About Me

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Hello there, thanks for visiting my blog. So, a bit about me; I'm Natalie and I am a Christian, committed to living by God's Word each and every day. I am a proud mother to three beautiful children and creator of The Accidental Mogul - a blog designed to channel my ambitious juices and unleash the writer within! This blog is a reflection of me, so it contains a little bit of everything. I’ll be documenting my walk with my saviour Jesus Christ, as well as my natural hair journey, I'll be writing thought provoking posts, product reviews, hosting giveaway's and of course offering up a generous dollop of everyday mummy musings. I like to hear uplifting and motivational stories, so I’ll be interviewing inspirational people when I can to encourage and inspire others. Sharing experiences is what makes life beautiful, so let's share.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Coping

Being a mum of three children is not easy. If we're honest being a human being in this World isn't easy. My journey to motherhood was a rocky one. I suffered multiple miscarriages before discovering I have a Balanced chromosome translocation. A condition which means my propensity for recurring miscarriages was and is 1 in 4. I suffered four traumatic miscarriages before going on to have three healthy babies in quick session. Never did I think this would be possible.


My complicated pregnancy history meant I had to have CVS procedures for each of my three successful pregnancies. These were carried out at Kings College Hospital London, an excellent specialist hospital which helped me through the whole of my pregnancy journey good and bad.


The reason I reminisce on all of this is because despite the harrowing road I have travelled to get my three children I still have moments when I'm so stressed out with motherhood, my relationship with my OH, family members, people, the world, my life. I have days when I wallow in self pity, and I feel completely ungrateful, especially for not embracing this beautiful gift that is motherhood. My goodness there were days I would cry and worry and resign myself to the fact that I would never have a child of my own.


There were moments I would long for just one baby, and here I am blessed with three and wallowing in the stress of it all. Wasting days feeling sorry for myself when I should be rejoicing EVERYDAY for the miracles that have been bestowed upon me.

I lost an ovary during my third unsuccessful pregnancy. The pregnancy in which I lost a little boy at 20 weeks. At that point I thought I was doomed. Could things get any worse? How on earth could I ever possibly have a baby when I had a genetic condition and only one ovary? But it is not for me to know how, because through God Almighty ALL things are POSSIBLE. I am testament to that.


No matter what you have been through or what you are going through, no matter how low you are, He can make a change. When I lost my baby I wanted to die, not to kill myself, but be free of the horrific emptiness that consumed me. I would look at the beautiful clouds above and long to be reunited with my son. I was 25 years old and in a terrible relationship that was about to end, I lost my baby and nearly lost all hope. Never in my life had I been so low. How did I get from that dark place, to where I am now? Three children who have a loving father and me a fiancé? Only by God's Grace.


I am writing this post because I am seeing things more clearly than I have for a long time. A few weeks ago I was in quite a tough place. I was feeling unsettled and dissatisfied with my lot, and then I had a life changing experience whilst at a church conference (something I will have to go into more detail in a future post). It has rejuvenated my passion for my faith.


Before this, I was slipping into a place I didn't belong. I was drifting away from Christ and getting complacent. I even found myself liking alcohol a little too much. It went from being something I'd enjoy in the evening every now and again with the OH, to something I was looking forward to whilst on my own. Not to get wasted, (those days are long gone) but to take the edge off the frustration and irritation I seemed to constantly feel. I wrongly believed my children to be the cause, but it was me and my inability to realise my blessings, give thanks for what I DO HAVE rather that what I DO NOT. I was not putting God and his Word first, my faith had waned and I was getting caught up with ego, pride and feelings of self pity. Well not any more. My eyes have been opened. I want to follow His Word and take my Christian life seriously. I am reading my Bible and I am praying for God to show me the purpose He has for my life. The Christian path is not an easy road and I am not perfect, but if I keep my eyes on Him and follow His word, the Holy Spirit will do the rest.


I think I'm going to stop there now. There is so much more I want to say, yet there is still so much more I must learn first. Here is a scripture I read over the weekend whilst having some quiet time. Just me and my Bible, I think it sums up where I am at right now.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11;6

Monday, 30 July 2012

LEGO DUPLO - Read and Build

I'm chuffed to be a blogger on the 2012 LEGO DUPLO panel, and as part of that, LEGO DUPLO send their parcels of fun every now and then for the children to enjoy and me to review. It's WIN-WIN, I'm Chuffed I tell you.

On this occasion it was particularly exciting because we were sent a brand spanking new range which doesn't hit the stores until Wednesday (August 1st), so you lovely readers are some of the first people to hear about this. Oh yes it's truuuue.

