Why I am making time to have ‘dates’ with my kids

So this is nothing new in the world of parenting. We all know it’s important to spend ‘quality’ time with our kids (if we have them, and this also includes step children). The difficulty is actually getting that quality time and even, establishing what quality time actually is.

We need to remember that quality time isn’t just about making a big event out of something, it’s also the small things that are really important to kids. Making sure you give them your undivided attention. It’s most definitely NOT showering your kids with gifts. The most important thing you can do is give them your TIME and ATTENTION. Yes I’ve capitalised them, and yes I am shouting those words because they are what your kids, my kids, everyone’s kids need.

Life gets busy, a bit crazy at times and we all know just how exhausting having kids can be! But that craziness can be used to your advantage. Ride the wave of crazy and enjoy some special time with your kids – individually. Don’t make this a family thing, this is about you and your relationship with your kids on their own, individually. There’s plenty of time for the family fun, make this a time just for you and your children. Make it part of your self-care routine, it’s as important for your well-being as it is for theirs. Let me just say here and now, I am not a perfect parent. Far from it, anyone who thinks they are, well they’re living in cloud cuckoo land as far as I’m concerned. We none of us a perfect, we all have our faults, we are only human after all, however, I’d like to think most of us do what we can in the best way we can for our families.

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If you’re a grandparent, I know you want to see those grandbabies as much as you can but let their mum and dad have some special quality time with them too. Support them when they need it, be there with kind words and love but take a step back once in a while and let mum and dad have their moment with their kids, let them build a happy relationship where the kids can feel they can talk to you and them about anything.

This is something that takes time, and doesn’t always involve big grand gestures, sometimes it’s the little things that get remembered and it’s those things that build the trust between a parent and child.

What is quality time?

Quality time can mean different things to different people. Is it sitting through a movie and everyone being so enthralled by it no one speaks? Is it making a meal together? Is it cuddling your child/partner/loved one?

To me it means getting off screens, listening to my kids/husband/family and by this I mean really listening to them, paying them attention. It means devoting time and effort to really being in the moment with them, regardless of the activity.

The official Oxford Languages definition is:

quality time

noun

  • time in which one’s child, partner, or other loved person receives one’s undivided attention, in such a way as to strengthen the relationship.

the most important thing is to spend quality time talking to their children

Quality V’s Quantity

To me it’s about quality Vs quantity. We live busy lives and often we want to spend quality time with our children but there’s also a tonne of laundry to be done. Time is finite. We too often try combine our tasks we have to do with our quality time and it just doesn’t work. It means we are only giving our kids half our attention. There’s no easy answer as if we do one task and then spend the time with the kids the time we spend is decreased. So rather than saying I’m going to choose one over the other I think it’s important to think about what the purpose of the quality time serves.

One thing we do need to consider when we are spending quality time is not just what we do or how we do it but focus on the other person’s feelings about quality time. Identifying just what quality time means to them. On one occasion a couple of years ago now, my son said to me “I never get to spend time with you”. What?! This rocked me to my core. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, hang on a minute ‘I listen to him, I play with him, we have chats’ but to him this is just stuff that’s done as part of our daily lives. Not ‘special’ time. I got a little bit put out by his comment if I’m honest. I took offence at his comment at first, because I thought his idea of quality time was the same as mine. I was put out because even when I said let’s do something together, just us two, he would often say not at the moment thanks mum. That moment was lost. When I mentioned this in passing to someone I know who is a ‘child expert’ said I should ignore him when he says not now and just ‘make’ him spend quality time with me. I was horrified at their comment. Why? I don’t believe in ‘making’ a child do anything, encourage – yes, educate them about good/bad/right/wrong – yes, but not by force which is essentially what she was telling me I should do. You may think I am wrong to believe she was incorrect, but that’s your choice, your personal opinion and we are all allowed those. I’m just saying how I feel here and how I parent my kids.

It is obvious that we all have different ideas about quality time, and what it means to us. After the “I never get to spend time with you” moment, I waited until my son and I had some time on our own at bedtime, this is when we often have a little chat to sum up our day, and I asked him what he meant by his comment, I asked him what he saw quality time as.

It was interesting, he told me that felt left out sometimes, he found it difficult to spend time with me as I seemed spend time with his sister (who seems to be attached to me like my shadow most of the time!). He adores his sister and they have a fantastic relationship with each other, fighting with each other one moment and then plotting and scheming together the next, but I didn’t quite realise how much of an impact she had on his life. There’s only just under three years between them but he seems to feel he didn’t have long enough with me before she was born as he was so young. He was frustrated with me as in his eyes I didn’t spend as much time with him as I did before his sister was born, he was having to share my attention and he didn’t want to do this. I think he meant when I went back to work a year after having him but I didn’t go straight back after having her, I had more time off and he felt it was unfair on him. It’s difficult to explain the reasons why to kids, they don’t always understand that we are expected to return to work after maternity leave, they just want to spend their every waking moment with us. Just like they’re our world we are everything to them too.

I’m much more aware of what my son sees as valuable, quality time and how it should be spent. This means we can move forward and learn more about what we need to do as parents and as a family. Something we’ve learnt and experienced over the past couple of years especially.

On the one hand the pandemic certainly changed things and how we acted as a family and we haven’t gone back to the way we did everything before. In some ways the pandemic helped us become closer as a family unit, building better relationships. It was also harder in some ways than others at times, as we were on top of each other, getting in each other’s way and not getting enough space or time away from each other. Having that valuable ‘me time’ was so important.

What kind of things do we do as a family to make sure we have quality time together? And how can we have quality time with the kids on an individual basis?

We make a point of eating our evening meal together, as a family at the dining table. We try to avoid meals on the sofa in from of the telly. The only exception is ‘family fridays’ where we sometimes have carpet picnics and takeaways flopping in front of the telly watching catchphrase or something equally silly! It is really important to me to spend mealtimes together, I grew up having meals with my parents and we almost never had telly food. We sat at the table and chatted about our day, ate our food and enjoyed being a family.

We also have a no electronics at the table policy. This means absolutely no compromise whatsoever; no laptops, phones, tablets or telly at the dining table when we are eating. There are no distractions and we focus on each other, and our food.

And, of course it also starts with spending time together preparing the meal. The kids like to help and it makes them feel proud that they’ve prepared something we all enjoyed eating. Giving kids a sense of ownership and responsibility is vital for a child’s well being. It’s essential for their development and of course confidence.

These are important steps in our family life where we know we will focus on each other and it’s our little bit of quality time as a family, and of course there are lots of other things we do, the list is endless. For example the time spent at bedtime, reading stories, chatting about how we feel, how the day has gone and things. You know, those little moments together. The hugs when dropping the kids off to school, the bear hug you get when you pick them up from school, along with the endless chatter of what they did and who did what. The nudge of an elbow and the wry smile passed between us when we do something that makes us happy. All of these are things that make us feel together.

But there are also the little things we need to do with each of our kids on their own, and this is why I am continuing to make ‘dates’ with my kids. It could be make up and beauty sessions with my daughter, clothes sort outs which inevitably means trying on sessions with her or just going for a hot chocolate and gingerbread man at the coffee shop, it could be letting my son teach me how to play fortnight, or doing some bug hunting with him. It might be going for a drive and getting him to tell me which direction to go. It is anything where we smile, talk and enjoy each other’s company. Away from the stresses of life and everything it brings. Just ‘our’ time together, where we can really connect. It doesn’t have to be a huge fanfare of an event, you don’t have to go ‘out out’. Just being there with them and doing something special to you is more than enough.

