A Powerful Message from Harriet to all women on shame

Yesterday, on Instagram,   Harriet Trafford tagged me on her photo wearing our recently launched ‘Unashmaed’ necklace. Underneath the picture, she wrote an honest post about why she bought our bestselling necklace.

Before sharing Harriet’s post with you, I was wanted to let you know that our ‘Unashamed’ pendant necklace was commissioned to inspire women to stop feeling shame. Shame only breeds the feeling of unworthiness or worthlessness; like we are good enough.

To digress even further, may I mention that shame is different from the guilt of a wrong doing. If you’d like to know more, Dr. Brené Brown has written about it here.

Unashamed

Our Unashamed pendant necklace

Here is Harriet’s post. Enjoy

So a couple of days ago I was scrolling through Insta as per usual and I stopped and gasped at this necklace above. It was love at first sight and I bought it the very next day. I used to smirk at sentimental jewellery as I thought it was soppy or something. But this is the second time in recent months that @kemikids have got it spot on, that a necklace has spoken to me so much.

Shame is weird and odd and powerful and I’ve let my body shame control me for years and I’m trying super hard at the moment to shed my uncomfortable skin and be truly myself. So I’ll wear this necklace when I need to, at big events, on holiday or on a night out, when I need to remind myself to love my body because it is amazing and powerful and it lets me move!

I will not shame myself any longer and I will become UNASHAMED. Because hating myself hasn’t worked for 26 years so before I’m 27 I’m going to start talking to myself with the love that I give to my best friends. And if I need a necklace to help me learn then that’s ok too.

To follow Harriet on Instagram, her page is here

To buy your unashamed necklace, click here 

 

My Life – Michaela Strivens

This is my first article after taking a mini break from blogging. I am so excited to be back. My first interview is with the amazing Michaela Strivens, a photographer and a mum of two based in Carshalton- Surrey.  Her amazing photographs caught my eye many times on her Facebook page and Instagram. When  Michaela emailed to say we should collaborate on some pictures I could not resist her offer. What I love  most about Michaela’s photography style is that there are no props or posing – she catches yu on unaware . I totally love these portraits she took on our stroll at a Carshalton  Park. Her details are at the end of this interview, you can follow her work there.

Photography

When was Michaela Strivens Photography set up?  I started my professional Facebook page at the beginning of Summer and went live with my professional website at the beginning of Autumn this year.

Why did you set up Michaela Strivens Photography? After my second daughter was born, I decided not to return to my marketing job. The cost of childcare for two children would have wiped out most of my salary and I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated in my job anyway. Adjusting to life as a stay-at-home mum wasn’t easy for me at first. I often felt quite lonely and, dare I say it, bored! There’s only so many times you can play doctors and patients without wondering whether an actual trip to the hospital might actually be quite fun! I found that meeting up with other local mums and volunteering really helped but I needed something more…

I’ve always loved photography but never took it that seriously. It was my husband who suggested I take it further and so I enrolled in a photography course designed for parents, and from then on I’ve been totally hooked. Photography has ignited a passion in me that I always knew was there but just wasn’t sure of how to access. I feel incredibly grateful every single day that I’ve found this path.

Setting up a photography business wasn’t necessarily something that I’d planned to do but more of a natural progression. After seeing my work, friends and family started asking me to take photos of their kids, and then their friends asked and so it got to the stage where I thought I’d better start doing things properly! It was a little daunting at first, but with the encouragement of friends and family, and lots of photo sessions and later, Michaela Strivens Photography was born.

What makes your photography stand out from the saturated world of photography?  I’m a lifestyle portrait photographer, which means I use natural light, shoot on locations that mean something to my clients (either out and about or at home) and steer away from using props or rigidly posing my subjects. I don’t do cake smashes (unless you invite me to the party itself) or put babies in vegetable crates, but I respect that there’s a market for that style of photography and it’s already being very well catered for. I’d say that what makes me unique as a photographer, is the approach that I bring to the shoots; from the relationship that I build with the people I am photographing to the way that I and portray them. I am passionate about capturing authentic moments and expressions, which I hope translates into the photographs themselves. Most importantly, photography is not just a job for me, but a way of life and something I’m deeply passionate about. My hope is that this is reflected in photographs that my clients will love too and will look back on fondly in years to come.

Photography business

You are a mum of two very young kids, how has motherhood changed you? I think motherhood has in the most part changed me for the better. I used to be a lot more obliging with people I didn’t agree with but these days I will stand up for what I believe is best for me and my family without hesitation. I also used to spend a great deal of time worrying about my appearance but now I don’t have time for vanity and so I’m much more comfortable in my own skin! Being a mother has meant that my focus is much more ‘outward’ which for me, has been a positive development. I’m much more involved in my local community than I was before – whether it be through helping to run a local mums and toddler’s group, or just reading with the children at my daughter’s school.

