Sure Start rocks! 

Peek a boo!

On Monday I had no childcare so I gladly took a day’s annual leave and looked forward to spending the day with my little lady.  That was until I remembered what a whirling dervish she is.  She has the attention span of a gnat and gets bored with an activity before she’s even finished getting the activity out of the box.  My romantic ideas of us playing happily on the rug all day faded before we had even eaten our Weetabix. What on earth was I going to do that would keep her entertained?  Enter our local Sure Start Centres!

What to do?

My mum usually takes her to a Sure Start group on Monday mornings so I decided to stick with the routine.  There was painting, play dough, chalk drawings, reading books, dressing up, playing inside and playing outside with sand and fake snow.  There really was something to keep even the whirliest of little whirlwinds entertained for couple of hours. The children got a healthy snack and we rounded off the sessions with a good old sing song (even if it was bloody Dingle Dangle Scarecrow which we have to sing on repeat in our house. I wish he would bloody dingle dangle off to be honest). We had so much fun that we ended up going to a Sure Start group that afternoon as well. Double bubble, double fun! 

Wonderful chaos 

In the midst of the wonderful chaos it struck me just how important these groups are. Parents have forged friendships, the children are learning how to interact socially and may be making friends they will know their whole lives (I met my oldest friend at play group when we were two).   The staff were amazing, they knew all the children by their first names and just generally let them be children and express themselves not bothering about the mess, insisting they wash their hands before snack and encouraging them to get involved with the different activities.

Busy, busy, busy

The heart of the community

It’s centres like this that are at the heart of our communities.  They are safe, free and accessible and bring people together: The lonely first time mum who needs to get out of the house because otherwise they wouldn’t get any adult conversation that day. The sure start breast feeding support group was a real life line for me in the early days.  I honestly don’t think I would have carried on if it wasn’t for the help from the feeding buddies and other mums, some of whom I’m still in contact with now. Sadly that group has been cancelled because of lack of funding which makes me feel for the mums missing out on that vital support. There’s the army of grandparents providing child care so parents can go back to work and the tired parents with three kids under four who just need a bit of a break and a safe space for their children to run off some steam.  It’s criminal that the Government has reduced it’s spending on early years development and that many centres have closed or face closure. I know that many community/social departments are stretched but surely it is crucial to give children the best possible start to avoid problems later on in life? 

I think sometimes there is a bit of a stigma attached to using these free services but there needn’t be and I would urge everybody to show their support and use their Sure Start centres because if the funding is cut then it will be all but impossible to get them back.

I really enjoyed my day, as did Willow.  We were both shattered by the end of it. Hats off to you guys doing this every week, I’ll be going back to work for a rest!

Do you use your local Sure Start Centres?  Leave me a comment to let me know which activities you like or how you feel about the cut in funding or if your local centre has been affected.

Speak soon,

Kat x

JakiJellz

 

Mummy Times Two

 

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I love coffee! 

Ah a little cup of coffee heaven just for me.
After a rather stressful morning I sat down recently to a much needed coffee in one of those lovely, trendy cafes where I’m never quite sure if I fit in because I’m not tapping away on an Apple Mac or if I’m lowering the average age by five years. It struck me there and then just how much I love coffee. I’m like actually in love with it. I drink it every day, several times a day. I go to bed looking forward to my morning cup of joe.  People rave about tea but I just don’t get it. Coffee all the way. When I got pregnant I went on a mission to find the best tasting caffeine free coffee so that I could still partake (I didn’t get morning sickness but my word did I suffer with caffeine withdrawal when I had to go cold turkey overnight).