This new concept, in conjuction with publisher Dorling Kindersley features illustrated story books with brightly coloured bricks. There are three unique sets in the range; 'Grow Caterpillar Grow''Busy Farm' and 'Let's Go Vroom', and they are aimed at pre-schoolers between 18 months and four years so perfect for my three bubba's. They absolutely loved the sets and the fact that story books were included along with the LEGO almost tipped them over the edge.

The read and build set combines reading and learning with building the fun characters from the stories in the book. Super educational and quite clever if you ask me. We all had a ball (especially me), reading and then creating the little animals and vehicles featured in the stories. The girls' concentration was heightened as they listened to the stories intently and then followed the building instructions perfectly. Definitely good preparation for school in September.

LEGO DUPLO Read and Build is available from 1st August and retails at £9.99 each.

Look what we've got!



One of the three sets in the range
Had so much fun building these together
Moo, Baa, Oink, Cock-a-doodle-doo

Big sis concentrating
Big sis concentrating some more
Story time

This is a review post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Sunshine days and dry hair

The gorgeous sunshine we have been experiencing in the UK this past 5 days has wreaked havoc on my hair. It's as dry as peppercorns or parchment paper, as my beloved mum would put it. I think I may be in need of a trim too because it has been feeling like straw. Not nice.

I was definitely in need of a deep condition to help regain some moisture so I set about to work last night. I started off with a pre-poo treatment. A pre-poo is as the name suggests, a pre sham(poo) treatment. You can use almost any type of oil or homemade concoction to coat your hair before washing and conditioning to help lock in moisture and nourish the strands. On this occasion I pre-pooed with Pure Coconut Oil. I sectioned my hair and after drenching each section with Coconut Oil I twisted. Once my whole head was twisted I wrapped in cling film and left for a few hours. In this time I made myself useful by preparing dinner, clearing up and getting the children ready for bed.

Once all was quite in the household I washed out the Coconut Oil using TRESemme Naturals Conditioner, otherwise known as a co-wash because you are washing your hair with conditioner as opposed to shampoo. This was important for me as I didn't want the oils to be stripped from my hair which shampoo can often do.

After co-washing I added Organic Root Stimulators Replenishing Conditioner. I made sure that every strand was covered and massaged into my hair. I then sectioned into four and twisted, then wrapped in cling film, covered with a scarf and left overnight.

This morning I washed out the conditioner. My hair felt light and springy. I blotted with a towel then added Anita Grants Vanilla Café Latte whipped butter and sealed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil after flat twisting into sections.

I can happily report that my hair no longer feels like straw. It looks and feels thoroughly nourished and moisturised. Next step is to work on styling, but with three little kids to tend to it ain't that easy. Hey ho I do what I can.

Some pics of the products I used.





Some attempts at pics of the hair. As you can see my eldest was clearly in her element sabotaging my shots lol. And flat twists before bed.






Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Flower girl dresses from Mini Mode

Maybe I'm being a bit hasty considering we haven't got a date for the wedding confirmed or booked the church, but I bought flower girl dresses for the girls whilst at Eastbourne over the weekend. They are from the Mini Mode Collectables range at Boots and they were on sale - 50% off, so you know I had to get them; (I was clever and bought them a size up so they'll fit come next spring). The beauty of these dresses is that they are simple yet still rather fitting for a wedding, plus I can accessorise them like crazy.

I'm really having to think outside of the box where this wedding is concerned. Flower girl dresses from Boots? Doesn't sound quite right does it? But I'm at the point where if something looks good and I feel in my gut that it'll work and the price is right then I'm going to buy it.

The OH, didn't think much of them but I beg to differ, plus the colour has given me a firm idea of the theme I'd like. I'm going back to our local Boots today to see if I can get our son a pair of trousers from the range. Wish me luck.


*Excuse the abstract pic. I'm still intermittently without Internet connection, so I'm blogging from my phone quite a bit, which isn't the greatest. I will update with more pics and links when I get the chance.*

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Eastbourne

We went to Eastbourne for the weekend to make the most of the glorious weather we've finally been having.

The OH and I first visited this little gem in East Sussex when our eldest was a baby and we had a lovely time, (despite the pebble beaches). Since then, we go back at least once a year. It's great to get away to the coast, especially since the other half still hasn't sorted his passport situation. So no fabulous holidays abroad for us any time soon.