By all means go ice skating or have a shopping trip with them, take them to the movies, whatever you want to do. But remember it’s how you connect that’s important here.

I don’t make the choices of what we do on our ‘dates’, we choose them together. We come up with ideas and my kids make the final decision. Our dates are not always scheduled, sometimes the moment just happens. But we do like to get together and put ideas forward, it might just be that for some of the things we want to do we need to pre book something so this is the only time things are really planned. But, that said the kids love to plan our movie nights and they know time is valuable and perhaps we might have something on for a particular time so things can’t be done immediately but we all try to be mindful of each others own schedules when we do things. Trying to go on dates when either of the kids are tired is a recipe for disaster, and we know we just need a chill date rather than full on fun at these times. There is no perfect moment. Every relationship is different, and there is no single perfect way to spend time with each other. You need to do what suits you and your children.

Ultimately we want our children to feel important and we want our time together to be strong in their memories. No matter how busy our lives are we need to put things aside and make time for those special to us. If we want our children to grow healthy and happy minds we need to show them how to be happy and healthy and that means taking the time to talk to our kids one on one and taking care of our well being and theirs.

I’ve told you how I’m going forward, how about you? Are you planning on ‘dates’ with your kids? What kind of dates are you going to have?

Enjoy your time together, treasure it because those babies grow up so fast.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks xo

Hearing aids and heels…

The hearing aids bit anyway!

I had a bit of a moment the other day where I felt really stupid. And I mean really stupid. Like I was incompetent and worthless stupid. It’s a more frequent occurrence than I would like!

I had to ask my hubby to repeat something several times and even in the end I still didn’t hear it properly. It’s not because I’m stupid, I just didn’t hear him. Don’t assume its hubby making me feel this way, it’s me and my hearing that is doing it. I was on my way out to get some milk and he said something, a joke probably but I just didn’t hear him. I sat in the car and it hit me just how much this is beginning to bother me and also how much I have been hiding it from others.

So what am I on about?

I have been losing my hearing for a few years, and up until now it hasn’t really worried me, it’s one of the reasons I was going to call the blog hearing aids and heels. But just recently it’s begun to have a big impact on my life – both personally and professionally. I’m struggling to hear students in class, made all the more difficult with the fact that they are international students and we were having to wear masks. I avoid talking to colleagues as I know I won’t be able to hear them. I smile and hope I’m looking like I can hear people and smiling at the right moment too!

I do have an appointment for another hearing test in the next couple of weeks as I’m well overdue but with pandemic delays and suchlike any previous ones had been put off. My hearing aid hasn’t worked for almost a year and is well overdue a service, I thought I was getting on alright without it but clearly I’m not.

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When did it all start?

Just over 14 years ago I was having ear issues, constant earache, pain and suchlike. I didn’t worry about it I just thought it an inconvenience at the time as I’d suffered with ear problems when I was young. But after a while and realising that this wasn’t going away, visit number four to the doctors finally discovered I had a perforation of the ear attic. Bearing in mind this had taken two years to discover and things were not looking pretty. I was lucky as the doctor I saw that day knew a bit about ears!

I was booked an appointment to see a specialist in ENT. Went through lots of poking about and x-rays and scans. Then the bombshell hit. You have a tumour. Of course the first thing you think is I’s cancer. Thankfully it wasn’t it was a benign tumour, but it was in a nasty place and there was a secondary infection going on which given the nature of the tumour was making its way to my brain.

Cue the “right, young lady, let’s get you booked in for surgery and quickly, we don’t have much time” moment. To be honest I’m not sure if he explained much about it as I was in a fog but I signed the forms and went ahead anyway. It’s not every day you get told you have something wrong that isn’t normally bad but with the extra problem of an infection going on could kill you.

Well, me being me didn’t tell people it was as bad as it was, why worry others with stuff they can’t control. My parents would have been worrying (as parents do!) and I couldn’t be arsed with people fussing.

Hair shaved and off I go, I had the surgery to remove the tumour, get rid of the nasty infected stuff and rebuild my inner ear. Took a few hours but seemed to go ok. Things were a bit muzzy for a while. Head was itchy where the hair was beginning to grow back but it wasn’t all that bad. I got the piss taken out of me by family members but I’m the black sheep anyway so this was nothing new.

I am on lifetime care regarding my ear. I slowly regained some hearing in my rebuilt ear and things seemed to be all going tickety boo. Until I had one of my quarterly check-ups. And, boom. It was back! The tumour had returned and was obviously happy as it was growing far too well! This was almost 8 years ago. Back into surgery I went again, head shaved, ear sliced and off we go. I now have miniscule plastic tubes and bits where my little bones were. Micro surgery is amazing. 

Anyway, same old operation, seven hours in and redone prosthetics. All is well? Not quite. This time my hearing really is shot. To top it all off the hearing in my other ear has been degenerating quicker than I would like and I’m now at the stage I am now. The surgeon managed to cut a little bit of my facial nerve so my face drooped a bit but thankfully wasn’t noticeable unless I was tired, it’s still a little noticeable even now but only if you look carefully!

I didn’t realise how much having poor hearing would affect me. I didn’t think it would be something that bothered me, but the pandemic and others wearing masks really has made my life hard. Over the years I’ve learnt to lip read, albeit in a basic form, and this has been a lifeline for me even with a hearing aid. But it really is frustrating when you go into a coffee shop and ask for something and can’t hear what the barista is saying as there’s noises of the machines, a mask over their mouth and people chatting. It was getting to a point where I put a note on my phone and showed them what I wanted.

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I’m fed up of not quite getting what people are saying in conversation as they’ve turned their head a little away from me and I can’t see their lips properly. I’m fed up of getting frustrated by asking people to repeat things several times. I am at a point now where I don’t know where to turn or go to make this any better. I know some sign language but not enough to get by. I struggle with lots of noise in the background, or when both kids are trying to talk to me. I can’t manage a group conversation I can’t process it all with what little hearing I do have.

I am grateful for mask wearing given the Covid situation, and I am an avid mask wearer and still will to certain extent even though restrictions have been lifted. However, it hasn’t made mine or any other hard of hearing person’s life easy.

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I was quite surprised when I heard on the news recently that BSL isn’t a legally recognised language like Welsh or Gaelic in the UK.  Given the fact that there are eleven million people in the UK that are deaf or profoundly hard of hearing and only 131,000 actually use BSL I’m surprised they don’t teach it in schools, although I know by the already saturated curriculum that there simply isn’t any time to teach it and teachers simply don’t need any more stress. [source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-disabilities-and-impairments-user-profiles/saleem-profoundly-deaf-user#]. Apparently it is also the second most common disability in this country. I always thought it was an old person’s disability, but whilst figures do show 40% of the over 50’s are deaf it rises to 70% in those over 70, there are increasing signs of it becoming more prevalent in younger generations.