How do you maintain a work and life balance? As my photography business is still in its early stages so I’m still finding my way on that front. The next couple of months will be a real test for me as fortunately, I’m working almost every weekend! At the moment, I’m doing photo sessions when my husband can take care of the girls and I spend a lot of evenings editing photos, emailing, updating social media and the like. I sometimes feel guilty when the girls are plugged into the TV and I’m doing something work related on the computer but then I remember that if I had gone back to my old job they’d most likely be in after school care or similar and so don’t feel so bad! I’m always there for them when they need me but I also remind them on occasion that I have needs too and that they need to respect that. When I’m feeling a bit worn out I explain this to them and suggest that we do a less demanding activity. I think it’s important, especially in this day and age when mums are under so much pressure to be everything to everyone, to be honest with your kids. If you’re not up for another round of hide and seek then you have to speak up. I’ve had to relax my standards of neat and tidiness around the house quite a bit but I’m my own worst enemy on that front – no one else in the family cares if the house hasn’t been dusted for ages! My husband works long hours and travels quite a bit so he’s not around to help out with domestic stuff but he’s behind what I’m doing 100% and a great emotional and intellectual support. I’m very grateful for that.

What is the movie that made you cry the hardest? Dumbo.

Photography

If you ran the world, what law would you introduce?You have to have volunteered and worked with the most disadvantaged people in your local community before you become a politician.

How do you chill out? I love a good Scandinavian crime drama or movie along with a tall glass of something yummy.

What skills would you like to pass on to your daughters? The ability to empathise, to know and understand the rules before you go breaking them and how to make pancakes (everyone loves a pancake).

What is your favourite food? I couldn’t live without cheese – the smellier the better!

Photography

Freewill or destiny? A mix of both I think. Everyone has the power to change the path they’re on, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s good to have an understanding of how your upbringing and experiences have influenced the choices you’ve made in life but at the end of the day, they’re your choices and you’re responsible for them.

In three sentences, tell us what we don’t know about you.I’m Australian and have lived in four countries – Australia (obviously), Hong Kong, Japan and England. I spent my teenage years studying dance instead of going to high school. I have a metal rod and five nuts and bolts in my left arm – the result of an unfortunate snowboarding accident!

You can contact Michaela using any of the details below.

Website: www.michaelastrivensphotography.com

Email: michaelastrivensphotography@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelastrivensphotography

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michaela.strivens

More than “enough”

An online friend tagged me to this  post written by Tetyana Denford on her Instagram feed. The message resonated  so much with me, I asked Tetyana for permission to repost it here. I hope it resonates with you too. Enjoy.  Yvonne xxx  

you are enough

Photo courtesy of Tetyana

Sometimes I wonder if I do enough for the kids, for myself, for the husband. Am I a good enough mother? Am I a good enough wife? (I inevitably end up at a resounding HELL YES to *that* one, because come on now. 😏) Am I a good enough human? Those questions can be hard. I end up comparing myself to others, being hard on myself, criticising my life choices, wondering how I can be a better version of “me”. Why?

You are enough

Photo courtesy of Tetyana

It’s human nature I guess, for us to take the tangled threads inside of ourselves and unravel them. It’s the pressure to “fix”, to “figure out”, to justify our inherent selves. But then I get pissed on rosè in the garden and realise I’m a fabulous unicorn and I slay like a queen on a daily basis. And all is right with the world. A Mother’s Day piece I wrote for Selfish Mother More than “enough” in March this year doesn’t just apply to that particular day, it should be a reminder for every day. We are *all* enough, and we are so amazing because of it. Keep reminding yourselves. And keep drinking, obviously.

You are enough

Photo courtesy of Tetyana

Tetyana  is on Instagram, FaceBook  More than “enough” written for Selfish Mother is here.

My life – Shilpa Saul

Mum of three and PR Executive, Shilpa Saul is incredibly clever, cool and funny. In this Q&A session, she talks childhood memories,motherhood, Kylie & turning 40.

Yvonne 1 (1 of 7)

Tell us about you. My name is Shilpa, I am 40 years old and I live in Carshalton with my husband and three children. I am full of contradictions.

Why did you start your blog Must be the Mummy? People would always tell me they loved my status updates on Facebook and kept asking me to start a blog.  Eventually, I succumbed although I’m afraid to say I really don’t blog as much as I should or as much as I’d like.

You wrote about the joys of turning 40, tell us more about that. I think the popular meme ‘Don’t regret growing older, it’s a privilege denied to many’ sums it up for me.  I just feel really grateful and happy that I have turned 40 and am happy and healthy.  There’s no denying that I am now a proper grown up and that has given me an immeasurable confidence to do what I want whilst giving zero f***s about other people’s opinions.  2016  has been and will continue to be ‘the year of me’ because I finally trust my gut instinct.