To that end here is my little ode to the dark stuff and why it is so bloody brilliant:

  • The wonderful smell. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh coffee wafting through the house, or when you first walk into a café tantalising you before you take a sip.
  • It wakes you up. After a night reluctantly partying with the toddler at 1am, 2am, 3:30am and 4:36am when you know you have a really important presentation to give to really important people at work in a few hours, a cup of coffee in the morning defibulates me back into functioning mode (not too dissimilar to the scene in pulp fiction when John Travolta stabs Uma Thurman in the heart with an adrenaline shot) and I am able to prepare myself for a day at the office.
  • It gets you out of the house. Friend: “Do you want to meet for coffee?” Me: Coat on, Willow in the pram, out the door before the sentence is finished. When the only conversation you have had that day is with a toddler who is more interested in putting random shiz in the washing machine than talking to you then the offer to go and sit with a hot coffee and maybe cake and a human to talk to who won’t try and wipe their nose on your sleeve is an offer never to be turned down.
  • Coffee “makes” me buy nice mugs.  I therefore enjoy the experience more and feel fancy drinking out of the posh cups.
  • It’s portable. Paper cup, plastic cup, travel mug whatever your choice you can take your lovely coffee with you wherever you go. (OK I realise that technically all drinks are portable but it’s frowned upon to cart a demi carafe of merlot, indeed my second favourite drink, to baby group at 9am)
  • You can put booze in it. Baileys coffee anyone? (please drink responsibly – only one bottle to be consumed at a time).
  • Come to think of it you can put it in cake, ice cream, chocolate…. I’m that one person in the world who likes the coffee Revels.  Send them all to me!

So that’s why I heart coffee and long may

I heart coffee
our love affair continue.

Do you love a particular food or drink? Leave me a comment to let me know what it is and why you heart it so much.

Speak soon.

Kat x

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Nursery: The facts 

I started blogging because I was so anxious about returning to work after my maternity leave. Writing down how I felt and connecting with parents who had been through the same thing was a massive help and got me through those pretty awful first few weeks.

‘No I haven’t been eating the foam!’ Possibly one of my favourite pictures of her at nursery to date 😂

So for all those parents now going through the same thing I thought I would share our experience of nursery so far to reassure you that everything that you are thinking, feeling and doing is totally normal and to give you a heads up about things that are about to come your way. 

Here goes:

The guilt
You will feel guilt. It’s unavoidable but then I think you wouldn’t be much cop as a parent if you didn’t. You feel guilty for leaving them, guilty if you arrive to pick them up and they are the last child there, guilty if you forget that it’s the day they needed to bring a teddy bear in for the teddy bear’s bloody picnic… The guilt will get easier but will never go away. I think if you accept the guilt (and it’s self imposed guilt, NOT guilt imposed by your mother in law, health visitor or smug rich yummy mummy ‘friend’ who doesn’t need to work ) then things get much easier. Remember you are entitled to go back to work and pick up your career if you want to. If you’re like me you will have worked damn hard to get where you are. You had a baby, not a lobotomy.

The tears
Your child will probably cry. You will definitely cry. For me the first week was the worst. After spending every day together for nine months it was such a wrench not to see Willow all the time and I was constantly wondering what she was doing and if I was missing any of her milestones. Cue lots of tears in the car or toilets at work. The great thing is that her nursery provide me with a diary of her activities every day – what she eats, when she naps (that bit is often blank), even the contents of her nappy. They also send me pictures so I feel like I know what she’s been doing and can comment or ask questions if I need to. Tip: Don’t call nursery to see if your child is ok because you are guaranteed to call the second they have just started crying which will set you off again.

General health
You will never be well again. Once your child sets foot in nursery they become instant germ carriers and will pass on particularly virulent strains of sickness, flu and a million other unidentifiable viruses. Also establish and be prepared to activate an emergency childcare plan at any moment because depending on nursery policy sometimes children are not allowed back into nursery for 7 days after being ill. 7 days!

The ‘extras’
You won’t just pay your nursery fees, oh no. There will always be extras. Some weekly activity that will cost you more dollar. Nursery photographs that come in bundles where there aren’t enough photos to go round the relatives so you have to buy two bundles then end up with spares (grrrr…) Nursery branded sweatshirts and t-shirts seems a great idea but you need to buy at least three of each item unless you want to wash them every night because your child will come home caked in mud, play dough, baked beans, paint, glitter (oh the glitter) every day. 

Your child’s development
They will come on in leaps and bounds. We were astonished at how much Willow’s development accelerated after she went to nursery. Her speech,

Another work of art in the making
movement and interaction with people just blossomed and every day now she comes home and can say or do something new. Not that we left her to rock in front of the TV before but the amount of activities and stimulation nursery can provide is so much more than we could ever do in a day (and they give us inspiration for activities we can do at home).