This got me thinking why this could be happening. Could this be our constant need to be plugged in to something? I know I’m often saying to the kids even with their noise limited headphones that they need to turn to volume down and take a break from wearing them. Of course I get ignored completely and their eyes roll but I think I may have a point. I found this article interesting and it’s not the only one saying similar things https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/53221-Kids-headphones-earbuds-hearing-damage-tinnitus

When we listen to loud music for long periods of time we damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear and the hearing nerve which is called sensorineural hearing loss. Of course hearing loss can be caused by many things, most commonly ear infection but I do think our habits play a big part in how we manage hearing loss in the future. I know I check my kids ears regularly, it’s habit, just like checking for head lice – you never know!

So let’s rally round and encourage our kids not to listen to their music or videos up too high, taking breaks away from it more frequently and hoping they have a sensible bone in their body to actually pay attention to the advice we give them. They’ll thank us for it later!

I’m hoping my hearing test won’t be so bad and that they’ll sort my hearing aid out and I can get back to being ‘normal’, as much as I can be.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

“It’s been a funny old day”, I can never think or say this without thinking of old Arkwright in Open All Hours (those of a certain vintage will know what I’m on about!). It’s been a funny old year too! Lots of happenings not happening…

Lockdown no lockdown, mask no mask, stay in go out and every possible mixed message in between! Then there’s the lockdown parties in Whitehall which our Government say didn’t happen but then they did but weren’t parties they were working lunches with wine and cheese. I’d love a working lunch with wine and cheese, although I fear I’d be the size of a house and be jobless after having wine during the day if I did!

If I were to sum up the year of 2021 I’d say it was a slightly skewed, aiming to get back to some form of normality year. It wasn’t all negative there have been some real positives to come out of it. It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives in life and this is especially understandable given the strange happenings of the past eighteen months to two years.

There was some good news Climate challenge wise, COP 26 wasn’t necessarily a complete whitewash. Yes there were parts of it that failed the climate completely and yes some elements didn’t come out as strong as they could have but there are some small achievements that we can be positive about. Small steps, but steps all the same.

My year? It was pretty much the same as many others I should imagine. I managed to work, the kids were educated, and we experienced some strange weather. The latter part of the year meant we could go out more and enjoy some of the things we once took for granted such as a visit to the theatre as a family to see the Panto (absolutely brilliant I hasten to add!) and popping to London for a day trip (super quiet by the way – so not like London at that time of year, or any time, to be honest it was eerily quiet), then Covid decided to mutate a little and numbers were going up but thankfully the number of deaths has remained relatively low considering. Although not necessarily any easier for those who have lost friends or family, loved ones to the awful virus. My heart goes out to you if this is your situation.

Did anything happen to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Yes actually, there were some great moments. We had a fab week away in Wales, where I really felt close to my kids and saw a different side to them. I felt it was the break we all needed. Yeah, ok, they had their moments but they were also bloody amazing and they made me so proud to be their mum.

I was really happy that some of my nearest and dearest friends and family have managed to make real successes of their small businesses during a tough year, so it is my pleasure to encourage you, my fantastic readers to check them out! They are all fabulous people who are making their way through the minefield of business but they are amazing and why not give them our support. So, whether you like and follow them on Facebook or buy one of their products I’m sure they will love you for it.

Here are some of these amazing small businesses – really, you must visit…

First up we have the lovely Little Vines at https://littlevinesholiday.wixsite.com/littlevinesupton. Little Vines is a fantastic holiday let that focusses on the personal touch. Sally is trying to get her husband to buy her a fab KitchenAid Mixer like mine so she can whip up more of her delicious homemade cakes that are always waiting for her guests! If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a nice little break away then check out Little Vines but hurry as they’re booking up fast with a lot of returning vacationers.

Another fabulous small business I’m super proud of is my lovely cousin in-law Yvonne at https://www.facebook.com/fireandfilemetaldesign/ she has the most amazing jewellery in her store. She uses eco silver and has designed and made some really quirky but super wearable jewellery. She doesn’t just make jewellery, she makes wall art/hangings and book marks. I’ve bought a couple of bookmarks from her for the kids school teachers as thank you gifts so if you’re stuck for ideas then go pay her a visit at her Etsy shop and like and follow her for regular updates on Facebook.

One of my school run mum friends has a small business making gemstone bracelets. She does this as a hobby which has been a real booster to her wellbeing. You can find her gorgeous bracelets at https://www.facebook.com/natcmusi. I’m all for supporting the independent business and small local is always good for the community.

Although I’m part of a style club online and have actively promoted RuthEssex.com of which you may find a little treat in a future post by the way, I also have a lovely school friend from way back in the day who is a brilliant personal stylist. She has a small business where she does colour analysis and style advice. She has been in the business for a few years but recently made it a full time occupation as the perfect opportunity arose. Sometimes you just have to take that risk, and occasionally it pays off. If you’re interested in colour and style then Wendy is another person to check out at https://www.styleandcolour.co.uk/.

Last but not least if you want some lovely Cornish made crafts then pay my friend Lynn over at https://www.facebook.com/Kents-Cornish-Crafts-609845416339903/ a visit. She makes some lovely personalised crafts that invoke some very special memories for her customers. Lynn has made teddy bears from some treasured baby clothes which is a lovely keepsake, so if you have anything special in mind have a look and see what she can do for you.

What do I (we) have in store for this New Year?

A lot! We have a huge amount planned to be going on this year, but whether it will all happen remains to be seen but we can just roll with it and see what pans out. I’m still super busy with teaching, and blogging but you know me things will get done regardless. I have the usual stuff going on at home as well as a potential belated honeymoon on the cards too! We’ve been married over ten years but we never managed to get a honeymoon. We’ve been promising to have one all this time and maybe, just maybe we’ll get one this year. A global Pandemic stopped us last year, so we’ll just bump it over to this one.  

Coming up on the blog is an interview post with Ruth Essex @RuthEssex.com which will be coming out at soon so make sure you get in on that one. I just need to finalise a few more bits and pieces to it and it’ll be all good to go. I have lots of helpful blogs planned but again, it all relates to what’s happening with me and my life so if it doesn’t fit it won’t be written about at that particular time. I do wonder how some bloggers manage to post several blogs a week when I can barely manage one a fortnight! My life just isn’t that interesting perhaps?!

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What else?

So, I’ve decided I’m not partaking in any fad month this year. Dry January, Veganuary, or any other. It’s not because I don’t believe in following them I just don’t feel we need a month of doing something to make it right. I know it’s about focus and making the general public aware of the causes but for me it doesn’t sit right. Too many years in marketing and being slightly cynical of these events has had a lot to do with it. I will cut down on the amount of meat I eat, it’s a small thing that makes a big difference. I will drink dry wine instead of sweet dessert wine… no, no, sorry that’s not dry January. I mean I will reduce the amount of alcohol I drink. I’m not a heavy drinker anyway, but I do like a glass occasionally so it’s not a huge game changer but will make me a little healthier. I will make an effort and do more exercise. I have become far too sedentary and it’s not doing me any favours. All of these steps are small but important and I don’t need a designated month to get me doing them. If we make small changes over a longer period of time then we are more likely to stick to them, at least I know that’s what works for me. If you choose to do dry January, Veganuary or any other ‘month’ I applaud you and good luck with them. Either way we’ll all come out slightly healthier in the end.

