GEM

GEM

Yesterday my daughter asked me what GEM means. I said: “GEM is you (her) because you are a treasure to me, your papa, your sister, and God”. GEM is me because I am blessed to be alive.
I said GEM can also mean GOOD ENOUGH MAMA. For me, I stopped trying to be a perfect mama a few years ago when I broke down crying my way back home after a bad school run. I was exhausted and angry with myself for falling for the perfect mother bullshit. BTW what made it worse was it was raining heavily on the day I had my AHA .

GEM

It was that day that it occurred to me that it does not matter if my home is tidy or not. I’d like it to be. It does not matter if I make parental mistakes: my kids are forgiving and I must forgive myself. It does not matter if I don’t do what the society expects a perfect mother to do. And so on and so forth. It was that day that I made a pact with myself that all I want to be is A Good Enough Mama. This necklace reminds of my pact with myself that perfection is another word for unhappiness.

This is the idea behind our GEM necklace. You can buy one HERE

Bits & Pieces

At Vue Cinema Purley Way

Dear friends, how are you all? Did you have a great Christmas? Mine was fabulous, just the four of us doing our thing. It’s been a very restful one… is that not part of what this holiday is about – rest?

This morning, I’m off to a  Mini Mornings screening of Pan at Vue Cinema, but first here are a few things I want to share with you.

On Sunday, I went to the New Wimbledon Theatre to see Peter Pan with Hollywood star Verne Troyer, comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Jarred Christmas plus dance troupe Flawless. It was hahaha funny. If you still have some change left in your wallet and you want to treat yourself and family to this show, click here.

Are you getting ready to embrace 2016 tightly? It’s going to be a greater year than 2015 for all of us. 2015 was a marvellous year – I started this blog, went back to work, good health, the girls and John are doing well too, etc., etc. I’d like to do greater things in 2016; I have a huge dream and 2016 is the year to achieve most of them. If you have a big dream and don’t know where to start, I’d advise you to start with one of the books I’m reading at the moment The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.

Jack Canfield Sucess Principles

This week, I also wrote on a serious topic about how the things our kids say that may hurt others. It may be a reference about their weight, height, hair, skin colour, uncool clothes, etc. etc. I’d like to know how you may have dealt with such issues.

I love Emma Gannon’s blog Girl Lost in the City. She’s one of those people who are making a difference to how we women think about ourselves. Her article on caring (and not caring) about what people think is a great read.

This TED Talks by Amy Cuddy is a talk that has helped me with the Imposter Syndrome I was suffering from. I want to recommend another TED Talks by Jennifer Senior called For Parents, Happiness is a Very High Bar. All these are great inspiring watch if you have a minute.

And finally, one of my favourite podcasts Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond dealt with a topic I recently wrote about called What We Do Not Say About Motherhood. Their take on this topic is worth listening to.

Enjoy the rest of your day

Yvonne xxx

The Christmas magic letter from NSPCC

When I was about five years old my parents took me and my siblings to see Father Christmas at Kingsway Supermarket, Kano, Nigeria. This experience caused me trauma; Father Christmas was not what I had expected. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting – but what I wasn’t expecting to see was a big fat white man in a red outfit, with a white beard, and a pair of glasses, sitting in a small room, asking me questions. For a child who had had no interactions with white people (except for Sister Bridget, who was a nun in my primary school) it was a terrifying experience. That is my earliest memory of Father Christmas.

For my daughters, this may be the last year that they believe in the magic that Father Christmas brings. My younger daughter – who is very sophisticated for her six year old self – has begun to intellectualise why Father Christmas is not real, and every reason she has given is legit!

Luckily for me, as a mum who wants the magic of Christmas to continue for them, I came across a service offered by NSPCC where for a donation to their worthy charity, your child will receive a personalised letter from Santa. What can beat that? You are donating some money to a fab charity that does great work in return for a lasting memory for your child. So I went for it… I donated some money for two letters. Some days ago the letters arrived, and it was worth every penny donated.