I suspect we still have loads of nursery milestones to reach yet: head lice, biting ‘incidents’, the politics of birthday party invites. Life is a journey isn’t it? 

I hope this helps. My overriding message is that it is all going to be ok. After a few weeks Willow couldn’t wait to get into nursery and start playing. Little miss independent waves me off before she even has her coat off (which pulls at the heart strings – see I told you would definitely cry). You will adjust to your new routine and the time that you spend with them becomes so precious that you really start to make every moment count and appreciate it all the more. If you are going through the return to work ‘thing’ at the moment and would like some support or reassurance please do leave a comment below.

Speak soon,
Kat x

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Diary of an imperfect mum

Walking girl

Come on daddy we’re going this way!

Willow has been walking for ages now but it struck me the other day as I watched her stomping around, pinballing off every surface just what a little independent lady she has become.  It’s funny because walking is such a ‘grown up’ thing to do but it makes her look even smaller in a way; our little doll totting around, exploring her world. More than any of the other milestones, sitting, crawling, sleeping through (oh wait, no that’s right we STILL haven’t hit that one) it was always walking that we couldn’t wait to get to.  I think in our naivety we thought it would make life easier as she wouldn’t get as frustrated and be able to reach things and get to what she wants easier.  Well, be careful for what you wish for! Here are my pros and cons of having a walker:

The cons

The constant falls, bumping heads on tables and chairs, accident forms sent home from nursery every other day, banged teeth and grazed chins (especially when she tries to run – instant face plant).  Nearly everything we own has been moved up to a higher level but there have been a few casualties: plants, candle holders, books and every day she can reach just that little bit higher standing on those tippy toes.  One of her favourite games now is ‘putting things in the bath’ which to be honest I leave her to when I’m getting ready for work as it keeps her quiet.  It’s always a nice surprise when you’re running late and your car keys and work pass find a new home isn’t it? The baby gates have really naffed her off and she tries daily to figure them out, testing them for weaknesses like the

One of many bumped heads – poor baba
Velociraptors trying to escape  in Jurassic Park.  She has also become obsessed with the cupboard of doom under the kitchen sink which basically houses everything that could cause her serious injury.  Now that she has been told in no uncertain terms that she is not allowed to go in there she sees it as a challenge and, when she’s not busy with the baby gates, will sneak off and try to access the forbidden cupboard.  New house rule: if she’s gone quiet and you can’t hear those little stomps, then she is most definitely up to no good.

The pros

Out of the house she can roam to her heart’s content. It’s so wonderful to follow her round the park or beach and let her set the pace and go here, there and everywhere at random, hovering in case she makes a bee line for a dog turd (everything is treasure to her). She also loves to dance on those leggies!  Those little squats as she bobs along to the music at home, nursery, Aldi, the doctors when he’s trying to listen to her chest; this girl moves to her own beat.  I love hearing from nursery how she’s walked to the library with them or been toddling round the garden exploring.  It must be so much better for her than bum shuffling around or waiting for someone to move her.  Walking has made her independence shine through. Quite often now she’s content to wander about and play on her own for a while, which in all honesty, is marvellous because some days I just don’t want to play tea parties for three hours but I do love to watch her make believe games and wonder what is going on in that beautiful little head of hers. 

These shoes were made for walking….
Shoes!  Every girl needs a fab pair of shoes. She’s rocking her red Clarkes Mary Janes and will soon have her first pair of wellies so we can add puddle splashing to the pros (come on, who doesn’t like splashing in puddles?)

Her little uncertain, toddling steps are just the start of her life’s adventures. Who knows where her feet will take her in this big wide world?  (I can still remember mum’s face when I told her I was off to travel through Thailand and Cambodia by bus on my own – this is so going to happen to me when she’s older isn’t it?) So although every now and then I do feel a pang and want my tiny baby back, I can’t help but bust with pride at my little feisty, independent  walking girl and feel excited for all the fun and adventures the future will bring her.

Are there any particular milestones you have enjoyed reaching or marked in some way?  Leave me a comment to let me know.