The weather, well that’s always a good topic to talk about 😆

It’s funny I hear so many parents and carers on the school run saying its cold and they can’t wait for the warmer weather. I actually like the seasons. I know it’s cold, I’m sat at work with thermal undies on and several layers of clothes as I have to have my classroom window open because of Covid requirements for adequate ventilation and I have a hot water bottle on my back and a heater at my feet – chilblains anyone!? But, despite the freezy feel it’s refreshing, just as I like a clear spring day and a balmy summer’s evening I think all weathers have a part to play. I’m not so much a fan of fog and rain though. That just gets to my bones. Brrr. I did buy a thin pair of gloves to wear whilst I was working at my computer but as is the usual with my online purchases these didn’t fit. I must have very long alien fingers or these were designed for a child! My daughter now has a lovely pair of satin gloves! I got asked if she could wear them for school. She would be very glamorous if she did 😎

I am worried about the more extremes of weather we are experiencing and as I’ve mentioned before I am trying to do my little bit to ease the environmental strain on resources and helping Mother Nature along a little. But if, I’m honest, Christmas is always going to be hard on the environment. There’s more paper and plastic to deal with. More of everything that we as a nation have wasted.

I was super good this Christmas just gone and had very little food waste as I shopped wisely and used up leftovers. It was surprisingly easy to do for those that don’t/haven’t manage/d it. I’m good at reducing food waste most of the year, there are loads of really good websites and apps that help, but always struggled at Christmas. I’ve always viewed Christmas as gluttonous and where we overbuy and overeat. But, also rather tellingly we over waste too. I can remember in past years disposing of leftover food in the waste and chucking mince pies out because they were past their sell by date. But now I’m savvier about waste. The sniff test on milk (thank you Morrisons, but I have been doing this for ages!), the use by is the date you need to be watching don’t worry so much about the best before as it’s only a guide. Use a bit of common sense, if it looks off it most likely is, if it smells funky it’s probably not worth trying it.

So there you go, there’s the first instalment of the New Year for you.

Here’s wishing you a belated, but important, Happy New Year and let’s hope it’s a good for us all.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

The run up to Christmas…

I’ll keep this one short!

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It’s that time of year where the final couple of weeks run up to Christmas is upon us, everyone is busy planning, buying and wrapping, going to parties and enjoying themselves. For me, these last few days are a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong I do love Christmas, and usually in the last week/couple of days, its lovely. It’s just all the stuff that comes before it! It’s super busy, and I’m having to juggle more than usual this year.

It’s been a tough couple of months, with Mum falling and breaking her hip and needing extra care when she came out of hospital, and the simple fact that I have family sending me text messages telling me to go and help out as my Dad is tired from having to look after her isn’t helping! What do they think I’m doing sitting on my arse all day and larging it up?! I have been helping out and thankfully she is now in a much better position as she is able to do so much more for herself. And then there’s hubby been away abroad working, Kids to manage, house to manage and work all thrown into the mix. Oh and there’s all the house stuff going on too. More on that another time I don’t have the energy to go there!

I have the headache from hell most days and to say I’m feeling stressed is an understatement. Hubby is doing his usual last minute shopping for his family, which is always right up to the wire. Why? As usual he’s been super busy working and hasn’t had the time. I have most of my presents already bought, just not wrapped, there are only a few more to get but as they’re foodie ones these are best left as late as possible. We have 12 months of the year to go and buy gifts for loved ones and friends, so whilst in the past I may have been guilty for last minute shopping, the reality is there is no excuse. I can’t believe I managed to write the Christmas cards early this year, although I’m sure I will have forgotten someone along the line!

We are visiting hubby’s family the weekend before Christmas and will be spending some time in the neighbourhood. Will have to take the bigger car this time as we certainly won’t fit all four of us, luggage and presents in my little dinky toy! My car is not what you would call a practical family car 🤣. I’m looking forward to spending some time away albeit only a couple of nights, it is a break away from the daily grind at home, I’m hoping the tiredness will pass and let me enjoy my time away. Plus I get to dress up a little as we are staying at a nice hotel without the kids as they’ll be at their grandparents, and we get to eat out in a posh restaurant for a change. To be fair I do like a Harvester pub, but sometimes something a little more refined is welcomed.

We also have the Theatre booked, the Panto to be precise, and I’ve heard great things about it, hoping it lives up to it. I’m sure it will – Peter Pan is a classic, although it’s been brought right up to date apparently this year. I’m sure the kids will love it, I may have to pack an extra Tena pad – apparently it’s hilarious!

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem on Pexels.com

If you were wondering if Hubby and I had finalised our Christmas dinner menu yet, well the answer is no. Not yet. And, if I can’t get a click and collect booked then it might just be chicken instead of turkey this year 🙄. I don’t fancy doing anything super amazing this year, not that I could anyway not being that good a cook and all, but I’m still not feeling full on festive yet.

There’s niggling doubt over Covid at the back of my mind, we’re promised things won’t change, and it’ll be a normal Christmas, but I’m dreading the bit after Christmas. Omicron has a lot to answer for! I’m now booster jabbed, if I’m honest I feel quite crap with it. I wasn’t too bad with the AZ, but this third half dose has made me sore, and very achy. I did have the flu jab done at the same time which I admit could have something to do with it. In all likelihood the simple fact that I’m just completely shattered is probably the underlying issue!

In fact, I’ve been feeling decidedly grumpy of late. I’m trying to figure out if its just me getting older and having less tolerance for stupidity or actually whether there is something more going on. Perhaps its hormones kicking in, now that I’m over 40 there are obvious hormonal changes going to happen but I’m starting find my sleep patterns are getting worse, my tolerance levels are lowering and I’m generally feeling… just bleurgh! (If there is such a word?!).

Anything and everything seems to irritate me these days. I also notice I don’t feel the cold as much as I once would have. Although this may just be down to the fat content I have keeping me well insulated 🤣🤣🤣.

It could be the dreaded Menopause kicking in although it’s a bit early, my family don’t normally experience it until 50+, but you never know. It may be that I just need an MOT and a break away from everything. I might be waiting a while though, I’ve been married ten years and still haven’t been on a honeymoon, somehow something always gets in the way 😞. Perhaps it’s just good old fashioned frustration getting the better of me. If you know the answer give me a heads up 😉.

I’ll sign off until after Christmas. Will catch up with you all after, until then have a great holiday everyone, wherever you are, whoever you’re with and whatever you do x

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

Christmas, food and all the bits that go with it!

Each year I buy a tonne of Christmas magazines. You know which magazines I’m talking about… the ones that promise you the perfect Christmas. Well, I’ve done it again, spent a small fortune on magazines that will somehow take me to the holy grail of Christmas perfection.

Presents under the tree

Inside they are filled with perfect images of the perfect décor scheme, the perfect Christmas tree, the perfect Christmas countdown, the perfect Christmas family crafts to make, the perfect Christmas menu, the perfect Christmas collection of drinks, the perfect Christmas gift list and it goes on… I love the idea of getting perfection at Christmas but the reality is far from it.

Food

I’m an awful cook, and I don’t know much about putting the perfect scheme together, but I do know I have an amazing family and I love doing our silly Christmas stuff together. So what if I over cook the sprouts and burn the turkey a little, we are still alive and we can laugh about it and that’s what is important to me. Enjoying the time we have together, being silly and doing daft things. So yes, I would love the perfect everything at Christmas but sometimes perfection isn’t really what we need, what we need is for things to just be a little bit okay.