The envelopes and their stamps were magical. The letters themselves were magically personalised to each child’s interests and achievements. These letters brought so much joy and magic to my girls. Their eyes and voices were full of wonder and joy as they read their letters out to their father and me after dinner.

As a family, this is a memory we’ll never forget… it was beautiful to see my daughters rejoice in the knowledge that they are special…  even to Father Christmas! Father Christmas has just acknowledged in writing how hard they’ve worked at school, how much they love football and dancing, and that they’ve been supportive to their family.

Thanks to this wonderful service (magically discovered on Twitter) from the NSPCC, the magic of Christmas has being retained in my children’s hearts for another year.

How have you retained the magic of Christmas with your child? Like my daughter, is your child beginning to say Santa is not real? What have you said to them?

Yvonne xxx

Best Festive fun

Last minute Christmas events in London

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Wow, can you believe today is the 2nd December? Yesterday my daughters did not allow me a minute of peace… they wanted to open their advent calendars, which I had shoved on top of our fridge. The truth is, as a working mum, I am now so disorganised that I did not get them any… but luckily for them, their very generous and loving aunt sent the most beautiful advent calendars to them last week. Thank goodness for grandmas, aunties and friends – they bail me out time after time.

This morning, I panicked because I have not organised any festive fun for the family. We all know that Christmas is not really underway until we have taken our little ones to a Christmas event. This is where the memories are really created.  

So here are the very best events for you to take your precious ones to.

Magic After Dark at Kew Gardens, Kew, Surrey TW9 3AB

Enjoy the magical after dark experience with friends and family at the Kew Botanical Gardens. You’ll walk through thousands of fairy lights, eat fab food, ride on rides and take lots of photos to share on Instagram. You can book your ticket here.

The Magical Ice Kingdom at Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London W2 2 UJ

Every child’s dreams of actually visiting a magical kingdom created of ice will come true this Christmas at Hyde Park. You can see everything from animals to castles, all made out of ice. Your kids – particularly those who are crazy about the movie Frozen – are going to love this. More information here

Hamleys’ Father Christmas Grotto, 188-196 Regents Street, London W1B 8PA

Join Father Christmas and his lovable elves in the Party Room at the ‘Finest Toy Shop in the World!’ Your child will leave with a smile after meeting Santa and his elves in this store. More information here

 

You don’t have to leave the shores of England to find a fab Christmas market. This traditional market has a range of handmade wooden toys, jewellery, decorations, and lots of other Christmassy things! It serves one of the best bratwurst, crêpes, roasted nuts or a warming cup of glühwein. BTW, there is a carousel and music to get you into the Christmas groove. More information here

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, Strand, London WC2R 1LR

Described as London’s ice-cool destination by Stylist and ‘Stunning’ by London Evening Standard. This is perfect for the whole family, and not just for little ones. Make your visit a memorable one by visiting the Fortnum & Mason Lounge just next to the ice rink. More information here

Peter Pan at New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway, London SW19 1QG

Wimbledon is not just for tennis, it is also the home of panto. This year, Hollywood star Verne Troyer, comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Jarred Christmas, plus dance troupe Flawless are awaiting to get you into the Christmas spirit. Book your ticket here

Skate at Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU

Henry VIII’s sixteenth-century pad is turned into a magnificent 900 square metre outdoor rink, If you are like me and have never skated before, you can hire an ice guide, and children can book skate lessons in advance. BTW, there is a bar and a cafe. More information here

Sing Carols with Carshalton Choral Society, Methodist Church, Ruskin Road, Carshalton SM5 3DE

Get into the festive season celebrations with conductor Phillip Colin who invites you to join his choir in singing along to popular carols. You can book your tickets here

The Nutcracker on Ice, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP

Last Christmas, John, the girls and I saw the Bolshoi Ballet’s Nutcracker via simulcast in a local cinema – it was marvellous. This year, you can treat your little ones to this memorable performance on ice at one of London’s most iconic buildings. More information here

Yvonne xxx

Gifts for little people

Gift Ideas for little people

Every child is different but from the gift selection ideas here, we’re sure we’ve found something  to suit your child, from wannabe racing divers  to budding  chefs.