Speak soon,

Kat x

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Hello TV my old friend

It’s been nearly 15 months but I’m finally welcoming TV back into my life. After Willow was born, in the whirl of breast feeding and broken sleep, my energy and appetite for watching TV totally diminished.  Actually it wasn’t just TV.  Films, books, adult conversation all went out the window.  I just about managed to keep up with Eastenders (my guilty pleasure) but otherwise I didn’t bother to start watching anything that had more than one part as I knew I probably

What shall we watch tonight darling?
wouldn’t be get to see the next instalment (much less remember it was on).

Lately, however, we seem to have established some sort of evening routine whereby it’s possible for Anthony and I to sit down at the same time and watch something. I’m not even really sure how it happened as previous attempts to establish a routine were dismissed by Willow without any discussion. Recently though she’s fed, bathed, had her In the Night Garden fix and down by 7:30pm. We don’t always watch programmes live (thank god for catch up TV) but we are able to sit and watch something. AT THE SAME TIME!

So in no particular order we are loving Taboo (Tom Hardy nuff said) on BBC1, Apple Tree Yard (bit harrowing but intriguing) on BBC1 and No Offence (dark humour cop drama) on Channel 4. I also took advantage of Willow’s recent bout of illness where she would sleep for hours

Gratuitous Tom Hardy image – I’m not sorry.
but only wrapped around me, by signing up for Netflix where I have started watching Stranger Things (I love this – it has a super cool 80s vibe which makes me feel nostalgic for my childhood).  If you do get chance to sit down I highly recommend all of these shows.

Getting back into TV has made me realise how much I’ve missed all this stuff and grateful I am for coming out of the new parent fog. I can also join in conversations in the office again and feel less like Old Mother Hubbard who has no idea what the ‘yoof’ are talking about.

I can’t help but shake this nagging feeling that I may be getting a little cocky about our TV consumption and will be rewarded with a massive dose of sleep regression which we all know is lurking just around the corner ready to pounce at any time and kill off our TV watching hopes and dreams.  Not to worry in this event I’ll still have trusty old Eastenders to turn to.

Speak soon,

Kat x

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Mummuddlingthrough

Going for the chop

Going for the chop

I’ve had my hair cut!

“So what?” I hear you say. Well anyone that has known me for a long time will know that this is a big deal. I’ve always had long hair (bar one disastrous episode at university where I went to Toni & Guy and asked for the Meg Ryan razor cut that was popular in the 90s. It did not end

Before

well). It’s been white blond, dark brown and everything in between, sometimes with a fringe, permed in the 80s (what were you thinking mum?) but always long.

As I’m sure you can relate to, after I had Willow sorting my bonce out was the least of my worries. It was always thrown up in a bun to stop Willow swinging from it or trailing strands through her nappy. Long hair does not lend itself well to clambering around baby groups and getting infants in and out of car seats. Washing and drying it became a painful process as I would have to put her in the baby seat in the bathroom while I was in the shower. This was on the understanding that I had a maximum of five minutes before she started screaming and the neighbours came knocking. A tiled room can’t half amplify the shrill cries of a new born – ouch. Then she decided that she was scared of the hair dryer so I usually had to leave it to air dry naturally resulting in my ‘mad mum hair’ ™ again which would lead to it being shoved on top of my head. I’d not bothered to have it cut for ages so to be honest it was looking a bit Ian Beal in his tramp phase and you can only dry shampoo for so long. Five days is my record until it looked like I’d gone prematurely grey and Anthony was imploring me to do something about it (isn’t hair supposed to start washing itself at some point?)

No going back!

When I came back to work I had to start attempting to wrestle my hair into a semi-professional style and it dawned on me how long it actually took to dry and style long hair. Every second counts in the morning now so that’s how I found myself at the hairdressers asking the lovely young lady there to cut it to my shoulders. “Are you sure?” she asked eying me up to make sure I wasn’t having some sort of Britany moment. “Yep, go for it” I said and I am so glad I did. It was like some sort of cathartic experience. The weight literally and metaphorically fell of my shoulders. I said goodbye to ‘maternity’ me (who I love dearly but I needed to let go of and embrace the next phase of my life) and said hello to the old me,’working’ me that I knew was lurking around somewhere under the pile of nappies and breast pads. It’s not a drastic change granted but I now have a style that dries quickly, looks healthy and suits my work and personal lifestyle. Win win! Also, aside from having to listen to some very loud music

After!