Hubby and I have the same conversation each year about what we are going to cook on Christmas day. We peruse the magazines with the aim of identifying a really first class menu for the day, but after looking at a lot of the ideas and images we come to the conclusion that we wouldn’t eat most of it and it’s all a bit too fancy. We’re simple folk and like old fashioned, simple, hearty food. So we end up doing a more traditional meal of turkey, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, veggies including one or two Brussel sprouts even though there are only two of us in the family that will eat them, gravy, cranberry sauce (although hubby puts mint sauce on his instead of cranberry as he’s a fussy one!), pigs in blankets and occasionally a Yorkshire pudding if we do beef instead. We don’t normally have a Christmas pudding as I’m the only one who’ll eat it, and we often don’t have room anyway! We might get in a cheesecake or something simple just in case.

There are always mince pies in the house, as the kids merrily munch their way through them, and we always have the kid’s version of a trifle, minus the sponge fingers, custard and cream. Yes, I know it’s just jelly, humour me will you?

I did find a fabulous recipe for a Gingerbread Soufflé which I’d like to try, never baked a soufflé and I’m sure it will sink in the middle but I might just have a go at it. Recipe can be found here if you’d like to try it for yourself https://www.yourhomestyle.uk/recipes/desserts/hot-gingerbread-souffle/

I have had a request from hubby to get in some stinky cheese (Stilton fyi) and some cheddars too, which is fine as both the children and I like to have crackers with cheese (although not stinky cheese!). It’s nice to have something different other than the usual chocolate and sweets that are usually abundant at this time of year. I confess to not buying tins of sweets for us at home, we do buy for others, but we usually get given plenty as gifts from friends and family. Oh, and I’m aiming to get hubs a Colin the Caterpillar Advent Calendar this year as he’s been hinting at it for ages! Although it’ll probably be sold out by the time I get to buy one!

Drinks

My kids love their hot chocolate, squirty cream and marshmallows, so much in fact, that we’ve had to cut them down on it to once a week as they were getting into the habit of having one several times during the week. They’ll get a few more this Christmas though as they like to prepare it all. There’s something about giggles when they’re using squirty cream, they sneak a squirt directly in their mouths too! Grim monsters 🤣.

There’s lots of ideas for the perfect Christmas cocktail, I’d love to try some but I have to admit I usually just end up with a G&T with a citrus twist for my tipple of choice and we usually have bucks fizz or prosecco for Christmas lunch. It’s all a bit of a faff, and takes up too much space on the sideboard, plus there’s always the risk something will get knocked off the side with us being quite a clumsy family. I do like the idea of all the loveliness of a cocktail trolley, just not sure it would work in practice.

Decor

I mentioned in the last post about our Christmas decor this year and pointed out some of the trends and how we tweaked the latest trends to suit us. I also mentioned I would be attempting to dig out the deccies from the garage. That has and hasn’t happened. What? I see that confused look on your face. I know. I only managed to get in the garage the day hubby left for work abroad, very much last minute too! So, this meant I didn’t have the manpower to help with the lifting and ‘getting of things up high’, with me being a shortie and all that. I ended up just getting the kids Christmas trees and their box of decorations as they were easy to hand and it meant that at least they got to do some decorating for Christmas. We can wait until Dad comes home and get at least one family tree up before the big day. I’m not bothering with outdoor decorations this year, we haven’t the time to put any up really.

Outfit selection?

So each year I say to myself “right time to really snazz it up this year”, meaning in Becky speak time to find an outfit that’s all sparkly and christmassy. The reality of this is a pair of loose fitting trousers and a top without fail every year. It is essential for the consumption of all of the mince pies!

I did attempt a sequin outfit once, I scoured Pinterest for ideas and identified a really great looking outfit. Sequin skirt, top and shoes. Fab. Well I attempted it. Slippers instead of shoes as we don’t wear shoes in the house. Family trait I’m afraid. Never can see the joy in dragging outside dirt in on carpets and flooring, especially when dogs and people might have peed on the pavement, or spat on the pavement, anyone whose worked in the city will know what I’m on about. And whilst were on the matter why do people feel the need to put their feet up on public transport seats, dirt on clean clothes, really! It’s unhygienic enough when the ‘boys’ in the house miss the toilet seat (mums of boys will know exactly what I mean here!), I certainly don’t want anyone elses ‘ickiness’ in my house or on my clothes if I can help it.

Anyway, I digress, so sequins were donned, and a white top with a cardi to top it off. It looked awful, the skirt showed my massive mum tum and teamed with dark nora batty wrinkly tights (only those of a certain age may get this), the top was a ill fitting and the cardi just didn’t cut it! I looked like a granny gone wrong. I knew as soon as I donned the outfit it was just wrong, so took a pic to prove how bloody awful it was and immediately went to the backup outfit of loose trousers and top! Failsafe, not attractive or particularly stylish but great for slobbing out after Christmas lunch.

Lesson learned. The Pinterest image I found was the look I was going for but I completely misinterpreted the outfit. In the image I found the individual had on knee high boots in black, gold sequin skirt (similar to mine) and a black polo neck top. She was also very slim and as I mentioned in a previous post it’s hard to find images of plus sizers in the type of outfits I like. It’s a learning process and I know what went wrong which is a good thing to come from it. And you get to have a good laugh at my awful choice in footwear!

I still have the skirt even after a couple of years, It’s in the pile of ‘not sure abouts’. It may go to the charity shop, or someone I know might benefit from it. I may be able to make it work with skin colour tights, and keep the outfit light but I may just give up and use the darker sequin skirt instead. I can see how unflattering the skirt is it just highlights the mum tum too much.

So, I’ll be revising my wardrobe choices this year and maybe, just maybe, might don something a little more jingly this year. Funny Christmas jumpers anyone? 😁

Let me know in the comments below or over on the facebook page if you’re planning on donning a fancy Christmas Jumper x

Whatever your choice of food, tipple or outfit this Christmas, I hope you enjoy it.

Decorate to your heart’s content and cherish the moments you have with loved ones.

I will try to post again before Christmas, but until now, take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo

Christmas decor trends in our house

And other Christmassy things!

With the month of December almost upon us, some of us may be thinking about digging out the well-worn and much loved decorations and dusting off the tinsel. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

I feel I can mention the C word (No not the really rude one! That’s just wrong!), as it’s almost December and only a few more weeks to go before we all start to overindulge and go into overdrive at how much we’ve spent… really? That much… again! But I budgeted this year! You know the drill.

I’m planning on fighting my way into the garage this weekend hopefully and will drag what I can out and see what is still useable. Much of our tat has been about for years and is looking a little beyond its best. But, sometimes that’s the way I like it. It means it has a story to tell, it’s seen a few Christmases and many changes along the way.

I am trying to be a little more eco-friendly and using what we have rather than buying new. I am using a fake tree – I would love a real tree, and have had a few in the past, but if I’m honest the fake ones we have will have already had their carbon footprint and it would seem such a waste if we binned them. They are a few years old so I’m hoping to keep them in good condition for as long as possible to minimise the damage they would and have done. They were expensive in the first place and are good quality so I’ll continue to use them for as long as I can. It’s better not to cut a tree down anyway, much better to have a potted one and grow it on – there’s lots of schemes out there where you can buy potted trees and when they get too big or after 7 years (assuming they are still alive) then they can go back to the supplier to be planted in the ground and you then start the cycle again. Cutting a tree down doesn’t always mean eco.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What are the Christmas Trends for this year?