How did you meet your husband? We had an arranged marriage and didn’t meet each other until the day of our wedding. KIDDING! We met in a dark, dingy, achingly hip club in West London (the Notting Hill Arts Club) at a club night called ‘Bombay Bronx’. I had actually spotted him at a couple of events in the past but, disappointingly, he claims he’d never seen me before that night.  Anyway, I was chatting with a friend of mine who was in a band.  The girl who did his PR came over and introduced herself to me and said that her friend really liked my jeans.  Up strolled Mango dressed like a McFly/ Busted reject with a massive grin on his face.  I have to say, it was love at first sight for me.  We spent the evening chatting about random things and it turned out we knew plenty of people in common as he worked at Smash Hits at the time, whilst I worked at a PR agency called Freuds.  When it was time for him to leave, I gave him my phone number, email address and business card.  The rest, as they say, is history.

What is the coolest thing about you? Nothing.  I am deeply, deeply uncool (see above)

Yvonne 1 (7 of 7)

What is the coolest thing about being a mum? There are so many cool things about being a mum.  One of my favourite things is being able to dance around the kitchen with my little girls and coercing them into loving Kylie circa 1987.

What is the one talent you wished you had? I would love to be able to write great songs – beautiful music with inspired lyrics.  In fact, I would actually like to be able to write one incredibly popular Christmas hit single so my family and I could live off the proceeds for the rest of my life and my music would be indelibly etched into the memories of a generation or two.

What is your favourite music of all time? I am a massive lover of Christmas so it’s probably Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’.

What is the book that made a difference to your life? Enid Blyton’s The Folk of the Faraway Tree.  I remember my late mother reading this book to me over and over again until I was old enough to read it myself.  I’m pretty sure I read it every summer for a good few years.  It is a wonderfully magical tale and every time I think about it I remember just how much time and effort my mother spent encouraging my love of reading and the written word.

Yvonne 1 (1 of 1)

What do you still have from your childhood? LOADS of stuff!  Care Bears, a Cabbage Patch Kid, a chic-a-boo monkey, a Strawberry Shortcake handbag – the list goes on.  I’ve given most of it to my girls.  What I love is that everything was in pristine condition but are now completely battered – a good sign that they’re being played with and enjoyed!

Who is your fashion Icon? Edina Monsoon, from Absolutely Fabulous.  I think as I get older I am more inclined to dress like an ageing teenager.  Such fun.

What is the lesson your kids have taught you? To forgive easily and laugh often

What is the best advice you have ever been given? I suffered a huge crisis of confidence when I returned to work after having my first child.  I eventually went to see a hypnotherapist who told me that people are often way too concerned about how they are perceived in the workplace to really have the time or energy to form an opinion about me.  Put another way, everyone’s got their own sh*t to deal with so really don’t care about yours!

Yvonne 1 (5 of 7)

What advice would you give your 14-year-old self? Your parents can’t read your mind.  If you feel sad, scared, worried or upset speak up and tell them.

What is the one rule you ignore? I actually love rules – I’m a stickler for rules and instructions, particularly the highway code.  I try not to ignore any.

What is the one rule your kids ignore? To turn the TV off after they’ve watched one programme each.

Connect with Shilpa at Must be the Mummy , Twitter, Instagram

My life – Rebecca Mackenzie

The month of July is Independent Retailers Month and Calladoodles are getting involved in this annual campaign. To celebrate,( and on their behalf) I interviewed four women involved (in one way or another) with running independent shops on Carshalton High Street.  This week, it is Rebecca Mackenzie turn. She is owner Dotty Teahouse. Rebecca talks motherhood, favourite food, and holidays.

Beth Johnson (5 of 6)

When was Dotty Teahouse set up? Dotty’s Teahouse opened in May 2016 following 4 years of trading at festivals and private events from my vintage caravan “Dotty”.

Why was Dotty Teahouse set up? Dotty’s Teahouse was a natural progression for me having spent much of 2015 establishing a tea room in Kingston’s famous market place. Originally a Christmas ‘pop-up’ concept championed by Kingston Council we were able to use the opportunity to learn, adapt, and spend time building our brand and perfecting our style.

What should we expect when we visit your cafe? Dotty’s is a vintage style teahouse serving freshly made food, cakes, cream teas and of course the traditional ‘high tea’. We are a family friendly café offering mums and local’s a place to meet, eat and shop as we have a lovely selection of handmade gifts which are all sourced from local independents. Dotty’s is a community hub and we are so thrilled that people are enjoying what we have to offer!

How has motherhood changed you?  Motherhood has changed me in a lot of ways, some for the better, some for the worse.  But like most mothers I am fiercely protective of my children. I think this is mainly because I was very ill during my (twin) pregnancy and there was a serious threat we could have lost them. That thought still haunts me to this day but conversely, it has also been a huge motivating factor and I strive each day to make their little lives as happy and secure as I can.