(I literally didn’t recognise any of the songs #old), it was lovely to have a couple of hours to myself to sit, drink a hot brew, make small talk and ready trashy magazines (again I didn’t recognise anyone in them #doubleold).

Now I’m the last person that you’ll probably come to for any hair or beauty advice but if you’re thinking of going for the chop or updating your style, I say do it! Do it for you mama! I’d love to hear about your hair style choices – good and bad! Pictures too if you’re brave enough….

Speak soon.

Kat x

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The Rocking Motherhood Challenge

I’ve been wanting to do this challenge for ages so thank you to the lovely Mrs Mummy Harris for the nomination. We’re all rocking mama hood in our own individual way every day, I think we just don’t realise it! It was nice to take stock of my parenting rollercoaster so far and have a think about what I do that rocks. We should all be very proud of

My world

ourselves for doing this insanely hard ‘job’ and celebrate our achievements (even if it is just remembering to brush your teeth in the morning!) You all rock mamas!

 

When I was thinking about my ten things I asked Anthony what he thought. He ummed and ahed for a while then said (in all seriousness) “You look good pushing a pram.” WTF? Thanks very much mate.  Fourteen months in and that’s all you can think of!  For the sake of our relationship I didn’t press him any further and came up with my own ideas:

 

 

 

  1. I’ve found my inner lioness. Not that I was shy and retiring before but now I have a cub to protect and god help anyone who tries to hurt the most precious thing in my life.
  2. We love a good kitchen disco. Every time a great tune comes on the radio we crank up the volume and have a boogie on the lino. We are quite literally rocking it.
  3. I breastfed until Willow was nine months old when it came to a natural end. I’d still be doing it now but I let her lead when she wanted to stop. It was a difficult and tiring journey at first but I’m super proud of myself for sticking with it.
  4. I stopped listening to ‘advice’ from other people about how to parent. I know everyone always had the best of intentions but once I concentrated on doing what was best for us and our family, things got much easier and calmer for everyone.
  5. I work full time but my job is important to me and I can be both mama and career girl. It’s hectic and yes there is guilt about leaving her but she’s happy and thriving at nursery. I think we all need our own time to feel like ‘us’ no matter how you do it. For me that’s work and I feel like I’m setting a good example for Willow when the time comes for her to have a family and has to make decisions about work.
  6. Equal parenting. Anthony and I share the load across all aspects of bringing Willow up and I think I rock for doing this. I can’t do it by myself and am the first to admit it. Sharing our responsibilities means that Anthony has built up an amazing bond with Willow, particularly because we were lucky enough for him to take some paternity leave.
  7. I am the sugar police so we hardly have any sugary food in our house (except for Anthony’s secret stash of biscuits) so I’m proud that Willow loves healthy food. She points at the fruit bowl all the time (so much so we had to move it because she wanted to eat bananas and mandarins for every meal) and loves Sunday dinners because of all the different types of veg in her bowl. I don’t enjoy picking rogue peas out of the carpet though.
  8. I’m proud to say that Willow is brought up in an environment of tolerance and love – shove off Trump! It’s really important to us that she grows up to respect differences and that everyone is entitled to love who they want and follow any faith they want without fear of persecution. My little girl will know her worth and her right to achieve all her dreams regardless of what anyone says.
  9. We look out for new experiences for Willow as much as we can whether it’s a trip to a farm (she loves animals!), the beach (she loves sand!), an aquarium (she loves fishes!) or a nature park (she loves the mud!) Wherever we go we let her explore her surroundings and try and let her lead where she wants to go and what she wants to do. We love watching her taking everything in, touching things and squealing with delights at new sounds, tastes and sights. We’re planning on taking her to her first festival this summer – I’m so excited!
  10. I’m not a perfect mama, nor do I strive to be because therein lies the route to madness. I’ve made my fair share of parenting mistakes which Willow has largely forgiven me for. I rock because sometimes I just have to say “OK, that was a bit shit”, learn from it and move on. No point crying over spilled breast milk!