Alas we had a beautiful time, so nothing to grumble about really.......
Crossing Dartford Bridge

Enjoying the views

Daddy and the girls on the pebble beach

Can you spot the boat and the swimmer?

Lovely

How are you enjoying the sunshine?

Little swimmers (nearly)


My girls passed their grade 1 duckling level at swimming on Saturday.

Compared to when they first started, they have become so confident. They've never been frightened of being in water, but they were a bit unsure of themselves when they began the lessons several weeks ago, especially my eldest. Now when they go they forever have a big smile on their little faces as they listen to their teacher's instructions and follow her lead.

They are not swimming fully yet, but they are able to keep themselves buoyant without armbands and doggy paddle for short distances. I am so proud of their progress and we have another 10 sessions booked.

They'll be confident little swimmers before I know it, then it'll be my little man's turn.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Perplexed

Source
I'm finding this image quite soothing.
Just what I need.

Well what do you know? 

The administrator at my choice of church called me this morning and we had a lovely conversation. I feel a bit bad about yesterday's post now, but quite clearly it triggered something, somewhere to get things moving again. 

We spoke for about 30 minutes. Yes 30 minutes and she was just as amicable as she was when I had my initial conversation with her. Strange. She even sent a lovely email shortly after our conversation to say she was looking forward to receiving our application and it was lovely speaking to me. She must have been having a bad day when we last spoke. I guess it happens to the best of us.

Anyway the next step is for us to fill out an application form and send it in, then she'll arrange for us to meet with the Bishop for pre marital counselling, then hopefully we'll be approved to marry at the church.

She counselled me over the phone a bit to get a feel for my motivation. She asked questions like;

Have either of us been married before? No.

Is there a reason we are waiting until next year to get married? To get some money together and I like the number 13, so 2013 is a perfect year for me, plus I want to be married in my 33rd year and I'll be just shy of my 34th birthday in Spring 2013).

My responses got me thinking. Some of my reasons for waiting are so flimsy. I'm not working at the moment, I'm a stay at home mother. Am I really going to save any money from now until next year? No.

What is this whole '13' thing about? Is it just an excuse to prolong things? Maybe. Relationships aren't easy that's for sure, but nothing ever is. We are living like a married couple and we have three children together. You can't get more committed than that if you tried, so what exactly is the hold up? Err nothing.

As I've mentioned before we're both from big families and I think I'm trying to include too many people, not wanting to hurt feelings, but really and truly we can't do it all.

A mass cull of the proposed guest list is required I think................*oh dear* 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The waiting game

Source
Rainbow bidesmaid dresses. Nice idea. If I EVER make it
to this point

Why am I waiting on people to give me simple answers to simple questions?

The most annoying by far is waiting for the administrator at my church of choice to respond to my emails and phone calls and let me know that the date I have requested to get married is available. How hard can that be?

I called the church and spoke to the administrator about a month ago. I had a lovely conversation with her (my middle daughter had been christened at this church two years previously), so there is a bit of history.

Anyway the conversation was pleasant and she informed me that she'd be in touch within a week or so to confirm we could have our date and to chase her up if I hadn't heard from her. Well needless to say I didn't hear anything despite leaving a few voicemail messages, so I called again a few days later and managed to speak to her. The conversation went a bit like this:

'Hi there, it's Natalie. I enquired about getting married at your church next spring. Did you receive my email and voicemail messages as requested?'

'Yes, I'm in a meeting.'

'Ok, well could you let me know when I'm likely to hear from you?'

'I'll reply to you?'

At this point she just wanted to get me off the phone. She was abrupt and I hate to say a tad rude. I really do not like this kind of treatment. It just irritates me. You said you were going to do something, and you didn't. So I chase you as requested then I seem to get attitude. I don't get it.

I'm at the point where I don't want to keep chasing, because she may be rude again and I'll end up saying something about it. Relations will go sour and I'll end up cutting off my nose to spite my face and decide not to bother with that church. And it's a lovely church.

I guess I just need to be patient. But everything is at a standstill yet again. All things wedding has gone quiet in this household. AGAIN. *huff*

Is it normal for wedding planning to be so stop, start, yes, no, up, down and around the houses?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Why? Why? Why?

Source
This meme has cropped up a number of times on various fab blogs courtesy of Mummy Central and the responses have always made me chuckle like a fool. 


Basically parents share the pain which is inquisitive children and the amount of times that dreaded question 'why?' is asked. In my household it's a bazillion times *bangs head slowly and repeatedly against wall.*


This meme turns the tables on the children and provides them with a list of ‘Whys’ from exasperated parents. Genius. Despite not receiving a formal invitation I had to be involved. This one is frankly too good to miss. Time to unleash the frustration.