Beth Johnson (6 of 6) Beth Johnson (3 of 6)-2

How do you maintain a work and life balance?  At The moment my work / life balance is a little off kilter… but that’s because I have taken on a huge project with Dotty’s Teahouse and it is still early days. My girls are hugely involved with the Teahouse and they love helping Mummy when they can, they are learning valuable life skills and whilst that is important I am very conscious that we spend time together as a family and that we have fun! Working, looking after children and running a home is a constant juggling act but I have a very supportive family and we all help each other as much as possible, it’s teamwork!

What is the movie that made you cry the hardest? Beaches with Bet Midler! It’s an old film about 2 little girls who become friends and go onto to lead separate lives, but one of them dies and it’s so sad…it just gets me every time!!

If you ran the world, what law would you introduce? Be kind to one another.

What is your favourite vacation spot? I love the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire. We visit the Cotswolds as often as we can. It’s such a change of pace, lots of fresh air and lots of beautiful countryside to explore…not to mention the fact that it is home to many beautiful tearooms and I always love to pick up new ideas!

Beth Johnson (4 of 6)

What skills would you like to pass on to your daughters Oh this is a hard one… I guess it would have to be my determination and self-belief. My mother and father have always said that when I get an idea into my head I do not let it go and whilst this can be infuriating for my long suffering family, I think it’s actually a good attribute to have! I hope my daughters have the confidence and determination to live their life as they wish and fulfil all of their dreams no matter what.

What is your favourite food? I love Chinese food! Definitely my favourite food of all time!

Freewill or destiny? Destiny

To find more about Dotty’s, visit their Website/Facebook/Instagram. 

My Life – Clare Callanan

This week, we speak to Clare Callanan – Manager at Calladoodles. Clare talks motherhood, career, and Calladoodles.

Clare Callanan

Photo courtesy of Kate Luscombe Photography

You have just had a baby boy, what is your life like at the moment?

I’m enjoying my maternity leave and feeling more relaxed with motherhood the second time around. I am not good at being away from work as it is an extremely important part of my life, and I found being at home with my first child extremely challenging. This time, I’m happier just to go with it and I feel really lucky to have this time with both my son and daughter, especially as my daughter Chloe is starting school in September.

When you return back to work in September, how do you plan to balance work and family commitments?

I’m lucky to have a fabulous childminder, Tracey, who has been looking after Chloe since she was a baby. She is so flexible and has enabled me to pursue my career with no concerns about my children’s well-being – as I know they are safe and happy with Tracey. Zak will go to Tracey from September, and Chloe will be at school… which I still can’t really believe! So I will be back at Calladoodles managing the shop and also be working from home.

What do you like most about being a mother?

My favourite things about being a mother are chatting with Chloe, who likes to talk just as much as me! I love hearing her come out with new words that I didn’t even know she knew, and the quirky things she says; I never know where the conversation will end up going, and she always has something new to say. I love the little things – like Zak smiling at me and calling me ‘ummy’ (as he isn’t talking yet). And watching Chloe with her best friend Elodie and how inseparable they are at their ballet class.

What food do you live on?

My diet is horrendous, I love Shreddies, London cheesecake (from the Village Bakers next door to Calladoodles), roast dinners and chocolate ice cream. If I could live on these things I would, but my partner Jed won’t let me. He is a super cook and makes my dinner every night. He was once said to be the most romantic man in Carshalton (by his mates)!!

How did Calladoodles start?

Calladoodles started after an idea I had to open a retail unit to sell handmade goods, like an indoor craft market. My good friend Nicki made handmade products and we met a network of like-minded people whose products we wanted to amalgamate and sell.

Clare Callanan

Photo courtesy of Kate Luscombe Photography

I lived for a while in Brighton and spend hours wandering The Lanes and thinking that there should be independent shops like the ones in The Lanes everywhere.

What did you do before?

Before Calladoodles I worked in housing, starting off working in hostels for homeless people. I was totally fulfilled by this job and would still be working there today if I hadn’t taken a few wrong moves and ended up in the admin and maintenance side of housing. I wasn’t happy working in this particular area, my last job was a complaints management role which made me realise I had made some wrong moves and had ended up in the wrong job.

What does Calladoodles stand for? And how did you come about the name?

Calladoodles was a name made up by the children in our family, it was the beginning of a family name ‘Callanan’ and the fact that it was all about creativity. Me and my step-daughter Caitlin loved to doodle and I suppose that’s where it came from.

Beauty means…

Beauty means a feeling of satisfaction when you look or hear or feel something, it’s not about perfection necessarily but when lots of different elements work together, sometimes you’re not even sure why they do.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by my mum – she owns Calladoodles and she rocks. All the girls in Calladoodles call my mum ‘Mama Doodles’, it sums her up; she is fun, creative, strong and in charge. We all look up to her and respect her decisions. The buck stops with Mama Doodles because she is actually right, all the time. We have a card in the shop, it says, ‘Sometimes when I speak my mum comes out’. This is so true, but not a problem for me, as those are my finest moments.