So that’s me!

The Rules:

1. Thank the blogger that tagged you and link to their blog.

2. List 10 things you believe make you a good mother (this is just a guideline. It can be more or less than 10. I really don’t mind).

3. Tag 3 – 5 bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood Tag.

4. Grab the #RockingMotherhgood badge and add it to your post or sidebar.

Here are my nominations:
Emilie at Parenting With Biscuits

Selena at My Rambling Thoughts

Katie at The Sqirmy Popple

Don’t forget to tag me in your post when you publish it so I can have a read and share!

Kat x

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Morning madness (why do I never learn….?)

Ah the morning ‘routine’ (I use the term loosely). Every week day morning I’m whirling around in a vortex of mascara, nappies, dry shampoo, Weetabix and nursery bags, sucking up anything and everything in my path.  The whirlwind eventually spits me out a harassed woman on the edge at my desk by 9am feeling like I’ve done a day’s work already.

And every god damn day I convince myself I’m going to be organised. Enough of the madness; tomorrow I will be prepared.  Here’s what I promise myself I will do that evening:

  • Iron my work clothes
  • Wash and dry my hair
  • Make a packed lunch
  • Get Willow’s nursery clothes out ready
  • Pack her nursery bag
  • Get into bed by 10pm

What could possibly go wrong?

By 5pm my resolution is waning, I’m tired, I’m hungry, I have to collect Willow from nursery and the whole play, tea, bath and bed charade is looming in front of me.  So here’s what actually happens:

  • We usually don’t get to eat our evening meal until after 8pm, fraught from  bedtime negotiations and attempting to put the house back together.
  • I’m still up at 11pm in a vegetative state watching some rubbish on TV mentally chastising myself that I should have gone to bed an hour ago. I still don’t move. Hair is not washed or dried. Idiot.
  • I have to get up at 6:30am, knackered because of the pointless TV watching, but this is the only way I’ll get my hair washed and dried and a smattering of makeup applied before Willow wakes up.
  • I grab clothes of the ‘clean’ pile that look the least crumpled.
  • I consider making a sandwich for my lunch then Willow will launch her breakfast everywhere and the thought is forgotten only to be regretted later on when I’m stuck with a crusty cheese sandwich from the canteen at work.
  • I wear my dressing gown over my work clothes to prevent being covered in Weetabix, snot, and or toothpaste. The result is slightly crumpled clothes now look like they have been trampled on by a rhino.
  • I remember to pack Willow’s nursery bag as we are leaving the house but only because I see it hanging on her hook by the door and am reminded to do so.
  • I run out the door, wrestle Willow into her car seat and vow that I’m going to be more organised that night.


Sound familiar?  I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this morning shambles.  People tell me it will get easier.  Whatever.

Any suggestions for getting my ass organised? Or am I a lost cause – you can say it, we’re friends.

Speak soon

Kat x

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Diary of An Imperfect Mum
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I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date! 

This blog is part moan, part apology.

I’m sorry if I forget your birthday or your child’s birthday or your wedding anniversary or your dog’s naming day or any other special occasion that requires marking. I’m putting it out there because it will happen. Not because I don’t care, or have turned Jehovah’s Witness but genuinely because if I remember to clean my teeth in the morning I count that as a good day.

These days I constantly find myself apologising for forgetting things. I’m like the March Hare bounding about checking the 21st century equivalent of the pocket watch – my iPhone calendar. I always get there in the end, with cards and gifts (well nearly, I still owe my lovely friend Kate a birthday pressie for last May but she’s really tricky to buy for) I’m just a bit tardy. It’s the sheer volume of ‘stuff’ that overwhelms me. These days there are so many things you have to remember to do – a Facebook post, WhatsApp message, cards, email, gift…. How about I sky write you a message too?  Don’t even get me started on the trend for making homemade gifts.  No I don’t have the time or skills to knit you a scarf, whip up a batch of jam or make you a Welsh Dresser.  If I do remember then there is the gift etiquette to consider. How much to spend? Too little and you look cheap, too much and you look flashy (rest assured my budget dictates I’m always leaning more towards the cheap side of things) Then there’s the wrapping – paper or bag or both? Bow, ribbon, gift tag, tropical butterfly that flutters out once opened? Too. Much. Pressure.