Right then.....

Why despite buying a gazillion pairs of children's socks can I never seem to find a matching pair ?

Why is it that as soon as we are as far as we possibly can be from a toilet, does one child then desperately need to go?

Why must I repeat myself continuously then resort to shouting like a mad women before anyone does as they are told?



Why does no one ever listen? (connected to previous question).

Why must my middle child find every excuse in the book when it comes to bedtime, yet falls asleep at the drop of a hat during even the shortest of car journeys?

Why must my girls strip all their dolls of ALL their clothes ALL OF THE TIME?

Why must brand new books get torn?



Why when one of the children asks to play a game on my iPhone, must some other random app or weird screen I have never seen before be presented to me a mere two minutes later?

Why must my one  year old son follow me around with his hands gripped around my legs, making walking impossible and often pulling down my jeans/skirt/trousers in the process?

Why does my son decide to constantly turn the TV on and off just as we are getting into a interesting programme?

Why when my girls have moaned for hours about wanting to go out, do they moan about being tired, legs hurting, needing the toilet, being hungry as soon as we get out?



Why must my son pull every single wet wipe out of the packet?

Why must my girls always remember something I've promised them, but conveniently forget when I've asked them to do something?

Why must my youngest daughter beg me to buy her ice cream, when I know she'll waste it, swear blind she'll eat it all up, then take two licks and expect me to finish it?

Why does my eldest talk for England when I want her to be quiet, yet become as quiet as a mouse when I most want her to talk?


Why must my heart melt when I watch my three beautiful children sleeping, even after the most chaotic/stressful/hideous of days?

Come on then kids. ANSWERS PLEASE!!!

If you've got a list of questions you'd like to ask your children, why not join in with the linky over at the Mummy Central blog? It's a laugh.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Olympic lanes

Source
I pride myself on being a laid back, easy going type of person in the grand scheme of things. But lately there is something which is really beginning to get my goat.

Olympic lanes.

If I'm honest, I don't disagree with their existence because of course there needs to be provisions made for transporting the masses around London during this epic piece of British history in the making. What I can't understand is why they have been so poorly publicised. Why is it only now, days before the Olympics start that the public are receiving the necessary information? 

Olympic lanes are similar to bus lanes in that you're average Joe will not be allowed to drive in them and if you're caught wandering within the confines; bang! a £130 fine. That's all good and well but what would have been even better is if the public were properly informed of these restrictions in a timely manner. Maybe I've been hiding under a dark rock somewhere because the first I heard about them was from my folks a few days ago and twitter. Yesterday was the first time I had heard radio adverts and news coverage about the restrictions, before that there had been no prominent advertising campaign on TV, public transport or press from what I had seen. It's unbelievable and smacks of cynical money-making.

To add insult to injury bus lanes are also now out of bounds 6am - 12am; so lets just call it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until the Olympics end. Yet the communication has been woeful where this is concerned too. It's only yesterday that I noticed the sign posts in my area have been changed to reflect the no go zones. In addition there are poorly positioned, free standing sign posts, similar to those used to inform about serious incidents/accidents that have taken place on the roads. Everything looks more like an after thought, not a carefully considered and finely tuned multi million (or is it billion?) pound exercise. 

It's disgusting that more hasn't been said about these changes which will cost drivers a fortune if they happen to find themselves on the wrong side of the track. It's a shame because there was a time when I was excited about the Olympics being in Great Britain, but the more I see the basics being poorly executed the more concerned I become about the event as a whole, well not concerned just peeved I suppose. 

Olympic lanes aside the biggest joke of all comes in the form of the Olympic sponsors. McDonald's, Cadbury's, Coca Cola. WHAT? It seems money really does make the world go round. *sigh*


What do you think about Olympic lanes? Do you believe the restrictions were communicated adequately?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Converse




I am kicking myself. Since my birthday two months ago I've wanted to treat myself to a pair of Converse (I know I'm waaaay late to the party) but for whatever reason I just haven't got round to it.

About two weeks ago I popped into Footlocker to try a pair on and maybe buy them, but juggling three kids and feeling harassed meant I was unsure if I wanted to get them or not. They were £35 which I thought was really good, especially since I'd seen them in other sport shops for £42 plus. There were loads of pairs and the shop assistant assured me they were really popular so they'd always be available. I should have seen the signs.