What do you want for your children?

I want my children to simply be happy. It sounds basic but really, that is it. I’d like them to have happy relationships, friendships and enjoy their work as much as I enjoy mine. I want them to smile all the time and not to worry about things. I’ve spent too much time worrying and it’s the biggest waste of time ever!

For more details on Calladoodles, their newly launched website is Here. Calladoodles are also on Instagram, FaceBook, and Twitter

The greatest dad: John Telford

My husband John Telford is the greatest dad I know. And I’m not just making this statement because it is Father’s Day, I am making this statement because it is the fact.
John – my husband – is a Fab dad to our daughters.

Just to make it clear – if John was a crap dad or a useless husband, we’d not be together. I deserve a good husband and my children deserve a good father. For me, it is that simple.

scale (2 of 4)

So, what makes John such a great dad? I’ll share a few things with you.

  • Most mornings, he leaves a note on the dining table telling our daughters to have a good day.
  • Every lunch time, John calls me to find out how the girls were that morning.
  • John has dinner with his family every evening. During dinner, he NEVER fails to ask his daughters about their day. And, he listens.
  • John is selfless and generous. Every year, when John receives his bonus, he divides it into four parts. One part for me, two parts go into Ola and Lore’s savings and the last part goes into the family’s savings. Nothing for him.

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  • John has the patience and ability to make our daughters feel wonderful about who they are. His gentle demeanor reassures them.
  • John is a great provider for his girls and he never complains about this fact. He is the reason why I am able to follow my dreams. He is also the reason why our daughters never want for anything.
  • John takes his girls out to places, I’d never dream of taking them to. Places like scooter parks, airports (to watch planes taking off), games arcades, etc.
  • Every Saturday and Sunday, John sits down and has breakfast with his daughters. During this time, they talk about all sorts.
  • Every evening (I am on the sofa too tired to move) John is the parent who gets the girls to bed.
  • For John, gender does not play a part in the kind of games or activities he does with them. He plays football, basketball, computer games with them.
  • Every Sunday, John never fails to sit and watch a movie with our daughters. Something I’ve never done and don’t have the patience for.
  • John is the one who teaches them what I am crap at. Like science and mathematical facts.

These are just a FEW of the characteristics that make John the greatest dad to our daughters. Today, we thank him for all that he has done for our family. Thank you, John.

Happy Father’s Day.

My Life – Harriet

Harriet is one of the most beautiful humans I have come across – she is full of smiles, kindness, sunshine, a joy to be around… she is full of all things beautiful. Harriet talks Curry, something she wonders about, ice cream and looking forward to being 13.

Enjoy. Yvonne x

5 (7 of 7)

5 (5 of 7)

What is your most favourite fun thing to do? Playing  with  my friends and family.

When do you do it? At school and when we have play dates or if we have friends at our house for BBQs.

Why is it your favourite thing to do? It’s my favourite thing to do because we laugh a lot because we dance and sing and act silly. And we eat great food.

What is your favourite colour? Blue.

What is your favourite food? Curry.

What is your favourite treat? Flapjacks.

What is your favourite subject in school? Art.

What is your favourite sport? Gymnastics

What is your favourite movie? Alice in Wonderland.

5 (3 of 7)

What is your favourite book? Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates.

What is your favourite animal? Monkeys, sea lions and dogs.

What is something that you wish for? A baby sister.

What is something you wonder about? I wonder if I will have children. I’d really like a girl. One is enough because it’s hard work.

What is your favourite song? Lush Life by Zara Lawson

What is your favourite place to visit? Theme parks like Legoland or Chessington.

Where do you WANT to visit some day? Longleat Safari

What’s your favourite thing to do with your brother? Jumping on the trampoline.

5 (1 of 7)

What’s your favourite thing to do with your Dad? Going to Comedy 4 Kids.

What’s your favourite thing to do with Mum? Singing and dancing in the car.

What’s your favourite thing to do with your dog? I love to run around with Snow in the park.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a vet.

5 (2 of 7)

What is one thing you want to learn how to do? A French plait.

Who is someone that you miss? I miss my sister Gabrielle and my Grandma – they’re in Heaven together.

What makes you nervous? When I first try a new club I feel nervous but I do it anyway because I don’t really need to be nervous.

What makes you happy? When my mummy takes me for ice cream. Salted caramel and cookies&cream are my favourites.

What age do you look forward to – and why? I’m really looking forward to being 13 because I really want a mobile phone. I might be younger like 10 or something. I don’t know yet.

My Life-April

We asked April – a compassionate, funny and creative  friend of my daughter Ola some questions, some of her answers made me smile. I particularly picked April for this mini-interview because of her ability to be sensitive to other children’s needs. For example, last year, for Ola’s birthday, April asked her mum if she could get Ola a stuffed toy since Ola had mentioned to her that she had none – I had cleared my daughter’s room out and donated her toys to charity!