I sound like a right miso and I’m really not. I love special occasions, in fact birthdays are the only time my friends and I manage to get together such are our stupidly hectic schedules. I’m just imploring us all to cut each other some slack. We have so many balls in the air (actually it’s more like juggling with chain saws) keeping  the small humans alive. In the grand scheme of things is it not better to be a bit late than not remember at all (and perhaps your gift will be wrapped in newspaper)?

For what it’s worth, here’s what I think about this thorny subject: It’s not a competition, it’s the thought that counts and I love you all lots 365 days a year.  Not just on your birthday (if you could just remind me when that is again….?)

Speak soon

Kat x

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Diary of An Imperfect Mum

Under the sea…..

Urgh January, it’s cold, it’s damp, it’s generally grim. Seeing as I don’t want to set foot out the house and leave the snuggly warmth of our log burner I thought I would reminisce about happier times and our trip to the Sealife Centre in Blackpool last year.

We decided to go for Willow’s first birthday at the end of November. The original plan was to go to the zoo but it was so cold on the day we thought that we (ie.me who is always freezing and would be moaning within the first five minutes of getting out of the car) wouldn’t really enjoy it, so the Sealife Centre seemed to be the next best thing.

I wasn’t really expecting much, as well, it’s Blackpool. I thought it would be tacky with a few sad looking fish in some grotty tanks (it’s ok I live here, I can say it) but it really wasn’t.  In fact it was the complete opposite. We had a voucher to get in which gave us £5 off per adult but it still came to £25 which I think is a little pricey, especially if you have older children that you have to pay for as well. I think they sometimes have offers on and I think you can buy a yearly pass which works out cheaper.  Also you can come and go as many times as you want in a day, say if you want to nip out for some lunch.

Anyway, far from it being tacky it was actually really fun and educational – for me the perfect combo!Of course Willow is too little to take in the educational side of things but they massively support sea conservation projects and aim to teach children about protecting the earth’s waters and sea life.

There is a lift to the aquarium so perfect for prams and little legs. They also have a pram park at the start if you don’t want to take your pram round which, if it’s busy, could be a bit of a pain. It’s probably worth noting that as it was the end of November it wasn’t very busy so we could see everything at leisure.  I suspect at busy times you may have to wait to get near a tank or queue to see things.

Willow was a bit reticent at first and clung to one of us like a limpet (get it? Sorry.) I think this was because it is low lit and to be honest she’d never seen real fish before. She soon got into it though.  Following the fish about, pointing, laughing and touching the glass.  It was hilarious to watch her as she thought she could go through the glass to be with the fishes.

She got really brave and stuck her head in the glass bubbles which make it feel like you are in the tanks. She literally squealed with delight.  Visually it was so stimulating for her, the movement, the light hitting the water.  She loved it.  I thought she might have been a bit frightened to go in the tunnel but she loved watching the sharks and rays gliding over our heads.  In fact she didn’t want to come out of that bit and got into a grump.  Of course because she enjoyed it so much we enjoyed it all the more too.

We kept missing them but they hsve feeding session for different fish throughout the day. I really wanted to see the shark feeding but Willow was obsessed with the ‘Nemo’ fish so we stayed at that tank instead.  We let her set the pace for getting round which worked really well.

I would definitely recommend the Sealife Centre for a family day out. For babies and toddlers they can soak up the new sights and sounds and for older children they can learn, touch starfish and get involved in conservation projects.


I think I’m legally obliged to say that the Sealife Centre didn’t ask me to write this. These are my own views but it was so lovely I wanted to share it with you and hopefully inspire you to visit something similar.

Have you got any aquarium/zoo/wildlife park suggestions (preferably in the North West area). Willow loves animals so we’re keen to start going to as many as possible – it just needs to warm up a little for mummy first!

Speak soon

Kat x

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