Fast forward two weeks and the OH and I decided to get a pair each, same colour and everything (he's a Converse veteran). I was super excited. I love the idea of wearing the same trainers as my man. Don't judge me *snort*. So sods law they are now £40. I know it's only £5 extra, but man, if only I'd got my act together two weeks earlier.

The shop assistants explained the increase as being down to the incredible popularity of them. Wow, that's a good gig, and I guess they've got a point because I STILL BOUGHT THEM!! I'm not proud of myself but hey a girls got to treat herself every now and then, plus with all this dodgy weather I need some trainers in my life. And yes I know they're white and they'll get dirty and yes I did turn down the rubber, sponge, cleaner thingy they tried to up sell to me for £6. Having to pay an extra £5 was quite bad enough thank you very much.

On a separate note but in a similar vein, the Clarks first shoes I bought for my little boy and paid £25 are now in the sale for £12. Natch.

I tell you being a stay at home mum has a lot to answer for. I never got the chance to notice things like this when I was a working mum. Now I am out more with the kids, price differences and offers are something I'm noticing like never before. Great when the savings work in my favour. Sadly this hasn't been the case today. But at least I'm keeping up with the kids in my shiny new kicks.

Note to self: Must polish up on my bargain hunting skills.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

My natural hair - What I am learning


In the 18 months since my last chemical relaxer I have learnt a lot about my natural hair. I have learnt about its texture, its thickness, how well or not so well it reacts to certain shampoo's, conditioners, oils, butters and moisturisers. I still have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to styling, but that's mainly because I'm at that annoying halfway house stage.

The mum bun has been my go to style for quite some months, but I'm getting bored of it so I'm starting to experiment with different things. Last week I tried some curl rods but the outcome wasn't great. I will definitely try again as my hair gets longer.

Yesterday I tried a wash and go for the very first time and I was really quite pleased with the results. I washed with Curls Unleashed sulphate free shampoo and conditioned with TRESemme Naturals moisturising conditioner. I allowed my hair to drip dry for 15 mins then I added Beautiful Textures curl defining pudding. My hair was still very damp, so it soaked up the pudding. I finished with some Jamaican black castor oil, to seal in the moisture.

I loved the way the defining pudding accentuated my coils. I left my hair to air dry and after a few hours it still felt soft and moisturised without feeling greasy.

I must admit I haven't felt comfortable about wearing my hair out, because I don't like drawing attention to myself and a big ole fro would definitely do that. This wash and go however has made me feel differently. It was so quick and easy and completely fuss free. I would feel confident enough to leave the house rocking this style. And in actual fact, yesterday was the first time in 33 years that I have been out in public with my hair OUT. That, for me, is a breakthrough in itself and so liberating. Pat on the back. Sounds crazy because it's such a basic thing, when you think about it. This natural hair stuff is deep. Anyway before I forget here are the things I have learnt about my hair so far.

My hair is fine. I don't know about the type. Frankly I find all the 4a,b,c,z stuff quite confusing and unhelpful, so I don't concern myself with it. Whilst transitioning I used to think it was quite thick and very dry. But since cutting off all my chemically straightened ends (big chopping) I have noticed that it doesn't really tangle easily, and even when it does I just have to spritz with water and detangle with either my fingers or a comb. I prefer my fingers.

My sister often tells me she has to wash her hair in sections or plaits to avoid tangles and make the whole wash process easier for her. She has lovely thick coily hair. I find washing really easy and quite enjoy it. I don't need to wash in sections or plaits. Maybe this will change as it grows longer, maybe not. It'll be interesting to find out.

My hair responds well to olive oil and Jamaican black castor oil. When applied to my damp hair they leave it feeling very soft and looking very shiny.

I twist my hair most nights to keep it stretched. Also speeds up styling for the next day.

I don't always cover my hair with a scarf at night, because i'm either too tired to care or I just can't find the thing. My satin pillowcase, (a pressie from li'l sis. Thanks sis) works wonders and really helps keep frizz to a minimum.

I am yet to master a twist out. I am finding products which greatly help with definition, but my hair can be quite fluffy and flyaway, so wash and go's have been more successful so far.

Speaking of wash and go's here are some pics of my first ever attempt yesterday, that I then wore out shopping.














This is not a sponsored or review post. Just me, sharing my personal hair journey with you.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

New beginnings and School uniforms

We attended an open day for our daughters primary school last week. As of September our four and a half year old will be in reception and our three year old will be in pre-school nursery five mornings a week. I feel relieved and sad all at the same time. Parenting is nuts.

It was good to walk around and get a feel for the place. It took me right back to the days when I was at primary school more than 25 years ago *shudders*.

The deputy head talked about the school rules and regulations such as; no wearing jewellery to school, no taking children out of school to go on holiday during term time, bad behaviour is not tolerated etc, etc. We were also given information on the 'settling in' process (which will take three weeks by the sounds of it) and drop off/pick up times. All very meticulous. I did balk at the massive class sizes. Thirty children per class. That's a lot of children.

I attempted to buy the girls school uniforms. That in itself was a task. You have a choice of two colours and you can mix and match with jogging bottoms, skirt, pinafores, cardigans, sweatshirts, polo shirts, cocktail dresses, dinner jackets (I made the last two items up lol), but it's mind boggling how much you have to remember. Unfortunately most items were out of stock. So we have to go back in two weeks, but even so, what I did buy came to £30 - two polo shirts, one sweatshirt, one PE kit, one PE bag and one book bag. I still need to buy a lot of the uniform for my eldest and I haven't even included school shoes, coats, plimsolls....

We're undecided as to whether our eldest will have school dinners. Apparently there's a system in place whereby parents are given an account where they can pay the fee. It works out at £10 a week. I always loved school dinners, but they're not always the healthiest. Although who knows, maybe Jamie Oliver really has turned things around since the days I was at school.

The girls seem pretty excited about this new chapter we're soon to embark on. I am too, despite the crazy schedule which is rapidly on its way.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Memories


Sarah at the Grenglish blog wrote a beautiful post about the memories she would buy. If buying memories were possible. You can read the post here.

She has created a linky for others to get involved and share their posts on the memories they would buy. I totally fell in love with this notion and was eager to get involved. It's not often I actually sit down and really think about the beautiful moments I have shared with my loved ones. This linky has provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.

First of all I would hands down buy the memories of when all three of my children were born. There are times I wish these moments were filmed so I could track every step of the process. From those first twinges, to the super quick births I would give almost anything to see my facial expressions and analyse how well, or not so well I handled labor and delivery. Yes, you get told you were amazing by the midwives and your birthing partner, but to really be able to see everything for myself would have been phenomenal.

Another memory I would buy, would be when the OH and I went to Dunn's river falls in Jamaica. The whole holiday was wonderful, and getting to visit family and taste the real JA was priceless. One of the highlights of the trip was most definitely going to the falls. Climbing the rocks from top to bottom was exhilarating. I particularly loved my achy limbs the next day. A fabulous experience and a workout all at once.

Another awesome memory was when my parents, siblings, nephew and I went to Barbados, together, for the first time. It was 2004 and I had been through one of the most harrowing experiences of my life. But going to that gorgeous island and meeting my beautiful grandmother for the first time did a lot to heal my soul and strengthen me.

I would without a doubt buy the memory of the OH's proposal along the Thames at Tower Bridge at dusk. It was so romantic and he completely caught me off guard. I would love to relive that moment in slow motion.

As giving birth to my son was the most recent of my labour experiences, that memory shines brightly, so I have to share. It's nice to be able to write it all down too (I must do the same for the birth of my daughter's at some point).

I vividly recall being in triage at the early stages. I had been feeling dull period like pains on and off for at least a week. But this day felt different as there was more of a rhythm to the tightenings. We were living in Leeds at the time and luckily the OH's mum had come up to stay with us as I had a sneaky suspicion this bubba would come early and quickly, just as his big sisters had. Mum is always right.

So on the 15 June, just under two weeks before my due date the tightenings niggled away at me all morning and afternoon. When the OH came home from work I told him we'd better head out to the hospital, as things felt different. I was secretly terrified of leaving things too late like I did with the girls. With both of them, I contracted heavily in the car on the way to the hospital and the whole journey consisted of yelling, screaming, writhing and feeling completely out of control. Awful.

This experience was very different. As we made our way to the hospital the period like pains continued and were completely bearable although difficult to ignore. I chatted away to OH, and even worried that it might be a false alarm and we'd get sent home. That's how at ease I was.

We got to triage and signed in. It was all very pleasant and relaxed as we waited for a bed to become available. There was another lady who seemed to be in established labour because she was groaning and rocking back and forth on her chair. My back was achy and the twinges were there, but I still felt Ok.

After about 40 mins we were given a bed and shortly after I was examined. The midwife said I was 1-2cm dilated. Sorry what? I couldn't believe it. She was about to send me home with some painkillers, but when I explained to her about the continuous tightenings and the fact that my previous labours had been so quick and I was scared of a repeat performance, she agreed to let me stay a bit longer for monitoring. Thank God she did, otherwise my story would have been very different.

So 15 mins after my examination the contractions started to pick up pace and become a bit more painful but still manageable. I was offered gas and air, and almost felt like a fraud for accepting it, because the pain wasn't out of control, but I wasn't really that comfortable, so I thought why not? I do love the stuff after all. So there I was puffing away on the gas and air and getting really giggly (did I mention I love the stuff?) when suddenly I felt a trickle. I alerted the midwife still grinning from ear to ear, she had a look and told me it was my waters, I wondered why it had a green tinge and she told me it was meconium. As I went to get up, more water trickled. This was it. I was quickly wheeled off to the delivery suite as the contractions began crashing in one after the other and the grimacing began.

Up until that point the midwives on triage didn't believe I could possibly be in labour because I was laughing and joking soooo much. Twenty minutes after being carted off to delivery suite, lots of groaning and whimpering, waters gushing and two pushes later our precious son was born. It was 10.30 on a summers night. I remember looking out of the delivery suite window and seeing the pinks, greys and blues of a beautiful sunset. Breathtaking and priceless.

On the flip side of all this magical loveliness I'd happily forget the pregnancy part. They were certainly not my best moments, although the creation of my children was and always will be nothing short of amazing.

So there you have it. Some of the memories I would buy. There are plenty more I could add and I know there are plenty more still to come. Life is such a wonderful gift isn't it? It is all too easy to forget, until you remember precious moments.

If you would like to join in with the linky. Just pop on over to the Grenglish blog.

Friday, 6 July 2012

She's gotta have it

My soon to be mother in law takes the girls out once a week to give me a bit of a breather. Yesterday, as the weather was nice she took them to the seaside. They love their time with Grandma.

As I was at a loose end my little boy, little sister and I, well I say little sister but there's only 16 months between us so she's not really that little, but anywaaay, we went to Westfield Stratford just for the sake of it and we had the most delicious crepe, from Crepe Affaire. It was so delicious that I had to blog about it.

The utterly scrumptious pancake was called, yes you guessed 'she's gotta have it', and consisted of strawberries, cream and lashings of Nutella chocolate spread lovingly bundled into a succulent warm crepe. My sister and I were completely lost for words, bar the frequent 'hmm's' and 'ahhh's' of sheer delight. Of course we shared, because it has about a gazillion calories. But when I go again, I think I'll have one to myself and work out like a fiend afterwards. Really need to get my rhythm where working out and healthy eating is concerned.

Sadly there are no photos of the loveliness. I was clearly so taken by what was before me, I just got stuck in without a second thought of capturing the moment but you can take my word for it, it was AMAZING! Come on, strawberries, Nutella chocolate spread AND cream?? What is there not to love?

Prior to dessert we went to a Greek restaurant called 'The Real Greek' (love that name) for lunch. The food was served in a meze style and was gorgeous, even my little boy got stuck in. We had flat bread, crudités and hummus to start. Then chicken and lamb skewers, roasted new potatoes, salted cod in batter and garlic chilli prawns. It was gorgeous and we would definitely go again and highly recommend. Again, no photos of the food. Doh! But will pics of empty plates suffice?







*the restaurant was empty because everyone was eating outside on the terrace basking in the sunshine, and rightly so. We were situated close to the opened bi-fold doors as there was no room outside. Still thoroughly lovely though*

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Wrong feet

My eldest is forever putting her shoes on the wrong feet.



We'll be rushing to go somewhere and I'll tell the girls to get their shoes on and just as we are about to leave, I'll look down and yep, her shoes will be on the wrong feet.



Her Dad and I have tried to explain how she can tell if her shoes are on the right feet;



- By looking at the shape of the shoe

- When she wore zipped boots I'd tell her the zip would need to be on the inside, that way she would know they were on the right feet

- Or if she's wearing velcro shoes, the velcro needs to be pointing outwards.



I suppose our explanations are probably dire or too much for her to take in, because she continues to get in a muddle, bless her.

I know I probably shouldn't, but it's turned into a running joke for me, so now I've started to take photos of her footwear misdemeanours. Bad mummy....
















Do you, or your children if you have them, do anything quirky which you secretly find quite amusing?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Mummy's little helpers

My daughters made me really proud yesterday evening. I'm a proud mother whatever they do (within reason, of course), but yesterday they really excelled themselves.