What I do try to do each year is see how the Christmas trends pan out and identify what is predicted for the year and use what I already have in storage and adapt it to suit. Looking at the predicted trends and what has been in the shops for what seems an age now, I know we have quite a few items that I can use this year. I’m not a minimalist when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree. I go for the more is more approach. I like it stuffed full of baubles, silly decorations and of course family heirlooms. This goes against the grain of the less is more trend some have predicted, a more stripped back approach for this year it seems.

The rustic, handcrafted trend is very much in this year, so of your love crafting little handmade gems will come in handy this year if you’re big on handmade. If you’re not a crafter you can still get the look but you’ll have to buy it and there are some super glamorous decorations out there, albeit made with more natural materials such as wood and berries!

There’s also a love of all things DIY still and this means plenty of garlands with dried fruit and foliage, going au naturel. I think the idea behind the DIY trend is due to last year 2020 being a year where we couldn’t see family and friends and do the ‘group’ activities we perhaps might normally have done and so this is a symbol of a new normal and getting back to some of the fun times we may have had in past Christmases.

I have to admit to failing at setting a perfect table display in our house. We have a small, tatty old table that fits the four of us and not much else. We have been meaning to invest in a bigger one but just never got round to it. We’ll probably look to getting a new one next year, we’ve so much on at the moment we just don’t have the time to go furniture shopping. So, I usually keep it simple with our nice John Lewis white crockery and our posh Oneida cutlery set (the stuff that only comes out for special occasions, I’m too clumsy to use it everyday!). I use a simple tablecloth and runner just to make it look a little more festive but that’s about it really. I dream of a huge table with lots of room to create a really elaborate display. I have a friend who puts on the most amazing table displays when she holds her dinner parties, and I’m sure Christmas is no different at her house, she puts so much thought into everything from the wine to the food to the decor. I would love to be able to do such things I admit, but we just don’t live that lifestyle. We are simple folk and rarely have guests over.

It looks like the colour trends are following clothing colours at this time of year, lots of burnished berry tones and natural earthy muted tones paired with gold and bronze. These are many of the colours I use each year anyway, and as we have a huge amount of decorations (7 Christmas trees, yes, you read correctly, 7!) this will not be hard for me to put together a scheme. I try to vary the colour schemes each year although clearly I can’t use colour schemes that will clash with the current wall colours or any of the permanent colour schemes in the house, but I do like to harmonise as best I can. I do let the kids go wild with their trees though, as kids should be allowed to be creative in my view.

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

What else will I be doing?

I will be using my new anniversary/Christmas gift mixer this christmas to make some cookies and I think I will get the kids to decorate them, they can use their imaginations, you never now we may end up with another day glo colour on the cookies (long story, for another time maybe). We will probably put a few in for close friends and family presents and also for just munching whilst watching cheesy Christmas movies.

Talking of movies, there are a few films we always watch at Christmas, we were put off last year as I don’t remember Die Hard being on mainstream telly. Christmas isn’t Christmas without Die Hard! I did watch Love Actually though which is also on my list of must see Christmas Movies. What’s your favourite CHristmas movie? Here’s a list of mine, in no particular order:

  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
  • Last Christmas
  • Lethal Weapon 1987
  • Ghostbusters 1989
  • Gremlins
  • White Christmas 1954
  • Die Hard
  • Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Bridget Jones Diary
  • Bad Santa
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Deck the Halls
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2

I’ve quite possibly already peaked on the Christmas movies front as there are loads on daily at the moment and I dip in and out occasionally. If I peak too early I get a bit Bah Humbug, but I’m slowly starting to get into the spirit of things. We popped into a garden centre the other day on our travels and I was getting more enthused by the decorations as I was walking round. I did almost buy something but decided I probably wouldn’t have enough room in the boot along with the luggage from our weekend at the folks!

We booked the Panto this year too. The kids haven’t been to the panto and we were looking at perhaps booking The Play That Goes Wrong, but after the kids watching it over and over on iPlayer I’m all ‘The Play That Goes Wrong-ed out!’ We are really looking forward to spending some quality family time together with a few big belly laughs along the way. He’s behind you… Oh no he’s not!

We are not expecting any visitors to ours this year, although my parents do pop over for boxing day occasionally. We will do the trip to see the kids grandparents down South of which we all thoroughly enjoy visiting. We will take the bigger car this time, it’s got a bigger boot. I need say no more 🤣. It may all be a little different this year all depending on my mum’s recovery from her big operation. I’m hoping she’ll be able to make it to ours as I really enjoy having them both over. I’m lucky to have both my parents still around and hope it stays that way for a long time. It must be hard for some who’ve lost parents, especially if they have lost them recently or if they had a particularly close relationship with them. My heart goes out to you if this is you, you never forget them. This time of year can be tough for many and my thoughts are with them.

The light show!

Every year hubby usually does a big light display in both front and back gardens for the kids but the past couple of years has toned it down considerably. When we used to live at our old house the lights were really bright and you could see them from the car park at the back of the house, I have to say the garden glowed! This year with all the things we have on we won’t have time for a big display so will keep it simple and pop up a couple of strings of lights in the garden. It’s just time that is keeping us from doing a big display. It takes a whole weekend to sort it all out. Time we don’t have free this year. It seems to have come around so fast.

Are you doing anything special for Christmas? Comment or visit us on the facebook page, I’d love to know what you are up to this Christmas.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo

Happy New Year

I was hoping that this was going to be a good 2021, but as I write we have been thrown back into a third lockdown here in the UK. That said there is still an opportunity to make it a little more positive.

The start of a new year usually heralds a host of new years resolutions that will most likely get thrown out by the end of February, sooner if you’re me! I usually make a token gesture of exercising more, losing weight, budgeting better… the list goes on.

This year I’m not setting any major goals, I think for many of us it’ll be another year of living the new normal, with a lockdown or two in place and a bit of a wait for the vaccine to come our way, but all that said I do think small goals are something we can aim for at the moment.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What am I going to set as my small resolutions?

That’s the big question, especially as I said I’m not good at sticking to them. So, whilst I know I need to lose a lot of weight I’m starting with just 1 stone. One is a magic number. To me it starts things off. makes it easier to breakdown large goals. I am also planning to save a little more money.

How am I going to attempt to lose the weight?

By not wasting my money on the usual weight loss methods! In the past I’ve spent a fortune on Weight Watchers, Slimming World, what was Rosemary Connelly, diet books galore and even Paul McKenna. Some were small successes but most were a waste of money. When it takes over a year to lose a stone and a half there’s something not right somewhere.

I know what I need to do, I’m not stupid. Just lazy. I’m not a huge fan of the sweet stuff, I’m a savoury fan. Which also means that crisps and salty goodies are not friends with my hips, bottom, thighs, oh what the hell, just about anywhere really!!!

I think that if we use a modicum of common sense small goals can be achieved in a sensible timescale. I have decided I am going to follow some very simple and basic guidelines:

check portion size

half of the plate veggies

quarter of the plate carbs

quarter of the plate protein of some sort

keep snack foods to a minimum and making sure they are healthy-ish

drink a more water

It’s all about moderation, it’s ok to have a little treat occasionally, just not too often. I am aware that I do need to have a realistic mindset about it all. I am like most people I should imagine, we all want results fast. But, doing things fast doesn’t always last. If you are anything like me you will end up putting on the weight you lost and some extra to boot!