As we all know emotional intelligence is one of the ingredients that will help our kids get far in life… April has that.

Enjoy. Yvonne xxx


April (1 of 8) April (3 of 8)What is your favourite treat? 
Tunnock’s teacakes.

What is your favourite subject in school? Art.

What is your favourite sport? Cycling, gymnastics, swimming.

What is your favourite hobby? Reading.

What is your happiest memory? When we went on holiday in Croatia.

Why do you like being a kid? I don’t have to share with daddy.

One word to describe you would be creative.

What advice would you give your parents? Not to sneeze too  loudly.

If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? A dolphin so I could swim in the sea.

What do you like to do for fun? Playing on a strange bench with my friends And riding around  where I live.

April (7 of 8)

Tell about a funny time in your life. When grandparents got into a man’s car by mistake.

What is your favourite thing to do? Why? Watching TV because I don’t have to do anything.

What is your favourite thing to do with your friends? Look at pop songs.

What is your favourite movie? Zootropolis.

April (4 of 8)

What is your favourite thing to do in the summer? Go in the paddling pool.

What would be the ideal pocket money? Tell me how you would use it. One pound to save and use on books.

What do you think makes a person good-looking? Eating healthy

Our Lives – Isabella & Arianna

Sisters Isabelle 8 and Arianna 7 are fabulous. During the Easter holiday, my daughters and I spent some time with them. So, when I started this series for kids, they were one of the few children I knew I’d like to ask a few questions. I believe whatever path they decide to take in life, Isabella and Arianna are going to do great things.

Enjoy Yvonne xxx

Arianna and Isabella (2 of 16)

Arianna and Isabella (9 of 16)What is your favourite colour?

Isabella: Light Blue.

Arianna: Turquoise.

What is your favourite food?

Isabella: Breadcrumb chicken.

Arianna: Pasta of any type.

What is your favourite treat?

Isabella: Chocolate.

Arianna: Sticky toffee pudding.

Arianna and Isabella (3 of 16)

Arianna and Isabella (8 of 16)

What is your favourite subject in school?

Isabella: Maths.

Arianna: English.

What is your favourite sport?

Isabella: Gymnastic.

Arianna: Football.

What is your favourite hobby?

Isabella: Singing

Arianna: Designing clothes.

Arianna and Isabella (13 of 16)

What is your favourite movie?

Isabella: Sound of Music.

Arianna: Mamma Mia.

What is your favourite TV show?

Isabella: Next Step.

Arianna: Naomi’s Nightmare of Nature.

What is your favourite book?

Isabella: Pea’s Book of Best Friends by Susie Day

Arianna: Any Dinosaur Book

What is your favourite animal?

Isabella: Horse.

Arianna: Dog.

Arianna and Isabella (5 of 16)

What is your favourite song?

Isabella: Lukas Graham – 7 Years.

Arianna: Katy Perry – Part Of Me.

What is your favourite restaurant?

Both: The Sun Pub in Carshalton.

What is your favourite vegetable?

Isabella: Cucumber

Arianna: Fennel/Plantain

What is your favourite fruit?

Isabella: Nectarine

Arianna: Plum

Arianna and Isabella (14 of 16)

What do you love about your sister?

Isabella: She is very funny- She is our family joker.

Arianna: She is very a caring person a proper big sister.

What does she do that annoys you?

Isabella: She whinges a lot.

Arianna: She shouts and screams a lot.

What is something you wonder about?

Isabella: I wonder if my dreams will come true.

Arianna: I wonder about how about my grandfather lived and what he was like as he died when my mummy was little.

Who is someone that you miss?

Both: Our grandmothers who live in different countries.

What makes you nervous?

Isabella: When I feel all alone.

Arianna: The dark.

What makes you happy?

Isabella: Hugs and kiss and happy people.

Arianna: My family.

National sibling day with Ola and Lore (an interview)

What better way to celebrate National Sibling Day than to interview two sisters who are completely different. Ola is my first daughter and Lore is her younger sister. Ola is like her father – gentle, thoughtful, considerate, clever, sensitive, emotionally intelligent, creative and laid back. She loves all things girly. She also loves to dance, sing and draw.

Her sister Lore is feisty – like me. She smart, loves to read, stubborn, loving, football mad, competitive and determined. She knows what she wants and she does not give up until she gets it.  Today, I introduce you properly to my daughters to celebrate National Sibling Day.

Yvonne xxx

Eniola and tamilore (24 of 32)What is your favourite colour?

Ola: Yellow.

Lore: Red.

What is your favourite food?

Ola: Prawns, hotdogs and burgers.

Lore: Tender BBQ pork ribs.

What is your favourite treat?

Ola: Ice-cream.

Lore: Rich chocolate cakes.