There I was doing my usual thing of cajoling them into picking their toys off of the floor, so I could get on with the hoovering, but I needn't have tried so hard. 


My nagging for help often falls on deaf ears and for an easy life I end up picking the bits up myself, but on this occasion after a few desperate pleas, they not only set about picking things up, but they even began folding clothes, plumping cushions, pairing up shoes and lining them up in the hallway.

After I'd finished hoovering I sat down for a breather, but they weren't stopping. They wrapped up the hoover wire and pushed it away into the cupboard, which is more than I often manage. I'm starting to realise the return on my investment with these kids. Lol.

Well done to my beautiful mini helpers. More of the same please.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Clay pots and tie-dye

My Internet connection has decided to stop working - ugh, so I'm having to resort to blogging on my iPhone. It's OK, but not the dream, so they'll be no photos or links in my next few posts whilst I try and get it sorted *breaks out in a cold sweat*. It feels very strange, but hey the show must go on...

Last Saturday, after the girls swimming lesson, we went to the library where they held a brilliant creative event put on by 'Iroko' an African theatre company who specialise in family edutainment. In my haste to get the girls to swimming on time I forgot my phone, so of course I couldn't take photos of the fabulousness that went down. Not that I'd be able to share with you at the moment anyway. Natch.

On entering the gallery area of the library, we were excited to see a room full of beautiful bongo drums in all different designs and sizes. We were one of the first to arrive, so we got stuck in with hitting out some beats under the wonderful guidance of the drumming experts. The children had a ball and my son danced up a storm, stamping his tiny feet to the beat and waving his hands in the air. He has got moves, even if I do say so myself.

There were creative workshops too and we watched as Kojo the clay moulding teacher, showed us how to make masks out of clay. The girls watched his every move as he explained how each piece of clay that he rolled and pinched made up a different part of the mask. Once he had finished making two or three masks it was our turn to have a go. We could make masks or pots. We opted for pots because the girls are forever collecting little nik naks so pots would come in handy. We started with a ball of clay each and under Kojo's guidance we made lovely little pots with patterns and lids. It was a lot of fun and we got to take them home too. My girls were chuffed to bits.

Then we moved onto the tie-dye workshop where a lady called Lydia showed us the art of tie-dying using cloth, string, warm water, colouring, urea, salt and another ingredient which currently escapes me.

We each folded our cloth in different ways, then used string to hold the folded cloth together tightly. Then, with aprons and gloves on to protect our hands and clothes from the extremely potent dye, we set about dipping the cloth into the colours which took our fancy. Red, yellow or blue. We could also dip into different combos of colour to make another. You know, yellow and blue to make green or red and yellow to make orange and so on. Once the cloth had been dipped into the colours of our choosing, the string was cut and the cloth was opened up to reveal beautiful tye-dyed patterns. They really were lovely, I'd even go so far as to say mesmerising. Really pretty. When my Internet connection is sorted I'll have to post pics.

After the morning session came lunch, courtesy of Iroko. They served up traditional African food. Jollof rice, chicken, stew, fish, plantain, salad, fruit and drinks too. It really was lovely and it was so nice to see all the parents and children from the local community coming together and having fun.

Unfortunately we couldn't stay for the afternoon session which involved story telling, drama and more crafts. But what we did partake in was thoroughly enjoyable, so we'll certainly be keeping an eye out for future events.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Desperately seeking a pampering

Source
Since becoming a mum I feel I've let myself go. I don't have the time to preen and style myself as I would like. My wardrobe is basic but functional, my make up bag is woeful. Eyeshadow, lipgloss, some foundation type shine control stuff and mascara. I told you it's woeful. No change there really. I've never been one for makeup, but that is slowly changing.


I've never been a woman whose pampered herself with mani, pedi's, massages and the like either, (I was more into healthy eating and working out) but now I don't have the freedom to indulge in these pastimes I regret not taking more interest when I had the chance.


It's hard to remember what I actually did pre children. All those free evenings, weeks and months seem to have been wasted on things I'm not even sure of anymore. What I am sure of, is these days I have little time for myself and this fact is somewhat irritating.


I would like to start working out properly again and maybe investing in some spa dates to help me relax and feel at one with myself. Often I feel quite rushed and uptight which inevitably leads to a tension headache or me just feeling on edge, which subsequently means I'm below par for long periods of time.


As a mum I'm finding it hard to get the right balance between family time and 'me' time, but I know it's something that needs to change for my own wellbeing.


What do you do to unwind? And how do you fit it all in, if at all?
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