My main problem is lack of exercise. I can be on my feet all day as a teacher but with the Covid-19 pandemic I have started to teach more from my desk and keeping my distance from my students, which doesn’t always make for amazing lessons. Needs must. Now that we’re in lockdown I will need to make sure I get out and walk a little with the kids and at least get some fresh air.

I will start slowly I’m not built for Marathons 🤣

What about my other resolution?

I didn’t want to set a lot of resolutions as I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed, especially with all of the extra pressures of another lockdown, so my other resolution is to save a little more. I thought long and hard about it and have come across what looks like a fairly easy was to save just over £1000 by the end of the year. Ok, it’s not big money but it’s enough to get through the difficult patch after Christmas which some find themselves in.

The general principle of the was to save is to start week one with £1, then in week two double it. Week three you put in £3 and so on. So after five weeks of saving you have £15, by ten weeks you have £55. As I said it’s not much but it’s easy to save these small amounts. Carry on saving these regular amounts and by twenty weeks in you’ll have £210. Forty weeks in you’ll have £820 saved away. Fifty weeks in, almost the end of the year a lovely £1275 sitting in your bank account.

I will admit it gets harder throughout the year to save as the numbers get bigger each week, week fifty is a whopping £50 to put away, but there is nothing to say that you can’t juggle it about a little and save the bigger amounts when you can afford it. I would just keep a tally/table/record of when and how much you’ve put away to make it easier to keep track of.

I know I will be finding it hard on occasion as I’m only being paid for the lessons I teach at the moment as I don’t qualify for flexible furlough so my income will be significantly reduced. But I am hoping once schools are back and things settle down late Spring I will be in a much better position to save the larger amounts.

I will of course be aiming to save as much as I can throughout the year but thought the scheme I found was quite simple to do. If you try it let me know how you get on. Remember you can always post a comment in the comments bit below or on my facebook/mylifeandstyleover40 page. Join in and get the conversation started. Remember, be constructive I’m not about being nasty here it’s a positive blog and that’s how I want to keep it.

I’ve waffled on for a bit so I’ll leave you for now, but do let me know what your resolutions are and how you get on…

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo

Christmas

Ah, Christmas. Love it or hate it you can’t escape it. with just less than two weeks to go it really is upon us.

Collage of our Christmas trees, image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

Everyone who knows me will know I really do enjoy Christmas. I usually have a bit of Christmas burn out mid November as I’ve binged out on Christmas films by then, but bounce back within a week full of plans and gusto on where to put the tree and which colour scheme are we going for this year, which to be fair is a no brainer in the living room as we always have a tree covered in warm soft white lights, soft toy decorations, handmade delights and family heirlooms (or soon to be family heirlooms!). Thankfully my daily décor in the room is usually neutral enough to handle the red, white and greyish Christmas theme I go for, although I’m glad we went with the box green on the walls this time it really makes the Christmas decorations sing this year!

Last year we had a green, pink and purple in the kitchen/diner as we had some funky Orla Kiely style print curtains with a purple and green colourway, but this year its changed a little as we have a navy and blush pink colour scheme. I let the kids go wild on the tree in the diner as we have loads of baubles and I wanted them to feel it was their tree, despite them always being involved in the family tree decorating in the living room. So this year its a pink and purple colourway with the odd bit of blue tinsel and a few blue baubles placed several to a branch, mostly at kid height! I resisted the urge to remodel their efforts. Ok… I admit I let it go for a couple of days and then did a slight bit of rearranging. Only a little bit though, in my defence there were eight baubles on one branch and the tree was starting to lean a little!

I didn’t get as enthusiastic this year as I normally do. Maybe it’s the general ‘feel’ of this year, but I have felt a little ‘un-Christmassy’ on occasion, that’s not to say I’m completely Bah Humbug, just a touch here and there. What I am aware of is that not everyone is happy about Christmas and the pressures and expectations that are pushed onto us this time of the year. It’s not just this year either. For some the pressures and expectations for us all to be the perfect family, have the perfect time, spend vast amounts of money we may not have, cook the perfect meal, panic buying the perfect present, dealing with crowds of people in shops that we really don’t want to be in but can’t justify giving our money to conglomerates like Amazon (I’ve nowt against them for the odd item or two but would rather shop small and local if possible). The constant pressure from Instagram feeds where the perfect Christmas décor starts way back in September so by the time Christmas arrives it’s already become a pressure cooker of emotions and stress. I used to really like Instagram but sadly there are just too many fakers out there making ordinary lives a nightmare.

For some the sheer thought of having to put on a brave face for others is exhausting, leaving them hiding away from the season completely. There may be many reasons why Christmas can leave a bitter taste in the mouth and sprouts aren’t necessarily guilty! For those who have had a bereavement at this time of year they are reminded of it at every step. I can’t imagine what they must be having to do to keep it all together. We shouldn’t judge others for not perhaps enjoying Christmas as much as us. Just like anything we don’t know their story, or what their reasoning is. We are all individuals and need to be supported.

We also need to remember that not all religions celebrate this time of year the way Christians do. I’m not a particularly religious person I’ll admit but I still like to celebrate Christmas in my own little way. I have Muslim friends who put up a tree and give presents and send cards as they like to reciprocate at this time of the year.

So whether you enjoy this time of year or not, it doesn’t matter. You are you, I am me and we may chose to celebrate or not in our different ways.

I’m off to do some wonderfully lovingly made crafts to give as gifts… er… no I’m not. I’m off to buy someone else’s beautifully crafted items 😉

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

xo

There I go again, pondering life…

And it’s little amusements. I have to admit the first bit of my post title gave me an ear worm I can’t shift! Hint: A popular Whitesnake song!!!

I haven’t posted for an age, I’m super busy and it seems as though I have few hours left in the day to do anything these days! To be fair there hasn’t been much going on to write about. The kids seem to have more and more school work to do lately so they’ve been grabbing the laptop whenever they can which leaves me stuck as the old laptop is on it’s last legs – it is eleven years old though!!!

I’ve been pondering a lot but haven’t come up with many answers to any of them 🤣.

Work has been going quite well, it suits me as it fits in with the school day and to be honest apart from ESL barriers it’s fun. I have some great kids in my lovely small classes, even though I have to teach three different classes in one which is a challenge, but, yes overall I’d say its fun. I’m waiting for the school to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and I’ll be a member of their staff as a contractor not through an umbrella company. Keeping fingers crossed the agency doesn’t charge the school too much to release me otherwise it’ll go tits up lol. It’s nice to be able to plan a little bit more financially for the upcoming Christmas season and hopefully a bit more beyond that too. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

We’re back in another lock down, but this time the kids are still in school and so am I. Hubby is working all over the place at the moment so can’t see him being one of the working from home crew this time round. I’m not dreading this lock down so much as it’s not as long or as harsh I don’t think. Although that said if it does carry on longer than anticipated my views may change. Christmas is only seven-ish weeks away and a lock down Christmas isn’t what I’m looking forward to. I need to get planning as I haven’t bought any presents yet! I know, I’m such a bad mother! I get told I hate you mum/I love you mum every day and not even presents at Christmas will change the kids views – 🤣🤣🤣

I’m so not prepared for Christmas. One of my lovely neighbours is completely bonkers and has hers up already! I’ve told her it’s too early and she’s too enthusiastic. Food and wine were used as an excuse when she replied back! I couldn’t quite muster up her enthusiasm so instead of putting our decorations up I decided that we would tick off another of our jobs to do on the ever expanding list – decorating the living room after having lived with the dull grey for almost three years. To be fair it was only supposed to be a stop gap but we have had so much to do to the house it just got put to one side. I know people love Mrs Hinches grey home and have tried to decorate theirs in the same colour scheme but ours was so disjointed and soulless I couldn’t take it any more. Crown paints were perused and a colour from their Period colours range was chosen. Box Tree is so much more ‘hygge’ or ‘gezellig’ as my Swedish and Dutch friends would say.