Eniola and tamilore (32 of 32)

What is your favourite subject in school?

Ola: Music.

Lore: PE.

What is your favourite sport?

Ola: Gymnastics.

Lore: Football.

What is your favourite hobby?

Ola: Singing.

Lore: Cycling and Football.

Eniola and tamilore (27 of 32)

What is your favourite movie?

Both: All of the High School Musicals films.

What is your favourite book?

Ola: Maise Mae by Poppy Harper & all of the Daisy books by Kes Gray.

Lore: The Person Controller by David Baddiel.

What is your favourite vegetable?

Ola: Cucumber & sweetcorn.

Lore: Sundried tomatoes, cucumber and spinach.

What is your favourite fruit?

Ola: Strawberries and mangoes.

Lore: Strawberries, pears and mangoes.

What is the place you would most like to visit?

 

Ola: Disneyland.

Lore: Emirates Stadium.

Eniola and tamilore (1 of 32)

What makes you happy?

Ola: Visiting new places, dancing, singing and drawing.

Lore: Football and my family.

What’s your favourite thing to do with each other?

Ola: Sleeping in the same bed.

Lore: Playing together.

What is your favourite thing about Ola?

Lore: Her kindness and the fact that she does not moan about stuff.

Eniola and tamilore (10 of 32)

What is your favourite thing about Lore?

Ola: She sticks to her guns.

What does your sister do that really annoys you?

Ola: She never shares (unless she wants something back from you).

Lore: Sometimes she does not listen to me.

Do you think papa treats both of you fairly?

Both: Yes.

Eniola and tamilore (25 of 32)

Do you think mama treats you fairly?

Ola: No – (she cries) I wish I went to nursery school.

Lore: Yes.

Whose is your Idol?

Ola: Arianna Grande.

Lore: Theo Wallcot.

What would like to do when you grow up?

Ola: Be a singer.

Lore: Cyclist, swimmer, runner or footballer.

Letting Go

Our regular contributor and mum-of-two Lorraine Coxon talks Letting Go. I asked Lorraine if she would write a longer piece based on the comment she left on my article, Our interesting stage in parenting. The comment was:

 “I reached a new stage of parenting this morning and I’m not dealing with it well. “A” walked to school on her own this morning with 2 friends. As the house suddenly went empty and quiet, “B” and I looked at each other at a loss as to what to do. We had an extra 15 minutes. It was very quiet.

After I dropped him off at school, I had two thoughts: get a full-time job and have more babies. They’re just knee-jerk reactions to seeing Amber become independent. I’ve still got one child who’ll need dropping off and picking up for a good few years yet, but my baby girl is wearing my clothes and no longer a baby and I don’t want to let go. Still, I have to let go. I’ll just cling to the dog – she loves being cosseted.”

As usual, Lorraine’s article is beautiful and moving and I love it. Enjoy. Yvonne 

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As your children get older, you learn to let go, from baby to childcare and then to a nursery and so on. But really, it’s not that bad because you are still totally needed and in charge and know everything about your child.

 

One day, they walk to school on their own.

 

I always said I would take my children to school myself and would ensure their safety. When they were old enough, they would be able to walk on their own (and I was thinking of 14 years old or something) but last week that moment came sooner than we expected. Some friends came to call for our Y6 daughter at 8:30am. She asked us if she could walk to school and it was a real now-or-never moment for us parents. She has a smart phone so she could text us when she got there and she would be with two other kids. Ok, we conceded, she could go.

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And off she went. I watched her walk off with her friends, my baby all grown up, and panic set in. Would she be safe? My son and I had an extra 15 minutes all of a sudden and we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. The house was very quiet and I felt all weird and didn’t like it. She texted when she got to school so I knew she was safe, but the weird feeling lasted all day.

 

What was I going to do with myself now? My first born and I had entered new territory and I wasn’t ready to let go. I have spent the last 11 years being her mum, protecting her, knowing exactly where she was and who she was with and now she didn’t need me. This is what it is going to be like in September when she starts high school. She’ll waltz off to pastures new on her own and I will be taking the youngest to his school and not be going to her primary school ever again. That school has been part of my everyday life for 8 years. I know all about it.

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Except that she DOES still need me and all this nonsense in my head is just that – nonsense. It’s natural and normal for growing up to happen and they haven’t been babies for a long time; it’s just primary school allows that pretence to go on for longer. I don’t think the letting go actually has that much to do with my daughter being out on her own because I have faith in her that she will be sensible and strong and do the right thing. She is ready for this next stage in her life. I am not ready for this next stage in MY life. It is time to redefine who I am because I’m going to have space to do so. I must see this as an opportunity for both of us, for her sake, to give her room to grow.

Lorraine

Today, I don’t want to be a Mummy!

Stylish and super creative mum-of-two Nicole Young writes an honest but very funny piece on how she sometimes daydreams about not been a mum. This piece is honest and full of love. I resonate with what Nicole has written and I know you will too. Please share this great  article with every mum out there. 

