to be bold and experiment. They will be able to express themselves in new ways.

Creativity is not just about painting and art. There are lots of activities that foster this skill. Encouraging creativity in children from a young age will help them in countless ways. And most importantly, it’s fun.

* Contributed Post

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

PCOS and Me

Sometimes I worry about oversharing on my blog with 'too much information' but today I'm going to write about something that has been affecting me for years. So if talk about periods and related 'women's stuff' makes you uncomfortable, you probably don't want to read on.  

Last week was an emotional one for me as after years of back and forth to the Doctors with period related problems, I finally got a diagnosis for polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. 

Within a short time of my periods starting at 11/12 they became heavy and irregular. As I got older, they became more of a problem and more painful, so much so that when I reached my early 20s my Doctor put me on the Depo-Provera injection. What a revelation that was! My periods completely stopped, I saved a bomb on sanitary protection and overall I felt pretty good. The only downside was weight gain (although I now know that is likely to be a combination of the injection and PCOS).  When I turned 27 or 28, after doing some research and chatting to the Doctor, I decided to come off it as I was worried about being on it long term with the risk of osteoporosis and I was also worried about fertility. It can take 6 months to leave the body and I was worried that if we decided to have children that I would have difficulties.  

So of course, when I came off the injection my periods started again, as did me visiting the Doctors for painkillers. Before I became pregnant with E, I had several pretty horrific periods where the pain was so bad I was left doubled over and now that I have experienced child birth, I can honestly say the pain was like contractions in early labour.  I was sent for a scan which was clear but nothing further was done, which I think was a combination of me not pushing things and my Doctor not being particularly sympathetic towards the problems.

Cue to age 34. A midwife had told me that childbirth often helps to resolve any issues with periods but no such luck for me, the problems have just increased and a few weeks ago, after another particularly bad one I snapped and went to see one of the female Doctors at my surgery. As soon as I saw her, it felt different. I told her the various problems I had been noticing and voiced my thoughts about PCOS and rather than being dismissive she agreed.  These are the symptoms I spoke with her about:

- My hair. It has always been thick but in the last six months I've noticed I'm losing a lot of it.  I wake up in the morning and its over my pillow, the shower drain needs emptying every few days and I frequently have to remove a build up from the hoover. So alongside the influx of grey that has started to appear, I've started to feel very self conscious about it. Tonight I coloured my hair and it was coming out in my hands as I was rinsing it. The colour is slightly darker than usual and it has completely highlighted how much hair I've lost at the front. I'm hoping I can hide it a little by pinning some of my hair back but with where it is, I just don't think I can hide it. 

- Hair on my neck and face. I've always had hairy arms and lower abdomen and I can shave my legs in the morning and have stubble on them by evening but over the last few months I've noticed it more on my neck and face, particularly the chin and jawline.  The tweezers have become my new best friend.  

- Irregular and painful periods. The longest I have gone between them is 18 weeks but on average its 3-5 weeks.  That would be fine except I get the cramps and pain inbetween and when I am on, I feel awful for days. I wake up with stomach cramp and backache in the night and I can't get comfortable.

- My skin. Acne is something I've always struggled with. Whilst it isn't terrible at the moment, I do get break outs around my chin and jawline. I had hoped spots wouldn't be a problem in my 30s! 

- My weight. Weight loss is always a struggle, it fluctuates by a large amount (as much as half a stone over the course of a week) and and I gain it rapdily. To give you an idea, I've gained two stone over the last year, despite me being more active than I have been in years.

-Light headed/dizzy spells.  This has been ongoing for bloomin' ages. I keep getting random spells with no rhyme or reason to them. I can be sat still, walking or stood still. 

- IBS. I've also been diagnosed with IBS and my symptoms worsen in the run up and during my periods with bloating, cramp and diarrhoea. 

So, what is PCOS? Its a common condition that affects how the ovaries work and release eggs (see the NHS website for info).  There are three main markers for PCOS: irregular periods, excess androgen and polycystic ovaries (where the ovaries become enlarged and contain fluid filled sacs - despite the name, you don't actually have cysts) 

I was sent for some blood tests which confirmed that I had two of the markers - irregular periods and excess androgen. I also have low levels of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) which is a protein in the blood which binds to testosterone and reduces its effects.  

During my diagnosis it was explained to me that PCOS can lead to additional health problems as I get older, particularly heart disease, diabetes and endometrial cancer. We have a rough plan in place which essentially involves me continuing to try and lose weight. If this continues to be a struggle I may be able to get some help with this in the form of medication.  If I don't have a period for three months, the Doctors will have to prescribe me progesterone to trigger a bleed, following which I will have to have a scan to check the thickness of my womb lining, which all sounds a bit of a faff to be honest, but obviously essential. I also have to have an annual blood test to check my cholesterol and for signs of diabetes. 
If you know nothing else about PCOS, you will likely know that it is one of the biggest causes of fertility issues in women. Whilst I had no difficulties in conceiving E and T that may not be the case if we were to try for a third.  This is something that especially concerns me as it is something we have been talking about recently (mostly me at the moment, it has to be said) and I don't think I could make my peace with the decision being taken away from me. 

I must admit that I did get quite emotional talking to the Doctor as I have been going back and forth for help for years with no luck and I just don't understand why it wasn't diagnosed sooner. So much has made sense since then. 

Since the diagnosis I have tried to read up a little, as you do, and have made another appointment to go back and talk about a couple of other issues that I have since discovered are probably related. Apparently another long term issue can be sleep apnea, because of the issues I have concerning sleep, I would quite like to look at his more in depth - I can sleep all night (when the kids let me!) and wake up feeling as though I haven't been to sleep at all.  My Fitbit tracks sleep and whilst this may or may not be entirely accurate it does show how restless I am through the night, which has left me wondering what is causing this, more so on the nights the girls let me sleep through. My energy levels and mood are often low and I'm sure this is related to the sleep issues.

I've written before about trying to lose weight and my attempts at Slimming World.  It feels incredibly daunting to know I need to lose so much weight, not just for vanity but for health reasons too but I know I need to keep trying and that help should be at hand.  

Do you have any PCOS related tips or blog posts that you would like to share with me? All help and advice gratefully received. 

For further information about PCOS: