Home Schooling Day 1

Hi all,

So last Thursday my kids’ schools all shut down (as did all schools in the Republic of Ireland) to avoid spread of the Corona Virus.

I was delighted. Firstly, the government made the right call, quickly. Secondly, I was going to have time at home to work on projects that I’ve wanted to do with the kids for years now, like science experiments and art projects.

So I set up a room to be the “home school room” – which also took most of the morning, so it was a late start to the school day! Easing into things!!!

But then I got the 6yr old to do her sounds, and then colour her new letter in. She then did more colouring in pictures, and then made the St Patricks Day chains with her brother. Then they did some free play colouring on the whiteboard. And now are in playing lego.

The nearly 10yr old did his reading, a bit of dictionary work, some maths, the St. Patricks Day chains, planned the menu for an Instant Restaurant later in the week, drew some little comic strips and is now is playing lego.

The secondary school child, the 13yr old, did her Geography homework, her French work and an hour of Maths revision. She made their lunch, and a hot chocolate for herself while they worked out a menu plan for an Instant Restaurant. She’s now gone for a walk with her Dad and the dog in the woods.

At 3.30pm my 13yr old said it felt like 6.30 and that the day should be over. I was explaining to her that that is the reason that I want to put a bit of structure and planning into our days, because otherwise the time will just gel together into one big mess and nothing will really get done and it will get so boring just watching mindless tv or something.

I had a lovely day, and I’m really happy that we are on the same page about self-isolating and just staying home to do our part to stop the spread of the virus. It’s giving us lovely family time together too.

Ayurvedic Lifestyle

I’ve been listening to loads of interesting podcasts recently, and learning all sorts of things from them.

Last night I listened to Chloe Brotheridge’s podcast “Calmer You” episode 74 with Jo Webber from Pukka Herbs about Herbal Remedies for Anxiety.

I was really interested in the talk and I loved how Jo kept bringing the scientific research of modern day and linking it to how Ayurvedic medicine has been working for centuries. She really talked in a way that I already feel, but don’t have the information to back me up and to actually live that way. It completely re-sparked my interest in finding out more about herbal medicines and natural medicines.

I’ve always had an interest in natural remedies, and a few years ago I was at a talk where I was so interested in the topic I bought the book from him there and then, about Ayurvedic medicine.

However I think the book didn’t have a very good way of explaining it, and when I saw certain things about dairy I think it was, it kind of stopped me looking further into it.

I remembered also going to a massage course where they taught a type of Ayurvedic massage, which was fantastic.

Last night, listening to this podcast I decided that I am going to find more information about it so have just ordered loads of different books from the library, so that I can have a comprehensive look through them and see what I think and how it could be adapted into our lives.

I probably won’t have much time this side of Christmas, but will keep you updated as I go along. If anyone has any good resources or information about it all, let me know.


I decided that I was going to add meditation as a priority to my life about 2 weeks ago, and I’m delighted to say that I have meditated every night just before bed for the last 15 days.

I heard on a podcast that 56 consecutive days of meditation changes the shape of your brain, and increases the calming part.

So that is my goal, another 41 days of consecutive meditation. And there are 43 days left in 2019, so I’m planning on getting right through to the end of year meditating every day. And the fact that I have set it as a priority and I am going it gives me a sense of achievement and pride that I am doing it.

Mini wins. Notice them, and celebrate them!

Also I have been doing my 5 minute workouts for a good few weeks now and I can notice my body getting stronger. Another mini win. The 5 minute workout probably takes less than 5 minutes so I am just making sure I do it at some stage of the day. Celebrating my mini wins, making me feel positive about myself!

Blended Family

When I met my now husband, all those years ago, he had already been married and he had five kids.

This was not a situation I wanted to get involved in and I didn’t plan to. I planned to travel and enjoy my life, and was nowhere near settling down. And a man with kids would change all of of that, complicate it all.

But as it turned out, I did get involved, and this is my life now, a step-parent, and my children part of a blended family.

It is crazy and busy, and unpredictable and there have been hard parts, some harder than others – but I wouldn’t change it. We have a wonderful huge family, and it is growing with four grandkids already – and it is never boring.

The reason I am sharing this now is that last week I had maintenance men in our house and they were surprised that I had four kids, and I told them my husband has nine – which shocks everyone! One of the men had twins and I said I would have loved twins in theory but reality would have been crazy, but that after I had my second child people assumed I was done having children and my reply was always “no, definitely one more, and a surprise!” but seeing as we didn’t get a surprise pregnancy on our fourth (we had to plan her!) that the surprise was going to be twins – seeing as I had always joked that his first wife had five kids, I’d have five kids too.

And the response from the guy was “oh yeh and mine will be bigger, better and stronger too”.

I was like “No, the first five are amazing”

But it caught me off guards that that was this guys automatic reaction.

There is no thoughts of competition at all about the kids, I would be so proud if my children turned out like the older kids. They are great adults, such kind people and I absolutely love them and want the very best for them. And I do not want “better” for my kids.

However there are things I do and probably will do differently, as a parent.

As a step-parent, the first thing you have to realise is that while you’re involved in these kids lives, when the big stuff happens you have to step out and let the parents work it out between them with the kids.

So I am a different mother to my children than their mother was to them. I parent differently in different ways, based on my thoughts and feelings, as simple as I don’t like allowing fizzy drinks in our house except on special occasions, whereas when my step-children were small both their parents were happy with fizzy drinks so we had fizzy drinks here in our house for them.

It is in no way to say that my parenting is going to be better than theirs was and is. As you can say, the proof is in the pudding and there is the proof in the five wonderful young adults, and I feel if we can do as well to raise four more wonderful adults, we will be delighted.

We are a blended family. We are a big busy family. We are all family. We are so lucky.

New Baby/Parenting Advice – I give to anyone who will listen!

  1. Ignore most of the advice you get given. Listen to what people tell you and thank them, and then decide what you liked about the advice, and what suits your parenting style and ignore the rest. Don’t let it get you into a tizzy if they are giving advice that doesn’t suit what you are doing – we all parent differently.
  2. Go with your gut. Trust your instincts. Relatively straight forward, but they say a parent knows best – if you think there is something wrong, follow up on.
  3. You are the perfect mother to your child. You are the only mother they know, so what you are doing is right for them.
  4. A new addition to the family – first or fourth – throws your relationship around a bit. It needs to adjust and resettle with the newly updated roles.
  5. Don’t believe other people’s highlights reels and compare yourself. What people tend to post on social media is the best bits and don’t mention the bad and crazy bits. Don’t look at your every day chaos and think that other people have it all together based on their social media posts!
  6. Don’t take offence easily. People generally tend to mean well – and own using their own knowledge/experience as a base. For example if someone says “your bump is huge” they are seeing it from their experience and maybe everyone in their family have tiny bumps when pregnant. Same for big babies, small babies, loads of hair etc. It is all relative – don’t let it bother you!
  7. Everyone has an opinion. From the minute you get pregnant, everyone feels they can offer you unsolicited advice. Instead of letting it annoy you, try and see that they are interested and caring about a new life being brought into the world, and often it brings back memories of their own special times with their children.
  8. Enjoy it. It passes so quickly. Your baby or child will never be as small as they are today.
  9. It is hard. And the hard parts feel forever when you’re in it. But they pass too.
  10. No one has it all sussed out completely or perfectly.
  11. Make mummy friends. Make the effort to get out to the breastfeeding groups, the parent and toddler groups, etc. And make an effort to get to know other mums.
  12. Join the online groups for your birth month to have a network of other mums that have a baby at the same stages as yours, one of them will be going through the same as you!
  13. Be open about how you are feeling. You never know who else will open up to you if you do. We tend to bottle up our feelings, and that affects our mental health. If you can open up when you’re starting to feel down, you can often get ahead of a downward spiral. Support is so important.
  14. Be kind. You don’t know anyone else’s story and what they might be going through. You being kind might actually change someone’s day.
  15. Don’t judge. Everyone is doing their best. In their own way.
  16. Babies are amazing. Little miracles that grow inside us. They are so small and precious. Treasure your time with them. Cuddle them. Hold them. Love them.

Proud of my small steps!

So for the last week every day, bar one I think, I have done the 5 minute mini workout.

5 squats, 5 lunges, 5 push ups, 5 calf raises and 5 tricep dips.

Simple and easy, and I achieved it!

Might seem small and almost insignificant to someone who goes running or to the gym or exercises lots. But for me, its a first step… its a huge step and a really positive start for getting my healthy habits on track.

I have heard it a few times this week – that the first step is the hardest to take. I have taken the first step, and I have started.

Now I just have to build momentum and stay going, and add to it and improve.

I’m very proud of myself!

Small Steps… to get back on track!

So, it now count down to back to school, and I’ve realised that the last few months have just disappeared and I’ve really not done very much to work towards my health goals… so this week I’m going to start getting back on track. With a few small steps.

I am going to try to:

  • Drink 2 litres of water a day
  • Bed by 11pm
  • Up by 8am
  • Listen to a meditation
  • Do Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s 5 minute kitchen workout each day

Looks like a simple enough list to complete, but even though I went to bed last night around 10.30pm it was midnight before I got to sleep because the baby decided she was getting up instead of going to stay asleep, which meant I didn’t get to bed by 11pm and I didn’t get to listen to my meditation, and I didn’t get up this morning until 8.30am because I was so exhausted (and actually went back to bed for a quick nap at 10am!)

But today is another day – and I’m going to do my best again!

An Amazing Woman.

So I’ve been having a pretty crappy stressy time of it lately. The kids are driving me up the wall and I’ve been wound up and cross about everything. My husband isn’t around at the moment and there’s a number of other reasons for me to be stressed on top of it all, and it is all getting on top of me and I’m not getting any sort of a break from the kids. So like I said, they are literally driving me crazy.

Yesterday we were out in the shopping centre in the next town over and we had been trying to get a lot done in a short amount of time, the kids weren’t listening, we were trying to run from one place to another to another, the baby was in the buggy screaming her head off – and I was stressed to high heaven.

And as we walked out of one shopping centre I saw a woman walking towards me that I recognised and it took me a minute to realise who she was. She worked as EPU nurse, the Early Pregnancy Unit nurse.

I had first met her in 2009 when I was having what they thought was my second miscarraige but what turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. So over ten years ago. She had been so knowledgable at the time, she was honest and told me her honest opinion of the situation even though it wasn’t exactly what the doctors said. When we first thought it was a second miscarriage she gave me advice and explained the way the system works here regards help after multiple miscarriages (needs to be three in a row before they investigate) and gave me the names of books to read to help. Then when the signs were there for the ectopic, and the doctors discharged me without doing anything, she rang me with results and told me to take care and basically that she thought it still was an ectopic. She was right.

Because of the ectopic, in every following pregnancy I had to go to the EPU for a scan at 5 or 6 weeks to make sure that it was in the right place. So this woman saw me a further four pregnancies, and the kindness and compassion she showed me was unbelievable and unforgetable.

My fourth pregnancy was my second successful one, but I had been sick throughout my first so even though she had seen me a number of times for peace of mind in the first few weeks, at 17wks my sickness disappeared and I panicked. I rang the EPU and explained, and she brought me in for a scan even though it is very normal for sickness to stop after 12wks, and thankfully he was still there safely but without that scan I would never have believed it.

She then had to tell me that my next pregnancy wasn’t progressing and dealt with me over a few weeks of me trying to allow it pass itself like my first, then take the medical option – which ended up with the surgical option. But she just was so amazing throughout, her kindness and straight forward honest information helped so much. I then saw her a number of times over the next two pregnancies, she came and found me on the ward after I had no.3 as she’d seen my name on the board. When I thought I was losing no.4 she got me straight in for a scan and was as happy as I was to see the little heartbeat there on the screen – it was 2pm that day when she saw me even though my appointment was for about 2hrs before and she apologised for keeping me waiting – but I knew that if things were delayed, it was not good news for whoever she was with. After we saw the little heartbeat, she said she had been so worried she was going to have to give me bad news again, and that I was the first person that day she had given good news to. That was her day, full of heartbreak.

This woman made a number of horrible, sad and heartbreaking situations a little bit better for me. She honestly will stay in my heart forever.

Yesterday when I saw her, and remembered all the heartbreak I had gone through. And how lucky I am to have my children. How so many women go through pregnancy loss time after time, and don’t end up with any successful pregnancies. How lucky I am to have my four healthy children. I had spent over three years petrified that my daughter was going to be an only child like I was, and couldn’t believe that my second child would make it here safely. And not only did I get a second child safely, I got a third and a fourth. I am so so lucky, and of course I’m allowed be tired and stressed and cross, but just seeing her and remembering all those years of heartbreak and fear, it just shook me up a little bit and reminded me how grateful I am.

10th June (June is For Joy!)

Made a cheesecake for my niece’s birthday as a surprise and she was delighted with it. Love making someone feel special, it makes me feel good too.

And my daughter’s friends mum rang and offered to take my daughter to the football match tomorrow evening that is an hour away, and I was dreading to be honest because I’d have had all the kids with me, so I am so delighted that I don’t have to, really really happy about that. Such a small thing and will make such a difference to us all. (There you go, someone else doing something to help me out!)

June is for Joy! #juneisforjoy

4th June!

Yesterday I focused on the joy that I got from experiences of my day. I spent time with my stepmother, my friends, and back to my stepmother and dad.

I definitely feel much better when I see people who build me up and are positive for me.

I had a nice day, even though I was running from one thing to another and had no time in between (and was late for everything!). Then last night I was thinking about the joy of the day, and was going to post my #juneisforjoy post – but I decided instead to clean up the kitchen, so that this morning I could come down to a clean kitchen instead of having to launch into cleaning first thing today, so that is why I am late posting yesterdays Joy!