Enjoy.  Yvonne xxx

Okay, so as I’m new here, this is the part where you decide if we’re going to get along or not. I’m just going to put it out there that I often daydream about not being Mummy. Before I go on, I should tell you that I have two beautiful, healthy children. My son is eight, my daughter turns five next month and if I had to tick a box to categorise them, it’d be the one marked “good”, whatever that means.  We suffered a loss along the way like so many others, but for the most part, the road to parenthood was pretty smooth for us. I am under no illusions as to how fortunate I have been in this regard.

 

Furthermore, I had no expectations about the type of mother I would be. And thank God for that. The term “winging it” could not be more appropriate here, so it’s not as though I’ve failed to meet an unrealistic version of myself. My only real hopes have ever been to raise children who are kind, brave, curious and loving, particularly towards each other. And I suppose I should throw polite in there for good measure.

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This is also not a discussion about stay-at-home mothers (which I am, but more about that another time perhaps) or go-to-work mothers because actually those conversations slightly get my goat. We’re all mothers, aren’t we? And we’re all juggling far too many balls anyway, aren’t we? And as soon as you start talking about “this” or “that”, then a divide is created and we just don’t need that when we should be supporting each other’s choices, whatever they may be. But, I digress.

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Recently, I have simply not enjoyed being Mummy. There, I said it. Now, unlike a position of actual employment, I cannot ask for a promotion or a transfer to the New York office or dare I say it, a discreet shuffle-about of my colleagues. There is one role, with an unwritten job description – and even if there were one, I’d have never signed it in consent if I’d had any idea – no complaints procedure, no morale-boosting bonuses and the only way to know if I’m doing alright is either that the folks at A&E haven’t seen us in a while or that we’ve all got clean clothes for tomorrow. Hip hip to me!

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So I do, I sometimes daydream about the life I would have if I was not Mummy. I’m not saying I don’t want to be Mummy because that’s entirely different but hey, I still wouldn’t judge you if you said it. Just imagine it, though. The freedom, the spontaneity that we once had but didn’t know we had until we didn’t have it anymore! Lunch with the girls, followed by a mooch about the shops, because I’d have nothing else to do – what did that feel like anyway? – and I wouldn’t have to be home by 5pm for feeding hours.

I might willingly find myself hungover. I could go to the toilet, on my own. Pop over to Paris on le Eurostar for le weekend, because it’s there, and I could. I’d definitely be fitter, and I’m talking buns of steel from daily 6am Pilates sessions and I would willingly rise that early because I’d be ridiculously motivated. And that’s another thing isn’t it, I’d have disposable income, all to myself, to spend as I choose and I would not choose Shopkins, Wimpy Kid books or anything remotely to do with Minecraft. I might even be more intelligent due to all the high-brow novels I’d devour in earnest, the poetry I’d read and obviously then later recite with impressive results (because I’ve always wanted to be able to do that), the Sunday papers I’d actually read on a Sunday. And do I even have to mention sleep? Or sex? No. I didn’t think so.

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Now, frivolous as that all sounds and whether any of it would actually be the case or not, I’m at the point where I need a break from my children. We’ve been spending far too much time with each other lately. Yes, I’m allowed to say that. And yes they’re both at school full-time, I get that. But I’d just like a day or two off. Properly off. To not hear “Mummy” shouted 468 times, and that’s just before dinner. There is no day off, no sick leave, and as much as I love weekends spent with my gorgeous gang, as Mummies, well we’re still all “on call” aren’t we?

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We all know that the love we have for our children is unquestioned and knows no bounds, and I don’t think many of us would actually choose a life without them (although, again, no judgement here) but what I think is really important is that we, as women, are honest with ourselves and with each other about the relentlessness that comes with this gig. That we are not machines, that we do break occasionally, that we are still capable of having dreams and ambitions of our own, that actually there is more to us than being someone’s Mummy, whether you subscribe to the notion of it being the most important role in life or not. I, for one, have never felt that my children necessarily completed me, but I will say that being a mother has undoubtedly enriched my life in ways I cannot imagine, had I not had the privilege of having them.

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But for all of that, they’re just daydreams. A moment of escape from all the crazy. Yesterday I told my children that I quit as their Mummy. They looked at me as though I was speaking Martian, laughed and resumed their game of Darth Vader vs Unicorn Sparkles. Can I just pause here and tell you that it was my daughter dressed as the former and my son as the latter… because that’s how we roll around here. But as I listened to them shout, squeal, argue and laugh, I fell head over heels back in love with them – not that I ever fell out of love, but you know what I mean. This is my place in life right now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I’ll continue indulging myself with my daydreams thank you very much. Oh, and what’s that? 3 weeks Easter holidays on the horizon? Pass me that light sabre!

Nicole xxx

Nicole is on Instagram