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HAPE GUITAR

The Young musicians in your family aged 4+ will happily play on this Vibrant Blue Guitar sized for them.

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GOURMET KITCHEN SET

This beautifully designed kitchen is packed with all your budding cook needs to whip a great meal.

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CAFE MACHINE 

Enjoy  coffee with this wooden cafe machine from Le Toy Van

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LEGO JUNIORS

Easy to build set, designed especially for children aged 4-7 years.

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VOLCANO TRACK BUILDER

Let your child experience the thrills of racing against a volcano that’s about to erupt! Watch as the volcano’s eyes get red with anger.

HEELYS

These shoes will give your child lots of fun. See my Heelys review

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LYNTON KITCHEN

Retro-stryled kitchen, perfect for boys and girls.

Yvonne xxx

Christmas gifts for toddlers

Gifts Ideas for Toddlers

Toddlerhood is the stage where your little ones become aware of the imminent visit from Santa. These carefully selected high-quality toys are sure to bring smiles to their faces on Christmas day.

RUTSCHFAHRZEUG MAX VON SIRCH

This ride-on car is beautifully created from a single piece of steamed ash wood. It has heavy-duty, silent wheels. 2 yrs+

MINI BIKE TRIKES

Suitable for 18 months – 3 years, dependent on height of child, converts from a three wheel trike, to a two-wheel bike.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DINO TRAIN SET

Colourful prehistoric Dinosaur train set for 3+ years.

CLICK BLOCKS

A collection of building blocks sized for little hands to grasp and stack on top of each other.

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MASTERKIDZ MY FIRST CAMERA 

This adorable educational toy features a kaleidoscope and adjustable torch, making kids look like professional photographers. Don’t miss the funny shutter button which “beeps”.

OSKAR & ELLEN FAIRY HOUSE

This beautiful fairy house is the perfect house for little fairies.

WIN GREEN FAIRY COTTAGE PLAYHOUSE

Beautifully embroidered with fairies, flowers and butterflies. This will inspire many hours of imaginative play!

Yvonne xxx

Toy Box Club

Toy Box Club

Toy Box ClubWhen my girls were younger, I got fed up with my house looking like a plastic recycling centre for toys. I was also fed up with stumbling over toys and the endless tidying up of toys that were not even played with but were brought out anyway. It got to a point where I was overwhelmed by how many toys were taking over our space that I had no choice but to throw some away (some went to charity shops). After my clear out, I asked friends and family to please not to give us toys as presents any longer.

Mums, Jessica Green and Sheela Berry shared the same frustration as me, and have finally done something about this problem that families with young children face – Toy Box Club.

Toy Box Club is a monthly subscription service that will bring to your child’s home carefully selected age-appropriate books and toys. They will also collect the old toys, all for £20 a month.

The idea behind Toy Box Club is to help reduce waste, save money and return your neat home back to you. If you are a parent of a preschool child, this amazing service is for you.

Why not check out them out at toyboxclub.co.uk

Yvonne xxx

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

The rabbit who wants to fall asleep

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall AsleepSome days ago, I ran into a tired looking and very emotional neighbour. When I asked her how she was doing, “Not good… bedtimes are tricky for us; my son does not sleep well”, she said. Because I have been there before, I could empathise with her. So I reassured her that things will get better – but only with practical help.

So, I told her about the book The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep – a new book trending among parents.

BTW, I have not read this book however; I have read its reviews. Plus when my daughters were younger, I used The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg, which worked for us but that was 8 years ago.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep written by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, a Swedish behavioural psychologist, has over 500 reviews on Amazon and it knocked Go Set A Watchman off the top spot on their chart. This is not surprising because every parent who has a child that refuses to sleep wants a solution.

The book uses psychological techniques to help parents get their kids to sleep. The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep may just be the solution for you. Why not give it a go.

Shop The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep.

Yvonne xxx