Work in progress – part 1. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020
Work in progress – part 2. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

You can see I live in a house full of chaos and clutter. It drives us all mad but I guess we’ll never change. I might have to do some more reading up on decluttering and training hubby’s and kids to put things away!

Work in progress – part 3, almost finished. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

As you can see from the images there’s still a little bit left to do but it’s much more cosy and liveable now. I still have a new carpet to buy and get fitted, I need to get some better lighting in the room along with some nice new cushion covers. Oh, and I forgot, we need some picture frames to put up on the wall as the old ones just fell apart. I’m sure there will be lots of other things we need to get to ‘dress’ the room but as long as the hubby doesn’t say another bigger telly he’ll live 🤦‍♀️.

When we first moved in! Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

Do you like the lovely 1980’s wallpaper and aren’t those wall lights just lush!? This is what we moved to just over three years ago. The whole of the house hadn’t changed since it was built and decorated in 1982. Everything was circa 1982 – the old kitchen still had the date on the carcasses.

It’s not just the living room we’ve been finishing off. The kitchen has had few extras added to it but still isn’t quite done yet. We decided to buy some new posh curtains for the large window we have in the dining area and as we have a dark blue, cream and blush pink colour scheme we chose Orla Kiely Whale print in Navy. They haven’t arrived yet so I can’t post a picture just now, but I will when I get them up. Our picture wall is looking better, although we need to change a couple of pictures as there were a couple of temporary ones that don’t quite ‘go’ but all in good time.

There’s plenty more to do, including finding a space for our slightly more compact tumble dryer that we ended up having to buy even though we have a washer/dryer it just wasn’t enough with the amount of washing we were piling up. Honestly, it seems as though I’m washing for an army the amount we have. There’s only four of us! The new dryer is quite noisy despite being a quieter model so I definitely need to put it somewhere I can hide it and the noise.

My list isn’t getting any shorter, and the slow cooker has been bubbling fiercely for a while now, so I’ll sign off. Hope you’ve enjoyed a sneaky peek at our hard work. Maybe it’s inspired you to tick one or two things off your own list.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo.

A nice weekend away…

I’m really surprised sometimes by how much writers block I can get, especially when there has been a fair bit going on over the week. There’s also the fact my kids keep hijacking my laptop when I’m in the writing mood. Not even the secret biscuit club makes them give it up!

Maybe its because I’ve got lots going on in my head and I seem unable to switch off. Especially at night. I am still waiting for the amazing quality sleep I ought to be getting now I’m in my 40’s and the kids are not so dependent at bedtimes. My kids have great sleep, they can sleep all night and have a lie-in! I can only dream (excuse the pun) of nights like theirs.

Maybe I need to get a teddy bear and have a glass of milk before bed 😉, it works for them!

It could be now I’m working more I just have so much to do and remember and not enough hours in the day to fit it all in, or perhaps it’s just how it is?!

Work seems to be going well. I’m lucky to have really small classes and its local and fits in with my needs. I’ve had a job offer from the school, who knows where it will lead. It’s nice that I’ve only been there three weeks and they think highly enough of me to want to keep me. I can feel a bit smug about it I think. Although I do have concerns over the amount of hand gel I’m using I’m sure I’ll be getting alcohol poisoning 🤣, I wonder if you can use so much you’d be over the limit if you got stopped by the police? 🤔 Ooh, these are good ponderings…

So that’s why I have no time left in the day!

So what’s been going on this week then?

Hubs had a couple of days booked off Friday and Monday, and bless him just assumed that the kids and I would be able to have a long weekend away as we haven’t been able to go on holibobs this year. I guess he was just doing the man thing being thoughtful but not thinking about term time and the fact that I have a contract to fulfil bless (she says forehead slapping in despair), so we still went away but went straight after school had finished and came back on Sunday.

When hubby had booked the break away to Weymouth the weather reports looked fair but Storm Alex put paid to that. It chucked it down all weekend. I’m usually fully prepared for most eventualities the British weather can throw at me, not this time though. The kids and hubby had waterproof coats and waterproof shoes i.e. wellies for the kids and hubs walking shoes, but me? No, I forgot to pack my wellies and a waterproof coat. So I ended up with soggy feet and just as soggy bottom and back!

Despite it being so wet and windy, we had a great time. There is something about the seaside that is magical, even when its stormy. I do know that I’m going to remember to pack the essential gear (waterproofs and wellies) next time. Along with Gin. Purely medicinal of course.

Spent a lovely first day at West Bay beach, and yes the rain was coming down sideways, but that didn’t matter. We walked for what seemed like miles but it wasn’t really. The kids were fossil hunting and must have collected half the beach in their pockets! Sea water came up over the wellies and we had given up trying to stay anywhere near dry. We managed to squeeze in another walk through the nature reserve near where we were staying and ended up at Weymouth beach. Only thing is the kids were only wearing their trainers. I’m sure you can imagine how wet they got! So much so that it poured out of their shoes when they took them off! I had to put them in front of the fire for two days to get them dry!

Image owned by Rebecca Palmer – West Bay Beach, Dorset

The drive back was eventful! Littlest one was so tired, and excited from the weekend that she threw up, good job I can deal with it. Hubby was noticeably green, although I suspect he was more concerned about his car stinking of kid sick than anything else. The boy went green and made much more of an issue of the ‘vomit’ event than was helpful. Good job I had hand towels in the luggage!

Back to school after a busy, wet weekend was the usual chaos and constant badgering my kids in the morning. I feel I’m on repeat every morning. “Eat your breakfast”, “Get dressed”, “Have you done your teeth yet?”, “Have a wee”, “Don’t forget your glasses”… the list just goes on and on. I know I’m not the only one who experiences this. There are a lot of frazzled faces in the mornings!

Reaction to a furry thing…

It was interesting how parents and children reacted when I found a furry caterpillar just as I was queuing up to collect my eldest. Said caterpillar was quite active but it had the same reaction as a puppy would! Kids were fascinated by it. I wasn’t sure what type it was so we looked it up when we got home and it was a Pale Tussock which is a grey furry moth of the quite large variety. I’m fascinated by nature so this was a great find in my eyes.

Image owned by Rebecca Palmer – Pale Tussock Moth Caterpillar/Larvae

I have noticed the kids, and myself, are much more tired at the moment which is normally something that happens a bit later in the term. But I guess the new normal is vastly different to what we are used to and adjusting to it all is taking its toll. Perhaps half term can’t come soon enough!

I’ve wittered on long enough, so until the next post…

Take care, stay safe

Becks

Xo